I have been a little absent from my blog these past couple of weeks - I am sure a few of you have guessed why! We have some news in nerd world – we had our baby! At 2.03am on Wednesday June 10th, Little Nerd was born.
He is the spitting image of Mr Nerd when he was born and has absolutely none of my features except my overly developed calf muscles and appetite.
"I have basically made a clone of myself," Mr Nerd crowed just this evening as he looked at Little Nerd.
He is a really lovely baby. I’ve sat here trying to describe what it feels like to have a baby in our lives and have pressed ‘delete’ on every sentence because they’ve all sounded so lame. The best I can come up with is that having a baby feels surreal and natural at the same time. Sometimes it still doesn’t feel like we have a baby; it feels like I stumbled across this weird little squeaky woodland creature in a forest and brought him home (also, who knew that babies squeak like baby guinea pigs? Ok, I didn't).
We’ve been having a really nice time with him. Mr Nerd got six weeks off to be at home with us, and we are still in newborn bubble mode. I feed Little Nerd, and Mr Nerd feeds me… my wonderful husband has been drawing on his cheffing days and doing all the cooking (and day-to-day running around) so I can put up my feet with Little Nerd. With Perth in winter, the nights have been freezing, so Mr Nerd chops wood and starts a fire in the potbelly every night; we walk Nala and Little Nerd to the park each afternoon, come home to give Little Nerd his bath then snuggle on the couch and binge-watch Orange is the New Black. I'm happy. Life now is utter bliss punctuated by moments of sleep deprivation, undereye circles and zombie-like shuffling to do the 2am feed; the endless Tamagotchi that is a newborn! But I am enjoying this time. Well, I love this time right now... ask me again in 12 hours and I might give you a very different answer!
I was always going to write a blog post about our baby arriving (you might have read my other baby posts about my yukky pregnancy and our gender reveal party) but I wasn't sure whether I would write about Little Nerd's birth. A birth is so personal, isn't it? But then I thought, ah, why not. Who cares if there is something slightly awkward about the fact that my uncle may read about my hooha. But when I was pregnant I liked to read blog posts that detailed other people's positive birth experiences (such as the gorgeous Domestic Divinity) and overall, even though I had a very fast labour and a rough recovery trot, I still feel the birth in itself was positive.
So - it was a Tuesday night and I was fat, frumpy and grumpy. Little Nerd was almost a week late and I was pissed off, despite knowing how irrational it is to expect every baby to arrive on its due date. That evening, I took Nala to the park while chatting on the phone to a friend who had just discovered she was pregnant that same day. Then I waddled home and Mr Nerd cooked dinner. I used our sexy new Smeg oven to bake white chocolate macadamia blondies as a thank you for the guys who did the joinery for our beautiful kitchen benchtop. My plan was to drop them round their warehouse the next morning as a thanks.
Those boys never got their blondies. Mr Nerd and I were sitting on the couch (luckily the leather, not the suede) watching Orange when suddenly I sort of felt a popping sensation and sprang up in surprise. My waters had broken. We were ecstatic. Finally! I’d always wanted my waters to break (unlike the movies will have you believe, not everyone’s waters do break in labour) just so I could feel what it felt like. And this might be too much information for some of you, but it felt awesome. I felt like a giant, grumpy, uncomfortable balloon being deflated. “Game time,” cheered Mr Nerd and he flicked the TV off and leapt up, ready to start getting ready to go to the hospital.
“Oh, no, no – we will have ages,” I said, waving my hand at him (though with more confidence than I felt). “We can totally finish that episode.”
“Really?” Mr Nerd said dubiously.
“Oh yeah. Just because your waters break doesn’t mean you have to rush to hospital. That’s a movie thing. Contractions probably won’t stay until way later.”
Mr Nerd called the hospital to let them know my waters had broken. The midwife was as cruisy as I was and told him my contractions probably wouldn’t start for a while. “So relax tonight, finish watching TV, have a shower, go to bed and get a good sleep, because chances are you’ll wake up at 4am and her contractions will be on,” she said. So we watched the rest of the episode. I was not nervous about giving birth; I was filled with anticipation. I couldn’t wait to see our baby, and I couldn’t wait to be not-pregnant! (you might already know how much I hated being pregnant). I felt so good that when the episode finished I told Mr Nerd I was going to have a nice relaxing bath. I wanted to shave my legs before I went into hospital, because, you know, when your waters break, shaving your legs is what you do.
I didn’t know then that Little Nerd would be arriving just around four hours later. If I had, maybe I would have started hastening to hospital when Mr Nerd first leapt off the couch. My discharge notes say I had a precipituous labour, but I am not sure I did because I think my labour was over three hours. But it WAS a short labour. My waters broke around 9.30; I was in contractions an hour later, we got to the hospital around midnight and Little Nerd was born at 2.03am.
