Disclaimer: don’t read this if knowing details of births is not your cup of tea.
We got home around 3pm yesterday, I think, but it took longer than we hoped. We were ready to go by 11am, but things aren’t that simple when you mix public hospital + bureaucracy/paperwork + extra cautious staff + other women giving birth at the same time as you are due to be checked out. But at least we got home; they wanted to take me to the maternity ward and wait with other mums that just had given birth, but there was no space available.
The labour & birth
We left the house just after 7am (I remember that because Mr. C’s alarm went off at 7am while we were trying to leave the house). I was in a lot of pain, the ladies at the hospital weren’t in a hurry to let me in the labour ward.
Should I say that I was feeling the contractions all through the night? Actually, it was always there during the day, but I thought they were “only” the innocent Braxton Hicks. It wasn’t annoying during the day but they didn’t let me sleep at night as they were too intense and too frequent.
I didn’t want to wake up Mr. C as I wasn’t sure what to do, and I needed him rested for the next morning. He woke up around 6:30 and by then I wasn’t able to think straight and all I wanted was to go to the hospital and have an epidural to ease the pain.
Yes, I was thinking about it even before knowing if I was really in labour.
I tried to call the labour ward before going – they ask us to call before going to avoid unnecessary trips and overcrowding the hospital. No answer at first. Mr. C was relaxed, not understanding the proportion of that pain – a few screams from the preggie put things into perspective again.
After speaking to a midwife, she said it was ok to go (if you ask, she was really encouraging). We went, by then I wasn’t just in pain, I was also sick (but with nothing to throw up in my stomach). The drive there was less than 15 min. It seems to have taken another 15 to get to the delivery suite.
Our midwife was a girl called Kelsey, very sweet. I got there asking for the epidural and had loads of gas and air (brilliant thing, I wish I had this at home. BUT it doesn’t stop the pain!). She checked me out and dilatation was about 4cm They were quick with the epudural, unlike the previous experience with Laura’s birth. Just before it was actually applied, I had an urge need to push and asked to be checked again: 7cm! They warned me that probably the epidural wouldn’t have the effect on time. I was so in pain that I didn’t care – it was more for the reassurance than anything. And I didn’t know how much longer the thing was going to last. It could be a matter of minutes or hours.
I wasn’t checking the time but it felt like forever, I was in a LOT of pain, the urge to push was intense and this time I actually felt the pain of baby coming out. Just before I started to push, my waters broke. It was such an interesting experience! I didn’t have it with Laura. 😦
Gas and air was what was keeping me together because as predicted, the epidural wasn’t really doing much.
The push bit is the “old” story: first the head, then the body. Not as quick and painless like the first time, but still a great experience. Apparently the umbilical cord was quite long and was around her neck three times, which made the midwife extra careful and in a rush to cut the cord, despite our request to wait a bit (she waited a few seconds but that was all).
No stitches this time, which is great. Breastfed a lot when all was still being cleaned up. I saw and felt the “birth” of the placenta – the midwife explained all the parts to us.
So, in regards the hospital experience and birth, it was all pretty quick: 2 hours between arriving there and the actual birth. The post-birth experience (baby checks, shower for me, paperwork and lots of waiting) was about 5 hours.
Being in control
I think most of the complaints from mothers I read online is the lack of “being in control” of the whole thing. Midwives and doctors tend to tell us what’s best for us and the baby and because of our fragile state, we tend to accept everything. And then regret later.
My experience overall is that I was in control most of the time and the only thing I couldn’t control was myself. If I knew that it was going to be quick, MAYBE I would have done some things differentely. Just maybe.
When we were trying to leave, I joked a couple of times with hubby about not going through all that if we had a home birth. He agreed, but after seeing the mess it makes, home birth is not on my plans. Yes, this is how “shallow” I can be.