head: 10.8 cm
weight: 6 lbs 10 oz
time: 3:36 a.m.
location: bathtub at home
loving partner: Gregory
My last day pregnant was one that I’ll never forget. Most people I talked to told me that first pregnancies usually go past their due date so I had it in my mind that it wasn’t going to happen until after October 5th. On Thursday, October 4th a number of things happened to me that provoked an on-time delivery, however, I didn’t realize that until later.
I first picked up the pumpkin pie I had ordered to celebrate our baby’s arrival. I got a massage and the therapist asked if I wanted her to massage the pressure points to help start the labour, I said “yes” because I was a little skeptical if it really worked or not.
Later that afternoon, we went for our usual checkup with Janelle and she asked if I wanted her to sweep my membranes. I wasn’t sure what that exactly meant but she told me it was to start the labour process. I agreed but was still in denial about having the baby that night. I felt a bit crampy when she did it but it wasn’t too bad, she also said I was about 1-2 cm dilated.
I had a lot of mixed emotions after that visit. I remember being calm and not really thinking about going into labour later that evening, but a part of me was also excited and envisioning meeting my baby for the first time. That evening, we went out for Thai food. It would be our last dinner date before baby’s arrival and later during labour, I would puke up all that yummy food. I still haven’t been able to eat Thai food since!
When we got home, I spoke with my friend Heidi and she told me to wash and blow dry my hair before I have serious contractions because after the baby comes, it’ll be more difficult to do this. I laughed and thanked her for the advice. We had a bath around 9 p.m., just like any other night. It was a nice soothing one before bedtime, except this time I heard something pop inside of me followed by a rush of cramping. I knew this was not normal and that I should immediately wash and blow dry my hair. Something else that was not normal was that I had 2 bowel movements right afterwards, so things were definitely happening and I accepted that if I’m going to do this, I was sure glad I felt clean inside and out! Greg so lovingly washed my hair and I got out of the tub and dried it.
We called Janelle to describe what had just happened and she said that my water had broke! She told me that we should plan on meeting her at the Lucina Birth Centre around 9 a.m. the following morning. We said “ok, see you in the morning!” We texted our doulas to let them know the news and they said to keep them posted.
Greg immediately decided to lie down and get some rest because he knew that he was in for a long night. I had every intention of dosing off to bed until morning time except my body wouldn’t let me relax in a horizontal position. It was hard to get comfortable. At any point that I tried to lie down, my body was telling me “NO!”
I decided to let Greg fall asleep as I paced around the house trying to handle the intense cramping as best as I could. I turned on my YouTube playlist that I listened to everyday to build me up to the big day and I used the ottoman to lean on while listening. I soon noticed mucus coming out of me followed by blood. I went to the linen closet and took out a towel to wipe the mucus away. Greg said that with all my pacing and leakage, I ended up taking ALL the towels out of the closet and dropped them on the floor.
Within a half hour, there was a towel in every room because I couldn’t stay still. Every time I left a room, I left my squirt bottle of water behind. I would ask Greg to bring it to me in a panic and he would then search the entire house unaware of where it was left. He was definitely stressed at this point trying his best to meet all of my requests, cleaning up after me and turning off lights that I left on from room to room. At one point, I asked Greg to put on a comedy show on Netflix to take my mind off of the constant pain in my belly. I requested Ali Wong because she always makes me laugh, however, it wasn’t long before I was pacing again and leaving the room. Greg didn’t know if he should keep watching the comedy show or follow me.
I then asked Greg to play his guitar to relax me. I thought that this was a brilliant suggestion because he loves to play guitar and I believed that it would do me some good. He grabbed a 6 string ukelele, possibly because it is small and portable and I was moving around so much. However, I immediately got upset demanding the big guitar and saying that he never plays the small one for me. Poor Greg. He was just trying to do the right thing for me! His feelings were hurt by this and he decided that he was not going to play at all. Even though I was very uncomfortable, I was able to realize that I should apologize for my outburst, and Greg willingly grabbed his big red guitar for me. I requested Brown Eyed Girl, a song he used to play for me at the beginning of our relationship. We sang together and it did calm me down during some contractions. He proceeded to play Wonderwall but by the time he got to the song Fix Me, it was all over. I got up and paced in pain again.
Greg kept on suggesting that he wanted to call Brenda our doula, but I didn’t want to disturb her in the night. The agreed upon plan was to meet Janelle at 9 a.m. and that plan was stuck in my mind. At about 11:30 p.m., I was in so much discomfort that I agreed to have Greg call Brenda to help me. He could not have run faster to get his phone – I could tell he was relieved! I seemed unable to get comfortable – I continued to be hot and then cold and then hot again. I took my pajamas off and then later asked for Greg’s fleece to keep me warm. The Tens machine helped, but the wires were getting in my way, especially when I had to pee but I was thankful as it did give some relief and took my mind off the intense rushes.
