37, 38, 39, 40. That was it right? 40 weeks, May 1. I was more than ready to have you in my arms. The day came and went, and you gave no signs that you were coming. I was alert to every single detail and feeling going on in my body. And had been doing everything I could to induce labour, since I was scared with the possibility of having to be induced and go through a c-section. We tried date smoothies, eating pineapple, acupuncture, going for walks, bouncing on my pilates ball, rubbing castor oil on my belly… anything to get things going. But you had your own agenda.
It all started on May 6, in the evening. You had hiccups, and you hadn’t had them for a while. I had a feeling you were getting ready to take your first breaths in the outside world. But, I didn’t tell anybody, as I didn’t want to create any expectations. We went to bed and your dad and I prayed for your safe arrival.
I woke up at 6:50am with a light contraction, things were starting to move. A few days before, I had gone to see Dr. F and she talked about an induction, my cervix was soft but posterior and closed. This morning we were going to see her again, and we were hoping for good news. Before the appointment, auntie Theresa came over and we went for a walk, during the walk we met Chelsea and had a nice conversation.
We went to the appointment and to our surprise I was about 1cm dilated, and she was able to a partial membrane sweep. Your dad celebrated with a “woohoo” once Dr. F gave us the news. We went back home. All we had to do was wait.
Friday went by quickly. I tried to distract myself, and not think too much about what was coming up. But the evening came and my contractions started to get stronger. By the time we went to bed, they were about about 10 minutes apart and would wake me up every time I tried to fall asleep. I kept your dad awake, and got him to time every contraction and play my hypnobirthing audio every time a contraction happened. Needless to say, neither of us got any sleep.
Around 7am, we got up and filled the bathtub. Your dad ordered Starbucks breakfast for us, and I ate it in the tub in between contractions. Your dad made me laugh a lot with all the jokes to distract my mind from the contractions. Lindsay (our doula) stopped by to drop off her tens machine and said it would be go time soon. I was so excited to meet you!
Around 11am, I took a quick nap, and that’s when things started to go south (a little bit). I woke up with a side pain that felt different from contractions. It hurt constantly making my contractions feel worse.
From there, things are a bit of a blur. I went upstairs to the bathtub again to try to ease the pain, but water didn’t help. Auntie Theresa came over and your dad was so grateful that my wrath was shared amongst two people. I was in a lot of pain, and feeling scared to go to the hospital. Dad and auntie Theresa made jokes and talked about memes to help distract me. But around 4:30pm, we decided it was best to go to the hospital. It took a while for me to get moving and get dressed, but eventually after a lot breaks and tears we got out of the house.
We made it to the hospital and decided to not go through emergency. I remember waking through the parking lot wearing my blue slippers, and just hoping things would get sorted out soon. On the third floor of the Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital, we got admitted and were placed in an assessment room. They said they would check my urine for an infection, but ended up not finding anything.
One more urine test, a blood test, one shot of morphine and a few painkillers later, the pain was still there (and increasing) and they didn’t know what was going on with me. So, they sent us for an ultrasound. It was now 3am, and we spent 45 minutes getting the ultrasound done. The results came back inconclusive, everything appeared to be fine. At that point we got transferred to a prenatal room, where they would monitor us for the night.
That night, the pain was so intense that I thought I wasn’t going to make it. I remember telling your dad to take care of you and my family if I didn’t. The night was a blur. I remember trying to get in the tub but not being able to stand the pain. Around 5am, I lost my mucous plug and that gave me some hope that things were moving in the right direction. I was going to meet you soon!
Around 8am, Lindsay made it to the hospital. What a relief to both of us! She reassured us that everything was going to be ok, and that my pain wasn’t just labour pain and that we were going to sort it out. I remember clearly, Lindsay looking right into my eyes as she said all that. That made a whole difference. It was one of the first times I felt seen by anyone other than Dallas, since coming to the hospital.
Within an hour or so, Dr. F also made it to the hospital. She acted quickly and checked me to better understand where that pain was coming from. “Does it hurt here?”, “how about here?”, “and here?”… “muscle spasms, you are having muscle spasms, Anna. That’s what’s causing your pain.”. What a relief, I wasn’t dying. I was just having muscle spasms, and the spasms were triggering contractions, that were triggering spasms again. “We can give you an epidural to help ease the pain. If the epidural works it will be great, if not, I am going to need you to be really strong”, Dr. F said. “Pineapple, pineapple, a million times pineapple” was my answer – “pineapple” was our code word to tell Dallas and Lindsay that I wanted an epidural, since originally I wasn’t planning on getting one. I remember thinking, “Here’s Miguel already teaching me a lesson. I’m really not in control of any of this… and that’s ok”.
I was transferred to another room to get the epidural, the same room as labour would happen. At that point, I was really tired, but I was able to relax knowing that the pain was going to subside soon. The anesthesiologist came to the room and gave me the epidural – what a change, night and day. As soon as the epidural worked, I felt like a different person. I could hold a conversation, I was able to eat and move around and actually focus on labour. It was the best decision we made.
Once the epidural started working, things moved pretty quickly. I was about 4cm dilated. The epidural slowed down my contractions, so I was given a small dose of pitocin to keep things moving. We started working with a resident doctor and our nurse Lisa. I felt confident I had a good team to help me go through delivery.
While the pitocin was working through my body, I was able to walk around the halls, do some hip stretches, and hip circles. I was happy I was able to move and be in control of my body, even though I was quite itchy (a side effect of the epidural).
A couple hours later, around 2 or 3pm, I got checked again and I was a bit more dilated. The resident doctor suggested breaking my waters to keep the process going, and we agreed. They showed me the instrument they were going to use to break my waters, it looked like a crochet needle. I laid down, and I remember hearing the resident doctor say “This will probably be the easiest membrane rupture I’ll do in my whole career”. I was feeling a lot of pressure down there. He started the process, and I wish I was able to see this from another angle. All I felt was a bit of pressure, a big release and a gush of warm liquid reach my feet (!), it was a big splash. Daddy said we made a mess, all over the bed and Dr. Kyle. All he said was “the one time I don’t wear a coat…”.
After my water broke, I started feeling an urge to push pretty quickly and shivers/shakes all over my body. Dr. F said I shouldn’t push quite yet, otherwise I would be pushing for too long. I had to wait for my body to labour baby down. So I did. Lindsay was a huge help at this stage, she helped me find positions that made me more comfortable to breath through the urge to push. She suggested all fours and throne positions, and those felt great. At that point, I felt strong and in control. “I can do this”, I remember thinking.
And then after a while, I couldn’t hold it anymore. I told Dr. F, “I think I need to push”. She checked to see how dilated I was, and she said I was close to 10 cm and ready to go. We all got ready, I had your dad by my side. Lindsay and our nurse were also next to me.
I pushed for about an hour, in what I thought was one of the hardest things I have done. It was a demanding process, it took all my focus, strength and a good amount of confidence. It was challenging, but I knew I could do it. Your dad was a huge help at this stage too, he was the one counting while I was pushing and he helped guide me. He also gave me the best words of encouragement, I remember hearing him say “cmon you got this”, and “I know you can push harder” and that really helped.
After a few good pushes, you were born. First your head, then your upper body, and a final push for your legs. You were here! It was such an emotional moment for us, I remember crying and saying “my boy, my boy, you’re here, I love you.”