My Labour Story

Wednesday, May 22, 2019
"There is a secret in our culture, and it’s not that birth is painful. It’s that women are strong."
― Laura Stavoe Harm


Pregnancy


May 8, 2019

May 8, 2019, was a life changing day – and if you didn’t know from the title of this post, it was the day Iz and I got to meet Dominic. And let me tell you, it was not an easy process.

The day started off with a follow-up appointment at my doctor’s. I had a sweep (a relatively gentle way of trying to start labour. It is a simple procedure that sometimes initiates labour, reducing the risk of babies being born over the due date) that day and my doctor told me she had high hopes I would go into labour within the next few days as I was already 3 cm dilated. After the appointment, I had slight cramps, which is a usual symptom after a sweep, so I decided to relax before Iz and I went for lunch. While Iz was getting ready after coming back from the gym, I ran upstairs and told him I didn’t feel so good and that I needed a shower. This is when panic kicked in and I was unsure if I was going into labour.

I kept denying it over and over in my head, and once I got out of the shower, I just laid in bed, hoping these "pains" would go away. After a few minutes, Iz came running upstairs and asked if I was having contractions. I told him I wasn’t sure but deep down we both knew I was, so Iz started timing them and just like that, they were about 5 minutes apart. Iz started gathering everything we needed for the hospital, but I told him I wasn’t ready, and I needed another shower. So, I jumped in the shower again hoping I didn’t have to go to the hospital. Once I realized that my contractions weren’t going away, I got out of the shower and told Iz I wasn’t ready, but he kept telling me we needed to go to the hospital. Iz ran into my closet, grabbed me a comfy dress and told me to get ready. He grabbed my hospital bag, Dominic’s bag, put the dogs in their room, and rushed me out the door.

Everything from this point on was just a whirlwind. Iz called his sister to help us out and when we got in the car, I just started to panic. The contractions were coming in at about 4 minutes apart and I could barely get through a contraction. We picked up Kayla, got to the hospital and went straight to the labour and delivery floor. When we got to the desk, the nurse told us we had to wait, but I was just in so much pain. I’m 99% sure they thought I was faking my pain because they literally had me waiting for about 10 minutes before they checked us in. Once they were ready for me, they asked all the necessary questions – when did my contractions start, how far apart, what level of pain was I in – and during one of my contractions, the nurse felt my stomach and was surprised at how strong my contraction was – all that was going through my head was "I told you I was in so much pain you fucken asshole."

When they finally got me into a bed to exam me, they were taking their sweet time, as they again thought I was probably lying about my pain. They asked me all the same questions as they did at the front desk, strapped me to a machine to measure my contractions and had me wait 20 minutes to see my contractions. After 20 minutes, the nurse came back, and she kept trying to talk to me and I just couldn’t even hold a conversation during each contraction, which at this point was about 3 minutes apart. They then brought in an intern doctor to measure how dilated I was, and when they checked I was already 7 cm dilated. Everyone started to panic and told me that I was going to have a baby today. It was at this point they asked if I wanted an epidural, and I told them yes, I wanted one ASAP.


Pregnancy


Labour

The transition from the exam room to the labour room was so painful as I had to walk into another room while having contractions and praying I could get my epidural in ASAP. I was told I needed to get an IV in before I could get my epidural and I just remember standing over the edge of the bed while getting my IV put in and just being scared beyond belief to know I had to push out Dominic. I was so excited to meet him but scared of the labour.

While the nurses and intern doctor were getting everything ready, they told me to relax on the bed and let them know when I felt like I had to “poo” because that meant I was going into labour. I already had that feeling but I wasn’t ready, so I kept it to myself and laid in bed scared and praying for an epidural at any minute.

2-3 minutes passed, and I just couldn’t take the pain, I told the nurse I had that “pooing” feeling and she told me if I could wait a few more minutes I could get my epidural. I told her I could try but I was in so much pain. While we were waiting for the anesthesiologist, my contractions got to the point where they were about 1-2 minutes apart. I was in so much pain that I thought I was going to die. The anesthesiologist finally came but it was at the point that I could barely sit still to get the needle in and I was 9 cm dilated. I was devastated. I knew I couldn’t do this without the epidural, but it was either, try to sit still enough for the anesthesiologist to get the needle in or break my water and start pushing. I panicked and decided to break my water and push.

