What NOT To Do If You Are In Labour: Part One


The following is a very long and true account of my birthing experience. I won’t be offended if you skip it. If you’re planning on engaging in childbirth at some point, you may glean some tips. If you have already given birth, this will make you feel better about yourself. Trust me.

If you’re pregnant you probably have a copy of that timeless tome What to Expect When You’re Expecting (this is one of those books where the movie isn’t quite the same thing). If not, don’t worry, there’s this fantastic thing called the Internet that you can use instead. I hear its all totally legit stuff – take this blog for instance. Anyway, did you know there’s a section in the book that goes through step by step instructions outlining what to do if you have to deliver your own child? You should read it. I didn’t…at least not until we brought Isla home from the hospital. It’s actually pretty well done. And I would know, because we did that. The deliver your own child thing.

When I was pregnant with Isla, I spent a lot of time wondering and then borderline obsessing, about labour and delivery. When it would happen, what it would feel like, how long it would take, WHY IS THIS HAPPENING TO ME; all the usual things. Notice I didn’t say where. I figured this one was taken care of – first, at home with my midwife, and then, at the local hospital. Nope. Silly me.


Obligatory Pre-oops-I-gave-birth-in-my-tub Photo

Let’s get started.

12:30 am on due date:

Guess what? If you feel funny on your due date (even if it just became your due date), you might be in labour. Worsening backache? Stomach tightening? Nausea? A normal person might yell at their partner to start the car or at the very least, call their doctor. Not me. Nah, I figured that couldn’t possibly be the result of an 8 pound plus human forcing its way out. Instead I decided to keep working on those baby shower thank you cards – with a slight twist. I stood up. Because standing up usually fixes things. Especially things like labour. When standing didn’t work, I figured the obvious next step was to try sleeping. I mean, that made me feel better when I drove through parents’ garage door. And it worked! – for about ten minutes.

1:00 am:

At this point I decided that googling “back labour” might be helpful (more so than contacting a medical professional). This led to some extreme yoga (involving my stairs, dining room chairs and couch – not all at the same time), a Tylenol, a bowl of cereal (out of the fear that if I was actually in labour I would be stuck eating ice chips for breakfast), several glasses of water (just in case these contractions were just a symptom of dehydration) and pacing.

2:00 am:

The realization that delivery was imminent finally dawned on me when my water broke. At this point I decided that I should probably get the husband involved. Here’s a piece of advice: if your partner is sleeping, you should try to break this news gently – NOT by yelling up to the second floor. This might lead to your partner falling down the stairs in a sleep induced panic, resulting in rugburn in embarassing places. All theoretically of course.

Now 2 hours in, I (after consulting with my google M.D.) decided that a hot shower was needed. Of course, this was a perfect time to shave my underarm pits. Also a perfect time for Scott to have a shower. Because there’s nothing a labouring woman wants more than some shower company, am I right?

3:00 am:

This is about the time that I decided to fill my midwife in (incidentally, this was also about the time we ran out of hot water). Here’s some more advice for you: this is not the time to be polite. I thought it would be rude to pause (or yell over) our phone conversation during my contractions. Apparently, this was a key factor in my midwife underestimating how far along I was. That’s what you get for having manners.

If you’re still following, at this point we decided on a game plan: meet our midwife at the hospital at 6:45 am to see if I was ready to be admitted. In the meantime, I was to have a nice “relaxing” bath. Notice how the word relaxing is in quotation marks? That’s sarcasm (and the end of part one).