Lia’s Birth Story
Wednesday night 23rd February 2022, I’d lost my mucus plug. The first sign (besides being super pregnant) that I was definitely having a baby soon. Otherwise, I was entirely unconvinced.
Thursday 24th February, 9:30am I was at Donut King for my, at that point, daily donut fix when I felt my first surge. This began a day of inconsistent surges, some strong but most pretty tame. I spent the day running around shopping for the display home with my parents where I’d occasionally be taken out by a strong surge. By night time they were causing more discomfort, we went out to dinner and I spent most of the night in and out of sleep, confused by whether or not they were really happening!
Friday morning 25th February, began a full day of pre-labour, the most beautiful day. I spent the day at home while it poured consistently all day. I watched a movie in the morning and tried to catch up on some sleep. I managed to get an hour before it was time for me to focus. So I played my labour music and worked through my surges. I lit candles and felt so calm and ready for what was to come. At 12pm, Matt came inside to check on me, through tears I told him after weeks of feeling disconnected, scared, nervous, overwhelmed. I felt her. I knew she was coming to meet me. We cuddled while I swayed. Eventually he headed back in to the office where I continued labouring. By the evening, we had an array of visitors including my parents, Matt’s parents, my Sister and Kristy. They watched while I continued through surges and listened to the rain still pouring outside. Not everyone’s cup of tea to have an audience while you’re half dressed and experiencing pretty strong surges, but I loved sharing it with my close family.
By 10pm, while still somewhat inconsistent, the surges were getting more intense and we deliberated on whether or not it was time to head to the hospital. My wish was to spend as much time labouring at home as possible, but I also knew labouring in the car would feel somewhat impossible very soon. We packed up and headed in, arriving at the hospital at 10:45pm. Surges all the way to the birth suite. Not fun!
“3cm dilated. Your waters are intact. You seem calm and collected (hypnobirthing, baby! Don’t be fooled!). Here’s two codeine, head home and rest up for what’s to come.” The midwife gave me a wink as I walked out and I wondered if she knew deep down I was close to go time.
My Sister headed home to get some rest and so did we. Matt set me up with my shower seat and some grapes in the shower while he tucked himself in for a sleep. I jokingly lifted the grapes and descended them into my mouth. Like I was at a spa retreat or on holiday. I was clearly feeling pretty slapped from the strong pain killers after only being allowed Panadol for 9 months. 5 minutes later, my waters popped. I don’t say break because they legitimately popped inside of me. I let out the biggest scream and Matt jumped up to find out what happened. Shit went 0-100 at this point, the surges became immediately more intense and close together, I could barely stand and felt like vomiting and fainting simultaneously. Matt called my Sister who asked if I could get in the car to go back to the hospital. Nope, get me an ambulance. The paramedics on the phone assured us this was simply labour. I thought for sure my baby was coming right there on the shower floor, grapes everywhere.
Paramedics arrived, followed closely by my Sister. We had to wait for an ambulance as it was flooding everywhere at this point and they didn’t have a lot of dispatch options. Once the ambulance arrived, we headed out and I felt what I thought was more water but nope, blood. So much! I was convinced she was coming in the ambulance.
We arrived at the hospital and thankfully skipped the incredibly long walk into the birth suite this time! When we arrived, all of the midwives giggled and welcomed us back. I had my second internal check at 1am. 6cm! The midwife was shook. Explained the insane hour we just had. We set up my room and I continued moving through surges. It was well and truly game time now. After a while, the midwife asked if gas was in my birth preferences. Um, absolutely? I’d totally forgotten about pain relief at this point. Gas is on. I’m good. I moved around the birth suite trying to find my place. I spent time in the bath, on the toilet, on the ball, on the floor. I screamed, I roared, I twisted and turned my body for hours. It was amazing. I loved it. Another internal, 8cm. The midwife mentioned I had a cervical lip, which is essentially a tough, stubborn part of your cervix and very common in first time Mums. The midwife said it would likely move away in these last couple of centimetres. I was then asked what I wanted to do from here pain relief wise. I looked at my Sister and said “2cm mate, I’ll piss it in!”. Second midwife enters. I don’t know what time it was here, maybe 6am. I continued twisting, moving around and roaring through my surges. I began to become exhausted. Another check please.. 