On the 2nd of Jan, a day after my due date, I woke up about 7AM feeling a little different. My regular tightness & aches were certainly still present, but I had a new on-going cramp that morning which hinted labour might be close. I’ve had a couple of false alarms before, so it took me a little while to be convinced that this was THE DAY. I laid around in bed & started using my iPhone to google labour/ contraction pains (& good ol’ Instagram) & what it felt like for other moms. I also started timing the cramps using the iPhone app ‘Full Term’- just to make sure. I had always pictured a Hollywood dramatic moment where I’d wake up & yell “It’s happening!!!” but instead I was uncharacteristically calm when I told G that morning in bed. By 7:30AM, I was up, brushed my teeth, took a shower and even washed my hair & shaved my legs! The pain was getting stronger & more regular by the minute. G even made me a PBJ toast (yum) which I would normally scoff down in a minute, but instead I was in so much pain that I barely could chew through it. By 9AM, we rang the hospital but I knew the midwifes wouldn’t really take you seriously unless these were to happen, so fortunately I was very informative – (using the app) I told her how many contractions I’ve felt since, how long it lasted & the intervals between. I also haven’t felt the baby move since the contractions happened. The midwife told me to eat something light (which I said I did already) get into a hot tub (which I said I had a hot shower already) have some Panadol & wait it out. Nonetheless, we waited to see if anything else will happen, but of course, it only got progressively worse for me. At 10AM we rang again & she told us we could be admitted.

The drive to the hospital felt like forever since we caught every single red light & we arrived close to 11AM. They admitted me into a birth suite with a stunning view of a car park (ha!) checked me & said I was already 5cm dilated. I had previously decided to get an epidural, which my friends swore by & had advised to get immediately, but I opted to wait until I couldn’t handle the pain any longer (big mistake). A lady (actually a few ladies) in the next room was screaming her head off which further intensified my state of shock & daze. I was given gas for the time being but it did nothing at all. After over an hour, I still hadn’t gotten the shot and my pain level had become unbearable (FYI I have a low pain tolerance). I couldn’t form words, felt like breathing was death, my vision became blurry and I began to doubt if I’d even be conscious by the time they were ready to give me the shot. I was also slowly turning into a snappy monster toward G & my sis who were my support persons for the birth. The epidural itself was painful – it took a few times for the anaesthetist to administer it as he had to wait until I pass through a contraction (so I’d stop wriggling in pain), but as soon as it started to work, I was flooded with a tremendous sense of relief.

I then had to wait for 4 hours until my midwife checked my dilation again. By 4PM, she broke my water & said I’m about 8-9cm dilated & that at 8PM she would check if I am ready to push. Thank goodness for the epidural, I felt no contraction pain at all. Downside was, the epidural slowed down the whole labour progress & I absolutely couldn’t lift/feel my legs. The waiting around whilst being bed-ridden was also anti-climatic & boring. When it was 8PM, my favourite midwife (I’d had three throughout the course of the day) checked & told me I can start pushing by 9PM but the contractions were fizzling out- which was not a good sign. I was so exhausted, but exhilarated knowing that I was going to be meeting my baby soon. By 9:30PM, we started the pushing stage. What felt like a marathon (I totally get that analogy now) didn’t result to much & after every push, I felt like I couldn’t do another. Marlowe was coming out very slowly and it didn’t help that I couldn’t feel myself push. By 10:30PM, the midwife added a hormone to help boost the contractions- and then the moment I’d always envisioned or seen in the movies happened- soon I was screaming my head off like Debra Messing from The Women because I was in pain from the contractions & exhaustion. I’d been in labour for close to 17 hours and was ready to be done. 2-3 more doctors joined the scene as well as another midwife who, along with G & my sis, became my cheersquad. G held my hand tight, gave me kisses after each push & told me how proud he was of me even though I was sobbing, giving up & too tired after every stretch, whilst my sister grabbed my leg & fanned me. Everyone was so encouraging that I found strength in their cheerleading, and in half an hour, she was crowning ever so slightly. In the end, I was too tired & baby M was getting distressed, so the doctor offered to assist the birth with forceps (which was THE last thing I wanted) At this moment I realised I only cared for her safety. I screamed yes & with each instruction, I pushed & she finally slipped out at 11:43PM. G was an emotional wreck at this point as he cut her cord & gave her kisses. I had lost about 800cc of blood & the birth was a ‘traumatic’ one-but it was all worth it. The midwife had me take her, and I held her to my chest. I hadn’t slept for two nights and yet when she was born, I had never felt more alive.

We spent the next couple of hours skin-to-skin, relaxing in the birth suite and recovering from the physical and emotional shock of it all. Even though I’d hardly had any experience with babies and had no clue what I was doing, it all felt so natural, since she belonged to me. Out of everything I’d ever done, I thought she was my best creation & achievement. I never went to sleep that night.

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P.S Many thanks to the midwifes & doctors at the Angliss Hospital- you guys are AMAZING & your hardwork really deserves more recognition!