40 weeks + 4, Thursday
I am awoken by a huge contraction and roll off the couch (we’d both fallen asleep) wordlessly for fear of waking the husband and alarming him before it’s Really necessary.
I try to get back on but the force of the contraction overwhelms me and I decide to stay on the floor.
Somehow this time I have a feeling that “We’re about to hit the road, baby!”
I spend the next hour diligently timing each contraction and the intervals with my pregnancy app.
Each contraction was about 2 minutes apart, and I went through the hour quietly and calmly (hypnobirthing at its best!), before waking the husband.
“I think I’m in labour. My contractions have been less than 2 minutes apart for the last hour.”
The husband bolts right up like – what?!! Where have I been this whole time??? Sleeping?!?!!
He springs into action and quickly gets Erin the doula, to come by, and phones the hospital for advice. The midwife says to run a bath for me and pop a couple of painkillers, and see if the ‘pain’ goes away. (Haha.) I think they do this to avoid people rushing to the hospital at the first twinge or Braxton hick.
From this point onwards I have no awareness of timelines, and I have the hypnobirthing track playing through with me on the mobile.
REAL Labour this time
I pop the pills and get into the bath as told, even though I already know that these ‘pains’ are not going to go away. I get the husband to burn a nice candle and bring some water. I’m going through the motions as Erin arrives. She asks me about the contractions, then after staying with me for a while, confirms that my contractions are really less than 2 minutes apart and she’s like,
‘Ok, this baby is definitely on the way.’
She wonders if my water has broken, to see how soon a trip to the hospital is needed. I have no idea since I’ve been in the bath, but it definitely was not before I got in, did not feel a pop or water trickling. We decide that I should labour for a bit out of the water to see if there’s any leaking. There isn’t, as Erin continues to apply counter pressure to my lower back with each contraction. We’re still deliberating about the ‘right’ time to go to the hospital.
At this point, Miss Jyve must have heard us, because I have a HUGE and loooonnggg contraction, where I feel Miss Jyve pushing her head down with all her strength.
Me: ‘the baby is pushing dooowwwnnnn!!’
Erin: ‘yeap I definitely felt that! Ok, these are the contractions we want to have, but we want to have them IN THE HOSPITAL!!’
It’s funny how some people think it’s just mom doing all the heavy lifting and pushing during labour and delivery, but the baby definitely works with mom to get out. Miss Jyve was definitely actively participating through the whole process, right up till the end! I have to say that we both did it together. She was using her will and cheering me on, and somehow she knew exactly what to do and when. Writing this retrospectively, I suddenly realise how intimately Mother and Baby really are connected to each other. It’s not just the pregnancy, but they are connected all through labour and delivery. And that’s how upon birth, it’s like they’ve known each other their whole lives. Well literally for the baby, yes. But now I’m ranting.
So we gather our things, call the hospital to let them know that we’re on the way and to book the water birthing suite for us – PLEASE!! There is only one. Thank goodness it was available, and we were assured that it was available for us – phew! So it’s off to the hospital we go! Except of course to get to the car, I have to stop every 2 minutes to tide through each contraction.
Getting to the hospital
At this point, I’m actually nervous. The only hospital in Dubai with a water birthing facility was 25 minutes away from us. Labour and all was ‘fine’ (if I can say that) if you can walk around, be in a bath, bounce on a ball… but what am I going to do for 14/15 consecutive contractions being stuck in a car?! Yes, right now, I’m getting down to these calculations. LOL
I wasn’t sure, but I didn’t have another choice anyway, so I tried to pile myself onto the backseat as Erin had suggested, kneeling, facing back. (NB: no pregnancy guide talks about this – which position you should be in as you drive to the hospital!! So crucial, but I hardly think anyone even thinks about it before hand!)
As the husband starts to drive off, I realise that I cannot possibly sustain the trip that way. I was completely unbalanced and would be thrown about with every turn. So I get on the floor facing back, and mercifully, there was somehow a little knob at the back of the seat, which applied counter pressure to the Exact spot needed on my lower back – cool!!
I was suddenly at ease, and even told the husband to drive slowly because I could make it to the hospital comfortably and for him not to worry.
I see the sun rising up through the windows, all orangey and beautiful. A dawn for my baby and me.
At the hospital
I look up and see us make the last few turns to the hospital, and finally into the car park. I’m having another contraction as the door swings open and a nurse is (kind of) yelling at me repeatedly to get out of the car. I’m in labour you stupid ass, I’m not deaf. I get out after the contraction, thinking:
‘I don’t need this wheelchair, are you nuts?! I’ll walk up!’
Haha. I collapsed as soon as I got out, and suddenly realised that I really needed the wheelchair. Might have been a combination of being cramped up in the car and labouring – which takes a lot out of you! Medical staff repeatedly try to talk to me and ask me all sorts of questions as I go through the contractions. Erm, newsflash: I’m not exactly in the mood for chit chat??!
It was only after, that I found out that apparently no one thought I was in advanced labour because of how well I dealt with it. My husband told me after that I barely said a word, while Erin mentioned postpartum that I was one of her funniest clients because I would stop in my tracks during a contraction, but as soon as it was over I would just continue the conversation as if nothing had happened.
I get into the suite where the sweetest midwife from South Africa (Emma, if I remember. At this point I am almost drifting in and out of consciousness, overwhelmed with labour) introduces herself and says she’s been the one speaking to the husband on the phone. She confirms the mucus plug is coming away, then asks to check my progress.
“Oh! You’re 5 or 6 cm dilated!”
(Back to the comment about no one thinking I was that far into labour.) Doula and midwife then comment about how well I was doing. Blah blah…
So the worst part of my labour begins because as an admission procedure, the baby’s heartbeat has to be stable in the readings and they decide that a monitor strapped to my belly while I’m crunched over with each contraction is the best method. The doctor on duty comes in, introduces herself, and is offended that I don’t reply immediately through one of my contractions. She leaves without another word, but gives some instructions to the midwife/nurse.
Great start to the hospital experience. NOT!