My labour began 5 days before Winston was born. On that Monday, I woke up with intense contractions occuring every 15 to 20 minutes. Our original due date was to be June 15 so I was a bit overdue and more than ready to get things going. I knew I needed to wait until our contractions became closer and stronger so we continued on with the day. The weather was nice and the grass needed to be cut. While Joshua worked in the garden, I insisted on cutting the lawn. We spent a lot of our pregnancy as much as we could outside, so it felt right to be out enjoying life while we prepared for our little boy. Only the contractions were painful and I found myself leaning over and over again against the lawn mower for support. Joshua was monitoring from the garden and more than ready to take over when the pain became to tiring. The contractions were sharp and finally, before the last line of grass was cut, I needed to do something else. So, Joshua and I joined my Father-in-law for a bumpy ride to the country for some gas and to continue on with getting labour started. Yes, the contractions continued but no consistency resulted. I think I will cross out the bumpy road option for next time.
By afternoon the contractions were irregular and inconsistent. I was exhausted and needed some rest. Joshua was so good and rubbed my back all afternoon to ease the pain. By 5pm that day I told Joshua we needed to go the hospital! I was serious. Joshua quickly gathered our hospital bags and prenatal papers. We were so happy. Joshua gave me a blessing and off we went. Only THE moment we entered the hospital doors all the contractions stopped. Our baby had decided he wasn't ready! Since we were at the hospital anyways we opted to be assessed and monitored. The OBgyn checked my cervix and advised I was only dilated 1 cm and 25% effaced! I was just about to get all grumpy face when she told me exactly what I had been waiting 9 months to hear. Our baby had lots of hair! This made the whole day even more worth it and I was completely antsy to meet our full head of hair son.We had an ultrasound to ensure everything else was ok and then to double, double check that he wasn't breach. Everything was exactly right and we were sent home about 10:30 that night. Joshua and I went for dinner in celebration of hints about our son.
Two more days passed and that Wednesday came and went stressfully. Of course I left my wallet in a bathroom stall and after many hours of retracing my steps the wallet was found. Just imagine an overdue 9 month pregnant woman running/waddling in a thunderstorm, in the pouring rain, in a parking lot. The most important part was at the end of the day, I was able to de-stress, focus, relax and practice on my birthing ball exercises.
The real deal
On Thursday I woke up at about 8:15 to my usual morning bathroom break. Here I was looking into the mighty bathroom bowl for signs that the baby was coming, nothing happened! I was really hoping to go into labour throughout the night. I remember saying a prayer the night before asking Heavenly Father to make sure my water would break if the baby was ripe and ready or in case meconium was present and he needed to be out.
My swolen feet waddled my butt into bed to snuggle with my Joshua. We had ourselves a moment and imagined when our baby would come and what he would look like. Almost immediately I literally felt my water pop. I jumped really fast up off the bed for a pregnant woman and just in time too. I told Joshua "My water just broke!". He didn't believe me so he quickly turned on the lights and saw the amniotic fluid gushing out of me everywhere in a huge waterfall! We laughed and immediately called and told our families that our water broke. The excitement was all too much and it felt like christmas morning all over again. The day was here!
Plan A was to chill out until the contractions picked up because I felt more than fine and the contractions seemed to be in a distant land far, far away from what labour and birth should be when one water breaks. We ate a hearty breakfast to prepare for labour. And really I didn't feel like I needed to hurry so I took my time in the shower, straightened my hair, did some laundry, organized and did some last minute clean ups to ensure everything was ready. I still felt good, energized, ready for him to be here but still, no contractions happened. A couple hours later I noticed that the fluid was brownish and instantly felt sick. We did some research, made some phone calls and felt we needed to get to the hospital sooner and before the contractions made their appearance. Joshua gave me a blessing and then we grabbed our bags and quickly drove to the hospital. Of course the moment we arrived at the hospital, I had realized I had left my prenatal papers at home (forgot to put these babies in my bag from the last trip!). The prenatal papers had two copies of my much desired birth plan that so far didn't seem to be going according to plan. Joshua wanted me to stay at the hospital but he couldn't deny my pregnancy hormones when I insisted I came with him. There was NO way was I going to be alone at the hospital. Our nervous and excited Daddy drove us back all the way home and got our pre-natal papers. Finally after about 11 in the morning we were entering the L&B unit at the General to be assessed.
