Contractions feel like really bad cramps... to start with and it's all really down hill from there. I know some people like to put together a birthing plan and work out how they are going to handle what is about to happen to them but it's all very unpredictable. It is hard to plan ahead even if you plan for every eventuality as you can often change your mind when it actually happens to you. I know my husband and I talked at length about not using drugs or what kinds of drugs I may or may not go with on the day. We felt that the pethidine was too risky but changed our minds before the actual event. Reasoning that if it was an option, then they must offer it for some reason. In the end I went with a cocktail or gas, pethidine and a epidural chaser. It all ended in vomiting once our bundle of joy arrived.... but I am getting ahead of myself.
I went to bed two days after my baby was actually due seeing that he had not deemed it time to actually turn up yet and woke around 11 o'clock in desperate need to go to the toilet. Whilst sitting on the toilet my water broke, which was confusing because I didn't remember drinking enough to cause a huge gush of liquid and then it hit... "well, I guess this is it!". We headed off to hospital on a Friday evening, to find that yes indeed our small guest was indeed ready for his arrival but I was only a few centimeters dilated.
During birthing classes when they spoke about giving birth I always felt that I would be quite prudish and not want to be showing my bits off to all and sundry but the truth is I didn't care. The nurse asked if I would like to hop in a warm bath to relieve the contractions and I immediately stripped off to my birthday suit in front of her and hopped in, to my husband's amazement.
I ended up partaking in all the drugs they had on offer and although each person needs to decide on their own pain threshold and where their limits lie at the time, I've gotta say it was the most painful experience of my life. Ok, so I was going to try and sugar coat it but what's the point, if you're about to go through it you'll find out soon enough.
You watch those birthing movies and the woman screams obscenities at her husband and pushes a bit and it's all over. Well, it's not like that. My little guy didn't want to make his way into the world and seemed to be hanging on in there. The Doctor tried a suction cup and then was eventually forced to perform an episiotomy (that's basically cutting bits where you don't want to be cut) and pulling him out with the salad tongs (that, by the way is not the technical term). He arrived in the world almost exactly twelve hours after my water broke and I spent a fair amount of time after that vomiting - and you thought that was all over once the baby was actually out!
I spent all this time pre-birth reading books, looking at how the baby was developing from the size of a nut to the size of an orange and on and now it was out in the world and I really didn't know what I was doing. I had expected the experience of birth to be full of the unknown and scary but to be honest the really scary stuff started after he arrived in the world and came to live with us.