This was one of the hardest, if not THE hardest day of my life. But all worth it in the end.
“Whenever and however you decide to give birth, your experience will impact your emotions, your mind, your body and your spirit for the rest of your life” -Ina May Gaskin
August 29, 2019
I was officially 41 weeks pregnant, did I think I would make it this far? Never in my mind. I actually thought I was going to deliver earlier since I had been experiencing a lot of Braxton Hicks contractions about a month before my due date. But here we were at 41 weeks exactly and no sign of baby.
I had tried every single thing possible to induce labour; I had walk for hours, I’d climb numerous stairs, attempt many workout videos, I ate spicy foods, pineapple, chinese food, bounced on my exercise ball for hours, drank many teas and the list goes on. Nothing was working. My last hope was getting acupuncture to see if that would help me go into labour, so I gave it a shot the day before labour started and to this day I’m not sure if that’s what really triggered it.
Brandon and I had been slowly getting the nursery ready since we actually had time since moving into our new home. I was setting up some organizers for baby’s clothes when all of a sudden I felt a trickle of fluid running down my leg and it wouldn’t stop. I wish I could’ve seen the look on my face because I’m sure I went pale not knowing what was going on. My first thought was “am I peeing myself?”, but when the gush of water got stronger and seemed like it was never ending I knew exactly what that was. It was show time!
Right away I called my midwife and let her know what was going on. She told me to monitor my contractions and to call back if they got 4-5min apart but if by morning they still weren’t close together to head into the hospital to get checked and if I wasn’t progressing they would have to induce me. I currently wasn’t having any contractions so there was no need to rush to the hospital yet.
August 30, 2019
Around this time is when things started picking up for me. Sleeping was out of the question, with each contraction I would wake up trying to catch my breath and by this point my contractions were about 6-7mins apart lasting about 40-60 secs. I knew this was going to be a long night. I remember around 3am taking a bath and sitting there trying to relieve the back pressure I was feeling. Once 5 am hit my contractions were only getting stronger and at this point they were 4-5mins apart. I only had three hours to go before we had to head to the hospital so I waited it out until then. (One of things I wanted in my “birth plan” that I never wrote but did have in mind, was to labour at home for as long as I could- which I heard helps).
I got checked into the hospital and was brought into the triage room. My midwife showed up and they hooked me up to monitors to check baby and my contractions. My midwife soon confirmed I was 4cm dilated and things were looking pretty good BUT there was only one problem, she explained to me that the hospital was on diversion. (Hospital diversion: basically means the hospital is full and they may have to divert the person somewhere else). I remember hearing about this possibility awhile back and they assured me that it most likely won’t happen but it was happening and I got a little panicked. The next hospital closest to us was about 30mins away so I was praying for a miracle and that for some reason we could stay. My midwife told me she would try to figure out what to do next and let me know, in the meantime, they told me I could continue labouring in the triage room and walk around.
After many rounds of walking up and down stairs trying to progress things, I got back to my room to get the good news that they were discharging some women today and that they would soon have a room for me to deliver in. YAY! Things were continuing to look up and I just wanted to get things going and meet my baby soon.
We finally got our labour and delivery room, we brought our hospital bags in and my mom joined us to help out. They hooked me up again and checked to see if I had progressed at all, to my surprise I had only dilated to 5cm in a matter of 5 hours so things were moving pretty slow. My contractions were definitely reaching a point of leaving me not able to talk and having to count through each one.
Roughly at this time the nurse had been watching and monitoring my contractions for some time, she had a very confused look on her face and wasn’t saying anything to us. I knew something seemed off when my contractions just kept coming and coming and I noticed I wasn’t getting those breaks your suppose to after each one. The nurse finally explained to us that my body was over producing oxytocin (which is the hormone that makes you contract) and for that reason it seemed that I was getting contraction after contraction. She said she didn’t know why they were coming on like that but that’s why I was reaching a very exhausted point because I didn’t have that rest period.
Before coming into this, I had told Brandon that I really wanted to try for a unmedicated natural birth if possible, unless medically necessary. I had read many books and looked back on birth stories from long ago and how many women delivered naturally and still had a positive labour. I wanted that! Well, that’s when all my hopes and wishes started going the opposite direction.
I was battling by this point. I remember vividly saying to myself “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” over and over in my head while I tried to breath through each contraction. Preparing for labour I practiced many breathing exercises and many different techniques. I was really going into this with what I thought was very prepared. I spent countless hours reading and watching videos, informing myself about birth, I thought I had it. What really didn’t sink in to me was that things can ACTUALLY go a different direction. I always knew there were many possibilities of things not going that way you want during labour but I never thought it would actually happen to me. My whole pregnancy was a healthy one, no complications, no bad news, no concerns at all so I just automatically thought everything should go as planned, right? I was wrong.
Few more hours went by and I was struggling but trying everything I could to stay focused. My midwife came in to check up on me to see how far dilated I was now- I was only 6-7cm. That’s when I started losing hope, I had been fighting so hard but when I heard that after 5 hours I had only progressed 1-2 cm I didn’t know if I could keep going after sooo many hours. My nurse, (who might I add, was the best nurse I could’ve asked for, she was so helpful and very encouraging throughout this process) started explaining to me that due to the fact that my body had been pretty much draining itself with all these contractions, I would not be left with much of a choice and would most likely need to get the epidural to calm my body down. I told her I would really try a little more but if nothings happens in a short amount of time I would take it. After trying to bounce and move around on my exercise ball, having my mom and nurse do counter pressure on my back and Brandon helping me breathe as I squeezed his hand so hard- Brandon said lets try one last thing- the shower and see if that helps. As I walked to the shower barely making it there in complete tears, I knew in my heart that I had to take the epidural and try to relax and give my body the rest it needed. I lasted about 5 mins in the shower, I could barely sit over the stool they had put for me. I was pretty much hovering over it, tensing every bit of me as the contractions kept coming. And then I was done.
