Life has a whole new meaning.
When I published my last blog post, I knew I was going to be headed to the Midwife for a membrane sweep (if you've never heard of one, let me tell you, they are the most uncomfortable things in the entire world), and I knew that it would be the start of the end.
I started contractions at 5:30 am on Tuesday. They were consistent, painful and increasing in both intensity and pace. We phoned the labour ward and they said we could come up for a check.
Much to my disappointment, I was only 3cm dilated and the contractions had started decreasing once we got there. The midwives were great and said I could come back later or stay on and wait things out. I didn't feel like I needed any pain relief, so we opted to return home. But first - we had a little sit down/contraction fest in the Hospital Costa Coffee to socialise with some of the other doctors. On hindsight, what the hell were we thinking?!
The wait at home was long. Eventually, I decided to take a warm bath to ease some of the pain. Ease the pain? Try erase the pain. I felt nothing and didn't understand how this was possible.
A friend of ours advised us to get some calories - Coke and ice cream and anything else I fancied. Sure enough, that made a difference. The contractions started again and by that time, the day was pretty much done. I went to bed and tried to get some sleep.
By 1:00 AM, the contractions had returned with a vengeance. B and I made our way back to the hospital (and in case anyone is wondering, the road in and out of our village is the BUMPIEST most HORRIBLE road in the entire world). I was only 4 cm dilated (seriously?!) but we decided to wait it out at hospital.
The rest of the night went something like this (I'm told, as I have no recollection of anything):
I bounced on a ball.
Contractions carried on and I used gas and air to relieve some of the pain.
At 4:00 AM I had Pethidine.
I slept between contractions.
At 7:00 AM I asked for an Epidural. As the anaesthetist was in surgery, they said they would give me another dose of Pethidine as there could be a long wait before the Epidural.
At 7:30 I had the epidural. This was followed by what B claimed was very normal sounding, half finished sentences.
Around 2:30pm I was finally fully dilated and was ready to start pushing. I was relatively pain free due to the epidural, although there was a small patch which wasn't covered just on the right side of my bump. I thought I was getting along fine until the midwife said Baby's heartbeat was increasing.
Within about two minutes the room was swarming with people - Doctors, midwives, who knows who else.
The Doctor said they wanted to take me to theatre for an instrumental delivery but it was not guaranteed to be successful and I may need a Caesarian - or I could just opt for the Caesarian. B and I both agreed we wanted what was safest for Baby, and opted for the emergency Caesarian.
The next ten minutes were a blur, but I remember them more vividly than the previous 35 hours of labour. I had the Epidural removed and a Spinal Block put in. I signed a waver agreeing to a blood transfusion if need be. B was shown a room where he could change into scrubs. I was put into a hospital gown. Some of B's colleagues came to lend a hand as they heard it was me who needed the section.
I wanted to cry out of fear, but at the same time I wanted it all to be over.
The theatre was busy, with an anaesthetists doctors and nurses all doing what is totally normal on a day to day basis. To me, it was like stepping into a medical drama.
A blue sheet was placed in front of me so that I couldn't see beyond my chest. B was with me, holding my hand. I was given a catheter. There was a dry erase board behind his head with different stats - time of start, blood loss, number of instruments used.
Ice packs. Ice packs were constantly being used to ensure I couldn't feel below my chest. People were everywhere. There was an awful lot of pushing and pulling and whilst I couldn't feel anything, I knew from the rocking back and forth there was something quite dramatic going on behind that blue sheet. B said baby had to be pushed back up and pulled up and out of the incision that had been made.
I started to feel tired and breathless, almost like I was going in and out of consciousness. B kept talking to me, but everything felt dark. I vomited - B said it was because spinal block effects.
I asked if he thought Baby was a boy or girl. I was still sure it was a boy. And then I felt a sudden lifting and lightening. B, who had been looking beyond the blue curtain looked at me and said "I think I know what our baby is." I asked if it was a boy or girl but didn't hear the answer - I was too busy listening for a cough or a cry. Some indication that baby was alright. I finally heard it.
B was called over to cut the cord and my midwife came over and said the baby was just perfect, another nurse said Baby was just fine, and I shouldn't worry because she was beautiful.
"It's a she?"
I couldn't feel anything due to the trauma of that labour and delivery, but I felt my heart.
Not pain or love, but a feeling of total and utter completeness.
B lowered her down so I could kiss her head and he cradled our little one whilst I was stitched back up and brought into the recovery room. After an agonising wait, I was finally given my sweet baby girl for the first time.
Emma Rose was born 17 July 2014 at 3:51 PM.
I said this was going to be a whole new adventure. I never knew just how much of an adventure it could be. I cannot wait to show you.