Tuesday, July 4, 2017

:Henry's Birth Story:

Third baby= wild card or so they told me! This is the story of our 3rd child's birth. It's a long one because I like to remember every detail.

My due date was May 22nd, which was also Victoria Day, a stat holiday and therefore long weekend.


The day came and went, with no signs of impending labour. We didn't have many plans for the weekend since we knew baby could come anytime. On the 22nd, my in-laws came over to help do some yard work and gardening, and entertain the older two while I relaxed. I wasn't stressed about being overdue since Audrey was born 5 days past her due date, I wasn't too uncomfortable and really I was just glad that I didn't have a scheduled csection due to breech baby. Baby was going to come when he/she was ready.

That night, I had some false labour. There wasn't any consistency to the contractions and they weren't increasing in intensity. They were uncomfortable and I couldn't sleep but they slowed down when I got up around 2am for some food. Finally at 4am I took half a gravol so that I could fall asleep, just in case this actually was early labour.

I slept in on the 23rd. The kids went to the dayhome. I didn't feel well for a lot of the day- nauseous but no headache. I remembered that I forgot to take my diclectin the night before so probably it was some morning sickness. Overdue and still having morning sickness...

I went to my chiro appointment for an adjustment. She mentioned checking my blood pressure and I assured her I had a midwife appointment in the morning but I thought my nausea was just from missing my anti-nausea pill. I did feel better after the adjustment and a nap.

On the 24th, now 2 days overdue, I woke up feeling great. I had a good sleep and no more nausea. I got ready and went to my midwife appointment. I was going to take it easy that day and catch up on some paperwork, organize my office and some general nesting at home. At my appointment, my midwife Elise said my blood pressure was quite high-- 160/88. Definitely the highest it's ever been. She said to wait 20 minutes and she would test again-- make sure it wasn't just a one-off. My other midwife, Nicola came over in the waiting room and gave me a hug and shook her finger at me. (My blood pressure also went high at the very end with Leo.)

They tested it again 20 minutes later-- still high. They told me to meet my other midwife, Jeannette, who was on call, at the hospital so they could do blood work and go from there. Nicola came back into the room, gave me a hug and said "you are going to have a baby today!" I told her no, maybe in the next couple of days! I asked them if I should go back home and get my hospital bag and the car seat but they said nothing was going to happen right away so just make my way to the hospital.

I messaged Jarrett that I was going to get some blood work done because my blood pressure was high and if he could take Audrey to school. I did not tell him I was going to the hospital for this...

Around 11:15am, I arrived at Rockyview Hospital and checked in to maternity triage. I waited for my midwife to arrive. They ran blood work and urine to make sure everything else was normal. They monitored baby, who was fine.



After Jarrett dropped Audrey off at school he came to the hospital. We had to wait awhile for the results of the bloodwork to come back so we just hung out in our room and had some lunch.



Around 3pm, the OB resident finally met with us-- she ended up being the same OB resident that attended our ECV exactly 3 weeks prior and she recognized us. My bloodwork and urine all came back clear, but my blood pressure was still hovering around 160 so we discussed our options.

They weren't open to just giving me medication to bring my blood pressure down since I was already full term (overdue in fact), baby was small but a good size and since high blood pressure is the start of pre-eclampsia, they felt the risks of baby staying in longer waiting to go into labour on my own outweighed induction risks.

My midwife had checked me and I was only 1cm dilated and very posterior. So they wouldn't be able to just break my water to induce labour. The OB resident checked and said she would be able to induce with a foley catheter. They insert a balloon on the other side of your cervix, fill it with water and it puts pressure on your cervix, mimicking a baby's head, and encourages dilation. They did not want to induce right away with drugs due to my prior csection. I was ok with this plan since I've heard medical inductions are extremely painful since the hard contractions start right away. They also recommended getting an epidural once in active labour since that would help bring down my blood pressure. I told them we would wait and see once we got to that point.

