Since I was already so far dilated, the midwife decided to get me right into a delivery room. I crawled up onto the bed and turned around on my knees facing the backboard. I know I stayed there for quite awhile working through contractions, and every step of the way the midwife with us was amazing.
It was seriously the one time in my life that I felt so animalistic and strong. I was roaring through each contraction, and felt terrible for the other people who had to listen to it on the floor. Between them I would apologize for it, and Tommy and Romy (the midwife) would instead tell me I was fine and that I was doing wonderfully. A few times Tommy even congratulated me afterwards, saying that was a big one, or that was really loud – at least he kept making me laugh from time to time. (I had told him ahead of time, I wanted to be reminded to smile throughout).
I knew with each pain we were getting closer to meet our baby, and was trying to visualize their body transitioning down and out. A friend told me, when you feel like you cant do it anymore, it means you are really close – and I had not yet reached that point. I had however, between two contractions, said to the midwife, “I know this is probably a ridiculous question, but right now I cannot picture it being normal again - is this doing permanent damage to my back, or will it eventually go back to normal?” She laughed, and assured me that yes, it would absolutely go back to normal.
My midwife sat with us patiently, with a warm compress held against me, tracking my progress, and giving me sips of water when needed. I know I was loosing more blood than average, so we were trying to keep an eye on that, and she had prepped me in case it continued. At one point she asked if I wanted to reach around to feel the head, but in this moment I did not. It was around this time that it felt we were so close, but also not progressing. Romy said she wanted to try a different position before resorting to some oxytocin. I didn't know how my body could move, but she helped me get down on my left side, and with a couple more contractions, that was all we needed. Baby was ready to come.
I was in fact on my back when I finally pushed. When they said it was time to push, I actually looked up at Tommy and said, I'm SO hungry. He laughed, and said, right now you want to eat? Lets finish this first. First the head came, and I never even felt it. A doctor had now joined us, and when they said, “the head was out, just one more contraction and the rest will come,” I couldn't believe it. I had to keep asking, like the head is out of my body? But sure thing, when the next contraction came, I fully felt that whole body come out of me. It was for sure the most surreal thing I had experienced - a true miracle.
Tommy and I both felt so relieved in this moment – I was kept repeating – what is it? What is it, when the doctor lifted our babe up and said, its a boy! Bless! I peeled off my dress, and my bra (never had gotten to the point of taking them off), and put him straight onto my chest. When they measured him, he weighted 4.3 kilos – or 9 pounds 8 ounces! I was a bit shocked at how big he was, but also not surprised then when I needed a couple stitches after. Tommy was overwhelmed with excitement, and I remember him saying to our midwife, “The next one will be a girl, and don't worry, we will be back again soon.” I laughed and told him lets enjoy this one now – but on the inside I was already thinking, 'Yes! I would love to do that all over again!' Francesco was happily on my chest, all bundled up under towels, and there we stayed for a little over an hour.
From arrival at the hospital to birth was about 3 hours. Tommy wasn't going to be able to stay, as no family rooms were available, so we were trying to soak up the time together before he had to leave. He went to grab our bags, with our phones inside, and my parents had been trying to contact us for an update. We didn't have much service in the delivery room, so I had tried to text to say, baby was here – will be in touch soon. I was also covered in a nice big meconium poo under the towels, and was getting anxious to get a bit cleaned up and hand our baby over to Papa. We were also starving, and trying to find a couple forks that we could use to finally dig into our food.
Finally they wanted me to head to the bathroom. I felt too dizzy to walk, but Tommy wheeled me down, and back to the room again after. It was then they were ready to clear us out. Tommy had gotten some food in, but I had not – but we were already on our way down to the maternity ward. Francesco was then changed again, dressed in his hospital outfit, and handed off to papa. It all happened quite quickly.
We were wheeled back to a room, I was given all of 5 minutes to stuff some food down, and send Tommy on his way home. I still had not gotten a chance to phone my fam - and introduce the little one to them. Between text messages here and there, and the fact I was trying to be quiet with another mom in the room beside me, we managed a hushed FaceTime call to introduce our baby boy, with a few whispers and silent yes/no nods. We said goodbye, and promised we would be in touch in the morning.
Then there I was - left with a tiny human beside me that was mine - made by me, grown by me, birthed by me - and would now be in my care. You can only imagine that I was too excited to get much sleep. What a wonderful start to a life with Francesco it was.
The thing about birth, or at least my birth - was I really had no idea how much it would change me - how you come out the other side a different person, sometimes unrecognizable to your pre-mother self, but wow - you have now birthed new life into the world, and somehow have been trusted to love and care for that life all on your own. I remember thinking about my girlfriends who had first become mothers, and wondering, why didn't they tell me what an expereince it is, was it that they didnt know how to communicate that with their non-mother friends? Was it only now that I had joined the other side?
I remember feeling shocked by how much it shifted me, how often I went back to look at the first photos of me and my newborn baby, how often I reveled in relfecting on those crazy hours - from that point on I get emotional everytime I hear another's birth story, and will forever share mine proudly. I know not all mothers are so lucky to remember their birth moments with such joy, but I can honestly say, it was by far the most invigorating thing I had ever done - and the prize? A baby boy of my own.