I woke up on Sunday morning, January 19th, early – before 6 am. This was nothing new. Instead of laying awake in bed, listening to hubby sleep soundly, I headed out to the living room and started watching about a million episodes of Keeping Up With the Kardashians on Netflix. While I was watching television, I noticed that I was having contractions. Again, nothing really new, I’d been having contractions on and off since New Year’s Eve, but they were never regular nor particularly painful; they felt more like cramps than anything else. Once I noticed that they were coming pretty regularly, I decided that I should probably start timing them, just in case. It turns out that they were coming about every 3 minutes, but I didn’t think too much of it because they weren’t really painful. After about an hour, I went into the bedroom and woke up Hubby to let him know what was going on. I still wasn’t convinced that these were the real deal so I wasn’t too worried. After a little while, we decided to call the labour and delivery ward at the hospital to get their opinion as to the realness. Once they asked a couple of questions, they told us that I was likely in the early stages of labour. We knew that it was still way too early to head to the hospital, but because we also live about 20 – 45 minutes away from the hospital (depending on traffic), we decided to pack up our things and make our way to Hubby’s parent’s house as it’s closer to the hospital.
During the car ride, the contractions started getting more intense so we decided to go straight to the hospital for an assessment. Once we got to labour and delivery, I got into a hospital gown and they did an internal exam to determine how dilated I was. I was only 2 cm. After a quick discussion with the Dr. and nurse, we decided to head back to Hubby’s parent’s house to labour there for a little while, rather than staying at the hospital. I’m so glad that I didn’t stay at the hospital. It was nice to have distractions to try and get my mind off of the contractions. I had something to eat, watched a little television, visited with family, walked around, and laid down for a little nap. Once the contractions started to get even more intense, we decided that we should probably go back to the hospital. As I was walking up the stairs, I felt a huge gush; my water had just broken. I remember thinking “This is actually happening. I’m having this baby TODAY”. I was freaked out; overwhelmed. We hurried to the hospital. The contractions that I had during the car ride and walk through the hospital halls were baaaaaaad (or so I thought at the time – little did I know just HOW BAD they would get!). We walked right back into the room that we were in earlier and I got back into the hospital gown for them to check me again. This time I was at 3 cm. This is when I had the feeling that I was in for a loooooooong labour!
The nurse asked me if I wanted anything for the pain, and we discussed the different options that were available to me. I had no birth plan or even really an idea of how I wanted everything to go down (other than getting a healthy baby at the end of the whole experience!). I felt that, since I had never experienced anything like this in my life, there was no real way to plan for what I wanted; I decided to just roll with the punches. At this point, I decided to get a shot of morphine to take the edge off and to be able to relax better between each contraction. I didn’t feel like the morphine helped for the pain, but I did, however, find that it let me totally relax in between.
It was around this time that my mom arrived at the hospital and I decided to hop into the tub to use the warm water and the jet sprayer to get through the contractions a little easier. I LOVED being in the tub. The warm water and spray were so relaxing that I was almost able to sleep in between each contraction. I have no idea how long I was in the tub for, but I do remember that near the end of being in there I was screaming and banging on the walls during the contractions as the pain was just so bad. I’m sure that I said at least a couple of times “I can’t do this“. Obviously, I didn’t have a choice. I’m not sure why did didn’t ask for any other drugs to handle the pain. I think I was just so focused on getting through each contraction that I didn’t even think it was an option. After what felt like an eternity and a split second at the same time (don’t ask how), the nurse assessed me again to see how I was progressing. This time, I was at 8 cm. I couldn’t believe it. Knowing that I was so close to being able to push gave me the extra motivation that I needed to get through the last few contractions.
I find it fascinating how my body just took over from this point and automatically started pushing during one of the contractions. I told the nurse, and this was the point where I had to get out of the tub and into the bed. While I was moving, I pushed a couple of times while I was standing up, which felt really good. I was just too tired to at this point though and I needed to be able to totally relax in between pushes, so I opted to sit up in the bed, rather than stand. I ended up pushing for about an hour, but it really only felt like 15 or 20 minutes.
Honestly, the pushing was the “easy” part. Compared to those late-stage contractions, the pushing was a walk in the park. It also might have something to do with the fact that each push brought me closer and closer to meeting my beautiful baby – and finding out the gender!
In between pushing through the contractions, the doctor asked if we knew if the baby was a boy or girl. Of course, we didn’t. So she asked if we wanted her to make the announcement, or if Hubby wanted to – I immediately said that I wanted Hubby to make the announcement.
He obliged, and at 7:39 pm on January 19, 2014, after a total of 13 hours of labour, he happily announced that we had a baby girl; 7 lb, 1 oz Olivia Elsie was finally here!
As soon as our baby was out, they immediately placed her on my chest and I cried and cried. I was beyond happy to have her here. It was so surreal to finally be able to hold her. I couldn’t believe that I had a DAUGHTER. It was such a magical moment that I didn’t even really care about delivering the placenta or getting stitched up.
The rest of the night is a dreamy blur. The nurse and doctor checked Olivia over and got her cleaned up while I had a nurse-assisted shower (I had zero dignity left at this point, and I didn’t care). After I was out of the shower, I got dressed and sat in a wheelchair with my beautiful brand-new baby girl in my arms and was taken to our postpartum room which would be our home for the next couple of days. Olivia slept on my chest that night while I drifted in and out of a bliss-filled dream sleep.
The day that changed my life slowly came to a close and we started the most exciting and challenging adventure of our lives, as a family of three…