Unfortunately, an induction meant a transfer of care to the OBs. My midwives were no longer my primary caregivers for my labour and delivery. I was now three for three for transfer of care for my deliveries.  I am pretty sad about that but obviously it was the right thing to do and my midwife assured me she would come back for the delivery and post-delivery care of the baby.

I did have awesome nurses in triage-- one of which was also at the ECV and is the daughter of my in-laws' neighbours in Phoenix.

Hubby had to leave to go pick up Audrey from school and figure out the childcare logistics since this was happening.

At 4pm, the OB resident inserted the balloon. That wasn't the most enjoyable experience but better than the ECV procedure! Took about 5 minutes. Then they moved me to a room in antepartum to wait for active labour to start. They checked my blood pressure right before moving me over and it was down to 140. When they checked again in antepartum about 30 minutes later-- it was 135. Getting lower so I hoped the induction wasn't for nothing.

It was so weird to be at the hospital at this point-- waiting for labour to begin. There were a few labouring women in the ward that were overflow from Labour & Delivery because it was so busy. Hearing labouring women screaming around you when you aren't even in labour yet (or even if you are) isn't the most reassuring sound and I've had babies before!

We spent the first few hours wandering around the mostly empty ward. I was getting some cramping and light contractions but nothing too bad. I had some dinner. It was pretty appetizing!

Jarrett said he wanted to discuss boy names again since he wasn't sure he liked our one and only name choice for a boy! I told him to give me some options and we could talk about it. He couldn't come up with anything worth considering. In the back of my mind I knew if we had a boy we would go with our originally planned name. I was going to pull the "I just gave birth" card.

Around 9:30pm, Jarrett went home to get some rest since it was going to be a long night/day. I hoped I would get some rest too. I tried to sleep but I couldn't. The contractions were getting closer together and starting to be more painful. Soon laying in bed was no longer the best way to get through each contraction so I sat on the fitball and tried laying my head on the bed in between contractions to get some rest. Not quite as comfortable as at home.

I started to get discouraged at this point because the contractions were getting closer together-- every 1-3 minutes,  lasting around 30-45 seconds but the balloon hadn't fallen out yet. I was doubting my ability to do this and sad that I was all alone.

Finally at 12:30am, I called Jarrett to come back to the hospital. Once he arrived we went over to the shared showers and hoped that would give some pain relief and help me cope since the contractions were getting more painful, more frequent and longer each time.

The shower helped a bit but I was having a really hard time focusing and getting through each contraction. Being in the hospital the entire time was really hard on me mentally since I didn't have the comforts of home. I really felt like I was doing all this work and not progressing since the balloon was supposed to fall out at 3-4cm.

A nurse that was covering my nurse while she was on break came in and wanted me to go back to my room for monitoring and to check my blood pressure. Jarrett told her that we wanted to stay in the shower since I was coping better there. She checked the baby with the doppler and then left. She didn't have great bedside manner.

Our nurse came back a bit later and said we should go back to the room to get my IV started, since I was GBS+. She said she was going to call the OB resident to check me since I was contracting a lot and should be progressing given the intensity and length of contractions.

As it was with my labour with Audrey, I found laying in bed very unbearable when having contractions so I asked them if I could stay on the fitball while they monitored the baby and put in my IV. At first they were hesitant but after a couple more intense back to back contractions they said they would try.

There usually isn't an issue finding a vein for blood or an IV but there was that night. It took two nurses and two pokes to get an IV in. All the while I'm contracting and really out of it so I just remember being annoyed with them but Jarrett said they were pretty amazing. He said the 2nd nurse who finally got the IV in was practically laying on the ground to get it in.

Funny enough, after they got the IV in and had monitored us for a bit (my BP was back to lower numbers), I had a break in contractions so I laid in the bed. The OB resident showed up at 2:45am and I nicknamed him in my head "Dr. Man-bun". He was younger, had a scruffy/scraggly/sparse facial hair, tattoos on his arm and a man-bun. He was super upbeat and had great bedside manner.

