Laurie's Birth Story

by - November 01, 2018

I was due, on paper, on December 12th of 2017. That's the date my doctor gave me, even though practically every due date predictor I used gave me anywhere from the 13th to the 16th, depending on how long I said my cycle was. Problem was, my cycle was slightly irregular so I didn't have a number, but I knew it was longer than the average 28 days.

I'm letting you know this, because it really took a toll on my anxiety as my due date approached and I was a bit petrified of being long overdue, thanks to one too many horror stories

So by the 13th of December, I was in full blown hormonal mood swings. Anxious to give birth, eager to see my child, and tired of being pregnant. That night, after being in bed for about an hour or so, I felt these pains in my lower abdomen. When I realized they were repeating every few minutes, I knew it was contractions. I don't think I ever had Braxton Hicks, but these pains were very pronounced and somewhat felt like period cramps. Somewhat. They are hard to describe.

Using the Ovia app, I began to time them. This was at 11:30 pm. I had to pee (surprise surprise!) so I moved to the bathroom and continued to time them. I knew the rule was to wait until contractions were 5 minutes apart for an hour before going to the hospital. But as I sat in the bathroom, I was timing contractions between every 5 minutes to every 3 minutes. It wasn't steady, but they were pretty darn close, sometimes under 3 minutes apart. Not to mention, it was a bit painful.

My husband came in, I told him what was going on. I had been timing for half an hour and the contractions were fairly strong. I simply made up my mind that we were going to the hospital now.

Hospital Trip 1

We quickly packed up the last minute things for our hospital bag (check out this blog post to know what to prepare for yours! It was such a load off our minds having it ready to grab and go!). We got into the car, and off we went. The contractions were strong enough now that I couldn't really talk through them much and was wincing a little in pain.

I timed them all the way to the hospital, and they continued to be irregular but still within 3-6 minutes apart. We arrived at Saint Boniface hospital where I was registered and up we went to triage. After getting admitted, they got me in a robe, down on a bed, and hooked up two monitors on me. One was to measure the baby's heart rate, the other to measure my contractions.

Something totally strange happened literally as we got to Triage. My contractions slowed down, significantly. They were now only coming in every 10 minutes or so. Still the same intensity, though.

After half an hour of monitoring they checked to see how dilated I was. Due to how fairly intense the contractions where, I figured I would at least be 3 cm dilated. My heart SANK when the nurse said with a sympathetic frown "You're only a 1-2." This meant that I was being sent home, though I had the choice to stay if I really wanted to. It was 1 in the morning, the hospital bed in triage was not comfortable. I knew I had a long road ahead of me, so we chose to go home, though I was SO disappointed. I couldn't believe how little I was dilated considering how strong the contractions were.

The nurse suggested a hot bath to ease the pain while I laboured, or to sleep. I definitely wanted to go in the bath! As soon as we got back home, that's what I did. It really did feel nice and help to cope with the pain. An hour later, I decided to try to get some proper sleep. It was 2 in the morning. I got in my jammies and crawled back into bed.

Less than 15 minutes after I heard the strangest sound. It was like a cartoon bubble going "POP!". It was loud and clear. I sat up and felt some kind of sensation inside and I knew without a doubt: my water broke.

Hospital Trip 2

When I got off the bed I felt a bit of amniotic fluid spill out so I quickly hobbled to the bathroom. Nothing else came out, so I changed - but oh too soon. A contraction came and suddenly a huge gush came out. I had to change again and this time I pulled out a heavy duty pad!

Off we were to the hospital again!

Back in triage they strapped up the same monitors and this time hooked up the IV to give me the antibiotics I needed since I tested positive for Strep B. Contractions had kicked up a notch in intensity and still not coming in like clockwork. When the nurse came to check my dilation, I was super excited to see how far along I was! She checked. Drum roll...I was STILL only a 1-2. I wanted to cry.

I'm not a math person, but I quickly interpreted the amount of pain I was in to how dilated I was, and I knew that things were going to get REALLY painful. At this point the nurse asked if I wanted some morphine to help take the edge off and get some sleep, since there was little else to do. I said "YES", and I don't regret it one bit.

Yes, I was a bit woozy. Wayne sure had fun with my sense of humor while we did some walking rounds to help labour move along. Then we were both exhausted, and I was able to fall asleep. It was the strangest sensation. I could still clearly feel the contractions, but it was somehow a bit dull. I can't really explain it, but it was great to catch some z's.

Getting My Own Room

When I woke up about 4 hours later, the nurse checked me again. Wouldn't you know it, I had gone all the way to 6 cm dilated! Even the nurse was surprised I was quite that far, we were hoping simply for a 4! Praise Jesus, hallelujah! It was time to start transferring me into a labour room!

We settled into a private room (I was so happy there were many available!), and waited to meet our new nurse, Mallory. She would be there for the rest of my labour and delivery. Hooked up and settled in, it was just time to wait for me to dilate to 10 cm. I couldn't eat anything except jello, so that was my brunch. It was now early afternoon.

