March 3, 2009

Our birth story.  My waters started leaking at 12.20am on Tuesday morning March 3rd. At 12.30am I had a small contraction and further substantial leaking of the waters, enough that I put on a pad.

As Sue had suggested I went to bed and attempted to get some sleep. Mel, crazy man that he is, went to his office to complete a couple of things so his plate was completely clear of work responsibilities in prep for the day to come. He got back an hour later.

I had contractions roughly every ten minutes mostly weak, very much in the putt-putt stage of labour. At 2am I had toast and juice even though I wasn’t hungry, as I was sure I wouldn’t get to eat much later on. I also drank plenty of water the entire way through, which meant I needed to pee a lot. At around 2.30am the contractions started getting stronger though still averaging around 10 mins apart. I called Mum and Dad in Australia to let them know things had started. Mum worried that my waters had broken and we should go to the hospital right now! We knew that was wasting our sleep time, so we ignored worried Mum and managed to get some sleep.

Between 3.30am and 4.30 am Mel started trying to time the contractions, as his watch battery had died the day before and we hadn’t been able to get it fixed he was turning the light on and off every 10 mins trying to see the minute hand on my silly watch. By the time I’d told him one was starting, he got the light on and focused on the watch we’d missed too much time. We ended up giggling a lot, which we took as a good sign that things were progressing but not urgent yet.

At 4.30am my contractions really started to get strong and around 6 mins apart. I felt the need to go to the bathroom, I told Mel and he really started to worry, as it turned out I did really need to poop, so I made sure I just relaxed and allowed it ease out, I was very, very careful not to push.

As he was getting worried about the poop stuff and the closeness and strength of my contractions I made Mel have something to eat. Before we left the house he decided to take out the rubbish, I’d made him Clam chowder for dinner that night and we had clam containers in the rubbish, I’m not a huge fan of the seafood smell and he didn’t want the house all stinky when we got home. Funny the things you think of at these times.

I got in the car and waited as he open the garage and went out to the bins, as he opened the garage door he warned me not to freak out. All during the night we had been listening to the patter of rain and hearing the ice melting and falling off the roof. When Mel opened the garage door we were amazed at the sight of inch diameter snow flakes falling thick and fast, the roads had iced over and were covered in snow. We thanked our lucky stars that we left the house at 5.30am and not 7.30am otherwise we would have been stuck in rush hour traffic.

We got to the hospital by 6am, I had at least 4 or 5 contractions in the car on the way there. We’d been to the ward on Sunday to get checked out as I’d had some spotting which meant that we knew to park on the 4th level of the parking lot so we wouldn’t have to catch the lift, just walk through the doors across the road and into the foyer, and up the lift to Maternity Triage. I had 3 more contractions during this walk one of which was on the crosswalk, all I wanted to do was stop and drop to my knees. Mel looked at me and asked if I was ok, I said “Not stopping here, keep me going.”

We made it to the Triage desk and the girl at the front started asking questions just as I began another contraction I think I answered one with me head down on the edge of the counter, Mel got us through and checked in.

I peed again, then lay down on my triage bed to have all the checks done, by this stage I was 5cm dilated, they asked me to put on the lovely gown which I immediately hated. After all the checks had been done the nurses encouraged me to go for a walk around. Mel and I went for a walk to the elevators I had one contraction as we walked out the door of Triage, I dropped to my hands and knees on the corridor floor. Mel offered next time that I lean against him instead of being on the floor, we got to the elevator and I had another one, leaning against him did not work for me and I was again on the floor. We had been really clever and packed a yoga mat for just such an occurrence, so I wouldn’t be on a cold hard floor, unfortunately we’d left it in the car. Not much use there!

We wandered back toward Triage, then back to the elevator, and back again. I didn’t like the walking, wasn’t happy about continuously dropping to me knees in the corridors with people walking past all the time, so asked Mel to take us back. By this time I was starting to feel cold and feverish. I asked Mel to have the Nurse take my temp as I was concerned I had a fever. She told him I was just working hard, and it was normal for me to feel hot and cold. Again I felt the need to poop, which I guess I needed to complete from the first time around, again I was very careful not to push. The nurses did call in to check on me as I finished. They also cautioned me not to push and if I really felt the need to let someone know.

My contractions were coming hard and fast by this stage, one on top of another. I only felt good with my face pressed into the bed and my bum in the air. Mel’s warm hands on my lower back felt exquisite, he pressed and rubbed like a champion. The nurse came by to check on us and let us know that they would be sending us to a Birthing Suite soon and they were waiting as one just needed to be cleaned and prepped for us. They had had a busy night apparently, I felt like we were the only ones in Triage, Mel says another girl came in sometime after we did but I do not remember seeing or hearing anyone else.

At 9.30am they moved us to the birth suite, I do not remember much about the walk to the birth suite, by this stage I was not saying too much to anyone. We met our Birth suite nurse, me with my face in the bed and my bum in the air. She asked us if we knew about the options on pain relief, I nodded and Mel let her know we preferred to try to complete the journey medication free. She was very accommodating to our wishes stating only that she wouldn’t ask again but just so we knew if we changed our minds.

