Welcoming to the world our baby boy – Cypress Fitzgerald.
Born on January 31, 2017 at 9.05pm, weighing 6 pound, 2 ounces.
Just a heads up, this post may be a little too much information for some.
There’s no gruesome photos, but there’s no holding back on the information I’m about to share.
I always knew this birth would test every fibre of me, but I never expected the pay off to be a love this intense!
Monday night Chris and I were hanging at home on a suprising cool summer night. I had four days to go until my due date so I was preparing some freezer meals to have on hand. We had been invited to go to my brothers for dinner but thought it would be best to stay closer to home than 3 hours from our hospital.
At about 9.00pm I went to the toilet for a wee (nothing knew at 39 weeks pregnant) and as I leant over to grab the roll of toilet paper, I felt a strange trickle coming from ‘down there’. I leant back to finish doing my thing and out of curiosity, leant back over and felt the same trickling feeling. I wiped and inspected it closely – yep, no denying there was a slight pink tinge. I called out to Chris that I was fairly certain my waters had just broken. I put on a pad and phoned the midwives who excitedly confirmed that’s what it was and to just wait and see what happens now.
I phoned our friend who I had a breakfast date with the following morning to let him know I wasn’t going to make it. I made up some excuse about being tired and sick but promised to call him tomorrow for a chat anyway (assuming it would be to tell him we have had the baby). Chris tidied the house while I unpacked and repacked the hospital bags, making sure I had everything I needed. I had a shower, washed my hair, shaved what I could reach and we went to bed excited and anxious for what the next few hours would bring.
At about 11.00pm my contractions started. They were mild and mostly just uncomfortable but I knew there was no sleeping for me tongith so I got up and myself a comfortable little nest on the couch and settled in to watch a few movies. I left Chris to sleep, knowing I would need him to be well rested for me as labour progressed.
I didn’t notify our parents just yet. I figured it could be quite a while until something actually happened and I didn’t want to feel like I had to keep updating everyone on how I was travelling. As the contraction gained strength, I found it hard to get comfortable laying down so sat up on the gym ball bouncing and rolling to ease the strengthening but manageable contractions.
At about 1.00am all I could think about was having a hot bath. I put another call into the midwives who gave me the all clear to soak in a hot tub and laughed when I told them Chris was still asleep in bed and that I would wake him and call them if things got seriouse.
So there I soaked for an hour or two until the pain really start to set in and I decided I didn’t want to be alone anymore. I got out of the bath, dried off and went to wake Chris which was easier said than done at that hour of the morning. Chris got up and sat with me through another movie or two. He sipped coffee while I sipped tea and water and I think I tried to have a nibble on some toast as I bounced, rolled and moaned through each contraction.
Off To The Hospital
At 3.00am my contractions were about 5 minutes apart but not as strong as I had always expected them to be at that point. I phoned in again and was told to head up and we live about 30 minutes away from the hospital. I got into my going out pj’s and we hoped into the car, down our bumpy dirt driveway and onto our very bumpy dirt road just as the sun was starting to lighten the sky.
I remember saying to Chris in a confident tone “I think we’ll meet our baby before the sun comes up babe” as my contractions went through the roof as soon as we got in the car. The close we got to the hospital however, the more they died down in regularity and intensity.
3:30am we arrive at the Emergency Department and are buzzed into the main entrance of Gympie Hospital so we can make our way up to the Maternity Ward. As we exit the elevator, we’re meeted by a midwife who is all smiles and a sense of comfort washed over me. I was here and I knew I would be well looked after.
We were admitted into the birthing suite to get comfortable in our room with the view as the sun worked its way towards the horizon and the fog settled in along the Mary River. The ladies showed us where everything was, and told us to buzz them if anything changed.
Chris put on our playlist that was entirely Hermitude and Flume and I paced around the room wondering what the fuck happened to my contractions?
The rest of the morning is a blur of contractions building, gaining strength and momentum and dying away, leaving me frustrated and confused. At some point, we messaged our parents to fill them in on the nights excitement. My parents headed up to Gympie to wait the day out at McDonalds to be as close as possible for when the baby was born.
Cue Happy Gas
After breakfast I decided I needed some gas to take the edge off. Wholly shit is that stuff fun for someone who barely drinks and doesn’t take drugs! WOOOOOH. One of the midwives gas me a run down and I was off, almost making myself sick on the shit at first. I laughed with Chris as my voice went deep and I confused the hell out of my midwife and student when she came to check on me and I told her my eyes were hurting from squinting….. okaaayyyyy time to turn the gas down a little! After a run down on how to not be high as a kite, I was back on earth and sure that I was progressing well.
