I hope you all don't mind that I'm kinda cutting a pasting a little from my birth lodge with Jesse. I have updated some stuff. But the story of how I met Steve hasn't changed.
So, I'm Amber, and I'm 30, married to DH Steve, who's 35. I'm a RN at a rehab hospital and Steve's a chemist. We met at Memorial University here in Newfoundland when I was 19. I liked his bum and he liked mine. I also liked that he tried to impress me by learning my favourite Dave Matthews Band song on guitar. We were engaged less than 3 months later (taking everyone by surprise), and we got married about 2 1/2 years after that in 2002.
For quite a while after getting married things were very tight financially. We were both still students and lived like it for quite a while. Finally, in 2006 we were starting to get things straightened away and decided to start TTC in December of that year. We got lucky on our second cycle but sadly, we lost that baby on February 20th, 2007. I was 6 weeks pregnant. We were both heartbroken, but determined to try again ASAP. We got pregnant again our first cycle TTC after the m/c. We were elated, but very nervous. Thankfully, a 12 weeks u/s showed a perfectly developing bean. I had a wonderful pregnancy with Jesse. I'm blessed to not have much in the way of m/s, no heartburn, etc... I'm typically a very self-conscious person, but pregnancy made me feel wonderful and beautiful. I had to get professional pictures done to remind me of this amazing time. This is my favorite one:
It wasn't all smooth sailing though. I am cursed with hemis, and they got quite bad in my pregnancy. I had 2 procedures done during my pregnancy to help with that, and I made it though. We planned a natural hospital birth and had a very supportive GP who provides maternity care. (We don't have any birth centers here and midwifery had no legal standing in the province at the time, so as far as I knew, it was either an OB or a GP for care.) On January 9th, 2008 - 15 days after my Christmas Day EDD - Jesse made his grande entrance earthside.
Here's his Birth Story (it's VERY long)
Jesse Liam's Birth Story
Jesse certainly took his time getting ready for his grand entrance into the world. I had been contracting fairly regularly for weeks, but my little man wanted to keep everyone in suspense. At 41 weeks I was placed on the induction list. At 41 weeks 3 days I was called by the case room staff and offered an induction but declined. That day I also saw my doctor, Dr. D, and her resident, Dr. W. We discussed induction and decided to continue to wait. I also requested a membrane sweep…something I had been against for the longest time, but decided that it would likely be the lesser of the two evils (membrane sweep vs. induction). My cervix was really posterior, so she had a hard time even finding it. She found it and told me I was 2 cm dilated and about 40% effaced (kinda funny since I was 2-3 cm/50% with bulging membranes 4 days before that). Then she started the membrane sweep. Honest to God, if I had to choose between labor and a membrane sweep, I’d choose labor! It was excruciating. She only got half way around before I couldn’t stand it anymore and yelled at her to stop. But she might have stirred some stuff up. I lost part of my mucous plug the next night, at 41 weeks, 4 days. I was so excited that I had to get Steve to come check it out! At that point my contractions were about 10 minutes apart and fairly regular. I was hoping that it was the beginning of labor, but nope! Some contractions woke me up overnight, but they petered off in the morning.
I continued to go to the case room daily for my NSTs. They were all reactive, and my kick counts were all fabulous. The baby was always moving up a storm in there. The pressure to induce from the OB staff was intense and I was starting to really question myself, but deep down I just *knew* that it wasn’t the right decision for me and my baby. I started trying natural methods of induction, like nipple stimulation. That only made me really sore! I even tried sex, which was SO not appealing to me at the time! On Tuesday, at 42 weeks I had another BPP and NST. They were both top notch. I met Dr. D at the case room and she checked my cervix again. This time I was still 2 cm, but 60% effaced. My cervix was really soft and baby was at -2 station. My Bishop’s score was a 6. So, had we decided on induction, at least my cervix was favorable. But she didn’t push induction at all. She fully swept my membranes though! It still hurt, but not nearly as much as the first time. That evening I lost more of my mucous plug and my contraction were stronger and more consistent. I went to bed early, around 10 PM, thinking that this was really it this time. I contracted all night, and they woke me up a few times. But I slept really well!
