I started having contractions Sunday afternoon – the 17th. I got a little bit excited. I waited for Pat to get home and told him I was going down to the maternity unit and see what was going on.
They put me on the monitor and checked out my contractions. They did an internal and said 1cm. Go home and rest – you’re probably in early labour.
The contractions never stopped. They were enough to wake me up, but never got strong enough to warrant me going back. Until Tuesday afternoon. They were 3 minutes apart and lasting about 50-55 seconds. Not really painful, but very distracting and uncomfortable. I called the hospital (I had been in that morning for a check up and she sent me around to maternity for monitoring because I was still having contractions and my blood pressure was up). The hospital told me to come in whenever I felt like it, but please make sure they’re regular.
When I got there, they hooked me up to a machine for a bit. They did an internal and told me I was only 2cm dilated. I was soooo deflated. The lady obviously could see that and told me that while she was there she’d do a stretch and sweep for me.
And so we bunkered down for the night. I sent Pat home because it was silly that he, Mum and Maddi ALL got no sleep. Maddi slept on the lounge in the waiting room and Mum got a fold out bed brought in.
At 3am the midwife came in and told me that at about 6am they’d put me back on the monitor for my contractions. I asked her what if it hadn’t changed. She said they’d send me home because there was no point keeping me there if I wasn’t doing anything. I cried. I had been having contractions for almost 3 days. I didn’t want to hear about being sent home.
Thankfully, that midwife went off duty and the one I had seen the previous day, Heidi, came on duty. She had told me the day before to come back in the morning and have my baby so I could be the last birth before she moved back to England.
I was still having the same contractions 3 minutes apart and about 55 seconds long. Sometimes they’d be really strong and sometimes it felt like they were petering away to nothing. I worried that the middle of the night news from the midwife just completely shut down my labour mojo. They did an internal and found 3cm dilated. So at least things were progressing, albeit very slowly.
The doctor came and visited me, told me that because I was 37 weeks and had blood pressure issues, he couldn’t see any reason to keep the baby in there any longer. Told me he would break my waters and give me an hour to get things moving, if it didn’t happen, he’d put my on the synto drip.
He broke my waters (after a student ob/gyn valiantly tried – she was just too gentle!) and things started REALLY picking up.
Those contractions that had seemed like the bad ones were suddenly the ones I wanted back. I had already told Heidi that I would probably want an epidural at the end and she agreed because pain + blood pressure = not too good. Mean time, I had the gas.
The contractions were thick and fast. I never shouted. I had tears in my eyes. I whimpered through a lot of them. Pat was wonderful. He sat there are held both my hands in his and looked into my eyes while I kicked my foot against the end of the bed in pain. He did it over and over again. I’m sure it can’t be easy, being on the emotional receiving end of all that. But he did it for me.
I told Heidi it was time for the epidural. They checked and I was 5cm – the doctor agreed to let me have one and the anaesthetist came in. Mean time, the contractions were getting REALLY full on. Mum and Maddi were sent out of the room as they only allow one person in there while you get your epidural put in.
I was sitting on the side of the bed, my back to the anaesthetist and she put the local in. I had a massive contraction. She then put the epidural needle in. I had another MASSIVE contraction. Pat was holding my hands. I looked into his eyes and I said to Heidi “The baby is there, I can feel it, this is a pushing one!” I felt like I was sitting on her head and I arced up on my toes a little. The contraction finished and the Doctor took the needle out and tried to put the blocker in. I said “another contraction is coming and I need to push!” so Heidi told me to swing around on the bed.
From then it was a kerfuffle. Heidi saying “I can see the head!” Her yelling at Pat to “PUSH THE BUTTON!!!” (There was a million buttons.)Me groaning. Her telling me not to push. Yelling at Pat again to push the button. Me replying that I wasn’t. All of a sudden, I heard a beautiful cry. I heard Heidi say “there’s a baby here!” and then she was on my chest. Pat staring in shock. Heidi hadn’t even had time to put her gloves on. Hadn’t had time to call the other midwife. Mum didn’t get to be there and I felt bad about that. But she was just so, so overjoyed it was still amazing.
Pat’s face was beautiful. I loved watching the emotions play out on it. The reaction that she could see the head, the fear when he was told to push the button, the complete shock when she was there. The pure love when he said “hey baby.”
IT was so wonderful. Beautiful. Magical. Very memorable. AND Heidi’s last birth in Australia.
All up my official labour time was 1 hour 47 minutes, which I think is amazing.
Dolores Rose Blanch, born at 1:47pm 20th April, 6lb 10oz (3020g) and 46cm long.