My firstborn, Doll, was born in June 2015. This is her story: (hint: you’re supposed to read that like Law & Order)
I had gestational diabetes that I controlled by diet (thank goodness because I hate needles!). I had previously been a pipe-smoker (tobacco people, and not the wacky kind) but had quit pretty soon after finding out I was pregnant. So the GD would make for a big baby but the previous smoking habits could lessen that some.
My 40 week mark came and went and I was quite eager to get this baby out! I knew that every day she was in there she was getting bigger and that was a terrifying thought for someone who had sworn since first learning how babies are born to never go through that herself!
The night after her supposed due date I went to bed but was up again soon after with stomach pain. They didn’t seem to be contractions as they didn’t feel anything like Braxton Hicks (practice contractions) and the pain never actually went away; it was constant. After about an hour and half we decided to go to the hospital to get checked out.
I was admitted and they monitored the baby for a while. Apparently I had caught some kind of stomach bug. How disappointing! Although I was also very relieved that wasn’t what labour would actually feel like. We went home after a little while once the pain was gone with strict instructions to come back as soon as my water broke.
Two mornings later I woke up for the second time in a row with a slimy discharge in my pajamas. And it occurred to me that I should get that checked (I was looking for anything that might indicate baby’s arrival!). So I woke up Hubby, told him I was going to take a shower and then we were going to the hospital again.
I was admitted again and it turns out my water had broken. The nurses admonished me for having not come in immediately, like they had told me to, but I truly hadn’t known it was my water. There was no gush, not even a trickle really, and definitly no sensation of having peed myself, which is a way I’ve heard it described before.
Because it had been so long since my water had broken, they gave me antibiotics to make sure nothing icky would get to baby now that she was unprotected. They told us we could go but to come back at 4 the next morning for the next dose of antibiotics and to be induced if things didn’t start by themselves. Yes. 4AM.
I know, right!?
So we went home and just hung out really for the rest of the day. And night. At that time neither of us were working and we’re both night owls so yes, we just stayed up until we went to the hospital again.
Smart, right? Stay up all night when you’re going to be induced in the morning *shakes head at silly past self*
Hubby and I were again at the hospital in time for my 4am antibiotics. The plan was to induce me at around 8 so I went to sleep. Kind of. I started having mild contractions so when 8 rolled around, it was decided to just let me progress on my own. However, labour had stalled by around 10am so I was induced using an Oxytocin drip an hour later.
Being my first baby, I had no base to compare my labour progression to but I knew from the prenatal class I took that it was going to be fast, as all that needs to happen is for the nurse to up the drip whenever she deemed fit. Or something like that.
Because I was on the drip (or perhaps because of the early broken water) they were monitoring the baby pretty much the whole time. And to make matters worse, the cordless monitor was not working so I was tied to the bed (only semi-figurativly) by the IV and the fetal monitor. That was how most of my labour went.
When the contractions finally began to actually hurt some, they removed the monitor so I could walk around with my new best friend (IV) following along.
I even got to have a shower. Which I had heard such wonderful things about but actually didn’t do anything at all for me so it was short. In hindsight, I should have dragged it out a little bit because after the shower they made me wear the hospital gown. Not that the gown was awful or anything, but it’s just the thought I guess.
Hubby kept asking me if or when I was going to try all those other labour positions. And I was quite annoyed at him for asking me because certainly it was the nurses’ jobs to tell me what to do and when. I was not in any mood to make decisions that would result in me getting in embarassing positions.
How naïve I was!
And I never did try any positions. I didn’t even bounce on the ball. The shower was the only thing I did besides lie on the bed.
I had planned to have an unmedicated birth. I was extremely determined because in the prenatal class, everytime a pain-management drug was mentioned I would ask if/how it would affect the baby. And they all did in some way. I didn’t want drugs affecting my baby at all so I decided I would take any. And in that I did succeed.
I had also planned that it would be just Hubby with me, besides the hospital staff. I didn’t want anyone seeing me in such a vulnerable way. But when the contractions became painful, my mom was there for me and good thing, too, because Hubby just wasn’t comforting to me at all! Not that he didn’t try; he was just way out of his element and didn’t know what to do.
(He was playing music for me on his phone. Apparently we should have gone over the list ahead of time … but who knew I would hate The Beatles when in the throes of labour?)
My mom was the one who gave me the best piece of advice that got me through the contractions; She told me that she found it easier to manage the pain if she concentrated on keeping her face relaxed. As a mother of four, her advice is like solid gold.
