4:50AM – Water breaks at home when I was walking to the bathroom
4:59AM – Text Doula to let her know my water broke and I was going to go back to bed
5:20AM – Bloody show starts
6:31AM – First contractions started; 5-6 minutes apart and ~30 seconds long
8:59AM – First strong contraction that was hard to manage
9:04AM – Called doula to come
9:33AM – Doula arrived
10:07AM – Leave for hospital
10:20AM – Admitted to L&D (8cm dilated & 100% effaced)
10:57AM – Spontaneously pushing and confirmed I was 10cm dilated
11:00AM – Dr. J arrives
11:20AM – O was born at 38w3d weighing 9lbs 11.8oz and measuring 21″ long with a head circumference of 37.5cm
I struggled for some reason writing your birth story. I felt like there was so much back story and I struggled with how I handled labour this time around. I felt like I disappointed myself, your Dad, and our Doula because I stalled my labour out of fear and caused labour to be longer than it should have been. It was still crazy fast but I should have delivered you not long after I arrived at the hospital instead of the time it took as I worked through my emotions. The biggest thing having you helped me realize during all of this was that once you speak something into existence you understand and acknowledge the power you have and then you can overcome. I overcame. So on with your story.
Your story begins, the same way your other 2 brothers stories did, long before the day of your arrival. I always wanted a bigger family, 3 for sure, but after the birth of your brother N I wasn’t sure what the future was going to hold. I thought I was done. I said I was done. That I couldn’t and wouldn’t do “this” again. But your Dad knew, he knew it wasn’t the end of our family’s story. He just asked that I don’t completely take having another child off the table until things settle down and we adjusted to our unexpected journey. Well wouldn’t you know, he was right. As the months passed, I changed my mind and knew in my heart of hearts I was ready to have another baby. It took you a little while to decide you were going to join us but 7:15am on our anniversary (August 19th 2013) I woke up after having a night of hot flashes and knew I was going to see a second line. This was after a week of your Dad telling me I was pregnant. He was convinced I was pregnant and this month was finally our month. I hesitantly took a test without telling him because it was early and I said I wasn’t going to test early. I thought I saw the faintest line that you could ever see but I was scared I got my hopes up but I still was optimistic and overjoyed. So I pulled out the expensive test and got a second pink line so I was indeed pregnant again with an EDD of May 2, 2014 and I was over the moon and I wanted to surprise your Dad again like I did 2 years ago with N so I kept it to myself until after the boys went to bed that night. The hours just crawled by.
I had problems coming up with a way to surprise him because I sprained my SI joint again earlier and couldn’t get out of the house with the boys that day while your Dad was at work like I had hoped. Luckily I already had a card and an organizer for his T-disks that now became an anniversary gift. Not the best gift but I figured I’d use it to tell him about you. I put the test on the inside and stuck a post-it note on the box that said “Sorry I couldn’t be more creative this year and come up with something a little more original. Love, L xo”. That evening I set up the video on my camera without him seeing and gave him the gift. Too bad it tipped and all I got was shots of the floor and my legs. He opened the gift thinking the note meant “sorry all I gave you was this coffee thing for our anniversary” and not that I was giving him the same surprise gift as I did 2 years ago. Luckily he opened the box immediately because he wanted to use it and as soon as he saw the test he said “That’s a line! I told you. I told you!” and he teared up and was so happy!
This marks the beginning of your story.
I knew I was going to have a lot of appointments, even more than before. I was still high risk because of my Diabetes and then add on a genetic syndrome to be screened for and I felt like I was always going to be at the Doctor. However, I knew that it had to be done. I did not want to be blindsided again. Our first appointment was with our Genetic Counselor and she did a great job putting us at ease and explaining all our options for testing. Knowing the odds were 1 in 10,000 for your brother, 1 in 100 sounded so certain. I remember sitting down with her and crying when she asked me questions and all I could say was “I can’t be blindsided again if I can help it. I just can’t” and with that she understood and put everything into motion.
