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I was not in the group of women who were eager to go into labor, mostly because I was so afraid of the impending pain. I have a low pain tolerance and would not be getting any kind of pain medication for the delivery. However, once my due date of May 4th came around, I was really hoping sheâ€™d come right on time. Not only would I have loved for her birthday to fall on Star Wars Day, but we had also recently found out my husband would have to travel to Kobe for work on the 7th, and if I went into labor while he was there, there was pretty much no way heâ€™d be able to make it for the delivery. I really did not want to give birth in a foreign country by myself. I figured she would be late, and I just had a feeling sheâ€™d decide to come on the one day I really did not want to go into labor.
I had my 40 week appointment on the 4th, and I was still only 1 centimeter dilated, ugh! My husband and I decided to walk around the town a bit and explore the beach near the hospital. We had a nice time collecting some seashells before heading back to our city.
The next day I decided to finally try having sex to see if that would work. We hadnâ€™t had sex in about 3 months. :S Well, that didnâ€™t seem to do anything at all. Later that day we took a very long walk around the city. I was exhausted by the time we got home. I gave up on going into labor before the 7th and just hoped for the best.
On the 6th, my husband decided to make curry for dinner. This isnâ€™t unusualâ€”we eat a lot of curry, but I had heard a rumor that curry can put you in labor. I jokingly said to my husband â€śAre you trying to make me go into labor tomorrow?â€ť I ate my curry and got into bed around midnight.
The baby was wiggling around so much that night! I could not fall asleep for the life of me. I also had some slight back pain, but I thought nothing of it. I figured it was due to my very long walk the previous day. I finally fell asleep around 2 a.m., but sleep did not last long. I woke up at 4:30 a.m. with stomach pains. I lied in bed for a while before I decided to get up and try to use the bathroom. I thought maybe eating the curry so late at night had bothered my tummy, but I wasnâ€™t getting any relief. It seemed like every time I thought the pain was gone and got up off the toilet, the pain would come back. I decided to start timing the pain, and sure enough, it was regular, about 6-7 minutes apart. I waited until around 5:30 a.m. to wake up my husband because I was still unsure if I really was in labor (I thought maybe it was in my head since I was so paranoid about going into labor that day!) and did not want to make him miss his training for nothing. The hospital had told us to go in when the contractions were 10 minutes apart, and they were already closer than that. My husband asked â€śAre you sure these are real contractions?â€ť to which I replied â€śNo, Iâ€™ve never done this before! It sure seems like it, though.â€ť He called his coworker/mentor and asked what he should do, since he had already purchased the train tickets with the companyâ€™s money. She said to go to the hospital and we could probably get a refund for the tickets.
We called the hospital and they told us to come. I was silly and wanted to take a quick shower before we left, and we scrambled to get everything gathered before our taxi arrived. We made it to the hospital just as they were opening at 6:30 a.m. They hooked me up to an NST machine to monitor me for a while before they did an exam, where I was told I was 3 centimeters dilated. The doctor told me that maybe I would be ready to have the baby in a few hours and said that if I didnâ€™t have the baby by morning, they would induce me. I really did not want to be induced, since I had heard contractions with Pitocin are very difficult to get through, especially with no pain relief. We were sent to my room to wait it out. I felt like we were waiting forever. My contractions werenâ€™t too terrible at that point, and to my dismay, they seemed to be coming less frequently, about 10 minutes apart. Grrrâ€¦my husband wanted to go out to get something to eat around 4:00 p.m., and my contractions were back to around 6-7 minutes apart by then. He said to call if anything happened while he was at the ramen shop next door. About 15 minutes later, my contractions were more like 4 minutes apart and I saw some blood when I went to the bathroom, so I called my husband to come back.
We decided to call the on-call midwife to our room and she did another exam. I was now 5 centimeters! She said to call again if the contractions were around 2-3 minutes apart, if my water broke, or if the pain got a lot worse. The pain was pretty bad by that point, but I could still talk through the contractions. The pain kept getting worse and worse and my contractions were about 2-3 minutes apart for about 40 minutes, so we decided to call the midwife again. Of course as soon as she got to the room, the contractions were more like 4 minutes apart again. Grrr! She said she didnâ€™t think it was time yet because I looked too happy. I was NOT happy! I started having another contraction and she finally realized I was in a lot of pain. She asked me if we wanted to go to the delivery room, and I said okay. We got to the delivery room around 6:00 p.m. and they hooked me back up to the NST machine, along with a blood pressure monitor.
