Ok I am going to make this as short as possible without any coats of sugar, I did tell a more detailed version on Australian Birth Story podcast that you can find here.
As most of you know Rosie was late. I was pretty comfortable, I wasn’t in any pain and I was so close to finishing all seasons of Keeping up with the Kardashians that I told my doctor to let me go as long as possible before induction. I wanted my labour to be natural and I wanted my body to release all these gorgeous endorphins I had read about. But ahh, that didn’t happen, not at all.
We were booked to be induced 2 weeks after our due date and I tried EVERYTHING to bring it on. Absolutely everything, it’s all bullshit so don’t even bother. Old wives know nothing and I wouldn’t trust them as far as I could throw them. Anyway it was Thursday night and I had just nodded off to sleep when I felt an unusual moisture* (everyone's favourite word) between my legs, as if I was doing a wee without knowing it. I rushed to the toilet to find my knickers were wet. I could hardly bend over at this stage so I took them off with a kick and a catch. I waddled out of our bathroom and turned on the light. ‘PAT SMELL MY KNICKERS’ I chanted, ‘I beg your pardon,’ he asked before I shoved them under his nose ‘I am picking up a citrus smell’ he said as if we were out wine tasting. ‘Oh, look’ he said pointing at me pantless, ‘it’s running down your leg.’
We called the hospital and they said monitor bubs movements and unless they slow down or contractions increased, come see us in the morning. It was at about 3am when I took my last 'childless' opportunity to watch Handmaid Tales – an intense episode may I add. My uterus and I had a pretty uneventful night and other than trickling waters not much was going on. The morning rolled in, we kissed Atticus goodbye and went to the hospital. They were lovely and friendly and told me my waters had indeed broken, but this puts the baby at an increased risk of infection. She gave me a stretch and sweep to try and bring things on naturally, if that failed I was to return for induction at 4pm that day. She had high hopes that her magic stretch and sweeping fingers would hurry the labour – but it didn’t. So I was back there that afternoon while still cutely leaking water.
My birth plan was to have a water birth so I arrived in my Koleha bikini wearing my fave The Lost Tribe headscarf – you can get my birth look here- joke, obviously. I had read JuJujs birth skills and had packed stress balls to distract from the pain. We had made a birth playlist (with songs like Push It, Wrecking Ball and I Want to Break Free) to keep my mind on the job ahead. I used a TENS machine throughout (highly recommend). I had essential oils to smell and mantras to recite but this shit went out the window pretty quickly when the induction process began.
As my waters were already broken I didn’t need gels, or the balloon catheter to bring it on, instead I was hooked up to an Oxytocin drip and things went from 0-100 reaaaaal quick. There was no bath. No candles. No karaoke sessions. Just me sitting in silence alternating between ripping the stress ball apart with my teeth and digging my finger nails into Pat's arms. This went on for hours.. and by hours I mean you could have watched The Titanic 4 times.
In the room was me, Pat and one lovely midwife. She and Pat chatted all night and at one point she was even showing him her cross-stitch while I just sat quietly dying. Everyone who came into the room commented on how composed I was but only Pat knew ‘composed’ is not how I usually deal with pain. He said my 'out of character' silence was just an indication to how much I was struggling.
At this point I assumed I was like 78cms dilated so I asked her to check, she told me it would hurt and recommended I have some gas while she assessed me. The gas was absolutely awful; I was tripping out like an 18-year-old at their first music festival. And all this only to find I was just 4ish cm dilated. My midwife told me Rosie was under a bit of stress so they popped a fetal scalp electrode onto her head. She then told me things needed to move a little faster which meant more oxytocin in the drip (secret midwife code for more shit-bad contractions). As she explained this to me, an angel man walked past in the body of an anaesthetist.
After hours of pain I opted for an Epidural; which on third attempt he finally got it in (I just hope he has a better aim in the bedroom then he did with my spine). Yet it only had a partial effect. For the next few hours I could still feel my contractions but not the severity I was feeling them earlier. Things were starting to take a toll on Rosie now and I began to silently cry, crocodile tears just streamed down my face, Pat rushed over to my aid all I could whisper between contractions was ‘I don’t want a C-section.’ My midwife was honest and kept things real and told me if the things didn’t progress soon a C-section would probably be on the cards.
It was at about 6am Saturday morning that the anaesthetist returned with a Plan B. Unfortunately, I can’t really remember what this plan was but he finally balanced the Oxy and the Epi to reduce the pain but not slow the labour. I was now unable to feel anything more than ‘uncomfortable sensations.’ At 7:30am I was finally 10cms and ready to get this beast out of me. At this point our midwife asked Pat if he would like to deliver our baby. Pat kissed my head goodbye before he travelled down to the business end of things, my vagina.
At sunrise on Saturday the 23rd Pat caught our baby and placed it on my chest, ‘IT'S A GIRL!’ the midwife announced. And as perfectly timed as a Meg Ryan movie ‘Little Ray of Sunshine’ came on the playlist. ‘Let’s call her Sunshine’ I said to Pat until he firmly reminded me the girl’s name was Rosie. It was on the last push that my thunder thighs Bear caused some pretty hectic tearing. The stitching process took much longer than the pushing I assumed she was creating a landscape picture down there.
Rosie Bear McCarthy was born at 7:56 Saturday morning. She was 3.96kgs and 50cms long. She has my dimples and her dads nose. By 1pm we were ordering pizza and preparing to spend the remaining of her birthday at home with our family by our side.
I need to go feed my child now, but I will upload a ‘what I wish I knew’ tomorrow, cos let me tell you the recovery is no walk in the park. Unless you’re walking in Central Park at night with a knife between your legs and you’ve been run over by a yellow taxi, which then continued to reverse over you 7-10 times.