First Time Mom Hospital Birth Story

I want to share with you the birth story of my first baby! As a first time (or second or third, etc) mom preparing for labour and delivery, reading about other mom’s birth experiences can provide some insight and help you prepare for your own birth. Although we were ultimately blessed with a healthy baby and no emergency complications, there were some ups and downs along the way. I’ll share my thoughts about it all at the end!

Before the Birth

I had been taking hormonal birth control pills for 2 years when we decided to try for a baby. We got pregnant immediately after going off the pills in December. I was positive I was pregnant even before taking a test. My ultrasound due date was August 26, but when baby made no sign of coming, my induction date was set for September 2, at 41 weeks. We didn’t know the gender, but were both leaning towards a girl.

The baby had definitely “dropped’ weeks before, and at my 39 and 40 week appointments, the Doctor was sure the baby would arrive “any time”, as I was 2cm dilated and 25% effaced, and the head was “right there, I’m touching it right now”, she said. Three weeks of stripped membranes later, no baby and no sign of labour.

36 Weeks Pregnant

Birth Day – 6 a.m.

We showed up at 6 am to be induced. We sat around answering questions and just waiting until the Doctor came at 8 am. I was given a prostaglandin pill vaginally to help efface and dilate my cervix. We spent the next 4 hours walking around the hospital and hanging out in the tiny shared room. There was only room for a cot and chair, our privacy from the bed next to us only a curtain. Our first nurse was amazing, so kind and supportive. Contractions were mild and about 10 min about for those four hours.

It was incredibly busy in the Labour and Delivery unit that day (I’ve actually since met two other moms who had their baby in the same hospital on the exact same day). Other couples were in and out of the bed next to us in quick succession. Just before noon, our nurse came in to tell us she had to be assigned to another patient who had just arrived at 10cm dilated and would deliver right away.

12 Noon

So we waited, without a nurse, until the Doctor arrived around noon. I was about 3cm dilated and 50% effaced, so she decided to rupture the membranes and hoped that would speed things up. A nurse came in, but was prompt to tell us she wasn’t assigned to us, she was just filling in until someone else arrived.

Within minutes of the membranes rupturing, contractions were back to back and much more intense. Another nurse came in to say she was filling in for the other nurse who had been filling in but was now on lunch break. We saw each of them only once.

So labour was getting intense for me, we had very little privacy, as the bed next to us was always filled, and we didn’t have a nurse, so needless to say we were both feeling a little stressed and unsupported. Not surprisingly, my blood pressure was pretty high, and each nurse that came in for the rest of the afternoon would stress out and make me pee in a cup to check my protein levels, which were always fine.

1 p.m.

Around 1 pm another nurse came and said she would be with us until her shift was done at 3 pm. Maybe she was already stressed from the busy day on the unit, but we both felt she was pretty rude. She checked me and said, in an annoyed voice, that I wasn’t even four cm dilated yet, and since things weren’t progressing she would have to start a pitocin drip. In retrospect, 1) it had only been an hour since they last checked 2) it was my first baby, it’s not supposed to go fast, and 3) we felt stressed and unsupported, so I was pretty tense and Not relaxed, so of course I hadn’t progressed much.

I was trying to keep quiet (since, you know, we had zero privacy), but the contractions were literally back to back with no break in between, and were getting more and more intense and painful. When the rude nurse was out of sight, I told my husband they weren’t allowed to give me pitocin unless they gave me an epidural first. When she came back, he told her this, and exasperated, she said, “well you don’t have orders for an epidural, and besides, you can’t get an epidural unless you’re in your own room”. Perfect, we told her. If getting an epidural got us some privacy in our own room we should have done it long ago.

Half an hour later (with epidural orders) she came back to start an I.V., and said “I’ll wait to do it until in between contractions”, and I remember thinking, “what are you talking about? There is no in between contractions”, it felt like one continuous contraction with ebbs and flows. But I was feeling timid and worn down and didn’t say anything.

Anyways, she eventually tried to start the IV – twice, unsuccessfully, then had to find another nurse to try. The other nurse also tried twice, thankfully getting it the second time – right in the crook of my elbow.

Looking back now, I realize with all the back and forth between nurses, no one was tracking my contractions, or the baby’s heart rate at all (or they would’ve noticed the intense, closely spaced contractions earlier.)

2:30 p.m.

It was about 2:30 pm by then, and now that I had an I.V., we were taken to our own room, and the anesthesiologist literally showed up within minutes (thank goodness – a blessing on such a busy day). With the epidural in place, the rude nurse started the pitocin drip, and said she’d be back in 5 minutes to check on things. Finally relief! I could feel the pressure of the contractions, but no pain. The rude nurse came back and checked the monitor (that I had been hooked up to since noon, but nobody really seemed to pay attention to), and kind of panicked, announced, “Oh wow, those contractions are way too strong, and the baby’s heart rate is low”. She immediately stopped the pitocin, unhooked it, and said I didn’t need it. – No kidding, now that I was finally relaxed the contractions could actually do their job.

The rude nurse’s shift was over, so a new nurse came to replace her- cranky old lady. Although she was better than the last, she seemed super annoyed to be there. Her first question was to ask me when I peed last. I said I didn’t know, maybe an hour or two ago. She seemed super annoyed, and declared, “well then we’ll have to do an in-and-out-catheter.” Wonderful, I thought, but whatever. By then (around 3pm), my Doctor had come to check on me, and I told them I had some pressure like I needed to push. They checked, and sure enough! 10cm.

Birth – 3:47 p.m.

I spent the next 45min pushing (and was so grateful for that epidural). Baby boy was born at 3:47pm! He weighed 8 lbs 4 oz. He had the biggest cone-head, with one side all bruised and swollen. He would cry whenever it was touched for the first few days after birth. The nurse and doctor were super surprised, saying his head looked like I had been pushing for hours, instead of just 45 min. I assumed it was because he had been sitting so low in my pelvis for literally the last month.

We did skin to skin right away and he breastfed on both sides for about an hour. While I was feeding him, the Doctor stitched up my tears, saying “Good, we’ll do this while you’re breastfeeding so you’ll be distracted” – Ya right. Stitches are the worst. They didn’t hold back their verbalizations of “Oh wow” and “ooh, ouch” while trying to put things back together. I asked the nurse afterwards about how I tore, and she said it was a big second degree tear up towards my urethra, and would likely sting for a long time whenever I peed (she was right), with smaller first degree tears also.

In Retrospect…

As a first time mom, I didn’t have much to compare my birth experience to. I am so grateful that I delivered a healthy baby without any emergency interventions. However, since then I’ve had three more babies, and I can now say with certainty – it wasn’t a great experience. If you’re a first time mom reading this, know that you deserve a supportive and involved birth team who listens to you and treats you well!

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