The midwife asked where I felt the most pain, and I said mostly in my back (and also in my rectal area, but I wasnâ€™t sure if sheâ€™d understand that in English). It felt like I constantly needed to poop, but it would be the most painful poop EVER lol. She began to apply pressure and massage my lower back as my contractions began. I didnâ€™t realize how much it was helping until she left the room a couple times while a contraction started, and it was much more painful without the pressure. She ran back into the room saying â€śSorry!â€ť
The doctor came into the room smiling and said â€śMaybe you will have your baby tonight!â€ť and the midwife said â€śHmmâ€¦maybe.â€ť She didnâ€™t sound as sure. All I could think was â€śI might have to deal with this pain for over 6 more HOURS?!â€ť They did another check and I was 8 or 9 centimeters! They told me not to start pushing. I honestly had no desire to pushâ€¦I was scared and it felt like it was going to hurt a lot if I did. I told the nurse I didnâ€™t know how to push lol. She said itâ€™s kind of like going to the bathroom. Grrrreat.
At around this point is when they said theyâ€™d need to hook me up to a saline IV. I had asked about IVs in advance, so I knew this was coming, but I was terrified. I have a bad phobia of veins and Iâ€™d never had an IV before. Just the thought of it was freaking me out. My legs started shaking a ton as they were getting ready to put it in, and Iâ€™m pretty sure I started crying a bit. I also started feeling nauseated and dizzy and told my husband I thought I might be sick. He told the doctor and the doctor said that was okay and normal. I didnâ€™t throw up, thank goodness. I didnâ€™t stop thinking about that stupid IV until it was time to push, though.
When my contractions were about a minute apart, they checked me again. I was still 8 or 9 centimeters dilated, but shortly after that the midwife told me I could start pushing, but not to try very hard yet. I still didnâ€™t feel like pushing, so I just breathed through the contractions. My doctor was very impressed with how relaxed I seemed to be staying with my breathing. He told me that most Japanese women by this point were screaming â€śNo, no!â€ť in pain and I was doing a really good job, and the baby was also doing great.
The doctor told me I could start really pushing at around 10:30 p.m. I was instructed to take two deep breaths, then one more and hold it while pushing, breathe out and in quickly, hold and push again. I still wasnâ€™t sure what I was doing, but I tried my best. On maybe around my third or fourth push, I felt a huge gush of water, and the midwife said my water had broken. And that is when my reserved nature completely flew out the window lol. The pain and need to push became very intense right as my water broke, and I started freaking out a little, yelling in pain. Taking those two breaths before the push were SO HARD. I started to yell out as I was pushing, but after a few pushes like that, my doctor said itâ€™s better if I hold my breath through the push rather than make noise because it helps the baby out better. I had to concentrate really hard to do this and to hold my hands on my knees, spread apart. I was crying out after most pushes now, and they had to remind me to keep relaxing in between contractions, too.
Shortly after my water broke the doctor said he had to insert a catheter. WHAT?! I was NOT expecting that and was really scared. It didnâ€™t last for very long, but was extremely unpleasant and I cried. My husband was helping me through the contractions by wiping my face with a cool, damp towel and giving me water when I needed it. It was really warm in the room, so that helped a lot.
At one point I started wondering if it would ever end and pretty much thought that throughout the rest of the delivery. When they could see the head, it gave me a little hope, but I couldnâ€™t actually feel anything progressing, so I just had to rely on them telling me I was doing great, and I wasnâ€™t sure I believed them. I was so exhausted by this point and in so much pain from the head being partway out (the ring of fire, maybe? I didnâ€™t expect it to last for so long, though!) that I started saying â€śI canâ€™t do it, I canâ€™t do it!â€ť at around 11:20 p.m. or so. Everyone immediately reassured me and said I could do it and that I was almost there. The doctor said maybe in 2 or 3 more pushes, she would be out. It took a little more than that, but when the head finally came out, they told me to stop pushing and to take short breaths, like a dog panting (lol). I did that and an arm came out! I felt immediate relief. A few short breaths later and the rest of her came out! I started crying partially because the pain was finally over and also because I finally could see my daughter! It was amazing. She was born at 11:43 p.m.
They placed her on my chest and I was able to just lie there with her for a few minutes before they took her for tests, etc. So nice.
Next was the delivery of the placenta. That part was easy. They asked if I wanted to see itâ€¦I wasnâ€™t sure lol. I looked, anyway. They said my placenta was beautiful lol. The doctor then said I had a very small first degree tear and would give me some stitches. I was pretty scared about this part, too, but so exhausted and happy that I really didnâ€™t pay it much mind. It was unpleasant, but not painful. He told my husband that he didnâ€™t think heâ€™d even be able to spot the scar once itâ€™s healed because it was a very good tear.
They had me stay in the delivery room for a little over 2 hours after to monitor my blood loss and everything. I had to have the IV in me that whole time. :/ They gave me some ice cream, though. Ahhâ€¦so relieved it was done and I survived natural childbirth and had a wonderful new addition to my family!
Kaeldra Mae, born May 7th, 2013 at 11:43 p.m., weighing 7 pounds, 7.8 ounces and 19.7 inches tall: