I'm back baby!!!!
After taking a long hiatus from writing to focus on what has been an insanely busy life over the past two years, I am finally back behind the keyboard!
What is the reason for this triumphant return to blogging?
It's this little guy!
Introducing Quinn Paul Hedges. My newest addition to the Body Classique family and our toughest little Personal Trainer!
Now let me immediately establish this is NOT going to turn into another Mummy Blog. My beautiful son has gifted me the opportunity to take some time away from running fitness classes and teaching in schools to reconnect with my passion for nutrition, body maintenance and wellness programming. A big part of this is process for me includes sharing recipes and researching and sharing health information through my blog.
My baby boy has taught me a completely new respect for the female body and how health has an enormous impact on the body's ability to thrive through all types of growth, change, trauma and recovery!
With all that being said, I am going to allow this particular blog post to be an exception to the rule. My mummy friends have all stressed to me the importance of documenting my birthing story. Not because it is profound or inspiring. Not because other mother's to be sould read it as an example of what to expect or how to prepare for and manage labour. But simply because the memories which seem so permanently etched into the forefront of my mind, will fade fast and become a romanticised distant memory.
I will throw in a healthy, sugar free cookie recipe at the end. Think of it as a reward for enduring what, to anyone other than myself, will seem like an unnecessary, self indulgent horror story haha! Feel free to skip the story and scroll to the bottom if you are keen to get baking.
Quinn's Birthing Adventure
All throughout my pregnancy there was debate about Quinn's official due date. In fact, he had 3 prospective arrival dates; the 18th June, 22nd June and 27th June. My money was on the 22nd but my obstetrician was adamant that the 27th was go day. Meanwhile, my mother and sister hedged their bets that he would arrive on my neices birthday the 31st of May. One thing almost everyone (minus the experts) agreed on was that we definitely would be meeting him sooner rather than later.
I'm a little gal and Quinn enjoyed a big belly bedroom during his time in utero. My tum was way out in front! Often times people would smirk and tell me I had a long way to go, but the reality is, my bitty little tum was at capacity! In my personal style, I sought out a wide variety of alternative therapies to help my body prepare for the big event. I drank raspberry leaf tea, used an epi-no, practiced birthing ball exercises, developed a pre-natal yoga program, refined my meditative breathing and blended a variety of different essential oil blends for the various stages of labour. I wanted to create a calm, confident and empowered birthing experience for myself.
The day before labour initiated I went to work as normal. Taught a whole day of practical PE and dance lessons and finished the afternoon off with Dance Company rehearsals. A trip to the bathroom left me feeling quietly startled by a sudden increase in moisture below the belt however given that I had been running around all day I figured that my big preggo body was probs a tad bit sweaty (gross). On the drive home that evening I felt compelled to stop in at the shops to pick up the last few outstanding items for my students' upcoming dance performance. I had a hunch it may be my last opportunity to do so. After hobbling home, I cooked dinner and put my feet up having no idea it would be my last opportunity to do so!
At 2am on Wednesday 30th May I woke up for my ritualist midnight wizz. I literally needed to hang onto the headboard to roll myself out of bed and had a little hormonal hissy fit at how ridiculous the final stage of my pregnancy had become. I made my way to the bathroom and noticed I was not feeling so great. Thinking I might need to poop I popped on my dressing gown and let my husband know I was going to take a walk around the house to try and move it along (for those yet to experience the joy of pregnancy, pooping becomes almost as intense as labour by the end!!). I made it only as far as my kitchen when I felt a small gush. I fled to the bathroom where I successfully pooped but also continued to release further small gushes of fluid. I sat in shock for a few minutes wondering what I should do when my inner nerd struck! "I know, I'll collect a sample and take it to show my Obs!" as I had a 9.30am appointment that morning. So I quickly chucked a towel between my legs and hobbled out into my kitchen to grab a tupperware container which I proceeded to fill with amniotic fluid.
Side note. Evidently I was in shock at this moment in time. I don't know what on earth else I thought the fluid could possibly be! If it wasn't my waters I was probably going to be in some serious medical trouble haha!
After a quick google of amniotic fluid images and an undefinable amount of time in which I sat on the toilet having a small end-of-preg-life crisis I decided it was time to embrace the day ahead of me. I ran a bath, carried the coffee table from the lounge room into the bathroom and set up my laptop to play season 10 of Ru Paul's Drag Race. I popped my head into the bedroom to alert my husband to the fact that he wouldn't be going to work as we were to be having a baby instead. He was less than enthusiastic about the news, not yet convinced that it was to be the case. I told him to go back to sleep and that I would come wake him if things continued to progress.
Whilst enjoying my drag fest bubble bath I felt the first contraction. Using my wealth of over prepared knowledge I made note of the time and continued to enjoy the episode 6 runway challenge. 9 minutes later another contraction. Seemed a little fast I thought but again, made note of the time and awaited the next one.
