June 3, 2011

Apparently, Naomi was gracious enough to allow me to finish up work before making her appearance. My water broke about 12 hours into my leave - 5:30am June 1st. At first, I didn't have any contractions, so I spent the morning stocking up on some food and cancelling my plans for the rest of the week. During the day and evening, I had some more acupuncture to get things going. I had some cramping, but nothing regular. We got about 4-5 hours sleep that night, and I woke up at 4:30am with some early contractions.

We went in to meet our midwife for a check and sent me home with a natural labour inducing concoction. I took it at 9:15am and stronger contractions started up within the hour. The contractions were getting longer and more intense. Phil was a fantastic coach - so encouraging and made sure I was well-hydrated. I spent some time in the shower, which helped quite a bit. By 1pm, I was 80% effaced, station 0 and 4cm dilated. Within the next hour, we decided to make the move to the Birth Centre. As a side note, you don't quite realize how many bumps and potholes this city has until you're in a car during labour!

The next few hours became more intense. The contractions were well over a minute to the peak, but I felt that I was managing well - although I was starting to get more tired. At 7:30pm, I was 7-8cm dilated and fully effaced. I could really feel the pressure and gravity of Naomi's head with each contraction. Over the next few hours, my midwife and Phil had me up and moving around. Lots of walking, lunging, some squatting. At 11pm, I started to feel the urge to push. However, I was still only at 8cm. Julie, our midwife could feel lots of hair on Naomi's head (and she wasn't kidding!).

From 11pm to 1am, I walked the stairs and continued with side lunges on a chair. While up, my contractions were strong, 60-90 seconds long and only about 2 minutes apart. The fatigue was really setting in. When I would rest on the bed side-lying, my contractions would spread apart. I learned after the birth that at times, they were almost 10-15 minutes apart! At 1am, I was checked again - still around 8-9cm, but now it appeared that although my cervix was quite stretchy and moving well, there was now some swelling on one side. Little Naomi was developing a caput (small swelling of her head from the pressure) and her head was moulding, although, all of her signs showed that she was still quite happy - no signs of fetal distress. With the moulding and caput, it was difficult to assess, but my midwife was fairly certain that Naomi was also occiput posterior (sunny-side up) and with her chin tilted slighty.

Our midwives felt that my uterus was starting to get tired and we should consider an augmentation - an oxytocin drip to kick start stronger contractions. The drip meant a transfer of care to the hospital. We decided that this was the best option and started to prepare for the drive down the street to the Foothills.

When we arrived, we were greeted by the resident obstetrician. At this point, I was really starting to feel the exhaustion set in. I used a bit of the nitrous oxide gas to get me through contractions. We were assesed by Dr. O'Keane, the staff obsetrician and he confirmed that she was likely OP and that the swelling was present on my cervix. He presented two options for us to consider - the oxytocin drip and give me a few more hours to see if labour would progress to second stage; or a Caesarean section. He felt that the baby was doing well, but given that it had been 44 hours since my water broke, it was also a good possibility that even with the oxytocin drip, I would still have to consider a C-section if things didn't progress.

Dr. O'Keane was very patient with us, answered many of our questions during his explanation and gave us the option to choose how we wanted to proceed. For Phil and I, it was clear to us with our decision. Exhaustion for both of us was truly setting in. We decided to go ahead with the C-section. We were concerned that if after another few hours of hard labour and we'd still end up having a C-section, there could be more potential issues of having been at it for so long. We felt that making this decision together would allow us to go ahead with it more calmly and more prepared - rather than being rushed into surgery hours later.

Calgary c-section birthOur little Naomi was born at 4:00am. The doctors and nurses were fantastic. Both Phil and our midwife were present in the operating room to help receive Naomi. She let out a healthy cry as soon as she was born. She was bundled up and placed on my chest just below my chin while they stitched me up. So, at least we were skin-to-skin via our cheeks! While on my chest, we could see her rooting and cueing to nurse! How amazing!

As another side note, during the surgery, I was physically shivering quite a bit due to being cold and as a result of the spinal block. Once they placed Naomi on me, she helped to warm me up and took my shivering away! Skin-to-skin is supposed to help baby to recover, but in this case, she helped me! :)

We were in the recovery room within a half hour of her being born, I had her skin-to-skin on my chest and she latched and nursed right away! What an amazing feeling this was.

Recovery has been good so far for me. I was discharged from the hospital the next day. I believe that typically they will keep you for two nights, but I've been doing very well.

Considering that being at the hospital, let alone a C-section, was not part of our Utopian birth - in the end, it felt like Utopia when we received Naomi in our arms. We felt that we made smart decisions, felt informed and prepared with appropriate expectations with each decision that we made. We had an amazing experience at the hospital with our doctors and nurses. Of course, our midwife was amazingly supportive - she stuck out every hour with us! We felt our midwifery team and our obstetrics team worked well together. We believe that this was assisted immensely by how Rhonda coached us how to communicate effectively with our hospital providers. We felt respected and that they would the best they could to honour our requests and wishes.

We're all enjoying our time together, getting know each other. We fall even more in love with Naomi with each day. She truly is our little sweetheart.