My Labour and Delivery Story
Throughout my pregnancy I never really thought about labour, what it might be like or how I might actually give birth. I figured all the planning in the world couldn't prepare me for something I had no remit of. That said, there was one thing that I felt fairly sure of. I wanted to have my baby in the Birthing Centre, rather than the delivery suite at the RVI, and to do that I couldn't opt for an epidural without moving upstairs to the ward.
Not wishing to have an epidural was my preference because I wanted to reduce the likelihood that I might need assistance with the delivery of my son. That was the only reason. Had the pain been unbearable for me and had there been time, I would have still been open to changing my mind. Luckily for me, I didn't have to.
My waters broke in the early hours of the morning on Friday 26th June. I didn't know for sure that's what it was, but when it wouldn't stop and regular contractions started 5 minutes later I figured there was no way it could be anything else.
I arrived at the hospital at 4am and was told I was 4cm dilated. My contractions were coming seriously close together and were so painful I spewed. They let me stay in hospital and prepared me a birthing room with a pool in. If they hadn't I really think I'd have had him in the car on the way home.
I didn't plan on having a water birth but after calling out for 'whatever I can have that wasn't an epidural' my midwife suggested I try the pool before in case I needed to reserve the opiates for later on!
As soon as I hit the water I knew the pool was where I would have my baby. It was soothing enough to distract my mind from my contractions (which I felt all in my back) and make them bearable. I used gas and air to breathe through them as well as the visual imagery technique Sheila Kitzinger talks about in her New Pregnancy and Childbirth book.
Kitzenger's approach and attitude to childbirth is something I found I could relate too. All too often the pain associated with childbirth is viewed as destructive and dangerous, drumming up images of body parts tearing and babies being damaged. By thinking about my contractions as purposeful pain, as pain that was there to help me deliver my son and as an experience that would end, I felt calm and in control during my labour.
In all my labour lasted 2 hours and 45 minutes, which I still can't quite believe and I really do feel lucky to have had such a positive and stress free experience. I actually found the stitches afterwards far worse than the actual labour. Did not prepare myself for that!