The quick & dirty version:
Woke up in early labour at 5:30am
Went for coffee with a friend at 10:00am
Called Adam to come home from work at 11:00am
Admitted to hospital by 2:00pm
Baby delivered at 3:50pm, August 1, 2012 (her due date!)
The long & detailed (i.e. possibly more than you want to know, so proceed with caution) version is after the jump!Before labour actually started, I had several grumpy days wondering whether the irregular contractions, indigestion, tiredness and other symptoms were signs of impending labour or just random pregnancy symptoms making me crazy. I tried to just keep busy to keep my mind off the wondering about when it would actually happen. On July 31st, I had a huge cry in the shower, and mentally accepted that she would come when she was ready, and that could be a day or it could be two more weeks.
On Wednesday, August 1st, I woke up suddenly around 5:30am because my underwear was sopping wet. Gross. When I went to the bathroom to check it out, it was very mucusy discharge. I assumed it was my mucus plug passing, but didn’t want to get my hopes up. I put a pad in, and just went about my day. When Adam got up for work, I told him and we agreed that it could be labour starting or it could be a few more days, so off he went to work.
I spent the morning relaxing around the house. I started feeling crampy and having some contractions. At 10am, I went to meet a friend for coffee near my house. I picked at a muffin and drank half a juice, but just felt unfocused and gross. The contractions and cramps became difficult to ignore. I came home around 11am, and on my way, called Adam and asked him to come home from work because by this point, I was sure: labour had started. I started timing my contractions when I came home, and they were all over the map – short, long, frequent, infrequent.
Adam arrived home around noon, right after I got off the phone with my doctor. By then, I was averaging a 45-60 second contraction every 5 minutes. Things had progressed quickly, and I was needing to pause and breathe or talk/hum through contractions. The doctor asked me to call back when I was having more consistent contractions around 60sec each, 5 minutes apart.
Just after 1pm, I called in to the doctor’s office again. I had just missed the receptionist – I forgot they take lunch from 1:00-1:30pm. Adam asked if I could wait out the half hour, and then realized I was already dialing the off-hours calling service. The doctor called back just before 1:30pm, and through our conversation, we agreed it was time for me to go to the hospital. I couldn’t bear the thought of being in the car if we waited any longer!
We arrived at the hospital before 2pm, and we were seen immediately in admitting. Good timing – several more labouring women arrived just after we did! I was taken into an exam area, and the nurse came in to check me over. My vitals were good, baby’s heartbeat was good and I was 5cm dilated. I think my response was “THAT’S IT?!” because by this point, the contractions were coming 2-3 minutes apart and HARD. We were informed it would be 20 minutes or so before a room would be available, and to try to take it easy. Adam went to move the car from the drop-off to the parkade, and those were the longest ten minutes of my life, labouring alone, uncomfortable, and scared.
Finally, our L&D nurse came to get us. As we were gathering our things, we heard the admitting nurse call my doctor to update her and ask her to make her way to the hospital. She asked if I could walk or needed a wheelchair. I was in between contractions and boldly said I was fine and could totally walk, no big deal!
Ha. Haaaa. Hahahahahahha. I’m an idiot.
We didn’t even make it out of admitting before the next contraction hit. When I stopped to groan through it, the poor woman waiting to be admitted looked at me in total fear. Sorry lady! We would walk/shuffle down the hall a bit, I would stop and grab Adam and ride out the contraction, and we’d continue on. We got in the elevator and I started to feel the need to bear down. I think this is when my water was breaking – the contractions were suddenly harder, closer together, and so, so painful. As we came off the elevator, we heard the nurse shout down the hall for one of her colleagues to call my doctor again (“okay, I’ll page her” “No – CALL HER RIGHT NOW.”) and find out her ETA.
I was lucky to get one of the fancy single room maternity care rooms – where you stay in one place from labour to discharge. I was excited initially, because I knew they had a big shower and deep tub, and other great amenities to help manage the pain. Then we got into the room and another huge contraction hit. I threw my pillow on the bed, leaned onto it and just groaned. I realized then that I was not going to be getting into (or more importantly – OUT of!) the bath or shower, and that this was all going to happen very quickly.
I got in bed, because I just wanted to curl in a ball and the nurse needed to check my vitals and do another internal. The good news? I was 9cm. That’s right – I went from 5cm to 9cm in under an hour! No wonder those contractions were so hard in the elevator. Unfortunately, there was a little lip still on my cervix, so the nurse asked me to ignore the building urge to push. She kept coaching me to breathe, just wait til the doctor arrived, etc.
Somewhere in here I was offered the nitronox to help take the edge off. I had intended/hoped to have a drug-free birth, but I was in such agony waiting for the doctor to arrive that I didn’t even hesitate to say yes. A was awesome, and remembered that I had asked him to really make sure that if I agreed to drugs, that I really really wanted them. He asked, gently, if I was sure, and when I said yes, it was immediately presented to me.
Then my doctor arrived. Huzzah! We talked, and she spoke with the nurse, and suddenly the doctor was throwing a gown over her street clothes and asking for the lights and other supplies to be brought over. When she checked me, and saw how desperate I was to push, it was go time. A was on one side of me, the L&D nurse on the other, and the doctor at the end of my bed, all coaching me through each contraction and push. At one point, I was almost crying, saying I couldn’t do it, it was too hard, and so on. My doctor gave me the best gift: she made me look her in the eyes, and said “come on, get MAD.” So I did, and suddenly my pushes changed; not easier, not less painful, just… different, more effective.
The ring of fire as baby crowned was worse than I expected, mostly because it lasted so much longer than I thought it would. I was begging for counter-pressure on my perineum, because the tension and fear of tearing had me too scared to push through the pain. All of a sudden, her head was out, and at 3:50pm, I had one more big push to get the rest of her out, and Callista Jane was born. The pain was gone instantly.
C was placed on my chest immediately, and we were given some time to snuggle while I delivered the placenta. After we’d had a good chance at skin-to-skin, C was given to the doctor for her exam while I recovered a bit. C was handed off the A quickly, and they snuggled while the doctor fixed up two small first degree tears.
We went home the next evening, and we’ve been taking it easy while we adjust to life as a family of three! C and I are working on getting to “know” each other and figure out breastfeeding. A and I are trying to learn to sleep when the baby sleeps, with mixed success. The days are good, and we are happy; the nights are hard, and there are lots of tears from me, crying from C, and frustration from A that he can’t make it all better. We’ll get there.