This is the story of how we came to meet our third baby, Eloise.
Hubby and I had always known we wanted at least three children, and even though life was wonderful with our two gorgeous kidlets, someone was missing.
We hadn’t started officially trying to conceive a baby, but we stopped actively preventing, with the intention to start TTC in 2014. However, while I was visiting my friend Mel in QLD I started suspecting that I may be pregnant. I mentioned my suspicions to Mel on the drive to the airport before flying home. She was very excited, and convinced me to do a test at the airport. We rushed around to find a pharmacy, then went to the toilets so I could do the test. Sure enough, the test came back positive very quickly! I sent hubby a text saying “I’m bringing back a surprise for you”, then jumped on the plane with the kidlets and flew home.
Hubby was so happy when I told him and we worked out I was due on July 28th, which just happened to be my parents’ 30th wedding anniversary.
The pregnancy went along without a hitch. I had an awful, awful first trimester with the worst morning sickness I have ever had. I was exhausted and tired all the time, couldn’t function without a nap every day, and was so sick – vomiting a lot and for no good reason – so much worse than the nausea and food aversions I had with the other two.
Unlike my other pregnancies, we decided to keep quiet about this one. We told our parents and families at Christmas when I was about 9 weeks along, and then everyone else after a scan confirmed a healthy, happy baby at 11-12 weeks.
Once morning sickness disappeared and I started feeling better, things went much more smoothly. My belly grew very big very quickly, and lots of people thought I was much further along than I was. I started feeling movements around 20 weeks and being my (most likely) last pregnancy, I tried to enjoy everything as much as I could. We tried to find out the gender at the 20 week scan, but we didn’t get a definite confirmation, just a leaning towards it probably being a girl – so we just treated this baby as another wonderful surprise.
We chose to use the midwife we had last time when I birthed the little miss at a local independent birth centre. We had such an awesome experience it was a no-brainer really! We thought about possibly having a home birth this time though, and eventually decided that was what we wanted. It was so nice being able to see my midwife again regularly. I started reading about water birth, as I planned to use the birth pool for labour and birth.
My pregnancy plodded along without any issues. I had times when I struggled – just feeling exhausted – but that may have been partly to do with my iron levels, because once I started taking floradex I had a lot more energy, and by the end of my pregnancy I couldn’t believe how good I was feeling physically. Emotionally I was all over the place. I was really struggling to get myself into a birthy mindset, but I did lots of reading and wrote lots of blog posts, trying to work through any issues I had as I discovered them.
I had really hoped that this baby would come early – well, earlier than my due date. I don’t know why, as both my other kidlets had come after 40 weeks. But for some reason I had it in my head that this baby would come early, even if only a day or two. I had thought maybe the weekend just before my due date. But, that came and went and nothing happened. My due date came and went and nothing happened. Then, on the next evening I started noticing that bubba was doing lots of ‘burying’ – I was experiencing a lot of downward pressure and twinges, and thought my plug may have started coming away. Of course I hoped this meant things might happen soon – in the next day or two. Through the evening while hubby and I were watching TV I sat on the fitball as I usually did, and noticed I was having a lot of braxton hicks. They were fine, maybe a little more intense than the ones I had been having, but the main thing I noticed was that they kept coming and weren’t going away like they usually would. Hubby was completely oblivious, but I did mention to him not long before we were planning on going to bed that it might be a good idea for him to make sure he had an early night, as I had been having frequent tightenings and thought he better get some sleep just in case things started to happen.
We went to bed. Hubby watched some things on the iPad, and I finally wrote out my birth ‘fear list’ that Mel had been on me to do. After I finished that I attempted to get some sleep. The tightenings were still coming, and getting more intense. I remember lying in bed listening to hubby who kept sniffing and coughing, and for some reason it was really annoying me. At about 11.15pm he turned off the iPad and went to sleep. I tried to go to sleep, but these tightenings (which I guess by then you could call contractions) were strong enough that I couldn’t sleep through them. At 11.39pm I sent a text to my friend Mel saying:
“So…Not wanting to get your hopes up, or mine… but I think things might be starting here. Early labour tightenings. Time will tell if it progresses into anything of interest. Been going on all evening, but definitely getting more intense”.
Sleep still wasn’t coming, and around 1am I got up, having given up on the idea of sleep for the night. I wandered around the dark lounge room, just breathing and swaying through the tightenings. I even sat at the computer and wrote a letter to my baby.
Around 3am I received a text back from Mel, and we text back and forth. That was such a flashback to when I was in labour with the little miss! Being up like that through the night with pre/early labour just felt like last time, and I think I had it in my head that this labour might end up being similar. By then, contractions were anywhere between 3-6 minutes apart, but not very consistent. They were still pretty tolerable. I was just able to breathe – practicing what I had learnt in yoga about breathing into the sensation, and having a tension releasing breath after each rush. Then I started having 10-12 minutes between contractions and I thought I might actually be able to sleep or rest… but when a contraction hit, ouch! The bigger interval between contractions seemed to result in a longer (about 60 seconds), more intense contraction. But with the bigger breaks I attempted to rest as much as possible, being aware that this was early labour and I could have many hours or even days of this. I lay on the couch in the lounge room for the last part of the night. I had stopped timing contractions by then, but I think I was still getting a bigger break between contractions, and very intense when they did hit.
