My eldest turns four today. But this time of year was preoccupied with a different anniversary before he arrived..
Happy birthday Joshy!!
The second of November is the anniversary of my Dad’s death. It is six years this year. Six years ago since my Dad had a mild stroke, scaring us all, he was at the hospital at was meant to be discharged on the morning of the second of November. I spoke to him and Mum while they were in the hospital that afternoon.
I remember it so clearly. James was out at the time, I spent maybe close to two hours talking to them both. Telling them all about James asking me to marry him the day prior, how strange it had been that none of us had realised it was mum and dads wedding anniversary the same day he asked me. When James got home I quickly rushed to him, “Omg I just had the best conversation I have had in years with my parents! Dad’s fine he will be released tomorrow…”
It was less than twelve hours later I had the call from Mum… I knew what she was going to say before she even said it, even though none of us at all expected it. “Jess, sit down, I have to tell you something…”
I just immediately replied, “No way, fuck off! No, no, no, no. Mum he was going home today.”
And like that, the next chapter of my life unfolded….
Less than two years later, I was pregnant with our eldest. When they told me he was due mid November I just knew that wouldn’t be the case… I had been saying the whole time I was pregnant I am so worried he will be born on the anniversary…
One of the last things my Dad ever said to me was, “don’t let me steal your thunder”.. I didn’t want that to hang over Josh his whole life…
It was the 29th October 2012 I went into labour. My birth experience with Josh was nothing at all like that with Jai.. it was a very long drawn out process. My waters broke at maybe 8pm that night, after being excited and nervous about the process I spent the whole night in anxious anticipation instead of trying to get sleep like I could have.
When we called the obstetrician in the morning they where horrified I hadn’t called them earlier, wanted me to hurry to the hospital. I was quite relaxed about the whole thing, in retrospect my labour hadn’t even properly established..
I got to the hospital and checked by a nurse when I arrived, she told me I was 6cm dilated and had to wait to see the obstetrician. They put me in a ward, next to a lady who had a baby that was clearly distressed during labour. They had the heart monitors on and the erratic heart rate was being broadcast through the suite.
Any consistent contractions I was feeling stopped immediately. by the time the obstetrician got there an hour later and checked me she declared, “you are not dilated at all. Your cervix is closed. Are you sure your waters broke?”
Cue the self doubt. Cue the disconnection from my involvement in the process. “I think my waters broke, actually I’m sure they did. I stood up from the toilet and the bath mat was soaked. I even checked, am I pissing myself?! Nope I wasn’t!”
Josh heard the heart monitor too. I am sure if we had not gone to the hospital at that point things would have been totally different. But we did and so things happened the way we did.
After a few hours at the hospital that morning they told me to go home, hang out at home, go for a walk.. I thought we could do just that and so we did. we went home, went for a walk down the road to the video shop. An older couple we came across on the way made some remark about how I looked like I was about to burst… Cue a contraction right in front of them haha
I hadn’t really thought through the fact they would want us back at the hospital. 24 hours after your waters break it is pretty standard medical intervention to put you on antibiotics. I had no idea that didn’t have to mean a drip and was very much of the opinion this was like any other medical procedure and I should do what I was told.
The interventions started then. Gel induction first and an overnight stay. James was asleep on the floor of the hospital room and I just remember him snoring all night and we being so annoyed at him haha Josh was sitting right on my bladder, it was like he tried to desperately crawl back inside me and hide as soon as we got to the hospital. I remember one of the overwhelming things was that I just had to pee everytime I had a contraction, meaning I felt the need to get up and go to the bathroom every 20 mins but stuck in the confines of that set up, there was little I could do to get comfortable.
The next day, still without regular consistent contractions again, the obstetrician decided it was time to start other induction techniques. A few hours later I was on the drip in the birthing ward and the start of trying to bring on false labour.
I had done lots of reading prior to birth. I had told myself, “my birth plan is to get the baby out safely”. I was very much committed to having a ‘natural birth’ but at this point I hadn’t slept or eaten in two days and I was exhausted. I had no idea how much longer this was going to take and I was already mentally fading, getting into a bad place.
I didn’t know much more than this is not good… I need to reframe my thinking. I need a fucking break. I looked at the doctor the next time he walked in the room, “I want to see the anaesthetist, now!”
And I don’t for a second regret that. I had an amazing epidural, what they call a “walking epidural” which was self adminisited, I had a little button to push when I wanted more relief. I could still move around and when the time came for pushing I was still able to get up on my knees which I now know is pretty safe to say the position that works for me in birth.
I managed to get a few hours sleep which made a huge amount of difference. The break from the process meant I was able to eat something, “I haven’t eaten ham and cheese sandwich in 8 months, James you need to find me ham, now!” (I took all the food warnings and rules very strictly the first time around haha).
And a few hours later I remember the doctor coming in again. They had ramped that drip up something crazy, I could see the crazy spikes on the monitor but safely kept my finger very close to that pain relief button. At this point he said, “ok, we only allow for 48hrs after you have started induction before we got to an emergency c-section. That means your time limit is up in a few hours.”
I looked at the clock, you are fucking kidding me, a few hours would be the second of November. “Can you just cut it out now?!” I pleaded with the doctor.
“You’re doing great. It’s not far now. I will come back in a little bit.”
And I remember getting really in my own head at that moment. I was pleading to Dad to help me, “please don’t make him share that date with you Dad. Steal my thunder but not his, please”…
The next time the doctor came back in I was certain, “I’m not doing this anymore. Get me to the operating room, I can’t do this.”
I was lucky enough to have a great obstetrician who assured me I was actually going through transition. It wouldn’t be long till I could push. I had this.
And I did. Once I felt the desire to push, well less of a desire and more of a direct order, hello great epidural, it happened quite quickly. Josh was born about an hour later with lots and lots of coaching help for me from James and the midwife and the doctor.
I had post-partum hemoraged after Josh was born. I lost so much blood, it was like a murder scene. The placental adbruption I had early in my pregnancy had healed itself byby growing massive to reattach. The placenta I had with Josh was as big as he was as an 8 pound baby.
And that was the start of me becoming a mum. The issues breastfeeding, sleeping and coping with this foreign concept of a newborn all happened in the following time and I always seem to forget the anniversary until it’s right there.
This time of year is full of huge emotion for me and it’s a roller coaster. As much as I love that it is the same week that marks the anniversary of James asking me to marry him and our beautiful big kids birthday, I think it will forever be a time patched with huge stormy clouds on the horizon and sunshine through the clouds, prefect rainbow weather…
I love my husband and my big kid and I miss my Dad…
Our engagement party, 6 years ago <3
It wasn’t until today that I realised, maybe the reason I have always planned Josh’s party celebrations so close to his birthday has actually been for me all these years, not for him. Not being surrounded by people and activity, it’s made this process more hard this year I think…
Paper boats tomorrow and maybe while its harder for me, maybe this way Dad is actually stealing less of Josh’s thunder…