Monday 17th I had an OB appointment. I'd been having 'cramping' for weeks but it hadn't amounted to anything. I spoke to the OB who wanted to check to see if my cervix was dilating. When she examined me she was delighted to advise I was already 2cm dilated. Hurrah. She completed a stretch and sweep and then sent me on my way with the exclamation 'I'd be surprised if you're not a mum by the weekend but if not, then next week we might need to look at induction'... Hmmm... Not on my birth plan.
I'd had a growth scan the Friday prior to my OB appointment and had been advised that bub was about 9.5lb (Holy shit balls!) and I was a little worried about birthing such a big bub. I also knew this wouldn't work in my favour for avoiding an induction.
So when I left my OB the cramping kicked up a gear but absolutely nothing horrendously painful or anything like that. In fact my period cramps were worse so I just got on with my day, Heading to work with mum and catching up with my bestie.
I finished work at 6pm and decided that these cramps were feeling regular so I timed a couple of them. They were 7 minutes apart. Still not painful, just annoying. I called Tane at work and said 'You May want to find cover for tomorrow, I'm having cramps that are regular but it's not intense so I don't know if this is the real deal but you might want to play it safe.
Tane came home, we had dinner and I headed off to bed around 9.30pm just in case I needed my rest. I practiced my progressive relaxation taught during our hypnobirthing classes to find my deep sleep and I crashed out. I stirred around 11.30pm when Tane got up because he couldn't sleep (Who was nervous do ya think hehehe) then I crashed back out again.
1.30am I woke screaming. The pain I felt was just unreal. I staggered out of bed to the toilet and stayed there a good 15 minutes while my body cleared itself out and my contractions were now in no doubt. The pain was phenomenal. Tane was a bit surprised when I yelled out there was no way he was going to work tomorrow. We were going to have this baby, Today!
When I finally managed to get out of the toilet I spent the next 10 minutes or so pacing the house yelling obscenities and making a right racket. Tane kepts saying I needed to keep the noise down or the neighbours might phone the cops. Clearly this man had never been in labour, There was no way in hell I was going to keep noise down, I could barely keep myself composed! In the end I told Tane to pack up the car, we needed to go to the hospital, now!
I called my OB and said I was on my way, Could the hospital please fill the birthing tub for me then I called mum and said I was off to the hospital. By this stage my contractions were coming so hard and fast I barely had time to breathe between then. We bundled into the car and headed off to North Shore Hospital. Now I can assure you that being in a car in full blown labour is not at all comfortable; especially when your crammed into such a small space...
About 3 minutes into the drive I grabbed Tanes arm and asked him to pull over. When he stopped he asked me what was up? I said 'I need to push' well, I have never seen anyone boot it that fast. We ran two red lights and did 140km all the way to North Shore. We arrived at the front entrance to the emergency department where I swung my legs out of the car and my waters broke in the parking lot. I squatted down and started pushing with my next contraction all the time saying 'I need to push, I need to push'
Two Ambo guys were just next to us, they came over, bundled me into a wheel chair and delivered me to the birthing suite. All the way I just kept saying 'I need to push' and pushed with each contraction.
When I got into the birthing room a midwife came to me and said she wanted to check and see how far along I was. She seemed quite relaxed about it all until she examined me and looked at me astounded and said 'You're full dilated and I can feel the head. You're ready to push' - Really? Who would have thought??
I asked if the birthing pool was ready and could I go an use it to which the midwife replied 'Oh you don't have any time for that honey'
My OB arrive about 5 minutes later as I was on my knees hunched over the bed end pushing, moaning, grunting and exclaiming how much this was burning. Shortly after that the OB asked me to pant then push, the midwife advised she could see babies head and there was a mass of hair. I was like WTF? The baby has hair? I thought it'd be a baldie given I'd had no heartburn. Apparently not.
The OB then manipulated babies shoulders and next thing I was being told baby was here. I arrived at the hospital at 2.15am and Phoenix entered this world at 2.35am. Not bad huh!
To say I was in shock really was an understatement. No one said what we had so I looked down between my legs and there was our baby boy. What a surreal experience.
I looked to Tane and exclaimed 'We have a boy!' and man, He was just about my undoing. He was red eyed, crying and completely overwhelmed. What a sight to behold!
It was quite awkward rolling over to my tummy and really weird the feeling of the cord still being attached to bub and to me. One of those crazy moments where you can actually see the connection that you two have had for the last nine months.
