…Baby girl had an agenda of her own!
As in what seems to have become true fashion for our family, (whether it’s moving, births, travel…) baby was about to make things eventful! We are lucky to have a history of things working out great in the end but there always seems to be a bit of adventure along the way.
I had been having mild contractions and cramps the past couple days leading up to my appointment. They seemed to be worse in the night and waking me from my sleep. I was also measuring 4 to 5 cm at this week’s check-up. It seemed baby would likely be sooner than her October 5th due date. Because of my progress and previous delivery history, my doctor recommended that I go to the hospital to get assessed if the pain or frequency of contractions increased at all. Better to be safe than sorry, or proactive rather than rushing, since she seemed to think my labour would happen fast. She told me, in a light-hearted tone, she would be working tomorrow and maybe she’d delivery my baby if I went in that night ;)
I left the clinic thinking for sure this baby would not make it until Matthew was off. But he couldn’t just fly home and wait because for all we knew she could decide to stay in another week… We discussed our options over the phone. He gave his team leads a heads up and I made sure to have all the emergency numbers and somewhat of a plan.
I really didn’t think I would be going in to hospital that night. The pain was mild and more of a discomfort. However, I took what the doctor said seriously and Matthew and I decided if the pain increased it was better to go get checked and be sent home than wait too long before going to the hospital. This would also give us time to assess if and when for Matthew to come home.
I showered before bed just in case I did have to make an emergency trip that night. I laid out a few extra things to add to my hospital bag and picked out some comfy clothes to wear for when the time came. I tried to relax and not obsess about what to do or wonder when things would happen. But the real reason I couldn’t sleep was because of the pain. I was having contractions and after my appointment I was keeping an eye on the clock to time them and their frequency. They were keeping me up and they were getting closer together. I tried really hard to convince myself I was being paranoid, but I still couldn’t sleep. You can’t sleep through this kind of thing. I kept telling myself to wait for the next one and sure enough it came.
Then the freakiest thing happened! And I’m convinced it was a sign saying just get up and go in. The TV in my bedroom (which was off) lit up and then off, lit up then off again. Did that just happen? The remote was on the other side of the room and there was nothing near the cable box to hit the button. Call me crazy, but I did not imagine it, and I am big in to signs, so there was no more trying to sleep for this girl.
I got up and put on some make-up. Tried to stay calm and gather all my things for the hospital. I had to wake up Walter, Matthew’s dad, and then Halle so that they could drive me.
The whole time I kept thinking maybe I don’t need to go in yet. But I’m glad I did…
It was around 12:30 AM and Walter just dropped me off at the door. I hated having to wake Halle. I really just wanted them to get back home as soon as possible to get Halle back to bed. Poor thing didn’t know what to think of her midnight wake up and drive. Luckily, she went right back to sleep when they got home.
It was kind of strange checking in to the hospital by myself. But I wasn’t really in active labour and part of me still thought this wasn’t ‘it’.
My reasoning for going was to check to see if I had dilated more since I was already at 4-5 cm with very little pain. I was also worried about Matthew making it home on time. And, after testing positive for a virus called GBS, in which I needed antibiotics before delivery, I wanted to give myself time for that.
I camped out in the triage room for most of the night. I was the boring case for the evening as a few patients that followed me were rushed to delivery. Which was exactly why I was there early instead of being one of the moms that practically delivered at the registration desk…
Anyway - Everything was looking good on the monitors. I was having contractions about every 10 minutes but they were more like strong menstrual cramps. But I still couldn’t sleep. I had to wait a few hours to see the doctor, who was busy with the deliveries. The nurses were helpful to check in on me since I didn’t have a support person.
We decided Matthew should come home since baby would be arriving soon whether labour picked up naturally or had to be initiated by the doctor.
Of course, on weekends, Matthew’s company flights from site only happen in the night time instead of one in the morning and one at night. This meant we had to book our own last minute flight from the Fort McMurray International airport. Luckily we were able to get one leaving that morning and a co-worker drove Matthew from camp to the town airport.
