So its been a month and WOW… has it been an experience.
As you all probably know, my Sofia Nicole arrived on a Monday, October 24th at 4:12pm. She was 6 pounds and 13 ounces. It was a grueling 44 hour labor. With the erratic and inconsistent contractions, getting sent home from the hospital after hour 18, taking two days to dilate to 3 cm, no recollection of 5 hours of the labor, and the indescribably pain I have ever felt in my whole life… it was all worth it. I did it all naturally. No drugs. Yay me! To this day, I still cannot believe I had it in me to accomplish such a thing. It’s been 5 weeks since that amazing day and I still have not caught up on the sleep I missed. But I’m not complaining. Sofia and every emotion she has brought with her, good and bad, has been worth every agonizing minute of the labor. I can’t even explain it!!!
Excuse my bloaty face!
Sofia Nicole Sullivan. 1 hour old. Look how alert she is! She stayed this alert ALL NIGHT long.
So for those of you who are curious… here is my birth story.
On the Saturday before the Monday Sofia was born, I started feeling some very mild stomach pains at about 5.30am. It woke me up and I couldn’t relax so I had an hour long shower to help relax. I was WAY too excited because I knew this was it! The pains were coming every 30 min but they were very very mild. So mild in fact we decided to still attend Helena’s birthday brunch. It was hilarious. It was a very boozy lunch and all my intoxicated ladies were screaming words of encouragement at my belly… Water… BREAK!!!! Baby come out!!! My water never did break actually. The midwife had to break it during the labor, which was at the point I had blacked out in as I do not remember it happening. B said they pretty much stuck a stick up there to rupture the membrane. Yuck!
Anyways, for the rest of Saturday, we did everything we could to speed up the labor and contractions. Complete with a jalapeno pizza and a chilli hot chocolate, my contractions did get more intense but it did not help making it more consistent. Finally, at 3am Sunday morning, ALLELUIAH, 5 min apart!!! And the pain was unbearable (so I thought). We happily made our way to the Royal Women’s, bags all packed. I excitedly let my sister Krissy (who is staying with us temporarily) know we are off and that we would call her when she was to come. At this point, I had to stop and breath through each contraction while squeezing B’s hand. The pain was pretty intense but little did I know, this would be the baby pains compared to what was to come. After being monitored for 2 hours, the heartbreaking words came out of the midwives’ mouth… “You are only 1 cm dilated. You are in pre-labor. You must go home and ride it out… come back when the pain worsens.”
“WHAAAAT???????????????” I screamed. “YOU MEAN THIS IS NOT QUITE THE PAIN I AM GOING TO FEEL???? I AM ONLY 1 CM???” B brought me home, kicking and screaming (literally), stopping for a Mickey D’s sausage mcmuffin on the way home. I did not enjoy it.
The next 24 hours was absolute hell. I was wanting to meet Sofia so badly but had to suffer through these erratic contractions, that become increasingly unbearable, before we could meet her. We kept calling the midwife and she kept encouraging me to keep distracted. I had taken Panadine to ease the anxiety but it did nothing for me. It was a beautiful sunny day on the Sunday and I tried to enjoy it. We went out for a walk and Krissy and I sat in the park while Ben went to get us some gelato. I was not in the mood to brave the crowds on Acland street in pain! By the time he got back with the gelato, the ice cream had melted all over his hands. It was that hot out. Tragic but hilarious. We kept receiving Facebook messages, texts and phone calls all wondering the same thing… Is she here yet? You are STILL in labor?? As grateful as I am for my beloved family and friends, I just wanted to scream at the top of my lungs. Yes I am still in this horrible labor! Leave me alone!
5am Sunday morning… B had enough. I was literally yelling through every contraction as it became harder to calmly breathe through it. Krissy could hear my wails through the walls. They were 2 min, 5 min, 12 min, or 20 min apart. There was no way either B or I could sleep through it. So off we went back to the hospital. IN. ABSOLUTE. AGONY. Guess what? I was only 3cm dilated! I could not believe it. But because I was creating such chaos they decided to check me in and declare me to be officially in labor. Thank you Lord!!!
