One day there were two, and the next day there were three! At 11:12am on the 31st December 2018, we welcomed out little man, Finn William Olney-Lee into the world.
We have now had almost two months soaking in all our little cub and getting to know each other. It’s been one of the craziest months of my life, however also one of the best as well. Sometimes I lean over to Mr TUQ and say, “I can’t believe he was in my belly! He is just so beautiful!”. That heart throb you get for your little baby is like no other.
I’ve put up a quick version of my birth story on my instagram stories which is saved under under Baby. However, I wanted to put up the full birth story because I loved reading these during my pregnancy.
Caveat: This is just my experience, which won’t mean it will be yours or others. If there is one thing I’ve learnt it’s that your birth experience is exactly that – completely unique to you and your baby.
Our birth story
For some reason, I just had it in my head that I was going to go well past my due date. So many first mums do. Apart from a few niggles here and there, I didn’t have any other signs of labour. To be honest I thought these were just ‘growing pains’ as my belly grew in the last week or so!
Around 3am on the 30th December (my nightly bathroom wake up call for the last month), I woke up feeling some back pain. I brushed it off as ‘yet another’ symptom of a watermelon protruding from your belly. I got up the next morning, had breaky and started packing up the Christmas decorations.
By about 9:30am I started getting these dull cramps again. I just went about my day as normal and just breathing my way through the waves (our Calm Births class said this was the best thing to do – no need to get all concerned too early since these could go on for days!). Further in the afternoon I started doing some of my exercises I learnt in yoga to help ease the pain and progress the labour.
Then by about 6:30pm the waves started getting more intense. I put the tens machine and cranked it up every time I had a wave. Mr TUQ’s parents were visiting from overseas and we had planned to go to dinner with them. Again, not knowing how long these were going to go on for, I decided we should go to dinner. Worse case, we would have to come home and best case, I got to have a delicious dinner and get the oxytocin (love hormone) brewing in my body!
So off I went to dinner with my tens machine hanging out the back of my dress. I just cranked it up every single time I had a wave and had the most delicious crab ravioli. By about 9:30pm I announced to the table that I was done. When we left, I said to Mr TUQ’s mum, there is going to be a baby coming tomorrow!
By the time we got home, I started feeling the waves come on alot stronger. I kept doing my horse breathing (aka pursing your lips together and breathing out making a horse nicker sort of noise) and listening to my meditation tracks over and over again.
At about 11pm we called our midwife just to let her know that we would likely be coming in that night. Mr TUQ was rubbing by back the whole time while I was on my knees lying over on the couch. Nickering like a horse the whole time…
4 and a half hour later (and a few episodes of random Netflix shows for Mr TUQ), we decided to call the midwife to tell her we were coming to the hospital. My contractions were now coming regularly – about every 4 minutes, lasting 1 minute and feeling quite intense.
Then I decided to take a shower before we left and I think I was in there for a good twenty minutes because it felt amazing. We ticked off our last minute list for our hospital bag and then I shuffled to the car. I made Mr TUQ drive about 10km/hr because the bumps in the road were making the waves feel worse. I still remember one bump towards the hospital which I yelped out in pain when we went over it. It makes me shudder every time we drive over it still!
When we got the hospital we set ourselves up. The midwife checked me and said I was 6-7cm dilated. Yay I thought – apparently on average you dilate 1 cm per hour so I thought I was on the home stretch… ha! Boy was I wrong!
Over the next 4 and a half hours I was listening to my meditation music and squeezing onto Mr TUQ’s hands for dear life during every wave. I’m pretty sure he had bruises and nail marks in his hands for a few weeks, poor guy.
The pressure really started to build and I started to feel like I was surely getting towards the end. Um no… no such luck! My waters still hadn’t broke and I was starting to feel like I needed to push. The midwife examined me and said that the pressure was because my waters hadn’t broke – like a balloon filling up with more air and at bursting point! She said she’d give me 30 minutes and then she might have to think about breaking them for me.
