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Molly’s Birth Story

August 14, 2012

This is long, so you might want to settle in!

It started on Monday night.

A and I were at my sisters and as was my MO towards the end of my pregnancy, I was parked on the couch. I’d been crampy with PMS type cramps all weekend and Monday was no exception. But all of a sudden, around 7:30, sitting there, I felt the strongest yet. It built up to an uncomfortable, though not painful, peak and then subsided gradually. It was strong enough that I made a sound, grabbing the attention of everyone in the room.

“Just Braxton Hicks” I said.

Ten minutes later though, another one hit me. And ten minutes after that, another.

“Maybe you’re in labour!” my sister said.
“Maybe?” I responded, not quite sure.

The whole car ride home, I waited for another contraction. Five minutes passed, then ten. I had just about given up when fifteen minutes after my last contraction, another wave hit me. They continued like this for another hour, every ten or so minutes.

I finally had to admit to A that we might be in labour. He took it calmly, suggesting we go to bed and see what happens. After all, ten minutes apart was a big gap for contractions, and they could just be strong Braxton Hicks.

Being a guy, and a non-pregnant one at that, A was able to go right to sleep. I on the other hand, was as awake as anyone could be, taking stock of my body, watching for the signs of when another contraction was coming. I busted out the phone app I’d downloaded a few days before and started timing them.
At 5am, after consistent contractions for hours and hours, we decided it was time to call our people to let them know Molly was on her way! Then we tried to get some sleep.

It was around 7:30 that we both realized it had been over 20 minutes since I’d had a contraction. I thought maybe it’s because I had fallen asleep and just didn’t notice it. My thought was justified as sure enough another one hit, but then it happened. They fizzled. Went kaput. That’s all folks.

We stalled. My contractions disappeared. 12 hours of hoping this was it, gone.

We went for a walk, trying to get things moving again, but it didn’t really help. Frustrated, but knowing that could happen in early labour, we decided to go to my forty week OB appointment to see what was going on. A whole lot easier than heading to the hospital!

After telling my OB what was going on, he determined I wasn’t actually in labour, despite 12 hours of consistent contractions. He examined me and I was just 1 cm dilated. While he was ‘in’ there, he did a membrane sweep, where he ran his fingers around my cervix to try and stimulate the hormones that cause it to dilate. Not a comfortable procedure, but he said it would help put me into true labour.
In the meantime, he scheduled me for a non-stress test for the 9th and an induction for the 13th.

We went back home and luckily I was already wearing a pad in case my water broke because the sweep caused a lot of bleeding (sorry, tmi but that’s pregnancy for you! There is no shame). Seeing as the night before neither of us got much sleep, we headed back to bed. When we woke up, we went for another walk and by the time we got back home I was having mild contractions again, though not consistently.

At 5pm A’s parents and sister came by and we all had supper (pizza, by my request). I was still having mild, somewhat consistent contractions, but it was another walk A and I took after dinner that really got the show rolling. While out on our walk, I literally had to stop and really breathe through some intense contractions that came several minutes apart. They continued when we got back to the house and sat chatting and watching TV. I started timing them. They were between 5 and 7 minutes apart, and I wasn’t able to talk through them.

Thinking we were in for another long night, we all went to bed. I couldn’t sleep, and neither could A, so we laid there timing contractions on our phones.
It was at exactly 11:08 pm that my water broke. We were lying there when all of a sudden I felt something leaking out of me. Thinking it could possibly be pee (it’s known to happen in pregnancy), I sat up to head to the washroom but was stopped in my tracks when more fluid gushed out of me. Literally gushed.

“I think my water just broke” I said to A, which spurred my ever practical husband to run to the linen closet for a towel.

I made it to the washroom just in time for another gush. No slow leaks for me! That pretty much confirmed it: my water had broken! I was one of the few who had it happen on its own (only 15% of women have their water break naturally). There’s no way I had that much pee in me.
As instructed by our prenatal classes, I called the hospital to give them a heads up. Because I was contracting and because there was blood in what I leaked (from the membrane sweep but better safe than sorry), they told me to come in.

It was official! We were going to have a baby!!

A said to me: You look pretty, can I take your picture?

We woke A’s parents and called my mom and sister (unfortunately my dad had left on a business trip that night) and started getting ourselves ready to go. I think it was about 11:30 when A and I left (well over 24 hours since the contractions started at my sister’s) but though it’s only a 20 minute drive, we didn’t make it to the hospital until 45 min later. We had two stops to make: the first to Tim Hortons for a coffee. A has been on a no caffeine kick since I go pregnant in hopes of losing his tolerance to caffeine. He promised himself that when I went into labour, he would go back on the juice. He kept his promise 🙂

The second stop was back home. With each contraction, more fluid came gushing out and I was convinced I’d soaked through my clothes and onto the car seat. I was desperate to change. Turns I hadn’t. That time. We were lucky we grabbed a towel though, because by the time we did get to the hospital, I HAD soaked through and my pants were wet.

Looking back, it’s funny how I was so mortified that my pants were wet going into the hospital. A kept telling me not to worry about it, but it’s all I could think about. As if that was the most embarrassing thing I would be going through that night…there is no modesty when you have a baby.

