July 22, 2011

Jerry and I would like to announce the birth of our son, Lachlan.  Only three days short of his due date, we first met our handsome boy at 2:57pm July 22nd, 21.25 inches long, and a whopping 8 lbs 8 oz!!!

At my 38 week prenatal visit, I had my first internal exam to determine where we were at.  We were happy to hear that my cervix was already 50% effaced, 1 cm dilated.  Our Doctor discussed the option of a cervical rimming since my body was already showing signs of getting ready for labor.  We opted for the rimming and went home.  Two days later, as Jerry was heading out to work, I felt some wetness and realized I was losing my mucous plug.  We both got a little excited knowing that we could go into labor really anytime now.

Almost a week passed which brought us to our 39 week visit.  We told the Doctor that I lost my mucous plug the previous week and questioned whether another rimming would be beneficial at this point and what the chances of PROM would be.  She explained the PROM is always a possibility but very rarely has it happened so we decided to go for it.  We went home 2 cm dilated and 50% effaced.

I started to have mild contractions that evening (Wednesday), very sporadic.  They started in the lower back and made their way around. I knew that baby would be coming soon, so we went to bed early that night just in case.  It wasn’t until about 4:30 am Friday that I woke up with a more intense contraction.  I made a trip to the bathroom due to loose bowels, and luckily was able to go back to bed for a couple hours.  I woke up again around 6:30 and I knew at that point it wasn’t going to be long.  I left Jerry to sleep and made some breakfast, I could tell already that I would probably lose my appetite quickly.  I sat on the couch and timed some contractions to see where we were at. By this point contractions were coming every 5 minutes or so, about 45 seconds long.  Jerry woke up around 7 as I tried to crawl back into bed.  I had another contraction and felt really uncomfortable lying down so I asked him to run me a bath.  It brought some comfort but it felt better to move around, so after a few contractions I got out.  Jerry brought up our birthing ball and I draped myself over it rocking back and forth.  He started timing contractions- I was 4 mins apart, about 50 seconds to the peak.   I made my way downstairs to the shower and stayed in there for about 20 minutes, it felt so good.  Once I got out we tried a few different positions but I mostly preferred to walk it out, sway back and forth.

By 9:30 I was already at 4-1-1.  Jerry had been telling me for a while that we should probably start thinking about heading to the hospital but I didn’t feel I was ready, I just didn’t want to end up there too soon.  The contractions started coming on a bit harder and I started feeling nauseous, so I decided to give in and we made the 30 minute drive to the Foothills Hospital.  The ride was a bit uncomfortable but nothing unbearable.  My spirits were still up and I was looking forward to meeting our little one.  Contractions were coming a little less than under 4 mins, before we knew it we were at the hospital.

Unfortunately we weren’t pre-registered like we were supposed to be, so Jerry had to go downstairs and take care of that while I stayed in the waiting room.  I walked through the contractions and focused on my breathing until he got back.  Finally we were admitted into labor and delivery triage around 11 and my first examination at 11:15 am revealed I was fully effaced and 4 cm dilated.  The Doctor went through the protocol of discussing our drug options, of which we politely declined.  She encouraged me that I was handling the labor very well.  The nurse started to monitor the baby, the heart rate was 130 and remained the same throughout the labor and delivery.  We were allowed to continue walking the halls as long as we came back to have the baby checked in 15 minutes.

I was leaning over the back of the bed when my membranes ruptured at about 12:30, clear fluid.  Jerry let one of the nurses know that my water broke and my contractions were coming on stronger and about every 2-3 minutes.  They definitely took some breathing to get through, I started to moan as well.  The delivery rooms were full, so we were told we would have to wait until one came available.  One of the nurses came and let us know that they gave my room away to someone that was distressed waiting in triage.  She then joked that if it came down to it I could deliver in the recovery room, and if I wanted a drug-free delivery triage was the place to stay.  I didn’t find her very funny at this point.  They offered me the shower in the triage if I became too uncomfortable.  I just wanted my own room!!!

