Hi everyone! I’m back to share my labor and delivery experience! And let me just start by saying my story is just that - MY story. It’s not right or wrong, better or worse, it doesn’t make me any sort of expert, nor does it give me the right to advise others on what’s right for them. Everyone who has given birth has their own unique experience whether it goes the way they had hoped or not. And everyone should feel free to approach the experience with their own wish list of how they’d like it to go in an ideal world. I just needed to get that out of the way, because many people have very strong opinions on how labor and delivery should go, but I am not one of those people, and I am only sharing my experience for the sake of sharing! I personally love hearing other people’s labor and delivery stories, so I hope you enjoy hearing mine!
If I had to sum up my first labor and delivery experience, it was awesome! Side note - we did not take any birthing classes beforehand. We were of the mindset that we didn’t have much control over the experience so we would just go with the flow. One other side note, while I’m starting to write this I’m thinking about my husband reading it and correcting me because I have the worst memory and his is always on point. Anyway, I was induced a week before my due date due to Preeclampsia. My blood pressure had been rising the last few weeks of pregnancy and once it reached a certain point my doctor told me that for the baby and I’s health and safety, it was time to induce labor. At that point I felt very prepared, because I already knew an induction was likely. Plus I had been off work for a week, just sitting around waiting and getting more and more swollen, so I was ready to have the baby! My doctor made the decision around 7am one morning and we set an appointment at the hospital for that day at 10am. So between that time I took a shower and triple checked my hospital bag and was ready to go!
I know Hollywood movies paint this overly dramatic picture of women being rushed to the hospital screaming in pain, which I also realize does happen to some women, but it’s often far less dramatic and fast-paced. Even still, I always pictured having contractions on the way to the hospital and some level of urgency. But that was not at all the case for us. My husband and I calmly drove to the hospital for our induction appointment and casually checked in like we were checking in to a hotel. Once we got settled into our room, I was hooked up to monitors and the nurses explained what the induction process would be like. I felt very calm and relaxed the whole time.
Once things were underway and I was having contractions (which by the way I didn’t feel for the longest time but we could see them on the chart and the nurses kept looking at me like I was crazy for not being able to feel them), all there was to do was hang out in the room and wait! Within the next few hours my mom, sister and two best friends arrived to keep us company which was awesome. I knew I didn’t want anyone but my husband in the room while I was in active labor, but loved having my favorite people there while we waited. It felt so special to have them in the room while we were on the brink of such a big moment.
At some point (I essentially have no recollection of what time certain things happened) the doctor came in and broke my water to get things moving faster. Not long after that I really started feeling the contractions and as they continued to get worse, it was harder for me to visit with my family and friends in the room. Once I had worked through a good couple hours of hard contractions and I felt like I didn’t want to experience the next level of pain, I asked for the epidural. By that time I think it was mid-late evening, and my family and friends went home so I could have some quiet/rest time knowing the real labor was upon us. Once the epidural was administered (which was a very painful experience by the way - I had an intense contraction at the exact moment the needle was going into my spine!), the nurses suggested I get comfortable and try to get some rest because I likely wouldn’t start pushing until morning.
Once the epidural took effect and I wasn’t feeling the contractions anymore, I thought, ok I can get comfortable and maybe sleep a little. Once I was comfy, my husband got settled in his chair/bed thing and started to watch a movie on his iPad. It couldn’t have been more than 30 minutes before I felt a strong burning sensation that in hindsight seems funny that I didn’t realize what was happening, but at the time I really wasn’t sure what it was. I think since the nurses had me under the assumption that it would be many more hours before it was time to push, I just assumed what I was feeling was something else! I called the nurse in to let her know that I was super uncomfortable and when she checked me she said, “oh, yep! It’s time to push!” John and I were both surprised at going from “get some sleep” to “it’s go time!”
Active labor was such an awesome experience for me, I absolutely loved it. I felt so strong and amazing while I was pushing - like I was doing a badass workout! The epidural allowed me to feel when I needed to push and just enough sensation, but not terrible pain - it was my ideal experience. I had an awesome nurse on one side of me and my amazing husband on the other, and I just felt like I was rocking it! I pushed for 45 minutes and suddenly there was a beautiful baby girl on my chest! Dylan Rose Konye was born on June 11 at 1:57 am. I will never forget that feeling or the looks my husband and I exchanged in that moment. Words can’t even describe it.
Once that crazy, overwhelming moment passed and the nurses were checking me and the baby, the next few hours were not as magical. The hospital was short staffed that night and the nurse in our room was from a different department and clearly struggling with her temporary role. She seemed to take twice as long to do things as I would expect and she just wasn’t very pleasant! Plus she kept calling our daughter a boy which was so annoying! My husband and I are both very patient people, but most of that goes out the door when you’ve just given birth! We were stuck in the delivery room for over three hours dealing with this bad nurse before we finally moved to our recovery room. We were exhausted by the time we got there and so done with that nurse. But luckily the staff changed over shortly after that and we were in great hands with amazing nurses for the rest of our stay.
Once it was morning (like real morning, not 2 am), our closest family and friends came to visit and meet Dylan, which was emotional. I could hardly believe we had a baby and that our family was meeting her! The next couple days were a blur of bonding with our new little bundle, navigating breastfeeding and trying to rest and recover. I felt good overall, but definitely overwhelmed and nervous about everything. We hadn’t planned on sending our baby to the in-hospital nursery at all, and I assumed I wouldn’t want her to leave my side, but once I realized I couldn’t rest when she was in the room, we changed our minds. Letting the experienced nurses watch her for a while we slept was the best decision for us. Oh, and once I took my first post-delivery shower, I felt like a new woman!
The part I found most challenging post-delivery was figuring out breastfeeding - I found it so daunting! It did not feel natural to me and I was constantly worrying if I was doing it right and if she was getting what she needed. The nurses were helpful, but I felt a little hopeless when they weren’t in the room. I also think navigating such an important new skill on top of being exhausted is just tough! Overall, while we were in the hospital I was just always concerned that our baby was ok. I felt so much better when a nurse was in our room and a little on edge when they weren’t. But that got better over time and by the time we were supposed to leave, I felt ready (ish).
I don’t love giving advice to other parents, but if someone were to ask me for advice related to labor and delivery, the only thing I’d say is to just trust your instincts and do whatever makes you the most comfortable and happy. During labor, do whatever works for you as long as it’s safe for you and your baby. During recovery, do whatever feels best and if you need help (physically, mentally or new parent guidance), just ask for it. If you want visitors, great, if you want to be alone with your partner and baby, great. All of that probably sounds simple, but I think sometimes we let other people - doctors, family, etc. - persuade us to do certain things. I feel strongly that this amazing experience should only be what the two parents decide.
My labor and delivery experience overall was wonderful and I wouldn’t change a thing (well aside from that one nurse). I am so excited to go through it again in a few months with baby number two and am just so curious at how similar or different the experience will be! The thought of meeting another human that my husband and I created AND watching our first born meet her is already making my heart explode!
Thanks for reading!