Before lunch I stripped to my bra and undies and made my way to the shower (gas in hand) with the gym ball and Chris who had to hold the shower head on my back because it was broken and wouldn’t stay on the wall (good ole Gympie). I stayed in here for a couple of hours, even managing to eat my lunch off the trolley without getting my food wet or sliding off my gym ball!
Once out of the shower, I climbed up on the bed, leaning over the back of it propped up and found a way to use the gas as the contraction built, cutting it as soon as it peaked and breathing deep as it subsided. This really helped me avoid from over using the gas and gave me a purpose through each contraction.
Throughout this time, they would come in every so often to check mine and baby’s vitals, then let me go back to how I was.
Failure To Progress
Finally at about 2.30pm, they decided to do a stretch and sweep (where they physically try to open yoour cervix). I braced myself for the discomfort but the horror I experienced I had no way of preparing for. My doctor determined I was only 2cm dilated and my cervix hadn’t softened very much at all.
They let me go for another half hour and carried out another internal examination and stretch and sweep but I was still only 2cm dilated so the decision was made to administer an Epidural and hook me up to the Oxytocin drip (the drug used to induce labour) so help get things moving. As it had now been 18 hours since my waters broke, they also gave me anti-biotics to help prevent any infection.
At about 3:00pm, the doctor arrived to insert my Epidural. They had me sit on the edge of the bed facing Chris, lean over as far as I could and let them know when a contraction was subsiding so they could get it in before another one came. I felt a sharp jab and a strange sensation that I can’t really explain properly. It wasn’t pain as such, it was just a strange and uncomfortable sensation. I told them what I was feeling and they removed the cannula, waited for a few contractions and tried again. This time I felt the jab, but no horrible sensation following it.
They laid me down and did the ice brick test. The doctor ran an ice brick down my side, starting at my arm pit. At my armpit I could feel how cold and hard it was, but as she moved it down my body the cold sensation dissapeared, until she reached my navel where I could only feel the pressure of the ice brick, no cold at all. I made her remove the blankets because I thought she was tricking me.
Once it was confirmed the Epidural had worked, a midwife came in to insert the catheter which again I could feel but with zero pain at all. At that point I was releived to not have to make it to the toilet to pee in between contractions. They then gave me the dose of anti-biotics, and started the Oxytocin drip to increase my contractions.
Tamrin was brought in especially to sit and monitor me and baby around the clock. I could tell straight away she was someone special. Her soft and caring nature and her excitement over my birth put me entirely at ease. It could have something to with the fact that I no longer felt any pain and was completely delerious though.
Chris was struggling big time. The last internal examination left him looking white and he hadn’t eaten since dinner the night before. I kept telling him to go eat and get some fresh air but I wonder if he wasn’t in any condition to drive. I messaged our bestie and asked him to make the 40 minute drive to town to take Chris out for air and food. He didn’t hesitate and was there before I knew it.
With Chris gone and after another internal examination, I was able to get some rest. The lights were turned off, my phone was taken off me (I had been texting everyone since the Epidural because beleive it or not I got bored) and I was ordered to rest. I managed to snooze for a little bit while Tamrin sat beside me silently watching the monitors with her hand on my tummy feeling each contraction.
Emergency Cesarean Time
I woke at about 5.45pm to the smell of dinner. Thank god, I was starving and dying of thirst. My water bottle had dissappeared so I asked Tamrin for some water, she said she would get me some but didn’t seem to be moving.
At 6.00pm, I realised my dinner wasn’t coming, and neither was my water. I turned to Tamrin and said I’m not getting fed am I? She mumbled something about them possibly forgetting I was in here. I messaged Chris telling him to come back because I was most likely going in for a cesarean.
At 7.00pm baby’s heart rate dropped a little so the doctor returned and did another internal examination. I hadn’t progressed any further than 4cm and she looked up at me with an appologetic look on her face. I said to her “I’m having a cesarean aren’t I?” She asked if that was okay and I said if that’s what we needed to do, then that’s what would happen. Get my baby out safe is all I remember saying in total confidence that day.
As soon as the decision was made the room was buzzing. Chris was gathering my things, the doctor returned with the consent forms, the lights were on, my bed was propped up, there were people everywhere changing my drips, taking off my jewellery, Chris was removing my nail polish, my hair was being pulled into a fresh pony tail it was all systems go.
This is when I started freaking.
