It all began on Monday morning, the 6th of May. We woke up, and I decided to go into work with Greg, my husband. I had been home for a week with no sign of baby, so I had resided myself to the fact that the baby wasn't going to come till I was over 42 weeks and needed to be induced.
Once we got into work Ava (my 2.5-year-old) and I walked to the local cafe to get a coffee then headed to the park to try and waste some time. We spent the day plodding, or more like waddling, around the office and ended up leaving around 3 pm.
I dropped Greg and Ava home and went grocery shopping. I had resided myself to the fact that the baby wasn't coming for a week, so I actually meal planned and needed to buy groceries. I remember also stopping into Kmart to finish off a baby shower gift for a friend and browse through the aisles a little. Once I got home I noticed that I was bleeding a little - something similar had happened with Ava, so I called the birthing unit who recommended I come in to be checked.
We loaded up my bags, called a friend that lived close by (because of course, my sister decided to work a double shift at her hospital that day) and headed into Liverpool hospital. We pulled up to the hospital at 5:42 pm - the street parking in front of the hospital is free from 6 pm (with 15 min free). We parked and stood outside the car for a few minutes waiting for the timer to tick over to 5:45 pm. All of that because we didn't want to pay for parking (that was how non-urgent the situation felt!). At this point, I had only had one contraction in the car.
We went up to the birthing unit. After about 20 minutes, a midwife came in to put me on one of those machines that monitor contractions and heart rate. At this point, I was starting to get contractions somewhat consistently but still nothing significant. They monitored me for about 20 minutes, took me off the machine and decided to do an internal examination. Two different midwives checked me, and they confirmed that I was 5cm already! Greg and I were both shocked... I barely had felt any pain, and I was already halfway there! With my first baby, I was in active labour for almost 22 hours!
I knew I wanted an epidural, but the contractions were manageable at this stage so, on the midwife's advice, I held off.
Greg and I began walking the hallways as contractions started coming every minute. I could feel them starting to build so I'd stop and lean against the railing until they passed. Greg and I have an understanding that when I'm in pain, I don't want to be touched or rubbed or spoken to. He would literally just stand there until the contraction passed. I can't remember what we talked about, but the contractions were still manageable. I tried counting through them.. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 but after a few contractions it wasn't helping me to cope. I just breathed through them, which seemed to work a lot better.
My Mum arrived around 7:30 pm with dinner - McDonald's! I ate in-between contractions. She suggested I get in the shower to see if that would help with the contraction pain. I jumped in the shower for 15-20 minutes, by this time it was around 8:30 pm.
The midwife came in to see if I wanted to get an epidural; apparently the anaesthetist was next door doing another ladies epidural. She said he would be able to administer the epidural in less than half an hour, so I put my order in. The two original midwives came in again and needed to examine me before the epidural. I had a contraction while I was laying on the bed and it was then that the midwife notified me that I was 10cm and needed to push. We were all in shock. His words were, "Do you want the good news or bad news?" I said, "Good news first." (obviously) He said, "You're 10cm. The bad news.." I finished his sentence for him. "It's too late for an epidural..."
I distinctly remember saying, "This can't be happening…" I looked at Greg and started crying as he said to me, "Steph.. you can do this... Regroup... You can do this…"
The head midwife quickly started ordering the student midwife around asking for blankets etc. She began ripping the plastic off the tubing for the gas (pain relief), but the head midwife told her it was pointless, I was literally pushing right now!
I asked him whether I could sit on my knees and hold the top of the bed; with Ava, I had had an epidural (which didn't work), but I had to give birth on my back. I quickly flipped over and hung off the top of the bed. I felt a contraction build and started to push.. I think I pushed twice and suddenly heard Greg say, "Her head is out!!" Followed by a frantic, "Stop pushing! Stop pushing!".
To be honest the pain was completely bearable. I think because I knew what had to be done and I knew I was so close. When I say bearable I mean, it was a weird dull ache painful rather than "oh my goodness I'm being stabbed" or dying pain.
Two or three more pushes later, and her body was out.
It was the quickest and easiest labour, especially compared to my first delivery!