I had often wondered during my pregnancy, how I would feel at that crucial moment, when I held my son for the first time. If the end of my labour story would really be as emotional as some people describe it.
Long before I fell pregnant, I’d heard labour stories, many times, from friends who had already popped out sprogs, that despite the pain of labour and birth, the minute you hold your baby in your arms, you forget all the pain and trauma, and fall instantly in love.
Like some sort of lightning bolt rush of emotion. For me however, when my time came, it wasn’t quite like that…
My own labour story wasn’t particularly awful or unusual. It all started slowly on Friday 17th July, I was having very mild contractions all day, but by evening they got more regular, and when I went to bed around 10.30pm that was when I really felt like I was in labour!
I was up all night. At first I stayed in bed for a few contractions, timing them on an app, they were mostly between 10-20 minutes apart at that point. After a while the pain got too much, I had to get out of bed to try and move around and breathe through them, something I’m not very good at as it turns out! I tried all sorts of positions, but in the end I was on the floor on my knees, forehead on the bed. It was at that point my OH woke up at around 1am.
I hadn’t wanted to disturb him, as my contractions were still 10 minutes apart, and there wasn’t a lot he could do. I’m the kind of person who doesn’t like being interfered with when I’m suffering, back-rubbing and hair stroking are just not for me. He got up anyway and offered to make me a cup of tea, which I didn’t really drink, but at least he felt like he was doing something. He made me toast too, but I struggled to eat it, and actually threw up at one point!
Eventually, at around 6am, when the contractions were 7-8 minutes apart and I was losing my mind with the pain, I phoned the labour line to see if I could go in. They shot me down, told me my contractions were still too far apart, and suggested I take a bath and some pain killers. Ha ha ha! Neither of those things eased my pain in the slightest. I was told the same thing an hour or so later, much to my annoyance, when I phoned them again, feeling like I was going to pass out with the pain!
Eventually at around 9am I made a third call, and lied that my contractions were 3-4 minutes apart and finally they said it was time to go in. The truth is, the contractions never got anywhere near 3-4 minutes, but I had reached my limit with the pain, and when I arrived in hospital I was 5cm dilated.
Unfortunately, that didn’t change much for the rest of the morning, which I mostly spent working my way through every pain relief option available. I tried gas and air first for several contractions, I don’t know if I was doing it wrong, but it did nothing for me whatsoever, other than irritate me that it wasn’t working (I was pretty tired).
I then contemplated the birthing pool, only to change my mind as they were filling it, and ask for the pethidine. Now that was an experience I would recommend, but not as pain relief during labour! Again it did nothing for the pain, but between contractions it was a fantastic high.
In the end I only had one option left, the epidural, and thank goodness I was able to have it. Having said that, it took several attempts to get the needle in. I had multiple holes poked in my spine, it turns out my vertebrae are particularly close together.
Once the epidural was finally in, they gave me the hormone drip, to increase the strength of contractions and get things moving as I was still only 5cm dilated. I then lay around, comfortably numb from the waist down, all afternoon. Even managed to get a nap in, before I was deemed sufficiently dilated later that evening.
Labour Story: A Quick Feel Around…
There was one point in the early evening, just before our second midwife of the day was about to clock off, where there was talk of theatre and forceps. The midwife had, had a ‘feel around’ (thank goodness for the epidural,) and thought baby was facing sideways.
I then had two separate consultants pop in to have a ‘feel around’, the first thought that baby was facing up, or back to back, which would explain the intense back pain during my contractions! The second one that was summoned thought he was facing sideways, and was in the process of turning to face down. They said that as I’d had an epidural I might have difficulty pushing, and if baby was in the wrong position, he could get stuck.
This was around 7pm, and they said they would check again in an hour or so. Thanks to a shift change, they never reappeared, but we did meet our third midwife of the day. At about 8.30pm, she had another ‘feel around’, and decided we should go ahead and push!
It took me just 25 minutes to get him out, I’m quite proud of that given that I’d had an epidural. He arrived into the world at 9.11pm on July 18th 2015!
I should point out, I’m not really an outwardly emotional person. Or should I say I never used to be, motherhood has changed me, I cry at the drop of a hat now. When the time came, and the midwife placed my son on my chest, as I had predicted, I didn’t feel that big rush of emotion, that ‘moment’.
Don’t get me wrong, I fell instantly and madly in love with that little man, and I love him more every minute of every day. But in actual fact, I feel more emotional now thinking back on it all, than I did at the time. There was however, a particular moment, half-way through the birth, just as I delivered his head, he did the most adorable little cries, they sounded so tiny. I think actually that, if any, was my ‘moment’, when I heard his little voice for the first time, before I could even see him, that was when I fell in love with him.
Part of me wonders, if I hadn’t had an epidural, and I’d just experienced immense pain and adrenaline, prior to being handed that tiny perfect little boy, would I have had that rush of emotion, partly out of relief that it was all over? Maybe I’ll find out next time!
About Rosie Faulkner
Just a girl, raising a boy, the only way I know how… on a full stomach, with a full heart, a full glass, and very little sleep.
Photo: Worak (cc, Flikr, 2008)