Written by Rhiannon Abrahams
Probably like everyone who's overdue I felt like I was never going to give birth. I was going to be the first woman in history to be pregnant forever. It was 4 pm on Wednesday the 28th, and I was expressing colostrum for nipple stimulation to try to bring it on. Usually, when I did this, I would just get Braxton Hicks, but this time I had a more intense feeling in my stomach and back. Four minutes passed, and it happened again.
I called Jody and let him know what was happening and not to panic. But of course he did, and he came rushing home from work haha.
My sister was with me; we thought we would start timing them. An hour went by; they were getting more intense and still regular, lasting about a minute. I didn't want to call my midwife yet in case it was false labour. I left it a bit longer, and they got more and more intense, so I called my midwife, and she talked me through them, I wanted to labour for as long as I could at home before I went to the hospital - it just felt more comfortable, and I didn't want to be sent home.
I got into the bath and noticed some relief. I reckon I called my midwife back and forth 730 times and was struggling to talk through them, so off to the hospital we went. At this point, I couldn't even walk. Oh my god, it was horrible. They were only a few minutes apart and so intense I wanted to cry. I got upstairs to the ward and was taken to the birthing suite after being assessed. Bubs has turned and is anterior! Great news!
I got on that bed, and my midwife came in, I looked at her and said is this going to get much worse?! She gave me a "I'm not going to lie to you” look - I wanted to give up there, and then, I had the I don't want to do this anymore moment, I said I think I want the epidural, she looked at me and said let's check how far you are. I was 7cm already another 3 to go. She knew I was thinking about a water birth, so she ran the water and offered that first and gas instead of the epidural. I didn't want the gas. I couldn't think of anything worse while trying to breathe through contractions and having something in my mouth. I got into the bath and felt instant relief! My gosh, the bath was the best thing ever to happen that night. I had Jody holding my hand through every contraction, Gold FM on playing some awesome tunes, dimmed lighting, my sister replacing ice in face washers on my neck and chest, and listened to every word my midwife said. The break I got after each contraction made it bearable, it was a rest on the body until that epic contraction came back, and all I would think was “no not these again.”
My midwife continued with "listen to your body." I thought what the hell does that mean!? My body's saying fuck this shit! But it was honestly the best advice because all of a sudden I felt like I needed to push. I held every breath in with every contraction and pushed as hard as I could! I honestly felt like this baby was never coming out. I was pushing and pushing and pushing!
She checked me and said his head is only 1cm away, so on this push, push with everything you've got and push into your bum, one big breath and I tried so hard! They kept saying we can see the head, push! They were constantly checking my pulse and bubs heart, bubs heart had dropped to 70 but kept picking up, so they let me try one big push again. Four big breaths and pushing through this contraction and he still wasn't coming; his heartbeat was staying down so they got me out of the bath quickly and I was rushed to the bed to try different positions to get his heart back up to 140.
I tried all fours, both sides, back and nothing - he was still staying down. They got me on my back and said with this contraction you need to push the hardest you've ever pushed, I pushed! (Let me just say ouch!!! The ring of fire!!! Omg! The burn! The water stopped all of this, so I didn't feel that before, as soon as I was on the bed, I thought what the hell! I definitely would have had the epidural if I stayed here! Screw that!) I swear I tried my best! I looked at everyone and said I'm sorry he's not coming, I can't push any harder, the head was so visible at this point.
I kept thinking about bubs and how hard this must be for them. I felt so bad and just kept apologising. At this point I had doctors rush in and do an episiotomy - I didn't care anymore, his heartbeat was still down, I just wanted them to get him out safely! They made a small cut which, honestly, I don't remember feeling, and the next contraction I pushed and the head was out! Wow, the relief! The instant relief! Then it was a couple of quick breaths and tiny pushes to get the body out. Jody caught the body with my midwife and placed bubs on my chest, Jody yells it's a boy! Haha! The cord was around his neck but quickly flicked off, and he was checked, he was crying and safe in our arms, best feeling ever!
I said yes to the active placenta, where they inject you in the leg and basically pull it out so I could enjoy time with our little boy. I also kept my placenta and made it into capsules (another story); we delayed cord clamping and did skin to skin for an hour. Overall, I believe I had a really good labour and was very lucky to experience what I did. Having an amazing midwife definitely made the whole experience so much better! I had roughly a six-hour active labour and only one hour of pushing. I’m not sure if the primrose oil and raspberry leaf tea helped it be so quick and smooth, but it didn't hurt taking them.
It's funny at the time. I remember thinking I'm never ever doing this again, that was the hardest, most painful thing I've ever endured, now I can't remember the pain. I remember what happened but not the feeling, I can't believe it, we are seriously programmed to forget, and it's only been two years!
Two years on and we have a beautiful boy with an epic personality. We’re also pregnant with our second, a little girl! I hope to have a good experience like this again but whatever happens, happens.