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Birth Stories - First Baby Birth Stories
Wednesday, 17 November 2010 21:34

I had a wonderful, healthy, uneventful pregnancy.  I was able to exercise and was physically active right up until the day I delivered.  The only downsides were:  1) the 24/7 nausea for a few weeks in the first trimester, and 2) very swollen feet right at the end.  I was due July 24, but that date came and went without anything happening.  I had left work two weeks prior to finish up things at home and to rest up.  In that time, I had not experienced any Braxton Hicks whatsoever.  I kept wondering what the contractions would feel like.  I didn't dwell on the fact that it would hurt; I wasn't about to psych myself out.

I woke up on July 28 and felt different.  No cramping or pressure, but like my whole center of balance was completely off.  In retrospect, I should have realized that the baby had dropped - I was carrying her so high that when she finally decided to drop, she really threw me for a loop!  I shrugged it off and ended up working outside in the garden for hours. The rest of the day was uneventful and my husband and I went to bed as usual.

I woke up at 2:18am to use the bathroom and distinctly remember feeling cramping.  I thought nothing of it (I was still half asleep!) so I went right back to bed.  I awoke at 3:18am to a strong cramp lower in my pelvis.  Then it dawned on me: "I'm having a contraction!"  I sat still, feeling it, examining how it felt, if the discomfort traveled to another area (i.e. my back) and just breathed.  It didn't hurt, it was like a bad menstrual cramp.  I kept an eye on the clock too.  I didn't want to wake my husband if this was false labour or if there was lots of time between contractions.  About one hour later, my husband woke up and saw me sitting up in bed.  He asked me if I was all right and I told him "I think I'm in labour."  He sat up with me, asked me how I was feeling (still really good) and asked if he could do anything for me.  I told him I was fine and just feeling my way through this.  He could see I was being honest, so he went to use the bathroom, washed up and got dressed.  In that period of time (oh say a grand total of 10 minutes) my contractions decided to speed up and intensify.  I could still manage things very well, but I found I could no longer talk during a contraction as I had been doing before.  I had to stop, sometimes close my eyes and focus.  After it ended, I was fine.  My husband sat down next to me and pulled out the iPod (his watch battery had died) and started timing the contractions: they were four minutes apart, then sped up to two and three minutes a half hour later.  At that point I remember him telling me that he thought it was a good time to get to the hospital (a 30-minute drive into town).  I said, "There's no hurry, I'm still feeling really good."  His grinning reply was "You're contractions are three minutes apart - I think it's time to go!"  I agreed and went to stand up, then had to run to the bathroom to vomit.  That's when it really started to hit me.  'This was really happening!'  We quickly called each of our parents to let them know, and by 6am we headed out.

The car ride was not as bad as I thought it would be.  At home, I had the ability to move around, so being strapped into a seat was not the greatest but it was all right.  Breathing helped and staying calm and relaxed was the best thing I found I could do.  We got the hospital at 6:30am and registered.  My husband had to fill in the forms because the contractions would not let me write.  We were told to head up to the maternity ward.  I was weighed, my belly measured and my blood pressure taken.  Then I was asked to stay in the observation room to so the nurses could make sure I was in active labour - all routine stuff.  They strapped on a fetal heart monitor and then one of the nurses checked me to see how far I was dilated: 5-6cm!  Woohoo!  Well, my happiness ended when I suddenly felt extremely nauseous and beckoned for the bucket.  After vomiting a second time, I felt much better.  We laboured in the observation room for another 10 or 15 minutes (20 minutes is required).  I was then admitted to Labour and Delivery Room 1.  They asked if I needed a wheelchair, even though it was only 20 feet down the hallway.  I declined - I still wanted to be as active as I could!  As I got settled in, they called my Doctor.  He arrived about twenty minutes later.  By that time, I was in my labour clothes (tank top!) and had another fetal heart monitor strapped on.  My Doctor examined me and asked if I wanted the membranes ruptured.  He told me that if I did, labour would most likely progress quicker.  I thought about it, and decided yest.  It took a few good, hard tugs, but after the water sac was broken, labour did speed up, but was still quite manageable as long as I continued to focus on breathing through the contractions and relaxing in between.  After the Doctor left, I asked one of the nurses if I could go in the shower to labour.  She said I could, but because I had my water broken, they needed to monitor that baby's heartbeat for about a half-hour to make sure she wasn't in distress.  So, my husband and I settled into a routine.  He would rub my back, or my stomach on my request, or just hold my hand, helping me breath through each contraction, congratulating me when it was over and keeping my spirits high.  He would sit at my side, or stand on front of my when I sat on the bed.  He was amazing!  The only time the nurse came back in was to check the monitor and then to allow us to go into the shower - she could clearly see that we had things under control.