I woke up on the morning of January 9, 2008, at 42 weeks 1 day almost certain that it would be “the day.” I was right. I was having lots of blood streaked mucous, and the contraction became quite regular. I thought the baby might be in a slightly posterior position, so I spent some time on the birthing ball, resting my upper body on my bed. I spent most of my time though puttering around the house trying to get everything ready to go. I got a shower and finished packing my hospital bags. I don’t think Steve really caught on that I was actually in labor, because he was really “takin’ it easy” all morning. Around lunch time he decided it was time to chuck the Christmas tree! I got after him to get a shower and get ready. I think he knew then that I meant business! At that point my contractions were coming about every 3-5 minutes and were getting stronger. I called Dr. D’s office, but she was on her lunch break and not in the office. I was thinking I could go in to the clinic and she could check my cervix there before I decided to go to the hospital. I really didn’t want to head straight to the hospital only to find out I was still at 2 cm. It was around then that I called my Aunt Cathy at her school. My mom and dad had already gone home to Stephenville 3 days prior, and my other 2 back up people (Steve’s sister Shelley, and my friend Wendy’s Mom) were unavailable. Since Aunt Cathy had offered to come in with me, she was it! I talked to her, and she said she’d be here in a couple of hours (she lives 1 ½ hours outside of town). Dr. W then returned my call, and suggested that I head on in to the case room.
I kinda took my time though. I got something to eat and took my final belly pics. I wanted to make sure I had pictures of my belly the day I went into labor. I think my belly was pretty spectacular. Anywho, we loaded up the car and drove to the hospital. When I buzzed the caseroom (it’s a locked unit) I told them who I was and said I was there for my NST. They let me in, and when I got to the desk, I mentioned to the nurses that I *might* be in labor. The triage nurse that day was Robin. I recognized her from when I was a student. She’s also a British-trained midwife. She hooked me up to the monitor and told me she’d only leave me on it for 20 minutes because she didn’t want me lying down much, since I was starting to get pretty uncomfortable. I lied down on the bed and listened to my hypnobabies CD for a bit. After 20 minutes she came back and checked the strip. My contrax were actually every 2-3 minutes at that point. But I only had 2 acels, and Robin said she wanted to get one more acel on the strip so that the other nurses and the docs wouldn’t hassel me. After a few minutes, we got the acel, and she unhooked me from the monitor. Then she checked my cervix. She said that I was 3-4 cm, and about 70 % effaced. It was midway between anterior and posterior. I was a bit disappointed, but she reassured me that I was progressing really well. She called Dr. D, and came back and told me that Dr. D said I could be admitted at that point, or I could go and walk around the hospital for a little while and come back and get checked again. I always said I didn’t want to be admitted too early, but my contractions were coming so quickly and were getting so much stronger, I decided to be admitted. I asked for Birth Room #1, because that was the one with the Jacuzzi. At that point Robin leaned in to me and whispered to me. She said that I should get in the Jacuzzi on my hands and knees as soon as I got my room. She told me that since I was so overdue, the staff would probably try to put me on continuous EFM, but since the baby was slightly posterior, that would be a really bad idea. She said I need to be mobile and use positions that would get the baby into the best position. That was my plan anyways, but it was good to hear someone, especially a midwife say it.
Room #1 wasn’t quite ready for me, so I had to wait about a half an hour to actually get my room. Aunt Cathy showed up in that time. That was a bit of a relief. I wanted people I knew around me. I had to get up and walk around. Sitting or lying down was just not cutting it. I finally got my room around 4 PM. My nurse was Dawn. She asked if I had a birth plan, so I got a copy and handed it to her. Then I got in the Jacuzzi. They put a stool in the tub for me to lean forward on. I was getting more uncomfortable though. I wanted to get my MP3 player, but I was afraid of dropping it in the tub. Steve stayed with me. The nurse popped in and out every new and then. She came in once or twice with the Doppler to check the baby’s heartrate, which was always fine.
