My Non-Scary Non-Gory Labour and Birth Story – Part I

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So, baby Mark is here. But guess what: get­ting the baby out is harder than get­ting it in.

Many women love to share ter­ri­ble labour ad birth sto­ries. I’m sorry, mine will be PG-rated: it was an amaz­ing expe­ri­ence and it wasn’t that bad. Lucky me?

Like I explained, I didn’t enjoy being preg­nant and I was cer­tainly not glow­ing. I was look­ing for­ward for the grand finale. Sure, I was a bit anx­ious about it, but he per­spec­tive of going through labour didn’t bother me much. I fig­ured bil­lions of women had done so before me and that it was a nat­ural process. Besides, as much as I dis­like hos­pi­tals, I’m not a very mod­est per­son and I don’t get grossed out by body stuff easily—blood, secre­tions don’t bother me.

I didn’t attend any pre-natal classes and I didn’t read much about birth and labour. My birth plan was sim­ple: I had told my ob-gyn I had no set prin­ci­ples, that I trusted the med­ical team and that I wanted to go with the flow. The only thing I asked was for Feng to be with me and that he’d be the one announc­ing the gen­der. I wanted nat­ural child­birth, i.e. no epidural. Again, it wasn’t a mat­ter of prin­ci­ple and I hadn’t done much research about the pros and cons—I just wanted to keep things nat­ural and straight­for­ward, if pos­si­ble. Besides, I rarely take any med­ica­tion, and I’m high if I have a Tylenol!

The Onset of Labour

My due date was approach­ing: I was 37–38 weeks preg­nant (38 weeks accord­ing to the doc­tors, I still think I was 37!). I started to look out for the early signs: the baby drop­ping, increase Brax­ton Hicks con­trac­tions, and of course the break­age of the amni­otic sac and the mucus plug.

On Octo­ber 11, I had my weekly appoint­ment at the hos­pi­tal. I had been feel­ing tired and uncom­fort­able but no more than usual. Actu­ally, I had just decided to put my yoga classes on hold! I walked back the 2.5 kilo­me­tres from the hos­pi­tal to home that evening, so obvi­ously I was still fine.

It was Feng’s birth­day but we post­poned eat­ing out to the week­end since I came back late from the hopistal, where I was the last patient of the day.

Around 11 p.m., I started feel­ing pain in my lower back and cramps in my legs. It had hap­pened before and I thought I had walked too much.

I went to bed but couldn’t sleep: the lower back pain wouldn’t go away. I stared at the dig­i­tal clock in the bed­room and at one point real­ized that the gap between the sharp shots of pain was regular—the inter­val was about seven minutes.

At 2:30 a.m., I woke Feng up. “Alright, this may be noth­ing but I’m really in pain… and it may be real contractions.”

I had heard about false labour and I was still expect­ing my water to break as a sure sig­nal of labour, so I was pretty calm. We are only a ten-minute drive from the hos­pi­tal and babies don’t drop like that.

The pain was bad for a minute, and then for five min­utes I would be just fine, until it starts again. It was weird: dur­ing the con­trac­tions, part of me just wanted them to go away, but dur­ing each few-minute respite, I kept on hop­ing it was actu­ally labour, and I was look­ing for­ward for the next con­trac­tion to con­firm my instinct.

At 3:30 a.m. I called the hospital’s triage hot­line. The woman on the phone was very calm and help­ful, and sug­gested I’d take a bath and relax. “If it’s labour, it will take a while,” she said, “so you can stay home for now, as long as you are okay with that.”

It seemed like a plan. Feng and I read the news and tried to keep our­selves busy, not talk­ing much. It was just weird. It was the mid­dle of the night and we were on the com­puter, read­ing the news and answer­ing work emails.

Okay, maybe you should pack a bag,” Feng even­tu­ally offered.

I didn’t have my hos­pi­tal bag ready—I’m usu­ally pretty orga­nized but for some rea­son I found it was bad luck to pack ahead of time. I did have a list ready though, so I threw some toi­letry, a change of clothes for me and the baby, my Kin­dle and the usual con­tent of my hand­bag (Black­Berry, IDs, etc.) into a big­ger bag. What else would I need?

Just before 6 a.m., I told Feng it was time to go to the hos­pi­tal. I was per­fectly fine between each con­trac­tion but they were get­ting stronger and stronger, and I was lit­er­ally down on my knee each time they came. Besides, I couldn’t feel the baby mov­ing as much, and it scared me a bit.

The Last Few Preg­nant Pic­tures, 36 Weeks at Rideau Hall

The Last Few Preg­nant Pic­tures, 36 Weeks at Rideau Hall

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About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.

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