Tuesday, 26 April 2016

My Birth Story - Achilles

It is actually really funny how this all starts. April 10, four days before due date and we FINALLY finish packing the hospital bags throwing in my beauty products and some spare clothes and things for Ben as well.

As I go to bed, I walk past the bags and say to my belly "see, we are all ready for you now!"

After two hours of tossing and turning in my bed from the usual heart burn, I feel this sudden wetness downstairs and I immediately jump up just in case it is my waters and it went all over the bed. As I stood up, I realised it wasn't a lot and I thought to myself "holy crap, have I just peed myself?!" I went to the bathroom and it definitely wasn't wee (yay) and amniotic fluid was continuing to trickle down my leg (apparently that can happen if baby's head is far enough down to stop a full on gush like you see in the movies - sometimes it just trickles out which was what happened in my case).

I screamed out to Ben to wake him up and we started excitedly scrambling around trying to call the hospital and get things together. I couldn't get through to the hospital as there was an issue with their phones but I remember them saying continuously, if your waters break, we will always get you to come in regardless of contraction times (at this stage I wasn't having any).

We got in the car and drove the 15 minutes to the hospital and during the ride I could feel the contractions starting but it was nothing I couldn't handle. Ben offered to drop me at the front while he parked the car but I wanted to walk from the car as walking whilst in labour is supposed to speed things up.

This photo was taken when we arrived at the hospital. Iphone says is was taken at 12:12am... Achilles was born at 12:12pm - exactly 12 hours later!
 We arrived at the maternity ward and I was taken in to do a urine test to confirm my waters had broken - confirmed. They put a monitor on my belly to monitor my contractions and baby's heart rate. On the monitor, my contracations were pretty consistent (I think 3 every 10 minutes - I could be wrong) but they weren't very strong.

It was at this stage Mrs grumpy midwife came in, checked my cervix (dilated a whole 0cm lol) and discussed my 'options'. She kept questioning me and asking me medical questions like "why do you think I want to send you home right now?" "Can you explain to me why your waters have broken but you're not in labour?" Stupid questions like that. I snapped and asked her to explain everything to me as I wasn't really in the mood to answer questions at the moment. She explained once waters are broken, labour can still last 24-48 hours and they "didn't have a spare birth suite for me to have that long a labour in". I KNEW my body wasn't going to last that long and I had a feeling if they sent us home, we would be coming straight back. Another midwife came in and noticed baby's heart rate was a bit high so they said they would monitor me for the next 30 mins, then Ben and I could walk around the hospital. Well within 20 mins, my contractions were stronger and baby's heart rate was still high so they decided to put an IV in with some fluid to try and get him to settle.

While that was happening, I needed to go to the bathroom and as I stood up I felt like I was going to throw up ...and I did... A LOT! All of my dinner, gone. I started to panic a little because I didn't realise that was completely normal and I started to worry about how I was going to give birth if I was sick. They rushed me in to an examination room and checked my cervix again - 3cm! In the 30 mins from when they were going to send me home, I had progressed 3cm!

Suddenly a birth suite was available and we went in and set up.

This is kind of where it gets a bit blurry as the pain started to get worse. I tried to stay standing as much as I could but I needed breaks in between contractions so I was laying down for about an hour and then realised I was doing exactly what I didn't want to do. So I got up. Around 4am a midwife was taking over from Mrs Grumpy and her student midwife and she suggested I hop in the shower as the hot water will help with the pain. Well she wasn't wrong! I stayed in there for two whole hours while Ben sat in the corner of the little bathroom trying to help. I feel so sorry for him looking back he tried so hard to help. I had told him I wanted music to be playing and all these other things and everything he asked me my answer was "no".  He dealt with me so well and was  really calm and comforting. I am so glad he was there.

After over two hours in the shower, It was now 6:30am and two new midwives had started their shifts. Yay no more Mrs. Grumpy! I can honestly say these two were such a perfect match for me. They were so calm, understanding, answered all my questions, respected my "no pain medication" request and they just had such kind and welcoming personalities. It was time to check my cervix again - 5-6cm.

I tried to deal with the contractions walking around and standing again but they were overwhelming so I got back in the shower. This time it didn't help as much but it was still a little improvement with putting the heat directly on my belly.

At this stage Ben was almost in tears and begging me to take something for the pain because he couldn't bear to see me in so much pain. Not even then did I consider taking anything. I never wanted to be numb from an epidural. I couldn't imagine just laying there on the bed not feeling anything until it was time to push, I wanted to feel what labour was like. My entire pregnancy, I told everyone I would not be having any pain relief and they all told me I would change my mind, I knew I wouldn't.

I was offered gas instead but to be honest I was afraid it would make me sick and I needed all the strength I had - which already wasn't much from vomiting up my dinner from the night before.  After every contraction in the 30 seconds - one minute of no pain, I would tell myself "If I could get through that one, I can get through anything" and of course they got worse with each one so it continued to work for me every time.