I was tired and hungry and suffering from being hot one minute and cold the next but deep down, I was loving it. I will admit, I had many days where I was almost crying from exhaustion but I knew this too would pass. I won’t hide the fact that I was scared and paranoid, and did I say scared. I tried to be optimistic and not let the fear in but it had its moments. I’ve been down this road and heard all the ‘perfect’ things before and I still got the biggest surprise of my life. Deep down I knew it felt different this time but I still had this little voice chirping in my ear every now and then to tell me not to be so sure and trusting. Luckily for me, that voice didn’t make an appearance often and when it did I had your Dad to fall back on and he let me process it and at the same time downplayed it all and made me feel better.
I had my first appointment set up with Dr. O when you were 8w6d so the night before we decided we would try using the Doppler to see if we could hear anything because if we didn’t I knew I had an ultrasound the next morning so we’d know what’s going within 12 hours so we figured “why not?”. Your Dad found you very quickly and it was loud and clear (169-177bpm). The most beautiful sound in the world. It never gets old. I didn’t realize how much I wasn’t letting myself get my hopes up and all that. Like I knew I was pregnant and I was excited but I wasn’t excited like that until that moment. It’s like I was setting myself up for disappointment for weeks. I was projecting fears I’m sure, we’ll get into that later.
So the next morning, bright and early the whole clan was sitting in Dr. O’s office full of excitement. I knew we were about to see you for the first time. I laid down on the table and she started her search for you and not long after there you were. Heart beating away and measuring a mere 2.14cm and matching our expected due date exactly. We were over the moon! Once I was able to sit up after the scan and was talking to Dr. O, E got up off of his chair came over and climbed up to me and gave me a big hug. While he was hugging me, he said “Mom, you’re ok. You did such a good job. I’m so proud of you. I’m so proud of you, Mom.” It just made the moment even more special. That’s when Dr. O said “I think there is just 1 but it’s not clear so they will be able to tell you for sure on Tuesday”. I laughed my nervous laugh and your Dad went almost white and said “My house isn’t big enough for 2!” and we went on our merry way.
After our next successful ultrasound we decided we would start telling our families and closest friends. I did up a quick youtube video and over the following weeks started sending it out to people. Everyone seemed genuinely excited and/or shocked and couldn’t wait to meet you. Our next big milestones were the NT ultrasound at 12 weeks, which seemed to show everything it should and we screened negative. I got my first big sigh of relief when I found out I had a normal cord this time. No 2 vessel cord. I cried when I saw that on the paper. It was the first thing that was proven to be different this time. Next, came the amnio. I was so nervous about it but I knew I had to have it done for my own peace of mind. So on November 14th we headed up to Calgary. After we dropped your brothers off to head to the test I get a low. Of course I do. My nerves flare up and I get shakey when I need my body to be calm and relaxed. Luckily I had some Rockets in my purse so I ate those while I waited for my name to be called. We finally got called back and they did a quick scan and measurements before the Dr. came in and the procedure was to start. It was stated numerous times there would be no mention of the sex of the baby, which was fine by me since we wanted to do something special to find out together. During the scan she was fast, but did have a quick potty shot but I processed nothing. Your Dad was convinced he saw a penis and she had ruined the surprise. A few more days and we would find out he was right.
Now it was time for amnio. I held it together and wasn’t nervous at all… until the moment the Dr. put the iodine on my stomach and pulled the tray over. I started to well up and cry so I closed my eyes and listened to the Doctor chatting away talking me through what was happening. Once she got the needle in I opened my eyes and stared at you on the big tv screen. Next thing I know you were bumping and grabbing the catheter. Your Dad asked in an almost panicked voice if that was ok and once the Dr. explained the needle was done and it’s just like a straw and the baby can’t be hurt by it he breathed a sigh of relief. It was seconds and she had all the fluid they needed and it was over. One last scan of you to make sure all was well and it was time to get dressed. We snapped a quick photo of the screen so I’d have another photo of you and now the real waiting game began.
