I write this entry while breastfeeding my new baby boy… For the fourth time this hour. If you think I’m about to complain, think again. The thought of my new breasts being sucked to non-existence by this adorable little parasite is one I welcome with open arms.
Let me tell you why.
When I posted my last entry, I was roughly 33-34 weeks and expected to have a normal delivery. I was healthy, and so was bumpkin. At least we thought so. Technically, we had no reason to think otherwise. Apart from a few contractions which convinced me I would not last till my due date at the end of November, and high sugar levels, nothing was out of the ordinary. I had two antenatal visits, both public and private, and although it crossed my mind, I did not question why no further ultrasounds were conducted. As I entered my 36th week, I was really feeling it. My feet decided they no longer were a fan of shoes and I was forever resorting to the only two real pieces of maternity clothing I had purchased during this time. I don’t think I have ever washed two dresses so much.
But the contractions!
Anyone who would listen to me, knew I was terrified of labour. Having watched my sister, Jade, go through it and heard my fair share of horror stories, it was safe to say my expectations of labour being anything but pleasant was at an all time high. The contractions I was experiencing at this time were Brackston-Hicks contractions or false contractions, although there was nothing false about them. This shit was real. I remember telling John, if these are false contractions, how in heavens name was I going to be able to handle the real deal. The pain emanated from my abdomen to my back to my pelvic region in forceful surges often causing me to pace up and down to prevent myself from crumbling to the floor and writhing in pain. Literally. I was still working at this time, and go figure, the contractions always lashed out while I was at work. I had planned to work as close to my labour date as possible, but these contractions were seriously testing my patience. The constant urination had also upped the ante with the toilet stall welcoming me close to every half hour.
Shit was getting real.
The Friday of my 36th week I was feeling pretty good. As normal as can be expected in my circumstance. I was looking forward to a dinner party which I was to attend after work at a newly opened restaurant. When work finished, my friend collected me and dropped me off. Can I mention I wore heels?? Yes! My platypus of a foot was able to shimmy its way, comfortably, I might add, into a sleek black heel giving my short round frame the height it so desperately required. On entering, I admit, I had one glass of wine. It was my only glass for the entire pregnancy and, boy, was it good. The night progressed well with food, cake and laughter and luckily for me no contractions crashed the party. When everything was over, my friends and colleagues were trying to lure me to yet another venue for drinks. Drinks and pregnancy? Not exactly an ideal pairing, and there was no way I was going to a bar to pay eight dollars for a cranberry juice. Thanks, but no thanks. After politely declining, I was dropped off at home where I took a shower and practically threw myself into bed. My feet were cursing me at this point but the final look for the evening was well worth their agitation. My head hadn’t touched my pillow more than ten seconds before I felt it. A warm pool. Pleasant, but unnatural for someone who hadn’t menstruated for the past nine months. I lay there frozen for a few seconds not sure what to do, still trying to evaluate if I imagined the feeling. Once I mustered up the courage to climb out of bed, I traveled to the bathroom only to discover nothing. Nothing at all. And then it happened. WHOOSH!
I use that sound effect to save you from the gory details of my water breaking. But, yea. It was Niagara Falls.
I never expected it to be so much. This wouldn’t be a typical experience for me if I wasn’t about to tell you what I’m about to tell you. I was home alone. Yup. John was at a job all the way in St. Phillip (about thirty minute drive from where we live). I called him and said “John, I think my water broke.” Silence. He then proceeded to tell me that he couldn’t leave. Not because he didn’t want to or because of obligations, but because the car was blocked in. Did I panic? Not really. I think I was in a trance at this point because I feel like I was moving a lot slower than I usually would. And to make matters worse, the water kept coming. Finally, I made the decision to call my mother. She came straight away and helped me pack my hospital bag. This feat alone was a disaster because I had yet to wash any baby clothes and not everything was at hand yet. Believe it or not, John and I had planned to do these things that weekend.
One day, Liam, one day.
On our way to the hospital, John called to say he was on his way. The relief. By this point, my water had been broken close to 25-30 minutes but I was yet to feel any contractions. If you’re wondering if I got my hopes up that my labour might be bearable, the answer to that is absolutely. By the time we reached the hospital, minor contractions started occurring every 5-10 minutes. I walked my way into the hospital and was escorted into the A&E to await admittance to the labour ward. Another contraction. Then five minutes later, another one. A lady next to me who realised I was in labour struck up conversation with me which turned out to be a much wanted distraction. Eventually, the orderly came to whisk me away to the labour ward. It ended up being a moonlit tour of the entire hospital due to the fact the elevators to the labour ward were not working. Once on the ward, the contractions started to increase in intensity, but I’m proud to say I was handling them like a champ. Although I had chosen to forgo any antenatal classes to learn about ways of coping with labour, I had done a lot of research and reading on breathing techniques and patterns. Re-lax, re-lax, I recited in my head with each inhale and exhale. I felt like I was taking in the experience quite well. Until my nurse uttered these words, “I’m going to check the baby’s position, this might hurt a little.” I grew tense now because I knew from experience that anytime a doctor or nurse said “This is going to hurt a little” it really meant it was going to hurt a lot. And then she inserted her gloved hand. At first, I felt the slight pressure but nothing I couldn’t handle. Re-lax, re-lax. As she fidgeted around, I started to feel an immense pain. I tried to focus on something else but as she reached further and further the pressure and pain became intolerable. “Ow,” I said lightly, hoping that was enough to make her withdraw. It wasn’t, she just continued. What the fuck are you doing?? I thought in my head as I arched my back and moved my bottom around like a child about to progress into a tantrum. As if she could read my mind, she said “I need to feel the head. It’s feeling a little soft here.” At this point, I couldn’t take it anymore and the sobbing began. It kinda sounded like “Owwwwwww, *sob* *sob* *sob*” and then I was full on crying. Tears, snot, the entire matinee. “Alright, alright, don’t cry, that’s the most gentle of exams.” If I wasn’t full blown crying, I can’t guarantee what would’ve come out of my mouth in reply to that but the examination was anything but gentle. Consequently, all of my composure went out of the window. I wasn’t crying anymore, but I definitely wasn’t at ease either. My breathing patterns were all messed up and I felt the contractions getting stronger and more frequent. To make matters worse, I still couldn’t stop urinating and the cadaver preservation temperature of the air condition on my bare bottom wasn’t helping.
I don’t know how much time had passed but as my contractions increased, I was moved to another section of the labour ward and hooked up to a monitor to await my doom. I was still trying to regulate my breathing as the young women around me moaned and groaned and cowered into their bedding. As I lay there inhaling through my nose and exhaling through my mouth with cool control, I couldn’t help but think, was I really going to beat the odds and rewrite the horror story of labour with a happy ending?
To be continued…….