Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Jerome's Birth Story

My sweet Benedict is turning one in less than a month. It is absolutely crazy how quickly the year has flown by. Sometimes I look at him, getting ready to walk and starting to say words, and I feel like I have somehow been robbed of the tiny baby that just lay in my arms and let me snuggle him.

For his birthday, I would like to post the story of his birth, but before I post my second birth story, I figured I should start by posting my first.

Some of Jerome's favourite things from when he was Benedict's age.
He always had the soother, and would often crawl around with baby doll in his fist
or the turtle hanging out of his mouth.
He was always such a character, even as a small baby.
First of all, I was very, very blessed to be accepted into midwifery care right at the beginning of my pregnancy. I applied for probably around twenty different practices and ended up hearing back from only one; they were the ones I really wanted, so I was happy. My midwife was the same that my sister had during her pregnancy a year earlier, and I knew how positive her experience had been with the care she received. 

I had a very low-risk pregnancy for the most part, but when I was eight months pregnant, I went to see a family doctor about my thyroid and she sent me for a late-term ultrasound, just to be safe. At this ultrasound, I was told I had lower fluids than average, so they wanted to monitor me over the next few weeks. A few weeks later, I went for a second ultrasound, where I was told my fluids were much lower and was advised to have an induction. At this time, I had already been experiencing some very early signs of labour, although I did not recognize this until I went into labour with my second. 

7:30 PM - Later the same day of my ultrasound, I went in to receive a cervadil induction (with the help of a very good looking intern...) and was given the choice to return home, which was an hour and a half from the hospital I was delivering at, or to stay in the city overnight. Either way, I was scheduled to receive a second round of cervadil the following morning.

My midwife told me I would likely need two, even three, rounds of cervadil, as this was the case with most women, and that the baby could still take a few days to come. That weekend, I was supposed to be hosting a crowd of people at our house as we were having our house re-shingled, so I seriously considered going home. Blessedly, Tharin and I decided to stay in the city at my sister's house.

9:30 PM - For two hours, I had to stay at the hospital, strapped to monitors. This was one of my least favourite parts of my labour. I was in such a cold sweat, experiencing pretty intense contractions very quickly, and I was not allowed to move at all, not even to roll onto my side. 

10:00 PM - 2:00 AM  Thank God this period of time went by quickly. My labour was intense and unabating. I had planned on spending most of my labour in the bath, as I had read a lot about the magic of water birthing, but with cervadil induction, you are prevented from submerging in water. I spent a lot of this time alternating between the shower (it took me a long time before I could go in my sister's shower without remembering how painful it had been, huddled against the wall in that shower), and hot/cold packs on my lower back where the pain was worst.

I had read a few really good articles from Birth Issues, particularly the one on page 12 of this issue, and watched the documentary, The Business of Being Born, and had decided that I wanted to have a positive mindset towards my body, my birth, and my natural abilities. This is how I knew I would be able to have a natural birth, and this is partially why the most painful part of my labour passed so quickly. I was very focused on managing my pain internally, on staying positive, telling myself that my pain was purposeful and that my body was doing its job. 

Throughout this part of my labour, my contractions were so close together we could not track them at all, and at one point, we called my midwife because they seemed very close together. This was the most disheartening moment. My midwife told us I was likely not close, that induction could feel as it did for me then, for days. This made it very difficult for me to focus on being positive, but I soon had no choice but to forget about it, as my concentration was needed elsewhere.

2:00 - 5:30 AM - Throughout my labour, my sister was a lifesaver. It was lovely to stay at her house and feel so taken care of. She stayed with me (and Tharin) all night, soothing me with kind and encouraging words, getting towels and refilling my water packs. She was so supportive, offering me food and water and helping to keep Tharin calm. Having her there helped me to focus on staying positive, especially because she kept gently reminding me how strong and capable I was.

