May 12, 2007 . It’s hard to say if you are in labour when you have never been in labour before. There are a million signs but not one of them definitely means anything until you are in the throws of childbirth. I must have had some cramping going on while I slept on Friday night, because I awoke at 4 am and had enough of sleeping. So I made muffins. (That seems like a pretty good sign that something was about to happen.) Being a week overdue, bombarded with nothing other than caring and excited phone calls, I was ready to have this baby. I felt good, no more cramps (not such a good sign) so Dave and I went down to Jericho beach for a nice leisurely stroll. It was a gorgeous day; the parks were full of families BBQing, which made my craving for a hot dog rather intense.
Then some cramping started again, every 6 minutes, intense but I still managing to talk through them. It was 6 p.m.. Should we call Janice the midwife, or Jennifer- Lee, the doula? We forgot everything they had told us. We did call them, and Janice recommended doing anything I possible could to try to get some sleep. I tried sleeping which seemed impossible. Every 6 minutes my insides felt as though they were going to be squeezed out. So I tried, a glass of wine (The wine in which we had saved since our wedding. However, that wine was not supposed to be aged that long as it tasted like vinegar.) I took gravol and had two hot baths. I still did not sleep, perhaps it was intense or due to the excitement of the events yet to unfold, its hard to say looking back on it.
May 13, 2007 Mother’s Day . Dave woke to my moaning, twitching and squirming. We tried to remember a few tips from our prenatal classes, so I got on the ball. Dave sat behind me and rubbed my back. Finally we got the call from our team; it couldn’t have come any sooner. I was sure I must be 4 or 5 cm dilated based on my discomfort, and they thought that I might be at the push phase based on the primal angry grunting sounds I was making.
Janice checked me out, I was 2 cm dilated. Okay…so we were just at the beginning of the birth labyrinth. Jennifer – Lee reminded me of the low opening tones I should use, showed me a few new positions, particularly the straddle over the toilet seat position. I like this one because you could rest your head in between contractions and someone could rub your back at the same time. Dave and I were back on our on again, since we had a ways to go. During each contraction I started saying open, but it slowly morphed into okay. I need it to be okay, I was okay, baby was okay, and this was okay. Each contraction built slowly and steadily like waves, Dave would reassure me when we reached the crest that I could do it, that it was almost over, that I could do anything for a minute. He was right. As each wave can, each different from the last I could do it. Some contractions were big forceful wave, some were gentle rocking’s, and others were tsunami’s. With the tsunami’s a stream of vomit usually followed. Poor Dave…cleaning up by berry colored vomited as I am wailing I need you I need you. But just as the waves come in they go out, the peace in between each contraction is real. I would have moments of rest, moments of laughter, moments of quiet reflection. I never went to far ahead, trying my best to stay focus on the now. Before I new it, it was 6 p.m..
24 hours into labour. Janice and Jennifer – Lee were now back. Helping, reassuring me through the discomforts and uneasiness. I was in the tub, surround by candles, strawberries and kiwis, scents of eucalyptus and lime, I felt like a mermaid. OKAY…OKAY.It was time for another look at what was going on inside. I was now 4-5 cm dilated, that was right on track. However, Janice still couldn’t get a good feel for the position of the baby. The waters were still intact, acting as a cushion between the baby and my bones, muscles ligaments, and everything else that holds me together. The waters were preventing Janice to get a good feel of the bones of my baby’s head, not giving clues of the orientation.
8 p.m. Our plan always was to go to the hospital. We thought we would feel safer there both mentally and physically. Janice had thought that maybe now would be a good time to make our move, as she called ahead and the nurses said it was a busy night. We were hoping we would get the nice rooms at Women’s, the private, spacious, comfortable rooms.
Wow- the car ride was intense. I guess it only took 20 minutes to get there, but it felt like forever. I was in the back seat next to our car seat that would soon be filled. I could feel every bump and every turn the car made. I was folded over the back seat trying to find a comfortable position to handle the contractions. There was no comfortable position in a car!
8:30 p.m. We finally arrive at the hospital. We checked in. It seems oddly quiet as I wailed in the lobby. We didn’t get the nice rooms. To be honest, I didn’t really notice the room, as I was trying not to loose the momentum. We continued moaning and being OOOOKAY. Jennifer- lee sprayed a peppermint aromatherapy and we set up our candles and played the same CD over and over again.
10:30 p.m. Another check. Nothing. No new progress and still unsure of the position. She needed a better feel, then wush… A warn fluid oozed between my legs. Janice broke my waters (by accident) She now had a better sense of the position, posterior. But she called in an OB for a second opinion. Yes the little baby’s back was against my back. This now explained a lot, it explained why I was now in my 30th hour of labour, why I would vomit with contractions, and why my back felt crushed. The pain changed. It felt like every nerve ending near my sacrum was on fire. Its was hot and burning. No pain coping strategies could help. Nothing could of prepared me for this. I guess it had now changed because there wasn’t the water giving some cushion between her back and mine. I tired to cope, it didn’t work.
