“Are you sure you’re in labour?” The nurse at the reception asked me.
I looked at Dustin and laughed. My face had a look of pure calm, peace and bliss.
“I don’t know… You tell me!” I looked around the waiting room at the dozen of women sitting there, staring at me, in the middle of their post-birth physiotherapy class. I blushed, and thought of ways to look more “in labour” like.
The head nurse came beside me and exclaimed to the reception nurse, “Of course she is! She’s doing hypnobirthing.”
She looks at me and says, “We’ve been waiting for you. Come on, let’s get you to the birth suite and have this baby.”
~ ~ ~ ~
But first, let me back track.
Willow’s birth story has taught me a lesson in letting go of control, to accept, and to be. That you can have the most carefully laid out plans, but even then, they won’t always go the way you want. And that it’s okay. Life is full of unexpected surprises- that’s what makes life… Life.
It has taken me a few weeks to process the events and to overcome any disappointments that I’ve had and to accept how my birth plan took a right turn.
I mentioned in “Child birth- the beautiful act into motherhood” that I was doing the hypnobirthing program. My gosh, I’m glad I did! I endured a 29-30 hour labour, and hypnobirthing saw me through the majority of it pain med free (Until about the 25th / 26th hour before I lost my shiiiiit). Even then, when my birth plan changed, it kept me somewhat calm and relaxed about my choices.
My obstetrician wanted to schedule me in to be induced on Tuesday 12th May. I was given two due dates so I was between 41-42 weeks pregnant at this stage. He knew that I wanted to go into labour as naturally as possible, so we were able to ‘negotiate’ to hold off on being induced until that Sunday (yay!).
Tuesday 12th came around and I was still feeling that pregnancy exhaustion. I spent the day napping and then suddenly at about 3pm I woke up and had a surge of energy. I wrote in “It’s Time For a Food Overhaul- Who Is With Me?” that I had this overwhelming desire to clean my entire pantry and fridge. While I was pulling out the fridge shelves and scrubbing like a mad woman…early labour began.
Horray! It was finally happening. It was about 4.30pm at this point.
Night-time rolled around and we prepared for bed however the contractions were consistent and I was unable to lie down as it was too uncomfortable. As Dustin slept I sat in the lounge room and practiced my hypnobirthing techniques.
It was such a special time for me and I felt so connected to Willow and to the process. I had soft music playing, candles lit, lavender aromatherapy, and I moved between rolling my hips on the fit ball, hot showers, hot baths, and sitting on the couch breathing through the surges. I had never felt such peace and calm before as each surge (contraction) came over my body. It felt intensely spiritual.
A precious memory was my cat Connie sitting by my side the entire time. She had one paw on my leg and purred with me through my contractions. Even as I sat in the bath she was on the ledge of the bath watching me.
I felt like I had lost control and the techniques that I knew worked for me; I was unable to do. I remember at one point BEGGING the nurse to let me back into the shower or bath, but I wasn’t allowed to as Willow needed to be monitored. (Eventually she let me, but I had to go back and forth between that and the bed to be monitored).
As the night came, true exhaustion finally set in. I hadn’t eaten anything since Tuesday, as I couldn’t keep anything down. I remember lying on the shower floor, Dustin looking at me hopelessly (he was freaking out at seeing his wife in this state!), and feeling utterly powerless. I desperately wanted and dreamed for this birth to be natural and pain-med free for Willow’s sake, but I felt like I had nothing left in me. I had been stuck at 8cm dilated for about 6 hours and I wasn’t even sure how I would have the energy to push. The obstetrician (my obstetrician wasn’t available that day unfortunately!) offered me an epidural, and told me that she felt it was important I got my energy levels back up so that I would eventually be able to push. It was in that moment that I had to swallow my pride, let go of what I had planned, and to realise that at the end of the day it was about Willow and I being healthy.
It was time to let go off control, to go with the flow, to accept and to just be.
Dustin reassured me that I had done such a good job to get to the point I was at, and kept my eye on the prize- that soon we would meet our precious Willow!
Instead of an epidural they gave me a spinal block (I think they were preparing for an emergency c-section, but I’m not sure). As it took effect, and I began drifting off to sleep, . I heard the anesthetist say to Dustin “Soon you’ll have your wife back!”
Two hours later, I woke up, with renewed energy and strength- ready to meet our little girl. I was fully dilated and I began to push. I’m thankful that they had the spinal block wear off so I could feel the pushing.
I pushed for 1 ½ hours.
At 10.35pm Wednesday 13th May 2015 Willow Louise entered the world.
It was the most surreal, amazing, beautiful, overwhelming, exhausting, emotional, experience of my life. As they placed her on my chest her dark eyes looked into mine and I instantly knew that she was a “Willow”. All disappointment and sadness (and pride) about having a spinal block left my mind. She was here. The little girl that I had been dreaming about was staring into my eyes. Her little hands clung to my finger. Her body tightly against mine. On that day, two became three. Dustin and I couldn’t be more thrilled.
Five weeks later, I continue to take the lesson of letting go of control to heart. I can plan a day, but it will always be unpredictable. And that’s okay. It’s okay to not have control. Sometimes you just have to accept this, and to just be.
~ Sam Ruckle, www.samruckle.com