In 2018 there was only one baby in the family.
We were away on our annual family holiday, and as my sister-in-law was currently pregnant, we made a few jokes about how funny it would be if our Mum went from one grandchild in 2018 to 4 grandchildren in 2019.
Well, the very NEXT DAY both my sister and I found out we were pregnant! It turns out that our joke was no joke. Me, my sister and my sister-in-law were all pregnant at the same time. In fact, my sister and I were only four days apart!
At the beginning, my pregnancy was pretty straight forward. I was basically never sick or nauseous. I slept fine, and I didn't lose much energy. In fact, I loved being pregnant! I've been obsessed with pregnancy, birth and babies for most of my life. I got a job as a NICU nurse when I fell pregnant. I oddly believed that my pregnancy wouldn't be anything out of the ordinary and that I would give birth naturally when the time was right, and nothing would go wrong.
It was time to meet the midwives just after the glucose tolerance test at 26 weeks. I took my sister with me, because why not. The midwife began to tell me that I had marginal cord insertion, my placenta was too close to my cervix and that I had GDM (gestational diabetes).
I actually laughed in disbelief and said: "no, I don't". Then shortly after burst into tears from being so overwhelmed.
I knew very well that things could be much worse, but it still didn't stop me from naturally freaking out. A few extra scans later for precautionary reasons, everything was fine. My placenta had naturally moved, the marginal cord was not causing any problems, and my baby was growing fine considering the GDM. I ended up on insulin to control my sugars as my diet wasn't cutting it no matter what I did.
MUST I ADD: GDM SUCKS! Telling a pregnant person not to eat much bread, pasta, rice and potato? Not cool.
When I got to 37 weeks pregnant, I started having pre/early labour contractions almost every night. I never knew it was a thing but my god they felt exactly like contractions!
One night the pains woke me at 1:00 am and got stronger, more painful and closer together. I was convinced I was going into labour. I had called the birth suite, and they even said they were certain it was the start of labour and to come in when they are really close and that they would see me soon.
At 6:00 am they just stopped and disappeared as if nothing had ever happened.
This went on for days. It was exhausting.
I got to 38 weeks pregnant, and my sugars started playing up again. So the midwives thought the best thing to do would be to induce me at 38 + 4.
The night before I went into the hospital for the induction, we obviously barely slept. It was such a bizarre feeling knowing that the next day things were going to get started.
The next morning was the big day. Our bags were packed, and everything was ready - and had been for weeks since I'm slightly OCD! We got to the hospital hoping that my cervix had opened naturally by itself - but they told me it hadn't.
So, around 2 pm, they inserted the balloon to open my cervix. I was told that nothing would happen and that I needed the balloon in for at least 12 hours overnight. I was moved to the postnatal ward to sleep for the night, and my partner Dave was meant to go home.
At about 6:00 pm, the pain started - similar to the pre-labour pains I had before. Then they got stronger and closer together. I freaked out and asked the midwife if it was meant to be happening. She assessed me and told me that the balloon had started contractions. They removed some of the water from the balloon, hoping it would stop everything as my cervix wasn't ready. But it didn't. I was then told I needed to get moved back to birth suite ASAP.
HOLY CRAP IM GOING TO HAVE A BABY.
The moment I got moved back to birth suite, my contractions stopped. You're kidding? Although it was nice having such a huge room to myself for the night.
The midwife had told me that Dave should still go home for the night as he would be useless the next day if he got no sleep in the hospital. I hesitantly said, "okay, go home."
So he left around 10:00 pm. I was then given a sleeping tablet and was told to go to sleep, and they would wake me up at 5:30 am. YEAH RIGHT!
Sunday came around, and there was no need to wake me up at 5.30 am - I was already awake and had only had two hours sleep! Who can sleep knowing you're about to push out a watermelon?
At 6 am the balloon was removed which was followed by my mucous plug (not a pretty sight). I had a shower and attempted to eat breakfast. By 6.30 am, Dave arrived just in time for my waters to be broken. I honestly didn't feel anything when the midwife was doing it and all of a sudden she said: "all done".
I always hoped a huge gush like Niagara Falls would come out, but it didn't. Just little trickles. Every time I moved, I felt more trickles and naturally kept saying "oops, I've leaked".
At 7 am, the oxytocin drip was started to bring on contractions. Not long after, Dave's sister arrived and was staying for the birth to photograph it all. The drip did not take long to start working. Almost instantly, the contractions started. They got stronger and closer together.
