Pregnant women are “crazy” about searching online for the labor process and everything else related to pregnancy. They love reading comments and other people’s experiences and sharing them as well. I remember scrolling the web for hours searching for my symptoms and answers! One thing I found less of was the labor process. I think that’s because once you’re done with labor, you’re so overjoyed and busy with the baby, sharing your experience is the last thing on your mind and you don’t want to be reminded of the gruesome details of the pushing and the sewing and the blood and the horrible hair and the husband who was or was not there, fainted or not fainted, etc. etc. etc. All you can concentrate on is the baby. I know because it’s been 4 months since my labor and I finally am getting my butt off to share my experience so other women can know what’s coming (or not) for them. Every labor is different but here’s how mine went.
Everyone suggests a labor class. It’s become something to “do” and have to do since your doctors are suggesting it and it’s offered at the hospitals so you feel compelled to do it. Knowing me and not wanting more work than needed, I didn’t take one. I read books on childbirth. One of the books I liked the most that was easy breezy (not Cover Girl) was The Best Birth by Sarah McMoyler. I wasn’t into Doula’s and doing everything naturally and I had a GREAT hospital that’s one of the top 10 in the country delivering me so I felt comfortable without a doula. In addition, I’ve always been independent in handling pain and processes and having someone that’s not my husband there just makes me uncomfortable because it’s one more stranger than the doctor that’s there. The book made me fully prepared for birth right? NO! Nothing can make you prepared for birth! Every birth is so so so so different! Even if you go to class, your situation may be totally different. Timing contractions and all that jazz was not even in my head when my water broke. Every woman is different and no class can prepare you for that. For that comment, I’m so GLAD I did not waste time at a birthing class. That would have been wasted time for my husband and I and money. McMoyler’s book was really all I needed.
Things you need to know for labor only include the basics of signs to watch for. What do contractions feel like? What are pre-labor signs? What does water breaking feel like? Is it your water or pee? (I’ll put that on a separate post). Will you use epidural or not? If you use epidural, are you going to use pitocin (or oxytocin)?
My water broke at 4 am in the morning. My husband was in another country with a 3 hour difference so I just said goodbye to him on the phone as he left for work and my water broke after I went to the bathroom. I went to pee and then decided to lay back in bed for another nap before I get up. I was at 39 weeks and 2 days. My tummy wasn’t as big as other preggies so I figured I’m probably late since it’s my first baby. I laid back in bed and I felt my baby wiggle really (((fast))) and so I switched and laid on my left side. I felt liquid run out of my vagina as if I’m having my period. I immediately sat up and ran to the bathroom and sat on the toilet. It was clear liquid. I had this sensation before and it was (blush) pee. I thought “Crap, I just went pee and I peed myself again?!”
I wiped myself and changed a pantiliner and as I was getting up, more liquid came out. Uh oh I thought. Could this be it??? I quickly took the litmus paper I bought from Vitamin Shoppe and tested for the acidity of my liquid. Yup, it’s amniotic fluid!
I put in a thick pad and got up from the toilet and went to my computer to book my husband a return flight back right away. After I booked his flight, I called him and he freaked out. Good thing “I” booked the ticket. God knows if he was able to function to buy the right ticket. I got a deal too. While all other last minute tickets were $2000, I found one that was $745. I couldn’t believe I was price shopping at a time when my water broke but yes I was. Can’t get ripped off just because you’re in labor right?
After I called him and took care of that I woke my sister up from the other bedroom. She was on call for taking care of me while my husband was gone. She was surprised too. I said, “I’m in labor but take your time because I’m going to take a shower.” After that, I took my 5 minute shower, grabbed my hospital bag and we left. Oh, we stopped by McDonalds for my breakfast since I won’t be eating the entire day.
I felt trickling of liquid the entire time I was in the car. Good thing I had on a pad. It was quite gross since it’s like your never ending period.
When I got to the hospital, they gave me a temporary bed and area until one of the labor rooms was available. There was a lot of women who decided to have a baby that day or who’s babies decided to come out that day. They had me put on a gown and NO underwear. It was disgusting. As I was walking from the bathroom to the bed, I was dripping. Really gross feeling. At that point, I wasn’t in pain yet.
