“It’s the worst pain you’ll ever feel.” “Take all the drugs, everything you can, it’s the only way you’ll cope.” “It’s horrendous. There’s no getting around it.”
I had all of these comments and many more in the weeks leading up to the birth of my daughter, and they scared me half to death. I have a low pain threshold at the best of times and thanks to everyone’s horror stories about very long and painful childbirths, I was so nervous about giving birth. I heard no positive birthing stories at all so prepared myself for the worst.
So to say I was pleasantly surprised when it wasn’t all that bad is something of an understatement.
I started having contractions at 3.15am on Sunday 6th September and we went into hospital at 7am where we were admitted to the assessment ward as there wasn’t any room on the labour ward, and ended up staying there until 9pm until there was a side room available for me. My contractions were painful, but not unbearable, and came every 5 minutes for most of the day and night, during which all I could have was paracetamol.
We finally went up to the labour ward at 9am the next morning and I was induced at around 10.45am, where the contractions got much more intense, and after 2 hours of pushing and an episiotomy due to her head being in the wrong position, Isla was finally born at 7.57pm.
Yes, it was long (41 hours to be precise), yes, it bloody hurt towards the end and it wasn’t the most pleasant experience of my life, but it definitely wasn’t the pain-addled, gut wrenching scream-filled horror show I’d been lead to believe and at no point did I think “I can’t do this”. I’m not saying I’d do it again every day, but I’m definitely not dreading the idea of doing it again soon.
I’m not at all diminishing how tough, gruelling, painful and traumatic labour is, especially when things go wrong and we need to prepare for a rough couple of days, also I’m sure I was lucky. But it would be nice if we shared our positive childbirth experience too. A good friend of mine is expecting her first in April and said she’d been scared to death by horror stories too, but had felt better hearing mine.
I’d love to hear some of your positive birth stories too!
* I’m thrilled that this piece has been published on The Motherload! You can read it here…