Archive for numero 2

Henry’s birth story

Oh gawd what day is it?  Have I showered today? 

Yes yes, I know.  All you parents out there feel me and know what I mean.  But for the record:  my name is Kate, and I currently have a pedicure given to me by my five year old.

So before I forget and get all revisionist  (oh the birth was PERFECT and it DIDN’T HURT ONE BIT and I COULD DO THIS AGAIN!), let me get out Henry’s birth story while it is still (relatively) fresh in my mind.

I had been having early labour contractions for over a week before he finally made his appearance.  On Friday, April 11th at about midnight, they started full strength.  Matt and I had settled down for the night to watch a movie.  We had started out with Eastern Promises, but the dead baby image within the first 5 minutes had me clicking OFF on the remote faster than you can say fuck you, David Cronenberg.   So, we ended up watching the perfectly awful THE HEARTBREAK KID.  Really really bad, I must say.  At about midnight, the contractions started coming in at 40 seconds long, every 5 minutes.  And I mean every 5 minutes – we still have the sheet of paper Matt was using to time them.  After about an hour of that business, we called and woke the midwife who said we needed to wait until they were one minute long.  “It’s not active labour yet” she said.  Well, let me tell you otherwise.  When a woman is screaming in pain from the contractions that are only 20 seconds short of the official labour, there is definitely something “active” about that.  We called my mom and sister at about 2AM to come and get Alice before I started yelling in agony (instread of into my pillow).  They came, picked up the big sister, and we proceeded to continue on with labour. 

And so it went.  On.  And on.  And on into the next day, next night, and following morning.  My contractions continued to be 5 minutes apart for upwards of 32 hours.  There was no let-up,  and no sleep to be had.  They didn’t progress to longer than 40 seconds until into the 2nd evening.   The Saturday day and night passed in a haze.  I cocooned in my room with Matt, a heating pad, my supply of frozen grapes, and clammy hands and face.  By 7PM on the Saturday night, I was starting to panic that this stage would never end.  That I would be forever stuck in 40 second long land.  We called the midwife again and I begged for a new plan.  I needed to know something would happen, and that we had some plan in action.  So we decided to meet at the hospital (finally!) the next morning at 7:30AM if nothing else changed.  And at that point I would be checked out by the OB on call and discuss a possible C section.  After mon ths of planning for a VBAC, I was surprisingly OK with perhaps moving to a C section at that point.  I was exhausted and pissed off, and wanted an end to it all.

(Sidebar – the issue with VBACs is that there is a problem with administering oxytocin, which is given to many other women to induce labour.  That procedure is one of the possible links to uterine rupture, which occurs in a small amount of women who attempt a trial of labour after a C Section birth.  For this reason, we were trying to get my body to bring on active labour by itself.  Hence, the reason we were waiting at home until then.)

We left for the hospital the next morning, with me cursing over every bump we hit.  If I was in a better mindset, and not so pissed off at that point, I would have noticed how beautiful the day was.  It was Sunday, April 13th, at 7AM.  No traffic, and the weather had moved quickly from spring-like into summer. 

We arrived at the hospital, and my midwife – Kay – met us at the front doors.  I started chanting ” I want the epidural, give me that damn epidural” the moment I saw her.  We had wanted to go for a drug-free birth, but after about 33 hours of contractions by that point, I was over it.  I would have bent over for anyone had they offered to take my pain away.

Kay broke my water once we got into a room, and we were all surprised to find out that I was at 7 cm!  My god, all that work at home had paid off.  Suddenly, we were back on track for a VBAC, as I was so close.  Kay agreed that an epidural would be a good idea at that point, since I was exhausted and would need more energy in the coming hours.  I have to say, the epidural felt great once it got going.  I rode out transition on those drugs, and it ended up being the best situation for me.  A few hours later I was ready to push.

With Kay on one leg and Matt on the other, we started to push. And push.  And fucking push.  The baby’s head would appear, and then go back again. Over and over again.  After an hour of that, Kay warned me that the hospital staff was started to talk about a possible C Section again, given how long it was taking.  That was all I needed to hear. I started crying hysterically – how could we have gone this far and then go to a section?  With one mighty push, I pushed that head of out me.  That giant head. 

What I know now is that Henry’s head at 37 cm was much bigger than most.  The regular size is 33 or 34 cm.  Apparently once the OB saw the size of the head, she leaned over and said to Kay “get ready for stuck shoulders”  Good thing I didn’t know that, because Kay just said to me “Ok Kate, we need one more enormous push.”  And so I did.   I pushed with everything I had left from the last 10 months of carrying around a giant baby and he basically crawled out of me.  And then he was there!  In the world!  Our beautiful big baby boy, all gooey and pink and fleshy.  Everyone in the room cheered, Matt started crying, and all I could scream was “IS HE OUT OF ME??!” 

He weighed in at 9lbs, 14 ozs, born at 7:06PM.  The sun had started to set and so a beautiful light came into the room.  It was a perfect end to a long and painful labour.  But at that point, I did not care.  He was here and fed right away and looking up at me with the most clear face.   Kay and Matt high fived each other and I just gazed at our son and felt so very very happy it was all over.

