Barely being able to stand in the shower I noticed that there was blood everywhere, looking up at the ceiling I prayed to some spiritual being above that my lovely lady bits were okay. Taking a deep breath I looked down at the carnage that used to be my vagina and gasped in horror at the road kill. I wondered if Sasha Grey’s vagina looked the same after being banged by a few dozen big black men and realized I was probably right on the money.
The last few weeks of pregnancy are an emotional rollercoaster, being a week overdue my patience was running thin, I could barely move, couldn’t sleep; reflux was at an all time high and was sweating constantly. And then it happened, 5:45am on Wednesday morning I awkwardly climbed back into bed after the 5th toilet visit that night, and felt a dull ‘pop’, fluid trickled over my thigh and I ran as fast as I could for the toilet laughing giddy with excitement, while calling out for Cory along the way. We were going to have a baby – FINALLY! We danced around our room, hugged and kissed then eventually got back into bed to wait for whatever happened next.
Within half an hour I had my first contraction; it was just like a wave of period pain which lasted about a minute and they continued sporadically all morning, roughly 5 to 7 minutes apart. Cory and I tried to keep ourselves occupied, with ‘best of’ episodes of How I Met Your Mother (The Playbook episode… Legen – wait for it – Dary!), and nervous excited chatter. I called the hospital at 9am to let them know that I would be seeing them soon and they told me to come in so they could monitor me… um, no thanks! Last thing I wanted was to be in hospital for who knows how long, so I told them I would be at home for as long as humanly possible.
At 11:30am I was in active labour with my contractions getting more frequent (4 minutes apart) and much stronger, so it was time to put my Hypnobirthing skills into play… With my relaxation cd’s playing, and Cory reading Hypno scripts, I would greet each surge of a contraction with deep breathing and visualisation. After a minute the contraction would be over and I could continue snacking, laughing, smiling and bouncing on my ball.
It all happened so fast but by the time it was 12:30pm my contractions were 90 seconds to 2 minutes apart and I was starting to worry that maybe I wouldn’t make it to the hospital in time. Cory and I got settled into our birth suite at Tweed Heads Hospital and I continued to bounce on the exercise ball like I was in a Jane Fonda workout VHS. My midwife Sally, confirmed that we were still Hypnobirthing and that we would be left alone to progress naturally like stated in our birthing plan.
At 4:30pm an Obstetrician came in to tell me that they were worried that I wasn’t actually in active labour because I was so happy, relaxed and calm, and not to be surprised if my cervix wasn’t dilated just yet. My jaw dropped open in shock… was I really not even close to giving birth just yet?! So the Obstetrician asked to feel my cervix and to her total amazement I was 6cm dilated with only 4cm to go! Suddenly I could see the finish line and knew I was close… so very close!
I jumped into a warm bath and lost myself in the contractions, I was in a dream like state, with every thought to my baby and breathing. Cory was the most amazing person to have by my side, his calming tones and helping me relax to the max was imperative to our birthing success. Sally came in and checked Hunter’s heartbeat every 10 minutes just to see that she was happy and healthy, as a rise or decrease in bubba’s vital signs would mean they would strongly suggest emergency caesarean. With each surge and my deep, slow, heavy Hypnobirthing breaths I was keeping my baby totally calm and relaxed, it was so incredible to hear her heartbeat every few minutes as it completely reassured me that I was doing the best I could for her.
Suddenly I felt this intense pressure in my bum and I jumped out of the bath like a bat out of hell and landed on the toilet, oh god I didn’t want to be one of those poo preggo ladies where it goes everywhere (sorry boys… well known pregnancy fact. Poo happens. Deal with it.) However once my contraction came on (they were now every 20 seconds apart but would last 90 seconds or more) I realized it was the feeling of Hunter ready to come out! Yippee!
Once again my midwife didn’t think I was completely dilated and ready to go as I was still happy and calm, with no screaming, swearing or any other ridiculous Hollywood stereotypes. She felt for my cervix at 5:30pm and with a big surprised smile announced ‘I can feel her head! You have no cervix left and are ready to go!’
Holy shit I was about to have a baby, I held Cory’s hand and we just looked at each other.
I’m not going to lie, but right at that stage I was scared, I have no idea where that fear came from but it took me about 20 minutes to shake it off and continue what I had started. In those 20 minutes not a lot happened and I realized I had to get back to concentrating on Hypnobirthing and breathing correctly to get her out. Listening to my body and Cory’s relaxation prompts, I stuck to my plan of ZERO PUSHING, and instead I ‘breathed’ our baby out. With each surge I bared down with my breath, let out a long moan and could feel her slowly moving on out. It felt like intense pressure in your bum, like you could rip in half at any moment, plus a burning sensation like your vagina and ass had just ingested some hot chillies… BAM! Finally her head was out and I could feel her wriggling around. I slumped back into the bed, my job was done… the rest was a walk in a park! It was an exhausting, emotional and at times excruciating hour long final stage of labour.
With the next contraction she would be out of me, and I couldn’t wait! Cory grabbed under her arms and when the next surge happened he lifted her out, all I could see was his face and the complete joy and shock of what he was doing. Slippery and covered in goop, Cory clumsily flung her onto my waiting chest. She didn’t cry or scream but just looked up at me as if to say ‘Yo mum and dad, I’m here!’ She was born at 6:37pm after 7 hours of labour.
My body instantly went into shock, I went a pale shade of green, was shaking all over and could barely talk or function normally. All I could see in the room was Hunter Rose and her daddy. Everyone fussed around us with the mess and the goop, we were oblivious to everything!
She was so beautiful, with a full head of hair, her tiny pouty lips and rosy round cheeks made us fall head over heels for her. I had done it. It was over!
Cory cut the cord and the midwife who was attending to my placenta, congratulated me on not tearing my all important nether regions. Pretty sure Cory and I high fived! I expressed out loud that I wasn’t sure if I had Hypnobirthed correctly, as the last hour was not what I expected at all. A few of the midwives looked at my like I was nuts and said how proud they were of my birth, that usually a ‘natural’ first birth would go for 20 hours or more, with screaming and carrying on (one new mum mentioned that she was jealous that I wasn’t heard in all the other birthing rooms) and they would usually end in tearing, epidurals, gas and in a lot of cases emergency c-sections.
I couldn’t walk, and if I did it was like Dirty Harry in some Western flick. But I was on my baby-moon (like a honey moon but different), nothing mattered and I only had eyes for my bub! The next day I was discharged from Hospital as I didn’t like the fact that Cory could only visit between certain hours, bit hard to bond as a family when he’s not allowed to be there.
Definitely wanting to make this clear, I did not get lucky with my birth or fluke it, this was a solid 6 months of education, practicing, Hypno and knowledge. Hypnobirthing made the first 6 hours of labour a fantastic, exciting and joyful experience, and obviously made the last hour bearable even though it was more full on and intense than what I expected. Next pregnancy will be a breeze as I’ll be a Hypno pro and will know exactly what is going on! I recommend it to everyone who is thinking of going down the natural birth path.
Staring down at my train wreck of a vagina, I wondered if it would ever be the same again. What on earth had I done to it? If this was an easy and calm birth, I would hate to see what the other end of the scale would be like… I sighed and wondered how many months my vagina would take to get back to its normal lovely self.
It took 5 days.
PS- Women are AMAZING, and now I can do ANYTHING!