I feel like Charlotte’s birth story is almost a sequel to Naomi’s, so this post was nearly called “The Sequel”. But that just didn’t feel right – Charly’s her own person after all, no?
But really, the births weren’t all that different when I think about the technical aspects of what went down, how things progressed, what sort of pain I felt, etc.
So here’s how the story goes. Some of you will already know that I’ve been going through pre-term contractions for some weeks now – a month, to be exact. I got told to start laying off work around week 35 and some, and the whole waiting game began. Every other day I would feel contractions coming on stronger and stronger, and a few times we had false starts. We made one trip towards the hospital which was also a false alarm. And even though Charlotte was really way off in terms of her actual due date, the false starts just meant we got that little bit more impatient every day. I felt a lot better that she hadn’t come prematurely of course, but it did make me wonder if I was going to waste even more than a month of maternity leave ‘resting’, when ideally I would have loved to have spent that extra time with baby.
On the 3rd of April, I had spent my day normally trying not to think “maybe today”. But sometime in the evening, I lost my mucus plug. Because I’d been given a swipe earlier that week, I called my OB just to see what she thought I ought to do. “Best you come in for me to have a look, really. I can’t tell over the phone,” she said. They put me on the CTG monitoring machine for about an hour to see what my contractions were doing…
When she came into the ward, Doc said she’d gone over to have a look at the chart and immediately thought, “Woah, okay this girl is in labour.” But when she pulled the curtain back, she found me sitting in bed, nonchalantly reading my book. “Hmm, I thought you were in labour from the look of the contractions but your face says you’re fine!” Well, of course. I’d been contracting on and off for a month, surely I’d be used to what it feels like by now?
Doc was upfront and said she had two very long and complicated surgeries to perform the next day, and if I went into labour then there might be a chance her priority would have to be with the patients on the table. So really, I had three options:
- Go home. Wait for true labour to begin – Could be anytime.
- Get induced immediately, deliver that evening. Possibly not follow my birth plan because induction makes the contractions worse (I knew this from the last time!)
- Get induced on Friday if I hadn’t already gone into labour
I took one look at Andrew and thought, let’s do this already. This waiting game had gone on long enough, and I’d been in and out to see the Doctor one too many times. I was fearful of the Oxytocin drip, but hey I’d done it before, I could do it again? I did chicken out slightly and say I may consider asking for an epidural but we’d see how things went.
Waterbag broken, drip in, I waited. Andrew had gone home to get a few ‘waiting’ tools (read: iPad, coffee etc), but when I started feeling the pain come on I messaged him with a “the pain is starting to kick in, think you’d better come back soon!” When the pain started to get a bit unbearable (halfway there!), I asked the nurse in the labour ward if I could consult with the anaesthetist on whether I could get an epidural. When I spoke to her, something about her was strangely familiar. Those eyes, I’d seen them before!
“Nurse J, How many years have you been working here for?” I asked her.
“18,” she said.
“I think I recognise you,” I said. “You helped deliver my first baby two years ago!”
“Ya lah, I also remember you. No epidural last time, husband very supportive. Why you want this time? Second time is faster, no need lah!”
So really, it was Nurse J who kept the jab at bay. I would have copped out otherwise, I reckon! Hubba and I had chosen the same delivery room out of pure nostalgia. What a blessing to be under her watch again, I thought!
The rest of the story is pretty much like most birth stories. The pain. The anguish. The “oh my goodness, can I get through this” game in my head. I also asked for some pathedine in my thigh this time, to cope with the contractions. I must say it did help take the edge off, ever so slightly.
Thankfully though, this time the whole process was a lot shorter. Whilst Naomi had me in full-on labour for 15 hours, I birthed Charlotte this time in less than five. She appeared in time for the Doctor to get to the delivery room and in less than five minutes, I had pushed her out. I was so incredibly relieved and happy when they put her in my arms – We had done it again! Hubba was so happy too – no tears this time but there was no denying the huge smile on his face and the pride in his eyes. He had fallen in love all over again :)
Charlotte was born on 4 April 2013 at 2.47am, weighing in at 3.0kg, 48cm in height and with a head circumference of 33cm.