6 am came by and I was still okay. They were putting needles in me and listening to the baby to make sure everything was okay. I was having contractions and I didn’t even know it. My contractions were already only 5-6 minutes apart. I was probably in pre-labor before and I didn’t even know it! I was having night sweats 2 days before this and I was probably already getting contractions but didn’t know it. I called my husband who is now at the airport already and he freaked out because he didn’t want to miss the birth. The doctor told me I still had a long way to go. I was only 1-2cm dilated but they can’t send me away because my water broke. How convenient.
8 am, my contractions are getting stronger and stronger! Ok, I was in pain now. I was wondering when they would come and offer me epidural. I can still breathe through it. Boy I was glad I didn’t take a class because trust me, NO breathing is going to take away ANY of this pain. All that breathe away pain crap is essentially… CRAP when you’re in labor. The woman next to me came before me and they rejected epidural at first and started to cry and moan and cry and moan. 30 minutes later, she was being rolled into a room and she was crying for epidural. Lucky for me, 5 minutes after that, I was offered a room and offered epidural if I wanted. I asked them whether I should do I now since I can still breathe through contractions. They said I can have it anytime. It doesn’t slow down anything or prevent me from having my contractions so I said yes yes please please.
I know many women are afraid of epidural and what it might do to baby and mommy or pitocin, etc. However, if you’re at a really good hospital, they’ll know how to do it right. First of all, ask for a mobile or walking epidural. This means you can still feel the sensations in your legs when you do have epidural and you can move around at ease. This makes sure that you’ll also feel your contractions so you can push to avoid that C section. Next, I used pitocin because that makes sure that the contractions won’t slow down. My contractions started getting really painful. If you felt that the endometriosis monthly pain was bad, this was about 5 times that because you’ll start sweating and your whole body shakes and the wave could last 10-15 seconds each time until you felt like it was WAY longer than that. Bad menstrual cramping is pretty much how I would describe contractions.
After I got transferred to my room, the epidural people came in. For this procedure you have to stay still but it’s hard to since you’re also in pain. I don’t know how dilated I was at the time but it has to be more than 2cm because when the doctor checked an hour ago, I was at 2-3cm. The anesthesiologist had me sit on the edge of my table with my back humped. They inserted a needle and a tube. I felt “nothing.” They were that good. Plus, the pain probably was not existent compared to the contractions I was feeling.
Within 5 minutes of the epidural, I was feeling so good! Now contractions feel like just tightening of the abdomen. I was relaxed and my can still feel my legs. I was chatting with my sister and texting my husband and chatting with him online while I was in labor. Yup, it was heaven with epidural. However, 4 pm rolled by and I started to feel the contractions come back painfully. I kept pushing the epidural button but I still felt everything. Good hospitals make your dosage of epidural go down as time passes. That’s the right way to do it so you feel the sensation to push.
I called to the nurse and the doctor felt me and I was FULLY dilated! Then the doctor said I had another two hours until I had to “push”… I told her no way. She laughed and said we all say that. 10 minutes later I felt a sensation like a bowling ball was about to come out of my behind! I called the doctor again and I said I have to push. So I started pushing. I had them raise the bed a little to help me in my angle. The nurse walked me through the ENTIRE process. Whatever was in the books, etc., was pretty useless to me because my mind was all over the place. There was no basis for memory. I was so grateful my nurse was great. She had me hold my right ankle with my right hand, left ankle with left hand and as the contractions came, to push hard for 10-15 seconds and then breathe in. Rest, repeat until contraction over and you’ll relax as much as you can. The relaxing part actually helps your baby come out. The doctor thought I would be pushing for a while but it so happens that I have an extremely high pain tolerance. I pushed for 40-45 minutes and my baby was out! Right before she came out, I felt my vagina was going to explode! I didn’t feel like I could stretch it any further. It was that ball of fire everyone talks about. My baby kicked herself out at the last moment when I’ve lost all energy. She started kicking and she was out!
Then came stitches which for some reason for me took an hour. They placed the baby on me for skin to skin contact and it was the most amazing experience ever. My husband missed the whole thing because it happened so quick. My entire labor process was only 13 hours and with the airport and travel, he didn’t get to me until 2 hours after I delivered. Although that was sad, it went so quickly I felt okay about the entire situation because I had my baby with me. My beautiful beautiful baby. Her skin was clean and bright. She had very little blood on her if any at all. They wiped her head once and she was on me. As my stitches took so long, they also gave her a sponge bath.
That’s it for my labor!
I’ll talk about my after pregnancy pains later…