Warning: Some graphic birthing content ahead!
I'm sitting here at the computer at a most indecent hour, helping my little girl learn on her second night of life that nights are for sleeping! So I figure I might as well start recording my birth story while it is still fresh in my mind!
Because I had had a fairly quick labour with Kesten (under 7 hours), we made plans with my midwife to go into town on Saturday to do a membrane sweep to see if we could get things going while I am in town. You see, we are a 2 hour drive from our midwife and we wanted to be close when labour got going, as we anticipated that it would be a fast one. Well we did the good old membrane sweep on Saturday, but my cervix wasn't very ripe, so I couldn't take the magic midwife cocktail to attempt labour induction. We decided to come back on Sunday morning to see if anything had changed and to try again.
Well Sunday morning and another 2 hour drive later, we were informed that there had been a few more satisfactory changes to my cervix and were given the green light to go ahead with the cocktail. We bought the ingredients and headed over to the University of Northern BC campus where we decided to hang out for the day to see if anything would happen. The original plan was to get a hotel room, but we're cheap! We hung out there for about 6 hours. At one point I was having some mild contractions, 4 minutes apart lasting 45 seconds or so, but that petered out after about 3o minutes. Feeling more than a little discouraged, we decided to go to dinner and then re-evaluate where we were at. It being Mother's Day, all the restaurants were packed with happy families while my husband and I sat in gloomy silence, feeling disheartened and missing our little boy who was back at home with Grandma. We called the midwife after supper where we both agreed that nothing was happening and it would be fine if we went home. I didn't feel like staying in town overnight, I wanted to get back home to see my little boy before he went to bed!
We made it back and read him a few stories and had a few cuddles. I didn't feel like doing too much that night we we headed to bed around 10:30pm. I drifted off fairly quickly, but woke up half an hour later with a contraction. Hmmm, I was wondering if this was going to be another false alarm. Drifting back to sleep, I woke up to another one 4 minutes later. This pattern repeated a couple of times, so I finally decided to get up. They were feeling pretty strong and my legs were starting to shake a bit from the pain. Reluctantly, I woke up my poor tired husband (who had already driven 4 hours that day and 4 hours the day before) and told him what was going on. I hopped into the bath really quickly to be sure that this was the real thing, while he timed my contractions. 2.5 minutes apart lasting a minute. And gaining in intensity. A quick call to the midwife and we were on our way at midnight. There is one stop between us and Prince George with a hospital (Vanderhoof), so she told us to stop there if we needed to and maybe get checked to see how far along I was. My contractions were fast and furious and way more painful and intense than anything I had experienced with Kesten. By the time we were halfway to Vanderhoof, I knew I was not going to stay in the car long enough to make it to Prince George.
Pulling up to the hospital in Vanderhoof, we got out of the car and I managed to make my way inside. The nurses waiting inside didn't have to be told what was happening! They jumped into gear, getting us settled in. We weren't registered at this hospital, as it wasn't in the plan, but everything happened smoothly. I was soon in the labour room, breathing deeply through my contractions. They checked me and told me I was 5cm. I told them that I had a fast labour with the first and that my active labour was less than an hour. I'm not sure they believed me or not. I think they might have thought they had a couple more hours to go at least.
Looking back on things, I always think it would be funny to be a nurse and to see myself from their perspective. I must have looked like a frightened animal, trying to escape some horrible pain. I was pacing about, shifting positions, climbing onto beds, going on hands and knees while waiting for the tub to fill up. About 20minutes in I started vomiting up everything in my stomach, which was a surprising amount for that time of night. I eventually got to climb into the bath tub, which really helped me relax between contractions, but the contractions themselves became even more painful. I could feel baby moving lower down with each one, while my cervix opened up wider. At this point I was no longer breathing through them, I was making loud "ahhhhhhhhhhh" sounds in quite a musical manner, as the nurses joked about with me later. They would get higher pitched as the contraction built in intensity and then go back down as it eased off. I was feeling pretty scared by the painful intensity of them and wondering if I could really do it. Labour is such a psychological battle. I remember this time really wanting a way out of the pain, like an epidural or something, although I never ended up taking any drugs. At one point in the tub I remember saying angrily to my husband "Why did we decide to do this again?!" That had the nurses scurrying over, as I think they recognized that I must be in transtion. They checked me and I was 8cm. They told me I could have one more contraction in the tub and then it would be time to get out. Well one more came and with a second one right after and I was starting to push. Panicked, they tried to get me out of the tub, as there was no room for me to deliver in there. But a woman in labour is very stubborn and I told them I couldn't get out. Haha. I did eventually stand up with a lot of help and managed to waddle to the delivery room before another contraction came. I was trying to climb onto the bed before the contraction hit me full force and a nurse was trying to put a hospital gown on me, which was the least of my worries at the moment. I just grabbed it and climbed up mid push. I had planned to push on my hands and knees, but when the moment came, I just wanted to be on my back. Funny how that works! When I was in labour with Kesten, I never found the urge to push overwhelming. It took me two hours to push him out and I couldn't even feel any contractions during that time. This time however, there was no holding back! I couldn't have, if I wanted to. There was a big mirror mounted on the wall, so I could see everything that was happening. At first I wasn't sure I wanted to see it at all, but then I found it helped me see the progress I was making. My water broke next, sending a huge gush onto the bed. I remember being very impressed by how far it went, hahaha. At this point, the doctor had not yet arrived and the nurses were preparing to do their first nurse-only delivery. But the doctor came in on the next push and I remember him saying that this baby was going to be born really soon. That gave me a lot of hope that this part wasn't going to take two hours and that if I pushed hard, it would all be over soon. I could see the baby's head crowning, and they told me to just make little grunts instead of pushing. Hardest thing ever! But with the next contraction the head was born and I had to wait while they checked for the cord and then I finally pushed that baby all the way out! The relief was incredible! They plopped her right on my belly and I felt so triumphant. I kept telling them all, "I did it! I did it! I never have to do that again!" The nurses congratulated me and I was beaming. "It's a girl!" they told me, which was a shock as I was convinced I was having a boy. She had a great cry, right from the start, so they never had to take her away from me, like they had to with Kesten when he was born. We just snuggled happily while everything else was happening around us, like the delivery of the placenta. The pushing was only 9 minutes, compared to two hours last time and I never tore at all. What a great feeling it was to have it all over and done with. I was in labour for 2 hours and 49 minutes in total and the baby was born within one hour of us arriving in Vanderhoof, so it was a good thing we didn't try to drive all the way to Prince George. I'm a little sad I didn't get to deliver with my midwife again, but it was still a great experience, although way more intense and painful than I expected it to be.
And since this has taken me a couple days to write, our baby girl, Cedar is now 3 days old and we had a great night last night, as she slept in her cradle really well! Yay Cedar! There is an end in sight to the sleep deprivation!