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.

30 Comments

  1. I admire how calm you are with this whole process. It’s not like other mothers, who I have the impression of making the whole thing melodramatic. They shout, they panic, and when it is portrayed in the media like childbirth scenes in movies, they overdo it to the point that it gets comic, only to be resolved by the collective “Awwww” when the baby finally arrives.

    Your approach on the other hand is more methodical, I like it!

    • Thank you! I think movies make it sound worse than it actually is. I mean, it is a natural process. But then, same thing with lots of life experience, like sex. I mean, it’s never as dramatic/scary/whatever as in the movies, right?!

  2. Each baby, each birth story is unique but they all bring back memories – of giving birth at 38 weeks (x 3 for me), of back labour, being down on my knees…
    Glad it was non-scary and non-gory for you.
    Looking forward to Part Two!

  3. I really admire the way you wanted to do it the most natural way. Actually, you’re not the first mother to tell me that they really appreciated the feeling of giving birth, even though it’s mixed with pain. It’s inspiring. Well done 🙂
    I find it great too that the hospital adviced you to… keep cool! I would have thought they would want you there RIGHT AWAY (in case the baby “drops” down on the floor, like you said 😉 )
    It’s probably definitely more confortable to be at home than in a busy, cold hospital with nothing to get busy.

    • That’s what I thought too, especially considering I’m not a huge fan of hospitals. But actually, the birth and mother unit was really nice and didn’t feel too medical!

      Giving birth is action, which fit me better than the pregnancy where you just kind of wait and hope for the best without having much control over things.

    • Eh oui! Personne n’y croyait, même quand je le regarde je me demande comment il tenait! Mais il était vraiment tout en hauteur, je pouvais à peine respirer. Ça dépend comment tu les porte en fait, c’est marrant.

  4. you r so brave! I can’t even tolerate tooth pain… so have no idea how am I going to go through labour someday.

    Can’t wait for the part 2.

    • It’s not a bad kind of pain though, and it stops pretty fast once your job is done. Hard to explain… plus if you feel in control you can get through it. I don’t have a particularly high pain tolerance level, so honestly I think you can do it if you want to!

  5. Hurray……….You must have been very tired on both this dates but it is all worth it 🙂 Love the radiant look of you being pregnant. I did the C-Section so the pain came later 🙂

  6. I love how relaxed you were about the whole thing, so many women stress about it. I admire you for not doing the epidural, you are one brave lady. I hope I can be as stress free as you were, but I would definitely have the epidural 🙂

    • I really didn’t think about it much. I mostly wanted to avoid the hassle, it wasn’t so much about being brave! Having the option was comforting though, and I was lucky I didn’t need it.

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