Thursday, February 23, 2012

Birth story

My due date all along was December16, 2011. I have about 10 apps on my phone that I used to check religiously and count down the weeks and days until the big day. Who would have thought that he will actually come much sooner – on 12.12.2011! I am sure that my gestational diabetes and the doctor’s concern for a very big baby was part of the reason why he scheduled to induce me early.

I remember the last visit. He examined my belly, told me that the baby is measuring right on schedule and that there is an opening on Monday, December 12 for induction. He gave instructions to arrive at the hospital on the 11th of December at 9 pm.

This was the Wednesday prior – I was super excited and super scared at the same time. Since Neil’s job is not far from the hospital, I went to his work to tell this to him in person. He came out, it was raining outside, got in the car and smiled a big smile while I started to cry. I think he was very confused, I told him that I am scared of being induced. He’s been so supportive and loving through it all. He gave me a big hug and said not to worry, everything will be ok and he will be right there with me. 

Lynn and Dave, nana and pa, arrived that Friday. They were excited to see me with the big belly. We went shopping that Saturday to get last bits for the baby (bassinette), Lynn couldn’t believe that I had so much energy and enthusiasm to go shopping the day before my scheduled labour. Saturday Dave asked me how I feel, I was very honest when I said I feel scared.

On Sunday we all got up and decided not to go to church in the morning as I felt I needed to prepare myself mentally, instead we went to Christmas concert at the church that afternoon. As an answer to many prayers, when I woke up on Sunday, I felt at peace. There was no more fear. I checked the packed bags, I did my hair, I gathered all the courage I had in me. There were concerns that the baby is posterior position, which causes a more painful labour, so I wanted to go for a walk to get him to change the position naturally. We all trodded off to the nearby park where we wanted to go for a walk but it started raining so we turned around and came home. We got ready and went to the Christmas concert. I won’t lie – there was a bit of pride in me when people I knew I asked when I was due and I proudly said – going to the hospital tonight!

Time came to head off. Lynn and Dave prayed for us before we headed off. We walked out to the car port and before I got in the car, I told Neil “This is the last time there is just the two of us”. We drove through the lit up city to the hospital.

We checked in and I felt most grateful that Neil was with me. I’ve always been very independent, very brave and capable of doing a lot of big things on my own but this was one time when I felt I needed him and his support. He was there, ready to fluff up pillows and be at my back and call. The midwife who checked us in was very funny. She kept cracking jokes while setting up the monitor to see if I am getting any contractions and what the baby’s heart rate is. She was lovely, I think her name was Ann. She checked if I am dilated, which I wasn’t and gave the meds to make labour start and sent us to bed.

We both stayed at the hospital that night. I slept very well, Neil was very cold as the temperature at the hospital was set very low. The next morning a nurse came and gathered us at 6:30 am. I had peace, I was just sort of in the mindset of “I will get through it”. I remember I forbid myself to be negative. There was no “I can’t” allowed. I set my mind that even when it gets so hard that I don’t know how to get through, I was not going to let those words escape my lips.

Dr came before seven am with the midwife and broke my waters. They hooked up monitors for contractions and for baby’s heartrate. Slowly the contractions started but they were not too bad. The midwife was oldschool but through the day we found a connection. She was very opinionated and told Neil off for looking at the phone or computer by saying “This is the most important day of your life and you are checking your emails”. I really felt for the guy, he was so helpful and lovely and here he got in trouble for the downtime that he couldn’t do anything anyways. But I forgave her. She was really there for me and knew what she was doing. Instead of looking at the monitors, she put a few fingers on my belly and knew exactly when contractions were starting and how strong they were. I trusted her and told her that I will do whatever she tells me to do. I think she liked it.

