December 24, 2012

Thank you so much for all your help and guidance thru our pregnancy! We are very grateful to have participated in your class and have even recommended it to friends.

Sorry for the delay, we have been busy enjoying our family. Here is our birth story :) Feel free to share with the class! Hope the New Year is treating you and your family well!!

I can't say that I truly know the exact moment actual labor started. In early labor your moto is supposed to be "Ignore ignore ignore"….well for me it was more like "deny deny deny!"

On December 21 st I went into work for my first of two nightshifts 6pm to 6am before my very first christmas off in 4 years. I remember standing at the door saying goodbye to Leo and pausing for a few minutes and Leo asking if I was ok, I shrugged and told him it was just braxton hicks again. I was very familiar with braxton hicks at this point as they had started around 20 weeks. My nightshift seemed to drag quite slow and when I called home to say goodnight to Leo around 1100pm I told him that the braxton hicks had not let up at all and they were just one ontop of the other, with very little if any time between. They were not strong, not painful just slight annoyance. By 400 am I was pausing slightly while trying to talk and a bit more uncomfortable but they time between had finally spaced out dramatically. I went home that morning expecting to crawl into bed, sleep like a rock and wake up to no more braxton hicks. I did sleep most of the day away, awaking occasionally to find them still there, and when I got up to use the bathroom around 300 pm I was quite thrown off by the appearance of my bloody show.  I called Leo (who had stepped out to by me some lunch for work) and told him I had called in sick. I was quiet high-strung at this point thinking this is it! Labor is going to start! Well there I sat feeling no different, just same long spaced out braxton hicks tagging along. Leo was supposed to go out that evening for dinner to celebrate his brothers birthday, so off we went to the pub. Once there much to my dismay I was told that my sister-in-laws sister had had her bloody show over a week before she went into actual labor! Since in my mind that was the only sign I may have been in early labor, I felt rather silly for calling in sick to work. The evening continued with much of the same, long spaced out braxton hicks that woke me up a few times thru the night, but again they were not painful and I was convinced this baby was not coming until January so I refused to time any of them. By morning Leo was convinced I was in early labor and I was convinced it was false labor. I timed a few of the "braxton hicks" and they were 10-15 min apart. So we decided to text message Sue, just to confirm. This had to be false labor, I was scheduled to work after christmas and THIS BABY WAS NOT COMING UNTIL JANUARY!

I sat staring dumbfounded at my phone when after a few questions Sue's response was something along the lines of "yep sounds like things are starting". 

So the contractions continued….and we: made a healthy breakfast, visited the neighbours, dropped off christmas presents, took the dog for a walk, went and got booster juice, vacuumed the house, played chase with the dog and Leo played a video game while I had several warm baths. I was absolutely convinced that at any moment the contractions were just going to stop….this wasn't real labor…

Around 530 pm we were nearing the 411 rule of thumb…I was sitting on the birthing ball, in the kitchen, with a knife, peeling pomegranates. By 630 I had given up on the pomegranates and was huddled over the ball irritated whenever Leo tried to ask me a question to see if I would answer him during the contraction. Leo called the midwife, who asked to speak to me, I was able to talk to her but was pausing for contractions. The Midwife arrived shortly after 700, I was 2 cm dilated. "Have a nice warm bath, take a gravol and go to bed, you will need some rest as it will probably be tomorrow". Into the bath I went. Took the gravol, then into bed…Nope sleep was not happening, instead the contractions got much stronger. Leo was by my side timing them and I went from telling him they were starting to just moaning in signal that I was having one. I was having a lot of back labor and the hot water tank was my nearest and dearest friend at this point. The most comfortable position was in the shower in various different positions on the birthing ball that Leo had wedged into our bathtub. By 1100pm the contractions were 1 1/2 to 2 minutes long and about 2 minutes apart. Leo called the midwife, who asked to speak to me, Leo said ya thats not happening and she was on her way. It was just before midnight when she arrived and I was 5 cm. At this point the midwife asked if we wanted to start the antibiotics for group b strep at home or wait until we got to the hospital (we had originally planned for a hospital birth with midwives as my iron levels were too low to have a home birth and Leo and I were more comfortable with that decision), since speaking was a lost art form at this point I simply gave the thumbs up for the hospital and Leo was instructed to get me dressed.

Im not sure how long it took us to get out the door to the truck at that point, but I know I stopped at least twice trying to get down the stairs, we left the house at 1210. The car ride from Copperfield to Rockyview was….not a party? Bumps caused a contraction and well we all know what Calgary roads are like ;) Once parked I remember looking at the distance we had to walk to get to the elevators and an awaiting wheelchair and thinking I can't do it. Well I waddled as fast as I could go, and I was not stopping until I got into that chair. When we got to our room, midwife began to tell me to get undressed and I was already tossing clothes off, (so much for my modesty). I was 8 cm dilated.  IV antibiotics were started. Leo was having to apply counter pressure for every contraction now as I was still having a lot of back labor. My water broke. Then I was able to get into the tub (I wanted a water birth but we had to wait something like 15 min for the IV to finish). On my way to get into the tub the midwife asked me to tell her when I felt like I needed to push…I replied with "the last two contractions". She helped get me into the tub and immediately called the other midwife, making a quick detour into the hallway and advising a nurse she may need a hand if the other midwife did not arrive in time. Leo was now the backup midwife/helper, wonderful husband and coach. The midwife checked me again and I was fully dilated except for a small lip, so she didn't want me to push just yet. This was a lot to ask! So I did "horse lips" thru 2 or 3 contraptions until the lip was gone and I was able to push. The second midwife arrived just as baby was crowning. I found my voice and said that Leo wanted to catch the baby. Leo did get to assist with this task but then had to take a step back as baby's hand was presenting with the head (ah the back labor!).

Pushing was about 10 minutes long before our beautiful girl was finally here! Ava Grace was born at 2:03 Christmas Eve Day, weighing 7 lbs 12 ounces and 21 inches long. Once the cord was cut Ava got passed to Leo for some skin to skin cuddles while I delivered the placenta. Within the first half hour Ava had latched and was breastfeeding successfully. We left Rockyview hospital and before we even hit the ramp for Glenmore Trail Leo pipped up with "So, would you do it again?" I laughed and asked for a bit more time to give an answer. We arrived home as a family at 430am. 

The first two weeks of breastfeeding had its hurdles, our poor midwife even had to leave her family on christmas day to come and help us, but we are so glad we stuck it thru! 

The information and knowledge we obtained from the class was such a blessing during the labouring process. It was easy for us to know exactly what was going and and what to expect, so we felt confident during each stage.

And yes looking back I would do it all again, exactly the same. ;)

Thank you again Sue!

Best of wishes,

Leo, Christina and Ava