Gumby’s Birth story Chapter 1: Olympics and horses

Settle in kids. There’s a story to tell. TMI warnings will be given. Laughter will be had. A baby will be born.

Here’s the LAST BUMP PIC EVER.

30 July, 2 days before arrival. Pre labour started two days later.

Since last Thursday, a week ago today, (ok update so now over two weeks ago) a lot has happened. And in my quiet moments, I go over and over and over the birth in my head. Hopefully putting the story down here will give me and my brain more time to rest….so here goes! There is a story that will need to be pieced together, because my birth story is different to hub-in-boots or captain communication’s version of the story. We were all there. We all played our part…it’s just that mine involved more stitches and gas and less photography.

So here goes.

Chapter 1: Pre labour day 1

Well last week on Monday 30th, I was 37 weeks and 2 days pregnant. It was time, I decided. I did not want to wait for induction, because I did not want to be the one dictating when this baby would come. I went for a long walk to our local deli, stopped for coffee with two nonnas who were there (relatives of friends), and all the way there went a bit berko on the pelvic floor exercises  as I walked because, as usual, I hadn’t really been practising them as much as I should.

A few days earlier, I had gone on a mental online shop, and FILLED the cupboards full of food, stockpiled us up so we could live for weeks without shopping, filled the freezer with meats and meals. I spent about $300. I worked all week, getting bills for the next few weeks paid, our tax returns  done,  getting paperwork together for the paid parental leave. I visited my work, said hi to a few people, did a maternity leave form, visited the boxing crew on Saturday for breakfast. Looking back on it, all week I was putting full stops on all the sentences in our lives.

After the walk, my groin muscles were aching. I’d kind of overdone it, and they kind of continued like that for two days. Stupid Kegel exercises. I sat on the couch and thought of the things I still had to do before the baby came, and I listened to the calm birth meditation and a playlist I’d done up for the birth. I decided in my head that the jobs that were left to be done were not so important. It would be okay if Gumby arrived at any time. We were ready.

Tuesday the 31st I met with Captain Complicated Pregnancy for lunch. We went back to the deli and talked for a long time, but I felt kind of out of sorts, and weird about heading out. Despite wanting to exercise, I couldn’t bring myself to do anything. I almost rang her and apologised after lunch I felt like I was such odd company. I was agitated, but incredibly lazy at the same time, and really drawn to home. The weather was kind of crappy. When we got home I totally crapped out on the couch, but eventually muscled up the energy to turn the salmon I’d bought into a hot hot thai salmon curry that was really delicious. Hub-in-boots was stoked when he got home from training.

As hub-in-boots tucked into his meal, the usual evening Braxton hicks continued their merry work, but there was like an overlay to them sometimes, just a weird “what was that?”. I thought it was strange. You could have called it mild pain. I didn’t say anything. The night of Olympic broadcast was just unfurling when something in my head was really compelling, saying “whatever this is, you should rest”. So I called it quits quite early at around 9.

At 4am when I could not sleep. I lay there for a while, feeling the Braxton hicks do their tighten, release, tighten release, and I suddenly had a strong visual of a roller coaster. I could feel them rise to a peak, and then go up, over and down. They started low low low in my abdomen, rose up with the tightening towards my navel then arced over my hips and into my back. This was new. This happened three or four times before I started to pay attention. I reached for my iphone, grabbed the contraction timer on my Sprout Pregnancy app (so sad, techno girl), and started to time them. It was exciting being the only person in the world that knew this was going on, right at that moment.

They were regular, about 10-12 minutes apart, at first lasting 30 seconds and by dawn reaching 45 seconds. They were minor, but they were different. I lay in bed smiling. I was pretty excited. Would I tell Hub-in-boots to stay home from work? I didn’t know. Wait til dawn. Suck it and see.

At about 6:30, hub-in-boots rolled over, exhausted, and said “Oh god I’d give anything not to go into work today.”