He told me he was going to give the foley catheter an "aggressive" tug to see what would happen. Sure enough it came out relatively easily. He checked me and said I was 5cm dilated. Hurray!! Finally some progress after 11 hours! He said they could move me over to Labour & Delivery now and get me something to make me more comfortable.

Jarrett paged the midwife Jeannette to tell her I was now in active labour and she said she was on her way. No sooner did he do that then my water broke on it's own! It was such a bizarre feeling-- huge gush and warm! My water was broken with Audrey but it felt nothing like this! I started to feel better mentally because I was now in active labour and my water broke on it's own so I really felt like my body was ready to do this. The plan had been to break my water once I went over to L&D after the catheter fell out so I felt ahead of the game now.

They wheeled me over to L&D-- in a wheel chair that I swear had a flat tire! It was so bumpy! They took me to room #3 which I thought was fitting given that this is baby #3.

The L&D room was a lot more accommodating than the antepartum rooms. It was much bigger, there was an actual recliner for the Dad's and the shower was in the room instead of down and across the hall. Once they got me there, they hooked me up for continuous monitoring of the baby (recommendation/requirement for a VBAC trial of labour as they call it). It was kind of annoying to have an IV and extra straps around my belly, especially since the intense contractions came back with full force.

My midwife came back, as a support person. It was the nurses that checked me and did everything which was a lot different from my first labour. It was really busy and disruptive (although I understand the reasoning for it), which made it hard for me to really focus on each contraction. I tried the fitball again and then the shower but the pain was so hard to get through each time.

Every few contractions I would have a really tough one and tell Jarrett I think I wanted an epidural. The contractions were like nothing I ever felt before with my first labour. I almost ripped Jarrett's shirt off at one point and he had some bruises on his shoulders from me holding/pushing on him. I also started to feel this intense pressure in my bum which I hoped meant I was getting closer to fully dilated and pushing. The nurse checked me and said I was still 5cm-- it was probably around 4:30am. I almost punched her...

I started to feel super nauseous and thought I was going to puke but never actually did. The bum pressure seemed to get worse with each contraction-- I actually pushed a few times which I wasn't clear if I was supposed to or not. Another 15 minutes passed, with every contraction saying I wanted to epidural. The nurse suggested checking me again in case I was further along and maybe wouldn't want the epidural... she said I was 6cm. I told her again I wanted the damn epidural!

The anesthesiologist came in. She started explaining the procedure to me and all the potential risk/side effects. I interrupted her and told her I just wanted the epidural! Thankfully I didn't have a contraction until the end of her putting it in. I hoped for instant relief but it takes about 15 minutes to work so I had a couple more intense contractions before I felt way more comfortable.

I laid down to get some rest, and so did Jarrett on the recliner. It was about 5am. My midwife left-- I thought she was going home but she went to a room nearby to rest. I still felt the pressure of the contractions and the bum pressure but no pain. I think I sleep for a bit. Jarrett definitely did because he was snoring... ;)

Around 6:45am, after resting for almost 2 hours, I started to feel more pressure again and I had to focus through the contractions. I asked the nurse to check me (or maybe Jarrett did?). She checked and sure enough I was 10cm! The nurse said we could get ready to start pushing now.

We called our midwife back. The OB came in-- she was so nice. She said she had been following me all night. She looks at me and said baby was right there. Jeannette arrives back. She and the OB start chatting and the OB asks her if she wants to catch the baby, despite the transfer of care. I am happy that my midwife can have an active part in the delivery-- for once!

I start pushing with each contraction. The nurses, doctor and midwife are super helpful in directing and encouraging me. Even with the epidural I could feel the baby moving with each push. Such a bizarre feeling!

In between contractions, the OB was chatting away with us about baby names and telling us stories. It was a very calm atmosphere which was nice.

