Since my last post almost two years ago a lot has changed. We have recently welcomed into the world a new little addition - Finlay Benjamin O'Connell. A beautiful boy born on June 30th at 5.20pm.
The journey of meeting Fin is a special one for me. Around this time last year I was told by my cardiologist that it was best to put off having a second child. I was experiencing a lot of trouble with the electrical rhythm of my heart. It was a scary and stressful time. I was hoping to try for a baby but instead I putting my name on a waiting list for an electrical study of my heart and popping calcium channel blockers to keep my beat regular.
There were many tears and prayers. Then after talking and praying with people I felt like this was the right time for a baby - despite what I was told. I just had this feeling.
Not long after, I did a few over the counter pregnancy tests which showed two negative and one faint positive. After a doctor's appointment we finally got the good news that I was pregnant at just 4-5 weeks!
I was excited to find out that we were going to have a baby but I also found it daunting. I had to come off my heart medication immediately and just hope and pray all would be okay. Thankfully, it was. Throughout the entire pregnancy I only experienced three short SVT episodes where my heart would beat around 180 bpm. This is a miracle considering I was having them at least once a week before I was pregnant.
This was nothing short of a miracle. Praise God. I still had a challenging time with an irregular heartbeat, but this was not dangerous on its own.
The last two weeks of pregnancy were the most challenging weeks of my life. I was desperately unwell with the Worst Cold Ever. My nose was so blocked that I struggled to swallow and eat. Luke was busy and stressed trying to finish our house renovations. I was meeting every second day with different trades people at the house and trying to make decisions on colours and styles of everything. On top of all of this Isabella decided to give up her day sleep. Aughhhh!
Then the day after my cold eased, I began experiencing pre-labour contractions for three days. Day one was like period pain every 20 mins which increased in the night. I got excited and decided to walk around the house at 1am, hoping to bring on labour. The next day, my due date, it became worse again with the pain increasing and coming every 10 to 15 minutes. I could not rest. I was sleeping in between contractions but never entering a deep sleep. That night you could find me on the floor, on all fours, scrubbing the kitchen floor and walking up and down the hallway for hours. Bad idea.
The next day, with still no sign of labour coming on, I was physically and emotionally spent. All day the contractions which were around seven to 15 minutes apart. I called the hospital and the midwife said that my contractions needed to consistently be five minutes apart and not ease when I rested. I sat down to rest and they eased to around ten minutes apart. Not a good sign.
I was desperate to know how far along I was so we decided to head to the hospital that night. After a long wait and a check I was told I was not dilated at all. The midwife that saw me was lovely. She was very understanding and gave me some good advice: "When you are in estbalished labour, you will know. It will be different to this. You will just feel it."
I took hope that I would have that feeling soon. The baby can't wait forever! I went home after having a couple of Panadol Forte (heaven for four hours) and had a couple of hours sleep. I woke again in the early hours of the morning in more pain. The contractions were now at the point where I had to breathe through them. In the afternoon I ended up in the bath moaning through the pain and yelling out for Luke to come and massage my back.
This was it! It felt different. This time I knew I was in labour. The 20 minute car trip to the hospital was painful but manageable. Finally at the hospital I was ushered into a delivery suite right away. They monitored the baby's heartbeat and my contractions. Then I was told some bad news.
"Your contractions are too erratic and not strong enough so it's looks as through you're not in established labour yet," the midwife told me.
My heart sunk. "You've got to be kidding," I thought. The midwife left to see someone else and another midwife came in. I asked for an examination to check if anything had changed from the previous night. She was hesitant but finally agreed and told me with full certainty that I wasn't going to be in labour. Thirty seconds later she looked up at me and said, "You're going to be very happy."
"What?" I asked eagerly.
"You are in labour. You are four centimetres dilated," she said, with a huge smile on her face.
I beamed back and exclaimed, "Praise God!"
After three nights of barely any sleep the end was in sight. It was around 12.30pm and the next five hours went by so quickly.At around 5pm I began to feel a lot of pressure. My mucus plug came away and soon my waters broke. I couldn't believe the mess I was making! I then began to feel quite a lot of pressure. No position was comfortable. Everything was unbearable and I started to feel like I couldn't cope any more.
Much to my relief my obstetrician had just walked in, checked me and said I would be ready to push any minute. I felt suddenly nervous and was shaking in between contractions. My face felt like it was burning and my throat felt parched. Transition - so this is what it felt like! With my birth of Isabella I never felt any of this as I had an epidural.
I then felt the most incredible sensation to the push! It reminded me of the same involuntary feeling you have in your stomach muscles when you vomit - your body just takes over and you have to roll with it. As my muscles pushed down I couldn't help but let out a huge roaring sound. It felt so instinctual. In between my lioness roars, I yelled out for Luke to bring me water and at one point I screamed, "I am so hungry!" I felt like I had this rolling surge of power erupting throughout my body that was overtaking me and using all of my resources.
I was up on the bed kneeling and gripping the cold, steel bed rail during each contraction. I then felt the baby's head begin to emerge. There was a stretching and tingling sensation. It wasn't as painful as I had imagined. Perhaps it was because this pain had a purpose and soon I would be holding my little loved one. They quickly monitored the heart rate and found that bub's heart rate had dropped. He had to come out fast. It was either me or the vacuum. I pushed and my body did the rest. I then felt his little body slide out like slippery jelly.
"It's a boy!" Luke said with excitement. I turned around and saw this little person, eyes wide and little lungs sucking in and out as he cried loudly. My boy, Finlay Benjamin O'Connell.
The cord was cut and he was placed on my chest and into my arms. He was so beautiful. I whispered into his ear and sang softly to him, trying to settle his piercing cries. I felt an incredible sense of love for him. He seemed like he was in shock after his dark and cramped journey down the birth canal. He must have been thinking, "Where am I and what just happened?"
Around half an hour later he calmed down and was settled enough to feed. He then feel into a deep sleep and didn't wake to feed until seven hours later! However, I was awake most of the night going over the entire journey in my head. I felt unbelievably blessed to have this little man in our lives. I had worried that it may not have been possible at that time in my life but I know God made it possible. Finlay, meaning 'fair-haired warrior', was right where he belonged.
Psalm 139, verses 13 - 16
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
We are so happy you've joined our family
Cuddles with mummy
Back at home all rugged up
Tummy time at 5 weeks old
You love to smile
Your sister Issy loves to cuddle and crush you