We clocked into the labour ward on 3/1/15 at 5am for an induction of labour.

“You’re here to have a baby,” the midwife stated. What a clinically unusual way to welcome a woman into the birthing experience. First examination and only 3cm dilated, followed by a manual breaking of waters, syntocin intravenously pumped through my veins (the hormone that sends you straight into active labour) and a lovely foetal monitor strapped to my bulging stomach.

The midwife was just about to finish her shift and was fatigued, hence her skill in inserting a catheter in my left hand was questionable, after which I was left with a bloody, sore, swollen and bruised hand (for weeks). Soon, a matron with control of everything marched in and successfully put the drip in my right hand. Now, I had two bloody, sore, swollen and bruised hands.

Because I was stuck in the bed attached to a drip and foetal monitor, I asked for the sensor that gets attached to the baby’s head so I could move around a bit during labour. Tired-almost-finished-her-shift-can’t-wait-to-leave midwife had questionable motivation but performed the procedure. Second examination. By now I was used to “opening wide”, but unfortunately the sensor didn’t attach and I was still stuck in the bed strapped down to the monitor. This position would be my fate.

After a few hours sucking in gas that was as useless as a helium balloon, I said, “Screw this, get me an epi!” and called for the anaesthesiologist who (in my mind) floated in on a white fluffy cloud with her magic trolley of magic make-the-pain-go-away drugs. I only smiled once during labour and it was when I saw her… because there were rainbows beaming from her face. She rattled off some legal mumbo jumbo “paralysis this”, “infection that” in between contractions.

I profusely accepted the terms and conditions and eagerly nodded to a big long needle inserted into my spine. I would’ve taken the needle in my eyeball or that spot behind the knees that always gets sunburnt. Anything to make the intense pain go away. Only 10 minutes later, I went from hardly being able to breathe to a 30 minute nap.

I was falling in and out of sleep, and each time I woke up, Elias’ heart rate would go up and I would be shaking uncontrollably. They call it maternal fever. Maybe infection or the effects of the epi. I was freezing and couldn’t stop quivering. This went on and on until I was administered antibiotics intravenously.

In between naps, Tommy fed me grapes and mentioned going to Subway for a footlong. I was ready to put a footlong in his bum if he left me here with these baby-extracting people.

The epi was starting to wear off. Panic set in. Where was rainbow lady? I asked for a top up. All was good again. But the fever was still there and after about three hours, I had switched from Antarctica to the Arabian desert. It was so stinkin’ hot. Into the drip go more antibiotics and some paracetamol too… Sure, why not? Drugs, come at me!

Things were not progressing and we were getting somewhere in the ninth hour. Elias’ heart rate was going up and they were uncertain whether he would cope in natural labour. Since there was meconium in my waters, it was important that foetal distress was minimised for a safe delivery. Being carted to theatre for a C section was on the agenda. My ears pricked. That wasn’t in my birth plan! I was meant to spontaneously go into labour, pitter-patter into the bathtub dreamy eyed, with classical musical playing and the aroma of various essential oils to keep the mood relaxing and calm. I wanted to do everything to avoid being sliced open.

They decided to take a blood sample from the Elias’ head to check something. The medical terminology I’m still unsure of, but basically they find out if the baby is distressed. Third examination. They also took blood from me to check something – I can’t remember, maybe it was just the Red Cross taking advantage of my zonked state. I was going in and out of sleep, waking up in panic and checking the monitor to make sure his heart was still beating. That was my biggest fear, more than emergency surgery. That we would lose him.

More hours passed and a C section was still in question. Fortunately, his heart rate was going back to a normal level and I was starting to feel OK again. But, get me a bag I need to vomit! Apparently a good chuck is normal during labour. Nice to know. At least four months of morning sickness had taught me to just let it all up because it would feel good after.

13 hours on and it’s time for my fourth examination. Fully dilated! But does he go through the birth canal or under the knife? Another blood sample was taken from Elias and they decided to go ahead with a natural delivery but they will only allow a 30 minute window. Any more than that and I get sent to the butchers. Luckily, the third epi top-up was just starting to wear off so with every bit of tingling sensation I had, I needed to push.

Then, I got cut. Not the cut-on-the-bikini-line-that-will-heal-in-six-weeks cut. No. The cut that no woman ever wants. My birth plan revolved around labour methods that would avoid tears at all costs by measure of probability (water birth). An episiotomy is so much worse than a tear, almost a mutilation of womanhood if you will. But, by this point I was so exhausted and ready to have our baby I didn’t care. And besides, I was really given no choice since the doctor was adamant about getting him out quickly using the forceps. Yep. Tongs and scissors. And, I still had a second degree tear.

Elias was finally delivered and I saw him for the first time. They lay him on me and I thought, “Wow, what a fatty. How did I manage to have such a big baby inside me?” He was 3.8kg and 52cm. The doctor stitched up Frankenstein’s monster (aka my nether regions) for 45 minutes while I gazed at Elias in awe and wonder.

Yes, it’s true that you forget about the labour. That is, until the epi wears off and you have ice packed in your undies and can hardly walk let alone sit or let anything touch your bum and lady bits. The pain in the weeks and dare I say months following birth does not allow you to forget as it is a brutal reminder of what your body went through to expel a human.

I will admit for a “natural” birth, the level of intervention was very unnatural leading to many complications, which took about four months to heal and recover from. Then came the mastitis and ductal thrush a la breastfeeding, infected stitches, bruised tailbone, broken pelvic floor and the pain, oh the pain, from the cut.

Looking back, I reflect on how women are made to undertake such a laborious task and not just because we can physically take it, but emotionally and mentally too. What women are capable of is nothing short of spectacular. The mammoth task to bring forth life was given to us, and though it’s not easy by any stretch (excuse the pun), it is an honour that we would be gifted with such a huge responsibility.

