Okay, so I’ve taken several short breaks between feedings over the last few days to write out a full and detailed birth story.
For those of you who would rather read the short and sweet version, I’ve provided you with the Cole’s Notes version. This is also a very clever play-on-words (so please applaud me) because my son’s name is Cole. Clever. I know ;)
The Cole’s Notes on Jen’s Birth Story:
Cole Edward Warman was born on March 1st at 3:11am
Weight: 8 pounds 3 ounces
Length: 20.5 inches
Labour length: 24 hours
Drugs? No. 100% natural (with that said, I don’t look down on anyone who gets an epidural. I’m actually thinking I’m a little bit crazy for not getting one. I have no idea what came over me—holy shit.)
Mom and baby are both doing very well
The Full-Length Version of Jen’s Birth Story:
My contractions began at 3am on Wednesday February 29th. I woke up excited to feel some painful real contractions. I pulled out my phone and began timing them in hopes that this was the real thing. I was four days past my due date and was very eager to get things going. Could I really have a leap year baby? That would just be too cool!
I got up and paced around the living room timing my contractions for about two hours before I was convinced that these were real and they were going to stay. I anxiously waited for my husband to wake up for work before I told him the news “I think it’s happening. I’m having contractions.” He perked right up, made some coffee, and waited with me as we timed them to see if they would get closer together. We spent the better part of the morning doing this, and they seemed to stay at about 10 minutes apart.
At about 1pm we walked the dog around the block in hopes that we could get them to come closer together and voila: 5 minutes apart, lasting for one minute for one hour. “5-1-1” This is what we had been waiting for, so Tyler pulled the car around and we jumped in, eager to get to the hospital.
Once we arrived at Sunnybrook, we parked and I insisted that we walk around a little bit before checking into Triage. I wanted the contractions to be close together and I didn’t want to be sent home. After about 30 minutes, we checked in and the nurse hooked me up to a fetal monitor. Shortly after, my Mom arrived and I had both her and my husband by my side. When the nurse came in, I told her my pain was a 5 out of 10 or sometimes a 6, and she smirked. “If that’s what you say.” I was shocked. “Really? This pain isn’t a 6 out of 10? What would you say it is then?” I asked her. “Um...maybe a two?” That’s when I panicked a little.
If this pain I was feeling was only a 2 out of 10, what would 10 out of 10 feel like? The Doctor on shift came in to check me. You need to be 4cm dialated before you’re admitted into the labouring room. I really didn’t want to be sent home. And, sure enough, I was four centimetres. My Mom and husband gave each other a high-five and I waddled myself over to the birthing suite.
Holy shit. Holy shit. Holy shit.
This was really happening. It was roughly 4pm at this point and I told the nurse I’d like to have a leap year baby. She smirked again and said “I doubt it.” “What? Really? I could be in labour still for longer than 8 hours?” I convinced myself that she was being negative and I would definitely have myself a leap year baby, even if it came down to the wire. This baby was coming out before midnight! My Mom and husband helped me undress, and I promptly jumped into the jacuzzi birthing tub that was in my room (complete with jets and everything! The Hilton has nothing on the first class birthing suites at Sunnybrook!) I laboured in the tub for about 30 minutes before the Doctor came in: it was time to break my water. Things had been going on long enough and we needed to get this show on the road. I was a little nervous but knew it would help my contractions come quicker. I was already starting to get tired. So I climbed out of the tub, and onto the bed. I didn’t feel a thing except for when the warm gush streamed down my leg.
My water was broken. This was really happening.
So I climbed back into the tub, and laboured there a little longer. Deep breaths, the contractions were coming closer together now and they were stronger too. It was time for a shift change, and my new nurse was introduced to me. Her name was Allison, and she was training a student nurse that day. Two for the price of one: works for me. Allison had an assertive but soft tone to her voice, and a British accent—I liked her right away. She was a senior nurse on staff, and I could tell she’d had a lot of experience. Right away, she started guiding me on what would be the most incredibly challenging journey of my life. She asked me to really focus on my breath and breathe into each contraction—imagining that I was causing my cervix to thin and open. I closed my eyes in the tub, and listened to her guiding voice as I tuned out the outside world. It took an incredible amount of energy to focus on my breath and breathe through the pain. My body would contort and convulse with each new contraction, and after about 2 hours, I whispered to my husband “I don’t think I can do this.”
