(It's been a couple years since I started writing about my journey to motherhood. My memories are fading fast and details are being forgotten. I had a lot of enthusiasm when I started writing about it. But it seems I wasn't quite ready to face one of the hardest parts of the story. Tomorrow is my son's 6th birthday and I'm attending a regular mother's support group and I will be sharing my sons birth story. I want to write it out tonight so I can have some clarity tomorrow, and so I can truly grieve my son's birth).
I don't recall many of the details in the last few weeks. I do remember how it all began though. When I was 2 days away from being 39 weeks along, My husband and I went out to eat with a friend of ours. We went to a local Indian restuarant called "Tiffin Roti House" (Happened to also be the last meal before my next child's birth). We had a good time visiting and eating the delicious food. Near the end of our meal I decided that I would go to the bathroom and relieve my tiny bladder. After going "pee" I stood up to pull on my pants, however, it seemed I was leaking. I was really baffled. Was my water leaking? Or was I still peeing? I really couldn't tell. I went back to the table and told my husband what happened. We decided to go home and call the hospital. After going home I was pretty sure my water wasn't leaking but we made the phone call and the nurses thought I should come in just to confirm or not.
This is where things start to blurr a bit. I recall waiting in the hall because triage was full. Once I was able to get a bed they wanted me to lay down so they could check my water. I layed there for awhile on my back. They also checked on baby with the heart monitors. When they were all done the Dr told me that my water had not broken and I was not leaking (Damn you leaky bladder!) BUT while they were checking they noticed that my baby's heart rate dipped down a few times. They thought that was unusual. The Dr proceeded to tell me that I was far enough along that we could probably induce. She said that my baby might be under some type of stress and that is why his heart rate was dropping. She wanted to induce me that night. I was not interested in being induced, at all. I asked her if I could just go home. She said she didn't feel comfortable with me leaving at this point and wanted me to stay overnight for monitoring. She said we could do an ultrasound in the morning to see if there were any answers. I felt a litte better knowing I could go home tomorrow if the ultrasound showed everything was alright. I agreed to stay the night. I called a close friend of mine who was training to be a Doula and sought her advice. Honestly, looking back, I don't remember a word she said, but just talking to her made me feel better. I spent the night on the triage cot and prayed that my baby would be ok.
That night I had a very vivid and real dream that I delivered my baby. In the dream my baby was born by a natural, drug free vaginal birth. The one surprise in the dream was that my baby was actually a girl (foreshadowing?). When I woke up I was really depressed to learn that it was only a dream. My baby had not been born yet. I was still being induced.
In the morning the Dr explained that the baby did fine most of the night but there were a couple little dips in his heart rate. Nothing crazy.The day was long and boring. I was supposed to have an ultrasound that morning but we didn't end up having an ultrasound until the late afternoon, I'd say 2 or 3 pm. Of the ultrasound I just remember feeling really tired of being at the hospital. I felt like they were wasiting my time. And I recall needing to pee.
I asked the ultrasound technician how my baby was. She said he looked great. That gave me an instant joy. I felt like I would be leaving soon.
That joy was crushed when I went back up to the labour and delivery floor. The Dr currently on duty explained to me that after seeing the U/S it was clear that my amniotic fluid was low and my placenta was aging. She felt that it was wise to induce me for the safety of my baby. They were that there was too much pressure on his umbilical cord (causing the dips). I felt like this was valid and thought, ok, lets do it I guess.
They gave me cervadil to get things started. It was 5pm at night. Everything was very slow for the next 24 hours. I remember my husband and I going down to the cafeteria to eat some food. I recall my husband going home and getting the hospital bag. The induction was slow slow slow. The next morning around 11am I believe they started pitocin. The nurse on duty that Sunday was a really sweet lady. She was a mother and had natural births. I felt I had really lucked out with her. My mom came and joined Mike and I. The contractions were quite mild and didn't really bother me. I just remember being so bored at the hospital. I also remember sitting on the bouncy ball, and a massage train that my mom, mike and I were doing. Sometime in the last afternoon my awesome nurse went off shift. I was thoroughly dissapointed with the new nurse. She was fresh out of school and very quiet. She wasn't friendly (though not mean either) but I dreaded having to give birth with this awkward girl in my room. When the awesome nurse was there she was very friendly and we all laughed and joked around. Once this girl started, it was dead silent. The atmosphere changed.
Because I was induced I had the fetal heart monitoring on my belly. I was restricted to the machine. So I could sit on the ball or lay in the bed. I remember being really disappointed that I would not be able to labour in the shower. I had really looked forward to that for some reason.
