I was nearly 37 weeks pregnant with my second baby, and we were camping 40 minutes from home- our last little getaway for Australia Day before we became a family of four. My 2-year-old, Spencer, was a super energetic little boy who kept me active- all day, every day. So putting up our camping trailer and chasing him along the beach didn't feel like it was anything out of the ordinary. I was cooking dinner at the campsite when I suddenly felt like I'd just wet myself a little. I switched the stove off and walked straight across the road to the amenities block. After a while, I realised it wasn't wee, but it was a slow but constant leak of my waters. I waited for a bit of a break and quickly walked back to tell my husband, Matt. So as I stood there on the grass, in my bikini, leaking water, we made a bit of a plan for what to do next.
First, I sent hubby and the toddler to the nearest shop (at 6pm on Australia Day) to find maternity pads as I really wasn't prepared for this 3 weeks out. Then I texted my midwife- who I knew was on holiday, so it went through to someone else. At this point, there weren't any contractions at all, so I took the opportunity to shower, wash my hair, and mentally prepare. After that, it was a quick pack up of some of the camping stuff, and dinner went in the bin. We threw our clothes in the car and left the camping trailer set up to deal with another day- we still had 3 days left of our booking! I rang my mum on the way to let her know we were dropping the 2-year-old at her house for a sleepover and we were heading to the hospital to get checked. Then- I bawled my eyes out for the next hour at the realisation that my baby boy was about to "grow up" and that the next time I'd see him, he would seem so much bigger. Ha, hormones, hey?!
Anyway, the next bit is rather boring. Went to the hospital. Got checked. Talked about baby names. No contractions, really- it just felt like the Braxton Hicks tightenings. But not one bit painful. Then we headed home at about 11pm to wait it out (and pack my hospital bag). My first labour was horrendous - long, drawn out, most of it in hospital. I didn't dilate, didn't cope. I had an epidural, struggled to push out my 4.24kg baby, had a 2nd-degree tear, stitches… you know the drill. So I was determined to make this a better experience. We had done a birthing course, and I'd practised my breathing every night before going to sleep. I got a TENS machine (which I opened and read the instructions at midnight that night). I was preparing for the marathon labour, and I was sure I wouldn't be labouring the whole time in hospital. I slept till 2ish. Felt some mild contractions while I lay in bed for another hour or so. Then they stepped up a little. I wandered around our room and ensuite, using the TENS machine and breathing. This went on for another 2.5 hours. I could feel the contractions getting stronger- but I also felt like I was totally smashing it and didn't need to go to the hospital yet. At about 5:30am, my husband timed the contractions and said, "I think we should go in now…" and my response was, "No way. I'm not spending the whole day in the hospital. I'll go when I need pain relief." I'd trained for a marathon. I wasn't bailing out when I'd only just begun.
At 6:15am I needed something stronger. Hubby messaged the midwife and told her we were heading in. I got dressed and then had an almighty contraction. At this point, I could feel pressure down there- but in my ridiculous state- I STILL didn't think I was having the baby yet. I remember saying, "There's something wrong. I can't get in the car. Something's wrong. Call the midwife." So Matt called her, and she must've heard me in the background. Almost immediately, she said it sounded like I was having the baby. To hang up and call 000. So he did.
Finally, I realised that actually, nothing was 'wrong' and that I was simply having the baby... probably should've come to that realisation on my own really. The fact that we wouldn't get to the hospital probably didn't sink in for a bit, though. I remember stripping off and getting on all fours in the bathroom. I could hear the lady on the phone talking my husband through it. "Get some clean towels"… no time for that. Week-old smelly ones would have to do. "Can you see the head?" – No. Thank goodness, I thought, we've got time. Another contraction came. "Can you see the head? "– Yep. Oh shit. It's happening. "Just catch the baby. It'll be slippery, but don't drop it." I didn't push at all. It was the most bizarre feeling. My body just did it. It birthed our second baby boy in one smooth and steady motion. It was so surreal. I spun around straight away to see my husband holding our tiny boy - the ambos hadn't arrived- but were only minutes away. It was 6:32am. I sat there, totally nude, holding Emmett while our neighbour and the ambos came inside. I'm pretty sure we were in shock. But I'd birth a thousand babies if they were all like that. The perfect labour in my books. And little Emmett has very much slotted into our family and gone with the flow ever since his crazy arrival!
Birth & newborn course
The Bump, Birth & Beyond course will educate you and your co-pilot (support person) on what to expect during pregnancy, birth and the first trimester with your new little love.