Monday, September 7, 2015

Charlotte's Birth Story

In honour of my sweet baby turning one and our year together coming to an end, I think I'm ready to publish Charlotte's Birth Story. It doesn't feel complete or polished but I think that is fitting for labour.

I remember when I was pregnant and nearing the end of my pregnancy that I loved reading birth stories. I couldn't get enough. I think I felt that if I read enough it would prepare me some how for what was ahead. While that's not totally false, I do believe that every birth is a unique experience and nothing can really prepare you for it. It has taken me a while to get here, not because I wasn't mentally ready but because I have a very active baby who doesn't give me much of a break outside of allowing me the basic priorities of food, showers, sleep etc. that said, I have been piecing this together when I do get a quiet moment, so I have it to remember.

My due date was August 20th, and I had a non-stress test and ultrasound booked in the morning. Chris and I went to the hospital. I remember having my ultrasound first. Everything was pretty routine, but we did learn that the baby had fluid collecting in its left kidney. They told us this was pretty common and a follow up ultrasound for the baby would be booked once it was born. They also told me the baby was a good size- about 7 lbs 9 oz. I went for the non-stress test and was given a delicious chocolate milkshake to get the baby moving. It was fairly uneventful until the baby got the hiccups and I couldn't press my button fast enough to keep up. The nurse looked through the scan and told me everything was normal, and that I was actually having mild contractions. She also informed me that I should do everything in my power not to have my baby that day as the hospital was full and I would need a manger! Given the fact that I have never missed a deadline in my life, I was still determined to get the baby to come sooner than later. Chris and I enjoyed spicy Szechuan for lunch! We watched Frozen that night, and I continued to have random mild contractions.

I woke up at 5am the next morning with contractions that were fifteen minutes apart. TMI alert- I also lost my mucus plug which was such an unknown while I was pregnant. I am happy to report to any future moms to be- do not worry about this just casually falling out in one of those middle of the night bathroom trips like I was- it is definitely more of an event than that and you will know when it happens! I called my parents around 8 to let them know that I thought things were starting so they could start driving. From 5am to 1pm, the contractions got stronger and worked themselves into a regular 5 minutes apart.  I tried to distract myself with random things like petting cats, watching love actually (I highly recommend watching a movie you have seen a million times before, that way you won't be frustrated when you stop paying attention during the contractions), rolling on a ball, taking a shower (amazing, but I've been told not to do too early as it can delay labour). I know contractions are different for everyone, mine were mostly in my back, and early on felt like cramps but intensified to the point where the only thing that felt good was leaning over on things. Cute story- my sweet Missy Cat, the ultimate nurse in our household was with me in the bathroom when I was leaning over the sink breathing through a contraction rubbing my head with her head.

Going into labour, I was of the mindset that I was going to be flexible with my birth plan. The only thing I was really dreading was labouring for hours and hours only to be told I needed a c-section. Everything else (drugs, positioning, breathing, etc. was up in the air). That said, once in labour- I knew for sure I would be taking advantage of the epidural. I knew this before I even got to the hospital. I don't feel ashamed to admit it one bit- there is no way I could have done what I did without the drugs!

Chris really wanted to go to the hospital, and I had an innate fear of getting there and being sent home...I did not want to make that 25 minute drive through bumpy country roads and construction more than once. He convinced me around 1:30 that it was probably time to go. When we got to the hospital, they put me in the triage room with a few interesting characters. One lady had been waiting all day with her mother to have her baby turned and one couple from our prenatal class came in complaining of itchy feet. At one point the mother of the other girl came over and offered me a magazine, letting me know it was going to be a while- I told her I didn't have a while! Thankfully, after a banana Popsicle and being on the machine long enough for them to see my contractions were actually 5 minutes apart and I was 4 cm dilated- they admitted me around 3pm.The room we were admitted to was sponsored by the Upper Canada Mall, I felt that was appropriate! 

I forget my first nurse's name, but I remember she reminded me of Don Drapers second wife. She also did not give me much confidence that she would be much help in delivering this child. Despite having two children of her own, she was flighty and absent-minded and the hospital was jammed packed, so she was stretched really thin. Once there, I asked for a Popsicle and an epidural (in that order), I was told it might take a bit for the epidural as there was only one anesthesiologist.  I also needed an IV for an hour of fluids before they could give it to me. In the meantime, the contractions were getting super intense, I tried really hard to breathe, but had a hard time staying focused. Chris loved watching the monitor to tell me when they were starting and ending (like I didn't know), and that drove me nuts! At one point he said "Good job, it's over" and I remember screaming "It's not over!!!"

