I woke up at 2.30AM on a Thursday 7th of March with lower belly pain. Having had false labour pains since Saturday, I was wary that it could just be another false alarm. When the pain started to return, I was becoming happier that this might finally be the real deal that. One that I have been waiting for so long! The moment I have been praying and expecting at any moment in the last three weeks. Soon the contractions became very real. I think about 5AM I was living through every single one of them on the floor on all fours thinking: ‘What this can get worse and more frequent?’ Around 6AM I threw up the nectarine I ate and remains of last nights dinner. Lukas, at that time, was already running around, preparing all the necessary, trying to keep me away from wanting to go to the hospital too early. However at 8.30 when I was very vocal through every contraction I said: let’s go, let’s go, let’s go. Finally at just before 9, Luky was closing my door in the car as I was screaming and we were pulling out of the garage. I just said to him to drive calmly regardless.
It was a painful drive and every red light was about thousand times worse than usual. When we arrived at the hospital, I dreaded walking in front of people and of course the next contraction came as we were passing around the food court. I only made it to a corner catching the hand rail and scaring two kids walking past with their dad. We took the the elevator with some people that I desperately tried not to look at, crying my eyes out. Got off at the third floor, first I had a sip of water at the fountain still crying. Then going right to the reception window, demanding gas and before I could finish the sentence, I felt another one coming. I just turned away to the window, again holding the handrail, dropping on my knees, crying in pain after which they hurriedly opened the door and shuffled me inside so I wouldn’t freak out the near by sitting pregnant lady. I was greeted by a really lovely midwife, who kept assuring me that I am doing amazingly. She inspected me to be 4cm dilated and confirmed that they will definitely not sent us home and said that yes yes of course I can have the gas now.
I had another contraction clutching the side of the bed and then walked to my birthing suit. Passing by Angela, the midwife who was so lovely to us on Saturday, when we were in hospital with reduced baby movements and abdominal pain. She gave us a massive smile and welcomed us back. It was so nice to see her and I remember at that point I thought, perfect, now everything will be fine, nothing can go wrong now. I felt so reassured, so confident, still crying my eyes out without stopping. And I thought I was so happy that Angela was there on Saturday giving me all the information about having the labour induced not giving us any suggestions at all but from her tone when I said I feel safe to go home and wait for the birth to happen naturally, she was just so happy. It’s great to know that these kind of people are in the right job!
I asked for a water birth so while my spa bath was filling up, Jessie our midwife that was going to be THE ONE to deliver our baby was giving me all the information. To be honest I would have agreed to anything. Do you want my kidney? Yeah sure, it’s yours just make this stop. I was going through most of my contractions standing up. Lukas later told me that he noted down about 90 contractions but of course he didn’t time them as he was driving, or when we were walking or when he went to park the car so I must have had well over a 100 of them. It was bearable to start with in the spa bath, Luky sitting next to me, being my absolute hero, the good guy with the gas. The one who knew, definitely hundred percent, he knew when my next contraction was going to end and I trusted him so much. Giving me his hand to break during the peak of the pain, I have never been more grateful for anyone in my life. Jessie was absolutely perfect answering all of my stupid questions. “Jessie and from now when do you think I will have the baby? And now and what do you think now? Is the gas on full? Why is it not helping? Is it like this for everyone? Even Kate Middleton? Surely it can’t hurt everyone like this right?”
Of course eventually all of my questions stopped because the pain got SO INTENSE, I never knew pain could be this intense. I don’t remember this, but Luky told me that every time I stood up screaming, the midwife came to check my area and said that I am doing well. Lot of it is just a haze, but I remember a few things. About 40 mins until delivery I remember asking what more pain relief can I get and the midwife saying: just having the baby now darling. I remember that sometimes I managed to stay in the water just breathing the gas in nearly breaking Luky’s arm, other times, I stood up in the water and just screaming so much they must have heard me on the helipad on top of the roof. In between just sitting with my eyes closed thinking, if I start breathing the gas now it will be better, but I am just so tired so tired I just want to sleep. Then asking more questions: Is the gas really on full? When the baby is coming does it hurt more? Surely it can’t hurt more can it? Why does it feel like the baby is coming through my butt? I have been told that I have to stay immersed in the water in the last stages of labour because as soon as I am out of it, baby can take a breath and therefore water birth will be impossible. So I tried, one contraction, I started breathing the gas on time, Luky kept saying one more breath, hold on, hold on and I managed. But the next one came too soon and I stood up like Golem screaming thinking that surely that must have been it, where is the baby?
Another midwife came. In between contractions I said: I am sorry I normally make a better first impression and she said that I made the best impression ever because I am doing a fabulous job. So they hushed me out and anyway they were having trouble monitoring the baby in the water so they checked her heartbeat and then let me kneel on the bed holding on to the lifted back. Suddenly it was the quickest thing ever. I told the midwife to tell me when to push and she just said, just push when you feel like it. One contraction I tried pushing, the head showed but I screamed as well. Then I got the best advice ever: channel the screams into pushing. Second contraction and I channelled like crazy with an end in sight and the head came out. Two minutes of breathing, getting ready, third contraction and the baby plopped right on the bed. I don’t remember this either but Lukas said Josie started to cry straight away.