9cm. Cervical lip still very much intact. I request more pain relief. Morphine. More time passes and Matt had scooted off for a rest. Poor guy was so overwhelmed by the intensity and after 3 births herself, my Sister held the fort. Suddenly, the midwife noticed a bulge in my tummy. I thought my baby had moved right back up! Nope, my bladder is about to explode! I hadn’t been able to wee all labour. A catheter was inserted to empty my bladder and then removed. Shortly after, the midwife had me start pushing. I felt relieved. My baby is coming! Where is my Husband? Nobody seemed like getting him back was of urgency. So I pushed. I think I pushed about 8 times and the midwife started to strap the monitor on me to hear baby. No luck. At this point, Matt had returned and the midwife told us she couldn’t get a clear reading of the heart rate with the strap and suggested an internal heart rate monitor. Clipped to my baby’s head. We reluctantly agreed. At this point, there wasn’t much discussion as to what was happening or where the midwife’s thoughts were at, I guess because nobody was telling me there was anything to worry about, I thought I was still on track. Cue doctor…
The doctor introduced herself, and asked if she could give me another internal. Internals were always something I was happy to consent to, I wanted to keep track of where I was at. Yes. You can. She advised that baby was right up in my spine and the cervical lip was making it hard for her to descend, despite being fully dilated. Surges had slowed. 12 hours had passed since waters breaking. 12. That’s now two days of pre labour and 12 hours of active. Options: 2 hours of syntocinon drip and an epidural, let me rest and see if my body can work with the drip to get baby down or.. Caesarean. This was tough for me. While I always affirmed that I had only birth preferences and no plan, I really wanted a natural birth. I wanted to feel every inch of my baby coming out of me. I wanted her on my chest immediately. I wanted those beautiful golden hours. I wanted the ring of fire. I wanted the intensity and empowerment of a drug free birth. I didn’t want a medal. I wanted the experience. I wanted my Sister and my Husband with me to the end. Alright, drug me up baby, let’s see what this body can do! Another catheter inserted.
2 hours passed. The confidence in my ability to birth my baby began to dwindle. I was exhausted, mentally and physically. The epidural made my entire body shake and my jaw chatter. I hated it. I felt incredibly anxious and my thoughts began to get away from me. My sister and the midwife continued to remind me how far I had come and that I could do anything. They reminded me how close I was to meeting my Blaire Renée. Let’s do another hour. The doctor returns and gives me an ultrasound to see where baby is. She hasn’t moved an inch… in three hours. Ok, cesarean it is… I cried. I just wanted my birthing partners with me. I mourned the natural birth I so desperately wanted. Another two hours pass while we wait for an available surgeon. Exhaustion level 100. Anxiety mixed with my body shakes won’t let me sleep. It’s still raining outside! And apparently it’s the afternoon. ?
Finally. It’s time to meet our baby. My poor Sister after 16.5 hours by my very side, misses out on Blaire’s birth. We waved goodbye! They topped up my epidural and the shakes came on even worse than before. Anxiety peaking again. I began to force back control of my thoughts. This is my birth, bitch. They wheeled me in the room, show time baby. 2 minutes and Blaire was out. 7:11pm on Saturday 26/02. She was huge. The image still clear in my memory of this big gorgeous baby being lifted from behind the drapes. We hear her. She barely cries. I feel hot and sick. Spew bag please. My heart beats out of my chest. The state of the theatre room changes. Someone is massaging my pulse and there’s talk of all different drugs going in me. (Ahhh, goodbye drug and intervention free birth). I ask how long it’s going to take. 20 minutes!? I truly wondered if I would make it. “Am I going to be ok?”. Yes! Everything is fine… The tugging in my stomach region continues. Do you want skin to skin? No thank you. I needed to focus on not dying. I feel panicked and I need to gain control of that. Some happy snaps are taken. I can’t enjoy them. Am I dying? I can’t look at my baby, I need to focus. She’s taken away with my Husband and I wake up in recovery. It’s 8:45pm. Two beautiful nurses monitor some bleeding for a bit longer and I’m finally wheeled to the ward. No baby there yet. I’m waiting to be properly introduced.
Here she is. 9:15pm. Blaire Renée Wall. The human I worked so incredibly hard to bring earthside. 2 hours later, we officially meet. Our first breastfeed. A midwife offers me a Tim Tam. Half of them are flooded in and will be sleeping in chairs tonight, so they’re relaxed and the room is cheery. All delighting in the new life in the room. Delighting in my baby. It was a wonderful night. We did it, Blairey girl ❤️
I spent some time coming to terms with how my birth journey ended. A couple of weeks. I debated with the devil on my shoulder. Did I birth her? Does it count? Hmm. Does what feels like a near death experience count as birthing my baby? Does the 17.5 hours of active labour count as birthing my baby? You’re kidding, Lia. It was her birthday. She was birthed. You grew her for 9 months and had major abdominal surgery to bring her earthside. Revel in it. Be proud. C-section mamas are mother fkn warriors ❤️