If you are uncomfortable with all things related to bodily fluids, body parts and the like… please stop reading now! You have been forewarned!
9/11 is a date that induces a flood of emotions for thousands of people in New York City, the United States and across the globe. Emotions of grief, anger, gratitude towards the heroic first responders/bystanders, and even hope.
Although I remember clearly where I was when the news of the terrorist attack broke in 2001, for me, the significance of September 11th changed in 2017.
After 3 hours of contractions, 5 pushes and a sprinkle of drama, our first child was born!
We had arrived at the hospital around 6pm because my water had broken at home earlier in the day, and contractions had refused to start despite my best efforts. I was all smiles, dressed in my “labour outfit” (what a joke! lol), eyeliner, mascara and lipgloss to boot.
You see, I was convinced that my labour and delivery were going to be pain-free. I had read the book Supernatural Childbirth by Jackie Mize and one thing I took away from it was: Labour (as the word itself implies) is simply – HARD WORK.
And hard work was something I was sort of accustomed to… after all I had survived Medical School, Residency and crazy ER/ICU shifts. I had prayed, declared and decreed. I had prepped my body, prepped my mind, prepped my playlist.
In my mind I was READY! Lol.
But my dear friends, labour humbled me and brought me to my knees… literally!
At some point I was “buck-neked”, making funny groaning sounds reminiscent of a farm animal, half-hanging off the bed while my mum, nurse and hubby were trying to prevent me from falling off.
I was swiping everyone’s hands away as they tried to rub my back, yet demanding for those very same hands a few seconds later so I could squeeze HARD. There’s just something about squeezing your partner’s hand during labour that is very gratifying. As if to say… You might not feel what I am feeling, but you will sha feel some pain by force!
After what seemed like an eternity, I couldn’t take the pain any more and asked for laughing gas which is supposed to be a form of analgesia. Ha! Indeed! Does that stuff actually work for anyone in labour?! Please let me know, I’m actually curious.
Well, it did absolutely nothing for me. Actually, it “helped” for the few seconds between when the mask was placed on my face, and when the nurse eventually turned the gas on at the source. Oh… it was off this whole time? Yeah, placebo effect is a real thing.
So of course I asked for the hard stuff – morphine, fentanyl anything to make the pain go away.
To this request, my nurse replied:
“You’re already 8 centimetres dilated. It’s your choice but if we give you any narcotics now, we will need the NICU team here just in case the meds affect the baby.”
TWO more centimetres to go… soooo close yet soooo far! I psyched myself up and decided to hold off on the drugs.
“When was the last time you peed? Can you get up to go the washroom? You might need to empty your bladder.”
I tried to stand up and FAILED. I ended up on the floor from the pain caused by the next contraction. Getting me back on the bed must have been a sight to behold.
“Can you lay on your back so you can at least use the bedpan?”
I tried again and it was an EPIC FAIL. Labouring on all fours was way more comfortable for me than trying to lay on my back, and I wasn’t changing positions for nobody.
“Okay, then. Just pee on the bed!” Huh? Come again? At that point I was willing to do whatever it would take to get this baby out.
So there I was, again “buck-neked”, on all fours, peeing on myself in this hospital bed as everyone stood and watched.
When I say real pain erases ALL your dignity… I mean it.
Anyways, emptying my bladder did the trick because shortly after that embarrassment, I felt this pressure in my bum like I needed to have a bowel movement. I told my nurse and after she examined me, she called out “Page the doctor to come NOW!”
She urged me not to push, which is easier said than done.
FUN FACT: I learned (two years later) that if you pretend like you’re blowing out candles in quick succession, it prevents you from pushing when you’re asked not to. It gives you more control, which can prevent tears. This would have been nice to know on September 11th 2017, as I may have been spared a stitch or two!
Another FUN FACT: If your doctor/midwife will let you, you can push on all fours, or on your side, or squatting if that’s how you’re most comfortable. Some hospitals will have squat bars to help provide some support.
And that’s the story of how our beautiful daughter was born at 11.25pm, weighing 7Ibs 8oz (3.4kgs).
The next morning at rounds, my nurse gave her report and said that I “just turned up and popped a baby out.” Excuse me? Lol. Yes, it may have been fairly quick, but from my perspective it certainly was NOT as easy as she made it sound.
“Hard work” was an understatement, but all in all, I am very, very thankful for the way my labour and delivery went down.
To end, I have some quick advice for expectant mothers:
Strip if you have to, pee on yourself if you have to, labour on all fours and moo like a cow if you have to, ask for morphine/fentanyl/laughing gas (LOL, no pun intended)/an epidural if you have to, threaten to murder your partner if you have to…
In short, know your options and don’t be too shy to do what your body wants, or to ask for what you need. The nurses, doctors, midwives etc have seen it ALL (literally) anyways!
Happy 2nd Birthday Baby Girl.
You are fearfully and wonderfully made!
May the Lord bless you and take care of you.
May the Lord be kind and gracious to you.
May the Lord look on you with favour and give you peace.