Finally, I can share Isabella’s birth story! She is now 7 weeks old and loving life… I hope haha. It’s been an incredible journey so far and as parents we are learning new things daily. It’s so crazy that I can even be sharing our birth story, what is life! Our biggest joy is seeing her grow and seeing her personality develop week by week. Looking back on my pregnancy I wouldn’t say it was horrible and that I wouldn’t do it again but it did have some moments where I questioned my ability to give birth when the time came. Through it all I prayed for my delivery to be somewhat straightforward. I planned everything out to be a water birth since Isabella measuring smaller than what she should be the chances of this happening were lower than ever. That was ok with me because at the end of it all, as long as our baby girl was fine then that’s what mattered. So, here goes the first ever birth story I’ll be sharing…
The whole day I had sharp pains in my tummy which hurt so much and had Diego and I concerned so, I called the hospital but they told me as long as there was no blood I was fine and to not be worried. However, it was around 6PM that I saw blood so we called the hospital, grabbed our bags and we were driving to St Thomas’.
We arrived to the hospital by 7pm and they immediately hooked me up to monitor the baby’s heart rate and to check if I was having any contractions, as well as doing an internal check which hurt!
By 9pm we were being transferred to the hospital birth centre because they wanted me to stay for at least 24 hours and monitor baby girl and I. That night we didn’t sleep well and had a midwife coming in every hour to check on us and I was starving! It was at 6:45AM that a doctor came storming in and woke us up, read my hospital notes, did an internal check and informed us that I was already 2cm dilated! She then told us because of my situation she would have to induce my labour as the blood was unexplainable and it was better to get baby out than keep her in. So at 7:00 she came back in with a long blue stick and broke my waters just about enough to start labour. We met our midwife briefly as she was just starting her shift, she told us to go on a walk in the hospital, gave me the green light to have something to eat and told us to be back in our room by 12:00.
It was at 8:00 that I started to get some period like cramps which eventually got harder to breathe through and painful. Both our families came to the hospital to check on us and hopefully be ready to meet Isabella. It was by 12:00 that I felt what had to be the worst cramp ever that I even shed a tear. We made our way back up to our room and the midwife checked me again and I turned out that I was only 3cm dilated – 3! I remember thinking all that pain to only go up by 1cm! I knew labour could go on for hours and even days but I was not ready for that. Both the doctor and midwife decided to put me on a small dose of pitocin and gradually build it up to get my contractions going and deliver this baby.
From 12pm to 3pm I began to experience contractions which were so painful (imagine period pains times a billion) I curled into a ball and cried my eyes out.
I would try my best to breathe through each contraction and try to think about anything else other than the pain. My midwife saw the contractions getting stronger and she offered me epidural countless of times but I was determined to not get it. The side effects and the fact that I hate needles were factors for me to not choose it. There was no way a massive needle was going anywhere near me. Seriously, I flinched and cried every time that they had to take my blood while pregnant. During this time I couldn’t be lying down so I was on my feet through the contractions. It got to the point that I couldn’t bear the pain any longer and I laid on my side trying to get some sort of sleep.
It was around 3PM that I decided to go for gas and air which put me in a whole different mindset. I became super zen Karla and now with every contraction I was cheering myself on and thinking “you were created to do this. Your body is meant for this. You can do it.” Looking back at it now it was probably the funniest moment during my labour but gas and air did manage to ease some of the pain off. It also made me extremely sleepy that I couldn’t keep my eyes open as much and I was running out of energy. The contractions were getting harder and stronger each time round, I started to get shivers, I felt so cold and my mind was already giving up on this. I remember my mother in law holding my hand and it was at 5PM that the midwife checked again and I was only 6cm dilated. They decided to up my pitocin a little bit more and at the rate I was going my next check would be at 9PM. My mother in law left the room, told our family who was outside and my mum was back in the room ready to give me her support through these pains.
Roughly around 6PM I got the worst pains ever, I literally began to feel Isabella’s head moving down the birth canal and I kept telling my mum, Diego and the midwife that she was coming. I could feel her but no one believed me! The pain was so excruciating that I couldn’t carry on anymore, I had the urge to push but I couldn’t, instead I had to hold her in. Our midwife was convinced that I hadn’t progressed and pushing her out would be a risk for both of us. I kept trying my best to hold her in until I couldn’t no more and the midwife decided to do another check. It was around 6:30-ish that she said “ok darling, we’re going to have to start pushing now” I was already 10cm dilated! The only thing I could say was “you see! I told you she was coming!!” and began pushing through every contraction.
Every push I gave I apologised for screaming and shouting because I genuinely thought I could handle this and not shout but zen Karla was definitely out the window. On top of this I stopped using the gas and air and focused on getting Isabella out with the little energy and strength I had left in me so I basically felt everything. I was scared because even though it was coming to an end we were told pushing could take hours and it’s not how movies make it seem, 2 or 3 pushes and baby is out, no no no, some women have to push for a long time. Luckily, I only pushed for 20-ish minutes and by the end of it all I was tired, sweaty, overwhelmed but no longer sleepy.
Isabella Valentina was born on the 15th of January 2017 at 19:09 weighing 3.7 kilos of pure cuteness. The moment the midwife held her up I looked over at Diego, who was in tears, and told him how much she looked like him. I began to cry and thank God for what just happened, she was worth it and it’s true what they say, as soon as you have your baby in your arms you forget the pain. Holding her against my chest and feeling her little body was something I will never forget, I was overcome by a new type of joy, love and gratefulness. My baby girl was finally in my arms and she was the beginning of a new chapter for us. Now I know why a lot of mum’s have more than one birth story to share.
It was definitely an experience I will never forget and I’m so thankful for the people who were around me. I had my mum who was extremely supportive through it all and her words of encouragement helped me through the final push. I have so much respect and love for her, having done this three times. The midwife was absolutely amazing, she was gentle, caring and attentive. She never left us alone and she went above and beyond all our expectations. Finally, Diego who although was just as nervous as I was, let me squeeze his hand, let me lean on him when I couldn’t stand up any longer, gave me back massages and foot rubs, not only during labour but throughout my pregnancy was as caring and as loving as he always is.
I’ll remember Isabella’s birth story forever and although it was painful, I’ll be ready to do it again. So here’s to a new beginning, to seeing the world through her eyes, to seeing her grow and going on this new journey of parenthood.