I never thought I would be someone who would openly discuss my birth story. To me, it seemed too intimate and personal to share. However, since giving birth, I LOVE sharing my experience and hearing other people’s birthing experience! I feel like I am some superhero for going through what I did! Not because my experience was particularly bad, but because labour sucks. It sucks, but then you have this beautiful, magical, little human in your life who you already love more than you ever thought you could love!
On March 13th, my 22nd birthday, I went for my 38-week check up. My OB-GYN examined me (which is VERY painful – something that people didn’t warn me about!!) and was happy to report that I was 1 cm dilated, 50% effaced, and dropped! She was extremely impressed with this and said how uncommon it is for a first-time mom to be dilated at all at 38 weeks. She then said she predicted a birth in less than a week.
Fast forward to March 21st 2018 – eight days over my OB-GYNs prediction – she was wrong. At this point, I had a feeling this baby was quite comfortable. I was a week into my maternity leave, super bored, and had a belly so big and tight that it felt like it couldn’t stretch anymore! Tim was at work with our only car from 8:30 until who-knows-when (accountants: workaholics!), and so I resorted to spending the day lying on my couch watching Netflix and napping.
Around 4:00 pm, I got a call from my Mom who asked if I wanted to go window shopping with her when she was off work. I said yes, and she picked me up an hour later. For weeks, my Mom had been telling me to walk more to induce labour, but I very much felt that my baby would come when she was ready. Besides, I was still a week away from my due date.
We ended up spending two to three hours going from store to store, looking for nothing in particular, when it was time to go home. I was still pregnant, no water had broken, no baby had arrived, no birth has happened – walking was not the answer.
After dinner that night, I decided to play Sims – my biggest obsession. Now, for anyone who plays Sims, you know it’s a type of game that you either play for days in a row or not at all. Being so excited to start my new Sims game, I told Tim to go to bed without me, which is something I NEVER do. I created a whole storyline, created my characters, and just as I was about to build my house, I felt a massive urge to pee.
Now, I thought that this random urge must be because of the way I was lying on the couch — with my laptop on my bladder. I reasoned that having a little baby AND a laptop push on your bladder is probably not a good combination in the pee department.
I rushed to the washroom only to realize that the sensation I was feeling was very different – nothing I had ever felt before. *TMI Warning* I could hear and feel liquid coming out of me, but it did not feel like pee and it was not yellow. What if, I thought, this was it! When it finished, I immediately Googled what it feels like when your water breaks, only to be hit with a billion different answers. Previously, I had been told that only 10% of women’s water actually breaks naturally, and usually after contractions have already started.
Well, I was having no contractions and I wasn’t in any sort of pain. But I knew that wasn’t a pee.
I went to go wake up Tim to get his opinion. I was partway through telling him what was happening when the liquid started again. That was when I knew my water had broken. Things were starting – the actual labour was coming!
We quickly changed into suitable clothes, grabbed our hospital bags, and got into the car. My heart has never beaten faster than the moment I realized I would be meeting my child soon – and having to go through a big challenge to do so!
When we got to the hospital, we had to fill out some paperwork and get a test done to make sure it was my water that had broken and not something else. (Thank goodness I wasn’t feeling contractions or in active labour here because man, I think I would have lost my patience with having to just sign and wait and test and wait.) Immediately after receiving the positive test results, I got hooked up to a fancy machine which measured all sorts of things that I wasn’t paying attention to, but the doctors were watching baby’s oxygen rate and my contractions.
Turned out, my previous dilatation of 1cm had not increased, and because I was still not feeling any pain or contractions, a doctor came in and gave me two options: 1) I could get induced which would signal for active labour start, or 2) I could go home and wait until contractions began naturally, and come back then. It could take up to 24 hours.
As much as I didn’t want to wait up to 24 hours for labour to begin, I hated the idea of being induced. With that, I decided to go with option number two – to go home, get some sleep, and just wait for labour to begin. I figured this way, I could also play Sims while I wait for baby!
We got home two and a half hours after my water had broken – 3:30 in the morning – and headed straight for bed, hoping to get a good rest in before the big day. However, my head was on that pillow for what felt like two seconds (but actually being an hour) before the pain started! Baby was coming!!!!
