Sunday, May 5, 2013
Find parts 1-3 HERE
I asked for a napkin as my baby’s first meconium poop filled my hand. I didn’t care. I told him he could poo and pee all over me, I loved him and I loved his poop. I didn’t get to hold him long before everyone had to leave the room so that I could get x-rayed to make sure the surgical team had not left any instruments inside me as the surgery was so rushed they didn’t have time to do a final instrument count. Andrew says that upon hearing this he said that if they had left something inside of me he would punch the fucking doctor in the face. He was very tired at this point…We are thankful to the talented OB who got Lachlan out in under five minutes. The reason Lachlan’s heart rate had dropped was that he was so small that when he entered the birth canal the umbilical cord came with him and was pinned next to his head so he wasn’t getting enough oxygen. It’s called cord prolapsed occult. I had heard of cord prolapse but didn’t realize there were different versions, undetectable during labour. We will never know if I could have safely pushed him out but he is here and healthy and that’s all that matters.
Once they finished the x-rays I got the baby back, we were wheeled to our room and we started trying to breastfeed. He was brilliant. Andrew and I took shifts doing skin to skin cuddling while the other parent tried to sleep. The trauma of the day caught up with Andrew early in the morning and he got sick so we called my mom to come cuddle Lachlan while we tried to get some real sleep. She arrived and sat in the rocking chair with our baby for over three hours. That day almost all of our family came to visit. My recovery was very painful at first, putting me back in the “never doing this again mindset” but after a few days I felt better. We spent five uncomfortable, sleepless nights in the hospital, two of which Lachlan had to be in an incubator because of a jaundice scare. On Friday March 29th we finally went home. We felt such relief to be in our own beds and start our lives as a family of three. We couldn’t be happier with our perfect boy. All the pain, frustration and exhaustion totally dissipates when he opens his eyes and looks at us.
Nothing about our birth went according to plan but we got our healthy baby boy home safe and sound…I guess that was the plan all along.
Find parts one and two HERE
Our nurse was still having a hard time finding the baby’s heart rate on the monitor. I heard her calling for backup and figured out that they had to put a scalp monitor on the baby. Things start to get really jumbled for me here. People started piling into the room, an OB was called. I would be writhing on my back and then they would suddenly have me flip as fast as I could onto my side, then the other, back and forth. I could tell that something was really wrong but the gas kept me in somewhat calm, with my eyes squeezed shut. The OB arrived (First time: I opened my eyes to see his face) and checked me, he said there was a little bit of cervix left, my midwife arrived as I started to feel the urge to push. I yelled “I wanna push!” asking if I could and both the midwife and doula urged me to. I beared down and the relief I felt was amazing. I desperately hoped I could push the baby out myself. At some point they put a catheter in to drain my bladder. The baby’s heart rate was very low and they started to talk about forceps and booking an OR. I got a needle for some freezing to prepare for a forcep delivery. Baby’s heart rate dipped again and suddenly we were rushing to the OR. By this time I had been out of the shower for maybe 20 minutes or less. Someone draped a sheet over my exposed lower half as we rushed out the door. I could hear our nurse yell, “Can we go faster?!” and felt them speeding up, running down the hall, crashing into doorways and yelling for people to get out of the way. We reached the OR wing and they told Andrew he couldn’t come with me. He was horrified and I remember calling out to him saying it would be ok (Second time: I opened my eyes to look back at him). He said, “I love you.” I said “I love you more.” And they wheeled me through the doors.
I only opened my eyes for a split second in the operating room (Third time). It was cold and bright and there were a lot of people. They gave me another couple chances to push and tried the forceps to no avail. They frantically prepped me for surgery. I felt them squirting disinfectant on my stomach as they strapped my arms down. My legs were bent and they told me I had to flatten them but it hurt too much. I knew there wasn’t time for an epidural and no one had said how they were going to numb me so I was literally worried they were just going to cut me open wide awake. I was asking if I would feel the surgery while nurses tried forcing my legs straight. Someone put a mask over my mouth and nose and said I would be asleep in a few seconds. I realized then that they were going to put me under and I managed to flatten my legs at the last second. That’s the last thing I remember before waking up.
I don’t know how much time passed before I woke up but I was alone and disoriented laying flat on my back in a bed in a small room with bright halogen lights. I was very warm under my blankets but there was a sharp ache in my lower abdomen. The fact that I had just had a baby didn’t cross my mind for a few minutes. An older Australian nurse walked in. I asked: “Where’s Andrew?” She replied: “He’s with your son.” “It’s a boy?” I squeaked.