Once we got in, Joshua hauled in ALL of our hospital bags filled with everything imaginable a new mother and father could need. We had the sweetest nurse ever. She hooked me up to the monitors and told us she needed to swab me to make sure it was indeed amniotic fluid. And it was! Yay. She had the swab examined and advised that the amniotic fluid did contain meconium. Our OBgyn advised us that the meconium was unsafe but luckily, the baby didn't show signs of distress at that point. She said our baby was happy and relaxed.We had two choices to go home and wait for the contractions to start (but with those no guarantees) or be admitted to the hospital to be induced to have our baby. We opted for Plan B. We felt and decided we needed to be at the hospital for the safety of our son. We were admitted and ready for lunch, but since I was going to be induced food was a no go. It didn't matter though because we were SO happy and so excited that we were going to finally meet our baby. By 1pm there was still no contractions on my end and our baby still seemed to be as happy as can be even though his little warm home had popped. So our nurse inserted the IV for oxytocin hormone which completely hurt going in (for the record). Within a half hour the dosages for pitocin increased gradually and then soon enough I felt little lovely contractions.
Finally the contractions were getting closer and longer and stronger together. When at about 3pm to the dot they started coming very strongly every 2 minutes for about a minute. After about an hour, I realized the contractions were not so lovely and I found myself needing to stand up because laying down just wasn't cutting it. Within moments I found myself wedged between the monitoring machine and the hospital bed standing. I felt better but then I really noticed someone in the room put a bag of bricks on my lower back.
Within the hour, I found my happiness caught up and replaced by loud and strange noises from the contractions. These noises were a combination of long-lasting yelling and screaming that not even I knew existed within myself and endured with every contraction. Joshua held my hand for support. I squeezed and I screamed all while trying to breathe. By 5pm I begged Joshua to get my mother here NOW. My family was coming in from Fishing Lake and would be on there way almost as soon as our family funeral ended. Meanwhile, the nurse brought lots of ice chips and I leaned against Joshua enjoying the two minutes of freedom from the pain by laughing and talking but no one was permitted to touch me during the contractions. Some parts got a little crazy. Even to the point where I was ready to punch anyone who came near me. Unfortunately, in the commotion and without even realizing I slapped my poor sweet, loving, kind Joshua in the face. I am a bad pregnant woman!
My mom finally came and Joshua went for a break to quickly eat and then return. At this point the contractions were very close and and I continued the same pattern of screaming contractions and breaks of happiness. The nurse and my mother were very funny and helped me to laugh in between contractions which really helped but as soon as the contractions continued I was back to my new screaming self. At about 7pm the nurse checked my cervix told me I was only dilated 3cm... a 3! She also told me that the baby was not quite in my pelvis yet. I felt incredibly miserable, exhausted, and anxious for pain relief but I wasn't ready to say it out loud yet.
Through the next hour and half I was completely exhausted and began dreaming of laying down and taking a break. Joshua knew my original wishes and did and said everything exactly right. He held my hands and stood by my side telling me how good I was doing. I was completely overwhelmed with exhaustion but the pain was all to much. I had been labouring hard for over 7 and half hours. Then I knew I needed the epidural and was very sure I wanted one. My mother was all too traumatized like she never gave birth to six children and begged me to get one. The moment the nurse came back I said "I want the epidural". She was a supportive nurse the entire time and tried to follow my birth plan even though it had been changed more than once. She did not question my request, quickly sent for the anaesthetist and passed me the information slip I could care less about. I'd read it before. Joshua read it over quickly though and was very worried about me but only wanted what would make me happy. At about 8:30 the anaesthetist came. I bent over and held on tightly to Joshua while he watched the epidural go into my spine. He held me very still while many contractions persisted. Surprisingly, the epidural did not hurt one bit and even felt better than the IV insertion. The epidural was the best thing I did for me and my birth. For a time it was even enjoyable. I was able to rest and refocus on the arrival of my happy baby.
Joshua was relieved too but mostly that the yelling and screaming had stopped. My mom was relieved and then my sister felt brave enough to come and enjoy the birthing experience. I was completely relaxed and everything was fantastic for about 2 hours. During that time around 9:30 the new nurse came and checked my cervix. She said I was dilated to 5cm but the baby was still having a hard time coming down through my pelvis. As much as I was worried that the baby wasn't coming down, I was completely ecstatic things were moving along down there. Finally some work had paid off and I got to enjoy it! After that glorious 2 hour time period I began feeling the contractions again. But this time I knew the pain was much more tolerable than before. I asked the nurse some questions why the epidural wasn't working and she advised I would indeed feel pressure. I knew right away that it was more than just pressure. My pain level was at about a 4.
