On Sunday 16th July, Mariah and I were at Cranbourne Centro to do our weekly shop. While Mariah ordered her coffee and my white hot chocolate I went to the bathroom.
It was no mistake that I started losing my show and plug – it was 1:10pm. We continued on to Coles as I only had some minor cramping after that and didn’t think anything of it as I knew that many women can go into labour days/weeks later.
We got home around 3:00pm and the cramping started to subside. I went about the rest of the day as usual and didn’t think anything further.
It got to 9:47pm and I just had this thought that I should go to sleep (normally I could not sleep until after 11pm in the last few weeks of pregnancy).
Falling asleep pretty much instantly, also something I never do!!
I then woke at 1:08am on Monday 17th – surges had started – I recall them feeling like standard period cramping.
Mariah laid peacefully asleep beside me while I started breathing in through my nose nice and deep, then out through my nose; nice and slow.
While doing my breathing techniques, I laid thinking ‘will I get to meet you today?’ and rubbing my belly, allowing my body to relax as much as possible.
When surges would pass I tried to fall asleep afterwards. But once nearly dozing off another would come.
Mariah was still asleep. I did not want to wake her yet, I was convinced Nixxon was not going to join us anytime soon.
I continued labouring, breathing, thinking about my birth colour; purple (mine and Mariah’s favourite colour) and remember thinking I was so proud of myself so far.
Mariah’s alarm then went off. It was now 4:45am. She immediately asks if I am okay as she has noticed my breathing. I respond telling her I just have period pain cramps..she has a chuckle and says ‘Gorge, that’s surges! You’re in labour’. She was so excited. I will never forget the look on her face, the excitement for the next part of our journey.
She then says she shouldn’t go to work. But I insisted she still go as I could be labouring for many more hours/days. I said I was not timing anything yet and just going with my body and Nixxon.
Mariah rang my mum (5:25am) to get her thoughts. My mum asked Mariah what my comfort level was, I responded with ‘it’s an 8’. I heard my mum laugh, and tell Mariah it is more like a 4 and that this was only the start.
I remember taking offence to her comment. But soon pushed it out of my mind.
She then told Mariah what I had already said. That I may labour for hours/days and if I was happy for her to work, then work.
At 5:35am I sent a message notifying our Trainee Midwife, Shim, I was in the early stages of labour. She responded promptly, she was working until 3:30pm at Casey Hospital and to keep her informed.
At 5:50am Mariah left for work. I decided I would shower as the surges started to ramp up. I stayed in the shower until there was no hot water left.
I then got back into bed, only laying on my side made me feel comfortable by this stage.
I continued to labour, breath, think about Nixxon preparing himself to meet us.
At 8:57am I messaged our birth photographer letting her know that I was in labour and I would notify her when I progress further.
My mother in law rang shortly after, asking if I wanted her to come around or assist with anything. I declined…I was already in my zone, labouring how I wanted.
At 9:30am Mariah messaged me, asking how I was going. I had only been timing my surges for an hour, I replied with a screenshot of them (6 minutes, 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 4 minutes). Still not too much consistency and I was able to control my comfort levels.
I then ran myself a bath and laboured in there for around an hour, adding hot water once I felt chilly. My sister, mum and Mariah had all rang me while I was in there. But it did not bother me. I continued to stay focused.
Once out, I got back into bed, on my side again. I then had to go bathroom at 11:03am – MY MEMBRANES BROKE! And then it started. My surges were coming quicker and stronger. I continued with my breathing and added moaning alongside it. Then I decided that hospital may be sooner than I originally anticipated.
At 12:08pm I messaged Mariah; ‘time to come home bubs’. She rang me instantly, said she was in Hawthorn and was leaving in 2 minutes and would be home to me as soon as she could. She also said she would tell my mum it was time to head over to me as she lives 50 minutes away.
I do not remember too much in between that call and Mariah getting home. Everything intensified so much. I was going between the bathroom (losing more show) and bed.
Once Mariah got home she rang the hospital – by this stage surges where 3-4 minutes apart and lasting a full minute to almost two minutes. The hospital said to head in.
My mum arrived shortly after Mariah’s call to the hospital. They both got me to get out of bed, off to the bathroom I went. This time I could not get off. The weight of where Nixxon had shifted felt unbearable. The toilet was the only place I felt comfortable!!
I remember mum telling Mariah that they would probably need to get me an ambulance. I responded with a nasty ‘NO’. Next minute, mum is on the phone with the ambulance.
Mum stated I was 39+5 and in the late stages of labour and that they could not get me off of the toilet. I heard the phone operator, “get her off of that toilet” and next thing Mariah pulled me up and led me to the lounge room while mum was still on the phone.
I got on my hands and knees on the floor and once a surge passed I moved to the couch, using the arm rest to support me.
A few more surges pass, then I heard the sirens. Ambulance was quick!!
They ask the usual questions, got me on the bed and wheeled me in, Mariah jumped in the front passenger seat and we were off to Dandenong Hospital. Mum following in her car behind.
