39 weeks and I thought baby M was never making an appearance. I felt completely the same as I had the whole time, or at least recently. Lots of pressure but nothing else. No contractions, no Braxton hicks even. Absolutely no sign of labor in the near future.
Friday, June 7 2013 I was lying in bed. It was around 10am and I knew I should get out of bed. I had tons to do and even though there was no sign of labor, I knew I didn’t have much time left. But I kept lying in bed with Mya, or dog, and was literally talking to her and baby M. I was saying how I think I’m ready now. Earlier on in the week when asked if I wanted to be induced, I wasn’t ready. I think I was ready now. I looked down at my belly and said
Mason…I’m ready for you now. You can come.
I rolled over
My water broke
I honestly didn’t know what to do. I didn’t picture my water breaking at all. Did you know that only 5-10% of labors start with their water breaking? Those are some small numbers.
Anyway, so I called Shawn at work. This whole time we had a rule. Only texting. If anything was wrong or to be happening, it required a phone call. So as he answered….
Is this the call?
Is this the call I’ve been waiting for?
I was shaking, but still quite content. Other than the fact that it felt like I was constantly peeing my pants, everything still felt normal. Shawn sounded the same. He just said he was going to pack up from work and head home. No big deal, just having a baby. But then he called back about 5 minutes later and you could tell he was nervous…or something. He was excited, talking lots, and just rambling on and on. I told him to just get home and that I was going to have a shower.
I was not starting this out with dirty hair and an unclean body. It was something I said right from the beginning.
So I casually showered, did my makeup and blow dried my hair. Shawn came home and frantically did things around the house. It was adorable.
So we headed to the Foothills Hospital at 11:30am to get checked out. I had no idea what to expect but we casually walked in, which I guess isn’t out of the movies. You see them frantically running in and calling for help. Nope, we parked far away, had a little walk and just headed to the L&D ward.
They were also pretty calm. They even asked me if I was 100% sure my water broke.
Um, unless I am peeing my pants then yes lady.
It was a bit comical.
So we went into triage, a tiny little space, to get checked out. They took blood pressure, checked on baby and everything looked great. And yes, my water did in fact break. But they sent us home. Once your water breaks they cannot check to see if or how dilated you are in order to prevent infection so we needed to wait for the contractions to begin.
Home we go at 1:30pm
They told us to come back if we started having contractions or by 9:30pm to check on things.
We stopped and got Subway and hung out all day. It was like any other day.
We headed back to the hospital at 9:30 like asked, as we still had no sign of contractions at all.
They gave us a choice at this time.
Stay there and wait for a room to open up to be induced (could take hours)
Or go home, get some rest and come back in the morning.
Heck no was I spending more time in the hospital then I had to. So we went home to get some rest.
Saturday, June 8 2013 comes.
We headed to the hospital at 8am. If I knew that we would be spending the next 4 days there straight, I would’ve eaten the biggest breakfast ever.
So we got all settled in our room, which by the way was way nicer than I ever imagined.
At 9am I started the ocitocin drip. Basically an artificial hormone to help the contractions come along. Or known as induction.
Again, we just hung out. No changes at all. The nurse said I must have a high tolerance to pain because it was showing up that I was having contractions but I could swear I wasn’t at all.
2 and half hours later, around 12:40pm contractions began.
Were they what I imaged? Yes…No. I tolerated them. I guess I went into this thinking the worst so maybe it just wasn’t that bad. My active labor started at 1:20pm, so very shortly after the contractions came. I did start using the laughing gas to ease things. Although, I am not entirely sure it really does anything but make you hilarious. Here are some things that came out of my mouth during this time.
Hulk Smash (as I ripped open the shoulders of my hospital gown) 2:13pm
I feel dizzy—while looking around all mischievous like 2:07pm
She’s a Nikon girl—this was towards our birth photographer. I could tell because of the sound of her shutter 3:45 pm
Shhhh I’m not laughing—pretty sure I was laughing 4:25pm
Pffft piece of cake 4:40pm
We seen a 3d penis Erin!!! 9:10pm
I want birthday cake9:58pm
So as you can see something was pretty funny in my world. I was honestly having a blast. I was talking and laughing with everyone in the room. I think the nurse at that time thought I was nuts. I would stop during contractions and breathe, but it really wasn’t that bad. I can’t stress that enough. Labor and Delivery to me was not what I expected.
It was easier.
Alright, moving on from the comic relief.
