At 4.30 am on the 17th of October, a Saturday, I was woken by what I was pretty sure was a proper contraction. None of this Braxton Hicks stuff, a proper contraction. The night before I had been experiencing some regular but mild pain about every half an hour but at about 11.30 pm it had stopped so I went to bed. But this was different, this was a real contraction, I was sure.
So I got up out of bed by myself and went downstairs to the computer to see if anyone was online that I could tell! I was excited as well as completely out of my brain scared. It was happening! I timed the contractions at about 10 minutes apart for about an hour. At this point I thought that I had better go and tell Chi Wai. We chatted for a while about what we should do. We decided to monitor the contractions for a while longer but get ready to go to the hospital just in case. I had a shower and got dressed and then when and woke mum to give her the news. By this time it was about 6.30 am and the contractions were coming about every seven minutes. The midwife had said to come to the hospital when I was having two contractions in the space of ten minutes, but still it seemed so early, when everyone had told me that I was likely to be in for a long labour. So we decided again to wait a while longer, have breakfast and keep monitoring the contractions.
The contractions kept coming during breakfast and at about 8.30 am we decided that we should make our way to the hospital. Just as we were about the walk out the door I realised that I had not had a contraction for a while. So we sat down and waited and the contraction didn't come. Humph! I decided to go back to bed and get some sleep while I still could.
I managed to sleep until about 11.30am despite the contractions coming at about 15 mins apart. We had some lunch, mum and I did some knitting and also some more napping. At about 6pm the contractions were coming between 15 and 10 minutes apart. We didn't really know what to do so we decided to have dinner and then head to the hospital, just to find out how far along I was. Brian our house mate cooked a bbq and I left the room every time a contraction hit so as not to spoil every one else's dinner. Aren't I considerate!
After dinner we headed to the hospital. We arrived there at about 8.30 pm and I was examined (ouch!) my a midwife who said I was only 3cm dilated. She said I would be a long while yet and suggested that we go home but we had to see a doctor first. We waited an hour to see the doctor, only to be told that I should be admitted to the ward. After a bit of to-ing and fro-ing the midwife convinced the doctor that it would be okay for me to go home, so we went home.
Soon after arriving home the contractions really intensified. I was in an excruciating amount of pain. I had a shower which helped a bit. Once out of the shower I managed to get underwear on and nothing else and I was doing some very glamorous writhing and moaning on the bed. Chi Wai and mum had a discussion while I moaned, about needing to get me to the hospital NOW, so they managed to get me dressed and into the car.
When we arrived at the hospital (about 11 pm) I was poured into a wheelchair and delivered (pardon the pun) directly to the labour ward. Chi Wai and mum trotted behind with worried expressions. As soon as I was helped onto the bed in the labour ward I told the midwife that I wanted an epidural. I also have a memory of saying "This is ridiculous, whose idea was this?" The midwife proceeded to tell me how well I was doing and what a great job I had done of coping on my own at home. She said that if I did not have an epidural the baby would be born very quickly and that she thought I could hack it basically. While I was considering this she hooked me up to the gas and air and I sucked that stuff down like there was no tomorrow. I somewhat reluctantly agreed to go without the epidural, but happily accepted a shot of pethidine. It was about this time that I started to feel the urge to push. Now that has got to be the weirdest feeling in the world. Kind of like a dry retch but at the other end of your body. Yeuch!
After the gas and the pethidine, things get a bit blurry. I know there was pushing and lots of encouragement. I was still in a huge amount of pain, but it was what I was there for, so somehow it was different. The midwife positioned me on my side to push with one leg up in the air. It was very lady like indeed. Between each contraction and push she told me to put my leg back down, and I remember being worried that I was going to squash the baby's head! Just one of the funny things that went through my head.
At 2.30 am, Sunday the 18th of October, our baby boy was born weighing 3.69kg. We named him Felix, Gar Ming, Alfred Choy. Our little gorgeous Felix had arrived. As he lay on the bed, my mum said over and over again "Oh Charmaine, he's so beautiful, he's so beautiful!" and he is.
Here's Chi Wai having the first cuddle. I love this photo, he looks so proud and happy.
Here's me feeling pretty happy with myself on the second day.
All that happened three months ago now. The time has passed in a blur of breast feeding, nappy changes and absolute happiness. There is so much more to tell, but that will have to come later.
Little Bow Pleat by Duchess and Hare
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