The anesthesiologist came in right after I got out of the shower and started prepping everything for the epidural. I was scared, it wasn’t something I was really prepared for but in that moment I couldn’t imagine what could be worse than what I was already dealing with. And so he started- my contractions were unbearable I didn’t feel anything. It really did suck having to curve your back and stay still as you went through each one. “It’s over” was what I heard and then they helped me lie on my back to try and rest. I imagined the epidural taking every possible pain away and all that you’re left with is pressure, that’s what I had seen and read. BUT, then the contractions kept coming and coming, just as long and just as strong. It failed…
Yup, exactly what I feared would happen- happened. The epidural failed, I knew it did the moment I could feel every bit of that contraction, I remember looking at them in such a panic asking them “Is this normal??? I can still feel everything!!”, the anesthesiologist kept asking me “are you sure, you don’t feel your lower body numb?”. I felt everything. From what I could barely make out he explained to us that sometimes they fail and that’s probably what happened and that unfortunately I would need to get it done again. AGAIN! I thought I was dying- literally. I couldn’t possibly believe all that was happening, I wanted it all to be over now.
Again I curved my back and fought through more contractions in hopes that this second time the epidural would work.
FINALLY, after 10 mins it worked and I started feeling so much relief in my body, it really needed it. I was still holding on to the gas they had given me earlier to try to breath with- I remember starting to feel so dizzy from inhaling that so much . At this point I think I was falling asleep every few minutes, I thought “this is almost over”.
At this point into my labour a lot of things that were going on seemed blurry to me. I remember zoning in and out but I could also hear people talking around me. I was hoping that I was almost ready to push and that I would get to meet my baby soon. It had been about 23 hours just about to hit the 24 hours and the nurse came in telling me that they were going to see how far dilated I was now and they were hoping that it was almost baby time. The other issue they did have with how slowly I had been dilating earlier is that once your water breaks baby needs to be out by 24 hours, no later or you’re at high risk for infection and other complications. I was hopeful, yet again.
Just as she was about to check, she started noticing that babys heart was dropping, what happened after that was a blur and all I remember is being terrified. Out of no where about 7 different people entered the room, nurses, doctors and other medical stuff- they called a code. I had no idea what was happening, all I remember is they were talking amongst each other trying to figure out what to do and then they starting shifting/moving me around, one side and then the next. The nurses tried to keep me calm because I kept asking what was going on without getting an answer. After what seemed like forever, my nurse told me that the baby seemed to have been in a position where he was lying on the umbilical cord causing not enough oxygen flow and they needed to normalize his heart rate again. She said everything was fine but they had to keep me lying on my right side to make sure it wouldn’t affect baby. I was feeling very defeated at this point, I was worried, anxious, scared. I was praying for our baby to be okay.
My nurse then went ahead and checked me but then she looked at me saying “it looks like you’re still only about 7-8”. She then brought my midwife in and told her to assess the situation because we were reaching 24 hours. My midwife confirmed the dilation, she told me that it seems my body was still progressing very slow and that my cervix was still high. She explained to me the complications of continuing to wait and that she needed to bring an OB in to evaluate and make a decision as to what would need to happen next. I knew what was coming, my heart sank.
The OB gave me the news, the news that I didn’t want to hear. He said my cervix wasn’t thinning out fast enough and I still wasn’t dilated enough to wait any longer. Baby was also sunny side up which apparently is a problem during a vaginal birth and because his heart rate has been fluctuating so much I needed to have an emergency c-section. He made me sign all these consent forms and I laid there and cried. Brandon and my mom tried to find every possible way to give me the comfort I needed but all I did was cry- I felt scared, REALLY scared. I never mentally prepared myself for this but then again I guess you can’t really prepare yourself fully for something you haven’t been through. They prepped me and all I did was pray; pray that we would come out of this well and that this was the best decision for us. I needed to understand that this was out of my control and this was the best choice for our baby, God was with us.
Off I went, into the hands of strangers, people I hadn’t met before. That was the hardest part but I knew that I was in Gods hands and that we would be okay. As they prepared everything, I got really bad shakes (due to the anesthesia), I remember I couldn’t talk without shuttering and while I waited there for them to bring in Brandon, my midwife ran everything by me and how the whole process would go. Once baby was born they would take him to be checked and Brandon would be able to be with him while I got sewed up. All of this sounded so surreal to me and to be quite honest all I could think was “WHY?”. That was the question that ran through my mind the whole time.
This beautiful baby boy was officially born at 7:25pm on August 30th. Hearing his first cry- that is something I will never forget. In that moment all I wanted was to hold him and kiss him. Brandon showed up 10 mins after with this little bundle of love in his arms and it was the best feeling in the world. He was perfect, he was here, he was healthy. THANK YOU LORD!
I think the reason why I wanted to share my son’s birth story was because of the huge impact it had in my life. My labour definitely taught me that there are times in life where I won’t have full control over situations and this was one of them. It humbled me to my core and really tested my faith, I learned that I needed to surrender and let God take control. I wanted things to go my way but God will have things go His way and that’s okay because time and time again I’ve seen that His will for my life is ALWAYS better. It’s hard not being able to fully understand why things happen a certain way but I truly believe along the way you learn that there is always purpose for everything that happens, even if we don’t understand it now.
Welcome to the world, Liam. You are so loved!
**Huge shout out to my sister for capturing these photos**