My 33-hour labour

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At 6am on a Saturday, I woke up to the first period-like pain I’d felt in 10 months. I was hardly sleeping anyway, due to being so huge, and moving was like a marathon! “Oh my God, is it finally starting?” I asked myself.

The cramps came in waves about every 15 to 20 minutes, but only for about 20 seconds at a time. I knew this was only the first stages of labour, and my midwife had the day off (typical!). So I messaged her second. She replied that this was just the early stages, and we wouldn’t be making a move until the contractions were coming every two to three minutes and lasting for one minute.

Throughout the day, the contractions got stronger and longer. By dinnertime, I was in tears, and had to stop whatever I was doing each time they came – every five to nine minutes, at this stage.

I rang my midwife at midnight and we met her at the local community hospital at 12.30am. I was buckling over with every contraction now, but the midwife said I was only dilated to 1cm! 18 hours of contractions, and only 1cm dilated!

So I went back home for the hardest sleepless night of my life. Every five minutes I was standing up, trying not to yell, but I couldn’t help yelling – in my partner Hayden’s face half the time. By 3am I was ringing the midwife, crying and yelling. She agreed to meet us at the city hospital at 8am.

Poor Hayden was so tired, he slept through a few of my contractions, so I hid in the shower for the last 30 minutes to give him a break, and then off to hospital we went.

Once I finally got to the delivery suite after stopping every 20 steps or so to curl up on the ground for a contraction, I was examined and told I was dilated to 6cm, yay! Thank goodness that difficult night wasn’t for nothing. I finally got some gas on board and both my and Hayden’s mums were on the way in.

Baby then decided to turn her back on mine, and was round the wrong way. I agreed to an epidural, but while I was on the toilet before getting it, I heard a “pop”! My water broke like the cork on a bottle of bubbles.

While trying not to dribble all over the floor, I waddled back to bed and got the epidural, leaking so much that my waters were going all over the bed and on the floor. I was trying to hold still through more contractions, but it turned out the epidural didn’t fully work and although my legs were still numb, I could still feel patches in my tummy.

Hours went by and nothing changed. Both mums were there, with Hayden supporting me through every contraction. We got to 2.30pm and there was talk of a C-section, and I started to freak out. At that point, my midwife said, “How about we just give it a push.”

So I curled my legs up and pushed. “Okay, it’s time to go!” the midwife said. Meanwhile, my husband was at the other end of the ward in the restroom while I was being told to start pushing! Obviously I started yelling for him.

Throughout the pushing process, there were many times I actually thought I didn’t have the energy to keep going. I hadn’t slept for 32 hours

At one point, I heard the doctor say, “We need to make the cut,” so out came the scissors for an episiotomy. Hayden watched the whole thing!

At 3.28pm on Sunday, with tears flowing, our daughter came into our world.

Having to push out the placenta and have my midwife put pressure on my tummy to get the blood clots out was not nice at all, but I had done it. I was pale, puffy, getting stitches, very sore, and tired – after 33 hours, with a newborn popped on my chest, I could hardly function.

But oh my God, I made this beautiful, screaming, pudgy little lady! Little did I know, the hard work was just starting…

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BUMP & baby is New Zealand’s only magazine for pregnancy and early babyhood. Our team of mums and mums-to-be understand what it’s like to be pregnant in this connected age, and that’s why BUMP & Baby online is geared toward what pregnant women and new mums really want to know.

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