Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The grand entrance

He came into this world on a cool and rainy day, two weeks before his due date. The night before his arrival, I excitedly timed mild contractions as I came to the realization that unlike previous experiences – this was the REAL THING! I waddled into the living room around midnight to alert my husband that I was having regular contractions and he may want to get some sleep. I went back to bed and tried to sleep myself, which was nearly impossible as the thought of actually becoming a mum dawned on me. Around 3am I woke again as the contractions strengthened and found Adam’s side of the bed was still empty. Again I penguin walked to the living room and told him to get the hell off of the computer and come to bed. I punctuated this order with the thought that this would be the last time he slept for a couple of days so he’d better take advantage of it. I then took my own advice and fell into a fitful sleep.

The next morning I was thrilled to find that I was still having contractions. I ate a big plate of leftover Chinese food for breakfast and picked through my hospital bag to make sure I had everything. Around noon, we called everyone to let them know that labour was in progress and we’d soon be heading to the hospital. By about 2:00, my contractions were strong enough that I had to breathe through them so we packed up and drove to the Queensway Carleton. Once we arrived, we found out that with every contraction, the baby’s heart rate would drop dramatically. Even though I was only a centimetre dilated (WHAT? Only ONE centimetre after 12 hours of labour?!?!), they admitted me so that they could keep an eye on the baby.

We called my mum as soon as we were admitted. And God bless that woman: despite the fact that she had been up all night with my nephew the night before while my sister moved, she hopped in a car to drive for five hours to be by my side.

The next six hours were absolutely brutal. My progress was so slow that sometimes I thought it was going in reverse. The pain was so intense that I was losing my mind. I recall flopping around that hospital bed, moaning and wailing and not caring that my ass was exposed to anyone who walked by. My husband kept himself entertained by playing solitaire and occasionally asking me if I was okay (Note: this is not a question to ask a woman in full labour.). For whatever reason (nerves, fear, who knows), Adam was not a very successful labour coach. Thank goodness I had the forethought to ask my mum to be there too!

After the longest quarter day of my life, the nurse announced I was three centimetres dilated and could have an epidural if I wanted. Seemed like a dumb question to me. YES! The difference after that wondrous medical intervention was like night and day. While it took me six hours to move the first three centimetres, after the epidural, I expanded to seven centimetres after only an hour. I had to call my hubby and tell him to hurry back as my nurse assured me that I’d be ready to push in no time (he was off letting the dog out while my mum kept me company).

In the next hour I went another two and a half centimetres till I was nine and a half. My nurse was practically giddy as there were six of us admitted to give birth and I was progressing the fastest. This observation must have been a jinx as things just stopped at this point. Hour after hour, she would check me and report no progress. She would then evilly tell me of another woman down the hall who was pushing. One by one, those other preggo’s beat me to the punch until I was the last one left. All I could hear as I waited were tiny cries as they delivered their precious cargo into the world.

Finally my nurse had had enough and told me to try and push past this little lip. We easily managed to bypass the last of my cervix and I spent the next two hours staring in a mirror at what must have been someone else’s disfigured private parts. No matter how red my face got or how hard I squeezed that little gaffer, he refused to budge. The doctor came in after two hours to assess the situation.

She casually asked me how I was feeling and felt around my belly and vajiji while we chatted. She then looked at the baby’s heart rate print out and her face went stony. She turned to the nurse and asked for a Paed RU (or Paediatric Resuscitation Unit – how I know this, I can only guess that it was my constant TLC watching). She calmly explained to me that we needed to get the baby out now and she was going to employ a vacuum. If it didn’t work, they would have to do an emergency C-Section. I had a momentary thought of “Oh great, now my belly and my vajiji will look like a war zone” before coming to my senses to think that whatever it took to keep this baby alive is what I would do. A flurry of staff and equipment piled into the room as they attached the vacuum to the baby’s head. With the doctor and nurses encouraging me, I pushed with all my might and sent healing, surviving vibes to my baby. As they wrenched on the vacuum with what seemed like excessive force, my baby was pulled and pushed into the world after only two contractions.

I was terrified that the baby would be purple and lifeless. But as they cut the cord and took him to the warming table, I saw that he was pink and he gave a tiny little cry. My husband, who was supposed to announce the sex, was speechless. The doctor waited a beat before warmly smiling at me and telling me I had a beautiful son. They placed him gently on my chest, he was red and whimpering and blinking madly at the bright lights. My mum, my husband and I all had tears running down our faces as we gazed for the first time at this tiny perfect being who grew inside of me for ten months. We named him then and there – Hayden William.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I love your birth story~*THANK YOU!* for sharing it! I know it's not ideal, but it's still YOURS. You did what you had to do for a healthy baby, and I appreciate this! (((((HUGS))))) sandi