Jody's story - Alex

My pregnancy was divine! I was lucky to not suffer from morning sickness, and apart from one weekend when I could barely move from round ligament stretching pain, it was an enjoyable experience. We didn't find out the sex of the baby, but right from the start I had a strong feeling it was a boy.

Friday afternoon, five days before my due date, I had an appointment with my midwife, and the student midwife who would also be there. She gave me the number of the other midwife, as she was off duty that weekend. Baby was barely engaged and still kicking actively and no signs of coming before my Mum arrived the following Tuesday. I really wanted Mum to be there, so I wasn't concerned about going over, but we discussed what we would do if I was overdue.

The next morning, I woke early and as I was pottering around, I had a really strong sense that I didn't want to go to town as planned, but I brushed it off as something silly. We cruised into town, and I remember baby was very still. I kept poking my belly to make it move! I was a bit tired, so we went home early after my Burger King fix (I was craving meat)!

When we arrived home, I lay down with a book in the sun. Shortly after that, I felt a big POP! and my waters burst out in a gush! I called to Mike and he had to bring a towel, and then more towels, there was so much of it. I was partly excited, and a wee bit nervous as the baby was going to be coming soon! I rang Mum, and she was so upset, as she couldn't get an earlier flight. I stayed calm, though, and told her I'd be all right. Mike called the midwife and told her my waters had broken. I hadn't felt any contractions yet, so I settled back down with my book, but then I realised that the waters weren't clear and there was definitely meconium in the fluid. So, we rang the backup midwife again, and she came straight over and checked baby's heartbeat, which was fine. I was worried now, mostly because I didn't want a C-section! We grabbed our bags and headed down the the hospital.

At the hospital, we were met by Michelle, the student midwife, and I gave her a rueful grin, saying, "Didn't expect this after our visit yesterday!" We found our birthing room and they attached the foetal monitor. I was 3cm dilated already! I still hadn't felt any contractions, but Baby was doing fine, and they reassured me that I would probably deliver normally, if we got things going. So I was instructed to walk around, and this did start bringing on the contractions. They were pretty easy ones. In my mind, I had planned to read a new book from my favourite author to distract me during the labour, so that's what I did -- walk back and forth with a book in my hand, stopping every now and then to sway with a contraction, or to get Baby's heartbeat checked again.

The contractions started coming regularly and I was dilating nicely. It was all going smoothly and the worst part were the internal exams to see how dilated I was. I had gone to antenatal classes, so I knew when I hit transition. That was really hard. I felt like throwing up, and my whole body shook with the effort. I didn't feel that pain relief would make a difference, though, so I just kept going. At one point, I told me husband to stop touching me (in a very firm voice), but I coped pretty well. I had a heat pack on my back, which really helped. I didn't think the midwife believed I was that far along, so I said what we were told was the sterotypical when she checked me after that contraction, I was 10cm dilated and could start pushing!

The pushing was greatly different to what I had imagined. The whole labour so far had been pretty easy, I thought, so I thought this must be the part where I get to make some noise and grunt like you see on TV! But no, that was the wrong way to push! It took me a while to get the hang of it, and then my contractions were getting irrgeular, so I would have long breaks between contractions, and Baby would slide back. All my hard work wasn't getting me far, it was two steps forward and one step back.

After two hours, they made me lie on my back and we got the paedtrician in. Because of the meconium, they were keen to get it over with, and I was getting very tired, so we made the decision to use the ventouse. Once that was on (again, no pain relief!), it only took two pushes. As baby's head came through, I said, "Ow, ow!" as it was such a strange sensation! They whisked him (yes, I was right! HIM!) away, and I kept asking, "Is he all right?" It felt like ages until I got to hold him, but in reality was only a few minutes.

Baby Alex weighed 7lb 11oz, and he was so gorgeous, just like I pictured him to be. I was so proud of myself, and of my beautiful baby boy. I put him to the breast and he snuffled away, getting his first taste. So the labour was a breeze and I actually enjoyed it in a way -- it's marvellous knowing what your body can accomplish. It didn't go exactly as planned -- my Mum didn't make it and I didn't have my regular midwife, but I did manage to go drug-free and it was all done in just over eight hours. Breastfeeding -- now that's a whole different ball game!

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