In the evening of December 20, 2016, my sweet little ray of sunshine was born. He is now two weeks old, and finally I have some time to sit down and write our birth story.
According to my doctor, I was overdue 41 weeks and 3 days, hence he gave me a referral for induction. Therefore, I couldn’t go to the hospital I had planned to give birth at because they specialise more in births with complications. Instead, I had to give birth at the Riga maternity hospital. So on the morning of the planned day I went there with my partner, both packed up and ready for the big event. At the reception I was looked at, admitted and told that my partner cannot come with me because they are out of “family” induction wards and could only place me in a shared room with someone else who is getting induced. He would have to wait until noon when visiting hours start to see me, and if I didn’t go into active labour until 8PM, he would have to leave until I get transferred to the labour ward. All that is a weird system and I don’t get it – it’s just ridiculous that he can’t be there with me and support me in the process.
Luckily, when I was with the staff member who allocates the rooms for induction, she asked me if I would like to have a “twin” room formally turned into a family room so I wouldn’t have to share it with other expectant mummies and could have my partner there as well. For an extra payment, of course.
So, we got there, I got the baby’s heart tones checked, a doctor saw me, and I was told to take a dose of a powder hourly. That is what I did, was in quite a good mood, just chilling at the room with my partner. Some very light contractions came in moments, but I could barely feel them, I could compare them with training contractions that I would get during pregnancy. With the second dose the contractions got a bit stronger, the pain was around 3 out of 10. Went to check heart tones, contractions showed up there as well. I was still chilling, feeling OK, sitting on the fitness ball and colouring in my adult colouring book. Lunch was brought to us in interesting boxes, and I even ate in spite of the contractions. Interestingly, I could choose vegetarian meals when I got allotted the room. The only difference from a non-vegetarian meal though was that my portion didn’t have a piece of chicken meat on top of rice but my partner did. 😀
At 3 PM I took my third dose of powder. Around 4PM my pains got more intense. Also, I got only about 2 – 3 minutes of rest between the contractions. The contraction timer app on my phone said – “immediately go to hospital!” I still could cope with them, could breath through them by standing up and supporting myself against the wall with elbows. I had another session of heart tones done on me as well. After five hours spent having weaker and then stronger contractions and pains, a doctor examined me – I was only 1 cm dilated. Inspiring, isn’t it? After that I got injected a spasmolitic something in my bum, which was supposed to do I don’t know what. Help with spastic pain, I guess. Also, at some point here, my mucus plug came out.
Funny how the contractions were so close to each other right away – that is quite tiring. The normal labour process would go differently. the first contractions would be around 20 minutes apart, and slowly the intervals would decrease to 15, 10, 5 minutes and the pains would gradually increase. An interval of 2 minutes would normally be there at full dilation, about to push the baby out. But for me – nope, no luck, 2 minutes it is, all the way. So tiring!
Around 5PM my pains had gone very intense, standing propped against the wall wouldn’t help anymore, I was on my knees, supporting my chest and arms against the bed. I struggled to breathe properly through the very frequent contractions. My partner already earlier told me to go get somebody and ask for some pain relief, as this didn’t look normal to him that I’m struggling so much. Eventually I did go to complain that I’m in a lot of pain and contractions are VERY frequent. However, the woman who did the heart tones for me looked at me like I’m a whiny bitch and said – “And what do you want from me?” So after this moment of attitude I retreated to the room to suffer and wait for 7PM when a doctor was scheduled to examine me again. Those two hours were not nice.
At 6.45PM, while I was in my on-the-knees-and-bed position, still suffering, my waters broke. That’s when my partner had had enough, bless him, and ran out to tell the staff that my waters have broken and I need to be seen. Of course, he spoke English, not Latvian. So the only thing that the staff member did was show thumbs up to him, as in to say – very good. She did finally come to see how I am – miserable with pain, moaning. She called for a janitor to come clean up the mess on the floor. I went to rinse myself off in the shower, which felt so nice on my back during a contraction. All the while, the woman came and rushed me to be quicker and that the doctor is now waiting to examine me. I couldn’t even dress myself in the birthing gown and dry myself, my partner did that for me. In the very beginning, I liked that woman, we were chatting about my bump and other things while my baby’s heart tones were taken. At this point I hated her guts, she was so indifferent to how I was and acted as if I was simulating pain or as if I was a weak pussy that I couldn’t handle it.
