Friday, August 5, 2011

Our Birth Story

This has been a post that I am not that excited to write. It's a bit sad, as I am so happy with the outcome, but it feels like the process to get to this point is maybe a little too raw. It's not so much that I am upset with how things went, more just I am tired of thinking about it perhaps. 

Anyway, here is my attempt at our birth story. I am warning you now that this is going to be a loooonnnng post. So grab a coffee if you are in for the long haul. If not, here's the short version: I had a baby. 

On Monday, July 25 at 8am we went into the hospital to begin the induction process. Peanut was now 10 days overdue according to the due date given by the early ultrasound (which was a week earlier than going by my cycle dates). In any case, the non-stress test and ultrasound they performed a few days earlier showed he was still doing well, but that he was still pretty big, so they decided to go ahead with induction. Seeing as how we hadn't really felt any signs of labour approaching, we agreed. They inserted Cervidil, at about 9am, and we were monitored for an hour to make sure we tolerated it well. We did, and they sent us home. Hubby and I went about our business and watched some TV, ate some lunch. About 1:00pm I started having contractions, however they were not the slow, spaced ones that we were told by every book and resource out there to expect. In fact, they started coming about 3 minutes apart, and eventually were about 1-2 minutes apart, sometimes even a couple back to back with no break in between. I felt like this wasn't really right, so we headed back to the hospital a little earlier than we were supposed to. 

Upon arrival and monitoring, it was determined that the contractions were a bit intense, and Peanut's heart rate wasn't really recovering as well as they hoped it would. After some hemming and hawing, they decided to remove the Cervidil, but I was not allowed to leave the hospital so they could keep an eye on us. Labour continued in this same intense fashion, and we were encouraged to get up and walk around and try and get things rolling. I felt like they were already rolling fast enough for me, but I also had a feeling that it probably wasn't doing much in terms of progressing the labour. I was right. I was checked at about midnight, and I was still not too effaced and only about 2 cms dilated. All that work and barely any progress. It was depressing. I was also exhausted, having to deal with such intense contractions with no break. I asked for some morphine and Gravol to see if I could get a little sleep since it seemed we would be there a long time. It worked, and I did get some sleep, but it also halted labour. 

Tuesday morning we were back to having very dull contractions about 10 minutes apart, and nothing was happening. We asked to see if my body would go on it's own without re-trying the Cervidil, and they let us go home for a couple of hours. I did stairs, bounced on the ball, showered, all the tricks to help labour progress, but we were still in the same boat. So we headed back to the hospital about 1pm and they tried Cervidil once again. This time it seemed to take a bit more "normally" and contractions weren't so intense right off the bat. We were in good spirits, and were even allowed to leave for dinner (we went to Tim Horton's). It was nice to have the mental break, and we were hopeful things would progress nicely. They did progress. 

Maybe around 6pm or so contractions started in earnest, and the pain I was feeling before seemed like a cake walk compared to these puppies. I slowly started descending into  the pain, and no matter what coping techniques I used, I was not able to weather them. I tried to use some nitrous oxide to get through the contractions, but all it did was make me feel sick. I was leery to try the morphine again in case it stopped the labour. My water broke and it seemed things got even more intense, but they checked me and I was only at 4 cms or so (not even to the dreaded transition yet!). Eventually around midnight I begged Hubby for the epidural. I was in the shower and I turned to him and said "I want the epidural. I want it NOW". And then, as an afterthought I threw in "and I'm NOT in the middle of a contraction right now, I am lucid!". Well, that got the message through, and they called for the doctor. Waiting that 30-45 minutes for the epidural was the longest time in my life. The pain was so bad, and I was terrified. I remember thinking that there was no way I would be able to get through the next one. Hubby said I definitely had an Exorcist moment where he was also terrified I wouldn't be able to make it through. Needless to say, everyone was relieved when the epidural finally kicked in. The poor nurses were surely sick of my wailing and carrying on. 

It was now Wednesday morning. I was able to get a bit of rest with the pain relief, and they checked me and I was almost fully dilated. We were just waiting for a little bit of the cervix on the right side to open up. We waited that out and then we got the glorious news that I was fully dilated! Yay! They kept asking if I had the urge to push, and I couldn't really say that I did. I tried little pushes anyway, trying to move things along. I was fully dilated for about 4 hours and there was no progress. Things took a turn for the worse and I started throwing up, and developed a fever. They had to give antibiotics, which meant that they might need to keep the baby in the NICU upon birth, and our hospital didn't have a NICU. The doctor told us to prepare for a transfer to the city hospital, and we were pretty disappointed. Then, the shift change happened and our doctor changed to a young OB. She came in, checked me and said "you are headed for c-section. The baby is huge and you haven't progressed at all in the last 4 hours". WHAT? No one had mentioned anything up to this point about a c-section. She told us she was arranging for an ambulance to transfer us to the other hospital, and that it was their decision, but she was positive it would be a section. We were overwhelmed with this news, but really could see no other alternative. We wanted to make sure the baby was ok. So, we loaded into the ambulance and drove back to Calgary.