I learned a lot about pain. Some is slow and constant, and you can almost get use to it. Some is so intense that you vomit in hopes that you will expel the evils that are torturing you. And some pain is like nothing you have every thought possible. So painful that nothing compares and no words could describe. But hear the shrieks and the see the tears, and you will know it is something foreign. It was the sterile water injections that were by far the most painful experience of this whole process. Janice and a nurse injected sterile water in the foramen of my sacrum. It is used to block the pain. They went in slowly, and then it hits you. There is a brief moment of clear thoughts and then your mind freaks out. Would I do it again- Yes, it did help but only for a short time.
Dave called Spence, not having any concept of time. We needed help. I didn’t think I would need to use Acupuncture, I thought I would get thought with my own strength. But my spirit was fading, my energy was low, and the contractions were slowing. We needed help. With my very specific instruction Spence inserted about 8 acupuncture points. Perhaps it was the diversion, or maybe it was the acupuncture, but I felt a sense of calm. We left the needles in for about 20 minutes. Spence left soon after taking them out. We said we would call him again if we needed him. I have often called Spence flaky and uncommitted. But in that moment when we needed him in the middle of the night he was there. I think it was an intense moment for him, too witness such intimate moment and peak into the most precious moments of my life. Our friendship will forever be special.
I was checking out. I was done. I needed a break. I was so tired, nothing made sense anymore. Be like a willow tree. Janice and the Ob thought it was time to use some oxytocin to encourage stronger contractions that would help to turn the baby and help with dilation. I thought if I am to endure anymore I needed a epidural, I needed a rest. Jennifer- lee reassured us that it was the most compassionate choice right now. The anesthetist arrived. I can’t say I wasn’t scared. After all he is putting a needle into my spine while I am experiencing intense contractions. I sat on the edge of the bed and held onto Janice and Jennifer -Lee’s fingers. I was so focus on breathing and being still that it was over before I knew it. Almost immediately I was comfortable, no more pain. I could still feel the tightening of the contractions, and I could still move my legs. The drugs were a welcome relief, I could now rest. Now all we had to do was wait until I was fully dilated and ready to push. The room became quiet and still, everyone was sleeping except me and the nurse. The noise from the monitors beeped every so often reminding me that my baby was also waiting. As I laid there the whole hospital would be still, followed by moans of laboring women and then the sweet first cries of babies. I smiled every time I heard the cries, knowing it would soon be my turn to join the sacred world of motherhood.
8:30 am . I was now 10 cm, and we were waiting for the urge to push. It took awhile and a few practice runs. But soon that urge overcame. There was no fatigue, no doubts just a primal need to push. It was hard work taking every ounce of energy I had. When I thought I had given it my all the baby’s head would slip back into where it had spent the past nine months. Maybe she wasn’t sure if she wanted to come out into this world. But then I found more energy and strengthened my spirit and envisioned that head coming through. We tried different positions, squatting, waterskiing and finally while lying in the ever frown upon position, on my back, the head slipped out. The nurse told me to open my eyes and look into the mirror, I didn’t want to. But the midwife took my hand and made me feel her head. It was hard and round and slimy.
Oh my god- despite having the epidural, I felt every burning and stretching sensation. All I remember is yelling “I need some ice, its burning, its burning”. Then Janice said don’t push, but all I wanted to do was push. My body had taken over and it took every once of my mind to prevent me from pushing. Then I got the word, you can push now. With one push the head came out and the her body flew out. The relief, the joy, the sheer amazement, I was overwhelmed. She did not cry on arrival into this world. She was peaceful and content. They placed where warm wet body on mine, and all I could do was cry. Welcome to the world Ardyn Marie, you are so loved.
She was born at 10:25, May 14 2007.
Ardyn crawled up my belly to my breast and that’s where you stayed. It felt so natural, I had felt you inside me and now I recognized on the outside. Your sprit fit into my spirit, and our connection was stronger than ever as Dave cut the cord.
The love I felt for my baby, my husband, my family and my birthing team was overwhelming.
Ardyn was conceived with so much love and was brought into this world with love. Dave was by my side through it all. He gave me the strength to get trough each contraction, reminding me I could do anything for a minute. But what he didn’t realize is that I can do anything as long as he is beside me.
Janice made me feel completely and utterly safe. She smiled when I needed reassurance, and told me I was so strong when I needed strength. The kiss on the cheek was so sweet and forever cherished.
Jennifer- Lee was there every step of the way. Her calmness reassured me and her hand was always there to hold when I needed some support.
Although my family wasn’t in the room, I could feel their energy every step of the way. I knew their hearts beat with mine and their breath carried me through to the end.
And finally, Ardyn gave me the greatest gift of being her mother. Thank for choosing us as your parents, thank you for being a part of this world. The world is such a better place because you are in it. The joy of meeting you was worth every minute of my amazing journey.