I sat at home with time standing still waiting for the clinic to call with the results. Within 4 days they called to say all your chromosomes were there and accounted for and that they could tell me the sex if I wanted. I said “no” because your Dad was at work and we weren’t expecting a call that soon and we planned on finding out together. So as soon as I got the good results and hung up with them I called your Dad to tell him the news. He was overjoyed and then said “What is it? What?! Why didn’t you find out?” so I called them right back. The office was closed now. Now we had to wait until morning and we decided your Dad was going to call and surprise us with what you are. It was the longest 16 hours. Your Dad spent the whole morning knowing the secret of what you were and came home at lunch with a bag from Starbucks that said the answer to the much anticipated question is in the bag. So E opened the bag and pulled out a snowman cookie with a BLUE scarf. Another boy! I knew you were going to be a boy. I didn’t have the “it’s a boy” feeling I had with your 2 brothers, but I just knew I was going to have 3 boys. I always pictured myself with 3 boys and you were. Another 2.5 weeks passed until we got the call about CHARGE Syndrome and your Dad again gave me the results at home at lunch. Your 8th chromosome did NOT have the familial mutation that is present with N. I cried. Hard. One more obstacle down.
Your anatomy ultrasound and fetal Echo went perfectly as well. You moved more than your brothers ever did and kept the techs on their toes but everything looked as it should. I just knew I wouldn’t relax until you were in my arms and I could see you and everything with my own eyes.
As the pregnancy was getting closer to the end every appointment and ultrasound you helped me to surprise the nurse, Dr. O, and the ultrasound tech. that I was still pregnant and everything was showing to be progressing as it should because I was massive and you seemed to be a tank as well. The weeks passed and you were passing BPP ultrasounds and NSTs and everything was looking great. You were crazy active. My fluid levels were perfect. I never had a baby move as much as you and you contorted my stomach into the weirdest shapes. I loved it all. The pregnancy was progressing so quick, I couldn’t believe how fast time was going. I made it to my first goal of 36w1d, then 37w1d so you officially became my longest pregnancy. The nurse remarked at my last appointment at 38w1d that you had a really big bum and your head was still crazy low. As much as I hoped I would make it 38+ weeks, I don’t think anyone thought I’d be still hanging on this far (even myself). You showed no signs of being ready to come out to meet us. I started having nightly chats with you trying to coax you, I walked and walked, bounced and bounced on the yoga ball, did so many squats and lunges hoping things would start soon on their own. The night before you decided to make your appearance I had all but given up on going early and I would have to have the dreaded induction conversation with the Doctor. E was even getting anxious. That night he grabbed my belly, shook it a little bit and yelled into my belly button “come on out baby. GET OUT” and then went to bed. I guess all you needed was some persuasion from your oldest brother.
I awoke at 4:33am to a weird sensation in my stomach. You were moving a lot and pressing on all sides of my stomach. I had this weird electric shock feeling and laid there with my hand on my belly talking to you, asking you what on Earth you were doing. I couldn’t get back to sleep with you behaving like that so I got up to go to the bathroom and possibly get some food but as I rounded the end of the bed I felt an all too familiar pop and small trickle which turned into a huge gush. It was 4:50am. I started trying to wake your Dad and kept repeating his name. He finally awoke and I said rather loudly “my water just broke. Get a towel. GET A TOWEL.” He sprung into action. Although this being number 3 he certainly didn’t move as fast as with the other 2. He helped me get to the bathroom with the towel between my legs and I sat down and messaged Doula L to let her know my waters had broken while your Dad took care of the water on our bedroom carpet. I told L I was going to get back to bed and get some sleep until things started happening. This was the first time I didn’t cry because I wasn’t ready. I was excited. I was ready and waiting this time. So I slap on my adult diaper (so glamorous) and started to head back to bed but at 5:20am I messaged L back to let her know sleep wasn’t going to happen because I was having bloody show and I needed to get things situated and straightened out for the day. Things never started this fast with your other brothers. I always had hours, even days, of waiting for something to start. So I took this time and started messaging people that today looked like it was going to be the day and we would be in touch when we need someone to get the boys. We set our bags, brought up the birthing ball, and waited. We had a great chat and we were both in great spirits.