Once we arrived at the hospital, things were insane. We were put in a tiny room, and then the nurses tried to get everything organized. There was so much confusion, and so many questions. There was a team of medical students, and so we ended up having to do everything at least twice: once for the doctor's and once for the students. At this point my patience was shot, and I was scared and worried, and I remember wanting to scream "everyone shut up!". The room was too small, and there were about 3 conversations going on at once, and all I wanted was for everyone to leave and just me and my husband to have a minute to talk. In any case, the doctor came in, and he was really great. He examined me, and thought that the baby's head was at a strange angle, and that my pelvis was pretty narrow. But he still wanted to try and deliver the baby, so he suggested using the vacuum. If the last attempt failed, then we would proceed with the c-section. By this point I had been fully dilated for 5 hours, and little to no progress. We felt much happier with this decision, as we wanted to try everything we could to try and deliver the baby. 

We were rushed off to the Operating Room, and it was like entering another dimension. It was really the opposite of what I had envisioned for my birth. I was strapped to the table with my arms out like an airplane, and my feet were up in these moon-boot-like stirrup thingies. The lights were bright, and I was shivering uncontrollably due to shock and the drugs. Hubby sat at my head, and we tried the vacuum. I pushed hard, even though I couldn't feel a thing. Peanut still was not coming out, and his heartrate tanked after the 3rd vacuum attempt (poor little guy...he really didn't want to come out!). So, c-section it was. 

When Finn was finally born at 1:16pm on Wednesday, July 27, it was a very surreal experience. The doctor peeked around the curtain with the baby, and said "here's your boy!" then he was whisked away to the team waiting to assess him. Hubby went to be with him, and was calling out that he was blonde and beautiful. The staff were all exclaiming how huge he was, and started taking bets on his weight. Eventually, we found out he was 10 lbs, 4 ozs. No wonder he wouldn't come out! Hubby finally brought him over to me, and I got to see him, but it wasn't until we were in recovery about 30 minutes later that I finally got to hold him and see him up close. 

In some ways I feel upset that things didn't turn out the way we had hoped. There was no skin to skin bonding as soon as he was born, no emotional release (at least for me). I was strapped to a table under bright operating lights, completely numb from the chest down being operated on and shivering uncontrollably. It was miserable. However, I am also confident that we did absolutely everything we could to try and preserve our birth preferences and the circumstances were just beyond our control. In the end, we had a healthy baby boy, and he didn't need the NICU after all. The end result was the same, it's just hard not to mourn the process a little, you know? 

In the end, we couldn't be happier with our little guy. He was worth the trouble. We are both learning how to be parents together, and we are loving getting to know our little Finn. Plus, it it quite the story. I suppose I should have been prepared for some dramatic entrance. I am not usually the type to do anything quietly. 

What a looonnnggg 3 days. But he's worth it! 


  1. Your birth story sounds almost exactly like mine, except for the transferring hospitals part. You CAN mourn the process, just dont' get stuck there (like I did). Congratulations on your beautiful baby boy and welcome to parenthood.

  2. I clicked on "baby" and realized I need to stalk you a bit to learn from your pregnancy. I didn't make it all the way through the story... but I'm coming back to read as much as I can from your blog! Get ready for questions/comments ;)

  3. JeninCanada: Thanks for the reassurance. I'd be lying if I said it's been easy to accept, but I think I am on the way. :) Great advice.

    Megan: Bring on the questions/comments! Happy to help in anyway I can. Just remember that this birth story is not really a typical one. It's pretty dramatic. Don't let it scare you off. ;) Haha.

  4. Whoa. Intense story! I'll be curious to hear how you feel reflecting back on everything now that you're several months out -- I'm planning to do a "one year out" birth story post for my daughter's first birthday in May. Also, Finn is SUCH a cute name :)

  5. Hi! Im visiting from Randees organized chaos. I love your blog. Its bright and easy to read. Also I love your birth story. Im fascinated by labor and delivery stories. Im actually going to do a series on them soon. :) Im your newest follower.


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