Sep 15th 2011, Stephen and I are at the opening of Vertigo theatres, A Dangerous Corner, I am the size of a blimp. I’m 39 weeks pregnant and counting down the days to the arrival of our baby. The Baby and I had had a very serious conversation earlier in the week; The doctors were fairly certain I was not going to make my due date, as for mentioned I was huge, due to the large amount of extra amniotic fluid, So I had bargained with the kiddo saying she/he could come as early as they wanted, as long as it was after the play on Thursday.
Being that it was opening night and I was already on leave from work, there were plenty of people around who hadn’t seen me in awhile, so there were lots of hugs and good luck belly rubs. Lots of people astounded by how large I was and a lot of reassuring people that I was not going to go in to labour at the show, the baby and I had a deal.
We made it through the show (even with the retarded amount of perfume on the lady in front of me, I thought I was going to vomit) and we end up in the lobby chatting with friends. At which point I decide we should leave, I’m exhausted and hot! So hot in fact my thighs were wet and I really didn’t want to be wearing the dress anymore. (Looking back I think my membrane had ruptured the tiniest of bits at the play, which was the real cause of the wet)
So Steve and I go home to bed. Angle (our dog)and I upstairs, and Steve downstairs in a makeshift bedroom he had put together because I was a huge pain to sleep with, all belly and rolling and getting up in the middle of the night to eat. Because of the sleeping arrangements I had taken to sleeping with my phone, as did Steve, just in case something happened in the night. Well 2:00am rolls around and surprise surprise I need to pee. So I roll out of bed (onto the dog) as soon as I stand up I feel water running down my leg, and of course my first thought is “oh shit I’ve peed myself” So I run/waddle to the bathroom. Where, now sitting on the toilet, I realize I’m not peeing, my water broke, and I don’t have my phone.
I’m now sitting on the toilet thinking, “Well shit, now what do I do?” The answer, go get the phone. So I wait a few minutes to see if the flow will stop or let up enough to run to the bedroom, it doesn’t take long before I come to the conclusion that I’m just going to have to make a run for it. So up I get, I dart into the bedroom only to trip on the dog who refuses to get out of the way! I can only feel so bad for having to step over her, thus dripping on her. Finally, I grab the phone and make a mad dash back to the bathroom.
I phone Steve. *groggy* “Hello?”
“Hi honey, it’s go time.”
“What?” (a little more alert)
“My water broke, can you come up stairs? It’s go time”
Steve is upstairs in a flash, pulling on clothes as he checks on me, “are you ok? I’ve got the emergency kit, do you need anything? Should I call Rachel? What do you want to do?” (Rachel being our doula)
“Well, I’m starving. I need to eat before we do anything else.” So there I am 2:30 in the morning sitting on the toilet eating a bowl of cereal. Steve packed up the car; I had a quick shower and waddled out. After making a quick stop at Tim Horton’s (or possibly McDonalds, there is some debate here.) we were on our way to High River, which was the hospital I was lucky enough to get to deliver at.
On the way out of town I texted my brother, (That’s right Layne, if you had been awake you would have been first to know) to let him know I was in labour and that he could grab the dog after work no panic. I then attempted to call Rach for the first time, and got her voicemail. I also phoned my Mom to let her know we were on our way down and we might end up at her house. At this point (on the road to High River) Steve insisted I start timing my contractions. They were happening every five min, but with very little pain.
We got to the hospital by 4:00am, since I was in labour Steve dropped me at the doors and went to park the car. Well the flow of water that I thought was finished as it turns out was just waiting for me to stand up again. As I’m waddling to the front desk I start soaking through my pants. At this point I figure dignity doesn’t really matter anymore. I get to the front desk and my friend Shannon is working. I tell her my water broke, to which she responds with, “ok, can you wait a minute while I finish typing this form up?” I start laughing to myself, and inform her she may want to call a janitor because I’ve created a puddle. Thoroughly non pulsed she hands me some papers and points me towards the maternity ward. I’ve no idea who cleaned up my trail. Also I was a little disappointed, TV had led me to believe someone would come sweep me into a wheelchair and rush me over, not that I couldn’t walk but you know, a girl likes a little drama.
At some point around here Steve catches up to me, either while on my way to the Maternity desk or on the way to the room, can’t remember.(As it turns out he caught up at the front desk, ah memory, eaten away by mother hood) either way, I check in and am taken to the triage room, which is where they check you out and decide whether to admit you or not. Here I was helped by a delightful British nurse, and a nurse in training. I so can’t remember their names. Not sure I was ever told. They swabbed me (Through my pants) to make sure it was in fact amniotic fluid, and checked to feel the position of the baby. This was fun times for me, and I kinda started giggling again because what else could I do? Every time they pushed on my stomach I would gush huge amounts of fluid. At about this time we tried Rach , and got her voicemail.
