So many women that I have talked with have said that their labour and deliveries were all a blur, and many have commented that they don't recall a thing about it all - they only remember the moment when their precious babies entered their lives. With this in mind, I was determined throughout my experience to remember every single moment - because I don't know whether or not I will to through it again....
So, with great detail - here is my son Mason's birth story....
Following my last entry (Tuesday, March 9th), I hustled over to Walmart to pick up what I deemed might be the essentials in preparation for going into labour. My parents (bless their hearts!) came with me, and patiently pushed the cart along while I frantically filled it - diapers, soothers, wipes, onesies, nursing bras, cozy socks - you name it, I snatched it from the shelves and threw it into the buggy! The burst of adrenalin was incredible - I was so worried about being unprepared that I didn't stop for air until I had spent over 200 bucks and had everything that I thought would make me ready to be a mommy.
When I arrived home, I was shocked to discover that my mucus plug had come out - and there was quite the "show" (as it is called). The sight of so much blood made me panic, but I had learned from one of the prenatal classes that we had attended that this was to be expected. I rested that evening - and the hours passed by uneventfully. In fact, things were so status quo that I decided I was going to go into work the next day!
In the morning, I put a call into my doc, as the "show" had not let up and I was beginning to get concerned. She suggested that I come in right away so that she could check my cervix again - if it was anywhere near 8 cm, she said, she was going to ship me into the hospital right away! "Ha!" I thought to myself, "I'm ready this time!!" I conscientiously put the suitcase that I had packed for the hospital the night before into the trunk of my car, and off I went! Once I arrived, I got checked and Doc determined that I was still 4 cm dilated - "I don't think this baby is coming this week!" she announced confidently. So off I went to work!
That afternoon, I was beginning to cramp, but brushed the cramping off as Braxton Hicks contractions. I had a ton of work to finish up and was feeling stressed that I didn't have enough time to tie up all of the loose ends. The cramping was sharp but didn't follow any sort of pattern or timing, so I pressed on...much to the chagrin of my colleagues, who scolded me for being there!
When I arrived home, I was exhausted and decided to take a nap. However, the dull aches woke me shortly, and with DH out with friends that evening, I decided that perhaps I should pick myself up some dinner (would that help with the cramping? Perhaps they were hunger pains?) I drove over to the neighbourhood Asian take-out. Every so often in the car, a cramp would appear - this time strong enough to take my breath away. But a big bowl of Vietnamese noodles was calling my name, so I had to focus and get myself fed!
Once dinner was tucked away in my pregnant belly, I decided I should lie down and take it easy. And this is where it really began...
Settling into a movie ("Ghosts of Girlfriends Past"), my enjoyment was interrupted every 10 minutes or so with a painful contraction (yes...I was willing at this point to acknowledge them as contactions...) and panic began to set in. I watched the clock and began timing them...and at about 9:30 p.m., I realized that the pains were coming about every seven minutes! I called DH and began to cry on the phone...telling him to hurry home...telling him that the baby was coming...telling him that I was scared...
When he arrived home, he sat with me and timed the contractions. To distract me, we finished watching the movie and as he held my hand, the pains became more intense. We left for the hospital at 11:40 p.m. - with contractions that were six minutes apart and growing stronger.
We arrived at the hospital and got ourselves checked into the maternity wing triage just before midnight, and at this point the contractions were so painful that I couldn't talk - all I could do was moan (...anyone who knows me knows that this was what I feared. An overt sign of weakness. Moaning like a wounded animal. I didn't want DH to see me like this.) Once the resident on duty arrived, he checked my cervix and determined that I was 5 cm dilated. They hooked me up to an IV line, notified the anesthetist that I wanted an epidural, and whisked me away to Labour and Delivery.
Approximiately 2:00 a.m. - and life's little blessing arrived in the form of an anesthetist, who efficiently inserted the catheter that would administer my epidural. By this point, my contractions were only two minutes apart - and I was in an incredible amount of pain. I was also already 8 cm dilated, and the nurse indicated that soon I would get to start pushing! This statement panicked me for a moment, and I looked at DH - who was grinning from ear to ear! Once the epidural kicked in, I was actually able to take a nap, which I was so grateful for since I needed to store up some energy before the real show began!
I was awoken (rather harshly!) by one of the nurses a couple of hours later, as I had been sleeping on my left side and somehow this was bringing my baby's heartrate down. I had to turn over and find a new position in order to get the baby's heartrate back up. At this point, they checked my cervix again (discovering that I was at 10 cm), went in and broke my water so that I could begin pushing, and then instructed me to start.
I'm not gonna lie to you - pushing was hard work. Definitely not painful, due to the epidural, but I was pushing as hard as I could, yet I couldn't really tell what impact it was having since I was numb from the waist down (...in my estimation, the only downfall of having an epidural...) This caused me to try and push harder! Unfortunately, about ten minutes into the pushing, the baby's heartrate took a nose-dive - and this was where it got scary!
Up unti this point, it had just been me, DH and our lovely nurse in the birthing room. However, at this point, the nurse pushed the "call" button and said "Can I get some help in here?!?" She also asked for the doctor to be paged immediately. Within seconds, we were surrounded by the on-call OB, his resident, about five nurses, and the neo-natalogist. I looked up at my husband, frantically searching his face for a clue as to what was going on...but he just reassured me and told me that things were going to be okay (I later learned that he was just as panicked as I was...)
The OB ended up having to attach a vacuum to our baby's head, and instructed me to push HARD, five times in a row. It took some doing, but about 20 minutes later the doctor said "Look down, look down! Here comes your baby!" and when I did as I was told, I saw the most beautiful little baby emerging. It was like looking through the gates of heaven.
DH and I got the chance to hold Mason for a brief moment, but then they had to take him right away to the NICU, as he was having some difficulties breathing and was looking rather gray. DH went with him, and as I lay in the birthing room, a flood of emotions overcame me - overwhelming joy at what had just happened; worry about my little son; pride that I had done it! It was such a magical moment - I don't think any other will ever equal it.
They ended up keeping Mason in the NICU for 48 hours, just to monitor his breathing. But he is perfect in every way - our little blessing from God.
Welcome to the world, Mason - you are so loved.