Who doesn’t love a good birth story? I know I love hearing and reading about them!
Expecting my second child, I find myself thinking about Calvin’s delivery fairly often. Will it be similar? Will it be completely different? I never wrote anything down, so this is all from a 14 month old memory. And if you are looking for mushy gushy statements of how I felt so emotionally and spiritually connected to my birthing experience and how it was so beautiful, you won’t find those here. That’s not the way I roll.
My due date based on my 18 week ultrasound was April 3, 2012. Up until that point (and beyond), I had zero signs of going into labour. No Braxton Hicks, no leakage, no nothing. I felt completely normal, except for the fact that it took me far too long to get up off the couch, and rolling over in bed was a chore and a half.
As April 3 came and went, my doctor sent me for a non-stress test and an ultrasound to make sure the baby was still doing fine in there. Everything was just dandy, and a week later they sent me for another. I think it was a Wednesday. This time they found that my fluids were getting fairly low, so they told me they would put me on the waiting list to be induced over the weekend. Throughout the pregnancy, I was fairly certain I did not want to be induced, but after a week past my due date, I changed my mind.
Friday morning, around 11:30, I got a call from the hospital telling me to come in. They had a bed available for me in an hour and a half! At the time, Tim was doing contract research projects, working from home, so he didn’t need to rush home from work to bring me in or anything like that. In the next hour I made sure I had what I needed in our bags, did a few dishes so I wouldn’t have to come home to a dirty kitchen, threw some leftovers in a bag for lunch, grabbed my pillow off my bed (seriously, bring your own pillow), and called my mom to tell her she better jump on a ferry. We had a nice 20 minute drive to the hospital, and got settled into my room.
By 1:30, I was hooked up to the oxytocin, and sometime soon after, or maybe a couple hours after, I don’t remember, they broke my water. I wasn’t allowed to leave the bed, so Tim and I played card games and Ticket to Ride on the iPhone. I also remembered that I never ate my lunch, so I asked my nurse if I could. She originally said no, but finally gave in. This was her demeanor the whole time she attended me. At some point my mom showed up, popped her head in the room to let me know she arrived and see how I was doing, then she left to get settled at the hotel.
Sometime between 4:00 and 4:30, my contractions started. I don’t know how far apart they were, since I was hooked up to a machine that kept track of that sort of thing, but they were probably about 5 minutes apart or something like that. I don’t think I knew at the time, but now have heard, that inductions make contractions come on stronger and closer together. So I suppose I was experiencing normal labour at this point, for being induced.
My back started feeling sore, and my nurse reluctantly let me flip onto my side. I also managed to get her to let me get up and walk around the halls a couple times. She was probably in her 50s and probably used to the idea that women should labour on their backs the whole time. So this happened for a few hours until 7:00, which means shift change time!
My new nurse was awesome. She was my age or a couple years older and right away brought in an exercise ball for me, and asked me frequently if I wanted to walk around. The contractions were feeling a bit stronger and closer. I was just sitting on the ball, and there wasn’t much I found that Tim could do for me, so I let him watch the Canucks playoff game (they lost), as long as he kept me in the loop of what the score was. I think he also massaged my back a couple times, but it didn’t do much for me. And my inlaws got into town from upisland, so they came by to say “hi” as well.
Around 8:00 or 9:00 (I really have no clue), I went to stand in the shower. I did not find that nice for me at all. It was at this point that I spoke the only words I remember speaking (more like whimpered) while in labour, “I don’t want to do this anymore”, talking about labour in general, not just the shower. I think I was only in there for a few minutes before returning to my ball beside the bed. When I got back, I also asked for the gas.
Tim asked the nurse if she thought I had gone through transition yet, and she replied that she didn’t think so and that we would probably be there past midnight. Then we got in a good routine. I was still on the ball with my elbows on the bed. During a contraction, I would take the gas mask and breathe in it. Afterward, Tim would hand me a cool wet cloth that I kept on my face until the next contraction started. I thought it was a good system that worked quite well.
I guess my breathing changed or something, because the nurse asked me if I felt like I needed to push. I realized that yes, in fact, I did feel like I needed to push. So she got the bed ready for me, and helped me onto it. I think she must have read my mind, because she prepped it for a squatting delivery. I don’t think I told her I wanted to try it, but because she was such a great nurse, she just knew! I’m positive that if the other nurse had stayed with me, I would have been stuck on my back the whole time.
Looking back, I think the shower was not so much fun because I probably had my biggest contractions in there, so I had actually gone through transition when the nurse didn’t think I had yet.
I pushed for about 20 minutes, then got to meet Calvin at 10:15! All I remember from those first couple moments is seeing his squinty, newborn eyes, then watching as they weighed him. I also remember them all putting in the weight guesses, then counting “10, 10, 2!” (I don’t think they count the “2” if you have a girl, in case you were wondering what that was about.)
Then I got to feed him. He took to it right away, and I remember it taking forever! It was probably like, an hour, and I was anxious for our family to get to see him. I knew they were all outside and I felt bad making them have to wait. Of course my mom came in at some point to take a peek, so that was nice. And everybody else waited patiently.
Next came the most welcome shower ever! I wish I could have stayed in there all night. Then we got settled in my new room where I would stay until Sunday morning, getting to know my little boy and letting others snuggle him.
And that’s how it went for me.
I don’t know if I want to be induced again. There were good parts, like getting to drive to the hospital without having contractions at the same time. But there were also negative parts, like being stuck to an IV throughout the entire labour. That made going for walks and the shower a little bit more difficult than it would have been otherwise. We will see if I go that far overdue again.
I’m a little bit afraid of actually going into labour. I have no clue what it’s like. I didn’t experience my water breaking or having to time contractions and figure out the best time to go in to the hospital. Just because I have delivered one child does not mean that I know exactly what the whole process is like. It could be a whole new experience for me.
I have also been told that for my first delivery, and for being induced, I had quite a short labour at only about 6 hours. Often times the second child comes quicker than the first. If that is that case for me, and if I also don’t have the oxytocin slowing me down, could my labour go super quickly? I wouldn’t mind! But it could also be longer. I may feel the need to ask for stronger drugs (I hope I don’t). Maybe I will require a C-section.
I have only about 4 more months to wonder!
Update: I have written about my second birth here!