Thursday, August 9, 2012

This is it!

Apparently our little girl has all the patience in the world, until it runs out - which it finally did on Monday night at precisely 7:26pm.

After another disappointing day of Braxton-Hicks or early labour... or something, it was all looking like just another false-start....

She'd woken me up atrociously early that morning - at 3:30am - same drill as the week before (see What a load of BH!). 

This time it felt more real though. I know, I said it felt real the last time too. But this time it really did.

By 5:00am I'd gotten confident enough in the credibility of my contractions to wake Daddy. Of course he got straight down to the business of counting cramps. He pulled up the app on his Ipod and left me in charge of clicking while he started prepping bags... just in case.

The pain wasn't debilitating - just really frequent and uncomfortable - so I set to work sticking girly girl decals onto baby girl's bedroom wall.

....all very last minute, I know.

I hadn't planned on doing anything too girly with the house - hell, our girl wasn't even getting her own room - until last week. Much like her Momma she'd be 'happy' bunking in with the boys!

With two big bros, we'd be rearing a tractor riding, train driving tomboy for sure - what would she need a pinkified princess parlour for?

What poppycock!

I don't know where my down-playing nay-saying side comes from. We don't need to make a fuss...? Silly Momma. There's no hiding from the big fat fuss we're all going to be making of this precious girly!

Danni Minogue's This time I know it's the real thing was playing on repeat in my head - and I couldn't help singing and dancing to the beat, all the while obediently tapping Daddy's app every two and a half minutes.....

But by the time the boys awoke a little before 8:00am - over 4 hours after 'first pain' - nothing had progressed.

Damn it! I'd been so sure again. So much for Momma's intuition! I was supposed to be snuggling a newborn by then!

My measly contractions were still super close and very regular, but totally bearable. No pain - no gain! Nothing had changed. 

I stopped singing.

De ja vu reared its ugly head and I called off the dogs - well at least Daddy (aka the contraction warden).

I soon discovered I had it in my power to stop and start these confusing contractions. If I sat down they slowed to a ten minute frequency with less force than a fart! If I walked they continued in the same vein as they had been all morning.

So I walked and walked for hours - up and down in the cabin - until I could walk no more.

I headed to the bathroom for a 'pee' stop and some pinkish gloop caught my eye... Ta Da! So that's what a mucus plug looks like?

Perhaps we did have lift off - sort of.

My aching bod cried out for relief, so I sunk into the bath - nature's epidural don't they say? It definitely slow timed my waning waves of pain even further - and it helped sooth my legs after all that waste-of-time walking. 

It's tricky to describe my comfort level after my bath. It felt like the pause button had been tapped mid-mild contraction. 

I was in constant pain - but very bearable - I pondered that all that walking under the weight of an almost full term tyke - had pushed my paunch muscles to the max, and my constant contraction was maybe just really tired and tight tummy muscles.

Walking didn't re-trigger the mornings' contractions , but every now and then I'd feel a cramping wave. I stopped timing them though - I'd had well enough of Daddy's app - and the ensuing disappointment when the numbers didn't come up trumps!  

Fortuitously, I had my weekly prenatal check-up that afternoon - can you believe I made it to yet another prenatal check?

I had to call late morning - once I conceded to myself that we'd actually be making it - to find out the appointment time (3:10pm). I hadn't paid any attention when I'd scheduled it - I'd been so sure we wouldn't need it. 

I felt a couple of contractions on the way. We were still maybe a 'go' - and maybe not. 

By the time I'd peed in a cup, and been weighed and rambled on about my 'false starts' and fake contractions to the nurse - the Doc deemed me a generous 3cm dilated! Yay for progress! My cervix had opened a whopping 1.5 centimeters since last week.

Two full-on mornings of Braxton-Hicks hadn't all been for nothing after all. But what slow progress - especially compared to the boys. It wasn't boding well for the speedy labour I'd been hoping for.   

I proudly relayed that I'd discovered my mucas plug in my pants that morning - meanwhile I was having another one of those silly contractions while sitting on the Doc's bench...

Of course all this didn't mean anything. The upshot was: It could happen anytime now..

*sigh. Well we already knew that. 

I made another 'bogus' appointment for next Monday. 

We drove home via HEB - I wanted to stock up the fridge - just in case the baby really was coming. Hindsight is 20-20, and it's easy to look back on the timing and realize (now) that I was having pretty regular and reasonably 'real' contractions by this time. I guess every 15 minutes or so.

