Editor’s note: We believe that all birth stories and all birth experiences matter. This post is part of our ongoing series of birth stories featuring a diverse range of women and their birth experiences. Ambaa had her first baby at a birth centre, but now that she knows how much it hurts, she’s planning a hospital birth for her upcoming second delivery!
If you would like to share your own birth story, visit this post to learn how.
I struggled with infertility for three years before I finally got pregnant.
While I was pregnant, I watched lots of documentaries about how hospitals are for sick people, and labor pain is cultural, and birth can be this beautiful orgasmic experience. I learned about hypnobirthing and signed up at a birth center that was like a cute little bed and breakfast.
A week before my due date, I thought my water had broken. It was just a little bit. I held out my panties to my husband and asked him if it smelled like pee or not. He said not. Then contractions started. It was all in my back. Five minutes apart right from the start, but they weren’t a minute long so the midwives said to wait to come in. This was 11:00 pm on a Friday.
On Saturday morning we went to the birth center, and I was well-dilated so they put me in a room. The contractions hurt, but it was manageable with my husband pushing against my back as hard as he could.
I tried to eat, but the instant I took a bite of granola bar I threw it up.
Then my water broke for real at noon. A huge gush that startled the heck out of me. And then the contractions became horribly painful. I started screaming, “I can’t do this!” And the midwives said, “You are doing it.” And I said, “No!”
I must have gotten stuck at some point because the pushing phase was four hours. I didn’t want to end up on my back but that’s exactly where I ended up so they could check me. I couldn’t move.
My husband was trying to breathe along with me, and I was like, “You stop that right now.”
I was totally miserable and wondering why I had done this to myself when modern medicine has invented solutions to this pain. It was pain that was completely indescribable. Beyond anything I ever could have imagined.
They didn’t have epidurals or any medical pain relief there so they offered me gas and air. I had to sign a waiver in the middle of all this. But I started getting so loopy and out of it that they had to take it away because I wasn’t able to follow their instructions.
Then the midwives said, “He has hair! Do you want to touch the head?” And I said, “Just get him out of me.”
With a pop, he was born at 4:00 pm on Saturday. They put him on my chest, and he was so perfect and beautiful.
I held him while they sewed up a third degree tear and I screamed into the gas and air mask. Then my husband says I turned gray like a ghost because I was losing so much blood. It scared him a lot. I was shivering and I couldn’t get warm. They tried to put an ice pack on my stitches, but I couldn’t stand it because I was so cold.
For the next week I got fevers and massive chills every single evening.
It was all worth it for my beautiful little man, but I’m pregnant again now and I will definitely be going to a hospital!
Ambaa blogs about religion, culture, and ethnicity at The White Hindu on Patheos.