My Birth Story
While I was pregnant, I was bombarded with stories from woman of all ages telling me the horrors of their labour and pregnancy. But I didn’t fear my labour. I felt that woman around the world had been doing it since the beginning of human existence, so I should be able to handle it too. My only wish was that more people would share their positive experiences to help empower more people into having a great birthing experience, so here is mine.
I had a wonderful pregnancy and a wonderful labour. I loved every minute of being pregnant. Yes I had aches and pains, but as a Massage Therapist I was surrounded by people who could teach me exercises to do, not to mention RMT‘s to ease my tension. As for my labour? Well, I can’t say I loved every minute of it, but I think after hearing so many traumatic stories, I had it very easy. For any woman who is nervous about her labour to come let me tell you, they aren’t all bad!
At the time I went into labour, my fiance and I were living with my mother. We had chosen Semiamhoo Midwifery as our care providers and were excited to have the midwives attend our birth. We chose to go to the hospital because honestly I thought a little escape from my mother’s house would be a great relief (Hotel Peace Arch Hospital). We arrived at 2am, when the Midwife Lisa gave me Gravol to help me sleep as I was only two centimeters dilated (at that point I thought I was in enough pain to be fully dilated but boy was I wrong!). As I attempted to sleep, Andrew got to watch the Gold Medal match of the 2014 Winter Olympics (Canada won).
If you’re surprised that my fiance would watch hockey while I laid in pain, don’t worry. I didn’t want him anywhere near me! After watching beautiful loving partners embrace and labour together in multiple videos I was surprised when I really just wanted to be left alone. He was always at the ready if I needed him, but for the most part I felt this was my battle to fight.
Once the Gravol wore off, I was able to think more clearly. I changed my thought process and instead of fighting the pain and holding my breath, I began to breathe deeply down into each contraction, visualizing my birth and my body’s capabilities to give life to a child. This was a huge turning point. I was only in the bath for a short while before I felt that I needed to “relieve” myself on the toilet. Lucky for me I did this. I went from 3 centimeters to fully dilated within an hour because I honed into my primal being.
At this point, our second midwife, Gillian, had been called in because Lisa had to attend to another birthing woman. When Gillian came into the room (decked out in her wooly winter coat, wtih coffee in hand) I suddenly had an intense urge to bear down. She said “Good Morning!” and I replied with ” I NEED TO PUSH!!”. She was still calm, and told me I was fine. It wasn’t until I made some very primal noise with my next contraction that without hesitation she looked at Andrew and said “looks like we are going to have a baby!” set her coffee aside, and threw down her winter coat, and 30 minutes later we had our baby girl. Zoey Elizabeth Sturgess.
Not every birth is like this, and I feel very fortunate that I was so lucky to birth naturally with no pain killers or heavy drugs, and no knives. I hope that my story might give a woman the strength she needs to believe that she can do this. We have the power. Our bodies are amazing, and only females get this opportunity. Believe in yourself. Set your mind to the point. You are having a baby, no matter if it is drug-free, or an emergency c-section. It is going to be your story, and you should own it!
What got me through the pain?
What helped me most was advice from two women. I will always remember their words. The first assured me that no matter how painful you think it is at that time, your body won’t give you pain that you can’t handle. I thought of this with every contraction, and just when you think you really won’t be able to handle another contraction like the last….you will probably have a bunch more…BUT really soon, you’ll be ready to push. Believe in yourself.
The second came from our prenatal instructor. She recommended the toilet trick. In our prenatal class, we learned that when we feel this urge to defecate, not to be surprised when nothing actually comes out! Stay on the toilet. This is where the body feels most relaxed, and it will be easy for the cervix to open more, and you are getting close. I stayed for two or three contractions and then decided it would be best to move back to bed. Listen to your body.
Some things I really wasn’t prepared for
The hit of adrenaline that came over me. Once I was in the hospital, I started to shiver and shake as if I was hypothermic! My nicely painted toes were quickly covered by wool socks never to been seen again. The nurse said this was adrenaline, and that I just needed to breathe to help calm me down. It happened again once Zoey was born. I was given warm blankets to get me warmed up.
How much contractions actually feel like menstrual cramps. They are intense! I felt all of the pain just below my belly button like a hot plate being shoved through my belly. Sorry, but it’s true. I am so thankful I didn’t have back labour.
I was surprised by how much the bath helps! I didn’t want to move. Each contraction was so painful and I never knew when the next one would come. The nurse asked me a couple of times if I would like to have a bath, but I said no each time. Finally she TOLD me to get in the bath, and that worked. It helped my body progress, and Andrew was able to hold my hand from outside the tub. Believe it or not, the simple act of walking to the tub and back to bed also help progress things along. Gravity is our friend!
Pushing is incredibly intense! I based my labour on what I had seen in the movies (I should know by now never to do that). But no one needs to tell you to push. Your body is incredible! It has such strength and the urge to push is so instinctive that you’ll know what to do and when.
I hope this helps some of you. If you have things to add, or want to share your own story, I would love to hear them. Please don’t hesitate to comment below. If for some reason you don’t agree with my opinions, I would urge you to email me personally, as I am learning and don’t want to offend anyoneduring the process Let’s keep things peaceful.