Suddenly, there was only Ludovico Einaudi playing in the background, Luky had tears in his eyes the horrible storm has passed, the sun came out and it was as if I took the best drug in the whole world. I just turned around and got to hold my baby in my arms. Yes of course, it was the most magical, most amazing feeling in the world. Lukas cut the cord even thought he didn’t initially want to, but the atmosphere got him. I then birthed the placenta, but I don’t remember that either, I don’t even remember the injection of oxytocin they gave me. I just said: Do what yo have to do. Then they asked me if I want the placenta, I said no. After the midwife started discussing my placenta with the medical student, who came to watch the stitching and she said it was the healthiest looking placenta she has seen in a very long time. She tried to convince me to have a look at it because it looks great. I didn’t care about the placenta because I was holding my daughter so Luky went to look at it and said that it looked like a really good scotch fillet that would probably cost about forty dollars. He was so proud of my healthy placenta because he was the one who made me eat super healthy throughout the whole pregnancy and never let me drink coke or alcohol even when I really wanted to.
So the actual pushing/birth was only six minutes long and actually the easiest part of labour. I know people say that it hurts but never in my wildest dreams I imagined HOW MUCH. After I counted all the fingers and the toes, Luky got some skin on skin with his daughter and they were stitching me up. I didn’t even care. As soon as they were done, I got to take a shower, which was amazing and then right back to a clean bed where they heated up my towels. Another amazing experience and the GC hospital, their hot towels that they kept bringing me and I got to feed Josefina for the first time ever. And Luky gave me the chocolate croissant that he bought for me that morning. This was the final touch that proved that he is absolutely the best person in the world and that he made my labour much better and he thought of absolutely everything because the hunger I was feeling was real. I stuffed that croissant in my mouth like a baguette in a cartoon movie.
The Chinese medical student was standing around and then she asked me so what are you plans now. *eye-roll I just answered: to recover and kept looking at my Luky holding our daughter. After she got weighted and measured, we walked upstairs into our private room. Only now Lukas told me that this part actually took a very long time, to me it felt like maybe an hour, but we didn’t actually leave the birthing suit until about four. And then the whole day was just a blur. We got a lot of information and dinner. All the midwives were amazing and really caring. We were just floating on our little family love cloud.
FIRST NIGHT AND DAY
The first night was alright, I didn’t sleep much but when I did, it was with Josie in my arms or I was trying to feed her. I also spent time just staring at her. When I slept, I slept with her in my arms. I didn’t even attempt to put her in her bassinet. Luky jumped up every time I was being a little noisy, once he jumped up so quickly, his head started spinning like crazy, he had to sit down on the floor. They say that only mothers have this instinct haha. Definitely not true. It was fine, but I was happy when I was seeing the morning light. I was looking forward to breakfast and a shower and some hands free time. After breakfast we had a breastfeeding class, but I didn’t find it too useful as I was preoccupied looking at my most beautiful baby in the world, but I think Lukas remembered a lot. After he left to go home and get everything ready and bring the baby car seat and fruits. It felt like it took him absolutely forever. I did manage to chat with my parents and Dominika about labour but already it felt like I cannot explain in words what I was feeling. I had the best time with Josefina when she was alert and wide awake and I had her on my knees in front of me and we were just talking and looking at each other. We even took a beautiful nap together and the midwife that came to see us later told me that we were out in “la la land” Then we had a first baby bath, which wasn’t that great and Jo was crying.
After Kate and Maria came by for a visit and baby cuddles and they were absolutely smitten with her and very emotional and it was such a nice visit and I got some nice flowers and tim tams. Also Kirsty sent me a cute sheep toy for Josie and Luky brought that over, which was really nice.
SECOND NIGHT AND DAY
I don’t remember much from the second night unfortunately, just re-adjusting of the bed because I kept trying to feed, changing some in the middle of the night nappies with Luky and again I was super grateful when I saw the morning sun. We had breakfast in bed again and then it was just hectic as we were getting discharged that day and I was getting inpatient every passing minute to just take Josie home. Especially because the midwifes were not as amazing as the ones the day before. We even had comments like: I wouldn’t take my child back to Europe for example. And we were also overwhelmed with too much information, at least I was. That we need to register here and there, fill this out, go to a GP and weekly here lalalala. I just wanted to go home. Especially after they took Jo’s blood from her big foot and she was crying so much I saw a tiny little tear. However the baby check went extremely well, everything was perfect except for a tiny bit of mild jaundice and finally after lunch we got to go home and I was so happy! Again on that cloud 9 as if someone has given me some hard happiness drugs.
Overall it was a very pleasant experience at GCUH and I felt very cared for. I mean you know labour was going to hurt A LOT but you never imagine how much until you go through it. The thing is that the unbelievable feeling of having the baby handed into your arms is truly magic and nothing can really compare to that, that you almost feel like you actually can go through it again. But could I ever love another child like Josie right now? I am already so absolutely in love with her, I would do absolutely anything for her. Her tiny little feet, knees, the nose, just EVERYTHING! Unreal. We are a family, I am so happy I feel the love.