For the short version, this Q&A might summarize it for you. For the long version, read on.
My husband, A, was my rock. Figuratively speaking, of course. He definitely wasn’t a lump on a log the night our boy was born! More to that in a bit, let’s go back to that night, during a fluke snowstorm in October.
I was five days overdue. Had been to the midwives’ that week twice for a stretch and sweep (OMG, ouch!), was done with being uncomfortably pregnant, and beyond ready to meet my babe. My water broke at 3:00 p.m. on a Friday and I thought, “I just peed my pants!” My mom and I were sitting at my dining room table and I got up to go to the washroom, desperately having to pee. While walking down the hall, I felt a little trickle and I actually thought I peed my pants. I went to the washroom, changed, then walking back to the dining room, it happened again and I realized, “HOLY SHIT, THIS IS IT!!! I THINK MY WATER BROKE.” Apparently this is rare – according to What to Expect, it only happens to about 10 per cent of women!
I called A, called the midwives, and then I waited. No contractions, nothing. Still, late that evening when we met the midwives at the hospital – nothing. They gave me some homeopathic remedies and sent me home to wait. I spent the night bouncing on an exercise ball, pacing my halls, and tossing and turning trying to sleep, wondering why the hell I wasn’t in labour yet!
At 7:00 the next morning I texted one of my midwives and she told me to try castor oil. Holy shit. WHY!? I choked it down in some OJ and then waited for hubs to wake up. Back to the hospital we went for another check with the midwives and an OB. Everything was fine, but because I was delivering in hospital, their policy stated that that a woman has to be induced within 24 hours of her water breaking, if spontaneous labour has not started. That was the last thing I wanted. Despite having no really birthing plan, I had really hoped to try and go for natural, unless there were complications.
We went back to the doctor’s at 9:30, they did another stretch and sweep. “Hello, dignity, where are you?” At this point, my dignity was long gone. Doc gave me the clear to disappear until 3:00 p.m. If I wasn’t having contractions by then, induction would be calling my name.
So, hubs and I did was any normal, close-to-labouring couple would do – we went to the mall so he could get his eyes checked and we could walk around. Well, I walked and then the castor oil kicked in. Don’t ask me to explain because I would never be able to look you in the eye. But still, no contractions. We went home around 11 and I took a short nap to rest up for what was ahead.
It was close to 12:30 and then I felt it. A little twinge of progressing, intermittent discomfort. The butterflies went nuts. I waited. I timed. When they were four minutes apart, I paged my midwives. But, they were both asleep, having attended two births the night before (so amazing!). Their back up called me and by 2:30 p.m. on the Saturday, I was laying in a hospital bed waiting.
I honestly don’t remember much of the first few hours, I paced the room a bit, watched a Blue Jays’ World Series game on the iPad for a bit, and then the pain started getting worse. I needed to move, so we walked the halls of the hospital. My mom, my husband and I, and for every contraction, I found a wall or a ledge to lean forward against and rock, breathe and power through it.
As the pain increased, I asked my mom to wait in the waiting area with my in-laws. I needed to be in the zone with A. And it was a beautiful dance. We rocked, standing in between contractions and as the waves came over me, I lowered my head to his chest, pushed my hips back and gripped his arms to steal all of his strength. I’m sure there were tears and gutteral tones, but he did not once falter.
Our midwives rubbed my back, offered suggestions for different positions. As things intensified, I laboured in the shower, then the birthing tub, I chewed on ice, I squatted on a birthing stool, I crawled on the bed. When things got too intense, I asked for an epidural, but I wasn’t far enough along, and then I was at 8 cm and I figured, what the hell, keep going! I needing laughing gas though, oh man did I ever.
The pushing phase is a blur of pain, dreaminess, and strength that I didn’t know I had. I pushed for four and a half hours in total. A, who is a bit squeamish and swore he wouldn’t look, was holding my leg and right in there, checking on the baby’s head and cheering me on.
The first time the OB came to check, he had to turn EJ – he was sunny side up. So, we thought we were almost there – I was exhausted, but I knew I could do it. After another two hours, I was spent, I was giving up and they called the doc in to help deliver with some intervention. A small incision, a light vaccuum combined with a massive push, and baby EJ was born at 6:45 a.m. on the Sunday morning! It turns out, his umbilical cord was really long and wrapped around his shoulders holding him back. I remember trying to see him on the table, but was in so much pain and had to deliver the placenta (which I have no recollection of doing). They whisked him away to weigh him, etc. And the doc and midwife set to my stitches. HOLY EFFFFFFFF! After that much pushing and pain, that might have been one of the worst parts.
Don’t let this deter you though, if you’re thinking of having kids. My story is unique. And I definitely wouldn’t change it for the world.