I had my first small contraction at 6:15am. I wasn’t sure with the first one if I was feeling what I thought I was feeling but when the next once came I knew things were starting. I was so happy. I was anxious to have someone here with the boys and I couldn’t wait to meet you. They were about 5 minutes apart and anywhere from 30-45 seconds in length but they were very mild so I kept on doing what I was doing. We called L again to let her know what I thought was just early labour had started and she told us to let her know when they were about 1 minute in length and 5 minutes apart or when I felt like I needed support or encouragement. But at this point, I was managing fine and they weren’t bad at all and I was just waiting for the intensity to pick up. E woke up at 7am while I was in the bathroom and I came out and told him the baby was coming today. He told me he was scared but I reassured him that there is nothing to be scared of that we should be happy because we were going to get to meet his newest brother today. Then a small contraction hit and I sat on my ball and closed my eyes. He followed me and held my legs and told me “I’m here for you, Mom. I am right here. You can do this”. He kept repeating it and patted my back until it was over. He asked if the baby was hurting me a lot and was concerned that I was in pain but when I told him I’m ok and it stopped for now he was happy with that answer and again told me I could it and ran off downstairs for breakfast and to watch some TV. I sat upstairs bouncing on the ball talking to your Dad, and eating breakfast all the while pausing to breathe through contractions. Things were starting to get stronger and I fell back into my familiar rhythm of repeating “you can do anything for a minute” and breathing deep. Finally, around 9am I got a contraction that took my breath away and said “Ouch, that one had bite”. We agreed if I had another like that we would be calling L. And it did. There was the all too familiar mind numbing pain. They seemed to be coming close and on the next one we dialed up L. Or rather, your Dad did. I was in no place to be talking on the phone any more. Conversation had ceased. I was no longer laughing. I was finding my zone and trying to breathe you down. But, it was then when I began to panic. I started muttering “something’s wrong. Something isn’t right. Something’s wrong.” L was on the phone with your Dad and asked him to get me to clarify but I just gave a frustrated “I don’t know. I just don’t feel right.” So L told him she’d be there shortly. It felt like an eternity before she came because the contractions were fast and furious. Your Dad told me I had to get up and leave but I was having none of that. He knew things were getting too close to be at home but I had found my spot and I was frozen in fear so I was not moving anywhere at that point. Nothing could have made me leave that spot on our bedroom floor.
It was 9:33am and I was bent over my ball moaning and groaning when L arrived and I was repeating “I can’t do this. J, I can’t do this.” I know he was encouraging me but I have no recollection of what he was saying. I don’t remember anything L might have said either but I do remember pressure on my hips and someone rubbing my back and in that moment that was what I needed. By now I was in tears, not because of the pain (yes I was in immense physical pain) but because I was filled with fear. With each contraction I knew I was coming closer. I was going to have to face my fear of the unknown and I was scared. I was scared of history repeating itself even though I knew the odds were most definitely in my favour. But each contraction meant I was closer to coming face to face with you and I was scared. I didn’t want to leave. I didn’t want to go to the hospital. I said I was scared to be sent home but deep down I knew that wasn’t going to happen but I still didn’t want to leave the familiar surroundings of my room. My safe place when all goes to Hell. Contractions were hitting me wave over wave and it hurt. A. Lot. It was more painful than it should be while I’m still at home. All of a sudden I felt a familiar burning sensation and I knew I shouldn’t be at home and it was go time. 100%. After the next contraction it felt stronger and I jumped up and said “I need to go”. I ran, well walked as fast as I could, to the door. Down 9 steps and trying to breathe through the pain that was coming way too close together. L put my flip flops on and I waddled to the van. The fast get up and go, got up and left. I remember your Dad grabbing our bags and locking the door and our neighbour was out cleaning her car and I remember climbing into the van and crawling onto all fours and I was ready for one of the worst parts of it all, the drive to the hospital in excruciating pain. I also remember yelling at your Dad to close the door because I didn’t want to labour on my hands and knees visible to the whole neighborhood. I guess I still had some sense of what was going on to realize people might be watching me from their houses. Next thing I knew the door was being closed and L was in our van rubbing my back and squeezing my hips and we were off. It was 10:07am.
