Wow Ashton is just over a month old now and things are finally settling down. We are finding ourselves in some kind of a routine, even if it is sleeping, change, eat, play, repeat, every 3-4 hours.

Below, is us today being silly and playing with filters but it has not been all fun and games. Quite the opposite on some occasions. I am an honest person in nature and feel that the way to heal is to talk, for me writing is a type of therapy and by me being honest about my struggles, challenges and successes hopefully I can inspire and potentially help others. So we go back to the 20th of December where the story starts... It was a hot Wednesday afternoon and I had been lazing around the house the whole day feeling rather uncomfortable and sorry for myself. About 4.30 that morning I had what I thought was braxton hicks, a sharp shooting pain in my abdomen followed by cramps that came and went. I got really excited and almost called Chris, he had just left for work, but I thought I’d just wait and see what happened next. My mind was racing, oh my god, I'm gonna have a baby before Christmas I thought. I lay in bed for the next 3 hours eagerly awaiting another pain, wishing for another cramp but I remained disappointed. Eventually, I started my day wondering if I had just dreamt the initial pain, made a coffee and something to eat. It must have been around lunchtime that I realized I hadn't felt bubba move, I thought it was odd and then remembered the pain that morning and text my midwife to fill her in and also ease my mind about not feeling any movement. I was sure she would just say I was being silly. Chris got home at 3ish and I also told him what had happened. He was questioning me more when my phone rang. As I answered it I heard Dianne's voice it was steady but sharp. She simply said you need to get an emergency scan done now. I swiftly hung up, my anxious mind leaping to worse case scenario. I rung around all the clinics in West and North Auckland but the best they could do was 8 am the next day. Dianne wasn't happy with this so decided to meet us at Waitakere Hospital and I jumped on to the machine that measures babies heart rate. Phew, he was fine, I felt super stupid for worrying everyone but my apologies were rebutted by "never apologize for calling about decreased movement". Dianne sent us home but advised us to take the emergency scan in the morning anyway. And well, its bloody good that we did.

21st- 8 am the radiographer noticed straight away that there was not enough fluid around the baby, but was not overly concerned as there was a pocket of fluid that was deep. That was my understanding anyway so we left the scan feeling confident and decided to grab some fresh bagels at Pak n Save for breaky. Well... we were at the checkout when Dianne rang, she had just got the result of the scan and informed me that I was getting induced and would have a baby in a matter of days. We rushed home, packed the rest of the suitcase I had prepared earlier and mindfully ate our bagels in a state of shock and excitement. We had no idea what to expect but I just wanted to get there and start the induction process. I was ready to have a baby!

I must interject here and state that I had planned on having a water birth at the hospital, a natural birth with no medical intervention. I personally had been scared to the point of nearly passing out at our antenatal course about having a medical birth. I actually left the room when Cathy talked about induction, epidurals, catheters and c sections so I was flying blind. I am still surprised though at how fast I accepted a truly medical intervention I guess it was due to doing the best for my son at the time. I was hooked up to a machine which measured babies heartbeat, had a cannula put in and blood was taken. At 12.30pm the induction started with the administration of a gel and I was back on the heart monitor.  We were informed that I needed to walk to get the gel to start moving so we did laps around the grounds, joined by Aunty Kerry, Aunty Charlie, and Nana. We got some yummies from the local shops and kept ourselves entertained until the second gel was administered at 6.20 I felt my first sign of a contraction at 7.15 and from there shit got real. The pains were increasing and at 9.30 it was recommended that I have a bath, afterward, I feel quite relaxed so sent Daddy home for a good nights sleep and settled in for what I thought would be my last good night's sleep. Hahaha- yeah right. The pains were increasing and I was unable to stay laying down, I walked the halls and found myself in and out of the lounge talking to midwives and a new Nana who incidentally I knew from primary school days. I was trying to distract myself from the pain but was so tired and eventually ended up accepting a sleeping pill so I could rest and repair for the big day tomorrow. Well, 2 hours later I was awake again and found myself in the toilet having a full-blown panic attack. I was saying out loud "I cant do this, I cant do this", I was in a heck of a state and short of losing my mind I pushed the emergency bell. Four midwives ripped open the door to find me pants down sitting on the loo crying my eyes out. One of the midwives a lovely lady helped me to the bath and ran it for me with drops of lavender in it. I was so grateful but as I stepped into the warm water my water broke. I called out but was advised that the bath should still go ahead as it was better for me to calm down and the risk of infection was very low. The rest of the night is a blur of tears, pains, and restlessness. 6.24 am and I rung Chris to come in as the midwives had decided to move me to the delivery room I was hooked up to the heart rate monitor again and the contractions increased as the day goes on, by 11 I couldn't stay on the bed any longer so I had a loooooong hot shower experiencing multiple surges. But the water rushing over me calmed me and I wished I could stay there all day. I was told however that I needed to stay hooked up to the machine so after a bit of a walk I begrudgingly hopped back onto the bed, realizing that the swiss ball we had was not gonna get any use. The IV line was hooked up with drugs (the next step was the induction) and somehow I managed a couple of hours of sleep but woke up to extreme contractions and the word epidural was kicked around. Contractions or surges are the weirdest sensations I had ever felt, for me I could feel each coming and would often whisper "no no no" before they developed into the most intense pain I have ever felt, at first I could use hypnobirthing techniques to breathe through them and visualised waves but as they developed I was squirming and moaning like a cow. I only swore twice which is very unusual for me. As fast as they started they ended and the pain was instantly gone. Chris was so amazing during the whole process. Talking, listening and comforting me. Asking questions with me and reassuring me that I was strong. He was my strength through it all. I would have found it very hard, almost impossible to do it without him there.

I was so against this type of pain relief (epidural) before labor, the very low risk of spinal damage had me convinced that I would rather suffer the pain. However, I changed my mind, I must say that nobody convinced me to have an epidural, I was given all of the authority and talked at length with Chris about the decision. At 9 pm, 12 hours since the first surge the epidural was administered by James the anaesthetist with the kindest eyes. I'll spare the details but by 9.40 I felt the relief and started to relax. At 9.50 I had a vaginal examination, and I was a disappointing 4cms dilated, babies heart rate was dipping and I was developing a fever. Dianne is called and an intense conversation is started, with a c section looking very likely. At 11.40 I made the decision to go ahead and we are prepped. The drugs to numb my lower half are administered and I got quite a shock as I lost all feeling in my legs and abdomen, I started to panic and my worst case scenario thoughts kicked in, what if I can't walk again... this is short lived when my arms start shaking uncontrollably and I scream out. What is happening to me??? I think I'm going into shock and with only Chris in the room I freak the fuck out. I call out for Dianne and she rushes in calming and reassuring me that it is simply a side effect. Bloody hell, if only someone had told me that beforehand!

I was prepped and wheeled into surgery at 12.53pm. It felt like the surgeons were doing the dishes in my belly and at 1.35am a screaming baby was pulled out of me.

 To hear that first cry was beautiful. I had done it. I was a mother.

Love and light Sammi xx

Sammi's blog: https://wordpress.com/view/babiesonmymind.wordpress.com