The way our beautiful daughter came into this world, wasn’t quite how I had planned, but yet I feel it was still the perfect way that God had planned all along. It was hard and incredible and healing in a lot of ways.
I had an appointment at the hospital on the Friday afternoon to check that Baby Meade was still doing ok growing and that we would be able to continue until 42 weeks without any issues. Before this appointment I had decided to have a stretch and sweep done in the Birthing Centre in the hope that it could start something, as at this stage I was 9 days past my due date, and more than eager to finally meet our little baby, I was advised that I was at 1cm dilated which was very exciting for me as I realised things may get started now. As we started to have the testing done I started to feel some contractions, different to ones I had felt before, they felt more like a growing wave and then would subside. We were watching these on the monitor and started to get pretty excited. We had to interrupt that testing to have an ultrasound to make sure the placenta was still functioning as normal and I continued to feel some contractions which weren’t too uncomfortable but I could definitely notice they were there. We were told that Baby Meade was measuring at 4 and a half kilos, which needless to say scared the heck out of me! When we returned to finish the testing of her heart beat the contractions became a bit stronger and we could again see them very easily on the machine. We started to time them at 4pm and noticed that already they were only 5 minutes apart and 1 minute long! I secretly thought this might mean that we would have a very quick and easy labour!
At 5pm we had finished all the testing and headed back to the Birthing centre to follow up on the results. We advised them of the contractions I was having and they said we may as well stay rather than try and drive all the way home and then come back again. This was really exciting for me. This way finally it! Rory and Mum were so excited too and we quickly began to unload our things from the car and get a bit settled in the room. I started to roll around on the fit ball in the hope of keeping things going and to possibly speed things up. It definitely intensified the contractions I was having but another two hours went by and I hadn’t really had contractions any closer together. They were still every 5 minutes lasting around a minute each. Mum had gone home by this stage and we all thought when she left that there would be a phone call in the early hours of the morning advising her of our new baby. Rory and I even placed bets on what time the baby would come. I had guessed either just before midnight or just after, he thought it would be before 1am in the morning. It was really fun to have this time together to bond and work through each contraction.
Another two hours later at 8pm my contractions were finally only 3 minutes apart and lasting for a minute each and I really had to focus on each one. At 9pm I was checked to see how far I had dilated in the last 6 hours, to my upset I was still only at 1cm and Baby hadn’t fully engaged still! I felt quite defeated at this point and the midwife suggested that we try and have a sleep as we would need energy to keep going. This was a very interesting feat to try and undertake to nap in between very strong contractions. We managed to have a slight nap in this manner for about 2 hours when I really decided that the pain was getting a bit much to just lie down and I wanted to use the shower to help with the pain. The water felt so fantastic and did really help for quite a while.
Through all of this Rory was the most incredible support and encouragement, at every moment he was there with me to help me in whatever way he could, even after having worked a full day at work and being so tired. We were checked again at 2am in the morning and I was still only just at 2cm! I couldn’t believe it! At least this time baby was engaged and the midwife thought that things would start moving quickly now, which gave me a little bit of hope. I was quite exhausted already. Through all of this Ella’s heartbeat had been completely steady and she had been completely un-phased by this long time of contractions. At 5am I started to feel that maybe things might be getting closer and I really wanted to hop into the bath. Hopping in was the best feeling! It felt so nice to be weightless and in amongst such warm water. I stayed in there for an hour before I needed to be checked again. This time, at 6am, I discovered I was finally at 4cm! In active labour! 14 hours after starting contractions! This really encouraged me as I felt that things really could now move quickly and maybe we would meet our little baby soon. The contractions started to become very strong and very close together at this point and I asked to get back into the bath again.
Rory was incredible! He held my hand from the side of the bath through each contraction, he fed me cold water and wiped my forehead with a cold flannel. I have never felt so incredibly loved and looked after. While I was in the bath this time I felt that things weren’t progressing and I wasn’t coping with the contractions well. They seemed to come very close and not give me much relief in between and I asked if it was too late for an epidural. I persisted through another 2 hours after asking this. They were a really hard two hours. I felt totally and completely out of it, I was very tired at this stage having laboured all night so far and still not feel like I was close. I remember being angry at God for a little bit wondering why this had been so hard when I had prayed for so long to have a short and relatively easy labour. At 10am I was checked to find I was still only at 4cm, that I had made no progression in 4 hours. This is when things started to quickly change. Our midwife, Leslie was incredible. She quickly said we needed to break my waters and then get me up for an epidural to be able to give both me and Rory rest so that we would have the energy for the final stage. In my delirious and tired state I demanded that no I would not get this baby out and they would take me for a c-section as I wouldn’t do any more, quite hilarious when I think back now. Thankfully Leslie was incredible, and she firmly told me that I had no need for a c-section and that I would feel really proud when I had got this baby out myself.
