I know there are two camps on birth stories. Those who relish in each live-giving detail as a story ancient as time echos in their bones. And those that file them away in a dusty nook self-help books and Eat, Pray, Love. Yet, here I am to share a token birth story with you, if not for you, then for me to have it written down somewhere reliable and sacred, like the internet.
After a couple bouts of false labour I had reached the ‘I need to have this baby yesterday’ status that I hadn’t reached with the other two pregnancies. The main reason being we had to plan child care for the two older kids and we have to travel about an hour and half to the hospital where we can deliver. Making a mental back-up plan each day and the looming potential for active labour in the back of an SUV was a little corkscrew driving into the part of my brain that controls peace and logical thought.
My doctor wasn’t ready to induce me, but after some pretty desperate pleading my Doctor checked and said I had a ways to go yet but she would try a ‘mild’ cervix stretch.
And since our wonderful toddlers where on Grandma and Grandpa’s farm we decided to have a date and try to summon up some last drops of serenity and sanity before this pregnancy became an official nine months of me being my worst possible self.
So we made the most of it and set out into the town.
Lunches where menus don’t have pictures of food on them.
Long, hot walks on the beach dotted with a bathroom break at every available restroom.
Mini golf, movies, appies and mocktails, and an early bedtime where we each slept in our own queen bed.
Still days of contractions on and off. Trips back and forth from our town to the city, midnight hospital visits to hear I hadn’t dilated any prompting some tears in the parking lot. 4 am hotel check ins and lots more long hot walks on beaches.
Then Thursday. A day of NOTHING. And by nothing I mean no kids, no husband, no contractions, nothing. Just me and my sister enjoying an empty house.
Then the nesting began: dry wall sanding, painting, cupboard purging, laundry, hot peppermint baths, ugly cry and prayers to get through this waiting period. Oh, and cheesecake, and sage oil diffused all up in this psuedo-hippie abode. By the way, I’m not sure I believe ‘nesting’ is really this instinct pregnant women have, I’m pretty sure it’s restlessness and killing time.
So with a new sense of purpose (a full night’s sleep) and pending deadline on her visit, my sister deemed the evening ‘Get Your Labour On’. She made us a delicious sage-crusted dinner. Then, with the hubby home, we went on a long walk, got a snickers, and they ran me through the poorly maintained outdoor gym equipment at the local school.
Then at 1130 that night contractions started. Yay! 4 minutes apart, but only 20 seconds long….huh? I was feeling as confused by my body as my son is by the true purpose of toilet paper. I draped over a yoga ball, and facebook chatted with a long lost friend and waited…..til things were getting quite painful.
So another 130 am run to the hospital. We got there by 3am, I teared up with more news that I wasn’t dilating. She gave my poor butt check a shot of morphine and we checked into a hotel at 4am. Contractions were getting more painful and longer as the morning rolled in.
Friday at 11am we went back to the hospital and when they told me I was 5-6cm dilated. I wanted to play one of the songs they play at the beginning of Junior B hockey games, cause GAME ON BUNNIES!
I did laugh at my Dr. when she casually remarked I’d probably deliver by 1:30. I mean, she talks crazy talk. Except it’s backed up by decades of experience and she was only off by 7 minutes.
I laboured on a yoga ball, using some gas, lots of music and reefing on Conor’s hands for each contraction. They were piling on longer and harder.
Then the doctor check baby’s position and saw he was finally anterior (yah, you little rascal!) but his head was tilted to the inside of my thigh instead on facing down. So after a water break, it was time to push.
For me, things get hazy like a lifetime movie dream sequence at this point. I can just remember the doctor firmly stating ‘heart rate dropping…cord around the neck….got to get this baby out now’ and the only thing I could hear was my sister’s voice coaching me with an undertone of frenzy. All I could do was listen to every word she said and push when she told me, keep pushing when she told me, push again when she told me.
I’d love to say this part is instinctual for me, but it isn’t. There’s no feedback I could pinpoint in my body to confirm I was pushing properly. All I could do was rely on the coaching I got. All I could do was push the hardest I would ever in my whole life because I didn’t want to think about the alternatives for delivery if I didn’t get this baby out NOW.
With some buck wild screams and a vacuum, he came out (thankfully the cord was not around his neck). Reluctant as his brother was to come out, I would say.
They swooped him up, put him on my tummy and a wind of relief came into the room.
He was here.
He was healthy.
He was a HE!
He looked like his brother and he was the missing piece we’d been waiting for as a family.
Dawson was finally here.
Aunty cut the cord, Dad made a teary phone call to his parents and I let all the exhaustion from the past week turn itself into peace that this all was over.
We stayed a couple nights at the hospital. The doctors thought he was a preemie, younger than the estimated 38 weeks, and wanted to monitor his nursing. Then I noticed yellow in his eyes like his big sister had at birth, testing was done to confirm jaundice and we were able to treat him the second night.
The pro to staying in the hospital: hospital oatmeal for breakfast, non-stop apple juice, no dishes, oodles of gigantic pads and maternity undies, having time just the three of us
The con to staying in the hospital: hospital lunches and dinners, Conor having to sleep on a cot that is akin to a bunch of old leather suitcases piled in a row, being away from our kids, dealing with the jaundice, and the murdery feeling that creeps in when you’re sleep deprived and spent 24/7 with your spouse in a tiny hot room
When baby’s blood work came back satisfactory for the jaundice treatment, they gave us our walking papers and we ran.
Home to our excited kids and a big spaghetti dinner with the best in-laws around. The kids reacted how we expected. Levi was enthralled and rained gentle kisses on his baby brother. Lenayah was excited, man-handled the baby, realized it wasn’t a toy for her and carried on with her business.