In part 2 of Coffe Break (you can read part 1 here), Ági’s tale approaches the time of labor and delivery. In the morning, everything was pointing to an average weekday, but it ended up with the arrival of a new family member :) Our new mom tells us her experiences step by step, hour by hour. Ágnes Szabó recalls the day her first child was born.
The 269th day of my pregnancy was a warm summer day. It started out great. In the morning I went out to take care of the groceries. As it was only 12 days before the estimated date of delivery, I tried to take care of everything. Post office, bank, two grocery stores. It was around 1 p.m. when I arrived at home. After unpacking, I took a one-hour nap, then I spent the early afternoon reading. A bit after 4 p.m. my husband arrived, and we had a nice feast. We ate deer stew with dumplings. Why this is important I’ll tell you later. After eating, around half past four, my darling gently stroked my belly and said „Baby girl, it’s time for you to come out, Daddy doesn’t want to go to work tomorrow.” Quiet minutes followed. We both napped and read.
A bit after quarter past 5, sitting on the sofa, I felt something strange. I can’t really compare it to anything. I felt something start leaking out of me, something I can’t hold back. It’s not that I peed myself, but that’s probably the closest thing to what I felt. I quickly got up from the sofa and headed to the bathroom. The thing just kept leaking uncontrollably. There was no dramatic splash like in the movies, it was more of a peaceful trickle. Yes, my water broke. We called the midwife, who told us to come to the hospital. We packed our stuff at an easy pace and then set off. Before leaving, we even took a last pregnant picture of me.
We arrived at the hospital around 7 pm. There were no contractions at all, and I couldn’t imagine how this would turn into a delivery. A few examinations proved that my water did really break, and thus the delivery was underway. Since it was Semmelweiss Day, there weren’t too many people around in the hospital, so all rooms in the maternity ward were free. I chose a room with windows at the end of the corridor. Nothing really happened until 10 p.m.. I got changed and took a nap, waiting for something to happen. Then, a bit after 10 p.m., the contractions started (of course, since my husband had left to have a bit of sleep, saying that nothing will happen before the morning, and once he leaves, the delivery would of course start). I was around 16 when I last experienced period pain (fortunately I lived through red letter days without any problems since then), but the feeling probably most closely resembled that. Every 8-10 minutes I felt this abdominal cramp, lasting for 20-30 seconds in the beginning. At this time I was still hoping that I was to become the wonder woman who would give birth to her first child without too much pain.
Then we started the „party” with a nice warm enema. I was really worried about this one, but other than feeling quite vulnerable, it isn’t particularly unpleasant. What came afterwards was in fact quite unpleasant, considering that I’d devoured a large meal of stew and dumplings for dinner… Fortunately, the room had its own bathroom, so I didn’t have to run around in the corridor. For those who never experienced something like this, I can tell that it cleans one out nicely, roughly in an hour…
A couple of hours later the contractions were becoming longer and more frequent. I wouldn’t call it unbearable, but I wouldn’t have enjoyed going to the movies anymore. I stopped reading (during the first hour I was reading, as I couldn’t sleep anyway), because it was getting hard to concentrate on the letters.
Shortly after midnight, the midwife came and offered epidural analgesia. I thanked her for the offer, but I turned it down for the time. I asked her to try the gas instead; this will not relieve the pain, but at least it diverts your attention from it. The person I’d heard about this described it as being dazed or intoxicated. Unfortunately, it didn’t affect me at all. Maybe the device was used a long time ago, or I’m immune to this method, anyway it didn’t work…
By then however, the cramps were only 3-5 minutes apart, and they were becoming so painful that it made me double up, contracting my whole abdominal area. The midwife once again offered the epidural, and I gratefully accepted. This, too, was a thing I dreaded beforehand. I couldn’t really wrap my head around someone poking at my spine with a needle, or who knows what kind of stuff. I had to sit up, lean forward, and stay still as much as possible; the doctor was working with a needle after all. This wasn’t a merry thing to do amidst the pain of the 3-5 minute contractions. Inserting the needle and the catheter lasted for two contractions. The procedure itself wasn’t painful, it became a lasting memory rather because the contractions felt much more intense in this motionless state. The pain started fading after 10 minutes, so I only had to endure three more contractions. By this time my husband was also underway, so he would not miss the arrival of the child. Analgesics are a good thing, I could even sleep for an hour after having it administered. My husband arrived around 3 a.m., and he stayed with us until the the analgesic started to wane. Neither of us wanted him there during delivery, in my opinion it was perfect this way.
By 5 a.m. the pain was getting intense again, by this time my gynecologist had also joined us, and told us that the expulsion stage is starting. They lifted me up into a semi-upright position, and put my legs into comfortable leg rests. He told me to take a deep breath at the start of a contraction, then push hard down there. During a single contraction, three such pushes could be done. This may have been painful, but I was so much focused on pushing as hard as possible and to breathe properly that I didn’t feel pain (or I can’t remember). My gynecologist helped with the last few pushes. I was pushing from the inside after taking deep breaths, and he pressed on my belly from the outside.
During the last couple of contractions it was really getting tense down there, I knew that it’s almost over. The birth itself was a huge relief. And the baby, resembling a purple eel, slid out… Of course, once they’d put her onto my chest, she wasn’t a purple eel anymore, she became the most beautiful baby in the world. I mean really. I’m an honest person, so I won’t call ugly babies beautiful. I was even nervous because of this, I was afraid that I’d find my baby girl unsightly. She wasn’t unsightly. She was markedly beautiful, even right after being born. She became the most adorable after the bathing, of course.
Lying on my chest, she started crying, and so did I. These were very moving moments. The midwife cut the umbilical cord after the throbbing had subdued. Meanwhile I received some more analgesic so the doctor can sew up the perineum wound. Yes, he had to perform a mild episiotomy. I can’t remember at all when this happened, so it didn’t hurt at all. After taking care of the perineum wound, my baby girl was taken away for bathing, and soon my husband brought her back, clean, neat, and dressed…
Source of featured image: pxhere.com
Translated by Ádám Hittaller