After about 40 minutes or an hour (I completely lost track of time), I had to get out of the tub. I just could not get comfortable at all. My knees were hurting, and I just needed to move. So I got out and toweled off and put on a hospital gown. It was a big bathroom, so I just walked around a bit. I started feeling a lot of pressure in my bum, like I was really constipated. The nurse told me that it was probably just the baby, but if I did need to move my bowels, that could be causing some of it as well. She said that I might get some relief with an enema. So she gave me two of them, and I ran to the bathroom. I DEFINITELY got some relief. At least then I KNEW that what I was feeling was the baby. Things really picked up after that. I walked around moaning and breathing through my contractions and I’d sit on the toilet between them. I only had seconds though between my contractions. They were coming so fast. I tried to use my birth ball, but it was just too uncomfortable. I couldn’t sit on the bed either. The toilet was the only place I could get comfortable. That was a bit hard for me to take, because in order to use the Hypnobabies, I needed to first get into a fully supported position…even if it was just for a minute. But I only had 20 seconds, at the most between contractions. So I had to make-do. I remembered reading in the Sears’ Birth Book about how Martha Sears coped better with her contractions when she relaxed her belly, so that she’d look 11 months pregnant, instead of tensing up and looking only 7 months pregnant. I gave it a try and it really did help some. It gave me something to focus on…just sticking my belly out as far as I could during a contraction.
With the contractions being so intense, the nurse asked me if I wanted to be checked, and I did. At that point I was about 6 cm and pretty close to fully effaced. I got back up quickly because I couldn’t stand lying down. After that, my nurse went to break, and Robin, the triage nurse relieved her. I will be forever grateful to her for that. She really helped me through the rest of my labor. Steve was pretty much a by-stander for the most part. Which was fine. I was in my own world, just going with it. And Aunt Cathy was designated the official photographer. She’d had c-sections with both of her children, so I think she was at a bit of a loss as to what to do. But that was OK with me. I just wanted her there. I think that, more than anything, I wanted witnesses to the birth. But Robin was amazing. The contractions got so intense. And yeah, they were painful. I don’t remember the pain now though, but I do remember the intensity. It was really overwhelming. Robin really helped me through them. She talked to me and held my hands. She was so calming. It was at this point that I was really starting to doubt myself. I kept saying “I can’t do it.” I remember thinking “this is why people get the epidural.” Robin assured me I was doing fantastic. I didn’t ask for pain meds. I really felt like I couldn’t take much more, but I knew that with all my soul I didn’t want any pain meds. I didn’t want Demerol. I didn’t want an epidural. I knew that I wouldn’t be OK with that decision after all was said and done. Robin really helped me through that time.
