Friday, July 8, 2011

Stella Winter 8th July 2010

Happy Birthday my sweet sweet Stella. What better time than now to share your birth story, the most incredible day of my life, embedded in my memory and my diary forever. Please be warned this is rather long and well, a birth story. I started writing this when Stella was 6 months old and I had just turned 21. I wanted to get it down in as much detail as possible before the memories started to fade.


"I was 10 days overdue and not a single sign of a baby appearing. Brad and I are both very nervous about the induction booked for 7pm tonight, we have no idea what to expect. Although the spontaneous start of natural labour is unpredictable and scary, the process of knowing the time and day that we pack that suitcase into the car and say goodbye to the old life is far more daunting. Neither of us can imagine ourselves coming home with a baby yet.

The 'Nesting instinct' was in overdrive today. Surprisingly more for Brad than for me. He was a nervous wreck all day...dusting, vacuuming, washing the floors, readying the nest! Whilst Brad was jittering, cleaning and hiding out in the 'man cave', Dad and I watched movies. I was watching the television, although not really watching. I am bloody nervous. Dad had surprised us with a trip up to visit before the baby was born. By 4pm; movies had been watched, the house had been cleaned (and cleaned and cleaned), the hospital bag had been packed and repacked, checked and rechecked. We couldn't possibly be any more ready, yet couldn't possibly be any more petrified.

We leave the house for the last time as just a couple and jump in the car for our last trip together alone. I mean, I'm sure we'll travel in the car at some stage without the baby but today everything has a 'last supper' kind of feel to it. My 'last supper' is pizza at the pizza pub. Dad, Brad and I all eat in silence. Dad tries to crack jokes at everything and Brad eats super fast. I have a dry mouth and the shakes.

I don't think Ive ever felt so nervous in my life, right in the pit of my stomach. As we park and walk towards the entrance of the QV ward, the nausea becomes worse and worse. The minute we step foot in the door I can feel it move to my throat, a big lump ready to burst out in sobs, my entire body is shaking and my eyes start to sting with tears. The thought actually crosses my mind to just turn and run out of the hospital, go back home and curl up on the couch. Flight or fight response I guess.

"Hi, I'm Natalie. Ive got a 7pm booking for an induction" sounds like we are rocking up to a restaurant or hotel. Maybe the nurses could see how tense I was because they were all overly nice and casual. Dad's still cracking jokes and making lame observations. My blood pressure gets checked and it is through the roof! A monitor gets strapped onto my bump (which everyone keeps remarking "isn't very big, is it?!") The first induction step is inserting the Cervadil (a tape that goes behind my cervix to ripen it). The process is uncomfortable and slightly painful and I'm beginning to doubt my ability to make it through childbirth.

Cervadil is in, the nurses leave, Dad says goodbye and goodluck and I am moved to the maternity ward and given sleeping tablets. As soon as the room is empty, I burst into tears. My stomach is cramping and I am feeling so uncomfortable, I don't want Brad to go and I just want to go home and skip the whole process really. Brad goes home to sleep before the next step planned for tomorrow morning; the drip.

My stomach cramps are getting stronger and stronger, much like period pain. I am told they are a normal side effect of the Cervadil and that panadol should ease the discomfort. Somewhere along the line, the nurses forgot to come back and give me painkillers, I catch the attention of the next Nurse I see passing by and ask again. She comes in and asks me in more detail about the cramps. She then asks me to tell her when the next cramp was happening so she could put her hand at my stomach and feel them. Why would she want to feel my cramps? Why wont she just give me some panadol and let me go to sleep?

She put her hand on my bump and looked at with me with this strange face, as if to say "Oh darling..." almost with a smirk. I really didn't realise. "They are contractions my dear, you are in labour!". I was still skeptical, I hadn't been induced fully yet and I still had to go to sleep, I wasn't in labour! 

By now it was 11:30pm, I was in the bath, Brad had come back in and I was in labour. And I knew it. It was painful in the way I expected and manageable if I moved around as much as possible. I was still using my manners and smiling. No swearing here! Because I had been induced I needed to have the monitor attached to my bump again, which meant getting out of the bath, which meant more intense pain. All I wanted to do each time I got a contraction was move, in any way possible. I needed to walk around. But with a cord less than a meter long restricting me all I could manage was tiny circles, Brad held my hands and walked in circles with me. The one and only time I got feisty and showed anger during labour was when he failed to turn the circle quick enough during a contraction. "Turn the circle quicker!" I screamed.

