I did not enjoy being pregnant. Instead of relishing in prenatal yoga, green smoothies and calm birthing classes I spent nine months moving between the lounge and bed with a constant feeling of sea sickness, a disgusting penchant for oven baked hot chips and snoring that sent Brendan to the spare room more often then I care to admit. While I may not have enjoyed being pregnant I was grateful for being pregnant and for a relatively event free pregnancy.
At 38 weeks I began to show signs of preeclampsia. To this day I am not sure whether I actually had preeclampsia, its all really a blur but something I probably need to investigate. This meant that I was travelling to the hospital nearly every day for blood tests, blood pressure checks and to make sure there were no signs of foetal distress. As my blood pressure continued to climb a decision was made to induce me on 13 February 2018. After nine months of waiting for our baby boy we had a date to meet him.
I mentally prepared myself and went in for my final checkup on 12 February . For a number of reasons a decision was made to not induce me until 19 February. Yup. I can honestly say there is nothing like preparing yourself for labour and to meet your baby to be told to go home and wait another week. It was a kick to the guts to say the least. On reflection I believe it was the right decision as my body was not showing any signs of being ready for labour but that is much easier to say four months later. After many tears of frustration I decided to make the most of it and spent the week napping, reading, going to the movies and continuing to go to the hospital for daily monitoring.
On the 19th I woke up at 2am with cramps that were much more intense then what I had previously experienced. Unlike most women my ability to sleep only improved while pregnant and I managed to roll over and go back to sleep, convincing myself it was just more pre-labour pains. I woke up at 7am and the pain was definitely intensifying. I decided to take Dora for a walk while Brendan headed to the gym. After a 30 minute walk and luckily only about a block away from my house my water broke.
I called the hospital and was told to come in. I rang Brendan, “We are having a baby” and confirmed that yes he should definitely still pick up coffee before coming home. Coffee always takes precedent, even if you are in labour. We made it to the hospital around 11am and it was confirmed that my water had definitely broke and I was in the very EARLY stages of labour. However there was meconium in my water which means the baby had pooed in the womb which could be a sign that he was in distress.
A decision was made to put me on picatocin to speed up the labour and holy shit it was intense. The contractions started coming thick and fast but because I was hooked up to so many machines I could really only lie on the bed. I ended up going into my own little world, I barely remember what was happening around me. I do remember though having the most amazing midwife Vanessa who seemed to know what I needed before I did, I will never forget her kindness and unwavering support. To be honest I can’t really remember what Brendan was doing but the most important thing is that I know whenever I opened my eyes he was there.
Unfortunately after 5 hours I had only dilated 1.5cm and Archer was showing increasing signs of distress. The obstetrician on duty asked me to seriously start considering whether I would be comfortable having a c-section. Brendan and I began to discuss our options, as much as you can discuss something whilst in labour however about ten minutes later that decision was made for me with Archer’s vital signs beginning to crash. By the look on the obstetrician’s face I knew that this baby needed to join the world as soon as possible.
Within 20 minutes we were in the operating theatre. By this time I was exhausted, emotional and scared. My midwife Vanessa’s shift was meant to end but she worked overtime to stay with me. I couldn’t stop shaking as the anaesthetist tried to insert the needle into my back and kept yelling for a bigger needle which as you can imagine really helped to calm me down. Finally the needle was in and the c-section began. The whole process was extremely quick and it seemed like within minutes they were holding up our baby boy, the first thing I heard was the surgeon exclaiming “We have the our next Wallabies prop”. Archer’s vitals were quickly checked and he was placed onto my chest, not before Brendan nearly cut his foot when trying to cut the umbilical cord, luckily I didn’t see any of this.
The moment seeing Archer for the first time is one of sheer joy, amazement but most of all relief, our baby boy was here safe. I was quickly taken to the recovery area as there was another lady waiting for an emergency c-section in the hallway, we were literally pushed past each other, me with my baby and her about to meet hers, it seems crazy that we both crossed paths at the most important time of each others lives. In another crazy twist they named their baby Archie.
In the recovery area I began to have a reaction to the morphine and my whole body was shaking and I felt like I was being roasted alive. They gave me drugs to try and reverse the effects but the feeling of claustrophobia was overwhelming. I breastfed Archer for the first time but having him on me mixed with the shaking and claustrophobia was too much. Once again Vanessa seemed to be able to sense this and suggested dad might like to hold Archer. Brendan ended up holding Archer for the next three hours until the side effects started to subside.
I was finally allowed to go to sleep around midnight and Brendan passed Archer over for me to try and feed him one more time. All the nurses left and Brendan fell asleep in his chair. It felt like just Archer and I were awake in the world. I finally had a moment to soak up my baby. It was pure magic. I soaked up his smell, examined every crevice, counted toes and fingers until he fell asleep in my arms. Our midwife came back at 1am and wrapped him up and placed him in the bassinet and despite the odds my ability to sleep regardless of the circumstances came through and we fell asleep for the first time as a family of three.
Looking back I wonder if I should have done things differently, maybe I should have requested not to start the pitocin so early but when you have never had a baby before its hard to know what the right thing to do at that time is and all you want is a healthy baby. Both the obstetrician and surgeon came to speak to me after the birth and both stated it was highly unlikely he would have ever come naturally and due to the position and size of my pelvis and the monster baby we had created they both highly recommended an elective c-section if we have another baby. At the moment that is too much to worry myself with. The main thing is that Archer is here with us safe and sound and life as a family of three has begun. I am also extremely grateful that Brendan filmed Archer’s birth, at the time i was far too overwhelmed to watch him entering the world but being able to see it a few days later is such a gift, though not for the faint hearted and believe me not something I ever thought I would want on video but now something I cherish.