Some might even say I was in labour.....

I recall at least two in the supermarket - the second one being pretty painful forcing me to lean over the trolley - while Daddy dawdled over ice-cream! Then there was another on the drive back.

When we got home we relieved our babysitting crew - Daddy's aunts - and Papa made a popping chili for a famished Momma.

At 6pm I recklessly wolfed down the biggest bowl of hot beans and mince. I resisted a second helping - thank God for that.

I reported the Doc's dilation results on Facebook - only realizing in the aftermath it read like I was already in the throes of labour. Looking back, perhaps I was....

Daddy took the dogs and the boys out for an evening walk. I was so convinced we wouldn't be meeting her that night. I told the hubs I'd walk out to meet him after making some courtesy calls - another walk couldn't hurt right?

It was sometime after 7pm when I called our close friend and stand-in birth buddy to give her an update as to the day's dalliance. Afterwards I called our night baby-sitting crew putting them on 'low' alert (mobiles by the bed).

It was during that second call - while talking to (one of) my Mother-in-laws - that I felt the first 'real' one. It shut me up, just for a few short seconds. My MIL noticed too - Momma doesn't shut-up too often.

I rang off and rapidly started racking the dishes. The kitchen was a wreck! What would the hubs' folks think were they to come over that night?

The next contraction - a mere two minutes later - had me doubled over at the dishwasher. I remember the oven clock reading 7:26....... then 7:29........ then 7:31. Time to summons Daddy.

They were coming fast and strong now.

I started out to fetch Daddy - bad idea - I didn't even make it as far as the deck gate before doubling over in agony. It probably wasn't the smartest idea heading out into the countryside anyway - at least so close to the end....

I retreated back inside to hunt down my philanderous phone. It was right there on the table - thank God for small miracles!

Daddy was at the door on the double and at my command calling in all the forces ASAP. I continued laboring while loading dirty dishes.

This was it!

These were contraction contractions. I'd fortuitously forgotten how merciless this pain was! Daddy loaded the car while I staggered around the house watching over the boys and waiting for back-up. They were bounding all over the house feeding off the excited 'baby's coming' energy.

The next twenty minutes or so was agonizingly slow - and the thought occurred that I really wasn't going to make it to the hospital. We were going to be on TV.

Birth partner and babysitters rocked up soon after, and in an attempt to accelerate an arduously long hand-over (minutes can feel like hours in full blown labor) I staggered out to the car hoping the hubs would follow quick-suit.

Save for groaning in primal pain - I didn't know how more subtly to get us moving to the hospital... stat.

Meanwhile Daddy was relaying dog feeding instructions....

I might be birthing a baby in the backseat, on the side of the highway, in 15 minutes - but at least the dogs wouldn't go hungry!

As soon as we got buckled in the two minute contractions stopped. Three minutes passed. WTF? The car ride had stopped them - then bam! After four minutes - holy cow! The pain was intensifying - and what a relief!

I wanted to have this baby. I was ready - more than ready - to bring this wee lady into the world!

'I fuckin' hate that triage room!' was all I could think during the car ride. That's the room they monitor for 'real' cases. The monitoring takes so long, while they 'make' you sit still! And sitting still slows it all down...

Daddy dropped me at the door and went off to park the car. I had to stop for three contractions while crossing the lobby - then another in the lift.

He overtook me somewhere on the maternity ward floor - racing past piled up with bags and a birthing ball.

I could here him hurriedly announcing to the nurse on attendance "She's coming - call the Doc, as soon as her waters break the baby's coming!"

Normally no self respecting neo-natal nurse will pay two hoots to panicky Papas. But this Papa was a seasoned pro.

All nurses eyes were on me as I slowly stepped into the ward.

I could see a flicker of recognition in Nurse Beverley's eyes. We'd bypassed triage!

Third baby status had finally given us the preggo-cred that all rookie parents rightly deserve! We should have had it right from the get-go three years back when boyo number one made his surprisingly speedy entrance!

Of course it had nothing to do with the ward being deserted - and a whole host of nurses desperate for some baby action!

My previous hospital experiences have all been up to par. There's been the odd complaint here or there - but this time they really listened. Mommy drove the show - once the admission and red-tape had been unraveled that was.

The only show-stopping question was "Do you want your water breaking?" What craziness were they talking - that's usually the highlight of my labours!

