My first pregnancy was planned, yet a surprise. Contradiction? Yes, well I’m afraid I’m full of contradictions. My husband and I married young. After a year of marriage we decided to have a baby (what were we thinking?). After going off the pill (and expecting it to take at least 6 months to fall pregnant) we found out the next second, well maybe a little longer, that we were pregnant. What an exciting journey we were in for; if only I knew.
Blu and I moved interstate to Newcastle in New South Wales when I was three months pregnant. This was difficult for me as I missed my family, especially my Mother. Fortunately my pregnancy went well; I was young (21 years old) and strong. I ate well, worked, exercised and had plenty of rest. My parents came down from Queensland to visit before I was full term to help me set up the nursery. The idea was they would return in about a month to meet our baby. To me, this sounded perfect but our baby had other ideas.
I finished up work at 38 weeks gestation. My parents had left to go back home. The nursery was looking good and I was feeling excited, and a little nervous, about meeting my first child. That very night (1 am), I woke with a show. I had read that a this could happen up to 2 weeks before labour began so I did not worry and lay back down to sleep. I started to get a low down pain, like menstrual pain, every 10 minutes; however, they were light enough to allow me a little sleep until morning.
Morning came and Blu went to University as usual. I did not make a big deal of the pain, as I really did not think anything of it. As the morning wore on, the pains became more frequent and intense. I still was in denial about being in labour and was unusually productive around the house; nesting had set in. At about midday, during a pain, I felt water running down my leg. My initial thought was, have I lost control of my bladder? I thought it may be time to ring the hospital. The hospital informed me to check the colour of my waters. They were found to be stained with meconium. This can be a sign that the baby is distressed so they advised I come straight into the hospital.
Blu was still at University and had no idea about what was going on. I rang him and said he need to come home and take me to the hospital. Well, he FREAKED OUT! I don’t know how fast he drove, but I’m sure it was faster than the usual 30 minute trip. That ride to the hospital was the longest in the world. I felt every bump and every turn. After what seemed like forever, we arrived.
Waddling up the hallway, stopping every few moments, was how I entered the hospital. After being assessed by the Doctor, I was admitted and my baby was monitored for signs of distress. After a short period, it was determined that everything was fine and I was able to move around the ward.
And move around I did; I showered, I walked I sat and I walked again. Blu had dinner and watched sport during contractions. Breathing through every contraction helped me feel like I was still in control. I did try one puff of gas but it made me feel like I was being thrown off a building so I threw the mask at Blue; and yes, that did feel good.
All day this went on until about midnight. At this point I was in terrible pain. My husband suggested I try the spa. With effort I hopped in. Soon after this Matthew saw the head crown and blood the stained the bath. Well, he freaked out. “Get out of the bath!” he said.
“I can’t move,” I said with effort.
“For the sake of the baby, you HAVE to get out of the bath.”
This motivated me to move to the bed but I don’t know how I managed it. This is when Blu ran out of the room and I was left ALL ALONE.
ALL ALONE, and about to deliver my first baby. Not the best combination I can think of. Blu did not think of pressing the help button, all he thought to do was run and get help. Help did come in the form of a frightened looking midwife (oh great). It was obvious, to both Blu and I, she was not confident and gave us no instruction. She confirmed to us what we already knew, our baby was ready to be born.
Just in the nic of time. That is all I can say about our Obstrician. When he walked in the door, my husband could have kissed him! Immediately he took control of the situation. He instructed me to push at the next contraction. And I did; it felt like I was being torn in two. With the next contracted he again instructed me to push. Well, at this point, I was irrational, and decided I wanted to go home and did not want to push any more. I saw the Doctor look at the nurse and I could hear them thinking: we are in for a long haul here. Then, the realisation came to me, if I did not push, I would not get to meet this baby. So, at the next contraction I pushed with everything I had.
Pink and perfect. They are the only two words I could describe the little girl on my chest. I just kept saying over and over “It’s a baby, it’s a baby.”
