Posted in birth story

Elliot’s Birth Story

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?

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Tiny baby!

 

 

Posted in Parenting

Polar Bear Bellies

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I don’t know how things are at your house, but around here, Charles always seems to have his most important questions either when I’m on the toilet or driving.  A couple of days ago was no exception.

The conversation started out innocently enough.  Including Charles, there are five kids in his daycare.  He is the oldest and Amélie is the second youngest.  He was telling me that he was bigger than C, who is bigger than Amélie who is bigger than L who is bigger than A.  Now, given that I know that he likes his information to be precise, I decided to add that though his sister was bigger (taller) than L, she was younger than her (albeit only by a couple of months).

I.  Blew.  His.  Mind.

This brought upon a whole new realm of possibilities in his head.

“Is that true?!?”, he exclaimed.

“Yes”, I answered.

“Ok” [pause] “when will C (who is one year younger than he is) be older than me?”, he asked.

“She’ll never be older than you”, I replied.

Wait for it…

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“Why?” he asked.

Bam!

“Well, because when you a baby like Elliot, she was still in her mommy’s belly”, I explained.

Boom!  Mind blown.  Again.

“Mama polar bears can have babies in their bellies too, right?”, he checked

(because, of course, that was the only logical jump to make in the conversation)

“Yes”, I said

“And it’s just the woman polar bears who can have babies in their bellies, right?”, he questioned.

“Yup”, I answered

“And they need the dada polar bears to help them get a baby in their bellies, right?” he continued.

I wasn’t sure I liked where this conversation was going, but I answered anyways:

“Exactly”

“How did you and daddy make babies together?”, he asked.

“Well, um, we went in our room and closed the door”, I said, hoping it would be enough.

“Ok”, he said, apparently satisfied.

The Zootopia song Try Everything played in the background as he pondered what he had learned.  After a few minutes, he was ready to pursue his interrogation.

“How does the baby come out of the mommy’s belly?”, he wondered aloud

(Oh sh*t!)

“Well.  The baby grows inside an organ called the uterus.  When the baby is ready to come out, the uterus contracts and pushes the baby out”, I answered whilst crossing my fingers hoping he didn’t ask where the baby came out from.

He didn’t.

“Does it hurt?”, he asked instead

“Well, it doesn’t hurt the baby, but it can be a little painful for some mommies, sweetheart”, I replied.

“Ok”, he said, seemingly satisfied.

Woah!  These birds and the bees conversations are getting more and more intense each time we have them.  I can’t help but wonder when the next one will come up and which questions will be asked!

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Charles, master interrogator, comfortably seated in his favourite interrogation chamber.  Haha!

When did your kids start asking questions about pregnancy and birth?  How did you answer them?

Posted in Parenting

Calling All Guest Posters: The Many Faces of Childbirth

We all know that every pregnancy and every birth is different, right.  And, let’s face it, we mamas like to share our birth stories (I’ve yet to meet a mom who isn’t happy to share hers).  Now that my own pregnancy is nearing its end, I thought it would be nice to create a resource for moms-to-be who want to read up on birth through the anecdotal experiences of mamas-who-have-been-there.

If anyone is interested in sharing their story, please shoot me a comment.  If you already have a post about your birth story, just send me the link, tell me which category you believe it fits best into and I will link directly to your blog.  If you would like to send me your birth story, just shoot me an email through the “contact me” page.

Below are some examples of the different categories your personal birth story could fall under.  If you consider that a new one could be added, just let me know.

Home birth

Medicated hospital birth

Med-free hospital birth

Birth in a birthing center

Scheduled C-Section

Emergency C-Section

VBAC

HBAC

Water birth

Giving birth to multiples

So, what do you think?  Anyone up to sharing?

Posted in Parenting

The Birth Plan

So a (big) while back, I mentioned that I had started working on my birth plan.  With my approximate due date about 5 weeks away now, I figured I’d come back to it and blog about it.

I had linked to a great blog post that really did an awesome job at explaining how to make the best birth plan.  I read through it all and all of the links and had lots of fun building my own.

