Our little boy was born at 3:17 on December 1st. He weighed 8 lb 4 oz. We are so happy to finally be able to hold him and be with him – it’s such an indescribable feeling. We are so pleased with the way the birth went…unexpected events and all…and we attribute such a successful day from the preparation that we had beforehand.
Our so-called “due date” was November 28th and that day came and went and I still hadn’t felt any practice labour contractions or anything else that would indicate labour beginning. My midwife said that I was 1 cm dilated and about 40% effaced a couple of weeks earlier but had explained that our little one could still come at any time.
On the 29th of November I had some lower abdominal cramping in the early afternoon. Silly me – I told Mary that I thought maybe I had food poisoning or something! I had expected the contractions or surges to be felt all over my belly and since I only had an intermittent tightness in my very lower abdomen I assumed it was my GI tract.
That night the surges were coming every 5 minutes or so for about 15-20 seconds. I wasn’t able to sleep so I took some Gravol around midnight to try and get some rest. I still wasn’t able to sleep with the Gravol until about 4 am when the surges stopped altogether.
When I woke up around noon on the 30th (please – I’m pregnant! I can sleep as long as I want!!) the surges had started again but very random and intermittently. I went about my day as usual. I even drove out to Etobicoke by myself to do some quick shopping. That made Mary pretty nervous and in hindsight may have been an unnecessary venture. It made sense at the time though. Mary spent most of the afternoon cleaning the house furiously and I really didn’t feel like cleaning…
That evening my mother came over for dinner and I was having surges probably every 4-5 minutes just like the evening before. These may have been a little more intense because I found them a little harder to ignore. But still manageable and I certainly didn’t feel like I was “labouring”.
After our roast beef dinner complete with potatoes, dessert etc. my mom left and we called the midwife just to let her know what was going on. She asked about passing the uterine seal, birth show, how long the contractions lasted etc. I hadn’t had any of the above and since the contractions weren’t lasting very long neither of us seemed to think the baby was coming anytime real soon. My guess was that maybe the following night…but then, what did I know?
Mary and I went over to a neighbour’s and watched a movie. I was starting to get somewhat uncomfortable. During surges I found if I swayed a bit or walked around it seemed a little easier.
Then at 10 pm I had a surge that seemed intense and I turned to Mary and said I wanted to go home. For me that’s when my labour started. I know different people time their labour from different moments but for me that was when I stopped being distracted from the surges by other things around me.
I went home and had a nice hot bath – it felt so relaxing! I had a cool washcloth for my head and a hot washcloth for my belly. Mary came in after a while and read from our HypnoBirthing book to help me relax. I got so relaxed that I told Mary that I thought the contractions were slowing down again like the night before. I took some gravol when I got out of the tub around 11 hoping to get some sleep. You see – we still weren’t really thinking that the baby was coming soon!
When I got into bed Mary kept reading to me but I found that it was much harder to relax. I believe it’s because I kept changing positions. I found I was fine standing with our birthing ball on the bed and me leaning on it. But my legs would get tired and when I moved to a more supported position it was difficult to stay relaxed.
Incidentally – we had just inflated our birth ball earlier that day – good thing too because I used it all night! Mary and I and the baby laboured in the bedroom for the next couple of hours. Mary read to me and timed my surges, I concentrated on deep breathing to enhance the surges and the baby just behaved perfectly.
At about 2 in the morning my surges were less than 4 minutes apart but still lasting 30 seconds or less. I got it in my head that I needed a shower. I had thrown up once and was feeling sweaty. I had a quick shower and when I came out I passed my uterine seal and had some birth show. I remember that it was 11 minutes after 2.
We went back to the bedroom and discussed calling the midwife. We knew that my surges weren’t a minute long yet and but they had been less than 4 minutes apart for more than an hour. Mary suggested we wait a bit when I had a particularly strong surge that I wasn’t prepared for. I think it scared me that my body was acting so powerfully and I couldn’t control it.
After that surge Mary said she would call our midwife and I sort of zoned out. I went into the bathroom – I felt like I had to have a bowel movement. The odd thing was that I didn’t tell Mary that’s why I went to the bathroom. I thought I did but well…what can I say?
I stayed in the bathroom while we waited for the midwife and it was in there that labour became really difficult. In hindsight it was a pretty textbook case of transition or near completion of labour. I told Mary that I couldn’t do it anymore, I wanted to go the hospital, something wasn’t right. It was the most difficult part for the two of us. I think because we both still believed I had hours and hours of labour left that we didn’t know what to do.
While in the bathroom my membranes released. Mary was speaking with our midwife who had just arrived and didn’t notice my membranes releasing. Like the impending bowel movement I thought I was having I didn’t tell her about the membranes releasing either!
Our midwife Marlene was fantastic. She came into the bathroom and sat with me during a surge. She was so calm that it helped Mary and I to stay calm as well. After that surge I told her I had to have a bowel movement and she said that I had better come into the bedroom so she could check me.
I remember that it didn’t really make sense to me. Wouldn’t it be better to have my BM in the bathroom? But into the bedroom I went and she took a very quick look and said, “Sarah! The baby’s right here!” I didn’t say anything as she quickly started to set up her equipment. It was an odd feeling. I just watched her get her things together. I think maybe I didn’t really believe her. She asked me if I understood what she was saying and I said yes but it hadn’t really sunk in.
While she was setting up she told me that I could push if I had to but if I could wait 5 minutes that might be better. I still didn’t say anything because I still hadn’t really felt any urge to push. For me the urge to move my bowels wasn’t really an urge to push.
So with baby coming Mary and I still hadn’t put plastic on the bed. We had completely forgotten to take out my clitoral hood piercing (as my midwife had advised) , we hadn’t called any of our friends or family who were wanting to attend the birth, and we hadn’t done any of the “projects” we had planned for the labour. We had so many plans that went completely out the window. And it still ended up being a perfect birth. Just Mary and me, and Marlene to receive our baby. We wouldn’t have changed a thing! Well – maybe putting some plastic on the bed…
Three surges later, Wilson was in my arms and I have never felt so powerful, helpless, and happy all at once. Marlene had meant to give me some pitocin after the birth because labour went so fast and she was worried about bleeding but she never ended up giving it to me because I bled so little. My perineum didn’t tear at all, my piercing was still intact, the placenta was delivered moments later, and Mary cut the cord.
Then we checked – we had a boy!!
After that everything was just bliss. So nice to be at home, so nice to be in our bed. Marlene’s backup midwife arrived and helped me with our first feeding. Little Wilson latched on like a champ and really hasn’t stopped feeding since. Both myself and Wilson were doing great. We declined the eye antibiotics and vitamin K injection (oral vit. K was given to him later in the day) and we just sat and held our baby.
We’re still just sitting and holding him. All three of us are just so happy!!
Thanks again for helping Mary and I prepare for such a special event.
Mary, Sarah, and Wilson