So the final instalment of the pregnancy diaries is here. The moment it was all leading up to… the arrival of our baby!
Maisie arrived on Thursday, July 22nd at 4.22pm.
It started on the Saturday before. I had passed my due date by three days and had come to terms with the fact I might be pregnant forever. We were watching a movie when I started getting more intense cramping than I had previously experienced with Braxton Hicks. It came and went every 10-20 minutes, so I wasn’t super concerned about anything happening immediately, but was excited something was happening!
These cramps continued until Monday when they suddenly just stopped. Google tells me this was perhaps prodromal labour – your body goes through the motions but isn’t actually doing anything. Tuesday I had no cramping at all and was back to thinking I’d be pregnant forever.
Then, around 5am on Wednesday, the cramps started again, and were even more intense. I figured these were definitely contractions. It was similar to period pain in my uterus and back, but also pressure in my pelvis, all coming at once. It started out around 10 minutes apart and got closer together as the day went on. I had a midwife appointment that afternoon, if I hadn’t, I would have been making a call to them!
1.45pm – midwife appt with Jill. I described the pain to her, and she thought it sounded like early labour. Woohoo! But, said it still might be a while. She checked my cervix and I was 1cm dilated and very “favourable” – she said about 1cm left of effacement. She had to dig around a bit to find the cervix opening as Maisie’s head was so low (very comfortable as you can imagine…). Jill advised me to take some gravol and Tylenol to try and get some sleep and then hopefully I would wake up in labour.
When we got home, I took some gravol, but it didn’t help me to sleep, so I just laid in the sofa and watched Shrek. Over the course of the afternoon the pain gradually got more intense. I felt quite rested despite not sleeping and quite relaxed too.
6pm ish – I paged the on call midwife as I was at the 4-1-1 stage of contractions (4 minutes long, with 1 minute in between for 1 hour). I could still talk though, so Kayley said to take more gravol get some more sleep while I could – she also said to stop timing the contractions at this point and focus on other things. As the gravol hadn’t worked before I didn’t bother taking more. I went to bed, but I woke up with every contraction so ended up sleeping on the couch propped kind of upright to find a vaguely comfortable position.
6am – I’d had enough of the pain. Was really having to breathe through each contraction at this point and the pressure on my pelvis was pretty insane. I woke up Tom and called the midwife number again and Kayley said she could check me at home or meet at the hospital. I felt pretty adamant that Maisie was on her way with the pressure in my pelvis, so asked for the hospital option. She said I’d likely be given morphine and gravol and sent home to sleep.
6.45am – we arrived at the hospital and Kayley checked me over. I was 2cm dilated and had monitors put on my belly. With a few contractions Maisie’s heart rate dropped so they kept me on the monitoring system for a while to see what was going on.
8.30am – eventually they decided they weren’t happy sending me home and would rather get things moving. Kayley went home when Jill from the midwife team arrived and Jill gave me an IV for oxytocin. We then very slowly walked our way up to the birthing suites where we would stay for the rest of the birth and recovery, all things being well. We met the on call nurse, Courtney, who was also very nice.
12 noon – the contractions had gradually got more intense. Courtney suggested putting some music on the TV, and for the first time ever Tom was happy for me to choose Country Classics! I tried bouncing on a ball and then started on the gas and air to ease the pain, but eventually the pelvic pressure moved me back to the bed. The gas and air was fantastic. I felt drunk. Like the edge of drunk where you go from feeling good to crap, but I lingered on the good side – if I kept my eyes open too long, the room would spin and I’d feel sick, but if my eyes were closed it just made me feel better about the pain. My nurse and midwife both went for their lunch breaks and at this point it felt like everything was an eternity – the nitrous oxide screwed with my perception of time. A different nurse came in during this time, but I genuinely thought Jill and Courtney weren’t going to make it back in time for the delivery which freaked me out a bit.
I had been offered an epidural several times, but in my mind if I said yes it would just prolong things and I didn’t want that at all. The stand-in nurse had paged the OB to come and check my dilation, but soon she asked if I wanted her to do it. I was desperate for things to get moving, and felt like they were, so said yes.
2.30pm – I was now 5cm dilated, and I think around this time my water broke (and there was meconium in it). Once you reach 5cm that’s kind of the indicator that you’re on your way! Having read my notes now, they removed the oxy drip at this point because things needed to slow down a little. The whole time I was in the hospital I had to have monitors on my belly to check Maisie’s heart rate – it continued to dip every now and then, which was quite scary particularly as things seemed to be taking time (again that’s based on my skewed sense of time, not reality!).
3.50pm – Jill and Courtney were back in the room with plenty of time to spare! And so came the pushing… I’d heard the phrase “ring of fire” mentioned, and at this point I learnt why. The pain was the most intense I’d ever felt, and it seemed to be going on forever and really fast both at the same time. I had no clue about how things were actually going once pushing began, but was offered to look in a mirror which I confidently (and abruptly) declined. I had Tom by my side and Jill was giving him and me instructions – holding legs, when to push, when to pause on the gas and air.
4.22pm – she arrived! It was pretty scary waiting to find out that she was ok. The nurses took her over to the station to weigh her and clean her up, I at some point had her on my chest to meet her but in all honesty it’s a total blur! She was tiny, gorgeous and perfectly healthy!
This is the end of the pregnancy journey, but I’ll now create a new section of my blog now to share the journey of parenting!
Although 4.22pm on July 22nd marked the end of my pregnancy, it was by no means the end of our labour/delivery hospital stay – there were still tests and stitches to go! If you’d like to read about them, check out my next post, which will be the first in the Parenting section of my blog!!