Its been a little bit since my last post since we have been quite busy around here! Today marks one week since we welcomed our little girl into our world! Meet Briar McAuley, our sweet, chubby-cheeked, boop-able nosed daughter. We are so smitten with her and trust me- all the reduced sleeps, pain of labour and projectile poops were worth the wait!
I thought my experience might shed some light on what actually happens because if you’ve never given birth to a baby, how would one know? Plus, everyone’s experience is different. Different bodies, different circumstances….however, there are a few KEY things I realized that occur which don’t get talked about enough! So here it is- how labour went for me and what no one seems to talk about! This is complete truth- so if you want to stop reading, you’ve been warned…haha.
LABOUR & DELIVERY
Being at 41 weeks and still only 1cm dilated, it looked as though induction was my only real option unless I wanted to wait and see whether things would change. Basically, Briar was very comfortable in her condo and wasn’t looking to move out. Therefore, we opted to evict! In order to jump start the induction, Scott and I showed up the night before at McMaster hospital for a ‘Foley’ which is a tube with an inflated bulb that is placed inside the cervix to basically prep your body for delivery the following day.
Getting it put in was uncomfortable but that’s it. Soon after though, the forced expansion of your cervix causes your body to experience contraction-like cramps that come and go until hours later (or the next morning for me), they dissipate and you pull the bulb and tubing out of yourself. Lovely, right? Anyways, seeing how we were waiting for the hospital to find a time slot for a bed to open, we opted for a lovely last breakfast-for-two at the St. James. It felt strange just casually having breakfast while knowing we would have a baby sometime later that day!
We got the green light to come in for 1pm where eventually after getting settled in this lovely suite, they started me off on an iv of both fluids and oxytocin- the labour inducing hormone. The dosage starts very low and gets increased incrementally every 30min. How was that? Well, my husband and I had a grand old time playing music, a few games and reading.
It was a lovely time until…..it totally wasn’t. Going from 0 to 100, sometime between 6-7pm I felt the same contraction-like pain the night before but increasingly getting worse and every 2 minutes. The pain appeared almost out of nowhere and no exercise ball, position or breathing helped. I’m no baby and I didn’t even know if I would need an epidural but here is the truth: this pain brought me to my knees and I was needing an epidural asap. Around 10pm the epidural (which doesn’t hurt getting put in by the way) was starting to drip and while it helped a bit, they additionally gave me a buzzer to self administer pain med (fentanyl, can you believe it!) to help. I had not been checked yet how far along I was but when the OB looked, I was at 9cm. Damn. So I laid there still writhing but at least with less swearing. Finally at 1:30am they gave the green light to start pushing through the contractions. Surprisingly, pushing through the waves of contractions (like you are having to really poop-that’s what they tell you) feels good in dealing with the pain. I squeezed as many pushes as I could each time and luckily for me, 30 minutes later we welcomed Briar. Some women, I was told, need to push for hours- insanity! Briar was a healthy 8lb 12oz strong baby and the feeling you get when you see a baby come out of you is…..WILD. My first words were “holy shit”. It’s a mixture of shock, stunned, surprise, bewilderment, elation and more. My labour was quite standard with no surprises. But what about the stuff no one tells you? Here it is, folks!
WHAT NO ONE TELLS YOU
- Uncontrollable whole body shakes are normal and are simply a response to contractions. Not. Fun.
- You are not paralyzed with an epidural and can still wiggle your feet and toes. They do this to keep you aware of contractions so you can push through them. Epidurals simply smooth off the worst pains- very much appreciated!
- Having a baby and the giant placenta taken out feels like such a RELIEF! It’s about 10 pounds of pressure instantly taken off your body which feels very good.
- After you give birth, they give your uterus a ‘massage’. This ‘massage’ is no massage- it is a kneading and pushing down of your belly that’s quite aggressive. They do this to push out giant blood clots and ensure your ‘floppy’ uterus returns to a shape better prepared to recover.
- Pooping is now very scary. If you had stitches down there from tearing (it’s common for first-timers), it is terrifying to just bear down when you feel all of the stitches will just pop open. Friends, stool softeners are your pals the first week back.
- When you breastfeed, you get wicked cramps. The oxytocin hormone is at play again, released when you breastfeed and helping to contract your uterus back into its smaller, former self. A good thing for recovery but very uncomfortable and quite painful at times.
- Bleeding- all the time in various amounts. Enough said.
- Finally, the past week has made me realize- if you are planning on having a baby with someone, choose wisely! The amount of help needed to prepare food, move the baby, run errands is huge the first little bit as you recover. So pick your partner wisely! Plus, it’s super attractive when you see your partner take charge and help out where they can. At the very least, have people you can count on to help you out while you take care of yourself and your new bundle.
That’s it for now, everyone. ‘Til next time!