Wednesday, February 29, 2012

She's here!

So this is the post I have been longing to write for, oh, 10 months. Maybe longer.
Yes, it is probably something I have been longing for since I hopped on the IVF rollercoaster more than two years ago.
Our beautiful baby girl is here. Samara Kate arrived in the world at 9.08pm on Thursday February 23.
I was hoping for “smooth” and “incident-free” when it came to the birth. The reality was quite different...isn’t it always?
The first I suspected that she might be on her way was at precisely 1.22am on February 23.
I woke with the unmistakable stirrings of early contractions. I had felt something similar when we had the termination in 2010.
Actually, it wasn’t contractions as much as an uncomfortable bloating in my belly and a forceful urge to wander the hallway of our house.
I contemplated going outside for a walk around the block...I just wanted to walk everywhere, keep moving. But I stayed inside (scared of walking into a spider web, actually.)
I walked into the baby’s room and looked around, amazed that we would have a baby to sleep in there very soon.
I checked on Jay, amazed that we would have two children under our roof very soon.
I stood at the back door overlooking the pool and garden as I rocked my hips from side to side and stretched and breathed.
I stared at the lights flickering in the water and tried to put a lid on the nervousness.
Here we go, it was happening.
I tried to lie down at various intervals, but as the early morning hours wore on, and as the sky started to lighten, I wanted to stay in bed less and less.
The pains were getting more intense now – although compared to what was to come later that night, those particular contractions were absolute bliss!
T was up by 6am, and had heard me creeping about the house all night anyway.
I am looking at a piece of paper now that notes down the contractions. What time they came and how long they lasted.
The first one starts at 6.24am (although I had felt them much earlier than that) and lasts seven seconds, the last one is at 11.55am and lasts 46 seconds.
The last entry on that piece of paper says “show” at 11.59.
That was pretty much the catalyst for me wanting to get to the hospital. I think at that stage I was fairly well convinced that show would be the spark that blew up this pregnant powder keg!
I had been having three contractions every 10 minutes since 10am.
We got in the car and I was sure I would flood the passenger seat with my waters and we would arrive in civilised time to make ourselves comfortable in the birth suite before our new baby popped out 20 minutes later.
Good lord, I was wrong.
We got to the hospital about 12.30pm and went to our room – number 8.
We probably stayed there for about an hour before being transferred. Things were progressing and I remember the midwives excitedly telling us we would probably have a baby by the end of the night.
Bloody hell.
We got to the birth suite and I then proceeded to take the world’s longest shower. Please somebody call Guinness, as T informed me later I had a three-hour shower.
That water was THE BEST thing I had ever felt in my entire life. Ever. There were two jets, one T positioned toward my lower back and the second one I held on my lower belly.
I sat in a chair for most of the water and contemplated the water wastage for about three seconds, before turning the hot tap on harder.
It was teeth-achingly painful. It stirred in me those truly horrific fight or flight feelings – and mostly, let me tell you, I wanted to fly, run, sprint, zoom out of that room and away from the pain.
I got irritable and demanded pain relief, incredulously demanding the midwife do her job and offer me some gas or something. I mean, shit, I was in pain – couldn’t she see that and why wasn’t she doing anything about it?
So I tried the gas and threw up bile and orange juice about four minutes later. That was quite enough of that.
Then I tried the bath, which was great for a few hours. Actually I remember the midwife saying at one point that I looked bright and alert. I actually felt it.
I was still having strong contractions, but all of a sudden I felt ready to take on the world, strong and powerful, refreshed and positive.
Hmm, that feeling didn’t last long.
Pretty soon after, I was crying and sobbing into the edge of the bath screaming at anyone who would listen that I didn’t want to do it anymore.
Not long after that, I was saying that I couldn’t do it anymore. I can’t, I can’t I kept repeating.
I stayed in the bath for ages and I could feel the contractions intensifying. I felt sure I was going to rip the two metal support bars clean off the tiles – actually I was trying to focus on doing that. Wouldn’t that make a great story, plus it gave me something else to concentrate on for a while.
Throughout it all I did try and keep coming back to the breathing techniques I had read about. Imagining the uterine muscles needing a good oxygen supply to do their natural thing on the in breath and imagining the cervix and vagina loosening on the out breath, as I made sure to drop my shoulders and unclench my fingers.
I even visualised breathing in white light (which later turned to yellow, orange, light blue or any other happy colour) and breathing out red (later, black, yucky green, brown etc).
It worked 60% of the time. The other 40% was sheer, white-hot, eyeball-bursting, completely frightening, horror-movie pain.
There is no breathing through that.
I gave birth to a baby girl who weighed 3990 grams (8pound 13 – almost four kilos) naturally, with no painkillers.
You do the math.
There is no breathing through a borderline third degree tear that I received at that moment.
But it is true, your body does take over and does its own thing. In the last hour I felt freakily removed from my body had been split in two. One part was doing its primordial birthing thing, while the other was freaking the shit out.
In the final few minutes, the two finally came together. It was amazing really.
I was out in the main room by this stage and sitting on a birthing stool, leaning into a lounge chair and crunching my face into a bunch of pillows.
At its most intense, I was trying to focus on ripping the pillow cases to shreds – damn that was some strong cotton!
The midwife had been monitoring the baby’s heart beat throughout and placed the wand one last time. Up to that point, the rate had been strong and consistent at about 140 or 150 beats per minute.
At that last reading, it was 62. I heard the midwife say “this baby has got to come out now”.
Hearing that heart beating so low was the final push I needed to turn “can’t” into “just watch me”. Looking back I cannot believe that I was at that point of seeming hopelessness and yet I managed to find something that little bit more to save my baby girl.
Even if I knew it was going to hurt, injure, scar or ruin me, I didn’t care – it just had to be done.
I was vaguely aware of T climbing up the back of the lounge chair so she was actually sitting where your head goes.
Later she told me it was as if someone had turned on a tap and blood was pouring from me. She is not good with blood and said she would have fainted if she had seen any more.
I was aware of a second midwife coming into the room. I thought it was standard practice right as the baby was born. Later I found out the first one, ashen-faced, had called her in when the blood loss began.
My mind could only see white sparks and fluorescent flashes as I screamed – in semi-perfect soprano that I am sure troubled the inner ears of some of Sydney’s finest hounds – and felt myself opening up.
I heard two gurgles and felt a small release.
“Is she ok, is she ok?” I said. “Yes, that’s her. That’s our baby girl” T said.
“Is she alright, what’s happening, where is she.” For some reason I didn’t look down, I was afraid to move. I actually thought the midwives had taken her to the table to check she was ok. T later told me she was on a towel below me.
Then I heard her cry. Oh, that moment. I knew she was fine.
T hugged me and kissed me, I think. I can’t remember.
Soon, I was being helped up off the stool and guided toward the bed. I still hadn’t seen my baby. I think T was holding her by this stage.
What I did see was a room that looked like a crime scene after a massacre.
Hospitals, why is white the preferred linen option? Really.
I don’t mind telling you I had left every conceivable bodily fluid known to woman on that birth suite floor and I was wading through it feeling a euphoric exhaustion I had never felt before.
My doctor had arrived at the exact second she popped out.
I lay on the bed and our baby was placed on my shoulder. He stitched me up telling me I had a second degree tear, borderline third degree. He had to give me about six shots of local anaesthetic - and the needle absolutely killed! Of course, it was ridiculous that I had just squeezed a watermelon out of a drinking straw and here I was complaining about a stinging needle. But it bloody hurt.
Ok, I would like to say I felt a flood of emotion and that I wept tears of joyful love. But the truth is, I was shattered, and in shock, and feeling the effects of 50,000 miligrams of hormones on an empty stomach and I was numb.
Happy, and numb.
Then our baby amazed me as she found my breast and started sucking. I looked at the clock at that point. She was 30 minutes old and she was sucking.
A few minutes after that as I played with her tiny fingers, she gripped my hand.
She gripped my hand! She was less than an hour old.
That’s where I have to leave my story as I am now in desperate need of a nap. She is six days old and has been a dream. My milk has been slow coming in, but we are supplementing with formula and she is doing all the right, incredible things.
J completely loves her and has been so helpful and eager to be near her. He has been better than I ever imagined. T has been the most amazing support – being a woman, having been there before, keeping a level head and helping me answer endless questions with logic and reason. She is such a wonderful person to have close. I didn't think I could love her any more. Until these past few days. I am so, so lucky. Love to you all. Good night!


