Zoe Matilda’s birth story.
The fortnight leading up to Zoe’s birth was particularly hard on me. My daughter was born at 38+4 and my son was born at 38+6 weeks so everyone, including me, thought that I would go early with baby #3 as well. The second week before my due date, I left virtually free just in case I had our baby, however after realising this wasn’t the case (and going slightly crazy while waiting), I made sure I kept myself busy and active the week leading to her arrival. I walked every single day with my DD and DS in the pram, sometimes twice a day, I started using evening primrose oil capsules and continued taking my raspberry leaf tablets. I started bouncing on the fit ball, pushed myself ridiculously hard at my ‘Mums in Training’ exercise classes and did everything I could to get this baby out! However she seemed quite comfortable and wasn’t showing any signs of arriving any time soon.
We decided on the Saturday (11th Feb) prior to my due date (17/2) that we would go to DF’s parents holiday house about 2 hours from home. We had a lovely weekend away with our kids and in-laws and arrived home on Sunday in time for DD’s friends birthday party. I felt particularly uncomfortable at the party (didn’t help that DD wanted to sit on my lap on the floor for much of it) and returned home rather exhausted. After dinner I began cleaning up and suddenly felt a contraction. It was rather painful but I could continue cleaning through it so figured it was just a Braxton Hicks contraction. However I had another one 5 minutes later, after about an hour of 5 minute apart contractions, I had the urge to jump in the shower, at which point DF was asking if we were going to have a baby today. I felt irritable and in quite a bit of pain, but I wasn’t sure if it was the real thing as I’d had BH contractions for weeks and I also didn’t want to call our in-laws over for nothing (they were to look after DD & DS). I was also slightly concerned if it was the real thing as my two previous labours were quite fast and I was told this one would be quicker, so to come to hospital if I felt like it was the start of labour. So I called the birth centre, explained my history of short labours and that I was unsure of what to do, and they said to give it another hour and to see how I was then. So after my shower I took some Panadol, lay down for a bit and then they stopped almost as suddenly as they started. So I was rather annoyed that after 2 hours of 5 min apart contractions that I hadn’t seemed to have progressed at all.
The next morning (Monday) I had my 40 week check up at the birth centre where the lovely midwife offered to give me a stretch and sweep as she said it sounded like my body was trying to get into labour/was preparing itself. After examining me she said that she could feel my waters bulging and that I was about 2-3cm (normal for a 3rd baby) and that my cervix was very short and baby was incredibly low. She again went on to say that I was going to have a quick labour as the baby had such a short distance to travel and that she wouldn’t be surprised if I was back within the next 24 hours. Our DD and DS went and stayed at my in-laws that night just in case, however I proved the midwife wrong and had not even the slightest twinge.
I went to my regular M.I.T exercise class that Tuesday evening hoping it would help bring on labour and found it incredibly hard, whereas the previous week it seemed super easy. I should have realised that it was my body telling me to slow down/rest, but it did feel good to be doing something. I went home that night tired, but still no sign of baby.
On Wednesday night I started to lose my plug and having never lost it before with my two previous labours, I was quite disgusted – what a horrible looking thing it was. Besides the loss of plug on the Wednesday, I had absolutely no niggles/twinges whatsoever. On the Thursday I made it my mission to get prepared for DD’s 3rd birthday on the Saturday. We went and did the grocery shopping in the morning and I cleaned the house throughout the afternoon. Once the kids were in bed, I needed to get some last minute things for the birthday girls special birthday breakfast so headed to Knox City S.C and waddled around there for a couple of hours, making sure I got a pineapple boost juice as that was one of the only tricks I hadn’t tried to try and bring on labour!
I finally got home just after 9pm and DF decided he needed his hair shaved (I had made him wait as I wanted him to get a proper haircut for our family photos once baby arrived – but seeing as though the baby didn’t seem to want to come out any time soon and his hair was getting terribly messy and long, I thought “what the hell – just shave it, this baby is never coming anyway!”). So we did that in the bathroom – couldn’t be bothered cleaning it up so left the bathroom an absolute mess, and then sat down and watched a movie together. For the last month I had made sure the house was spotless before going to bed, just in case I went into labour (I hate the thought of coming home to a messy house), however on that Thursday night I just couldn’t be bothered and left it a mess. We went to bed just after midnight and I commented to him that I had reached my due date for the very first time, “wooptie doo!” The last time I looked at the clock was at about 12:18am on the 17th Feb.