So, finally I got seen by the doctor, and surprise surprise – my cervix was dilated only mere 2cm!!! Two fucking centimeters after hours of exhausting pain every two minutes! Bless the doctor, she asked if I’m considering an epidural. Yes, please, as soon as possible, please!!!
However, it didn’t happen as soon as possible – first, the had to check the heart tones again, and only then we can move on to the labour ward upstairs. Luckily, at least my partner was packing up all the things in the meanwhile, even though no-one had told him that we are leaving the induction room. Finally, the heart tones were done, and we could move on to the labour ward. Someone said that maybe I should get a wheelchair to go, but the heart tone bitch woman right away said no, she’s walking. I didn’t really need a wheelchair, but who the fuck is she that she can just blatantly say it like that!!! Thank god, I never saw her again and everyone from this point forward was nice and thoughtful to me.
As we got to the labour ward, I was told by the midwife (who was nice) that before calling the anaesthetist, they have to look at the heart tones for at least ten minutes. Yes, again, even I had just done it, just in a different room of the same institution. But oh well, what can I say, what needs to be done, needs to be done. All this lingering and waiting for pain relief was like an eternity of pain for me, I was well miserable. And nauseous – I needed to have a vomit bowl with me all the time while I suffered. That’s when I regretted having that nice meal earlier. Later, as I was pushing, I was having nasty heartburn and burps with acidic aftertaste of rice. Yuck! Luckily, I did hold my stomach contents in. 🙂 Also, at this point, up until the time when I needed to push, I was shivering like a freaking tambourine and I couldn’t help it.
After these very long 10 minutes, the anaesthetist finally came, gave me an epidural, after which every next contraction became less painful, but still a good half hour passed until I could smile and just breathe through every contraction, rather than wailing as if I was dying. God bless epidurals! 🙂
This is where everything gets grosser – you have been warned! :p
A bit more than half-hour after the epidural was done and I felt like a human again, during one of the contractions, I felt my cervix just opening up and baby’s head sliding down. And even further down with each contraction. The midwife came at 9PM, I told her this, and she examined me – fully dilated! She said that either the epidural had worked miracles by relaxing me so much that my cervix dilated so quickly, or my cervix has torn. In the end, it turned out to be the second version had happened. Because of very strong contractions so often, my cervix just gave up and ripped open. Nice. Again, god bless epidural, because If the cervix ripped while I feel all the pain, I would fucking go mental from pain and panic. Unless the tear of the cervix would be painless. In that case, never mind.
Although I wanted to give birth in a somewhat vertical position, and it seemed like a valid option then, that didn’t happen. I had to push the baby out the standard way – laying on the birthing table on my back, with my legs wide open. Well, whatever, I just rolled with the situation and did what the midwife told me. In the beginning I had to push mildly with my diaphragm, whilst uttering a hissing sound. However, a bit later I had to switch to proper pushing hard. Then, towards the end I also had to hold my knees and push in that position. Everyone was encouraging me, midwife told me to do the pushes like I’m angry, my partner was next to me telling me that I’m doing great all the time. And I was a mess, saying that I can’t do this, it’s too hard, and so on. I did still performed as good as I could. That was proper hard work, I was read from the efforts and sweating. That all was awful. It was the worst when the baby’s head was actually starting to come out, that’s when I was getting panicky. It was the worst when I did manage to push the baby’s head out, but when it was halfway out, the contraction ended. That is when I proper panicked and was saying that I can’t do this, it’s not coming out, why couldn’t it just come out, why did it have to get stuck like this! The midwife then was telling me to listen, like, 15 times, and tried to bitch-slap me out of the panic by telling me to focus, that the baby is almost out, and to thing about the baby, etc. It’s not like I would stop pushing or anything when the next contraction would come.
When the next contraction came, finally I did the last pushes and the baby’s head was out and so was he, a huge relief, and I met him. He was instantly put on my tummy and wrapped in a changing sheet. He only had a little cry and then was just quiet, making just small sounds, being a nice baby. 🙂 I had been pushing for less than an hour. And yes, I pooped a little during the pushes (sorry!). It didn’t matter though at the time, that wasn’t really on the top of anybody’s priority list. 😀 The umbilical cord was cut by my partner already 2-3 minutes later. Although I protested that we should wait until it stops pulsating and only then cut it, the midwife said that it’s not pulsating at all, and gave me to feel it, so there is no point in waiting, it needs to be cut. A moment later, the placenta coming out was nothing, I barely felt it. I did start to feel my vagina burning a bit.