I waited for a while before I saw anyone else. The nurse was checking me and warning me that I would need and x-ray soon but they would let me meet the baby first. Eventually my midwife arrived wheeling a bassinet. She was followed by Andrew and maybe the doula, I can’t even remember if she was there at that point. I smiled at Andrew and felt my emotions starting to build up. I had felt pretty numb since waking up. I saw our midwife unwrapping a pale green towel and out of it she lifted a pink, scrawny little baby. My heart was pounding, my face got warm and I felt tears in my eyes and my throat tightening as she brought him toward me. The moment lasted forever and then all of the sudden, there he was; warm and naked on my chest. All of my pain disappeared. I was so instantly happy and in love and I understood why all those crazy people do this two or three or five times! I whispered “Hi Lachlan.” And “I love you.” I hugged him close to me and took in his sweet smell while kissing his fuzzy little head. It was not the moment I had been planning for, but it was the best moment of my life…And then he pooped on me.
Skin-to-skin with Daddy while I was still in recovery
First family photo, taken on our third day in the hospital. This is the first time I held Lachlan while out of bed.
I was finally able to see him in the full daylight next to the window. <3
Lachlan Jude Gillott
Born via emergency c-section at 6:54pm on Sunday March 24th, 2013
6lbs 3oz and 20 inches of perfection
Read Part One HERE
My phone ringing jolted us awake. I looked at the clock and it was just after eight. I sat up as Andrew passed the phone to me. Our midwife was on the other line and my heart sunk when she said I was GBS positive. I felt like it was the phone call from last week telling me I couldn’t give birth at home all over again. Our plans were falling apart; nevertheless, I was a little bit excited and very eager to meet our baby. We got our things together and drove back to the hospital, even managing to get our same pre-paid spot which still had several hours on it! (The amount of money we spent on hospital parking in the 2 weeks surrounding our birth would end up costing much more than what we would have spent on everything for our home birth.)
Up we went, again, to triage where I opted to sit in a chair with my hot water bottle on my sore back instead of lay in an uncomfortable bed. We waited a little while before our room was ready, hoping it would be one of two with a tub so at least I could labor in the water like I had hoped. Unfortunately, all the tub rooms were full so we settled in to a regular, but very nice, private room where my midwife hooked up my IV and started fluids and antibiotics. She made sure we were comfortable and then left.
The view from our room
This couch folds out into a bed - where he would sleep the next five nights
Last belly pic!
We ended up sitting around for about 5 hours waiting for a nurse to be available. We ate toast and then a hospital lunch before our nurse arrived. I was thankful to have the extra time to let labour start on its own but by the time the nurse came I was only feeling back pain once every half hour or so. She started the drugs and seemed excited for me. I wanted to say that this wasn’t what I wanted, that this was a last resort not something to be excited about, but I just stayed quiet and waited to feel something happen. She asked what I wanted for pain medication. I told her about our planned home birth where none would have been available. She asked about my pain tolerance and I gave an uncertain answer. I didn’t end up needing much pitocin before things picked up on their own.
Slowly but surely, contractions started coming. They were not what I expected. It was just my lower back pain getting more and more intense, not that intense crampy ache women always talk about. It didn’t feel like I was in labour, just like I was experiencing useless pain. The nurse said it was back labour. That my labour “would suck and that vaginal birth was not impossible just less likely.” (This makes her sound terrible but really she was awesome and our savior especially during the long nights we spent at the hospital after the birth.) I got through these early contractions by rocking in a chair and having Andrew do knee presses. Eventually the nurse suggested I call my doula to come, thank god I did. She arrived when I was in the washroom and when I got out I was so glad to see her. She had us do laps around the maternity wing, me dragging my IV around and stopping every once and a while to brace myself on the wall while I quietly breathed and rocked back and forth through the increasing pain of each contraction. I became a bit nauseous and thirsty so Andrew got me some Ginger ale. I went back to our room after a few laps because the pain was starting to get to a point where I didn’t want to be seen coping with it by random hospital staff or other people’s visitors.Back at the room I tried sitting on a birthing ball but I had intense pressure in my rectum that made sitting excruciating so I continued to stand, hunched over, legs bend and apart, swaying side to side through the contractions. I tried to take the deepest breaths I could and let my exhalations relax my whole body. This only helped so much. Our doula suggested I get in the shower to ease some pain. I had been on continuous fetal heart monitoring this whole time, it was wireless so I could walk around and get wet but we had to keep adjusting it when I or the baby would shift too much. I stripped down to my underwear and Andrew held the showerhead on my lower back. I was still standing, still swaying, but I was already exhausted. I had only slept a couple hours in the last day and a half and my legs wanted to give out. The water felt so good but the pain escalated. I started to cry out and moan a lot. I began to question whether I could do it. I even said out loud over and over that I couldn’t. I wanted someone to offer me drugs, but I was too proud to ask. Also, I knew that if I had drugs it could make pushing take longer and I wanted this to be over. Our doula said I was coping wonderfully, that I was helping the baby down and that I would see them soon. I felt like she was lying to me. She would periodically offer me a straw to drink from and she had brought our candles into the bathroom so we didn’t have to have the bright lights on. She would suggest a new position just when I was at a breaking point. I am so thankful for her. Andrew was soaked from the back spray of the showerhead and probably freezing cold so someone gave him dry scrubs to change into. He never complained once.
