You may have noticed the silence around here and the new face on my instagram. It’s true! We welcomed Baby M earthside on November 29th at around 5pm. I got my VBAC! So, allow me to share our birth story and introduce Mason.
In my 37th week, I noticed that I had started to lose my mucus plug. I knew this was a sign that my body was prepping for labour. Saturday the 28th, we had done some grocery shopping and I felt some wetness. Had I peed myself?! Embarrassing! That night, same thing happened again when I turned in my sleep, followed by some cramping and back pain. Ugh, unpleasant.
On Sunday the 29th, I woke up and felt kind of off. An hour or so later, I noticed I had bloody show and knew it was going to be baby time sooner rather than later. I casually startedtiming the contractions. I told Pat and updated my friend Claire (our Doula). I had also noticed that I had what felt like menstrual cramps, which was nothing like what my contractions felt like last time with Liam. Eventually, Claire had me time them more carefully, just to see and we noticed that they were rhythmic. Huh. I still wasn’t convinced it was labour but when they got more steady and frequent, Claire told me she was coming over to check things out.
I made sure our bags were ready to go, and got in contact with my friends who had offered to watch Liam. I let Pat know things were picking up and started verbally prepping Liam for his first night away.
In labour, on the exercise ball
The contractions were more intense, but nothing more than uncomfortable. I found relief in swaying on my exercise ball and doing figure 8s. When Claire arrived, we talked a bit and Pat got me some food from Timmy’s. Eventually, talking through contractions took more work. It was then that Pat and Claire suggested we go to the hospital, but I still didn’t think it was time. I was convinced the contractions were still 5 minutes plus apart, when they were actually closer to 3.5. I wanted Liam to have his nap, as it was noon. It wasn’t until I went to the bathroom and had three contractions one after the other that I agreed to go.
We dropped Liam off at Jenn’s, and my heart broke. I already missed my little guy. We made our way to the Civic Hospital and met up with Claire there.
We made our way to the 4th floor, Labour and Delivery, where they took my history and checked me. I was 5cm. They admitted me and showed us to our room. There we met our great nurse, Phyllis, and I started labouring in earnest. I walked, swayed, leaned, cried and felt myself becoming overwhelmed by the rapid increase of the pain and frequency of the contractions. Eventually, I had had enough and requested an epidural. I was so afraid of letting everyone down, but I just couldn’t do it anymore. They checked me, and I was at 8cm. Having contractions while having to stay perfectly still was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Unfortunately, the Epi didn’t take fully. It merely dulled the pain a bit.
I was on the bed, feeling like I might need to push. I felt the sudden gush of my water breaking. It was full of meconium. They then needed to attach monitors to his head because his heart rate was decelerating and the monitors on my stomach weren’t working eith how low he was. Moments later, I could no longer control the urge to push. Within 15 minutes, Mason was born. Pat cut the cord and the OB showed me my placenta (soooo cool!). I felt so much better than after my c-section. I had a 2nd degree tear and some stitches, and felt like a champ. Mason ended up having some issues, however.
As I waited to deliver my placenta, the medical team was trying to get Mason to be more responsive. He eventually was, but his breathing still wasn’t great and his chest was puffed out. They left him with me for an hour to nurse before deciding to send him to the NICU with Pat. There, they did a chest x-ray and blood work. He had no meconium in his lungs and no air leaks. After keeping an eye on him for about 12 hrs, they brought him back to me. The next evening, we were sent home with a clean bill of health.
A couple days later, at our first post partum check up, our family dr confirmed our suspicions that M had jaundice. She sent us to get bloodwork done and that evening, we got a phone call to get to the children’s hospital ASAP. His bloodwork was very concerning. Unfortunately, this was the beginning of a really difficult time for us. We were admitted after they ran a bunch of tests and we ended up staying at CHEO for 5 days. They were concerned he had a blood infection due to a mistake on a blood test, or an antibody issue due to the blood bank mixing up our file with someone else. In the end, he just had jaundice and needed a lot of phototherapy.
Our stay was hard for me. Post partum hormones, and recovery in a hospital room for someone who is prone to anxiety and depression …it was not ideal. We were in a dorm style room with two other babies from out of town, which meant that there was a lot of noise, lots of crying and just one nurse to care for them. I was very stressed and unfortunately, my post partum anxiety got pretty bad. I wasn’t allowed to hold him much, with the exception of nursing. I basically had to sit and watch him on that light table. Thankfully, my family dr and my loved ones were on it. I had visitors daily and my meds were upped. Eventually, we developed a routine where I went home to be with Liam for a couple hours, which helped.
Liam really struggled with all of this. When Mason was born, he was worried he wasn’t ever coming home from my friend Jenn’s place. When we were admitted to CHEO, he was heartbroken and really had a hard time with me being gone. We are dealing now with the fallout and his big feelings, but we’re all doing much better. Mason is growing and doing better every day. My anxiety is manageable and we are finally getting into the swing of things. Every day is a challenge, but we are loved and supported, so we will be ok.