When I started with contractions in the evening, I figured a bath might be nice to soothe and it was — but the contractions soon ramped up to every five minutes. This meant no Kindle reading for me (I had such pleasant ideas for early labour like watching a movie together and reading in bed), so we went for a walk around the block. By the time we were back to our house I was feeling so nauseous with every fourth minute wave that we decided to call the hospital (got the hubster to do it as I have serious speaking Swedish nerves), and we went in.
Two hours after every time I ate, I would have the Cytotec inserted, and be checked for progression. By Friday evening, I was having steady contractions, so after dinner, I wasn’t given any Cytotec. I was only dilated 1 1/2 cm. I was in pain, and panicky at this point. I told Jonathan, “I’m sick because of the baby being inside me. The quicker she gets out, the quicker I get better. I want a Cesarean section.” He told me that wasn’t in my birth plan, and tried to calm me down.
The morning my wife went into labor, she came to me and shared that she was experiencing period-like cramping. It was still two weeks before our official due date, and this was her first pregnancy, so we reminded ourselves this could go on for weeks and I left for work. I was only at work for around an hour before I got a text from my wife telling me she thought her water had broken. She told me she wasn’t sure and would keep me posted, but there was no way I was going to try and stay at work.
I enjoyed working with the doula and thinking about how I could “reframe” pain and manage my panic in labor (panic is a big thing for me). I also prepared “birth affirmations” and put them on index cards for the doula to read to me when I started to panic during labor. I also read a wonderful book called The Big Book of Birth that gave much information about labor both physiologically and psychologically.
Our daughter’s birth proved two things. One, that indeed there were reasons why a person from a developing country might reject this first world’s interpretation of healthcare. I don’t blame any single employee or system for my water breaking or the tub or any of the hospital-related unpleasantries. Those just come with the territory of business. Two, and more importantly, it proved to my boyfriend that many women are capable of giving birth on their own.
Like many first time pregnant moms I envisioned that my labor and delivery would go a certain way. I planned a natural birth using Bradley Method techniques, hired a doula, and anticipated laboring at home for as long as possible before heading to the hospital to deliver. I wanted minimal medical interventions and no drugs. I managed to pull off the no pain medication and a vaginal birth, but only after a four day induction and a heap of drugs helped get me there. Here’s how it all went down.
My entire birthing experience was prefaced and affected by this determination I had to make the delivery go “perfectly” — or at least perfect from my perspective. A lot of my pregnancy had been frustrating on some petty levels — basically, we had had to rearrange a lot of our lives in ways we didn’t want based on when we conceived, and I developed an autoimmune disorder in my second trimester.
I knew my baby would be born in a hospital before I ever got pregnant. I desperately wanted to have a home birth, but my PPO insurance would only cover a birth in a hospital of their choosing. I couldn’t justify $6000 out of pocket when I would only need to pay $200 for a hospital birth… so to the hospital we went.