Madeline turned 4 months old on August 21st, and I am only getting around to writing about her birth now. Oops. Luckily, it's still pretty fresh in my mind, and it was a pretty simple, uncomplicated birth, so there wasn't too much to remember anyways.
If you've been following my blog for a while, you know that I ended up going 12 days overdue. During those 12 days I had two ultrasounds to look at fluid levels and placenta activity, just to make sure there was nothing going on that would require an induction. I also had two very unpleasant membrane sweeps. If you don't know what that is, and you really want to, google it. Not pleasant at all. On Saturday April 20th, at 11 days overdue, I met with my secondary midwife (my primary had gone on vacation when I was 10 days overdue!!!) and she did the second membrane sweep, around 2:30 in the afternoon. She seemed optimistic that I wouldn't need the induction, but we planned one for Monday anyways.
Meanwhile, my parents were making the drive from Halifax. They had planned their trip thinking there was no way I would go 2 weeks late!! After I met with the midwife we went home and went for a walk to try to get things moving. Not much really happened, until, BAM, my water broke around 6:30pm. Fifteen minutes later my parents pulled in our driveway, haha! Perfect timing! Around then my midwife called to see how I was doing. I told her I thought my water had broken but I wasn't feeling any contractions yet. She told me to hold tight, get some rest, and call her when contractions were coming 4 minutes apart, or if I couldn't talk through them. Anyways, my water kind of broke in 3 stages. The first time, at 6:30, I was pretty sure it was my water breaking but not 100% confident, about 15 minutes later the same thing happened again, and then maybe 15 minutes after that I had the huge gush you see on TV. Seriously. It was a lot of fluid. And that is when my contractions started, almost immediately.
We figured I had quite a while to wait, since we'd heard so much about early labor and how long it can go one for, so my husband went to pick up some pizza. He decided to stop in and get some beer for him and my dad with supper too. Meanwhile, back at home I was having pretty strong contractions that were about 2.5 minutes apart. I could still talk through them but they were really uncomfortable. My husband arrived back home and I tried to eat a little but really didn't feel like it. I think I managed to eat a half a slice of pizza. It was looking like all of the stuff we had learned about the different stages of labour would be completely useless to me. My labour came on fast and strong, none of this contractions every 20 minutes crap.
When my midwife (henceforth known as Sandra :) ) called back around 8pm I was having contractions every 1.5-2.5 minutes and they were pretty strong, but I could still talk through them. She made the decision to come to our house to check me, since things were so close together. At this point my parents decided to check into a hotel, and they took Leroy over to my in-laws house where he would stay for a few days.
Sandra arrived around 8:30pm, when she checked me she figured I was only 2-3 centimeters. Usually she would have gone home at this point and waited a little while, but since everything was coming so close together, she decided to stay at our house. I don't remember how often, but between 8:30pm and 11pm I was probably checked about 3 or 4 times. At 11pm and about 5 cm dilated, Sandra suggested we head to the hospital before the drive was excruciatingly painful for me. I quickly agreed. The drive was awful. It was very difficult to just sit in the seat during contractions. They were very very intense at this point. We got to the hospital and all checked in around 11:30pm.
I tried so many different things to ease the pain. I got in the jetted tub. I laboured in different positions. I walked around. Nothing helped at all. Strangely, the most comfortable position for my was in the bed curled up in the fetal position. After a while I tried the tub again, no luck. I was so disappointed because I had heard such good things about labouring in water!! It did nothing for me at all. Back to the bed I went! Sometime around 12:30, Sandra talked to me about trying a shot of morphine. I had really really wanted an unmedicated birth, but she encouraged me to try this intervention because I was so tired at this point and things had been so hard and painful right from the start, she was worried I wouldn't have any energy to push the baby out. I hesitated but eventually agreed to try it. She told me it wouldn't make the pain go away, but that I'd feel kind of drunk and would be able to get a little rest. Yeah. No. It did absolutely nothing for me!!! I didn't feel drunk or any relief at all, and certainly didn't sleep.
After it was clear that morphine wasn't going to work for me, around 3am Sandra suggested I try nitrous oxide. I was in transition at this point (at about 7 cm) and contractions were one on top of the other, no break at all. I was desperate for some kind of relief, so again I agreed. This did help a little, I think it was mostly that it forced me to focus on my breathing and it calmed me down a bit. It made me feel light headed and loopy, but didn't take the pain away at all. I liked the noise of the machine though, I found it pretty soothing. I used it until I was ready to push.
I reached 10 cm and was ready to start pushing at 4:15am. A second midwife arrived to help with the delivery. I was so excited to get to this stage, it meant I had made it without an epidural! Yay! There were so many thoughts running through my head at this point. I could feel when I needed to push, but I couldn't tell if anything was actually happening when I did. It felt like it was taking FOREVER. I looked up at the clock and it was 4:45 am. I remember asking how much longer they thought until Madeline arrived, Sandra told me it was probably going to be about 30 minutes. That made me feel SO much better. I really do well with an end point in sight. When Sandra told me she could see her head, I asked her if she had any hair!! She said "not much!" and I remember being excited that she had any at all since both my husband and I were bald as babies. This gave me the strength I needed to finish the job :)
I only had to push for an hour, which is apparently pretty fast for a first time mom! And Sandra was bang-on with her estimate of 30 minutes. Madeline Rose was born at 5:15am on Sunday April 21st. She was 8 lbs 11 oz and 21 inches long. She latched on almost immediately and was so alert right away! I can hardly believe she's already 4 months old :)