January 18th 2018, 10:30 pm
Oh bedtime. How did my sleep become such an enemy to me? When this pregnancy began it was such a relief to lay down and rest my tired body and mind. Now, every evening is a chore. As I lay down to sleep I prepare to be awoken every hour or so by the need to pee, again and again. Every time I wake up, I’m greeted by an aching back as the weight of my giant stomach pulls on it, and usually some degree of heartburn. And of course, despite the constant need to pee, I wake up dying of thirst each time as well. So the evening cycle continues; sleep, wake, stretch my back, pee, tums, water, sleep.
Since early December, I had been so excited to reach the 36 week mark. This was the earliest I could safely go into natural labour and know that my baby would be okay. I was so optimistic. I just knew she would come early! Or so I thought. As the weeks progressed I became tired, frustrated, depressed and even angry at times. I was sick of looking in my bedside bassinet each night and still having no baby to sleep in it. I was mad at my mum for telling me to stop taking my evening primrose pills when it became clear I wouldn’t be getting out of this a few weeks early. And, I was even mad at Kaylon for not having more sex with me to try and get this baby out sooner.
Pregnancy was no longer a beautiful miracle. I was big, I was mad, I was tired.
Earlier this evening, Kaylon and I cuddled up as best we could, my giant belly in the way, on the couch to watch some Netflix together. We shared some red wine and relaxed. It was nearly my due date, January 20th, and I was nervous because I was scheduled in for stress tests and induction. But with mild excitement we chatted about our soon to arrive baby. Before we went to bed that night, we had a long talk, and by the end, with tears in his eyes, Kaylon said to me,
“Our baby is coming tonight. I just know it.”
January 19th 2018, 5:58 am
Awake again. I need to pee, again. I wish I could just get some sleep.
Slowly, my big belly making everything awkward as usual, I got up out of bed for the 4th or 5th time that night to go to the bathroom. As I stood up and began to walk I felt warm liquid dripping down my legs.
“F***! I’m peeing myself now?” is what I thought. I ran to bathroom, sat down on the toilet, and when I tried to pee I felt like there was a lot more liquid then I was expecting.
“Could it be? My waters? No no, I would’ve felt the ‘pop’ that we talked about in our classes.” Just to be safe I put on a large pad and went back to bed. I couldn’t sleep. Every now and then it felt like I would have a small and short contraction. But I’d had a lot of these and thought they must be braxton hicks. I sat up out of bed again; another gush of liquid. And another. Uh oh, this might be labour.
I couldn’t sleep at this point so I got out of bed and went out into the living room where my Dad was already up. My parents were staying with me at this time. I said good morning, poured myself a cup of coffee, and waited awhile before saying anything. After an hour of mild contractions and enough liquid to fill a couple pads, I casually mentioned that I might be in labour. He laughed. I started timing contractions, and I made sure Kaylon was informed of course. But I let him sleep in late after that; I was going to need him well rested to assist me later.
January 19th 2018, 3:30 pm
Throughout the course of the day, my contractions had gotten stronger, longer and closer together. I’d spent the whole day cleaning the house between contractions. I wanted a tidy home to come back to. I even washed all the sheets and bedding so I’d have a fresh made bed to enjoy after the hospital. It was disappointing however; I’d expected all the activity to help speed my labour along, but it had been 7 hours and I was just approaching the ‘411’ (contractions 4 minutes apart, 1 minute long, for 1 whole hour).
I was tired, and over this part of labour. Kaylon called for pizza, I called my midwife, and we all agreed to meet at the hospital in 2 hours.
January 19th 2018, 4:45 pm
Kaylon, my mum and I were all situated in a delivery room at Ridge Meadows hospital. We still had to wait awhile for my midwife Kathleen to come, and I paced the room between contractions, hoping still to speed things along. When Kathleen arrived, she did a pelvic exam and gave me some unfortunate news.
I was only 2 cm dilated.
At the hospital, they only keep women who are 4 cm dilated or more. But she gave me what she called ‘an aggressive sweep’ (and oh boy, was it ever!), and told the nurse I was ‘2-3 cm dilated’, so they let me stay another hour to see if the sweep helped things progress.
Things really got going after that. The sweep worked and the contractions were coming strong and fast! I didn’t see Kathleen for almost another 2 hours but when she came back I was in full blown labour and had progressed to 5 cm. I was allowed to stay in the hospital. We were in it for the long haul now.
January 19th 2018, 10 pm (or so)
As the evening wore on, the labour became so much more intense. I was prepared as I could be, but there are some things that no amount of prenatal classes can prepare you for. The contractions were hell. They were taking over my body and my mind. All I could do was stand, leaning over the bed and moan and yell. The vocalizing helped, and in between contractions I breathed deeply and prayed.
We knew we were naming our girl Charlie, we had decided a few weeks before her birth. She was to be named after her great grandfather on Kaylon’s Dad’s side. I never got the chance to meet him, but I have heard stories of the amazing man that he was. During the period where the contractions became unbearable, I prayed to him to lend me his strength to get through labour and bring his great grand daughter into this world.
