Welcome Annie to the Oakville Family Birth blog! I was thrilled when Annie expressed interest in our #REALTALK Birth Stories series. What a great voice and a great story 🙂
How labour began
‘Twas the day before Jack’s birth and I was over being pregnant. The mental and physical exhaustion that came with a difficult pregnancy including many weeks of bed rest had finally caught up with me. My husband decided to lift my spirits by treating me to what would be our last date night as just us two. After dinner we headed to Canadian Tire to stock up on some things before Jack arrived. As I stepped out of our car I felt a pop in my abdomen and fluid began to gush out of me. “Well, it happened” I thought to myself “my bladder finally exploded.”
My husband came running around the car as a traumatized buggy boy watched me stand in a puddle of amniotic fluid, my mucous plug sitting dead center. I began to laugh uncontrollably as shock came over my husband’s face. He quickly lined the front seat and loaded me into the car. Off to the hospital we went!
Hospital, round 1
When we arrived at the hospital at 7:45 p.m. I was on cloud nine. Grinning from ear-to-ear, my husband wheeled me to the maternity ward. I had yet to experience a contraction and thought this whole ordeal was a piece of cake – HA!
The doctor examined me and decided to send me home until my contractions were regular – lasting one minute, every four minutes, for one hour. Well, within one hour of being home my contractions were four minutes apart and let me tell you, they lasted longer than that magical minute. I laboured at home in the bath for six hours before heading to the hospital.
Hospital, round 2
When we arrived at the hospital shortly after 4:30 a.m I was 7 centimetres dilated and the doctors anticipated my son would arrive before lunch. Although I’d hoped to have a natural birth, the contractions were exhausting and I opted in for the epidural. By 9 a.m. I was 9 centimetres…then contractions slowed and dilating stopped. We opted for Pitocin to help things progress and it took until 4 p.m. to dilate that last centimetre .
The birth of Baby Jack
After 17 hours of labour it was finally time to push. The nurse placed a mirror at the base of the bed which allowed me to see EVERYTHING and motivated me while I pushed. After an hour of pushing, Jack was born at 4:59 p.m.
My husband was a great support: he kept me hydrated, lathered my lips with chap stick, and cheered me on as I pushed. The birth of our son a sacred moment for us to share. After everything we had been through during our pregnancy, we were so relieved when our healthy baby boy was placed on my chest and cried his first tears.
How would you describe your pregnancy? Looking back, how do you feel about it?
In short, my pregnancy was heartbreaking and draining.
Only a few days after we announced our pregnancy we received some difficult news: we were initially told our son had a soft marker for Down Syndrome and later we were told it was possible he that he had a chromosomal micro-deletion. Eventually we made the difficult decision to undergo amniocentesis (a test of the amniotic fluid). After eight weeks, six ultrasounds, one round of amniocentesis and many visits to the children’s hospital, we received the all clear that our son was healthy and not at risk for any chromosomal conditions. Only a few weeks after receiving that good news, at 31 weeks a non-symptomatic bladder infection caused me to begin dilating and resulted two weeks of bedrest and five weeks of restricted activity at home. For my first pregnancy, this one was certainly a doozy.
Looking back, I wish I knew what a wonderful little boy would be joining our family. I wish I enjoyed my pregnancy rather than feared it. Going through that pregnancy has made me question whether or not I’d like to ever become pregnant again. There were times I faced depression and times I faced a tremendous amount of guilt. However, it made my husband and I grow even closer together, and it made me realize that from conception your child becomes your entire world. It humbled us, made us appreciate life that much more, and even though it was the hardest thing I’ve ever lived through, it made me value life in a way I couldn’t before.
What did your contractions feel like? Was there a certain point when you felt like things were getting REAL?
I got my first real contraction at 11 that night while trying to pee – and let me tell you – they HURT. I couldn’t talk so I banged on the wall to get my husband to help me off the toilet (pregnancy – bringing the ultimate romance to your relationship). As soon as my contractions started they were 4 minutes apart, lasting as long as 2 minutes. I tried to labour at home as long as I could. Sitting in a warm bath helped but it got to the point where I couldn’t handle them any longer. At 4 a.m. we decided to head to the hospital – after I threw up all over our front lawn from pain.
Were there any particular people or things you found especially comforting during labour?
The nurses and doctors were amazing. It was a very comfortable experience. My husband was a rockstar. Also, the epidural was heaven. It helped me get some much-needed rest before it came time to push (and you know, be a mom and take care of a newborn).
What was the process of finding out/deciding it was time to push? How did you feel about it? How long did you push for?
I really wanted to be able to feel enough to push quickly and effectively. It ended up taking six hours to dilate the last centimetre so as time went on I stopped “topping up” the epidural medication so I could feel a little more. In the end, it only took me only an hour to get my little man out.
How did you feel immediately after your baby was born?
I feel almost guilty saying this out loud but I didn’t feel any rush of emotion, other than exhaustion. Pregnancy was emotionally exhausting and I was just relieved it was over.
What about your birth surprised you?
This may sound silly…I was surprised how the baby’s head went in and out of my vagina. You push with all your might, the head crowns and then you stop, and right back in he goes! It was a little bit discouraging. Once you get going though, the head eventually sticks around!
If you could go back in time to when you were pregnant, what would you tell yourself?
Hey there, mama! Hang in there. It may seem like your world is falling apart now but my goodness, just wait until you see the beautiful little boy you get to have! Embrace your new curves and embrace your gorgeous hair (it’s all going to fall out soon enough).
What were the first couple weeks like with your new baby?
Tiring and overwhelming. My husband took a week off of work after the baby was born to adjust to our new life as parents but we ended up having visitors every day that week. Knowing what I’d know now, I’d kindly decline visitors and spend time snuggling my baby with my husband. You only get those precious moments once, and for most of it you’re in a complete daze. Everything was new for us and honestly, we weren’t exactly sure what we were doing. Knowing what I know now I’ll appreciate the newborn phase the next time around rather than just survive it.
Thank you Annie for submitting your incredible and well-written story!
If you’re reading this and you’re interested in sharing your experience with others, check out our #REALTALK Birth Stories main page.