Becoming a First-Time Mama: Jack’s Birth Story
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I’m writing this post in anticipation of the maternity leave I hope to be taking very soon. In fact, by the time this post goes live, I would hope that our 3rd baby has arrived. Like, I really really hope that’s the case. Ha!
I wrote Annie’s birth story a while back, but for whatever reason, I’ve never gotten around to sharing Jack’s on the blog. So, that is what I’m doing today. This is the story of how Jack entered the world. I was 23-years old and a first-time mom who was so ready to have my baby.
Keep reading to see how things unfolded.
P.S You can now find the birth story of our latest addition here –> When Things Happen Quickly | Charlotte’s Birth Story
Jack was born at the end of March 2015. In New Zealand, that’s autumn which you would think would be cool. However, it was still very warm. I spent the entire third trimester of my pregnancy during summer time and early autumn.
Let me tell you, it was miserable. The heat made me swell up and I had so much water weight. Not only that but because of the swelling, I ended up with pregnancy-induced carpal tunnel syndrome. It was so very painful.
However, the first couple of trimesters weren’t all that bad. I experienced significant food aversions, but morning sickness wasn’t nearly as overwhelming as it has been in my two subsequent pregnancies.
The pregnancy wasn’t easy, but it also wasn’t nearly as difficult as it could have been. Regardless, I was very ready for it to be over by the end of things.
Birth plans are fairly standard these days. In fact, I even have a free one that you can use for yourself if you’re in need of one. It’s very simple and yet comprehensive at the same time.
I was very open about what kind of birth I was going to have. Why? Well, mostly because I had no idea what to expect. My mother had given birth four times. All four times were via c-section. She was physically unable to have a vaginal delivery.
Because of that, I had zero expectations. There was no reason to believe I would require c-sections as well, but there was also no way of telling if I would. I think that was a good thing because I really went into the whole experience with a very open mind.
I also told myself to expect it to last a long time. This was my first baby after all. Typically, early labour can last a lot longer for first-time moms.
So, I was prepared for the worst but hoping for the best.
My due date was March 23rd, just a day after our 1-year wedding anniversary. Again, as a first-time mama, I was fully prepared to go past my due date. I think around 38-weeks both my midwife and myself suspected that I might go early, but then Jack went from lying LOA (left occipital anterior) to full OP (occipital posterior).
Of course, it wasn’t the end of the world, but that simple change in position can result in pregnancies lasting a bit longer.
So, my due date came and went and while I was very much ‘over it’ I also wasn’t surprised. My due date was on a Monday. On Tuesday night I woke up with some painful contractions. When I woke at first I didn’t realise that was what was waking me. However, it happened several times until eventually I got up to use the bathroom and that’s when I realised I had a bloody show and that things were starting to happen.
However, I did manage to get back to sleep and woke in the morning with no more contractions.
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On Wednesday I had an appointment with my midwife. She had mentioned at the previous appointment that she would be happy to check me for dilation and perform a membrane sweep if that’s what I was happy with.
Considering the contractions I had had the previous night I asked her to please do both. The membrane sweep was definitely more painful than I expected, but it seemed to get things going again. The contractions started again. They weren’t strong, but they were there.
My midwife said that if my body was ready to go into labour then the sweep would probably have done it, otherwise things would settle back down again.
Things never did settle down though. Once I got home from the midwife appointment I called my mum and updated her with how I was feeling. While on the phone with her I remember having several contractions. I then decided to go for a walk because I knew that being active would help things to progress.
I took about a 30-minute walk at exactly the wrong time in the afternoon. School had just been let out and so I was having to dodge children on the sidewalk left, right, and centre.
I don’t remember my contractions picking up, but they didn’t stop. Shane got home and we had dinner together. The contractions continued and must have gotten more painful.
Going into the Night
We decided to go to bed around 10 pm but I couldn’t lie down.
Instead, I got back up and set myself up in the lounge as comfortably as I could. I tried sleeping in the recliner for a bit, but the contractions were far too painful by that point to allow me any sleep.
For the next several hours I changed positions where and when I could but I spent a lot of time on the floor draped over an exercise ball.
Somewhere in the vicinity of 2-3am, I remember feeling really lonely. I was in a lot of pain and had no idea if I was progressing at all. I knew that Jack was lying posterior and that it wasn’t an ideal position. So, despite how uncomfortable it was I got myself into the child’s pose position and spent the next 45 minutes like that.
It did the trick and by the end of that time, my contractions were coming a lot more regularly. Shane also came out of the bedroom because he said I was making ‘cow noises’. Haha! Definitely a good sign when in labour.
It was around 3:30 am that we made the decision to call the midwife. I needed to know how things were going one way or another so I could prepare myself mentally.
