I mentioned in my Instagram stories that I was a little nervous about putting up this blog post, purely because labour is such a personal story! My reasoning for doing it is because we have all heard it, normally first time Mums tend to go way over their due date and and/or have horrendously long labours. Not what any other first time Mum wants to hear right? Although this might happen to you, it also might NOT happen to you, because in some cases it can be a pretty good labour, like mine, and this is why I want to share my positive labour story from a first time mum with you!
What I think is important to mention first, is that it is important to get yourself in a positive frame of mind. Don’t constantly read about all the bad things that can happen, yes educate yourself about caesarean sections, the epidural, natural birth etc. but don’t focus on just the negative or worry about what has not yet happened!
I didn’t have a labour plan as such, all I knew was that I hoped I wouldn’t need to have a caesarean and I didn’t want to have an epidural. I look into pregnancy stories and came across something called hypnobirthing and somebody had also recommended it to me. After looking into it, I did buy the course. Hypnobirthing focuses on helping you prepare to have a natural birth and teaches you ways to deal with the pain without having an epidural. I did find it informative on some topics like having a sweep but also there where some things that I knew I wouldn’t be doing in the labour ward, like using tea lights, scented oils etc. Those were way over the top for me! Its also about reciting positive affirmations while in labour and to be honest, they didn’t once cross my mind while I was in labour, my mind wasn’t able to focus on anything like that! The only thing I tried to focus on was the breathing! You can find the course I did here
The week before I was due I had one of my weekly checkups where my obstetrician and she told me at that checkup that I was 1cm dilated which I thought was great and that I might go into labour a little early! Towards the end the pregnancy the obstetrician also tests you for GBS (here in Canada), which is something that pregnant women can get (you can read more about what GBS is here). I tested positive for this which basically meant that while I would be in the early stages of labour I would have to have antibiotics through an IV drip. At my next checkup, which was the day I was due, I was still 1cm dilated. I talked with my obstetrician about doing a sweep, or a stretch and sweep as its sometimes known, (for more on what exactly a sweep is click here), which she went ahead and did it. I have heard people say that it is very sore or very uncomfortable but for me it was fine and was no more uncomfortable than having a smear test.
So I was due on the a Wednesday, had a sweep done that same day and then I went into labour early Friday morning. I had mild cramps and Wednesday night, but nothing to get too excited about. I went to bed on Thursday night feeling completely fine and woke to mild cramps at about 2am. I did wonder if this was the start of the labour but tried not to focus on it too much and just tried to go back to sleep. That didn’t happen and by 4am the pains had gotten very strong and I knew they were contractions. At that stage they were coming around every 6 minutes, they were very sore but bearable. I knew we weren’t going to be going into the hospital yet so I just kept timing the contractions.
Then at 6am, my water broke. Once that happened, that was it, we had no choice but to go straight into the hospital (as that is what you are told to do when your water breaks). We did have to google when my waters broke though as they were yellow, which is why Simon asked me was I sure I didn’t just pee myself…I definitely had not peed myself! I didn’t know it at the time, but the reason the waters were yellow was because it was meconium which means basically the baby had pooped in the womb.
Related: How To Have A Fast Labour
We got ourselves organised and headed off to the hospital at 6.45am. We got all signed in and then were brought up to the assessment room. All the while, I am still having fairly strong contractions. We were in the assessment room for an hour to hour and a half. It was while we were here that we asked the nurse why the waters would be yellow and she then explained what meconium was. As this can be sometimes dangerous for the baby (if they ingest it) they have to monitor the baby’s heartbeat throughout the labour so I was hooked up to a monitor for the whole labour. At this stage I was also hooked up to the antibiotic drip so I couldn’t move around the room during the contractions. The nurse also checked me while I was there and I was 2 and a half cm dilated at this stage.
From roughly 9am, the contractions started coming frequently and a lot stronger. That is when we meet our midwife, Ana. She asked me if I wanted an epidural or was there any other things that we wanted to discuss with her. I said I didn’t want an epidural (IF I could manage without it!) and the only thing that we would like was a delayed cord clamping, if our situation allowed it (more on what this is here. We found out about this through the hypnobirthing course).
Ana brought us over to the labour room at about 10am. The contractions just got stronger and more intense. After about half an hour in there I got the gas. At this stage there was no letup from the contractions – I didn’t realise that I was as far on as I was! The only relief was when Simon would push on my lower back and pull my leg in such a way that was a huge help getting me through them! I have no idea what he was doing, don’t think he did either, but it helped😊 Other than that, I didn’t want anybody touching me or talking to me. I still couldn’t move off the bed as I was still hooked up to the monitor that tracks the baby’s heartbeat. The only comfortable position I could manage was on my knees holding onto the back of the bed.
I then just had the urge to push and told midwife. I think she thought that I was getting way ahead of myself as I wasn’t in active labour that long. After three more contractions she checked me to see how dilated I was and I was 9cm!! She was fairly shocked to say the least and asked me again was it my first baby as things had progressed so quickly.
I jumped to 10 cm not long after and they got me ready to start pushing at 12.05pm our little lady was born at 12.33pm.
Not to ruin the positivity of the story, as it is a positive labour story, after all, but things did get a little bit hairy towards the end. While pushing, baby’s heart rate dropped as the cord had wrapped around her neck (I had no idea at the time, I just knew her heart rate had dropped a bit), which was a concern for the midwife so she had to call the doctor. There was a team of nurses on standby in the room should she have needed attention. Although she went a little purple after she was born, she immediately came around and was A ok, so no special treatment needed. It was a group of about 6 people on standby in the room but I was so ‘in the zone’ I didn’t even see them there! I was just focused on listening to the midwife and doctor and pushing when they told me to and stopping when they told me to.
They left baby on my chest for some skin and skin for an hour and then weighed her and measured her. She cried LOTS after she was born, and was so loud I couldn’t hear the midwife ask me questions!
The placenta I pushed out about 20 minutes after the birth, I heard of an injection some people need to help get the placenta out, but I didnt need it. What I don’t hear people talk about much is when the midwife has to push down on your uterus to help get the clots out, this is fairly sore and I squeezed the shite out of Simons hand during that bit!
I did have to get stitches, which they call 2nd degree stitches, which the doctor told me was the most common with patients. They numb you for this so you wont even feel it. Click here for an article that is worth a read in case you need to get stitches!
Then we were brought to our room where we got settled for the rest of the day and night. Simon went and got us burgers later that evening and we got home the next day.
I have to say that the nurses and our midwife were so incredible and helpful and patient and don’t make you at all feel awkward about what happens your body during and after labour. Not that you care what is happening during the labour, you are just trying to get through it! The best word I can use to describe it, other than sore, is intense…just focus on taking them deep breaths, know that you are in good hands with your midwife and that soon you will have the most precious thing in the world in your arms😊