Labour and Drugs and Engorgement. Oh My.

So here we are at day 7 now, catching our breath and trying to get into some kind of rhythm of this new life. I can’t tell you just how different it feels this time around. It’s SO good not to be completely intimidated by someone so much smaller than me, while I still don’t really know what I am doing, I kind of know – and am pretty certain that I can keep her alive for the time being. For the moment at least.

But let’s back it up a few days…I know you are dying (notsomuch) to hear all the details of how it all came to be and I want to try and get it down so I can remember! Grab a coffee, you could be here for a while…

Monday last week I was a little (shall we say) frustrated at whole waiting around thing. My posts pretty much indicated that, and everyone was pretty much steering clear of me (understandably so). I had a doctor’s appointment booked in for 11.30am Tuesday and was all ready for nothing much at all to happen. I did a big weekly shop which I am CERTAIN spurred things along somehow.

Tuesday morning of D-Day we had Daise in our bed with us from 5.30 or something to try and get some extra sleep. She woke at about 6.30 and when she convinced me that it was time to get up and get her ready for daycare and I stood up – low and behold my waters had broken! I was so surprised by it – I honestly didn’t think that was going to happen. After I managed to convince Rob that I had indeed not wet myself (hello I am not 80 yet and have some control over my bladder) I got in the shower, called Mum and arranged to get to the hospital. Because I had strep B positive I had to get to the hospital to get on antibiotics ASAP – it really was the perfect time for it all to happen – we had a good nights sleep, it was a respectable hour, Mum had the day off work so could come over – it was a great time for it all to happen. I’ll never forget the little family cuddle that all 3 of us had before we headed off….the last with just the 3 of us…Daisy so knew that something was about to happen and I will never forget her little excited cries of “the baby is coming” as she happily headed off with Mum and managed to get out of going to daycare for the day.

We spent the next little while in the delivery suite waiting for things to kick into gear and getting examined and the like. The head was still quite a fair way up the canal so it was decided to get on the dreaded drip (syntocin) to spur things along. We did have the choice to go home and wait another 24 hours, but I decided that seeing we were there, Daise was settled etc (and the fact that I was DESPERATE for things to happen) that we would get the show on the road.

The drip went in at 12pm and things started to happen pretty much straight away. The midwife managed to break the rest of my waters (the hind or fore or some kind of waters that were left) and I spent the next while dealing with ever increasing contractions and litres of amniotic fluid. Honestly, I think I have an extra amount of fluid when I make babies – there seems to be endless amounts of the stuff and there is something SO gross about warm liquid escaping you from every move – aside from the pain of labour I think this is something that I hate the most about labour. Eeeek!

Anywho at about 5pm it was decided (by my screaming) and the fact that I was only at 5cm to get the drugs and get them. FAST. An epidural was called for and pretty much administrated straight away. This was BY FAR the worst bit of the whole process (oh yeah that AND the whole crowning head thing a little further down the track). I had an epidural with Daisy but I don’t remember the pain of the needle I had this time. I was screaming in pain, and the anesthetist had to have about 3 goes at it because my blood clotted the needle, then he couldn’t get into the right space and because I was SO tense. I was given some gas at this point to try and keep me still and relax and DEAR GOD that stuff is good. Rob mentioned to me that I was telling anyone who would listen that it was just like some drugs that I may or may not have taken at some stage in my previous young, child free days. Classy Beth, classy. In any case, the epi got in eventually and things started to calm down a little. Well, for me at least. Rob on the other hand almost fainted at this point. I’m not sure if it was the gas that I was blowing into his face, or the fact that he thought that his wife was dying at the time, or the fact that I was holding onto his hand SO hard – it all became a little much and the poor boy almost fainted! The midwife and doctor had to tend to him to make sure that he came good. Doors were opened with fresh air and it was quite the dramatic scene!

So from here on things were quiet for the next hour or so until I started to feel an urge to push (actually who am I kidding, it’s an urge to POO). Upon examination we discovered that I was fully dilated and ready to push. The head, again, was still high up so they waited to see if it started to come down the birth canal.

By 8pm we were ready to start pushing and I was more than a little anxious at this point as I was pushing Daise out for 2 hrs 45 mins, and I was not really keen for a repeat performance of that. After not so many pushes and only a mere 35 mins later Harper Lucy was pushed into the world.

Her entry was memorable. But for all the wrong reasons. There were no calls from my Ob of “it’s a girl” or the screaming that you long to hear. Or tears of joy from me. It was quiet. And awful. She had the cord wrapped around her neck. Twice. And very tightly. I think the reason that her head could not come down was because this was going on. We waited from 8.35 until about 8.41 to hear a scream come from our little lady. The longest 6 or do minutes of my life thus far. We watched a blue baby be worked on by LOTS of people while Rob and I sat there looking on in disbelief wondering if we were actually ever going to have her with us. It was awful. Awful and I can barely think about it, I can’t think about the what ifs because she did breathe. Eventually. And she did get pink. Eventually. And I did get to hold her eventually. And feed her. And we are very lucky. She was whisked off to the special care nursery and we were left alone to freak the fuck out before eventually having the ped come and give us details and tell us that she was doing really well. She was oxygenated the entire time, her heart rate went from 40 when she was born to over 100 and then 200 (!) not long after that, and when they took samples of blood from the cord to see just how traumatised she was the during delivery they discovered that it was just at the end that things got bad. Thank goodness. I managed to give her a feed just an hour after she was born and while she was in special care nursery the first night she was bought to me for feeds and cuddles which was fabulous.

