Somehow, 3 weeks and some change have slipped away from me! But I want to make sure I tell Max’s story of entering the world.
I had my doctor’s appointment on November 28. I was so annoyed that I had to make yet another trip to Hamilton that was for a check up and not to have my baby! The doc did a check and I was 2-3 cm dilated, so he did another stretch and sweep. We also booked my induction. According to them, I was 40 weeks and 2 days (my calculations put me two days ahead of them based on an IVF calculator). I was scheduled for induction the following Thursday — December 5 — my husband’s birthday. Thankfully, I didn’t have to keep Max cooking for another week!
At about 6:30am the next morning, I woke up to pee and discovered that I was having my “bloody show”. I texted my doula but we both agreed to not get too excited, because there had been lots of signs over the last week that resulted in nothing. I started having contractions shortly afterwards but they were very sporatic. Although I was a little freaked out, I sent my husband to work because we didn’t want to waste one of his precious days off for nothing. I spent the next several hours tracking contractions with my app and trying to be comfortable — which wasn’t happening. I forced myself to eat, knowing that I wouldn’t be allowed to eat once we got to the hospital. And basically wandered around my house getting through contractions. At about 1pm, I called Labour and Delivery at the hospital to get their opinion as to when I should come in — and you are supposed to call ahead of time to warn them anyways. I had an hour drive ahead of me, so I was a little scared of leaving things too long — for fear of delivering on the highway, but also because my most comfortable position was walking or standing — impossible in the car! Because my contractions were still unevenly spaced (5, 9, 13 minuutes type thing), they encouraged me to stick it out. C got home from work about 2 o’clock and we chatted while contractions continued. Shortly after 3pm, I called the hospital again and while they were still fine to let me keep going at home, we made the decision to come in.
It was a great day for the drive. The roads were bare and the sun was shining. Traffic was mostly smooth until we got nearly to Hamilton. I was very uncomfortable in the car and I was glad there was only a little traffic as we neared Hamilton. We arrived at L&D and checked into triage. They hooked me up to the monitors to check the contractions and baby’s heart rate. It took some time, but eventually around 6pm, the doc came in to do the internal check and discovered I was 8cm dilated! I was getting progressively more uncomfortable and they asked me about drugs. I spoke with the anethesiologist about an epidural, but everyone was really encouraging me to keep going without drugs since I’d made it to 8cm with relative ease. Since I wanted as natural a birth as possible, I kept going… knowing I could get the epidural later if I wanted. From there, I was admitted and off we went to the birthing room and laboured.
I really wanted to try the tub for pain relief, or at least a shower, but the hospital had some sort of issue and had no hot water!! So I basically sat on the side of the hospital bed and laboured for the next 4 hours. I had a fantastic nurse and my doula was a life saver. C was basically clueless but responded well to directions when the nurse or the doula told him to do something! Poor guy told me later that he just felt so helpless to assist me with the pain and discomfort. I was exhausted after four hours of hard labour and very much ready for Max to get out. I kept telling him that with every contraction — “Max get out!”. The nurse made me go on my hands and knees after doing an internal and seeing that I was almost fully dilated. This position really got things going.
They had to break my water for me — neither C nor I can remember exactly when they did this. When they did, they discovered some green in the fluid which meant that Max had pooped. They explained that this would mean that the Pediatric team would need to be present for his birth and that they would whisk him over to the baby station to suction his lungs. They also said that there would be extra people on deck in case his shoulders got stuck… a common thing with babies who are larger (at my ultrasound the week before, they estimated 9lbs, 4 oz). I pushed for about 45 minutes. I think this was the best part. It hurt but in a different way. The contractions during the hard labour part made me feel like my whole body was heaving — the way your body does when you’re throwing up… only way more powerful. The pushing felt like we were almost there. The doula and the nurse were so encouraging and telling me that he had lots of hair. I just wanted him out and gave it all I had. They had me stop as it came time for him to be delivered and in came the calvary. There must have been at least a dozen people in that room! Out he came, and they whisked him over to suction his lungs. Because of that, C did not get to cut his cord. I don’t remember him crying but he did cry, I just kept asking if he was okay. C was with him at the baby station across the room and he said that when they were done suctioning, they did the weight/clean up and started laughing. That’s when they pointed out that Max was a whopping 11lbs 5oz! When they told me, my jaw dropped to the floor. That’s one big baby that just came out of me! No stuck shoulders either. And only one flowing stitch on the inside! I was the talk of labour and delivery for doing it all without drugs.
They brought Max over and laid him on my chest. It was hard to give him a good cuddle because I had 3 IV lines stuck in me that restricted the movement of my arms. But I kissed his wet little head and it was the best damn feeling in the whole world. But then things took a bit of a turn because I couldn’t deliver the placenta. They left it for a little while and honestly, I was completely oblivious to what was happening because I was so caught up in the amazement of finally having my living, breathing son on my chest. They took him from me to bring him to the nursery while they dealt with the placenta. It basically wasn’t coming out. They talked to me about a couple of options but if they couldn’t get it, they would need to rush me to the OR for a D&C. The doctor said that she could go in and get it manually but that it would hurt. I gave her the go-ahead and in she went to get it. It was the most painful part of the whole experience. She told me afterwards that she was in there “up to her elbow”, which meant I would need some anti-biotics just in case to ward of infection. I guess I continued to bleed and shortly after that, my blood pressure dropped really low — 60-something over 40-something. Turns out my bladder was full and hiding a piece of missed placenta. So in went the cathetar to drain my bladder, which eventually led to the retrieval of the missed piece of placenta.
This is whole placenta business sent C over the edge because he basically had flashbacks to what happened when I was in hospital with Abby. Thankfully, he was told to leave the room and the doula stayed with me and agreed to keep him up to date. It was a painful experience for me but it was a terrifying experience for C. But once they got the placenta, everything was fine. They monitored me for the next little while and eventually took me to my room by hospital bed because when I tried to sit up to get in the wheelchair, everything got real spinny and my ears were ringing. I joked that I was just lazy and wanted to travel in style to my room. When I got to my room, C went for some food. I had a ginger ale and a little container of cheese, crackers and grapes. It was the most delicious food ever.
Max had to stay in the neonatal nursery due to low blood sugar. Unfortunately, they gave him formula by bottle. When I finally got to see him, it was noon the next day. And he also had a soother stuck in his mouth. We got him in our room a few hours later, only to find out that he had jaundice. And while he could stay in our room, he had to be in the phototherapy box. He was in the “tanning booth” for 48 hours. We were only allowed to take him out to feed and change him. It sucked. And I think it messed with my milk supply too. We’re still battling that.
We were finally released from the hospital on Wednesday. It was a long stay at the hospital. And hospital beds are damn uncomfortable. We had to go back the very next day for a final jaundice check but we were just happy to get sprung.
And that’s our story. We finally got our take home baby.
** I mentioned in my “welcome” post that I was proud of my body. After the infertilty, all the failed treatments and the profound failure of my body in carrying Abby, I was always waiting for bad things to happen. I had a great pregnancy. I was healthy. And I birthed a healthy, HUGE, baby boy naturally. I felt vindicated. Like this was me giving infertility the finger. I won this one, bitch.