One year ago today I woke up and was sick. Like violently ill. I remembered feeling this same way when I was in labour with Samuel. Shane went to work, and I decided to phone my midwives. Wendy was on pager, and I told her that my baby was on its way. Here’s how the conversation went.
W: Are you having any contractions?
W: Are you crampy
M: a little bit
W: Ok, well I’ll get my visits done this morning, so I will be ready when you are.
The day continued to progress. I started to feel better, but was still hugely pregnant, and so wanted to be done! A few hours after calling Wendy, I talked to Shane. He suggested I phone Wendy back and let her know what was going on. I phone back embarrassed, and admitted that nothing was actually going on. She commented that she wasn’t surprised from the sounds of the phone call earlier, but to keep her in the loop.
I can’t remember what Samuel and I did that afternoon, but in the late afternoon I was talking to my mom. I mentioned to her that I had been using panty liners after having to change my underwear twice from being so wet. She asked if I was leaking amniotic fluid. I gave it a thought and there is a very DISTINCT smell of amniotic fluid. Sure enough, I was. I phoned Wendy back, feeling stupid again, and told her what I believed was happening. She assured me that this WAS important information that she needed to know, and that she’d go to bed early waiting for my phone call.
Shane got home the same time as the bishops wife and kids. They brought delicious muffins, and a yummy candle. We visited for a minute and I told her how miserable I was feeling. The evening proceeded. I was supposed to meet some friends on the south end of Calgary for a surprise Birthday dinner. I cancelled. I wasn’t up for having to drive home during contractions if labor did indeed start.
That night after Sam was in bed, I went for a long walk around the smaller hills in our community. As I walked a woman asked when I was due. We chatted for a short minute, and I continued on. Shane thought I was nuts. When I got home my body HURT. My hips, my legs, etc, but just Braxton hicks contractions that subsided. I sat on the floor and cried to Shane saying how I was “so done!” being pregnant and didn’t want to carry on anymore. Shortly after we went to sleep.
Morning came, and much to my surprise, I had a restful night. Samuel woke up early, and we had a cute little morning together. I posted on my facebook status “October, I love you!” knowing full well that this month I would have this baby!!! As I was making 2nd breakfast, my phone rant, it was Wendy.
W: I didn’t hear from you last night, what’s going on?
M: Nothing’s going on, that’s why you didn’t hear from me.
The conversation continued and she told me that since I had been leaking for over 24 hours, that I needed to come in to be stress tested at the hospital, and to have a serious talk about induction…. I thought to myself in utter shock, happy shock DID SHE JUST SAY INDUCTION!?!?!?!?!?!?! I pulled myself back together, finished the conversation about when we could be in to the hospital, and phoned Shane. He and I talked about things, I showered, took Samuel to the neighbours house, and off we were to the hospital.
I drove us into the hospital. It was easier for me to be doing something than just sitting. I took in the gorgeous day that it was. The leaves on the tree rich and yellow, the dark, almost black tree trunks, the blue sky, I loved it. We made it to the hospital and parked. I waddled into the hospital, and we made our way up to the 5th floor to meet Wendy.
One of the perks to having midwives is that there is no “check in.” The midwives do it all for you. She took me back to a bed in triage, and strapped the monitor to my belly. Baby looked great. She monitored me for a while, said I was between a 2 and 3, and asked Shane what we would like to do. We said that it was daytime, we had all had a decent sleep, our childcare situation was set up, that we should just do it. Before I got up, she remembered to check my vitals. To all of our surprise (ok, maybe not Wendy’s), my blood pressure was fairly high. She said it was just one more reason to do the induction today.
We went back to the room with a tub, and I sent Shane to get some food. Wendy and I chatted and chatted. Shane got back with cold food. I shouldn’t have been surprised that he walked to the Wendy’s, approximately a 15-20 minute walk. While Shane was gone, Wendy put my IV in. I teased her that she better give me a good one. She was an EMT for 10 years prior to becoming a midwife, so she was well experienced in them.
Shane got back, and I ate my food. Not much later the OBGYN came in to sign off on the oxytocin. I asked if ended up needing a C-section, if he’d be the one doing it. He said “oh, you’re not going to need a C-section.” To which Wendy agreed at me and scoffed that I even mention it. In my defense, I preferred to meet the man who would be my surgeon before we were in that situation. He left, and we waited for the nurse to come in and start the “drip.”
A big concern of mine before this whole process was “how will I do the drip without pain meds?!?!” They reassured me that once my body took over, the drip would be shut off, and I’d be able to do things naturally. Slowly every 20 minutes, Wendy turned up the amount going into me. Shane and I walked around the unit with the portable monitor. I was stunned how quiet it was in the hospital. I was feeling a tiny bit of pressure, but no contractions, which the monitor said I was having.
