But for my first delivery, I spent four days waiting to get a hospital room AFTER my water had broken.
And the second time round, all I could think about was… “Will I get a room in time to have an epidural?”
I don’t like giving birth. I love my babies and I thank God for my two long awaited pregnancies that both brought me beautiful baby girls, but I don’t want to do it again.
Pushing a baby out of my body scares me. The pain scares me. The fear that something will go wrong and my baby won’t survive scares me. And most of all the fear that panic will take over my body scares me.
But what makes me angry is that on top of all that fear, the main trigger of my anxiety was that there would not be room in the hospital for me to get a delivery room and an epidural.
I am so very grateful to live in Canada where we have publicly available medical care and I have the opportunity to give birth in a hospital. But I’m frustrated that the medical care system isn’t being funded well enough. Women in labor should not have to worry about getting a delivery room.
When I was pacing up and down the hospital hallways before my first delivery, I watched a woman writhing in the pain of contractions, unable to be given a bed or any pain medication because the hospital was too full.
She was left to labor until full dilation next to me on a waiting room chair. Only at the last moment was she rushed to a room to push out the child.
I was enraged. And I was scared. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t labor in the waiting room with no pain medication. The fear made me sick.
For my first delivery, I was eventually given a delivery bed and induced four days AFTER my water had broken.
And as my second delivery neared, all I could think about was, “Will I get a bed?”
In the end, I did get a bed, but barely in time. They injected the massive epidural needle into my spine, but it didn’t have time to take effect and I pushed through a pain worse than I could have imagined.
I think I pushed fewer than six times… and Sophia burst through my pain and into the intern’s hands. (I’d gotten a bed… just not quite a doctor.)
I can barely remember the rest. I was in shock. She was in my arms and I held her… I see proof in the photos. But I was lost in the aftermath of fear and pain. I know I was in love with her instantly. I know I was thankful and thrilled to have my baby safely in my arms. But I can’t really remember it.
I was blessed. I was fortunate. Both times I did get the bed. I did have safe deliveries and I think I actually feel guilty that I got to be one of the lucky ones.
I live in a country where – most of the time – women get to give birth in a hospital. They usually are given a delivery bed in time for pain medication and they don’t have to go into debt to pay for the room. But I still find myself angry that a woman should be worried about getting a hospital bed and an available doctor to deliver her baby. How can the health of women and their babies not be a top priority?
So I was lucky. I shouldn’t complain.
But then again, maybe I should… because there are many others in my country and other countries that aren’t as lucky.
Every laboring woman, everywhere, should only have to worry about pushing. Because if you’ve ever given birth, you know THAT is something to worry about.
Childbirth is such an incredible moment, and I’d love to know what went through your mind when you held your baby for the first time? (Hopefully you weren’t overcome with panic and fear as I was, and you can actually remember.)