Ella’s birth story
I’ve been going over this day in my head for the last two weeks and I’ve found it difficult to come up with words to sum up how unbelievable Nov 8th, 2012 was.
Two fun facts about this day:
1) I was supposed to see my midwife at 1:30pm for my 41 week appointment (41 weeks + 1 day- 8 days overdue.. let’s be exact here!). She was going to do a “sweep” to see if she could get things moving. She was then going to call the hospital to book an induction date.
and 2) Steve took this day off work. He has some extra vacation days to use before the end of Dec, and because I was going to the midwife he wanted to be home just in case things started after I saw my midwife.
Little did we know, our girl had other plans for us!
I had been having braxton hicks contractions for a good few days prior. Probably a week, mostly starting at night when I’d go to bed but never lasting. The same happened Wednesday night. I went to bed, had a few braxton hicks contractions, thought nothing of it and went to sleep. When I woke up around 2am I still had them but they weren’t painful at all. I’d have one every once in a while. Anyone who has ever been pregnant knows how little sleep you get in the last weeks/days of pregnancy so I was up off and on a lot that night. 4am was the time most mornings when i’d be up for a good hour and I noticed that I was still having these twinges. Finally around 6am I thought to myself what if this is it? I got up and had a shower. By the time I got out of the shower, Sophie was up and I told Steve what I had been experiencing. I said to him maybe he should get in the shower and we should get Sophie into the bath just in case. The contractions were definitely more than braxton hicks at this point. They were very irregular, but I knew this had to be more. We all got dressed and got Sophie some breakfast. Steve made me a cup of tea and some toast with butter and I bounced on the birthing ball for a while. By 7:15am we called his mom and told her that we thought she might need to come over, but not to rush. The plan was always that she would take Sophie for us while we went into hospital, whenever that would be… which as it seemed would be today! By 8am she was at our house. I paced the rooms, back and forth from the living room into the kitchen. We all chatted and I worked through each contraction, which by now some were more painful than others but not unbearable. They were not regular at all. Some were 11 minutes apart, some were 6, some were 8. There was no consistency.
I remember something Steve’s mom said to me that morning: wouldn’t it be great if you had this baby by lunch time and could be home by tea time? Right…..right…
As I was working through a couple of contractions, Sophie would follow me and say “mommy, what you doing?” I just paced and paced, sometimes stopping to get my breath. I wondered if she could sense something was going on, but I never wanted her to know I was uncomfortable or in any pain at all. By 10am I suggested that my mother in law take her out somewhere, and she agreed. Sophie was getting restless anyway and I thought I could deal better with what was probably to come if she wasn’t there. My contractions were still irregular. My midwife had told me when we did my birth plan at 36 weeks that once they were 6-8 mins apart and lasting for 40+ seconds then I was to go in to hospital. So we waited for that.
Once Sophie left and I knew she was ok and occupied it was almost like my body relaxed and said let’s do this. 10:15am I was on the phone to the hospital telling them what was going on. I got the same instructions…wait until they become more regular.
10:45am I call my parents. We’ll be having a baby today! My contractions were becoming more intense and I couldn’t talk through them anymore. I actually handed Steve the phone while talking to my mom while I had to breathe through one. This is when we knew we had to go. My parents were super excited for us, even though I had just woken them up out of bed (it was 5:45am their time!). I remember asking my mom if she’d be going back to bed, to which she answered of course not. They were too excited and they wanted updates!
The car ride over was hard work. Ever have contractions while in a car? So uncomfortable. You can’t walk around while trying to cope, you can’t bounce on a ball, all you can do is sit there and try to breathe through them. I had one contraction on the 5 minute journey to the hospital and then another one while waiting for a parking spot. Steve was getting nervous. I then had another while walking through the parking lot, then one in the elevator and then one at the desk while checking in at the delivery suite at the hospital. Yep, this was real!
I got into my room at 11am and immediately I was checked by the midwife who would be delivering our baby. I was shocked to find out I was 8-9cm dilated! I’m pretty sure I said are you kidding?
