Dec 30: Big Sis and I went for our daily walk at the lake in the afternoon when I started noticing a heavy watery discharge. I called our midwife later that evening to ask if discharge throughout the day was normal as I hit 37 weeks and she suggested I meet her at the clinic tomorrow to check if my water may have broken.
Dec 31: Got checked by our midwife and my water hadn’t broken so we headed home to spend some QT together as a family before countdown. We had a virtual games night planned with some friends, but I was sore and uncomfortable so I laid in bed for most of the evening while hubs and big sis partied on Zoom.
At 10:50pm I rolled out of bed to head to the bathroom and halfway down the hall I felt a large gush of water run down my legs. I called for hubs as I stood in a large warm puddle, pants completely soaked, a bit in shock and not sure what to do next. I finally made my way to the bathroom and stood helplessly in the tub because fluid kept streaming down my legs and we called our midwife. She confirmed my water had definitely broken this time and since I wasn’t having any contractions I should get some rest and meet her at the clinic first thing in the morning to discuss options- which most likely meant I’d need to be induced if things didn’t move along overnight.
If you’ve been following me, you’ll probably know my birth plan to have a natural water birth at home was something I’d been dreaming about for over a decade, so as the clock hit 11:59pm and the seconds ticked to welcome the new year with big sis counting down 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5…… a million thoughts were racing thru my head:
- “No I’m not ready to have this baby yet!
- “He’s only 37 weeks. He’s not developed enough to be born now!”
- “No I don’t want to give birth at the hospital and HECK NO, I don’t want to be induced!!!”
- “I don’t have all.the.things ready at home for baby to arrive!”
- “Tomorrow is New Years Day, how are we going to pick up our birth pool?”
When the clock hit midnight, hubs and big sis excitedly said “Happy New Year!”, while tears streamed down my face and all I could muster up was “I’m sorry I ruined our NYE!” while standing on a towel drenched with fluid. Then for the next hour, I frantically scrambled around the house putting together everything our midwife would need for this home birth I was determined to have and also packing up a hospital bag JUST in case.
Jan 1: No contractions happened overnight, so we headed to the midwife clinic first thing in the morning. I was adamant on NOT getting induced and wanted to give my body time to do it’s thing. Typically they wouldn’t want to wait for more than 48hrs after a mama’s water breaks because risks increase for both mom and baby, and I was already getting close to the 24hr mark. I still wasn’t ready to have him yet so we put together a game plan to wait and monitor.
We were also able to pick up our birth pool (thank you Calgary Birth Pool Rentals) for accommodating us on New Year’s Day) and rushed home to get our birth space all set up. 8pm hit and still no contractions.
Jan 2: Zip. Nada. Nope. Still no contractions and we were getting close to the 48hr mark. Our midwife monitored baby and everything was good so I wanted to wait another day. She recommended I try a midwives brew in the wee hours of the morning to see if that would help induce labor.
Jan 3: woke up at 3am and downed a cup of the midwives brew cocktail. By noon, I was starting to get mild contractions and a nice episode of diarrhea to go along with it. We were now getting close to the 72hr mark. My midwife recommended getting acupuncture to see if that would help speed things up and within an hour of getting poked, contractions became more regular and the 40min car ride home was SUPER uncomfortable. By the time we got home, my contractions were about 2-3mins apart, so hubs called our midwife and doula to head over because he was worried he might have to deliver our baby alone with how quickly things were progressing.
Our doula arrived at 7pm and hooked me up to a tens machine to take the edge off. She helped massage my lower back when the waves of contractions hit and got me up and moving. Our midwife arrived shortly after. When she checked me, I was fully effaced but only 1cm dilated, so she headed home, while our doula stayed to help things progress. For the rest of the night contractions went from 2min apart and then slowed down to 10-12min apart so I tried to sleep in between each wave.
Jan 4: When I woke up in the morning, contractions had almost completely stopped. We were now almost at the 96hr mark after my water broke and our midwife booked me in for an emergency ultrasound just so we could monitor babe more closely because this was out of the norm and the risks were getting much higher.
I arrived at the diagnostic centre at 1pm. While I was getting the ultrasound my contractions started to pick up again. The technician told me to wait for the radiologist to get my results and I knew things were more serious if the radiologist wanted to speak to me personally. He told me baby scored a 2/8 in his biophysical profile. In normal people terms, baby’s amniotic fluid was getting low and babe was starting to not be happy in there so I should head to the hospital right away. I think he was worried I wouldn’t go because he was about to escort me to the car where hubs was waiting.
By 2:15pm we were rushing to the hospital. Contractions had picked up a lot, and every bump in on the road intensified the pain. The contractions became so strong I could barely walk from the parking lot to the hospital doors. I finally made it to admitting and never had I been so glad to see a wheelchair. A volunteer wheeled me away as I said goodbye to hubs and big sis (while he arranged for care since kids weren’t allowed at the hospital).
The next 45mins was probably the longest 45mins I’ve EVER experienced in my life…..lying in a hospital bed at triage alone, staring at the clock, intense contractions every 2mins, birth plan and support team completely thrown out the window, exhausted from on and off contractions for the past 2 days, waiting to be assessed by docs who knew nothing about me or what I wanted.
Hubs finally got there at 3:15pm and when the nurse measured me I was already 5cm. She gave me some laughing gas to help with the pain and I sucked it back I’d been deprived of oxygen.
The nurse asked what I wanted to do for pain management as labor progressed and I never thought the words “I want an epidural NOW!” would come out of my mouth. But I had now been in labor for 5 days with contractions for the past 24hrs, I hadn’t slept much, I was worried about babe’s health, and the stress of how unexpected and quick I ended up at the hospital had completely thrown me off. I was mentally and physically exhausted and I knew I had quite a ways to go before getting baby out, so I opted for some relief.
At 5:25pm I got my epidural and my new medical team infused my IV with fluids and antibiotics because I was low in fluids and they were worried about me having an infection since my water broke 96+ hrs ago. My pulse was also extremely high and they were afraid I’d go into cardiac arrest so they had nurses monitoring me non-stop.
I tried to get some sleep once the epidural kicked in but my mind was running. At 8pm I felt A LOT more pressure and when the nurse checked me at 9pm, I’d progressed to 9cm. She told me she was headed off for her break and to wait as long as I could and not push so gravity could do it’s thing…..and then came another LONG 60mins of waiting, watching the clock, and feeling stronger and stronger pressure with each passing minute, wondering when my nurse would be back from break already!
At 10pm I told them I couldn’t wait any more and at 10:58pm, our Baby Lukas was born.
I let out a sign of relief when I found out I didn’t tear, and just when I thought my labour marathon was over…..I heard the docs counting down the time. Apparently it had been 30min and I still hadn’t delivered the placenta and I was again at risk of complications if they didn’t intervene…..so in the OB went to manually remove my placenta. Not sure if pushing my baby out was worse, or having someone else’s hands up inside me scraping out my retained placenta, OR the fact that another medical team of 6+ people came rushing into my room for backup when I hemorrhaged from my uterus filling up with blood.
They managed to get the bleeding under control and by 1am we were settled into our postpartum room where we stayed for 2 days so babe and I could be monitored.
We were discharged 2 days later and finally got to go home. Settling in at home took some adjustment, and just when we thought we had a good routine going, Baby Lukas got admitted to Children’s hospital for Jaundice.
The first couple weeks with our little babe has been full of adventure and it has taken some time to find closure on some aspects. Motherhood is truly a wild ride isn’t it!?! Was your birth story what you imagined it would be?