These are the notes my sister wrote while I was in labour. But first, a picture or two:
I just read these notes for the first time. My comments are in colour.
When I arrived Louise was in a chair receiving saline through a drip. She had a contraction almost as soon as I arrived, excusing herself like a true lady. CJ held her hand and rubbed her arm as she tensed and repeated “ow, owww” in increasing and then gradually decreasing intensity. I was impressed by her restrained verbalization, and also her consciousness and sanity between contractions considering the brutal lack of sleep and real rest she had had for the past several weeks and especially the whole of the previous night. She was shuddering between contractions, sort of extreme shivering or early sudden onset parkinsons all over her body. The midwife took her temperature but it was more about exhaustion and body intensity than cold. Pretty soon after I arrived, doing some small gesture of hand holding and arm rubbing and verbal encouragement, the intensity had increased to the point that it was difficult for her to remain seated, and thus a move to the bath was needed. She moved there and enjoyed the water for a moment or two before another contraction arrived. Even as the intensity of the contractions continued to increase and her energy began to wane she took the pain with resilience. At worst the “ow’s” got louder and she sobbed slightly, but at each stage she stayed as positive as possible, polite, considerate and conscious of what was happening.
Just before she got out of the bath to have her membranes (waters) broken by the midwife the “ow’s” turned to “fuuuuuckkkkkk”. I was proud of how long it took to get there, and the extra meaning seemed to give more emphasis to the intensity of the pain. We laughed about it between contractions. Louise got out of the bath and lay on the bed for an internal exam and was told that she was fully dilated at 10cm. My unthinking comment of “all that ‘fuck-ing’ was worth it!” was met with laughter and “now that has to go on the blog!” Always a writer.
Hah! I’d completely forgotten that brilliant moment. We all erupted in laughter, and she took a moment to realise what she’d said. That was one of the funniest few seconds of my life.
When her waters had been broken (which was not an unpainful process) the midwife informed us that the waters had been acting as a doorstop for the cervix, pushing it open to the full 10cm, but now it was gone it had essentially bounced back to 8cm. Still a significant amount of progress in a short period of time, but a little disheartening.
Not too much longer and the contractions were getting really full on, causing her to writhe pretty much uncontrollably and scream out “oww!”. Only about 20 minutes later she was up to 9cm and starting to feel the urge to push. At times when the pain became overwhelming she began to panic slightly, but was able to bring herself back and refocus. Soothing words from CJ and a kind but firm reminder from the midwife helper her focus. At one stage she asked for an epidural but we all politely ignored her and changed the subject.
As mentioned yesterday, I wasn’t actually asking for an epidural, but everyone thought I was – I wanted to know it was too late to have one if I’d asked. That “too late” moment would mean I was going to successfully have a natural birth. Which, incidentally, I so did. 😛
Born at 7.58pm
Song playing was “Opportunity” by pete murray, “Nothing else matters” by Metallica, and then “Nothing is beyond you” by amy grant.
Having music playing was a nice distraction at times, so I do recommend it.
She said at exactly 8 minutes after giving birth, “It’s not too soon: I do want another child.”
Here’s another picture from the first two hours of Louisette’s life: