Christina and Skip’s Story
Christina starting having what she called cramps at about 10:30pm Saturday night. For about the next hour these came sporadically, then started coming quite frequently and in bunches – often only a minute or so apart. She was very calm and we both figured she was probably just practicing, but at 1:50am we called my Mom (who came to class last week), and she came over and spent the night with us.
Christina continued having frequent surges throughout the night. At about 7:30am, they started to space themselves out to about 3-4 minutes, so we called our midwives; Esther Wilms arrived at 8:30am and examined Christina. She was 2cm dilated and “thinned out”, and Esther told us she was in early labour. Esther went home, and we called Christina’s sister Linda, the other member of our
in-the-room birth team, who arrived at about 10am. Christina was very calm, sometimes squeezing a hand or leaning forward a bit, during surges which continued to be sporadic and sometimes quite quick throughout the morning.
Up to this point we had kept a rough idea of the timing, but weren’t writing anything down. At about 1:30pm, the surges intensified, and Christina needed to lean on someone and hold a hand during each of them. I talked very quietly in her ear, reminding her to breath nicely, which helped.
We played a bit of Scrabble and then went outside for a walk, stopping periodically for surges, which settled into a three-minute pattern. We stopped by an open house across the street (very nice remodelled semi-detached on Ingham near Sparkhall for a reasonable-seeming $585k if anyone is looking); Christina ducked out for a surge and then had another right after. We went home and called Esther at 3:00pm; she came at 3:30pm and we left for Toronto East General immediately.
At the hospital, Christina got right in a warm tub and didn’t want any jets. She laboured in there for a little while until her water broke; she stayed in the tub for about an hour before feeling like she needed a change. She was about 7cm when she got out of the tub. For the next hour and a half she laboured in some moderate crouching positions, leaning on my chest and sitting on the bed in between, or getting on elbows and knees on the bed.
She was 9cm at about 6:30pm. The whole time she was breathing through the surges beautifully. We didn’t attempt any of the more complicated visualizations but during the surges, I would sometimes give her a specific body part to relax with each exhalation, which seemed to work well.
From 6:30pm to 8pm, she stayed at 9cm dilated, breathing beautifully through all the surges, and the baby’s heart rate stayed very solid, but the midwife started hinting that it might be time to try something different. Christina said she was very happy to be coached at this point, and the midwife got her to do some more traditional pushing. Christina actually had a hard time doing it at first because she was so used to breathing through and not holding her breath, but she figured it out.
For us, the traditional pushing was helpful and got things progressing again. She finished the labour that way. It helped her a lot to reach down and feel the baby’s head when it was about halfway out. As soon as Jesse was delivered they put him right on her chest – they dried him off after putting him there.
We went home at midnight and have been relaxing and enjoying our baby ever since.
And here are some dictated thoughts from Christina:
“Especially towards the end, it was very challenging to stay in my body, and took a lot of digging deep, but staying in your body is the place to be. It’s just more incredible than I can say to have the
baby come out and be there with you. In the end this is exactly what happens, you have a baby!
Having a peaceful atmosphere and supportive loving people around was crucial for me.”
The class helped us learn to relax, visualize, and connect during labour. The midwives mentioned several times that we worked really well as a team and stayed relaxed, even during the most intense parts.