I always knew he was going to be a little earlier than expected. I just had a feeling. My estimate was on Christmas eve, so this lead to my family making bets, and my mum actually deciding on a prize for the winner, which made the countdown just that little bit more exciting. In the end, my stepdad won.
Felix was due on New Years day. I didn’t think he was going to make it due to the fact I felt so huge, and he was such an active boy in the uterus. He would be kicking and rolling around so much you could see him quite clearly at times, occasionally making Nick feel a bit uneasy when he watched. But it was so magical that I had the ability to create something so incredible inside me with the person I love. So once I entered the third trimester and all my uncomfortable feelings about the pregnancy had disappeared, each time I watched him move around in my belly, even though I got kicked a fair bit it didn’t take the smile of my face, nor take away the joy I felt in my heart.
On Christmas eve, Nick came up to spend it with my family, as my due date was only a week away and we didn’t want to risk him spending it with his family as no doubt if I went early, it would of been hard for him to get to the hospital to be with me, due to where his family spends their Christmases. Then there was the constant worry of “would anybody even offer to drive him?” that played through my head a lot. So we just felt it safer, and much more sensible that we were together for this Christmas.
Christmas eve I didn’t go into labour like I thought may happen, so I was the first one out of the competition. I didn’t care though, as I really didn’t want to be having a baby Christmas eve or Christmas day, and not being able to enjoy the time with my family one last time before Christmas will become a split between both of our families. In saying that though, obviously I would have still be over the moon regardless what day he chose to arrive! On Christmas day, there was still no sign of baby. However, I did have to spend a majority of my day sitting on the couch with a heat pack on my back, as for some reason I had some pretty bad pains that I just assume were gas related ones. This made the day slightly more uncomfortable that I had hoped, but we still had an enjoyable Christmas day all the same. It was so nice having Nick up at my parents place, as were my sisters husband, and my other sisters boyfriend. We were all together, and it was perfect. (apart from the obvious wine glass missing from my hand, that is).
We went home Christmas day evening, and then boxing day quickly arrived. I was the first to wake up that morning. during my pregnancy, I needed to go to the toilet a million times, so therefore waking up this particular morning was no different. I rushed off to the bathroom and did my business, only to find a tinge of pink when wiping. Thinking this was the ‘red show’ as they call it, I got excited. As I stood up, I felt a trickle of fluid just leak out of me into my underwear. I rushed off to let Nick know I think bub was on his way. Several times that morning I had more liquid come out at different times, till one time I went to the bathroom and had a whole lot more fall onto the floor. Then I just knew this was it. So I called up the hospital, and we were up in the labour ward by 11 am.
When we got there, I was examined basically the same way as a pap smear, except instead of them taking a swab, they were looking to see if my membranes (water) had broken. Normally a pap smear in my opinion doesn’t hurt, just feels uncomfortable. When they did this however, it hurt A LOT and I was so confused. I was told that it was due to the fact I was pregnant, and everything was much more sensitive. So to get through the examination, they gave me gas which appeared to work well. The doctors were able to confirm that they had broken, with more breaking as they examined me. They then decided that I can go home and see if my body will go into labour naturally, as I was not experiencing any contractions yet. If I didn’t go into labour on my own, I had to come to the hospital the next day at 7 am to get induced as apparently you can’t leave broken waters for too long as there is risk of an infection. I explained to the doctors what I was hoping for a water birth in the bath with gas only. The lovely doctor explained to me that I may not be suited for a water birth due to my situation, and it was then I felt my heart break a little. ‘What did she mean? What was my situation?’ Well turns out that if I needed to be induced, I couldn’t have a water birth as you need to be hooked up to a machine. So you can bet that when I went home that afternoon I hoped like hell I would go into labour naturally, so this would not happen!
Sadly for my case, nothing seemed to happen all night. Nothing but more waters continuing to come out. I was so disappointed. I had my heart set on getting in the bath at the hospital, dimming the lights and playing music I loved to calm me whilst bringing my son into the world. Now, all this wasn’t going to happen. I was pretty devastated, but we just had to move forward. I got up around 5 am I believe to do my makeup, and to make sure that my hospital bags were packed and we were not forgetting anything. I didn’t bother packing too many outfits or nappies, as I didn’t want to spend more than one night at the hospital, in fact I was kind of hoping I could go home that day if allowed. I don’t particularly like hospitals (or their tasteless, boring food for that matter), so home was where I wanted to get back to as soon as we were allowed!
