Hi everyone, it’s been a while! If only you knew how I’ve missed writing here. The past few months have been intense… to say the least! It feels good to sit behind my computer while Louis is resting with our baby. I wanted to share with you my birth story.
Last May, I told you that Louis and I were expecting a baby. I was lucky to have a rather easy pregnancy, where my little aches and pains were nothing compared to what other future mamas might have to go through. When I was asked how I was doing, I kept repeating: “I’m doing okay, I can’t complain. »
One of my maternity photos, a week before giving birth. | Photo by Audrey Godin
A Decisive 48-Hours
My due date was September 3rd. The weeks went by in a flash. In the blink of an eye, it was the morning of August 26th where I had my weekly check-up with my doctor. “I’m ready”, I said. This is where a membrane stripping was done, which consists of sliding a finger between the cervix and the water pocket. This intervention aims to reduce delays before delivery. According to my doctor, one out of two women give birth within 48 hours after a stripping.
After my appointment, I called Louis and told him that it could happen any time now. I went to the drugstore to buy the last missing items for my hospital bag. I bought a beach towel, which I kept on me all day, just in case my water broke! That day, I had a few contractions, but nothing to be excited about.
On August 27th, still nothing, except a few contractions that were closer and closer in the evening, but which felt more like Braxton Hicks (false contractions). By the end of the evening, still nothing. I was disappointed. I was so mentally ready to go to the hospital and meet our little man!
I have to say that Louis and I had been preparing for this day for several months already. We took prenatal classes for a “natural” delivery without epidural. We even went to visit the hospital and the rooms of the maternity ward. I visualized, I practiced breathing techniques.
“Louis, My Water Just Broke.”
At 5:45 am on the morning of August 28th, I felt a tiny “pop” in my lower abdomen, then a (huge!) amount of liquid began to flow out. “Louis, my water just just broke.” It’s happening! Like we’d done this 10 times before, we got up calmly. I went to the shower to rinse myself off. I was still losing liquid, I didn’t expect that! I thought our water broke and it was done after that. But, no! It continues to come out pretty much until the baby comes.
Meanwhile, Louis packed his suitcase. Why do it in advance when you can do it last minute? Then he went into the shower while I was calling the hospital. At that point, my contractions had not yet started, so the nurse on the phone told me to stay calm, take a shower (already done!) and head slowly to the hospital.
Since we knew we would probably stay 36 to 48 hours in the hospital, we had to take one of our two cars to my in-laws’ house in order to leave our garage entrance free for the workers who would come for our renovations. So I drove there, while Louis followed me in his car. During the 5-minute ride, I had my first mini-contraction, nothing stressful yet.
Then, on our way to the hospital, 30 minutes from home, my contractions officially began. They were 4 minutes apart and had increased in intensity. The ride went relatively smoothly! At 6:30 on a Wednesday morning, the traffic had not yet settled in.
That Escalated Quickly.
When I arrived at Pierre-Le Gardeur Hospital, I was starting to feel pain. Louis dropped me off at the entrance to go find parking, and the wait felt like forever. Then, the walk to the maternity ward appeared to be even longer. When I arrived at the reception desk, my contractions were so intense I couldn’t speak. We were taken to the sorting room, a room with 5 beds. By then, I was sweating and had to concentrate on each contraction to avoid fainting. That escalated quickly! Because I called to let them know we were coming when my water broke, a room was already waiting for us.
I was dilated to 3 centimetres, and Louis had gone to fill out the admission forms and get our luggage. Our room was really big and bright, as I had visualized it. The pain, however, nothing could have prepared me for that. It hurt like hell! And since the only position that was bearable during the contractions was standing with my hands resting on the bed, with all my weight on my wrists, I got tired quickly. After a little over 2 hours, I was exhausted and had not yet done a tenth of the work. It was at that moment that I decided that, in order to experience childbirth in the most pleasant and positive way for me, I would ask for the epidural.
I was lucky. The anesthesiologist was able to see me quickly enough to relieve my suffering. About fifteen minutes after receiving the injection, I felt nothing. Well, almost nothing. My right leg was so numb that I had to lift it with my hands to move it, while I could move my left leg. I no longer felt pain, but I felt pressure in my pelvis with each contraction. From that moment on, Louis and I took the opportunity to rest while waiting for the “real” work to begin.
In our hospital room, waiting for the start of the “real” work.
Push, Push, Push!
Since I couldn’t sit or stand, I could only wait for the baby to do the work. The nurses changed my position about every half hour and the doctor came to check the progress every hour. On one of her visits, the doctor noticed that the baby had turned his head. His head was still facing down, but in a less optimal position for delivery. I was then turned to the side to help him turn around, which he did.
Then, knowing that the long-awaited moment was approaching, I began to get anxious to the point where my contractions completely stopped. So I was given Pitocin, a synthetic version of oxytocin, which is the hormone that induces contractions. Quite quickly, I was dilated to 7 centimetres, then to 10, and in less than an hour, my contractions picked up again and the time to push had come. So the nurses started prepping the room for delivery.
Quickly, I was placed in a position to push. It took me at least 3 “practice” contractions because, wait for it, I was afraid to poop! The feeling is exactly the same. Then I finally dropped my barriers and started pushing as hard as I could. Louis held my right leg, the really heavy one, while the nurse held the other. The doctor had her head between my legs and encouraged me with each push. At one point, the baby’s heart slowed down and the doctor mentioned that he may have the cord around his neck and that he needed to be pushed out so they could take care of him quickly if he was in distress. I looked Louis right in the eyes for a tiny second, then pushed as if my baby’s life depended on it.
The baby’s heart finally stabilized and, two pushes later, he was here. He came out all of at once, which caught us by surprise! We thought his head would come out first, then his body on the next push. Anyway! A 8 pounds and 15 oz crying little man was put on my chest. A moment I will never forget.
The next moments are rather blurry, as if my brain had given itself a break after all this intensity.
Mattia Louis Marandola, born on August 28, 2018 at 4:15 pm. Welcome, my love!
Louis cutting the umbilical cord.
Our little angel.