Jerry started getting a bit upset that we were still stuck in triage.  I told him there was nothing we could do about it and we just kept working through the contractions one by one.  I was definitely in the zone by now.  At about 1:15 we were finally transferred to our own room.  As soon as we got there I stripped down and got in the shower.  Jerry came in with me for a bit but it was too cramped so he stepped out and coached me from there.  Time really seemed to fly by from this point on.  Our labor and delivery nurse came in and introduced herself.  She offered to check me in the shower so I could stay comfortable.  I was told I was 8-9 cm dilated. Contractions were one on top of another now, I found that being vocal really helped so I made sure I was moaning down.  I labored mostly on my knees and standing, swaying back and forth.  I started feeling pressure and asked the nurse at what point I get checked again.

She told me it would be more accurate if I came out to the bed to get checked.  I lay on my side, it was very uncomfortable, it seemed there was no time between contractions.  I kept my eyes closed and just focused on my breathing.  The nurse told me that “Actually, you’re more like 7-8 cm dilated but I can practically see the head, it’s right there”…I remember the sheer disappointment I felt.  Jerry said it looked like I was going to hurt someone.  This is where I started to question whether I was going to be able to do it.  I thought for sure this was transition, and I felt so discouraged that I didn’t know how long it would take to get to the pushing stage.  I started saying ‘oh I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know’…I briefly opened my eyes to find that Jerry had put the pictures I brought along as focal points in front of me.  It was so cute, he was doing everything he could and was so encouraging.  I couldn’t bear to keep my eyes open though so that didn’t work.  They encouraged me to get back in the shower and try doing some lunges.  The nurse told me she didn’t want to check me again until I felt the urge to push even when there weren’t contractions.

I waddled back to the shower, and tried to do some lunges and squats.  One thing that really helped me push through was thinking about how the baby was working just as hard to make it out.  I read that that worked for someone else in one of the birth stories on the website.  I remember telling Jerry I really have to push and he kept telling me to just hang in there.  He told me after that when he went to get the nurse she told him I wouldn’t be ready and to keep me going for 5 more minutes.  I could hear the nurse in the room telling me that I have everything I want on my ‘Baby Wishlist’ and to keep up the great work.  I just remembered- not once did they offer me any drugs after my initial exam with the Doctor, everyone was completely supportive of the kind of experience we wanted.

Only 15 minutes passed since my last check and I said I really needed to push.  The nurse guided me back to the bed to check me.  She said that there was just a tiny bit of cervix left and if I gave her a half of a push she could see if she could push it back behind baby’s head.  She told me that it doesn’t always work but because it was so stretchy she could try it and if it worked I would be considered fully dilated and could push.  It was a bit uncomfortable, but then she said “guess what…you can push!!!”  I immediately felt that second wind that we were talking about in class.  Originally I had told her I wanted to push in the squat position but I actually felt comfortable in my current position, on my side and decided to start that way.

Let me tell you…pushing felt soooo good!!  I just bore down and pushed with all I had.  I could feel baby moving down every time.  The nurse seemed surprised how much progress we were making with the pushes and made sure the Doctor was on her way.  The Doctor came in and we changed positions, my feet on the squat bar in a semi-squat position.  From here I only pushed a handful of times and our baby BOY was born.  I didn’t even feel the so-called ring of fire, nor the 3rd degree tear I ended up with.  Apparently I had no problems delivering the head, but Lachlan’s shoulder tore me on the way out.

He was immediately placed on my chest, Jerry cut the cord several minutes later.  The Doctor had to call in an OB to suture me up, all in all taking about an hour.  Worked out perfectly for bonding! Lachlan was latched at my breast within 30 minutes and all medical procedures were delayed until we were just getting ready to transfer to post-delivery.  We have had absolutely no problems or concerns with breastfeeding.

It is all still so surreal.  Other than the wait for our room, everything seemed to go smoothly.  I am so proud of myself and Jerry for making it through.  It is true, you will figure out what works for you and what doesn’t, definitely helps to be over-prepared!  Overall we feel so blessed and are enjoying every minute!

Stephanie, Jerry & Lachlan

calgary foothills hospital birth