The beginning contractions were not too bad. I was with no pain relief until about 9:30 am, sitting on a ball and just breathing through them. Once they hooked me to oxytocin, which is the synthetic hormone, pain escalated very fast and very intense. I then asked to take a shower, so I wobbled in there with the IV drip and at that point the pain had escalated so much that I was shaking. Even though the midwife had encouraged me to wait before I make a decision on epidural, she saw that I couldn’t talk from the intensity of contractions and said that the anaesthesiologist is on the floor and if I want, this is the time to get the epidural. There was no hesitation in my answer.

The anaesthesiologist must be about 80 but man, do I trust him with my life. He looked like someone who has done this all his life and does it well. Apparently his hands shake but everyone there said that he’s the best. I had to get into foetal position and they asked Neil to hold me in case a contraction comes. No matter how strong the contraction, I was not going to move a bone with a huge needle jabbed in my spine. Of course that the contraction came just as he was putting the needle in but I held my breath and bit my tongue really hard.

The sweet relief when the epidural started working! I was praising Jesus for inventing the things. Like many girls I’d spoken to had said “No one gives you medal for being brave” so I had no shame for getting pain relief. For the next few hours I was flipping through gossip magazines and making jokes with Neil with Tv in the background. I believe “Mission Impossible” was on tv that afternoon.

Around 2 pm I changed positions and it started hurting again. At this point I was 8 cm dilated and the midwife predicted that the baby will come at 5 pm. They upped my epidural dose but it didn’t seem to help much. Since they keep upping the oxytocin dose, my labour was in full force at that point and the contractions were very, very strong (according to the machine). It felt like my bones are being ripped apart. The anaesthesiologist came back and suggested how to change positions. I was breathing through and trying to relax but I had a feeling that it was close as I was starting to feel pressure.

Unfortunately the shift for the midwife I had built rapport with ended (she stayed behind a bit anyway) and another midwife came. I didn’t feel the connection with her but there is no choice. So she started prepping for the birth. They called the Dr at 4 pm and said that I was ready.

They told me what position to get in and how to push. The first two pushes were welcome as the contraction pain subsided. I even told them that I can handle this, no problem. After the first two times, though…

It was the most physically demanding thing I have EVER done in my life. As I was pushing, I closed my eyes and went into myself. I focused my muscles inside, I got my mind ready with every push, I went inside of myself like I have never done before. I pushed with everything that I had in me. I pictured where the baby is in the birth cannel as I was doing this (actually the team there told me where he was).

There was a clock right above me which I kept looking up at when the contractions eased. The midwife said that it will take an hour, it was 10 past 4 and I thought to myself that she must be joking, there is no way I can do this for an hour. I kept hoping that I will be one of these stories where the baby came out in 3 pushes.

It didn’t happen.

At about 20 past I thought that this is it, there is no more energy in me to push any longer. I didn’t think I was able to get him out. That was until they told me that they would have to use forceps or vacuum to get him out. That put the fear of God in me and I was ready to do whatever it took to get him out. I didn’t want my baby to be pulled out. This is where I focused on every muscle involved in pushing, I was going to get it done.

As he was getting closer, it got more and more painful. I didn’t think I could go forward but there was no turning back either so we kept going. Finally a little head appeared and they told me that he will be out with the next push, which was true, I heard a scream and I was so happy.  They put him on my chest and the thing I thought immediately was “he feels so warm”. I finally held my little boy!

Neil was there next to me in awe as they gave him the scissors to cut the cord. The midwife took the camera and took photos. It was amazing!
I kept looking at him and caressing him, we had such a gentle moment together, it was love at first sight. I was holding my heart on my chest, I had given birth to a little boy and to a whole new level of gentleness, kindness, patience and love. I was in love that nothing can change.


angela said...

Beautiful Story!!!

Karen said...

That's a bummer you had to change midwives right in the middle of things. We had a nurse assigned to our room for every day shift and I was not a fan, but luckily she wasn't there for most of the labor or the delivery.

You're also smart having family there right away. I thought it'd be more stressful than helpful having my mom here right away, but I was so wrong. I spent the first two weeks bawling my eyes out I was so overwhelmed. I now think all new moms should be able to have a helper for the first month.