I have decided to start this blog as a means of documenting this next year of life with my little bundle of joy. I am used to working and socializing often and have always been someone who likes to keep busy. Whether I am picking up extra shifts in the evenings or finding projects to do around the house or cleaning and reorganizing, I am hardly ever truly idle. I am aware that my life has drastically changed and that this next year I am home with my little peanut will look very different for me. I am already quickly learning that the majority of the days will be spent doing new jobs such as feeding, changing diapers and doing many, many loads of laundry. Although I am quite happy to adapt to this new role, I worry that without an outlet and a means to converse with others, especially moms, I will feel cooped up and disconnected. So I begin today with writing about the day our little pumpkin was brought into this world. This is not just for me but also for her to read one day, as I never want to forget the day we first met. It seems as though people tend to focus on the negative, or at least remember the negative more easily than the positive but this birth story is nothing but positive. It was easy, complication free and resulted in the most incredible miracle. I am incredibly blessed and grateful to call it my own.
July 28/2015: The day started off normal, I strolled into work around 9:30 a.m. and was eating breakfast as I reviewed my work for the day. I started to feel some contractions around 10:00 a.m. and had texted my hubby to let him know what was going on. He cheekily commented back to me that “Ya never know” in reference as to what could happen, but I could read between the lines that he didn’t think much would. I had experienced Braxton Hicks a few times throughout the pregnancy and figured that was what was happening. I continued to work the rest of the day feeling what I wrote off as on and off Braxton Hicks. That is, until 3:30 p.m. when I noticed them become increasingly more painful but still very irregular. At 4:30 p.m. I timed them with a co-worker; some were 7 minutes apart and others were only 4 minutes apart. I figured that if this were the real deal then the contractions would be more consistent in their timing. I made the decision then that I would continue to go to my scheduled pedicure at 5:30 p.m. at Tiber River. After all, I needed pretty toes before my baby arrived. My co-workers seemed surer than I was that I was having a baby and offered to stay with me. I politely declined, reiterating the fact that I would be attending my pedicure and therefore wouldn’t be at work to stay with. Hugs were given and well wishes were said as they felt they wouldn’t be seeing me for a while but I was adamant that I was getting my toes done and would be back the next morning to show them off. I phoned my hubby who was at home playing drums to let him know what I was experiencing but that I would be going to go to my pedicure and would keep him posted. As I was gathering my belongings and about to leave, I reconsidered my options as I felt the contractions begin to occur more regularly. I started to time them and noted them to be consistently 4 minutes apart. This alerted me and I wondered if I should at least check in with the hospital to ensure everything was okay as other “things” were also happening down there which caused me to become more alarmed. By 5:00 p.m. my pain had increased and I decided that either way, whether I went to the hospital or not, I wasn’t going to drive myself home as it could be dangerous.