In a nutshell, a birth plan should be:

  1. Personalized: Definitely look at samples, but don’t just use a checklist type plan.  You want to know your birth plan inside out.  There are so many different formats that can be used, use one that reflects you the best.
  2. Realistic: Two thoughts on this point.  a)  For instance, if you know that your hospital doesn’t do water births (like mine), don’t ask for one even if it is something that you would enjoy trying.  b)  Keep in mind that even though no one wants anything to go wrong things can go wrong.  Keep an open mind to the options that will or won’t be available to you if such is the case.
  3. Researched: Know what your options are and how each choice you make may effect you and your baby.
  4. Short: Let’s face it, nurses and doctors just don’t have the time to read pages and pages of text or check marked statements.  Keep it down to a page or two at the most.

When I was pregnant with Charles, I had thought of doing a birth plan.  Actually, I had filled out a couple of blank ones with statements that you just checked.  After printing them out, though, I remember deciding to trash them because I had felt that I didn’t know enough about birth to be deciding upon things I knew nothing (or next to nothing) about.  I figured I’d go with the flow and see what happened.

Now that I’ve gone through one birth, I have a better idea of the things that can go down.  I have a better idea of what I liked, what I didn’t like and what I don’t really care about one way or another.  I also did quite a bit of research since giving birth to Charles.  I therefore felt more comfortable with writing a birth plan.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I totally understand that birth is unpredictable and I’m very much aware that just because it is planned and written, doesn’t mean it’s going to all go my way, but at least I know that if I do have control over some aspects, I will know exactly what I want.

Now, enough blabbing, how ’bout I share the plan I wrote up with you guys.  (P.s. The actual birth plan is in table form and fits on one page.  I’ll be adding a pdf link at the end in case anyone wants to see the actual version that I will be bringing with me to the hospital).

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Will be present: (baby’s father)

Students and residents: I am open to their presence during labour and delivery

*The preferences expressed in this birth plan are the result of much research and thought. They reflect my wish to have a natural, med-free birth with minimal interventions. However, I do understand that labour and birth are unpredictable and want above all else the safety of both myself and the baby if an emergency situation arises. In the case of a non-emergency situation, please discuss any procedures (benefits and risks) with my partner and I so that I can give my informed consent after discussing them with my partner.*

We thank you in advance for your support in helping us achieve the natural birth we are aiming for.

1. Labour preferences

  • Hydration: through water/ice chips/popsicles rather than through an IV
  • Vaginal exam: upon arrival and subsequent checks no more than every two hours afterwards
  • Foetal monitoring: 20 minutes of external monitoring upon arrival and no more than 5 minutes every hour afterwards
  • Pain management: massage, mobility, birth ball, shower/tub, breathing techniques. Please do not offer any medicated options. If I change my mind, I will ask which options are available to me in relation to the progression of my labour.
  • Pitocin: use to be discussed only after 8 hours of natural labour
  • Amniotic sac: please allow my waters to break naturally

2. Delivery preferences

  • Pushing: please allow me to push when I feel the urge to and in the way I feel I need to. If I need guidance, I will ask for it.
  • Positions: I plan to alternate between a squatting, all-fours and kneeling up position during the pushing stage. If under the effect of an epidural, I will privilege a side-lying or semi-sitting position.
  • Preservation of the perennial area: I prefer tearing to an episiotomy.
  • Cutting of the cord: to be performed by the father after the cord has stopped pulsating.
  • Announcement of the sex: by the father.
  • Immediately following birth: I would like to have skin-to-skin contact with my baby and attempt breastfeeding on both sides.

3. Postpartum preferences

  • Delay of regular procedures (eye drops, vitamin K shot, weighing…): until we have attempted nursing from both sides or up to 60 minutes after birth.
  • Nutrition: I plan on breastfeeding, please do not offer formula or pacifiers.
  • Bathing: we would like to give our baby his/her first bath.
  • Visitors: only my toddler who will be accompanied by his father.

4. In case of emergency caesarean section

  • Consciousness: I prefer to remain conscious during the procedure.
  • Presence of the father: at all times during the procedure.
  • Announcement of the sex: by the father.
  • Skin-to-skin contact with the baby immediately after birth to initiate the bonding period and begin breastfeeding.
  • Suturing: please use double layer sutures to allow me to attempt a VBAC if desired for a subsequent birth.

Please sign to acknowledge that you have read and understood our wishes: ____________________________________

(My) sample birth plan (pdf version)

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So there you go…

Have you ever written up a birth plan?  How did it go?  Do you plan on using one?