Artwork – Ron Mueck ‘Baby’
There are always people willing to share the terrible, horrendous, awful experiences their friend/family member/person they knew had when giving birth.
A recent Norwegian study found the level of fear regarding childbirth was directly related to the length of time the expectant woman spent in labour. (Study published June 27 2012 in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology). The higher the anxiety an expectant woman had about giving birth, the longer the duration of her labour.
Birth is the most special event I have ever experienced – it is magical and miraculous. After the lead up from the happiest time of my life – pregnancy, the birth was the pinnacle of excitement and joy. Therefore – if you would like to hear about my personal, positive experience to counteract the ‘horror’ stories you may have heard – please read on (just an alert – this may be too much information for some people):
On Thursday morning I was so excited – I had finally lost my mucus plug. Who would have thought this would bring me such joy. Labour was now certainly imminent. However – there was still no sign of labour until Saturday night. I experienced contractions for the first time. Unlike anything I had felt before – so I assumed it was contractions. But the next thing I knew – I had fallen asleep and woken up in the morning. So the three hours of contractions had not actually been labour.
Tuesday – my due date – came around and I had an appointment with the obstetrician. We decided that because I was feeling well – and everything looked alright, we would leave it another week, as my preference was to do everything as naturally as possible. Home I came and went to bed that night – thinking I had to wait yet another week. I woke up at 12:45am in the night to urinate – one of the constant joys of being pregnant. I realised that I was feeling something like the contractions I had experienced on Saturday again. ‘It is probably just false labour again like last time’ – I thought. I went to bed but lay awake – still experiencing the contractions and thinking – ‘They’ll stop soon – just like on Saturday’. But I couldn’t take the discomfort any longer, and try as might, I certainly wasn’t getting back to sleep, so at about 1:45am I decided – ‘what the hell, I’ll get up and have a bath’. I also decided to take a pen and paper in and write down how far apart the contractions were coming – so I could figure out if they were lasting longer or getting closer together and then I could potentially determine whether I might actually be in labour or not. The bath was nice but I was groaning with the intensity of the contractions. They seemed to be sporadic and the timing was all over the place – one would be five minutes from another – then three minutes – then six minutes – so at this stage – I still thought it was false labour – as they were not really getting closer together. They were also lasting for as long as each other – not getting longer each time. So I was just waiting for them to go away.
At 2:45am – I thought ‘hmmm. These are pretty intense – I might just call the hospital and talk to someone there’. I woke up my husband at this stage and asked him to dial the number. The midwife asked a few questions and I experienced a couple of contractions while I was on the phone to her. She suggested I come to the hospital immediately – as soon as possible. So I got off the phone – we grabbed my pre-packed bag and off we went (me thinking that it was a waste of their time – and they would just send me home when we got there). I had a few contractions in the car on the way to the hospital (which is 10 minutes away from our house) – and a few while we were walking up to the ward from the carpark. By the time we arrived at the ward it was 3:30am. They checked me over and said I was 6cm dilated. They hooked me up to the monitor for the first 20 minutes and then got me into the shower. My husband sat on a chair in the shower with me and held the shower head, spraying water over my back while I kneeled on the floor and leant over a fitball. It was great for making me feel less discomfort during the contractions. I was actually really warm during the labour, while everyone else was freezing.
The midwife made me get out of the shower to check my dilation again after about an hour and a half – I was 10cm (fully) dilated. She called the obstetrician so he could make it to the hospital in time to deliver. At this stage – I thought I must actually be in labour and I hoped that they weren’t wasting the obstetrician’s time by calling him to come in from home. I was now being monitored again – as the baby’s heart rate was dropping during each contraction. So I couldn’t go back into the shower. They told me I had to start pushing – as the baby was distressed. I didn’t really feel the urge to push – but I did as I was told. I had started to feel the urge to push when I was in the shower – but had lost it now. I was moving around all over the bed trying to be more comfortable during the contractions – leaning up over the back of the bed, squatting on top of the bed – all kinds of positions, but I just couldn’t get comfortable and the intensity had increased. I kept thinking ‘Why won’t the baby just come out. What’s taking him so long.’ I ended up getting off the bed and squatting on the floor, and eventually down on my hands and knees as I delivered. My waters broke and his head finally came out and he was all the way out by 7:29am – naturally, no drugs, no assistance and no stitches (4 hours after arriving at the hospital).
We left the cord attached and unclamped while they passed him to me to hold. I got back up on the bed and put him directly on my chest – skin to skin. Before we knew it, he was attached to my breast while calmly staring up at me. My husband cut the cord while we took it all in. I was still in disbelief that it was actually labour. It was all so special and we were just thrilled and incredibly happy. We called all our parents to let them know I had been in labour and delivered successfully. They cried with joy and relief that it had all gone well – and made their way to the hospital.