I discovered that if I went on my hands and knees with Tharin, and later my midwife, pressing on my lower back, the pain spread out from my back, and this became one of my favourite and most relieving positions.

5:30 AM - I threw up, and this signaled the beginning of active labour. When I climbed back into the bed with Tharin laying beside me, he noticed that my breathing sounded different, and he asked me if I thought I was having a contraction with a beginning, middle, and end, as my midwife had described. I realized I was, and after charting a few, we finally called my midwife and she came to check me. At this point, I experienced a lot of relief and felt so positive and capable. For the entire beginning, I now realized, the pain had been unabating, but when active labour began, my contractions had an end, close together as they were, and I was giddy with excitement over this. 

I was also giddy with excitement over the fact that I was allowed to go in the bath at this point. In fact, my contractions were too intense for the point of labour I was at, and my midwife was concerned about putting stress on the baby. Before we headed to the hospital, she wanted me to stay in the bath and relax, and everyone laughed when I first got in because I looked much too happy for someone who was in the middle of intense contractions. In the bath, my midwife kept checking the baby's heartbeat, and I was given an IV, although I hardly remember having it in at all. 

8:00 AM - The baby was calmer, so we decided to go to the hospital. When I got out of the tub, I realized how close together my contractions were, as it took me a really long time to get downstairs to the car with having to stop and ride out a contraction every thirty seconds. This was the most excruciating part of my labour. I was contracting very close together, and could not sit - I ended up on my hands and knees in the backseat, and it was during this twenty-minute drive I had the first urge to push.

It was a bizarre (and painful) experience. My brain shifted and my instincts took over; I knew I needed to push. Of course, I wanted to wait until we got to the hospital, so I resisted this urge, but the internal struggle came out of me in this really strange, guttural groaning sound. When we got to the hospital, we could not find a wheelchair. The women that are going into labour on their way into the hospital in movies, always get a wheelchair. I was collapsing to the ground every few minutes and making that weird groan, but had to walk all the way to the room on the fourth floor that was ready for me.

8:30 - 9:00 AM - The nurses drew a bath in the hospital bathroom, we did not have time to set up the birthing pool, and I climbed in. My mom and dad came to the hospital right around the same time we got there, so my mom was with me, and my dad was in the other part of the room. Jerome came pretty quickly, although it felt excruciatingly long at the time. I knew I was so close to having my baby in my arms, so it was incredibly hard for me to wait for a contraction to push. He got stuck at one point and had a really cone-shaped head as a result, but overall, I was only actively pushing for twenty minutes, and I was very concentrated. The most helpful thing I remember my midwife saying, over and over, was that I needed to make low sounds, instead of the high-pitched sounds I was tempted to make, because the lower the sound the more helpful my breathing would be.

He slipped out into the world at exactly 9:05 AM on October 4, and Tharin and I cried and cried when Jerome was placed in my arms. He was so beautiful, even cone-headed and covered in blood, all five pounds twelve ounces of him. We spent a few hours at the hospital and then went to the hotel we had intended to spend a few days at with our new baby. We ended up going to the Stollery for a hitch he had in his breathing, which turned into a three-day hospital stay for a perfectly healthy baby. However frustrating this turned out to be, it gave me a good chance to master breastfeeding (with advice from a very insulting, but helpful, nurse) and get a little bit of rest, so it turned out okay in the end, too. 

So there we have it. A lot of my labour did not go as planned at all, but it was a beautiful story in its own way, and I am so grateful for the healthy little boy that was born that day.

1 comment:

  1. Ah this is so amazing and the photos are crazy to see! The induction sounds terrible. I feel like I would get an epidural at that point haha. Just remembering when I didn't get breaks at the end of labour - it was terrible! You're a superstar :) Also this made me realize that I really didn't have the urge to push. I honestly think that I just wanted the baby out so bad. I didn't have any instinctual need to push though that I can remember. It's so beautiful to see you guys with little Jerome. I remember being so excited. Ah you guys are the best parents :)