She didn’t take long to arrive at the house. When she checked me I was 3cm dilated. That’s about what I thought I was going to be at. She said that baby was in a great position but that he needed to tuck his chin to his chest a little more.
She stayed around and chatted for a while longer and during that time I had a really intense, painful contraction. It was during that contraction that I felt a popping sensation and knew that my waters had gone. I wasn’t wrong.
Everything seemed as though it was progressing well, so the midwife left us with a TENS machine to try and said she’d call around 8 am to check how I was going. However, she also said to prepare myself because it might be several more hours before the baby arrived.
I was tired but encouraged by her visit. Shane hadn’t slept much at all, so we decided to call my mum and ask her to come over for some support. At that stage, I was thinking that the baby wouldn’t be here for a good 12 hours or so.
I continued to labour at home. It was always my plan to stay at home as long as I could before heading to the hospital. However, things got intense really quickly. The contractions became very painful and I was trembling through each one.
Then I felt the urge to throw up. I wasn’t nauseous per say, but I yelled for Shane to grab me a bowl. And I was sick.
I couldn’t even feel the TENS machine during contractions anymore despite it being on its highest setting. It was all getting a bit much, so I called the midwife and asked that we head to the hospital. That must have been around 5 am. I also asked to use the birthing tub, but there was only one at the hospital and it was in use by someone else at the time.
I didn’t really care. All I wanted was to get to the hospital.
Heading to the Hospital
It was only a 2-minute drive and we got there around 5:30 am. The staff greeted us cheerfully and asked us to wait in the foyer while they finished getting our room ready. Neither they nor myself realised how far I was progressed.
I remember breathing through a contraction and then all of a sudden feeling the need to throw up again. And I did…in their foyer. I tried my very best to run to the closest rubbish bin, but I’m not sure how successful I was. Again, I didn’t really care at that point.
They apologised profusely and took me to my room straight away. From there the timeline gets a little hazy. I was clearly in transition at that point and it was taking everything I had to make it through each contraction.
Before we had left for the hospital we had called my mum and told her to meet us there instead of at home. I’m not entirely sure what time she arrived, but it wasn’t long before Jack was born.
Things Got Intense
I did get changed into a hospital gown and I knelt on the bed with the head of the bed raised so I could rest my torso and arms over that.
The midwife gave me gas & air to help relieve the pain. I don’t remember it doing much in that regard, but it did help relax me in between contractions.
I think it was upon arrival that my midwife did another check and I was 7cm dilated.
My mum arrived and I remember her rubbing my shoulders and back as I was breathing through the intensely painful contractions. Despite how painful they were, I didn’t feel out of control or panicked.
Then they spaced out. It was nice to catch my breath but I did wonder what was going on. I had heard that sometimes just before the pushing stage your body takes a break. However, my midwife was a little concerned that they baby had flipped back into the posterior position.
When I was able to lie on my back she checked me again. I was dilated to 9cm…almost 10. Her words to me were don’t push if you can help it but if it is overwhelming then go for it.
I have no idea how long it was from when she said that to when I felt as though I wanted to push, but it didn’t feel like very long.
My mum had just left the room for a bathroom break when another contraction hit and I started pushing. I remember the midwife rushing around to get her gloves on. She wasn’t expecting me to be ready to push quite that soon.
My mum returned to the room and after a couple more pushes I had delivered Jack. I don’t remember feeling the ring of fire, but I do remember tearing. And there was nothing natural feeling about delivering a baby. I’ll admit I felt panicked and in a rush to get him out.
And then he was out and I was in shock. It had all happened so fast and I was shaking. They got me turned around and lying on my back and then placed him on me.
At 7:40 am on Thursday the 26th of March, Jack Anderson was born…3 days past his due date. Weighing in at 6lbs 7oz, he wasn’t exactly huge, but oh was he perfect!
We had kept the gender a surprise and it was Shane who said with tears in his eyes that we had a son. In all honesty, I didn’t care at all about what gender we had at that point. I was just so relieved that it was over.
It was about 15 minutes after he was born that I delivered the placenta. My midwife allowed me to have a good deep breath of the gas & air before she examined me for tears, etc. I had torn quite significantly, but I practically begged her to forego stitches.
My favourite memory of that day was lying in bed skin-to-skin with my brand new son. He was so very warm and soft and it was so nice to finally be able to rest.
The midwife brought me a hot milo and some toast and I ate my breakfast while snuggled up with my son. It was absolutely wonderful.
Once I had showered and we were moved to another room, the rest of the day was spent introducing Jack to various members of the family.
He slept all day long…and then was up all night long. I was exhausted! However, we were discharged the next day and life as parents truly began.
While pre and early labour lasted a while for me, my active labour was only 3 hours from start to finish. That was MUCH faster than I ever expected! All in all, it was a wonderful, positive experience.
Until next time!