We were admitted right away, which was nice. During check in my contractions were quite close together and lets just say that I went beyond having a small wet patch on my pants to a full blown soaked behind and fluid crawling down my leg by the time we’d filled out our paperwork! We got to our room, I changed into a gown and was given the biggest pad I’ve ever seen in my life.
The nurse examined me and though my water had broken and I was having contractions fairly close together, I was only 1.5 cm dilated. Ugh. We were in for a long night. But it’s good we went, as when the nurse examined my waters on my pad, it turns out I had light merconium. Molly had taken a poop already, fairly common in overdue babies, but something to watch out for at birth, as it can cause respiratory problems. They told me they would have a respiratory therapist present at delivery.

Once the exam was over, she left us alone for a bit. I was able to breath through the contractions for awhile. But by the time I was between 2-3 cm, they were getting too intense and I made the call to get some relief.  A shot of morphine later, and I felt a lot better. I’d hoped to not have to use drugs, but I was crying it hurt so much and wasn’t focused on my breathing. A and I had talked about the fact that if I felt I absolutely needed drugs, I would start with something simple, rather than getting an epidural right away.
Sadly their labour tub was broken, but our suite has a shower (we stayed in the same room for labour, delivery and post partum) and I went in for a good 1/2 hour, despite the fact that I couldn’t get the water hot enough for my taste (safety measures I’m sure). A had to force me out! I got into bed and focused on trying to rest (the drugs made me tired, as they gave me Gravol as well). The morphine lasted until 4am. The contractions were still bad but not as sharp. But at four, they kicked up a notch. All of a sudden they were incredibly intense, one on top of the other. I didn’t have time to catch my breath in between and started to get hysterical. A cervical check showed me to be only at 4cm, and the thought of being like that for who knew how much longer it would take to get to 10 started to wear me down. Add onto that the fact that I’d already been in labour for over 24 hours and had no sleep the night before, and I decided to get the epidural. A and I had always said we would play things by ear. If I hadn’t been so exhausted, who knows, maybe I could have pushed (ha) through, but I know we made the right decision.

By 5:30 the epidural was in place and I could finally get some rest. I could still feel the pressure of the contractions, but the pain was gone. I can’t say I slept, with the constant attention of our nurses, and the blood pressure monitor going off every 15 minutes, but I rested. Things progressed fairly quickly after that and I soon reached 10cm. They anticipated Molly would arrive before noon! At one point my contractions slowed down (I didn’t mind!) and I was given oxytocin to speed them up. Once they did, I was ready to push!

Post baby afterglow

At 10:40 the nurses had me start pushing. Apparently I’m a good pusher, but maybe they say that to all the girls :-). I actually enjoyed the pushing process. I felt the pressure but the beauty of the epidural meant no pain! I was able to focus on what I needed to do. (My decision was confirmed when over the next two days in the hospital I heard a few women having natural drug-free births. Oh. My. God.)
When the doctor came in 15 minutes later, I knew the time was near. After a few pushes with him, he stood up and explained to me that Molly’s heart rate was dropping as she moved further down. He had no doubt I could push her out in another 20 minutes, but didn’t feel that was safe for her. He recommended an episiotomy that would allow me to push her out ASAP. Despite my wish for as few interventions as possible, I’ve always said that if the safety of my child was in question, I would do whatever necessary get her here safe and sound. I agreed to the episiotomy (no discussion with A required…he’d always said that one was on me).

Going home!

My next contraction I pushed. It’s the weirdest sensation to push without feeling pain, but feeling the pressure of what’s going on. Blissfully I didn’t feel the cuts that the doctor made, and with another big push, at 11:07am Molly just slid right out. It was the best decision to have her deliver as quickly as possible, because it turned out she had her cord wrapped around her neck. That’s what was causing her heart rate to drop.

Because of this, and also because of the light merconium visible when my water broke, I wasn’t able to have her on my chest right away, nor were they able to delay cord clamping, as we had originally hoped. But to be honest, my only concern was that they make sure she was alright. The respiratory therapist was on hand just in case the merconium had caused any problems, but as soon as she started crying, he relaxed and took his time to checked her airways. All clear! The nurses cleaned her off, did their tests and measurements and then brought her over to me for some skin on skin time.

I can’t form the words to describe how it felt to hold her for the first time. Watching her from afar after I’d delivered had made me emotional. Holding her gave me peace. Giving birth to her was the most miraculous experience of my life and I wouldn’t change any of it for the world. She is absolutely perfect in every single way and A and I are totally enamored with her.

We brought her home on Friday and though first few days were challenging (more on that soon), we’re starting to find our groove together as a family. A has been absolutely wonderful! He’s a fantastic husband (quite forgiving in the middle of the night when I forget to get myself a glass of water before I sit down to feed her) and an even more amazing father!

Molly’s birth wasn’t quite what I had thought it would be, but there’s no way I would change a thing. She arrived safely and that’s been my only intention from the very beginning.

Now the real fun begins!

 

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. August 14, 2012 9:31 pm

    Congratulations – She’s a doll!

    Bits and pieces of your birth story are so similar to my own! I sometimes wish I had asked for an epidural sooner, but I think being able to feel the “pushing” contractions gave me a new appreciation for what pain really is!

    Congrats again!!

  2. August 14, 2012 9:46 pm

    Congratulations! She’s beautiful!

  3. Krista permalink
    August 14, 2012 9:51 pm

    What a beautiful story to have recorded! Thanks for sharing – she’s just beautiful!!

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