I went into labour at 6am on 21st August 2016. Because of my many previous false alarms, I waited to make sure my contractions were regular before calling the hospital. I opened up the contraction timer app on my iPhone that I had downloaded weeks before ‘just in case’ and started trying to time the contractions. I say trying to time them because it was near on impossible to pin point the exact time they started and finished, I still don’t understand how women do this accurately! I gave up on the damn app after the first 4 contractions and by 9am I decided that they had gotten a lot stronger and closer together so it was time to call the hospital.
The midwife on the phone asked me a few basic questions and told me to go in to be checked. My partner was freaking out in the living room and I calmly walked out and told him it was time. I was trying to stay calm for his sake more then mine.
The ride to the hospital was bumpy and I genuinely thought I may give birth in the car ride there. I smugly thought to myself ‘This isn’t that bad, I’ve got this!’ thinking I was about to have the easiest, quickest labour in the world. When we finally made it to the hospital we set out on the extremely long walk to the maternity ward. Whoever designed our local hospital must’ve thought it would be a laugh to locate the maternity ward on the top floor and the furthest corner from the elevator. I stopped about 10 times to cling to the wall and breath through my next contraction. When we finally made it the midwives sent me to the birthing suite to check me.
1cm dilated. What?!?? Understandably the midwives sent me home to labour some more in the ‘comfort’ of my own home. I begrudgingly left the hospital and we made our way back home.
At home, my partner was a mess. There I was in labour, calm as anything, just casually breathing through my next contraction whilst bouncing on my fit ball, but Mr Worry Wart decided that our house was VERY messy and there was too much washing to be done and OH MY GOD the floors need a mop… Yep, my partner did the nesting for me. I never got the whole ‘nesting’ thing. I couldn’t give a flying fuck if my house was messy, as long as it was acceptable to bring a baby home to.
I decided to give my app another shot and my contractions picked up speed very quickly. They were becoming unbearable. By 12pm I had to drag my partner away from the vacuum cleaner and tell him that I think I ought to go back to the hospital. After yelling at him for the 10th time that the dishes could wait, we finally went back to the hospital.
I was now 4cm dilated. They tried to send me home again but I dug my heels in. No way was I going through that bumpy car ride all over again so they let me stay. They told me to get comfortable and offered me some morphine for the pain. I can honestly say that the morphine did nothing except slow everything down.
I wasn’t dilating any further, my waters still hadn’t broken and there was still no ‘bloody show’. I was starting to think we would be waiting a long time for this baby to make an arrival. So we settled in for an early hospital dinner of tiny little sandwiches and horrible cold soup.
Around 6pm the contractions sped up again. Within 20 minutes I got the sudden urge to push. ‘I feel like I need to push’ I remember saying to the midwife on duty at the time. ‘Well then push!’ She said rolling her eyes as if I was stupid. She was standing on the other side of the room looking at paperwork and I was leaning against the wall trying to get through this contraction. I couldn’t help but think that the baby might just slide on out there and then and she was all the way on the other side of the room not giving a fuck about it all.
I like to think I have a fairly decent pain tolerance and I am certain that I didn’t make a fuss through the whole labour. In fact, my partner told me afterward that I was very quiet and calm and just went off into my own world when I had a contraction. I remember asking for some pain relief on numerous occasions. The morphine had worn off long ago so I was having a pretty hard time coping. The midwife just kept ignoring me. She would continually ask me questions as I was going through a contraction and get frustrated when I couldn’t answer her. At one point she said ‘It’s only labour!’ as if I was carrying on like I was dying!
Thankfully that horrible woman’s shift was up and the next midwife came to takeover. They were standing in front of me looking at me and the bitch was talking as if I wasn’t even there. ‘You’ll have to babysit this one!’ She said to the next midwife on duty. I couldn’t understand why she thought I was so needy when I had barely spoken a word the whole time.
When this next midwife took over I asked if they were going to check me at all. She was shocked that the last midwife hadn’t done that and agreed to check. 9cm dilated!
I asked her if I could still have an epidural or some pain relief of some sort and she told me what I already knew deep down. It was too late. I silently cursed the previous midwife for not checking me and not letting me have any pain relief and tried to prep myself to keep going without any pain relief. It was now around 7pm and I was so bloody exhausted I was ready to give up. The thing about childbirth is that you can’t give up. Once you start there’s no stopping!!
I continued pushing at every contraction. My waters still not broken. ‘Your very dry’ the midwife said meaning I looked dehidrated and needed to drink some water. I sculled a litre bottle of water and my partner filled it for me again. ‘Mm… your still very dry’ she said again. Down went the 2nd litre of water. ‘I just don’t like that your so dry’ she said again, ‘if you don’t take this seriously then we’ll have to put a drip in’. I sculled a 3rd bottle of water. Just as I started on my 4th I had an overwhelming urge to vomit… I ran to the toilet and power chucked every last drop of water I had just drank.
As I started wiping up the splatters of spew from the toilet and surrounding walls the midwife walked in and shook her head. I knew that meant I needed a drip put in.
Hours of pushing later and the doctor finally rocked up. Not my doctor, she wasn’t available apparently, but another female doctor that was on duty that night. The head of my baby was only just showing when I was pushing. It was around 11.30pm when they finally decided to break my waters. Why they didn’t do it earlier I will never understand.
The doctor broke my waters and there I was sitting in what felt like a mixture of pee and period blood. After another few pushes the doctor told me they would need to get out the forceps and suction vacuum. I remembered seeing pictures of newborn babies heads after they had to use those tools. There was no way my baby’s head was going to be squished! I gave it one last mighty push and out the little creature popped at 11.58pm, 2 minutes before the due date.
There it was, my little alien laying on my chest. I couldn’t see if it were a girl or a boy from the angle it was laying. At my last ultrasound I had been told it was to be a girl but still had my worries that the scan was wrong.
‘Is it a girl or boy?’ I asked. No one answered. Fuck! I thought to myself. I thought they weren’t answering me because it were a boy. I started thinking about the pink nursery we had at home and the girls name we had picked… Finally my partner had a look and said ‘it’s a girl, I think…’. The midwife confirmed my partners stupid answer with a nod.
I looked down at my blood covered, squished alien child and waited for the ‘bond’ to happen. It didn’t. It was then that I realized that the midwife and doctor were still looking down at my lady bits. ‘You’ve had a rather serious tear’ they finally told me. Apparently my little alien had conveniently come out with her hand beside her face and ripped me open on her way out.
The doctor got her phone out and called another doctor that obviously knew a bit more about these injuries. ‘It’s a 4th degree… yes all the way to the rectum’ she said on the phone to him, ‘I’ll send you a photo’. Next thing I knew she was sending the doctor a close up of my bloodied, torn vagina.
It was decided that I was to be transferred to the hospital in the next town over for surgery – the last place I wanted to be considering my partners previous experience there. So they cleaned me up and got me ready to go.
While we waited for the transfer ambulance my partner and I studied the little alien creature that had been living in my tummy for 9 months. This thing was half of each of us and it was now our responsibility to make sure this little human survived. We were both exhausted as we hadn’t slept since midnight the night before. I looked over at my partner and the only thing I said was the name I had picked from the moment I fell pregnant, ‘Charlotte?’ He nodded.
We both shed a silent tear. Maybe because it was a beautiful moment… but probably because we were both just tired as fuck and terrified of the thought of being parents
to this new little human.