So I concentrated on keeping my face relaxed during contractions and I also took it a step further and decided to try to keep my hands relaxed too. That’s right, I didn’t squeeze anyone’s hands. I just laid as still and relaxed as possible as the contractions came and went while my mom talked me through it. Having that to focus on made it manageable.
Whatever helps you get through the pain, do it.
Once I got that first contraction with the PUSH in it, that relaxation went out the window! My eyes popped open and I said “There was push in that one!” I was quite surprised at how it felt. Everyone tells you that your body pushes without you but until you experience the sensation yourself, you cannot understand what that’s actually like.
So next thing I know, I’m pushing. Whether I want to or not! This part of the experience is a little foggy. A couple things I recall are the doctor asking me if I’d like to feel the baby’s head. Heck, no! And also, after Doll’s head was free, the contractions felt like they stopped and I didn’t get an urge to push. I had been told to only push with the contractions so I took a “break.” And next thing I know, I’m being told to push, the bed is lowered, the bedside rail goes down, and a nurse jumps on my stomach*.
Well, I screamed. Not the push-type scream either, more like a bloody-murder scream. I suppose it hurt quite a bit bit I actually don’t have any recollection of what it felt like.
And then Doll was born. Suddenly there was this heavy purple little person on my chest. Her eyes were wide open and she was just looking at me. Other things were happening “down there” but I was mostly unaware, being so taken with those big eyes looking up at me.
But suddenly she was gone. They had taken her to the heated emergency bed. Apparently she wasn’t breathing. Or not well enough, at least. My mom was there holding my hand as I became painfully aware of, well, pain. I needed a couple stitches. And I was bleeding too much. Also, they tried to give me a shot in the hip and I guess I jerked and broke the needle. I kept asking for my baby back, where was my baby. I tried telling my mom that it hadn’t hurt when I was holding her and I wanted her back because it hurt a lot now.
Soon enough she was back, looking less purple but still with her eyes wide open just looking at me. I tried not to squeeze her as the doctor removed clots (which is very painful, extremely uncomfortable, and truly the most traumatic thing I have ever experienced). Luckily, I blocked out that memory quite successfully. Unluckily, it happened again during my second birth story which made me remember it. *shrug* What can you do, eh?
*The reason my stomach became somebody’s trampoline was because of shoulder dystocia. It means that the head was out but the shoulder would not come. This is dangerous because it cuts off baby’s air, which is why Doll had to go on the emergency bed after birth. The nurse was actually pushing on Doll’s shoulder to move it so that she could be born.
I was kept on the Oxytocin IV to help my uterus contract. Nurses came and “massaged” my stomach every 15-30 minutes for the first hour or so. They also kept up a pretty steady stream of heated blankets, as I was very cold and couldn’t stop shaking. If you can get heated blankets, do! I highly recommend it.
As I said, I bled quite a bit. The first time I got up, I was helped by two nurses and I left a rather alarming trail of bloody footprints and puddles. Oh, and that first pee hurts quite a bit, in case you don’t already know. I was given a little spray bottle with warm water and it was my best friend for like three weeks.
The next time I got up was for a shower. I’ve no doubt I needed it quite badly but I wasn’t really stoked on the whole getting-out-of-bed thing. While in the shower I grew light-headed and the nurse assisting me had a wheelchair brought to get me the whole 20 feet back to bed.
The nurses also kept me well supplied with ice-pack-pads, to ease the swelling and soreness. Those were almost as nice as the heated blankets.
As I was unable to get out of bed, the nurses cared for Doll for the first day or so, while I craned my neck to see what they were doing (as I had no idea how to change a diaper, even).
Doll latched well right from the get-go and I swear she stayed latched for the remainder of the hospital stay. She just wanted to nurse constantly. The nurses had to take her in order for me to get any sleep because she just wouldn’t put up with me putting her down. By the time I was discharged a couple days later, she had already gained back her birth weight (because babies lose weight after being born and then have to gain it back) .
Our breastfeeding adventure deserves its own post.
My main thought at the end of it all? I never want to do that again! Having said that, you can now read my second birth story!
Fun facts after I had a baby:
- Cloth diapering didn’t seem gross anymore
- I completely lost my taste for alcohol
- I stopped caring about things that I can now see aren’t important
- I became heavily interested in making things myself (sewing, cooking, diy, etc)
Share your after-I-became-a-mom fun fact!
The Tale of Mummyhood