I remember feeling scared as my swollen tummy was nearing its due date, almost 2 years ago. Being a nurse, I know what to expect and I’ve seen (and helped) a lot of women undergo labor and delivery but it didn’t spare me from being anxious because this time, I was the one about to experience it. I’ve seen other women in pain but I didn’t know how much pain. Thinking about it then, sent shivers down my spine. Here’s a birthing story from a nurse’s perspective:
1 Day before D-Day
Since my OB said I would probably give birth 2 weeks early or 2 weeks later than my due date, I calculated and decided to apply for a maternity leave 2 weeks before my due date. Turned out my leave was on time. As I was feeling nothing out of the ordinary, I sent hubby off to work. The only thing I’ve noticed was that my swollen belly looked like it “dropped”. Am I about to give birth?
Night came and fortunately no signs seen or felt. We turned in for the night.
2am: I saw the sign!
I woke up to a strange smell inside our bedroom. My dog threw up on the bedroom floor. The smell is bothering this then preggy lady so I cleaned it up. I went to pee after cleaning the floor and when I stood up, I saw a small bloody mucus-like thing in the toilet. Bloody show is what I’ve thought at that time. I woke my soundly sleeping husband and asked him to confirm if it was indeed blood and he said yes. This could only mean one thing—I’m in labor. Cue in the contractions.
2:30am: Nurse mode on!
Sitting down on the bed, I grabbed my phone, opened the stopwatch app and recorded my contractions, paying close attention to the intensity and intervals. I fell asleep after an hour.
8:00am: My contractions are still ongoing and in a steady pattern. The pain was still bearable for me thanks to the dysmenorrhea I was so used to having every time I have my period. Hubby didn’t go to work and was obviously worried so I sent him to buy our favorite arroz caldo and tokwa’t baboy for breakfast. YES, I still ate before giving birth.
9:30am: The interval of the contractions seemed shorter. We prepared to go to the hospital. All our bags are already inside the car.
10:30am: We arrived at the hospital and went to the emergency room. The nurse asked me what’s wrong and I answered: “Bloody show at 2am, contractions followed. I seem to be in labor. The intervals between my contractions now are 5minutes and they are stronger.” The nurse asked me to sit down, fill up a form and told me that she will have me checked. I told her “You know, the contractions are not that painful. If I’m not yet fully dilated and would not be giving birth soon, I would like to be sent home.” Lol!
11am: I was sent to the labor room for an IE. Turned out I was already 6cm. They hurriedly prepped me, showed me to a bed which I am to lie down and wait. They called the anesthesiologist and my OB. I asked the nurses if I could see my husband for a few minutes. I hopped off the bed, peeked outside the labor room door and found hubby sitting outside looking tense. I told him I was 6cm already and that I’m giving birth.
12nn: Getting Ready..
I was put on sedation but I was still alert when my OB came in. She did an IE. As soon as she asked for a bed pan to be placed under me, I knew she would break my bag of water which is still intact. That’s when I felt intense pain but only for a short while since the sedation seemed to be kicking in.
3pm: Here she comes! Groggy from the sedation, I opened my eyes and found myself being transferred to the delivery room. I don’t know how I got into the birthing table. I just remembered seeing lots of faces: my OB, my anesthesiologist, nurses. All of them cheering on, telling me when to push. I think they gave me an epidural as well.
3:58pm: Welcome Karamel Claire!
A few minutes later, I heard Kara cry. The first words I uttered were: “Paki check kung kumpleto ung mga daliri niya sa kamay at paa” (Please check if her fingers and toes are complete). Another lol moment! I don’t remember if they laughed or if they did what I asked. I just focused my eyes on Kara. She was placed on my chest so she could breastfeed. I drifted off to sleep.
7pm: Post Delivery
I am inside the recovery room and fully alert. The room was so quiet (as it should be), I was so bored. A doctor came in to check on me so I asked her if I could be transferred to the hospital room. She told me to wait until the effects of the epidural wears off. I told her I think it already did and even raised my legs to prove it (sorry, that was me on my nurse mode). Moments later, I was moved from the recovery room to a private room where hubby was all smiles, waiting for me.
My takeaways from my childbirth experience are:
- I think we can all agree that for first time moms, the idea of going through labor of who-knows-how painful until who-knows-when gets us a bit scared. But believe me when I tell you that we are born for this. Our bodies are made for this. You can do this. You might feel pain now but remember that you will be smiling soon.
- It is always a good thing to be educated and informed. Attend seminars and mom expos. Listen about other moms’ experience. These will help you remain calm on D-day and will help boost your confidence.
I’d love to hear about your birthing stories too!