Time to FINALLY check and see if I am even progressing and am at all dilated.
I actually said that.
What happened to 3-4-5 cm…?7!!!! Oh man, this is happening.
I think that was the first time I realised I had to actually push this baby out. I guess faster is better in this case right.
So I pushed, and I pushed. I pushed from 245-630. Again, it was hard but not as hard as I pictured. From about 6-630 it was getting worse. I was now sitting at 9 and a half cm. This baby was coming whether the doctors let me push or not. I needed help. I was exhausted and it was getting too hard to bear without being able to push. I had a lip left on my cervix at this point so I wasn’t fully diluted. I sat at 9 and a half cm for almost 2 hours with no progression. I couldn’t do it anymore. I went as far as I could without help. I needed it now, whether my not so supportive nurse at that time wanted me to or not. So the doctor came in and I said, its time I need it. She was great and within minutes the anesthesiologist was there and we started an epidural. I think the hardest part of all of this was having 3 huge contractions while having the epidural put in. Thankfully I had my amazing husband there to lean on and hold me. I couldn’t have done that without him for sure.
Almost instant relief. But, not what I thought an epidural would feel like. I could completely feel my entire body. I just kind of tingled. I could walk and everything. I was happy about this for sure. I just needed to take the tension off a bit.
FULLY DIALTED 7:10pm
Phew, all I needed was a push I guess. The epidural isn’t supposed to work for about 30 minutes and just 40 minutes later I was ready to push.
7:56pm Let’s get this show on the road.
The pushing begins.
One thing I said in my birth plan was that I didn’t want to labor in weird positions. Ya know, on all fours and squatting and all those weird things. So we started out lying down like normal. Flipped on my side. Nothing. Not a whole lot of progression. The nurse described it really well. She said it’s like rocking a truck out of a ditch. Push Push Falls back. So we had to let gravity do its part. She put up this bar on the bed that I could hang off of and use to hold myself up while I push. Basically I threw my body over the bar, was in a squat type position and was pushing. I actually really loved this position, as odd as that sounds. Gravity did help. Why would you push something down and out if you are lying down? Sitting up like that made so much sense.
2 and half hours of that
Mason James Courtland Modde made his arrival.
20.5 inches long
8 pounds 1 ounce
Now let’s step back a tiny bit. Through the pushing I had an amazing coach for a nurse. She was supportive, receptive and all around amazing. She kept me wanting to do what she was telling me. She encouraged me to keep going. I was tired yes, but I never felt like giving up. She made me feel like I was running a marathon and the end was so close I just had to keep going. She was beyond amazing.
And then there was Shawn, my husband. He was there. He held my hand, he counted for me. He counted too fast. He counted too slowly. He counted just right. He was perfect. This was our moment. This was our story.
But, we weren’t out of the clear. Actually very far from it.
Here comes the part that isn’t for the squeamish.
As Mason layed on my chest and Shawn and I had our moment, I knew something was off. Things were taking a bit too long. There were too many pushes on my uterus.
Something was wrong.
Then Mason had to go in his warmer and get wrapped up.
While Daddy was over finding out all the beautiful details of our son, something changed.
I looked over at Shawn and said
Shawn, I’m dizzy.
Shawn…something is wrong.
Sound the alarms. I was crashing and I could feel it. I could also see it on Shawn’s face. My blood pressure was dropping drastically and I could see the staff working frantically and fast as more of them entered the room.
What was happening?
2 more IV’s were put in my arms to help get my fluids up.
Now forgive me, I am just going by what I was told because at this point I wasn’t very conscious, the details are vague.
My Hemoglobin (red blood cell count) had dropped substantially. A normal person’s levels are between 120-160, 120 being on the lower side. My levels had dropped to 58. 58…can you imagine. That number sounds so close to 0 it isn’t even funny.
My blood pressure dropped to 70/50. Normal is about 120/80.
It took them about 2 hours to get me back to normal. I remember hearing what they were saying and what they had to try and do to stop the bleeding. I had hemorriged really bad. Apparently I had lost over 1/3 of my body’s blood. At the end of it all, when I could open my eyes, I heard them count the sponges. I think they got to 30 before I stopped paying attention. Talk about episode of Grey’s Anatomy.
I was finally stable at about 12:30-1:00am.
I remember my Mom coming in at this point to see how I was doing. I don’t remember much I just remember I was happy to see her. I could see her holding Mason, but again, that is all I really remember.