Fast forward to 8:30am and I'm still in the shower and my Mum and Aunty arrive. I could see the look of complete compassion on their faces as they watched me go through each contraction (given they both knew what I was going through).

Here's where I lose track of actual times and I no longer have texts to people to look back on and confirm.

I think it was around 10 am I decided to get out of the shower because I felt like things may start to move along quite quickly soon.

At this stage I remember trying to move around a lot. The 'relief' periods were getting shorter and shorter and the contractions were getting longer and longer and apparently my pain moans (ok maybe screams) were getting louder and louder. I had my Mum and my Aunty rubbing my back, cooling me off with a face washer and Ben was holding my hand and doing all he could before he got so hungry he had to run out for a snack haha.

When he was out during one of my contractions, I felt the urge to push. They told me this was coming but they were adamant when it did to NOT PUSH. I remember saying 'Ok well I think I accidentally may have pushed a little with that one". Time to check the cervix again. 8cm. Ben was back by this point.

As soon as they were done checking me, the urge to push got stronger and stronger and it was getting ridiculously hard to resist the urge to push. Not even 10 minutes after they had said I was 8cm, I had one contraction where I literally couldn't not push. I remember SCREAMING '"I can't not push, I'm pushing". They checked again and what do you know - 10cm!!!

It was time to push. I was standing up semi squatting whilst leaning over the bed. I can't even begin to describe the feeling. At first I felt like each push was getting me no where. I would feel his head coming down but as soon as I stopped, it would go back up. As time went on I caught on that I could push for longer and didn't need to wait for the contractions so I just kept pushing. I could feel the progress but they said they needed a really big one to get his head through. Don't laugh but at this stage I wanted to give it all I could so I grabbed hold of Ben's hand and squeezed it harder than ever and I imagined I was in the gym doing a really heavy squat.. I got really low and instead of putting all of my energy in to my quads, I put it in to pushing.  AND IT WORKED! His head was out! They turned him around and then asked me for a few little pushes to get his body though a little more. Then one more big push and all at once I felt him come out of me and I all of a sudden felt empty and I remember letting out a cry saying "HE'S HERE!" and I looked up at Ben and he was crying and I started crying and I didn't stop for a good ten minutes.

They handed him to me through my legs and I got to hold my little man, chord still attached and we layed up on the bed to get to know each other. He was sucking on his hand, just like in his scan pictures and making THE cutest little sucking noise. We immediately fell in love. He was ours, he was here.

Over the next hour, I delivered the placenta (a lot easier than delivering the baby - they just give you an injection in your leg and you give a little push if needed), Ben cut the chord once it stopped pulsating - that is the general practice at the hospital we attended, he got his vitamin K and Hep B needles, got weighed and measured and had lots of skin to skin time with mummy where he latched on to my boob like a natural.

Whilst giving birth was the hardest, most painful thing I have done and probably will ever do in my life, I would happily go through it again, pain relief free, if it means holding something that is a part of me in my arms!

Q&A from instagram & Facebook

Q: @briiwright__ "SUCH A TMI QUESTION BUT! I legit want to know how you're recovering 'down there'?

A: I'm actually recovering really well down there.  I have 4-6 disolveable stitches (I can't remember how many they said). A few have already fallen out so  I assume they are healed. I have complete control of my bladder and I just got out a mirror and had a look and other than the few remaining stitches, things look pretty good down there. It can take up to three weeks to heal so if anything changes, I will give you an update!

Q: @melissajanetaylor "I basically want to know everything, I guess I'd love to know how did you feel when you first found out and how did you feel once your water broke and went in to labour?

A: I knew I was pregnant when I was about 6 days away from my period being due. I took the test to confirm the next day and called Ben immediately. We were ecstatic. Whilst we weren't actively trying, we made the decision to not not try thinking we'd have plenty of time! Within an hour we had both our boy and girl names picked out and we've stuck with both the entire time. Achilles was our only boy name for the whole 39 weeks!

When my waters broke I was so damn excited! I shouted out to Ben and the smile on his face I will never forget. He couldn't believe it. The excitement to meet him definitely helped me through labour a lot!

Q: @themintedblog "I'd love a section on things they don't tell you"

A: I honestly read about 1000 'things they don't tell you' blogs during pregnancy, I feel like I was told everything. I didn't know vomiting was normal, even without pain relief. I didn't know that they checked your cervix with their fingers (I thought there was some sort of tool they used lol).  I didn't know only 5% of labours start with the waters breaking - 95% start with contractions and then the waters break later or not at all. I didn't know how intense the feeling of needing to push would be when you're not actually supposed to push. That was I think the worst part of labour. Wanting to push so bad but trying to control your body so it doesn't...it's NOT easy!

Q: There were a few comments about my health and fitness during and after pregnancy having an effect on my recovery.