A quick "No interventions!" barked from Momma headed that one off. They hadn't been able to pull my birth plan from the system - but it didn't matter. I was clear and coherent enough to get this job done. I just needed someone to catch.

I regretted getting into my hospital gown the second it was on. It's hard to hold on to your dignity with just your arse cheeks bared. Better to go full frontal nude and butt-ass naked in my book!

Its press studs had been unprepped and after a few moments feeling like a fool the nurse created arm holes and clipped me in.

I was still in that 'I'd prefer to walk around in the nudie but don't want to look like an exhibitionist' place - so the pain had obviously not reached the 'I don't give a shit anymore' level. That happened a few minutes later.

One particularly irritating man was hung-up on my social security number - I didn't know the digits.

I was naked by then - I remember getting hot and yanking off my gown. My birthing buddy protected my modesty without me barely realizing it (thanks lady).

Nurse Bev handled him. I vaguely remember him hovering around while I was sitting naked and contracting on the bed... grubby penny pinching - pen pushing - perv he was!

I told him I was British - hence incapable of remembering a social security number.

Once they'd done their checks, drawn blood, gotten the hep-lock tapped into my vein and listened to baby, my endurance and patience for sitting had run its course. I tried to scoot off the bed, but the monitoring equipment held me hostage.

I was so desperate to stand I remember almost growling "Get these off me!" as I yanked fruitlessly at the monitoring pads strapped to my tum. Nurse Bev to the rescue - made short work of removing the straps and I was finally free to stand!

In spite of the brutal contractions I'd still been a 'don't panic we're only halfway there' 5cm - but both Daddy and I knew better. And thankfully Nurse Bev knew better too.

The hubs overheard her dismissing the second-in-command's suggestion to wait to call the Doc after they'd checked my uterus. Mercifully the Doc was on sight before we knew it.

I stood clinging to Daddy as the standing contractions coursed through my entire being, picking the pace up  a notch or two - it was back on like Donkey Kong!

I limped to the bathroom, sitting gratefully on the potty. I peed and farted - cursing my chilli gourge less than two hours earlier. I was going to be shitting and farting this lady out for sure.

The embarrassing notion soon paled in significance after a few paralyzing contractions on the can obliterated all but pain from my mind. Daddy helped me back on my feet and out into the room.

Sex in the City season 4 finale!
Miranda's waters breaking over Carrie's beloved shoes! 
By this time I was leaning heavily into the hubs feeling those bubble bursting contractions shake down through me.

I 'secreted' my waters to break, which they did - this time directly down - all over Daddy's $5 treasured thrift store Chacos!

Not quite the same league as Carrie's pricey pink ruffled Louboutin shoes that get showered in Miranda's waters - but just as precious to Papa!

Daddy's cheeky Chacos...
Carrie's legendary Louboutins!

Later Daddy told me he'd been secreting it too.

I vaguely recall the Doc and nurses engaged in a tete-a-tete regarding the plan of action - some nonsense about checking me again, after all I was still only 5cm and pretty posterior.. blah blah

I almost laughed out loud as I felt her moving down my uterus and I uttered those inevitable words "I need to push...."

That got their attention.

In spite of our warnings, for one iota of a second I saw utter disbelief on their faces - followed by swift action. I was up on the bed being checked in seconds. I heard - through my own groans - the blessed affirmation:

"Yes, it's all gone - she's fully dilated!" Then to me, "You can push now...."

Daddy interjected that we needed a mirror - which I kiboshed straight away. I wanted nothing to hold up this show. In a panic I cried out to my hubs, and held on to his hand tight.  The terror in that moment never goes away.

I really have to push a baby out of my vagina..... again? 

I'd missed the contraction, so I directed everyone to hang on before catching the next wave- seconds later I pushed through that pain... freezing while she crowned, then breathed, and mustering all my courage I pushed with all my might!


The second push was immense, and my girl came bursting out. With the speed she came out, it probably looked - and sounded - like a scene from aliens - only more blood!

No orgasm to report - at least not my kind of orgasm! A definite burning sensation which of course reached the clit - and every other outer vaginal region - once the head and shoulders raced through that ragged and ripped gash (a redundant choice of wording!)..

And there she was, sprawled between my knees on the bed, a blue-grey tiny baby alien bungeed to Mommy by the belly button.

I got some wonderful skin on skin time before my placenta and wounds needed tackling. My legs were shaking uncontrollably but other than that I was more present than I've ever been after my previous births.