I was happy with how my hair air-dried, and chalked it up to an amazing haircut. We continued to wait as the oxytocin was turned up for something to start. Carol came to relieve Wendy so she could attend a banquet honouring people for the midwifery program at MRU. Arlene Dickinson, the dragon, was going to be there. To our entertainment, Carol proceeded to tell us how she grew up with Arlene, and told how they got into all kinds of trouble (good Mormon girl style trouble).
As Carol watched me and the monitor, she told us that she wasn’t convinced that my water had broke, like Wendy had thought. She told me she was going to let me have a few more contraction, and then was going to check. Sure enough, within 15-20 minutes of actually feeling contractions, I felt my water break. I let out a wooooaaaaahhh, to which Carol immediately checked the monitor printer, and Shane my stomach “look at my pants,” I said. Completely soaked.
As nature has it, I kicked into labour, and within the hour the oxytocin was turned off. I munched on unsalted saltine crackers and cheese. Carol was shocked that I had an appetite. In between each contraction, I munched, and chatted.
After a couple of hours, things started to pick up. I switched from sitting to being on my knees with the back of the bed straight up. Shane was golden in supporting me. I didn’t even have to say anything, just shake my head, or wave my hand and he knew what I meant. He’d rub, squeeze, hold, etc. I got pretty focused, and started to feel pushy. Carol phoned Wendy to come back, and as she walked in the room, she asked Carol what I was dilated to. I blurted out, “just show her with your fingers.” I knew that was something I didn’t want to know, I was in the zone, and didn’t want anything to crush that.
The contractions were getting closer together and more intense. I stood up because my knees were falling asleep. The midwives had offered the tub, but I declined. After Shane held me up, I started to cry, and decided I’d like to try a hot bath. It felt like it took forever to heat up. As I got in, I was stunned how hot it was. I was thirsty, but told I couldn’t drink anything. Shane brought me a cup of ice, and I crunched ice, breathed, and hit transition hard core. Wendy asked if I was okay if the baby was delivered in the tub. I told her I was fine with that. She asked me to try pushing, but it hurt, so she said to wait.
Anyone who’s done transition naturally knows it’s pretty nuts! I started to feel light headed and asked to get out of the tub. I was told I sounded like I could be slightly hyperventilating, and was coached in my breathing. I got out of the tub, and back on the bed. I was told I needed to scoot up, but refused. I was losing it! After several attempts asking me to do it, Shane, Carol, and Wendy lifted me into place. I demanded an epidural, the craziest animal was coming out of me. Carol got right in my face and firmly told me that I couldn’t get an epidural if I was pushing my baby out, and that they needed to check and see where I was at.They had me lay on my side to check. Wendy told Carol I was about a 7, and the part I didn’t hear was her say that I was about a nine in the back, and if the baby would just turn, I’d dilate.
Well folks, again they had a request for me, to bend and move my right leg over my left. I refused, they went ahead and did it, then things got real! I felt baby drop down, and there was no denying my body pushing. Everyone jumped into position, and I listened to my body. I was being poked and prodded with requests to “push here,” and the Doppler to check baby. I swatted and demanded they stopped (Shane said it was more like a whisper, but to me, I was screaming)! 8 minutes after I felt baby move down, she was out! It was INTENSE!!!!!
At 9:08 Claire Lynn was born and placed on my chest. I was still in a fair bit of pain. I savoured the moment best I could. Before I knew it they asked if we were ready to cut the cord. I asked if it was finished pulsing, to which I was told that it was already out, so yes, it was done pulsing. I swear she drug that with her.
I had my moment, and then gave her up to be weighed and measured. Shane told me later, but Wendy was concerned with the amount I was bleeding (thank you high blood pressure). Both midwives started kneading my stomach. I wanted to die! I cried out in pain and asked them to stop. They proceeded to knead. As a result, they flipped the valve on my oxytocin, and I got the rest of the bag (which was A LOT).
Shane got the camera to take pictures, and I was reminded that I had requested to fix my hair before pictures were taken. I could care less what I looked like.
Once they had things under control, they told me that since my blood pressure hadn’t come down, that I’d be staying over night. I requested a private room. It was at this moment that I was very grateful I didn’t have a home birth like was planned, because I would then be transferred via ambulance to the hospital to be monitored (they were worried I could have a seizure). They got Claire and I in the tub, and asked if I had some pajamas I wanted to change into. I requested a gown since I wanted clean pajamas to wear home when I went.
The papers came back from the front desk, and to everyone’s surprise, I had a private room!
Shane and the midwives took me to my room, and got me settled. Still the pain/ contractions continued. I kept thinking that afterbirth pains were terrible, but learned (later) it was the oxytocin causing that much pain. Carol brought me some food, and she and Wendy left. Shane stayed for a few moments, but wasn’t allowed to stay the night. It was already midnight, so it wasn’t that big of a deal to me.
It was a long, painful night. Trying to maneuver my iv pole through the tiny room was challenging. I swore to myself I would never have another natural labour. The next morning Wendy came. My blood pressure still hadn’t gone down, but that I needed to be home and all would be well. Shane came to pick me up with flowers, and I was HAPPY to be going home with my new bundle!