It was the eve of me being 38 weeks pregnant. Dan and I had just finished reading a chapter in a book we were reading together, and had stayed up much too late. I of course had to go to the bathroom again before bed so I rolled over to get up and, bam, water broke. I told a very sleepy Dan, “Uhhh I think my water just broke.” and when I stood up I knew for sure that’s what had happened.
For the past few weeks leading up to her birth I just had this feeling she was going to come early. I just felt so done and ready. But, I chalked it up to wishful thinking because I desperately wanted her to arrive before Dan left for Texas. The odds were against me, with Eli coming a week late.
So when my water broke, I had this surge of excitement. I get to meet her! I don’t have to be pregnant anymore! It was a bit past midnight and I had a midwife appointment scheduled for that morning, Thursday, April 30th. My water had broken, but I was having zero contractions.
We had planned to do a home birth, so I gave the midwives a call in the middle of the night to see what our game plan should be. I cannot testify more about how much I love midwives, LOVE them! I hope I can birth all my babies with midwives. It’s like getting care from the best of friends. Even in the middle of the night, when they were currently at another birth, they were so excited for me!
Since I wasn’t having any contractions the plan was for me to try and get a night of sleep and see if any started up by morning. Dan was a huge fan of this plan, because he was out cold haha. I woke him up and told him, and then as an emotional pregnant woman cried because 1) I was about to change Eli’s life and I was so worried about him, and 2) my phone was out of memory and there I was sobbing about how I wasn’t going to be able to take any photos of our new baby.
After some consoling, Dan went back to sleep, but I was completely wired. I was going to have a baby! I charged my phone and deleted old pictures so I could have pictures of the new baby. I did the same for my camera. I took a shower. I shaved my legs, I removed old nail polish, and cleaned the bathroom a bit. You know, total normal labor stuff. By 3:00am I finally felt tired enough to go to bed and fell asleep until 7:30am.
That’s when Eli wakes up. We had a totally normal family morning, with pancakes for breakfast and play time with blocks and the like. I called my midwives at 8:30am to report no contractions at all still. At this point the home birth we had planned unfortunately had to go out the window. I was group B strep positive and needed to be induced so the baby would come that day. As much as I wanted to a do a home birth I wasn’t upset we had to change plans, because births never ever go according to plan, and I was at peace with that. Since I couldn’t be induced at home, we changed to plan B at the hospital, and took Eli to a friends house to spend his time till the baby was born.
This was one of the most emotional experiences for me. I was a total basket case about leaving Eli. I had this nervous pressure in my chest about how he would react to the new baby and how he would do with a possible night away from home. In that moment I didn’t want to leave, I just wanted to cling to my sweet boy. I stayed in the car while Dan dropped him off because I didn’t want to scare him with all my crying. Eli of course was just fine and happy as could be to play.
We had never been to the hospital in Canada, and they don’t do tours of birthing wings at the hospital we were at, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. When we arrived we met up with one of my midwives, Luba, in a triage room because a birthing room wasn’t available yet. She gave me the antibiotics for the group B step. To distract me from the needles we all chatted about how *spoilers* Shonda Rhimes cruelly killed McDreamy off Grey’s. At this point I had had a few mild contractions but to my knowledge nothing regular. I was hooked up for some monitoring and to my surprise the contractions were happening at a regular interval, just very light still. We decided I would go for a walk and see if we could get things moving along.
We really got after it with the walk at first because I was determined to have this baby, but once it was apparent nothing was changing, and I was going to have to be induced once my one hour walk time was up, we decided to ditch out for some pizza before I couldn’t eat food anymore. We walked to this pizza place we saw on the street corner by the hospital. It was a small establishment with a grandmotherly woman who served us. She asked when I was due, and I happily said “Today!” I swear I must not be the first pregnant lady to bust up in there for some pizza before a baby arrived. Anyways, it was like a strange unplanned date where Dan and I happily ate alone together, and then walked back to the hospital and it was lovely.
At this point there was a room waiting for me in labor and delivery (or should I say labour and delivery, eh?!). We met up with my midwife Carol and got ready for the pitocin to be given. They gave me what they were calling just a wiff of pitocin, as little as possible to see what we could get started. The plan was to up the dosage every 30 minutes as needed, but only happened once around 4:00pm.
So Dan and I took a little cruise around the halls, but I couldn’t walk far without one of the baby monitors going out of range. My contractions really started coming at this point and the pain of contractions had me gripping Dan’s arm and saying things like, “I’m never having another baby again.” We returned to our hospital room and the comfort of the bouncing ball. Dan got out a book we were reading together and read aloud to distract me from the pain. I listened with my head on the bed, bouncing on the ball, and stopping to breathe through my contractions. The deep breaths I was taking really helped and with each push of air out of my mouth I could feel our baby moving lower and lower. Things were happening fast.
I crawled back into the bed because I just needed a change of position. I was curled up on my left side hugging Dan’s arms and squeezing his hand and breathing through my now very quick and hard contractions. I could feel her moving really low and quickly and I was like, “I NEED to push!” and my midwife said, OK. I had to pause and say, “Really?” In my mind I was prepared to be at this all for hours but that was so not the case. I gave a push and Dan and my midwife were excitedly telling me her head was almost out. I gave another two pushes, and there she was, sliding right out and then plopped on my chest! It was the best feeling ever!
She was warm and sticky and the best thing I’ve held in my arms. She was beautiful! Our Isabelle Snow. With those almond eyes I’ve grown accustomed to seeing on my babies. We spent awhile having that heavenly skin to skin time in our quiet hospital room. She had come so quickly that our second midwife didn’t make it in time for the delivery. So it was just Dan, my midwife Carol, and I, and it was so special. It was private and simple and just how we love things, not a big to do.
6:50pm, 7lbs 8oz. Less than two hours of active labor. As we laid there marveling at our new baby told Dan I guess if it was that quick again we could have another baby 😉
The cord was no longer pulsing so Dan did the honors and cut it. Once Izze had her first go at nursing, my midwives did all the necessary checks on her. Her breathing was a bit gunky and she had a little wheeze, so we decided she wouldn’t do her first bath in the tub with me at that time. She stayed with Dan and laid on her side trying to get her nose to drain some. I went and got in the hot fresh drawn bath for me and it was straight up heaven. Water has never felt so good AND I could finally breathe!
Because Izze’s wheezy breathing continued a bit I was to stay the night at the hospital instead of going home that night, just in case. We moved to the recovery room and as it was casually mentioned to Dan where he would come back to get me the next morning it dawned on us that he couldn’t stay the night with me. Enter crazy hormonal freak out. The recovery rooms are shared at that hospital (weird right?!) and there is nowhere for husbands to stay, so go they must. So Dan stayed that night until 11 when he had to leave, and Izze and I had our first solo night together. Luckily, I didn’t end out having anyone who needed to share a room with me, so it really was a solo night, just us girls. I actually got some sleep, and began the wonderful journey that is nursing a baby again.