September last year I was blessed with this guy.
He has kept me solidly busy. He's pretty spesh. Bodhi was the healing birth experience I didn't know I needed. The pregnancy was long and uncomfortable, rendering me physically pretty useless by the end thanks to Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction. I was friggin huge, man! This is a 37 week bump shot. I have later ones that are significantly bigger, but they are far too gruesome and I am far too vain.
By 38 weeks I began to panic, not about his size but about the circumstances of Axel's birth that led to emergency resuscitation and a stay in neonatal intensive care. I laboured for over 24 hours with Axel and didn't get to have that special 'slimy baby on your chest' moment that looked so awesome in the youtube videos I'd become addicted to. In fact the whole thing was quite terrifying, and the interventions were so preventable had I known anything at all about giving birth. This time I was armed to the teeth with knowledge, and the only thing that would threaten my desired experience would be if Bodhi chose to poo in my tummy like his big brother.
In short, I was panicking about over-cooking the baby.
I voiced my concerns with my lovely midwife Alexis, and she agreed to start giving me sweeps when ever I wanted. We started at 38+5 days. Sweeps, if you don't know, suck. They are the uncomfortable experience of having a grown adult put their hand up your jay-jay to reach your cervix. I had three.
I woke up to contractions at 2am on Tuesday September 4. Because I was induced with my first baby I never got to experience that build up of pre-labour, so I was pretty nuts with excitement. I laid awake playing with a contraction timer ap literally all morning. Stupid move considering what was ahead. The contractions fizzled out when I got up for the day at 6am and I was slightly disappointed. Okay I was wildly pissed off.
That night they reappeared and knowing not to get ahead of myself I tried to sleep. Although they were enough to keep me awake, Wednesday morning they seemed to have petered out again so I got up to face another day of being cranky and fat. I soon realized if I kept physically moving they would build up to really decent active contractions. If I sat down at all they would stretch out much longer, but would still be really powerful suggesting active labour might establish. I got a bit crazy here, marching up and down our steep driveway for hours. I knew I needed to preserve energy but I was too excited to be on the verge of meeting my son!
By 6pm I called Rick and demanded he come home and support me. Axel stayed hiding in the shadows from this point on. All I could do to manage the pain was to walk, rock, sway, dance or stomp. If I sat down at any point the contractions would slow, but become much more intense. It felt like sitting caused two or three contractions to combine into a really arse-kicking big contraction. The same thing happened in the bath, meaning no relief there either.
By about 10:30 I was beginning to fear I couldn't cope. I called my midwife and relayed my fears that I'd come in to get examined and she'd tell me I had barely progressed and I'd be so disheartened I'd lose control and that would be the end of naturally labouring. I made the decision to come in anyway.
Driving into the hospital was excruciating, sitting back was possibly the closest I'll ever know to absolute torture. Even while it was happening though, I couldn't help but smile at the whole thing. It was happening, and it was happening naturally! Rick was driving like a bat out of hell and we were bickering over him taking the LONG route to his brother's to drop off Axel. When we got to his brother's everyone there was excited and wanted to talk to me about it.. uh no, let's go!
When we got to the hospital my midwife hadn't arrived yet, so we were shown to the suite and I was told to lie down for an examination while Rick went to park the car. I told this unknown woman to bugger off - I had a plan thank you and she was not part of it and I would not be opening my legs to her so off you go. She scurried out of there and I was alone for a little while. It was a really nice moment of suspension. Some time after Rick came back and Alexis arrived with a student midwife who's name I forget. I assumed Alexis would want to examine me but she didn't bring it up. I don't know if it was because I asked for minimal interference on my birth plan or because of what I told her on the phone, but it was awesome not to be examined at all. I assumed I wouldn't have a choice.
I was left to continue labouring using my own skill set- stomping and yelling. At some point I asked to try the gas only to immediately get nauseous and decide it was terrible. Alexis sat on a chair and occasionally called out a suggestion to get in the tub or something encouraging. The student midwife used a doppler to check the baby's heart beat intermittently, but that was the only physical contact they had with me. It was just what I needed. At around midnight I started to get tired and was ordered into the tub to rest. It meant the same intensely strong spaced out contractions, but I managed to get a few minutes sleep in between. After some unknown time I got out of the tub and literally chucked a tantrum - I got up, yelled that I didn't want to do this any more and ran from one side of the (huge) birth suite to the other! It must have looked hilarious. Rick and the student midwife were shocked but Alexis just smiled and told me to sit on the toilet. Sure enough I did and my waters exploded - transition!
Not long after that I had the purple line on my backside to indicate I was fully dilated, and jumped in the shower to birth this guy. Again I was left alone with a mirror (at my request, gross but encouraging) and I managed to do the job in 15 minutes. Rick was in a state of shock and awe and only caught the very end of the action with his camera. The whole thing was awesome.
Bodhi Rick, born 1:45am September 6
9lb 2oz of cute