If I could have used my legs, I would have run away. I wasn’t scared of the surgery, I was scared of becoming a Mum. Of being responsible for this little human. I had no fucking idea what I was doing and neither did Chris. How could we be resposible enough to be parents? Who’s fucking idea was this????
I was parched, I hadn’t had a sip of water in hours and the panic that was setting in was making my mouth so dry. I pleaded for water but they couldn’t give me any. They kept telling me they would bring som eice cubes for me to suck but they never came. The thirst was more than I could take and I just wanted to cry.
I was transfered onto the bed that would take me down to theatre with slide sheets and we began the trip out my door, down the hall and into the lift. Tamrin and Chris promised they wouldn’t leave my side. Chris was bouncing with excitement. I tried to replicate what he was feeling but all I can feel was a heavy panic setting in.
We arrived down in theatre and Chris was whisked away to get into his scrubs. I asked how long he would be gone for and they told me about 45 minutes. That’s how long they needed to get me prepped. A lovely nurse came to my side and must have seen the terror on my face. She held my hand and stroked my head and told me everything would be okay, they perform this surgery all the time and I was in safe hands. I shared with her the thought that my fear was of becoming a mum and she looked at me with soft eyes, called me sweetheart and told me to close my eyes. She stood there stroking my face while we waited for everyone to prepare.
I confirmed my name, date of birth and allergy to morphine for the hundreth time and it was all systems go. I started trembling from the adrenaline coursing through me and had to be pinned down while my blood pressure and heart rate was checked. They wrapped me in hot blanket to try to settle me while they began wiping down my tummy and shaving me (no one tells you they shave you).
I asked for Chris and as I turned to my right, there he was beaming down at me. I held his hand and stared into his eyes. I was feeling impatient so I asked when they would start, they told me they had almost reached the baby. Any minute now.
A Boy Was Born
All of a sudden there was this pulling and tugging in my tummy but no pain. You know those old school wash boards from the olden days? I felt like I was one of them with the bed shaking and rattling and they did god knows what to my insides. There was a cheer from behind the sheet and before I knew it, there was this little body hanging right above my head over the sheet. I looked up and saw these big red balls and willy. We had a baby boy!
I remember there was a droplet of bodily fluid on him that was about the drip on me. My first thought was “oh gross, dont let that hit me”. He let out an almighty, healthy cry and was passed to Tamrin. She asked if I wanted skin to skin but I was still shaking uncontrollably and was terrified of dropping him so I asked for her to give him to Chris. She wrapped him up and handed him to Chris who looked up at me with tears in his eyes and whispered “Meet Cypress”. I smiled and laid there watching the two of them bond and cuddle while I was stitched up.
After a few minutes, Tamrin said we really needed to do some skin to skin so she unwrapped Cypress and laid him on my chest and wrapped us both in hot blankets. I remember the smell of him. This spicy smell that was kind of gross but amazing all at the same time. He began lifting his head and throwing it forward while wriggling his body. He found my boob and started suckling at it, crying in frustration.
I could barely move my arms so he was given back to Chris after a few minutes and was taken into the recovery area while they finished putting me back together. I was wheeled into recovery to see my two boys there waiting for me. I was finally given a sip of water in a fucking shot glass. I begged and pleaded for a real glass and promised not to chug it.
The First Feed
Tamrin was on hand for our first feeding attempt. Within 11 minutes of being born, we was straight on that boob and sucking for dear life. I think we were in recovery for a couple of hours with Cypress and I being monitored closely. When it was time to be taken to our room, there was no one other than the two security officers available. In walk these two big blokes who’s hearts melted when they saw little Cypress. We joked about our security escort the whole way up and Cypress continued happily guzzling his first feed.
I was wheeled into my private room and prepared for transfer onto the bed. Under me was an inflatable mat that acts as a hovercraft to slide me across and into position. Once in bed, tucked in and comfortable, we were left alone. The three of us as our own perfect little family at last. We dressed him in the special outfit we had chosen, took a hundred photos and sent them all to our friends and family and sat there marvelling at what we had created. I think by this point it was about 11.00pm so Chris left to go home and get some sleep while Cypress and I settled in for the night with the midwives on stand by to come and assist as I still couldn’t move after the Epidural.
I’m sure there’s so much I’ve forgotten and it’s sometimes hard for me to remember those first few days as the following few months kind of over shadowed those first moments. But I do remember feeling totally at peace with arrival into the world. There really isn’t anything I could have changed. He was here, he was safe, he was perfectly healthy. What more could you ask for.