Welcome Tova - Birth at Foothills Hospital

April 24, 2011

Tova was born on April 24th at 4:48am at the Foothills after 20 hours of labor, weighing 6 lbs 3 ozs.

Kim’s water broke at home on Saturday at about 4:30am without any contractions. The amniotic fluid had a low amount of meconium in it. We thought it would be a good idea to go to the hospital to get baby checked. We called and they wanted us to come in right away. We had breakfast and showers then rolled in there about 7am (Thinking we’d be back on our way home after a quick check.)

Feeling relaxed and positive, we got a warm reception from the triage nurses. We did our initial fetal monitoring and tests. No vaginal exam because the amniotic sac had broken and it was so early. Kim’s natural oxytocin was flowing great until we met the doctor on shift. We were told that because of the meconium (that it possibly means the baby has been stressed) and we were required by hospital policy to be continuously fetal monitored. And, that once we were admitted that the Kim would be put on an oxytocin IV right away. This was a scary, scary, first interaction with the doctor.

So after our “emotional standing 8 count” two minutes in to our hospital experience, we started to negotiate. Kim handled the hardline stance of the doctor amazingly. She didn’t let herself get too worked up, asked all the right questions, and began building a case to do things our way. We got absolutely nowhere with that particular doctor. Fortunately, that doctor was going off shift.

About an hour later and Kim had built up a rapport with the triage nurses by explaining our wants and plan to progress on our own. While hooked up to the monitor Kim did step ups on onto a chair, squats, lunges, rocked on the birth ball, (and I rocked the nipple stimulation.) We would just disconnect Kim from the monitor in triage to go to the washroom, then sneak off for short walks. The food and fluids routine was on. I think these actions sent a pretty strong message to the nurses, which eventually got to the new doctor coming on shift.

I delayed taking down the admitting forms until the triage nurse started to get impatient. At this point we were just trying to buy time and keep the oxytocin flowing. A battle against hospital convention seemed looming on the horizon as we waited to be admitted to a delivery room. Then walks in our new, old school, silver haired, blunt as you can get, lady doctor. In a matter of no time she tells us they have lined up the only room with a portable fetal monitor. She indicated she had no intention of inducing Kim, and she wouldn’t consider it for 24 hours, and that better get walking. Kim and I look and each other and both think, “We like her”. Just goes to show, that buying time just by itself can make a difference in the outcome of your hospital delivery.

A number of hours pass and we were admitted and the contractions were coming about 4-5mins apart, albeit inconsistently. We were hooked up to the portable fetal monitor and did laps around the unit. The doctor and nurses pretty much left us alone to do our thing with the odd compliment on how well Kim was laboring to boost our confidence. Around 6pm the doctor checked Kim’s cervix. She was 4-5cms dilated and was progressing nicely. I almost cried right then. We had made great progress after a tenuous start and Kim was doing so great. The contractions were coming more intensely so we sessioned the shower (Portable fetal monitor in toe.)

(This is way off topic but Tova just filled her diaper so violently, I heard it across the room and can’t stop laughing. Breast milk is great stuff; I love being a Dad).

It is nice that the doctor we regularly see at the maternity clinic, has now come on shift. It is about 3am, and she examines Kim again. She finds that the baby is turned face out and not sitting on the cervix right. This was a surprise because all our previous exams at the doctor’s office indicated her in a good position. Kim is exhausted and hasn’t been able to eat for 12-13 hours. The root of our problem is that she is no longer able to do all those moves that turn a baby. The doctor suggests we start an oxytocin drop. This was another standing 8 count for me, I was pretty crushed that I could not convince Kim to carry on as we were, over our doctor’s advice. My next move was a pep talk with the nurse about how I really needed her help to make Kim move and change positions until the baby turned, not wait for the oxytocin to do it. We operated much more like a team from there on. The doc agreed to start Kim on the absolute lowest dosage just to get things going.

Two hours later of more regular and intense contractions and Kim is fully dilated with a lip of cervix at the front. Between the IV and the pelvic rocking Kim is almost ready to deliver and pulls out her finishing move. She flips from a modified bed squat over to some kind of yoga frog move where she’s kneeling over with her knees at 90 degrees and almost doing the splits – the nurse and I high five each other. Two contractions later the lip is gone and Kim cannot control the urge to push. She flips over and here comes Tova. Things happened so fast, I thought the nurse and I were going to catch the baby on our own, but the doctor returned just in time. Tova came out screaming so the meconium swat team was waved off and on she went straight to Kim’s chest. Receiving a perfect APGAR to boot!

Although our journey didn’t necessarily go as planned, we can’t neglect the fact that we ended up with a perfect little baby. We’d like to extend the deepest thanks and gratitude to Rhonda, Sue and everyone in class. We felt connected to each of you as the stories rolled in and (as Tiffany put it) an immense sense of pride!

Dana, Kim and Baby Tova.

Calgary hospital birth story