A 38 Hour Saga

Birth was going to be easy – it’s in my genes – fast and painless. The plan was done, natural all the way, bag packed, and now I just needed to deal with peeing all the time and the fact I couldn’t sleep – I was in a lot of pain now. The big day arrived, but I’d only managed two hours sleep the night before. I woke at 8am with contractions that quickly built in intensity, but the timing was out. We called the doctor and he said go to hospital. In we went, texting family and friends, but my contractions faded and were still all over the place – four minutes apart, 10 minutes apart, 20 minutes apart....

After five hours, we checked out of hospital (they actually forgot about us) went home and watched “Dude, Where’s My Car?” - Ashton Kutcher will always be part of my first birth experience. When we did go to bed, we held hands, and every time I had a contraction, I woke my husband and checked on timing.

By this stage, I was on my second night without sleep and had been enduring full contractions most of that time. At 4.30am, I broke down and said I can’t keep doing this! I was exhausted, but it wasn’t the pain, it was the fact I wasn’t making any progress. After a shower and more despair, we went back to hospital at 6am.

Thankfully my water had broken by this point, but I hadn’t dilated at all and my doctor said I could be in labour for three days. Crikey! The doctor pulled Steve aside, explaining our baby was in distress, and they needed to induce me, however because I was exhausted, he said I needed an epidural. I had been adamant - no epidural - but my husband came and spoke to me, asking me to reconsider. He pointed to the monitor indicating our baby was in trouble and when I looked at his face I knew he was very concerned. I agreed, and once the epidural kicked in, I slept soundly for five hours. My husband also slept.

Then the time was upon us and the room full of people. I yelled to Steve to wake up, but he couldn’t, so one of the nurses shook him, he jumped up, ran into the bathroom to splash water on his face, tried to get himself together – it was chaos. All the while, I was being drilled on pushing techniques by a very aggressive nurse – “push for 10 counts, go 12345678910, relax….”

It was the most bizarre time of my life. Steve grabbed the camera and got snapping, spending all his time at the head end with me. We decided that first time round Steve would stay away from the “business end,” because I was fearful he’d be turned off by the sight.

I pushed for two counts of 10 and Lex, our first son, was born. I thought he looked purple, but apparently he was blue (the cord was wrapped around his neck), so after I got two seconds to hold this weird little thing, he was whisked away by a team of paeds, paed nurses and specialists to be suctioned. He was fine and it never occurred to me to be worried – although my husband was beside himself with panic until Lex started crying. I was oblivious.

It was strange. I expected this gushing love towards the baby, but I didn’t feel anything. My husband felt the same and was more concerned for me than anything else. But we spent a lot of time laughing and goofing around and even though start to finish it was 38 hours, we still laugh at a lot of the things that happened – it was truly surreal. This also included me having an allergic reaction to the epidural, which meant I projectile vomited up a stomach full of jelly snakes as my husband kept me going with sugar. Then I had a major itching attack that left me covered in bleeding welts. Apparently I’m allergic to fentanyl. Who knew?

Love for Lex did come though – powerfully, deeply, irrevocably – in the coming weeks...

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