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 Pregnancy

Almost as Planned: Amélie’s Birth Story

The first contraction started at around 9 pm on Thursday evening.  Of course, at the time, I didn’t know that it was a contraction, I thought it was just a cramp.  I went to bed not long after and between the “cramp” that kept coming back and my snoring partner, I was struggling with falling asleep.  By 10 pm, I decided I was going to take a shower.

Oh yeah, much better.

I felt like I could have stayed in the shower all night (that should have tipped me off, but it didn’t), but I decided to get back to bed.  I was extremely tired, but just couldn’t fall asleep.  Thinking that my snorer was the bulk of the problem (sorry honey, my inability to fall asleep had to be blamed on someone 😉 ), I went to the living room to try the miracle couch (which is where I sleep when I just can’t sleep in my bed).

But it didn’t work.  The darned pain kept hitting me again and again no matter what position I was in.

And then, my brain did something wonderful, it decided to play the game of “connect the dots” that my body had initiated.  I started timing my pains.  They were suspiciously regular.

Contractions they were!

A part of me was super excited that my body was going into labour on its own (more on this in Charles’ birth story) and that I would finally be meeting my little boy or girl.  Another part of me was still wondering if I was truly going into labour.  Yet another part of me told me to get up and tell my partner that he would not be going in to work the next day.  I calmly listened to that rational part of my brain.  Then I went downstairs to tell my brother that he would have to watch Charles the next morning until either my parents or in-laws came to get him (it was 11pm by then and I didn’t want to wake the grandparents). 

I called L&D at the hospital and was told to come in when I mentioned that my contractions were about 5 minutes apart.  Of course, the nurse also mentioned that I would not be admitted unless I was at least 4cm dilated, but I wasn’t too worried about that.

I got into the shower again as I waited for my partner to wake up and get ready and then got into the car as he loaded the already packed hospital bags.  We were on our way (after a small pit stop to get some gas in the car).

We arrived a little before 1am and I was checked.  To my dismay, I was only dilated 1cm (the cervical check I’d had three days before had me at 1cm).  A part of me was afraid that I was making a fool of myself and wasn’t really having contractions.  Another part of me reaaaaaly did not want to go back home.  Nonetheless, the nurse hooked me up to the monitor and I was, well, monitored for almost an hour (the L&D wing was full so she kept being delayed before coming back to see me).  Once it was established that I was indeed in labour and that everything looked good, the nurse told me that she was going to have me walk along the hall just outside of the L&D wing for half an hour and see how I’d progressed.  After that she’d decide if I was worth admitting or not.

Well, walk I did and my contractions got closer and closer.  My partner was wonderful and each time one of them hit, he helped me get down on my knees so that I could lean against a chair and he massaged my lower back as I breathed through them.  He also made sure I stayed hydrated by handing me my bottle of icy cold homemade “Labour-ade”.  He and I were both amazingly calm throughout our walk.

We went back to L&D where I was checked again and admitted (yay, the baby was indeed coming!).

In my room, I alternated between bouncing on a birth ball, getting down on my knees against a chair and taking a shower to help me through each contraction.  The nurse had been very supportive when I’d told her that I was aiming for a natural birth and she only came in once in a while to see how I was doing.  Despite the fact that I didn’t hand her the birth plan that I had brought with me, everything was going as planned.

Things were going really well, but eventually fatigue caught up.  Since my contractions had started right before going to bed, I had been awake since 6:30am the previous morning (it was now 4am Friday) and I was exhausted by that time.  Another contraction hit me and I decided then and there that the next time the nurse would come in, I would ask for the epidural.  I didn’t feel defeated by my decision (and I still don’t), it just seemed like the logical thing to do.  I knew that the fatigue would make the pain harder and harder to manage and I didn’t want to get into panic mode and end up fighting the pain and the contractions.  I knew from experience that fighting the pain made the progress of the labour slow down.

Since the nurse thought I was nearing transition (she told me that many moms aiming for a natural birth feel like they can’t manage anymore at around 8 cm), I was checked (and was at a 7) and the anesthesiologist was called in.  Half an hour later, I was all set and it did not take long for the epidural to work its magic.  The nurse told me that she could call the obgyn to have her break my waters and help labour progress more quickly, but I declined and asked to wait things out.  She was very supportive of my decision.

My partner and I managed to get some much needed rest while my body continued its work.  At 6:15am, while my partner called my parents to ask them if they could go grab Charles at our place, I was checked again and was almost fully dilated.  The nurse offered to ask the obgyn to rupture my membranes and though I had initially planned to allow them to rupture naturally, I felt like it was time and agreed.