Contractions were getting stronger and less manageable with the little circles I was moving in, nausea from the pain came. I ended up just laying on the hospital bed and being helpless with each contraction, I just wanted this stupid monitor off so I could move, geesh I could even try all those techniques the books had talked about; fitballs, the floor, yoga like positions. I felt a little cheated that I couldn't manage the pain in the way my body was asking me to.

I remember clearly asking "Can you please tell me more about morphine?" Manners and all. Inside I was screaming "I cant keep doing this on my own, I need some help". There is quite a big blank in memory here, between the time that I decided I couldn't continue without help and the time that the morphine was injected into my leg. I'm assuming it was now around 1am. The morphine was heaven. Contractions were still painful but dulled drastically. I dozed in and out of delirium between contractions and Brad retreated to the arm chair for some sleep as well. This must have gone on for a few hours.

Then, something felt weird. A weird that I couldn't explain. I called Brads name to wake him up, then shouted his name to wake him up. In failing that I threw a plastic cup at him. He woke and the Nurses came in. "Something feels weird". I couldn't explain anymore than that. I didn't want to say, I think I need to push because I didn't really know. The pain was almost non existent, The contractions were getting further and further apart, although lasting longer each time. They had decided it was time to break my waters, only to find that I had none! Well, obviously at some point they were there. I thought back to three nights ago when I went to the toilet in the middle of the night, I felt like maybe something had happened. A kind of gush. But, alas, I was on the toilet and hadn't really noticed. That was probably it, my waters had broken a few days earlier and I didn't even realised.

I noticed the nurses hurriedly getting things ready. Putting on gowns and these offensive looking shoe coverings. Was it really going to be that gruesome? No one had really answered my queries as to what was going on. I wasn't really feeling the pain of contractions (I guess the Morphine had reached its peak) and was feeling strangely calm. My mind took on a sense of determination, "Lets just do this, get it done quickly." And then started the pushing phase. It was strangely serene. There was hardly any pain at all. Another nurse entered the room and remarked "Gosh, its calm in here". I pushed with each contraction, made small talk and joked in between them. Before I knew it I heard the word crowning and was offered to have a look with a mirror. "Oh god no", was my response, as if seeing what sounds incredibly painful would make it more painful. Brad had a look and encouraged me to keep pushing. It felt as though it had been a maximum of an hour since I had thrown the cup to wake him up, and here we were 3 pushes away from having a baby!

The most painful part from here was the pause between pushing out the head and pushing out the shoulders. A different kind of pain, an intense stinging. From here all I remember is this wave of relief coming over me, my body felt empty and so so relieved. The pain was gone. And there was a baby on my stomach. A baby!

The first thought that came to me was how small she was. She was tiny. Being so overdue I was expecting a larger, more cooked looking baby (excuse my descriptives). But she was so incredibly tiny. I felt as though I didn't know her, I didn't know her but I loved her. I was holding a baby. My baby. The next few moments were so surreal, I didn't know what was going on around me. I had this fuzz blocking out everything but what I held. Definitely the most amazing feeling of my life. Brad put his hand on my shoulder and said "I'm so proud of you Natty". I felt proud too.

I didn't realise that she was slightly blue. The nurses were talking calmly and Brad didn't seem panicked so I didn't feel fear. I still had white noise surrounding me, I was still reeling. They took her from my stomach after Brad had cut the cord and gave her some oxygen. Because my labour had progressed quicker than any of us had expected, the dose of morphine I had was too close to the time she was born, which had deprived her slightly of oxygen.

Within seconds she was back on me, we had warm towels over us and she had her fist shoved in her mouth. She only cried a little. I didnt realise I was crying but when looking back on the photos I saw tears in my eyes. Words cant describe how I felt, and trying wouldn't do it justice. It was beautiful. She was here. 6 hours since full blown labour had started and 3 hours before I was due to wake up for the second step of the induction. It was 6:13 am, she was 6 pound and 11 ounces, she was Stella Winter.

From here it is another story entirely. Not just another chapter, but a whole new book."

Happy first birthday Stella!


  1. Such a beautiful story. It's lovely reading back on it isn't it?
    Happy Birthday Stella! xx

  2. I loved reading this, such an insight - lots of things I never knew - thankyou for sharing <3 xx

  3. So amazing! This story made me cry! Fabulous - good thing I sit at the front reception at work with many walker-bys!

    Makes me look forward to my expereince with Sofia Marie... I just cant wait to welcome her into this world and if I am half as lucky as you to have a smooth and quick labor I will thank my lucky stars!

    Thanks so much for sharing Hun!
    What a beautiful little baby...


  4. Happy birthday Stella from Riley.

  5. Lovely birth story Natalie, happy birthday Stella!