I had told him not to offer me the epidural. I had to ask for it. So he just held my hand and said “take it one contraction at a time.” This mantra was repeated to me, as I tried hard not to look at the big picture. My mom passed me ice-chips, put a cold cloth on my forehead, and nurtured me the best she could. I was in a different world, and had to stay in that world if I wanted to make it through this experience without any pain intervention.
Finally, it was time to check how dilated I was. I had been labouring in the tub for several hours. I was sure I’d be about 7 or 8 centimeters now (10 is when you’re allowed to push). So Allison did the exam, and announced that I was roughly 5 centimeters. “Shut up!” I replied in a frustrated and sarcastic tone. I felt deflated. Defeated. After all that work and all that pain for all that time, I was only 1 cm further ahead then when I was admitted.
“I don’t think I can do this.” I whispered to my husband again.
He gently encouraged me and told me that I was strong. “You’re doing great.” he said.
I wanted to cry, and maybe I did a little, I can’t really remember. But I knew I couldn’t give into my own pity-party. I could feel another big contraction coming on, so I changed my position in the tub and got ready for another body-earthquake. As the hours went by, Allison talked me through each and every contraction: never leaving my side. I remember thinking “She hasn’t even had a lunch break.” But I didn’t want her to leave. I started to take better control over my contractions and realized I needed to breathe through them and overpower them before they overpowered me. Once I “lost control” of my contractions, my body would buck like a wild bronco and the pain would increase. It was in my best interest to breathe deep and focus on not pushing while at the same time opening up and pressing down.
Another few hours into the ordeal, it was finally time to check and see how dilated I was. This time, I was 7.5-8 centimetres.
This was transition. The hardest part. If I had made it this far, I could keep going. I was almost there.
As much as I didn’t want to get out of the tub, I knew that when I did it meant I was in the home stretch. I would be pushing.
Another hour or two later (it’s all a blur) I was able to get out of the tub and quickly find my way over to the bed. Things were getting set up, and the Doctor’s were arriving. Lights were lit, rubber gloves were snapped on tight: it was time to push and meet my baby. They laid me on my left side and kept checking the baby’s heart rate after every contraction. This worried me a little, but I couldn’t distract myself thinking about anything negetive. The harder I could focus, the stronger I would be to push, and the sooner I could meet my baby.
I was surrounded by my husband, my mom, my amazing nurse and her trainee, my OB, a resident doctor, and a student doctor: it was a full house! But I didn’t care. They were cheering me on with every contraction “C’mon, c’mon, c’mon, you can do it, you’re almost there.” It was just the burst of supportive energy I needed. At one point they asked me, “Do you want to feel the head?” I hesitated. “It’s there? Really?” and I reached my hand down cautiously. When I felt the baby’s gooey head I let out a scream and pulled my hand back. Everyone laughed at my reaction.
And then came another contraction. No more laughter, time to push again. Finally after about an hour, I could hear it in everyone’s voice: this was it, my baby was coming into the world. “Now when we say, “stop pushing” you need to stop pushing, okay?” “Um, yeah! I think I like the sounds of that!” I gave one hard final push, and I felt the pressure release and out came my baby.
I began to cry instantly as they placed my baby on my chest.
“It’s a boy” someone yelled.
I wrapped my arms around my son. “I love you, I love you so much.”
He was a howling pink-skinned gooey mess with a cone-shaped head, and he was just perfect. I asked the Doctor “Did you use a vacuum? I didn’t see you use any instruments.” And she explained that his head was cone shaped because he was in the posterior position (sunny-side up) and that’s why my labour was so long and drawn out. She assured me that his head would shrink to normal size in about a day or so. Thank goodness! haha.
My husband cut the umbilical cord, and the doctors proceeded to sew me up. I had a second-degree tear (there are four degrees, and I was barely a two) and I remember asking the doctors (and I quote) “Did I turn my asshole inside out?” They laughed again and said no. Pheuf. It sure felt like it. From this point on I think I just cried and stared at my baby in awe.
My heart exploding with love. We knew his name would be Cole Edward Warman for about 8 years, so there was no second guessing what we would call him. My husband, my mom and I all stared at the newest member of our family, tears rolling down our cheeks. Cole is finally here. It felt like a dream, and some days, it still does.
It is the most amazing feeling in the world—to be a Mom, and I can truly say I am now an official member of the Yummy Mummy Club.
;) xoxo tired-and-in-love-new-freakin-mummy