On the 31st of December, 2009 – the last day of the decade – Cameron was born… & so was a mother. His mother. I was re-born in that moment.
I had been experiencing a lot of pre-labour contractions throughout the last part of my pregnancy but it wasn’t doing anything productive. My due date came and went and I focussed on enjoying every moment of him being my in-utero bubba. Every day I would learn or do something that I otherwise wouldn’t have been able to. The day before I was 41 weeks I went to my midwife appointment with my Mum. I was running on very little sleep because I had been crampy all the time. The midwife then did an examination to find that I was already 3 cm dilated & very stretchy. She could feel Cam’s head! She then did a membrane sweep which was really easy (I had been warned that it can be painful).
On the drive home I started getting crampy & when I got home I called Mike to say that I needed him – these cramps were hurting. He got home at 2 PM and we went for a walk where I realised that the contractions were getting stronger. I was still convinced that this wasn’t the real deal. The rest of the afternoon and evening I continued getting contractions but they were all sporadic in timing and intensity & I was growing restless.
I told Mike to take me to the hospital… we got around the corner from the hospital & I demanded we just go home because “there’s nothing they can do… I’ll be induced on Sunday”. We got home and I had my bloody show. We started timing the contractions and they were still sporadic but more painful and because I was so tired we called the hospital and they said to come in.
When I arrived I was laughing and telling Michael that “I better be one of those women who is miraculously 7 cm dilated when she arrives at the hospital!” … Almost, I was 6 cm. I cried with relief when the midwife said I could go to the birthing suite. Seeing the birthing suite was so surreal… The only other time I’d seen it was during the antenatal classes some months before hand. I remembered rubbing my belly as Cammy danced around and thinking how far away the day seemed and now I was there!
By this time it was almost midnight (keep in mind I had 4 hours sleep the night before) and the contractions were painful enough that they needed my full concentration. The midwife I had was one who had seen me in the past who was AMAZING. My student midwife came from a couple of hours away to be there for us.
Mike was buzzed. He was so beautiful throughout the birth – very attentive & quick but mostly just quiet & reassuring. He got bits of the labour and birth on video & I love watching it back and hearing his excitement & sobs.
I primarily laboured in the shower where I would spiral my hips and breath through each contraction and spray hot water on my belly back and forth while I leant against the rail. I tried the birthing ball at one point but found standing the easiest. I drank loads of water throughout the whole process which really helped. The contractions were 2 mins apart by 1 AM & I started getting sick of feeling nauseous with each contraction. I asked my midwife if I could have maxolon and she was so prompt to get it and inject it – it worked in 15 mins and that was quite a lot better. I was still smiling in between contractions & I started dancing at one point because Mike said that I was handling it all too well.
The shower was BLISS.
Cameron wriggled around all throughout my labour which was really reassuring. My midwives still checked his heartrate every so often and he was reacting really well. Because of my positions during labour I managed to turn him into a better position in my pelvis by the time I was ready to push.
I really enjoyed the contractions up until about this point. They felt really intense and painful… they were really deep inside me and it was somewhat of a tearing pain. I laboured a lot in my back because of Cameron’s position which intensified the feelings. At 1:45 I asked for a shot of pethadine which took effect 15 mins later. I was getting two sets of contractions – one large and difficult and the other smaller and more manageable – & the pethadine was blocking out most of the small ones which made it easier to relax between contractions which I really needed.
My waters still hadn’t broken and I was yet to have another internal since I arrived at the hospital at 11:30 PM. So the midwife said that at 3:30 AM she would check me for dilation and if I wanted to she would break my waters. At 3 AM I could feel that the pethadine was wearing off considerably so I requested that we would do the examination and break my waters now rather than waiting and my midwife agreed.
I was 8 cm dilated by this point. My membranes were really thick so she had to wait for a contraction to break them. They were perfectly clear and felt so warm. Cameron continued to react well to everything but my contractions got much harder and faster now. I started using gas at this point and it wasn’t long before I couldn’t stand up in the shower and decided to get on all fours leaning up against a pillow on an upright bed.
