How Do You Know That You’re In Labour?

How Do You Know That You’re In Labour?
This might seem ridiculous to you but I asked this question a thousand times. I asked friends, I asked family, I asked my Gynecologist and of course I asked Google multiple times around 3am in the morning when my pregnancy paranoia was at it’s peak. The answer was always the exact same: a burst of laughter followed by “trust me, you’ll know.”

When you’ve been diagnosed with placenta previa at week 13 of your pregnancy, it’s only logical to feel some form of paranoia when approaching the idea of labour. I was told quite early in my pregnancy that I would not be able to give birth naturally because of this, and to be honest, it didn’t bother me as much as I thought it would. I knew from early on that my pregnancy would not be the way I had been imagining it for the past 5 years of trying to conceive, but never in my wildest dreams did I expect what came next.

A note from my Gyne: whatever you do, don’t go into labour. 

It was 1:13 am on the 24th of October 2020 when I woke up for the millionth time to pee. Nothing to be alarmed about, this is completely normal at 35 weeks pregnant. I sat up and to my surprise I felt a wee bit of wetness in my undergarments (excuse the pun). There was no waterfall, no gushing flow of liquid, I just thought I had finally reached the stage of pregnancy where I start to lose control of my bladder. So I got up and went to the bathroom as normal. Then I got up to do the same again at 1:20am. Then again at 1:33, 1:38 and 1:42. Then I just stayed in the bathroom and waited until the next “pee” came, and then the next, and then the next. The last possible thing I was thinking at that stage was that my water broke. Call it denial. Call it ignorance. But I just kept thinking “this can’t be it… I would know if this was it…” Or at least that’s what everyone kept saying.

Then the cramps began, not contractions, surely just round ligament pain or Braxton hicks, also completely normal around 35 weeks of pregnancy. 

At 3am André decided enough was enough, we are heading home, and straight for the hospital. After being admitted I discovered that I had indeed been experiencing contractions, my water did indeed break and I had no idea that I was in fact in labour for the past 3 hours. 

So to summarise I did exactly what my Gyne asked me not to do. And the situation became more real by the minute. First the blood, then the contractions. For those of you who don’t know contractions are a nifty little tool that helps you push your baby down into your birth canal. A nifty little tool that you need to try to counteract when you have been told that pushing your baby out could be dangerous for the both of you. And trying to counteract a contraction is one of the most painful things I have ever had to endure in my life. 

Why the wait? Well as you know 2020 was the year the world was hit by a pandemic. COVID-19 meant myself and André had to wait for our test results to come back before going in for the c section. Eventually at 11am (been in labour for 11 hours at this point, dilated 6cm) when our results were not back yet the Dr’s decided to treat us as Positive cases just to be safe. What does this mean for me and dad? Well, I was surrounded by people in hazmat suits in the delivery room, and dad, well dad was not allowed to be present at the birth of his first born son.