My First Labour (The Innate Mama)
Sofia's birth story~3rd November 2009
After 41 weeks + 2 days of being pregnant I was well & truly overdue to have my baby. I could not wait to meet our baby & wondered for months what he/she would look like.
Finally it all started to happen, on Monday 2nd November at 1:30pm I had just finished lunch and said to my husband Joe "I am feeling a few pains but nothing to worry about, go back to work & I’ll call you if I need to."
I kept looking at the clock to see how far apart the pains/contractions were but at this stage they were all over the place from 5 mins to 20 mins apart. This went on for many hours, at that stage it just felt like strong period pain (bearable) that was nothing compared to what was to come!
At 6pm (after yet another trip to the toilet!) I lost my mucus plug, so I knew I was on my way to having this baby. I was so excited & I could not wait to tell Joe, we hugged with excitement and anticipation.
I decided to call the hospital as this was my first labour and I did not know if what I was feeling at that point was normal. The midwife told me that I was not in labour yet, but it was happening and that I should call back when my waters break, or the contractions get closer or more painful.
Throughout that night I was feeling pain on and off, I was in and out of bed with heat bags & Panadol. By 3am the contractions were starting to get stronger, so I had a warm bath & that seemed to settle the pain enough to go back to bed.
By 7am I was awoken with stronger contractions than before, I got out of bed and did some exercises on the fit ball to help relieve the pain from contractions. By 8am the contractions were 5 minutes apart, I told Joe that the pain was getting stronger and I did not think I could handle being home much longer.
I called the hospital and they told me to come in, but they told me they might send me back home as my waters had not broken yet.
Once I got to the hospital, they took me in to the examination room and put some monitors on my tummy to check the baby's heart rate and the regularity of my contractions.
I was meant to be on the bed for the examination, but I could not lie down due to the pain being so intense! I ended up on all fours on the floor, trying to move my hips to help relieve the pain. I started to feel very nauseous and began to throw up, that was the worst part so far, but little did I know! Once the midwife got the reading from the monitors it showed that I was in early labour. She gave me the option of going home until my labour progressed or I could go for a walk in the park to help bring labour on whilst they got a bath and a room ready for me. I chose to go to the park for a walk to help the progression of labour.
On The way out of the observation room I was told that my parents were waiting to see me, I couldn’t believe they were there. As I walked up to them, I was trying to be so brave & hide the pain I was in, funnily enough they were the ones that were crying! I asked them "What are you doing here?" Mum answered, "Your father and I were so worried about you that we had to come and see if you were okay." I answered, "I will be okay, sure it hurts a little, but you and many other women have been through it before and survived so I’m sure I can do it too”. I gave them a kiss and hug goodbye & told them "Next time I see you I will be holding our baby!"
We then headed off for our walk in the park, which ended up being a 'shuffle along' that stopped every 3-5 mins with me squatting down to help ease the intense contractions. One lady stopped and said to me "Are you okay?" Joe answered "Yes she is okay, she's just in labour." I didn’t really feel okay though and I did not want to talk to anyone.
Once we got back to the maternity ward the midwife helped me get into the nice warm bath, it seemed to take the edge of the pain for a little while. After 45 minutes I was ready to get out of the bath so I could move around more and get on with labour.
I thought that 'Surely by 6 o’clock tonight I will have the baby' yeah right! As I entered the birthing suite it was 1pm, a new midwife entered the room (I have no idea what her name was) she seemed okay, she just asked me if I needed pain killers and put the monitors on me again! I took some Panadeine forte for pain relief, they didn’t do much as the pain was getting worse as time was going, and the more I was dilating.
By that stage of the labour I was doing everything possible to help me get through the labour. This included movement on a fit ball, breathing, leaning against the beanbag, music, heat bag and exercises of all fours. I found that wiggling my hips in circular motion helped ease the pain a little and focusing on my breathing (I'm thankful for the pre-natal yoga classes I did!) I loved having a hot shower too but that was short lived after the monitors got strapped to me. Joe was a great support to me, when I needed a hot towel, a heat bag, a massage, or something to eat or drink he was onto it. I cannot remember how many icy poles I downed but it was quite a few as I was so thirsty! I know for Joe that it was not the easiest thing for him to see the pain I was in throughout the labour and he later described it as 'A battlefield.'
The Labour continued for many more hours, by 6pm I was 6.5cm dilated, contractions had slowed down & my waters still hadn't broken. I asked the Midwife many times to have my waters broken and although it was against hospital policy to have your waters broken in your first labour they finally agreed.
Once my waters were broken they found that I had meconium in my waters which meant that the baby might have been in distress so they had to strap monitors to me until I gave birth to make sure the baby was okay. I did not like this as it restricted me moving around which was helping me with the contractions. It also meant no more showers, although I begged the midwives to allow me to have one and they agreed as I still had not taken any drugs. My body was so sore all over, my back felt like it was going to break with the spasms I was having due to the contractions.
The contractions were now even stronger & more intense, I got to the point where I said, "I need some drugs, give me some drugs!" The midwife said to me "What would you like?" I was so delirious that I answered " I don’t know, just something but not the heavy stuff."
I was in transition at this point but didn't know it.
I tried the gas which made me dizzy and nauseous, not a good combination with the pain of the contractions! The Midwives offered me water injections to be inserted along the spine and they were supposed to take the edge off the pain. They were very painful going in, I squeezed Joe’s hand so hard due to the pain that I think I almost broke it!
I don’t think the water injections did much for the pain relief but I think I just got use to what my body was going through (I surrendered to it) and I just could not wait to see my reward at the end. With each breath and each contraction I was getting more closer to meeting our baby.
Before I knew it I was 8.5cm dilated, the midwife said to me "You may now get an urge to push and if you do let me know.” I didn’t think I had the urge to push but about a minute later I felt more pressure below and realised this must be the urge to push. By 10pm, I started to push with all my might right down to my bottom. As I was pushing, I felt a burning sensation, it was very painful and messy too! I remember screaming out loudly using all my womanly ‘animal instinct’ noises (I didn't know I could even make those noises!)
A new midwife was introduced to me 'Erin’ she was very encouraging towards me and praised me for choosing not to take any drugs throughout the labour which would have drugged out the baby also.
I first started pushing whilst sitting on the toilet (covered in a towel) as it was the best position for pushing. Slowly I moved to the bed and started leaning against the beanbag on all fours. I was holding and squeezing the beanbag, then I would just collapse on top of it. The pushing stage of labour went on for one hour 55 minutes and I was very close to having an instrumental delivery (Thankful I didn't have to!)
Once Erin told me the head was starting to emerge (I was getting very excited) she instructed me when to push and when not to push. Erin then asked us "Would you like me to pull your baby out by her hair as she has so much of it?" we giggled.
5 minutes later the head was out, then after a few more big pushes the shoulders emerged and one final small push later our baby finally came into this world.
I was so relieved and excited at the same time and I knew I couldn't go any longer in labour. Erin asked us "Would you like to have a look and find out the sex of your baby?" I could not wait and pretty much turned around with a jump (I don't know where that energy came from!) I scrambled around the umbilical cord and with such excitement I said "Ahh it’s a girl!"
Tears of joy filled my eyes, I was so amazed with this beautiful baby in my arms and couldn’t stop smiling. I kissed Joe passionately with 'heightened oxytocin' levels of love. We couldn't believe our little baby was finally earth-side and that we were parents for the first time. I was in love like never before, it one of the best moments of my life! Joe was extremely excited and emotional holding his daughter for the first time. I said to him "She looks like a Sofia, let's call our little girl Sofia" Joe agreed and we both knew from that very moment our life would never be the same again.