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Monday, May 16, 2011

Hugh's Birth Story - Part Two

Hugh's impending arrival all became very real on the morning of May 16th. It was a Sunday. For a few days prior I'd been feeling some contractions, but they were never consistent and still left me unsure if I was in labor, which was a good sign that I wasn't. But that Sunday morning was different. When Marc came home at 8:30am from his early morning church meetings to pick up Ben and me, I casually mentioned that in the previous hour I had felt four contractions. I still wasn't convinced it was the real deal, but even if it was I knew it was best to keep moving around like normal, so off to church we went.

During that first hour of church, the contractions continued. They got closer together and lasted a bit longer. By the end of that first hour of church they were about 7 minutes apart and lasting about 30 seconds or so. I clearly didn't get much out of my church attendance on that particular day. Ben needed to be fed during the second hour, so Marc and I hung out in the gym. We were just a bundle of nervous energy anyway, so there was no point in trying to sit through a Sunday School lesson.

After feeding Ben, I called my midwife, Claudette, to let her know what was up. Since she lives more than an hour away, we wanted to make sure she had plenty of time to be forewarned. As she asked me questions about the length and strength of the contractions, I started to feel like this was really it. My baby was coming! With excitement running through my veins, we decided to ditch the third hour of church completely.

We headed home to get all the last-minute things done and prepared ourselves as much as we could for the unknowns of Hugh's impending arrival. Since I was focusing my thoughts on positive outcomes, I was very unprepared for the eventual outcome that was just around the corner. But things started off smoothly enough that I had no reason to worry about any of the possible things that could go wrong.

We got home at around 11am. I remember changing the sheets on our bed and changing into more comfortable clothes to labor in. I made sure all of our birthing supplies were all together and within easy access for Claudette and her assistant.

At around 1pm my parents came over with lunch - salad and chicken. By this time my contractions were all over the place. Marc was trying to time them with an application on his iphone, but I would think that I was having a contraction and he'd start the timer and then a much more convincing contraction would interrupt the first and I'd have to tell him to start over. Some were 7 minutes apart and lasting 45 seconds, while others were 4 minutes apart and lasting about a minute. I tried not to get overly excited when Marc's app told us we were already in the Transition Stage. I knew it had to be too good to be true.

I don't remember much about the time line after having lunch. I remember Marc trying to start a movie, thinking that it might help me relax, but I quickly asked him to turn it off since it made me feel distracted and annoyed. It must have been around 3pm or so that my parents went home, taking Ben with them. We didn't have much packed for him, convinced they'd be bringing him back home to meet his little brother in just a few more hours.

At some point, Marc set up the birthing tub in our kitchen. Sometime after that Claudette and Dana arrived. After setting up their stuff - dopplers and blood pressure cuff and oxygen mask and just about everything you'd see in a hospital-like setting - Claudette checked my progress, just after my water broke. I think it was about 4pm and I was dilated to a 4. When I got to a 7, a couple of hours later, they let me get in the birthing tub.

Time was a blur. I don't know if it got dark early or if I just remember it being dark because I had my eyes tightly closed. But, I do remember that once I got in the tub, I did not want to get out. It was as close to heaven as I was going to get with the contractions as intense as they were. Marc fed me ice chips and kept me hydrated. By 10pm I was at 9cm and Claudette encouraged me to try to push a few times to see if that would help speed up that last centimeter.

While I pushed, they monitored the baby's heart rate and soon discovered that it was dipping dangerously low during some of my pushes (though they didn't tell me that right away). At that point they helped me out of the tub and had me try some different positions, hoping that might make things better for Hugh. They even turned him so he was in a better position, but within minutes my little stubborn Hugh had turned himself back. That was when they nicknamed him Houdini.

At one point I heard some whispers between the midwives and understood enough to know that they were on high alert and our plans were about to change. I was laboring in the bathroom with Marc and I asked him directly if they were transporting us to the hospital. His look of apology said it all. They told Marc that the baby's heart rate had dipped down below 110 and highly suggested transporting and Marc agreed. By this point, nearly 16 hours of labor, I was just ready to meet my baby and was on board with whatever would get him to my arms quickly and safely. Once the decision was made, we were all rushing around like crazy. I got dried off and dressed - in one of Marc's t-shirts and my bath robe. We had planned for everything except a transport. We didn't have a hospital bag of any kind ready.

By this point the contractions were coming fast and were so intense I had to stop everything I was doing and brace myself while they passed. It felt like it took forever to get from the house to the car. The midwives told me to climb onto the back seat of our car for the drive to the hospital, on my hands and knees to try to get the baby to move from his posterior position, which was not helping things progress. Marc drove. The midwives followed in their own car. That half mile was the longest half mile of my life.

We arrived at the hospital just before midnight. Since Claudette had called ahead, the ER nurses were expecting us with a wheelchair all ready and we passed right by the paperwork at the front desk (thankfully) and all the people in the waiting room (I'm sure we were quite the site for that little audience!) and Marc wheeled me down the dark corridors to the Labor and Delivery wing, me begging him the entire way, "please just hurry, please just hurry!"

1 comment:

KieraAnne said...

Aaww, don't leave it there! What happened next!? ;)