May 24, 2012


Early Labour

My contractions started on Wednesday night, but they were super far apart (2 hours approximately), and just barely roused me from sleep. The next day, they slowly started getting closer together, but were still about 45 minutes to an hour apart. Thursday evening we had dinner with Erin and Scott.  Erin and I were both having intermittent contractions over dinner and we both laughed because, well, who better to have dinner with while entering labour :) That night my contractions seemed to get more intense (although in retrospect, they were super tame!), so I didn't get a lot of sleep.  

Early Labour Continued

By Friday morning the contractions were about 20 minutes apart, so Justin stayed home from work and we decided to go to our favourite bakery, and then the mall to walk around a little (it was snowing and cold outside). I was rather tired already from not getting a great sleep the night before, and we thought we'd better try and get things moving a bit faster! We got home from the mall, had a good meal, tried to watch a bit of TV and then attempted to get some rest - but by midnight we had resigned ourselves to being awake. We called the midwives at about 10:30pm to give them a heads up that we were now about 10 minutes apart. By this time, the contractions were getting closer together, about 5 - 10 minutes apart, so we tried out a variety of different positions. I found that standing and leaning on Justin was super helpful - whereas side-lying made the contractions much more challenging. This of course made it a bit tough, as I couldn't get any sleep in between contractions. By about 2:30am the contractions were much more intense and 3/4/5 minutes apart, so we called the midwives again, and one of them said she was on her way over to check on us. During this time, I was trying really hard to stay hydrated, as I kept vomiting. 

Approaching Active

I had tested positive for GBS, so she had to see how far I was dilated before administering the first round of antibiotics. I remember telling Justin that I hoped to be at 7cm, because of how intense the pain felt at this point. He calmly suggested that I was probably a little ways off from that and that we should lower our expectations. This was helpful when the midwife announced that I was about 3.5cm dilated, which pretty much put us into active labour so she could administer the antibiotics. I have to admit that I was slightly discouraged given the amount that I had been vomiting and intensity of the contractions I'd been feeling - many of which were very close together. Our midwife left our home at 3:30am, and told us to call if we needed any additional support, or if the labour progressed. Pretty much as soon as she left, my water broke and I lost my mucus plug. The contractions by this point were incredibly challenging, and were happening almost on top of one another. I was standing in the shower, when I felt an intense urge to push. At this point I got rather freaked out and asked Justin to call the midwife back immediately, as I felt like I really needed more support. It was about 5:30am when we called her, and based on what Justin told her, she advised us to meet her at the birth center. We gathered our stuff together, laboured through several more contractions and got in the car. We were relatively calm at this point, and the urge to push didn't seem to come with every contraction which was a relief. 

Birth Centre

When we arrived at the birth centre, it was super quiet and serene - we were the only couple there. The midwife had me lay on the bed to check where we were at, and she told us she couldn't feel any cervix left - meaning we had fully dilated in about 3 hours! She explained that the baby was still a bit high up, so we got into the tub and tried to labour there for awhile to bring him down. Meanwhile I kept feeling this intense urge to push - so the midwives (another midwife had arrived to support our first one) encouraged me to listen to my body and push. It took some coaching to remind me how to breath properly during this phase - but once I got the hang of it, I became incredibly focused. Justin breathed alongside me to help me focus on proper technique. Between Justin and our midwives, I felt incredibly supported through the whole process. We got out of the tub shortly after getting in and started the push on the toilet. I found that this was a great first spot to push because everyone could sit in front of me. We moved around a bit - what felt like every few minutes, but was in fact about half an hour - using the birthing stool, standing up, leaning on the birthing ball, on the bed, on all fours and with Justin pulling my legs back. 

The midwives had initially thought that the baby's head was closer than it was because my water hadn't entirely ruptured and there was still part of the sac in tact. That was a bit discouraging but I think because everything felt so intense we didn't let it deter us too much. By this point, I have to admit I was absolutely exhausted - having not had a good sleep for two nights now - and this whole process felt a lot longer than I had expected. He was a bit slow coming through the birth canal and his heart rate was dropping slightly, so they tried to move us a bit faster. We spent what seemed like only a couple seconds crowning before I was huffing and his head was out.  The crowning did feel like a burning sensation - whereas the labour was just plain painful and the pushing process was intense. I was in good spirits at this point and exhausted.  I did manage to muster the energy to ask the midwives how much hair he had and I was happy when our suspicions were confirmed. The midwives continued to guide me through the process, by encouraging me to grunt him out and NOT push hard and I must admit that this was a very odd transition for me to make. 

The Birth

Baby Grayson was born at 10:06am, into his daddy's arms - who handed him through my legs to me (I was on all fours), and I was able to hold him to my stomach/chest. The placenta was delivered incredibly quickly (5 minutes later), which resulted in us not really having an opportunity to delay the cord clamping (as it had stopped pulsing), and there was a lot of bleeding.

The aftermath

We went home a short 5 hours after Grayson was born. The mixture of elation and excitement kept us going long enough to have something to eat, and then we napped. 

A couple of things I would say I learned in the process - rest is super important. My midwife said to me (after the mall walk) that I probably should have rested instead of walked - given that I was already low on sleep from the night before. And another thing I remember saying to Justin in the days after - I wish I had appreciated just how much my body would feel sore afterwards. 

When we describe our birth story, we both agree it exceeded any expectations we had. It was the most incredibly challenging and difficult experience either of us has ever been through, but it was absolutely amazing at the same time. We are so thankful that we were equipped with the information we received in the birth class and from our midwives - having this strong support network made a great difference for us.

Wishing you all the very best and looking forward to meeting all the little ones soon!

One thing I forgot to mention... it's a bit of a silly detail, but Grayson was born on the 5th anniversary of our very first date - what a lovely coincidence :)

Warm regards, 

Laura, Justin and Grayson.