And since my two babies kept me up alllllll night long, I had plenty of time to reminisce about their loud and dramatic entrances to the world. I cringe at some memories, and laugh at others – and am sorta kinda grateful I never have to do it again.
* I tried everything to get my 10-day-overdue baby out of my body, and nothing worked. I walked hills, I ate curry, I bounced on a fitball, I drank raspberry leaf tea 48 times a day – everything. And NOTHING worked.
* Despite my best intentions, I went to the hospital with the first baby way too early, and was in the delivery suite for 17 hours before the baby arrived. 36 hours after my first contraction, 18 hours after my waters broke, and 10 hours after I was finally induced, out popped the baby.
* I say “out popped the baby” and it is a dirty, filthy lie. She was suctioned out while I screamed bloody murder and some poor sod was trying to dab at my face with a wet cloth.
* The obstetrician actually asked me to stop screaming and push instead, but that is like asking a woman who is getting ripped in half by a chainsaw-wielding maniac to stop whining and give the maniac a hand.
* It is almost impossible to sleep sitting up on a fitball.
* I cried into my cornflakes when the midwife told me I wasn’t anywhere near giving birth, and I wasn’t even in active labour yet, despite not sleeping for two days and having contractions that whole time.
* The shower was better than the bath, although I think bathtime might have been when they turned up the syntocinon and shit got real brutal real fast. I don’t know how long I lasted in there, but I was NOT serenely communing with nature and imagining my contractions as tightenings, waves, or any other euphemisms, as I had originally hoped. I was a hair’s breadth away from ripping out my own eyeballs and way too busy perfecting my black metal death screams. The acoustics are really good in there.
* You will say stupid things to the epidural guy, just like they tell you. I literally had to bite my tongue rather than profess my undying love to him.
* There is a special place in heaven reserved for women whose epidurals wear off. In that special place will be comfortable cushions, cups of tea, and an unlimited supply of anaesthesia.
* I remember screaming “NOOOOO!” really rather forcefully when the midwife politely inquired as to whether I’d like a mirror to see the head? She was somewhat taken aback.
* There was music playing somewhere but I did not hear a single note.
* My kid looked gigantic when they handed her to me, and I remember being absolutely mesmerised. And in slight disbelief. It actually WAS a baby, and I grew it, and it was mine!
* The second time around, I refused to believe I was properly in labour, even though I was. But my contractions weren’t consisently five minutes apart, they were sometimes two, and sometimes six, and after so many starts and stops with the last labour, I waited until almost the last second to go to hospital.
* That car ride to the hospital was the worst EVER IN MY WHOLE LIFE.
* I couldn’t actually get out of the car when we got there. It took three attempts and I had a contraction every time I moved.
* The midwife at the desk didn’t believe me when I said I had phoned ahead but got no answer. She thought this was my first baby and I didn’t know what I was doing.
* I was more comfortable sitting up with my legs hanging off the bed than in any other position. And when I say comfortable, I mean it was the one I felt like I was dying the least in.
* I only took my contractions that day seriously when one of them was so strong it made me put my burrito down.
* Pretty sure I swore at the fitball.
* Pretty sure I swore at the midwife (same one) who calmly and arrogantly put off my requests for an epidural like I was a typical hysterical lunatic. I tried to explain between contractions that I just wanted a peaceful, lovely birth and she was all like “isn’t that what you had last time? You had an epidural”, with a cursory glance at my file, clearly missing the part where I specifically stressed not to dick around with epidurals after I had high anxiety after my last traumatic birth. I sat there with my mouth gobbing open like a fish, with a thousand thoughts needing to be expressed and none of them getting a chance to before another contraction knocked me out.
* I finally forgave her when she let me OD on the gas until I giggled uncontrollably.
* The gas also made me think my midwife (the other one!) was the prettiest thing I’d ever seen and I was compelled to tell her so.
* As I sat up to have the epidural put in my back, I felt my waters break and the baby start moving down. I knew that it was too late for an epidural by then, so I didn’t tell anyone in the hopes that they would still give it to me anyway. When the midwife asked me if I had the urge to push, I pretended I didn’t hear her.
* I remember being very clear-headed the second time around. Labour without syntocinon induction (for me) was a whole different kettle of fish. I had down time in between contractions, and I could concentrate on my environment and face the contractions head on. I joked with Matt, asked the student midwife all sorts of crazy questions about what the hell she thought she was doing getting into this business, and managed to not lose my mind.
* I was very grateful the pushing stage was 15 minutes and not two hours, like last time.
* I was so excited to see Pepper’s tiny little face. I wasn’t so dumbfounded this time, I knew what was coming and I was ready for it. She looked exactly like her sister, but much pinker. I was in love.
* There is nothing better than a post-birth cup of tea, slice of toast, and hot shower. NOTHING.
What do you remember?