Bub came straight onto my chest for Skin to Skin and then the final stage commenced. I needed the injection to deliver the placenta because I was bleeding more that I should be and they were concerned that I might need blood products. NICU had also been called when I arrive because there was Meconium in my waters but they never showed up so the delivery was either to fast or not of enough concern for them to be there - Either way I am pleased :-) My placenta then snapped during delivery so I required manual delivery and manipulation of the placenta to get it to come away properly. That was pretty uncomfortable. Until now I had no pain relief. They offered me gas to manage the pain but that stuff was AWFUL like being super drunk and having those boozy head spins. You know the ones you can't stop when you lie down. Horrible.. I stopped using it and just dealt with the pain.
After the placenta was delivered the OB stitched me up. Phoenix had been kind enough to come out with his hands at his face so I had a second degree tear - I wouldn't have known had they not needed to stitch me. There is so much else going on during delivery that you can't itemise out the different pains. During this stage Phoenix found his own way to my nipple and self latched and started to have his first breastfeed. It was awesome to watch him move all on his own when he was only minutes old. This little one is strong I tell you. When I was all put back together bub was weighed, Measured and checked over. He was then passed to Daddy while I managed a shower. We spent about 3.5 hours in the birthing suite before being transferred to a shared room. I stayed there until 3pm when we transferred up to Warkworth birthing suites.
Straight after I delivered Phoenix I looked at Tane and said 'Well, I'd do that all again, It wasn't so bad' - He looked horrified hahaha. I do have to point out that for a man who didn't want to see the business end of the whole birth he handled things pretty well. He didn't have much choice in what he did and didn't see. He admitted today that once he looked for the pure 'It has to be done' side of things but the second time he looked was just because of the position I was in and all that was going on. He did almost pass out when Phoenix was being born. I asked the nurses to make sure Tane was okay because the last thing I needed was an unconscious husband but bless him he got up and came to cut the cord, despite the mess that was all around me. I assure you birthing is a very messy, weird smelling affair and it isn’t clean for quite some time after all is said and done might I add. The second 'Almost passed out stage' was when Tane decided to chug back on the gas I'd been using for the placenta delivery. It made him so light headed and faint he almost keeled over hahaha!
But credit where credit is due Tane was AMAZING during the whole process. When I was at home having my 60 seconds of bat shit crazy with each contraction he was there rubbing my back, talking me through my breathing and keeping me together. When we were delivering he never failed to keep the breathing techniques going and trying his best to keep me calm. He even kindly offered his hand to me for one of the contractions but I knew I'd break something so politely declined and instead tried my best to break the bed end hahaha
My OB said to me at the end that he just knew, from my voice, that he needed to get here ASAP. He said he couldn't say what it was but he knew I wasn't messing around and this little one was going to be here soon. He was very lucky to have made it to the hospital with about 10 minutes to spare. In fact we didn't even have the chance to get anything out of the car, not even my pregnancy and medical records nor the birth plan. Everythin was still in the boot of the car after bub was delivered. The only thing I did manage to bring to the birthing suit was my barf bucket which thankfully I didn't need. Most likely because I'd taken a zoffran before leaving home because I felt so sick.
So, there it is. I've been told by so many midwives, OB's and nursing staff that if I have number two then I need to plan a home birth or camp the night in the car park before hand. Most simply can't believe that 1 hour was my 'Labour' so to speak, especially for first bubby but I had always said if I gave birth at home or didn't make it to the hospital I'd be thrilled with my Labour so I definitely came close to that and really can't complain at all :-)
The staff at North Shore were amazing for the time I was there. Nothing was a problem and they made me feel completely comfortable. The were fantastic during the delivery too - I couldn't fault them at all.
As for our Family:
Nana and Grandad Holden - Mum knew I wasn't far off giving birth when I called from home to say I was going to the hospital. In fact she had said to dad that it was only a matter of hours if not minutes till I called to say bub was here. She was dead right. Apparently neither of them ended up going back to sleep after I called hehehe, They were just too excited. When I called to let them know they had a grandson I could hear the emotion in thier voices. It was perfect!
Aunty Katie slept through the text message that mum sent her but she woke up for the phone call. She was so delighted and excited. She ran up to Ben and told him Phoenix had arrived. She also didn't go back to sleep that night. We have the most amazing sunrise pics from the morning Phoenix was born.
Ironically the 17th March was a new moon which fits well with the meaning of Phoenix's name - From the name of a beautiful immortal bird which appears in Egyptian and Greek mythology. After living for several centuries in the Arabian Desert, it would be consumed by fire and rise from its own ashes, with this cycle repeating every 500 years. The name of the bird was derived from Greek φοινιξ (phoinix) meaning "dark red".
Nana Goldsmith - Was so excited, Half asleep given the time of the morning but absolutely delighted.
Grandad Goldsmith - Was also very sleepy when we called but he was pleased to hear of his grandsons arrival.
So welcome to our not so little man. What an incredible journey and one we all made as a family. It was truly beautiful in a way that I guess you can only appreciate 4 days after the birth :-)