Teddy’s Birth Story

Our story started with a surprise. One weekend in January of 2021, I started feeling a bit nauseous, and by the second day I asked my husband to go to town to get a pregnancy test. We took it that night and within moments the results were clearly positive. I had to get a dating ultrasound done. When we had taken that first test we were 7 weeks along, and the dating ultrasound took place at 9 weeks. I felt lucky that so much time had already passed and I was feeling well.

The pregnancy continued to go well, especially after the second trimester started and the nausea went away. I immersed myself in all things pregnancy and birth related, including working with Lindsay, listening to podcasts, reading books, and taking online prenatal courses. Time went quickly and we gained confidence in ourselves and in the process.

Our due date was September 9th, 2021, and from early on the date August 31st kept sticking out in my mind. When the 31st came around, I thought of sending a text to my mom and sister stating that I guess the August baby was not coming. At 6:45 that evening, while I was standing in my kitchen, my waters broke. I wasn’t too sure about what had happened. I went and changed my clothes but it happened again, and became clear to me what was happening. I phoned my husband, who was combining almost an hour away, and then I messaged Lindsay. For the next hour I moved around the house doing last minute jobs- folding laundry, moving stuff around in the baby’s room, and cleaning the kitchen. Once my husband got home, showered, and checked the oil in the truck (!!) we were off to the hospital- just over an hour’s drive from our farm.

As we got nearer to the city, I thought some very light contractions were starting. Of course, by the time we got to the new environment of the hospital, contractions had stopped. After our initial assessment, they confirmed that my water had broke but said that I could go home until contractions started, or come back in 24 hours if they hadn’t started on their own.

Our plan had always been to get a hotel room if we were in a situation like this, so we headed to the Sheraton sometime after 10 pm. Within moments of being in the hotel room, contractions started coming strong and were getting closer and closer together. And more and more painful! My husband started texting Lindsay, and together we made the decision to head back to the hospital just before 2 am on September 1st.

Back in an assessment room at JPCH, the strength of the contractions took me by surprise. Doctors found that I was 3 cm dilated, and I can’t remember if they announced where we were at with effacement. We moved to a labour and delivery room, and I requested to go in the shower since that had been comforting at the hotel. By this time, however, the discomfort could not be settled in the shower so we went back out to the bed.

Over the next 5 or 6 hours Lindsay helped us switch between labour positions- resting and active. I had stated earlier that I did not want an epidural or other interventions at that time, so the pain was coming in full force and it was all I could do to breathe through them. I was shocked by how disabling they seemed. Lindsay shared her TENS machine with me, and her and my husband took turns applying counter pressure on my lower back during contractions, both of which helped make the pain more manageable.

I was inquiring about some options for pain relief, but by the next cervical check I was 10 cm dilated and fully effaced, plus the doctors were heading into an emergency caesarean section, so I think because of that combination of circumstances, and because I was still not entirely sure I wanted one, I did not get an epidural.

It became harder and harder to find a comfortable position to labour in, and I was not confident about wether my body was telling me it was time to push or not yet. The nurse with us, along with Lindsay, encouraged me to start adding some pushing in with my breathing/grunting during contractions. I think the pushing began around 8 am.

After an hour (or was it two?) of pushing with seemingly little results, a doctor and student doctor came in to help “make it happen.” The baby was so far up the birth canal that it was taking all of this time and pushing just to move her down where she needed to be.

As we neared 11:00 the contractions started to slow down so I was given synto (Pitocin) to try to keep the frequency of contractions up. They were still coming fairly far apart, and I was exhausted, so it felt like a lot of time with the entire team just waiting for the next contraction to come, while I fell in and out of rest/sleep.

There were many times during the final stretch where team members said, “just a few more contractions,” but it always felt like there were more and more and more needed to get the baby out. It felt like she would never come. I feared the possible interventions but also began to think there was no way I could do this on my own. But, with my husband, Lindsay, and the whole medical team literally cheering me on, we did it. All in one moment there she was, lying on my chest!

We hadn’t found out the sex of the baby during pregnancy, so after a few moments someone finally reminded my husband to check- it was a girl! We were shocked as we both guessed that we were having a boy.

The relief that came in those moments was overwhelming. Delivering the placenta, getting two stitches, and everything else that was happening at that point no longer mattered or bothered me. Our baby was in our arms, seemingly healthy as can be. We had done it. We had the most beautiful and intimate first hour together, our family of three plus Lindsay and our nurse, Megan. It felt like magic and was hard to believe we had made it through and were in this moment, but we did everything we could to try to soak it all in.

Being just three weeks postpartum at the time of writing this, it is hard to know what to say about the postpartum experience. It has been good for us, we have all been healthy and have managed to get (just) enough sleep to feel good each day. We are lucky to have been able to access support as we have needed it, but have also been overwhelmed at times with the uncertainty that comes with being first time parents for sure. We continue to take things one nap, one feeding, one day, and one night at a time, and are trying to soak in every moment with our sweet girl, Teddy.

Beautifully written by mama, Bekki

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