After many days of anticipating, nesting and just being ready to meet our baby, contractions finally started at about 8.30am on Wednesday 27th June. They started at about 10 minutes apart and a nice manageable ‘twinge’. After an hour or so, they died off to about 15 minutes apart again, and I was rather annoyed as I thought ‘here we go again’ with Eli’s labour day of on-again-off-again contractions. But they went back to about 10 minutes apart again, and stayed this way for most of the day, only intensifying in painfulness! Greg came home from work at about 2pm and we pottered around a bit. I stopped walking around every 10 minutes to brace myself gently through a contraction and breathe! They were not really so bad. We organised with Sal to come and get the boys so that we didn’t have to worry about it come going-into-hospital time. She came at about 4pm and by this time my contractions were getting stronger but still only 5-10 minutes apart. This was really the start of ‘crunch-time’ though as I had been feeling ‘pressure’ in my perineum for a little while but because the contractions were still so far apart, still irregular and not unbearably strong, I didn’t really think we were as close as we were! (In hindsight, I SHOULD have known though, as the same thing happened with Eli too, however his labour was more prolonged…)
After Sal left, at about 4.30pm I went and had a shower and had a couple of good contractions in there. They were still 5-10 minutes apart. They were strong in that I was getting more pain inside my ‘birth canal’ than I could feel in my back and abdomen, and I wasn’t so comfortable with that, so we decided to call the midwife and head into the hospital. Now really, we should have left probably an hour before this, as soon as I felt ANY pressure inside really… Hello, that means you are fully dilated and the baby is coming through! Oops.
So we got into the car and I quickly grabbed a towel to put under me ‘just in case my waters broke’ and a bucket coz I felt like vomiting with each contraction now! It still did not occur to me that she would be born in the next few minutes, so calling an ambulance to come to us at home didn’t even cross our minds! We headed into the hospital, a 20 minute drive and I went into ‘transition’ on the way. Not at ALL comfortable in the front seat of a car, especially when you’re 6 feet tall! I don’t recommend it hey. I shouldn’t complain too much though, as transition for me is probably like what many women experience for that last half of their labour. I had about 6 contractions in the 20 minute drive, a couple with a break between, some without. Still not too long, each one between 30-60 secs long. Again, it was most painful feeling her inside me, and I was tensing my whole body up, all I could do to hold her back. I still don’t think I quite realised she was on her way OUT, but I did say to Greg that I was pretty sure we were fully dilated and she was ‘just there’.
As we turned onto the main road that runs past the hospital I started NEEDING to push. Of course I was still trying with all my might NOT TO! But as I realised, I didn’t actually need to do much pushing, consciously, because your body just does it on its own! We pulled up to the lights at the intersection that goes into the hospital, and as we waited for the lights to turn green (the first time!) I felt a POP and my waters broke. I said to Greg “I think my waters just broke!” and remember also telling him how cool it was to feel it pop (mine had only trickled out before labour started with the boys), and lucky that I had grabbed that towel! Then when we didn’t get through that green light, another contraction came on, I could feel her crowning and I couldn’t hold her in anymore! I had my hand on her head though, making sure she didn’t come out fast. I said to Greg - rather panicked mind you -(meanwhile I’m sure he was cursing at the cars and the red light too!) “Honey, the head is coming out. The head is out!! Crap, crap, crap. The head is out!!” And quite humourously actually, he was replying with “Don’t panic honey, don’t panic!” Needless to say, we were BOTH panicking!!
Her head was out (in my underwear mind you, which I *tried* to get off when I felt her crowning but there wasn’t time and again, not so easy in a car!!) and I remember thinking, ‘It’s OK, it’s just the head, the baby won’t start breathing till the body is out.’ We were around the corner by now and pulling into the driveway, when I felt another contraction come on and thought ‘Oh crap, the body is just going to fall out with this one!!’ Which it did! I must have slipped my knickers to the side and then pulled her up onto my chest, as far as I could with the cord still attaching us. I remember briefly thinking ‘Oh no, what if it’s not breathing, what will I do?’ She coughed and spluttered a bit on mucus, and I was ready to stick my finger in her mouth to clear it if I needed, but then she let out a cry and I knew it would all be ok! Oh my, I was so thankful to hear that cry, you wouldn’t believe!
