*FYI – THIS POST IS ABOUT MY EXPERIENCES DURING LABOR & DELIVERY OF MY FIRST BABY.
November 21, 2016
At 7:40 pm I woke up from a short nap with back pain. I got out of bed and made my way to the bathroom. I pulled the shower curtain outside of the tub, closed the drain and turned on the hot water. I got in the tub slowly as it was filling. Bubbles formed foamy clouds as I felt the pain in my back and tightness in my belly come and go. They lasted about 45 seconds but within the hour the time between them varied from 2 minutes to 20 minutes. I relaxed in the water until I felt I had enough. I pulled myself out of the warm soapy water and wrapped a towel around my round pregnant belly.
Y was still sleeping. I went to the kitchen and made myself something hot to drink. In the living room I turned on the tv and sat on my rubbery blue exercise ball. Bouncing and rotating my hips made me feel more comfortable and lessened the pain in my back when it came.
Around 10:00 I asked Y if he would take me to a nearby park to walk, as around the apartment had felt better than sitting. We walked for about 45 minutes or so. I was still having the contractions. During that hour they were from 20 seconds to a minute long and happened anywhere between 2 1/2 minutes to 14 minutes. On the way back to the apartment Y stopped to get me a vanilla milkshake from Baskin Robins.
Back at our place I made a thermos of coffee and tea with a tray of snacks for Y and his friend to enjoy as they spent some time chatting in the majlis. I went back to the living room watching Netflix and alternating between the exercise ball and the sofa.
November 21, 2016
I was laying down on the sofa around 1:15 am on the 22nd when I felt a strange sensation. It was almost like a pop. Strong pains in my back and a tightness in my belly followed. Something urged me to go to the bathroom and I found that I had bled a bit. At that point it wasn’t the pain that made me nervous, but the blood that I saw.
I went to the bedroom and changed from my leggings and top to a loose jersey knit dress. I called Y from the other room and told him that I was bleeding a bit and that I wanted to go to the hospital. I told him I thought they would probably just check me and send me home.
I started to have much stronger pains in my back that made me want to stop walking mid step. However, I still felt very much in control. I asked Y to grab the bag I had prepared for the hospital. I then followed him out the door to the car. I was anticipating a contraction and it finally hit as I reached the door. I paused, bracing the car until the pain stopped. I climbed into the car and we began the short journey to the hospital. I felt each bump and waited for another contraction to hit. Since my strange sensation they were 30 seconds to a minute long and coming every 3-4 minutes.
At about 1:50 am we reached the hospital and found a parking spot not too far from the emergency room entrance. We entered and followed the signs for the OBGYN triage. Y suggested a wheelchair but I was still fine walking between the contractions. One came as I was walking down the hall just before the doors to the OB section. I braced the wall and waited for the pain to stop. Once it did we entered the doors and told the nurse that I was having pain, contractions and that there had been a little blood. She brought me to a room and asked me to undress and put a hospital gown on. Y was sent to fill out paperwork for the insurance. The nurse had me lay down on the bed and she strapped monitors to my belly.
This is when the contractions started coming hard. Now that I was horizontal the pain was double what it had been when I was upright and walking. A doctor entered and examined my cervix stating that I was about 4 cm dialated and in labor. They would admit me, so Y had to go get more paperwork.
I remember those moments of being in that small room alone dealing with the extreme pain that was slowly breaking my back. I was vocal with my pain, breathing and groaning. When Y returned I called for him to come hold my hand and I remember saying to him, “I don’t know how I’m going to do this without medicine.” One moment later I was begging for them to give me something as I felt I would throw up, and I did.
Sometime soon after they wheeled me out of triage, to the elevator and up to the labor and delivery ward. They transferred me to another bed and strapped me up to the monitors again. I labored, trying my best to deal with the back pain, but told Y that I couldn’t do it and that I wanted an epidural. The nurses told him the doctor would come to check and then we could order the anesthesia.
A doctor entered the room and without patience to wait between contractions examined me. She said that I was 7 cm dialated. The nurse told Y that I wouldn’t be able to have the epidural as I was too far along and progressing quickly. She looked at me and said it won’t do any good now. I felt myself cringe, but deep down I was happy at the push to have the natural birth that I had dreamed of.
From that point on I was on my left side. At some point an extreme urge to push arrived. I felt like I couldn’t stop it. The doctor returned to examine me and as she was I got a contraction. I don’t know if it was the contraction that broke my water or if the doctor did it without informing me, but I felt a sudden gush of fluid excape me. The doctor told me that I was 9 cm dialated, but that the baby was not low enough yet. For some reason she told me that I could start pushing. I felt like I had started long before that despite my efforts not to give in.
A nurse sat at the end of the hospital bed as I pushed through each contraction. My husband kept asking them when my doctor would arrive. Apparently she was on her way. I was desperately awaiting her arrival.
At some point she entered the room. She greeted me and then I heard her seem annoyed that the other doctor had allowed me to start pushing. She examined me and told me that I was fully dialated, but that the baby was still not low enough. She asked me to turn to my left side and to try not to push. I remembered gasping out, “how can I not push!?”
Earlier they had tried to get me to use gas and air, which I tried and did not like. It just made me feel as if I couldn’t breathe. After that I refused it.
Two contractions went by. I strained as I tried not to allow my body to push. It was so difficult and I think the doctor noticed me struggling, so she had be turn over. She told me that I could use the handles at either side of the bed to hold onto and that I should tuck my chin the my chest when I push. Two nurses lifted my legs up onto braces and from then on I pushed as hard and long as I could through each contraction. If I’m honest, I found pushing to be such a relief. It felt like I was accomplishing something and took my mind off the pain.
My husband, the doctor and the nurses reassured me after each push. At some point I think the doctor used general anastethic *down there* (I’m assuming she expected that I might tear). I remember a very strong burning feeling as baby’s head was crowning. I also remember the relief once her head was out. I think it was them then that the doctor asked me not to push. There was a moment when the nurse also pushed down on my belly. The last moments before she was born were a blur. At 4:50 am she was out and I was looking at this beautiful little being that had grown 37 weeks inside of me.
It’s impossible to describe that feeling. I was so happy. After a few minutes of staring at our baby and delaying cutting the cord the doctor cut that physical and direct connection between me and the baby. They let her stay with me a few moments and then took her nearby for a check.
I delivered the placenta and asked the doctor if I could have a look. The nurse brought it to show me. After that the doctor tended to my small tear with a few stitches. She also pressed hard on my belly to check that everything was alright after the delivery. My sweet doctor gave me a hug, congratulated me and went on her way.
Our sweet baby was returned to me. I held her and attempted to nurse her. She looked at me and that was it, my heart was hers.