I had some complications with myself after the birth, but I still consider the birth one of the best moments of my life. I am so thankful that we have skilled midwives in our province. More so, I am thankful that I was able to have the two midwives that I did have — I love them! We also had two very nice and caring ambulances aide us in transportation to the hospital.
That all said and done, I’ll head on into the birth story. Now, some of this will be a little “TMI” (Too Much Information) and some of it will be a little graphic, but… It’s a birth story. Don’t read it if you don’t want the imagery! This post won’t focus on the post-birth complication I had (hemorrhage) as I am leaving that for a separate post.
Tuesday, August 23rd I had a midwife appointment in the morning. I hadn’t gained any weight in the past three weeks, my morning sickness had been increasing, my reflux was posing a greater risk (since I’d wake up choking on vomit more and more frequently), etc., so my midwife offered to do a stretch and sweep (separation of the bags of water/membranes from the area surrounding the cervix). I thought to myself “Damn, I am a hypocrite…” Then immediately accepted the offer all the while feeling guilty because I had just posted my last blog about not inducing until 42 weeks. Stretch and Sweeps — also called a membrane sweep — work by causing a hormonal reaction to the separation of membrane from cervice and uterine wall. The reaction is only strong enough to cause labor in a person whose body is already prepared for labor.
I ended up being 2-3 cm dilated already and was very stretchy – so I was essentially already in the very beginning stages of labour, which can technically go on for weeks. Regardless, I had the S&S done and went on my merry way, cramping all day. I didn’t have any rhythmic contractions, but I certainly had cramping which is quite normal for post-S&S whether or not the sweep has been successful, so I thought nothing of it. Naturally.
Around 10:00 PM that night, I casually mention to my husband that “I think I’m in labor? But I don’t want to jump the gun…” Since I had started having contractions about 7 minutes apart, consistently. Dispatch the troops! He forces my hand and calls the midwives even though I’m not 100% sure that I’m in labor yet and I start doubting saying anything. I get my mom to head on down and called my sister as well. I just kind of walk around, doing random tasks while I wait for the troops to arrive, all the while getting a little mad at myself for jumping the gun. “This isn’t it. I’m not in labor.”
While on the phone with the midwife, my husband relays a question to me from the midwife: “30 minutes. Is that okay?” Pfth, I respond “Oh yeah! No rush!” My midwife giggles.
She arrived at around 10:30 PM, shortly afterward my mom arrives and then my sister. Contractions are something like 3 minutes apart at this point and have only just started to become strong enough to make me drop to the floor while hanging off of random household items. The dishwasher in particular was a favourite. Even if it was on wheels…
My dog was being a bit spinny, so it was decided that my sister would whisk him over to our step-mom’s house. Around this time, my midwife was trying to coax her partner over (midwives in BC need to have another person in attendance: Either another midwife or another medical professional such as a doctor or a paramedic). Her partner is reluctant, thinking since we had just called an hour ago, it wasn’t close enough to delivery for her to come. My midwife asks to check me in hopes to get the other midwife over. Originally, I wanted to say no to all checks, but felt this one was necessary to get midwife #2’s booty over here! haha
My midwife checks me at I’d guess 11:00 PM and I’m only 4 cm to which I respond “Then again, I’m a fast dilater!” She calls her partner back and reports 5 cm. Our little secret. Muahaha.
It wasn’t very long after that that the contractions became strong enough to more-or-less paralyze my movements. I’d find myself on all fours, pushing with all my might into the floor with my arms while focusing on relaxing my bottom half to let the contractions do their due duty.
Midwife’s partner arrives a few minutes after my sister gets back. I think this was around 11:20 PM… My mom and sister take turns “Pizza”ing my hot gel pack. That handy pizza button on the microwave gives the perfect amount of heating time. I use it against the bottom of my belly and the small of my back. Between the contractions, I try to stay focused on the task at hand, so when the hot pack becomes too cool all I can sputter out is “Pizza” as I pass the pack behind me to no one in particular and wait for it to be taken from my grasp.
During the stronger contractions, my mom is massaging my sacrum/small of my back and saying words of encouragement. I loved the counter-pressure that the massage gave was an excellent distraction and was soothing. The contractions remained painful and bordered on intolerable at this point. The words of encouragement become too much and I snap “You,” I say looking at my mom, “Shh.”
I had someone bring me my laptop. I open it up and my twitter account is open… I get teased for checking twitter, but I swear that wasn’t my intention! haha I actually got it so I could put on some Adele so I could sing to it through contractions instead of moaning aimlessly.
Around midnight, I finally hopped into the birth pool we had set up in the living room. It didn’t lessen the contractions, but it did sooth and relax me between contractions, plus it gave me the ability to move around between contractions.
At this point, I was moaning fairly loudly and thanking my lucky stars that my daughter is such a good sleeper and was sleeping through it all. I remember at one point, I went from a full-blown moan right into normal talk: “OOoohhhhhh, the neighbors are totally going to call the cops on me.” Trying to keep the humour alive.
Now, at this point, there are a few random memories that pop into my head. One being, when I had my head resting on the side of the pool and I pointed at my mom without saying anything. She was being too damn encouraging. I didn’t have the focus to say anything out loud even as the midwife, my mom, and sister all speculated that maybe I wanted the lamp turned off.
Another random memory is mid-contraction, I was doing my awesome labouring noise and looked up past the edge of the pool first to my husband to see his look of shock and concern on his face, then darted my eyes over to my sister. Same. Exact. Face. I thought it was funny, but kept my “labouring woman” face on.
Back to the streamline of events…
Between 12:20 and 12:30 AM, I had an especially strong contraction and felt an overwhelming urge to check on things… So to speak. This is one of those TMI moments, but come on! It’s a birth story. I feel that my bag of waters/membrane is barely an inch from baby’s exit strategy. A look of shock crosses my face, and then every one else’s as I say “I can feel my waters. They’re right there!” Only an hour and a half ago, I was 4 cm and now not only am I fully dilated, my contractions had already started pushing for me.
I start pushing despite it not giving me any relief from the contractions which I was expecting based on my daughter’s birth experience. Dang it.
One or two pushes in, the water breaks mid-push and the head is instantly forced into the “ring of fire.” Now… I don’t actually remember the ring of fire. I do, however, remember yelling out something about my pelvis an watching as my pubic bone magically expands a good two-three inches, painfully. His head emerges through the broken pelvis and I take a moment to feel his full head of hair before I prepare to push the rest of him out…
Oh. Wait a minute! Someone tried to superman his way out of the womb by putting his hand above his head. He had created a bit of a tricky exit strategy, so I had to tilt my pelvis up so my midwife could encourage his arm out and it did. Pushed again and at 12:45 AM, I pull my son from the water straight onto my chest where he calmly took his first few breaths, let out a few cries, then returned to being calm.
It was perfect. Perfect.