I was measuring a good 6 cm at this point. So I was progressing and apparently labouring really well. The doctor decided they would start my antibiotic treatment through IV. It would take about 4 hours to complete the dose which would allow Matthew enough time to fly home and make it to the hospital. When he arrived the doctor would break my water, unless it happened naturally before then. In theory, breaking the waters would kick start my active labour and help me fully dilate and deliver baby.
They started my IV in the triage room and I rested there until just before 7 AM when I moved to my delivery and recovery room. Matthew was just about to board his flight scheduled to arrive at 8:45 AM. I met my new nurse, Erin, who would help me through labour and delivery.
I finished my antibiotics around the time Matthew’s plane touched down. I was having two contractions in 10 minutes at this point but still not at the active labour stage. It seemed as though everything would work out in time for daddy to arrive.
Matthew was greeted by nurses with “are you the dad?” as he walked the hallways upon arrival just before 10 AM. We decided to wait until 10:30 to give us time to walk around and hang out to see if anything happened on its own.
While we were walking in the hall the anesthesiologist greeted me thinking I had requested an epidural. Nope, not me. My goal was to go medication free again. I did it before, so (I hoped) I could do it again!
10:30 AM. No change. So we decided it was time to break my waters.
It was nerve wrecking knowing this would likely bring intense pain and that things would happen quickly. But on the other hand, it was going to happen either way so why not get it over with.
We were both ready to meet our baby girl.
I spent the first 15 minutes standing and rocking waiting to see what would happen. I told Matthew if he wanted to grab a bite to eat, since he had a rushed morning, now was the time to do it.
The contractions picked up quick. I spent most of the time sitting on the toilet to allow gravity to help push baby down. There was a lot of heavy breathing. Soon after Matthew got back from the cafeteria I was in more pain and ready to move to the shower to use water to comfort contractions.
I sat on a birthing exercise ball while Matthew sprayed my belly with hot water. After just a few strong contractions in this position I felt the natural push and what seemed like babies head practically touching the ball. Panicked, I cried “she’s coming!!”
The nurse did a quick check. I was fully dilated and baby was indeed coming. She hit the emergency buttons to call the doctors and support staff.
Matthew and Erin quickly moved me over to the bed.
I couldn’t believe how fast things were happening. My active labour after breaking my waters had been just over an hour. I felt scared and excited and an overall rush of emotions.
Staff rushed in and I attempted to find a comfortable pushing position lying on my back. It didn’t feel right. I tried a support bar but it wasn’t helping.
We ended up inclining the back of the bed so that I could kneel facing backwards with my upper body supported by the upright bed. This once again allowed gravity to help push baby down and seemed to be best for me to give stronger pushes.
Pushing was frustrating.
I was making progress but it hurt and I found myself asking “why isn’t she out yet?”
I was lucky (spoiled even) with a super quick 10 minute pushing session with Halle so I kind of expected this time to happen fast as well… Nope.
Pushing was harder than I thought.
It seemed like time was dragging and I knew it was up to me to do the work and I felt like I couldn’t.
But I could.
I was getting closer.
After each contraction and round of pushing, the nurse listened to baby’s heart rate.
Approaching 40 minutes of pushing, the doctor warned me our girl’s heart rate was dropping. If I couldn’t get her out in the next couple contractions I would have to change positions so that they could try something else.
That was all I needed to be strong and get through it.
Bearing down, Matthew by my side supporting me through it, I pushed as hard as I could and there she was.
Because I was up on my knees facing backwards they couldn’t place her on my chest right away but they had laid her between my legs so that I could see her by looking down.
It was an amazing sight and feeling of relief and joy.
They moved her and helped turn me around to lie back in the bed. The nurse placed her on my chest.
After about 2 hours of active labour and delivery, she was here.
They were right about things happening quickly. And I’m so glad I followed my gut… uh uterus? Or um TV sign ;) and went in to the hospital early. I received my antibiotics, daddy arrived in time and now baby was here and healthy.
We did it again!
We were overjoyed to finally hold and welcome Autumn Macy Carroll to the world!