July 28, 2013


Eleven, almost twelve weeks ago, our beautiful son,  James was born.  Thank you so much for your birth classes as they helped us greatly when going through the exciting process of welcoming James into the world.  We took the 2 day intensive course which equipped us with the knowledge we needed when faced with decisions during the birth event. 

James was due on July 25th.  That same day early, about 2am, I began to have mild contractions.  I had been drinking red raspberry leaf tea throughout that week so when contractions arrived I was prepared.  That evening the contractions still had not picked up so I had some reflexology done in an effort to speed them up.  They continued through the night on the 26th quite far apart, maybe an hour or so.  The day of the 26th was the same way, contractions spread out and inconsistent as far as the duration and intensity.   I had a scheduled doctor appointment on the afternoon of the 26th.  She checked and determined I was 1cm dilated and my cervix was softening.

By the evening of the 26th the contractions were between 20 to 40 minutes apart.  We walked and did many of the positions we learned including counter pressure that we were shown in our birth classes.  This worked quite well. Contractions continued all night at about 40 minutes apart so we tried to sleep as best as we could but sleep was difficult.  By morning there was still no change in frequency but they were becoming more intense.  All day on the 27th, we laboured at home, watching movies, drinking lots of water, walking, resting, kneeling, doing stairs sitting on the ball etc.  We knew because of our classes that the time had not yet come to go to the hospital.  We were in touch with our doula all day and at one point she came to assess and determined we were still in early labour. 

By the evening of the 27th, we were exhausted and decided on our doula's advice to go to the hospital to be assessed.  We went and were told we were 3 -4 cm and they would admit us if we wished.  We walked the halls of the hospital for two more hours and then returned to be reassessed.  We were 4cm and baby's heart rate was high.  They determined I was dehydrated, despite drinking and drinking (as per instructions from Sue in class), and hooked me up to IV and continuous fetal monitoring.  They assured me that I could continue to walk around and even go in the shower with this equipment as it was very important to me to be mobile. We laboured all night at the hospital in our birthing room.  Our doula came and coached us through positions and provided great support in every way.  The nurse and doctor's we had were also excellent, never pushing, just encouraging. 

By early morning on the 28th we were 7cm and simply exhausted.  I decided to try fentanol.  This seemed to give very little relief and finally I opted for an epidural even though I knew I was at the transition phase according to our class and this is when women often ask for pain relief,(I heard Sue's voice in my head here.)  I felt I was simply too tired to go on.  When given the epidural, my husband and I were finally able to sleep, the first time for a continuous stretch in three days!  The doctor on call wanted to break my water with my permission.  At first I didn't want to but decided it may speed things along.  They found meconium in the water which caused them to be more alert.  I finally reached 10cm by 12pm on the 28th and began pushing.  I pushed for over two hours with no real progress. I was assessed by a specialist who determined that baby was not fitting through my pelvis even though he was head down and my pushing was very good.  We were given the option of forceps or a c-section.  We opted for forceps with a c-section following only if necessary. 

They wheeled me off to the OR straight away, gave one try with forceps, almost pulled me off the table, and went straight to a c-section.  James was born at 2:20, a healthy boy.  He cried immediately and the team assessed him, found him to be quite healthy and he was placed on my chest.

When I got home in the weeks following I read my Healthy Birth Choices binder again from the class and was able to identify many things in my story that we learned about in the class.  It was quite helpful for me to process my story. 

I did struggle with feelings of failure for a while after James' birth but remembered Sue's words in class that not all births are alike and that sometimes intervention is needed.  You are not a failure if things don't go according to plan.  Thank you Sue and Healthy Birth Choices for equipping us with knowledge to help us welcome our miracle, James, into the world.