My sweet daughter was born 12 days ago. Today is the 6th day we have been at home. We are all still adjusting to life at home, but things are going well! I’m still processing the things that happened after her delivery, so I will save all that for another post for when I feel a little less raw from it all, but we are home and we are all healthy and that is what is important.
Let me tell you the story of her arrival. Sorry, not sorry, but it’s a long one.
On Monday the 23rd I tried taking the Castor Oil Cocktail of Castor Oil, Lemon Verbena, Mango Juice and Almond Butter. I was 4 days past my due date and my doula was leaving on the 26th to go to Hawaii so I wanted to see if I could get things going. It was the grossest thing I have every tried to ingest. It was like drinking perfume. I could only drink about 1/3 of it and I nearly threw that up itself, so I decided to call it quits and went back to bed (they suggest you take it at 5am and then another dose 4-6hrs later). Nothing happened and I didn’t take the second dose because the first dose was so nasty.
On Tuesday the 24th I had my 3rd membrane sweep at my midwife appointment. She said I had progressed a bit since the Thursday prior, but was unable to give me any idea as to when things would get going because they can change at any time. I left feeling a little disappointed and told Matthias I wanted to get Fat Burger (which just opened in Red Deer). We ordered some food and went home and laid in bed to watch a movie (The Equalizer – really good!). At the end of the movie (about 4:20pm) when I stood up I felt a bit of a trickle/gush, but I thought maybe it was just me peeing a bit because pregnancy does some gross things haha. I went to the bathroom and cleaned myself up and then a few minutes later it happened again. I knew it couldn’t be pee again because I had just voided, so I texted my midwife and doula and told them that I thought my water had broken. Matthias and I packed up the dogs, certain that “this was it!” and brought them over to my Dad’s house.
Back at home we ate some food and I laid down to try and get some rest at about 8pm because I was sure labor would start that night. I didn’t sleep because I was so excited. At about 12, when Matthias came to bed, I had my first “contraction”. It felt more like menstrual cramping, but it was enough to make me unable to sleep, so I got up and made some toast with PB and Banana (labor fuel) and sat on the couch and labored there for about 2 hours. I then moved downstairs so I could watch TV in between the tightenings. They were lasting anywhere from 30-50seconds and spaced 3-6 minutes apart, which felt promising to me! I was able to breathe through them. My midwife instructed me that I could take a bath when the contractions had a regular rhythm and had been consistent for a while, so I took one at about 4am because they had gotten stronger and were closer together. Matthias got up at 6am and we went downstairs again to watch TV and wait for the doula to come over at 7am.
My doula showed up at 7 on Wednesday the 25th and the second she walked through the door my “contractions” literally stopped. She stayed over for about 20 minutes and I didn’t have a single one. I felt so disappointed. She encouraged me to lay down and try to get some sleep and that it was normal for first time mom’s to have that happen. We slept from about 8-11:30am, and then being the terrible napper that I am, decided to just get up and go on with the day, hoping things would start up again.
My midwife came to our house later in the day to listen to Quinn’s heart rate and check my vitals. At that point, we discussed antibiotics, and she said she felt comfortable with me opting to not take any at that point, but that if things hadn’t happened by the morning I would need to go in and get a Biophysical Profile to make sure baby was okay and then discuss options to get things going. She encouraged me to try the castor oil again but without the lemon verbena, and I took a dose at 6pm and then laid down again to try and rest. 30 minutes later I (violently) threw it all up (gross.). And about an hour after that I had my first real contraction. They came on hard and strong and by 8pm we were having my doula come back over because of their intensity. She had to leave to the Calgary Airport by 3am so she had the Back Up Doula come over as well. From 8pm to 1am we labored in a bunch of different positions all around the house. Matthias, Shannon and Melyssa helped apply counter pressure and heat and kept me hydrated and passed me the throw up bowl when things got intense. At 1am on the 26th I noticed that I hadn’t really felt Quinn move in a while, so we tried all the things we could to get her to wake up, with no luck, so at 1:30am we left to the hospital.
We arrived around 2am and I got set up in the room where I had hoped to have a drug free water birth. My midwife arrived and checked me and I was 4cm dilated, but stretchable to 5cm. My main doula’s other client was also in labor down the hall, so she left to take her birth pictures while the back up doula stayed with me. We did stairs, walked around, and then I labored in the shower until about 5am, when my midwife wanted to check me again to see how far I had progressed.
