While talking with doulas this past week my birth story with Ella has been quite the topic of discussion. I've decided to write about it now because come December I'll have another birth story to write.
Ella was born on Friday June 20, 2008. On the Monday of that week at a Doctors appointment my Dr told me that he would see me before my next appointment which was scheduled for the following Monday. Things were beginning to happen. I was very uncomfortable but very excited!
Thursday evening was a really nice night, not too hot, low amount of wind. Matt was working late and I think out for wings with his guy friends, so I went over to my parents for supper and then we went out for a walk. I was able to and up for it so our walk was around an hour long. After an evening of a long walk, some baby dancing and a shower I was ready for bed. My sleep that night was well for the most part restless but at the point in my pregnancy that was how most nights were.
By 5:30 in the morning though I was feeling VERY uncomfortable. I got up to go to the washroom for who knows, likely the tenth time that night/morning but this time was different. First I did my business but then I felt and heard a "plop." Inspecting what had just happened I noticed that I had lost my mucous plug. While some women don't notice this mine was very evident. I don't think I had ever been so excited to see something like that in my life! Any other situation and it would have been a WTH? kind of moment, instead I had a grin from ear to ear! Things were beginning to progress.
Almost immediately after I stood up what had felt like braxton hicks before suddenly felt a whole lot different. The contractions I had been having were no longer just in my stomach but down into the tops of my upper thighs. I waited a few minutes and then it happened again. I decided to wake Matt up. I told him, "I think we are going to have a baby today!" He looked at the clock, pleased with the time that he had been able to get sleep through out the night. He got up with me and we waited to see what was going to happen before he made the call to work to say that he wouldn't be in for the day.
My contractions were all over the place. And very close together. By 8:30am we decided that it would be a good idea to head into the hospital. We don't live too far away from the city but better safe than sorry to get in. When we got to the hospital they checked us in and then sent us to an assesment room. We waited in the assessment room for over 2 hours before anyone even came back. By the time they came back I was already 7cm dialated. So off they sent me to labour and delivery.
When I made it to my labour room I met the nurse I would have for the rest of my labour until Ella arrived. The hooked me up to an IV and asked if I wanted anything for pain. The anesthisologist was in a surgery at the time so they would have to give me something other than an epidural. So they gave me some demoral. I suppose it numbed some of the pain a little but not what I had expected. A few more hours went by and they told me that I was 10cm but the baby was high up so I could still go ahead with the epidural. So I did. I'm not sure what it was, finally being able to move rather than lying in a bed or the needle in the back but as soon as he was done my water broke and the baby moved down. Suddenly I could no longer feel anything but the odd bit of pressure.
Around 4:30 my Dr arrived with a resident. They said that soon it would be time to start pushing. At this point two nurses were talking to each other and the Dr and the resident seemed to be having a good time and Matt and I looked at each other blankly wondering how much longer this would take and why wasn't anyone talking to the two of us. Finally by 5pm they tell me that I can start pushing. So I start to push when they tell me to. They still don't seem to be paying a whole lot of attention though. Finally one of them notices that this not going to be easy for me and they begin to do more checking. Turns out the baby is facing the wrong way, she was posterior. (Now I am told that if I did not have the epidural in place I could have been suffering a lot of back labour at this point, though I think not having it would have helped me to get her out, but that is a whole other post.)
The resident and the Dr exchange some looks and decide they are going to use suction to help me get her out. They suction the top of her head a total of 8 times before I am able to push her head out. They stop, because the cord was around her neck once and remove it from her neck, and finally I am able to push the rest of her out. As the rest of her body comes out the cord snapped from the placenta. They tell me that the baby is a girl and I look at Matt and we both begin to cry. He is so proud of me and happy that we finally have our little family.
The joy of the moment is short lived though. They can't get her to cry, and they are working on trying to get her to breathe. I had never been so scared in my life. I kept asking why she wasn't crying. After watching years of a baby story and thinking that every baby comes out crying I am now worried that she isn't. Finally she cries and it is the most beautiful sound I have ever heard. They tell us that they are going to be taking her to the NICU. They wrap her up and hand her to me. I look at her and say "Hi Ella, you're so beautiful" and stroke her cheek. Then we are left with the most gut wrenching feeling as they take her from me to the NICU.
No one really told us WHY they were taking her there; the only thing mentioned was that they wanted to make sure she didn't have any bruising or bleeding because of use of the suction. So while we are upset we are happy, we have a beautiful little girl! We call our families and they bring me some supper. Food had never tasted so good in my life, after not eating all day I was just starving! After a shower I am taken to my room.
Its difficult to understand what going to the NICU means until you see your baby in there conected to air tubes and IV and all you can do is hold their hand and look at them. This is the point where Matt and I begin to get frustrated. We would ask questions and no one could provide us any answers. After visiting with our baby we go back to my room. Matt knows that I am going to need him to stay with me the night. He asked me if I needed him to stay and I just started bawling. We sat there, and held each other and both cried, not knowing what would happen with our beautiful little girl.
It seems that because it was the weekend no one could tell us anything about her. The weekend consisted of different Doctors and Nurses that had not been there the day before they would have to reassess her condition. This continued until Monday. I stayed in the hospital visiting her in the NICU the whole weekend, and on Monday they told me that they were going to allow her to room in with me finally. They would like us to both stay another night so that they could make sure she was ready to go home.
While she was in the NICU the nurses went ahead and dealt with her as they saw fit with out ever consulting what Matt or I had wanted. I missed her first feeding, where instead of feeding here the milk I had pumped for her they fed her formula. Not knowing any better I just thought that maybe that was how they did things there, to make sure that she would be alright. At one point while visiting her I noticed that they had been giving her a soother without my knowledge. This combined with the bottle really confused me. I had read so much about nipple confusion, everything said to NOT give them these things until they were set on their way in breast feeding. The first time I was able to feed Ella they handed me a bottle and I fed it to her. I asked the nurse when I would be able to breast feed her and she replied "oh, I suppose you could have done that now." This just left Matt and I both frustrated.
Finally on that Monday when she was able to room in with me, with the help of nurses and a lactation consultant I was shown how to nurse my baby. This came with a lot of struggle, and remained a struggle until I finally stopped nursing her at 7.5 months.
On Tuesday morning we were able to pack her up and take her home. We were so happy to leave!
Ella's birth has given me a lot of insight into what I want out of my labour with our newest little bean. Since having her I have read a lot and learnt a lot and know changes that we can make so that this labour hopefully runs a lot smoother.
We are so lucky to have a beautiful, bright eyed, very smart, curious, talkitive little two year old. I wouldn't trade her for anything in the world.
We love you Ella!
post written August 27 2010 moved from previous blog