It was around then that I started getting really pushy with my contractions as well. At the height of each contraction, I could feel my body involuntarily pushing and I would grunt and try to breathe. Robin asked me if I was feeling pushy, and I told her I was. She told me she wanted to check me because it seemed to her that I was progressing really fast. I guess they wanted to make sure they called Dr. D soon enough for her to actually make it there! I told her that I couldn’t lie down, it would hurt too bad. I NEEDED to move. She assured me she would be super quick. She waited until a contraction was ending, and I literally jumped on the bed and assumed the position as quickly as I could, so that I could get back up before the next one came. At that point I was about 8 cm. She told me that the baby’s position was OT (occiput transverse) which was not a great thing. She wanted me to get into extreme left lateral position to try to get the baby to turn anterior. I told her I couldn’t do it. A contraction came and it was HORRIBLE lying there. My body was pushing during the contractions and it was like a freight train was coming…there was no stopping it. I NEEDED to get up so badly. But we all knew that pushing at that point was a bad thing. My cervix wasn’t fully dilated. I knew that she was right though. It was then that Robin mentioned to someone (not sure who) that I try the nitrous oxide gas. I heard her say it and I told her I’d agree to it. I had actually been thinking about asking for it at that exact point. My plan was to go without pain meds completely, but I always knew that if I DID need something, I’d use the nitrous oxide. It’s VERY safe and wears off very quickly. They set it up and I was using it with the next contraction. The exact time on the birth record was 1910h, so 7:10 PM. I breathed it in and at first I didn’t think it was doing anything. The nurses kept telling me to breathe, because I started pushing. When I was pushing, I wasn’t breathing, and vice versa. Focusing on breathing in the nitrous oxide helped me to stop my body from pushing a little. Dawn checked me after a bit and all that was left was a lip of cervix on one side. She pushed it back during my next contraction and the baby’s head came down a bit.
According to my birth record, the second stage started at 1940h, or 7:40 PM. They got me over on my right side for some reason. I kept breathing in the nitrous oxide during the contractions, but my body was pushing even harder. My water broke while I was pushing. I remember feeling the warm fluid coming out. It didn’t all come at once though. More came out with every contraction. It was so strong and so intense. Probably the best word to describe the pushing part is “primal.” It was so animal-like. And the noises I was making were pretty animal-like too! I really didn’t care though. I remember feeling Jesse descending. It felt like he was coming out my bum. It really does. I’d heard people say that before, but I never realized just how much it feels like being really constipated. At some point my Aunt Cathy asked if I wanted pictures of Jesse being born. I said I did. I do actually have a pic of him crowning, but I haven’t been able to bring myself to look at it yet. I remember Dr. D and Dr. W getting there. They were all gowned and gloved up. I remember Dr. D asking Dr. W if she’d ever done a side-lying delivery, and she said “no.” Things went so quickly. I could feel Jesse’s head moving down with each contraction. I was still using the nitrous oxide a bit and was a bit loopy in between the contractions, when the gas would really hit me, but they were coming so quickly. I remember the sensation of when Jesse was crowning, except that I don’t remember it being painful. I do remember that I wanted it to be over! I remembered reading in Hypnobabies that the best way is to push the baby out between contractions…there’s less tearing that way. Well, that didn’t quite work out! I pushed with all my might! Steve told me later that both Dr. D and Dr. W were trying to hold him back! They were trying to guard my perineum. But he barreled on out! Steve told me later that it was really weird, seeing me with a head at both ends. I remember feeling Dr. D then reach up for his shoulder. After the shoulder came out the rest of his body slid on out.
Though he didn’t get his name right away, Jesse Liam Snow was born at 8:11 PM. Dr. D had to peel back the membranes, which covered his face. Then she placed him right up on my chest. I was pretty loopy at that point, from the nitrous oxide and the endorphins, and I felt completely dumbfounded. I had been so concentrated on the pregnancy and the birth for so long. The fact that I had a baby and that he was here and lying on my chest was sort of a foreign concept to me. I still didn’t know if the baby was a he or a she at that point, and Steve was looking at the two of us in wonder. Dr. D nudged Steve and said, “Alright Daddy, do your job!” Steve clued in and exclaimed, “It’s a boy!” I was totally confused at this point, what with there being a baby on my chest, AND the fact that I had been so sure it was a girl. I looked at Steve and said, “Are you sure?” Everyone in the room cracked up laughing. Steve laughed and said, “Oh, yeah, I’m sure!” I was in complete awe and wonder, looking at my little baby.
