If you read my last blog post, you know that on Monday September 24th (at 39 weeks and 4 days), my doctor and I made a plan to induce me the next day- due to pre-eclampsia. I was nervous to be induced because I know that it increases the risks of a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean)- like a uterine rupture. However, my OBGYN felt confident I had a good chance at a successful VBAC since I was already dilating and effacing. At my appointment on the 24th I was 3-4 cm and 80% effaced. I had my membranes swept (ouch) at 2:30pm at my appointment on the 24th and went on my way. My doctor said to wait for a call from the hospital the next morning, to tell me what time to come in for my induction.
As soon as I left her office, I called my husband at work to update him on the situation. I was nervous and could hear it in his voice that he was too. My mother in law was babysitting Bella (our two year old daughter) during my doctor’s appointment, so while she was there, I made a pit stop at Sasktel to get the new iPhone XS because I was due for an upgrade and my iPhone 7’s storage was full. Every time I tried to take a photo or video I would have to delete something to make room. I knew I would need as much storage as possible to take pictures and videos of the baby to be (priorities, right?). As I sat at the phone store, waiting for my new phone to be activated I was feeling some abdominal cramping- it felt similar to bad period cramps. I didn’t pay much attention to it because this happened last Thursday when I had my membranes swept the first time. I had got all excited, thinking I was going into labour- and then they stopped.
Wait- is this relevant? I digress.
Once I got home, I slowly started packing Bella’s overnight bag to stay at her grandparent’s house and (truth be told) to repack my hospital bag. I know, I know, I wrote a hospital bag blog post a few weeks ago, but I had a surprise overnight stay at the hospital since then and had to wash everything and then repack. As I was packing, the cramping really started to pick up and become more regular. It was at this point (around 5:00pm-6:00pm) that I realized this cramping was actually contractions. I quickly downloaded a contraction timer app and started keeping track of my contractions. At this point, they were about 7-8 minutes apart and lasted 1 minute. Every time a contraction came, I would end up squatting or on my hands and knees. During this time my husband was trying to comfort me during contractions, and then between contractions he was packing his hospital bag and trying to transfer everything from my old phone to my new phone. Talk about leaving everything to the last minute.
As we packed up the car to leave, our friend who is a plumber, arrived to do some work in our basement bathroom. My husband was supposed to help him but obviously he had other things to tend to! During the drive over to my in-laws to drop off Bella, I noticed the contractions continued but while I was sitting in the car (versus running around the house), they were less intense.
We arrived at the hospital at 9:00pm and my contractions had picked back up. They were about 5-6 minutes apart and I was 4cm dilated and 90% effaced. Due to my obstetrical history (pre-eclampsia and previous c-section), I was told I needed to be hooked up to constant fetal monitoring, which required me to lay down on a bed. Again, I felt like my contractions were less intense, possibly due to being stationary. At first I was told that I would be admitted, but then a few minutes later a different resident told me I was free to go home. I was so confused… I was in labour, I knew I was. When I questioned the resident on her reasoning, she just said I was in the early stages of labour and to come back once the contractions were more regular, like 5 minutes apart… Even though according to my timer, they already had been about 5 minutes apart.
Begrudgingly, around 10:30pm we picked up our bags and started the trek back to the parkade where we had just parked our vehicle. I was hungry so we stopped at a vending machine and got a bag of Cheezies. My contractions picked back up immediately- I think because I was up, walking around and being active again and no longer hooked up to the fetal monitor. We only made it from the 4th floor to the main floor of the hospital. I was back on my contraction timer app, my contractions were about 4 and a half minutes apart and much more intense. Whenever one would hit, I would end up keeled over and usually yelling. My husband says it is at this point he noticed a big shift in my mood… for the worse. He kept suggesting we go back up to the 4th floor, but I kept rejecting that idea because I didn’t want them to turn us away again. I told him I would let him know when I was ready to go back up. We said a little prayer together that everything would be ok, and headed back upstairs (I insisted we take the stairs).
When got back up to the 4th floor at 11:30pm, the staff said “you’re back!” I looked at them, then ran to the bathroom and threw up (I shouldn’t have ate those Cheezies) and also experienced what is referred to as the ‘bloody show’ (I’ve always thought that was the most disgusting term). I felt like saying “I told you so!” to the resident who tried sending me away. But I didn’t… at least I don’t think I did ;) They checked me again and I was now 5cm dilated, so they transferred me to the birthing unit. I was relieved that they were finally taking me seriously!
It took about 30 minutes (12:00am) to transfer us to the birthing unit, where we met our awesome nurse. Right away she asked me if I wanted an epidural and I said I didn’t want one at that point and I wasn’t sure if I would get one; that I wanted to wait and see and make the decision in the moment. The nurse told me not to try to be a hero and that it can take some time to actually get an epidural, so not to wait too long. Once we were in our room, things started to progress quickly. I was hooked up to an IV and the contractions were INTENSE. I was mostly on the bed, on my hands and knees, butt up in the air and face down. I felt like I was stuck in this position and could no longer move my body. I looked around the room and saw the birthing balls and thought- ya right?! All these ‘techniques’ I had learned to help cope with the pain, definitely could not help me at this point. I decided I wanted the epidural and I wanted it NOW. I could no longer tolerate the pain. I was told the anesthesiologist was currently busy and could be there in about 20 minutes. This made me even more mad- even though it was no one’s fault but my own for waiting. It felt like a lifetime waiting.
