I think it’s true that giving birth is never as you expect. I kept wondering why my baby didn’t want to come out and see the world. I had gone through two membrane sweeps with my first baby a couple weeks apart and still no baby. In case you’re wondering what that is, the OBGYN tries to induce labour by “sweeping” your cervix. This baby was obviously going to be stubborn, I thought.
We went to all the prenatal classes to prepare for the birth. They told us that with your first baby, the labour tends to progress quite slowly. I didn’t think that would be the case with me, however. My mom gave birth to me in a couple hours and my sister in less time than that, so I figured there might be a hereditary component. I was actually having visions of being stuck in traffic, being one of those mothers that gives birth in her car because it is too far to the hospital. In fact, it happens more often than you’d think. My sister-in-law didn’t make it to the hospital so her husband and 4 year old daughter ended up delivering their second child.
I really wanted a hospital birth and in fact, because I had negative blood type and needed a rho-gram shot, as well as past history, I was not a good candidate for a home birth anyway.
A week passed after the day my baby was due and I saw a bunch of liquid on the bathroom floor. I thought this must be my water breaking, but wasn’t sure because no labour pains at all until this point. My husband drove me to the hospital “just in case” it was time. I went to get assessed within the hour and by this time, I was having regular pains every few minutes so intense it was indescribable. They took samples of the fluid I was leaking and after getting it tested, told my it wasn’t my water breaking but rather was just cervical fluid of some sort – and sent me home.
I was so shocked they sent me home since their monitors with spikes during contractions surely should have been indicative of labour pains. Instead, they told me with my first baby I likely wouldn’t have it until the next day, and gave me some morphine to sleep through the night. Just for the record, morphine is NOT effective in the later stages of labour.
Luckily, we only lived 5 minutes away. As soon as we arrived home, the pain was so unbearable I wanted to go back. My husband was timing the contractions and then called the nurse at the hospital to see if we should return. They said “no” it’s my first so just try and sleep it off. I made my husband take me to the hospital anyway and I couldn’t get out of the car. My worst fear of giving birth in a vehicle felt like it was coming true. I managed to get enough strength to get inside, and next thing I knew, I was in a wheelchair minutes later since the baby was coming out. Who says first pregnancies last a long time?
I pushed and pushed minutes later but the baby was stuck. Her heart rate was dropping so they did an episiotomy to get her out.
Finally she was here – and cranky. I think that she wasn’t any happier about the birth trauma than I was.
My second child was a little different. The membrane sweep was performed two weeks before her due date and she came out hours later at the hospital. I was told by the doctor to expect to give birth that evening and arrange for child care for my oldest daughter. It couldn’t have gone any better to plan. We casually got ready to go to the hospital and by the time I was brought it the assessment room, my water broke a minute later by coincidence. Five minutes later, I was pushing the baby out on a stretcher to another room. Two pushes later she was here.
If your gut is telling you that you are in labour and it is coming quick, don’t let anyone else like a nurse or midwife tell you otherwise. The last thing you want to do is give birth in a car or public place. I know a lot of people with close calls due to bad advice so my story is more the norm in that respect.