Up until this point I had been listening to a 45 minute track on repeat, which was this beautiful and calming meditation music that I used to do yoga to. This was no longer working and I needed a distraction. So when I changed the music to hip-hop/rap and edm, the nurses and midwife were a little shocked to say the least. But hey, you gotta do what you gotta do, and as I was the only woman delivering a baby that night, I blasted my tunes without care and tried to distract myself a little longer.
Eventually the extra noise annoyed me as, again, my contractions became stronger. I was trying my best for an all natural labour and delivery but I was finding myself at the point where my pain was becoming suffering. In prenatal classes, they teach you that contractions come in waves, starting weaker, getting stronger, and growing weaker again. But they also teach you that there is a short break between contractions. This was not true.
My contractions came in waves sure, but they never stopped. The just transitioned from very painful to back breaking, unbearably painful. I later learned that this was partially because I was having back labour, but more on that later. At this point I asked for help and received an IV of fentanyl in my hand. I am SO glad I made this choice. The relief kicked in fast and allowed me to get some rest that I desperately needed.
January 20th 2018, 1:30 am
After receiving 2 doses of fentanyl, but making no progress, the game had suddenly changed. After another pelvic exam I was told by my midwife that not only was baby facing ‘sunny side up’ and that I was in back labour, but she was also so big, that I was stuck dilated at 9 cm and her head could not come through. I didn’t know this until later but my mom spied on a conversation in the hall between a nurse and my midwife at this point. The nurses believed that my baby was too big, and that I would have to have a c-section. But my midwife knew how against this I was, and told the nurse that I could do it. I’m so grateful to Kathleen for respecting me and my birth plan, and believing in my ability to do this. This was when they brought out the peanut ball.
I HATE THE PEANUT BALL.
The peanut ball is like a yoga/workout ball, except its shaped like a peanut. I was told to lay on my side and put it between my legs to help turn the baby and get me fully dilated. The SECOND that ball was between my legs, my contractions came the strongest I had felt so far. It was excruciating and I was in ‘angry pain’. I wanted to kill the ball. I even yelled out ‘I hate this f***ing ball!’. But it worked. I only had to use it for what felt like 10 minutes and I was fully dilated and baby was turned.
It was time to push.
January 20th 2018, 3:30 am
Another misconception I heard from others and learned in my prenatal class is that ‘Your body will know when it is time to push’.
I did not experience this. I was in the ‘pushing’ phase for over 2 and a half hours because I didn’t feel totally ready to push, and I didn’t know how. I guess I thought that when it was time to push, my baby would have already descended part way down the birthing canal, when in reality they’re still just passing through the cervix.
At first I didn’t think I could push, so my midwife had me sit on the toilet to try. That started working fast but I quickly returned to the bed because I could begin to feel ‘the ring of fire’ and was scared that I was going to end up trying to waddle back to the bed with the head between my legs. Looking back, I wish I’d stayed there longer because I probably would have had a much shorter pushing phase.
Instead, I was propped up on the ‘birthing stool’, which is super uncomfortable because there is no actual seat its just an uncomfortable bar. Kathleen didn’t keep me here long though because these stools are notorious for causing vaginal tears, yikes!
January 20th 2018, 4:30 am
I was laying in the bed, my feet up, pushing against each Kaylon and Kathleen’s hips, trying my best to push this baby out. I was exhausted. I had been awake over 24 hours while previously getting nearly no sleep simply being pregnant and uncomfortable. Pushing Charlie out of me is the most physically exhausting thing I have ever done. I felt like I wanted to give up, until my midwife asked me to reach down and feel the head.
It was like I suddenly breathed new life and was awake again. I could feel her head, and a lot of hair! It shocked me, and excited me; she was nearly here. I had renewed energy and was ready to push again and hard. Suddenly Kathleens voice changed, it was time, there was an urgency about her. She began to coach me through, telling me when to do little pushes and when to do big pushes. It’s funny because at this point I expected the most discomfort to come from the baby stretching me as she crowned, when in fact the most pain was from the ‘massage’ my midwife was doing to help stretch me around my baby. With each push I felt more intense burning, and then numbness as the pain settled, and suddenly her head was out.
Its funny, but I remember being quite annoyed at this point, because her head was out but the nurses were all telling me I had to keep pushing. In my mind it was like ‘What the eff, I thought I finished the hard part, I’m tired already give me a break.’ But I gave one last push and with a burst, there she was.
January 20th 2018, 4:49 am
Charlie Rae Calliou is born.
9 pounds 11 ounces, 60 cm long with a head that was 34 cm around.
She was beautiful, and perfect. She was mine.
But MAN she looked weird. I was expecting it but I couldn’t help but laugh at her purple coneheaded face. Poor girl, I had misshapen her head while she was stuck in my 9cm cervix.
The scariest part of my entire labour and delivery was waiting while my midwife examined me while I was holding my girl. I held my breath, and then to the shock and awe of every nurse in the room (and even those who came through after), I delivered my behemoth baby without a single tear. I didn’t need stitches. I owe this completely to my midwife. Long before this day we had discussed the importance of my listening to her guidance, to only give little pushes when she said, and give big pushes when she said.
Just like that, our world was changed forever. Our daughter had arrived, and we were in love.
We went home a few hours later, one of the benefits of having a midwife, and began our new life as a family.
Thanks for reading our birth story! Like our facebook page for updates on new blog content! Much love!