I always wanted to try giving birth with no pain relief. LOL. By 9 am, my contractions were so close together; I never got a break. It felt like they almost never went away. I remember the midwife saying I was "too sensitive to the drip." They kept titrating the drip up, then down, then up then down - trying to control my contractions, but it didn't work. It was not fun.
Half an hour passed, and I was ready for DRUGS. Give me drugs! I was given Panadiene forte, which did nothing. Then I was given the gas, which also did nothing. Then I was given morphine which felt like it did nothing! I remember swearing a lot and then apologising to the midwife every time. She didn't seem phased and told me she's had much worse.
By 10:30 am, my contractions were so close together that I said: "surely I've dilated a lot - please check how dilated I am!"
5-6 CM! YOU HAVE GOT TO BE JOKING.
F**k this give me the epidural.
By 11.00 am, the anaesthetist came in to have a chat about the risks and asked for my permission - but I swear all I could hear was mumbling! There's no way I could focus on anything during those contractions. When he told me to stay completely still during a contraction while the big needle was sticking out of my back, I thought I was going to die. Two minutes ago I was thrashing around the bed like the exorcist; now I have to sit completely still? He got it in the first go, and it was such a relief when it started working.
I even fell asleep, and my contractions calmed right down and were actually spaced evenly apart for the first time. At 11.30 am, the midwife decided to check how dilated I was.
"Guess what.... you're fully dilated. We will give your baby an hour to come down naturally and then you can start pushing."
An hour later and she said, "it's time to PUSH!" I couldn't believe it; we were about to meet our baby boy.
I remember being so confused about how to push as I couldn't feel anything down there. But I was told to push into my bum. Then came the dreaded mirror. Dave was holding the mirror so I could see EVERYTHING.
I always thought I'd never want the mirror, but it was honestly the best thing they suggested! I was able to see what a successful push looked like. Then I knew what I needed to do to get things rolling.
"The baby is getting distressed" the doctor was called in to watch a contraction. Then the doctor said to me, "okay Rochelle, you've been pushing for almost two hours, and baby is getting distressed, I'm giving you three more pushes, and if you can't get him out then I'm getting the vacuum or forceps."
HELL NO! Three pushes later, and I could see his head! The next push his head would be out, so we waited for the next contraction... It never came. My contractions stopped! I was told I needed to push his head out without a contraction. So I did! I was then told I needed to push his body out as well as his heart rate was really high. So without a contraction, I did!
At 2.25 pm our baby OAKLAN ELI EDDY was born. Dave pulled out our baby boy and put him on my chest.
But he didn't cry, he wasn't moving, and he wasn't making any noise. He was blue and floppy. Our hearts sank, I looked at Dave, and he had this look on his face that I can't describe. A few minutes later, still nothing. I remember hearing the midwife say "go to the cot" The other midwife hit the emergency buzzer and turned on the resus cot. Over the speaker, we could hear "NEONATAL CODE BLUE ROOM THREE."
I knew this happened all the time, but I never ever thought this would happen to me and my baby. How could this be real? This isn't how it's meant to be!
Everyone came running in and went straight to Oaklan while zooming past me with my legs still up and open. Still zoned out from the morphine, all I could see was a mask on my tiny baby and about seven people surrounding him. Everyone was poking him and prodding him and attaching things to my poor little boy. Still no cry, it felt like a lifetime! Dave buried his head into my chest, and we cried together. The doctor then asked Dave to come to hold Oaklan's hand while they were doing their thing. Dave explained to me afterwards that he thought they were asking him to say goodbye to his baby.
THEN WE HEARD THE MOST AMAZING SOUND!
He let out this tiny little squeal; it was such a relief! I could see Oaklan flapping his arms and legs, and it was so cute. What was probably only a few minutes felt like hours!
The doctors still weren't happy with his breathing and heart rate, so they took him away to Special Care, but first, they let me touch his hand before he went.
I remember laying in the bed with my legs STILL up, and everyone had left the room except for one midwife. Dave, Oaklan, Dave's sister and all the doctors. Gone. I laid there and cried.
Dave's sister came back with a photo of Dave watching Oaklan through the incubator, and I cried even more but happy tears!
About an hour later, Oaklan was brought back to me, and he was perfect! I was expecting a big boof baby, but he was this tiny perfect little boy.