The shower was so nice!  The shower head was on an extendable line so my husband could move it to my back or to my stomach.  I asked him to keep it on my lower pelvic area, as that was where the cramping was become more and more intense.  We weren't in there long, maybe 35 or 40 minutes, when I began to feel a lot of pressure.  I asked him to please get a nurse because I wanted her to check me.  After I got out of the shower and changed into a hospital gown (my tank top got soaked in the shower), a nurse came in and checked me - 9.5cm!  Holy cow!  She quickly informed us that her shift was over, but introduced the nurse who would be with us.  Right after that, I had an extremely intense contraction.  It literally took my breath away, along with all my focus and good thoughts.  The nurse stopped and asked my husband if we we all right and he said "I think we're okay."  She must have been peeking around the curtain to keep an eye on us because she came back a few minutes later and asked if I wanted to use the laughing gas (as per my birth plan).  I looked over at her (during my 50-or-so seconds of relief) and said "I totally forgot about that!  Yes, please, I'd like to try!"

Nitrous Oxide is not a pain reliever at all - it just makes you not care about the pain, or the situation you are in, and it has no effect on the baby.  That's why I chose it as my preferred form of pain relief.  The nurse placed the mask in my hand and told me to hold it over my mouth and take deep breaths when I could feel a contraction coming.  When my body had enough, my hand fell away.  Simple.  After four more powerful contractions, I was told I could start pushing.

I should mention I did not have the urge to push. At all.  Also, I was not informed that pushing would hurt!  I mean, other than being on my back for this (my choice) and that the contractions really were uncomfortable in this position, but when I was pushing, it really moved her down!  Again, the pain was intense but manageable - there was no kicking or screaming, but I did groan from time to time.  Instead of holding my knees up, they had a stainless steel bar that I could place my feet on at the end of the bed, leaving my hands and arms free.  It hurt, I won't lie, but I knew it would also end.  For those of you who have yet to have your first child, make sure to push through the entire contraction - or it hurts more!  I did that once (had about ten seconds of a contraction left and I did not push) and it hurt so much I was sure to not let it happen again!

There were two moments where things got... a little concerning.  The first happened when she was crowning.  I did not feel the 'ring of fire' but I certainly felt it when she decided to roll in the birth canal!  It was a lot of pressure in different places, lots of stretching and this squirming sensation.  The second happened right after a contraction - her heart beat did not rise again up to 100 or higher.  It stayed at 79 bpm (beats per minute).  The Doctor looked at me and at my husband and said one word: episiotomy.  We had all discussed that if a situation arose and we needed to get her out quickly, we would do whatever was necessary.  Episiotomy it was.  One gentle push later, she was born.  I did not have a chance to hold her as she was taken to the other side of the room get cleaned up, and I was under the bright lights getting examined and stitched up.  It turns out she had descended so fast that I ended up tearing where the episiotomy was, resulting in a third-degree tear.  Even though I have full trust in my Doctor, he had a specialist (who just happened to be in the hospital) to take a look at me and make sure that I did not actually tear the deep muscle of the rectum.  I hadn't - thank goodness!  My husband ended up cuddling our new daughter for the first 45 minutes of her life while I was getting fixed up, and I know he treasures every second of that.

Artemis was born July 29 at 10:25am weighing 7lbs 14oz and was 19.5 inches long after a 7-hour labour.  I will always be grateful to the incredible staff at the hospital, my wonderful doctor who supported my decisions during pregnancy and labour without question, and my amazing best friend - my loving husband.  He was my coach, my centre, my personal masseuse and my greatest supporter.  (As an added bonus, he was asked twice, on two separate occasions by two different nurses, if he would go and help the other spouses coach and support their labouring partners!)


Last Updated on Friday, 19 November 2010 12:48