I was woken up by a contraction at about 1:30am on the 17/2. It was quite painful but not dissimilar to the ones I had the previous Sunday. I waited in bed to see if they were to continue and I had another one 10 minutes later. After lying in bed and waiting again, another one came pretty much 10 minutes later again. I couldn’t lie in bed any longer, not because the contractions were too painful just yet, but the thought of coming home to a messy house (and images of all of DF’s hair in the bath!) was enough to get me up. So from about 2:00-3:00am I cleaned the bathroom, the toilet, put a load of washing on and also put the dishwasher on. I packed the kids bags (which were half packed already) and checked I had everything in my bag. We decided at 3:30 that we should call DF’s parents and my brother (my brother looked after the kids until he had to leave for work, when MIL & FIL came and collected them at 6:30) – it seemed as though this was most likely the real deal. We then called the Birth Centre, where Hannah, who’d I’d spoken to previously on the Sunday night told me to come in, and remembered me talking to her about my fast labours. She said to come in whenever I was ready, and I told her we were probably half an hour to an hour away as we had to wait for my brother to arrive. I then texted my brother at 3:50am after speaking to him and said “don’t rush, I’m doing ok” as he sounded quite panicked on the phone. All the while my contractions were still only 10 minutes apart and felt much the same in terms of intensity, however I was having to stop a little bit during them but didn’t feel that overwhelming sense of pain just yet. My brother arrived by about 4:00am and after chatting for a couple of minutes and making sure everything was in the car, we left for the Angliss.
While DF started the car I had a very very painful contraction. I started to whimper a bit and said to DF that “I hate this bit, I HATE the car trip to hospital”. I finally got myself into the car and we headed off on the 15 minute car ride. As soon as we started driving my contractions started to come closer together and by 4:15am they were less then 5 minutes apart, lasting for over a minute. I still wasn’t convinced that I was in real labour when we arrived, so much so that I told DF to leave my bag with everything, including the cameras in it, and locked it. I had another contraction right after he did this and decided that YES I did need my bags and YES this was happening! I started walking into the Emergency entrance as quickly as I could, suddenly having a sense of urgency, with DF following behind me (dragging my suitcase rather loudly along the ground as I hadn’t realised that one of the wheels was broken and it was pretty heavy). When we got to the entrance that leads to the main part of the hospital, the door was locked. When I was in labour with DS this was open and we walked straight up. I ran over to the window at emergency and told the nurse that I needed the door opened NOW, she said that I had to be escorted up and that she would be only a minute. That minute felt like eternity and again I had a massive contraction. I was offered a wheelchair but declined.
As soon as we got to the birth centre door and I was let in, I had another contraction that I had to really breathe through. Hannah, our midwife said that the bath was running and that she would be about 5 minutes as she was next door with another labouring woman. I rushed into our room, pulled all my clothes off and jumped into the bath, which was only about 5-10cm full at this point. I started to panic as I felt completely out of control and my midwife was busy, poor DF just looked on helplessly and rushed off to find Hannah. As I got into the bath, I had my biggest contraction yet with my waters breaking at the same time. I had never felt such a painful breaking of waters yet (with my DD1 and DS, my waters broke gently before contractions started). As soon as my waters broke I started screaming that I needed the midwife and I needed to push NOW! She came running in, realised the baby was close and demanded I get out of the bath as it just wasn’t going to fill in time to safely have a water birth. The baby’s head was well and truly about to crown and there was no way I was in any state to climb out of a bath. I dug my heels in and said there was no way I was getting out, when she again said I needed to, I replied with “aren’t you listening? I am not getting out of this bath!” With that she pulled the bath plug out (to me it felt like she was ripping it out and just not listening or helping me, but in hindsight I understand her need to do that for the baby’s safety). So Hannah jumped into the bath behind me, and two to three contractions later, at 4:50am and approximately 45 minutes after labour established our beautiful baby girl Zoe Matilda was born. I requested the injection to help expel the placenta (due to my retained placenta and subsequent manual removal under a general anaesthetic with DS) and thankfully it came out in tact and very quickly.
We had chosen not to find out the sex of our baby but were absolutely elated with our little girl. Our eldest DD had said all along that she was getting a baby sister and we were just over the moon that we had another baby girl to add to our family. Zoe fed beautifully for the next two hours or so and then fell into a deep sleep. Her stats at birth were 7lb, 46cm long and a head circumference of 32cm. She is a much loved addition to our family and our DD1 and DS have been fabulous with her. We are all in love with our new little baby <3.