My first birth was everything I had imagined birth to be like. I had already prepared myself mentally, emotionally and physically and just wanted everything to be as natural as possible. With the knowledge and guide of my midwives at Royal Randwick Hospital for Women and my fantastic GP, I felt confident and ready.
At midnight, on the eve of the 27th of December 2012, I went into early labour. The contractions started while laying in bed, watching TV with my husband. We called the midwife just to let her know. She told us just to keep timing until they were close and intense, which we did. My husband eventually fell asleep while I tried to rest since my contractions were too far apart – about 10 to 15 minutes. I got little rest, obviously.
At about 3 am, the pain was so intense and getting closer - about 7 minutes apart. I remember laying on my side, rocking back and forth and doing my breathing exercise all while reaching for my phone to time each contraction. At about 3:30 am they were about 5 minutes apart, so I woke my husband and told him to call the midwife and say that I wanted to come in. Meanwhile, he was saying, "it's not close enough". By now, I was just frustrated and wouldn't take no for an answer. I got into the hot shower while he made the call and the midwife wanted to talk to me, but my contractions were too intense. I couldn't speak. So she finally said to come in.
My husband helped me dress – a blue sarong tied around me because it was mid-summer and it was hot, a thick hooded jumper and ugg boots because apparently, I was freezing at the same time. When we got into the car, I remember telling my husband to speed through the red lights and watch out for the bumps on the road. Seven minutes and three contractions later, we finally arrived at the hospital– he asked if we should park in the car park downstairs, "Oh My God no, park at the front, hurry up!" I shouted. What was he thinking?
We ended up parking in the emergency spot because you don't mess with a pregnant woman in labour. I stopped to breathe during contractions getting out of the car and making way to the entrance door. It was still dark outside, and the hospital looked closed, but we were quickly buzzed in by reception. We were sent upstairs to the birthing suite via elevator, and I swear I felt like I going to give birth in there on the way up. As we arrived at our suite, the door swoops open as if heaven had opened its doors for me with an angel standing there to welcome me in. I literally stripped off walking in without a word because I just wanted to get into that bathtub. "The water might be a bit……." I ignored her call and plonked myself into the water, "…. too hot" she finished and laughed.
A huge sigh of relief. I was in my zone and breathed my way through the following contractions until 7 am when Chloe, my main midwife arrived and also my mother in law. They gave me gas to help with the pain, and I was definitely in heaven, floating on clouds. It honestly helped me get through the birth. I got out of the tub, and they checked to see that I was about 3cm dilated. The next couple of hours were just trying to get through the contractions, still fully naked by the way – sitting under the hot shower, squeezing my husband's hands and body to the point where he'd be in pain or about to fall over. We did another vaginal check at about 9 am, and I was about 6cm dilated. I started to ask for the epidural, and they said to see how you go.
They ended up breaking my water to speed up the process. I was high on gas at the time I turned to my husband and whispered: "I think I just peed myself". Laughter and the midwife was reassuring that it was just my water breaking. The pains got worse after that, and I was exhausted. I was still hoping in and out of the bathtub, but this time, there was a feeling the urge to push. I was told not to push yet because I hadn't dilated enough. I felt like I was dying. Biting into a rubbery object the midwife gave me, still squeezing the life out of my husband's hands, I desperately asked for the epidural. I desperately wanted it. By about 11:45 am they checked to see that I was 8cm. I got back into the tub but not before grabbing a hug from my husband.
By noon the pressure to push was so intense I couldn't help it.
With my husband supporting me from the back, holding me above the water, my two midwives at my sides guiding me through the breathing and pushing and my dearest mother in law standing by filming the whole process from a birds-eye view – which by the way I am so thankful for. I remember while pushing I saw little black things in the tub, and I asked with a cloudy head, "is that poo?". The midwife was quick to scoop it out and flush it away before she said "nope". When it was time to do big pushes, I asked how many pushes will I have to do? "20" Chloe replies. I was so in my zone and determined to get this over and done with; my head was so clear. I remember it being like a task.
The first big push and I could feel the head down there but was told to stop pushing, to breathe and let my vagina stretch. The second push, the head was halfway out, and she told me to do little pushes which I did. I remember at the time, my mother in law was saying "it's coming it's coming", and the midwife in a loud voice for me to hear "Tuaine, Tuaine small pushes like oomph, just let it stretch and let the baby come out on its own".
The head was out, and it burned like hell! Within seconds of the head being out, I had the urge to push AGAIN! "I need to push!!!!" I said in pain. "Do you have a contraction? Ok push, this is it Tuaine, this is your baby", Chloe calmly says - meanwhile I'm getting emotional overwriting that part. She came out, and I grabbed her with the help of Chloe. "What is it?" Chloe holds her up for us to see "It's a girl", my husband and I cried with tears in our eyes and hearts so full. She didn't make a sound but stared around. I had finally done it, and I let out an emotional cry while holding her in my arms.
My husband cut the umbilical cord, which I really wanted him to do. Then they took her out of the tub while they continued to get the placenta out. It was at that moment when I heard her cry for the first time that I felt something different and strong for this person who was crying – I think it was unconditional love.
Five hours later, we were ready and dressed to head home with our new baby girl who we named Aaliyah. As we walked out of those heavenly doors for the last time, I said: "That was fun, let's do it again". I think it was the adrenaline talking.