When we got to the hospital, we had our own room and they got me to put my nightie on. I got to know my room before taking my place on my bed, and met some lovely midwives and doctors. I asked them if they could please wait a little longer before inducing me, so they kindly gave me an hour or two. Still not a contraction was in sight so I had no choice other than to proceed. A nurse came in, attached me to a cannula (the very beginning of the MANY needles I’ll be receiving whilst in hospital), and began the induction. Before I continue, I just want to point out that I was on a lot of drugs during my stay in hospital so some parts of this story may still be pretty foggy to me, but I’ll try my very best to remember as much as I can! Anyway, around this time I believe my parents and sister came in.
The contractions began as what I would personally describe as ‘period type pains’ which were not bad at the start at all. So there I was thinking that it was a piece of cake, and I would completely ace childbirth. Well, a piece of cake it was not, however I am extremely proud of how I handled things, as were the midwives. This is because I refused any drugs, even gas until it was absolutely needed. This was because I was so scared of the epidural, which is a needle into your spine that numbs you down below, look it up, it’s horrifying! So the epidural to me was out of the question, and instead I planned to just have gas as well as morphine to get me through the big event.
The contractions obviously ended up getting stronger and stronger until I gave in and requested the gas. At first the gas didn’t do much so I had a few decent sucks on it, and then all of a sudden I was flooded with the worst feeling of nausea, and had to get my midwife at the time to detach me from the heart monitor for a moment so I could scurry to the bathroom best I could while still attached to the machine which was inducing me. In the bathroom was where I spewed my freaking guts up. Then I was really upset because I wasn’t sure if my body would allow me to keep using the gas throughout my labour. Thankfully however, once I had gotten used to it I didn’t throw up again.
As hours went by, the pain got worse, don’t ask me what it felt like because I honestly can’t describe it, I can barely remember but it was definitely awful. The only interesting part was being able to watch how big and long the contractions were becoming on the heart monitor. I then asked for a morphine shot, which needed to go in either my thigh, or my bum. Obviously I opted for the thigh, and when the midwife put it in, the pain was so bad I told her to get fucked, which made mum laugh and proceeded to ramble on about how I never use such bad language usually, and it was a shock to hear that come out of my mouth! (oh if only you knew mum..)
I don’t really think the morphine took too much edge off, until four hours later when it wore off and I simply couldn’t stand the contractions anymore, when beforehand they were just bearable. To help me take my mind off things I showed the midwife who was looking after me at the time (yes the one I told to get fucked) my Youtube channel, and some of my videos. I might also add that when my contractions were really nasty, I would try to focus on things that I was looking forward too. Such as taking my little man out in his pram for the first time in the park, coffee in hand. Even though the morphine shot killed me, once it had worn off I did request another (actually I believe it was an hour after it worn off, as I wanted to see how I would go with just gas), but this time I tried really hard not to abuse another midwife, because at this stage they had swapped over due to the first midwife’s shift coming to an end.
I really have to rack my brain now to remember more of what happened next, but I do know that during this time a doctor had come in to see how much I had dilated, and the first time it was barely a thing, and the second time it was about 2-3 cm? From my knowledge, you need to get to 10 to push, and you can be up to 9 cm before you can’t have the epidural anymore. So I had plenty of time to think about it, which I had slowly started contemplating as the hours went on, and the contractions got worse and worse. Once the second morphine shot wore off, I asked if I could have another but I was only allowed two as it poses a risk to the baby apparently. I started to stress, as I was really struggling with the pain now and I must have looked like complete dog shit. I shouldn’t have even bothered with makeup that day.
We entered the night, the pain was getting ridiculous but I still persisted on sucking the hell out of that gas. Each time I needed to use the toilet was a struggle because I had to be detached from the gas machine for a while as well as take my drip with me, and sometimes I would have a contraction on the way to the bathroom, or whilst I was in there that was SO bad it made me literately delirious. I couldn’t take it anymore. After a while the doctor came back to check how far I had dilated. Surely it was nearly time, I thought in my head.
