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Angel and Aria
Vaginal Delivery -- No Pain Medication, Small Tear

My name is Angel, and here is the story of my daughter Aria's birth. It was a vaginal hospital delivery without an epidural and no other interventions, except for stitches to repair a small tear. My due date was Friday October 13th. The doctor scheduled an induction for Saturday October 21st at 1:00pm. I really didn't want to be induced, so I was hoping to go into labour before that.

On Wednesday night, I started having painful contractions, which continued all night. I thought that I'd have her the next day, but after laboring all night (and hardly being able to sleep), the contractions stopped in the morning. I figured it was just 'false labor'. The next night, around the same time, contractions started again. Again I couldn't sleep for the pain, but once again, in the morning there were fewer and only weak contractions. At this point, I just figured I was meant to be induced. So, not surprisingly, when contractions started up again on Friday night, I figured they would also go nowhere. However, by 1:00am, I could tell the contractions were now in a higher gear. The pain was even more intense. I took a shower and tried to wait as long as possible before going to the hospital. At around 10:00am, I woke my husband and told him we needed to go to the hospital. By this time, contractions were coming 3-5 minutes apart and I was in a lot of pain.

When we arrived at the hospital (after a painful taxi ride), my husband told the desk that we were here and they told us to wait in the waiting room. We waited, and waited . . . I was in such discomfort, I couldn't sit down or focus on anything other than the contractions. Even in such a blur, I looked around and realized that none of the other women appeared to be in labor; all were waiting calmly and patiently. I turned to my husband and asked whether the people at the desk knew that I was in labor and not just here for the scheduled induction. He went and told them again and suddenly I was next.

The admitting nurse looked at me and said, 'First baby? Your contractions don't look very strong, you're probably only 1 or 2 cm dilated.' Then she checked (very painful!), looked surprised and checked again (also painful). I was already 5 cm! I was admitted immediately. Another nurse came and I told her I wanted to go into the whirlpool. She said that she would get it set up and was gone 15 minutes. While she was gone, my contractions shifted into a higher gear . . . I was shaking and they were coming on top of each other. I felt a strong urge to push. I told my husband, who called the nurse back. She checked and I was 10 cm! I went from 5 cm to 10 cm in 15 minutes. She told me not to push and rushed around to set up for delivery.

The doctor came in and broke my water and there was meconium but the doctor wasn't too worried. I started pushing finally, and had to push for 3 hours before Aria arrived. I was getting frustrated during pushing, but the doctor told me that her head was moulding and I should keep trying. I was so tired, I was sleeping beween contractions. It was amazing: the nurse set up a mirror so I could see her coming out. Seeing her black curls motivated me to keep trying. Finally, her head popped out, then her body and they put her right up on my chest. She was alert and calm. We tried to nurse, but she still had too much mucous in her mouth.

I would recommend delivery without an epidural if you can stand it - the worst part was the 'ring of fire' when the head is crowning . . . but if you push hard, that doesn't last long. I had 1 small tear and some stitches.

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