After experiencing a huge, emotional week of ups and downs, I woke up feeling fresh and positive on Saturday morning. My heart was bursting with anticipation that any day, I could be holding my baby.
Looking back, I was feeling a tad bit sentimental on the day that I went into labour with Eloise. Around 2 years ago, when I went into labour with my first daughter, Millie, it was a Saturday and I was 39 weeks 5 days. Fast forward to this pregnancy… it was a Saturday, I was 39 weeks 5 days pregnant and I decided that I would replicate every single activity I did when I was pregnant with Millie. Keeping in mind that I wanted to bring on labour naturally, I was willing to try pretty much everything and anything!
First, cleaning. I cleaned the house from top to bottom. Scrub floors. Check. Wipe down skirting boards. Check. Do a thousand loads of washing. Check. Put fresh sheets on all the beds. Check. Disinfect bathrooms. Check. The house was looking schmicko so now it was time for a gym workout. What heavily pregnant woman excitedly wants to work out in the middle of a North Queensland summer? Yeah, that would be me. So Justin, Millie and I hopped into the car and it was off to the gym. Millie enjoyed playing with her friends in the creche while I went for a 40 minute power walk, followed by some pilates and stretching. During my workout I felt twinges and nerve pains in my groin – all things that I experienced when I was pregnant with Millie. It was all too familiar…. it was an intense case of déjà vu!
The rest of the day was pretty uneventful… I had a nap, played with Millie, bounced on my fit ball and I continued to do exercises that would help our lil bub shimmy on down into my pelvis to start making it’s grand entrance into this world!
It was 4pm in the afternoon and I mentioned to Justin that we need to go out for dinner (as we did when I was pregnant with Millie). Our restaurant of choice was Hog’s Breath and I enjoyed a massive steak, curly fries (yum!) and I even had a small glass of red wine. It was perfect. Little did we know that this may have been the last night as a family of three… or at least I was hoping that was the case!
Once we had settled Millie into bed for the night, I continued to bounce on my fit ball while we watched a bit of TV. It was about 10.30pm, and there was one last activity that we needed to tick off our list…. sexy time. And what do ya know…. 10 minutes later, I had my first contraction. It wasn’t painful at all – more like period pain, so I waited to see if another one would come along. Sure enough, 4 minutes later I had another one and I told Justin that it was GO TIME! Justin called the hospital to let them know we would be there soon while I dawdled around our bedroom packing the last bits and pieces of my hospital bag (I think I even did my brows in between contractions!!). Justin was was hot on my heals telling me to finish packing (blah blah blah, nag nag nag) and that we need to get in the car NOW and start our 30 minute drive to the hospital. I think he was slightly frustrated with how relaxed I was! Oh. I have to add – he was being extra pushy because I had a 3.5 hour labour with my first daughter and apparently second labours are meant to be quicker. I think he was trying to avoid a roadside delivery of our baby….
We called a friend who came out to watch Millie so we didn’t have to worry about waking her and resettling her in a different bed, in a different home. By this stage it was around 11.30pm and Justin and I were on our way to the hospital.
At midnight we arrived at the hospital and it just happened to be a quiet night on the labour ward so my midwife took me into our labour suite and proceeded to give me an internal examination. She smiled and advised that I was already 5cm dilated and officially in active labour.
I actually thoroughly enjoyed the next hour and twenty minutes. I was managing my contractions well. I remember being deep in conversation with Justin and Carly (my midwife) and as soon as contraction would sweep over my belly the room would fall silent and then bam, as soon as it was over we all started laughing and chatting again. We discussed my pain relief options but we kind of laughed it all off because there really wasn’t time for me to even consider any pain relief. I felt calm, happy and excited. This was it. I was going to meet my baby soon!
At around 1.20pm, my waters still hadn’t broken and my contractions weren’t intensifying. Carly suggested we break my waters and when she did she advised that I was dilated to 7cm. She warned me that things will start moving along rather quickly now – but I was ready. Bring it on. Carly also mentioned that when my waters broke, there wasn’t a lot….but some pockets of fluid could have still being in various locations around the baby.