I cannot explain the joy of that moment; the incredible love. It is something I will cherish forever.
At 1.15am, 9th August 2001, my life changed forever; I became a mother.
At 23 years, I fell pregnant with our second child. Although most of the pregnancy went without a hitch, I began to worry a little when I did not gain weight at the end of my pregnancy. Also, my stomach was very small and I did not seem to feel as many kicks as I remembered with Flossie’s pregnancy. I was given a kick chart to complete during the day to keep track on my baby’s movement. Well, there were plenty of kicks, just not as many as I had experienced in my first pregnancy. I still was a little concerned about being so small.
My due date was a day away. I was feeling weary and tired. That morning I took Flossie with me to the local shops. At 10 am I felt that low pain I knew so well. I rang Blue excited. “I think I’m in labour.”
My contractions seemed all over the place; 3 minutes apart, 20 minutes apart, 10 minutes apart. I decided a long walk was in order; so, Blu and I headed down to the local walking path. The contractions intensified while I was walking so I could only get a few steps before stopping. After an hour I was exhausted and we went home for a rest. The contractions seem to stall a bit again, becoming irregular, but they were quite strong. 9.00 pm came and I was really starting to feel the effects of the contractions. When I rang the hospital, they said to take two panadol (as if that helps lol) and try and get some sleep. I did what they said and showered, poped the pills and waddled into bed.
Would you know it, as soon as I got onto the sheets my waters broke. Still being away from family at the time, we called friends to come and mind Flossie while we went to the hospital. It was strange as my contractions were still very irregular and stayed that way right up until the last two hours of my labour.
The pain I experienced with this labour was FAR worse than my first one. I got to the point where I felt like a needed relief so an epidural was ordered. A registrar came into see my at this point and had a look at me. “You are very small,” she said, “The placenta might not be working properly and your baby must be very small.”
What a terrible thing to say to a Mother in labour. Well I started to panic and then, I lost control.
In my first labour, I kept control right through the birthing process but it was different this time. I could not breath, I was panicking, I was screaming, I was fainting. When the Dr came with the epidural, it was too late and I was at the pushing stage. I have had such wonderful experiences with midwives; however, the ladies that helped me were rather cranky. I must have caught them at the end of their shift. After fainting numerous times, I mustered up the strength for one more push. It was all worth it to gaze into my daughter’s eyes, my Scottie.
I’m pleased to say that my daughter was an average sized 7 pound 13 ounces (3500g) and the placenta was beautifully healthy. I felt cross at that Doctor who caused me worry for no reason. But nothing else mattered right then as I held my baby in my Scottie in my arms: 3.14am.
Baby in Heaven
I have to mention our precious baby we lost due to an ectopic pregnancy. I almost died from blood loss and misdiagnosis but the Doctors managed to operate on me in time. I always wonder who that baby was. It’s funny because I miss the child I never had the opportunity to meet in person. One day; in heaven.
Read my story of loss here: Lost… But Not Forgotten
We were told by the Doctors that it may be hard for us to conceive due to the damage done during the ectopic pregnancy. We felt very blessed when we found out we were pregnant. The pregnancy was harder than the first two. I was a little older and a lot more tired. I found out during this pregnancy that my husband and I were going to move back to Queensland to be around family before this child was born; I was so excited. All through my pregnancy I was looking forward to spending days with my mother and having her physically in our lives. When I was 8 months pregnant I received a call from my Dad that I will never forget.
“Mum has cancer and they can’t operate; she is going to die,” Dad told me in an errily calm voice.
As I sit here are write this, tears are running down my cheeks. I can’t escape the feeling of despair I felt; my hopes and dreams falling down at my feet. I was going to move back with my family, not to have my Mother part of my life, but to watch cancer eat her body away until she was gone.
