It was around 3:50am and I woke up to a massive chunk in my pelvis, the pain was insane, I had no idea what was going on, about 2 minutes later I felt my undies and they were wet, I jumped out of bed and started pacing to the toilet, this was my waters breaking! They were running all down my legs. I got to the toilet and I could see mucus and blood mixed in my undies. At this stage my heart was racing, I knew this was it. I went and woke mum up to let her know, she went back to bed to try and get some sleep. I then rang Sy, my partner, he answered after about 10 rings and said ‘Is it happening?’, I told him that my waters had broken and to leave Brisbane but not to rush as he had hours.
I then called my midwife and went through everything about strep B and needing the antibiotic at least 4 hours before. I really wanted to labour a little at home and said I would head over about 7 am, that way Sy would be down, and we could go over together.
I went and hopped in the shower to wash my hair and freshen up. I knew I wanted to wash and straighten my hair before I went over to the hospital. At 4:00 am my contractions started, and were in full swing, I didn’t bother timing or taking note of what was going on because I was so focused on getting my hair done. It took me a good 30 minutes to shower as the contractions were so regular but I didn’t think too much of it. I started to blow dry my hair, having to hop up every few minutes to wait out a contraction. I thought to myself, ‘give me a break, I need to get this done’. I had finally finished blow drying my hair, and I started to straighten it, this took forever! I still didn’t think anything of my contractions being so close, I was still so focused on my hair. I remember looking at my phone, time was flying, it took me 2 hours to straighten my hair, something that normally takes 30-40 minutes. At this stage it was about 6:20 am, my contractions were really intense now. Mum came into my room to see how I was going, she watched me, and said to me that we better meet Sy over there because she thought it was time to go to the hospital, she rang Sy to tell him we were heading over.
The car ride over was crazy, my contractions were so close I couldn’t catch a break. I remember going up this hill to Lismore and mum overtaking a garbage truck, beeping continuously and pointing in the back. We arrived about 7:00 am, the walk from the car park to the entrance was slow. I stopped for about 10 contractions on the way. I got to the corridor and realised I needed a wheelchair, I could no longer walk with these contractions so close.
We arrived up in the birth suite and I sat on the bed, I had two contractions whilst sitting up there and I thought to myself, lucky I’m sitting down because this baby wants out, I had the urge to push. I sat there wondering whether Sy or Alex, my birth photographer were going to make it. I knew Hannah, my sister, flying up from Melbourne wouldn’t make it in time, her flight was at 10:00 am.
My midwife Max arrived, she ran over my birth plan and turned the bath on for me. I had a contraction standing right in front of the bath about to hop in and I had to cross my legs, I had an urge to start to push, this is when Sy arrived, and Max said to me, ‘you don’t have to hold back from pushing’.
I got in the bath and kept having very regular contractions. Mum and Sy were offering water and juice poppers for me to sip on in between every contraction.
Alex arrived, I was so glad to see her walk through the door, I was worried this baby would be well out by the time she had to travel an hour to my birth.
I started feeling very flustered like I was overheating in the bath. Max went and got some ice and face washers for my forehead and neck. She also turned the shower on cool and was running cold water down my back. Mum kept trying the put the wet face washer on my forehead and I was pushing it away, it was only after the birth I had told Sy that I didn’t want my hair ruined for the photos, the water sends my hair curly. He had a laugh and told me that they both thought that it was because it was annoying me.
Contractions kept rolling and I had to keep changing positions as my leg was cramping up. My contractions changed into short pushes. This was a relief, I remember thinking how wonderful it was pushing, the contractions were so much shorter and nowhere near as intense. I started pushing, and once each contraction had stopped, my babies head went back in. I kept feeling his head with my hand, wondering whether what I was feeling was crinkly skin or hair.
In between pushes, I was feeling my perineum to make sure I hadn’t torn.
With the first push of my last three pushes, the head was crowning, the feeling was a burn and I wanted it to stop. I was trying not to push too hard as I didn’t want to tear but I also didn’t want to keep feeling this burn, I wanted to push his head out.
I asked Sy to put his hand down in the water to feel the head, he wasn't sure, but he did it anyway. I thought it was magical and wanted him to feel it.
It took three big pushes, once he had crowned for his head to come out. Once his head was out, his body just flew out with a little extra push and he was born at 8:57 am.
When I first laid eyes on him, I was so emotional, this little guy who would kick me every night, put me in pain, hug my bladder, he was finally here, this was him and this is what he looked like. He started to cry, it was beautiful, and such a relief.
Once I had my first few minutes with him I was rushed out of the bath, I didn’t realise at the time but I had lost a lot of blood in the water.
I walked over to the bed holding bub. I was told that I had lost a bit of blood in the water and Max needed to just find out what the cause was. I had bub up on my chest and I was getting poked and prodded down there, the pain was rather intense.
I had the Syntocinon injection to birth my placenta, when this came out, my sac was pooled up with blood, and later the measured it was 900ml of blood. Max then called in a medical team to help out, to try and work out where this blood was coming from and to stop it. This was worse than actually giving birth, I had the doctors pushing my stomach down trying to clamp my uterus and stop the blood flow, my legs were in stirrups, I was very uncomfortable. Another few sets of medical hands came in and I was getting needles everywhere. I was hooked up to IV drips in both arms. The pain had become too intense for me, I felt very faint and handed bub over to Sy for skin to skin. He sat down and nursed him whilst the doctors were with me. Bub was so content, he was just staring up at his daddy, not one peep of noise from him. I ended up needing gas because the doctors were pushing in my stomach so hard. I had full faith in the medical team, they knew what they were doing, I just had to get through this pain. The bleeding finally started to ease off and the final measurement was a loss of 1550ml!
Once this was all over, I was able to rest, I got bub back for skin to skin and was able to lay down and let him feed. Feeding wasn’t something that came naturally, it was hard to latch him as it was new to both of us. I laid there and admired this little guy that my whole body grew from a speck to a nine-pound two-ounce baby and processing everything that had just happened. My postpartum haemorrhage was definitely not in my birth plan, but that doesn't matter to me, what happened, happened, and what matters most to me is the actual birth and both being safe and healthy. I had a birth plan and not once was I worried I couldn’t achieve it, I knew I could birth this baby my body just spent months growing. What I didn’t know is that I would do it in 5 hours with absolutely no pain relief, the proudest moment of my life. The body achieves what the mind believes!
Congratulations to Angie an Sy on the birth of baby Thomas. It was an absolute honor to capture this momentous day for you and your family. Thank you for sharing so openly your birth story with us. Alex x