I asked for some pain relief, but I figured it was too late for an epidural, which was ok with me. I didn’t have one while delivering Sophie either. I asked for pethadine though, which I did have when I had Sophie. My midwife went to speak to the head midwife and they suggested that since I was so far along, and the pethadine would pass through the placenta to the baby that I try to labour without it. I agreed, because I do remember the pethadine last time making me super drowsy when I was trying to push Sophie out and I really didn’t want that again. I decided I would try the gas and air. When I had Sophie I tried it and didn’t like it. This time I figured if this was the only thing that was going to get me through this delivery, I was going to use it.
(Entonox (gas and air) is a colourless, odourless gas made up of half oxygen and half nitrous oxide. It’s also known as laughing gas. It has a calming effect and can take the edge off labour pain, rather than blocking it out). source
So there I was, bouncing on the birthing ball, working through each contraction and sucking back the gas and air. It helped, big time. The birthing ball helped. I did not get off that thing for the next 2.5 hours unless they had to check baby’s heart rate (which was done using a doppler). All we were waiting for was my water to break. Once it did, we knew baby would be so close and i’d be ready to push. We waited and waited. I bounced through each contraction, Steve pushed on my back through each contraction. I was having crazy back pain and I kept telling him to push on my lower back as hard as he could.
Finally, my water broke. My midwife said things would likely back off a bit. It’s like the body’s way of giving you a break because of what is yet to come. And sure enough it did. The contractions eased up, I got to breathe a little easier, have some water and get ready to meet our baby. I remember looking at the clock; 1:30pm. I told everyone that I was missing my appointment with the other midwife. They laughed and said not to worry. If a woman misses their appointment at 41 weeks pregnant they figure it out: she’s in labour.
Things did start to pick up again soon after, and I was told our baby would be here in a few contractions. Well it was a bit more than a few because I would only get an urge to push with every other contraction. So in six I’d only push for three of them. This made things feel like they were dragging on but also gave me a break to build up my strength to push again. I lost track of the time at this point because I could only focus on one thing, meeting our baby. Soon enough the baby’s head was right there. I was told we didn’t want to deliver baby too quickly so I had to breathe through the next couple contractions even though I wanted to push. That was hard! They wanted my body to naturally help me deliver our baby. And that’s exactly what happened.
2:14pm, our baby was here!
In my birth plan I had said that I wanted Steve to tell me the sex of the baby. The midwives were great with this and held the baby up in front of us. Poor Steve didn’t even get a chance to tell me before I said it’s a girl!! I couldn’t help myself in the moment! They immediately placed her on my stomach to clean her off and she began to cry. I saw tons of dark hair, the most beautiful pink skin and gorgeous big eyes looking back at me. We kept telling her how pretty she was and we were so excited to meet her after all this time.
Steve was an amazing coach. He did everything I asked (haha, I know that sounds funny but he didn’t know the back labour I was feeling!!!), and he encouraged me throughout the whole thing. When we were at home he kept me relaxed (labouring mostly at home was the best thing ever), and once we got to the hospital he kept me focused. The midwives…I cannot say enough about them! They were amazing. They did not leave me from the moment I arrived at the hospital until we were okay once Ella was born. They coached me through the hardest part (the delivery) and chatted with me about all things in between contractions (topics like Canada, if we’d have more kids, my job etc).
Ella had all of her checks done after we had some skin to skin contact for a while. She passed everything with flying colours. I was told if I wanted to we could go home that evening. I would just have to feed Ella twice before we went to make sure she was latching okay and we both needed to be checked again later on that day. I was so excited to get home, not only to be in our own home with Ella but also to see Sophie. She had no idea what her mommy and daddy had been up to that day and we really wanted to introduce her to her little sister!
After feeding and more check ups by the midwives and paediatrician we were allowed to go home. 7:30pm we were on our way!
Remember what my mother in law said to me that morning?
Wouldn’t it be great if you had this baby by lunch time and could be home by tea time?
Unbelievable! I woke up at 6am that day knowing something was happening. I was home nearly 14 hours later with our new baby girl, Ella Elizabeth.
She is such a little blessing. She completes our family in ways that I didn’t know were possible. She is loved by so many people and she doesn’t even know it yet xo