Hello, you big baby!
My pregnancy with Ivy seemed second nature. I didn’t even think about being pregnant 90% of the time unless I was suffering from acid reflux (curse that symptom!). I was so busy with work and Eve, my pregnancy just seemed to fly by. With Eve, my pregnancy felt like it lasted FOREVER.
But the birth of Ivy. Wow. SO. Painful.
Eve’s birth was painful in a different sense. She was a 24 hour labor but the actual delivery didn’t last long and the pushing stage was quick because of the episiotomy. The biggest hurdle was fatigue because her labor started at midnight when I had all of 30 minutes of sleep. With Ivy, I had a 9 hour labor but the pushing part was difficult because of the fact she was a 9 1/4 lb baby! (And no episiotomy) She had a hard time coming out! The ring of fire….oh no…but I digress, let’s start from the beginning.
I was scheduled to be induced on Sunday at 9 A.M. I was already 10 days overdue. I was worried about being induced but my sister had already been here a week and was leaving Monday afternoon. She came for the purpose of helping me with the baby and cuddling her little niece so I felt resigned to my induction fate. But Ivy came through for me! Saturday night I started feeling “crampy” and then I had a few decent hours of sleep when I woke up at 2 A.M. feeling even more crampy. I couldn’t tell if it was a contraction so I waited in bed lying there. After a few minutes, I decided this was the real deal. I started packing up my hospital bag. Then my contractions got more intense. I went on facebook to distract myself and update my family. I had a lot of emotions at this time. Should I wake up my husband and my sister? I decided against it since I thought they would need the sleep to help me through the long hours of labor.
My visiting teacher from my branch offered to give me a ride to the hospital earlier so around 4 am, I decided to send her a text to the tune of “hey when you wake up and get this, was wondering if I could take you up on that offer to take me to the hospital?” Thought she would see it when she woke up at 6 or 7 am. 20 minutes later, she shows up at my door.
She said she was up because of her baby. Wow. Well, ok, let’s do this. She helped me finish packing up for the hospital and then I left a note on the table for my husband and sister to see and took off to the hospital. I figured I was still in for the long haul as far as labor goes so I wasn’t quite worried about them accompanying me so early. Plus I could get done with all the pesky paperwork.
We arrived at 5 A.M. Tons. of. paperwork. It was actually quite ridiculous. How does one manage so much paperwork in labor? Then I got hooked up the to the fetal monitor. Laying on your back unable to move is like the worst thing ever during a contraction. Hospitals. Arrg.
I checked in my room and started unpacking and pausing to get through contractions. At around 7 am, I got a call from my husband and sister, “We got your note! You went to the hospital without us??? What??” I told them I was ok, and still had a while and to not rush over. That seemed to alleviate their fears knowing I hadn’t already delivered the baby. They got packed up and headed to the hospital to join me.
I labored for another hour or two. I don’t remember. I just remember yelling, “Push my back!” Counter pressure on my lower back was the only way to get through some of these bad ones. Nurses came in and asked me to head over to the delivery room because it seemed I would deliver soon. Thinking I was in for another long labor, I kept arguing with them because once I moved rooms, I didn’t have both my husband and sister. Only one would be allowed in. Finally after their pushing, I relented.
Ramsey headed with me to labor and delivery on the second floor. I had to stop several times on the way to get through some contractions. I was offered a wheelchair but heck no, I wasn’t going to be confined to sitting.
We arrived at the delivery room. Ramsey was distracted by all the pesky hospital personnel asking him to pay fees for this and that. For the delivery room, accompanying me the delivery room fee, nurse fee, doctor fee. Really, people? I need him by my side helping me through these contractions. Can’t this wait? Are they really scared we’ll jump ship after giving birth and not pay these fees? They hooked me up to the fetal monitor. Not this again. After 20 minutes of torture lying on my back, I’m begging them to put me in the water. Looking back I’m pretty sure I was in transition during this time of being strapped on my back. How cruel. They said I have to wait until I was dilated 5 cm before going in the water. What!? Isn’t the point of waterbirth is to LABOR in the water not just deliver in the water. I was paying an extra 2000 rmb to get in the water, so dammit put me in that water people! After bugging them relentlessly, they filled the tub and let me in. Then they looked really surprised. Um, wow, she’s like giving birth now. Yes, I dilate like lightening fast. They then said, “When you feel like you need to take a bowel movement, let us know.”
“Ok”, I said. 30 seconds later, “Yeah, I’m feeling that poop feeling.” I was pushing.
Let’s talk about the water. (When they finally let me in it) The water felt AMAZING. I felt like all my tension was released as soon as my skin felt the hot water. It was so wonderful, so soothing, so reassuring like being massaged all over my sore body. The nurses continued to pour warm water on me. I didn’t have that nasty, sweaty, sticky feeling like I did when laboring with Eve. I felt clean, fresh, natural, earthy even? I was naked and primal. It was me and mother nature.
The nurses were very encouraging. Then kept praising me and saying I was doing amazing (So much better to hear compared to Eve’s nurses who kept yelling at me). Because of their praise, I kept pushing harder and trying my best. Then the ring of fire came. OH MAN. It never ended. I felt myself tear. I tore sooo badly. This baby’s head. OH MAN. SO big.
Finally at 11:29 A.M. Ivy came out. All 9.25 lbs. of her. They placed her on my chest for immediate skin to skin contact (a service I requested but got denied with Eve.) But for some reason, I just felt apathetic. Why do I still feel like my vagina is on fire? Please make the burning stop!
They wanted me to get out but I started crying, “Noooo, let me deliver the afterbirth in the water.” They were worried about infection or something but relented. I needed that water. It saved me. I was shaking and completely unable to physically go anywhere. The water felt like a warm comforting blanket engulfing my torn and broken body.
After delivering the placenta, I succumbed to the pressure and let them stitch me up. I tore in 4 different places. It took 10 minutes to sew it all up. The doctor wanted to make sure she did a good job. Oh, I felt it all. Didn’t matter I was numbed. I felt the piercing sensation when the needle went in in each location. Then, the pushing of my abdomen by nurses. OVER and OVER again.
You know giving birth is one thing, but the hour or so after it is almost just as bad. No one ever tells you that. When the baby comes out, you believe the suffering is all over. No, the pain never ends. It just becomes a different pain.
All in all, the experience was positive. I cannot compare this hospital to American hospitals, but compared to my last hospital, this place was a huge improvement. The bedside demeanor, the room, the facilities…all a huge improvement. I got lots of free gifts like baby clothes, newborn photography, baby massage session, etc. I also got a lot more communication. The nurses were very good at telling me exactly what they were doing to me and what they were giving me. I can’t say I took the weird Chinese herbal tea packets of mashed up black mushroom and tree bark they gave me for restoring uterine health, but I appreciated the sentiment all the same.