The three stages of labour


Giving birth is not like in the movies!

Welcome to the world baby Naly! - The three stages of labour
Welcome to the world baby Naly!

So there Ryan and I were in the waiting room! Yep, the waiting room!! Me about to give birth, him casting anxious glances around, trying his best (bless him) to be supportive and calm.

No one was in the waiting room so I thought at least I’d be seen straight away.

The cramps had really started to hurt now. I kept thinking about the breathing techniques, deep and out slowly. But the pain was taking my breath away most of the time. I had to really concentrate, mind over matter, ‘Com’on girl, you can do it, breathe throug h it!’

In fact, I have to say, all the times I did breathe slowly and in a controlled manner the contractions felt less intense. Ryan kept rubbing my back and telling me I was doing really well and just remember to breathe.

3am. After an hour (an HOUR!!) in the waiting room, I finally got seen by a midwife.

She checked my blood pressure, the baby’s heartbeat, and then how dilated I was. To her surprise, I was already 5cm dilated.

That was good to hear. You need to be 10cm dilated to push the baby out so that meant I was already half way through.

I asked the baby to be delivered on the upper floor of the hospital, where there was a birthing pool and a much calmer environment, the area where we were at felt more clinical.

The midwife informed me they were waiting for a room to be cleared upstairs, it’ll take 30-45 minutes, if I could hold on?

Yep... this woman was asking me to hold on.

Amazingly, through my deep broken breaths, I heard myself muttering, ‘yeees, fiiiiiiine...’ What can I say, giving birth makes you slightly irrational.

So with gritted teeth, we went back to the waiting room. By now my contractions have become increasingly painful and it was hard to control them just by breathing.

I told Ryan to get my Tens machine from the car and the rest of my stuff, this might be the only chance we have before it gets serious.

He went as quickly as he could. Ten minutes later (it felt like a few days) he was back.

Ryan quickly put the Tens machine pads onto my back, and the electrical pulses started to work. I tried this on at home before, I had it on a couple of notches and I thought it was too much, but this time I had it on full blast, and it didn’t feel that strong at all. I’d probably have to hit the ‘boost’ button at some point!

About what felt like an eternity (but was in fact only 35 minutes later) a midwife finally emerged and told us the room was ready upstairs.

By this point I had my eyes fully closed and was holding onto the arms of the chair I was sitting on, panting hard every time a contraction hit.

Assessing the situation, she said: ‘’s probably best I get a wheelchair for you...’

This was more like it!

In the lift going upstairs, I started to feel the urge to push, the contractions were getting quite overwhelming and very close to each other, I couldn’t help but let out a few cries every time they reached their peak.

The Tens machine was helping though, I could focus on the electrical pulses rather than just the contractions themselves and it took the edge of the pain a little bit.

As soon as we got to the room, I was on hands and knees in position on the floor mat. There was also a bed and a birthing pool in the room, but somehow the floor looked more inviting and also quicker to get to.

A new midwife came in and told us she’ll be looking after us, she looked barely over 20, probably never had children herself. I didn’t feel hugely confident, but by that point I just hoped she’d be able to look after me. And it turned out she was great.

The midwife ran the water pool for me just in case I wanted to get in, as much as I liked the sound of the running water and the thought of a warm bath, I just couldn’t bear the thought of taking off my Tens machine (you can’t use it in water), that was my only drug-free pain relief.

She asked me to lie down on my back so she could check the baby’s position and the heartbeat.

It felt really uncomfortable and unnatural in that position, so as soon as she was finished, I went back on all fours, and sometimes squatting so I was more upright. You can choose whatever position you want, it’s really how you feel at the time.

I really had no idea what time it was at this point because I couldn’t open my eyes. The contractions were literally coming one after another, there wasn’t any recovery time in between.

I let out screams each time it got too intense, and the boost button on the Tens machine was permanently on by this point, but I could hardly feel the effect.

'Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!' - it at least sounded like the movies now.

The pain was like your worst period pain times a hundred! I had a really bad back before I got pregnant, something to do with a trapped nerve, and I could really feel the pain now, it affected from my lower left back down to my leg and I just couldn’t get comfortable.

The pain was getting too much, I thought maybe I should have some gas and air to ease the pain, because I could be like this for hours!!

There’s no need to be a hero if there’s help at hand. I asked (or perhaps begged) the midwife about the gas and air, but did add in a random lucid moment that I didn’t want to be out of it when the baby came.

The midwife said she’ll checked down below first and told me she could see the baby’s head coming in and out with each contraction.

I asked does that mean I’m close?? Or still awhile to go?? I needed to prepare myself mentally how long I was going to do this.

But she couldn’t tell me, she said it just depends. WHAAAAT??? This was not helpful! She also didn’t reach for the air and gas for me. Evil bitch!

Push, push, push!

Then suddenly I remembered in one of the antenatal classes a lady asked the midwife if we should push in the beginning, or save our energy and spread it out because we don’t know how long the labour will last.

The midwife said without hesitation that we should always push hard in the beginning, because the baby could come out quicker, no point reserving any energy for later since we never know how long a labour will last.

As soon as that clicked in, at the next peak and the urge to push was really strong, I thought ‘I’m going to go for it!!!!’, and gave a big push...WOW...That really HURT!

It felt like a thousand daggers stabbing within, it took my breath away, I had to stop because it felt like I have split everything down there!

But I could also feel the baby’s head coming through, the midwife told me to control my breathing and give little pushes, so I followed her instructions:

Breathe in...and out...little push... Breathe in...and out...little push...
After several little pushes, I could feel the head coming through more and more, and suddenly the thickest part came through, the rest just gushed out really fast. Whoooosh!

Almost immediately I heard the baby cry, and my pain ended straight away.

Ryan was behind me and he saw everything - he told me later it wasn’t as scary or disgusting as some people made it out to be, it was surprisingly a lot cleaner than he thought it would be and absolutely amazing to witness our baby coming out and into the world.

The midwife told me it was a girl. With about the last of my energy, I grinned! I'd got a lovely baby daughter, I'd done it!

We looked at the clock, it was 5:01am.

Wow, that didn’t take long at all, I thought it had been hours and hours, but that’s only three and half hours from when I felt my water break at home until delivery.

The whole birth was a lot faster than I prepared myself for! And I was so glad I didn’t need any gas or air in the end and got to feel and experience everything in the most natural way... even though it hurt like hell!

We usually hear horrible birth stories, so I'm made up to be able to (thankfully) go through a pretty positive and a smooth one. Ryan helped me through and the midwife was fantastic!

The midwife put the little creature on me immediately to have skin to skin contact. She is beautiful!! All pink, puffed up with a full head of hair. What an experience!

Welcome to the word my beautiful little girl, you're name is Naly.

Lucy x


Lucy Li
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