For me labour was definitely not what I was expecting. In the weeks leading up I did what most expectant mothers did, I read every source I could on labour and birth so I could be prepared as possible.
My husband had a fairly good idea of when the baby was conceived so I naturally thought I would be into labour right on schedule. Boy was I wrong. My due day came and went. Each night I would wake up at 2am to go to the bathroom and end up lying in bed willing the contractions to begin. I used to get so excited with every slight cramp. When I was 8 days overdue, we went to the doctor to discuss being induced.
The doctor booked us in at the hospital to be induced the following morning. I was somewhat disappointed that I would miss out on the excitement of going into labour naturally, but over the moon about finally getting to meet my son. That night I packed my bags and tried to get a good night sleep (my last for a long time).
At 7:30am we headed off for the hospital. We arrived around 8am and were admitted to the maternity ward. At 8.10 the doctor arrived and applied the gel around my cervix and I was put on a baby heart rate monitor. The nurse instructed me that I needed to stay connected to the monitor for at least 1hr so they could get a clear indication of how the baby and my body was reacting to being induced. The last 20mins on the monitor were so uncomfortable. I need to pee and I was having mild cramps which seemed 10 times worst lying on my back.
Once the hour was up I was relinquished from the monitor and used a heat pack on my lower back to help with the cramps. At about 9:30am the cramps started to get a rhythm to them. 1min bad then 2min rest. I am guessing I was in early labour. At about 10am there were getting more intense and I used a combination of sitting in the shower and being rubbed by my husband to get me thru them. The nurse came back to check how I was doing around 10:30am and tried to feel if I was having contraction. She could not feel anything and hence thought I had yet to start labour. I was so disappointed. If this was not early labour why was it hurting?
The cramps continued to come now at 1 min on, 1 min rest. By 1130am the nurse returned and could see that I was in a bit of pain. She checked to see if I was dilated and said I was about 5cm. I was so relieved; all the pain was for something. Only 5cm to go. I was in a shared ward at the time so they decided to transfer me to the delivery room so I could have a little more privacy. We got to the delivery room around 12pm and I promptly asked for gas. I was also reconnected to the baby monitor and hence was restricted to the bed again.
The gas gave me something to concentrate on. With each contraction I would breathe in the gas and look at the baby monitor. The monitor not only relayed the baby’s heart rate but also my contraction intensity. As the contractions happened I would watch the numbers change. I felt I could do this as long as I paid attention to the numbers and my breathing. As each contraction happened my whole body would tighten and my stomach would shrink down.
At around 1pm I felt my cervix stretch (imagine a rubber band) and then loosen. I turned to my sister (who was my other birth partner) and said I think the baby is coming. On the next contraction, I felt the same sensation again but this time the baby’s head popped out promptly followed by its whole body. My husband and sister were completely shocked. There were no midwives or nurses in the room at the time so the baby just flopped out onto the bed. My sister ran from the room to get a nurse. My husband, who can’t handle the sight of blood nearly passed out and I had no idea what to do. The baby was still wrapped in its sac and was covered in blood (from me I guess). The midwife returned with my sister moments later and attended to the baby.
Seeing that everything was under control my husband excused himself from the room and I was given the baby. There is no real way to describe the range of emotions one feels when holding your baby for the first time. Shock, relief, love, bewilderment. My sister then cut the cord and the baby latched on to feed (after a few attempts).
During the whole labour I had no idea I was even pushing, but I guess I was. The whole process felt so natural I kind of let my body take over. In the end I was glad my husband, sister and I were alone for the birth. It is something special that will stay with us forever.