Ok I actually wrote about my birth experience months ago here but somehow I must have deleted it instead of posting?! Anyway, I will write it up here in case anyone is interested.
I gave birth at POW on July 28, 2011. I started labor in the morning of the 27th. I went about my normal business (which included a trip to get my visa renewed!) and kept tabs on my contractions. I had some lunch and a nap in the afternoon and after I woke up I thought the contractions seemed to be getting regular enough that it was really happening. I decided to get in my bathtub but when I was about to jump into the bath I started bleeding very heavily. I knew to expect some "bloody show" but this was so much that it really took my mother and I by surprise, so I decided to skip the bath and head into the hospital as this was my first baby and I wanted to be sure things were ok. The contractions were really not bad. They checked me when I arrived and said the blood was normal and I was 2 cm dilated. I asked if I could go home since I live a 10 min. taxi ride away, but they said NO!!!! You have to check in! (Crazy me for asking??) It was about 5:00 pm at this time.
My husband arrived shortly after I had changed into my hospital attire and they were monitoring the baby and my contractions for a few minutes. It was visiting hours, so he and my mother were allowed into that labour ward, but after that they were asked to leave. After the monitoring was over, they allowed me to go outside of the ward and sit with them in the hall way. I was really in good spirits and a nurse talked me through the birth plan I had prepared and what her thoughts on how practical or impractical my ideas were. I think the main things that would not be likely to happen was ability to donate the cord blood, unless I gave birth during the hours that the red-cross worker was in. I wanted to have a natural birth, without the use of constant monitors, and be able to move about during labor. She said there was a labor ball we could use, and there were some kinds of monitors which were portable, and if they were available, they could be used for me, but otherwise I need to use the constant ones. Finally around 10 pm I was feeling a lot more intense contractions, so I asked that they check to see if it was time to go. They were surprised that it was indeed time to change to the delivery room, as I was still smiling and managing my contractions alright. I walked there myself. They told me they would need to monitor the contractions first and then my husband could join me later on, so they had him wait outsied the ward with my mother. I thought it was going to be another few minutes of monitoring, like the previous ones, but instead, they intended just to hook me up there and keep me in the bed until I delivered. They took my bags for me when I left the first ward, and maybe because of miscommunication, I thought they would be taking them to the delivery room, but they instead took them to a locker somewhere. I had spent a long time preparing things that would help me get through the labor naturally, but because of this, they were not with me when I wanted them. I asked them to please get the bags for me, and also to get my husband in to be with me, as we had also prepared to be together and he was intending to coach me. They told me that because I was labouring at night time, they couldn't allow him to come in. I was really frustrated and complained. They did give me a cell phone to borrow to call him. He tried his best to get them to let him in, as did I, but as we were already separated, it was pretty much their call at that point. Their reason was that there were other people in the ward (not in my room), and that there were limited staff there to care for him in case that was necessary. After I realized that they were intending to keep me monitored on the bed, I asked them for a portable monitor or some other method that would allow me to move. They said they do not have such method. They also were surprised the head nurse I had talked to in the labour ward told me about a birth ball. They just laughed and said, "do you see such things here? We don't have any of those things here." I got up and was trying to use movement to manage my contractions, while still wearing that monitoring belt but just marching in place. They told me it would not work if I moved since I had to lie still. I was so pissed off about everything at this point. At some point I asked to use the toilet and was told there was no toilet, and was given a bed pan. I managed to use it by putting it on the floor and squatting over it, which they didn't seem to like. I did not want to have an IV or catheter, which they agreed to, but they kept telling me I had to lie on the bed or the monitor wouldn't work. They said there was no other way to monitor the baby. Eventually, they told me if I lay on the bed and "behaved" then they would allow my husband in. At that point, that was my biggest concern, so I complied, letting them hook me up to the monitors, and he was brought in. He sat by me and gave me tiny sips of water and massaged my back when I had contractions. I took off my clothes sometime, which shocked the nurses but I could have cared less. I did a lot of yelling. The entire