This is an attempt to capture the story of me giving birth to our beautiful and healthy baby girl: Lois. She was born more than 1 week ago and I am still processing the chain of events. I don’t even know where to start. It was an overwhelming experience and writing this post feels therapeutic. I am really a mommy now. Below my experiences in going into labour, pesky contractions and the arrival of a Mini.
AND THAT WAS BEFORE….
Before going into labour I hadn’t prepared much or read a lot. I figured women have been doing this for ages so my body is preprogrammed to get through it. I also know some yoga and meditation techniques and decided to rely on them. I did howwever read some blogposts like the ones from La Viesagista (in Dutch). She has written candidly and funny about the birth of her son James. So basically my knowledge on childbirth was very limited. I knew there were 3 stages of labour and that I had to call my obstetrician when the contractions were 4 minutes apart. Piece of cake, right?
THE FAKE VS THE REAL ONES
I had been experiencing “fake” contractions since week 37. They hurt. The pain was doable but still: they hurt. Around 14.00 I got another contraction, went downstairs and complained to baby daddy about it. He was in a conference call and ignored my muttering while walking up and down the living room. I think he even rolled his eyes. By 14.10 I had already gotten 3 contractions and they were getting stronger. That was the moment when I took out the timer and realised this might be the real deal. By 14.40 I made the call, apologised first for not following instructions and then asked what I should do. By then my contractions were 1.5 minutes apart. Reluctantly my obstetrician decided to drop by and confirmed what I already felt: 3 centimeters, she was coming! The intensity of the contractions was rapidly increasing so I asked her how much worse it was going to get. I did not like the answer: this was going to get a lot worse. So much for the fake contractions hurting. The real ones are a b#%&*.
HONEY, WHERE IS MY BLUE SHIRT?
The contractions grew stronger (quickly) and I could barely catch my breath. In hindsight baby daddy should have gotten better instructions. While I was doing breathing exercises, he was asking me all sort of random questions. In my head I was screaming “cannot talk you idiot, I am in the middle of a contraction” while in real life my eyes just shot fire at him and no sound came out. In between contractions (10 whole seconds of peace) I managed to scream at him: “CANNOT TALK DURING THIS, NEED FOCUS AUUUUUUUUW (wolves howl)!” I was trying to repeat the mantra ” the pain has a function, she is coming out, trust your body to do the work” but at some point I broke. I asked baby daddy to call the obstetrician again and convince her to come check on me. He replied: ” maybe you can wait, she is coming in 45 minutes.” You can imagine my reply. Hint: it involved another wolves howl.
TRUSTING YOUR BODY VS. BLIND PANIC
Up until that point, everything went really well. To the surprise of everyone I was already at 8 cm and we moved to the hospital. I always had the illusion that there would be enough time to pack the last stuff in my suitcase. There was not. We had to leave immediately so I left for the hospital without shampoo or pants. At that moment I did not care. Then came the hardest part. Up until that point I had trusted my body and it had worked. Within 3,5 hours I went from 3 to 8 centimeters and I had managed it pretty well. After 4,5 hours I was ready to push this baby out. But nothing happened. I pushed and pushed. No movement and worried glances between the increasing number of people in the room. When they asked baby daddy to step out I knew something was wrong. The blind trust turned to panic. I think all other people on the floor heard me. I screamed during contractions like a wolf or a cow. Believe me: it was loud. I still feel bad for the other woman who must have been terrified after hearing my howls. It wasn’t pretty.
THE TOOLS AND THE MINI
After 40 minutes I was told that they were going to try to use a suction pump (=vacuum pomp). If that did not work, an emergency c-section would have to be performed. The Mini’s CTG was not good and she needed to come out. The pump was attached, I felt movement and blind pain. This is what was supposed to happen. She was finally coming. It took 3 hard pulls and 3 contractions before they got her out. While I was waiting for my last contraction to come (very unpleasant with half a head person sticking out of you), they told me she might not start crying right away. A paediatrician was there, I should not panic and just wait while they would take her away and examine her. Then came the final push and I listened. After a few seconds (which seem like an eternity) I heard a very faint howl. She was ok. She is there. It is over. My healthy baby girl: Lois was born.
AFTER THE SHOW, THE AFTERPARTY???
The aftermath: you just pushed out a Mini, totally exhausted and in serious need of a shower. But first they are going to make you a bit more uncomfortable. I do not like to recall all the details but there were stitches and an afterbirth. But there was also good stuff like baby daddy walking proudly up and down the room (adorable) and a wave of emotions as I held this tiny person in my arms. So my conclusion: what was it like?
It was overwhelming, painful, impressive, unforgettable, special and much more.
I will always be grateful that I got to experience this. The female body is capable of incredible things.
This is the whole story.