Do you ever wonder whether your labour could have been different?
Watching this series of One Born has got me thinking about my own birthing experience.
This is the first time since giving birth that I have really been able to sit down and observe the way in which women deal with their labours so differently. And I can’t help but notice that the women who don’t need medical intervention give birth to more relaxed babies.
I had to have an assisted delivery (forceps) and it’s watching these type of births that really brings back bad memories. In fact the episode I watched the other night had me sobbing about the fact that Iyla had to be born in such a horrible way. I felt awful that she had to have metal things clamped around her head so tightly that she looked like she’d been beaten up.
Until lately I always thought that I was just unfortunate that everything went wrong in my labour but now I honestly believe that it would have been different had I been able to manage the pain better.
Looking back I can see where things went wrong.
When I arrived at hospital my labour was progressing really well, I was dilating quite quickly but I couldn’t deal with the pain. I am a bit of a wimp generally and I just went into a state of panic. I couldn’t relax and breathe through the contractions and was instead squirming around and wailing. So although I initially refused the offer of a diamorphine shot, I did fairly quickly change my mind and I think that was a big mistake.
Yes it helped me relax but it also pretty much stopped my contractions resulting in me needing to have the hormone drip to speed things up, this meant they recommended me having an epi-dural due to the fact that my contractions were going to get really painful, really quickly. By the time it came to pushing I’d been in labour for 46 hours, hadn’t eaten for 24 hours, Iyla was distressed and the cord was wrapped around her neck so they used forceps to get her out as quickly as possible.
I will never know whether the cord around her neck would have resulted in me needing medical assistance if I had been more in control of the situation and ultimately I am just relieved that she arrived safely but I can’t help but look back and feel sad that it wasn’t the positive experience that it could have been. I feel like I failed at childbirth. I wasn’t in control of anything about it, I pretty much surrendered to letting them do anything they wanted as soon as I arrived at hospital.
You can read a more comical view to my disastrous labour here - Episiotomy Done, Now For A Painkiller Up The Bumhole.
I know that there is no point looking back and wondering but it has made me determined for things to be different next time, if I am lucky enough to have a next time, I know I can’t just take it for granted.
If there is a next time then I want to have a water birth with only gas and air. Maybe I won’t be able to, maybe I will never be able to deal with the pain of childbirth but I want to do everything I can to give it a go. I want to do as much research and planning for it as I can and find ways to try and stay relaxed instead of going into shock.
I want to trust my body to do what it is designed to do.