I tried to labour on my own for as long as I could before going back to the hospital, but that ended up only being an hour. By 5:30, my contractions were a minute apart and unbearable!
I woke up Tim… again… for the second time that night. And we drove right on back to the hospital! The drive was a lot worse this time compared to the one we had made only five hours earlier. I couldn’t say anything other than, “hurry the f*ck up”, and “slow down, these bumps are hurting me!”. Poor Tim.
Thankfully, when we got there, we didn’t have to do any paperwork or tests. I was immediately signed into a room (and given a birthing ball and hospital gown), attached to those fun machines (which I took off any chance I got), and got pricked and pried by needles for blood things. As if labour pain wasn’t enough, they couldn’t find my vein, and it took three nurses and 14 pricks to get a needle in me. Not a fun experience when you’re violently shaking from contractions.
About 6:30 am, my nurse came into my room to measure me. I had progressed to 3cm and baby was getting lower! My nurse suggested that I get comfortable. According to her, first time mother’s tend to dilate 0.5 to 0.7cm per hour, meaning I was in for 10-14 more hours.
Ten to fourteen more hours sounded like literal hell. I was not for it! My nurse asked if I wanted any pain relief to which I basically yelled yes!
But she never came with it. I continued to labour with no pain relief for another three hours. Aside from the pain, it was an extremely boring three hours. I would rotate from sitting on the bed to sitting on the birthing ball complaining about the pain while Tim texted family to keep them updated.
Finally at 9:30 am, my nurse came in to let me know the doctor who will give my epidural will be coming soon. He had been busy the last few hours with something and something (I truly didn’t listen because I was so focused on the pain), but he was on his way.
She measured me again before leaving, only to discover I was 8cm dilated! I had dilated 5cm in three hours!! At this point, she said how an epidural would basically be useless because I have laboured so far on my own, but I wanted it! The contractions were non-stop and made my whole body shake violently. I wanted the relief.
It took the epidural man another hour to get to me, and when he did, he wasted no time in (what seemed at the time) trying to scare me into changing my mind. I don’t blame him at all, it’s his job to warn me of all that could go wrong, but I was set in my decision. I wanted the shaking to stop.
It took him what felt like hours to get this needle done. I was using every ounce of strength I could to not shake – which was extremely difficult as I was still having contraction after contraction. Tim had to help hold me still. Epidural man quickly stated, “If you move just a toe and she ends up moving, it could paralyze her” – that’s a lot of pressure on all of us. THANKFULLY, I was able to fit off the shaking, Tim didn’t move a toe, and no one got paralyzed!
Once everything was done, now 11:00 am, I immediately started feeling the relief. They ended up having to turn my dosage down because I couldn’t feel any contractions at all- which you need to feel in order to start pushing.
It was right then that my family FINALLY showed up: my Mom, my Dad, my younger brother, and his girlfriend. My Mom took the one and only photo I have of my labouring.
I had to wear the oxygen mask because baby was still feeling the contractions and she didn’t like them, as my nurse said. It wasn’t a big deal, according to my nurse, just meant I’d have to start pushing sooner.
As you can see in the photo, I felt so relaxed and happy and pain-free at this time. As much as I think I could have easily done without the epidural, I was super thankful for it at this moment. Six hours of pain was enough for me.
At 11:30, I was checked again and measured at 9cm and almost fully effaced. Almost exactly a half hour later, I was fully dilated and ready to go. I kicked out everyone except my Mom and Tim and began to push!
I can’t even describe the feeling you get when you know it’ll be minutes now until you meet your baby. It just felt like the best dream – one that was coming true right in that very moment! I could have happy danced if it wasn’t for all the pushing I had to do.
I don’t remember much of what I was saying while pushing, but I do remember everyone laughing a lot! Which really made the whole thing better because I was a comedy star!
After thirty-five minutes of pushing, we welcomed little Charlotte Leanne, at 12:35pm.
Measuring at 6lbs 6oz and 19cm, she was perfect! She was immediately placed on my chest for two hours of skin-to-skin and all I could do was say how I couldn’t believe I made her! I couldn’t believe she was here!
After things were cleaned up, we called my family back in to meet the newest addition! Everyone was ecstatic! They were so excited when the two hours ended and they were able to hold her!
Literally the best day of my life.