Leaving home I told Darren that I would like to park at the mall across the street from the hospital and walk over but a few minutes later I changed my mind and only wanted to walk from the hospital parking lot. I had 2 contractions outside and it was so cold that I insisted we continue walking! By the time we arrived in the lobby I was having a third contraction and the elevator was taking forever to arrive! The first contraction I had as I got out of the car though was especially painful ... but because of how cold it was we had to keep moving!
Once I got checked, in they hooked me up to a fetal heart monitor for about an hour to make sure Seb was doing OK and part way through that time someone came to check how much I was dilated.
I was 6cms!!!
I was SO relieved that I was more than 5cms and that the contractions had not slowed down since I had arrived at the hospital! I guess I was holding it together really well too because the staff were very surprised that I was 6cms, they kept saying, "Wow, you seem like you're only 2cms, great work, you're so calm!"
I went over my birth plan with the resident then the doctor then again with my nurse (once you are admitted in the labour & delivery department, you are assigned a nurse that stays with you the entire time). I made it really short and simple: I wanted to not be offered any pain medication; I wanted to get a lock instead of an IV so I could move around as much as possible; and I wanted to do skin to skin as soon as the baby was born. They said they could
probably accommodate my requests but I did have to do a bit of convincing to get the lock and towards the end, they did put in an IV. Looking back, I wish I had put something on there about pushing in an upright position because that was the major issue that I had with our nurse, since she wanted me on my back for pushing. But we'll get to that part later.
We got to our room and the nurse got me a really cool ball that looked like a bum to sit on. It was more comfortable than a regular ball because it was more stable. I sat on it till the doctor came in to check me an hour later ... 8 cms!!! Yes!
Unfortunately, when the doctor came back 2 hours later I was still 8cms. Darren says when they told me, it looked like I was going to cry. I had decided that at that point, I wanted them to rupture my membranes, so they took a small hook and broke my water. Wow, SO much liquid!!! It felt like a huge gush of relief but then the contractions became more painful. Later on, Darren goes: "woah, did you feel all that water coming out?" Uh, yes. They broke my water at around 10:45 pm.
Thankfully after only a few more contractions, I started to feel like I was going to push. The nurse wanted me to get to the toilet just in case I was going to poo but no poo came out, I just felt the baby moving farther and farther down. Unfortunately she wouldn't let me stay on the toilet very long before she wanted me to get back in bed. I asked for a birthing stool or
to kneel or to do anything other than lie in bed and Meghan tried to negotiate with her as well but the nurse wouldn't have it.
She actually said it was dangerous for the baby!
I was quite annoyed because I knew very well that it is absurd to believe that pushing out a baby in a squatting position is dangerous for the baby! However, I was pretty tired and in no mood to argue so I got back in bed and before I knew it I was flat on my back, pushing the baby out while the doctor was comfortably seated on her stool (I actually heard her ask to have it adjusted and that made me even more annoyed).
But the pushing, even though it felt like intense burning as I stretched, was a great change of pace. They had me wait for a contraction then hold my breath and push as hard as I could for 10 seconds. Darren said my face got super red and I noticed later that I had burst blood vessels in my face and arms from pushing so hard. It was really rewarding, though, because I could feel progress as the baby descended. I wanted to watch but they didn't have a mirror. At least I could hear Darren's response as he watched and commented about how cool it was to see his head emerge.I did get to reach down and feel his head as it was coming out though, so cool! Darren told me later that all I kept saying was "woah, that's him?! crazy".
I continued holding him while delivering the placenta (so amazing we got Meghan to take a picture!) and they stitched me up. Darren got to cut the cord and hold a newborn for the very first time. He's a natural! We had a sweet time bonding as a new family.
What an amazing experience! Giving birth was the hardest but also the most rewarding thing I have ever done, although I didn't do it alone. I am most thankful for Darren & Meghan being with me! I relied on Darren for so much strength, he was an amazing encourager! I can't imagine how much harder it would have been without him there, especially because he was the person I most wanted with me and the person whose voice I heard when I was blocking everything else out to focus on getting through the contractions. Our doula, Meghan was super thoughtful and she did a great job of lending an extra set of hands to comfort and help without taking over or needing to be in charge.
Being parents has already been quite an adventure and I look forward to all the fun and learning ahead for us!