After waiting a very long 7 days after our due date (by very long, I mean that everyday felt like a week… a little like a Christmas present staring at you when it was Christmas last week and you are still waiting to open it), my waters broke at 3:30am on Saturday the 21st of May. It wasn’t like the ‘flowing gush’ of water that you see on the movies these days that made me wonder if it was my waters that broke. With that being said, I went back to sleep and didn’t wake Justin.
On Saturday morning Justin took me for a walk to get things moving. We walked, skipped, danced and laughed around our neighbourhood. On our journey home, to our surprise, hundreds of bats living behind our street were going crazy around our house. As this was our first bub, Justin and I decided to go to the hospital just to check that it was my waters that broke, which it was. The midwife gave us two options… 1. I could get induced there on the spot, or 2. we could go home and wait. After already waiting a week over our due date, we decided to go home and let things happen naturally.
We drove home, and we were home for 45 minutes and the contractions started. We decided to labour in our bedroom for 3 hours waiting, as my contractions grew stronger and closer together. Our bedroom was filled with candles, our favourite music was playing and Justin was talking me through every contraction and putting me in and out of the shower when I felt like I needed it. When I knew my contractions hit two in ten minutes and I felt like I needed to be in hospital, we decided to leave. With every contraction over that 3-4 hour period of being at home and driving to the hospital, I focused on my breathing and listening to Justin talk me through them. After arriving at the hospital, I entered my birthing room that was dark and warm. It felt like my little cave that I didn’t want to leave.
At this stage, I was 3cm dilated. When the midwife told me this I didn’t lose hope or strength because Justin was there telling me it was okay and that I was beautiful and doing an amazing job. We laboured for another 4 hours in and out of the shower and on the fit ball until it was time to check again, and I was devastated when I had only dilated another 1cm. I looked at Justin and the tears rolled in. Again, he reminded me that what I was doing was bringing our baby closer to us and I couldn’t do anymore or anything differently. I reminded myself that this was up to my body and our baby girl. As my contractions grew stronger and more powerful, I made the decision to have gas to ‘tone down’ the overwhelming feeling of my contractions that were only felt in the front of my pelvic area. Although I had Justin supporting me, I was losing trust knowing I was only 4cm dilated and had to get to 10cm. The inner teacher in me kept telling myself… ‘how on earth am I not half way yet?’.
I knew that it was time for me and my body to have an epidural. Justin questioned many times ‘is this really what you want?’ as I was determined to accomplish this on my own. When I was about to ask Justin if we could just go home, my saviour, Tracey walked through the door smelling of peppermint and radiating with soft, calm vibes. I was so happy that she was there I think I cried. After having the epidural, it didn’t work. It only made my right knee numb… this called for a second administration. After this, my entire left leg went numb, but I could still feel my contractions building although the intensity wasn’t there anymore. I liked that I still felt a little in control.
I continued to work through the weaker contractions and was now dilated 8cm and had been in the hospital for 12 hours. We had finally entered the next stage of labour and I knew this because I was exhausted. I also knew that this is when I had to soon push this baby out. Only weeks ago I was told I had to have a caesarean, I needed to remind myself of how lucky I was to have a vaginal birth. After over an hour of contractions and pushing, my contractions started to slow down. This little girl was very content inside my belly and wasn’t just quite ready to enter the world. I was given a hormone drip to push my contractions along. I pushed for another hour, and had the Doctor tell me that we may need to get the vacuum if she isn’t coming out. Just then, with another push, Justin saw her head and started to cry with excitement. Tracey had me touch her head and continued to remind me of how close we were. This gave me some hidden power and motivation to build any last energy I had left to push again. Seeing your partner so overwhelmed, as they are encouraging you with every push, gave me the strength to push her out. With that last push, she moved over my tailbone and entered the world into her Father’s hands and bare chest.
And just like that, I had this little warm body on my chest searching for my nipple. I had tears rolling down my face as I looked at Justin and said ‘we did it’. This experience showed me how important it is to have an active partner at the birth encouraging you, reminding you of breathing techniques and telling you every second how amazing you are. There we were, the three of us together as if the moon, stars and sun all aligned and made a perfect moment that we will never, ever forget. At that moment, the one thing I did forget though, was all that came in those 15 hours beforehand after Luca was placed on my chest. I am forever grateful to our midwife, Tracey, who the universe was so lucky to give us.
Renee & Justin