I kept curling my toes throughout contractions and I heard my student midwife whisper to Mike “she’s curling her toes… your son is coming soon”
I continued using gas until I was barely taking breaths in between. The gas made the pain something different and I felt really high. My sister finds this scenario particularly funny:
Me: “I felt like I was in heaven for a second there”
Me: “Everything is so white”
Midwife: “You’re staring at a pillow Rachel”
I rocked back and forth on my knees and moaned through each contraction. I could feel Cameron moving through me and it felt phenomenal. I was biting down on the gas mouth piece at this point and focussing on breathing.
There was a moment where I couldn’t talk because of the tremendous pain but I stared into Mike’s eyes. He said “I love you Rachel, you’re beautiful. I love you babe” and I taped my nose twice & pointed at him. He teared up because he knew that was me saying I love you too.
I was mostly dilated at this point and the gas was stopping me from concentrating and pushing. Things were getting really hard and I knew I needed to get rid of the gas but was afraid of the pain. My midwife then had a stern talk to me. She knocked the gas down & I pushed it away.
I then started talking to Cameron. I was saying “come on baby” “come on Cameron” “Mummy wants to meet you” “I love you baby”.
Then I hit transition. I was convinced that I didn’t want to push and that I couldn’t do it. I told them all that I wanted to go home LOL. My midwife was amazing at this point and coached me through to a point where I got the strength to do this last part. She made a pact with me that if I hadn’t had my baby at 5 AM that she would get an Ob to come get him out (LOL!).
I definitely wasn’t a natural with pushing. I resisted. It definitely helped with not tearing though. I only got one small graze.
My midwives moved me onto my back and put a mirror in front of me so that I could see that he was RIGHT THERE so I could get more motivation. I was so exhausted. As soon as I saw his long brown hair I started getting the hang of pushing. I soon realised that I didn’t like being on my back though and went back to being on all fours. It was then that Cameron pooed and a paed was called in to attend the rest of the birth.
I stopped fighting it then and knew I had to take care of my bubby. I watched his heartbeat on the monitor and prayed silently that the pain would go and I would be holding my boy. I pushed more than I knew I could. I put my hand down between my legs and felt his head. Mike has this on video, it’s sensational. I curled Camerons hair in between my fingers in between contractions and ran my fingers around the crown of his head. It was beautiful.
Pushing was the worst part for me. I sobbed out moans as I pushed and as he crowned I couldn’t believe the stinging sensation! I didn’t care about anything at this stage. All I wanted was my son, healthy.
Hubby was so gorgeous as he watched Cameron coming out. Every time I would push Mike would exclaim “Rachel! He’s coming! Rachel! You’re amazing!” “Oh my God, Rachel. You’re doing so well!” It sure made a hell of a difference.
My midwife then said “OK Rachel, bubby is getting tired, big pushes now” so I bore down internally and (it really is as though you’re doing the most enormous poo of your life with regards to how much you push and where you direct the pushing) I felt his head fully come out. Michael sobbed at this point and I felt Cameron turn inside me. The midwife unwrapped the cord from his neck and I gave a couple of almighty pushes and birthed his body!
Cammy had LOADS of merconium in his waters and had inhaled some. He promptly puked the bulk of it up when they were rubbing him down in between my legs and gave a big gorgeous cry! Michael cut the cord, camera in hand and followed them over where he was thoroughly checked out.
His APGAR was 8 at 1 min and 9 at 5 min. He needed a touch of oxygen while he had skin-to-skin time with me and he pooed on me twice straight after birth before they weighed him.
I was inescapably in love and awe. He was (and still is) so tiny & beautiful! His skin feels like velvet & he has the most gorgeous big eyes. Michael hugged us both and it was clear right away that in most ways Cameron was a mini-Mike. He looks like the love of my life.
He weighed 7 pounds (3420 grams) and was 55 cm long with a head circumference of 35.5 cm. & he is perfect. He is now 9 days old and doing so so well.