  1. Oh how very precious! Welcome to the world Samara Kate! You made it Bec! I could feel your pain reading that. What a perfect little girl, Congratulations!! x

  2. Congratulations!! I've been reading your blog got a couple of months and I think this is a great time to de-lurk. She's beautiful!

  3. Oh Bec, I have tears streaming down my face and goosebumps on goosebumps. You did it. Samara did it. Congrats to you and T - so, so happy for you xxx

  4. Congratulations!! Having never experienced a vaginal birth this was amazing to read. Well done to all of you. Enjoy xx

  5. You are woman, hear you roar! As the birther of a 9lb 2oz baby, and borderline third-degree tear, I felt every bit of your eyeball-searing pain, reading this! So, so proud of you and T and J and little Samara. Cannot wait to see this miracle for myself. Lots and lots of love xoxox

  6. congratulations. I remember when I gave birth to Xanthe, the midwife told me I may need stitches and I told her that I didn't need them at all (I was shit scared of that needle too). She called in the obstetrician and I was so determined not to have those stitches that I'm pretty sure I healed myself by the time the ob got there. she said no stitches needed, I looked at the midwife and said "told you so". I can relate to how crazy it is that you've just gone through all that but can't face the pain of the needle.

    Well done awesome lady. She's beautiful. Gorgeous name too. Welcome to the world Samara Kate

  7. Oh Bec!
    This is the best news in the world!
    Congratulations, she is absolutely beautiful.


  8. A huge congratulations to you. I have been reading your blog since just before you started the ivf for Samara and am so thrilled to hear of her arrival. Alll the best with your new little princess

  9. Oh congratulations! What a wonderful story!

  10. Nice one, mama. You did it! Now the real fun beings...

  11. I've just discovered your blog via Veggie Mama and I am SO glad I found you! Reading this post has just made my day. Huge congratulations to you and T xxx

  12. What words express the emotion Bec?

    Just so thrilled for you and your family to welcome Samara Kate to the world.

    May the discovery of each other you enjoyed in her first hour be reflected for the rest of your lives.

    Much love!

  13. HOW DID I MISS THIS!! Well I guess the lack of internet access at home explains it, but WOW!! SHE IS GORGEOUS! I hope your family is settling in together and you're tear is healing well. HUGE smile on my face right now.