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The date was the 27th of May 2018, she was already 10 days past due, and I’m anxiously awaiting the phone call. The phone call that says the hospital has enough room in their schedule for me to have a baby today. The phone rings at about 8 in the morning, and I cannot move fast enough to get out of the house. I still have to eat breakfast, and shower, and triple check that we haven’t forgotten anything, and then there’s still an hour drive. I don’t know what I would have done if I had gone into labour naturally.
Getting to the Hospital
When we finally arrive at the hospital, they give us a room and a roommate. A nurse, I think her name was Julie, checks my vitals, and hooks me up to the monitors for a non-stress test. All is well. My roommate, a newfie girl who is 30-some weeks pregnant with twins and trying to keep them in a little longer, is very loud. She’s making phone calls on speakerphone, she has family members visiting, who are also making phone calls, this makes it very hard to stay relaxed. I’m getting more and more nervous. This is happening. I am going to have a baby today.
The non-stress test finishes, and the nurse informs us that they have run out of the prostaglandin insert’s (the medication used to induce labour) on the floor and they were just waiting for the pharmacy to bring s
ome more up. Steve and I sit and wait, listening to the phone conversations of my roommate. After about an hour goes by, my roommates lunch arrives, but nothing for me. They weren’t expecting me to stay this long I guess. Soon after, the nurse comes in to asks if I am hungry and informs me that they have received the medication from the pharmacy. We are just waiting for the on-call doctor to be available.
Steve and I sit and wait, trying to stay as quiet as possible because my roommates family had all gone and she was having a nap. Julie comes in with some food that had been ordered by another patient who was discharged before it had arrived. Tuna sandwich (ick), tea, and some orange slices, I was so hungry at this point that I didn’t care, I ate the whole thing while Steve went to Tim Hortons. By the time we were both finished our lunch, it was almost 1 o’clock in the afternoon, and the on-call doctor was on her way. Yay!
To Admit or Not to Admit
All day they had been unsure whether or not I should be admitted for the night or not. Normally, they just let the patient go home afterwards until the next morning or until they go into labour, but because I live so far from the hospital, they didn’t want me going all the way home.
The Dr. inserts the medication (which takes about 2 seconds by the way) and it is decided that I will be discharged due to the fact that either way, Steve will have to get a hotel (they do not allow Dad’s to stay if you have a roommate).
When we get to the hotel, it is now about 2 in the afternoon, and we have no idea what to do for the rest of the day. Should we go and watch a movie? Go wander around a mall? Where should we go for supper? It took us so long to answer these questions that I no longer wanted to leave the hotel room, and pregnancy cravings told me that I wanted Wendy’s for supper. Good thing there was a Wendy’s just up the street! So it’s decided. We will stay at the hotel, watch whatever movies are on TV, and have Wendy’s for supper.
It was about 5:30 pm, and I felt like I
was getting my period, which by the way, is a special kind of awful feeling when you haven’t had it for 9 months. The cramps were uncomfortable, but nothing serious, nothing like what I imagined labour would be like, so I continued on with my day. We were watching National Lampoon’s Vacation. It wasn’t until after we had eaten supper that I realized the cramps were coming in waves and getting a bit worse. I pulled out my phone and opened the Baby Center App, which has a contraction timer on it. This made it much easier to time the contractions (especially once they got bad) without having to pay much attention to the clock or the pain. I could focus on something else (like National Lampoon’s Vacation) and just touch a button when the pain either started or stopped. The contractions were at 10-15 minutes apart and lasting only 20-30 seconds. Not quite time to leave the hotel, but definitely time for Steve to shower and get some sleep.
By the time he was finished his shower and got in bed, the contractions were quite painful, more painful than any period I’ve ever had (and I’ve had some pretty painful period cramps). I couldn’t get comfortable no matter what way I tossed or turned, despite how comfortable the King sized bed was. When I could feel a contraction starting, I went to the washroom to ride it out so Steve could get a little sleep without being disrupted. I knew I wasn’t going to get any sleep, and once we got to the hospital, I didn’t know if he was going to get any either, so I figured I’d let him sleep as much as I could while I could.
Contractions were about 6-7 minutes apart and lasting approximately 35 seconds, I knew it was going to be time to leave soon. Sleeping was not an option, so instead I turned my phone to the dimmest it would go and distracted myself with word games. It didn’t work. It was about quarter to 11 now and contractions were painful, about 5 mins apart and lasting 40-ish seconds. Almost time to go, but Steve had only fallen asleep about 20 minutes ago. I decided to hold off on waking him up a while longer. Turns out that “a while” was only about 15 minutes. At bout 11:00 PM, Contractions were 4 minutes apart and lasting almost a minute. I woke Steve up and called the number for the on-call doctor. Time to go!
