I’ve always been curious about the process involved in labour/delivery, I just want to know what to generally expect. Every time I raise the question the answer would always be “it’s not as bad as people make it out to be” or “the pain is indescribable” which doesn’t say much at all. Now that I’ve experienced it for myself, I can tell you that it was a real pain in the everything. Labour occurs in 3 stages & I can see why the overall experience is a difficult one to describe which is precisely why I have decided to share mine in detail. So if you’re not ready for this then you better close the tab because things are about to get very specific.


Stage 1


My early contractions began at about 1:30AM on 22nd February. It pretty much felt like period pain; mild & bearable so I tried to sleep through it. The timing was slightly irregular with contractions lasting 15secs every 10-20mins. The pain increased & became more frequent lasting 40secs every 5mins so I ended up with no rest at all. At around 6:00AM I made a call to the birthing unit & got to the hospital by 7:00AM where the nurse checked my cervix to see how dilated I was. You need to be 5cm or more in order to be in labour which was not the case for me because I was only 3cm dilated at the time so a few suggestions were made..

(1) take a bath to ease the pain,
(2) go home & try to rest or
(3) stay & use the exercise ball or walk around to help speed up dilation

Resting was not an option. I was determined to have my baby that day so I stayed. Plus, there was no way I was going to return home with the amount of the pain I was in, I needed help Lol. I took a warm bath which lowered the pain down a level as it helped relax all those muscles. I forced myself to walk around that ward even though all I wanted to do was lay down. It was a mission I tell ya. I think my pace was something like 0.047 km/h Lol. Everything felt like it was in slow-mo, everything apart from the pain from my contractions. At 4:30PM I was 5cm dilated & was told that I was officially in labour. Did I have a birth plan? Before coming in I was set on the idea of a natural birth meaning a labour without any medical pain relief. I can tell you now that that quickly changed. I wanted every single drug on offer to ease the pain LOL.


Stage 2


Just when I thought that early contractions were bad enough, the pain from this point onward was where shit got real. Contractions here were more intense, longer & closer together. What do intense contractions feel like? For me, it was an ongoing aching in the lower part of the stomach & back. No, not like period pain or an upset stomach pain. More like pushing a sharp, over sized object out of your body knowing that it’s impossible, but your body voluntarily does it anyway. How painful was it? Personally, I’d say 10/10 & I’m not even exaggerating. I think this stage of labour was by far the most painful out of the 3. I didn’t cry, but my vocals here were definitely louder than they were in the final stage of labour. I remember saying “help me!” & “I can’t go through this again” to Daniel LOL. He was incredibly supportive; said & did all the right things which didn’t feel like much importance at the time but made a huge difference now that I am reflecting on the experience.

This stage was incredibly uncomfortable & exhausting, but I didn’t resort to any medical pain reliefs. I did give the gas (nitrous oxide mixed with oxygen) a go, but decided to ditch it because I was covinced that it was ineffective. I was performing plenty of voluntary pushing at this stage. It felt like I had pushed out absolutely everything, but nothing had come out. I couldn’t even urinate when I wanted to so the nurse had to put a thin tube (catheter) into my bladder to drain the urine. The nurse kept coming in & out checking my temperature, heart rate & asking if my water had broke. By 9PM the nurse had to break my water to help speed things up. I always wondered what it feels like when your water breaks & now I know, like a gush of fluid. 


Stage 3


This is the hardest stage, but also the shortest. All that voluntary pushing & a whole day worth of pain has lead to this moment. Finally, the tip of the baby’s head/hair was in sight at last. I think it was about 10:30PM where 2 midwives came in to assist with my delivery. I was physically exhausted at this point & I think it made me hallucinate in between contractions because everybody’s movement seemed like “The Flash” . It was like my heart was jumping out of my chest with every single push, yet felt like an achievement at the same time because I could sense that the end of labour was near. Apparently, the pushing took too long so they had to cut me a little in order to make more room for the baby to exit. The anaesthetic used did an excellent job because I did not feel a thing when it happened, cheers to that. After the baby’s head was out, the midwives positioned my legs upright towards the ceiling & told me that this was going to be the final push for the shoulders to come out. At 12:38AM on 23rd February I heard the first cry.

Baby Nova had arrived with eyes wide open, weighing at 2.86kg & 51cm in height

One of the weirdest feeling was after that final push when Nova was pulled out. The other being the removal of the placenta which Daniel described as “a bag with multiple dark colour tones”. Both felt like massive weight being lifted (or should I say being “dragged out”) from your body. I felt my energy level restored & I could finally breathe at a normal pace again. Nova was immediately placed on my chest for that skin to skin contact. The midwife then clamped the umbilical cord & Daniel cut it. All that world of pain just faded away right at that moment. It was just like every peaceful moment in the movies. I remember looking at Nova with the thought, “I’d do this again”. Cliché, but true. The midwives quickly cleaned up the mess & the Doc was called in to stitch me back up. I didn’t even feel the stitching or it could be that the anaesthetic was that good LOL. Luckily I also had a great distraction on my chest. 

How did I prepare for labour? If you had read my previous post on my third/final trimester of pregnancy then you’d know that I did quite a bit of exercising. Did not seem to be effective though, like what the fork happened to that theory. A few people have told me that they also experienced similar or even longer labour times with exercise during their pregnancy. I also know those who barely moved a muscle during their pregnancies, yet had quick & easy labours so umm.. what the fork. I guess it really is different for everyone. People tell me that your second will be easier too. I mean, should I trust in that? I don’t even know anymore! Lol


My Personal 


1. Eat
I know you probably won’t have an appetite to eat because I certainly didn’t, but I wished I had eaten more. I was lacking the energy I needed for stages 2 & 3 which was probably why my labour took longer than it should. I did have a fruit salad & some congee though which was easier to swallow over other options. 

2. Drink Water
Labour is a workout so make sure you are hydrated

3. Breathe
This may sound obvious, but you can (& most likely will) lose track of your breathing during labour due to the amount of pain. Try to focus on your breathing like how you would do so when performing an intense workout. Take deep breaths & look up.

4. Don’t Lay Down During Early Contractions
I found that laying down made the pain worst so definitely keep active. Walking really helped even though it seemed like a mission at the time.

5. Positioning
I found that leaning forward really helped in reducing the pain during stages 1 & 2 so try to drape your chest over a table or bed. Another position that I found comfort in was sitting on the toilet during contractions, but I’m not sure if this will work for everyone. 

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