Marion Low has never experienced such pain before, but she says it was all worth it in the end.
My husband, Michael, was in the Cape for work we live in Pretoria and I had to call him every morning to make sure he is awake (he's a very sound sleeper!), so I had been awake since 7am Thursday morning. Midnight that evening Michael called me to say goodnight. Around one o'clock I had my first contraction. It felt just like the Braxton Hicks I've been having, but slightly more achy. I knew it was the real thing because the intensity would increase and decrease like someone turning a volume dial up and then down. I went to the loo and then I saw some bleeding.
I called Michael (he had to pack up so he could come back), and then let my parents know (I was staying with them). I then spent about an hour organising a flight and transport to the airport for Michael!
By 6 I went to shower (my dad was getting adamant that we should go to the hospital!). By this time the contractions were getting a little painful, but I just concentrated on relaxing through them.
We arrived at the hospital around 8. (Thinking back now, I realise my water broke the previous afternoon, but it was a slow leak, so I thought it was just heavy discharge) Michael arrived just before 9. I was 4cm dilated by then. They gave me a ball to bounce on and Michael and I walked up and down the halls for a while. The contractions were now intense enough to make me stop to breathe through them.
By 12, I was very tired (I haven't slept since 7 the previous morning!), and when they checked I was still only 4cm. They offered me a pitocin injection to allow me to sleep for a while and to help the dilation along. I slept for about an hour and a half before the pain woke me up. They checked and I was 6cm, ready to move to the birthing room! Just after she checked, the pain suddenly increased, as if I skipped three levels. (Up until then it was very manageable because it had been gradual increases.)
The injection made me incredibly groggy, so I was pretty much in my own little world. In the birthing room I got into a hot bath (Michael says it was for about 20mins) I only remember 2 very intense contractions, but I'm sure there were more. He reckons I passed out once or twice. I asked for an epidural at that stage because I was so very tired, but then I got my first "push" pain. (it feels exactly like wanting to go to the loo). They helped me to the bed and I was 9 and a half cm dilated! The push pains are REALLY intense, it takes over your entire body. They gave me gas for a few contractions (I don't know if it actually helped with the pain, I was really out of it - I could hear everything and it registered, but I felt like I wasn't capable of "higher" thoughts like rationalising the pain. I was, however able to do everything they asked).
I pushed about 10, 15 min. The doctor and nurse were great, they guided me through every push, telling me exactly how far I had to go. It's difficult pushing hard enough, but the contractions help a lot. Just go with what your body tells you. This part is really the least painful (they had to drain my bladder at one stage and the catheter hurt more than anything!!) When she started coming out they helped me push slowly, so I only got two very tiny "skidmarks" inside.
They put Mieke on my chest directly and I instantly felt like I "recognised" her... it was really cool! I also became more alert as soon as she was born. Expelling the placenta hurt a little, but nothing major.It's no fun when it's happening, but somehow you get the power to get through it. I am in awe at what I achieved, what my body is capable of. And it is true that you forget the pain. It's really an awesome experience!!
If I can give some advice: Just accept everything as it happens and don't stress! You will be fine and I am sure that your experience will be just as amazing as mine!Good luck and enjoy!! It's really awesome!