Warning: this is likely to be a (very) personal post.
One of the questions on the tip of everyone’s tongue (or edge of the keyboard in this case) after they say congratulations, is how the labour experience was. Labour is said to be as painful as breaking x number of bones? It is probably the most painful experience a woman will ever go through, except it’s pain whose result is often the greatest joy the said woman will ever experience. Talk of opposites! One of my goals this year, that I can tick off that list, was to give birth naturally without screaming. So did I scream? Well, yes and no!
Labour is a process and TV exaggerates. Pushing is the easiest part of a natural labour process not the hardest, like they make it seem on TV. There is no powerful contraction or a rush of waters that sends everyone into a panic and then 5 minutes later the woman is being told to puuush, push dammit as she sweats and screams. Then she pushes out a perfectly beautiful clean and open eyed angel. What happens is, a woman will get contractions – labour pains – that come and go, but as time progresses they become more painful and closer together. The labour process can last anything between 2 hours and 18 hours. Without going in too deep, by the time contractions are 2 minutes apart and lasting for about 1 and half minutes each, where one contraction ‘melts’ into the next, the baby will almost be here. Pushing the baby is relatively painless compared to the contractions at the end stages of the process.
Anyway, during the labour process, the woman and baby are of course closely monitored and doctors intervene at various stages to save both lives in case of any issues. That’s what happened in my case. My water broke (I think if you understand nothing of this post, you can always Google the labour process!) early Saturday the 30th of March. However, labour (pain) was absent, and after checking myself into hospital spent the day waiting for the pain while under monitoring by the medical staff. By 5pm labour had not set in so they decided to induce me. Induction is artificial starting of labour, and within minutes I started to feel the pain. It was bearable at first, but became increasingly worse. Three hours later, on checking the fetal heart rate it was too high, and nothing was able to bring it down meaning the baby was in distress and my body wasn’t ready to push it would take a while longer. When they mentioned an emergency CS to save the baby, my only question was where do I sign?
In the last 30 minutes of that three hour labour, I felt PAIN. It’s not something anyone can describe you have to feel it to know it. Different women experience labour differently, but an induced labour is more painful (because you’re basically forcing things) than a natural labour. If I had proceeded to the very end resulting in a normal birth, I think I would have been screaming my head off. But as it were, at the stage I was in, I didn’t scream but yes I groaned, shed a few tears as I was being wheeled into the theater.
I’ve never been admitted in a hospital before, let alone undergone any surgery. The whole thing felt like a horror movie as you lie on a stretcher and are wheeled to the theater in a green corridor with a white ceiling. In the theater, you lie under the glare of lights as you are surrounded by masked figures. At this point I was still having contractions because of the induction and my chief concern was the anesthetist. I wanted out. You have the option of having local anesthesia where you can chat with the doctors as they do the operation and watch your baby being lifted out of you, or general where you are out. I was too emotional at that time I just needed out, the last thing I remember was the anesthetist injecting the drug into the IV line on my arm and saying “this is the anaesthesia..”
When I woke up, I was alone in the theater with a nurse. I was in pain because the anesthesia had worn off, but the first thing I asked for was my baby. I was told he was taken to the nursery and would be brought later. I was injected with a painkiller which took all of 10-15 minutes to work, and later wheeled to my ward where I slept off. When I woke up for the second time that Saturday night (well it was Sunday, around 3am), my baby had been brought and was sleeping peacefully in his cot. I looked at him and fell in love for the rest of my life! My mother, my aunt and best friend Phyllis spent the night in the hospital and were the first to look at him as he was being taken to the nursery. And now later in my ward he was there so tiny and perfect and sleeping so peacefully.
The next three days were spent in the hospital recovering – both emotionally and physically. Giving birth, whether natural or by CS, is an emotionally intensive experience that can only be equated with the very opposite, death. Giving forth life is such a powerful and joyful feeling, but you’ll be emotionally drained and looking at the baby and wondering if all that was in here (rubs belly at this point). I was glad to be finally discharged 3 days later and now I’m home enjoying motherhood and all the joys it will bring.
Whatever the labour experience, the important thing is that you get your baby safely and anything you undergo, though you may never forget, is totally worth it.
Here we are at one week old 🙂 Little Jeremy and I. Still can’t believe I’m so blessed with a son. My son.
Now the remaining 2013 goals include turning 25 (later this month), graduating (late June, everything is on track), saving (proving to be quite hard) and working with Divas4tech.