My pregnancy was planned, and I was mentally and physically prepared to be a mother. The double line on the home pregnancy test made us ecstatic! Luckily, I had one of the smoothest pregnancies, with only a few hiccups along the way, the worst being constipation during the first trimester. My preference was for a vaginal birth without an epidural and was fortunate to find a doctor who encouraged natural labor.
As we neared towards my due date, my parents had arrived to help out with the baby. I completed week 40 and there was no sign of the baby making its way out. But I was happy knowing that I could still carry my baby with me every second of the day. Week 41 continued and still no sign of labor. My doctor performed a membrane sweep during one of the examinations. That evening, I felt one contraction and that was it. I had to visit my doctor every day now to ensure that everything was fine with the baby.
The day after my 41st week, the baby did not make any movements during the check-up. I had woken up late that morning and had rushed for my doctor’s appointment without having had anything to eat or drink. The doctor recommended to not wait any further and to prepare for an induced delivery. On my way back home, I could feel the baby move, and so I started feeling hesitant for an induction. I spoke to my doctor that evening but she said that the risks increase as we prolong further and recommended to go ahead with induction as planned.
I was admitted that night, and early the next morning, the doctor induced me with a vaginal gel. The baby was still adamant to stay in and the doctor tried the vaginal gel again in the afternoon. By evening, contractions had already begun according to the doctor, but apparently, I had a high threshold of pain. They got stronger as the night progressed. All throughout the night, I could feel the contractions coming on and getting stronger but they were still bearable.
By the following morning, my labor had still not progressed as expected. The doctor then administered IV synthetic oxytocin to push the labor along. Soon after, I was having intense contractions that occurred almost every 5 minutes. The IV flow rate was reduced. Although that reduced the frequency of contractions, the intensity kept getting stronger. Laughing gas was my chosen pain relief option, but honestly, it did nothing for the pain.
The mucus plug came out during an examination. I knew that I shouldn’t push until I was dilated and effaced or else the baby’s head could swell and reduce the chances of vaginal delivery. But within an hour, the contractions had become so strong that I couldn’t help pushing a little. I asked my husband to call and inform my doctor, who said what I already knew – that I shouldn’t push before it was time. It took me all of my strength to avoid pushing with each contraction, but I failed to control the urge to push. A little fluid came out with each push. All the while my husband looked on helplessly, as he couldn’t do anything to make it better for me.
After about an hour of struggle, my doctor finally arrived to examine me and said that it was alright to push, as I was already dilated enough. An hour of contractions later, I suddenly felt the urge to use the toilet. My husband was worried whether I would deliver the baby there too, but I assured him that wouldn’t happen. I tried to poop but couldn’t. In hindsight, I recollected that my sister had told me that she had felt the same too when it was time for labor, but I didn’t think of it then. I considered taking an epidural if I had to bear such intense contractions for longer.
Inside the labor room:
But soon, the head nurse examined me and said that I was crowning – it was time. I was taken to the labor room and they’d kept the AC switched off stating that it would be too cold for the baby. It was peak summer in a hot labor room. I was sweating, in labor and frequently asking for water. The weirdest part of my labor was that once I was supposed to be in active labor, the intensity of the contractions and my urge to push subsided. The doctor asked me to push, but I just wasn’t getting contractions like before.
After maybe an hour of forced pushing, the doctor realized that my vein had developed a clot and so the IV wasn’t getting in. It was switched to my other hand. My doctor then said that I had to push harder, as it wasn’t good for the baby to be in the birth canal for too long. I started to panic wondering what would happen if I couldn’t push the baby out? And it was too late to opt for a C-section as the baby was already in the birth canal! (Later on, I came to know of forceps and vacuum aided vaginal deliveries).
I then pushed with all my strength, so much that I could feel the pressure all the way up to my head! A couple of such pushes later and a nurse applying pressure of my stomach, I felt something slide out. The doctor didn’t say anything. I assumed the baby’s head was out and that I needed to push again to bring the rest of the baby out. But a minute later, I heard a small whimper. That’s when I realized that the baby was out!
I knew that the placenta was still to come out and so I waited. Though I preferred delayed cord clamping, I had already registered for stem cell donation at a public bank, and some blood was collected for that. As I was not given any updates, I asked my doctor if the baby was okay. She replied that the baby was fine. The placenta was out. Suddenly I felt the urge to throw up and soon all the water that I had consumed during labor was out on a kidney tray.
While my doctor sutured my episiotomy wound, I could see the pediatrician bending over to examine my baby. The first sight I saw of my baby was a little hand trying to reach out for the doctor’s stethoscope. After the suturing was completed, my doctor held up the baby for me to see. I had a little baby girl!!!
Outside the labor room:
Getting out of the delivery room, I saw my husband. I told him it’s a girl and he said that he knows. He asked how she was and I replied that she’s fine. I soon saw my parents and mother-in-law. They looked a bit worried even after seeing me and hearing about the baby girl. I could feel that my face was swollen after all the intense pushing. Once I was changed and back in the room with my parents and mil, I still observed some tension. I asked them why they all seemed worried and joked whether I really looked that horrible after delivery. (My face was quite swollen and I’d burst a few blood vessels in my eyes due to the pressure of pushing). Within the hour, my husband joined us and soon our baby girl was brought into the room. Everyone was gushing over the baby.
What had actually happened:
I later came to know that there was meconium staining in the fluid during labor and hence the pediatrician suspected meconium aspiration. Apparently, she had told my husband that there was only a 50:50 chance for the baby! That had been the cause of worry that I’d seen on my parents’ faces. They couldn’t tell me about it either as I had just come out of labor with the joy of having seen my baby. My husband later told me that hearing me say that the baby was fine, had made half of his worry melt away.
As per my doctor, the fluid was clear when the baby’s head came out, but the fluid that came out after the baby did have meconium staining. The baby was responsive and had even tried to reach for my doctor’s hands. The pediatrician, however, claimed that the baby needed to be given antibiotics and kept under observation. My doctor opposed the antibiotics and finally agreed to administer oxygen and observe. I can only imagine what my family went through during that one hour and how difficult it must have been for them to keep it from me. I’m so grateful that everything turned out well in the end.
Everyone has their own birth story, but do reach out if some part of my journey has resonated with yours. I’d love to hear yours!
DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed in this post are the personal views of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the views of Aweekinlife.com. Any omissions or errors are the author’s and A Week In Life does not assume any liability or responsibility for them.