I have been away from this site for quite awhile, and it’s because last August I found out I was pregnant, and in May I had my baby. Being pregnant took a lot up a lot of my time. I didn’t have the same creative focus, and so I took a break from podcasting and blogging. Now I figured I’d write my birth story since it’s got some drama in it and I’ve had time to deal with it all. Plus finding time to do anything with a newborn is a challenge and you take time when you get it.
I want to say that even though this baby was had during the pandemic, it was not a pandemic baby. Not in the sense that it just happened like many others seem to have happened during lockdowns. This baby was the result of 7 years of trying. It just happened to all come together during the pandemic.
The pregnancy was pretty easy. I had a lot of heartburn and exhaustion, especially during the third trimester, but other than that it was pretty smooth. I did have an issue where I had a fibroid in my uterus, and the placenta was sorta attached beside it, kinda overlapping it, and that resulted in more ultrasounds and growth checks, but those all seemed to go pretty well. I had a midwife team and OB who monitored the fibroid issue, and it was a great team of health care people who I am so thankful for in their care and treatment.
As my due date approached, and the growth scans showed the baby’s growth slowing down, it was decided to induce labour on my actual due date. I was okay with this, and it worked out that the OB who had been monitoring me was in the hospital that day so it made me more at ease. Though I was a little upset that it wasn’t going to be on May 4th (May the fourth, Star Wars Day) and instead on my actual due date of May 5th.
*** Now is where things will get graphic. I won’t sugar coat anything, so if you get squeamish or grossed out easily, you’ve been warned. ***
I went in on Tuesday May 4th to start the process, and had this balloon thing filled with saline inserted in my cervix to try to dilate it some. They left the tubes hanging out, and sent me home until the next morning. It was not a fun time. It was awkward, but it did work and caused cramping. And the next morning when they took it out I had dilated 3cm so it did seem to do the job.
Now with COVID lockdowns, the hospital had strict policies in place. So I went in by myself until I was actually admitted and put in a room, and then my husband could come in. But once he was there, he had to stay in the room until I gave birth, and then could stay with me for 6 hours after. No going to the cafeteria, no grabbing a coffee, no walking the halls. So we packed a cooler for him with drinks and snacks.
I was admitted just after 8am on Wednesday May 5th. And we hung out in the birthing room, with my midwife checking in and taking care of me. They put me on Pitocin to start the labour, and broke my water with what was basically a crochet hook. Then we waited. Things progressed ok enough. The contractions felt like bad period cramps and not what I thought they were going to feel like at all. I couldn’t eat anything in case I needed to have a C Section, but I got a lot of juice and even some Jello. My husband got my lunch.
I had discussed pain management options with my midwife, as I was open to whatever it took to get thru the birth. She told me there were basically 3 levels. Morphine, Fentanyl, and then Epidural. It was a little after lunch that I gave in and asked for the morphine shot. It seemed to take the edge off a bit, but mainly just made me drowsy. And then the contractions would wake me right up. I was only about 4.5cm so I still had quite a bit to go. It was around 4pm that I asked for the fentanyl. That one wasn’t a good time. It didn’t seem to do much, other than give me an anxiety attack. I had to ride it out. At that point I was closer to 6cm so things were progressing. And I asked for an epidural since the pain was getting pretty bad. Every cervix check was pretty awful as well, and I did not look forward to them.
The epidural was its own nightmare. I’m pretty good with needles, and can handle them fairly well, but this was something else. It took about 4 attempts, with a total of 8 needles, since apparently my spine is pretty deep and required extra large needles that they don’t normally carry in their kit. I kinda felt like the anesthesiologist didn’t really have a clue what they were doing. It wasn’t going very well, and only my left side ended up sorta numb. It took quite a long time for it to be over. It’s usually a 10 – 15 minute procedure but took closer to an hour. And it kinda felt like they just gave up. It was about 7pm when it was done. The pain wasn’t really dulled at all. The midwife had me lay on my side with a peanut ball between my legs to try to get the numbing to go to the right, but it didn’t. Then it was time for another cervix check which was one of the worst ones and I was at about 8cm.