Doing the VBAC gave me such a sense of accomplishment.  I see now how great it was that we stayed at home during those long hours labouring.  If we had gone into the hospital earlier, I would have probably had a section.  In fact, afterwards, the OB admitted to the midwife that had they known how large the baby was they probably would not have let me go for the VBAC.  Luckily, I had excellent midwives who put just enough pressure on me to stay the course at home.  

And now he’s here, our son.  Henry Paul.  We had decided on his first name a few months ago, and then gave him the second name of Paul after my dad.  It was the perfect compliment to his sister – Alice Jane.  Like an elderly couple walking down the street together, hand in hand.

So many other things to tell you.  Coming up next:  just how many stitches does a large baby give his mama?   Oh the fun to be had with those stories.  But that’s it for now.  Thank you all for your kind comments and emails.  We are so blessed to have the people who surround us with friendship and love.  We are still recovering and coping with life right now, but suffice to say we will be eternally grateful for the support.  It gets us through, it does.


Comments (10)

oh yes.

Did you come here thinking there was a baby out of the womb?  Because there isn’t.  He’s content to hang out inside my body and drive me to distraction.  He is getting a head start on that, I suppose.

But the good news is that the Black Cohosh and Evening Primrose Oil is doing the trick.  The midwife had a good ‘ole time up in my business on Monday and happily reported the remedies are doing the trick – the cervix, she is softening.   It wasn’t considered a full “stretch and sweep” because I wasn’t still fully dilated (gawd I love writing about my bits on the internet), but lordy lordy I felt the cramping instantly.  She was up there roaming around for almost 10 minutes, while I focused on breathing and pretending to ignore the little voice inside me that said “CRAP!  This is going to hurt much MUCH worse than this!”

I have another stretch and sweep scheduled for Friday morning, so we’ll see how much further I have progressed then.  Because it is a VBAC, I can’t be induced the hospital way (with oxytocin), as that is one of the risks for uterine rupture.  As well, after a week overdue things become a little more sketchy with a VBAC, and for that reason I have given my consent to go to c-section at that point.  So basically, if baby penis doesn’t want to make his way down and out before Sunday, we will move to having the c section on Monday.  Which, to be perfectly honest, I am OK with.  He’s already been in there 3 weeks longer than his sister, and the whole point of this VBAC trial for me was to let my body try and do its own thing. 

And so, we wait.   Everyone had prepared me for this crazy state of waiting you go through post due date, but really it is insanity-making.  I can see how easily it would be to become depressed during this period.  I’m trying to keep my spirits up, and sleep/read/eat a lot.  But there are moments where I start to get obsesssive about things like OHMYGOD have I not felt the baby move in 5 minutes?   Jesus lord I must drink a latte to wake him up.  And then sure enough, poor penis is jolted awake and made to move around by his freaking-out mama.  Just a shade of what is to come, my child. 



Comments (5)

not. favourable.

Well, due to some delays (apparently some other women had the nerve to go into labour yesterday AND today), my midwife wasn’t able to come over to check me until this afternoon.  (But I have to say – how awesome is it that she can come right to my house and check my cervix in my own home?  I will say again how grateful I am to be living in a place where this kind of care is not only available, but free!).  And after she stuck her fingers up my – ahem – lady parts, she told me what I had already guessed – the cervix, she ain’t open yet.  No dilation.  In technical terms – my cervix is not favourable.  (you can guess the fun I had with that one).   But to reassure me (because she is so sweet, after all), the midwife did say that it’s getting to a good point.  That it’s softening and ripening, and all of those odd words that make me think of fruit going bad on a windowsill somewhere.

So, now I’m taking my doses of Actaea Racemosa (Black Cohosh) and sticking the Evening Primrose Oil pills where the sun don’t shine, and waiting and waiting for my cervix to play along.  I see her again on Monday morning, where she’ll see if I have dilated so she can perform the actual stretch and sweep. 

Thanks for all of your good wishes and advice.  Glad to know I have some internets out there along for the ride with me.  Maybe you too would be interested in having my midwife come to your house and stick her gloved hand up your hoo-ha?  Or, you could always think of the stretch and sweep in a different light, the way Nadine did when she said to me “oh, there’s nothing to get anxious about.  You’re just going to get fi$(%ted by some woman.”

Comments (3)

still here

And no baby yet.

My official due date is this Saturday.  I just keep getting bigger and bigger and more impatient.  And yes, a little anxious about the birth itself.  But mostly impatient and wanting this part of the baby-making to be OVER already.

My midwife is coming over tomorrow to try a “stretch and sweep”, so will try to get things going.  Anybody else had this before?  I know it’s fairly common, but I just thought I would (of course) ask the internet its opinion on this procedure.  Because the internet never lets me down, you know.

