Tuesday, October 28, 2008

My Labour Story

Okay... so here it is, my account of labour and E's birth!
You may want to grab a coffee and a donut... its a bit of a long account!

E was born on Sunday, October 5th at 10:52PM, but it was a definite 24 to 36 hours of pain and agony excitement that I had to endure before he actually arrived.

A few days leading into the Saturday night, I had sporadic contractions (and mild in comparison of what was to come...), I knew something was happening but its funny how I really wasn't convinced it was anything major until I actually was at the hospital.

On Saturday afternoon I had made plans with some friends (shout out to Clapper & Boyder) to spend the afternoon shopping and the evening chilling out with them while PC was off to Winchester to referee hockey. I would say we were spending quality time together, but it was more like they were babysitting me, so PC could have some peace of mind while reffing.

As a precaution, when PC and I left our house on Saturday, I put my bag for the hospital in the car (just in case), but fully intended I would sleep in my own bed that night.

The afternoon was okay... I went shopping with the girls, to Pier 1, Home Sense, etc... and during our outing I was working through some contractions in the stores. We ended up going to Lonestar for dinner, and the contractions were still present (which sucked because it ruined my appetite for fajitas). By the time dinner was over and we were back at Clapper's house... I would say the contractions were pretty steady, to the point where the girls and I started timing them... every 12 minutes, every 10 minutes, every 8 minutes.

We spent the evening hanging up some stuff on the walls at Clapper's house. I was in the game every 6 minutes, then would feel a contraction coming on, take a time-out, and then resume my duties of holding the level or screwing in a screw, it was quite humorous ... looking back on it.

By about 11 pm... I was upstairs on the bed at Clapper's and really doing whatever I could mentally to get through each contraction. I think PC called somewhere around 11:30, and Clapper basically told him to 'get here' ... while Boyder and I talked about whether or not to go to the hospital.

I decided that when PC came to pick me up, we would stop at the hospital to see what they had to say... I thought it would be easier to stop in and be sent home, then to drive all the way home only to have to come back in a few hours if the labour intensified.

So... PC drove like a mad-man to get to Clapper's, picked me up about midnight-ish - and then drove like a mad-man to the hospital. The contractions were about every 4 or 5 minutes. To my surprise, the nurse at triage gave us a bed immediately and checked me out - no waiting whatsoever. She determined that my contractions were about every 3 to 4 minutes, and that I was 4cms dilated.

At that point, I think I let out a 'holy shit'! 4 cms... I was thinking I would be 1 cm, not 4. 4 is almost half way to 10, I was ALMOST half way to pushing. The nurse offered to give me a shot for the pain, and for a while I hesitated thinking I didn't need it as I was working through each contraction, but then she told me it might let me rest a bit, so I gladly took it and it helped with the pain and calmed me a bit too.

She checked me again in an hour and I was 4.5 cms ... she told me to get some rest if I could and at that point, I sent PC home to change (out of his dress clothes), make some phone calls, and retrieve the baby's bag that was still at the house. The OB on call that night saw us, and told us that I wasn't going to be sent home, they would admit me when I wanted to get the epidural.

PC left for home and returned, while I rested the entire time, still feeling the contractions but not really any pain. The nurse instructed us to walk the halls for an hour and then she would reassess me. We did so, but I was still 4.5 cms and the labour had slowed considerably.

By 8 am Sunday morning they gave us a room, but my contractions were back to being sporadic and not all that intense. I went in the tub for a few hours, laid on the bed, and walked the halls some more, but there were no real signs that the baby would be arriving anytime soon!

By 2 pm Sunday afternoon, they decided to break my water to speed things up, ... and WOW, did it ever! The contractions came back fast and furious, and double the pain. I went from being in a zen state of mind, to I WANT TO DIE, HOLY SHIT, GIVE ME A GUN. My in laws showed up around 3 pm and probably saw me in my finest form... but at that point it didn't matter - all I wanted was for SOMEONE, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, GIVE ME AN EPIDURAL.