Around 5am I got up from the couch and wandered into the kitchen, rocking and swaying through contractions and using horse lips (Ina May) to get me through. Not long after, the little man woke up and came out to me while I was in the midst of a contraction. He sat up at the table in the dark, and waited for me to finish before then telling me he wanted breakfast. I turned some lights on and got him breakfast, stopping every now and then for a contraction. I explained to the little man that I was having pains in my tummy and that I had been awake all night. I told him that it meant that the baby might be coming today. I was still not convinced really – I hoped of course, but still thought I had a long way to go.
At 6am I sent my sister a message asking if she was free today, as she was going to help out with the kids while I was in labour. I told her I thought I was in early labour and to keep her phone close by. I was still very undecided as to whether I should send the little man to school, as it had always been our intention to have the kids there when the baby was born.
Hubby woke up around this time, after the little man went in and started talking to him, casually mentioning that ‘mummy has been awake all night and the baby might come today’.
At about 7am I sent my midwife a text message saying “Good morning. Just thought I better let you know that I am in early labour – have had contractions all night. Hopefully, fingers crossed, today is baby day!”
I remember thinking to myself that wouldn’t it be great if I had my baby by midday today… but seriously did not believe it was possible.
By this stage, contractions were definitely intense, but still not enough that I thought anything would actually happen soon. We decided we would send the little man to school – we could always pull him out early to come and see the baby being born we thought. So, in between contractions I went about making the little man lunch for school and getting him ready. Really, I just went about my morning as normal, checking facebook (to which Mel sent me a text asking what I was doing posting on facebook haha! – I didn’t let on to anyone because I really thought I was in for another day of this early labour.)
I did admit that the contractions were already a bit ouchy by this stage and most were lasting about a minute, but I just figured I was being a sook, and I’d better suck it up for the hours/days ahead.
I did try retreating into my bedroom for a little bit at one stage, but somehow everyone followed me in there. I found this really irritating, so it was then I decided that I’d like to have my sister come and take the little miss for the day at 9am.
Hubby left to take the little man to school. We tried for a long time to convince the little miss to go with them, but it didn’t happen. She was very insistent that she had to stay home. While hubby was out, I had my first few contractions where I found I was really having to vocalise through them. I was standing in the kitchen making noise, with the little miss asking me the whole time “What are you doing? What are you doing mummy?” Once the contraction was over, I explained to her that I was having pains in my tummy because the baby was coming, and that making noises helped. She seemed to be okay with that. Not long after my sister showed up and started getting things organised to take the little miss our for the day. I had a few more contractions while she was here, still needing to vocalise a bit. Hubby got back home, and my sister took the little miss out. After listening to me vocalise through one of the contractions, hubby commented that it was a flashback to my labour with the little miss.
With the house to ourselves, hubby and I tried to decide how to tackle the day ahead. We thought to maybe take a walk to help things along, but first we decided to make sure the pool was fully blown up and get some stock pots heating on the stove for filling the pool later. I mentioned to hubby at around this stage that I had noticed I was feeling really dopey/sleepy after contractions, and that I wondered if it was hormones kicking in, or maybe it was just that I was really tired from no sleep the night before.
I knew I still needed to eat and drink plenty, seeing as this was only early labour (or so I thought), so I told hubby he should go to the bakery to get some bread, so we could just grab ourselves a quick sandwich or something when we got hungry. At 9.30am, just as hubby was about to leave to go to the bakery, my midwife called to check on me. I really didn’t know what to tell her – I was convinced that it was probably still early labour maybe – though contractions were pretty ouchy. I just had no idea where I was in labour, I couldn’t tell, I felt so confused about it all. While on the phone to her, I had a contraction, but managed to just breathe through it – I had been vocalising before that. We talked about all the things that we might do to help labour along – go for a walk, etc. Then another contraction hit and I had to vocalise through that one. I think that must have clued her in that I was maybe a bit further than just early labour. In the notes she has written ‘ sounds like labour is progressing’, and she did comment that the contraction was going for awhile – still about 60 seconds long. We said we would call back later if we needed her, and after we hung up, hubby went to the bakery quickly.
While hubby was out, I slowly wandered up to the little miss’ room, and tried out being on my hands and knees, with the idea of helping baby into the best position. While on hands and knees I had a very, very intense long, strong contraction, then another not long after while I was kneeling, leaning against her bed. During that contraction I had a new, strange sensation ‘up there’… I wasn’t sure what it was really. I thought it was maybe just my cervix dilating… or maybe something a bit more. Hubby got home as I was slowly making my way back to the lounge room/kitchen. I must have looked a bit out of it or wrecked, because he asked me what was wrong. I told him I had just had a really full on contraction, and maybe things were further along than we thought, but I didn’t know.
