It’s been a while since I’ve posted. Sorry, I’ve been a bit distracted with this whole having-a-baby thing. I’ve got a lot to fill you in on. Before I cover the birth, I thought I’d recount how we spent the last few days before that, because it was a strange, emotional time I’d like to remember.
We were due on Saturday 1 July. As I said in the previous post, I’d been pretty stressed since about the 34-week point as we knew he could arrive at any time. By 39 weeks I almost expected him to be here by now. We went out for a lovely dinner a week before he was due, thinking that could be our last outing as a childless couple (it wasn’t, but any excuse to go out for dinner is OK with me). As that last week rolled on, we got more and more anxious, knowing the big day was imminent. I tidied things up at work, expecting (and hoping) I wouldn’t be there the following week. Meanwhile, Liv was on maternity leave and walked more in one week than she had in the past nine months, hoping to get labour started.
On the morning of July 1, we sat in bed with our coffees and the newspaper, our usual Saturday morning routine. We knew this probably wouldn’t be the day, so we set about doing all the things you’re supposed to do to make a baby come – we went for a big walk, had something spicy for dinner, and one other thing that I won’t mention but you can probably guess. The problem with trying them all is that we have no idea which ones worked! But one of them did, because on Sunday morning at seven, Liv’s waters broke. We weren’t really sure at the time if it was the waters or not. It wasn’t a huge gush of fluid like you see on TV – in fact, it wasn’t much at all – but it was enough for Liv to think maybe it was her amniotic fluid.
This was it, we thought. The day had finally arrived! Contractions would start soon now that the waters had broke, we thought. Suddenly, we nested like we’d never nested before – we just had to get the house in order. We vacuumed, cleaned the bathrooms, did the washing, and did a deep clean of the kitchen. As I was cleaning the range hood, I knocked it a bit loose so it kind of came away from the wall, so I had to go down to Mitre 10 to get some more wall anchors to fix it. I did not expect to be doing DIY jobs while my wife was in labour, but there you go.
As it turned out, she wasn’t in labour. After our frantic nesting spree, we sat down about lunch time – leftover pad Thai – and wondered when things would start moving along. By dinner time, contractions still hadn’t started but we weren’t too worried. We knew it can take a while sometimes. At bed time, around nine, Liv had another – even bigger – gush of water. I was in another room and I heard her squeal. “Honey, come here really quick!” she said. I rushed in there and she told me what had happened. Ok, now we’re definitely in labour, we thought (Ha! Not even close – we had no idea what was coming).
Liv phoned the midwife, who told us to try to get as much sleep as we can because contractions wouldn’t be far away, and to call her when they started getting quite close together. Needless to say, I didn’t really sleep that night. I think I nodded off around midnight but kept waking constantly throughout the night. I may have got a couple of hours sleep. Around 5:30 I was awake and Googling ‘should I go to work when my wife is in labour?’ I actually had no idea. This could go on for ages, I thought, so I should probably go to school. On the other hand, her waters broke nearly 24 hours ago and things should really be moving by now, and she’ll need me around. In the end, I decided not to go to work, and I’m glad I didn’t.
So I didn’t get much sleep, but Liv, on the other hand, slept like a log! I couldn’t believe it, and neither could she when she woke at seven the next morning to find she still wasn’t in labour. We phoned the midwife again and she told us to come in. We packed our hospital bags just in case we weren’t coming back home. At 10am the midwife confirmed that yes, the waters had indeed broken, and we’d need to induce labour. This was because after the waters broke the baby lost that vital protection the amniotic fluid provides, and it’s susceptible to infection. Turns out this is a pretty rare thing to happen – only 10% of women have their waters break before labour, and just five percent don’t go into labour after they’ve broken, so we’re by far in the minority.
The midwife rang the hospital to book us in for induction that evening, but they asked us if we could come in earlier, say 3pm. We eagerly said yes, desperate to get this little guy out. We rushed home to tidy up a couple of loose ends and arrange for the dog to be picked up by a friend. Then, on the way to hospital, we went to McDonald’s for lunch. We thought that with a potentially long labour ahead of us, a big meal would do us good. I don’t know if it did or not, but I love McDonald’s so I don’t care. It was just this fun thing we did on Labour Day. Our last little outing pre-baby. It was a delightful little date.
Finally, we were going to hospital. I had run this scenario through in my head so many times over the past few months, imagining myself driving quickly – albeit carefully – while Liv laboured painfully lying across the back seat. So it was weird driving there without being in labour, but knowing we would be soon. We were calm. We were happy. We were excited. And nervous. Giddy with the knowledge that we’d meet our son in a few short hours.
Listening to: The Fragile Deviations 1 by Nine Inch Nails
Reading: Presumed Innocent by Scott Turow
Watching: Planet Earth II