A birth story

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I had spent 38 weeks preparing for the birth of my second baby. Just before bed I had begun tracking contractions that were ten minutes apart. Fearing that is was just false labour, I did not tell my mother or husband about the pains. After about an hour of consistently timed contractions, they slowed and confirmed my suspicions that it was the same false labor pains I had been feeling for weeks. Since this was not my first baby I knew the mental strain that would come from thinking every ache or pain was “the big moment”. Somewhere around 1:00am I remember waking a few times to painful contractions and verbally announcing my discomfort to the whole house. Around 2:00am, I woke to my husband asking if I knew that I had been having contractions for the past hour. They had been eight minutes apart, and in my half asleep state I hadn’t realised. The next contraction woke me and brought me to the verge of tears. My husband asked if we should go to the hospital and I immediately agreed. The contractions became more frequent as we neared the hospital but remained the same in intensity.

My head had a rush of anxiety: What if I couldn’t get to the hospital in time? What if it was false labor? What if something was wrong with my baby? Lucky for me, my little girl was sitting sleepily in the back seat and I would never let her see me out of control emotionally. When we reached the hospital, my husband wheeled me to the check-in desk and notified them with a calm urgency that I was in labour. The nurses looked to me and I told them in a much less subdued voice that I needed an epidural “right now”. They got me into a room and began tracking my contractions which to my surprise, had quickened to three minutes apart.

One of the nurses checked my cervix and gave me another surprise by telling us that I was only dilated to two centimetres. After questioning looks at one another, my husband and I decided that maybe this was good because it allowed me to get some sleep. The contractions were not going to allow me to sleep, however, so I begged that I be given an epidural. After consulting my doctor, an epidural was administered. I could tell immediately that it wasn’t right. It hurt to lie down, my leg hurt, my back hurt. So they called in a second set of skilled hands to remove and replace the epidural.

My doctor waited until morning to arrive at the hospital and found that I had progressed only two more centimetres. We discussed breaking my water in hopes it would speed things up. That turned out to be a gross understatement. After only one hour, I had finished dilating to ten centimetres.

My husband and my mom stayed by my side while my photographer silently moved around the room capturing the details. As previously agreed, my husband was brought to the foot of bed when the baby’s head became visible. After the doctor delivered my daughter’s head and shoulders, my husband placed his hands around the tiny little body and guided her the rest of the way out. His face was priceless as he stared at her and then looked to me in wonderment.

His smile as he placed her on my stomach said it all. He was so proud. I was so proud. The emotions in the room ran high as he and I touched Lily’s slippery skin and listened to her newborn cries and allowed ourselves to get lost in the feelings of amazement and euphoria that only the birth of your baby can bring.

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