Omigosh, I have been such a slacker on my blog! Like usual, I am constantly thinking of things I “should” blog, but I never seem to get to a computer to do it. My apologies. Four weeks ago today, I gave birth to my beautiful baby Violet. Here’s the unedited version of her story (unedited because I haven’t had time to get Tyler to read it over to confirm details).
Violet’s Birth Story
August 22, 2013
My doctor and I had discussed inducing me as early as 38 weeks if my cervix was favorable. At my appointment two days earlier we decided that Thursday would be the day, if the hospital wasn’t too busy to call me in. The doctor said I was 4cm dilated that day (Tuesday), and that my induction should go very well. I made the arrangements to have my mom come up that day and for Dexter to go to Diana’s day home until she (my mom) could get there. It was really stressful not knowing if I’d get “the call” that day. I also didn’t know the exact procedure of when I would get the call if it came, so I barely slept that night.
7:05am – The Call
I woke up to my cell phone ringing & it was the hospital. The nurse was really cheerful and asked if I felt like getting induced that day. When I responded with an enthusiastic yes, she said to have some breakfast and make my way down to the hospital whenever I wanted. I’m not good with general plans, so we agreed that I would aim to be there for 9am.
I texted my Mom, Tyler, Ricky (my doula) and Diana (my day home) to let them know of the plan. I finished packing the last minute items for my hospital bag, then got Dexter & myself ready. The plan was to go to the hospital on my own and do all the preliminary stuff (like baby work, heart rate tracing, etc) before calling Tyler & Ricky. On my way to the hospital my anxiety/nervousness grew and I knew I needed Tyler there for emotional support. I texted him and he agreed to meet me at the hospital as soon as he could. I was running a bit late as I decided to stop at Tim Horton’s for my breakfast consisting of a bagel and tea. I was so nervous, that I could only eat about half the bagel.
9:20am – Preliminaries
I checked in at admissions and requested a private room for post-labour. As I was doing the paperwork, Tyler walked in, only about 5 minutes after I got there. I was impressed with how quick he was! After waiting for a wheel chair for a few minutes, I grew impatient and decided we should just walk up to the third floor on our own. We were greeted by a very friendly nurse who informed us that she would be there as a back-up to our main nurse Nadine, who was still training/new.
I got to put on the standard issue hospital gown and get hooked up to the monitors that keep an eye on baby’s heart rate and track any contractions I have. Baby was super active and liked to make Nadine work for her heart beat. It would take a long time to find the heartbeat and then it didn’t seem to be able to read it for long if I shifted or if baby moved. This could have worried me, but it seemed that the heart rate was always there, it just didn’t always seem to get picked up by the machine properly. After an hour or so, they decided it was time to hook up the IV and start the oxytocin.
10:50am – Induction Time
Getting my IV in was pretty much the worst part. Despite being extremely pale with visible veins, nurses seem to have a hard time getting my IVs in properly. I might have helped the situation better if I was more hydrated. The second attempt, this one into the side of my left wrist, worked but hurt like hell. I was very aware of the IV in my arm for a good part of the day. Then they hooked up the bag of oxytocin (better known by the US brand name pitocin) at a rate of 2 units/minute. The plan is to gradually pump up the oxytocin until active labour is happening.
The monitor is showing that I am having contractions, so I realize the tightening I’ve been feeling and thought was little miss pushing against me and moving, is actually contractions. What a pleasant surprise! Contractions with both Dexter and Wentworth were just pain, I didn’t have the traditional “tightening” feeling. They start getting a bit regular.
Noon – Eating time
Tyler decides to eat his lunch & I’m encouraged to have something light to eat as well to keep up my strength. The snacks I brought to the hospital are mostly junk food-y (as that’s what most pre-packaged food is and I was trying to have my hospital bag packed in advance) and Tyler gives me a mini disapproving lecture. I finally agree to eat what’s left of my bagel in exchange for a couple of my homemade chocolate chip cookies to be “allowed” too. Pesky husbands! I’m not that hungry, but am happy that the nurses seem on board with letting me eat during labour. I wasn’t allowed to eat at all throughout Dexter’s labour in Red Deer from 6am until about an hour past his birth at 5:30pm.