8 days post partum
 A: When I fell pregnant, I was in the best shape I had ever been in my life, I was at the gym 2 hours a day and ate ridiculouslt healathy. At week 26 of pregnancy I was banned from doing any form of exercise (except for my pelvic floors of course) so for the last 14 weeks of my pregnancy, I didn't work out once. My diet was not overly restrictive. Sure, I ate well to give my body what it needed but I also didn't shy away from treats that I felt like. I ate donuts, ice cream and probably had some form of dessert at least three times a week. I put on 21kg (started at 75 and finished at 96 - weighed myself at the hospital during labour)  during my pregnancy which apparently was unhealthy. To that I say "whatever" because minus the exercise, I gave my body everything it needed to make a super healthy baby. AND I since giving birth I am now at 83kg. So given that is the case, I can assume most of my weight gain was from fluid and from baby/ placenta. As long as you're giving your body everything it needs and you're not going totally overboard with the junk, you will be fine. Don't be afraid to gain weight. For me, it really was inevitable given I went from training two hours a day and on quite a strict diet to barely exercising (and then having to stop) and not being able to adhere to a strict nutrition plan.

If you have any other questions, please feel free to leave them in the comments section and I will do another post, granted there are enough! <3

Keep smiling
Tahana xo


  1. Oh this post made me cry!!! The part when you heard him cry for the first time, honestly takes me back to when Lani was born. I remember hearing that sound and yelling out I fucking did it!! And then bursting out into tears. Haha!!! I was in labour for 23 hours prior to that. You are an amazing and super strong woman to go through all of that with no pain relief. I couldn't do it, so I take my hat off to you. You sound like a complete natural. I'm going to remember your story when I'm in labour.

    Bec || beautywithbec

    1. Such an incredible experience isn't it! Can't believe you're going through it again any time now! <3

  2. I am so proud of you, your a total inspiration. I really hope I could handle no pain meds, but it seems totally terrifying. Great post, cant wait to continue watching this little man grow and also your post baby journey! xx

    1. Thank you Shannon! You definitely could! You're tough like me! ;)

  3. You made me cry Tahana, what a beautiful story! I can't wait to meet Achilles and see you and Ben! You are both the best parents ever 😅

  4. What an amazing story!!! I am so proud of you Tahana! You look absolutely amazing and Achilles is beautiful. I can only hope to look as good as you right after having a baby!!! You will be back to your goal weight in no time you hot momma!!!

    Sarah | Bows & Pleats

  5. This is such a beautiful and touching story Tahana! You are so brave not to use pain relief! I had pain relief with my 2 girls because I just couldn't handle the pain! Congratulations to you and Ben. Achilles is a beautiful bundle of joy!

    1. Thanks Juvy! He is just gorgeous isn't he?! <3

  6. Wow, what an amazing story! You must be so proud of yourself and of little Achilles! xx

    Kez | acaciasdreams.com

    1. Thank you Kez! He definitely made it worth it! <3

  7. Such a beautiful story T, to go through all of that without any pain relief is incredible & inspiring! Achilles is so beautiful & you're looking amazing! Lots of love xxx

  8. Proud of you T!! There is no way I could go without pain meds.. I am such a sook! haha I can't wait to meet little A!! xx

    1. Thanks Mel! Haha I was a sook too before this! Can't wait for you to meet him too! <3

  9. Such a beautiful post and story, you made me cry reading it! Congratulations Mummy!!! Achilles is a lucky little man to have you and he is so adorable xx

    Nicole xx | www.nicolesbeautybabble.com

    1. Thank you Nicole! Can't wait to see your wedding story! <3

  10. This was such a beautiful read. As you know my sister also gave birth to her first bub about two months ago. Sadly her story was not as easy. She also had some trouble with grumpy midwives (seriously why are they like that??) and they wanted to send her home. Lucky thing they didn't as turned out bub had the cord wrapped around his neck and she was rushed into an emergency c-section.
    I'm so amazed you were able to go without pain meds - you are much stronger than I haha.
    A huge congratulations to you and your man - Achilles is the most gorgeous bub! xx

    Jasmine / sweetaholic-beauty.com

    1. Thank you Jas! I definitely feel very lucky we were able to get through everything without any complications! <3

  11. This was such an amazing, beautiful and inspiring post! I have absolutely no experience with childbirth myself but I loved reading every part of this. I seriously felt like I was almost there with you experiencing it all, so incredible reading it haha! Congratulations to you and your hubby on your beautiful baby boy!! I commend you on going pain- relief free. The pain has always been something that I have feared if I were to ever give birth so it was fantastic to read your thoughts on the whole experience. Thank you for sharing! xxx

    Chantalle | www.ceceandgrace.blogspot.com.au

    1. Thank you so much! I'm glad I was able to make it as real and emotional as it actually was haha. Definitely an experience like no other! <3

  12. This is such an amazing post. I really enjoyed reading it all and it's always good to get a glimpse of what to expect down the track. Achilles is absolutely adorable too. Congratulations :)

    Emma | Rosy Disposition

  13. Welcome Achilles! Congratulations, the new parent! It was quite exciting reading your experience with the coming of Achilles. You both seems like very much caring for him. The real responsibility of you both has started here. You have to take care of lots of things. Here are few things that may helpful to you. Baby Products Online.