I called my mother to see if she could drive my hubby to my work as I had our only car, but she also had her priorities straight and was busy getting her hair done. I then called my mother in law thinking maybe she could pick up my hubby and she agreed but said she would be at least twenty minutes as she was shopping at Costco. In their defence, I’ll admit that I did not make a big deal about the pain to either of them and in fact started off my conversation with my mother in law by saying “Don’t get too excited but…” so it was slightly my fault that no one took me seriously. I called my hubby to let him know that his mother was coming to pick him up shortly. When he answered I could tell he was panting and out of breath…turns out he was still playing drums, enjoying his afternoon to himself. I then called Tiber River to let them know that I wouldn’t be able to make my appointment that evening. No one answered their line so I was forced to leave the most incredibly awkward voicemail.. you know when you just know that the voicemail you just left for someone sounds soooo bad? And you find yourself replaying it in your head, wishing you had said things differently? Perhaps more eloquently? Or at least more succinct? That was my voicemail. I couldn’t get my thoughts out clearly and the ending was awkward as I didn’t want them to call me back to reschedule as I didn’t know when I would be able to make it again. I can imagine the receptionist playing this awful voicemail over and over again to her co-workers, laughing at the ridiculousness of it. I’m sure they don’t get many calls from clients cancelling their appointments due to being in labour. The pain increased, forcing me to quickly forget about my bad voicemail and instead I started to head to the car. However, I was stopped in my tracks as my phone rang showing on my caller ID that it was a call from Tiber River. I answered, thinking to myself that they better not be calling to charge me for a late cancellation, but instead, a nice girl on the other end said she was calling to share her congratulations and well wishes with me. Okay, yes, that was sweet, but maybe not the right time to do it? I did just say that I was pretty sure I was in labour; however I guess it’s my fault for answering. By 5:15 p.m. the contractions increased to 3 minutes apart. I couldn’t recall much from our prenatal class but I did remember that they had said that you should go to the hospital when contractions are 5 minutes apart and it finally clicked in my head that I was clearly past that point. I called my hubby again and told him to gather the rest of the items I had listed on my hospital bag word document on my laptop, (Yes, I love organization/lists and had created a word document in preparation for packing!). I don’t even feel embarrassed about it as it helped me a lot in this case as I was forced to pass off the duty of finishing packing to my hubby. I decided that I didn’t want to wait any longer and so in between contractions, one as I exited my workplace and one right when I walked into the ER, I drove myself to the hospital which was only 3 minutes away from my work. As I walked into the ER, I had this lovely image of Aunt Becky from Full House and I expected to be whisked away in a wheelchair by hospital staff and wheeled into my private birthing room, but I quickly realized that the hospital system was nothing like TV. The lady at the ER triage desk sent me upstairs alone to the labour and delivery triage desk. I walked by myself to the elevators with no shining armour hospital staff to accompany me to ensure I arrived safely and quickly as well as no husband to keep me company. As I entered the elevator to go up to L&D triage, another couple met me at the doors and the three of us entered together. I checked them out and noticed that the woman was doing the old style version of Lamaze breathing with her “he-he-hoos” and decided that she was in greater pain than I was. With the polite Winnipeg mentality in mind I encouraged them to check into L&D before me as I was still in denial that I was having a baby. I arrived at the L&D triage desk at 5:26 p.m. As I waited my turn, I paced in the hall timing my contractions, which were now 3 minutes apart. After checking in, I was put behind a curtain to wait to be seen by a nurse. By approximately 6:00 p.m. the hubby had arrived and the nurses started to monitor my contractions as well as our baby’s heart rate. At 6:10 p.m. a nurse checked my cervix and told me that I was 3-4 centimetres dilated. She encouraged us to go walk around the hospital but quickly changed her mind after another nurse noticed that our baby’s heart rate had dipped a few times to around 100 bpm. This made the nurses a bit nervous and instead they asked me to lay on my left side while they continued to monitor our baby’s heart rate for a bit longer. At this point I sent the hubby to move the vehicle out of the ER. As I continued to lie there, I started to devise a plan on how I would eat the minute the nurses let me walk around. I was aware that I could be staying at the hospital for many hours to come and knew that I needed one last meal in me before I attempted to focus on giving birth. While the hubby was moving the car, my contractions began to increase and I started to feel quite intense pain. It was so uncomfortable to lie on my side and I so desperately wanted to get up and walk around but I knew that I couldn’t as the monitor was attached to me. As I wiggled in pain during contractions, the monitor would move and the baby’s heart rate would temporarily be lost. The hubby returned after moving the vehicle and saw the increased pain that I was now in from the contractions. “My