Our nurse kept coming into the bathroom to adjust my monitor. Eventually, she said I had to get out as it was too hard to capture the heartbeat. I had probably been in the shower for well over an hour. They helped me out of my wet things and into and IV gown. I was forced to lie in bed. As nice as it was to lie down and rest my legs the pain was unbearable in that position. I began to lose it. I was squeezing Andrews hand, saying over and over I can’t do it. I complained about the horrible pressure in my butt. It felt like my body was going split in half. I lost all my self control and yelled “My Butt my Butt!” I grabbed the side rail of the bed and shook it back and forth. I remember bringing Andrew’s hand up to my mouth to bite it but managed to stop myself thinking they would really think I was crazy if I did that. The doula and Andrew leaned over me with reassurances. The nurse, realizing I needed something to keep me going, said she would check me. I was at 8cm. I didn’t care, this had to end. Why do people do this to themselves, why would anyone ever do this more than once!? The nurse called my midwife who was now on the way. She offered me the gas, the only thing I had said I was ok with on my birth plan as it doesn’t affect the baby. She said it wouldn’t take away the pain it would just make me care a lot less. It helped a little at first but I had no idea how thankful I would be for it in the end and how it helped me to zone out of the chaos. I breathed it in and squeezed my eyes shut. I would only open them two or three times before it was all over.
Thursday, May 2, 2013
We had been planning our natural home water birth for over two years when we learned that it was no longer an option. I was adamant about avoiding the hospital at all costs. My two greatest fears about labour were getting induced, and having a cesarean. So, when we found out we were pregnant we got two great midwives and started preparing for our private and natural home birth. The day after I finally finished getting together all our supplies I found out I couldn’t have my dream birth. I had suddenly developed high blood pressure which meant that there was a risk of pre-eclampsia and that we would have to deliver our baby in the hospital. I spent the next week watching my blood pressure and waiting to hear if I would have to be induced. Obviously I knew that with pregnancy things don’t always go according to plan, but the birth of our son could not have been farther from what we planned.
(We took this photo just before leaving for the party)
On Saturday March 23rd I was exactly 38 weeks pregnant. Our next midwife appointment was scheduled for the following Tuesday and we knew that it would probably result in the scheduling of an induction as they had already let me go longer than the OB suggested. On this night, however, Andrew and I were going to a welcome home party in Vancouver for our friend Tim. I was determined to go out “one last time.” The hour-long drive out was very uncomfortable for me but the party was fun and it was nice to see all our friends. We ended up leaving later than we had planned at around 12:30am. It was funny; as we left the party everyone wished us good luck. I remember thinking that was so nice, like they were all rooting for us. We dropped our friend Jenna off at another party in Gastown and then made really good time getting home. We arrived home at about 1:15am. I went to the bathroom right away and while I was peeing I felt a kind of “pop” accompanied by some “extra” fluid. I wondered if it was my water breaking but wasn’t alarmed as I had periodically leaked tiny bits of fluid over the last few days with no outcome. We sat in the kitchen on our bar stools to have a midnight snack and talk about whether my "pop" was significant. I was eating Cheerios with chocolate almond milk while Andrew started making himself a bagel when all of the sudden I felt a warm gush. I said something along the lines of: “Ok…um yeah, my water is breaking!” Andrew got me a towel, I wrapped myself in it and proceeded to sit on the kitchen floor and finish my cereal. At this point I thought it might be my last meal before giving birth. (Little did I know I would have two more “last meals.”) Andrew stood there in a kind of daze so I ordered him to eat his bagel. We debated when/whether or not to call our midwife or doula. I couldn’t remember what to do if my water broke before contractions started, we hadn’t discussed it as it is somewhat uncommon. At some point I called my mom. I was shaking/shivering by then.
Eventually, we got in bed while I called the doula. She was already at the hospital with another client and said to definitely call our midwife. Our midwife told us to come to meet her at the hospital so that she could check to make sure that my water had, in fact, broken. We called Andrew’s mom to come get Jack the dog and off we went! I was damp and would randomly gush more fluid so it was pretty uncomfortable even with my entourage of chux pads and beach towels. It was a freezing cold night, there was frost on the ground and the hospital was deserted. We met our midwife in triage where she confirmed that I was leaking amniotic fluid . She brought up the fact that we hadn’t gotten my GBS results yet so we didn’t know if I needed antibiotics. The lab wasn’t opening until 8:00am so she sent us home to get some sleep and said she would call us as soon as she knew my results. If I was positive we would have to come back right away and get induced. If I wasn’t we could wait a bit for labour to start on its own but not long as the risk of infection would increase with time. We drove home; abandoning our 12 hour pre-paid parking spot and tried to sleep. I had started feeling some lower back pain in bed so I slept with a hot water bottle against my back. It never occurred to me that this pain, which I had been feeling occasionally for weeks, was actually contractions…