Ava’s birth, February 2015

My husband and I were very excited about experiencing labour…looking forward to experiencing what the female body was made to do! Unfortunately for us, things turned out differently than planned.

I had started getting sweeps (effective or not) at around 38 weeks. Hoping and thinking this baby might come early. I lost my plug around the same time which was very exciting. At about 37 weeks I started walking between 3-5 km a day, drinking Raspberry Leaf Tea, doing all of the natural induction techniques we talked about in class. I was ready. 41 weeks rolled around and nothing had happened, other than my feet were a little more swollen and I was a lot more ready. 🙂 I talked to my midwife about a combination of castor oil and some other natural remedies but my husband and I decided to wait it out. I did however begin acupuncture treatment.

41 and 3 at 6 p.m. I started to feel contractions. We were ecstatic! Prepared for a 24 hour labour we figured we’d have a baby in the near future. 24 hours was a very short wait in the grand scheme of things. Lowell and I went for a walk, watched a movie and then we went to bed. The contractions slowed through the night and so I was able to get some sleep.

41 and 4. We woke and my contractions had moved to 20 minutes or so apart. Using everything you taught us we turned down the lights, Lowell gave me a massage and before we knew it the contractions were back to 6-10 minutes apart! He continued to feed me and give me water. Our midwife knew we were in labour but told us not to call her until the contractions were much closer. The day continued, I showered, I bathed, we walked. Night time arrived and my contractions were still about 6 minutes apart, 30 seconds to a minute long. Lowell went to bed and I did my best to sleep in between contractions.

41 and 5. I hadn’t gotten much sleep because my contractions were still about 10 minutes apart through night and fairly intense. My husband continued to feed me and give me water. Give me massages even when I would yell at him to stop. 🙂 He was the most amazing support. At this point we visited the midwife and also had an ultrasound to ensure the baby was still doing well. Our midwife began to encourage us to consider augmentation and even the castor oil idea again. We decided against it. We were going to do this on our own. She warned me that my uterus would be getting tired and that if I continued this way much longer we might see complications. But my body was made for this – we could do it. That night we had our family over for dinner. They were worried sick because I hadn’t spoken to them since going into early labour.

41 and 6. We went and saw the midwife again and she stressed that it was time to get my water to break. Walks and quiet baths were necessary or she was going to have to intervene. (I had been about 3 cm dilated for the past two days.) So my husband and I went to work, walking, massaging, bathing. In the late afternoon during a quiet bath my water broke! Again we were so excited! Things were moving, we were back on track. Unfortunately I was strep B positive so this meant we had to go straight to the hospital to get hooked up to an IV. Off we went. The drive to the hospital was the worst part of the past 4 days. They got me situated in my room and the midwife checked the babies heart beat. She couldn’t find it. Very quickly care transferred to the OB. The nurses stormed the room, hooked me up to a bunch of machines, gave me oxygen and put a clip on my babies head to track its heart rate. I was officially bed ridden and with all the hustle and discomforts my contractions had slowed but the intensity seemed worse. My babies heart rate dropped a couple of times during contractions so we were asked to sign an emergency C-Section document. If its heart rate dropped one more time I would be rushed into a C-Section. They figured the cord was wrapped around its chest. At this point the OB confirmed I was 5 cm dilated. Although I was extremely uncomfortable and in more pain than I would like to remember we again said no to being augmented and tried to do it on our own. My husband kicked everyone out of the room, put on soft music, dimmed the lights and did everything he could to help me through each contraction. Two hours later the OB came in to check me, I was back to 3 cm, my uterus was giving up.

The doctor told me I had no choice, I was going to be hooked up to pitocin. But before she did, my husband and I had a talk.

I had been in early labour/labour for 77 hours. I hadn’t slept in three days. I was in a massive amount of pain and our child’s heart rate was dropping even without the increased intensity of pitocin. One more drop of its heart rate and I would have had an emergency C-Section. At this point we decided together, and it was the most difficult decision of my life, that instead of being hooked up on pitocin and risking our unborn child’s life we were going to have a C-Section. Ava Desirae Smith was born at 11 minutes after midnight 8.4 lbs. on week 42, perfect and healthy.

In retrospect, we probably should have agreed to augmentation earlier. There are situations where medical intervention is necessary and we challenged it.

In the end, Ava was perfect, and I did get to experience was my body was capable of, 78 hours of labour and creating a beautiful baby girl.

Welcome Ava – Cesarean at hospital with Midwives
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