You came into the world slowly, calmly and peacefully.
The labour with you was very long – you absolutely took your time! This, however, meant that I enjoyed a wonderfully calm labour; nice and slow and steady.
After noticing small contractions the evening before, followed by a restless nights sleep, we called the hospital early in the morning of the 19th October after my waters broke.
“It’s fine”, the midwife reassured us, “Take your time and come up to us when you’re ready”.
So, that’s what we did. Nervous, excited, curious and surprisingly calm, we spent a quiet morning watching one or two old episodes of East of Everything while I sat comfortably on our giant exercise ball, the gum trees outside our windows glistening in the spring rain.
Hopping into the car at about midday, the contractions were reasonably strong. However, things slowed down as we walked through the hospital towards the maternity ward, and it wasn’t until we were all unpacked and properly settled into our cosy room that contractions finally picked up again.
Music playing softly in the background (I can’t remember what we put on!), I once again got comfortable on that lovely exercise ball. Slowly everything began to close in as I consciously decided to focus on my breathing – the rhythmic inhale and exhale an effective and calming distraction – whilst simultaneously allowing my mind drift to thoughts of our baby finally coming into the world.
Eventually, all thoughts fade into the background as I completely lose touch with everything around me, everything except my breath and my body.
At some point, a hot shower was suggested. This was a simply magnificent idea. The contractions became wonderfully manageable while I was in that shower, steaming hot water running down my back and soothing all growing tension.
In fact, I stayed so long in the shower that I became concerned and whispered to your Dad, “Shouldn’t I get out now? Think of all the hot water we are wasting!”
Soon enough, something changed and I didn’t want to be in the shower anymore anyway. I wanted, no needed, to get out, and fast! I felt incredibly strange, as though my whole body suddenly came alive, as though it had a mind of its own. And it wanted to get up and move!
Actually getting out of the bath and onto the bed to be examined was awfully challenging. Previously, in the warm water I was incredibly relaxed but now my body felt stiff and tight and sore and it protested strongly about the change!
Finally up on the bed, I took some gas, and after being examined (yes, I was fully dilated) our obstetrician finally arrived (fresh from his family holiday to Tasmania!). The time, as I recall, was about 10pm.
In order to find a comfortable position to give birth in, everyone helped to roll me out of bed. Our obstetrician and midwife helped me move around until finally, sitting on a rather hilarious thing called a birth stool (this particular one made even funnier as it was made of purple see-through rosin complete with silver sparkles!!) with Daddy behind me, I was told to start pushing.
This was the hard part. I was very tired. I’m pretty sure everyone was.
At about 11:40-something, the midwife encouraged me “If you push now, your baby will be born before midnight!”
“Oh no”, I thought to myself. “That will mean the baby will be born on the 19th!” (I don’t really like odd numbers…except 7 and 21. Go figure!)
Sometime after midnight, sinking into Daddys chest behind me, I cried “I can’t do this”. I was so tired and I began to despair that you would ever be born.
And yet, not long after that moment, miraculously, you came into the world! I don’t remember that I pushed extra hard or anything, it just seemed that finally, you were ready to come! You were placed into my arms immediately and we were awe-struck. Our baby was suddenly, finally here.
Months of anticipation, nerves and wondering were all over now and our life as parents of an out-in-the-world baby had just begun. We could scarcely believe that labour was finally over (we thought it would never end!) and even more so we could hardly believe that the chubby, red, bellowing baby I was holding was ours.
A few short but very long sleepless days later, filled with challenges establishing breast feeding, we found ourselves back at entrance to the hospital, blinking in the bright, brilliant spring sunshine.
Trying to get you into your car seat, fumbling awkwardly with straps and clasps, you protested with mighty cries. We stared at each other, filled with equal measures of pride and fear – could we really take care of this little wonder?
We had arrived at the hospital as two. We emerged as three.
And we couldn’t have been more happy and grateful.