10 minutes later I felt this ‘pop’ and I sighed in relief. I turned to Mr TUQ and said – “finally”! He said, “But I can’t see anything?”. I assured him it was definitely my waters were definitely floating around in the bath!
Then over the next half hour, things got intense and I wanted out! Or at least a baby out! It’s hard to explain the feeling – I think it’s like someone is inside your stomach twisting it apart (which is exactly what your clever little uterus is doing!). By this time I had been in active labour for exhausted and felt that I’d reach my pain threshold (and I think of myself as having pain threshold), I asked (slash begged) Mr TUQ to get me an epidural. I was done.
So I got out of the bath and stood up rested on the bed to wait for the anaesthetist angel. Murphy’s law… by the time the anaesthetist came, I had fully dilated. I did the last 2cm in 30 minutes which was why it was SO intense! My midwife convinced me that the hard part was over and I had about an hour of pushing to do…
Time to push!
One hour went past, two hours went past, three hours went past and still no baby. I tried pushing in the bath, standing up, on the toilet and then finally they got me onto the bed.
For some reason I just couldn’t get it into my head how to ‘push’ this watermelon out. My little one’s heart beat was being monitored very closely and the OB was continually talking to Mr TUQ about timing/ thresholds for when she wanted to intervene.
At about 11am, poor little Finn got exhausted and his heart rate started falling fast. The last 12 minutes or so were a blur and apparently Mr TUQ said I was minutes away from the OB whisking me away to get a C-section.
Thankfully I got my head into gear and did three almighty pushes and bingo! As soon as he arrived, an army of people ran into the room. To this day, I don’t even know who they all were. All I remember was being in a huge state of panic as he was whisked away to a monitoring station. Probably only a few minutes later I heard a little squeal and then people coming over congratulating me.
I still remember when they put him on my chest. I think I was still in shock. Despite being pregnant for 9 months and putting together a nursery, having your baby in your arms for the first time is quite surreal.
I have to be honest and say that it all felt a little strange for a while. I was feeling guilty about being in shock rather than crying tears of happiness. However, talking to a lot of mums, many say they had the same reaction. I’ve come to terms with the fact that it doesn’t make you a bad person. Your body has just gone through a huge workout and your are mentally and physically exhausted – to be honest, I felt like I was having a huge out of body experience.
Mr TUQ on the other hand was a bubbling mess straight away #heartmelt. Every time he looked at him he started to well up with tears. It was beautiful but it did leave me wondering what was wrong with me. Of course, once this state of shock has worn off, I absolutely adore our little cub and would move mountains to protect this little cutie.
After I’d had a shower and freshened up, the first thing I asked was when I could go home. I just wanted to get back to my bed, have some home cooked food and relax. However, since the little poor chicken did a meconium poop on his way out, they asked as to stay in for a minimum of 24 hours. He was closely checked over the next 24 hours by the wonderful hospital staff at Northern Beaches hospital. Exactly 24 hours after he was born I was sitting on my hospital bed, all packed up and just wanting to take our little cub home.
What they don’t tell you is the pain after birth doesn’t stop. Like the fact you have to sit on your hoo ha while trying to feed your baby and the fact that you walk around looking like Pamela Anderson with the most engorged boobs until your milk supply settles down. Not to mention you continue to have mini contractions while feeding which is your uterus contracting (about a million times less intense than the actual contractions though!).
However despite all this, little Finn is now 7 weeks and I spend about 90% of his waking hours up showering him in kisses. I’m completely and utterly head over heels for my little cub. To top it off, he has just started to give me cute little smiles and is making all sorts of cooing noises (in between all the gassy noises too!). He loves making coffee with his dad in the mornings, reading books and staring at lights. I can see his little personality coming through and I can’t wait to see what sort of human he grows up to be (as long as he loves his mummy, the world is his oyster!).
So congrats if you’ve made it to the end and thank you for reading Finn’s birth story! I will do a fourth trimester post as soon as we’ve made it through!
Lastly, I thought I’d mention a few extra things that were helpful in case you’re also expecting a little bubba of your own.
