September 14, 2009

Late one Sunday night in September 2009 my husband commented on how much work he had the next morning so I better not have the baby early...but...on Monday, September 14th, 2009 at 7am...ten days before I was due...I was standing up after a morning pee and my water broke all over the floor.  I called out to my husband, "We have a water break!" and he ran in and checked under the sink.  When he finally believed that my water had broke and I had not peed on the floor, we were off to the hospital to make sure the cord was ok...in rush hour traffic from Northwest Calgary to Rockyview Hospital...I chose a group of doctors that was recommended to me and felt it would be worth the drive.

When I arrived I still had no labour pains.  More than an hour later they hooked me up and discovered that I was having very good contractions but could not feel them, a "silent labour".  My mother told me her births were not that painful, just a lot of work, so I was excited to hear that I was 6cm without any pain (although in hindsight I did have sharp but minor cervix pains for a couple days before).  Being a busy hospital, my doctors at Rockyview sent me home (yes, sent me home at 6cm).  About 15 minutes after arriving home at 1pm and sitting down to enjoy a nice cup of Red Raspberry Tea, I was almost knocked off my stool with contractions...there was no end or beginning, so off we went back to the hospital a short while later. 

I arrived at Rockyview around 3pm and got a room right away, I was not waiting until rush hour traffic again!  After getting out of the shower I was pleased that my sister had arrived...both my husband and her had read a lot of natural childbirth and Bradley material, so I welcomed more company.  They could not get a reading on the external baby heart rate monitor so they used the internal one and gave me an IV too, so no more showers.  I had extremely painful back pain but wanted to give birth drug free because my baby was expected to be a ten pounder and had never dropped so I wanted to have my strength and wits about me.  The hot water bottle on my lower back was great pain relief.  At 5:30pm my doctor was off shift and a new doctor that I had never met replaced her (disappointing).  The doctors would not tell me how effaced I was, or whether the baby was face up or down...he was expected to be ten pounds so I wanted the details but could not get any (disappointing). 

At 6:00pm I was feeling the urge to push but had to wait until the cervical lip was moved at 6:30pm.  On my second or third push the heart rate was not recovering and the doctor was calling in extra help.  An obstetrician came into the room waving around forceps saying she would have him out in seconds.  Fortunately, the chief obstetrician also came in and my sister and husband told her that I could push him down so she could use the vacuum instead of forceps  (I was really glad my sister was there to explain to me what was happening while my husband was dealing with the doctors).  They were disappointed that I did not have an epidural and froze me locally because they were using the vacuum.  I yelled at people to count so I could do my pushes and with a dozen people counting I managed to push him down within a  minute between contractions (swimming every day paid off) and he was vacuumed out like a ripe turnip at 7:00pm.  The "green team" was also present but took one look at my baby and said he was "perfect" at 8lbs and 11oz.  I had an episiotomy (his shoulders were stuck and the obstetrician had to manually go in and pull him out!) and a second degree tear and broken tailbone from the interventions but my baby boy was healthy as can be.  Afterwards, the doctor found out that I had a birth plan and cord blood kit, luckily they managed to get enough blood from his cord even though the obstetrician had cut it immediately after he was born so he could be whisked away and checked out by the "green team".  They gave me two Advils (are you serious?!) and I was wheeled right to the recovery room because they needed the room.

In hindsight, I believe my natural childbirth training prevented me from a c-section because I could never have pushed him down on my own with an epidural, I am sure further interventions would have been necessary.  I encourage all pregnant women and their birthing partners to be knowledgeable in their births so they can make important decisions. It really helped to have two birthing partners.  It's a great idea to make your reasons for natural childbirth clear to your partners before the birth so that they can remind you when you are doubting yourself.  I was disappointed in my own doctors but I do not regret having a hospital birth; I would rather have a crummy day and a healthy baby over than the alternative.  My son is healthy and happy (still in the 90th percentile for height and weight) in fact his first sentence was, "I'm a happy baby!"

Kate, Johnny and Zach

Calgary hospital birth story