I believe it was around 4am by the time I was transferred over to post partum, where surprisingly I hated. You get much better care over on the other side.
I was so excited to finally try and get some sleep. It had felt like forever since I closed my eyes, on my own. But the minute I managed to get myself into bed, the nurses brought Mason to me to start nursing. One thing I forgot to mention is that because of the swelling and all of the fluids it was near impossible for me to use my arms and hands. I could also hardly walk. I would say my body had ballooned up to probably 3 times its normal size. I was full of a lot of IV fluid tricking my body into thinking it was blood.
Anyway, step back a little bit. Around 12am the nurse wanted me to try and nurse Mason. You are supposed to do this within an hour of them being born so I was already a little late. Well the limited use of my hands and arms made this a task I wasn’t able to do. So Shawn and the nurse held Mason on me to at least try.
Unsuccessful to some degree.
My body had been so badly beat up that I was no longer producing milk. I had a tiny bit of colostrum so at least Mason got that.
Fast forward back to post partum. The nurses over there did not even look at my chart. They had no idea what I had just gone through. So when they handed Mason to me and I couldn’t hold them, they had little to no patience with me. They told me I didn’t know what I was doing and I was doing things wrong. Well try telling that to someone who is just barely coherent and a brand new mom after a very hard delivery.
I was not happy.
She ended up helping me and we got Mason latched on. Who knows what he was getting for milk but I refused to start formula so we had to try and feed almost every hour.
No sleep for this Mom for 5 days straight.
It was hard. I was mentally and physically exhausted. The rules at the hospital are so strict too. We could only have 2 support people during delivery, which was my husband and my photographer. And then during post partum we could only have our parents there. Well our good friends drove down from Edmonton, spent the night at the hospital and didn’t even end up seeing Mason or I. I was really sad but so happy knowing we had incredible friends. Anyways I’ll be brief on the next details as everything kind of blurs together. The doctor who delivered Mason came and paid me a visit. Before she came I was very weak. It was hard to even sit up, let alone walk to the bathroom which they made me go to every 2 hours. I couldn’t lift myself as my hands hurt so bad from all the IV and were still insanely swollen. So when the doctor came for a visit I felt a bit of relief. She was there, she gets it. When she went over my numbers you could see the concern in her face. I wasn’t out of the clear yet. My hemoglobin’s were still not where they needed to be and we needed to do something about it.
Now that is a scary sentence. I don’t know how scary it really is but it sounded scary at the time.
My options were to have the transfusion and feel a bit more normal faster
To not have the transfusion and be very sluggish and feel like this for a solid 3 months before my body started to repair my own blood.
There was no way I could go one more day feeling the way I did. I never imagined a person could feel like this.
So we signed up for it. I was scared but I knew it was the best decision for me to take care of myself and my son.
2 bags of blood is what they thought would be good enough. That took about 5 hours to do. I covered my arm as the blood went in my veins. It felt cold. I like to pretend it wasn’t happening.
Well apparently your hemoglobin’s are supposed to go up 20 for every bag you get. So I should’ve been about 72 after I was finished. I ended up at 83 and man did I feel it. I even looked a little less like a ghost. I felt a bit human and it was great.
Ok…we are going home.
In walks the nurse and again, I knew something was wrong.
She was holding Mason and right away I knew.
He had gotten a lot more yellow over time but it seemed a bit more drastic now.
He needed some therapy. As much as this sucked I am glad he had it. If you don’t know what jaundice can do, look it up. I thought it was a colour of the skin…no clue it had so many long term affects.
So he had about 16 hours of light therapy. It was the longest 16 hours of our lives. Because I still couldn’t really hold Mason, Shawn stayed with us that whole time. He even spent almost 3 hours with his finger in his mouth in the nursery soothing him and then slept in the car for 2 more hours before visiting hours began again. Amazing husband doesn’t even describe Shawn. You think you have a bond with your husband but then you have a baby, things happen, and everything changes. It is unreal what we went through together and the love I feel for him now.
Okay…therapy is good, not as good as they had hoped but good.
That is our story in a nut shell. I am sure I missed so many details but this is what I can remember. They say you have a bit of amnesia after having a baby. Maybe it is so you will have more. The things I do remember hurt my heart. Seeing Shawn’s face. Thinking the worse things possible. They hurt.
But… we will try again because I need that baby girl!
(Photos by Erin Shepley Photography)