I did have a minor tear of the vagina in addition to the torn cervix. The next worst part of the labour was the stitching process. Even though I got an extra dose of epidural medicine, plus I got injected a local anaesthetic down there, that was awful. The doctor who sowed me up put spreaders in there, and maneuvered them around there to get to all the corners of the cervix and put stitches on. Sowing up what had torn in the vagina was slightly less awful, but still awful. All this took place while I was holding the baby on my tummy. Then, after everything was stitched up, the next awful thing that was done, is pushing on my stomach right above the pubic bone, to see if all the bloody gunk is coming out of my vagina from there. Why? Why do you need to do that?
The baby got weighed and measured and examined, everything was well. My partner put on his first diaper – he already had started pooping. 😀 And he also dressed him. Everybody there was praising him for doing so well and being so confident, dressing the baby, saying that it is rare that daddies are doing that and being so good at it.
According to the midwife – my baby was definitely not overdue. He weighed just over three kilos, he was still partly covered in vernix, and his skin was fine – overdue babies look like they’ve had a too long bath, wrinkly and their skin start peeling. Also the placenta was small and had no signs of ageing. So, my little nugget was forced out instead of coming into this world naturally. I could have waited at least two more weeks, as he looked more like a 38 weeks old, not 41+3. However, I do understand that doctors won’t risk being responsible for waiting in case any trouble happens with the pregnancy and child, so I can’t blame them.
After the baby was dressed, I breastfed him for the first time, and then we were left alone for a while to spend some time there and somewhat recover. Then we were taken to a room – I had to sit in a wheelchair, which was adjusted in a way that the back is down a bit. My bum was very painful, a lot of pressure-like pain there, and just plain pain. Luckily, the room I got was a private one, costing only 15 euros, rather than 60 euros for a family room. For my partner to stay with us the first night, we had to pay extra 30 euros per night. I don’t know how I would manage without him then – I was so exhausted and weak and in pain, so I’m lucky to have him there.
Of course, when we were in the room already and I was laying down, someone came to see me, and again, felt the need to push on my stomach again to see what’s coming out of me downstairs. Why? Why?
To have the first post-labour pee, I had to do it in the shower, instead of on the toilet. I needed my partner’s help getting up, undressing, drying me afterwards and just being there in case I get dizzy and need help with just standing. While showering, I realised one of the reasons why my bum hurt so much – I had pushed out huge hemorrhoids. It is much better now, but then they were horrendous, I felt like I had grown a set of testicles and was half-man now. Again, awful. For a few days I couldn’t sit, not even onto a side, I could only lay on my side. Even laying on my back was painful. That, however, was partly because of the epidural, according to what my partner said.
I then fed the baby again, and he, being the good boy that he is, was so good with latching on to the nipple and suckling. And he still is. 🙂 He is my ray of sunshine, I love him so much that thinking it makes my eyes tear up.
So that was my day at the maternity hospital, giving birth, having an awful experience. All the things I wrote in my birth plan – in vain. Labour didn’t start naturally, and I was induced, I got an epidural, I couldn’t choose a somewhat vertical birth position or sit on a birthing stool while pushing, I couldn’t “breathe the baby out” and was pushing my guts out instead, the umbilical cord was cut without waiting. The only things that I wanted and did happen is that my waters broke naturally, I had my baby put on my chest for skin-to-skin contact, the umbilical cord was cut by the father, and I got a demonstration of what the placenta looks like. But well, at least I didn’t need a c-section and the baby came through the right doors. 😀 Right after he was born, all I could say repeatedly, was “That was awful” and “Never again!”. Now, two weeks later, when the big pains and recovery process is almost over, I’m thinking – maybe one more time, but not any time soon. I hope nobody gets discouraged or scared of giving birth because of the horrible things that happened to me. 🙂
I’ll try some time later to write about the three post-labour days at the maternity hospital, if I have some spare time and baby lets me. Poot! :p