Back to the Hospital we go
We packed everything up from the hotel and drove back to the hospital. On the way I sent a quick text to family members, letting them know. I’m not sure if I handle pain well or if the contractions weren’t actually that strong, but the nurse at the counter of Labour and Delivery looked at me like I was nuts when I told her the contractions were at 4 minutes and lasting almost a minute. They put me in a temporary room across the hall until they could confirm I was in labour. A nurse, named Linda, came in and took my vitals and set me up with monitors again. After about 15 minutes of being hooked up to monitors, a Dr. resident came in to check my cervix. I was dilated 4 cm, and the monitors had confirmed that my contractions were indeed 4 minutes apart. She deemed that I was indeed in labour.
Now I get my very own labour and delivery room! Linda escorted us to a room down the hall, which looked pretty much the exa
ct same as the one I was just in. Hooked up to the monitors again, there we sit, waiting. In pain.
The on-call Dr. came in to introduce herself and check my cervix. I was dilated only 2 cm. No, I hadn’t regressed, the resident doctor just made a mistake. By this point, the contractions were very painful, so Linda set me up with laughing gas. Thank you Linda! The gas made the contractions much more bearable… for a while. After about an hour or so (it could have been much more or much less, at this point time had no bearing), even with the gas, the contractions were very painful again. Apparently my contractions were speeding up too quickly, and the Dr. had decided to take out the prostaglandin insert. Linda suggested I take morphine, this way it would take the edge off the pain, and allow me to sleep a little in between contractions. It did just that, and Steve converted his chair to a bed so he could also get some sleep.
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Dozing off in between contractions and Steve’s snoring, it became difficult to get comfortable. As I woke up to the pain of each contraction, I noticed that they had gotten further apart. They were now at about 10-15 minutes again, Linda had warned me that this happens to some women who take morphine. I didn’t mind as this allowed me to get a little more sleep.
7 O’Clock must have rolled around, because Linda’s shift was over, the new nurse’s name is Shelly. The contractions are starting to get that sharpness back, the morphine must be wearing off. Time to try out the laughing gas again. Before long, the pain is so strong that I proceed to up chuck my Wendy’s burger from supper the night before. I tough it out for a few hours, breathing through each painful contraction and huffing on the laughing gas.
Food? No Food…
Steve keeps offering me food, expecting me to be hungry after emptying my stomach. “Muffin?” “I can run down to Tim’s if you want something”. All I wanted was water, ice chips and more water. Because the contractions had slowed down so much over night, they decided to put me on a hormone called oxytocin, which should speed things up again. Once they start this hormone, the nurse has to stay in the room, monitor my contractions, and up the dosage every half hour. After they hook me up through my IV, and Shelly has settled in, Steve goes to get himself some lunch at Tim Horton’s. When he comes back to the room, all I can smell is his wrap, and it does not smell like it should. The look on my face when I caught a whiff was enough to send him back out of the room. He ate his lunch in the hallway. When he returned, he brought me apple juice, I took one sip and instantly regretted it. He brought me a muffin, and it felt so dry in my mouth that I wanted to spit it right back out. Water was all I could keep down.
The Dr. came by to see how things were going, and she decided it was time for my water to break. She used a plastic poker-like thing and broke the amniotic sac. Gross. By this time, the dosage of oxytocin is at 3 – whatever that means, I’m not entirely sure – the contractions are the worst pain I have ever felt in my life. I take another huff of gas, and almost instantly throw up again. I’m now realizing that the gas may be the cause of my upset stomach rather than the pain. During the next few contractions, I tough it out to see if I throw up. Then an particularly painful contraction hit and I huff. Again, I throw up. It must be the gas, time to put that away! Half an hour goes by and it’s time to up the dosage to 4. My next contraction seemed to never end, it eased off in the middle, but it didn’t go away completely. After a few of these, I let Shelly know that I was in constant pain, and she put the dosage back to 3. I am now having separate contractions again, about a minute apart. The dosage went to 4, with the same result and back down to 3 few times until I got a contraction, and it felt like I was trying really hard to poop, except I wasn’t doing it on purpose. My body was involuntarily pushing. Shelly called the on-call Dr. who arrived in what seemed like an instant. It’s time to push.
Here she comes!
Apparently there is a method to pushing – I never really gave it much thought, I always assumed it would just happen – Nope! I had to learn on the go. Put your hands behind your knees, take a deep breath, put your chin to your chest and try to push all your insides down without making a sound. It’s harder than it sounds.
I think the hardest part was in between contractions, when there’s a baby’s head stretching everything you’ve got, and it hurts like hell, with no relief until the next contraction when you can push again. I hear Steve say “Your daughter has hair!”. Apparently he had been saying much more than just that, but I didn’t hear it.
With a few more good pushes all the pain stops, the Dr. says “18 28” and my beautiful baby girl is plopped on my chest.
Welcome to the world Hadley.