*Disclaimer: This is my story. I hope I’m not scaring off any new moms-to-be but this is exactly what I physically, emotionally and mentally went through. You can’t get more real than this. And if you’d rather not read about anything gruesome, please don’t bother reading this post. I won’t be offended. Thank you.
Check out my previous post on this topic: The day before delivery + What does a contraction feel like?
After arriving at the hospital around 3AM, I was wheeled into labor and delivery. I wasn’t changed into a gown but remained in the clothes I arrived in. A nurse came in with some paperwork and strapped my belly to monitor the baby’s heartbeat and the intensity of the contractions. In hindsight, it was actually pretty cool to see the level of intensity that would rise with each contraction. The number was usually at a bearable 20 and would rise to its’ highest of 60. My husband said once the number reached 50, he could tell I was in another plane of excruciating pain.
*Note: My husband was wonderful. He was by my side and held my hands as I clenched and unclenched his fingers with each passing contraction. He was so supportive and loving throughout the whole ordeal; I couldn’t have asked for a better birth coach. ❤
So, I came in around 3AM and labored for 2 hours until my water broke. It was the most strangest sensation ever. It felt like a water balloon popping. And I remember saying, “Uh oh. I think my water broke… And it’s smelly.” And I knew it wasn’t a good thing because now there was a higher risk of infection to the baby since the protective barrier of the amniotic fluid had been broken. Labor up to that point was bearable and I say that mildly. My cervix was already dilated at 6CM and I was barely coping. With that said, I must have said, “I can’t do this! I can’t do this anymore! I can’t… I can’t….” countless times once I hit transition.
Phase 3: Transitional (Advanced) Labor
During transitional labor, the last, most intensive, and fortunately the shortest of the phases of labor (generally lasting from 15 minutes to an hour), your cervix will dilate from seven to its final ten centimeters. Contractions are very strong at this point — usually 60 to 90 seconds long, and with intense peaks. Because they’re spaced only about two or three minutes apart, it may seem as though you barely get to relax before the next contraction begins. During transition, you’re likely to feel strong pressure in the lower back and rectum, nausea, fatigue, tightness in the throat and chest area, shakiness, chills, or sweats (or alternating between them). You’ll also notice more blood-tinged show as capillaries in the cervix rupture. (whattoexpect.com)
Since I didn’t receive an epidural or any other form of pain medication, I was feeling EVERYTHING. My labor was raw and as natural as you can get. Labor is truly all mental. I kept thinking about all the women before me who gave birth and came out fine. I kept reminding myself of how much I wanted this baby and who I was doing this for. All I knew is – it was going to end and it won’t be forever!
The last 2 hours were HARD. I truly felt like I was being tortured to death. I knew that labor was going to be tough but I was NOT prepared for this level of excruciating unbearable pain. They tell you NOT to push yet since you’re not fully dilated BUT it’s a natural instinct to push. I failed more than not but instead of pushing they tell you to breathe it out. OKAY, RIGHT. My husband says that my legs were shaking uncontrollably from time to time from the shock of the contractions, my eyes were rolling around my head and my face was a ghostly white. “HOW DO WOMEN DO THIS?! HOW DO THEY STILL HAVE THEIR 2ND, 3RD, ETC CHILD AFTER? WASN’T ONCE ENOUGH?! IF I KNEW HOW PAINFUL THIS WAS, I WOULD NEVER HAVE GOTTEN PREGNANT.” Those were some of the thoughts running circles in my head. Basically, I found out I had one of those labors where my cervix thankfully opened up quickly but to do so, my body was being hit by a blitz attack of contractions. I was being hit fast; sometimes with one starting while one was ending or one on top of another – with no reprieve. It was bad, yo.
After I dilated from 6CM to 9CM and 9CM to the final 10CM, I was ready to push. And OH MY. I was to position my legs spread-eagle style while holding my thighs up with my hands and the pain was unbelievable. Two nurses had to hold my legs while I pushed and it truly felt like the biggest poop of my life. And to be more specific, it’s like a bag of rocks trying to fit through a windpipe. Yup. YUP.
When I felt a contraction coming I was to take a deep breath of air and push down as hard as I could. I was to do that 2 more times until I can finally rest until the next contraction. My husband was by my side counting my breaths with me. But I remember him counting much faster than the doctor when it came to rest. Later he told me that I was pushing so hard that I was actually blue in the face. He thought I was going to faint and was scared for me. Wow. Didn’t know that. But anyways, I believe I pushed for 20 minutes or so. They were initially very happy with my progress. They were already able to see the baby’s head with my first push. But he was inching out too slowly. My doctor said if I didn’t push him out in the next few minutes, she was going to perform an episiotomy. I don’t know if it was the fear of being cut but in the next series of pushes, he was out!!! I honestly cannot compare his entrance into the world to anything I’ve ever experienced. There are no words that can compare that sensation.
Is it weird that i didn’t feel the “ring of fire”? Or I’m assuming that the pain from vaginal birth paled in comparison to my contractions. That’s how intense and unbelievable my contractions were.
They plopped him on my chest without cleaning him and I was soon staring into the eyes of my son. I was in shock and bewilderment. “Did I just do that? Did he really come out of me? Am I really a mom? WHAT?!” He was crying his head off for a minute (his Apgar score was a 10 out of 10!) but was soon eerily quiet as he gazed at me and Paul. It was an amazing moment. The first thing Paul did was count his fingers and toes. 🙂
I had to push another few times to get my placenta out. The nurse asked if I wanted to see my placenta. Before I could answer, she was holding it up in front of me. Uhhhhhh. WOW. It was massive. It looked like a deflated brain or an imploded octopus. Lovely choice of words, I know. 😛
And after my baby was whisked off for cleaning and vital checks, I was checked for any rips and tears. I did. I had a minor 1st degree tear in the front and a 2nd degree tear around my perineum. I was given 20-25 stitches. JEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEZUS, gimme a break, yeah?! She said she gave me a few shots inside to numb the pain but I FELT EVERY STITCH!!! 😦
But you know something?
I would do it all over again. Now I understand why moms continue to have more children. It’s the most rewarding yet traumatizing experience of my being but the indescribable pulsating bond you immediately have for your child is out-of-this-world explosive. The love is unmeasurable, unquantifiable and unbelievably deep. I love him with every fiber of my being and already can’t imagine my life without him. It’s as if a void has been filled and I cannot be more happy than I am now. 🙂
The first few hours at the hospital so please excuse my state. Oh and remember when my husband said I was blue in the face from the pushing? I covered them up in this picture but right after delivery, I saw my face and gasped at all the black dots on my face! They were everywhere! Guess what they were? They were all the pimples on my face that basically “died” because there was literally no oxygen going to my face. So when my husband said I was blue in the face, I was literally the color blue. Where does this superhuman power come from that I didn’t know existed within me?!