Friday, 3 July 2015

Birth Story

Meeting our son

After my last post, my early labor contractions finally started to become intense enough (i.e. not able to talk through them, as the midwives suggested) to go in to the hospital again. We got checked out and I was still only 2-3cm, but they let me stay on the antenatal ward overnight because I didn't feel comfortable going home and thought that I would make better progress there (my labor had slowed down after going home the previous time). On Thursday night, I got very little sleep due to painful contractions, hospital noises and midwives checking on me. The next day, I worked hard to get my labor to progress, spending hours bouncing on a birth ball and pacing the halls with Richard. They didn't check me, so I don't know what was actually going on, but by Friday evening, I still wasn't making significant progress--my contractions were intense but not frequent, and they didn't seem to be changing. Richard and I talked about possibly going home, as I wasn't looking forward to another night in the hospital and I thought I'd be able to get more sleep at home. Being at home also meant that I'd be able to meet my mom at the airport when she arrived the next day, which would be one upside of not having delivered yet. At about 6:30 pm we were discharged from the antenatal ward and went home. 

At home, I settled in on the couch with my maternity pillow and a heat pack for my back, and tried to get comfortable. I was hoping that my contractions would ease up enough for me to get some sleep, as I dreaded the idea of another sleepless night, especially with the prospect of Sunday's induction still to come. Richard made me some toast, as I hadn't had any dinner yet, but after just a few bites I felt queasy and it all came back up. I'd read that this was a sign of transition, but at the time I didn't think I could possibly be at transition--my contractions were intense but still easily ten minutes apart, and I was looking out for 4-5 minute frequency before I would take them seriously. I decided to take a bath, hoping it could slow down my labor and help me get some sleep.

The bath helped with the pain of the contractions, but it didn't slow down labor--not long after getting in the tub, my water finally broke with an unmistakable pop and gush. It was about 8:30 pm, just two hours after being discharged from the hospital. I called Richard in to tell him to start getting things ready to go back to the hospital and to bring me clothes--I could feel the baby's head had moved so far down, and I knew that we needed to get back as soon as possible, or we'd have an unplanned homebirth. I got dried off and dressed, Richard sorted out the bags (which we'd just brought up from the car!) and we made our way back to the hospital. I called Maternity Assessment en route and told them we were coming in--the midwife who answered remembered me from one of my previous visits, so it was nice not to have to go into detail at that moment!

Waiting to be seen in Maternity Assessment was probably the worst part of the whole process. My contractions were very intense and frequent, just two or three minutes apart, and I had to pant through them to resist the urge to bear down. When the midwife examined me, I was 9 cm and she could see the baby's head, so we were taken (calmly but quickly) straight down to delivery suite 12, with me in a wheelchair. I had told the midwife who examined me that I'd been resisting the urge to bear down, and she said, "When we get in there, just stop resisting and go for it."

The actual delivery was so quick--it felt like minutes, though I know now that it was more like an hour and a half. I was in my own little world, just focused on making it through one contraction at a time. The delivery room was dimly lit and Richard put my "Labor & Delivery" playlist on, with soothing Charles Trenet and Chopin (it was organized by artist and happened to be on the c's). The midwife was very hands-off and quiet. She didn't tell me when to push, just told me that I was doing well and she let me know when the baby's head was about to come (which, to be honest, I could tell by myself--it felt like it!). I was so in the zone and focused, I was a bit surprised when the baby's head and body both came out on the same push. Since I was faced away and leaning on the head of the bed, I actually heard the baby crying before I got a chance to see it. It was so reassuring to know that the baby was already breathing well--things must be going well with a howl like that! I asked whether it was a boy or a girl and the midwife told us it was a boy--Richard said "It's George, hello George!" He grabbed Richard's finger while the midwife cleaned him up. The midwife brought us tea & toast, then left us to bond. Richard shared the news with our families while George and I cuddled in skin-to-skin and had our first feed. Another midwife came in after awhile and helped Richard dress George for the first time, and took our first family portrait:

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