The next 11 hours was absolutely crazy. I won’t go into the gory details, but basically, I lost my mind. I stood in the shower for about 4 hours. Gas on hand. The gas helped ease the anxiety but did not help with the pain. I just felt extremely loopy. But the staying on my feet and active helped me dilate to 7 cm really quickly, which was so encouraging. But by the time I was at 7cm, I just could not bear it and actually asked for the epidural. In tears. I remember saying, I don’t care anymore… just GIVE me something!!! Thankfully, B and the midwife talked me out of it. That was the last of what I remember. I completely blacked out from this point on. Apparently Krissy came and left as she could not watch it. I screamed at the midwives calling them liars after telling me an epidural was too late. B had to take a time out. “Is this normal???” He asked. “Yes, don’t panic.” Lol!
But the wonderful midwives the RWH helped me through it… they are AMAZING. Seriously. I would not have been able to get through it without Kath and Wendy by my side. It amazes me that this is the public health system… what women in North America would pay to have a natural birth with amazing midwives as these women to get them through it. Anyways… I remember the pushing part… being so exhausted… I could not do it… no matter what position. All fours, on my knees, squatting, you name it. The position that I finally felt comfortable pushing is the classic one you see in movies, on my back. Strangely enough! The midwives made me feel Sofia’s head partially coming out and feeling her head partially out… knowing the end was near was got me through it. Seeing this made B cry… he saw EVERYTHING! Good on him for being such an amazing support person. Anyways, because I took so long to push, she came out a Code Blue (not breathing). I was a little out of it. But I knew something was wrong when they didn’t put Sofia on my chest and rushed her to the operating table and about 5 nurses and doctors rushed in. Krissy was in the waiting room and they called a Code Blue to room 4. Panic! But they did their magic and Sofia was breathing in no time. Extra precaution was just called apparently.
As soon as she was out, it was like I woke up from a dream. I was completely there… I had adrenaline running through my system. It was like a sobered up instantly. It was the strangest sensation. Looking at this little human being that came out of me… surreal. While they stitched me up (only 1 little stitch yay!), Sofia relaxed on my chest eyes wide open. B and Krissy went to get some food… not realizing B and I hadn’t eaten in almost 24 hours. The midwives were in complete awe and kept congratulating me on this accomplishment of no drugs. Apparently, while almost 100 percent of the women that give birth at this hospital intend to do natural birth, only about 5 percent actually go through with it. Boy did they make me feel like a hero! But honestly, I do not know if I could go through that again. But because of the natural birth, Sofia has been alert and developing wonderfully. Our maternal nurse says she can always tell which babies have come out naturally as they are always one step above the average, growth, breastfeeding, development, etc. Sofia fits dead on in that category. We have had no problems with feeding and she is growing beautifully. My recovery was virtually non-existent. My one stitch was no big deal, I barely felt it. I was walking comfortably right after the birth (with the exception of that stupid catheter they made me wear for 24 hours). Sofia and I home within 36 hours.
So all in all… natural birth? Not easy. I cannot believe that I actually went through with it. I have to say though, I don’t think I went through it very bravely. I would not have been able to do it without the support that I had. I was begging for an epidural but I am so thankful that my support helped me stick with my goal. Apparently natural birth just gets easier after the first one. I will deal with that decision when the time comes. But despite the hard labor and the pain, I could not have asked for a better experience. I would also urge every Mama to do it as naturally as possible… its absolutely magical.
5 weeks in… she has rocked our world. I’m going to end this post now before I start to bore you, if I haven’t already! But the joys (and woes) of Motherhood will come in the posts to come I am sure. Can you believe that a year ago, I was moving to Istanbul to live with a man I had met a couple months before? Who would have thought we would have a baby and be living in Australia, married a year later? Amazing.