The Labour Experience
It was the heart of the weekend and I was doing what any 9 month pregnant woman would be doing on a Saturday night for a good time, eating snacks and getting into bed. At this stage I was almost 41 weeks pregnant, in the previous few weeks I had been advised that I would need to be induced, to which we refused because I knew she was fine and wanted her to come on her own accord. I was happy letting her pick her own time, but for any expectant Mum….every day over the 40 week mark feels 10x as long and anticipation levels are off the chart! Throughout the previous week I’d been having sporadic Braxton Hicks contractions that never eventuated to anything – so when I got into bed that night (after building my pregnant pillow fort for comfort) I didn’t really think anything of the crampy pain that came and went. Except this time it came and went, and then came and went again….and again. ‘Hmm, is this it?’ I thought. I hadn’t had a show, nor had my waters broken – it certainly wasn’t like it is in the movies where it’s all dramatic and a mad dash for the hospital :P I woke my partner up and said ‘I think I’m having contractions?’, I continued to time them for a while and they were indeed coming at regular intervals (about 8-14 minutes apart). I was sooooo excited that this show was finally on the road, I seriously thought in my head that she would be here throughout the night/early hours Sunday morning…..lol nope. Also, my plan was to have a nice natural drug free water birth at the birth center….also nope. Here is a simplified version of what went down over the next 36 hours:
9pm Saturday – 9am Sunday
Contractions hurt but were not too unbearable, they stayed pretty consistent throughout this time anywhere from 5-8 minutes apart. 9am I had a visit from my midwife who suggested a membrane sweep but I wanted to wait for a bit longer to see how things progressed. We decided to meet at the birth centre at 3pm.
Went to the birth centre, things weren’t really progressing at this point (contractions still 5-8 mins apart) so I had the membrane sweep and my midwife told me to go home. I walked to the carpark and BAM! Contractions got WAY more intense and closer together, we told her I wasn’t going anywhere – get me a room!
3pm – 10pm Sunday
Throughout this time I used the gas which helped a bit but not hugely, was good that it distracted me though – and I jumped in the bath which definitely helped feel more bearable. Now, I have a really high pain tolerance, but by 10pm and with being in labour for just over 24 hours by this point, the gas and bath just wasn’t cutting it. I opted for the Pethidine which I was under the impression that it helped with the pain, it did not. Omfg.
Pethidine wore off (thankfully, cause it was shit), and midwife did another examination. At this point I felt like I couldn’t do it anymore cause I was in so much pain – we were told at our antenatal classes that when we get to the point where we ‘just can’t do it anymore’, is when baby is almost here. My midwife did an examination and I was only 2cms dilated. WHAT THE ACTUAL FARK. I could not believe it.
I was pretty stubborn with staying put for as long as I did at the birth centre but when I heard that I was 2cms I made the decision to make a move. I was taken to hospital and given an epidural, best decision EVER.
12.30am – 9.30am Monday
At this point I thought an epidural was the greatest thing since sliced bread. It was super weird not being able to feel my lower body, and I was disappointed that I wasn’t able to do it without an epidural, but I also know I seriously couldn’t have gone any longer without it and it helped me get some rest. The doctors came in during the night and broke my waters (as that had still not happened), and said they would let things progress through the night and check again in the morning.
I was pretty nervous about seeing the doctors in the morning after the last disappointment of being told that I was 2cms dilated (when it felt like I was friggen 200cms dilated). I was worried that I would have to have a C-section or if I was still able to give birth naturally that they would need to use forceps or ventouse. The doctors came and I was expecting them to say I was 3cms dilated to which I would have had an A-grade meltdown, but to my absolute delight…the news was good. Their reply…. ‘You’re fully dilated! Baby is right there, 3 pushes and she’ll be out!’. I can’t tell you how excited I was that very soon we would meet our daughter :D
20 minutes later….Miss Poppy arrives ♥ Absolute hands down best day of my life
Here are some questions that I wrote myself the week before I gave birth to answer after delivery:
Is it going to be a big rush once I go into labour?
Am I sorted with everything I have packed in my labour bag?
I was very sorted and didn’t forget anything, I think my priority was the baby clothes, and snacks. :P
I’m wanting the music/smells/lighting etc things all nice, will I actually notice it when I’m in labour?
Before I went into labour I thought the idea of having a really nice setting would be a lovely idea for giving birth in, but I also wondered if I would actually notice any of those things when I was having full on contractions! And actually, I did notice, and it did help a lot! The music distracted me, the diffuser smells calmed me and the low lighting was soothing. So advice is definitely use those things to your advantage!
I don’t want an epidural or any other interventions, will I cope?
Like I said above I was disappointed that I had to have an epidural but I also know that I absolutely was at my limit. Before I went into labour I had my ‘ideal’ birth in mind but I was also very aware and accepting that the experience may unfold differently to what I’d imagined, and was open to other options if need be! My partner/family were amazing with their support and the hospital staff were awesome with keeping me informed and being respectful of what I wanted. What I didn’t cope with was the fact that I couldn’t eat snacks after having the epidural. ;P
Will I feel sick from the gas?
I didn’t feel sick from the gas but it was more I couldn’t get the hang of taking really deep breaths. When I wasn’t spitting it out and saying ‘ow ow ow ow ow!’ I was apparently chewing on it through contractions with my partner having to ask for another mouth piece because I had bit it so hard :P Oops
How bad is the pain realllllly??
To be honest the pain hurt but it was bearable, it was just that then LENGTH of time I was in pain that made it bad.
I had an amazing partner and support team with me though who’s help was incredible and made all the difference.
If it’s a long labour, will it feel really long?
I was told that possible reasons for it not progressing faster was because she was a small baby (6lb 6oz) and was not pressing down on my cervix to help it dilate. She had also done a 180 turn around in my belly during labour too – she didn’t move positions my whole 3rd trimester but last minute she decides she’s changing spots lol.
Is it going to be super shame doing No.2’s during labour?
When Poppy was born and they placed her on me, after some cuddles I saw some stuff that resembled the No.2 kind. *Yup, I shat myself* I thought in my head. Turns out I didn’t even! It was Poppy who pooed over both of us :P
Even if I had though, I would not have cared in the slightest because you literally have no shame whatsoever after going through the birth process.
How will I feel when I hold her for the first time?
The most amazing feeling in the world, I cried happy tears for sure
Will I get the hang of breastfeeding?
I was really lucky that this all just fell into place really easily with no problems at all. She popped out, had a cuddle then was ready for a snack :P and has been feeding like a trooper ever since.
How will my body feel afterwards?
It was bizarre feeling my tummy and it being squishy with no Poppy in there! It was quite a weird feeling because obviously I was super happy that we had our daughter with us, but I really loved pregnancy and this was the end of my tummy being her home! I was a bit sore, slow walking, and tired but honestly I was just in awe of my body being able to grow and push a baby out of it! And on top of that then make milkshakes! :P
How does it feel to finally be a Mum?
I feel like the luckiest person ever to have Poppy and be her Mum ♥ I couldn’t ask for a better family squad