At some point I became aware of the cord. I felt it on my lower belly. Dr. D waited for it to stop pulsating, and then she clamped it and got Steve to cut it. She waited for the placenta to detach and applied gentle traction and I gave a little push and out it came. After a couple minutes of cuddling with the baby, Dr. D told me she had to check me out. I think she suspected the damage was pretty bad. She had the OB, come in with her. A nurse took the baby so that they could check him out. Then Dr. D told me to use the nitrous oxide again for the pain. After they checked me Dr. D spoke with the OB about what to do and then she came to talk to me. She said that the baby did a lot of damage on the way out and told me that the best option was for me to get a spinal so that they could do the repair. I would need to go to the OR. I asked if Steve and the baby could come too. Of course they couldn’t, but I wasn’t completely comprehending everything at that point. I guess the endorphins were starting to wear off, and I was starting to feel the pain. I was also starting to shake really badly. So they wheeled me off to the OR.
Someone started an IV in my left hand and then it took about a half hour for the anesthesiologist to get the spinal started. I remember him mentioning something about my tattoo, and it was a bit of an issue, but he got it done. It was the weirdest feeling in the world. My legs were all pins and needles. I couldn’t wiggle my toes. I tried, but I couldn’t. They put my legs up in the stirrups and the OB did the repair. Dr. D and Dr. W were there for part of it. Dr. D talked to me through a lot of it. She told me how perfect the baby was, and how healthy the placenta was. No one believed that he was overdue. I got back to the birth room at around 11 PM. Steve was there, with Aunt Cathy and the baby, and my brother was there too. I was still shaking really badly. They put this blanket on me that fills up with warm air. I didn’t feel cold, but I was cold. My temp was pretty low. Steve came over to me holding the baby. We tried to figure out what to call him. But I was flat on my back and couldn’t get a good look at him to decide if he was a Liam or a Jack (the two names we had picked out). They couldn’t raise the head of my bed because it might drop my blood pressure. After I stopped shaking enough, one of the nurses helped me nurse the baby for the first time. Dr. D then gave him his first dose of oral vitamin K.
We got up to my room on the obstetrics ward around midnight. The baby went to the nursery to get checked out and cleaned up while I got settled away. I was just starting to get my legs back, so I needed a bit of help transferring from the stretcher to the hospital bed. After about a half hour one of the nurses brought the baby to me in the bassinette. I got to really look at him for the first time. I still couldn’t believe he was a boy! And it was then that I decided that he didn’t look like a Liam or a Jack. We came up with Jesse the next afternoon.
Anywho, the long and short of it is, I’m completely happy with Jesse’s birth. Sure, it would have been nice to not have ended up with a 3rd degree tear, but I gave birth to my son on my terms and I know I made the right decisions. He was born alert and very healthy, which was always priority number one.
And some pics from the birth:
And here are some more from the hospital:
After having his hair towel dried:
Dreaming of booby:
I'll post a bit of an update about Jesse and then fill you in on this pregnancy.
Amber, I'm so excited for you! You are so close!
How amazing to read all of Jesse's birth story. What a great story. I'm so impressed you held out and it really seems like you had good care, I love that!
I can't wait to follow your last few weeks!
Awww what a wonderful story. Thank you so much for sharing.
Christy birth doula, Hypnobabies instructor, small business owner & most importantly MOMMY.
Wow, I can't believe you have your lodge already. How exciting!
Owen Michael 4/05 Grey Neil 5/07 Alice Katherine 4/6/11
Welcome to your lodge! I remember your wedding pic from one of the other forums, it is one of my favorite wedding pics of all time!
Exciting that you are go for a MW birth! And the 23rd is only a week and a half away!!!!
Yay! It's so exciting to see March mamas getting lodges! I loved your birth story... Can't wait to hear the next one.
Sean Thomas - 6/30/09 @ 7:17pm 8lb 8oz, 19", 40w5d
Calvin Michael - 2/28/11 @ 7:39pm 6lb 8oz, 18", 37w5d
Nolan Matthew - 5/1/13 @ 11:54pm 6lb 4oz, 19", 38w4d
May 26, 2010 - 7w1d