Comments (7)

waiting game

I’m only 38 weeks, but yet I have started the waiting game.  I am so huge and uncomfortable that I can’t help but think he will come before his due date of April 5th.  But as others have warned, I should stay away from thinking that.  So I spend my days finishing up any last minute work stuff (and when you are a co-owner of a company, there is always stuff to do), and trying to catch up on any sleep.  Because I still have the dreaded insomnia.  I am wakeful for about 4 hours in the middle of the night.  Baby penis is awake then too, it seems.  Trying to move his chubby little knees around. 

And believe me, I know they are chubby knees.  Because did I mention I am HUGE?!!  No seriously, I am.  The midwives have tried to prepare me for a possible 10 lb baby.  I blame Matt, personally.  He was his mom’s smallest baby at over 10 lbs.  Crap crap CRAP!  I think I am comfortable with that number until I write it down.  And when I say to the midwives “how can I do this?  10 lbs???” they just smile and say “your body usually doesn’t get a baby that it can’t handle.”  I think I have mentioned before how zen-like and calm those damn midwives can be when I approach them with wild eyes and flailing arms trying to outline my anxieties to them.  I love them for their manner, I really do.  But fuckery.  Oh fuckery.  The largeness of this baby scares me.

Hey – totally unrelated topic (my prerogative because my pregnant brain is all over the place these days) did any of you out there use music in labour?  As in, listen to music that soothed you or got you to a good place?  I was thinking about it, and wondering about good music to use.  My bizarro brain right now keeps wanting to listen to Gary Jules’ version of Mad World.  Is that just too weird internets? 

Comments (8)

I can do this

Even though Matt and I are 2nd time parents, we took a birth class again this time with this lovely lady.  With Alice, we knew we had to have a c-section by 20 weeks (large endometrioma cyst on my ovary that I have written about before).  So while we did attend the classes previously, I can’t say we really listened during the sections on things like oh ACTIVE LABOUR and TRANSITION and HOW THE FUCK YOU DEAL WITH PAIN. 

In case I have not mentioned it here, we have decided to try a VBAC this time around.  Yes, that VBAC.  The one that it is a vaginal-birth-after-c-section. The one that others I know have been successful at.  The one that at first seemed scary and out of reach,  and now feels like the right fit for me.

As part of the birth prep classes, we had to come up with a mantra that we could say to ourselves.  Over and over again.  Something to use in labour but also beforehand if we started getting anxious about the pending marathon.  And when it came time for me to come up with something, I suddenly felt and heard nothing else except “I can do this.”  Let me tell you – hearing myself speak these words is unbelievably empowering for me.  I can do this meaning I can do whatever it takes to bring this baby into this world.  And if that means labouring for too many hours only to find myself face up in an operation room again, dealing with a section, well so be it.  Or if that means riding out a painful labour with drugs instead of the drug-free natural birth I have hoped for, well then so be that too.  If it even means barfing into my husband’s hands while panicking during transition, then so fucking be it.  I will get through this.  I will have this baby.  I can do this.

I had a good day today.  A better day than I have been having lately.  I’ve been exhausted from the lack of sleep (pregnancy insomnia is literally kicking my ass) and generally weepy and uncomfortable.  But then a day like today comes along, where I get out of the house, and have a good visit with the midwives.  I have a good relationship with them, and we spend a good portion of my appointments laughing and enjoying each others’ company.  It makes me feel positive about the team who will help me bring this baby into the world.  Baby penis is now almost fully engaged, and although I am only 37 weeks I feel he is on his way SOON.  Instead of feeling completely anxious about the fact that everything is not done yet,  suddenly I have this calming sensation about his pending arrival.  I know I am bound to go through a rollarcoaster of different emotions once I hit labour and birth.  But for now, this feeling of WHAT IS THIS, HAPPY? is blowing my mind.

I can do this.

Comments (8)

no sleep till…never

Yes I know.  It’s been over a month since I last posted. Meh.

I haven’t been sleeping.  No, I mean I really REALLY have not been sleeping.  I know that insomnia is a common complaint in pregnancy, but this is ridiculous.  The last week alone I have been averaging 3 hours per night.  Last night was about one hour, tops.  It’s not even like I am stewing or worrying about something (surprisingly, that is, for me).  I just lie there, watching the hours pass by.  And when the alarm goes off in the morning, I feel so very angry.  Full of hot angry exhausted tears.  It’s not like I soon won’t be experiencing this no-sleeping routine, as soon as the babe arrives.

Soon I will look like Christian Bale in that movie The Machinist, where his character hasn’t slept in over a year. 

I don’t want to be a complaining mess this pregnancy, I really don’t.  I want to embrace this time with open arms, and enjoy the short time this little boy lives inside me.  But all I feel is tired and mad.  Crazy mad.

When I told the midwives this past week about the insomnia and how I just couldn’t handle it anymore, they (somewhat jokingly) told me to give that complaint “up to the universe.  So could the universe please help Kate sleep at night?”  And all I could think was “could the universe please give me some fucking prescription sleeping pills so I could sleep, goddamnit?”

So, as I said – meh. And that’s where I am at this month.

Comments (5)

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