My partner came back, my membranes were ruptured and then I felt something I did not expect to feel: the urge to push.  An extreme, unrelenting urge.  My body had taken over.  I immediately told the nurse and obgyn who were surprised and told me to hold it in while they got ready (yeah, like that’s easy to do LOL).  I requested to be allowed to deliver on my side and turned to my left side as I waited for my body to tell me to push.

Ten minutes later, I was holding my beautiful daughter in my arms.  I was so enthralled by the moment that I only realized when it was too late that I should tell the doctor that I wanted to wait for the cord to stop pulsating before it was cut.  Oh well (note to self: next time, give the nurse your birth plan instead of counting on your brain to handle everything).

I am very happy with the way the everything went.  Both my partner and I remained calm.  I know that his support and implication were the cornerstones that helped me progress without pain medication for as long as I did.  The staff was also very supportive and despite the fact that everything did not happen the way I had initially planned, I have no regrets with the decisions I made.

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Our little sleeping beauty.
Posted in Parenting

Write for me Wednesday – Chelsea’s Homebirth Experience

Soon after posting that I was looking for different childbirth stories, I received an email from Chelsea who was kind enough to share her wonderful homebirth experience.  This is the story of her son’s birth.

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I always knew that I wanted to have my child at home. I wanted the quiet peaceful atmosphere that a hospital just can’t achieve.

My husband was agreeable with this choice mostly for the cost difference. After doing some research we discovered that paying for a home birth with a midwife out of pocket is the same as the insurance deductible for the hospital delivery (not including the charge for the newborn stay after delivery). That same cost with the midwives also included all prenatal and post natal visits, so it was definitely more cost efficient.

We took some birthing classes as well. I decided on the Bradley Method which teaches husband coached childbirth. There were very insightful things that we learned in the classes and some things that we have decided after the birth were not as necessary as the teacher made us think.  I loved having my husband actively involved in the birth and that made the biggest difference to me.

So when the big day came we were very calm. I had started some contractions the night before but they came and went and I was able to sleep through the night. The next day started our sporadic as well but by the afternoon they were getting closer together. We went shopping and then out to lunch. By now the contractions were getting strong but we started timing them and they would be anywhere from 30 seconds to 4 minutes apart and 30 seconds to 2 minutes long. They just weren’t regular like we were taught to watch for as the beginning of hard labor. So we decided to go see a movie.

During the movie my husband timed the contractions on his phone by using the stopwatch feature every time I squeezed his hand. Still, the contractions didn’t regulate.
After the movie, we went home and by then the intensity had kicked up a bit.

We did some walking around the house until I got to the point where I could not stand up during the contractions anymore. At this point, I just wanted to curl up in the fetal position when they hit, so Kirk called the midwife and my mother and they were all on the way.

When the midwife arrived she checked me and I was already dilated to an 8 so we started to get things set up. They got the water tub ready for me and I climbed in. I really enjoyed the warm water but when the pain hit all I could pay attention to was my husband’s hand in mine until it was over. I got really tired and then I started pushing and a few minutes of that made my water break.

I started out timid with the pushing because I didn’t want to poop in front of people but now I realize that I would have had a shorter labor if I just pushed with all my might from the beginning and not cared about that. I pushed for a long time and during that time I moved around a lot. I got out of the water and pushed while squatting and then assisted squatting and finally in a 45 degree sit with my knees pushed to my chest.

The midwife told me that she thought I would need an episiotomy and I really didn’t want one so she let me try one more push and that last one did the trick. My little boy’s head was free and he came right out.

They put him right onto my chest and I held him. He had a short umbilical cord so they had me cough and the placenta delivered. I didn’t even have to push for that. After the umbilical cord stopped pulsing, my husband cut the cord. They moved me into my bed, wrapped my son up and handed him right back to me so I could get him to nurse. He did latch on after a few minutes but didn’t nurse much until later.

The midwives gave us about 45 minutes alone (me, my husband and our son) to bond as a family. During this time they cleaned up everything, even took out the garbage. Then they came in and weighed and measured the baby and did the newborn exam.

I was so happy to be at home in my own bed. My husband holding my hand the whole time. It was a great birthing experience and we plan on keeping with the same plan with our next child.

Chelsea
Age 34, mother of one little boy. Born 7 lbs 3 oz after 2 hours and 45 minutes of pushing. 😊

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Thank you so much for sharing your birth story with us, Chelsea!

Anyone else up to sharing?