1:45pm – Not much happening
I was having some good, consistent contractions when Nadine decided she wanted to feel through one. As Murphy’s Law would have it, the contractions stopped at that point and basically stalled. When you are being induced via oxytocin, the nurses “need” you on the monitors constantly to make sure baby is reacting well and the easiest way is for you to be in the bed not moving. When I asked if I could get up and walk around, they didn’t really want me to as I wouldn’t be on the monitors. However I figured I could basically just stand beside the monitors and that would at least give gravity a chance to help – the pressure of baby’s head against the cervix often helps dilation and contractions. I was procrastinating though.
I was texting my doula updates and she strongly encouraged me to get up out of bed – which honestly annoyed me. She was absolutely correct, but I was reluctant to ask to do this as it would require re-doing the monitors again and it was really difficult each time to re-locate baby’s heart rate. Typical of me to not want to be an “annoying” patient, when really I just needed to do what was needed.
Tyler made a comments about things being boring and the random goal we made to have baby by 2pm was obviously not happening. Since I had to go to the bathroom again (which requires taking off the monitors), I decided to just stay standing when I got back.
2:30pm – Time for a change
It was a process to get the heart rate monitor working again, but eventually Nadine got it and left me to standing. By this point Tyler was passed out napping in the reclining chair (cuz it was boring I guess) and although I took a picture for evidence, he found it and deleted it. I felt like I wanted to be “in the zone” by myself anyway so I put on my headphones and turned on my labour playlist. I started repeating a mantra to myself “I trust in my body’s ability to labour naturally and efficiently” and kept an eye on the contraction readings. It seemed to make a difference right away as the contractions came back and started being consistent. Nadine finally got to feel through one & I noticed that she charted it as “mild” because I said it wasn’t necessarily painful and was actually tolerable.
3pm ish – Pressure
About this time, Nadine came in to check through a contraction and I said they were starting to feel more intense. She asked if I felt any pressure in my bum and I quickly said no, so she left. I thought about the question again, and realized I actually was feeling some rectal pressure. I went through two contractions to make sure and confirmed it for myself. I then pressed the call button for the nurses to let them know. One of the nurses checked my dilation and I was at 5-6cm which felt a little bit like a let down. Then I realized this was probably a good time to ask for the epidural that I really wanted to get: the contractions were getting slightly painful and the pressure was getting very intense. I asked for it, then said “well maybe I’ll think about it for a minute” as I made my way to the bathroom again. When I got into the bathroom another contraction came on so I turned to Tyler and said “Yep, tell them I want it right now.” He continued to watch me as I made my way to the toilet so I got really mad and said “tell them, tell them right now. Stop staring at me and tell them!”
[Tyler said that he was making sure I didn’t fall over or anything because he was worried about that. In the intensity of the moment I wanted things done RIGHT NOW.]
The nurse went to grab the epidural lady who was apparently on her way to the OR for the next hour. Luckily the nurse was very convincing and told her she needed to come right now for me or I may not be able to get it. So as soon as I got out of the bathroom, the nurse got us all set up so the epidural lady could do her magic with minimal hassle. I was concerned about being able to stay appropriately still and relaxed during the process as I was still having contractions. The nurses and Tyler were great at coaching me through it all. Epidural lady was also great at talking through everything. She said that the freezing needle would be the worst part and she was right. It was a bit painful, but overall I thought it was less painful than the IV, and definitely manageable.
The process went very quickly and I thanked her profusely for coming. It was my “pregnancy dream” to have an epidural for my labours and though I had one with Dexter, it was only effective for about two hours or so. With Wentworth, the dilation happened too quick and I only got through the freezing needle. This time around I was able to get it just when I needed it. The intensity of the contraction was gone but I was feeling the pressure still and the urge to push was getting quite strong.
12:45pm – And here we go!
My doctor, Dr. Lee came in right as the epidural was done or possibly shortly after it. She decided to check me and I was 8-9cm now. She asked if it was okay that she broke my water and I agreed. She said she had to go finish her rounds, but that she thought we might have the baby by 4pm! That made me nervous because although I had the epidural I thought it may need some more time to “kick in”. I told Tyler that he should probably text Ricky (the doula) to let her know we needed her now. Up until this point I really felt like I could handle everything on my own but I thought I’d better call her now so she could help with the pushing. Tyler was nervous about this part so in his text he said “Ok Crystal says she is ready for you. And so am I.”
