Information for Moms

The Birth

I had thoroughly enjoyed my first pregnancy, eating meats and fatty foods, showing off my curves but, all good things must come to an end. I had gained 75 pounds!

I was a college professor at the time and, once a week, I wore my black pants with the XXL black belt I bought from a specialty store for men. The students called these my “Santa pants” for obvious reasons. I finished my semester. The students gave me an awesome send off with a surprise party. It was really sweet and I felt loved.  My hubby and I headed out to Chateau Montebello for a weekend of relaxation. I was intrigued by the dog sledding. I wanted to try it but I wondered if it would be too rough for a pregnant woman. I was told to come at the end of the day when the dogs were tired. My husband helped me get settled into the sleigh. He sat behind me for support. The dogs took off and I knew, immediately, that this was a bad idea. Tired or not, this was going to be a bumpy ride.

My due date was January 31st but I was in labour by January 6th, 2006. She was not a preemie. I woke up in the middle of the night. My water broke. I washed up and checked the clock. I was having contractions 5 minutes apart. We headed to the hospital. My husband was peckish so he turned into a drive through to get a coffee and something to eat. As we pulled out of the drive-through, he chucked the coffee in the trash and stopped at a second drive-through for a decent cup of coffee. What? I’m in labour here!

I imagined myself having the baby in the car. I was convinced that this baby was on her way. Little did I know, the whole thing was going to take 19 hours. Yup! I had a birth plan. In my plan, there was no medication and a note to the doctor requesting that she not ask my husband to cut the cord as he would throw up and pass out in his vomit.

So, long story short, within moments of my arrival, I had been examined, a monitor was strapped to my abdomen and my contractions stopped. I had NO idea that many women’s contractions stop when they get to the hospital because they are stressed. The key is to help moms relax. In walks a doctor I had never met. There were five doctors working at the clinic and I had met all but this one woman, Dr. Chan.

She introduced herself and told me she would give me oxytocin. I panicked. I begged for time. She informed me that I was harming my baby and needed to get her out asap. I looked to my husband. He didn’t know what to do. I asked for one hour to get my contractions going again. She agreed. I walked around, doing squats and lunges, praying for my contractions to resume. Nothing. I now understand that, having a timeline only added to my stress making it difficult for my body to relax.

Within moments of receiving oxytocin, I was in so much pain that I threw up. The nurse had given me orange juice but I couldn’t keep it down. The solution, I was told, was to get an epidural. This was not on my birth plan either but I was in so much pain, I agreed to it. Unfortunately, the anesthesiologist was in surgery and unavailable so we waited.

Meanwhile, the intense contractions pushed my daughter down into my birth canal where she became wedged because my body wasn’t given the time to prepare. Now, we were monitoring me and the baby. For hours, I was in pain while the doctor sat next to the bed, looking at her perfectly manicured nails. My mother was hyperventilating, my husband tried to keep me comfortable and my aunt tried to comfort my mother. Med students and nurses popped in to stare at my vagina as I lay there strapped with my legs up and out like a rotisserie chicken.

After I received the epidural, I was able to relax and my body wanted to squat and push the baby out. Unfortunately, I could no longer stand on my legs. There was no feeling left in them. The doctor asked me to push where her fingers were. I stared at her in disbelief. I couldn’t feel anything, how the hell would I know where her fingers were?

There was more navel gazing from the doctor, more visits by curious staff when, finally, a physician walked in, took one look at me and said, “Suction!” Suddenly, equipment appeared, staff emerged and within one push, our daughter was born. My mother had stepped out and nobody got it on film but I didn’t care, she was here.

The doctor asked my husband if he would cut the cord. I was about to protest when I heard my husband say, “Yes I will”. I watched him grab those scissors and cut the cord. The look on his face was pride and determination mixed with a sense of ownership. “That’s my girl!” I so wanted to capture this with a camera but I was still strapped to the stirrups. He whispered in my ear, “See what happens when you go out on a date with me?” We laughed.

My husband surprised me. I thought he would pass out before it was over (based on his own comments about the birth). However, he was my rock. He was great through the whole thing. I had third degree tearing from the forceful birth so I was busy being stitched for an hour. My husband still recalls the amount of blood that had poured all over the floor. He walked around the unit with our daughter swaddled in blankets, a proud look on his face. I loved him so much and I was excited to start our life together as a family.