real life

Giving birth in my in-laws' bed was NOT part of my birthing plan


Our favourite blog from last week's iBlog Friday has been chosen! Rebecca McGregor (Bec Tells) is the winner with her post at Mumma Tells. Congrats Bec! 


Bec explains exactly how her birthing plan went totally out the window …

I became a mother on my in-laws spare bed. As surprising as it may seem, this was not a part of my birth plan. Nonetheless, it will be permanently etched on my frontal lobe for the rest of my days.

Being a first-time Mumma, one thing which I was acutely aware of was the fact that I had not done the "labour thing" before. What would it feel like? How would I know it was time?

“You just will,” played on repeat, as the (mainly unsolicited) advice came pouring in. And so, I waited. Patiently. Well, at least my version of it.

Patience has never been my forte. It was tested even more as 30-something week pregnant me moved in with my in-laws during yet another time extension on my home renovation. I was desperately seeking an alternative, going from rental inspection to rental inspection, belly (and waddle) in tow, as I knew I wanted begin my mothering journey in my own space.

One evening, after feeling a few uncomfortable niggles, I thought that this might be it.

It was confirmed when, in an irrational attempt to try and sneak in a few moments respite, you know, just in case, I became saturated by a tidal wave the moment my head hit the pillow. Hello ruptured membranes.

Despite only a few incidental contractions, I headed into hospital, on its request, to be monitored.

It was here that I was strapped to a chair, with wires running every which way, for foetal monitoring. The first half-an-hour was bearable. The next six hours or so were not, particularly as my contractions were growing with intensity. All I wanted to do was be free to move.

But there I was, sitting, being told that I needed to be still so as to not interrupt the monitoring. I was offered Panadeine Forte for the pain, which my body decided against. Not once, not twice, but on three separate attempts it was ejected into a disposable sick bag. Despite being fully effaced, I wasn’t dilating. In fact, throughout the duration of my time being monitored, I had only managed one centimetre – a mere one and a half at a stretch. 

I knew that I could not sit in that chair any longer. I knew that, if this was early labour, I was going to need to reassess my birth plan. And those drugs I’d turned my nose up at during antenatal class? We were going to become acquainted. And after the attending obstetrician kindly informed me that I would not be admitted, reassuring me that, “this is how early labour is supposed to feel…”, it was time to make our way home and wait.

From here, things become a little hazy. I know that on my return to the house, I made a beeline for the shower. And it was heaven. My saviour. Then I flopped on the bed, hoping that I would get some kind of relief, or at least distraction, from the tens machine. All I wanted was to be left alone – to rest. And being the wise man he is, my husband obliged.

Another contraction. Then another. I was frightened. I needed to push, but it must be too soon. I was only in early labour after all. I tried with all of might to fight the urge.  I yelled for my husband. He didn’t hear. Another contraction. They were coming back to back. One on top of the other. If I didn’t move, if I couldn’t move, I didn’t know what would happen. So somehow I did, only to leave the room and find what I thought was an empty house. I was alone. I thank my lucky stars that I was mistaken. Sleeping soundly in the next room I found my husband. It is safe to say that the both the sleeping and the soundly ended quite rapidly on my entry.

Cue a phone call to the hospital. Then triple zero. Cue ambulance. Whether or not they arrived in a timely fashion, I didn’t know. But what I did know was this baby was a-coming. When the paramedics arrived, they were not confident that we would make it to the hospital in time to deliver. That was the game changer for me. I was not delivering on the side of the road, in an ambulance. So it was to be here. Less than two hours after being discharged from the hospital in early labour. On the spare bed in my in-laws house I would meet my first born child.

After telling myself, over and over, that I was wrong – that I needed to stop listening to my body, it took me a moment to recalibrate. The human body is an amazing thing. The fact that it was able to instinctually know exactly what to do, and when, is something that I can still not fully comprehend. Once I gave in to my body, I no longer felt any pain. Pressure, yes, but not pain. I was deeply and intensely focused on the task at hand, and with each contraction I pushed with everything I had.
And then I heard the most amazing soundtrack. The cry. My goodness, it was the greatest sound I had ever heard. Placed upon my chest was the teeniest, tiniest little angel I had ever laid eyes on. Two big, wide-awake, and curious blue eyes starred directly at mine.
My world was transformed in one (impatient) breath. Not only was my baby born that day, in that room, on that spare bed; so too was a Mother. So too was I.

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The winner will receive a copy of the soundtrack to Baz Luhrmann's film The Great Gatsby, out now.

Produced by Jay-Z, the soundtrack includes songs by Beyonce, Florence + The Machine, Gotye, Lana Del Rey and Bryan Ferry.