I now get why it is called labour! It doesn’t matter how many books you read or how many antenatal classes you attend, no one can prepare you for the reality of it !
I have to say my labour was pretty good! After hearing other people's labour stories I am eternally grateful for mine! I didn’t have a birth plan, I just knew I didn’t want to have any drugs other than paracetamol (because I am a complete control freak!) I kept telling myself they didn’t have pethidine in the Tudor times, so why should I?
My early stages of labour started at 3am on a Wednesday morning! I woke up in a panic as I thought I was having a miscarriage (even though I was full term). After calling the midwife at a more respectable hour they told me I had, had ‘a show’, and labour could be a week away. This calmed me down a bit! Luckily the hubby had the day off as he had planned to play a new PlayStation game (one he had been waiting 10 years for!) He had joked I would no doubt go into labour, and low and behold I did!
As the day progressed the twinges got worse. The only way I can describe these, are like period pains that would come and go at random times. We decided to go for a walk to the beach, to enjoy some final “us” time, which was nice despite feeling like Mrs Blobby! It got to about 5pm and the pains intensified, I tried to distract myself by watching Mary Poppins, but this did nothing! By 10pm I was freaking out so the hubby packed the car and we drove the 40 minutes to the hospital. Much to my horror at 12am we were discharged as I was only 1cm dilated. I couldn’t believe it! I was certain I was ready to push!
We got back home at 1am and they had said “try and get some sleep”. What a joke! How can you sleep in such discomfort! I just sat on the loo rocking back and forth as the hubby shut his eyes! By 3am I told him to take me back. The 40 minute journey back to the hospital felt more like 4 hours! The pain felt too much, which made me panic and tense up. I quickly worked out that the more you tensed the worse the pain felt. Back in the hospital I was told I was 4cm dilated so I could stay (hooray). I started to relax, which enabled me to cope with the pain.
The midwives kept offering me pain relief but I truly believed I didn’t need it. I know it is a bit of a cliché but I just wanted to breathe through every contraction and focus my mind. I sort of went into a trance like state for the rest of my labour, focusing on nothing but breathing.
In the early hours of Thursday morning (now in the birthing pool) the best thing ever happened to me! A friend of mine is a midwife and as the shifts changed she came in to take over! I was so happy! This made me feel even more relaxed and in control of my labour. I loved the pool, however is made me want to push every time I had a contraction. They kept telling me not to, and I kept apologising (why I don’t know).
I was now in active labour and exhaustion kicked in. My body told me I needed to get out of the pool and lie down to recoup. An hour or so later the midwife told me to go to the toilet, and that’s when my waters broke! It felt like a massive fish eye popping, and I honestly thought I was going to have my baby on the loo! I was taken back to my room where I was told to start pushing! My response “ I am not ready to” well I didn’t have a choice! What felt like 5 minutes later (but was apparently 40) the head started to appear. Oh my gosh the burning sensation…apparently it’s called the ring of fire! I have never felt anything like it! Once this stopped I gave one last push and the next thing I knew my beautiful baby girl was put onto my chest...SHE WAS HERE!!. I couldn’t believe we had made every part of her!
My entire labour lasted about 22 hours, and I took paracetamol as my pain relief. This was how I wanted my labour to go, and I will be forever grateful that it did. Everyone’s labour is different, and no labour will be the same. I am still not sure I want to go through it again as it is the most emotionally and physically draining thing I have ever endured. I would however go through it again to have my little lady in our lives, she is SO worth it!