I had a wonderful pregnancy, I felt a little tired somedays but as a whole found it to be a wonderful experience. I prepared the best ways I knew how; by talking to other moms and by reading. Lots and lots of reading. Probably over-reading to be honest. I’m a firm believer that knowledge is power however in this case it was likely to my disadvantage as the more I read, the more fearful I became of the idea that I actually had to push this baby out of me.
I made a birth plan and planned for the most natural birth possible. My intention was clear; to avoid pain medication unless I got to a point where I truly could not handle it any longer and then I would get an epidural.
I did yoga, and stretching and we walked. We walked A LOT. I was hoping to get labour going without the pending induction but to no avail.
I wrote Sullivan’s birth story quickly just a few days after he was born. It all felt like a blur, days blended from one into the next as we were overwhelmed with this new all-consuming love. I assumed (and as I had been warned) that the days following having a baby are exhausting and overwhelming however, I felt just the opposite. I was full of energy albeit, a little sore and SO. IN. LOVE. I was in love with my brand new, tiny, squishy and content little baby but also so in love with my husband who would forever be thought of from now on as; Sullivan’s Daddy.
Sullivan’s original due date was January 27th which was then adjusted based on my 20-week ultrasound to February 1st. Less than 4% of babies are born on their due date, however Sullivan was one of them! My OB-GYN discussed the option of being induced at one of our appointments before baby arrived as we considered the potential weather hazards that Northern Ontario can present at the end of January combined with speeding the 1.5hour drive to the hospital. She also stated that current literature suggests inducing at 39 weeks led to less c-sections compared to those who went overdue so with this in mind, if I didn’t go in naturally before January 27th, this would be my induction date as she was working that day/night.
I had cervical ripening done Friday night (January 26th) at 9 pm and I it (apparently) started working overnight. We awoke the next morning and ate a leisurely breakfast at the hotel in Sudbury while we waited for 8:30 to roll around so we could head into the hospital to be checked. I assumed they would need to do another round of cervical ripening in the morning when I went in to be checked because I had just been cramp-y overnight but nothing serious. Once we arrived and they checked me they said I was dilated 3cm and that I was in the very early stages of labour and that the Doctor would be coming in to break my water. I started contractions right away “naturally” and felt very minimal pain all morning so when they came in at noon to offer me an epidural I felt very confident in my decision to tell them “no thank you!”
At 1pm they checked me again and I hadn’t progressed at all. They said Baby had moved down but that I hadn’t dilated any further and that we needed to get things moving so they put me on an Oxytocin drip. From 2pm-5pm was painful but nothing unbearable and the Nurses kept coming in to offer me gas and an Epidural and I refused again. At around 7PM I asked to be checked again and was only at 7cm. This was so defeating because the Nurse that had been with me all day (her name was also Julie) was leaving for shift change and we were in hard labour now. The new nurse’s name was Mel and she was so sweet but didn’t do much in the form of encouragement so that was a little unfortunate but Travis and my mom were both by my side and they were amazing! Travis was so supportive, he didn’t leave my side and was seriously so tuned in all day to my every need that I’m pretty sure he worked as hard as I did.
From 7pm to 9:30 pm was brutal, I wanted to give up and I vomited and then dry heaved with every contraction. The pain was indescribable and the pressure even worse and I really broke down so I asked to be checked again around 9:00pm and was still only 7cm. This felt so discouraging and I felt frustrated as the Nurse. At this point my nurse left for a break and the head nurse came in for about 15 minutes and instantly began coaching. She instructed me to get on all fours and a few different things right away and although these things were incredibly painful it gave me the courage to go a little longer as she explained how these things would speed up the final few cm. We laboured until 10-10:30 and I asked to be checked again because I was getting the urge to push and the pressure was incredible! She checked me once again and I was at 9cm. Just hearing her say 9 meant that I was SO close to the finish line and that gave me a second wind. Suddenly I had this strong feeling of confidence that I could do this and that we were SO close!
The next 15 minutes were such long, hard contractions in transition until I told my nurse that I had to push right now! She checked me again and said that I was at a 9.5 and asked if I could just hold on for another three contractions that I would be able to push. I agreed and after 3 more contractions and I started pushing involuntarily. My nurse said okay just let your body do what’s natural but don’t push any harder yourself. She checked me again and I was at 10cm and ready to go!
She called for the Doctor and before my Doctor came in I did 2 “practice” pushes with about 5 nurses and the resident that was working with my OBGYN. Pushing was probably the BEST feeling!(or the worst, depending on how you look at it but at least I finally left like I had some control!)
I pushed with every ounce of strength I had left in me. I only had two contractions worth of pushing before the baby’s head was out. This part was going quickly and I was SO thankful! I gave one another good push and he was stuck, his elbow was up beside his shoulders so after a quick adjustment I gave one final push and he was out and I cried my eyes out! In total I pushed for just over 10 minutes from when I started pushing without trying to push! He was born at 10:59 pm and was 7lbs 14ozs and 21.7″ long.
I was patiently waiting for someone to tell me whether it was a boy or a girl but no one said anything! With my upper body shoved between my knees our baby finally opened his legs and through my tears I said “Travis, it’s a boy!! You have a son!” and then they put him on my chest and we did skin to skin. Fortunately I only needed one stitch from him getting stuck and we were able to cuddle while the Doctor did that.
It’s a special moment and one that is oh so unforgettable. It’s not a feeling that can be explained and the wave of emotions and love that overcomes you is like nothing else. Looking at my husband with love in my eyes and looking at our new baby boy with disbelief as if to say, “Is he ours? Did we make this perfect baby?”
Labour is something that needs to be experienced to truly understand. After talking to many other women, listening to countless labour stories and becoming as educated as possible on the subject and I still felt utterly unprepared for the events of that day. No one can prepare you for the pain, but no one can prepare you for the love either. The best part is is that the memories of the love quickly overcome the memories of the pain and make us want to do it all over again!
Love. at. first. sight.
Thanks for reading!