I should add, the contractions had been 3-5min apart and lasting 30 seconds – 90 seconds the entire time. They were STRONG and extremely painful and I was crying through some of them, throwing up during some of them (not fun.), and sometimes they would couplet and come back to back, which was not awesome. I was certain I had made some progress based on the increasing severity. My midwife checked me again and told me I was still 4cm, and that Quinn’s head wasn’t engaged enough and because of my irregular contraction pattern it wasn’t strong enough to bring her down into my pelvis to push on my cervix to dilate it. She recommended we start an oxytocin drip to see if that would get things going.
I was 100% done. I was running on 3 and a half hours of sleep. I knew at this point there was absolutely no way I could labor drug free through an oxytocin induction on little sleep. They say its typical for 1st time mom’s to dilate 1cm an hour, and at 4cm, I couldn’t imagine having to labor through potentially 6 hours of oxytocin. As well, with oxytocin you have to be hooked up to the continuous monitor for baby’s heart rate, which means you might have to be lying down to get a good tracing, which was the most painful position for me to labor through contractions. I’d have to be hooked up for 30 minute intervals and then when I had progressed to at least 5-6cm I could finally get in the birth tub, but I wouldn’t be able to stay in there the whole time.
My birth plan went out the window at that point. Obviously getting Quinn out was #1, and I knew if I had labored on without medications I probably would have given up or her heart rate might have gone wonky and then a c-section would be needed. So I opted to get an epidural. I needed some type of relief so I could get some rest and hope that I could still have a vaginal delivery.
I was worried I wouldn’t have a good block and still feel a lot of pain, but I am happy to report this wasn’t the case. I had a full block, and when they started the oxytocin, Quinn’s heart rate stayed steady and strong. I got the epidural around 7am and slept until 9am when I got checked again, and I had progressed to 6cm! I was happy to have gotten some sleep and happy that things were finally moving.
I started to feel a lot of pressure at 10am and got checked again and was told it was I was fully dilated and it was time to push. I was definitely excited but it also felt weird knowing she was really close to being in the world but not feeling a thing. I had a nurse, my midwife, Matthias, and the back up doula (who was wonderful) to help me get into different positions to push. Quinn still had a good heart rate and she was entering my pelvis in a good position.
I felt so supported and strong during this part of the labor. I was kind of surprised at how good I felt. I never doubted her coming out and the people in the room were so encouraging at guiding me to push the right way. They told me she had a full head of hair, which made sense to me due to all the heartburn but also sounded so surreal to hear.
I pushed for a total of 2 and a half hours. The only thing I felt during that time was pressure, my delivery was 100% pain free. It’s hard to describe what I felt when she came out of my body, it was such a nice release of pressure, but I am sure without an epidural it would be even more so.
Quinn Nicole was born at 1222 on March 26th, 2015. She was perfect, weighing 7lb 7oz, and she breast fed pretty soon after I delivered.
My water was broken for a total of 44 hours. I labored for what felt like a long time, and then ultimately didn’t progress because of an inconsistent contraction pattern. I had my labor augmented and had an epidural, and I pushed for longer than I wanted to. I had a doula who was essentially a stranger (but the most wonderful stranger ever), and I didn’t have a water birth.
All of these things worked out exactly how I had hoped they wouldn’t, but when she was placed into my arms, and when I saw the expression of pure love on Matthias’ face, it all didn’t matter.
We decided to spend the night in the hospital because of how things had happened, and I am really glad we did. I will talk about what happened during that night and for the 6 days after that we spent in the hospital in another post.
I won’t lie, I really liked not feeling pain after feeling pain for what felt like 2 full nights in a row (even though the first night was just early labor, not active labor).
I also have to add that I am still feeling traumatized with what happened after her delivery. Nothing scary or life threatening happened, but the fact that we were still in the hospital for almost a week after she was born, and not because of my health, but because of hers, was what I least expected. It was the hardest 6 days of my life, hands down, and I would 10000x rather go through the pain I felt during the time I labored than ever experience those 6 days again.
I’m not sure when I will get around to writing about Quinn’s stay in the NICU. We are still adjusting to being home, and my confidence isn’t totally there yet. Finding time to write this was hard enough!
So thank you for reading the story of how my favorite little girl entered the world. She is such a funny baby and makes so goofy faces and sounds and screams your ear off when she’s not happy. I really have never known a love like this, and I feel so blessed to be able to feel it.
I’ll be back soon.
(Follow my instagram for a stream of baby pictures Amie_46)