As I lay in bed, half asleep, half awake, it was becoming obvious that the heaviness in my bowel area was keeping me from catching up on my much needed sleep.
Groggily, I reached for my phone on the bedside table. 9:30 am. Okay, I thought. I suppose I have caught up on a bit of sleep. I could probably get up. By now, the dull ache in my lower stomach was getting a little uncomfortable. I definitely needed to relieve myself, before things got worse.
After five minutes of toilet sitting, and no relief in sight, I realised that maybe this constipation business had done more damage than I had thought. Annoyed, I wiped and prepared for an unsatisfied flush of the loo. But then I saw it. Blood. A big smear of mucus and blood had covered the toilet paper. The bloody show.
I gasped, slightly frightened at the sight of blood down there after so long. It was not the pure joy that I imagined would accompany the bloody show; more like, borderline panic with a little bit of excitement thrown in, just to confuse the situation.
Mr C was about to go into his first meeting when I called. Thankfully, he answered right away.
‘Erm, honey?’ I started out, sheepishly. ‘I just went to the toilet and…I had the bloody show. I think these pains I’ve been having might be contractions.’
I felt slightly embarrassed to admit that I thought I was in labour. I had heard of so many women who had made it as far as the hospital, only to be told that they are experiencing false Labour. What if I was wrong?
Mr C’s reaction was not what I’d expected. Generally, my Mr C is a pretty cool fellow, usually showing his joy in understated ways. But upon hearing the news that I was in labour, Mr C’s voice raised an octave. He was positively giggly!
We discussed the plan of attack. Mr C told me to prepare the rest of our hospital bag for now, and obviously, I’d need to have breakfast, a shower and start to time contractions as soon as possible. Thanks to the genius of modern day technology, I’d downloaded an app to help me with the latter.
After I’d prepared everything—myself included (hello silky smooth, shaved legs)—I noticed that the contractions were getting intense. They were now coming at about two to three minutes apart which, of course, I dismissed as ridiculous. Did I skip the whole five minutes apart business entirely? It was all happening too quickly. Mr C wasn’t even home yet.
It was time for some serious distraction techniques, so I began to wash the pile of dishes that had stacked up. I breathed through the next contraction. After it had finished, I decided it was time to get Mr C home. He would most certainly not be making it to his last two meetings. I called my sweet, excited husband and told him the contractions had ramped up a notch. Bless his little cotton socks: he’d already cancelled his meetings and was on his way home. Knowing that Mr C was on his way was such a relief.
By the time he arrived home, the contractions had reached an intensity that had me permanently seated on the exercise ball. It was time to call the hospital. We knew it was probably too early to go in, but we did need to find out what they expected of us. The midwife on duty advised that I was probably in very early labour (GOOD LORD, NO). Her advice was that the moment the contractions became too much to walk and talk through, we should call again and let them know we were coming in.
Half an hour later, I had reached that point. It was definitely time to go in. Up until then, I had been lying on our bed, on my side, trying to breathe as deeply into my belly as I could. Sadly, the hypnobirthing techniques that I had hoped to take advantage of were rapidly disappearing in a sea of pain. I was tensing up, and although I had previously poo poo’d the idea of pain relief, my thoughts were slowly starting to darken.
Mr C made the next call to the hospital. This time, he spoke to a new midwife. He explained that I was in struggle town and that we thought it was time to come in. I watched as his face dropped and he began to nod at what the midwife was saying. He hung up and delivered the bad news.
‘She said it’s still too early to come in. She said that if you were ready to come in, you wouldn’t still be lying on the bed. Apparently you should eventually feel so uncomfortable that you will want to get up and walk around.’
I was stunned. What on earth was the batty mole on about?! Things were BAD. My body wanted me to stay on the bed because I was in too much pain to move. It wouldn’t LET me move! Despite my body’s hesitation, I decided to get up and try to walk around if I could. We would see if she was right.
I had only taken a few steps when I felt a warm liquid trickle onto my pad. Blood. Dark red/brown. Two great big globs of the stuff. I froze. Mr C saw the fright on my face. Together, we decided that it was most probably the mucus plug but, still, this had shaken me. Mr C made the next decision on my behalf. He would be calling the hospital again. This time, when the bitchy midwife answered, my hero—I mean, my husband—informed her that he WOULD be bringing his wife in right away.
So, off we went. Mr C had the bags, and I had some relief in knowing that I was heading towards something new. Perhaps some pain relief, if things really did get that bad. Just the thought that I was leaving the stale situation I had been dealing with was all I needed. Sure, the pain was still going to be there. But I would be in hospital where I would at least have new options available to me.
The bitchy midwife met us at the door and announced our arrival to the midwife on floor duty. The subtext behind her tone said, ‘This is the silly first timer who can’t handle the pain of early labour.’ Now, I am a pretty sensitive soul so, had I been in less pain, I probably would have been pretty upset by her awful demeanour. Instead, I made a mental note to get upset about it later. At that point, I was just thankful the bitchy one was only on the phones for the day, and not delivering my precious baby.
The new midwife introduced herself as Michelle. She was positively lovely. She was forty something, very friendly and a motherly type—just the sort of midwife I had hoped for. And, it was her birthday! In between contractions, we laughed about the connection she would always have with my little baby, who would surely be born on her birthday.
Michelle decided to check me for dilation right away. We’d been warned that if I was not dilated enough, I would be sent home. You can imagine my relief when Michelle happily announced that I was already five centremetres dilated, and I was only four hours into active labour! So much for being in very early labour. I was thankful that Mr C and I had followed our instincts and ignored the bitchy midwifes orders to stay home. I was having this baby and, at the rate I had been progressing, I was having it soon.
Five hours later, our beautiful baby boy came into this world. Michelle laid my baby on my chest and I looked down at my little boy. The most precious pair of puppy dog eyes were peering up at me. My Son. He wasn’t crying, just whimpering. It really was the sweetest little noise I had ever heard. Full of pride, I looked up at Mr C who was already lost in his own sea of love for this little boy.
And, it was still the 24th of February. Our baby had made it, just in time to get his own birthday. Three hours later, as the date flicked over to my own special day, I knew that this was going to be my most wonderful birthday ever.