Going into labour has to be one of strangest experiences I’ve ever had. Even as we were driving to the hospital, we weren’t sure it was the real thing. I just knew I was in a lot of pain and I needed help.
So, as I await going into labour a second time, I’m working towards being at peace with whatever happens. Reflecting on my first labour experience helps me do this. In some ways my first labour went better than I expected. But there were also some complications. Here’s our family’s first birth story.
Awaiting Little Fox
Little Fox is our wedding night baby. It was only my third month of NFP charting, but I recognized the signs I was fertile. Sure enough, nine months and a few days later, God gave us the greatest wedding gift: Little Fox.
To be honest, even though I knew I was fertile, I didn’t quite believe I had gotten pregnant in our first month of marriage. When I missed my period, I was also in the middle of final exams. I’m used to an irregular cycle and I’ve missed my time of month before due to stress. But on the day of my last exam (December 22nd) I took a pregnancy test and saw the two lines. What a rush of joy! And an early Christmas gift for my husband and me.
From my charting we were able to determine a due date of August 18th. From the ultrasound the doctors estimated a due date of August 11th. But based on our data that would have meant the baby was conceived the night before our wedding. Which was both impossible and not when my chart said I ovulated. So, we didn’t give that date much attention and stuck with our own.
Fast Forward Forty Weeks
I don’t think we even noticed when we went past the doctor-given due date. The past two weeks I’d talked myself into believing I’d go into labour early. Smaller baby… easier labour… just comforting self-talk. Of course, the days kept going by.
The day for my 39th week doctor’s appointment, the office called to cancel the appointment. That was Wednesday. Someone else was having a baby and my doctor was on call for delivery. I didn’t mind not getting a dilation check.
When I went to bed Sunday evening, I didn’t feel anything different. I had been having lower back pain for a few weeks. But no contractions – not even Braxton Hicks. But then in the middle of the night I woke up in a lot of pain. I went on my arms and knees on the bed to try and get comfortable. Better, but not a way to sleep and it still hurt.
I didn’t want to wake my husband, so I went to the living room. I used an app to time contractions for a bit. After four or five, the app said they were long and frequent enough to go to the hospital. My thought was: that’s ridiculous. I crawled back into bed and tried to get more sleep. I woke up with painful contractions a few more times. In the morning when I told my husband how I was feeling he decided to stay home with me. He was in a university summer class at the time, so he emailed to prof to let him know what was happening.
A Day Of Labour
Oh the pain! I was running out of chewable bubblegum Tylenol. See, I can’t swallow pills, so children’s chewables and suspensions are my go-to options for medicine. And I also have a low pain tolerance. So all these contractions, irregular though they were, were wearing me down.
My husband drove me to a nearby drugstore, where they had my favourite no-name chewable acetaminophen. We bought all they had left.
Then we texted our future landlords. We had an appointment to sign the lease around 5 that day. But with how I was feeling we asked if we could do it earlier. Thankfully they said yes.
Probably the least efficient walk around I’ve ever done! I hardly remember anything but that I could decide whether I wanted to be sitting or standing when we were talking over the last-minute details of the lease and moving in. I don’t recommend looking at new homes while you might be in labour. It was quite uncomfortable.
Is This For Real?
For the rest of the day my husband took me to his moms place. We were living up three flights of stairs at the time. And with the contractions and my foot – that was three flights too many. A few weeks earlier one of my feet became particularly swollen. I’d nearly fallen down a few stairs and had caught myself by twisting my foot.
He put on a few shows to try and distract me. I think we were watching Australian MasterChef Junior. He had to keep pausing while I went through painful contractions. Mostly I would go on my hands and knees on the floor. I wouldn’t talk. I just needed the space to be quiet and retreat inward through the pain. My mother in law didn’t believe these were labour contractions because I wasn’t screaming or swearing. But I am a quiet person generally, and these contractions weren’t changing that for me,
At supper time I was having trouble eating. I went to the washroom for a few minutes alone. With a cold face cloth and some more painful contractions, I knew I couldn’t take it anymore. We were going to the hospital.