I’m GBS positive with ruptured membranes, which means I have to receive (rather it’s highly recommended) a batch of antibiotics to help prevent the baby from getting sick during birth. So I’m waiting for antibiotics and to see the doctor, then hoping to head to my mom’s house to labour there for a while. It’s about 20 to five at this point and we‘ve got a hold of Rach. Steve lets her know what’s going on and saying not to rush in, as things aren’t very far along. So we’ll keep her in the loop. Then the doctor shows up and everything changes. The doctor tells me, like it’s a fact, that they now are going to give me oxytocin to induce labour, which is something I so didn’t want to do. So before agreeing to it we made them explain why this was the route they wanted to take, as it turned out the doctor was worried about the extra amniotic fluid coupled with the GBS, and the fact that I was only in early stages of labour, could be a harmful situation for the baby. We begrudgingly agreed and moved to a delivery room, all the while texting back and forth with Rach, who decided it would be a good time for her to come in.
So we settled into a delivery room and I proceeded to make the biggest mistake of the day; I was asked if it would be alright if residents helped with the delivery, and kind hearted easy going me said sure why not. See it’s not that I really minded being a teaching aid, it was more the being used as a pincushion and the obscene number of people in the room that I take issue with, but I’ll get to that.
At any rate, we settled in and I got an IV (From a resident, bless her heart, my poor hand) with my antibiotics, which wasn’t so bad but left a distinct taste of iron in my mouth, which the nurses all denied could possibly be from the drugs, but being as I wasn’t allowed to eat anything I can’t imagine what else it could possibly be. This all happened around 5:00am. By 6:30-7:00 Rach arrived. My antibiotics were done and we had moved onto the oxytocin. I was beginning to have semi regular contractions but nothing too bad, so Rach sent Steve to go get some food as he hadn’t really eaten and was obviously crashing. He came back a bit latter much happier. I think I napped a bit at some point.
Now around this time is when I lost all track of time, the nurses were upping the oxy at regular intervals so my contractions were getting stronger and coming closer and closer together. I was about 2-3cm dilated. I was having a real hard time dealing with the pain on my own and decided it was time for some sort of pain management (Funky town). As per our pre labour discussions I was given some nitrous oxide. Which was lovely, also it’s the lowest impact drug on the baby. Rach says this was around 10:30. Part of the reason I decided to try the Nos was I wasn’t allowed to move. With the oxy they had hooked me up to heart rate monitors, one for me and one for the babe. So I was on my back, the whole time.
Things are a bit blurry, I know my mom stopped by (originally she was going to be in the room with me) I made her leave, mainly because of the obscene number of people in the room, and the fact that she showed up in the middle of a contraction. I think Rach ran some interference there. I remember desperately grabbing for anyone’s hand during contractions, preferably Steve but I really wasn’t picky. At some point o2 was introduced working opposite the Nos, which was truly a blessing I needed it. I was having micro naps between contractions, and the o2 helped clear my head.
My blood pressure had been high the whole labour, but now the baby’s heart rate was starting to drop severely with each contraction, and the monitor kept sliding off my belly, so an internal heart rate monitor was placed on the baby’s scalp. Also the Oxy was turned down, or off, either way things got a bit better. Around this time they did another pelvic exam and I was 4-5cm dilated, apparently the first 4cm take the longest. And boy was that true, around half an hour later my body started pushing on its own with each contraction, I remember turning to Rach and saying “My body’s pushing I can’t stop it” Thankfully the nurse had come in at that exact moment. I was checked again and was fully dilated. It was time to push!
They took away my happy gas, I was not pleased. I was still on my back, also not pleased, but it was time to have a baby. With the next contraction I started to push, mainly I flailed around looking for something to hold on to. I gripped the top of the bed, Steve’s hand , the hand of a nurse, I left nail marks in a couple of people, don’t know who. After a few contractions like that one of the nurses did something brilliant. My legs were up on the squat bar spread wide, so she wrapped a blanket around the centre of the bar and handed it to me. Brilliant! I had something for my hands to do and it helped me concentrate on the pushing. Pushing seemed to take forever! The baby kept sliding down and then back up again, plus the heart rate was dive bombing with every contraction. At one point I heard the word vacuum, which forced me to push harder. (The vacuum was never needed)
Then things got very blurry for a while. I know Steve was down at my feet, holding a leg, but other than that I really lost it for a bit. During one contraction I was pushing so hard and not breathing that I passed out. During this brief moment of unconsciousness I had a really creepy dream where I was being chased, something to do with dinosaurs and there were people doing experiments on me. Imagine my horror when I woke up. I lost control of my legs and was just shaking, then a nurse (I think) whom I’d never seen before, was right up in my face telling me that I was okay but I needed to concentrate on the baby. And I was back and I was alright and ready to keep pushing. Thank god Steve was there, because everyone just became noise, but he could see the baby coming and he could see the heat rate monitor dipping so he stepped up his game and would shout very helpful things at me, “Tyne I can see the head, you’re doing so good, come on, push push push” he’d been fairly quiet until then but his was the only voice I could hear.
