Sunday, July 14, 2013

The less-than-perfect Delivery - Part II

You can read about how it was already a week past my due date here.

In the wee hours of sunday morning (1:30 am to be precise), I had my first contraction or atleast what I thought was a contraction. I  wanted to see how far apart they were to make sure it wasn't false labor, before I woke up Ashok. The contractions were nearly 30 minutes apart. So I knew I was a long away off from having the baby. So I went back to bed and ran a checklist in my head - hospital bag packed ? car seat ready ? all needed numbers saved in the phone ?

I was too excited to fall asleep, so waited until 5am, took a cold shower, wore comfortable clothes and started googling for dos and donts during labor. Ashok and I decided not to tell amma/appa anything until the contractions became more frequent. The day went on and by evening, my contractions were still 20 minutes apart. So I went to bed tired and confused.

Around 3am, the contractions became more painful and were 10 minutes apart. So I called the midwife. She came home** at 3:30am and checked to see how dilated I was. I was only 1cm dilated (it has to be 10cm before the baby can be born) but the midwife said this was good news because the process had begun. I was relieved.

She came back at 6:30am and I was 2cm dilated. She came back at 8:30am and said I was still only 2cm dilated. This was a problem.

I had already been in labor for nearly 31 hours and had not slept well for 2 nights in a row. The dilation was really slow and this meant it could easily take another 10 hours or more, until it was time to push. The midwife was worried that by then I might be exhausted and might not be able to push at all.

She looked at me and said ''I know you said you wanted no pain medication, but its time to consider epidural''.

At this point, I burst into tears and expressed all my frustration in a volley of words ''I am healthy, I did yoga, I exercised, I ate right, why is this happening to me ?!?''. My midwife calmed me down and then asked ''Do you realise that there are not many women who can take 2 sleepless nights and 31 hours of labor ? Even after all this, you did not suggest pain medication yourself - do you realise that such will power comes only from being strong physically and emotionally ?''. She then went on to explain that the speed of dilation, especially for the first delivery, varies from person to person and has no direct relation to one's health and humourously remarked ''If yoga and exercise were enough for dilation, then why would anyone go through labor !?!''

My mind was racing to remember everything I had read about the use of epidural. After having the midwife reassure me a few times that it has no side effects on the baby, I looked at Ashok with tears welling up in my eyes again. He took my hand, squeezed it and said to the midwife ''lets do it''.

2 hours later, I was admitted to the MMC Veldhoven (which incidentally is the best hospital to give birth, if you are in Eindhoven, take my word !) and was answering questions from the anesthesiologist (personal details, allergies etc.). Minutes later, the epidural was administered.

Since this post is getting longer than planned, I will save the rest of the story for the next post.

**In NL, the midwife comes home to check on the pregnant woman and only when labor is well underway, she is taken to the hospital. This is based on their belief that if the labor is long, the woman (and her family) will feel far more comfortable at home than in a hospital. 
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