We arrived home from the hospital 25.5 hours after Olivia came into this world. We would’ve been home sooner, except for a failed attempt to find birthday cards for my mom and her twin brother whose big day is tomorrow…
Well… for the past three weeks I’ve been bitter with just about everyone I see, thinking to myself, “none of you have to push a baby out in the next three weeks!!!” And today, as I walked into Shopper’s Drug Mart in my non-maternity clothes, I thought, “Ha! None of you have given birth in the last 24 hours!” I’m so fickle.
So, here’s the story and then I need to go relax.
On Friday night I made an off-hand comment to Marc about thinking we’d have the baby the next day. Somehow I always know the day before my kids are born. During the night I noticed that I was having a contraction every hour or so, nothing painful, just a little more noticeable than all of those Braxton Hicks contractions I’ve been having for months. But we had a great sleep and both kids slept in until 8:30am, which was awesome. We all had breakfast in bed and watched Veggie Tales on NBC and I showered and did my hair and make-up and we took off for Little Red to walk around. It was a beautiful sunny day and the kids had lots of fun running around. Out there I started having contractions every 8 to 10 minutes and for some of them I actually had to stop walking. When we got back to town we went to Extreme Pita for a quick lunch with some gift certificates and there I had a few more noticeable contractions.
By this time it was 1pm and I was feeling like today was definitely the day, and since I didn’t know what my mom had planned as far as who would run the bookstore if I went into labour on Saturday (when just her and my dad are down there), I thought I’d better go see what the deal was. Mom said she would close the store if I was in labour, and since I had a contraction while I was there, she said to bring in the kids and they’d take the kids to their house to nap, etc.
So we drove away from the store thinking that we’d go home and rest and Marc may go down to the office to get a few things done for all the house deals going through next week, but something inside me said, about three blocks away from the store, “you’re in labour and you’re driving away from the hospital… that’s not what you should be doing.” So, I told Marc we should go get checked out because I was having stronger contractions than when we initially went to the hospital with Luke. And, at least this way, all the paper work would be done for the day if we got sent home and came back when things were bad.
As we drove up the hill to the hospital, the sun was shining, and I said, “it’s the perfect day to have a baby.” And at 1:30ish we got to the hospital and they hooked me up to the monitor and I only had one major contraction. The nurse asked me all the questions and checked me and sounded like she thought she’d send me home because my contractions were only 30 seconds long and far apart, but I was 4 cm and my cervix was thin, so she let me stay. This was 2:20pm.
They took me to a delivery room and one of the nurses ran a tub for me. I got in and my contractions were about 7 minutes apart and eventually they started getting a bit stronger, but nothing that bad. I played our handheld Yatzhee game and I told Marc, “It’s going to be a good day, I got 3 Yatzhee’s on my first game and 2 on my second!” I was in the tub until about 3:20 when I asked Marc to get the nurse to check me because the baby felt very low when I got up to use the bathroom.
She checked me and I was still 4cm and she stayed around to feel some contractions, which, when laying down were 9 minutes apart. She gave me lots of tips to help me to progress faster during labour, walking, drinking lots of water, relaxing and distracting my thoughts during the contractions, and breathing as close to normal as possible. She was extremely informative. She told me to walk around a bit and that she wouldn’t give me any fentynal until I was definitely progressing in labour. I was really looking forward to having some medication when the time would come when I’d need it. I didn’t need it then, but was glad I was there in enough time to be able to ask for it. Well… that’s what I thought. So this takes us to about 3:40pm.
Marc and I did one loop around the maternity ward, where I had 3 strong contractions which were long and I really had to breath through. We got back to the room and I thought I may want to walk around again, but decided to pee and then sit on the birthing ball – so I could put my head down on the bed and relax. And that’s where I spent, I guess, the next half hour. Marc was laying on the bed and I was on the ball with my head on a pillow in his lap. Every time I had a contraction, which started off not that bad, I’d drink and drink lots of water. Eventually I told Marc that I wanted him to talk to me during the contractions to distract me. And eventually I got to the point where I felt really relaxed between the contractions, like I was going to fall asleep. (I recognized this as how I felt when my mom was massaging my back just before we went back to the hospital the second time, to have Luke.) So, I felt really relaxed in between and the contractions were gradually getting stronger, but definitely tolerable.
I think it was after about 3 contractions that really hurt that I thought to myself, “You know, I’m not really enjoying this anymore, maybe I should try and get some of that good fentynal.” In my mind I’m thinking I’m still 4cm. Then immediately after that thought, I felt like my water might be starting to break, and I said, “Marc, I think you should go get the nurse.” He went out right then. But as soon as he was out the door, something in me changed and I yelled out, “Hurry!!” The nurse was there right away, and it was then I realized and said, “I’m having some rectal pressure!” (Marc loves all of the medical terms I use during labour.) She told me to get up on the bed when my contraction was done, but it lasted really long and it was hard to move. But eventually I got up on the bed and flat on my back. She checked me and said, “This baby is ready to be born!”
She called the other nurse who, just 50 minutes ago, said that I wasn’t progressing, and Marc heard her yell, “Oh my god!” They got everything set up and another nurse came in. I scooched my bum down the bed several times and got my feet into the stirrups. I then told the nurse who was attending directly to me, “When I was in labour with Luke, Carol put pressure on my perineum which helped a lot, will you do that?” She looked at me a little funny and said, “Yep. That’s pretty standard.” I asked what was going on and if I could push and if they were going to break my water. She said the pressure I was feeling was the bag of water bulging but that they wouldn’t break it, the doctor does that. I had to bear down once and they told me to try not to push and to just relax. And here is my favourite memory of the birth: for the next however many minutes, until the doctor got there, I sat there with my feet in the stirrups, my eyes closed, completely relaxed and felt like my body was just gradually bringing the baby down on its own. It didn’t hurt at all and I didn’t have any contractions until the doctor got there, and I could feel my whole bottom relaxing!
When the doctor got there he broke my water and I asked if I could push and he said “yes”. I pushed once hard and he said to take it slow, so I pushed slower. Apparently the “oh my god!” nurse kept commenting about how much control I had. And at one point, during this time, she said, “She should just have babies!!!” And Marc said, “I know! But I won’t say that right now.” The doctor said the head was 3/4 out and I heard them say something about the cord, and then he said that with the next contraction I would have a baby. And the next contraction came, and I pushed, and it hurt, but she was right out. And it was our little Olivia Kate. The girl I was (secretly) hoping for – I can say that now that she’s actually a girl, right?
And she was perfect. She got 10/10 on her Apgar score. And she nursed right away and has been eating 20+ minutes each side every 4 hours since. And I didn’t tear. And, 10 minutes after she was out, I told the doctor and nurses that I felt like I could go and do cartwheels in the parking lot. I feel really great. I just wish I’d been able to sleep last night – I can never sleep the first night because of the excitement of the day and the remembrance of the pain of labour, but having Olivia next to me in the room helped. She’s been with me every night for 10 months and I wanted her with me last night. And she was so good. I’ve only heard her cry at birth, once at 9:30 last night to eat, and once in the middle of the night for one second before she spit up.
And that’s my birth story for Olivia Kate. It was pretty amazing. Here are a few picture highlights from the past 24 hours. The blogging may be light for the next little bit as the tiredness catches up with me, but you can just reread the birth and be slightly traumatized… Thanks for all your well-wishes!
Starting labour at Little Red.
On the delivery table.
Settled in the room, last night.
Family of five.
In the same outfit I went home from the hospital in.
My little bundle at home.