It was Thursday night and I was so tired and confused by the contractions coming and going for the past week or so. My due date was still a week away, but I was ready to hold baby David in my hands. I asked Matej to rub my feet and press some spots, that might get the contractions going, but ticklish as I am I kept pulling them away. So we laughed and fell asleep hugged and happy.
In the morning I woke up early to go to the bathroom, but instead of peeing, my waters started leaking. So I sat there, even more confused, and I excitedly called Matej to tell him it’s go time. Thankfully he is a lot more down to earth than I am, so he calmed me and we decided to call our doula. We checked that the colour of the waters was clear and started preparing for the arrival of our baby. We tried everything to start the contractions, but they still didn’t progress. At noon we went to the hospital for a check up and advice. They told us to go home, but be back at midnight, since leaking waters also meant high risk of infections and we need the baby to be born as soon as possible.
Our doula came over to our place and we continued the efforts to start the contractions progress. The evening came, but I was still having only mild cramps. I was so tired from the whole day, so we went to bed, to relax and cuddle in attempt of getting the oxytocin flowing. The midnight came quickly, our doula came back to our place. She told us the baby might be in a back to back position and we tried to rotate him with different positions. It was time to go to the hospital where new disappointments awaited.
We were both extremely tired and by this point also scared. Our chosen hospital is one of the best in Dubai, but on that day, they really disappointed us. When we came, they left us waiting in the reception, because all rooms were occupied. After more than an hour of waiting, walking, trying to move things along in the hospital lobby, they finally accepted us to the delivery ward. But the rooms were still full, and instead of letting me go home, we ended up sleeping back in the lobby until 6AM.
So now finally we were relaxed in our room, but the stress and the exhaustion kicked in and my contractions were completely gone. This is when I realised our plan of natural birth in the water was no longer possible. My confidence was gone and I am so grateful we had Jane, our doula, by our sides to help us navigate through what was to become a very difficult and complicated labour. After a talk with the doctor and midwife, we agreed to induce labour and start the synthetic form of oxytocin (I honestly didn’t even listen to the midwife what the name of the drug was), as this was our only option besides c-section. It was 8 AM at the time.
The contractions started quickly, but they were mild and my hopes were up again. I was very optimistic I could do this without any pain management. Oh, how wrong was I. In the next six (yes 6!) hours the contractions were slowly but surely gaining on length, strength and frequency. It was an amazing journey and with the help of my husband I even laughed through the pain, one thing I know I will remember always. Then the pain became so intense, I moved from the birthing ball on the bed. Matej and Jane continued massaging me and cheering, but I felt like there was no end to the pain. One contraction stopped and even if there was a minute before the next started, I felt like there was no pause. I whispered to Matej to please stop the pain, to end my life and save the baby. I felt like there were thousands knifes cutting my belly apart.
The next hour seems really blurry and I am grateful for it. The midwife examined me and I was only 1,5 cm dilated. She predicted it could take another 6 hours before the third stage of labour. I don’t really remember the conversations, they all seemed so far away. I only know I nodded when asked if I wanted epidural. It took so many contractions before everything was set, but when the medicine kicked in, I was the happiest person alive. Epidural took all the pain away and I was finally able to fall asleep after more than 24 hours. Matej and Jane were able to rest as well, so we were all a bit more ready for what was to come next.
I was woken by the pain after about an hour. They told me to call the midwife, so she can increase the dosage of the epidural. But even after increasing it a few times, the pain kept coming back. She called the anaesthesiologist and she gave me a huge dosage and suggested I might be dilating fast. She was right. It was almost at 10 cm, so things should start progressing soon. This was at about 6 PM andd just shortly after I started shivering and the baby’s heart rate started dropping. They called the doctor and she told us I will soon need to start pushing, but the baby didn’t move down yet. We tried delaying the pushing as much as we could, but the waters broke almost 36 hours ago and the baby was at risk.
At 7:50 PM I needed to start pushing. At first I was scared to push too hard but after a while I realised David would need a lot of my help to come into the world. At that point I was pushing hard and was determined to make it happen. The doctor was already able to see the head, but the baby stopped moving downwards. It turned out that David’s head was stuck against my pubic bone. This meant she needed the help of the vacuum. Again we did everything we could to prevent it, but at the end this was the only possibility. Once his head was out another complication followed. His shoulder got stuck as well and she needed to help him with rotating him.
At 9 PM on Saturday night, after a long and complicated labour, our sweet boy was born and was immediately placed on my belly. His daddy bursted into tears and I was completely amazed and just kept calling his name. We were still connected with the umbilical cord, but I was already holding him in my arms. Matej cut the cord after 10 minutes and we moved David higher onto my chest. He slowly made his way up to my breasts and started his first feeding. He was the most beautiful baby I have ever seen, so wrinkled and red, but so mine.
Many new mothers say they would definitely go through labour again once it’s over and they hold their babies in their arms, but I am not so sure this is something I would do again. It left a deep mark in my heart and it’s still brings tears to my eyes when I think about all the pain and stress my baby and I went through. I can not imagine doing it alone and it was the best decision to have a doula educating and supporting us along the way. Jane was someone we could rely on, since we are so far away from home and from family. She was the one we asked the silly and the scary questions and she always provided us with the best advice she could. When I look back, I know we made all the right decisions, even if they were the toughest in my life and needed to be made quickly. She supported my husband so he could support me. And her touch during those painful contractions was magical. Thank you Jane, for being our best friend and a fiery godmother to David!
And thank you Matej, my loving husband and David’s amazing father, for making me laugh through the pain, for knowing exactly what kind of music to put on the radio (the midwife was puzzled anyone would want this music during the labour, but I did and you knew it!), for crying when you saw David and for fighting for us with the crazy doctor! You are even better father I ever imagined you too be and we are blessed to have you to protect us and spoil us. We love you to the moon and back!
Your mama bear, A.