By the time Brenda made it to the house, all I was wearing was my hot pink socks and I was leaning over the bed in pain. That didn’t seem to phase Brenda at all! She immediately took over and was very hands on, squeezing my hips and telling me to sway. Both of us were relieved that she was there as she calmed us both down just by being there. Greg said I was noticeably nicer to him as soon as she was there – poor guy! I remembered her helping me breathe and we chanted many ooooo’s together. At one point, I noticed that Greg was not “ooing” and I gave him a stern look. He immediately started “ooing” with us and laughed at my reaction. There came a point where I wanted to push and she was able to tell because sounds were getting a bit grunty. She corrected me on this as she did not want to deliver the baby without Janelle. Brenda was my fairy godmother by getting me water, encouraging me to sit on the toilet, letting me lean on her and telling me to relax my face and shoulders. Her motivating words helped me through the birth and she made both Greg and I feel so safe.
Brenda helped Greg so he could properly tend to me. She provided him with strategies to support my weight without undue stress on his back and arms. We stood in the bathroom for a while – I had a semi comfortable position where Greg supported my right side and I held on the side of the tub with my left hand. One leg was in front of the other and I was bent over during the contractions. Whenever Brenda left Greg and I alone, he would tell me how good I was doing, how I was his hero and how relaxed I looked. He would periodically kiss me on the forehead. Sometimes his whiskers annoyed me but other times, I needed his kisses to go on. He was 110% there for me and I will never forget the love and support he gave me that night.
When it got close to active labour, I told Greg that I did not want to go to the Lucina Birthing Centre. The thought of putting clothes on and getting in a car seemed impossible at that point. Greg respected my wishes and that made me feel a lot better. I was relieved that we were going to deliver in the comfort of our home even though the bags were ready to go at the front door. Brenda got Greg to call Janelle and it felt to me like it took a long time for her to get to us, I kept asking where she was as my contractions were getting way out of hand and I felt like I was losing control, mind and body.
When she finally arrived at 2:20 a.m., she determined that I was 8 cm dilated so we started to fill the bathtub. Janelle put the IV in me for the antibiotics. Brenda put some salt from my sacred pregnancy retreat into the water and Greg ran out of the room to get the rose petals. It was all happening so fast. My time in the tub was arduous but purposeful. I found my comfy spot in the corner with a towel under my knees. Brenda was sitting on the toilet watching. Greg was in front of me, holding my arms as I clutched onto him. He asked to get in the tub with me but I said “no” as his position felt best for me. Janelle was in and out of the room. I remember her telling me I was doing well – to push when I felt the urge. I was so thirsty throughout the entire time was my throat was so dry from all the deep breathing. After each powerful contraction, I needed to drink, however, I couldn’t satisfy my throat no matter how much I drank. When it felt right to push, I was in pigeon pose, I remember grunting as if I had to poop but I didn’t understand I was supposed to connect that feeling during labour until Brenda clarified that sensation. There was a point where Janelle checked me and she told me to feel inside. Once I felt the head, I knew it was close to the end. It gave me motivation to work together with baby so I felt the need to vocalize what I was feeling. I told myself I have to do this – no turning back, I wanted this so I had to do it no matter what, even if it meant pushing so hard that I tore. I thought to myself, “how am I going to do this, how is this going to be possible?”
I kept asking if what was happening to me was normal and Janelle assured me that all was going well. I then quickly blocked out my fears with positive self talk. I knew if I said “no”, it wasn’t going to happen but if I said “yes”, then baby would come out. The positive affirmations are what got me through the last stage. I was saying things like – “I love you so much baby, let’s do it together!” Everyone in the room was in awe. Greg said “what a lucky little baby” and Brenda said “she is loving the baby out”. It was a truly magnificent, intimate, loving experience and everyone felt that they were experiencing pure love. When I felt the ring of fire (the stinging sensation), it didn’t seem as painful as the labour contractions. Practicing with the Epi-no helped in what the sensations felt like when the head was crowning. After the head was out, I could feel Janelle working with baby to get one shoulder out and then the other. Brenda said “here comes your baby”. Janelle spun the baby around under the water, unraveling the umbilical chord that was around the neck. The next thing I knew, our baby was on my chest crying and I was saying things like “it’s okay baby”. He immediately calmed down and settled on to my chest. Greg put in the rose petals and we took some photos.
After a while, Brenda asked if we knew the sex yet. Greg and I had been so convinced that we were going to have a girl that we didn’t even think to look. Greg lifted the water-soaked towel covering our baby and was surprised to see a scrotum and penis. “It’s a boy!” he said. At that point, we realized that his name was going to be Bromley Grant Wondga. Greg got to cut the umbilical chord once it was white and no longer pumping blood. The placenta came out with a few tugs and Greg got to have skin on skin time with Bromley while I got help getting out of the tub.
The IV gave me a huge bruise and it was throbbing, however, when I touch the spot where the bruise was I am reminded of that unforgettable night. It was a perfect ending as Brenda went to the kitchen to prepare some grapes and strawberries for me and Greg baked the pumpkin pie to celebrate the first day of our new life together. I experienced cramps and fatigue for the next few days but I have to say 6.5 hours of labour was an amazing experience. Would I do it again? Absolutely!