Q’s Birth Story
At approximately 2am on November 6, 2008 I started to get back pain that woke me up. I was uncomfortable lying in bed so I went to the couch to try and get back to sleep. The couch was more comfortable because I could sit slightly upright, so I stayed there until my husband Al woke up to go to work and wondered where I had gone. When he found me on the couch, I told him that I thought I was in early labour because my back was really uncomfortable. He said he would stay home from work but I told him I was fine and to go.
After Al went to work I pretty much tried to relax and rest for the day, watching tv or closing my eyes for a bit of a rest. I continued to have back pain and the odd tensing contraction but nothing to uncomfortable. At around 2 in the afternoon Al called to see how I was doing and asked if I was hungry because he was going to go pick up lunch, I said yes. He brought me Wendy’s (yes, lunch of champions lol) and asked if I was sure it was ok if he left, I said yes it was fine. He left and before I started my lunch, I got up to go to the washroom and luckily it was when I was getting up from the toilet that my water broke.
After my water broke I ate my lunch and continued to try and rest, but the back pains were getting a little more painful. Hazel (my mother in law), Chaara (my sister in law/doula), Keith (brother) and Nomi (niece) came over as Al came home from work and the next 12 hours after that become a blur of agonizing back pain that didn’t act anything like I had read about or been told about contractions. It was continual pain, not a contraction for a minute and then a three minute break or anything, it was just constant back pain. I laid on the floor, I laid in the bed, I tried to stand up while leaning on the counter or on Al or on Chaara. Hazel rubbed my back, I tried going in the tub (our tub was not deep enough at all), I tried letting the shower run over me and Chaara tried many of the doula techniques she had learned – nothing could alleviate any bit of the pain in my back. My midwife Jeanesse came to check me at around midnight and I was only 1 cm which was so frustrating and when she came back in the early morning I was only at 1-2 cm then. We decided since I was having such bad back pain that I should head to the hospital so I could get into one of their deep tubs.
The ride to the hospital while short was horrible, I couldn’t get comfortable and the start and stop of the car didn’t make the back pain any better. I checked into the hospital around 6am and got into the tub, which was sooo much better, because it took the pressure off my back. At this point my midwives Jeanesse and Susan switched. After a couple of hours in the tub, Susan checked me again and I was only 3-4 cm. She said that I wasn’t progressing and that I should get out of the tub and start walking around to speed things up. So I did, walked around the labour and delivery ward for an hour and half, when she checked me again I was 6 cm. Again she said I wasn’t progressing fast enough and that I should be put on pitocin to speed things up, and since I was already in a lot of pain, it would be a good idea to get an epidural.
Getting the epidural was just plain stupid. The anaesthesiologist was just plain rude, saying I was chubby but it was do-able, and when the resident couldn’t get the needle in my back, he came along and just shoved the needle along my spine until he could get it in. Chaara was a great support during this, getting me to focus on breathing through the pain.
Once the epidural was done, I rested in bed for about 4 hours. They checked me periodically and I seemed to be moving along although at a slow pace. Finally at around 6:30-7pm they said I was fully dilated, although I had a cervical lip. So I was ready to start pushing, but because my contractions were all over the place without proper intervals or strength and I had an epidural, I had to rely on watching the monitor to know when to push. I pushed hard for 3 hours, while my midwife held the cervical lip back. I pushed and pushed and the baby didn’t budge. After 2 hours of pushing the doctor on call said we may have to opt for a c-section but I asked for one more hour to try because I didn’t want a c-section, she gave me one more hour and after pushing hard again the baby didn’t budge. At that point the doctor on call came back and gave me 2 options. Go into the operating room and attempt a high forceps delivery, although there was no guarantee this would work, or go in for a c-section. So I opted for the c-section.
At this point things went from bad to worse. The nurse turned off the epidural and I proceeded to wait for an hour while they prepped the OR while I was feeling so much pressure I couldn’t keep still. Finally when the OR was ready I was wheeled in, but I was so swollen from pushing for so long that I couldn’t even lay down on the operating table properly. They got the epidural going again, prepped me, brought Al in and started. I could feel pain! Not the pressure they said I should feel but pain and they realized I had a patchy epidural! At this point things went very quickly, I felt a lot of pushing and tugging, I was freezing cold and my teeth were chattering and then I heard someone say, “You were wrong, it’s a boy!” My son was born at 11:51pm on Friday November 7th, 2008, after an emergency c-section, 3 hours of pushing and 46 hours of labour. At this point the new anaesthesiologist asked if I wanted more for the pain and I said let me kiss my son and my husband and then ok. So Al brought my son over and I looked at him, kissed him on the forehead, gave Al a kiss and that was all I remember because I was put under.
When I woke up 2 hours later in a recovery room, I could barely talk because I had been intubated when I was put under. All I wanted to do was see Al and my son, but they would only let Al come see me. I remember giving him a hug and asking how the baby was etc but I was so groggy I don’t remember much. After he left the doctor came in to explain to me how everything went.
I had had an emergency transverse c-section that had complications. I had lost a lot of blood because the incision had torn on my right side all the way down to my cervix and the back of my uterus had buckled forward giving the impression that it was the top of my uterus. They had to take my uterus out of my stomach to repair it after stitching it together the first time the wrong way. The doctor hinted that I almost had a hysterectomy, which was terrifying for me to think of.
Once I was moved from recovery into my room I was finally able to hold my son and try nursing him at about 2:30am. After that I was on so much morphine that I all I can say is people came to visit, I nursed and held my son and was in pain. We stayed in the hospital for a week because my son had bad jaundice mostly due in part to the huge bruise on his head from where he was stuck in labour.
