Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Veronica's Birth Story - Part 1

This is only 8 months late {hangs head sheepishly}. Better late than never, right.

My irritable uterus had me leave work in the middle of July, and I spent the remainder of that month and all of August taking it easy to prevent contractions. And boy, by my midwife appointment on Monday the 23rd, I was tired of being pregnant. I was at 39 weeks, 3 days when I met with my secondary midwife Jackie. The first thing we discussed? Was our mutual belief that she'd be delivering the baby rather than my primary midwife, Claudia. But I'd really clicked with Jackie so that was no problem at all. In fact, Teddy had been delivered by my secondary midwife with whom I'd also clicked.

During the appointment, had a lengthy discussion about shoulder dystocia (when the baby's shoulder gets stuck during delivery) as I'd had it with Teddy. We reviewed all the techniques that midwives can do if it occurs. She measured the baby, who was measuring almost 41 cm. Though the baby was left occiput anterior, Jackie had trouble finding the head, so asked if she could do an internal to see if the baby's head was in my pelvis. I agreed, and asked her to check my cervix to see if anything was going in. Baby's head was as predicted, and my cervix showed no dilation. "You need a few good contractions to get things moving," Jackie told me.

I'd been suffering from pregnancy-related insomnia for much of the third trimester. Late that evening, I headed over to Isha's house to pick up some cloth diaper stuff, and I caught sight of myself in their mirrored closet. "UH!" I thought. "I look so bloated and awful." But I was convinced that it would be a while; I told Ish that much as I departed around 11. I came home, said goodnight to Dave (who'd been sleeping in the guest room to give me the whole bed) and was able to fall asleep around 2 am.

Imagine my surprise when I woke up at 3 am to very strong contractions.

I should give you some context. In the days before having Teddy, I'd have contractions overnight, but they'd fade in the morning. I was in passive, then active labour with Teddy for 28 hours, with three hours of pushing, and my contractions NEVER got closer than 6 minutes apart. NEVER. It was a labour that confounded my doulas (one of whom - Zoia - was coming along for the ride this time, too).

So, when intense contractions started, I thought "Ok. These will help my cervix ripen. No big deal." As with Teddy, the most comfortable position for me was standing and swaying through the contractions. I didn't want to wake Dave until I had to, in case this was a false alarm. So I breathed and swayed and glanced at the alarm clock. "Odd", I thought. "These contractions are less than 5 minutes apart. I wonder when they'll slow down?"

Just before five, the contractions became so intense that I had to moan through them. They woke Dave, and he joined me and began timing. He was totally taken aback as the contractions were between 2 and 3 minutes apart, lasting at least a minute. He suggested that we call the midwife and the doula, just to alert them. "It's too early - I don't want to disturb them," I implored him. "Let's wait until 6". We made it to 5:30.

We called Zoia first. "It might be nothing," Dave said, as I was breathing through another contraction and couldn't stop to talk. "We'll check back in within a half hour if things don't slow down". Zoia, no fool, grabbed her stuff and started loading the car. We paged the midwife. We called my parents, letting them know that they'd need to come in to look after Teddy. Jackie called back, and spoke to Dave as I was once again breathing through the contraction. She heard the story and listened to my protests that "it might be a false alarm."

"Sarah," she interrupted me, "If you water breaks, call an ambulance. Meet me at the hospital as soon as you can."

Dave called Zoia back. She was already en route to our house. She arrived just after 6, and for the second time in my life, witnessed me losing my sh*t in our ensuite bathroom. "Zoia, I am not handling this well. I am not sure I can do it!!" I kept saying. She helped me breathe through the worst of it, and when I was coping better, suggested that she head to the hospital. We'd meet her there as soon as my parents arrived.

My Mom and Dad got here at about 6:40. My Mom thought that Dave had said the contractions were 4 minutes apart. "Let's go to Tim Horton's", she suggested to my protesting Dad. They got here, I said a distracted goodbye to Teddy, and off to the hospital we went...right when traffic was picking up.

Mercifully, my contractions slowed down a bit while en route to the hospital. I had to breathe through a few, but they were bearable. This lead me to believe that it was a false alarm. Yeah - I'm super swift.

Zoia was waiting at the hospital entrance, so Dave dropped me off. We headed up to L&D around 7, as the new shift was starting. I stopped three or four times to get through contractions on my way up. Jackie was waiting for us. "It might still be a false alarm." I kept saying. "You are going to have this baby very soon," she told me. We skipped the exam room and headed right into a L&D room, where I changed. Jackie checked me and proclaimed: "You're 10 centimetres dilated and the amniotic sac is bulging."

"Um, ok. Not a false alarm, then," was my witty reply. I looked at the clock. It was 7:20 a.m.


  1. OHhhhh you have me excited! I am taking labour as a challenge that I will survive. (=
    Is there a part 2 coming? lol

  2. So, I first read this days ago and I am STILL all freaked out at the speed that this went down! I even read it to Chris and his eyes got really big have frightened the husband.

    On the flip side, this doesn't sound half bad so far. Fast labor? OKAY!

    Post again soon, Chris is very interested to hear how it turns out.