December 26, 2010
Briar Hill Midwives

Isla made her dramatic entrance into the world on Sunday, December 26th.  I had noticed my Braxton Hicks contractions had been occurring more frequently in the days leading up to Christmas day.  Christmas morning we headed out of town to my parents house in Okotoks to spend the day with family. Throughout Christmas day I had sporadic contractions that intensified when I would squat and disappear when I would lie down, at that point they were not at all painful.  Just after dinner I went to the washroom and lost my mucus plug.  I updated Gord and we started to pay attention to the timing of my contractions.  Around 7:30pm my contractions settled into a pattern of every 7 minutes for about 45 seconds.  By 8:30 pm they had progressed to every 5 minutes for 45 seconds.  At that time we decided to return to Calgary and call the midwives and update them.  The midwife (Reanne) asked us to rest as much as we were able at home and to call them back when the contractions were every 4 minutes apart for about an hour and I was unable to handle them anymore.

When we reached our house I was able to rest for about half an hour, at that time I felt like rocking back and forth stretched over our exercise ball.  My contractions steadily progressed, Gord made sure I had water and snacks constantly and helped me to move back and forth between the washroom and ball applying counter pressure the entire time!  By 10:30 my contractions were every four minutes and getting hard to work through. By 11:15 I felt like I was barely able to cope with the contractions any longer and was beginning to think that if this was just a few hours in that I was not going to be able to go through labour. I asked Gord to call the midwives, and told him that I just didn`t think I was going to do it without drugs, I was not made for a home birth and to just take me to the hospital, (hind site being what it is we think I was going through transistion).

Reanne asked to speak to me through several contractions, as my next contraction started I heard/felt a pop/warm gush and my water had broken. Reanne asked if the water was clear and this is where we thankfully went from home birth to hospital birth.  The water was green like an avocado, we had meconium.  Reanne let us know that there would be a room for us at the foothills and that we should make our way there just in case the baby would require respiratory assistance.  It took about 20 minutes (11:50 pm on the 25th) for me to make my way downstairs to our truck.  As I was putting on my shoes I asked Gord to call Reanne back because I felt like I needed to push, I was not sure if it could be the baby because I had not been in labour for very long.  Reanne told Gord to get us going and she would meet us at the door of the hospital.

We arrived at the foothills at 12:10 am on December 26th at which point my contractions had very quickly progressed to every 2 minutes lasting for about 60 seconds.  When we made it up to the maternity ward around 12:25 am Reanne checked the baby’s heart rate, when we confirmed that the baby was doing well and my next contraction started the nurse and Reanne told me I could push if I felt like it.  I did push and it was such a relief.  Reanne then checked to see how dilated I was and she and the nurse advised us not to be disappointed if we were at 6 or 7 cm because it had only been about 5 hours of labour.  To our surprise I was 10 cm, our next surprise was that Reanne told us she was not feeling a head!  At that point I had to do the opposite of everything we had practised and try to not push the baby out and pant through my contractions.  Trying to squeeze my legs together and work against my contractions was very painful. We asked if I would be able to deliver the baby vaginally if it was breech and were told that it would depend which doctor was on call. A few minutes later an obstetrical resident came into the room and she and Reanne performed an ultrasound which showed that it was the baby’s feet that were down.  At that time we were told that we would require an emergency C – Section.  At 12:50 I was taken to the operating room to be prepared for surgery.  I was given a spinal, which was very stressful as I had two contractions while the doctor was inserting the needle and was able to feel the pressure of the baby pushing down onto the operating table.  Within one minute of the spinal taking effect the contractions faded away and the pressure of the baby pushing stopped.  As soon as I was ready for surgery Gord was brought in to sit with me and hold my hand.  Gord’s sister had met us at the hospital as my second labour support person and was able to stand at the viewing window within my view, and watch the surgery.  At 1:08 am the baby was born and Gord announced that we had a baby girl! His sister was on the phone with our parents as the surgery took place so they were able to know about her arrival as soon as it happened!  Isla weighed in at 7 lbs, 2 oz and 21 inchs long.   It turns out that her umbilical cord was very tightly wrapped around her neck just 2 inches from her placenta and that she would have been very difficult to give birth to vaginally.

Our birth experience not what we had expected, however we are very pleased that I was able to go through full labour before the C- section and that the result was a very healthy baby.  We completely trusted our midwives and are thankful that she had us move to the hospital quickly after my water broke.  We were treated very well at the foothills hospital, the nurses and our midwives were very supportive as we learned to breastfeed.

Foothills hospital unplanned c-section breech