The next hour progressed into the worst of the worst in my labouring experience. My pain level increased 10x more than what I had been experiencing before the epidural. The nurse said the oxytocin level was at 24 (incredibly high for the record) and that she would turn it down to 18. I definitely knew the epidural was not doing it's job and I was desperate for a top up from the anaesthetist. He was caught up in a caesarean section and would be seeing to me as soon as he could. Meanwhile, the baby hadn't come down and my cervix didn't dilate.
The next 2 and half hours dramatically became worse, bad and than very ugly. We tried the gas mask to ease the pain while we waited. Nothing worked, I still felt everything and than some. This was not normal. I knew something was wrong. I begged Joshua for help. I cried. I wanted it to stop. I couldn't do it anymore. He kept trying to get the nurse to get the Doctor but the Doctor was still in surgery. I squirmed and moaned in agony. The contractions were sharp stabbing pains far worse than previous contractions and occurring less than a minute apart. Joshua fed me ice-chips but no one else was allowed to touch or be near me. I held onto the bars but nothing seemed to be working or distract me from the pain. Finally at about 1:15 in the morning the anaesthetist came and provided a top up. The top up didn't take immediate effect as the first time but I was advised to wait 20 minutes for it to work. Then the longest 20 minutes of my life happened. I kept on asking Joshua when the time would be up and it seemed to never end.
Right away the anaesthetist came back and finally checked the tube of where my epidural had been inserted. The epidural tube had fallen out many hours previous. All the while I had been going strong on the drip with increasing dosages. I had to have an epidural once more and this time, it was securely placed. The pain was immediately eased and I felt better. The contractions were slightly numbed but I could feel them. I guess medication and I do not mix well. I was checked, but this time I was sitting at a lucky 7cm but the baby still wasn't getting through my pelvis. For the next while I tried to get some rest and a tiny bit of sleep - almost impossible.
By 5am the OBgyn came and talked to us. The baby was still not down and I was still 7cm. My baby still wasn't fitting into my pelvis right and my blood pressure was really high. We talked about the urgency of a caesarean section. A c-section never even crossed my mind throughout the pregnancy or that I would ever need one so it felt very scary to even prepare for one. Joshua discussed very throughly with the doctor potential options and then we knew confidently that we needed to get the c-section. The nurse turned off the drip and almost immediately the contractions stopped all together. We said goodbye to my family and said a prayer to prepare for the surgery.
Joshua stayed by my side until they wheeled me into the operating room. I was not very trusting of the anaesthetist and I kept on asking him to make sure he would do it right and that there would be no mistakes. Once I received the anaesthetic for the surgery, I felt immediately numb at my toes and felt it quickly rise to my chest. Only the numbing didn't stop where it was supposed too. As I was laying down I panicked to the nurses and doctors. I told them something was wrong and grabbed my heart area. I felt it literally slowing down. I felt my breathing stop. I felt like as if I was choking and gasping for air. I quickly told them I couldn't breathe. The medical team prepared for emergency. Almost immediately my whole entire body from my toes to the top of my head was numb. My heart felt as if it was stopping and then the nurses were pumping air into my face. I heard them tell me everything was going to be alright. I choked for air to breathe because my throat felt stuck. I remember everything slowing down and almost immediately I asked heavenly father to take care of Joshua and Winston and that I loved them.
Finally everything came together just right. Joshua was next to me. He was telling me everything was going to be ok. He held my hand tightly and then stood up to see the baby coming. I worked on my breathing while the oxygen mask was being pushed into my face to breathe. Joshua saw the whole procedure. And then I heard him.
It was just what I had been waiting nine whole months to hear. I heard his loud beautiful cry. It was a healthy one too. I was too focused on my breathing to cry but I smiled as best as I could.
The NICU nurses were so excited to see him and make sure he was healthy. They were so cute and happy. He was a major wiggler while they tried to weigh him. Joshua took pictures. I asked Joshua what colour was his hair. He told me it was black! I was a bit puzzled but mostly happy. But than the nurse shouted it's RED like mine! She brought him right to me.
It was love at first sight. The small little chubby baby with bright red hair. He was our baby. I knew we had met before. He was ours forever and ever. Nothing mattered to me anymore. He was finally here. They needed to take the baby for further tests and were about to wheel him away. Joshua held my hand goodbye and ran after him. We wanted to make sure no one was going to steal our baby, mostly because he was so good looking. Plus, we had a real fear about it. Ha!
this is our birth story.