The Birth of Charlotte

I gave birth to my little girl, Charlotte, on March 11th. While she was due on March 20th, she came early (much to my relief)!

Warning: I talk about some things that may gross you out so if you’re not comfortable with bodily functions, turn back now.

Friday 2pm – In the super early stages, I lost part of my mucus plug. I went to the bathroom and noticed it – it wasn’t a bunch of blood or some odd coloured thing. The best way I can describe it, is a bundle of clear, liquidy-snot. I didn’t take any pictures – not that I would post that anywhere – as it was kind of redundant to take one.

Saturday 2am – 12 hours after losing part of my plug, I woke up feeling like I was leaking. I luckily wore a pad to bed knowing it was getting closer to the end and not wanting to get… fluids all over my bed.
I went to the bathroom, noticed a lot of clear, almost sweet smelling fluid (I had to smell it to make sure I hadn’t peed myself – something the midwives told me to do as a lot of women do lose bladder control in late pregnancy). After about 10 minutes of excited panic, I rang the maternity ward at the hospital and was advised to lay down for an hour, then get up and see if fluid still comes out. It did, and after speaking to the midwife again, I woke up my partner and off to the hospital we went.

Saturday 4am – arriving at the hospital we went straight in and the midwife took some observations. Blood pressures, heart rates, baby monitor. Followed by a visual cervix check and swab for amniotic fluid, we were informed that it was indeed a partial water break! Things were happening! Yay!!!! As I wasn’t having any regular contractions, I was sent home to rest and wait, and to return to the hospital at 5pm for an induction if labour hadn’t picked up in the meantime.

Saturday 7pm – Sadly I didn’t go into spontaneous labour and returned keen for my induction. We were shown to a room on the post-birth side to have the gel inserted and get some sleep before active labour kicked in. Unfortunately, and unbeknown to me, partners aren’t allowed to stay overnight or after visiting hours. This really freaked me out as I could have this baby at any stage and my support person was going to be at least 30 minutes away.
After crying it out – and the lovely midwives looking the other way so my partner could stay an extra hour – I was cuddled to sleep by my partner and got my last full nights sleep for the foreseeable future.

Sunday 8am – At this stage I still wasn’t in active labour, so I was moved to the birthing suite and in came the drip. By 12pm I called for the epidural and my god I wish I had done that sooner. Dilating was really slow so nothing interesting happened between 12 and 9pm.

Sunday 9pm – I woke up (had a solid nap finally) with a tonne of pressure. Having the epidural in I couldn’t feel much pain, but I could feel pressure and tightening with the contractions. It begun to feel like I needed to push her out, mixed with a sense of panic, tiredness, and a general “off” feeling. I knew we were getting close, and I was getting frustrated at trying to convince the midwife on shift to check my cervix.

Sunday 10pmFinally checked my cervix, and she was right there! I’d been given the green light to start pushing shortly. The midwife rang the obstetrician and let him know we’re doing this, and she begun to prepare the room. She changed the configuration of the bed, made sure the area where they put the baby once she’s out is set up and ready to go, and once all was done, it was go time.

Monday 12:16am – Charlotte was born early Monday morning on March 11th. I was told to push from about 10:30pm onwards, and we were actively pushing for a little over an hour and a half. The feeling of her coming out, I can only describe as a sudden change of internal pressure. Thanks to the epidural I didn’t feel any pain. It was a bit of hard work pushing, and I was falling asleep between contractions. After it was all done, I was awake for maybe an hour, wheeled to back to the ward and fell asleep while the midwife gave Charlotte her injections and did some more observations.

4 Generations of women in my family

Frustratingly, my partner was told he wasn’t able to stay overnight. He was sent home once they started moving me back to the ward. He was also exhausted, but wanted to stay with us. I wanted him to stay with us. Having my first baby, being so tired I couldn’t keep my eyes open, and then being left alone with her in a room was daunting. I didn’t know what to do with this small, tiny, fragile human. Luckily he returned at 9am the next morning more awake and with plenty of coffee.

All up I had a positive birth experience. It was long, a little frustrating at times but I didn’t need any help getting her out, or surgery, or any postnatal complications.

The only hiccup I experienced was with my “breastfeeding journey” (the phrase sounds so weird and hippy when I say it). It didn’t come naturally for me, I wasn’t sure what I was doing. I did have the midwives come in and help her latch on and get into a good position. I did end up having a grazed nipple, and a midwife attempted to get her to latch on while she was screaming her head off, which made me stressed and cry, my baby crying from hunger, and my partner stressing out seeing us both having meltdowns. I ended up giving her formula, and from then on we’ve been doing both formula and breastfeeding. But we’re getting more and more confident with breastfeeding and doing that more.

To all mothers out there, breastfeeding it hard work and I applaud you for doing it – no matter how long you lasted. And if you formula fed, that decision is hard and you have amazing strength to be able to make that decision.

– Caitlin –

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