My daughter was due on November 29, 2015. As a nervous first time mom, I was convinced that she was going to decide to make her grand appearance earlier than expected. I had a rough pregnancy filled with morning sickness, complications and a number of unnecessary visits to the hospital with false labour…
As the days passed, it became clear that she had become quite comfortable hanging out in the womb and had no intentions of vacating her warm bubble. With that in mind, I had one simple request of my unborn daughter: please do not come during or before the Ottawa Red Blacks Grey Cup Championship game which was being played on her due date.
Sunday, November 29, 2015 started as any other Sunday. My husband made me breakfast and we did some chores around the house in preparation for the new arrival. I spent some time admiring my empty nursery, imagined what it would be like when I finally got to lay my sweet baby girl down in her crib and fielded phone calls and texts from curious folk asking if I was in labour yet.
The hours passed and I felt nothing out of the ordinary. At this point, it was a struggle to do pretty much anything. My husband and I took along walk to maybe get things moving, I took a nap (while I still could!), ate a delicious dinner. At no point in time did I get any indication that today was the day.
I settled myself on the couch with some snacks to watch the game. I was both frustrated and relived at this point as I was so incredibly uncomfortable and huge and just wanted the whole pregnancy thing to be OVER but relieved because at least I would be able to watch the BIG GAME!
After the game (which we sadly lost), I felt a weird POP in my pelvic region. I wasn’t really sure what was going on but I didn’t feel any pain or feel any fluid so I wasn’t too concerned. About an hour or two later, I felt another POP. This time, I got up and went to the washroom. As I was getting up off the toilet, an eruption of liquid started pouring out of me. I looked down and realized my water had broken and unfortunately, it was not clear as it should have been. There was meconium in the fluid, which can lead to problems later on in labour.
I called my husband and advised him that A) my water had broken and B) I needed new underwear and pants. He brought me my requested clothing and started throwing last minute items into our bags.
We made our way to the hospital and I climbed into a wheelchair. My husband pushed me to the main entrance of the hospital and the doors were locked. There was a sign indicating that we had to go to the emergency entrance. So, he pushed me halfway around the outside of the building until we got to the emergency entrance and then pushed me down what seemed like 4000 miles of hallways before we finally got to the maternity ward. I had called the hospital before arriving to advise them that I was coming in and of the possibility that there was meconium in my water so they were expecting me and had everything ready to go.
We got to the first triage room and I was told to get out of the wheelchair and into the hospital bed so that the nurse could check everything out. As soon as I stood up, it was like Niagara Falls between my legs. There was a puddle of fluid on the wheelchair, multiple puddles on the floor, my pants were soaked…even my socks and shoes got wet. Weirdest. Feeling. Ever.
After removing the clothing from the lower half of my body, I climbed into the bed. The nurse took a look at the fluid which was now collecting on a maxi pad the size of a surfboard and confirmed that yes, my beautiful little princess had in fact taken a dump inside of me. At this point I was in active labour and was not having any contractions. I knew that since there was meconium that there could be the possibility of something happening to the baby and that that meant that I was going to be induced.
I was taken to the room in which I would eventually give birth to my daughter and settled into the bed. A nurse came by to put my IV in. My vein blew. She tried again. MY vein blew. And again…and again. I had three different nurses try a total of nine times to get that IV into me. Ow.
The nurses started the Pitocin to get my body to start contracting. At this point, not much of anything was really happening. The contractions were weak and pretty spaced out. My mom, husband and I spent a while chatting with our nurse. As the contractions started to get more intense, I started to get more insistent on getting something or doing something to help with the pain. As there could have been complications during the birth because of the poop, I wasn’t allowed to move freely as I would have liked. I was confined to the bed on either my right or left side. This meant that walking, baths, birthing balls were all off limits to me. As such, the only thing to really focus on was the pain. The nurse informed me that I was not yet dilated enough for an epidural but I could try laughing gas. She brought the gas over to me. I put the mask on. I took a deeeeeep breath and immediately start vomiting. Now, vomiting is bad enough when you’re in the comforts of your own home. Vomiting during contractions when it feels like there is a demon try to tear you apart while you have an audience is horrible.