I wanted to get into the shower but could not bring myself to get off the bed. When I finally managed to get in the shower, Mel says I was in there for 45 minutes for which he was grateful as it meant he got a break from rubbing my back. We tried the ball but I didn’t like it as it meant that I had to concentrate on not letting it move and that was all to much for me on top of dealing with the contractions, so we pulled it out of the shower. I stood in the shower bent over leaning on the little seat so the water was hitting me directly on my lower back and hips. I also found the little drafts of cool air, meant that I was warm where the water hit and freezing everywhere else. Mel stood outside the shower and talked to me while making sure he had the curtains shut as best he could.

The nurses came in periodically and used the little heart monitor, my baby’s little heart beat remained strong throughout. I only vaguely remember most of this time, even then I only remember that it was cold every time they moved the shower curtain. I believe that Mel dried me off, possibly as I was walking to the bed to get back on my hands and knees with my face pressed into the sheets.

The contractions where coming thick and fast by this time and I was starting to grunt, the nurse checked me again and I was 9 ½ cms dilated, I believe with a slight lip of cervix, she asked me not to push even if I really felt I had to. I went through 3 more contractions with the urge to push getting stronger each time. After the third time the nurse checked me again and I was millimetres off fully dilated, she gave me the go ahead to push if I wanted to.

By this stage I was on my back half upright. I mentioned I wanted to be more up right. The nurse removed the end of the bed.

The doctors had wandered in and out earlier with their coffees, which Mel found amusing; I had 3 doctors, how lucky for me. The supervising doctor was an older Jewish man whose name is Dr Moscobitz. The others where a resident, who was very cute, (I don’t think you are meant to notice these things at these times), and also a student, who looked about twelve. They wandered in as I was beginning and discussed breaking the bag of waters with the nurse. Dr Moscobitz said so long as I was progressing to leave me to do it and they’d break them later if necessary. I do remember the nurse mentioning that she really didn’t want to be gushed all over if they broke on there own.

I do not remember how many times I pushed before the nurse said she could see the head, but I don’t think it was many more than 4 or 5 contractions (so 15 times roughly) I was still laying too much on my back but as Sue told us once you start pushing it is almost impossible to get a labouring woman to change positions. I did try to get more upright and Mel did his best to help it just didn’t happen.

At 11.15am I looked at the clock and decided that this baby was going to be in the world by 11.30am. The doctors came in at around his time as the nurse had called them in. I was continuing to receive lots of encouragement, the nurse had been calling the baby a girl as she said because the heart beat had stayed strong and the baby was being so good that it couldn’t possibly be a boy, the doctors all agreed loudly that it must be a boy for the same reason. They even placed bets with the nurse.

Mel had said he didn’t want to look as the baby came out unfortunately for him, he was asked by the nurse to change sides and couldn’t help but see the baby’s head crowning. I didn’t make my personal 11.30am deadline, we went over by 19 minutes. My beautiful boy arrived at 11.49am on Tuesday March 3rd, 2009 and the nurse owed the doctor coffee. Mel said afterwards that as the head was crowning he couldn’t help but think how small this baby must be, when I pushed out the shoulders and he was cutting the cord, he was amazed at how large our little guy was. 51cm 7’15”

My baby was rushed over to the heaters and checked out by a pediatrician, something about having a mucus sound in his lungs. I looked over at my baby trying to see him, not realizing that the distressing part was actually about me. I was working to push out the placenta, which I did quite quickly and fairly easily. But I was bleeding; I think my uterus wouldn’t contract. I looked at Mel, his face was completely white, the nurse called for more assistance and there was much rushing around. I could see Dr Moscovitz had meconium on his gloves, my baby pooped as he arrived in the world.

I suggested Mel go and see the baby after the doctors started pressing down hard on my stomach and poking and prodding everywhere making me cry out in pain. I am not sure what was worse for him seeing me bleeding with the doctors causing me pain trying to fix it or being with our baby hearing me crying out and not being able to see what was going on. I also sent him off to get a juice out of our bag as I was concerned that he might drop with fatigue and stress.

The doctors eventually got it all under control and my beautiful boy was finally placed on my chest. He started searching for the breast right away and suckled really well from the start. The nurse gave me some juice and a sandwich. I drank all my juice and shared the sandwich with Mel as they didn’t offer him anything. I was given another sandwich which we again shared along with a chocolate muffin that we had in our bag.

My nurse then took me to have a shower, I finally realized her name was Katie after seeing her name badge. Then we went in a wheelchair to the post-birth room, our insurance only covered a shared room but we ended up in a nice one just for us. Mel and I joked that it was because I’d been so amazing with giving birth without the assistance of drugs that the nurses had rewarded us.

We had two names picked out Micah and Mackenzie, we ended up settling on Mackenzie the following morning. We left the hospital 24 hours after Mackenzie was born.

The doctors and nurses we had at the Rockyview did a fantastic job; we didn’t have any issues with them respecting our choices or decisions. They expressed often how amazed they were at how informed, calm and in control we were. Mel is my personal hero he rubbed my back, hard, for almost 6 hours, answered every question directed at him or me, if I wasn’t capable of answering, calmly and with confidence. He was continuously encouraging and the Katie our nurse was great at filling in the gaps and giving him back up when he was flagging.

By the end we had a fantastic birth experience; Mel was completely drained and looked as if he’d had a harder time of the birth process than I had. I am completely grateful to Sue and the birth classes as we truly believe that they prepared us for the birth and gave us the best possible outlook to enjoy our experience no matter what happened.

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