Monday 17th January 2020Monday, the first day of the week, a day for new beginnings and getting shit done. I had a few things I wanted to accomplish. However, I didn't anticipate that going into labour would be one of the things I could tick off my to do list at the end of the day! Which is somewhat funny because anyone who's been pregnant knows all you do is think 'maybe today!'.
It was hot. Like 40 degrees hot. I hadn't moved from under my ceiling fan for most of the weekend and somehow, I now found myself waddling into the bank to change my name so that I could finalise and submit my mat leave forms. I had my birth certificate, my license, Medicare card and letters addressed to my married name but somehow forgot my marriage certificate. #babybrain. I wasn't driving 15 minutes home and then back again in the heat so I did the only thing that seemed reasonable at the time. I sat in my car and cried (I'm not an emotional person, well before Willa I wasn't anyway.) This should have been a clear sign that labour was near...
My mum was going to Melbourne early the next morning for an appointment so I called around to her house to see her. It was 2pm, I went to the toilet and passed my plug. I was sooo excited! I was so eager to go into labour but also knew from my over researching that it could still sometimes be a few days after this. I wanted to go home and rest in case it happened soon. I told Mum I was going to which her and my brother Ari replied 'No stay! We go tomorrow!' I didn't want Mum to clue on that something was up as her appointment was one she couldn't miss. So, I stayed. At 3pm I tried to leave again, it's worth noting that I refer to my parents house as the Bermuda Triangle as every time I go there I loose a few hours haha (does this happen to anyone else when they visit their parents!?). Ari bribed me by offering to go and get me some McDonald's. "Fine, I'll stay until I eat my maccas and then go" I thought. Then Bodhi rang "I'll be finished in an hour, I'll meet you at your parents and we will hang out until my appointment at 4.30". Ahhh fine! I tried to relax on the couch. I was laying flat with my legs up on the armrest when I felt/heard a Pop! I had only just been reading about girls who had experienced this. I knew what it was. My waters were breaking. I stood up to run to the toilet. I could feel it slightly running down my legs. Luckily, I had bike shorts on so it wasn't super obvious. I sat down on the toilet and they broke again. What the hell am I going to do!? My mum is out there calling for me to watch funny Instagram videos with her, my brother is on his way with a happy meal just for me and my husband is on his way here with absolutely no idea. I lined my jocks with toilet paper, sat uncomfortably on the couch until Ari returned with my food. I ate it in record timeand was walking out the door just as Bodhi walked in. "I'm going. See you at home!" "What? I just got here? Why would you leave?" "I'm tired I'm going home" "Stay till I go, it's only 20 minutes" Again, I didn't want mum to clue on so I stayed. I don't know how she didn't pick up on it to be honest. I was in and out of the toilet, her and Ari thought they were each as hilarious as the other joking that I had the runs. I couldn't deal. "I'm going" FINALLY, this time they all let me go! Bod walked me out and once we were in the clear I finally told him 'my waters have broken' he had missed every single one of my not so subtle hints while we had been inside. Bod is a stress head. I am rancho relaxo. He was ready to cancel his appointment and head straight to hospital while I was dreaming of a nice relaxing shower, packing the rest of my bag and waiting it out at home for a little while. I sent bod off to his appointment and headed home.Our hospital is 40 minutes away. I called them to let them know where I was at... "Hello, my name is Olivia, I'm 37+6 weeks with my first pregnancy and my waters have completely broken" "Congratulations! You'll behaving a baby tonight!" Me *thinking* That's a bit ambitious The nurse instructed me to go to our local hospital to be checked as she said if contractions don't start within 48hrs you need antibiotics. Oh yep, that will be me I thought. I had heard so much about first labours being long, I didn't want to rush into hospital. So I ignored their advice... that was at least until captain stress head got home..."WHHHHYYY AREN'T YOU READY!? GO HAVE A SHOWER!"I figured this was probably a stressful situationfor Bod so I didn't argue but I definitely tookmy time. Just before I jumped in the shower Ifelt a slight little niggly feeling, less than thelightest cramp vou've ever felt, but it wassomething. We went to Yarra hospital at about6.30pm where they did some monitoring andconfirmed all was good. It was so nice to havenurses and midwives we knew checking in onus. I'm not sure how long we had been therefor but the little niggle pains I had beenfeeling started to feel like they were going to arhythm. They weren't painful but they startedto get to a point where I would stop talkingand close my eyes to concentrate until itpassed. I suggested to bod we time one to see.Just as we were about to our midwife cameback into the room. She suggested we didn'tstart timing yet as first labours are generallypretty long and it may leave us feelingdiscouraged. This made sense so we didn'tbother. We just sat and waited excitedly.Shortly after the midwife came back again andtold us that we were all good to go on to themain hospital. As I stood up off the bed toleave I became super dizzy and nauseous. I'm afainter, this happens a lot. I sat