At some point during early labour, the doctor who would be delivering the baby came into the room to introduce himself. I can’t even make this up….the nerdiest looking man I have ever seen walked into the room, pushed his glasses up the bridge of his nose, opened his mouth and with his nasally voice said “So, we’re gonna have a baby”. I immediately looked at my husband with a WTF look in my eyes as I tried to avoid looking at my mom who could hardly contain her laughter behind the doctors back. Really? THIS was the person who was going to eventually be elbows deep in my hoo ha?
I spent the next little while trying to hold conversations with my mom, nurse and husband, contracting and throwing up. I tried holding the gas about 2 centimeters from my face to see if that would help…and it was! Until the nurse kept insisting that it wasn’t going to work unless I had the mask fit firmly around my mouth and nose. I kept telling her that I couldn’t because it would make me sick but she insisted. So, I put the mask firmly around my mouth and noise and promptly threw up everywhere. At this point, I was in quite a bit of pain, I threw the mask at the nurse claiming that “this sh*t doesn’t work” and telling her to get it out of there.
The labour intensified and it was finally time for the epidural. The anesthesiologist came into the room and immediately told him I loved him. He laughed but I think he probably gets that a lot. He did he thing, which really, considering I had a giant needle stuck in my back, did not hurt at all. At least not compared to what was happening to the rest of my body.
After the epidural was inserted, I lay back down and waited for the magic to happen. I waited and I waited and I waited. The contractions were coming strong and quick and they didn’t seem to be getting any less intense. The nurse checked my nether region and announced that it was almost time to push. Excuse me? I was 3cm just 45 minutes ago. The epidural hasn’t kicked in. I’m pretty sure we need to wait before we push.
The doctor was called and I was lying on my side in the bed. The contractions were coming every 30 seconds it seemed like. All of a sudden, my body took over and just started pushing. I wasn’t even in position. I told the nurse I had to push and she told me not to because the doctor wasn’t there yet. I looked at her and said I had no choice, my body was going to do it whether she wanted me to or not. She got my legs set up in the stirrups and started guiding my pushing. The doctor arrived and just as he slipped on his gown, out came my little girl in the gloved hands of a nurse! The relief of that moment is like nothing I have ever felt or expect to ever feel again.
My baby girl was placed on my chest and I lay back with a sense of relief, exhaustion, love, disbelief that I had actually done this and was now a mom and complete and utter elation. My legs were still in the stirrups at this point and there were a number of people doing…something down there as I cuddled my new baby. I didn’t find this out until later, but my husband said that as I lay there soaking in baby cuddles and relishing in the feeling of pure joy, there was an alarming amount of blood coming out of me. How this man still finds me attractive, I’ll never know.
After the baby was cleaned up, and spending some time with dad, a new doctor came in and she started pushing on my stomach. Hard. She pushed…and pushed and pushed. With the force of what I expected getting kicked by a horse would be. Haven’t I been through enough? What are you doing to me, woman? She called over the other doctor who told me that it seemed as though the placenta was not coming out. He said he was going to have to manually remove it. Manually remove something in my uterus. Manual. Uterus. Next thing I know, this guy’s elbow deep inside of my vajayjay while the other doctor is pressing on my stomach. I uttered quite a few four letter words at this point and my placenta FINALLY came out.
Next, the younger doctor positioned herself down there and started putting needles into me. COME ON PEOPLE! I just gave birth! Leave it alone! She proceeded to continue freezing the tissue to stitch up the second degree tear I was so lucky to have. As she was yanking the stitches through, I looked her dead in the eye and said “I don’t like you”.
I was taken to my maternity suite and settled in with my husband and new baby girl. It was close to lunch time and I hadn’t eaten since supper the night before, so I was practically ravenous. The orderly arrived with my lunch tray and I excitedly lift up the tray to find….A SALAD. I looked at my husband and said “A salad? A SALAD???? I just gave birth. What do they want me to do with a salad? Go get me some REAL FOOD!!” And off he scurried to get me something real to eat as I sat back and looked in awe at the beautiful baby girl asleep in her bed trying to believe that this perfect being was ours to love forever.