That drive felt like an eternity. We didn’t hit every green light like we had for your 2 brothers that’s for sure. At one point, I was convinced we must be close so I asked where we were. I was told we were at the Husky. The last set of lights on the highway before the exit. I thought for sure we were already off the highway and your Dad was sitting at those lights not making a right on red because he didn’t want to squeeze beside vehicles and I was ready to give him Hell for it. False alarm. We weren’t that far yet and he did make the turn on red when we got there without any prompting from me.
We arrived at the hospital and your Dad went to park the car while L got me a wheelchair to get me upstairs. We get to the elevators and one is being worked on and there is a back log of people waiting to get on. Again, it felt like time was standing still and I was trying to will those elevator doors to open with some Jedi mind tricks. Finally I heard a ding and we could get on. We get upstairs to L&D and no one was at the desk. Finally someone came (I’m sure it was only seconds but time is skewed when you’re in labour) and asked if they could help us and a point blanke “she’s in labour” got us a “well I’ll go see if I can find someone for you.” Uh, ok. By this point your Dad had caught up to us and we were met by our nurse, Lacey, and were taken right to L&D room #80. I’ve always given birth in room#90 so this was new to me too. I was in immense pain at this point and trying to concentrate and breath all the while being brought back to reality by questions they wanted answered. It’s almost impossible to do both. Luckily your Dad and L knew the answers for me. Lacey wanted me to get up and onto the bed to be assessed so we could determine the next course of action but I was in the middle of yet another painful contraction. It was at this point that the crazy me started to come out. I remember the nurse wanting to feel my stomach during this contraction to see how strong they were and I was determined to not let her touch me. And she didn’t. I couldn’t stand the thought of someone pressing or holding my stomach at that point in time, especially a nurse I didn’t know. It was then when she told me I had to be checked and I was going to be checked twice. Once by a nurse in training and once by her. Ok, here comes crazy Laura again. I shock my head furiously no and your Dad asked if I had to be checked by two people. They tried to persuade me to let me be a teaching moment but I was having none of that. None of that. There was no way that was happening twice just for a learning experience, laying on your back through transition is torture. So Lacey said the nurse in training was going to do it but I must have shot daggers with my eyes or something because she didn’t want to and said she’d wait for the next one. I get assessed by the nurse and I was 8cm dilated and 100% effaced and you were right there. My blood pressure and your heart rate were checked and all was good to go. This was happening and happening FAST. Again.
I sat up while the gas was being set up and things were being arranged in the room. It was 10:35am. I don’t know why I sat up but I remember doing it and I sat in pretty much the Lotus pose and became a statue. I closed my eyes and tried to block out and forget what was happening all while breathing deep with the gas during contractions. I needed time. More time than you were going to give me if I didn’t do something about it. I needed to surrender myself to the process and I couldn’t do that with the fear I was experiencing. I wasn’t ready. That inner voice was back and it was loud. I was scared. This is a first for me. Fear is one thing I’ve never had to deal with during labour. I loved labour and delivery with your brothers. There was no fear. I just listened to my body and followed its lead. This time I needed to stall. I needed for things to slow down. I knew things couldn’t keep progressing with my mental state at that moment so I was sitting. I left the moment and forgot where I was and what my body was doing. I was working through my demons so to speak. Bad timing on my part but it had to be done. I was having flashbacks of your brother N’s birth and what happened after and I was scared. Scared of history repeating itself and feeling helpless. All this was bringing me right back to those moments and it was hard. It was not the time or the place I wanted to be dealing with those feelings. I really had thought I had worked through them all but I guess that’s how PTSD works. Fantastic. Great timing Laura. I don’t know for how long I was in my little trance but I remembered we made our choice to have you from a place of love, not fear of what may come next for our family and I was banging on the door of “next”. So that was that and I raised my head, opened my eyes, looked right at L and said “I have to move don’t I?”. Then I moaned and whimpered a bit in protest, especially when I realized my feet were numb and my legs were asleep half way up my shins for sitting cross legged while in labour.
