Erin's motherhood story - My birth didn't go as planned
41.5 weeks - 290 days - 6960 hours. That's how long I had been pregnant for. And of course, our little "Lenny" (as we had nicknamed him) was perfectly happy to keep us waiting. He was Lenny because at one time he was the size of a lentil and all the other food comparisons just didn't seem as cute!
I was booked for an induction at 7am. I struggled to sleep from about 2.30am and at 5am I knew I was in labour as I was having pains every 10 minutes and they were getting closer. I laid in bed by myself (my husband and I had slept in separate beds for months because I had restless legs, insomnia, was snoring, needed room and was hot... #pregnancylife! I was just taking it in, only I knew at this point. I went to the toilet at 6am and had a bloody show...yes, this was happening, 1 hour before I was to be induced. I went in and woke hubby up and said "I'm definitely in labour". I started getting ready for hospital and by the time we were ready to leave my contractions were 5 minutes apart.
By 7am we were at the Emergency Department (ED) of the Mercy Hospital. I spent 7 hours labouring in ED because there were no beds on the maternity ward. I spent many hours bouncing on a yoga ball to help me feel more comfortable. I went for a walk around the hospital and would find myself leaning up against a wall, swaying from side to side during contractions. I even did a few flights of stairs. My contractions continued to be 5 mins a part...yet I wasn't progressing much dilation wise. In ED, I had some Panadeine Forte which took the edge off and I was trying not to make too much noise (I don't know why that was), but it reached a point where I had to yell and scream as it felt so natural.
FINALLY, at about 4pm they had a bed in the maternity ward for me. I had called my mum to come to hospital now, as there just wasn't enough room in ED for her and my husband. I had always known I wanted her there, it wasn't even an option for me, it was just what was going to happen. She had said she wouldn't be in there for the pushing part, so I knew she wouldn't be there when he was actually born but I never got to push.
My 7 hours in ED are very clear in my mind, but once I was on the maternity ward, the next 6 hours or so seem a bit of a blur. No doubt because of the immense eff-ing pain I was in, being exhausted and definitely having some internal experiences where I had no sense of what was going on around me.
The short version of my very long labour: they had to break my waters, I remember how warm it was and it just kept leaking and leaking and it was gross because I constantly felt wet. I tried the gas a few times when I was desperate for some pain relief, but it made me feel dizzy. I couldn't concentrate on what I was doing, so I didn't want that again.
I would move from being on the bed, being on the floor, standing, walking, leaning, crouching and bouncing. All I wanted to do was lay down and rest because I couldn't as it was too uncomfortable to lay. The contractions were SO intense I was screaming and crying and felt it would never end.
I can't remember whether I brought it up or my mum, but she said "if you only had 30mins left of this, would you be able to manage the pain?" And I said I couldn't even manage 1 more minute. She suggested if I wanted an epidural that I should decide now. I didn't want one, I was so upset, I had done pregnancy yoga in the lead up to the birth and wanted to do everything possible to have a natural birth. But I was exhausted, physically and mentally. So I asked for an epidural (in fact I'm pretty sure I screamed for it). I don't think it took too long to organise however the bloody ridiculously long spiel they have to do before you can have it seemed to go for 20 minutes. I was yelling at her to hurry up, I didn't care, I just wanted it done. My husband had to hold me on the bed, keeping my legs tucked up whilst I was laying on my side. Trying to hold a lady in labour having contractions because she can't move is no easy job, I can tell you.
I always thought the idea of an epidural was horrific (serious needle phobia) but I honestly can't remember it hurting. Finally, no more pain. I actually fell asleep (I think for maybe an hour) and my mum and husband were finally able to rest as well.
I had been wearing a portable CTG monitor during the labour and sometimes the band would move and it was fall off and loose the baby's heartbeat. So the alarm had gone off a few times and I wasn't worried. In my sleep I heard it go off and wasn't bothered by it.
This is when my labour went into super intense mode and was the start of a very traumatic experience which I cried about daily for many weeks afterwards. Basically my body was having a continual contraction, it wasn't stopping...meaning that my baby's heart rate was increasing and not having a chance to go back down, so it was just going up and up and up. One doctor or midwife called out and within 30 seconds there were about 8 people in the room, all the bright lights were flicked on, everyone was buzzing around, it was like an episode of Grey's Anatomy.
They did many things like inserted a heart rate monitor inside me onto his scalp. I had always said I would never let them shove a piece of metal on my baby's head - but hey it happened. They gave me some needles, made me move around from side to side on the bed and I can't even remember what else.. I heard a voice say, if his heart rate doesn't come down in 1 minute, you will have to have an emergency Caesarian. And this is where I complexly lost it. I started crying...like full on whaling, not just sobbing, I could not calm down, I was so scared. Imagine someone afraid of needles, being cut open whilst awake. It had always been my worst nightmare and now it was likely to happen. I was screaming at them no no no I don't want to.
