I worked through my pregnancy. It was only the week before my due date that I went on to take my maternity leave. I worked as a gymnastics teacher and did not give too much thought as to what labor would be like, as I was confident with how strong I was. After all, I had overcome so many injuries.
I was not expecting to go into labor the day I did. I was busy setting up my baby’s room when I first felt something. As I had worked through my pregnancy, I had not gotten the time to put things in place. The contractions started as cramp-like pains. And I initially just brushed it off. When they began to get more and more intense, I called my husband, who sped home from work. My overnight bag was not packed, as I had not expected to go into labor so soon. So my husband hurriedly put things together. On the way to the hospital, all I could think about was how unprepared I was. This was not how I had envisioned it happening. Slightly disappointed with myself but excited for what was to come, we checked into the hospital.
The doctor told me I had only just gone into labor and hence, still had a couple more hours. The contractions were very gradual. At one point, I remember thinking to myself that this is not so bad. By midnight the contractions began to increase. They became more intense and more frequent. I remember squeezing my husband’s hand, thinking it can’t get worse than this because if it does, I am not sure I can bear it. Each contraction was more painful than the last one. Still, I stuck to my decision to give birth naturally.
By 4 am that morning the pain was too intense to bear. I was clutching onto my husband and the nurse begging for help. I asked them to give me an epidural, but the nurse said it was too late. I was exhausted – physically and emotionally.
Then the doctor came in, and after checking me, told me it was time to push. I was stunned but
relieved that this pain would soon be over and I would be able to hold my baby. With that thought in mind, I said a prayer and began pushing. I did not think I was capable of it, and right then, I only wanted to cry.
Each push felt like the last one I could make. The pain was excruciating and blotted out all my thoughts. I forgot the reason for this pain and that only demotivated me further. All my joys of being pregnant and a mother were forgotten. I wanted to give up and take a break. That’s when the encouraging words of my mother came in handy. She reminded me of the life inside me and about how long I have been waiting to meet her. Saying one last prayer, I continued pushing. As much as I would like to remember each and every detail of the process, since then my memory is vague. I only remember focussing on pushing. It was only when my doctor told me to open my eyes and see my baby coming out did I realize she was there. As soon as I looked at her, all the pain vanished. Everything I was feeling and had endured felt worth it. I was still physically tired but so happy. When I finally got to hold her, I was overcome with emotion. It was the first time in my life that I had felt such intense love. I knew right then and there that if I had to go through it ten times over, it would be worth it.
Looking back, I realized that while natural birth is painful and scary, it’s also worth it. I was able to walk right after I gave birth. Would I go back and opt for an epidural? Maybe. But did I regret my decision of natural childbirth? Absolutely not.
Being able to give birth naturally is still my biggest victory. Nothing I had done in my career was ever that painful. But being able to hold my daughter made every minute worth it.