I feel blessed to have the little time with her that I did. In fact, I was with her when I went into labour. At 10am I again felt that low pain that signaled to me the start of labour. I was overdue by 2 days and was “over it”. I laboured all day and into the night. At midnight, Blu and I left for the hospital. The pains were coming every 10 minutes at this point and I was very weary. I was examined in the early hours of the morning. After being in labour for over 12 hours I was only 1cm dilated. I felt very depressed. The nurses were happy to admit me but I wanted to go home, so home I went.
Without any sleep, I labour on into that day. I was determined not to go back to the hospital until I had something to show for it. I was utterly exhausted by the time we headed back to the hospital at about 9 pm. When I found out I was 6 cm dilated I felt gratified. I was fortunate that a friend of mine was on duty that night and was able to care for me. I decided to have an epidural. After being in labour for over 32 hours without any sleep, I was beyond strength.
Relief and rest. I knew I’d made the right choice to get some relief. Blu was able to get some rest too. Although the epidural was a little lopsided and I was not without pain, it gave me enough relief to relax my body for a few snatched moments of sleep. My waters had to be broken and then at 4.59am, after being in labour for 43 hours, my friend held our daughter Cossie. It is special for me that the nurse who delivered Cossie can be part of her life.
My Mum also held Cossie in her arms and 6 months later, she died. Even to this day my Cossie often says, “Grandmama held me when I was a baby; I love Grandmama.”
I so wish my Mum could hear her say that.
As you can imagine, life was pretty tough in the aftermath of my mother’s death. When your children are young, you have a real desire to talk to your own mother and this was never to be for me; it’s a loss I grieve to this day. Blu and I had to move again a year after birthing our third daughter. One day, after I fainted, my husband asked, “Could you be pregnant?”
“Definitely not; it wouldn’t be possible,” I retorted.
Well, Blu decided to bring home a pregnancy test anyway. I humored him and did the test. Two lines. WHAT!! How did that happen? Alright peoples, I DO know how it happens but I still don’t know how it happened, O-K-A-Y? I was shocked to say the least.
This pregnancy was a very difficult one. I experienced terrible back pain and often couldn’t walk. When I was 8 months pregnant, my Obstetrician wanted to admit me to hospital because I couldn’t walk but I had three other children to look after and no Mother to help me, so I dragged on the best I could. When I went into labour a week early, I was very glad the end was in sight.
After a membrane sweep that morning, I had slight discomfort. Later that day, around 3pm the contractions started. I decided to lie down in bed for a little while at about 9pm when– GUSH! (Why do my waters break when I am in bed?) I rang my sister who came over to look after my 3 girls.
When I got to the hospital, I knew what I needed to do. I’d had a natural birth twice and half/half once so this time, I was going to go straight in for the big needle. I was scared after my experience with Cossie, that my labour would take days. The contractions were very strong early on this time and after the epidural was administered I had total relief. The contractions were strong but slightly irregular so a syntocinon drip was administered. Blu flaked out on the couch and I nodded in and out of sleep until about 3 am. There was a huge amount of lower pressure so I asked the nurse to check my progress. She was shocked to find that there was a baby’s head there; so was I, this was going to be my shortest labour yet.
The Doctor never made it, within a few minutes a baby was placed on my chest. “What is it?” I asked.
“Kelly, you have a son,” my husband said with pride.
I could not believe it! After three girls, I was sure I would have another girl. I had to check for myself before I believed it.
My precious son was a whopping 9 pound 8.5 ounches (4320 grams). (No wonder I couldn’t walk.)
The only thing that marred my joy was my Mother could not hold her grandson I know she would have adored.
Fun Facts (and not-so-fun facts)
I chose not to find out the sex of our babies; I love surprises.
Labour Times: First labour, 24 hours. Second labour, 17 hours. Third labour, 43 hours. Fourth labour, 12 hours.
Late or Early?: First pregnancy, 2 weeks early. Second pregnancy, 1 day early. Third pregnancy, 4 days late. Fourth pregnancy, 1 week early.
Miricle of a Child
Experiencing the miricle of bringing a life into the world is an amazing thing. I praise God for my beautiful gifts.
Children are a blessing and a gift from the God. Psalm 127:3