I love reading about people's birth stories so I thought I would share my story with you here.
The final days of my pregnancy were very uncomfortable and painful. In fact, I think they were worse than the labour itself. The baby was sitting in a way that created a lot of pain and I couldn't sit or stand for very long and really could only lie on my side. Needless to say I was ready to have this baby out!
Sunday night we went to bed after a brief walk and drive around town. Just before 2 am, in my sleep I felt a pop and gush. I jumped up immediately saying my water broke and ran to the bathroom. My husband jumped out of bed and flipped on the light, he didn't want to miss out on any action! My first contraction came pretty soon after that, followed by another a few minutes later. Looking at the clock, they seemed to come every 4 minutes. Remembering what the midwife had told me, I got into the bath to see if they would stop or slow down- we wanted to make sure it was the real thing before driving 2 hours to the hospital in Prince George. Well, just half an hour later, my contractions were 2 minutes apart, lasting a minute. I called the midwife and she told me to get there right away. I was still unsure if I was really making in progress or if I was in "real" labour because the contractions never seemed too strong. It took us half an hour to pack up the car and hit the road. It was 3am at this point and we could see the sun coming up in the distant horizon. I sat in the backseat of the car, cross-legged and holding on to the handle in the roof. I kept dozing off between contractions and waking up to breathe through them. I was convinced that my labour was slowing down and that I wasn't having as many contractions at this point, although I wasn't timing them. My husband kept chatting away pleasantly, pointing out all the wildlife on the drive (a moose, a deer, and 4 foxes) and I just had to ignore him, I couldn't focus on those things. We stopped once at a rest area for me to use the loo, and I remember it not being much fun to get out of the car. Leading up to the birth, people would look at us like we were crazy for wanting to drive two hours while in labour. I myself dreaded what the drive would be like. In the end, it was actually not too bad and I seemed to really be able to manage my pain well in the car. And it is also where I spent the majority of my labour! Because things were happening a lot quicker than we realized!
We got to the hospital and had to go in through the emergency room. The nice security guard led the way for us and pointed us in the right direction, making a little joke which I tried to give him a smile, but I am sure it looked more like a grimace. Do they make those hallways really long on purpose? We finally made it to the maternity ward where my husband called them to let us in the doors. "I think my wife is in labour," he said. "THINK?!" "Uh, I know my wife is in labour," he corrected. They buzzed us in.
We had to wait in our birthing room for a few minutes until our midwife arrived. To be allowed to stay at the hospital, you have to be at least 4cm dilated. I was so convinced that I was either 0cm or at least less than 4cm. When the midwife arrived, she started filling the birthing tub and and I was thinking "you should probably check me first, because I don't think we will be staying." Up to this point, I still didn't think my contractions were all that strong. I kept expecting them to get a whole lot worse, because I anticipated my labour to last for days. Well she checked me and I was 5-6cm already! After only about 4 hours in labour! Well, I hopped into the birthing tub and in less than an hour I was feeling the urge to puch. She checked my again and I was fully dilated and ready to go. Everything was happening so quickly, I could barely wrap my head around it! After reading all those books about labour, and the stages of labour etc. I never felt like I had gone through a "transition phase" or anything like that. I do remember feeling a bit panicked from time to time, thinking "Can I really do this? It's too late now! I'm too weak to go through with it!" But then I would just focus on the moment and not about what I had yet to do.
So once I started to push, I got on my knees in the tub, but it was way too intense and painful and I had to go back to lying on my back. When I had tried to go on my knees, the baby's heart rate had dropped significantly and the midwife wanted me to get out of the tub. That was a little scary! I got onto the bed and lay on my side and we re-checked the baby's heart. It had gone back up again, which was good. I pushed on my left side for a bit and then we flipped me onto my back like a beetle. I never thought I would want to give birth lying on my back, but it was actually a very comfortable position. But I was working against gravity. I pushed for the next 2 hours. I felt like I was in a trance. I closed my eyes and didn't really open them again until the end. My leg went to sleep where I was holding it up, and because I didn't change positions for 2 hours, I killed that nerve, leaving my leg numb for what could be weeks or months. Oops. The nice thing about the pushing stage is that I could no longer feel the pain of the contractions, I could only feel the urge to push. My baby finally made it all the way out and was plopped on my chest. What a relief to have it all over and in less than 7 hours too! He wasn't crying enough though, so they had to take him away to work on him for a bit and then brought him back.
What a feeling to hold your baby for the first time. It was very surreal. I couldn't believe that it was him! He had been the one inside me for 9 months! What a thrill it was. I was so proud of myself for going through labour naturally and for not panicking. I felt like superwoman!