I had a few more strong surges in the ambulance, the paramedic was amazing. I kept saying how stupid it was I needed an ambulance when I was ‘only in labour’ and he laughed and told me to continue doing an awesome job at labouring. Mariah messaged our photographer Kate (2:48pm) to let her know we were on our way to the hospital and for her to head in. She also notified Shim (student midwife), she said she would have a little rest after work and then head in.
The ambulance trip was quick. The paramedics were wheeling me in when the midwifes greeted them and knew it was me! They had been waiting for me since Mariah’s earlier call. I remember feeling a sense of comfort and relief! All the while my surges are coming quick and continuing to last for 2 minutes.
We were taken to Birthing Suite 4.
Our midwifes Felicity and Tameka asked how I was feeling and if there was anything I wanted. My lower back was excruatingly painful so they suggested the shower. They got the water on for me and I started breathing Nixxon down. I felt the shift in my body and the intensity in my surges. My mum arrived during this time, as did my sister and Kate (photographer).
My body started to naturally push with each surge while in the shower. The midwives would check Nixxon’s heart rate with the doppler every now and then. I liked it, I could hear how he was coping with our labour, he was doing great. We were working with each other. A team.
The midwives suggested a change of position and urged Mariah to get our traning midwife Shim to get in as soon as she could; in order not to miss the birth (I felt excited when I heard that, I was going to meet our son soon). Mariah messaged Shim to get in as soon as possble!
So I moved out into the room, and used the bed to help me squat. Using my breathing, feeling Nixxon move down and thinking the colour purple (my birth colour). Moaning and breathing. My body taking over and naturally pushing!
While squatting, I was pushing. However I could not manage to push in the correct spot. Mariah told me to try another position. I got up onto the bed and squatted, using the bedhead to anchor myself. Our training midwife Shim arrived in that time and was using compression on my lower back. While Mariah was talking to me, checking my comfort level, keeping me hydrated and speaking with the midwives so I could focus on bringing our son into the world.
The doppler was still monitoring Nixxon and the midwives working with me suggested another position change – I was still pushing in the wrong spot!
I changed positions, onto my back; the one position I did not want to be in. But it was the most comfortable, go figure. Shim organised my heat pack for my lower back – it was such a nice relief. Mariah continued to make sure I was staying hydrated and was holding my hand, rubbing my head, telling me she loved me and was so proud of me.
The surges were so strong, I never had a sense of doubt, I knew I was capable. I kept pushing with my body, breathing and moaning. The midwives were checking Nixxon with the doppler.
They asked if they could do a vaginal check. I said yes and reminded them I did not want to know anything; but they could tell Mariah. They started the check, then a massive surge came on it was a very different feeling. Once the check was done (9cm – woohoo) my body started to push with more intensity. The midwives said to just go with my body. I knew he must be close!
Not once did I look at the clock. So by now I have no idea the time.
I continued to focus, breath, push, hold, push. Mariah moved from holding my left hand to putting on ths blue gloves and standing at the end of the bed with the midwives in preperation of Nixxons arrival. Mum took over holding my left hand while Shim was holding my right. The support around me was magnificent.
I could feel Nixxon’s head, he was rocking back and forth. With each surge I got two pushes. Using everything I could to hold his head in place, waiting for the next surge to come. One midwife using hot compresses on my perinium (helped immensly with my comfort), the other monitoring his head crowning.
Everyone started commenting about how much beautiful dark hair he had. I didn’t touch his head while crowning as I would have lost my rhythm (something I said I would 100% do) but I made sure Mariah did. One of us had to!!!
Nearing the end I said ‘I can’t do it, his head won’t come out’.
With force, Mariah responded ‘you have to get him out babe, now’. A few more pushes and I felt his head coming out. The midwives instructed I hold him there. Mariah, my mum, sister, Shim all giving me positive reinforcement that I am almost there, he is almost here. It gave me this wave of emotions. Determined to meet our boy. When they said to push, I did. I felt Nixxon make his grand entrance – it all happened so fast, Mariah got to assist Nixxon entering the world by guiding him out.
(Mariah informed me later, I had reached two hours of the second stage of labour and the midwives had mentioned to Mariah that they would need to intervine soon (forceps/emergency c-section). Lucky I got him out!!).
Welcome to the world Nixxon Ronald Luettin-Marshall, 17th July 2017 at 6:24pm.
Weighing 4.36kg (9 pound 6 ounces) at 53cm long with a 34cm head circumference.
We enjoyed delayed cord clamping until I experienced a 700ml postpartum haemorrhage. I instructed (rationally but a little panicked) the midwives to clamp the cord and Mariah to cut it.
I then told them to give me the syntocin injection as opposed to a physiological birth of my placenta.
And unfortunately our placenta had to be destroyed as it had passed an infection onto myself and Nixxon: Corio, a form of sepsis.
Once everything was under control I could focus on bonding with our son. We had a fantastic first feed and an uninterrupted hour or so to be a family for the first time.
Nixxon then had to be taken to the special care nursery for antibiotics and I had to be stitched up (2nd degree tear) aswell as placed on antibiotics.
I had such a fantastic and empowering labour/birth! I tell everyone, every chance I get. I knew what I was capable of and so glad I could prove it to myself and all around me.
We love our little family x
Steph & Mariah xo