How pleased do I look here? That said- this is the only picture of me in labour so in happy we have it!

I remember being a bit nervous about the pain of the epidural, but to be honest, the most painful part of getting an epidural was the 5 attempts and 3 nurses it took to get an IV in my hand. No offense to new/young nurses, but I have to give it to the veteran- it took her one try and 2 seconds to do it. A lovely gentleman arrived to give me my epidural, I sat up and did my best yoga back curl, and it was done. I don't think I even felt it to be honest, and he said my spine was easy to navigate (whatever that means). After the epidural, I felt so much better. I still felt the pressure of the contractions, but not the pain. I had some pretty intense off the chart contractions coming one after the other, and thanked my lucky stars each time that I had chosen the epidural.

At 5:30, the doctor checked me and said that I was about 6-7cm dilated, and that they would give me another hour and if my water hadn't broken, they would do it to speed things along. I don't actually remember when that happened. We had a very sweet resident assist with our birth, and I remember she guessed the baby would be a boy (like everyone else). At 7:30, the nursing staff had a shift change- goodbye sweet bubbly absent minded nurse, hello fiery ginger French Canadian Pete. Oh how I loved this nurse. She came in all guns a blazing, she told me she was going to do a catheter and check me, at which point, my husband said he was going to get a coffee. Pete asked him to get her a tea while he was at it! She did the catheter and then did the check and within seconds advised me "the baby is at the baby door", "where's Chris?", "this baby is coming soon".  I remember being stunned and excited at that point and reminded her that she sent Chris for tea. Pete also guessed the baby would be a girl "because girls come quick- boys like to stay with their mommy".  Chris returned a few minutes later, she told him to put down the coffee and grab a leg. I think he almost fell over. We had planned for Chris to stay at my face and not to see anything below the belly button, but when the hospital is jam packed, and there is only one nurse, he had to step up! I think in the end, he is glad he got to witness the birth of our baby (but you would have to ask him for the truth).

Pete instructed me on how to push (something else I was worried I wouldn't know how to do), and told me to do a practice push so she could see how good I was. After one push she said "no more- I need to call the doctor, this baby is coming in the next ten minutes"! Funny thing about pushing, I was letting a bit of air escape my lips while I was pushing until Pete said "What is that noise"- I immediately stopped...I had no idea I was supposed to hold my breath. Once the doctor was there, I was instructed to push again, I pushed two times, and Chris told me he could see the baby's head and it had a lot of hair (Aunty Cait would be proud). Then the doctor told me to make the next one really count because the baby's heart rate was dropping. I pushed again, and sweet baby Charlotte came out, plump, red with her cord wrapped around her neck twice. The doctor said, "Ah- there's the culprit, and they quickly unwrapped her and starting hitting her to make sure she was ok". She was good, and Chris got to cut the cord after they let it pulse for a bit. I remember being tired but also excited and a bit nosy- I just wanted that baby on my chest. When she was born, Chris said "Oh my god, it's a girl!!!" because everyone had thought it was going to be a boy. Pete played the "birthday song" on the heart rate monitor, and they showed me the scale reading a whopping 9lbs 4oz (a little off the ultrasound estimate from the day before)! Pretty good for 14 minutes of pushing!

Finally sweet Charlotte was put on my chest, while the doctors did their business. Funny moments:
-Pete advised me that she really wanted me to be successful with breastfeeding because "you have excellent equipment".
-She showed me the placenta and described it as "the tree of life" (poor Chris had no interest in this bit).
- It is really hard to take a sports bra off while wearing an IV for skin to skin

Chris' parents were in the waiting room, so they got to come in and meet Charlotte right away.  My parents thought their grandchild might wait for them, but baby girl had other plans! We snuck them in just after midnight when they arrived after driving all day. 

Overall, labour was a lot better than I expected it to be. My experience at the hospital following Charlotte's birth wasn't as great but that's for another day. I have since learned that my fabulous nurse Pete is actually retired and just comes in when it's busy. She was amazing and I feel so lucky that she was there to coach me through everything. We sent a very large bag of Lindor Truffles to the nursing station the next day!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...