birthing plan” as they call it, which I thought was a slight joke and instead I titled my “Birthing goals” was to not take any medication if I could tolerate the pain but I was open to doing so if it became unbearable. At this point, feeling the increased amount of pain, I began to consider my options. I was reflecting on the fact that I had only been in the hospital for a mere hour and it already felt like I couldn’t tolerate many hours to come with this amount of pain. The nurses hadn’t been back to check on me for a bit and I could feel things “changing” down there, which again caused some alarm. Instead of asking my husband to retrieve them and once again consistent with the polite Winnipeg mentality, I waited for their return at 7:00 p.m. to politely let them know that I had some concerns. They noticed the concerns but said they would come back soon and check my cervix again. At 7:15 p.m. a nurse checked me between my contractions and appeared to be puzzled as she searched down there. Of course I interpreted this as something bad and immediately started to worry that something was wrong. The nurse then said she was going to get a second nurse to come and check me as she was unclear as to what she was feeling. The two nurses completed their inspection only to they let me know that neither of them could feel my cervix. With all this hustle and bustle the nurses hadn’t realized that my contractions had increased and were now approximately 1 and a half minutes apart. By 7:30 p.m. I could feel an intense pressure and immediately had the urge to push. I followed my body’s instinct and started to push naturally but not in a controlled way. Once I informed the nurses that I was starting to push, they became frantic and quickly started to run around to try and get me admitted and into a birthing room. One of them asked me if I could walk down the hall to which I finally stood up for myself and politely declined that as an option. I was then offered a wheel chair and I agreed. However, another contraction quickly came on and I could see the nurses soon realize that time was limited and my pain was great. They then decided for me that they would wheel me down the hall on the stretcher. I was contracting and pushing the entire way down the the hall to the birthing room, trying to ensure that my dignity was in tact as I attempted to cover myself up. While being wheeled, I quickly looked down at my stomach and saw that I no longer had a cute basketball sized bump and instead had a small speed bump. In shock, I asked the nurses if the baby had moved down and that was the reason I looked so flat and they nodded. It all became real then… I realized this baby was coming sooner than I had originally thought. With the help of the nurses I started to push in a controlled way. On the second controlled push my water broke. It was then evident that our babe had had a number two as the amniotic fluid had meconium in it. The pediatric team was then called to ensure that our babe was healthy when she came out. The nurses were attempting to call the doctor but in the meantime an overly friendly male resident entered my room only to ask me the same questions I had been asked already 3 times by the various nurses. At this point, I was pushing and contractions were a minute apart and I did not have much tolerance to answer questions such as, “Do I have any allergies?” especially when I had already provided this information to the staff multiple times. I spit out the answers bluntly in between pushes and then politely declined having any students involved in my birthing process. I did however, allow him to stay and watch. I guess since he knew he wouldn’t be doing any of the work he felt the need to get comfortable. He then casually propped his elbow up on my right stirrup and leaned on it as he took a front row seat in front of my private region. I was livid. My toes kept touching his forearm as I pushed and wiggled during contractions and I used all I had to focus my anger on pushing my baby out rather than kicking him in the face. By 7:45 p.m. the nurses let me know that the baby’s head was showing and they called the doctor to come down. The nurses then asked me to stop pushing until the doctor arrived but luckily, as if it was out of movie, the nurse started her sentence to say “Dr. so and so is….” (on her way) but stopped mid sentence to change it to say “Is here!” as the doctor made her dramatic entrance. It was perfect timing. The nurses helped gown her as she took her spot, front and centre. The pain increased once I could feel my babe make her way down into the canal. I had three contractions during that time where I pushed liked I never thought was possible. I could hear the doctor whisper under her breath to the resident that I was very strong. With no medication and the feeling of her in that canal I was committed to getting her out as quickly as I could. On the fourth push the doctor all of a sudden asked me to stop and I opened my eyes to see why. I looked down and saw my little pumpkin take her first breath and scream as the doctor quickly unwrapped the umbilical cord from around her neck and body. The nurse then placed her on my chest and my husband and I looked at each other in both shock and disbelief. Our babe was here; 12 days early. She was born at 8:10 p.m., only 2 hours and forty-five minutes after I walked into the ER. She weighed 6 lbs and 1 oz and measured 18.5 inches long. Her skin was pure, free of markings or discolouration. She looked like she had been in the world already for quite some time. She had hair that was brown in color and her eyes were a bluish-grey. She was absolutely perfect.
And just like that our world was forever changed.