I’m writing this in amongst moving house chaos. It’s been on my mind to write this story down but the last few months have just been nuts (if you have been playing along on Instagram, you’ll know we’ve been dealing with buying a house, selling a house, a sick toddler (also adjusting to a new baby brother) and a sick, stressed out mumma and daddy! Also I feel like it takes you a little while to process an experience like giving birth. Even if you have a complication-free, totally textbook birth – it’s huge. Mentally, emotionally and physically. So here we go..
In some ways this birth was easier and in some ways it felt harder than Plum’s birth. The first time I was induced, blissfully unaware of what was to come, but very prepared mentally with pain management techniques. I really went into a mental space that blocked a lot of the pain (and everything else) out. For Dash’s birth, I knew what was coming so didn’t put a lot of time into getting mentally prepared. I think I just tried not to think about it for most of the pregnancy. So I think for that reason, I didn’t get into the same zone mentally and was a lot more present during the labour. I think this is why it felt harder because I was fully aware of everything. At the same time, it was much quicker and intervention free and I got my much-desired spontaneous birth.
But let’s go back to the start. On the Wednesday before my due date I finally asked my midwife for the stretch and sweep. It’s kinda uncomfortable but so is everything about pregnancy and labour. But this time it did the trick! I’d been having what I thought were very mild contractions on and off for a couple of weeks. But after the sweep they were definitely very very strong Braxton hicks-like contractions that felt quite rhythmical. They lasted maybe a little over an hour or two when I eventually just fell asleep.
Around 4am on Thursday 11th May I thought I felt a few contractions maybe 20 mins apart. Then just before 5am I felt a kick, then a pop! I got out of bed, jumped over to the tiled floor of the ensuite just in time for my waters to splash out. It was just like the movies.. “Honey, it’s time”. Thank the sweet lord baby cheesus. This pregnancy had been much more painful than the first, I was so ready to get this done and meet our little boy.
I called my midwife to let her know and said I’d just wait to see what happened. I was getting really mild contractions that barely hurt but they were about every 5 mins so we decided to just go to the hospital as I had a fear of birthing on the side of clothiers creek road in the middle of farm country. Having been induced the first time, I had no idea how quickly or slowly this labour would go with no intervention. I called back my midwife and student midwife to let them know we were coming in. I called mum who came over to look after Milla Plum and we left. There was a huge full moon still up in the sky as we drove to the hospital and the date was a prime number – both of which I took to be good omens (yes I’m now pretty much a hippie since moving to the north coast).
We got to the hospital around 6am and contractions were about every 4 mins and getting a bit more painful. We were waiting in emergency (which was completely empty – wtf?) for my midwife as she wasn’t there yet to let us up to the birthing suite and a whole lot more ‘waters’ decided to gush out. I squelched up to the birthing suite and continued to labour manageable contractions till about 730am when they were getting stronger. My midwife checked and said I was about 5cm dilated. What? Surely it should be more than that. I thought we might be in for longer than expected. I decided to get in the bath at this point for some pain relief.
The water felt great. I tried to distract myself from the pain with the noise of the running tap, by swaying in the water and with my trusty stress balls to bash against the tub. I’m not sure how long it was but one contraction made me cry out, I think I must have been getting close to transition. (Side note: just checked the photos on my phone and this must have been around 830am). Thankfully Miles reminded me about the gas. I had forgotten to ask for it the first time so I really wanted to give it a go. I think they had the dosage set pretty low as I definitely didn’t feel high on it, but it really took the edge of the peak of the contraction. I would definitely recommend it to anyone.
I didn’t have a whole lot of time with the gas before I felt like pushing. I tried to push while I was in the bath but I was lying down and didn’t feel like I could push effectively. My midwife checked me again and said she could still feel some cervix which could be stopping the baby from coming down. I got out of the bath and tried labouring/pushing on all fours on the bed but I didn’t feel comfortable in that position. I was checked again and the last bit of cervix had moved out of the way now so I was fully dilated. The notes from the hospital said this was 915am.
I went to the toilet to pee and walked back to the bed where I got another contraction while standing and just ended up staying there. I felt the most comfortable pushing while standing, holding onto the bed and pushing back onto Miles. I could fully feel Dash coming down, which I don’t remember with Plum. I guess because I was standing. I could feel his head stretching me and it is by far and away the worst bit of labour. I have forgotten the pain of the contractions but I will never forget the head coming out!
I managed to push his head half way out before the contraction ended so waited in pain for the next one to push again. And then with the next push his head was out! Now usually you wait until the next contraction to push the body out but I suddenly felt my body heave and the body came flying out into my student midwife’s hands! And he screamed immediately (he has an excellent set of lungs, this kid). It was 935am. Only 4.5 hours after my waters broke. It felt a lot longer – what a crazy time warp labour is.
I hopped back on the bed and they put Dash onto my chest. We hung out for a while and let the cord stop pulsing. Miles cut the cord (or the calamari as he calls it). I had the injection to help deliver the placenta and it came out with no issues (unlike last time). We had cuddles and our first feed. He latched on all by himself with no problem, something I had been worried about after my first breastfeeding experience. Yay!
I ended up with a second degree tear again. Probably due to the labour being so quick.. Or you know, the gigantic head which just exited my body. Anyway one of the other midwives stitched me up while Miles took Dash. She was instructing my student midwife so was doing it slowly and explaining everything. I tried my best not to listen and just focus on Dash because if you know me, you’ll know anything medically related makes me feel queasy. It’s a good thing I was lying down. Anyway she was really gentle (and gave me the gas again for the anaesthetic injections. Praise be!) and my doctor and physio have since said what a good job she did. How amazing are midwives?
I then had a shower and got cleaned up, had a glorious cup of tea and toast while the three of us just hung out cuddled up on the bed. Miles even fell asleep for about 20 mins. It was all very relaxed and I still had some lovely painkillers working after being stitched up. By 2pm I was really ready to be at home in my own bed so we were out of there! Obvs we got Maccas on the way home as a reward for all my hard work.
So I guess that’s about it. It really was a super quick, whirlwind birth. Crazy to think I got up at 5am, went to hospital, had a baby and was home by 3pm, eating a nibbly platter in bed while watching Harry Potter with this new person! I found the pushing part harder this time as it took me a while to find a position I liked. And because he was a much bigger baby than Plum. 3.6kg vs 2.5kg (36cm vs 31cm head!). As soon as he was out I said I’m never doing this again! At one time I thought I could do 3 kids but I definitely know we are 2 kids and done! Dash has definitely completed our little team. 4 is a great number for a car, a holiday and most importantly board games.
Dash is really different to Milla. He is quite placid although if he’s not happy you know all about it. The scream on this kid is nuts! The first month or so changing his nappy or giving him a bath required ear muffs! But he loves getting nude now haha, typical boy. He doesn’t fight going to sleep like Plum does. If you get him comfortable he’s quite happy to doze off, esp in your arms. He’s also been a great feeder right from the start which has made life easy (well, easier!)
So many people said to me “oh you’re brave” when we said we were expecting baby number 2 so close (20 months) to Milla. Well brave or crazy, it is what it is. To be honest, I think any time you add another baby to your family will have its challenges. Whether it’s 14 months or 4 years. So if you’re expecting number two, and you’re stressing because everyone keeps commenting like you are crazy and should be afraid of what’s to come – don’t! It will be hard but it will also be worth it, and it does get easier. Even after 3 months!
Anyway I’m sure this post is long enough. Are you still here?