The doctor was getting fairly concerned now with the baby’s heart rate, and I was tearing in such a manner that he was worried that some real damage was going to be done, so I was informed that he was going to cut me. I screamed no! He was taken aback, and assured me that I had the right to refuse any treatment...I cut him off saying “you can do it, I just really don’t want you to!” Which he rightly took as consent and went ahead and did it. Honestly if he hadn’t of said anything I never would have known, well until after. It was at this point that a nurse came up to talk to me; she looked me square in the eye and told me “Your baby is in trouble, we need to get it out now!” This was the first that I really understood that anything was wrong, and I wish someone had told me a half hour before because as soon as I heard those words, my head cleared and I was pushing for all I was worth!
Two maybe three contractions later and the head was out! “Stop pushing!” Called the doctor, “The umbilical cord is around the baby’s neck.” I screamed in panic. When my brother was born he was blue because the cord was around his neck choking him, this was the main deciding factor for me to have a hospital birth, as opposed to home birth. Steve was at my feet and later told me that it was loosely around the neck and the doctor simply lifted it off, but in the moment I was freaked. With the next contraction I was allowed to push and my baby was free!
Steve told me we had a little girl! I had a daughter! She was placed on my chest, still all slimy and purple, crying. I kept repeating, “look what we made!” and patting the poor little babes bum saying “is she crying enough? Should she cry more?” Looking at the nurse, “Do you need her to cry more?” But she was fine! At some point a nurse asked if she could take her away and clean her up, I said no, I’d worked too hard for her to be swept up so fast.
Somebody asked us if we had decided on a name and I looked at Steve and said through tears, “honey I’ve been meaning to talk to you.” This was met with laughter. “Can we call her, Georgina Layne Taffie Benson?” and I’m sure he would have agreed to anything at that point. For the most part this had been pre decided, but My Great Aunt Taffie had passed away recently and I really wanted to honour her in some way.
I let the Nurse take Georgie away to get properly cleaned, weighed, eye gooped and swaddled, and the doctors stitched me up. This is where I truly curse the resident doctor, my body didn’t take the freezing and she was slow as mud at stitching. I was screaming in pain because I could feel everything! A nurses gave me the Nitrous oxide back, and Rach hung out with me, bullshitting back and forth (I was really stoned) We actually had to make a point of telling the staff that she was also my friend and she probably wouldn’t talk like this in a more professional setting.
While I was being tortured Steve got to first cuddle Georgina, then take her out to see the family in the waiting room. Now Steve hasn’t heard this part of the story because I heard it from my mom and I don’t think anyone has told him. He was pushing the bassinet (you weren’t allowed to carry the babies in the halls, in case of emergencies and people running) and he came around the corner to where my parents and his mom were waiting, well the waiting room was closer than he was expecting so he thought he had a moment to himself. Mom says he was crying, because of the pain I was in, (you could hear me scream down the hall) Joyce however commented on how different he was from his ex brother in-law. I just wanted to include that so I will remember it, as it was a precious moment that shouldn’t be forgotten. (Steve read this last night and yes he could hear me scream, and yes he was emotionally exhausted, but the tears were because his father had passed away and wouldn’t get to see George)
Eventually they were done stitching (I didn’t kick anyone, but if I hadn’t had the drugs who knows) and Steve was back with Georgie, allowing me to nurse her for the first time. This was a bit of a production as I was still in my own T shirt and bra, which we had to get off around the IV tubes and what not, but we did it! George and I cuddled, it was lovely. My mom came in to visit, shortly followed by my dad and Joyce, once my tits were away. Later I had a shower and was moved into a room where Steve and I would stay for the next few days. We entertained a number of guests that day including my brother who practically snatched George from Steve.
We went home on Sunday, after a quick stop to see my Nana and Bubba. Finally we were home, a small but very happy Family.