Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Becoming a Mother

Sitting watching One born every minute made me realise that I had quite a unique childbirth experience. Before I went into labour I had no expectations. When asked by my midwife what my labour plan was I was a bit vague. The conversation went a little like this:
"What is your birth plan?"
"To get the baby here safely, whatever it takes"
"What about pain relief?"
"I would like to try to go it without pain relief, but I am not sure how much it will hurt so I might need it, I just want to go with the flow"

That was all that was said about it really, I trusted in my midwife and her judgement completely. The other thing was that I knew I didn't want a water birth. Other than that I was pretty easy going. I just wasn't sure how you could plan for something when you had no idea what it was going to be like. 

On the 29th of November 2011 (my due date was the 23rd)  is when I first started getting signs of labour. I started loosing bits of my 'plug' throughout the day, it didn't come out all at once. So I wasn't entirely sure of what it was. I was out visiting a friend at her work and I  got a wee pain, nothing to bad and once again I brushed it off. My partner and I decided to go for a romantic drive, we drove out to the beach and watched the sunset together. It was so picturesque and the perfect way to spend our last evening as just the two of us (not that we knew it was our last evening!). I got another pain around 11, so I figured that labour was on its way, but they were so irregular and far apart I thought it could be days before I had the baby.

I tried to sleep that night. I really tried. But a mixture of fear and anticipation kept me awake. Just was I was dozing off I got another pain (it was 1.28am) then I woke a little while later to another pain (the clock said 1.38am). Finally on the third pain at 1.48am I realised that the last three had been ten minutes apart. I got up quietly as my partner was still asleep. I wasn't really quite sure what to do with myself, do I get up and wait for the next one? Do I try and rest? I did get back into bed to try and rest but every contraction I got out of bed to 'move' through it as rocking and walking really helped with the pain. Around 2.30 Nick woke up and it was then he started timing my contractions and recording how far apart they were.

We laboured quietly in my room as not to wake the rest of the house (we were staying at my mothers house at this stage). Nick was timing and I was pacing. In fact Nick got so good at timing that he would tell me when I should be having my next contraction. Around 4.10am my contractions were about 4 minutes apart and after a trip to the bathroom I discovered a little blood, being my first baby I was unsure if it was normal. I woke my mum to ask her and she was also unsure. I tentatively rung my midwife (she had told me not to call her until my contractions were 3 minutes apart) i told her my contractions were 4 minutes apart and that I had a little blood. She assured me this was all normal and to call her back when my contractions were a wee bit closer together.

I decided to jump into the shower to help with the pain and Nick sat on the toilet telling me when my next contraction should be! Within 20 minutes (4.30am) my contractions were 2 minutes apart. I rung my midwife and she arranged to meet me at my local hospital at 5.00am. Nick and I made sure we had everything in my hospital bag and made our way to the hospital. We got there before my midwife, and while we waited for her I fretted that I would only be 3-4cm dilated and that I would have got her out of bed for nothing. She arrived just after 5.00am and checked me about 5.15am. I was in a wee bit of pain but I thought it would get a whole heap worse, so I was considering pain relief.

When she checked me I was 9CM DILATED! I had stayed home until I was 9cm!! There was no time for pain relief for me! She broke my waters and put me into the birthing tub. She gave me the gas tube and told me to push down every time I had a contraction. Then she left me to it. She checked on me occasionally but pretty much I was left to it.

I couldn't work the gas right, I had been breathing in through my nose and out through my mouth at home and that was what I continued to do, so I doubt I got any gas. Nick was sitting on a stool with a cup of water and would give me a sip when I opened my mouth, but other than that he was quiet (which is what I wanted). From here I pretty much when into myself, just doing what I was there to do. I really felt like nothing was working and I voiced that to my midwife. Of course I was pushing the baby down (slowly, because if I am honest I wasn't really trying my hardest when pushing, it was like I was conserving my energy).

From here I lose track of time, I know I went into the tub about 5.30am and that I got out at some stage and went onto the bed. The midwife checked me again and told me that the baby was stuck on my cervix a little bit and she just had to help her shift. While she was doing this I was politely saying "Please stop. I do not like it. It really hurts I would like it if you would stop that now" haha! Then after what felt like about 15 minutes of hard pushing (it was probably much longer) Sophia Catherine was born at 7.32am! To which I said "Oh that wasn't as bad as what I thought it would have been!"

Baby Sophia minutes after birth
From there more was a blur, I held Sophia right up under my chin (where the skin was) so I hadn't really had much of a chance to see what she looked like. She didn't cry and all I could hear was her breathing. I had to get two stitches, that weren't essential but I had a wee graze and my midwife said it would just help it heal faster. Then while they were giving Sophia a good look over and measuring her I took a shower. It was all a bit surreal I got dressed in my pajamas and then WALKED around to my room. By this stage my mum was here and my brother and Nick's mum caught up with us as we were walking to my room.

That is my birth story. I was nothing like I expected. I expected so horrific, long drawn out, unbearably painful experience and I think I got the opposite. I know that everyone births differently and that some people find it very hard, but I feel often all we hear is the bad experiences, and not the good. I think I had a wonderful experience and it didn't put me off one bit. Although it was painful, don't get me wrong, it hurt like heck! I didn't have the choice of pain relief so I just had to deal with that.
I really think the key was moving, walking around and swaying during my contractions. I had one contraction during the car ride to the hospital (we lived really close!) and I was sitting down and that one was HORRIBLE! The same when I was being checked and I had to sit still, it was much worse. When I was in the water I swayed and pushed and I think that really helped with the pain. 

I hope my positive story helps someone else who is pregnant. It is nice to know that people can have natural, pain relief free (even if it was by accident) births. I have one piece of advice. Be prepared to change your plans, birth plans are a guideline and if you don't have a really set ideal then you can't be too disappointed. Also, expect the worst. Then, like me, you might be pleasantly surprised. 

Daddy and daughter
Catching up on sleep after a tiring night!
(Excuse my skin, pregnancy wasn't kind to me!)

Now I know that was a novel! But that was my story.
What was your birthing story, please share below or post a link to your blog post about it.
I love hearing about different people's experiences. Also feel free to ask any questions :)


  1. It sounds like a wonderful birth experience! Pne day this week, I'll sit down and write one of mine out. Thanks for sharing, I think all women need to hear more positive stories like yours. I know I got to hear everyone's horror stories when i was pregnant.

    1. It is almost as thought the people think the words "I'm pregnant" gives them license to tell you about every horrible thing that has happened to them and their friends! I was surprised my experience was as good as it was, I have a really low pain tolerance (or so I thought) and I was terrified of the birth! When the midwife told me I was 9cm dilated she asked me what I thought about that, I replied "I'm not ready to be a mum" HAHA!

  2. LOL, I thought I had a low pain tolerance too, until I had a c-section. Yeah, I'm sure being at 9cm already made it seem too soon, too fast.