The nurse I had in the afternoon was not in favour of giving me the epidural, until I showed I was in active labour again - I don't know how she could tell that as she was NEVER in the room with me (although she was very nice). By 3:30 PM, my luck had changed as my good friend, Sophie Savage 9 (SS9), surprised me by coming in on her day off to work the evening shift so could be right by my side to delivery Baby Coleman. I was ecstatic to see her, although I am not sure my faced showed that emotion! She arrived on the scene and immediately step things into high gear, she arranged for the epidural at lightning speed and within an hour of her arrival, I was on cloud 9!

The epidural was a quick and painless process... it took about 5 minutes to administer, and another 5 to kick in. After that, it seemed like I was on a totally different planet, a much better one than the one I just came from!

It was kind of a blessing that my labour progressed (or didn't progress) the way it did, as it allowed my parents to make the 8 hour trip from the North... and arrive in enough time to share in the arrival of their first grandson.

After I received the epidural, things progressed rather nicely... I went from 4 cms, to 5cms, to 7cms, then to 10cms by 7pm. At 8pm, SS9 cleared the room of visitors... and PC and my Mom stayed behind as the pushing was about to begin.

I pushed for over 2 hours... in the beginning it was going really good, SS9, PC, and my Mom were very encouraging and when they told me they could see the head and that the baby had hair, I was thinking it wasn't going to be very long before I could meet the baby.

However... his head was turned and kept turning, he wouldn't keep his chin tucked in, so I pushed and pushed and pushed, and well everyone commented 'your doing good... good job', no progress was really being made. Just after 10PM, SS9 got the doctor to come in as she said the we would need some assistance to get the baby out. I was near exhaustion at that point and was really willing to do anything.

When the doctor arrived on the scene, she could see that the baby's head needed to be turned. When she started to explain to me what her best advice was, I thought I was heading for a c-section, but she wasn't thinking that at all. She said I could still deliver vaginally with the assistance of FORCEPS and an EPISIOTOMY.

I didn't have a strict birth plan going in, but in my head the last two things I wanted to happen where the use of forceps and to be cut. However, at that point... after 2 hours of pushing, I really just wanted the baby out... and the labour over with, so without much hesitation I agreed with the doctor, and all of the nodding heads in the room, and the doctor went to work.

I really don't remember feeling PAIN per say... but I do know that the doctor had to use some force, and the baby didn't come out easily. By the look on my Mom's face... it was not pretty what the doctor was doing. I could hear the forceps being used and between the tugging and pulling, I became pretty upset... thinking to myself: GOD, PLEASE HELP ME.

But after a few minutes of sheer terror, I heard a cry and before I knew it SS9 was laying Little E on my chest, while PC was announcing 'ITS A BOY Sars, A BABY BOY'!

I couldn't really process seeing him for the first time... I was still trying to get over what I just went through to bring him into the world... but once I got myself together, I looked at him, and looked at PC and my Mom and could see he was absolutely perfect. 10 fingers, 10 toes, and some outdoor plumbing. He had some bruising from the forceps, but aside from that... I thought he was pretty handsome!

The moments after the birth... are bit fuzzy. I do remember the doctor hammering on my stomach to deliver the placenta... and then it seemed to take her an awfully long time to stitch me up, but I will say she did an EXCELLENT job at that, as the after care at home has been relatively painless.

I can't say enough about my nurse SS9 - she is the BEST. If you have the pleasure of delivering at the Mont Fort Hospital in Ottawa, ask for Sophie! She went above and beyond the call of duty for me, and although her shift was done at 11:30 that night, she stayed with us until 1AM, ensuring that I got to breastfeed E, and that we were all safe and sound before she left. She really was fantastic... thanks Soph!

SS9 and Little E

I know a lot people say that once you see the baby, the pain and trauma of labour all go away... and while I will admit that seeing E for the first time was nothing short of amazing, I think it will be a very long time before I forget the last 5 minutes leading up to his birth.

Having said that... it is all very worth it but I think I will just enjoy him for a few years before we go planning to give him a sibling!!

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