In this part of the world, things have changed. Since Aiden’s arrival, the past two weeks have been amazing, the finest two weeks of my life. I’ve published pieces of my labour narrative while I’ve had the chance. It’s been so much fun reliving the experience, and I’m now finished. So, here we go!
Alfie brought me flowers as a welcome home gift, and now I’ll still equate sunflowers with my adorable baby boy!
I began to feel minor period-like pains and squeezing around my bump late Wednesday evening. I’d been here before and assumed they were all practise contractions, but I ignored them and didn’t even tell Alfie about them. I went to bed and slept for a few hours before I awoke in the early hours of the morning (around 2 a.m.) with the same time pains.
They were becoming more intense this time, than something I’d ever seen before, and they were arriving at daily intervals. I realised right away that this was it; our little boy was on his way! I couldn’t sleep any longer and woke Alfie up, who checked for the baby’s pulse because I hadn’t noticed him shift in a while; all was perfect.
Around 2.30 a.m., we called the doctor, and a midwife inquired about my contractions. My contractions were so far apart to be taken to the maternity hospital, and there had been no blood so far. She explained the signs of early labour and encouraged me to call her if anything changed.
I did get a little more sleep, but it wasn’t much. With the possibility of early labour, Alfie went to work as usual, as this stage can take a long time to begin, and I didn’t want both of us to be waiting. I held him up to date with daily messages during the day.
I didn’t know what to do with myself, so I just moved on with my day’s plans. I got home and did some housework and writing after driving to the stores to run some errands.
By 2 p.m., my contractions had intensified and were becoming increasingly intense; fortunately, my midwife’s clinic at the GP surgery was scheduled for Thursday. Alfie recommended that I call her for help so that we could figure out what was going on; it had been 12 hours and there had been no major changes.
She kindly volunteered to come to my house to perform a follow up and test since we live just around the corner from the surgery. She determined that I was 2-3 cm dilated, that my contractions were 10-15 minutes apart, and that I was in the early stages of labour. She did another stretch and brush during the test to help things move along faster.
The contractions got more frequent after that, but I was always able to control them with my breathing exercises and plenty of activity. I told Alfie, and he came home from work right away; he was fantastic and cooked us dinner while I relaxed. The contractions were becoming increasingly painful by early evening, but they were also just 10 minutes apart.
Alfie ran me a hot bath with candlelight and music after dinner to make me relax some more. The water was very helpful in relieving the discomfort and pressure I was feeling in my lower back, bump, and thighs. I tried to sleep afterward, but it was impossible at this stage. Before we drove to the hospital, we called the hospital again and were informed that the contractions needed to get more together.
Even if the gaps between contractions remained constant, the duration of the contractions increased a few gears as the night continued. They were still manageable, but they were getting more swollen, making it difficult to sleep. I was at a loss about what to do for the sake of the right outcome.
I tried lying on the bedroom floor because no other place was easy. Since calling the doctor for the third time, amid the discomfort worsening, it was always a no-go, and I was advised to wait it out at home. They have advised me to get some rest, which is better said than achieved when the uterus is contracting at such a rapid pace!
I was completely drained at this phase, the contractions were unrelenting, and any time I found myself slipping off, another one would begin. Since sleep was no longer a choice, Alfie ran me another bubble bath to see whether that would improve. I only needed to get to the hospital to give birth to our son, as calming and therapeutic as the bath had been. We called the maternity ward again, and this time Alfie answered the door.
He simply assured them that we had done everything they had recommended, including the water, paracetamol, and rest, but that nothing had worked. The midwife invited us to the Maternity Assessment Ward at the hospital. We arrived at 3 a.m., and after being checked by a midwife, she determined that I had progressed to 5 cm dilated and that my waters had leaked – I was in labour!
We went down to the delivery room and made ourselves as relaxed as possible throughout the process. I’d never contemplated using a gym ball during labour, but one was available in the space, so I took advantage of it. Bouncing on it through my contractions, as well as the gas and air that were my best friend during, took the pressure off of them.
Now it was just a waiting game, and when the contractions intensified, I tried a variety of methods to relieve the pain: hopping, jumping on the ball, laying on my stomach, using a wet hot water bottle, turning my legs, crawling on all fours, and listening to music. To aid my breathing and relaxation, I visualised each contraction as a wave. Drawing the waves in the air with my finger, like an ensemble leader, also helped with this.
It was just Alfie and our wonderful midwife in the hospital, and they were both excellent labour partners. Alfie was incredibly helpful, running out to find us both some food, massaging my back, and encouraging me. I was also grateful for our midwife, who was just brilliant and massaged my back with a massage oil created from lavender and camomile essential oils.
I felt the need to push, and the midwife examined me about 12.30 p.m., finding that I was already 7 cm dilated. She even used a catheter to empty my uterus to make space for the baby and opened my back waters, which had not yet been published. Things began to pick up momentum at this stage, and I broke into tears when I realised our baby’s arrival was getting closer, and then again when they wheeled in the baby crib.
It got a little hairy at the end because little AJ was sleepy and I was totally drained, and my contractions had eased. When the baby’s heart rate began to decrease, the space became crowded with physicians. My vigorous labour had come to a halt, and I was lying on the bed in stirrups.
They put a clip on his head to monitor his heart rate, and I wanted an episiotomy to help bring him out quickly since they were planning a ventouse delivery if he didn’t arrive by 13.45 pm. I don’t know where I found the courage to force him out myself when my contractions resumed, but I was determined to have a natural birth. Aiden Joshua Sebastian, with a full head of curly hair and wide brown eyes, appeared at 2 p.m. on the dot and not a second more.
When he was born, the umbilical cord was wound around his waist, and he was totally blue. The doctors whisked Alfie away for some air after he cut the thread. Thankfully, he didn’t take long to warm up, and he was soon moaning loudly and being given over to me for skin-to-skin and our first breastfeeding session. We were led upstairs after my shower to the postnatal unit, where we spent our first night as a family.
Despite the fact that I didn’t get the delayed cord clamping or the unassisted birth of the placenta that I had wished for, I felt my labour experience was great. It was as normal as medically possible at the time, and we were able to see our beautiful, stable infant. He’s such a sweet little kid, and we adore him. Without him, we couldn’t picture our lives.
Motherhood is difficult; I feel like a zombie most of the time. If I’m being truthful, I guess I’m on adrenaline. My feelings are still all over the map, and I used to second-guess myself when it came to caring for Aiden, but now I just trust my instincts.
We’ve now started breastfeeding after a rocky start, and Aiden is gaining weight like a pro. He lost weight at first, as is common for newborns, but he has now gained weight and his health visitor is very pleased with him. My postpartum healing is going on, and the stitches’ soreness went away during the first week. I’m planning a post about my postpartum body appearance, but I’m currently very happy with my current shape.
We’re gradually coming to terms with our new normal. Aiden and I have been spending a lot of quality time together since Alfie returned to work this week. I’m looking forward to going on trips with him. Thank you very much for all of your tweets, remarks, and emails congratulating us on Aiden’s birth; we really appreciate it.
What were your feelings like at the birth of your baby (s)? How did the first few days at home go with you?
Keep an eye on C & C…