back down andtried again after a few minutes, This time Imade it out into the hallway before Icollapsed. Now, when this happens I get reallyhot and I like to be as close to the ground aspossible. So here I was laying in the middle ofthe hospital hallway in my bra and undiesvomiting. How embarrassing! The nurses helped me back to bed and gave me an injection to help with the nausea. They rang to see if they could get an ambulance, just so I could be more comfortable on the way over, but they were too busy. They advised us to wait until the medicine kicked in and then we would be right to drive to Wang hospital. Just as we were about to leave our midwife decided to check me. I was 6cm. They called an ambulance and sent a midwife along too 'just in case'. Even at this point I was still a little in denial and just kept thinking 'no, no, things will slow down, first labours don't happen this quickly. My contractions on the way to Wang still weren't too intense, I could still breathe through them but they were definitely more consistent now.We got to the hospital at about 8.30pm. My midwife in Wang was great! She turned off all of the lights, hung some little fairy lights, put music on and set me up with a mattress on the floor so that I could be close to the ground if I felt faint again. My contractions had stopped with the change of environment but came backtwice as strong in no time at all! I jumped in the shower and stayed there for what must have been a few hours. The contractions had definitely ramped up from what they were!! Theystill weren't what I had expected though. I feel like lots of people describe them as painful but I didn't feel like it was physically painful, more mentally challenging and all consuming as you try to focus and breathe through. In saying that, I get anxiety about pain. I was fine in the moment but the idea that my labour would be long was still stuck in my head and I just kept thinking it was going to get much worse. I remember saying to bod "I'mokay and I can deal at this level but if it's going to be like this for another ten hours I just want to know when my cut off is for an epidural. I wasn't keen on having an epidural but I had bad anxiety that I would end up past the cut off. I didn't want to be in a lot of pain and not have the option to have an epi. Looking back, I feel like I was transitioning at this point.
Bod passed on my message and she was on her way in to chat with me when I suddenly felt different. She entered the bathroom and sat down to talk to me. Mortified I told her "I need to poo. I know people mistake pushing as needingto poo. But it's too early to push. I'm going to be that person that actually has to poo.” It's so funny to think back on this moment because I realise how in denial I was about how fast my labour had been progressing. My midwife reassured me that I could very likely be ready to push. She offered to check me as she said this would also allow her to give me an indicator as to whether I would want an epidural. I was fully dilated. We laughed. I couldn't believe it. I got out of the shower and had a walk around. I was sure it hadbeen too easy and the pushing would bethe worst part..I laid down on my mattress on the floor and resumed my focus. Bod counted and encouraged me through each contraction. I started to loose my concentration a little here and realised how quickly this could turn into a situation where I felt I was not in control. When I focused andbreathed through I was in charge but the few times where I lost my concentration the contractions consumed my body and I felt completely helpless. I loved the power my mind held over my body. The feeling of being focused and in control. But I was slipping… looking back I put this down to shock. As mentioned earlier, I was so sure that my labour would be much longer. Whilst excited that I was almost there I think the shock of it was quite overwhelming.
The midwife suggested the gas which was a solid no as I knew it could make you spewy and I wasn't keen on reliving those earlier labour moments. She explained that a lot of the time just breathing into the tube is super helpful for keeping your focus. So I gave it a go and she was so right! It was just what I needed! We moved to the end of the hospital bed. I was squatting at the side with my elbows on the bed and bod was opposite on the other side holding my hands.
At risk of sounding like a complete freak, the pushing stage was the best part! I was so excited that we were so close to meeting our baby. I felt so driven to reach the end! I am also a pretty competitive person. The pushing stage felt like a competition with myself. I remember envisioning our baby moving further and further down the birth canal each time I pushed I was using this as a drive. After 30 minutes of pushing my midwife asked me if I would like to feel my babies head. "No thanks" haha. Bod convinced me in the few seconds that this was a once in a life time opportunity, so I changed my mind. Slimy, strangely soft, gross. Hahaha it was not love at first touch!"Only a few more pushes!" the midwife called. Being the OCD control freak that I am I glanced up at the clock. It was a few minutes to midnight. I wasn't keen on the 17th, I much preferred the 18th, so I did a very unenthusiastic push and waited instead for the next contraction! Pop! I felt the relief of babies head coming out. "Wait for one more contraction" and that was it…At 12.06am on the 18th of February, 2020we welcomed our beautiful baby girl Willa Blair! We were very lucky and I am very grateful to have had such a straightforward and easy going birth.