When I found out it was only about 4 cm? (or 3 and a half, foggy brain) I died. I couldn’t keep going on any longer. This was it. I had to put my big brave girl pants on, and rack up the confidence and courage to ask for that epidural. I was not going to make it otherwise, I was so pale, mum said. I cried when I requested it, and when the anesthesiologist came in I was frightened but tried hard to stay as calm as fucking possible. After all, I knew that it apparently was only the first needle (local anaesthetic) which hurt. I remember I had to take off my lovely pink nightie I was wearing, and put on one of the hospital’s revolting blue gowns with the bum exposed (classy). I then had to sit at the edge of the bed, lean onto a chair and Nick stood in front of me holding me still. “Don’t you DARE let me move!!” I remember saying to him, as becoming paralysed was my biggest fear with this needle. I demanded to the doctor he inform me when the first needle was going in, and when it was done so I could relax whilst he did the other needles. I stayed calm, paced my breathing, then began sucking the heck out of the gas before he began.
What the actual hell. IT DIDN’T EVEN HURT!! I was so relieved! And then I was annoyed that I didn’t do this hours ago, but instead put myself through all that pain! I’m sure the gas, and the fact I was already slightly delirious helped block it out, but still, I can definitely say it was no way near as bad as what I was expecting! And then the effects began to kick in. OH MY GOD! What kind of black magic was this?! All the pain was just gone, and I was still able to move my legs a bit too which was nice as I hate the feeling of numbness (ever fallen asleep on somehow both your feet at the same time, and fall over as soon as you get out of bed? I have…) I also had this little button I could press to top up the drugs if I felt it wearing off slightly. Which I must admit did happen a couple of times where it went slightly ‘patchy’ as they explained in parts of my back. Once I was happy, mum gave me a bag of grapes and I was able to enjoy whatever was on the TV! Life was great, and I looked forward to giving birth now, knowing it would not be as painful as it would have been on just the gas, and I could probably request for some sandwiches like my mum did when she had one of my sisters. I wasn’t worried about any of it anymore, I just felt excited to meet my son, (and also still quite high, lol). After 14 hours had past, they checked how far I had dilated again. Apparently, there had been no change. ‘Great‘ I thought. ‘I’m going to be here forever.’ The doctor went off for a bit and then came back. “Amber, we need to talk.” he said. “Stop eating the grapes.”
This was when I found out I needed an emergency cesarean, (c section) a procedure I did not want what so ever. I in fact was really scared of the idea of being cut open whilst still awake, and the amount of times I have scared myself from watching cesareans going wrong in movies, and reading the odd horror Facebook story about them was enough to confirm I never wanted to experience one. Then, here I was being told that I needed to have one, and I was required to sign a form straight away so we could go upstairs to theatre to prepare for surgery. The reasons to why I needed a cesarean were quite a few actually. The first obviously being that I wasn’t dilating further. Then I also had blood in my urine (I had a catheter in place after the epidural as I could still kind of feel my legs, but obviously could not walk.) And also, baby boy was stuck. I remember being so afraid that my body was non stop shaking. But I had no choice other than to agree to the surgery because I was told there was no way he was coming out vaginally. So here I was all of a sudden being wheeled out of my room, signing a form as I laid down in my hospital bed, form in the air as my hands shook with terror signing away. I remember just staring up at the ceiling to try to calm myself down on the way upstairs. Thank goodness Nick was allowed to come along and support me, or I probably would have broken down.
When we got to the room prior to the actual surgery room, the doctors had to pump up my epidural so much, that I could no longer feel my legs properly, except I believe very slightly wiggle my toes. My legs became these heavy weights to which when the doctors needed to touch and lift them to get me onto the surgery table, I got this ridiculously intense feeling of bugs crawling all over them which was so uncomfortable, I hated it. I remember them asking me if I wanted to watch – why on earth would I want to watch a bunch of doctors cut me open? That’s actually crazy talk! I instantly turned that down, demanding I had the blue sheet in front of my face which I had seen in movies and on YouTube. Nick stood behind me as they started getting organised, and stroked my hair to calm me down as he knows how much I enjoy a head rub. I remember being SO thirsty and just wanted a cold cup of water filled with ice, but unfortunately I wasn’t allowed that till afterwards. Before they began, I could still kind of feel parts of my stomach where they were touching. “WAIT!” I said. “I can still feel that!”