Meanwhile Greg is totally panicking because I have just given birth in the front seat next to him! (and no it did not occur to us to pull over either – we were so close to the hospital we thought we’d make it… how we would get inside I didn’t know as I knew I wouldn’t have been able to walk up, but it turned out we didn’t need to worry about that did we!) He said “Where do I go? Emergency?” I said “Yep” and we pulled in right to the doors of Emergency. Greg jumped out and ran to find someone. Meanwhile I just have the baby on my chest. I remember wanting to see if it was a girl or a boy, but looking down, the cord was in the way. I *thought* it might be a girl as I couldn’t see any ‘appendages’ but I think I decided to look again when Greg was around so we could see together. It was only a couple of seconds before about 10 people ran out to me in the car, with blankets etc. They checked her quickly to see she was breathing and all that, then threw warm blankets over us.
Then I got up onto a stretcher and they wheeled me inside. I mentioned that I didn’t even know if it was a girl or a boy, and the staff asked if I wanted to check, but Greg was moving the car out of the Emergency entrance, so I decided to wait till he got back. He came back in and we both looked together to see we had a baby GIRL! We were so happy!!
Then they wheeled my upstairs, through all the back ways (I was looking around trying to work out where on earth we were!) to the Birth Suite. I told them I was a Birth Centre patient and my midwife was waiting for me, but they didn’t really listen to me. I was starting to get a bit angry that they were taking me to birth suite, coz I wanted to be in the birth centre! They wheeled me into a room, then I had to slide myself (one arm still holding the baby mind you!) onto the bed. Then the nurse that was there was saying something about how they thought I might have been a birth centre girl, and I said “Yes I am, my midwife is waiting for me!” So they decided to take me straight down there, thank God! So, I had to slide myself BACK onto the stretcher and they wheeled me across the hallway. When I saw my midwife Karen, I said ‘Sorry Karen, she couldn’t wait!” and she had already thought the baby might have come as she had made it to the hospital before us (we live in the same suburb and she had to stop for a call)! Anyway, finally in the quiet of our birth centre room, we were able to gather ourselves a little. Karen calmly clamped the cord, Greg cut it and then finally gave his girl her first cuddle.
It all slowed down from here, thank God! (I can’t believe I can actually remember all that, it was so fast!) I hopped off the stretcher, onto the floor and waited for my placenta. I remember being worried and peeved that the nurses would probably jab me with the oxytocin, cut the cord and all that without even asking me what I wanted… and I had planned on birthing the placenta on my own. Was very thankful when they took me to Birth Centre and I was still able to do this.
Karen got me in the shower to wash off, then checked me over. I was overjoyed to find that I had not even torn either - that was a miracle and answer to prayer in itself as I was rather anxious about tearing again. I hopped on the bed, Karen measured and weighed our little girl, popped a nappy on her and then we finally got some quiet moments together. I popped her on the boob, which she took eagerly, and sat back, taking in all of what had just happened!
It was then that we talked about her name. We had not 100% decided on a girl’s name yet, but were picking between Lani and Olivia. Well, after that amazing delivery, we knew she most certainly had her Father’s arms and angels around her, so we decided on Lani, which means ‘heaven’ (hawaiian).
Our dream come true, Lani Faith Mardon was born at 5.40pm on the 27th of June, in the car. She weighed 3370g and was 51cm long.
We are so very thankful to our Awesome Father for such a miracle of a delivery and that she was safe and healthy and perfect. And a little girl.
** Edited to add: The car was not that messy really, and it was a darn good excuse to have it detailed, so now my car is oh-so-clean and smells so good!! Great way to do it I say!