10:30 PM, 13th November 2015
I had just finished publishing the post, Meet the greatest Man I know, something I had really wanted to write when it happened. It sounded almost like a champagne cork popping and I knew the floodgates had opened. My water had broken and our baby was on her way, two weeks early too.
I had been feeling extremely uncomfortable that entire day. Somewhere deep, deep down I think I knew it would be my last working day, before my maternity leave. So, on this hunch, I even brought back home all my personal stuff from work that day. Yes, seems strange but I think I knew.
Once I realised that my water had broken, I woke S up. For a moment, we just stood there, just for a fleeting moment to acknowledge the enormity of what was about to ensue. Almost as if life’s reel was being played in slow motion for one second but by the next, it was up to normal speed again. We called my OB/GYN and on her advice were to drive down to the hospital. The moment of truth, if you would call it, had arrived.
11:00 PM,13th November 2015
We got into our car, the bags carefully placed in its trunk but just then S realised he wasn’t sure if he had locked the door to our flat. So, he went back upstairs. Once that was taken care of, S had again forgotten his belt.
Now you would think this was no moment to keep forgetting things? But of course, it was. It was the perfect moment to do so.
This was just S being nervous. And who wouldn’t have been in his position? So, I asked him to calm down, go get his belt, lock the door to our flat and come down slowly. There was nothing to panic, everything would be fine. It was almost midnight so there would be no traffic as well. We would reach the hospital in 15 minutes tops. And we did too.
12:00 AM, 14th November 2015
I was admitted and moved to my room at the hospital, all the while leaking amniotic fluid. Trust me, it’s anything but comfortable. You would think that being a woman I should somehow have been familiar with such a leaking situation but no. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that when the damn amniotic fluid leaks, it pours. Everywhere I sat or walked, I left a trail. But that was just the beginning of the entire experience of childbirth, just the beginning.
I had felt the first contraction while on our way to the hospital. It was bearable and I for a moment floundered by wondering what the fuss was all about. It was nothing extraordinary. But then I reminded myself it was just the beginning and what did I know!
I was started on some drips and slowly, gradually I realised what the hoopla around contractions was. It was horrible. Initially, the time between contractions lets you breathe but as time proceeds it becomes impossible to do even that. Breathing, talking, sleeping or staying awake, everything becomes extremely difficult with contractions. Every damn thing.
Now before that day, I had not really given a thought on birthing or breathing techniques, natural or c-section delivery. I figured I would take it as it comes. Of course, I knew everyone preferred natural delivery but honestly I had given no thought at all. It was almost as if I was expecting a stork to deliver my child.
As the pain increased, I begged the nurse on duty to do something. When my OB/GYN came visiting, I urged her to do something, anything. But it was only after a few hours of me crying that they decided to give an epidural. Finally.
Dilation, of course. Did you know that they don’t give you an epidural unless you are dilated enough! So, I had to wait and bear the pain. Finally, after requesting for almost about 7 hours, the spinal tap was made to administer the first dose.
Was my pain reduced?
Of course not! I don’t know if it really works but for me, it just didn’t. Maybe after the first dose, the pain was slightly bearable for all of 15 minutes but not after that. Not even after administering it the second time. By then I was delirious. I wanted to take the baby out of me, c-section it out of me so that these God-forsaken contractions would finally end. But my doctor, thank God for her, wanted me to have a normal delivery. So, she waited for me to dilate further. Every time she would come and say let’s wait for another half an hour. Then they would administer something in the drip, probably to help me dilate but the pain would also increase exponentially.
I remember cursing S for being in that situation, for all the pain. Even him telling me that everything would be alright ended up in a curt rebuff from me. And he, like a darling, listened to everything quietly. Of course, he had to which he did because in his words I was the one tasked with bringing a living being out of myself not him. I could see how much he wished it was him going through the pain and not me. It was written all over his face. I had never seen him so shaken up, never.
Labour pain is unlike anything I had experienced before. And this coming from someone who had gotten burnt badly once in college, experiencing terrible pain. But this labour pain was zillion times worse than that. There’s nothing you can do, no position you can lie or sit in that can reduce it. There’s only one way to get rid of it and that’s to deliver your baby. But to get to that point, the journey is hard, extremely hard.
Consider this. Take getting burnt and cutting off your limbs while conscious and multiply the pain zillion times. What you get is not even close to labour pain.
The Dilation fairy finally waves her magic wand.
When I finally dilated to the point that a normal delivery could be attempted, I found myself surrounded by a number of nurses and doctors. Some nurses were asking me to breathe to make the process easier. Everyone was saying something and I didn’t know whom to listen to, whether to concentrate on pushing, breathing or holding myself in a steady position! But let me tell you something, no amount of breathing makes anything easier. At one point, I had almost given up.
It’s exhausting. Imagine a fully grown woman pushing your stomach with all her might. That along with the labour pain. I thought I would die. They urged me to push. I did but it was hard. Finally, they could see her head, crowning I think they call it? So, they asked me for my final push and put everything into it.
They told me my baby’s heartbeat was reducing, that she was in pain too. So, it was up to me to end both our pains. At that point, even S was in the room but he was horrified at the sight. The shouting, screaming, blood and gore, not an easy scene to witness.
The final push!
Somehow I gathered every ounce of strength I had, which wasn’t much, and gave my everything to one last push. It was so damn painful but I did. I almost felt that I would die it was so horrible. But nothing like that happened. The labour pain almost miraculously went away and I felt worn out. Almost like you do after a very high fever subsides.
The pain was gone and they had placed my baby girl on me. Of course, at that point, I was barely conscious. What I mean to say is, I was conscious but in a haze. I had given birth, I was a mum but everything was a blur except for these three words – It’s a Girl.
If I were to describe my experience in one word, it would be exhausting, truly exhausting (okay more than one word!).
Will I go through it again?
Well, the jury is still out on that.
That was my story. All you mothers reading this, do share your story with me. And the fathers, don’t fall back I’m sure you have a story to tell too.