My first birth I was hiding out somewhere on the ceiling, watching everything from a safe distance in my sublime bubble. Second birth I was more spent, plus there was no treacherous tear to tackle.

I watched in awe as Daddy cut the chord. He offered the honor to Mommy, but I felt I'd done enough - plus I still had my placenta to push out. More contractions came on cue..  and I felt a huge presence sitting in my vagina.

The Doc pulled the departed 'dessert' out and plonked it in a pot. It was as big as baby! Daddy could do wonders on the grill with that hunk of meaty nutrients. I didn't ask for a take-away box though - we're neither holistic nor hamsters after all!

Following the afterbirth scene, the Doc started to load up a nasty big needle to numb my nether regions. I watched in horror as she injected it into my already tender tissue in order to repair the rip down the center of my vagina.

Where in the center of my vagina?

I asked them to explain where twice, and I'm still not sure exactly where that tear is! I'm definitely more sore than ever before. (Maybe I'll take a mirror into the bathroom and examine myself tomorrow - though perhaps that's where Daddy will find me conked out on the floor).

I got to watch and feel the nip of a nasty u-needle again and again, and again....

The official times of my maternity milestones on record at the hospital are as follows:

9:49pm - Waters broke
9:51pm - Baby born

That's a total of two minutes 'pushing' - which included climbing onto the bed and a uterus check.

"So how many pushes?" I asked Daddy. He confirmed two.

"Momma's getting slack!" I joked. That had the Doc in stitches - while doing my stitches!

I'd broken my record and my vagina. The tear was the biggest I'd had with all three babes - although the Doc assured me she'd seen much worse. Yikes!

If I'd have taken more time, maybe the rupture could have been avoided - although I'd like to see anyone else try and hold one of my head-strong kids back once they've made up their mind it's a go...!

And for me (and her adoring Daddy) she couldn't have come a moment sooner!

The nurse was checking vital stats of my cheese covered Chiquita - before I even thought beyond 'baby'.

Measured up like Mary Poppins:
practically perfect in every way!
"Is she a girl then?"

"Yes!" Everyone laughingly chimed in.

And so we have a daughter. A divine and darling baby girl. Holy crap!

Once real labor kicked in, it only took her two and a half hours to cut loose. If we hadn't had to endure all the hospital procedure and red tape we might easily have shaved off twenty minutes or so.

Maybe next time....

Ha! I think we were having the "I think we're done.." convo, while the chord was still attached - or was I still pushing? That's probably when I was having the conversation with myself!

As we were leaving the hospital, Daddy thanked Nurse Beverley earnestly - then over his shoulder he couldn't help a parting shot,

"See you in another seventeen months!"

In the nine years I've known him, I honestly don't think I've ever seen him laugh so hysterically - especially at one of his own jokes!


  1. You are awesome jo! Love you to bits. What a wonderful story...I have tears in my eyes even though I heard the story from you yesterday. So glad you used the SATC story too. Xxx

    1. Thank you hun! It was fab catching up yesterday - can't wait to skype, so you can meet the wee lassie! x

  2. Congratulations Josie! I was wondering, when I saw your link on Friday Funny, why you weren't in the hospital having a baby. Now I know, you are just very efficient! Great story. And I thought I was quick with a 1 1/2 hour labour with my youngest!

    Looking forward to seeing more photos of the bub.

    1. Thanks Shelly! 2.5 hrs was plenty quick enough... I can't imagine getting it all done in 1.5hrs! Did you make it to the hospital in time - or was it a 'quick-get-in-the-bath' job at home?

  3. Congratulations to you and your beautiful family! I have 3 babies (18, 14 and 7) and I relived every bit of your post like it was yesterday....:) Actually, my last two were c-sections and my husband fainted when asked to "cut the cord", but still.... Blessings and hugs on your new journey with a girl..daughters are so much fun.

    1. Thank you Michele:D Your spacing is a little more sensible than our 17-month-between-kids gaps! Cutting the chord didn't really appeal to me either.. In spite of the med-free natural birthing craziness, I'm actually pretty squeamish (at least I was - maybe motherhood has cured me a bit)! I'm not so sure that I wouldn't faint myself if I was watching from the other end.....

  4. whew! Great detailed account! Visiting you from the Mommy Brain Mixer!

  5. Stopping by from the mixer and from my blog, Refrigerator Memories. I've been going through a lot of your blog posts and love them!