I stood in the kitchen leaning against the bench through contractions. I kind of felt like I was stuck there. The contractions were coming hard and fast, I was making a lot of noise through them – hubby commented they were coming really quickly now, and he started busying himself with filling up the pool. He spent some contractions next to me, rubbing my lower back. I also had a cold face washer for my face by then, as I was feeling really hot. Then I realised I was starting to make pushy sounds during contractions, and after that happened a couple of times, I realised that we really needed Anna to get here now!
Hubby gave Anna a call at about 10.23am telling her to come now. I was attempting to time contractions, and while he was on the phone to her they were about 4 mins apart, lasting 60 seconds… but then in the time between the phone call and Anna arriving,they suddenly went to 3 mins apart, then 2 mins apart, all lasting a good 60 seconds. I was still sounding and feeling very pushy, and was looking out the window in between contractions, waiting for Anna to arrive.
She arrived at 10.45am, and after seeing me through a contraction, called the second midwife to come straight away. She checked bub’s heart rate. All was good, so she then suggested we go over to the birth pool. It was almost full enough for me to get in, but not quite – and besides, I just wasn’t with it enough to even contemplate getting in.
Anna suggested I maybe get on my knees and lean on the side of the pool. She did ask a couple of times if I wanted to get in, but once I was in that kneeling position, I was pretty well stuck there. Somewhere in amongst this hubby asked me if I wanted to contact my sister to collect the little man from school to bring home, but I was beyond answering by then. The contractions were right on top of each other and I was feeling very, very pushy now, doing a few involuntary ones.
At 11am, the second midwife arrived, and in the notes she has written ‘Selina on hands and knees, leaning over side of birth pool. Hubby rubbing lower back. Loud groaning with some ‘pushy’ sounds during contractions. 2 minute contractions lasting a good minute’.
At the peak of another contraction, and starting to involuntarily push, my waters broke – a lot of waters! And then we were really in business with pushing. This was where I remember it got really hard – the pushing felt so good, but the stretching and stinging did not! By now I had lost my low groaning and was just plain old screaming. I remember I still had a face washer in my hand, which I gripped tightly and pressed against my face through the pushing. This stage felt like it went forever, it bloody hurt! And having to hold off and let everything stretch was so hard. I remember thinking how hard it was and how much it hurt, but was still able to think to myself that it would be over soon. That helped. At some point the midwives told me I could reach down and feel her head, which I did. And then, just for some extra added fun, while crowning, baby decided it would be fun to move around heaps! It was the oddest, most uncomfortable feeling, and I remember (amongst the screaming) sort of saying/screaming ‘whoa!’ Finally, after what felt like forever, her head was out! The midwives then told me to wait, but I don’t think I had any control left in me, because suddenly the rest of the baby slipped out, and at 11.17am our baby was here! The cord was wrapped loosely around the neck twice, so the midwife unwound that, and then I picked up our baby saying “You’re here. You’re finally here”.
The midwife who caught her had said ‘he’ somewhere along the way, so I assumed the baby was a boy and that we would check later. But then the midwives asked if it was a boy or girl, so hubby checked – and after checking, twice, we discovered we had another beautiful girl.
She didn’t cry straight away and I kept touching her to check she was okay, and of course she was. Soon she pinked up and started crying. I spent a while looking her over – one of the first things I noticed were her fingernails – she has such beautiful long fingernails.
After a little while I started feeling a little bit funny in the head, and the midwives said they thought the placenta was probably about ready to come out. I passed our baby girl to hubby, got back into a kneeling position and soon another contraction came, and at 11.35am I birthed the placenta. We checked the cord had stopped pulsating, and then hubby cut the cord.
The midwives helped tidy me and our baby up, got me dressed and a nappy on baby, and then we moved over to our couch where baby and I lay down skin to skin. Hubby and I had a quick talk and decided we were happy with the name we had chosen – Eloise Charlotte.
Soon after hubby and I talked about ringing the little man’s school so we could send my sister to go and pick him up early. We called my sister, not mentioning that the baby had already been born, to go pick up the little man and bring the kids home. Not long after, they arrived, and in came the little man and little miss. I’ll never forget the look on the little man’s face. He was in awe, instantly in love. The little miss was a bit more unsure, but fascinated by the little baby. She kept saying ‘I like your baby’ and ‘it’s a tiny baby’.
I still can’t believe how quick everything was in the end. Once labour kicked in, it really kicked in! I’m still processing it all I think! I honestly had it in my head that I was in for many more hours, or even another day of labour before baby would arrive – but man was I wrong!
Eloise is settling in to our family wonderfully – looking at her face, she seems so familiar somehow. I can’t get enough of her, smelling her head, touching her cheeks. She is perfect.