You know how people say you forget how painful labour and childbirth is?
I never believed that would be possible until it happened to me. Yup that’s right I was in labour for forty four hours, 12 of which were pretty intense, but if I were given the choice I would do it again in a heartbeat. I suppose it must be because in those hours were I had no control over anything other than breathing through contractions I realised for the first time how strong and amazing my body really is.
To be honest before I actually went into labour I was convinced that I wouldn’t be able to do it. So when I started feeling the first couple of contractions on the Sunday night before Papaya was born I was both excited and scared. Coincidentally I had an appointment to see our midwife the next morning and after she hooked me up to the machines she confirmed that I was indeed in labour. She told us that I was in the very early stages but that we could expect to hold our little girl within the next 24 hours.We rushed home and I frantically finished packing my hospital bag which I had been procrastinating for months before the big moment. My husband emptied out our entire bookcase trying to find our marriage certificate, which wasn’t even in there in the first place. I think stressed wouldn’t even begin to describe how we felt at that point. After we felt sufficiently prepared we sat down and started watching a marathon of The Office to distract ourselves. My contractions were about 7 minutes apart, lasted for around 30 seconds and just felt like intense period cramps. I remember telling my husband that if this was what my whole labour was going to be like it was super easy. Oh how wrong I was...
Now we were starting to get excited but we forced ourselves to get some sleep. Three hours later I woke up in intense pain I couldn’t lie still and I turned over on my hands and knees and worked through first of many intense contractions. I spent the next couple of hours going between standing on my hands and knees during contractions and trying to get some more sleep. Finally at around 6am I couldn’t take it anymore and I woke Bennie up so he could give me a hug (I was feeling quite sorry for myself by that point). My amazing husband then got up made me some oats and ran a very hot bath for me.
After trying my best to eat I spent the next couple of hours walking or sitting in a hot bath. By this point Bennie had taken over timing contractions and keeping our midwife up to date. At around one in the afternoon I was so tired I could hardly keep my eyes open and our midwife suggested we make our way to the birthing clinic. We got in the car, met up with my mom and after the longest car ride of my life we finally made it to the clinic.
Once we got settled in our birthing suite my midwife did an exam (I was 6cm dilated) we all decided it would be better if she broke my waters in the hopes that it would speed things up. At that point I was in so much pain during contractions all I wanted was to get into the birthing pool, never mind the fact that during my pregnancy I had been staunchly against a water birth. Once I did get in to the pool things got more intense very quickly. I wanted pain relief but after having used the gas through two or three contractions it made me so nauseous I actually vomited and I wouldn’t touch it for the rest of my labour.
The next hour or two are still a bit blurry to me so bear with me. I vaguely remember crying during contractions and saying I couldn’t do it anymore. My midwife then called the doula who was on duty to give me a pep talk. I remember them saying that the baby was in a posterior position (her spine against mine) which was why the labour was so long and painful. They wanted me to eat something and I just kept telling them that I was still nauseous from the gas and I needed to push.
Seeing as my midwife was convinced the baby was posterior I think she was just humouring me when she did another exam, I heard her say we’re having a baby and then things got a little bit hectic around me. I was still just working through my contractions when I heard our midwife ask where my husband was, I heard afterwards that he was so panicked when he heard the baby was coming he ran to our car to grab the baby bag. Luckily he did make it back in time for the big moment!
Now for the next part I am going to rely heavily on my midwife’s as I don’t remember that much. I had started pushing spontaneously at 15:42. By that time my husband had stopped freaking out and was back to his spot behind me telling me I could do it. After a couple of very big pushes I had delivered her head by 16:10 and her official time of birth is 16:11.
As they handed her to me I felt this huge sense of relief and accomplishment. I was also ridiculously excited that she had a full head of hair as that was the one thing I really wished for during my pregnancy. The first thing my husband said to me about our little girl was that she has my ears, funny man. We had a couple minutes of skin to skin while her daddy cut her cord and then it was his turn to hold his little girl for the first time.
And so our biggest adventure began!!
I would love to hear about your birthing experiences and also if you enjoyed this post. Please feel free to share!