Sometime in the late afternoon, maybe around 5pm, a different nurse came in the check on me. She asked me to turn over in the bed. She said she was having trouble finding my sons heart rate. Turn over again she asked. Then again. Flip sides. This was getting annoying as it's harder to turn over when you've got such a big belly. Then the nurse made a phone call for a different nurse to come in. The 2nd nurse came and they fiddled around some more. Then she called yet another person into the room. This is when I realized something was wrong. My memory of this is pretty blurry. They told me my sons heart rate had dropped and was not recovering. I recall having my legs up on the bed and they (not sure who) broke my water and put an internal monitor on my son's head. I started crying. I don't remember anyone asking my permission to break my water. From what I remember his heart rate went back to normal at this point. However, they called another DR in and the 3 of them had a little discussion. I was still upset and emotional. My one clear memory from this particular moment is that I asked God to just send me in for a c-section because I couldn't handle all of this uncertainty with my son's health. I didn't want to labour anymore with that bitch nurse and I was pissed that a million people barged into the room and saw me legs up in the air. I was done. I was humiliated. And most of all, I was worried sick about my baby.
A polish surgeon came up to me and told me that he highly recommended I have a c-section. They thought it was too risky to continue with a vaginal birth at that point. They were worried a cord could be wrapped around my sons neck. I agreed.
At this point my mom was in some hysterics too. I recall her mildly yelling something to the Drs as they wheeled me away. Something like "Take care of her, she is MY baby".
Now this is where things get really foggy. Obviously because of the drugs. I was a nervous wreck about the epidural/spinal. Thats partly why I wanted a natural birth so badly, I did NOT want a needle in my spine. But thankfully the anesthesiologist was a very kind compassionate man and made it a somewhat better experience. I remember laying on my side while they gave me the needle. I remember them strapping my arms down to the table. (As I just typed that sentence I was overcome with a huge burst of emotion that I have not let out in 6 years. 6 years of holding that feeling in.) I remember the curtain going up. I remember my husband standing beside me. I recall the lights. The white room. The stainless steel. The many people watching.
Then the awkwardness of a c-birth. The Dr's talking to one another. The tugging. It wasn't painless, I felt that tugging. When they take your insides out. When they pull the baby out. He was "born" shortly after 6pm on Sunday, February 25th, 2007.
The first few moments are a blur. I was drugged. I remember my husband bringing my baby to me, my hands still strapped down, He showed me my sons face. Then I don't recall much else. I think I cried and fell asleep or was just to drugged up to rememeber anything.
The next thing I know I am in a small room. There is a nurse. She says she knows a friend of mine and was told to take good care of me. My baby is not with me but she tells me he is healthy. At some point my husband comes in as well as my mom. My legs are in some weird contrapments. My mom calls my sister on the phone so I can talk to her. This is one of the strangest memories though. I don't remember the phone, I only remember talking to my sister, as if she were in the room. She was in another province! I called my work to tell them the good news. Pretty sure my co-worker thought I was nuts - I kept going on about being stoned (this was a huge deal to me because I'm straight edge).
I asked to see my baby but they kept saying that he was waiting for his bath. Looking back, there is no way I would put up with that bull shit excuse, I would demand my husband have my son and that he stay by my side.
Finally at some point we are moved to the post partum unit. I get my own room thankfully. I believe I first tried nursing him at 8pm. That was the soonest they would let me. The moment my son latched on, I had a feeling everything would be ok. It was the most beautiful amazing moment. I could feed my son.
I had now spent 48 hours in the hospital. In post partum unit I was probably the most annoying first time mother on the floor. I called the nurses every single time I nursed my son so they could make sure I had an excellent latch. I remember being really nervous and scared to take care of my son. I had never changed a diaper in my life.
I remember my parents coming to visit, along with my in-laws. Also, my grandmother Lucy totally snuck in to visit as well.
One clear memory was when I changed my son's diaper and he peed all over the place, all over the other wipes and diapers. I ran out to find a nurse, I was in tears. I didnt know what to do.
I tried sleeping with my son in the same room but one night, probably after the diaper incident, I asked them to keep him in the nursery for a little while. But I made it clear I wanted to nurse him if he woke up. I still feel like a bit of a failure for doing that. I worried that they gave him a bottle nipple to suck on. Or gave him formula without asking me.
I was in post partum for 3 full days, (mon-wed). On wednesday I remember talking to a Dr about pumping. I don't recall why. I was trying out the hospital grade pump. Maybe because my son had mild jaundice? I don't know.
I remember reading the book "Lullabies for little criminals".
I remember taking my first couple walks around the floor. Getting used to walking. I also remember fretting about what kinds of nursing shirts I needed. Although I had planned to nurse my son I hadnt thought too much about nursing bras and shirts. I panicked that I had nothing to wear.
I had my staples taken out and had some sticker bandaid things put on. The nurse made it very clear to me that I was not to take them off early and to let them fall off on their own. (I took her advice a little too literally as I still had them on at my 6 week appt).
I remember that we hadn't even had the car seat installed yet. My husband ran home and got that done. I remember putting our baby in the car seat and feeling so happy to go home. I had spent 5 days in the hospital and it felt like weeks.