I have many nieces and nephews so I heard a lot about birth from my sisters. I knew about the main big things like epidurals, vacuums and c-sections. I wasn’t interested in going to a birthing class and hearing too much, I thought it'd be better if I just went in with an idea of my options and see how it went. I watched videos online of some things I thought would be helpful, like massage techniques during contractions. My mindset was “if our bodies were made to do this, I can do it”. I stayed very active during my pregnancy, worked out a few times a week. I felt very strong, it made me feel good, like I could do anything.
My whole pregnancy I thought I would for sure be a few weeks late, I just did not feel this baby was going to be moving anywhere too fast. Two days before my due date I went to the bathroom and out came a major goo situation. Turns out that was the plug, and I knew I was getting closer to meeting my little lady. The next day was Saturday and I happen to be hanging out with my nurse/ lactation consultant friend. I started feeling contractions, but they were not bad at all. My friend told me that when you exercise a lot, the contractions can feel lighter than they actually are and I should probably go to the hospital soon.
I went home and my husband and I were debating if we should go. The contractions started getting close together, a few minutes apart, but they didn’t hurt too bad. Finally I decided we should just go. We grabbed my hospital bag I had packed and went to the car. Of course this would happen to me, the car didn’t start, great timing! After his brother came to jump the car, we were off to Hadassah Ein Kerem, in Jerusalem.
We got to the hospital around 8pm, things were pretty quiet there, it was much calmer a scene than I was expecting. The midwife there checked me and said I was 1 cm but “very thin”, the baby was very low down. They told us we could walk around and come back in an hour to be checked again. At the next check she said I was moving fast, at a few cm and they could put me in a delivery room.
Once I was in the room I was hooked up to a monitor so I had to stay in bed, but I was breathing through contractions just fine ,they still didn't hurt too bad. I was not sure I wanted an epidural, I heard it slows down the process so I was waiting as long as I could take the pain. They checked me again and I was at about 4 cm and then contractions started getting really painful. I had watched some videos about moving around and getting massages during the contractions but my monitor kept moving so I had to stay in bed. That's when I decided get me an epidural, now! I don't mind needles, and the pain was taking over so I was just thankful when I got it. Things got a lot less painful and I was pretty much just hanging out there. My body was shaking uncontrollably and I asked the midwife why this was happening. She told me my body was working so hard, doing all the work, I just couldn’t feel it because of the epidural. The muscles I had been working hard on my whole pregnancy were doing all the work. It was now about 4am and the midwife said I was progressing fast, I could start pushing every time I felt the need to. She positioned me in a seated position and I would just push when I felt I needed. The epidural was working well, I only felt a lot of pressure, not pain.
When she came in next, is was go time. She said this is when the real hard work begins. I was pushing extremely hard, “like you have to go to the bathroom”. Next thing I know they are saying the heart rate is dropping and I really need to get this baby out fast. I just remember thinking I wanted to do this the natural way, I was scared of what they would do so I just pushed as hard as I could. Suddenly a few doctors were in the room. I remember pulling the amazing midwife in for a bear hug and squeezing my husband until his hand was blue. Sounds were escaping my body that I did not know I had in me. The doctor kept saying “she's right there, we see her”, but the baby's head was positioned in a way that she would not come out. Next thing I know I felt searing pain, the only way I can describe it is “white hot light” because that is what I saw. They needed to cut me, an episiotomy, that part so not pleasant to say the least. They still could not get her out so they brought out the vacuum, I was pushing as they sucked her out. She finally came out and they flopped her on me. I was so happy, tired and overwhelmed with emotion. They whisked her off pretty fast and said she had to go up to get checked because she may have fluid in her lungs. I was petrified, I just wanted to know she was ok. I had to do one more push to get the placenta out. That little push after all that hard pushing was such a relief. Someone came in to stitch me up and I just kept asking if the baby was OK. I told my husband to go check on the baby. After I was stitched I just lay alone in the bed, alone in the room. Everything that just happened hit me at once and I started to cry. I knew this was totally normal because I had sisters who told me about their experiences. Now I find the thing I am telling expectant mothers the most is, let yourself cry when you need to. The hormone changes, the new life you have, it is all a lot to handle and even though you are so happy, you just need to cry sometimes.
My husband and the midwife came back to the room and helped me into the shower. That was a much needed shower. I had been up all night so I was extremely exhausted and I just wanted to see my baby. I got wheeled upstairs to the maternity ward and they brought in my baby girl. I was so excited to see her, my heart was full.
As people came to visit I would tell them my birth story. Somehow a few hours after it all, I already forgot the pain and was saying I would do it all over again in an instant for this kid.
My birth was overall pretty amazing. The entire laboring process, I felt great. Those twenty minutes of chaos at the end, the cutting and vacuuming were painful, but my memory of it fades and the good parts stand out. My advice is to stay healthy during your pregnancy. Strengthening those pelvic floor and abdominal muscles that will be working during your pushing makes all the difference. Having the endurance to push through will help tremendously, so walk when you can, eat right and take care of yourself. Feel strong and empowered, tensing up your body and being scared of the process will only make it more difficult. You can do it, women have been doing it for years, you are strong and powerful. That's what I kept telling myself and it helped me push through. It was all so worth it.