A lovely doctor who I had seen during my pregnancy a few times, came and held my hand and explained all of the risks and possible complications (again, not listening, in shock, all I remember was something about I might not be able to have any more children). Unbeknown to me, they were about to call a code green and put me under a general, but his heart rate went down just enough for them to rush me to theatre and get him out in 10 minutes. Before I left the room, I was crying saying "where is Andy?" (my hubby). He was standing right next to me but was in scrubs, and I thought he was a doctor as I didn't even recognise him. My mum says that Andy looked white as a ghost, I don't remember him doing or saying anything, but he would have been just as scared as I was.
Laying in theatre almost completely naked was a little uncomfortable. I remember feeling cold and shivering. As they gave me more drugs to numb me, I remember saying I could feel the prick test when maybe I couldn't really...SO of course I got given so much drugs that I had no feeling up to my neck. This meant I felt as though I could not breathe because I couldn't feel the rise and fall of my lungs. I argued with the nurse to give me some oxygen, so finally they gave me a mask and I could feel myself breathing more easily.
I don't remember much about the actual Caesarian, I was always worried if I did have to have one that I would hear noises and feel things...but I didn't (just like they said)! And then at 10.07pm, our little boy was out! Mitchell William Wegener, 3.6kg, 50cm. William is my father's name and has been a family name for many generations. It was an easy choice, we knew it would be our son's middle name if ever we had a son.
Honestly one of the first things I thought was "OMG" what is wrong with his testicles? They're HUGE! No one ever told me that when baby's are first born their genitals are enlarged because of all the hormones from labour. I've since discovered lots of mums have had a similar experience of shock and lots of dads have been impressed by what they've seen from their sons!
The other thing I noticed was that he wasn't crying, I knew he should be. I couldn't see him, he was being looked after by medical staff. Andy had gone over to him and I was yelling out asking what was happening. I asked why he wasn't crying; I literally had no idea if he was safe or alive. All I was told was that they were helping him to breathe. After 5-10 minutes, he was put on my chest but I couldn't even move my arms from the drugs so all I could do was kiss and talk to him. Then I was told he had to go to Special Care Nursery (SCN) so they could help him breathe better. Andy went with him, but no one ever told him he could stay with him overnight, Andy was still stressed about my recovery and the whole experience and in the moment, he didn't think to ask. I've had so much guilt about this, about him being alone for the first 12 hours of his life. I know he won't remember but I always will and I will always feel so sorry that we weren't sitting next to him all night while he was in the humidicrib.
We had already decided on his name a few days before he was born, but I didn't want to call him MITCHELL until he was born (just in case we changed our mind). I held my son properly for the first time at 9.30am the day after his birth. By 8pm that night he was out of SCN and on the ward, but had to keep the IV drip in his tiny little hand so he could continue to have antibiotics. Day 2, he had a temperature and they wanted to send him back to SCN, thankfully I was able to keep him on the ward.
The first few days after birth were so hard, I was extremely hormonal, emotional and exhausted. I had wondered why I had decided to have a child, how I could possibly do this, I felt like I had no idea what I was doing and was so scared I would be terrible. Mitchell was so perfect but I didn't feel an instant love for him. I thought there was something wrong with me. I felt so guilty for this, I was so upset for a few weeks about it and thought I had postnatal depression. I stopped feeling guilty when the Maternal Health Nurse told me that this was completely normal and that most women have to develop and attachment with their baby it is not just instant.
We spent 4 days in hospital. I had a shower after a few days, it was so hard to move around. I didn't want to take a cocktail of drugs for the pain, but once I was home I found I was in more pain as I was moving around more. I definitely pushed myself too early and ended up in so much pain one day I was crying trying to get into the car. It's hard to force yourself to not do the things you're used to doing, but it's so important for your recovery to let your body repair not just from pregnancy and labour but from an emergency caesarian.
I am now totally obsessed with my little Mitchy, he is the best part of our days. He is gorgeous, funny, happy and loving. All of that birth seems so long ago; it was so significant for the first few weeks and I still have very strong feelings associated with it, but I know now that it was just 1 day and I will have a million amazing days with Mitchy that will make up for that one. And in the end, I would do it all over again to have my beautiful boy.
Kids: one beautiful boy - Mitchell.
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Coffee order: I love a quality hot chocolate in the cooler months!
Biz: Bra specialist
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