I know I’m going to sound like a massive whinger here, but the end of pregnancy was, for me, a daily prescription of aches and stabbing needle-like pains, sometimes so bad I would be getting groceries or something and wouldn’t be able to walk without feeling like I was going to burst into tears in front of total strangers. So when I was lying in the bath, and started having contractions, I, (being also dim-witted) didn’t even recognise that they were contractions. I just thought they were more pregnancy aches. I would even say that many of my pregnancy pains were worse than that first hour or two of contractions. When I was pregnant, everyone was like, “Oh, when your contractions start, YOU’LL KNOW” but seriously guys, I am daft, and when my contractions started I just continued shaving my leg hair.
But by the time I started to get dressed it really clicked that these were contractions. They weren’t very nice. I started calling them out and Mr Nerd started writing them down. Pretty much as soon as we started recording them, they were three minutes apart each. I didn’t want to rush into the hospital and have to hang around there for ages, but after a while I started to think damn these are coming on kind of fast, and damn these are painful! Mr Nerd rang the midwife again and asked should we come in, or wait at home, or what? The midwife sounded surprised but said to head down there if we liked.
Just driving to Fiona Stanley (which is an awesome place to have a baby, by the way – the midwives and doctors and nurses are REALLY lovely) I could feel that my contractions were speeding up and I guessed that when we got to the hospital they were about two minutes apart. It was close to midnight when we got to the hospital, and there was something exciting about seeing it dead quiet with barely a soul about as he walked and I huffed my way to the MFAU unit, pausing for contraction breaks. Mr Nerd handed the midwife the ‘birth plan’ they ask all the expecting women to fill out. I didn’t really have a ‘birth plan’ for my birth. I was too lazy to do any birthing classes; which did not hugely endear me to the midwives at the hospital when I had my antenatal appointments. "I watched some videos and read some books," I lied. I was happy to just go along with whatever happened - but I knew what I DID want was an epidural! I am a pussy about pain. So on the birth plan I had written ‘EPIDURAL’ in big letters on it and put stars around it for extra emphasis, and then cross-referenced it later in the text.
And as soon as we arrived at the hospital I started reminding the midwives that I wanted an epidural, because I knew from friends that if you waited too long you could get too close and could miss your chance. “You’ll get your epidural,” the midwife told me a couple of times, smiling. “Just breathe nice and deep in the meantime.” And as rubbish as it sounds, the deep breathing helped. And I tried not to tense up with each contraction which also helped.
“I'm just going to check how dilated you are - this might be a bit uncomfortable,” said the midwife. You think? It was like a fish flapping around in there. I squirmed.
The midwife had one of those happy faces that always looks like they’re about to laugh. She did laugh then. "Oh my goodness, you're 6 to 7cm dilated already!" she said, visibly surprised. "And you did that at home all by yourself? Well done! That's wonderful!"
"Cool. Can I please have my epidural now?" I said hopefully.
"You'll get your epidural," she said kindly.
But after we’d been there a little while, the midwife came and told me that the anesthetist was in an emergency caesarean, and wouldn’t be able to come to see me for an hour. Crap. I had a very strong feeling then that I was going to have to do it without an epidural. I just knew it was all happening too fast. I could also tell that the midwives were trying to make me feel as relaxed as possible, smiling and cheerfully promising me the epidural every so often in the same manner you might try to pacify a hysterical drunk friend who doesn’t want to leave the bar. “Would you like nitrous oxide?” the midwife asked me, holding out a little tube for me. “What is that?” I asked. “Gas,” said Mr Nerd and I snatched it. I would have grabbed anything you gave me at that point. The gas was weird but welcome; it didn’t diminish the physical pain but helped take the edge off. I heart gas.
Soon we were wheeled into the birthing suite. Mr Nerd helped me put on the gown. He was wonderful throughout it all. He was so calm and kind and cruisy, just like the midwives, which helped make me feel calmer. It sounds so corny but every time I felt a horrendous wave of pain I looked at Mr Nerd (to him it probably was more like a death stare) and it felt easier. I think this is half because I love my husband more than anything in the world; half because he looked so guilty and sorry for me I knew he would be spoiling me for weeks on end after this.
About 15 minutes after we were in the birthing suite, the midwives both ducked out of the room for a little bit and there was the worst contraction yet and then I wanted to yell. “I WANT an epidural babe can you please make them get me an epidural now PLEASE.” I felt like I was going to cry. Poor Mr Nerd looked so upset. He went to get me some water (laboring is thirsty work) and find a midwife. At this point the pressure near my lower back was unbelievable and I knew the baby was really close. Mr Nerd told me afterward he’d bumped into the first midwife outside and asked her if the epidural was coming and she said I was too close now. I was right. Mr Nerd wasn’t happy and the midwife picked up on it. “She won’t believe this now, but afterward she’ll be happy she couldn’t have the epidural,” the midwife told him. “Her recovery will be easier.”
