Disclaimer: This post may be TMI for the squeamish.
Tomorrow O turns 11 months, which of course has me thinking about her birthday, which of course has me thinking back to almost one year ago when I delivered her. I feel like most women are terrified of labour, including myself, and I wanted to share my story, because guess what…it’s not that bad. As a preggo, you hear so many horror stories. “OMG I was in labour for 34 hours, and when I wasn’t dilating further, I had to go in for an emergency C section!” It’s all too common. So here’s a nice story that’ll perhaps help my two or three preggo friends to chill out a bit.
On July 25th, 2012, at 38.5 weeks pregnant, my water broke. O was kicking the shit outta me all evening, and I literally thought she was going to bust out right there and then. Homegirl wanted out. So it wasn’t much of a surprise that after several sleepless hours in bed, I went to go pee around 1 am, and whoooooooooooosh, floodgates central up in this bitch. We’re talking towels e’rywhere. I was pretty grateful I had gotten out of bed when it happened, because yeah, we have an expensive mattress. It didn’t hurt, nor did I get contractions immediately after it happened. I felt a little crampy, but I was fine, other than a constant trickle down my leg.
My bags were packed, and hubby and I hopped into the car to go to the hospital. When I got there, the doctor on call told me my cervix was closed, I wasn’t dilated, and I could either walk around and try to jump start labour, or go home and “sleep.” So I walked around. For two loooooong hours. And nothing happened. We went home around 4 am, and were told to come back in the morning. I lay in bed wide awake, scared, and draped with more towels. I got up around 8 am, had some toast, and prepared to go back to the hospital. At this point, the contractions were still pretty mild and infrequent. We go back, and the new doctor on call checks me, and says that I’m still not dilated, but the other doctor shouldn’t have sent me home, and that I’ll be induced right away. Apparently it’s not good to have your waters broken for longer than 24 hours, because it can pose a risk of infection for the baby or something to that extent. Around 12 pm that day, I’m induced AND my labour started on its own, so of course things are progressing full steam ahead. The contractions get intense…fast. I want the juice, but I wait too damn long to ask for it. It turns out there’s someone ahead of me, and the anesthesiologist is busy elsewhere. Looks like I’m going to have to tough it out for a while.
It’s funny, because everyone tells you to ask for the epidural as soon as your labour starts. I should have listened. And in prenatal class, you learn about techniques for coping with the pain, like sitting on the ball, bending over, swaying on your husband, etc., but I was strapped to monitoring equipment and an IV with Pitocin, so none of that was an option for me. I laboured for maybe 3 hours (?) in the bed, and yes it hurt, but it was only 3 hours. Frankly, I found the epidural needle to hurt more than the actual labour. But when I finally got that juice in me, holy hell was it good. By the time I got the epidural, I was probably close to 10 cm dilated, and started to push. I was reaaaaaaaally bad at pushing at first, and it took me a while to get the hang of it. It’s honestly the sweatiest workout I’ve ever endured. But again, it was short and sweet, and less than an hour later, O was born. There were no complications. No cords wrapped around her, no heart rate drop…nothing. It was tough work, but other than a quick snip and sew (which I didn’t feel thanks to the epidural), it all went down quickly and uneventfully.
Bottom line? I’d do it again in a heartbeat. I know everyone has a different labour story and that my next one could be a lot tougher, but us women are strong and we’re built for it. You have a higher threshold for the pain than you think, and when it’s over, the most meaningful thing in your life has come to fruition, and it makes it all worthwhile. You forget about the pain almost immediately (I can’t recall what the contractions felt like if my life depended on it), and you feel ready to do it all over again when you want a second.
Pregnancy however..that’s an entirely different story.