Having my waters broken took the contractions to a new level! By 11am I was up in the hospital and the epidural had been administered. I finally felt like my normal self again and could laugh and smile and thank the midwives who had been helping me. Through all of this Ella’s heartbeat remained completely steady and at a really good level, and the midwives joked that she was the happiest one in the room! At 12pm I was finally at 7cm, I had reached this all on my own without any pitocin to speed up the contractions. I could feel each contraction as pressure but didn’t feel the pain of them. Rory and I then napped for an hour to an hour and a half and we were advised if I was at 9cm by 2pm I wouldn’t need to have any pitocin and they would let me get to full dilation on my own. I was determined that this would happen. In this time, after being so scared of heading to the hospital, I actually felt so completely calm, and I realised that this was what God had planned all along. He wanted to heal my fear of hospitals, to let me know it was ok, and that He was actually with me. Our midwife that helped in the hospital, Anita was incredible. She listened to all of our requests and was fine when I asked if I could push on my knees or all fours rather than lying on my back, she had read our birth plan and respected us wanting to discover what sex baby we had ourselves and for Rory to cut the cord and for us to have skin to skin time uninterrupted for at least an hour. I couldn’t have felt more blessed to have the midwife we had. By 2pm I had actually completely dilated and was at 10cm and could start to feel the urge to push. We were told to wait an hour and then it would really be a good time to push.
Rory and I had some time just to ourselves in this next hour which I will treasure, those last moments of just us two before our family was going to become three. Looking at each other knowing we were finally going to meet this little person that had been growing inside of me for so long. I felt so loved and so in love with him looking at him and knowing what an incredible support he had been this whole time. I still boggle at how God has completely blessed me with this incredible husband I get to share life with. At 3:30pm Anita came back from dinner break and it was time to start pushing. This part really excited me, I knew it was almost over! Rory says he will never forget the look on my face at how excited I was at this stage. As she was coming out the midwife announced the baby had blonde hair, and I looked at Rory and said “it’s a girl then”, I probably would have gotten a complete shock if it had been a boy! I had always pictured the entire pregnancy that if we had a girl she would have strawberry blonde hair and Rory’s green eyes, and if we had a boy he would have brown hair and my blue eyes, don’t ask me why that is. After 42 minutes of pushing at 4:12pm our beautiful daughter, Ella Grace Meade, had arrived! It was a completely surreal moment. To have a little baby placed across my belly and know that she was ours. It’s something you can’t prepare for no matter how hard you try. To my surprise when I looked, her hair wasn’t even blonde, but strawberry blonde!!!! We both cried and couldn’t stop looking at this little (rather large at 3.96kg and 54cm long) baby. Rory cut the cord with a big smile on his face and we became a little family.
It was a very long and hard 24 hours that we travelled together. I truly believe looking back though that it was a blessing from God. We worked through something that was quite difficult together and grew together more and fell more in love with each other. In the process as well I feel there has been a healing for me and hospitals, that I don’t need to feel afraid of them. If we hadn’t ended up at the hospital I still may have that feeling of fear. God really was looking after us the entire time and I know that was the perfect labour that He had planned from before we even knew we were expecting a child.
I was reminded the other day quite randomly that a year before Ella was born, almost to the day Rory told me he felt that God had told him we would have a child within a year or maybe two years. At the time we kind of laughed and thought maybe that meant we would start trying to have a child. God is so incredible, and He has our paths laid out before us before we even know what the path is.
Finally, a verse that I believe has strongly been spoken over Ella’s life. It came up so commonly during pregnancy and then again on the day she was born and on her first trip to Church, all from different and random sources. I am so thankful for the God that we love, and that He loves us just as much and that He has love that is so incredible for our little daughter.
For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.” (Zephaniah 3:17 NLT)
Her beautiful little face, all wrapped up and ready to head back to the Birthing Centre
Proud Daddy, having a cuddle with his daughter
Big nose and little nose, so adorable
Our family all together ready to head home.