Wednesday, 19 March 2014

The day I gave birth and how I will never be the same again

Giving birth is one of the most amazing and unique experience a woman has in her life, not only because she gives birth to a new human being, but also because she goes through an extraordinary pain. It’s not a pretty event, on the contrary, but in the end we experience one of the most beautiful and heartwarming moments in our lives – seeing our babies for the first time. There is much that can be said about labor, and there is not one and the same experience, that’s why I want to share mine with you, because it proved a real turning point in my life.

It’s still controversial how strong the pain during a delivery is. You might have seen the circulating message on the internet: 

I don't know if it’s true, but I know I thought I was dying, while I was going through my labor.   
During the pregnancy I was quite relaxed about the big moment, I was more worried how we are going to deal with baby crying all night, rather than breathing techniques, but this turned out to be a big mistake in my case. Luckily our baby proved to be not the crying type, preferring to sleep at night rather than keeping us awake?! (Yes, really. I was told multiple times by midwives that boys are *cough cough* lazy – from latching to sleeping, I don’t know if it’s a common belief, but my boy confirmed the theory.) 

Unfortunately, I wasn't that lucky when the first contractions started and felt a deep regret for not attending any birth classes. During the months leading to the delivery I was confident about having it naturally, I know my body and I felt in tune with the changes I was going through. I believed the more relaxed I am, the easier the whole process will be. My final confirmation came the day of my “over the due date” check where the midwife did “sweeping” and after feeling my cervix said enthusiastically that if I am that relaxed during the birth I won’t have any problems! Great I thought! But when my contractions started the next morning at 4 am, building in intensity, by 5 o’clock I knew I was in labor and it wasn't anything I expected. 

I was prepared that the contractions will feel like period pain, but it turned out, the pain is multiplied by tens of times and with every wave it was getting stronger and stronger. I woke up my partner and we called the hospital, but we received the usual advice “have a bath, watch a movie, go for a walk”… at 4 am?! I felt something was not right, because the contractions were coming in very short intervals of time. Both I and my partner knew that it takes time until I go into active labor and the contractions can last from 5 hours to even few days but mine were getting longer and stronger and were coming every few minutes. I was panicking more and more, but calling again to the hospital they still didn't told us to come. This wasn't getting to a good start and during the short breaks from my contractions I was angry at both the hospital and my partner for not trusting me that I desperately needed to go there, IMMEDIATELY. 

Until… my waters broke and there wasn't any more doubt. The ride was a nightmare - me barely breathing and more screaming and my partner having no idea what to do for me. When we finally arrived I couldn't move any more and I was just praying that someone will come and take me as soon as possible. When we finally arrived in the room nothing really mattered anymore, I just wanted everything to be over soon ,but only if it was that easy… I don’t know how I survived in the next 4-5 hours, but no matter how hard I was pushing or breathing, the baby wasn't showing at all. It turned out that even though I was fully dilated, he wasn't in a rush and he wasn't properly positioned. From this moment it wasn't long until I was prepared and underwent emergency c-section.

2 hours later we had our absolutely perfect 9 lb baby boy in our arms. I still wonder if I really had to go through these painful hours if he wasn't properly positioned from the beginning, but then I remember I am having my gorgeous baby and try to erase the bad memories. But if I am to give birth again (once I overcome the trauma of this one!), I will definitely do some things differently. In my next posts I will share with you my experience with the hospital bag and birth plan and why I would pay more attention if I had to prepare them now.

The following nights after the birth it was hard to fall asleep, not only because of the constant attention, the baby needed and the pain from the operation, but also because of the mental shock I went through. Every time I was drifting off I was dreaming about the labor and was experiencing the awful pain over again. But when I shared about my labor to few mums in the baby group, it appeared that just one had gone through the same ordeal as me, and the rest couldn't believe what I have been through and why I needed to stay in the hospital for 5 days. Now I know that labor pain is different for every woman and until you go through childbirth you can’t know how much it will actually hurt.

I would love to hear more birth stories from other mums, because labor can happen everywhere, at anytime and the experience is very individual and unique. But no matter what kind of birth we have had, I know that in the end we share one - the enormous love for our babies that we hold in our arms for the first time.


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