“Well now that you mention it, babe, there’s been something going on. I felt it a little last night, but I’ve actually been timing something since 4am. They are not that painful, but they are different, and they are regular. I am not sure what to tell you about work”.

His face went pale, and his mouth opened and he looked across the pillow at me. “REALLY? Oh!”. He looked confused, and a little alarmed.

“Yep really. But I’m not saying they’re something yet. They just might become something later. But this stuff can rumble on for days. I wouldn’t worry too much.”

He was a bit surprised, and went for his shower, really unsure what to do. By about 7:15 I called it, and he came to the same decision, and said given work was only 30 minutes away, and given this may go on for days, he’d go in. But I was to keep him posted all day.

I dashed from bed to the loo with a bit of an upset stomach. Calmbirth course sign of impending labour number 2. Hmmmm. But it could be anything. Back to bed, be alert, but not alarmed. Keep Calm and Carry On.

15 minutes later at 8am hub-in-boots was back. He’d lost his car immobiliser thingy, so he couldn’t take his car to work. He was in a bit of a flap. I felt like I’d thrown him for six! I sent him off in my car, despite his protests, because hell, if they were contractions, I was not getting behind the wheel anyway.

I sent my sister, the other half of the birth team, a facebook message telling her she was officially on standby.

 

 

The day rumbled along, and after messaging captain complicated (S) and getting a lecture from her about doing nothing, and asking for what I paid for, by 11 I decided a call to Dr North Korea’s midwife was a good plan.

“Oh my god! I feel like your mother! That’s great! I’m so excited!”. The midwife was so enthusiastic after all we’d been through. She told me these things could rumble on for days, just take it easy, get loads of rest, but that it would be doing something. Getting my cervix ready for labour, thinning it out. Whatever it was, pre labour, early labour, false labour, whatever, it was bringing us closer. So I felt perfectly justified watching hours and hours of the Olympics.

The jokes rolled in about me having a baby on the horses’ birthday, August 1.

We’d done a meditation on early labour in the calmbirth course, about thinking you were in labour, and thinking through what you’d do. I got up and made as snack, just like I did in the meditation: banana and peanut butter on sourdough toast. Later on, a fruit smoothie. Just like on the calmbirth visualisation, I got up and had a long relaxing shower. I washed up, tidied the kitchen I did a load of washing and hung it on the balcony, I watered the plants. I added a few things to my hospital bag, and checked the baby’s coming home bag was in order. I was glad I’d made a mad dash to Target the previous week. I had a sudden feeling we didn’t have enough smaller baby clothes, and I bought about 4 suits in two different sizes (0000 and 000) and just hung them away with the receipt as a just in case. I felt like I was being stupid at the time, because we had heaps of clothes, and didn’t really need to be spending more, but I couldn’t help it.

At 5pm, the thing overlaying the Braxton hicks was a bit more “hello look at me”. The day’s contractions had regular patches and long patches of very irregular timing. 8 minutes 8 minutes, then 12 minutes 10 minutes 11 minutes, 7 minutes 8 minutes, always lasting about 45 seconds to a minute long.  It was all pretty interesting. We stayed home, had dinner, and went to bed pretty early.

At 2am Thursday morning, they woke me again. Now I think they’d qualify as painful. After two in a row at 4 minutes apart, I was a bit nervous so I rang the maternity ward. As I said in my brief post, I got a nasty midwife who did the dismissive “oh first time mother” routine, and told me to take two Panadeine and call in an hour. “No waters breaking, no show?” No. I was furious at how dismissive she was. (Cue the cranky post natal letter to the hospital!)

 After two hours of watching more tele on the couch, at 4am I called again, and the nicer midwife agreed something was happening, but probably nothing serious just yet. Hub-in-boots stumbled out bleary eyed. I told him I’d rung the hospital but there was not much change. Just get some sleep. One of us needed to be firing on all cylinders! I had no intention of going in to the hospital, I just wanted them on standby.