Between 1.30am and 2am, shit got real. The room quickly filled with focus, seriousness and a beautiful sense of calm. I started to feel Eloise move further and further down into my pelvis. Carly kept reminding me to let her know if I need to do a poop and instantly I felt like I had a balloon between my legs and needing to poo so she called my Doctor (who was asleep in bed) and about 10 minutes later he strolled into the labour suite to examine me and deliver our baby.
The time was about 2.10am and he told me that I was still at 7cm. I was gutted. I hadn’t progressed at all in 40 minutes and I felt like I was failing. ALLLL this pain I was going through and NOTHING. He told me he could feel the baby’s head and that I still had a little bit of work to do. He must have given me a minor sweep during that last examination because as soon as he left the room, the pain went from an 8 out of 10 to an 11 out of 10. Oh my gosh. The next 20 minutes were some of the most intense contractions – I even bit Justin’s shoulder (I may or may not have left teeth marks). I felt like I couldn’t do this any longer. I went through all the usual thoughts that many women experience during transition. I can’t do this. Can we do this another time? GET THIS BABY OUT! As soon as one contraction ended and I got my breath back, another one started. I wasn’t getting a break but I just kept reminding myself that the end was near and our baby will be in my arms soon! VERY SOON!
At 2.30am, I was mid-contraction when I screamed that I needed to push. The feeling was OVERWHELMING… like nothing I had ever felt before. My Doctor arrived within the minute and helped me onto the bed. Now, this is going to sound absolutely ridiculous, but pushing gave me a sense of relief. I had an outlet now. I could expel my energy and pain from each contraction. I lost all track of time, but soon after I started pushing (perhaps 3-4 minutes!) my doctor excitedly told me to look down. I told him I couldn’t because I thought I still had at least another 30 or 40 minutes until our baby was in my arms. And then he repeated “No, Melanie, you need to look, your baby is coming out!!” And in a matter of seconds, at 2.38am, he was holding our baby. In disbelief that our baby was actually born, I discovered she was a girl! I screamed, I burst into tears and then our little Eloise was placed directly on my chest. I remember screaming “I DID IT, I DID IT!!” I felt like a complete warrior and so proud of myself. We chose to delay the cord clamping until the cord stopped pulsating which took about 3-4 minutes. Justin cut the cord and at that very moment, time stood still. I wrapped up Eloise up in my arms so tight. She was here. She was healthy. She was perfect.
For the next hour or so I just laid there holding Eloise. Kissing her. Cuddling her. As we established breastfeeding, she nuzzled into my chest and fed for about 40 minutes. I was so calm and happy. It was just perfect being able to just lay with her completely uninterrupted. I can’t even start to talk about how amazing Justin was throughout my entire labour. He was with me every step of the way. Counting down my contractions, passing me chilled water and being my personal punching bag whenever I needed. Ha!
Once Eloise had finished feeding and I was able to peel myself away from her, I had that amazing after-labour shower (can we just take a moment to remember how INCREDIBLE that shower is?)
We walked down to our hospital room with Eloise wrapped up in her basinette. We arrived at our suite and the number felt strangely familiar. Upon entering the room, I realised it was the same suite that we were allocated when I had Millie. Coincidence?
I had been awake for over 24 hours but felt like I was buzzing. Adrenalin was racing through my veins as stared at Eloise and thinking to myself that I had just brought a human being into this world.
Throughout my entire pregnancy I worried that I wasn’t going to have enough love to share with this baby. Millie had always been our number one and there was no way I could love anyone as much as her. Wrong. Tears are welling in my eyes as I write this but I can honestly say that it felt like my heart doubled in size when Eloise joined our family. Don’t even get me started on how it felt when Millie met Eloise for the first time and how they instantly bonded…. life changing stuff.
Thank you so much for reading…. took me a while to get around to posting this because, well….. life. I couldn’t be any more complete.
Love Melanie xo
Ps. Part Three: Be gentle with yourself – Coming soon! x