L gave me 3 options on positioning. Side-lying, sit on a birthing ball, or get down on all fours. I knew all fours would have been the best but I also knew that would mean labour would pick up faster than I was ready to deal with it. Yes, you’re reading that right. I was still continuing to stall my own labour. So your Dad decided for me that I’d go side-lying since that’s how I birthed N. He also knew there was probably no way they would get me off of the bed because once I find a place I stay in it. I know there was no way I would have climbed down off of that bed on my own volition so side it was. So L and your Dad lifted and turned me. I buried myself into your Dad’s chest through contractions while L was pushing on my hips and doing other things I was probably completely unaware of. I do remember at one point she let up to reach for her camera and I begged her to “not stop whatever you are doing” so the camera stayed where it was.
Then all of a sudden my body started to push. It was completely out of my control. Lacey came back in and I was completely dilated at 10cm. It was now 10:57am. I was trying to follow my body’s rhythm but that fear was still there in the back of my mind and I began sobbing into your Dad’s chest as he rubbed my back. I was moaning and avoiding what needed to be said. What I needed to work through in order to meet you and to finally surrender to the process. At last I threw my arms around your Dad’s neck and blurted out “what if something is wrong?” and cried a little harder. I finally confronted the elephant in the room head on. I’m sure everyone knew why I was holding back and deep down I did too but I just couldn’t put it into words and out into the Universe until that moment. I can’t even explain that moment and adequately describe what it felt like to me. With each breathe I found the “old” me and the strength that I was shying away from for these couple hours. A huge weight lifted off my shoulders and suddenly I could breathe a little deeper. It’s crazy what happened when I acknowledged the power that these thoughts and words held over me. The fear stepped aside and empowerment happened. In that moment of vulnerability I found my strength. I was now emotionally ready as I ever could have been to have you enter this world.
Dr. J had now entered the room and was waiting to catch you. I was breathing deep and letting my body push you down but now it was actual go time. Someone told me it was time to grab my knee and hold it back as it was the only way you were going to come out since I was on my side. I held on for a contraction or two but then next thing I remember is someone else holding my knee because I had my arms wrapped squarely around your Dad’s neck in an immense headlock. At one point I pulled down so hard I remember him frantically telling L to get his glasses because they were driving into his face and I was going to break them. So for every push, I used your Dad’s neck and shoulders as my brace as I bore down. All of a sudden I felt that intense burning that told me you were right there so I closed my eyes, took a deep breath, and went with it. Slowly you crowned and I began to repeat “I can’t do this. Stop. Stop. I can’t do this. Please stop” and Dr. J ever so matter of factly said “I’m not doing anything to stop. It’s all your baby” and I responded with “I can’t do this” and then I heard L say “You’re done.” Relief.
It was 11:20am and there you were. Pink and crying. I instantly welled up and whispered “He’s here. He’s not squeaking. He’s not squeaking!” and next thing I knew you were laying on my chest and your Dad was cutting your cord. You were covered in thick vernix and so content on my chest. It was exactly what my soul needed. You were so beautiful and I looked you over and breathed you all in. And surprise, surprise you do NOT have the same toes as your Dad and 2 older brothers. You broke the mold. I cuddled you as I delivered a healthy placenta and for the first time ever, and I was given as much skin to skin time with you as I wanted. You latched and fed like a champ and I took in every second of this moment as I’ve never been able to experience it before. It was pure bliss and I couldn’t wait to introduce you to your two brothers.
Oli.ver, I love you.