time I was lying on my left side. once I tried to turn over on all fours but they lost the monitor feed again and said to lie back down. Around transition, it was bad enough asked for the gas. I don't know if I was doing it right though because it didn't seem to help or have any effect at all. I didn't feel strange or happy or sick or any less painful. I also couldn't get my breath properly when I had the mask on, so I felt like it was more in the way than helping. My throat was getting dry and sore, but I wasn't sure if it was from the gas or from all the yelling. The nurses basically just stayed back and stared at us, didn't really do much except when the doctor would check how things were going. I had requested they not break my waters, but at some point I consented to that. It must have been one heck of a show for them, since I was lying on my side totally naked, kicking my right leg high up into the air ( don't know where that came from it just felt right at the time!) and yelling through the contractions while my husband rubbed the heck outta my lower back. I felt my body pushing at the end of the contractions even though I wasn't trying to. I really wanted to push in some other position than on my back, but they told me that they "were not trained to deliver a baby any other way and there was no other choice". I was pretty tired by this point, it was sometime around 3 am and they decided I could lie on my back to start pushing. I had feet in stirrups and these little handle bars on the side of the bed to grab onto and they wanted me to pull myself up into a crunching position like I was rowing a boat and push really long and hard. They tried to show me in a mirror what was going on, but it was hard to see at the angle. I pushed for about an hour I think. I was not in pain anymore after the transition and actually couldn't often tell when the contractions were or when to push. They told me they would like to give me an episiotomy to make it faster and I refused. I begged them to let me try squatting and they would not let me. Finally the doctor said if I didn't hurry up, as she was noticing the baby's heartbeat getting slower, she would have to do the episiotomy. I said hell no, and pushed like mad. Finally she came out a little after 4 am. She was really healthy, 8 lbs, and scored a 9 and then 10 quickly on the Apgar scale. I was really happy and they let me hold her right away and then they helped me to deliver the placenta, as they still made me lie on my back and my abs were pretty useless by that point. But part of the placenta was still inside somewhere, so the doctor had to dig around inside me again and again trying to find it. It was horribly painful, and felt a lot worse than the birth as I didn't feel any progress and didn't know how long it was going to last. All I could do was scream. I asked them for some kind of local pain relief but they said it wouldn't help, and I could just keep trying with the gas. After many attempts, the doctor said she still couldn't find the missing bit, so I could either go to have an epidural and get it out through surgery, or just keep a close eye on things and if I have a high fever in the next few days to come straight back in. I had made it that far with no epidural, I didn't want one then, so I said I will just wait and see if it comes out on its own. It apparently did, as that was the end of that. After that, they gave the baby back to me and just left us there for awhile. My husband had been asked to leave and could come back after it was visiting hours in the recovery room. I was able to do a breast crawl with my baby, where I put her on my tummy and she actually crawled up and found the breast and latched on all on her own. I was so thrilled and in love with her and so happy that she was so alert as a result of not having drugs. The time in the recovery room was perfectly fine with me. It was just a small partition in a large shared room, but it was private because of the curtains, and my baby was allowed to be with me in my room the whole time other than when she was taken to have a bath and immunizations once. I was up and walking a couple of hours later and had just a tiny tear and no need for any pain killers even. My back was pretty sore from all the rubbing or maybe the pressure from where I was lying on the bed, but otherwise I was great. The nurses basically left us alone unless I wanted help with something, and I was pleased with that. The only thing I would have liked is for my husband to be allowed to stay with us other than for the short visiting hours where everyone and their mother tried to visit us, and only two are allowed in at a time. The food was not particularly delicious but it was fine by my low standards (I'm a teacher and eat school lunch, so...) I was able to go home the next day with my baby. They were supportive of my choice to purely breast feed her and we were never pushed to supplement. If I had gone into labor during the day, I think my husband would have been able to stay with me the whole time, which would have made things a LOT better. And if I had been able to move around like I wanted to! It has already been nearly half a year now, but if anyone else has questions about POW, I will try to help!