They let me lay on my back again for a bit and I’m not sure how long it was, but it wasn’t very long before they came to do another check and I was at 9.5cm. So the midwife did some fiddling and got me to 10cm. And then it was go time.
Pushing was weird. It felt like taking a giant poop. And since I was barely numb I felt the majority of it. I was so dehydrated my lips were actually chapped and my husband had to hand feed me ice. And as I pushed I could feel myself tear, which was pretty awful. But thankfully it only was about 20 minutes of pushing and my baby boy was born at 8:05pm. He weighed 6lbs 1oz at birth so I wasn’t too upset that his growth had been slowed. It was surreal having him on my chest and seeing him crying. He was perfect. And a surprise ginger. Then things took a turn for the worse.
The placenta didn’t want to come out very easily. And luckily the OB was hanging around and came by to see the baby. Because when they gave the placenta tug, it came out and pulled part of the fibroid off with it. What no one had known, and the ultrasounds didn’t show, was that it had grown partially behind the fibroid. So when it came out, it snagged the fibroid. This caused massive bleeding. The OB was called in. And she had to manually remove the rest of the placenta, which I will honestly say, felt like being scooped out like a pumpkin. I was so dehydrated and exhausted, and in so much pain, that I just remember quietly saying OW a lot. And because the epidural did nothing, they had to freeze each stitch in my tear as they went, which the OB was pretty upset about. She ordered a fentanyl for me, and the midwife said I had a bad time on it, and the OB said I’d have a worse time without it. My blood pressure was dropping sure low and they weren’t sure how I was still conscious. I had a second IV put in my other arm. And in total lost about 2.5 litres of blood. They put a bunch of packing up inside me to stop the bleeding. And somehow I survived. And my husband had to sit there holding his newborn son, watching his wife bleed almost to death, wondering if he was gonna lose me. That makes me more upset then what happened to me. That he had to go thru that.
But then it all settled down. And I got to breastfeed my baby. And enjoy the peace. They took the baby to the nursery and me to a different room so my husband and I could sleep til morning. It sucked with COVID that he had to leave at 6am. And due to all my issues I had to spend the next 2 days in the hospital, getting fluids and eventually an IV iron transfusion. And the worst part wasn’t that they couldn’t find any more veins to put in IVs after they all blew out. It was that due to COVID I couldn’t have any visitors. So once my husband left early Thursday morning, I was alone until after dinner on Friday when I finally got discharged. I think part of the reason they finally let me go home was that Friday morning I broke down when they said I was gonna get an iron transfusion but needed to stay another day. It really did me in. And then later that day they were trying to find another spot to put in an IV and couldn’t find any useable veins, and I broke down again. I had reached my limit physically and mentally. So when I got the go ahead to go home, I had packed up my room in minutes and was so ready to be out of there.
I was on iron supplements for 6 weeks and had to really take it extra easy. But it was all worth it. My son is fantastic. He was perfectly healthy, and is growing like crazy. He’s getting a really dramatic personality, and I fall more in love with him each minute.
Motherhood has been a challenge. Very little sleep. Feeling overwhelmed constantly. But those little coos and smiles make it all worthwhile. It’s not easy at all. But I don’t regret a minute. I learned I’m so much stronger than I ever thought I was. I’m a warrior for surviving. And one hell of a mama bear.
Birth Story By The Numbers
- 7 years of trying
- 40 weeks of pregnancy
- 12 hours of labour
- 1 morphine shot
- 2 fentanyl shots (total)
- 4 epidural attempts
- 8 epidural needles
- 1 partial epidural
- 20 minutes of pushing
- 6 lbs 1 oz baby
- 2.5 litres of blood loss
- 2nd degree tear
- 4 stitches
- 80/? low blood pressure
- 2 active IVs
- 3 day hospital stay
- 1 iron transfusion
- 6 weeks of iron supplements
- 1 warrior mama