Friday, 11 July 2014

Ruby's Birth Story

I spent months worrying about labour. Maybe it was my expectation of it being so terrible that made the experience more pleasant. I have to say, I actually liked my labour. I think about it and it makes me happy. Many women told me labour horror stories, but two people actually told me that they liked their labour and that it made them feel powerful. I completely agree; it was a very empowering experience.

I'm sure those who have had scary things happen during labour would not necessarily agree with me, but since I didn't have any complications, it made things pretty straightforward. The entire thing (from me saying 'hmmm I think I'm having contractions' to Ruby being placed in my arms) was 10.5 hours, which is fast, considering the average labour for a first baby is 17 hours.

Was it painful? Oh you bet. I laboured through the first 5 cm without much trouble (it hurt but I was able to tolerate it). Then they broke my water. When they did that, I was warned that the labour would then move much quicker and would be a lot more painful. They weren't kidding. Almost immediately the contractions became so intense that I couldn't stand it. I opted for some IV pain meds (since I was terrified to get an epidural), but the pain meds made absolutely no difference. At that point, the pain of the contractions trumped my fear of the epidural, so I begged for the anesthesiologist. He was in surgery so I had to wait. It was a long wait while I went through contraction after contraction. By the time he arrived (about two hours after they broke my water), I had already dilated the full 10 cm. The epidural worked like a charm and didn't hurt at all (for those who are afraid, it's ok!) and I was immediately flooded with relief.

At that point, my mom  had arrived, which gave Nick a break (poor guy, I wasn't exactly pleasant during those hard contractions...). With my epidural working miracles, we were able to just hang out and chat while we waited for it to be time to push. I took this opportunity to put The Bachelorette on tv because, who wants to miss an episode?! :)

The nurses came in and let me know it was time to start pushing. I informed them that I was also quite nervous about that part and they were incredibly reassuring. I will say, the epidural made the pushing part easier. I can't imagine having to push with the pain of the contractions that I had experienced. Yikes. Aside: I'm pretty sure the woman in the next room was doing it without drugs and believe me, the screams coming out of her room were terrifying. It sounded like they needed an exorcist in there!

I only pushed for an hour and a half (again, not bad considering 3 hours is pretty typical). The epidural had slowed my contractions right down, so they offered oxytocin to speed my contractions up so that my pushes would be more effective. I obliged, and pushed as hard as I could until Ruby was born at 9:34. When they placed her on my chest it was the craziest, happiest moment ever.

A side note: my birth plan was no plan at all. Things I had read had all talked about bringing multiple copies of my birth plan to the hospital to give to the nurses and doctors. My feeling on birth plans is that since most births rarely go to 'plan' having a concrete plan can set the parents up for disappointment. This doesn't mean I hadn't considered things like pain management, interventions and surgery. I had just decided that I would take things as they came and if it turned out I needed drugs, interventions, or surgery, then I would be ok with it. I would really recommend taking this approach because the last thing you want is to feel disappointed when your little nugget arrives!

Ps. If you have the time, I'd really recommend taking a shower, shaving your legs, drying your hair, etc before going to the hospital (I did). I didn't know how long I'd be in labour for and figured I'd like to start off clean and feeling my best. The nurses even noticed and commented that I'd shaved my legs, ha!

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