Nova’s Birth Story
On Saturday, July 30 at about four or five in the evening I started to have cramps and thought this might be the beginning of baby’s arrival considering that he or she was overdue by 5 days at that point. We decided to go to bed early that night because we thought if baby was going to be coming the next day it would be good to get a lot of rest. However when we woke up Sunday morning I was still getting the same kind of cramping I was getting the night before. We decided it would be best just to go about our daily activities and get a few things done. So we headed off to the mall to get a few things and let Quentin play and just kind of had a day as a family.
That night as Al was getting Quentin ready for bed, I went to the washroom and noticed that I lost some of my mucous plug, so I decided that I should give my mom and my sister in law and doula Chaara a call to give them a head’s up that they might be getting a phone call in the middle of the night. Chaara didn’t answer the phone but I figured she would call me back based on call display. About an hour later when Chaara called me back I had just been to the washroom again and at that point had lost the rest of my mucous plug so Chaara suggested that Al and I get some rest as things might be progressing fairly soon.
Al and I headed to bed at around 11:30 pm but our stupid neighbours decided to play awful country music really loudly so neither one of us could sleep. Al decided that he would get up to play Grand Turismo on PlayStation, while I decided that I would just get up and lay on the couch next to him as he played. And at that point I think I realized that I was actually having proper contractions. So as Al played PlayStation I laid on the couch and closed my eyes and then would get up when I had a contraction. I wasn’t really timing the contractions because they didn’t seem like they were lasting that long or coming that frequently and they were actually all in my stomach compared to the back labour I had with Quentin’s birth so I wasn’t 100% sure if they were just early rumblings or something I should pay more attention to.
At about quarter to 2 in the morning Al decided he would try and get some sleep and I knew I wasn’t going to able to lay in bed since I was needing to get up every time I had a contraction, so I stayed in the living room laying on the couch and getting up when I had a contraction, again not timing them.
At 3 am after a contraction I again laid down on the couch, but this time I must have fallen asleep because the next thing I knew I woke up to a brutal contraction at about 3:25 and was just confused like why was there such a gap? At this point however they were more painful and coming faster so I went and woke up Al asking for sympathy because the contractions were really hurting now and that maybe he should start timing my contractions because I felt like they were coming rather quickly. As Al timed them I threw up a couple of times and after timing them for about 15 minutes, he said they were about 45 seconds long and 1-2 minutes apart. We were both a little surprised that they were so close together.
Now 4 a.m., it was definitely time to phone my parents to get them to come out to watch Quentin, but when I called my mom she didn’t seem to believe me and told me to call my midwife and see what she thought. So we called my midwife Lindsay, and she of course agreed that my parents should come out, and that once they got there to call her back and she would meet us at the hospital, unless I felt pressure sooner, then I was to call her back. So we called my parents back and told them to get going and pick up Chaara.
As the next hour went by, and my contractions were coming hard and fast, I was wondering where my parents were. And by 5 a.m. I was cursing them for not being here yet. At 5:15 a.m., as another contraction hit, I felt pressure and was like oh no Al call Lindsay back tell her I feel pressure! As he called her I went to the washroom because I felt like I needed to use the washroom and the pressure became more intense. Lindsay said the second my parents got there to head to the hospital and she would meet us there. Then 5 minutes later my parents and Chaara finally showed up. Chaara supported me as I stood and went to the sink and as the next contraction came I felt the need to squat and push. Al had gone downstairs to put my hospital bag in the car and get it ready to go, and when he returned, Chaara was like ok I don’t think we are going to the hospital. So Al called Lindsay again to say that Chaara didn’t think that we were going to make it to the hospital and that she should come here instead. Given my previous special scar and my blood disorder, Lindsay told Al to call 911 to get an ambulance here just in case I needed to be transported to the hospital and she would get here as soon as possible. She also told Al to get me to lie down to which I was like no way there is no way I am laying down!
When the paramedics got there, they also insisted I lay down and again I said no way, so instead they helped me out of the washroom, placed a whole bunch of towels on the floor and I got on all fours in the hallway. As I laboured in the hallway, I kept thinking to myself between contractions, holy am I actually going to have a home birth? I always wanted one but didn’t think I could have one. As the paramedics were almost about to check me at about 5:45 a.m., my midwife Lindsay showed up, much to my relief and the relief of the paramedics! So as they stepped back, Lindsay said she was going to check me to see if we were going to be able to go to the hospital or if we were staying here and I thought to myself, we are staying here!! The second she checked me she said ok we are staying here – much to my relief!
With sweat pouring off me and on all fours, I gave in to my body and pushed when I had a contraction and breathed through the pain. Lindsay asked if Quentin had hair when he was born and I said yes! Then she said I could reach down and touch the top of my baby’s head and I did. When I pushed again I really felt the baby’s head move and at that point all I could do was think out out out and pushed, only to be reminded to use little pushes. After 3 good pushes, Lindsay said the head was out and then the next thing I knew my baby was on the towels beneath me. I looked down to see this little birth covered being and got to discover that I had a girl!!! Towels were put around her and Chaara helped put her in my arms and I knelt there in my hallway with my baby girl in arms and just kept saying I did it, I can’t believe I did it, I really did it!
Start to finish I was in labour for about 7 hours, I had my vbac completely natural the way I wanted and even got to do it at home! The funny thing: Quentin slept through the whole thing and I was in the hallway right outside his room!