Childbirth without pain relief is killing by fits and starts

My name is Lotte, 34 years old from Oss, and I gave birth to my beautiful son Sam five years ago without any pain relief. Let me take you along on my story.

A change of plans: my water breaks

It all started around 10:00 am on a Monday: August 6. My mother came around to bring me some stuff, and I had planned to waddle back to her home for lunch. But things didn’t go as planned … because my water broke! My mother was thrilled to be around for when it all started, and I was happy because it meant that she could mop up after me.

No contractions yet

In the meantime, I phoned my husband, who came home right away. He immediately asked if I was already having contractions, but they hadn’t started yet. The midwife came by as well to do a short check-up and so my labor got officially underway. But after two hours, I still had no contractions!

A bit of lunch after all

No contractions yet, so around 1:00 pm, we had a quick a lunch. A very healthy affair, waffles with strawberries and whipped cream ;). And then the moment had arrived: CONTRACTIONS! Oh boy, I was so annoyed, because I felt them mainly in my back, and this type of pain is much harder to cope with. So I stayed calm, huffed and puffed, took a shower, you name it. The contractions continued to be very irregular. I would have contractions every few minutes, and then they ceased again for about 45 minutes. And all the time, my husband followed me around, asking me to score the contraction pains. I always replied with a 3 or 4, because I expected the pain to still get much worse.

The childbirth did not go through

Evening came around, and my contractions were still not regular. The midwife came by again at around 10:00 pm to check up on me. Dilation was at two centimeters, and she told me that we were to go to the hospital early next morning if my contractions had not become regular by then to have the delivery induced. This was necessary, she said, because the membrane had already been ruptured for quite some time. By now, I wanted to give birth at the hospital anyway, so I didn’t complain.

"Around 12:00 pm, I thought the pain would drive me crazy. It was so intense and so hard to cope with after almost 24 hours".

Going to the hospital

On Tuesday morning, August7, at 7:30 am, I went to the hospital straight away. There we got a room, and I was hooked up to the labor stimulator. It felt okay, but not really! Soon the contractions became more regular, and they continued to come for quite a long time. “Pffff” – that was my word of the day. I had done a birth preparation course beforehand, and it came in very handy. I didn’t have many contractions, but the length of them was killing me. Each contraction lasted a minute and a half or longer. At around 9:00 am, I had 5 cm of dilation, so I still had a long time to go.

Things were getting more and more intense

So I had another shower, did my deep breathing, and on top of everything, it was a really hot day! My husband was very glad about the air con, as he himself admitted, but I didn’t notice it all because I was very hot from going through the contractions. And in the meantime, they were getting more and more intense. By 11:00 am, I had another check, and dilation was now at 8 centimeter. The midwife indicated that I might be ready to give birth after lunch.

The pain drove me crazy!

Around 12:00 pm, I thought the pain would drive me crazy. It was so intense and so hard to cope with after almost 24 hours. So, I asked for pain relief. I was told that my only option was a medication – I don’t remember the name – that could make me and the baby feel sick. So that was a big no for me. Instead, I took another shower. In the meantime, my husband had some food and drink because, as the midwife joked, he would need his strength in an hour, ha-ha.

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Time to push!

And then the moment actually arrived! Around 1:15 pm, I felt a certain urge, and many a mother will know what I mean, and I was told to crawl back onto the bed for the big push!

By that time, my birthing plan had landed at the bottom of the trash can, because nothing had gone the way I wanted it to. So I lay there – without any sense of embarrassment –, because I just didn’t feel that way at that moment, lying in full regalia on that bed doing my best to push my baby out. My husband next to me, the midwife and the assistant sitting at the other end down there, and I was honestly having a bad time of it. After almost an hour, I asked for help and it came. A friendly gynecologist came by and helped me very nicely and effectively. After pressing a few more times with the help of a vacuum pump at 14:18 pm, our beautiful son Sam was delivered!

Then things went wrong

I had my baby with me, it was a really fantastic feeling. But suddenly, things started going wrong with me. The placenta did not come loose, and the blood just kept coming. The situation was urgent now: the midwife pressed down on my belly so hard that it made me sick. Meanwhile, the gynecologist was stitching me up and kept an eye on the placenta, and with a lot of pain and effort it came loose. But they were not sure whether the entire placenta had come out. The gynecologist told me that I would be rushed to the OR, and that they would first insert a balloon to stop the bleeding and if that didn’t work, they would have to remove my uterus. So, there I was, after 25 hours of hard work for the most beautiful thing in my life, and before you know what is going on, you are whisked apart from each other for hours.

All is well that ends well

Fortunately, it ended well, and the balloon stopped the bleeding right away. But I was groggy from the pain medication, blood transfusion, dehydration, you name it. In the meantime, my parents had arrived as well, because my husband kept them updated. And they gave me Sam to hold. And let me tell you, I hardly let go of him for the first few days!

All in all, delivery without pain relief was a really intense experience and almost impossible to bear, but thanks to the excellent labor support and especially with the hot shower, I was able to go through with it after all. And I would do it all over again. Except for that bit at the end.