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Throughout pregnancy everyone inundates you with stories of their labours. Some are horror stories, some say they barely felt a thing and it was over before they knew it. Horror story or not they allhave one common factor too them, the minute it is over you will forget the pain and just be so happy to see your baby. I don't know why people tell you this as it just is not true!
I also met plenty of people who would just love to re-live the experience etc. I love my baby more than anything in the world but I hated being in labour - I don't think that makes me any less of a mum so I don't know why people insist it is a great experience! I just wish someone had warned me how it bad it would be so I could have at least prepared myself!
I was due on Friday the 30th July 2004, a day before my due date on the Thursday I had a midwife appointment. People (you may notice a general theme of don't believe everything people tell you when pregnant!) had told me it was normal for the baby not to be moving at this stage as it meant they were storing up their energy for birth and it was a sign they were on their way. However when my midwife asked me if I was counting the 10 movements a day still and I said no with a big grin on my face thinking it would mean I'm going to give birth very soon she looked concerned. I was told this was not normal and she was sick of people saying this as it is very dangerous. That night I was taken into hospital for monitoring.
I was strapped up to a machine for hours counting movements and heartbeats. It was very hot and I couldn't move off the bed. Eventually my baby co operated and gave a few kicks and I was sent home.
The next day (my due date) I had a hospital appointment which I had been hoping I wouldn't have to go to as when it had been made I had been just convinced my baby would arrive early. I was strapped up to the monitor for yet more monitoring and sent for a scan. Everything seemed ok so I was sent home.
By Monday there was stll little movement so I had to go in again for, yes, more monitoring! I was getting really fed up and just hoped baby was on her way! I was sent home again after they were satisfied my baby was still ok.
Tuesday I had what I thought was a show (the mucus plug that lines the cervix coming out - nice!) when I phoned the hospital for advice they told me it sounded like my waters had broken and to get some lunch and then come in. I phoned my mum and she came home from work, everyone was very excited and thought this was it.
I went to the hospital and yes they monitored me again. After a few hours of that they did an internal examination on me - ouch! They were not particuarly gentle. I was told my waters were still intact and I could go home. Great.
So off I went. The next day (Wednesday) I started with stomach pains but didn't say anything to anyone. By 6pm they were getting strong and coming every 10-15 minutes. I lasted it out with my TENS machine at home till the early hours of the morning. I eventually went into the hospital and was examined and told I was only 1cm dilated. I was in a lot of pain and this had been going on about 9 hours. I can not even begin to tell you what it was like to hear I had been going through all that pain for nothing.
I was sent home and told to have a bath to ease the pain. All I could think was once you get to 4cm it takes roughly a cm an hour, so thats 6 hours, and the longest part of labour is getting to the 4cm so I knew I had a LONG time to go and that the pain would get much much worse. I got in the bath and promptly had a panic attack about what was going to happen to me.
I phoned the hospital who didn't want to know and at 6am Thursday moning my contractions stopped. I phoned again and they informed me this could last a few days then. I felt absolutely gutted to have gone through 12 hours of labour and have no baby at the end of it.
At 6pm my contractions were coming every 10 minutes again. This time I went into it with an entirely different attitude. It was going to hurt, I knew how much now, and there was nothing I could do about it but if I panicked it would be even worse. I stopped using my TENS machine, which made me tense up with every contraction and switched to bouncing on my labour ball and having my back massaged through each contraction. This helped for a while. However I was so scared of going back to hospital and them telling me I was only 2cms or something that I stayed at home way too long.
I was in the most excrutiating pain and my mum was having visions of me giving birth on the bathroom floor so forced me to go to hospital in the middle of the night. By the time I got there I could barely walk, and after watching me try to make my way to Delivery Suite the midwives quickly ushered me into the first room on the ward. I was given gas and air straight away.
Wow that helped! It is brilliant. It makes you feel very high but only temporarily. As soon as you stop breathing it in the effects stop (I believe you can legally buy this aswell so I don't know why no one does!). I lasted quite well on the labour ball and gas and air for a few hours. I was told I was 6cm when I arrived at hospital, after reluctantly agreeing to let them examine me.
Eventually I was given a shot of pethidine. This was amazing and I now understand how people can become heroin addicts! I managed to sleep in between contractions for a while. Hours later I was given another shot of pethidine.
By the time I had got to the pushing stage (12:45 midday on Friday!) the pethidine had worn off and I was in so much pain that I could not even hold the gas and air never mind inhale it. This meant going through the pushing stage with NO pain relief. This was not a pain relief free birth out of choice believe me.
I was demanding an epidural and screaming that I no my rights (this is not like me - I can never even ask for refunds in a shop!) but was told it was too late. I begged to know how long it would last and was told to expect my baby at about 1:45. I was suprised to have actually been given an answer and didn't even really understand how far away or close that was in the state I was in.
I can not even begin to describe the pain of actually pushing a baby out, and unless you have done this yourself you probably won't understand to what degree this hurts. I felt like I would rather die than be in this pain and felt like I couldn't do it but knew I had to. If you imagine the most pain you have ever felt, multiply it by 1000 and imagine feeling that constantly for an hour you are nearly there.
Even in the state I was in I knew I didn't want to tear so managed to take the pushing slowly and escaped the whole situation without a single stitch despite me being a tiny 5ft and my baby being a healthy 7lb 1oz.
Eventually the head was born, that is the worse thing you will ever feel, you just feel like you are about to split open. If you are a guy, imagine weeing a tennis ball out. After that however the next push is one of the best feeling you will ever feel as it all slips out so easily and the relief you feel when it is over is like nothing else.
I dont agree you just forget the pain straight away, I didn't. I had always imagined I would want no one else to hold my baby etc but to be honest I couldn't have cared less. They handed me my baby and nearly straight away were telling me to feed her. There was no way I was doing this I just wanted to sleep.
I fell asleep and they latched the baby on to my breast while I was asleep. When I woke up my baby was in her little cot and I had a quick look at her but was more concerned about having a shower and some food!
It was only later when I had been moved to the ward that I could truly bond with my baby and be happy to see her. I wasn't in pain after the birth but I definately did not forget the pain that I had been through.
The babys father visited that night and informed me he knew EXACTLY how I felt as he had had bad tooth ache all day! If I had had the energy I would of given him worse than tooth ache I swear!
My advice would be to be prepared, this is going to hurt you, more than you can ever imagine but the best thing to do is accept that there is only one way this baby is going to come out and that panicking will only make things worse! Good luck to any mums to be and the pain is all worthwhile in the end! Hell I would even consider having another and my baby is only 3 months old so it must be worthwhile eh? You won't forget the pain, don't believe that, the only way you will forget it it is if you had an epidural and didn't feel the worst of the pain! Good luck, we all live to tell the tale so don't worry too much!
Fantastic review. I'm pregnant and feel guilty for dreading labour, but at least your review shows I'm not unreasonable for feeling that way!
pooliebaby 01.07.2005 00:56
whenever anyone asks me what giving birth is like I tell them it hurt like hell and I won't pretty it up for them! You are braver than me. I had an epidural but lasted out until only 3cm dilated before I barged into hospital. Wasn't taking no for an answer!I pushed for 2 hours in the end. Not glamorous at all but end result is so worth it! Great review and I agree with it all! Di x