Side note: I was fully anticipating a series of random and inconsistent contractions before established labour so I was settling in for a few more hours of relaxation at home.
8 minutes later another contraction. Odd. That was much faster than anticipated. 7 minutes later... time to get out of the bath! I took another toilet break, determined not to be the girl who sprayed last night's chilli con carne across te delivery room! Out poured a whole bunch more fluid then I hobbled with my towel undies back to the bedroom to let husbo know that we were definitely in business! I called the hospital to seek their advice on what to do next. "Come on in" they told me, much to my dismay. I had hoped to labour a while longer at home and have my creature comforts around me. Despite their instructions to come straight down, I dawdled. Emailed some casual work to school and alerted a trusted colleague that I may not make it in for the rest of the week.... or ever! Then I got dressed, made tea, re-packed my hospital bags, packed the car, farewelled my animals and took one final photo of my bump. I looked around my pre-baby house and stepped out into the world of unknown. I glanced up at the sky as I hopped into the car and laughed; of course it was a full moon!
Contractions were coming on intensely every 5 minutes on the drive and sometimes back to back (lucky me!). Naturally we needed to stop for petrol and also to get batteries for my TENS machine. To the gentleman at the service station, I doubt you will ever see this, much like you will never unsee the sweaty mess of a girl reverse straddling the passengers seat of her car and breathing like a yoga teacher on steroids....but if you do, let me just say:
1. Thanks for not reacting.
2. It was not what it looked like!... or maybe it was, if it looked like a woman in labour doing everything possible to avoid sniffing petrol and screaming expletives into the bowser.
Upon arriving at the hospital, hubs dropped me at the door and I dragged myself through the foyer while he parked and unloaded the car. A nurse spotted me and was clearly alarmed at the state of me; I was hunched over, eyes closed, dressed to impress in trackies and ugg boots with unbrushed hair, carrying a pillow and a unicorn cup with a swirly straw. Ladies and gentleman my second finest hour (beaten only by the moment the medical staff folded me into a human pretzel to begin pushing while I frantically called out "am I pooping? it feels like I'm pooping! Omg I'll die if I poop!"..... priorities, am I right? Note: I did not poop). Anyways... the nurse bundled me into the elevator and delivered me to the maternity ward, declaring dramatically "THIS WOMAN NEEDS HELP!"...Very Hollywood... I assured the new nurse I was ok, just having a baby and she laughed and responded condescendingly "I don't think you are having a baby dear, this is your first, it'll be a while yet". WELL!! I showed HER! Because I DID have a baby! Right there in the waiting room! Well... not really haha but bitches should never think they know better because I waited at home way too long evidently and he was not a while away at all!
Time check: 5.30am
I sat in the waiting room for a few minutes while hubs came up with half of my household belongings. Meanwhile two maintenance men tangled extension leads around my contraction riddled shell whilst I pathetically murmured apologies for being in their way. I was then admitted for monitoring where I proceeded to be extremely uncooperative, ripping the monitoring equipment off constantly because I "needed to go to the toilet" and flipping over on the bed continuously to deal with all my feelings while various medical folk contorted themselves to insert canula's and attach belts and buttons and IV's to me. Amidst the blur of uterine assault and a very patient nurse attempting to convince me to sit still I made sense of the news that I was 4cm dilated (which was devastating news for me as my comprehensive research had me of the belief that I was still approaching active labour) Paul rang my mum. She was shocked by the news and then exclaimed "how exciting!" to which I do believe I responded "yeah.... exciting for everyone except me!" (regretsies, sorry Baby Q I totally love you and should definitely have been more excited haha..... please don't have weird adolescent issues because of this!). I told her not to rush down as I was only 4cm and this was clearly going to take a while. At that point another contraction hit me and I was like "GTG shit another knife kthxbye". In the end I think the poor nurse conceded defeat, stalling until my Dr arrived was not going to work out in her best interests so she popped me into a wheelchair and rolled me off to delivery.
At this point I was in the zone. I had my ball and was sitting on it doing my exercises. But then they attached my to friggin IV drip so that plan got rudely sidelined. No problem, I had enough relief between contractions to explain to the babydaddy exactly how and where to apply massage pressure to my back during contractions; what I thought I asked for was some gentle downward pressure on my sacrum whilst drawing my hips back towards him, as it turns out, what I actually wanted was for him to tear my hips from my torso and crush my sacrum into the ground (he sheepishly reported back to me post labour that he was "really sore from all the pulling and pushing"... at which point I bludgeoned him to death with the hospital bed remote). I had 5 essential oil blends ready to go for all the different stages of labour; a massage blend for all purpose relaxation, roll ons for active labour, transition stage and even a blend to help things along if contractions stagnated and finally a post-natal recovery blend to spray onto the black abyss that once was my vagine. I used one. In the midst of a dark and treacherous series of rolling contractions, Husbando kindly offered to find my oils as I uttered helpful instructions to assist "My bag. Other bag. Pocket. FRONT pocket. Brown bottle." he applied some to my wrist and I inhaled it like a rack of cocaine. I think it helped. It distracted me at the very least. It distracted me for approximately ten whole minutes (or maybe an hour, I had a pretty poor concept of time at that point) before I decided we needed to up the anti and talk about some medical pain relief.
