Giving birth as a first time mama, in Hong Kong

It felt like we were in the movies…

At around 11:30 pm on 13th March 2019 I went to the bathroom (for the 100th time that day) before bed so I wouldn’t have to get up too many times during the night (moms you know what I mean!). While on the toilet, it’s safe to say what felt like litres of water came pouring out. I shouted out to my hubby who came running and we both got the giggles and kept saying, “oh my gosh is this it, is this it!!” We called Aliza (aka the Bumpnbub queen and our very good friend) who confirmed that we were, in fact, going into labour - first thoughts; happiness, excitement and more giggles. But then…. Oh boy…. 

It started off with that mild cramping feeling so we thought we had time. I had a warm shower, got dressed (ready for the post-birth pic - yup that’s how chilled I was) and settled on the couch.  I got my handy contraction counter app ready and started timing. Then, the PAIN! The contractions reached 3 minutes apart in a very short period of time. I wanted to throw up from the pain and realized ok this is going a lot faster than I thought it would. By 1.30 am (only 2 hours later) contractions were about 2 minutes apart and we realized it was time to hustle and get to the hospital. We flagged a taxi down in the middle of the night and let’s just say this taxi ride was like a scene from a movie - I thought I was going to give birth right there. I was leaking all over the taxi floor while gripping my husband’s shirt and shouting in pain - it seemed like every single traffic light was red! That 20-minute ride was the longest of my life. 

Arrive at the hospital and by this stage am BEGGING for an epidural (I’m totally the kind of person to accept all forms of pain reduction!), but my blood pressure was a bit worrying so the doctors had to hold off. I was sucking very hard on the gas, crawling through the pain of each contraction! Eventually, I got the epidural - now 4.30am - and we were told we had about 4 hours. Hallelujah! 

However, after maybe one hour, the team came rushing in, felt how dilated I was and told me to “bear down” on the next contraction. I thought I had more time! I started to cry just because quite simply, I was panicked and scared. Really scared. All I could think was how do I do this? I can’t do it! I had had enough pain and was quite enjoying the break. We live in Hong Kong (but are from South Africa), so sometimes it was hard to understand with the language barrier. I wasn’t quite understanding how to “bear down” so the team switched off the epidural, much to my dismay, as they believed I wasn’t feeling enough to know when to push (in my mind I’d felt far too much :) My hubby was with me every step of the way, encouraging me and shouting at me (in a good way, he plays rugby so it was as if I was on the field with him haha), but let’s just say he was white as a ghost! I felt it ALL, labour sometimes just doesn’t go according to how you planned or thought it would.  Guess that prepares you for life ahead with this beautiful little human you spent 9 months creating inside your belly. 

 An extremely short labour, after about 45 minutes Noah John was born. The feeling of pushing your baby out is surreal. I got to hold him for a bit, before he was taken to be weighed etc. and I had torn pretty badly so needed stitches. And because the active labour was so short, I had definitely hurt my coccyx (the discomfort lasted for about 8 weeks after). But those crazy 7 hours, all in all, have made me a changed woman. To go through something like that and survive! It’s mind-blowing. Women are just incredible - absolute rockstars! 

Gorgeous Mama @shayslatem