“What should I blog about today, boys?”
“Write about when I was born!”, said my oldest.
On the morning of my due date, I awoke with contractions. I was unsure during the first few if they were the real deal but I shortly realized that what I had been reading about for months was finally happening. As my uterus tightened I thought, “Oh my God! This is it!”.
I let hubby know and together we started timing them. He called work and told them he wouldn’t make it in that day, “We are having our baby!” he said beaming with pride.
As the hours passed, my log sheets filled up with numbers and the blank spaces slowly disappeared. By the twelfth hour we thought we should make our way to the hospital. I had heard so many stories of women getting sent back home for not being dilated enough, but at this point I was ready for a change in scenery. We arrived at the hospital shortly after 7pm.
To my surprise, I was 2 centimetres dilated and the hospital admitted me. “So, it’s really happening?”, I asked the nurse. “It’s really happening.”, she said.
My husband asked how long it would take. At that moment, we completely ignored the part where she warned that it varies from person to person and focused only on her point that “on average” it was about an hour per centimetre of dilation.
We should have known that “on average” wouldn’t apply to me. My pregnancy was anything but average. My uterus always measured 4 weeks ahead and I was constantly asked if I was carrying twins. I even had to have a few ultrasounds towards the end of my pregnancy to check my amniotic fluid levels.
So, when my husband heard the nurse say an hour per centimetre, he happily called our parents and told them the baby would be born by 3am. (Ha!)
I told my husband I was ready and he knew that I was completely against having any pain medication.
“I am doing this the natural way”, I said. “Mind over matter”, I thought.
As the evening progressed into the wee hours of the morning, the pain intensified, as my patience and energy plummeted. I tried everything. The tub worked for a little. With each contraction, hubby would place the shower head over my belly. The pressure and the heat helped to ease the pain, but the longer I laboured, the less bearable it became.
“Let’s try going for a walk”, he suggested.
Back and forth, up and down; we roamed the hallways for what seemed like an eternity. When the contraction came, I would grab hold of the railings across the hallway wall, crouch down and scream.
“I can’t possibly keep going!”, I cried. “Yes, you can!”, he’d say.
At midnight the nurse checked me. I was certain she would say I was nearing 10 centimetres. How could I not?
“You’re about 3cms.”
“What?!” I yelled out.
I began feeling defeated.
At 7am, now 24 hours after my contractions began, 12 hours after we arrived at the hospital, and 4 hours after our son’s expected arrival time, my doctor appeared.
“You’re 5cms. I’m going to break your water and start you on some Pitocin.” he advised. “It will help you progress.”
At this point I had been hoping for a higher number but I was starting to feel hopeful.
The nurse started an IV for the Pitocin and my movement was now limited but I was so exhausted I didn’t mind.
Not long after the Pitocin started kicking in, the contractions grew stronger and more frequent and closer together.
Like clockwork, the anesthesiologist appeared at my door every hour.
“Are you sure you don’t want an epidural?”
“Yes, I’m sure”, I’d mutter.
I kept getting checked throughout the morning, only to consistently keep hearing, “5cms” over and over again.
Finally at 1pm as the nurse prepared to check me once more, I whispered to my husband, “If she tells me I’m 5cms, I don’t know what I’m going to do. I’m going to lose it!”
I took a deep breath as she went in.
“You’re still 5cms, honey.”
“I can’t do this anymore!” I yelled. “Give me the epidural!”
“Are you sure that’s what you want?” my husband asked. “You’ve planned for so long to do this naturally.”
“Give me the epidural!” I cried.
The nurse called the anesthesiologist and after a few nods and okays, she hung up the phone, looked at me and said, “Oh honey, he’s just out for a jog but shouldn’t be too long”.
Are you f*cking kidding me? He’s been here every hour on the hour and now that I need his f*cking meds he’s out for a f*cking jog? As you can imagine, I lost my mind!
By now, I had given up. All the focus and breathing techniques I was practicing just minutes ago were gone forever and I started to panic. The nurse gave me an oxygen mask and soon the anesthesiologist came to my rescue.
The original dose that they gave me didn’t freeze my entire belly so they gave me a little more. The machine was showing contraction on top of contraction but now I was numb.
At 4pm the doctor checked me again. Guess how many centimetres I was! Go ahead, guess! 5? You got it! After 33 hours of labour I was still only 5 cms dilated and the natural child birth I had been hoping for came to a crashing halt as they prepped me for a c-section.
As they wheeled me to the O.R. we passed by the waiting room where our parents and siblings eagerly awaited the birth of their first grandson and nephew. My eyes filled with tears and I just wanted this to be over. Give me my little boy!
In the O.R. the lights were bright, the air cold, and the room filled with doctors, nurses and anesthesiologists. They pumped me with more epidural.
“Are you going to make sure I can’t feel anything before you slice me open?” I nervously asked.
“What do you feel?” the doctor asked as he rubbed something along my skin.
“It’s pretty hot”, I said.
“Good! It’s supposed to be ice cold.”, he replied. “You’re ready!”
Hubby walked in dressed in scrubs and sporting a hair net and a mask. Looking sexier than ever, he took his seat next to me.
My arms were shaking uncontrollably due to the epidural. I was shivering and although I was getting cut open all I could think about was how I was about to meet my son. I had waited my whole life for this moment.
I hear a cry. “Is that him?” I yelled.
I looked up and the doctor slowly raised him up over the blue sheet.
He was swollen and bluish and beautiful and within seconds started peeing in the air.
When they handed him to me I was afraid to hold him. My arms were still shaking and I feared I would drop him. They assured me I wouldn’t. As I peered into his eyes I couldn’t believe this moment had finally come. He was so worth the wait!
“Hello, little man. I’m your mommy.”
Unfortunately, because I had been pumped with so many drugs throughout the day, the few hours that proceeded were all a blur and I am thankful for the pictures that I have as I sadly can’t rely on memory to relive those first few hours of his life.
That night, I lie awake in my bed, baby in his bassinet to my left, hubby sleeping on a chair to my right. Behind a curtain across from me a newborn screamed as his mother tried comforting him. The lights in the room were bright and every time a nurse would walk through the hallway door, it would loudly “ding”.
I couldn’t take my eyes off my son. Every movement, every sound had me captivated. I thought to myself, “I will never sleep again.”. Time proved I wasn’t entirely wrong.