Worst decision of my life. I sat through an hour of labour in pain. I can’t even bring myself to think of my pain again because it was so unbearable. Every time a contraction would come, the nurse would just say "keep pushing like you’re taking a big poop". Like what did she think I was doing, not trying my hardest!? I mean, who wants to endure this pain for an hour?! I was tired, feeling defeated and scared I wasn’t going to be able to do this. I tried 3 different methods of pushing and none of them could get me close enough to get Dominic out. I was ready to give up and pass out when the nurse asked me if I wanted to try for an epidural one more time.

This was even more difficult the second time around, Dominic’s head was partially pushed out and when I went to sit up for the epidural, I felt like I had this huge piece of poop stuck, I couldn’t sit up, my water kept gushing out and my contractions were coming in every minute. The nurse told me I could do this, all I needed to do was sit still for as long as possible. During this whole ordeal, a new anesthesiologist was prepping to give me an epidural, but his prepping was slow and steady, and I could just see it in Iz’ and the nurse’s face that this was going to be a gong show. The anesthesiologist took his sweet time, getting all his tools ready and lined up, slowly prepping the area on my back and constantly telling me to sit still. I mean, this guy obviously doesn’t understand what it’s like to sit through a contraction without an epidural – it’s not fucken easy. It’s the world’s hardest thing to do. But Iz held my hand, stood by my side and told me I needed to do this, or I wouldn’t be able to get Dominic out. All I remember is screaming, "I’m having a contraction, I’m trying to sit still", the nurse standing on one side and Iz on the other trying to hold me still, and finally as my contraction is ending, feeling a slight burning pain in my back while another contraction was starting to kick in. As soon as that needle was done, the anesthesiologist finished up (and messed up by squirting some of the medication in the nurse’s and my face while doing so) and I laid back in the bed waiting for the pain to slowly fade away.

During this downtime, my family got to come in, asked me how it went so far, laughed about my screaming and made me feel like a human after feeling like a disaster the hour before. I felt like a whole new person with the epidural and felt like I could conquer this labour. Two hours passed by, two new nurses later and it was time again.

The second time around was 99% easier, except there were some difficulties in other areas. Dominic’s heart rate started to slow down after each of my contractions, meaning he had to come out ASAP. But with the epidural, I could no longer feel my own contractions, so it was up to the nurse to let me know when to push and that also proved to be difficult as she couldn’t feel them. When it did come to pushing, this time around, I couldn’t feel a thing – it made all the pain gone but I couldn’t feel Dominic coming out at all. This was relieving but scary as I didn’t know how far he was with each push.

Another hour had passed and at this point, we had 10 nurses/doctors in the room. Dominic’s heart rate was starting to make the doctor nervous and he needed to come out before anything could happen to him. That meant we had to use forceps to help pull him out. I didn’t realize the severity of using forceps until it came down to it – it would help but it would also leave Dominic with a huge bump on his head and bruising to his face, but it had to be done. When everything was all said and done, the forceps were set into place by the doctor and I was told to push as hard as I could over and over and over and over.

And after 6 hard pushes, I hear a little cry, the doctor saying to wait 45 seconds, a nurse getting me ready for skin to skin, and that’s when I see him. Dominic was finally here.



Fun fact to this story - I was nicknamed "the seven" at the hospital because I came into the hospital so late - 7 cm dilated. Every nurse that came in after Dominic was born asked if I was "the seven" and when I told them I was and that this was my first baby, they were all so surprised I waited so long to get to the hospital. Honestly, I had no idea when the best time to go in. When I asked the nurse when most people come in, she told me most women come in when they are 3-4 cm dilated. I guess I just had a higher pain tolerance (or I was too fucken stubborn to get my ass to the hospital to push out a baby).

Through all the hardship of labour, I wouldn't change a thing. I felt both the natural pain of labour and giving birth with an epidural. And in the end, I got to meet and hold my little babe.

And if you're wondering how Iz took it - let's just say, he kept his head turned around, held my hand like a pro and felt just as scared as I did through the whole process. The nurse did make a comment and said he was starting to look a little grey near the end of my labour but in all honesty, I'm surprised he didn't look like that the moment I started pushing!

- The Cassie Paige
Photos by Israel

2 comments

  1. Such an amazing post! You’re so brave!

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  2. Belatedly, HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY and congratulations. Yikes, I can't even begin to imagine what that must have felt like. Huge kudos to you for maintaining your composure as well as you did during your long ordeal, while at the same time many bumbling healthcare professionals were being oblivious about how advanced your labour was and taking their sweet time - until they FINALLY noticed the dilation.
    Congratulations again on your stoicism and new motherhood!

    https://full-brief-panties.blogspot.com/

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