After the 3rd contraction, we are making progress. I can feel so much pressure and the head is crowning. They ask if I want to feel the head- it's so squishy!! Jarrett declines! They said baby has lots of dark hair!

Another big push and the head is out. Baby cries out. The OB says the cord is around the head tightly so she cuts the cord before the next push. Final push and baby is born! They lay him on my chest and he is crying. We didn't check for a couple minutes to see what the baby was-- I think the OB asked if she missed what the baby is. Jarrett checked and said "it's a boy!" He said he looks like a Henry, which was our original name choice.

Henry Alexander, born at 7:35am.



There were some placenta complications-- the cord pulled away from the rest of the placenta before it was delivered. They had to give me some extra drugs and antibiotics and Dr. Man-bun came back to manually remove it. Glad I had the epidural and a baby on my chest to distract me from that fun.

His cord had been cut just before he was fully born, but it was still quite long. The midwife asked Jarrett if he wanted to cut the rest of it but he said no. I guess one child was enough! I really wanted to so I did it. Slightly awkward doing it with my left hand since I was holding onto him but I'm glad I got to experience that!

The midwife student, Shannon, arrived just after Henry was born. After skin to skin for about 45 minutes, she did his assessment. He weighed 7 lbs, 2 oz which is right around where I expected him to weigh. He was 20 inches long. His assessment was perfect. He was so calm, didn't cry when he got the Vitamin K shot (while on my chest). Actually barely cried at all after he was born. He started breastfeeding right away.



Around 9am, we moved over to a postpartum room. There weren't any private rooms available but I didn't end up getting a room mate the entire time which was nice. The nurses in postpartum were so amazing. Even though Henry is my 3rd, I've forgotten a lot about newborns so they were very helpful in reassuring me that we were doing fine.




A few people have asked me how I felt about Henry's birth-- with the transfer of care, and induction. I really tried to be open minded about this birth from the beginning-- I think you have to, especially given my previous births. I really wanted a VBAC to have an easier recovery, since I have older children to care for. So despite the bumps along the way, I did get my wish and I'm thrilled for that. Our complications were pretty minor-- and Henry was perfect all through the pregnancy and in labour. I had amazing care from my midwives throughout my entire pregnancy, and through the complications. The care from the doctors and nurses from the ECV, to induction and labour and delivery were so great. They really helped make it a very positive experience.


3 comments:

  1. So happy for his safe arrival! Reading this brought back so many memories from A's labour. I am always amazed at nurses, they work their butts off and are just amazing.

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  2. Loved reading your birth story! Glad that everything worked out and you were able to have the VBAC. In terms of having a c-section vs vaginal birth, how would you compare the two?

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  3. I've actually always enjoyed reading birth stories but I REALLY enjoyed reading yours, especially being pregnant now! I have to admit, that I haven't really thought about birth at all. Because it took me so long to get pregnant, I've been a bit of a ball of anxiety my whole pregnancy just wanting to make it to the next milestone and find out baby is OK in there and thriving. So right now my entire focus is making it to my anatomy scan next Tuesday and then making it to 24 weeks for viability! Maybe then I will finally start thinking about birth?? Really, I just want a healthy and happy babe in the end. I would love to be able to have a vaginal birth, but my mom didn't dilate and needed two c-sections so I am open to having a c-section as well. Also both my best friend and SIL were SO tied to having a natural birth that they went through horrible 30+ hour labours where they didn't dilate past 5-6 cm before they finally conceded to having a c-section, and I do not want to go through that! Also my other good friend had to have a c-section after less than 3 hours of labouring because baby was breech and she recovered SO WELL. I think she's a bit of an anomaly as she was back at the gym 3 weeks after her c-section (her midwives approved it!) but it made me think if you don't go through the trauma of a long long labour and then a c-section you recover faster. I agree with Leigh's comment above, it would be awesome to read a comparison of your c-section vs. vaginal birth!

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