I’ve been meaning to get this down in writing for months now and decided that today was the day.
I went to bed around 10pm with my husband on June 19th after watching an episode of Bones on Netflix. I remember tossing and turning in bed, insomnia creeping up on me again as it has been doing regularly since I was a teen. It’s not that I was uncomfortable, I was just restless, my brain refusing to shut off.
I started drifting off when the first contraction hit me. I looked up at the clock: 11:30pm. My heart started beating faster as I wondered if this was the night I’d meet my third baby (for this pregnancy, as for the two first ones, my husband and I declined to find out whether I was carrying a boy or a girl). I closed my eyes, trying to fall asleep again. Another contraction hit me, it was 11:40. I waited in bed again, this time keeping my eyes open. At midnight, I felt a third contraction.
I got up, deciding to go into the shower. I knew I still had time ahead of me; my OBGYN had reminded me just a few days before to call the hospital once my contractions were ten minutes apart for one hour.
I stopped by the kitchen, my little brother was fixing himself his second supper. “I’m pretty sure I’ll be giving birth tonight”, I told him. “What time do your kids get up?”, he asked me knowing that he’d have to set up his alarm clock to be there for Charles and Amélie when they woke up.
I told him the time and went into the shower. More contractions. One, two, three, four, five. I looked at the time in the washroom knowing that I hadn’t just spent 40 minutes under the water. 25 minutes. My contractions were getting closer together.
I got out of the shower and got dressed. I woke my husband. “We’re going to have to go to the hospital tonight”, I told him matter-of-factly. “Ok”, he answered still half-asleep. This was our third baby, he knew better than to ask me if I was sure.
I went downstairs to grab my birthing ball. I bounced around on it as I timed my contractions. By 12:45 am, they were 6 minutes apart. It was time to call the hospital.
“Hi”, I said after the nurse had uttered the usual greeting. “I’m going to have to come down to see you tonight”, I explained.
“Oh”, she said, sounding amused at the way I had announced my labour “and what makes you say that?”
I explained that my contractions were about 6 minutes apart and had started a little over an hour earlier.
“How strong are your contractions?”, she asked as I was breathing through one.
How is one supposed to quantify something like strength of contractions?
“I have to breathe through them, but I can still manage”, I said.
“And, is this your first pregnancy?”, she inquired.
“No, my third”, I answered.
“Well then, we will definitely be seeing you tonight”, she said.
By 1:00 am, my husband and I were in the car. When we arrived, he helped me waddle my way through the hospital to the elevator, stopping with me every time a contraction hit. We were greeted by two nurses, one of whom I had spoken to on the phone. I followed the nurse to the examination room at her request.
“Oh, you’re definitely staying! You’re already at 5cm”, she announced.
By this time, it was about 1:30 am.
That’s when I asked for the epidural. I knew from experience that the more tired I got, the harder my contractions were to breathe through. Since I’d been awake since 6am the previous morning and my previous labours had been rather lengthy, I didn’t want to take any chances.
I got hooked up and tried to answer the admittance questions. I remember having to ask her to repeat a few of the questions. I was having trouble concentrating. I did, however, remember to tell her that I wanted to delay the clamping of the cord. This was super important to me as I’d only remembered telling the doctor once the cord had already been clamped with Amélie (oops!) The anesthesiologist came in around 2:00 am. Ten minutes later, I was all set.
Everything happened so quickly afterwards. My right side was only beginning to numb when the nurse came to check on me again. She asked me how long I’d pushed the last time I gave birth. When I told her I pushed for about five minutes she said something along the lines of “Well, as much as I like you, I’m going to call your doctor now, because if I don’t I’ll be the one delivering your baby”.
My doctor came in and checked me. She asked me if she could break my waters. By that time, I was eager to hold my little baby in my arms so I said yes. I was still only partially numb (almost completely on my right side and not at all on my left), but I was ok with that (not that I had any choice!). Elliot came out after about five pushes at 2:55 am on June 20th (talk about a short labour!), weighing 7 lbs, 10 oz and measuring 51cm.
“It’s a little boy” my husband announced.
I was tired, happy, half-numb and ready to hold my baby. That’s when I heard the nurse tell the doctor that I wanted to delay the clamping of the cord. I was so happy I’d told her earlier! I’d been too stuck in the moment that I had completely forgotten to tell the doctor. For five minutes I waited, Elliot lying on my tummy. It was the longest five minutes of the whole evening, but delayed cord clamping is what I wanted and I’m super happy to have gone through with it. There are so many benefits!
That being said, I was happy when I could finally see and hold my new baby boy. When I first saw him though, I remember thinking “he has a big nose, but he’ll grow into it”. Hahaha! Such a silly thought, right?