At 5 am I went to the loo, and woo hoo’d loudly, ran into the bedroom and demanded a hi-five from a deeply sleeping hub-in-boots. Stewie, we have a ( minor) show. And unlike the last time this happened, this was not something that said “Your pregnancy is stuffed”. Instead, this said “Gumby is on his way.” Hub-in-boots indeed hi-fived me, and went back to sleep immediately. I felt the auto- panic rise seeing even the tiny amount of blood, but I knew it was ok.

I crawled back into bed at around 5:30, and slept off and on til 8 or 8:30.  Contraction wise, nothing had changed. If anything, they were shorter and less regular.

At about 9am I rang the midwife at the Obby again. “still going, and had a show” I reported. I was concerned there was a time after losing the mucous plug that they would consider inducing for the baby’s safety or something. I wasn’t sure how it worked.

“I reckon you’ll have a weekender” she said. “These things can rumble on for days, especially with a first.” I madly added up the days. It was only Thursday. God another 48 hours of this? How do you stand the WAITING? “ I don’t think we’ll still be talking about this Monday. Just get heaps of rest. Of course, if it changes, don’t ignore it. Sometimes, just sometimes, I can hang up the phone from a call like this and things change in a moment and get cracking.”

She said it.

We pfaffed around laying in bed for another half an hour. I rang the mums and briefed them on what had been happening for the past day. My mum was excited but upset, because she was too sick with a virus to be anywhere near us anytime soon. Stewie’s mum was excited, first grandchild on his way.

Stay tuned for more adventures of maybe baby and hub-in-boots in pre labour: chapter 2 – keeping it real.

Chapter 2: Pre labour day 2: Keeping it real

Chapter 3: Laughing my ass off

Chapter 4: This is serious, Mum

Chapter 5: Gumby becomes  the J-man: Jensen Angus Eckermann

Chapter 6: My plan versus reality & did Calmbirth help

Five ring circus

We are FULL TERM today. FULL FREAKIN TERM. So stick that in your pipe and smoke it, Dr North Korea. This is NOT going to be a pre term Gumby. I swear this calls for breakfast champagne. 37 weeks today.

Just like the Olympics, this five ring circus of a pregnancy has departed somewhat from its original purposes…the corporatisation of noble pursuits (hello parallel with ivf, though we sadly didn’t get major sponsors), the professionalisation of what used to be an amateur pastime (ahem)…The use of drugs to do what used to be done naturally, extensive testing, coaching, dieticians and tightly controlled food. And as a spectator, long parades of places you’ve never heard of, late sleepless nights of weird half excitement half boredom, and drama. Always the drama.

And our tele just weirdly, creepily , mysteriously turned itself on at 5:30 am Saturday Aussie time to the 2012 Olympic opening ceremony. The flashing blue light of the tele in the lounge woke us. We have no idea how this happened. We didn’t know the tele had a timer. But we’re up now. It was nice of London to hold an opening ceremony for us. The five ring circus bringing us to parenthood.

By the time the closing ceremony is held, we will, most likely, be holding Gumby in our actual arms. THAT is just plain weird.

Maybe we should name him Boris, after the hilarious mayor of London.

The pregnancy Olympics would include such events as the 200m waddle, the Greco roman wrestle on your jeans and shoes, the weightlifting (ie hub in boots helping me get off the couch), nesting (like fencing, but with less pointy things), the shit put (where I drop stuff on the floor all over the house & hub in boots picks it up), the individual medley (varies nightly but consists of my laying on the couch asking hub in boots for chocolate, tea, antacids and mineral water). Then there’s Gumby’s events: the internal boxing, gymnastics, and the triple jump. Ouch.

Happy full term Gumby, you freaking little trooper.

Yay for us, hub in boots. We rock.

Five ring circus it may be, but we’re nearly there, and we’ve not succumbed to what the odds and stats predicted. Through love, through good management, through support, through sheer dumb luck, through prayers, through no good reason at all. The Olympic motto: Citius, Altius, Fortius.

Faster, Higher, Stronger.