Lets dive on in.
I found out I was pregnant on Valentines day, which is also my husbands birthday. My best friend will share that even though that is when I officially found out I *knew* I was pregnant the minute I was late.
I had an amazingly easy pregnancy. I had no barfing, no stretch marks and to be honest I only looked pregnant in profile. The one tough thing was the exhaustion. I ended up on medical leave a full month before my due date because with such a physical job I was totally unable to keep up any more and my midwife recommended slowing down and resting up for the birth.
So now we find ourselves 2 weeks away from our due date and I start feeling different. I was having a lot of uterine irritation, like Braxton Hicks but worse and It wouldn’t go away with a change of activity or intake of fluids. I called the midwife and they said not to fuss until they fell into a pattern, got longer, stronger, closer together etc.
I kept walking the hills of my neighbourhood with my pups, drank the red raspberry leaf tea, ate 6 dates a day and spent the rest of my time nesting and bouncing on my exercise ball. Cut to a week from out due date… I was having regular contractions. I had been having them all day long and they were 10 minutes apart. And then they stopped.
And it happened the next day. Contractions that built over the course of the day and then stalled out completely. They would stop for anywhere from an hour to 5 hours. And never got close enough to be “real labor”. Prodromal labor is what they call it. Real contractions that don’t turn into actual labor.
Our due date came and went. And we made a plan for induction for the 10th day after my due date. I know you can go up to 42 weeks but after 3 weeks of teaser contractions I was physically and emotionally DONE and just wanted to meet my baby.
Trying to encourage labor on my birth ball The Non Stress Test
My mom arrived a week past my due date and as she was flying in I got the mandatory post date Non Stress Test (they hook a fetal monitor and contraction monitor to you stomach for 20 minutes) and an ultrasound to check the babies position and fluid levels. both cam back normal. I had measurable contractions on the NST and the nurse hinted that she would probably see us later that day. Nope. We saw the midwife the following day. They did a check and found I was progressing 1cm and very soft. They also hinted they might see me later. Nope. I couldn’t focus on my book or on the tv. I made dinner for my family cause by this time both my mom and grandpa were here.
The next morning was Halloween, and we had an induction appointment! I had had contractions all night and was so damn tired. But we were finally going to get the ball rolling…. just very slowly. They did another bout of monitoring before calling in an OB which is policy for inductions even if you’re using a midwife. The OB had offered to administer cervical gel as my midwife was birthing a baby and she didn’t want me to have to wait for her. The OB warned that the cervical gel can sometimes take a few tries to work which was super disheartening to hear. I had really hoped I’d be far enough along that they could have just started pitocin… so the waiting continued. As did my contractions, but they didn’t get stronger, longer, closer together.
At 4 in the morning on November 1st I had been having strong contractions 3 minutes long, 3 minutes apart for about an hour. It was go time. Or so I thought. We called the midwife. when to the hospital and got sent home. I was only 2 cm. We had an appointment later that morning and were hopeful that we would be able to stay.
We arrived back at 8:30. By the time I got checked in, peed in a a cup, changed into a gown and got on the monitor it was 9ish. We spent about 20 minutes on the fetal monitor before the midwife arrived. She removed the cervical gel, and checked me…. I was still only 2 cms but they could stretch to 3. Not far enough for pitocin, but my contractions were strong enough that they didn’t want to gel me again. The plan was to send me home with morphine and gravol so I could get some sleep. I just about lost it. I told them I wasn’t tired even though I hadn’t slept properly for a few days. And I just couldn’t see my self going home and getting any sleep. The midwife was very sweet and talked me down a bit. My husband and I were both upset that the morphine/gravol nap option wasn’t offered when we went in the first time that morning.
We were tired, upset and frustrated but understood that resting up would be what was best for all of us… or so we thought. While we had been talking I was still hooked up to the monitor and the nurse had started to notice larger than normal decelerations in the baby’s heart rate. And so began an hour of back and forth about what to do with us. We saw every nurse on the floor and they all called it “a head scratcher.” Our midwife still wanted to send us home but wanted to get a second opinion before doing so.
The OB blew into the room and very quickly analyzed the situation. He and the midwife decided it would be best to admit me and get pitocin started, but they said something about how if things picked up quickly they would turn the pitocin off. We moved to the delivery suite. They hooked us back up to the monitor, put in an IV and started running fluids. I was STARVING so they let me eat a quick snack before starting the pitocin. We were also making phone calls to both our families and letting them know how things were progressing.
They added the pitocin to my iv and then stopped it about 10 minutes later, before the drug could even make its way into my system. The theory was that his cord was compressed somewhere and that the decelerations were because of the contractions making the compression worse.
Things started happening very fast at this point. I was in a lot of pain and the laughing gas was barely taking the edge off so I asked for an epidural. My midwife conferred quietly with nurse about what kind of epidural they should order… I guess they could do the walking epidural or the full tits down immobilization. It would all depend on if they thought I would need a C Section or not. The OB came back in just then and broke my water in an effort to speed up my labor, but I just wasn’t progressing at all. I was stalled at 2.5 cms. He sat on the bed, put a hand on my knee and said “You’re going to need a caesarean.” We asked how long until we’d go into surgery, they said it would half an hour.
Magnus’s first few seconds
We hadn’t been sure when we arrived that morning if they would keep us or send us back home so Max had only paid for a few hours of parking. He had to run down and “feed the meter”. He barely made it to the parking kiosk before I was calling him to hurry back. They were able to fit us in for surgery RIGHT THEN. When he got back up I was on the gurney with my laughing gas tank, and he got into his scrubs. We went down to the OR. If you have the opportunity to get your epidural put in while you’re sucking down laughing gas DO IT. It really helped me get over my fear of needles in my back.
Magnus all cleaned up
Finally at 1 pm, Magnus was born. He cried so quietly that I said “He sounds like Scully (one of our dogs) when she wants out in the morning.” They put him on my chest and his eyes were wide open and he was so alert. We got a solid 15 minutes in our little bubble while they worked on me and then Magnus and Max were taken to recovery while the surgeon finished up. When I was wheeled out, Max and Magnus were skin to skin waiting for me. It was hands down the cutest thing I had ever seen in my life.