"I'm done. Let's get this show on the road".
We approached our OB who swiftly dropped the bombshell that there were, actually, no induction dates available for the 2 weeks post our due date care of Chinese New Year, the ridiculously auspicious Year of the Water Dragon and all that. Blah blah. Not what you want to hear 40+ weeks pregnant and not dilated at all. I was so done. But it was out of our hands.
We willed our little man to be ready, we told him we were ready. Let's make this happen. Let's wake up at 6am tomorrow morning to gentle contractions and let's meet at midday. You know, like we discussed?
But no. Apparently talking to your womb doesn't actually work. Go figure.
And then we got the phone call at 10am the next morning...
"A spot has become available for tonight. Would you like it? Call us back".
Phil and I stared at each other. Smiled. Then frowned. Smiled again. Then debated the crap out of whether we should stick with our what-seemed-like-a-good-au naturel-plan or tap into a little modern medicine to get this long awaited show on the road. Pros, cons, and a long, long walk and conversation later, we decided.
Let's do it.
Bags were being packed, cheeky smiles were being exchanged, butterflies were rising and falling. It's time. It's happening. We're going to have a baby. Holy shit. We're going to have a baby.
The drive to the hospital was calm. Eerily so. It was dark, around 9pm, cold, really cold and misty. I was ready. And so excited to finally experience labour but more so to meet the little man that we'd created and been so eager to have in our lives. To see what he looked like, what he smelled like, what he sounded like. To have a family. The three of us together. Just us. Just ours.
We checked in, went to the delivery suite and talked about the process with the midwife and our OB. A prostaglandin gel on the cervix tonight, a likely sleep till the morning when the oxytocin drip would be inserted and the contractions would be on their way. Phil was going to head home and we'd call him when it was 'game on'. Fine. Great. Good plan.
But in less than an hour after having the prostaglandin gel, the contractions came thick and fast, lasting a good minute each and no more than a few minutes apart. There was no warm up, no time to adjust, no gentle climb to intensity. Our Calmbirth preparation was a saviour, as was my incredible husband. Between contractions, I sat, eyes closed, trying to breathe calmly, to relax, trying not to get caught up in what I was about to feel, again. Phil comforted me, encouraged me. He was everything I needed him to be. When the contractions came, I breathed hard and focused, trying to find the most comfortable position to get through it. I needed to be on my feet, leaning on the bed and swaying, almost jigging, from side to side. The fit ball was no good, the bath seemed impossible, lying down just wasn't an option. My wrists hurt from supporting myself while I was standing. My pelvis felt like it was being torn apart. I went into myself in a way I've never experienced before. Eery. Again. The darkness, eyes closed, pain, rest. Darkness, pain, rest. All-consuming. Overwhelming.
After a few hours, I started vomiting. The midwife examined me and I hadn't dilated at all. Nothing.
Then my waters broke, and after hearing I hadn't progressed, so did I.
I had a pethidine shot at 5.30am and within an hour I'd dilated to 5cm. The pain had intensified so much, the contractions less than a minute apart. I was in a trance, my eyes constantly closed. I was exhausted from lack of sleep, from the effort of getting through the contractions, and decided I needed some help to keep going. I've never felt so tired. Or consumed. Just after 6.30am I had an epidural. The relief was almost instant. I could relax. I slept for an hour. I felt human again. It seemed all my stubborn cervix needed was a few nudges in the right direction to really get going. And by 7.30, I'd almost fully dilated and was well and truly ready to push. The urge was incredible. Unavoidable. Uncomfortable in a really satisfying way. All of a sudden, I was in control. I was ready to go. Ready to meet our little boy. And after an hour and twenty minutes of pushing, a natural tear, small episiotomy and consequently two stitches, the intensity of the previous 10 hours fell away.
At 9.06am, our little angel arrived.
He was placed straight on my chest. He looked at me. I looked at him. I looked at Phil. And back at him. And a few minutes later, my tears came. Tears of incomparable love, joy, happiness, and relief. Relief that he was finally here, healthy and happy. Relief that it was over. Relief that I did it. In my way, the way that was right for me.
I can't really find the words to describe the love I feel for our son or the fierce protective instincts I have for him. I never in my wildest dreams imagined I could love him so so much. I've cried more in the two weeks since he was born than I did my whole pregnancy. He makes me smile from ear to ear every minute of the day. His squeaks and coos make my heart melt. When I see Phil holding him, the lump in my throat rises.
I just can't imagine ever having lived without him.
He is the best thing I've ever done in my life.
My beautiful little Fletcher James...