At this point I was like a wild animal. I was angry. Just hearing people talk was making me mad. So I decided to just plug my ears and close my eyes. Every time a contraction would come, I felt like I had no control over my body. I would scream at the top of my lungs, even though I didn’t want to. Another nurse came into the room to assist and she was telling me to stop yelling (I’m sure it was annoying everyone) because all I would do was hurt my throat. This only made me more mad- I couldn’t even form a sentence but I tried to tell her I didn’t want to yell! I just couldn’t help it. Because I was in so much pain, the nurses started to worry it was related to the risk of my previous c-section incision rupturing, so they asked me to point to where the pain was. It took everything I had to move me hand to point. The pain wasn’t on my incision though, it just felt like the worst, most intense pressure in my vagina. I thought I was going to die. And I kept saying/thinking over and over “I should have just scheduled a c-section!!”
Once they determined where the pain was, they couldn’t figure out why I was not coping well, so at 12:55am they checked me again and I was 9cm dilated. So I went from 5-9cm in less than hour. It made sense now why I was not coping well. Around this time, a whole bunch of warm fluid came out and my body just started pushing. I was kneeling on the bed at this point, and every time I had a contraction my whole body would shake and push. My husband quoted a few key phrases I liked to yell out during contractions, which were mostly “NOOOOO” “I CAN”T” AND “HELP!! SOMEONE HELP ME!” I can remember yelling for help at the top of my lungs, thinking I was dying, and looking around the room at the resident, OBGYN, and nurse and they were all just doing their thing, not batting an eye at me. It made me mad, but also made me feel like everything must be going ok since no one seemed concerned haha.
Around 1:15am the anesthesiologist FINALLY showed up. At this point I was 10 cm and pushing. He took one look at me and the state I was in and he said there was no way he could do an epidural on me. But my medical team, especially my nurse, advocated for me and stressed that I WAS NOT COPING and needed it. The doctor was very firm that I needed to be absolutely still while the needle went in or there could be serious repercussions. I did express my concern that I wouldn’t be able to hold still since my whole body was shaking uncontrollably, against my will, whenever a contraction hit. He finally agreed to try it, and a few extra nurses came in to help try to hold me still. It was nearly impossible to even get in the position for the epidural; hunched forward. When I felt a contraction coming, I let the doctor know, and he backed off until it passed. I grabbed onto (what I later learned were) my husband’s nipples and squeezed them hard. It took a few attempts but it finally worked! I was told he gave me as strong of an epidural as possible (due to the condition I was in), and I was frozen to about T2-T3.
It took about 15 minutes for the epidural to be effective, but then all of a sudden it kicked in. The mood in the room completely shifted at this point. I no longer felt angry at the world. I felt more like myself and was able to communicate and even get back to my normal, sarcastic self, joking around with the team. But… it felt like my labour had completely stopped- I was so confused. I no longer felt ANYTHING. I didn’t feel the need to push. I got super worried, because the baby was already starting to come out before the epidural. Now I was worried he would get stuck or stressed out. I expressed these concerns to the team but they assured me this was completely normal. They had to watch the monitor to tell me when a contraction was happening. At 1:35am, they started coaching me on when to push. I was pushing as hard as possible. They would count down from 10, and tell me to push as hard as I could- like I was pooping and not to breathe. They told me I was doing an excellent job and they were impressed with my strength (why thank you ;).
I was super excited when they told me they could see his head and told me to guess what color his hair was. “Dark brown obviously,” I said- just like my natural hair, my husband’s and our daughters. I was super shocked when they said he was blonde- huh?! How could that be?!
I kept pushing for the next 40 minutes, then at 2:15am on September 25th they pulled out our beautiful baby boy and set him on my chest! I COULD NOT BELIEVE IT!! I watched them pull him out, and I saw a beautiful, perfect, healthy, baby boy!!! I remember thinking he looked so big, and his hands looked big to me. He looked NOTHING like I had pictured. I thought he would look just like his big sister, but he was the complete opposite. It was such a relief to hear him cry the moment he came out. I felt like I had just been through hell and back and was presented with my prize, my trophy. I couldn’t even cry. I was just smiling. I was too happy. It was such a relief to have him in my arms after the worries and anxiety I experienced throughout the pregnancy. My husband was so happy too, it was such a special experience we just shared, and he was crying, whether he will admit it or not ;) He even cut the cord this time (last time he was too hesitant)!
I was still completely frozen and in awe of this miracle, so I barely noticed that the resident was working away down there. She was ‘massaging’ my abdomen, to try to get the placenta out (it was very high up/anterior in my uterus). I thanked her for the massage and she laughed and said I was obviously still very frozen because usually people HATE this part and find it very painful. Once she got it all out, she got to stitching me up. Couldn’t feel that either. But it seemed like she was down there forever. I thought maybe she was sewing me a new pair of panties ;) Apparently I tore in three places (second degree tear) and when I asked how many stitches I got all she said was there were “stitches on stitches.” Yikes. After that it was just my husband and I enjoying our new little baby we just welcomed into the world. The nurse asked me if I wanted to shower before going to our hospital room but I felt to shaky to walk, so we just did a quick sponge bath and about an hour after his birth we were off to postpartum.
And that’s how we welcomed little Luca King, at 6 lbs 5 oz and 19 inches, into this world! My friend Desiree (that’s her in the last photo), was on call to photograph the birth but things progressed so quickly that we didn’t find the right opportunity to contact her to come to the hospital, and truthfully I just wasn’t in the headspace for it at the time, but in retrospect I wish it would have worked out. Instead she came about 9 hours after the birth and snapped these photos! I love them so much and will cherish them forever.
If you made it to the end of this blog, good for you! It was a long one. Thanks for reading! Check back for my next blog about my first week with baby!