Things to help prepare you for labour:
- Calm Births: We did the Calm Births classes and I cannot recommend them enough. Knowing what we were in for made me feel less nervous and prepared for everything that was to come.
- Pre-natal Yoga: I had been going to pre-natal yoga since I was 16 weeks pregnant. My yoga teacher was incredibly nurturing and helped me physically but also mentally prepare me for the birth. I can 100% say I can contribute being so chilled throughout my pregnancy because of my yoga practice. At the end I also listened to my yoga meditation while I was lying down at the beach and also every night before bed (it use to put me to sleep). I’ve always dabbled in yoga but I’m such a convert now (which I think has to do with finding a great teacher). I also did a private class with my yoga teacher and Mr TUQ to help with the breathing and exercises because I just felt I needed more than I got from Calm Births.
- Swimming: Labour is a marathon (for most people anyway). I tried to keep up my aerobic activity leading up to D-Day. It was the middle of summer and I felt as big as a whale so walking wasn’t really an option. Swimming felt amazing because you become weightless and it cools you down as well (I was permanently hot during my pregnancy)!
Things that were helpful in the hospital bag
- Fairy lights: Sounds strange but you need to make those stark hospital walls as lovely and warm as possible because this helps speed up the labour. (That and stay at home all long as possible because your own environment makes things a lot faster!).
- My meditation & calm births recordings: I had some from both my yoga teacher (she has such a soothing voice) and also from my Calm Births classes. You can find heaps online or on Spotify. At the end I just wanted to hear relaxing music, no talking but it’s personal preference.
- Speaker: We took our portable speaker with us to play music and the meditation recordings. I had in earbuds at home but as soon as I got to the hospital we used the speaker.
- Tens machine: I had the pads on my lower back and they help to re-divert pain. It was a lifesaver every time a wave come. Obviously I couldn’t use it once I got into the bath at the hospital but if we didn’t have the option for the bath, I would have kept it on for a lot longer.
- Chargers! You will run out of batteries on your phone/ speaker/ tens machine. Also while you’re at it, an extension cord might not go astray just in case the powerpoints aren’t where you need them..
- Some food for dad. We froze some cheesy bread rolls in the freezer and popped them in the hospital bag. They had defrosted by the time Mr TUQ was hungry. He did get a few meals brought in but I wouldn’t let his poor hands go to be able to eat with cutlery!
- Endura or some form of electrolyte drink: I was totally uninterested in food for my labour. My naturopath told me to take some endura with me to put in my drink and that helped me keep hydrated. Some sugary lollies might keep you going as well.
- Hair elastics to keep your hair out of your face and swimmers (or a bralette) if you want it for the bath.
- Something nice to make yourself feel nice after your birth (whether this be some nice shower gel, makeup, etc – it feels so nice to make yourself feel human again afterwards)
- Peri bottle: Basically a clear squeezy bottle that you put hot water in and run down your front while you are peeing. I only used it for the day in the hospital but it definitely toned down the stinging. If you’ve had tearing then I hear that people use them and they are a lifesaver!
- Dressing gown: I put on a light nightgown straight after birth. It was nice to have something to cover you up but still be able to keep baby on your chest.
- Arnica: My naturopath gave it to me to take to help with swelling and bruising. I was up and out walking the next day and was able to sit down comfortably a few days after.
- Obviously the usual clothes, underwear but don’t forget your toothbrush! It feels nice to brush your teeth and feel fresh!
- The hospital provided disposable ice packs, pads and some Lasinoh for sore or cracked nipples but each hospital will be different. Your milk typically doesn’t come in for a few days so you probably won’t need breast pads.
- A few cosy outfits. Even though it was summer, the air-conditioning makes it pretty cool inside the hospital.
- We got nappies, baby wash and blankets from the hospital but again, check with your hospital.
If you’re currently pregnant and expecting a little one – congratulations and hope this was helpful! Just keep your mind focussed on the precious little parcel you’re going to get at the end!