So they pumped more drugs into my epidural, before getting ready to begin. I knew then and there I had to just trust the doctors. ‘This is it…’ I was thinking, right before they started cutting into me. Thank goodness I didn’t feel any of that part! I was so relieved. I knew that because the doctors were informing me of what was happening, which is what I wanted. When they got to the baby they said to me “Okay, you are going to feel a bit of tugging.” Sure, that sounds okay, right? WRONG. Well at least to me I did not like it. I wouldn’t call it a pain, but it was one of the most uncomfortable feelings I have felt in my life, as if my guts were being pulled apart. I just began screaming until it was over. Then all of a sudden I heard his little cry, which was such a relief! Then I heard somebody say to me, “Can you hear that? That’s your baby!” And I remember thinking in my head ‘No shit, Sherlock’.
When he was born it was also raining outside, but the moment he was delivered it absolutely poured down so heavily, and as I believe we were on the top floor, it was really loud and intense as the rain hit the roof above. As soon at he had been delivered, it quietened down again. I just thought I would include this too because I thought it was pretty awesome, yet kind of crazy!
Nick then asked me if I didn’t mind he go off and see the baby, which of course I didn’t. It’s not like I could do much at that time anyway, I had to lie there and be stitched up which took AGES and was so uncomfortable cause there were several layers they had to stitch up, it’s no simple surgery this one! Nick went off to meet him for the first time and to cut the cord. Then he bought him over so I could see his little face, and this is the first time I seen Felix. He looked so cute, yet almost as if he was nervous or something! I guess all the bright lights (and the fact he was just pulled out of a nice dark and warm uterus took it out of him).
I remember thanking Nick for making me a mummy, and once I was FINALLY stitched up, I was wheeled into recovery. Because it was 5 am in the morning, there was nobody working upstairs and nobody to look after Nick, so he was allowed to come with me, along with my favourite midwife Jane. They gave me my much desired cold water and ice in a cup, and then bought Felix over to me so I could meet him for the first time. All of this part was such a blur to me, but I remember being so incredibly happy and proud. We were now a family of three, and even though I looked like absolute crap, nothing could possibly bring me down within that moment I felt in recovery.
When you have a cesarean, you have to stay in the hospital for a minimum of five days due to the recovery process, as the surgery is quite serious. So once again, something else occurred which I did not want. In fact, I am pretty sure that everything I did not want happened during my labour. No water birth, epidural, cesarean, a lengthy stay in the hospital… I also ended up staying an extra day due to my anxiety/mental health. They wanted to keep a close eye on me due to that, and also because I was already anaemic when I went in for surgery and lost a lot of blood so I needed an iron infusion, and also was offered a blood infusion (which I ended up turning down). I did however get my own private room (for free!) So I was very lucky, and because we had a private room it meant Nick was able to stay each night with me on this chair that pulled out into some kind of uncomfortable bed.
Even though I didn’t get the birth I desired, it doesn’t bother me. I got to experience what both labour AND a cesarean was like, and even though both experiences are not enjoyable, I can still say I went through them at some point of my life. And the outcome from these experiences bought the most beautiful, precious, handsome little boy in the world, which I am so proud of. He makes my heart feel so full, I have never felt a connection of love this powerful until I met Felix. Therefore everything I went through, not just the labour and surgery, but the entire pregnancy leading up to, was 100% worth it. And even though I said a million times to Nick that I did not want a second child after how much my pregnancy got me down at times (see the blog post previous to this one), I now believe I could definitely do it all over again… (just give me a couple of years in between first! 😛 )
So that is my honest birth story! I hope you enjoyed, sorry it was so long, I don’t think it’s possible for me to write a short blog post sometimes. I am just far too passionate about writing, and I didn’t want to leave anything I could remember out! especially if bits and pieces fade over time, you never know. If you have any questions, leave them down below. But for now, I have a gorgeous baby boy who is currently 4 weeks old to tend too who is soon due for a feed.
I hope you all have a beautiful day,