Butterfly’s Long-Awaited Birth Story

WARNING: For anyone who isn’t too keen on birth stories. It’s long, it’s detailed and there are no boobs involved. I reckon I should keep my massive breastfeeding failure for another time. In an attempt to keep the reading material as light as possible, I usually stick to one trauma per post.

I finally managed to write down our little girl’s birth story. I’m only ten months late. Her due date, Friday December 27, 2013, came and passed uneventful, despite many fruitless efforts to help her on her way. I went for a routine monitoring a week later where they scheduled me in for induction the next Monday. They did some things hoping to stir things up and told me to keep walking, so we went into the city. We had lunch and ice cream in full on winter and shopped for tiny baby clothes. My belly was feeling rock hard and it never really went away again. It started to feel like predictable waves; they would swell, reach a high and ebb away. It wasn’t painful, it was just uncomfortable.

I went to bed at 11pm and I woke up around 3am to find C. sleeping. My belly started playing up again. It went up a notch on the scale of uncomfortableness. Still not painful though and Mrs. Panic still wasn’t panicking yet. I started timing in between the waves: 8-10 minutes. They seemed regular, but still far apart. I knew this wasn’t labour yet, because I wasn’t in pain. And everyone who has been through it, just says you will know you are when the pain hits. Around 4.30am I used the bathroom. I stayed there for about half an hour because I felt so uncomfortable I didn’t know what to do. Stand? Sit? Lean over? I paced the bathroom floor back and forth. But I still wasn’t in pain, it was just so uncomfortable. C. was still sleeping, so I went back to bed. He woke up when I sat down and I didn’t know what to do. I wasn’t panicking, I wasn’t in pain, I just couldn’t lay down and do nothing. I said: ‘I think it’s going to start soon.’ He got up immediately and went downstairs. I don’t even remember when he got dressed at that point. He asked me if I wanted to go to the hospital, and I said I didn’t think so because I wasn’t hurting yet. I took a shower instead. It was 5.15am.

I went into the shower and then it all just happened. Suddenly, it became painful. One contraction. I was sure this was it. I needed to time them. But as sudden as that one came, just as sudden the next one came. It felt like seconds apart, it probably was closer to 2-3 minutes. But it was happening fast! I had to hold on to the wall and wait for the contractions to pass so I could quickly get out of the shower, get dressed and make my way downstairs. And when I got there, I looked at C. and said I wanted to go to the hospital. Now!

The ride to the hospital seemed to take forever. I wasn’t really panicking though. When we got to the hospital, the emergency nurse on call lead the way and opened the door to labour and delivery. They immediately put me on a monitor. It was 5.45am.

Other people came in. I overheard a lady saying she was in labour and they hooked her up to a monitor too. She was chatting away happily with her husband while we were waiting to be seen by a doctor. A nurse came up to me and said they were going to see how far along I was and based on what they saw, I might have to go back home for a few hours. That just sounded ridiculous it almost made me laugh.

The doctor saw me a little bit later and I was at 4cm dilation, so that meant we weren’t leaving any time soon. Back to the monitor bed. It felt like I stayed there for hours with no one coming to check on me. It was just the lady behind the curtain still chatting, C. next to me feeling helpless, and me focussing on breathing, punching the bed and cursing. Then, all of a sudden, at 7.30am, people came in, they swooshed me out of the monitor room and took me to a delivery room. I don’t know why they suddenly were there all over me. Did they realise that this was happening fast? I asked for an epidural, I was so over it already. I had been having contractions every 2-3 minutes and I couldn’t sit down anymore. I had to stand up and sway. I couldn’t stand anyone touching me.

The nurses went to get an anaesthesiologist and it took them ages. He was held up, so they got his assistant. I had to sit, trying not to move through what felt like a thousand of contractions while she tried and get the catheter for the epidural in. It didn’t work. A few more attempts. Nothing. Of course. And a few more attempts. Nothing. Then… Succes, at 9am. My lower back was going to be bruised all over. (In fact, I still wake up almost every night with lower back pain. Sometimes it takes me hours to find a good position again to fall back asleep.)

About 15 minutes later, things changed. It became a walk in the park. I felt the contractions, but they didn’t hurt anymore. I looked at the monitor, saw one, smiled and went: ‘Oh look! This one is going really high! Whee!’ I was in seventh heaven. I had a pump next to me and I kept pushing the button. My, if this didn’t tell me about my addictive nature, nothing ever would. C. was on the bed next to me trying to get some sleep.

At 10.30am a doctor came in and decided to break my water. He even showed us the mucus plug, I have no idea why. It was horrifying. They drained my bladder. What? My legs fell sideways and I couldn’t lift them up myself anymore. It all felt surreal. They left us and told us to get some rest. Because, you know, you are allowed to sleep during labour.

At noon the midwife came in and hooked me up to some oxytocin to speed up my dilation. Fifteen minutes later, I was at 8cm. I started feeling the tightening of the contractions almost constantly now. About half an hour later, things were changing and I started feeling an urge to push whenever I had a contraction. It became stronger by the minute. They put a heartbeat monitor on our baby’s head, she was starting to have extreme high and low beats per minute. That’s when I began panicking.

The doctor stormed in around 13.40pm. ‘Right’, he said. ‘This baby needs to be here within 10 minutes.’ I got an instant adrenaline shot hearing those words. They were in a hurry, and if they are… I panicked even more. Getting instructions on how to push grabbed me out of my drug induced high and brought me back to reality. I reached for C.’s hand and told him I wasn’t ready for this.

The doctor reached for the vacuum extractor. She needed to come out fast! I pushed three times during three contractions and there she was. She weighed 3.965kg and was about 50cm long. She scored a 9 on the Apgar scale, she was fine! They put her on my chest and she had pitch-black hair. We just had a baby girl! What?! Labour and delivery was less than 10 hours, I went crazy fast. They had to fix me up, with the threat of surgery hanging over me because of suspected internal bleeding, but that didn’t matter. We had this baby girl!

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