Our Birth Story – Part One
[The Best Part]
Our daughter Emily joined us in the world on December 22nd, 2014 at 6:08pm. She weighed 7lbs 9oz and was welcomed by myself & Kevin, our OB, and a room full of nurses who couldn’t wait to meet her.
Our story really starts at our last OB appointment. I was a week overdue, 1cm dilated and 40% effaced, and had a cervical sweep done. My OBGYN then offered me two choices. I could wait and see when she wanted to arrive, or I could ‘evict’ her and have an induction. Already being overdue, having polyhydramnios, and knowing my genetic birth history (I, myself, was 18 days overdue when I was born), and seeing my BP slowly climbing each week, I elected to have an induction IF she didn’t arrive before my induction date. We decided I’d have my first dose of gel (to ripen/soften the cervix) the evening of December 21st, and then return Monday morning if there was no progress.
I’m extremely lucky to work on the same unit where I gave birth to my baby. My nurses were more than just my nurses. They were also my coworkers, people I look up to, and my friends. Out of respect for them, I’m leaving names out of this story, but I assure you my nurses (and doctors) were the absolute BEST.
So the week passed, and I tried everything to get her out. I bounced on an exercise ball every evening, I jumped up and down around our rec room.. I danced in the shower and we took the bumpiest roads we could find any time we went anywhere. Nada! She wasn’t ready to come out on her own, and so Sunday night – December 21st – I went in to labour and delivery for my first dose of gel. I was put on the monitor, asked all the questions on our blue admission forms, and then the OB on call came to check my cervix. Still 1cm dilated and now 50% effaced. The gel was kind of a ‘test dose’ to see how baby and I would react, and if no labour started I’d be back in the morning for more. It stung quite a bit and caused some serious cramping, but nothing that didn’t go away with a position change and so I slept off and on overnight and waited until morning.
I called L&D at 0700 and they told me to shower, have a light breakfast, and be there for 0815! I was so excited knowing that we’d finally be on the way to meeting our baby! When I got there I was put on the monitor again, and then my OB came in to check my cervix – 1cm dilated and 50% effaced…STILL! I got the second dose of gel and then was monitored some more. Baby had one decel but otherwise everything was fine. I was having more cramps and back pain with this dose, but only irregular tightenings were showing up on the monitor and so I was sent home to wait and see if I progressed or if I’d be back in the afternoon for a third dose of gel…
It was about 0945 when I got home from the hospital (we live about 15min away..) and by the time we pulled into the garage I was definitely having contractions and they were very painful. I think it was the combination of the cramps/back pain caused by the gel that just made me feel miserable. I walked from the garage straight into the house and into the tub. Kevin got me a big glass of ice water and a couple clementines and went downstairs to watch tv. Meanwhile I expected this ‘false labour’ to stop once I turned the jets on in our soaker tub.
The contractions didn’t stop! They didn’t even slow down! I asked Kevin to time them for me and I was having them every 4min and they were lasting about 1min & 15sec. At this point I was pretty focused on breathing through them. I couldn’t believe it when Kev told me I’d been in the tub for about two and a half hours! I got out to pee and the pain was so much worse out of the tub. I decided to get back in and call my nurse at the hospital to see whether or not I could go back in to have my cervix checked or if I had to wait until I wanted something for pain (which I didn’t at this point). She said I could go back! So I got dried off and dressed and arrived back to L&D at noon.
I was very uncomfortable so the nurses let me use the wireless monitor, which let me wander around my room or reposition in bed however I wanted. At 1230, my OB came in to check my cervix again and I was 2cm dilated – wasn’t much but it was still progress! He offered to break my water and I accepted. What a relief it was to be able to breathe again! I was monitored for half an hour and then allowed to go out to the floor where I work to walk laps. I only made it around for two and a half loops before I had to go back! The contractions were extremely painful, radiating to my back and the pressure was brutal. When I made it back to L&D I started crying and said that I might want something for pain. I was hoping I’d have progressed a lot so that I wouldn’t feel like such a wimp! My OB had ordered another PV at 1400 and if I was only 3cm or less, my nurse was to start my pitocin to help me progress. I was only 3cm, and I requested an epidural before the pit!
My nurse called for the anesthesiologist who came right away to insert my epidural. I had seen a lot of them going into other people and I was a bit nervous. It didn’t hurt at all to have it put in and I was so relieved when it started to lessen my pain! It worked pretty well for about 15min. My nurse was officially CNCing me, Kevin threw ‘The Hunger Games’ in the DVD player and we settled in for what we figured would be a long day. I was laying on my left side to allow the epi to level out and because baby was having occasional decels on the monitor.
Next thing I knew, it seemed like that epi wasn’t really helping much anymore! I wasn’t necessarily feeling contractions in my abdomen but the pressure and vaginal pain I was feeling was HUGE! I tried just breathing through it for a while but then my nurse decided she’d PV me to see if I was progressing. At 1500 I was a whopping 7cm dilated! I couldn’t believe it! I thought I’d be pitted all day before hitting 7cm!
An hour later I was moaning with the vaginal pain and pressure I was having with contractions. The monitor was showing head compressions for our little baby girl and so my nurse decided to PV me again. She smiled when she said I was 10cm and then another nurse came to confirm – I was fully dilated and ready to push just an hour later at about 1600! Luckily my nurse was thinking and turned off ‘The Hunger Games’ at this point! Ha! The second nurse went to phone my OB and I all of a sudden didn’t feel ready! I asked if we could wait until he arrived in hospital and they laughed.. ;) Time to start pushing!
I pushed for about 1hr and 50min. I wasn’t really very good at it, actually! I mean, I got the job done, but it took a little practice. We kept repeating, “no forceps, no forceps” and other than the intense desire to meet Emily, that was what got me through! In L&D there is a bell that the nurse rings when baby is crowning, which signals for the OB and nurses in charge of baby care to go into the room for the delivery. When my nurse said that I was ‘getting close’ and that she was ‘right there’ I kept waiting with every push for someone to ring the bell! Turns out one of my nurses just went out to the desk to tell them and so between contractions I looked up to see the delivery cart being rolled into my room, along with my OB and the baby-care nurses. That’s when I realized I was actually THAT CLOSE to meeting my baby! Three pushes later – at 1808 – baby Emily arrived in the world!
She was placed skin-to-skin with me right away. Delayed cord clamping was offered and refused by myself, and so the cord was clamped and Kevin – Papa – got to cut it! The placenta was delivered and found to have an extra lobe (huh!) and my second degree tear was repaired. Emily Michelle had a head full of hair and starting rooting right away! It looked like she was pecking around my chest, and that’s where the ‘baby bird’ or ‘bebe oiseau’ nickname came from. She had these big bug eyes and was so adorable. She aced her APGARs and weighed in at 7lbs 9oz (3420g). She latched on easily and fed on the left side for 18min, in between my fundal checks. At her 2hr check they measured her length – 20 1/2 inches.
One of our amazing nurses took this photo for us – and I’m SO glad she did. It was a moment of pure bliss and happiness. Kevin and I already loved Emily while she was in my belly, but we instantly fell more in love with her when we saw her! I didn’t want to let her go!
Unfortunately, the immediate postpartum period didn’t exactly go as planned for me, hence why there will be a ‘part two’ of this story. I don’t want to include it here, because it was horrible. The birth of my daughter was perfect and went so smoothly and was amazing, so that part of the story doesn’t belong here.
If you are reading this someday, Emily, I hope you know that you are the most amazing gift to your parents! We are so proud to have gotten you here safely, and your birth was the most beautiful experience. It was amazing and so are you.
Click [HERE] to read ‘Our Birth Story – Part Two’