birth story

On Wednesday, August 25th, we welcomed our beautiful baby girl into the world. After 8 hours of labor, she was born at 4:27PM, weighing in at 6 pounds and 8 ounces, and 18.5 inches long.

The night before she was born, I woke up multiple times to go to the bathroom (as usual!) The contractions felt sort of crampy, like menstrual cramps, and were a bit different than what I had felt before. I knew they were different, but kept telling myself that maybe I was just excited and didn’t want to make too much of it. The next morning at 9:45, I sent M a text at work, letting him know that I was still having contractions.

I am still having crampy contractions…

Hmmm. Are they sporadic or consistent?

I haven’t really timed them.

Start.

Ok. I’ll time the next few that I have.

411 is the magic #. 4 mins apart, 1 min each for 1 hour. Then we have baby.

I kept delaying M, telling him that I wanted to wait and see, but he insisted on coming home from work. He was home before noon, and was trying to get me to go to the hospital. I had it in my head that we should wait as long as possible, though, since everything I had read and researched advised to stay at home for as long as you could, especially if you wanted to avoid taking any medications. So I kept trying to push it off until finally M said, that’s it, we have to go.

The drive was torturous, as we had to go over the bridge to get to the hospital, and even though it was midday, there was still traffic and construction slowing things down. M had been keeping track of my contractions, which were now only 3-4 minutes apart, but since he was driving, I had to try to quickly jot down the start and stop times before my contraction was in full gear! While still at home, I found the most comfortable position to deal with my contractions was to stand and lean over, with my hands on the arm of the couch. Now that we were driving, I was stuck in a reclined, seated position, and the pain was much harder to handle.

Upon arrival at the hospital, I refused M’s offer for a wheelchair – I wanted to walk. Being stubborn again! It’s a good thing, though, as it turned out there were no wheelchairs available anyway. Just inside the hospital doors, there was a Tim Hortons. The coffee smelled amazing, and even while I was having another contraction and I was hanging on to a table for dear life, I was wondering aloud to M if they would let me have a French Vanilla in the delivery room. .. We made our way up to Labor and Delivery after checking in, and as soon as I was in the door, I was having another contraction. We were ushered into the examination room so that I could be checked. It seemed like we had to wait forever until finally someone came in to see how far along I had progressed. I was 2-3 cm dialated at 2:30PM. OK, I thought to myself, I guess we have about 8-12 hours to go then!

Turns out I was way off!!

We got to our room and the nurses left us to our own. They checked in on us once, and reviewed our birth plan. I was hoping for a completely natural birth with no meds. Being able to breastfeed successfully was extremely important to me, so I wanted to avoid any medical interventions if at all possible. The one pain relief option I was OK with was Entonox, the laughing gas, since it would have no effects on the baby. (Side note – they didn’t really seem too pleased or receptive about it, but they did address each of our wishes. Maybe it was just that nurse who wasn’t very friendly.) The contractions were getting pretty intense, and I was getting to the point where I was thinking about asking for some of the laughing gas. The pauses in between contractions were too short, though, and I was busy trying to recover my breath to tell M that I wanted the gas. I was doing my best to deal with the pain using my yoga breathing techniques, but suddenly I was yelling OWWWWW at the peaks of the contractions. I couldn’t help it! Then that feeling came – the baby was dropping down. I yelled at M that it felt like it was coming down, and I guess I started making some grunting sounds.

Right away, a nurse and doctor rushed in and instructed me not to push. (Are you kidding me?!) They frantically got the room prepped, but I still had to deal with two heavy contractions without pushing, and it was nearly impossible. The feeling can only be described as: Imagine you have the worst diarrhea of your life, you gotta poo, and someone is telling you, “Don’t poo! Hold it in!” The doctor checked me and announced: “You’re fully dialated – it’s ok to push on your next contraction!”

I was in shock. It seemed too fast. But there was no time to dwell on that. The nurse and doctor coached me through each contraction, with M at my side, encouraging me. Between contractions, the pain was completely gone and I could catch my breath. I was so focused on getting the baby out that I was actually disappointed when the painful contractions ended because it meant I couldn’t keep pushing. I could hear everything that was going on during the contractions. M and the doc were talking about how the Canucks had just signed Raffi Torres. Once the contraction ended, I managed to ask, “How much did we sign him for?” The doc cracked up, saying he’s never heard a woman giving birth talk hockey. Then the burning sensation came, and M reminded me that I had to push past that so I could get the baby out. It was tough, but I kept thinking about that goal. Soon, they said the baby was almost out and to look down so I could see it coming. I didn’t want to look, but M said,  “You have to look. It`s incredible.” I looked down to see the head and I guess with that sort of ab crunch motion, the rest of the body came out!

The doctor said, “Ok , Dad, what is it?”

And M cheered, with both arms in the air, proclaiming: “It’s a girl!!!”

There is no way to describe the feeling of having her tiny, warm, wet body placed on my chest. Before she was born, I used to think about that moment and tears would come flowing from the emotions. I thought for sure I would cry when the moment finally came, but surprisingly, I didn’t. I was just so amazed and joyful that there were no tears. The three of us just held each other, reveling in the moment.

There she was, the little being that I have grown and loved inside of me for 39 weeks, in my arms at last. We`re a family now.

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