The nurses were changing shifts at this point as well so we said goodbye to Nadine and hello to Maha right as I was in the thick of things. Maha started talking to us about how the pushing was going to go and told Tyler he could be as involved as he wanted to be. Tyler felt like he had no idea what to do and we told Maha that she could be in charge of coaching me through everything. I let her know that we were interested in doing the ‘delayed cord clamping’, that Tyler wanted to cut the cord, that we wanted to keep the placenta, and that I had a doula that may be walking in at any moment. I also let her know that I felt the urge to push really bad and needed some help not doing it.
Maha said we were going to do a practice push and she was going to check the head. She also told me that at one point during pushing, they were going to tell me to stop, and I would have to pant to hold back from pushing. I wasn’t sure how I was going to do this as I already felt like it was impossible not to push. She checked the head and said baby was right there so she called for Dr. Lee to come ASAP. I was feeling the contractions in the way that I felt the waves of pressure urges come and go. My legs were far from numb but I wasn’t feeling any pain per say so that was good.
Dr. Lee arrived and everything was prepped very quickly as she got her hospital stuff on. With my next contraction we were pushing. I was suppose to grab the back of my right thigh as I was pushing as Tyler held my left but I was instead pushing my leg out onto the stir-up. I heard Dr. Lee say to Maha “you have to get this leg up and back”. So although it felt a bit unnatural, at the next contraction I did as I knew they wanted me to with the leg and also beared down and pushed with all I could. I did this twice and all of a sudden I felt her come out completely as all the pressure went away. They put her on my chest and I was SO ecstatic that I had done it, I had finally had as close to a perfect labour as I could have imagined! It was clocked in at 4:07pm. And the placenta came out a few minutes later with no issues.
[I thought it was weird that Maha didn’t tell me to stop pushing like she had said she would, but when I mentioned this to Tyler he said she had but I just pushed her out anyway. All I remember hearing from Dr. Lee and Maha was to keep going so I guess I either had selective hearing or just didn’t hear that or it was too late.]
They were able to do the delayed cord clamping and although baby girl cried as she came out she was being really quiet. I was a bit concerned as I thought she should be making a lot more noise right now but Maha said it was fine. They left her on my chest for quite a bit as their new policy is that it’s important to have skin to skin right away. At about 4:15pm Ricky my doula walked in, and in complete shocked, exclaimed “Are you serious?” since the baby was already here. I hadn’t really had time to communicate how far along things had gotten so I think the last update she had was that standing was helping the contractions.
I had a first degree tear so Dr. Lee did my stitches as baby girl got weighed in at 7lbs 4oz, a neat symmetry to her birth time of 4:07pm. I told Ricky how quickly it all happened as Tyler watched our baby get checked over. I started texting people the good news in the order that my last conversation had happened in my iphone, when I was given the baby back to try and breastfeed. At this point Maha was also concerned about my bleeding so they started doing blood pressure checked very frequently and doing the uterus checks. So there I was, with the IV in my left arm and blood pressure cuff on my right trying to latch a newborn baby. It didn’t really go that well. I think I eventually got her on but the latch wasn’t quite right and was painful.
The next couple hours were a blur of us trying to notify people and of me getting checked continually. At one point, the resident doctor come in and did a complete internal check for any clots as they were about to give me some medicine suppositories to stop the bleeding. That was VERY uncomfortable and Ricky helped me breath through that. I was uber thankful when a nurse came in calling for the resident doctor stat for an emergency c-section. (Sorry to the lady with the c-section!) Apparently it was a fairly busy day with 15 births I believe. I didn’t actually see any other of the babies, but that would have been really neat. My mother-in-law Mary arrived to see the baby and eventually Ricky went home as there wasn’t too much left for her to do. I had to finish my IV bag and oxytocin as it was suppose to help with the bleeding and prevent hemorrhaging.
7:00pm or so
I was finally okayed to go to my post-labour room and I was lucky to get a private room as it was such a busy day, room #3318. My mom brought Dexter in to meet his new baby sister and we finally got around to discussing which one of the names from our list we were going to use. We were sure about the middle name, Madi, which was an honour name for Grandmas Mary & Diane (MA-DI). It came down to two choices that we felt could work, and for a few (somewhat weird) reasons we agreed on Violet. So she was officially named Violet Madi Nelson. Because of all the chaos of my extra bleeding I had only notified a few random people about her birth. Tyler had taken care of all of his list and my mom had done a decent job of telling most of her people. I got to a few more people via text and then decided to just go ahead & post it on facebook. There was too much visiting and Violet to enjoy, that I didn’t have time to worry about people being offended over not being told directly. So if you were one of those people, I am sorry!