The next day I felt like I had been hit by a train (an express that had gone literally straight through me) and could barely walk or move. While I remembered some of the pain from Daisy (how does your brain block everything out?!) it was nothing compared to this (and it really should have been worse with Daisy given the more stitches and longer pushing etc). I had agonising back pain and a headache that would start the moment I was sitting up. I braved the morning visitors from grandparents and Daisy and Rob but by afternoon things were not looking (or feeling good). It was discovered that I was one of the rare cases of patients that had a bad side effect from the epidural…I had a leak from the spinal cord so every time I sat up the fluid drained from the brain which made it feel like my head was going to explode. As soon as I laid down I was OK but as soon as I sat up, a disaster. They flushed the epidural tap with saline which made a huge difference…but for only 5minutes. In that 5 minutes I managed my first shower and felt fabulous but not long after it was back to disasterville. It was awful. I couldn’t feed Harper properly. Or eat. Or do anything. Luckily my Mum had come in to see me and could manage Harper for me. The doctors decided that Harper had to be sent back to the nursery for the night so I could rest and they gave me sleeping tablets and off she was sent. I was grateful for the night of rest (and prescribed sleeping tablets hello!) but the next morning when she was bought back to me, and I was all alone, and unable to move, it was pretty awful again.

The next day was spent waiting for a theatre or delivery suite to be available so I could go under and get ANOTHER epidural put in, and have my blood inserted to the leak and wait for the blood to clot which would stop the headaches. That was meant to happen at 11am but happened at 3pm but I was lucky enough to have Rob with me for the day. As soon as the procedure was done – bam – instant relief! I could sit up! And feed! And go to the bathroom without feeling like dying! I felt a gazillion dollars and ready to take on the world!

Friday morning came around and I was just SO ready to go home and get on with things. Get home to Daisy and try and get on with it. It’s amazing what a few days of feeling like shit will do for you when you start to feel better. I got the all clear from all the doctors and peds etc and we were home by 2pm Friday.

The boobs at this stage, were however, the size of watermelons. And you think that I’m kidding. One of the midwives actually said to me “medically speaking, of course, your breasts are amazing”. She had never seen bigger. Which is great for Rob and Harper, but for me? MORE PAIN. Poor little Harper had to latch onto a brick wall and I had to try and convince myself that I was not getting mastitis and head down the road to a breast abscess that I had with Daisy. Thankfully after many cabbage leaves, and pumping and constant feeding I am happy to report that they have calmed down and are slowly getting into some pattern of droopy mother back to porn star every couple of hours with less pain in between. Whilst there is certainly some nip damage I am on top of things and am just dealing with the first 10 or so sucks of her latch being like pulling glass through, then sweet relief. This will pass too I am sure.

I am amazed that it has only been a week and yet ALL this has happened. I am amazed by my body, by Rob’s support and love, at medicine and doctors and sisterly love and of course at my little peach Harper. I feel so very lucky and excited about the time ahead. While the first few weeks of a newborn into your life can be pretty tricky, I am completely soaking up every moment, locking it away into my heart and trying not to be overwhelmed by anything. This will all be over too soon, and I am loving it. Really. I am.

And upon reflection even though all this seems tricky and complicated and scary and yuck all I can think of is lucky me. Lucky me.


  1. Holy Doooley that’s one hell of a birth story! I can’t even imagine how horrific those first few minutes must have been. But boy, do you have a gorgeous little gal out of it all. Hugs! x

  2. How scary! What a big adventure Harpers arrival was- but i’m so so glad everything is okay, and now you have a perfect (pink!) baby girl to show for all your effort.

  3. HOLY SMOKES! That is some birth story, and terrifying! I was biting my lip for the not breathing part- that is too much to even think about. Wow.

    And the epidural bit and the aftermath, I think you should kick your feet up and rest and let yourself be pampered. You certainly deserve it.

    Thinking about you! XO

  4. Oh wow Beth! That’s an INTENSE story….especially the bit about Harper first coming out. Gah! You both did amazingly and I can only imagine how happy you all are right now 🙂
    I’m almost half way through my pregnancy now (20 weeks this Sat!) and goodness, it really is a special time. Reading your story (however painful and gory sounding!) has made me so look forward to everything coming up for me. I’m going to be a Ma! Oh my gosh! I hope I’m half as good as you xxx

  5. Oh, blue baby! Poor Harper, poor you and poor Rob, how terrifying! The longest moments of your life, I’m sure. Thank goodness all (eventually) came up roses and your beautiful baby girl is healthy.

    Wow, what a labour and newborn story. I’m quietly terrified over here, with 9 weeks left to go. Scary pain, scary epidural, scary spinal leak, SCARY cord wrapped around, scary boob issues…. aaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrgggghhhh!

    But as you say, despite all this you have your baby girl now and all is well.

    Thank you for sharing your story.

  6. Hey Harper, I just introduced myself to Daise and she is totally cool with having a Stalker Aunty. Also, both of you? Best names EVER.

  7. wow Beth. Well done!


  1. […] Daisy and Harper’s births were not really anything traumatic or much to write home about and you can read about them […]

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