After a couple of hours, the contractions kicked up yet another notch. At this point the morphine had worn off, and I was in a lot of pain when the contractions would hit. Mallory checked me and to my great disappointment, I was still at 6. I couldn't believe nothing had changed in the last few hours, yet the pain was increasing. I was starting to feel the pain radiating down my legs.

Even though every nurse I had met up until that point said that I was handling the contractions very well and breathing through them pretty well, I was getting exhausted and drained with every intense contraction. I decided it was time to get some kind of pain killer.

I had done my research and wanted to try with something on the lower end, so I asked for gas and air. They quickly set it up for me and taught me how to use it. I did not like it. It kind of made me dizzy and it didn't feel good in my stomach. After trying it for maybe half an hour, I knew it wasn't for me. Yes, it somewhat took the edge off, but I didn't like the side effects.

Getting an Epidural

I came into labour knowing I would only use drugs if I needed to, and would only resolve to using an epidural if I absolutely felt I needed to. Man oh man, did I feel like I needed it. After I agreed to get the epidural (though, again, my nurse said I was doing very well) the anesthetist came in and gave me the quick run down of all the possible side effects. It was then that I found out that getting an epidural didn't guarantee that I wouldn't be able to walk. This whole time, while I was pregnant and thinking about labour, I thought getting an epidural meant I would be confided to my bed and stuck with a catheter. But there was only a slight chance of that happening, so I gave the go-ahead. My husband, Wayne, was suddenly really nervous about me getting the epidural, but I had made up my mind.

The tricky part is staying perfectly still while they got everything they needed in your back. Not hard overall, except when a contraction hit. With Wayne in front of me, holding each other's arms, I suddenly discovered a new breathing technique that made the contractions that much easier to handle! I started blowing out air like I was blowing into an invisible tire. Not sure why it made such a difference, but I highly recommend trying it.

I thought to myself, should I just use this new technique to push through the last stage of labour? They hadn't gone too far with the epidural so I had a chance to change my mind. No, I thought. It took a lot of concentration and effort to breath through the contractions like that, and when the time came to push, I wanted to have the energy both physically and mentally to do it.

It took make 10-15 minutes and it was all done. Epidural was in, and after several minutes (maybe 20) I could feel the relief. My legs were thankful, in particular.

The Final Stretch

Something counterproductive that happened as a result of the epidural, was that my contractions slowed down a lot. Once again they were coming every 10 minutes or so. This wasn't going to help the labour so now I had to get hooked up to oxytocin, which did help get the contractions back on track.

At this point, I took a nap and slept an hour or two. My mom arrived and we chilled for maybe half an hour. The contractions were still getting stronger, and I felt like I had a poo that I was trying to hold in every time I contracted. Mallory, the nurse, said that that was perfectly normal and expected. She said to let her know if I started feeling like I needed to push it out.

Well, maybe 15 minutes after she told me that, I suddenly felt things change. I no longer wanted to hold it in. I wanted to push it out, badly! It had been about 3 hours since she last checked me, so we didn't know how far dilated I was. Mallory checked. I hit the magic number 10!

This was it! It was finally time to start pushing.

I never thought it would be so confusing and unnatural to push out a baby. The first several pushes I really didn't know what I was doing. It wasn't until it clicked that that "poo" I felt inside was actually my baby! Now that I knew where to focus my energy, I began to push better. At first I was using my leg strength, but the nurses realized that and told me not to use my legs.

That being said, several nurses besides Mallory were coming into the room during the labour and all were commenting on my 'rockstar' pushing skills.

When our baby girl started crowning, the pushing got a LOT harder! The pressure was incredibly strong. The doctor on call came in, and took a look. I pushed two more times, and tears started coming down my face, and I was getting close to screaming with my pushes. I felt exhausted. Next thing I now, I heard something exchanged between the doctor and the nurses, and I knew he was about to give me an episiotomy. No one talked to me about it. In tears I said, "I don't want to get cut." A contraction came and the doctor said to not push. It was so hard. Then suddenly the pressure released and I felt my baby slide out. 50 minutes of pushing, a quick snip, and out she came.

I couldn't believe her when I saw her. Out came the most beautiful, perfect baby I had ever seen. When they laid her on my chest, I was completely stunned and in disbelief that something so beautiful could come out of me. I was exhausted and elated. All those months of waiting and anticipating her arrival suddenly seemed like a blur that led to this moment.

It's been 3 months since that day, and we are falling in love with our Laurie more everyday! We couldn't be more grateful for this incredible gift that has forever changed our lives! Needless to say, we can't wait to have more kids one day!

Anyone have a three month old this month? What was your birth and labour like? Are you expecting soon? Honestly, since I became pregnant, I get super excited whenever I hear of someone getting pregnant! Birth is such a wonderful, commonday miracle!

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