Well, exactly right now last year, I was laying half-way down on one of the beds in the assessment room of the maternity ward at the Victoria Hospital, having strong, consistent contractions, but still managing to reminisce with the nurse who was attending us, as she was also my nurse when Madeline was born, when all of a sudden there was some major pressure release, as my water broke. Now, being the childbirth officianado that I am, I asked after my water broke, “is the fluid clear?”
Carol, our nurse, said “we better get you to the delivery room”. I would have just walked down the hall in just the shirt I was wearing, but she had the presence of mind to wrap a blanket around me. I got to the delivery room in a hurry and Carol helped me get into the hospital gown. Within a few moments of laying down on the delivery room bed, I remember laying there and feeling the opposite of the pressure release of a few moments before. Then it occurred to me and I said, “THE BABY’S COMING!!”
(I was more than shocked at this fast series of events, as I had been in labour for 22 hours before I started pushing with Madeline. Then it took 2.5 hours to push her gargantuan cranium (ab)out. And thus far, in Luke’s labour, I’d had painless contractions for 12 hours. Contractions that I could notice but only hurt a little bit for 2 hours. I got sent home from the hospital at 6pm after going to get things checked out at 5pm. Luckily, the nurse there told me that if things got worse to not be afraid to come back, even if it was right away. So, when my mom thought my contractions seemed pretty strong and pretty regular, even though I was happy to relax on the pillow in my bed between them, we decided to go back to the hospital just after 7pm.)
Carol was not surprised and sounded calm, even though she was definitely in a hurry (I later found out she put the delivery notes on a piece of paper towel), I felt better knowing that she wasn’t surprised by how fast this was all going. The only moment of panic I had was when she told Marc to run around to the other side of the bed and to “press that button right there!” He pressed it and she yelled, “Call Dr. Halyk for delivery!!!”
Delivery? I guess I knew the baby was coming, but I still didn’t think I’d be delivering anytime soon… But before I knew it, up came the stirrups, and another nurse, named Donna was there and a whole cart of other things. At some point I asked, “So does this mean I’m 10 cm?” To which Carol responded, “Oh ya!! The baby’s right there!!” They told me to put my legs up and open them up really wide. Carol said to give her a really nice slow push. I did. And she said I was pushing really, really well. (After the birth, in fact, she told me I could give lessons on pushing!) Then the other nurse, Donna, said that if I gave them one big push the baby would be born.
So I grabbed my legs, let out a very long growlly noise, and pushed with all I had. And his head came out. It took one more push to get his body out. And that was that. We had our 9lb 9oz boy. Marc announced the sex. And I was not surprised (though we didn’t know we were having a boy). And boy was I in shock! It certainly hurt, but it was so fast that I could hardly even believe that it had happened.
And my doctor (who is, by the way, probably the best doctor in the world) missed it. But he walked in a few minutes later. He made a joke as soon as he entered. Checked Luke. Did some mild under-carriage repair on me (we joked and talked during that as well). Shook Marc’s hand. And went home to finish enjoying his Friday night.
Still one of the best memories of my life. Along with those first few days with him in the hospital. Seeing Madeline bring “balloons and flowers” for her new brother, when he was just an hour old — I still hadn’t left the delivery bed! Relaxing and listening to Chopin and Beethoven and looking at Luke and out at the river in winter. Having all the family come to meet Luke. Being pleasantly surprised when Randall came to meet the boy (and still wishing that we’d got him to pray for him…). So much was special about those days and his birth. (And I’ve got it all written in my pregnancy journal, so I won’t write anymore here… ) Needless to say, it was a great experience with an even greater result!
Happy Birthday Luke! I loved giving birth to you a whole lot, but I still love you more!!