Well, I know the baby shower post should come before the 'I've had the baby' post, but since bub came just 4 days after my shower and while the birth experience is still VERY much fresh in my memory I will blog about it first :)
I thought about how to start this post over and over in my mind.. but couldn't really think of how to begin except with exclamations like 'Wow!' and 'I did it!' and 'I can't believe it!' :) I am SO in love with her and have done nothing but gaze fixedly (and feed & change) upon her for the last four days that I couldn't bare to leave her to write this. Aunty Ebony is giving her a cuddle right now so here I am. And where to begin...
My little, perfect, adorable, beautiful! 6lb 8oz, 49cm real live doll was born & handed to me on Wednesday 28th September at 10.03pm - at 37 weeks and 3 days, two and half weeks before her due date and I could not be happier! The experience was exceptional and I will not be able to put into written words exactly how I felt when I held her for the first time... .. other Mum's will know. Amazing, magical, surreal, overwhelming love... kind of come close.
So, the journey from Tuesday evening when contractions begun until the great event when Gemma Kay Hoozer was born goes something like this...
I started feeling menstrual like cramps that weren't excessively strong, just like period pains that came and went every so often throughout Tuesday night. They did give me some discomfort though and I recall telling Marshall as he left at 5.30am for work on Wednesday morning that I had felt these contractions all night long so I was going to stay in bed. As the morning progressed and I moved about having breakfast and putting laundry on I realised that these contractions were occuring every 10-20 minutes. Some even closer together. Irregular but frequent enough and painful enough that I had to kneel down or bend over when I felt one coming on. I phoned Mum and arranged to go see my midwife at about 11am and go get my 37 week blood test done. When visiting with my midwife she told me not to worry, that they were probably just more painful braxton hicks and that she didn't think I was in labour - to go home and try not to think about it. Right. *rolls eyes* I had had braxton hicks and they were not painful, they just felt like my stomach tightening. I knew these were definitely different and that I was already having to stop and breathe through each one but we left anyway to go get my blood test done. It was after the blood test (about midday) that I felt the contractions really start to come on strong. I HAD to sit or bend over and hold onto something as Mum & I walked the short distance from the Pathology Centre to the car. I was really breathing out the pain through contraction and they were no longer than 10 minutes apart. I could feel when they were about to start, then they would gradually become stronger and then taper off.. lasting about 30 seconds each. We picked up my hospital bags and went back to Mum & Dad's to wait it out and see what would happen. I spent the next few hours (until about 4.30pm when Marshall met us there after work) on all fours in bed or in the bath, trying to remain calm and breathe through each contraction. We decided that Marshall should go pick up some supplies (gatorade, snacks, other things from home) just incase we were going to have to head to the hospital that night. While he was out, the contractions really, REALLY started to hurt. I had my sister sit beside me so I could squeeze her hand as I breathed through the contractions, kneeling over a beanbag. Some of them were so strong I really did feel like crying but I just kept telling myself to breathe and stay in control and try and relax. Just after 5pm and lots of regular, frequent, strong contractions we decided it was time to call the midwife and tell her to meet us at the Mater hospital. Marshall raced back, not having had time to pick up any snacks, I climbed into the back of the car, Mum & Marshall in the front and we drove to the hospital... with me balancing carefully on all fours (I couldn't bare to sit) in the back as we went down the freeway... my butt in the air.
We arrived at the hospital and walking up the front path multiple people who saw me offered to fetch a wheelchair but I declined as sitting was not something that felt comfortable for me. Once we were in though they did put me in a wheelchair and wheeled me up to the birthing suite - I had not been there before, it was quite a nice large room with a big bath, shower and a bed that could manoeuver into all kinds of positions. My midwife gave me the gas - which much to my delight did not make me feel sick at all nor off my head or anything bad, it actually helped take the edge off the contractions and made me feel a little more in control. She checked me and again to my happy surprise, told me I could stay :) that baby was coming tonight. I was 5cm dilated. Joy! The next four and half hours only felt like 2 or 3 hours... and the actual transition stage and pushing baby out which took 48mins only felt like 10. I tried multiple positions trying to get comfortable through the contractions, in and out of the bath, but felt most comfortable on the bed with the head of the bed raised and me kneeling and leaning over it, with Mum on one side handing me gas & sips of water & Marshall on the other so I could squeeze his hand. They would both tell you I remained quite controlled throughout the whole experience (up until the pushing part). I was very proud of myself. I didn't swear or become angry or cry or curse Marshall or any of that stuff.. :) So, after many hours of these very VERY painful contractions and being extremely worn out and tired I told my midwife I wanted an epidural. She told me that she knew I could do it without it, that I didn't need it, that if she broke my waters it would all then happen very quickly and all would be okay. I believed her. I knew that if she broke my waters that contractions would speed up and the whole process could be over within an hour, and I told her & Mum & Marshall - "I know I can do it, but, I don't want to." I very calmly and decidedly told them, I had had enough pain, I was very tired and I did not want to feel these contractions anymore, "Please call the anesthesiologist." So that was that. I had a drip put in my hand, a catheter inserted.. but still had to wait through about another 45mins of contractions until the epi man came, told me about the dangers of epidurals, put the thing in and for it to take affect. So at about 9pm I FINALLY had some relief. I could still feel when I was having a contraction and feel my muscles tighten, but there was no pain. It was great! The next hour was spent, in various positions, trying to push baby down and out, whilst my legs became more numb and every push felt like I was going to poo in front of the midwife, Mum & Marshall. It didn't take too long though for me to get over the embarrassment and just push will all the strength I possessed. On my knees, on my back, legs up, on my side... and it was on my side that the finale took place. The excruciatingly painful finale. The epidural did nothing to dull what happened when her head was far enough down there that it was ready to come out. It is like many told me - a burning sensation - I just couldn't have prepared myself for just how burning it actually was. Wow. I am just so glad I had the epidural so I could regain my strength a little before the really hard part. It really killed... it really, really felt like I was going to split or tear something. It stung. It took absolutely everything I had to go through with it.. I remember saying 'I can't do it!' 'It hurt's too much!' with everyone yelling at me (maybe nicely yelling but still pretty forcefully telling) to PUSH! It took quite a few tries & lots of push and quite a bit of screaming before I could really break through that threshold and get to the other side... when her head popped out.. and I was SO grateful it finally did. I heard her little cry while she was still partway inside of me. It was incredible. The rest of her slid out so easily and the next thing I know she was in my arms, on my chest. Absolute awestruck I was. I think with furrowed brows and disbelief I exclaimed to Marshall over and over "oh my gosh! oh my gosh! she's here! I did it. she's here. she's ours!" :) I don't look forward to reliving that whole birthing experience again in the future, but I would relive that moment when she was given to me over and over and over again.
And now we're home. The three of us. Our new little family, drastically improved upon because of this little angel.. truly, heaven sent. We have enjoyed the last four days together, giving her her first bath, changing her diapers and taking a hundred photo's already :) we can't get enough! I can't get enough and so I must get back to her :)
Baby shower post to come later... and photos, LOTS of photos of our cute new baby girl :)
- Happiest Mum ever.