From the moment I got pregnant and started checking the pregnancy forums the way most people check their Facebook pages, I have always read through the birth stories the new mommies posted.
Everyone’s story seemed to different from the others. Some woke to their water breaking, soaking the bed and letting them know the show was about to start. Other’s went into the hospital with bad contractions, their water not breaking on it’s own and needing to be broken by the doctor. There are the stories that make your jaw drop where things happen you didn’t think could. Like the sac that holds your water starts to fall out making you think the baby is coming out (not only can this happen but I saw a photo of the sac falling out), or people feeling really constipated and having their baby in the toilet.
If there is one thing I’ve learned reading through countless women’s stories, it’s that even after all this time, birthing babies is unpredictable. There are way too many variables. Our lifestyles, our bodies, our overall health and diets, genetics… so many things can factor into the way your baby comes into this world.
My pre-labour experience was a nightmare and ever single moment felt an hour-long. I was induced, experienced painful back labour, went into the whirlpool at the hospital in hopes of soothing some of my back pain (it did absolutely nothing). I was forced to wait longer than usual because of several different factors going on at my hospital. For one, they were short-staffed. Every time I turned around, one of the nurses was missing or being pulled out of the Labour Assessment Unit to assist somewhere else. All the nurses made a point of telling me something crazy was going on.
“It must be a full moon tonight!” Was a statement each and every nurse I came across seemed to make.
The Labour Assessment Unit was full, and it seemed like as soon as they managed to move someone along, two more women came in to take the last one’s place.
The Labour Suites were full! They were trying to move women from the assessment unit to the birthing suites when they could, but of the 12 birthing suites at my hospital, it seemed like they were overflowing with women giving birth.
Nurses were few and far between. When my water finally broke, I dilated pretty quickly.
From the moment I came into the hospital I was barely dilated. Contractions were close, about three minutes apart and building in intensity. Even after the Cervidil and the whirlpool, and several hours passing (I was induced at 12:30pm and went into the whirlpool at 10:00pm for two hours) I had only dilated to about three centimeters.
My water broke early in the morning on the 21st, at around 4:20am. From the time my water broke, to the time they put my IV in which was about 45 minutes later, I was almost fully dilated.
Now, I should mention that through all of this, I had horrible diarrhea. Being constantly hooked up to a doppler so they could monitor my daughter’s heart rate, while having to be unhooked because I was afraid I was going to crap all over the bed was more than a little annoying. Not to mention, after a few hours, when my contractions were at their worst, walking the short distance to the bathroom felt like walking a thousand miles.
Once in the birthing suite, they got the doctor in to explain to me the risks of the epidural right away. They asked me a bunch of questions, which to be honest, I didn’t hear. All I knew was I wanted it, and I wanted it about five hours ago. For those women who deliver naturally, my mother included… you are goddesses! I have no idea how you did it. I couldn’t do it again without an epidural if you held a gun to my head.
I went in knowing I wanted one. The amount of pain I was in before actual labour even started, I knew there was no way I would get through it.
At this point, I was absolutely exhausted. With the pain out of the way I started to drift in and out of sleep, only staying somewhat awake because the nurse kept asking me questions. She was trying to time it so that I wouldn’t start pushing until my contractions were really close because I wouldn’t be able to push for long. Because of my low fluids, my daughter’s heart rate kept dropping and they didn’t want to stress her out by having me push for too long.
I was told by the nurse that I would push for two hours and after that, they would assist me with a vacuum if they could, because any longer than that would put my baby at risk.
Those two hours flew by if I am being honest. With the epidural, I didn’t feel much and I can understand why people want to do it naturally. It was difficult for me to push from where I was supposed to. I understood what my nurse was telling me, I knew where she wanted me to push from, but my legs were numb and I wasn’t fully in control of my body so it was really hard to bear down and push her completely out.
My husband kept telling me she was close, he could see her, one more push, but my body began to give up. I was exhausted and so was my daughter. Closing in on the second hour, they went to get the doctor because her heart rate had dropped, baby was tired and I didn’t have the strength in me to push anymore.
Once the vacuum was in place, I did one big push and her head was out, second push and her shoulders were out and the third push brought my baby girl into the world!
I have to say, the epidural was my saving grace. I can understand why people want to do it naturally, as I’ve said before. Just being more aware of where you are pushing from and better able to control your pushes must really move things along. However, the amount of pain I was in from my back contractions would have rendered me useless to push. I couldn’t even breathe through them in the end and had just become this rolled up ball of sobs.
I had reservations about being assisted. My husband still has the scars on his head from the forceps as a baby, and his brother has a spot where hair doesn’t grow because of them as well. I was worried about what the tools that assist in labour would mean, how they would affect my baby. As much as they are there to help, there are always some risks.
My daughter had a little abrasion on the back of her head from the vacuum. It was bloodied at first but after her first bath at the hospital, her hair was completely clean form blood, the swelling had gone down, her head had rounded and the abrasion is barely noticeable. I have had them check each time we go to the doctors, just to be sure.
Baby came out and went right onto my chest. She was healthy and had a good set of pipes on her. She latched on right away, which surprised me. I had always thought you had to teach your baby to latch, it took practice and bonding time with your baby. My hungry little monster came out in search for food right away, latched on, and them pooped all over my stomach.
We were in our Birthing Suite for an hour after she arrived where they weighed her and did a few other tests before moving me to the recovery suite.
She was here! Everything leading up to the moment when they put her on my chest seemed to ebb away into the back of my brain, to this place where nothing mattered and all I could think about was her. How perfect she looked. How I was finally a mom!
It was surreal.
At 8:55am on September 21st, my daughter had arrived!