I felt crampy on the morning of the 8th. Like menstrual cramps. Not unbearable. By about 1:45 that afternoon, I paged the midwife because I hadn't felt the baby move. She suggested I have a snack, lie down, and do a kick count. I paged her again at 2pm. I was having contractions that were about 3 - 4 minutes apart. They were unbearable and I could not do a kick count.
"You are in early labour..."
The midwife came by. I was dilated 1 cm. And having a hard time keeping up with the contractions. I threw up. A lot. She checked me again and I was 3cm. In like 1/2 hour. Then my water broke. There was meconium in it.
"It's time to go to hospital..."
We live 2 minutes away from hospital. The leading children's hospital in Ontario. The midwife went ahead of us. She actually left most of her stuff at our place and practically ran out the door.
I remember now the hot hot sun and contracting in the hospital parking lot... then contracting in the walkway leading to the floor with the birthing centre. Contracting again in the reception area of the birthing centre.
They took my blood when I arrived. Somehow I found myself dressed in a hospital gown. Still trying to cope with contractions by staring at my partner and repeating "calm and relaxed... calm and relaxed..." Sometimes I could cope and would actually close my eyes and almost sleep between contractions. They were 2 - 3 minutes apart by then.
I was hooked up to a monitor. The baby had a heart rate monitor attached to her head.
Everything was happening so fast and everything was a blur. It is amazing what the contractions did to the way I was seeing the world. I couldn't focus.
Every time I contracted the baby's heart rate would dip. The OB/GYN came to me and said that she is "conservative" and only does c-sections if she truly needs to... she could not continue to look at the data (baby's heart rate) and I was still not dilated enough to be giving birth any time soon.
I was so present. (Perhaps that was the hypno-birthing training).
I made the decision to have a c-section. At some point I remember the midwife telling me that it is always okay to change my mind - meaning change my mind from my original no pain med/ no intervention/ natural birth... I think it was before the OB suggested c-section.
The bloodwork results came in and my white blood cells were elevated. Suggesting that I was fighting an infection. This meant that it would not be safe to do an epidural. I had to go under general anesthesia. This also meant that my partner could not be in the OR with me.
I signed some papers. And was whisked off to the OR. I remember being prepped and worried that I could feel them prepping me - perhaps the anesthesia wasn't working. I said something to this affect, and was assured I'd be feeling nothing soon. My last memory is the anesthetist putting a mask over my face and asking me to take a deep breath.
When I woke up, I was looking at the clock. 10 minutes to 8pm. (Carys was born at 10 to 7pm). I remember thinking, oh good I am alive. I thought someone told me I had a girl. Then I thought someone told me I had a boy. Then someone came to me and said, "you had a girl." I was confused. I wanted to see my partner.
C G was born at 6:50pm. She weighed 6 lbs 15 oz. She was 19 inches long. Her 1 minute apgar score was 2. Her 5 minute apgar score was 8. She came out not breathing and with very little heart beat. She had to be resecutated. She had meconium in her lungs and in her stomach. She was intubated. Attached to monitors. And stayed in the pediatric critical care unit - with one to one care - for 2 days, before she was moved to the 7th floor (still intensive care, but not one to one) for 3 more days.
My partner took her picture that evening. I didn't get to see her until the next day.
I looked at her picture before I went to sleep. I think I was in shock or something because I didn't have much in the way of emotion. Maybe it was the pain medicine. The next morning though I had to get up and go see her. And I did.
She recognised my voice. She was so little. I remember repeating over and over to her how good she is doing. I was like a cheerleader. I wanted her to know I was there and rooting for her to get better. It really didn't look good in the first day.
I pumped colostrum and later breast milk for her. In the early days she was fed through a tube. By the time she got to the 7th floor she was drinking from a bottle. I was released after 3 days. We sat the entire day in hospital with her - only leaving at night to sleep.
We brought her home on the 13th.