Mr Nerd came back into the room. The other midwife was on my right hand side filling out paperwork. Mr Nerd stroked my hair and looked like he didn't want to tell me something. I know him well. "I'm not getting my epidural, am I?" I asked him sadly.
He looked upset. "Sorry babe, it's not possible.”
I knew it. Goddammit. I was not going to take this shitty pain any longer. “I'm going to push," I announced wildly.
"Just a minute, I haven't even got my gloves on yet," said the midwife mildly, flicking through papers.
"No, I need to push now," I said desperately and I started to push. She went and had a look and made a movement as if taken aback. "Okay I guess we're having a baby now!" she said with a chuckle and before I knew it she was calling for the other midwife to get back in the room, she was snapping on one glove, was struggling to get the other one on in time and she was telling Mr Nerd to hold my knee up and telling me to hang on a second. "Okay now stop pushing, stop pushing - don't push too much just yet, you don't want to tire yourself out too soon," the midwife warned me. But at this, the stubborn, defiant (stupid) part of me that always gets a bit cross when someone tells me not to do something flared up and I felt all, "I'm still fit as. I’ve got this" and I pushed him out entirely on the second push. I just wanted it done and over with.
Mr Nerd said afterward it was like some weird Scientology birth because I was totally quiet, the only indication that I was pushing being my scrunched up pug-like face (he makes a very unattractive impression of me when telling this story). And it sounds funny but it all felt like I had done it before. I was describing it to my sisters after. "And then when I knew I had to push him out, the room went all black," I said darkly, pausing for dramatic effect as my sisters listened, hushed. "I was aware of nothing but blackness, except for the presence of a tall, golden column near my head which I knew was Mr Nerd. Suddenly everything went absolutely quiet except for the feedback whistling of my hearing aid and it was all black... like being in a cave. Then all of a sudden, I was snapped back to the delivery room and I was blinking in the light."
Mr Nerd rolled his eyes. "There was no special ‘birthing light’ setting in the birthing suite. You just closed your eyes."
The actual ‘pushing him out’ part was for me not really as painful as I had imagined it would be, it was more just super-duper uncomfortable pressure rather than being painful. Contractions were worse. And getting stitches afterwards (I won’t go into that on here, but it was a horrendous experience) was worse than contractions + birth. My post-birth recovery was bad, though. Give me labour and birth again over two weeks of feeling rotten and half-dead any day! To be honest, pushing him out actually felt pretty amazing. And ***TMI alert*** when they pulled the placenta out - I know I sound a bit mentally ill, but that felt wonderful. I know for some people it is quite painful but to me it felt so great - like being cleansed. Immediately I felt so much lighter and I loved the feel of my squishy post-baby tummy! Bliss after months of feeling uncomfortable and stretched out!
Maybe going along with the quiet birth theme, Little Nerd didn’t cry or yell immediately after he was born and I remember fretting that something was wrong. Then they plunked him on my tummy. Mr Nerd said I looked down at the baby like I was completely surprised, then glared blackly at the poor midwife (I had NO idea I was doing that!) then looked back at Little Nerd, then glared at the midwife again. Little Nerd was wide-eyed and fine and his skin was satiny-soft and straightaway he started crawling his way up my chest. No time to waste. Leading up to the birth, it felt like everyone was telling me, “that moment they place that little baby on your chest for the first time, you’ll feel love like you never did before”. It seemed like almost everyone told me that was the best moment of their birth. And while that WAS a crazy cool moment, for me the best moment was seeing Mr Nerd hold Little Nerd for the first time. His face. That was my favourite moment for sure.
That amazing moment made up for the crappy first two weeks. I was not well after the birth. I had a couple of complications and after I got home I had to be readmitted to hospital. While I wouldn’t sugar coat it if you were to ask me about it in person, I don’t really feel like blathering on about it here, because it feels like doing so on here taints what was otherwise one of life’s euphoric moments. Little Nerd’s speedy delivery gave me a couple of complications, and it was really hard. It sounds a bit ridiculous but on some days I didn’t have the energy (or mental capacity!) to even read my text messages. I’ve never felt so awful. It was a really tough time, for me and for Mr Nerd. He worked so hard to make every step of it easy as possible for me though and so did my mum and family and friends who helped a lot with everything. All in all, although I think those two weeks were the hardest of my life, it wasn’t entirely a bad thing to go through. When you go through something rough it can make you realise how lucky you are to have wonderful support around you. And now Mr Nerd and I have a very sweet, lovely baby. As obnoxious as it sounds, I kinda feel like I deserve him ;) Pregnancy over and out! Maya x