Here’s the clincher, what is even more remarkable, is how I experienced women come together alongside me through my pregnancy, birth and motherhood journey. My mum, sister, mother-in-law, friends, neighbours, other mums and mums-to-be. The midwives, doctors and nurses, who I’m so grateful for. Even strangers, such as a compassionate clothing store lady who didn’t scold me when Elias had colic and was screaming the shop down. Women give life but they also sustain life through the power of connection and community. I’ve been witness of this first hand and now I’m empowered to pay it forward and pass that blessing onto other mothers. Now, let’s all hold hands and sing Kumbaya!

What was your labour like? Share with us in the comments.

 

 

 

 

Amanda Palm is a Nutritional Therapist and Lifestyle Blogger based in Sydney, married to a Swedish man and mother of a Swasian son. Her Blogs & Banter* include real life stories about Weight Loss, Nutrition, Mental Health, Parenting, Relationships, Faith and Work. *no BS guaranteed

 

Blogs & Banter www.heartfullyyou.com | Say Hello hello@heartfullyyou.com

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  • The first time I WAS INDUCED [ birth no 3 ] it took quite a while for the drip with the hormone in it to work but when it did oh boy I THOUGHT I was going to die! lol!!! It turned out that I HAD AN IDIOSYNCHROSY to the drug Syntocinon. It was about 50 times more potent on me than normal. The next birth was totally drug free .lol!!

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  • My first labour was an undiagnosed breech. At the time, no one was stressing so I wasn’t either. It was only much later I realised how bad it was and how lucky I was that it all went smoothly.

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  • Thank you for sharing the article.

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  • I had it all – gas, epidural, you name it. It’s what was required at the time, but I certainly didn’t love the after effects. I vomited and had a seizure from too much gas, and the epidural took way too many hours to wear off. We later discovered (one week later) my fluid sac had been punctured resulting in emergency surgery to put a blood patch on it. I had been in such severe pain that the experience of childbirth had altered my view so much I never went back for a second child.

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  • Apparently a cut is far better than an unexpected tear. My Mum’s tear extended down onto the top of her leg. She didn’t even want to know how many stitches she had. 2nd baby they cut her and that was practically no tearing at all. However they discovered she was allergic to penicillin. She had welts that appeared on her feet first, then gradually spread all over her

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  • You certainly went the whole round. They are so worth it in the end though.

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  • The labour of our kiddies can be a rather tiring and painful experience, with dangers for complications on top of that. But it’s true, you do forget over time or once your eyes fall on your baby and your heart is touched forever.

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  • I have given birth to 5 kid’s. First one my waters broke the morning before her birth date at 6am my ex was was working night shift had to go to hospital but felt no contractions the nurse induced me the next day at 7:30 am did not deliver till 7:30 pm. I had pethadine and gas. My second son they bought me in to be induced saw the hook my gynecologist was going to use was not going to let him hook me. Was bought in 2 weeks later the broke my water’s and I thought I was constipated nurse told me to early to be in labor his poor head had dropped in the toilet I just wanted to go to toilet nurses had to push me off toilet then I pushed him out I remember that. Nathan was induced a week before hand as gynecologist was going on holidays pathadine was used. My other child I was meant to be induced the day before but felt contractions at 3:30 the day before had pathadine and gas had Jamie at 9:30 that day and my last baby who was 10 pounds eww to big his head was never down he got stuck on my hips painful birth pathedine non of my baby’s where that big they where 3.5kg and 55cm I could not get his head down he ended up being a forceps birth I had enough my legs had to be flopped open and I was scared the baby was distressed they had a warm oxygen bed waiting for him the mid wife gave me my baby he was blue like a smurf he looked like he was not breathing Darcys Dad said something my son had to be resuscitated 4 times my Angel they tested everything my placenta and everything why was the birth so bad the question the nursing staff took as to another hospital with the royal flying doctor service this is why I will forever love Drew Anderson he was there for us thank you Drew my son was in intensive care for a month with machines and a feeding tube he came from a baby who had a feeding tube with machines to a gorgeous 2 year old who now can feed and drink himself love you Darcy.

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  • So long ago I really don’t remember much about it all now. But I did have 4 bubs and all with very fast labours. Feel so sorry for you.

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  • I had 3 early big babies. My 1st bub was born at 35 wks and after 9 painful hrs (i only used gas)i was still only 3cm’s and my baby was in destress so i had a c-section.
    My 2nd was born 32 wks and i had the gas and pethedine the nurse didn’t offer anything else these both did nothing. I had my bub in 3.5hrs and had a 2nd degree tear. My last bub was born 35 wks and i had no pain relief at all as the labor was 1.5 hrs and had no time for anything. I had a small tear with him.

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  • I knew from the beginning of even pregnancy i wanted an epidural.
    It helped me so much with delivering my 11 pound and 10.5 pound monkeys.

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  • When my Mum had me they didn’t do an incision, she tore down onto the top of her leg and it got sa really bad infection in it. Several lots of antibiotics before it healed. It depends how much gas you use how effective it is.
    When she had her 2nd baby rather than let her tear the Dr. made a small incision and she only had a very small tear. He had noticed the tear from the 1st time and didn’t want risk her tearing as much, certainly not onto her leg.
    Epidurals don’t always work, especially if they don’t put it in properly. I know a Mum who had 3 (yes 3) epidurals. The 3rd one started to work just before a surgeon took one look and decided she needed an emergency c-section. I might add the Surgeon wasn’t the one she was supposed to have. He either wasn’t called or hadn’t arrived. The midwives had kept saying she would be OK. She was already bleeding heavily and the baby was in distress.

    Reply

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