Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Revisiting the labour experience

The worst time to go into labour is probably when you just crawl into bed at night. This is what happened to us. To make things worst, I went to bed hungry that night. I only had fruit and yogurt for dinner and my stomach was growling. That was the start of a very long night...

My water broke and we arrived at the hospital just before 1 AM. Contractions started soon after so we were moved to the birthing suite for the night. Because of my Strep B, I had antibiotics given to me right away through an IV tube. It was very early labour for me since I was only 1 cm dilated. At this time, Jean-Louis was feeling a bit light headed and thought he was going to vomit. Contractions were coming around every 5 minutes and were pretty strong. The pain was like a bad stomach ache like you are about to have diarrhea but can't. Each contraction also came with intense lower back pain and more and more blood spewing out. The brand new slippers I brought to the hospital was covered in blood, as well as everything else I wore. Am I allowed to be this graphical on a blog? Anyway, I would totally recommend only wearing hospital gowns and perhaps an underwear you can throw away afterwards. Jean-Louis was massaging me the whole time until he realized it was too tiring and then he resorted to only massaging me during each contraction. I am now healing from bruises on my back and I'm sure his hands and arms were sore for days.

Labour lasted for around 10 hours and then I had to push for around 2 hours. It was absolutely brutal. I had no energy and no sleep and I barely drank water since my full bladder was interfering with the labour. In fact, I couldn't feel my bladder and couldn't pee so they had to insert a urine catheter to collect my urine at one point. Relaxing so that strong contractions would come was very difficult. I had to breathe long and slow with each contraction but my impulse was to hyperventilate instead. It was bad. Jean-Louis and I practiced massages at home but we didn't do any relaxation exercises. We played our rainforest nature sounds CD and I tried to close my eyes but it was so hard to focus and not think about the pain. When the nurse was around, she would talk to me and her voice would soothe me but Jean-Louis was more of a silent support partner. I can totally see why people hire doulas to accompany them during labour. I would totally recommend hiring a doula for your first labour experience, especially if your support partner is quiet like mine. Jean-Louis and I thought we were well prepared but we could have been better prepared for sure. It was a good thing we packed a lot of stuff in our hospital bag because we ended up using most of what was in it.

I was obviously in pain when I approached the transition phase of labour. I couldn't really tell the difference between the active and transition phase. The nurse kept asking me if I wanted to take something for the pain and I responded no each time, although I was ready to give up. Finally, I did try the laughing gas for a few contractions. It's suppose to relax you and I need to calm down so that harder contractions would come and dilate my cervix. I'm not sure if it helped much but it did make me aware of my breathing. When I got a bit dizzy, I stopped using it. At this point, it so hard not to push because with each wave of contraction, my body would automatically push down. Positioning did not help me with this, although I read it would.

Pushing seemed like it lasted forever. At this point, I hardly had any strength. I was sucking on ice chips and sweating like nuts. My obstetrician suggested I have an episiotomy and I agreed. I felt no pain from it. Then it was decided that we would use a vacuum too :( These were all still better alternatives to having surgery, which was what I feared of most. The vacuum, along with my pushing finally did it and baby Tristan, all 8 pounds 2.6 ounces of him, emerged all at once right onto my chest. What a relief! And boy did he feel heavy. He cried instantly. I didn't know what to think.


Anonymous said...

i arrived at this blog of yours by googling 'burnaby general maternity ward review'.
i find your log very helpful but at the same time, im freaking the **** out! sorry for the astericks, but i do feel like having a panic attack.
i wish birth weren't so hard. kudos to u, for having done the deed, wish me luck!

Anonymous said...

Hi the previous poster, I foudn your blog the same way.

I'm actually a resident of New Westminster, and I just found out Im approx 8 weeks. Im unsure of which hospital to go to...not that you're an expert, Im sure; but Im curious to know whether Burnaby Hospital had shared rooms or seperate?

Thanks for sharing your birth story, it all its honesty :)

Please feel free to email me at if you have any time to chat!

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