My birth: Painful and proud of it!

In terms of birth preparation, I’m proud of the fact that my husband and I were very organised and well-prepared for birth by attending the birth workshop at the hospital and by seeking the help of Erika as our doula. My birth experience, on the other hand, was quite something, so I would say I’m proud that I managed to get through it without any drugs or much intervention. I learnt that I’m pretty tough and have a high pain threshold, however, in saying that I also learnt that next time I might take the “easier” route and have an epidural or perhaps try a home birth if I’m brave enough. Having been through it once, I now know that the longer you spend at home, the less interference there is.

The benefits of having a doula were that we had someone who we could share our fears and worries with and call at any time. During birth, our doula, Stephanie, acted as an objective third party between ourselves and the hospital staff, which was helpful in terms of decision-making. She did not force her opinions on us but simply advised us as to what would be ideal and that we didn’t have to just accept the advice given by the hospital staff. Also, she guided my husband in how to help with pain relief and allowed him to take nap breaks when he needed them. I don’t think I could have done it without the both of them!

I was very happy with the whole doula experience, except for the fact that we didn’t get to have our original doula, Erika, at our birth. Nevertheless, Stephanie did a fantastic job!

My birth story…

We were very excited about becoming parents but mostly I was anxious about labour and how much pain I was going to have to go through. I had a pretty breezy pregnancy with no morning sickness or issues, except for pain in my glutes from sleeping on my side, but my chiropractor helped me through that. My birth plan was scaled from no intervention up to an epidural, so I tried to keep my options open. I really hoped that it would be natural and as calm and peaceful as it could be, however, this was not how it turned out…here’s the original message I sent out to my fellow pregnant mothers post-partum:

“I just had the most painful 27 hours of my life!!! It all started out great, was going to be a water birth and I was using the shower – it was awesome! Then one of the midwives made a mistake with how dilated I was, so they then told me they had to break my waters because I was taking so much time. This caused crazy contractions and I couldn’t have a water birth anymore because they had to use foetal monitors – so annoying! And that’s when all the serious pain started – like your worst nightmare birth with the worst pain ever! I made so much noise and almost broke Luiz’s (my husband) hands – it was crazy!!! But we’re super happy and recovering at hospital now. My advice: keep your mind open about pain management – I think next time I want an epidural or a C-section.”

In the end, the doctor had to do a small cut in order to get Noah out, which meant stitches of course! But thankfully, after half an hour of giving birth I was up and showering and hobbling to the maternity ward to recover. It definitely was the most painful thing I’ve ever experienced and I honestly didn’t feel that overwhelming love for my newborn at first sight, but that doesn’t mean I don’t now! I think I was just in shock of how painful it had been. In hindsight, having a doula was a very smart choice and I was so happy with how she (and my husband) supported me for the whole 12 hours in hospital. However, next time I might spend more time at home and possibly have my doula support me there before heading to the hospital, that way there will be less interference and interruptions from hospital staff. Overall though, I was impressed by the service provided by the hospital throughout labour and during recovery, they were very supportive and informative.

Taking Noah home that first day was so scary and surreal, but now we’ve gotten into the swing of things and are learning what to do in order to make him happy. It’s been hard not having close friends and family around us here in Melbourne, but the support from the midwives and maternal health nurses has been very helpful. Thankfully I haven’t experienced any emotional rollercoasters since birth, in fact I’ve felt closer and more loving towards my husband instead! However, the real issue now is: when do we get to spend quality time together?! That’s something we’ve obviously got to learn to factor in.