At shift change I might add. The one time we were told to try not to come in around.
Arriving at the Hospital
Anyhow we went to the hospital. Answering the intake questions was so difficult. Trying to answer questions while you’re in the middle of a contraction – not fun. My husband answered what he could for me. I don’t really know what happened because I wasn’t paying any attention to the intake process. I was just praying that this was real labour because I knew I needed some help!
They checked me out and decided I was four centimetres dilated. That was enough to keep me in. And I told them I was ready for an epidural as soon as they would give it to me.
This is where the shift change slowed things down a bit. They got me to a room and started me with an IV and things. But with shift change, it was a little while before I actually got the epidural. Being at the hospital helped calm me a bit. And knowing I’d have the epidural before they’d check my dilation status again.
The epidural also slowed things down. I stayed four centimetres dilated for hours. We thought we would spend the pre-delivery labour time in prayer. But it was night so we mostly napped in between nurses visits. Once I had the epidural I felt so good and relaxed. I didn’t mind how slowly things were going.
The Second Time Around
In a way, waiting for baby number one was a lot easier! Sure I didn’t really know what to expect with labour and felt scared about it… but I wasn’t worried about when Little Fox would come. She came three days after the doctor’s due date for her, but also three days before our NFP due date. And I trusted our NFP due date.
This second time we don’t have an NFP due date. My charting was irregular the month I got pregnant so we aren’t sure when I ovulated. So now that we are past the doctor given due date, I feel a lot of pressure about when this baby is coming. Someone from our church even told me “I don’t want to see you at church next Sunday like this.” Meaning still pregnant and not holding a little one.
Update: The Baby Came!
The Second Delivery
People aren’t kidding when they say that the second baby can come a lot faster than the first. My contractions started at 11:00 p.m. on Thursday evening. I texted Baba at 2:30 a.m. and told her to meet us at the hospital to pick up Little Fox. The first time I made it about 20 hours before going to the hospital and being admitted at 4 cm dilated. This time I made it 3 and a half hours and the hospital admitted me at 7 cm dilated.
I didn’t believe the nurse who checked me.
My husband missed this check and my transfer to the delivery room. He was waiting in the front with Little Fox. I don’t think I actually said goodbye to her… the contractions were just way too much for me by then.
An Aside About Epidurals
Thankfully they got right to putting my IV in and a doctor was there who could put the epidural in. It took a lot longer for the epidural to be effective this time. I’ve decided that for baby number three I’m going to head to the hospital after the first contraction. Whatever the hospital says, no, I will not be more comfortable at home.
I love the idea of an all-natural birth. But I have such a low pain tolerance. And when the contractions get too strong, I can’t breathe through them. And then the baby isn’t getting any oxygen. So while the epidural helps me – and I love it for that – it also helps the baby.
Then Comes Baby
So we were in the hospital by 3 am. At 7:49 our Little Badger was born. She has dark hair, just like the Badger Dad.
She had a bit of trouble coming out. Apparently she had he head positioned facing up. This means rather than positioning her head to be as narrow as possible, she made it as wide as possible. So I stayed at 10 cm dilated for a long time. Eventually they decided she needed some extra help. Only, because her head was not in a good position, they couldn’t use the vacuum. So poor Little Badger came out with the help of forceps.
Although she had a rough start, Little Badger did so well at the hospital. She took to nursing right away, and her skin stayed super pink. At 4 days old she’s already gained back her birth weight.
The Byzantine Life
I’m glad the wait is over and we have our Little Badger home. Little Fox adores her. So far, her favourite things to do with the new baby are hold hands/fingers, point and name body parts, and watch her sleep. There doesn’t seem to be any jealousy between them. Little Fox is only getting upset at us for not giving her more attention. And that’s decreasing as we are catching up on sleep.
So that’s our baby birth stories! Hope y’all are having great weeks. God bless!