I reached a point where in my mind I decided it would be better for everyone involved if I was just calm and capable of listening clearly and following instructions. I sent Paul to find the nurse to come and discuss my options and she set me up with some gas. A working girl would be impressed with the way I sucked back that gas! Unfortunately for me I let pride get in my way and was determined to try and survive the contractions with as little intervention as possible; consequently I was stuffing the mouth piece in my gob at the peak of the contractions and feeling the drunken effects of the gas once the pain had passed. Meanwhile my TENS machine was cranked up to level one billion and I was sending electrical pulses the strength of lightning bolts into my back! I managed to get through three contractions with the gas before deciding it was useless, throwing it across the hospital bed and demanding that the nurse come back with the type of pain relief that has a minimum 10K street value.
Instead of drugs she brought me my obstetrician; a sight for sore eyes! Finally a familiar face and someone who I held in high enough esteem to actually listen to and try really hard to impress. My heart rate probably halved when he walked through the door and I was even able to compose myself enough to smile and make a few weak jokes. He had a quick glance through the gates of hell and then delivered the most empowering statement of the morning "Do you feel like you need to poo?" to which I replied "Oh my god YES I have been trying to tell people this all morning!!!" (see bitches! I told you! Get that monitoring shit off me already, I gotta go!!). This was followed by the second most rewarding sentence of the day "You are fully dilated so you can start pushing if you would like? You won't need any pain relief, you will feel better when you push"........so casual, like I had a choice in the matter.
Time check: 8am
Let the pushing begin! I was quickly briefed on the ideal pushing technique and folded into a pretzel to better facilitate the descent of my loinfruit. Being in the fitness industry, I am exceptionally familiar with my pelvic floor so I had a pretty good handle on what I was doing (not to brag but I had that shit totally covered!). My Dr praised my pushing ability. I was stoked and determined to continue to impress! He had to duck out for a bit to help another lady push her watermelon out and in his absense I decided to get a little bit non-conventional with my birthing position. Truthfully though my hips were burning like the surface of the sun and I just wanted to flip onto all fours for some respite. I laboured for a good 20 minutes on my hands and knees and it felt 100% better than on my back. The frikken nurse waited for those 20 whole minutes to bring to my attention the fact that I was making exactly zero progress in this position. I wanted to kick her in the face for wasting 20 minutes of my precious energy for nothing! Instead I politely turned back over and did my best to shoot a baby right into her face. Aaaaand I came pretty close. Baby basically shimmied right on down for his big entrance! A true performer like his mother though, he knew that a fashionably late arrival would build the dramatic tension and make his grand entrance all the more anticipated and exciting. I was not excited. He was grounded before he was even born.
Time check: 9am
My Dr meandered back in to the delivery suite to check on my progress, keeping a pokerface when coming face to face with the top of Quinn's head. He casually delivered another classic one liner "You're about ten minutes off now". Basically wordporn for the labouring mother. It's almost over. The end is truly in sight. I can definitely survive ten more minutes. Fucking liar. Ten minutes later he delivered a far less sexy piece of news (though he dressed it up real nice with a compliment); "You are very fit! (Why thank you, yes I know) However unfortunately that means you have a very strong set of muscles down here. There is one in particular that is refusing to budge. I'm going to give you a little anaesthetic in that muscle and see if I can manually stretch it out of the way." He pretty much could have said anything. In any language. I didn't care. Do whatever you want down there, I'm pretty sure it can't make it much worse. Another ten minutes passed, no baby. I was presented with two choices- an epesiotomy and the guarantee of an instant birth OR another ten minutes of manual stretching for a natural delivery. There was nothing natural about anything taking place in that moment..... and yet I elected to go the extra ten. Seven minutes later Quinn was sick of waiting for that damn muscle to get out of the way and he punched his head right through it and cascaded into the world (literally! I don't know if it was the force of my pushing or the river rapids that were dammed up behind his head that got him through in the end!).
Time check: Quinn Paul Hedges, 2.84kg, born 30th May 2018 at 9.28am. Right on time for our appointment.
Coo-coo Cookies (for the tea drinking ladies trapped under babies all day!!)