Monday, May 25, 2015

A's Birth Story

Avelynn's birth story is one that I am excited to get down - writing helps me relive moments and man, this is an experience I want to relive. It was a high and nothing and everything like I expected. 

I was due April 5th, Easter Sunday. I was really really hoping she'd come that day - something about the achiever in me wanted to have her on the due date. BUT as April 5th came and went and Avelynn hadn't arrived I was resigned to that not happening. As I passed 41 weeks I was mostly just curious about how it would play out. I knew at 40 weeks plus 10 days (or 41 weeks and 3 days) they would induce me. That was Wednesday the 15th of April. I was hoping to avoid being induced - I hear that induced contractions are more painful and man, I wanted to not have more painful. We did numerous "no-stress tests" and two ultrasounds and we decided to keep waiting to see what we could come up with without induction. 

Things really started Monday with some light contractions - steady but definitely light. They continued overnight (though I could sleep through them) and through Tuesday steady but not super painful. By the evening though they were starting to feel more painful - we walked with the Maxwell's and had DQ. Walking with our family helped the spirits and the DQ was just nice. Then Paul and I headed home and I laboured through the night. By 4am Wednesday the contractions were coming every 1-2 minutes, lasting a full minute each time. We decided to head to the hospital since that was the timing we'd learned to watch out for in pre-natal classes. Unfortunately as soon as we got to the hospital the timing of the contractions slowed way down to 6 minutes apart! They did a non-stress test, monitoring the baby and my contractions (we'd had a few done in previous days) and confirmed that I was in labour but still very early and not dilated at all. They sent us home. 

Labouring in the nursery in the hopes the room would provide inspiration

Around noon my sister came over - my contractions were about 3-4 minutes apart, lasting nearly a minute and getting more and more intense. Paul went to sleep and Jenna and I took a long walk in the hopes of getting labour really going - and it seemed to work for a while...the contractions were coming much faster and getting much stronger. Around 4:30 our doctor suggested we come in and so we met up with her to get a non-stress test and check to see how dilated I was, since I'd been labouring for some time. Sadly at that point we found that I was only 1cm dilated. Discouraging. We headed home with Jenna - my Dad brought dinner over and Hanne joined our support team and I continued to labour through the evening. My support people (Jenna, Hanne & Paul) took turns helping me through contractions. Since it was back labour I found pressure on my back really helped make it through. Also one of them would be in charge of timing me contractions on the contraction app - so helpful. We watched hours of the TV show Psych on Netflix between contractions which was a nice distraction. I laboured (though it felt like "we" laboured since my support team was right there with me) through the evening and much of the night. Around 3am we decided it was definitely time to head to the hospital - the contractions were MUCH stronger. I definitely couldn't sleep through them and they were coming a minute to two minutes apart, lasting 45 seconds to over a minute. At the hospital we discovered I was 2cm dilated (only!!) and still only in early contractions. I have often heard that back labour is very painful but doesn't progress the way most labour progresses and can last much longer than other labour. Joy. Eventually the hospital gave me morphine and gravol and sent me home to sleep, telling us that I would be called in the morning to be induced. We dropped Hanne off to get a few hours of sleep at her place and the rest of us headed to our place to sleep before the big call. After 2 hours of sleep I started waking up with the back pain. The 2 hours was glorious though and it really helped. I let Paul sleep and woke Jenna up to continue labouring with me. We were called early on to say that I wouldn't be induced until later in the day (how could I get through 12 more hours!) Thankfully it was a gloriously sunny Thursday and with the bit of sleep my mood was still high. Hanne joined us in the morning and we continued to labour - the pain sucked and I was so tired...but it was sunny! Sunny and I'd slept. Oh it helped. 

Hanne, me and Paul on a labour walk, with Jenna behind us to time contractions and hold stuff for me

Sadly contractions began to slow so we decided to take a labour walk, the 4 of us. We walked all over the neighbourhood hoping that would kick up labour again. The plan was to walk as far as we could and to walk through each contraction, rather than stop. Hanne & Paul held my hands through contractions and Jenna held my water and the phone to time contractions. It was a real group effort. My job was to get through contractions - difficult! We walked to all our friends houses in the neighbourhood but most people weren't home, so we eventually ended up at Nate & Leah's house - they offered us great hospitality (beer for the gang, Pellegrino for me) and conversation & distraction (super helpful during contractions). We headed home to await the call to come in for induction that evening. Paul picked me up Vietnamese food (didn't help with contractions but oh, the taste helped). As I laboured after the meal we received a text that finally stripped me of my positivity. BC Women's was too packed and hectic to induce me until Friday morning. I was done emotionally. I cried. Ugly cried. While contracting. It sucked. Jenna, Paul and Hanne tried to help me but I was in so much pain and knew that there was 12 hours until the next morning...which meant 12 more hours of early labour, then induction (meaning more labour including active labour and transition and pushing). I didn't know how to have it in me to handle that after labour for the past 44 hours. I was so done. Since we had time to kill I sent Jenna home to sleep and see her kids. Hanne, Paul and I tried to watch some more Psych through contractions but I kept crying and couldn't handle it. Eventually I had a hot bath and that helped a bit but the pain kept coming. While I laboured in the bath Paul and Hanne made a plan to try and help me cope and try to get me into the hospital for inducement earlier. I wasn't feeling overly hopeful, and I think neither were they. I received a text from my cousin at this time quoting Psalm 46 - "God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble. God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at the break of day." I found this encouraging, greatly. Through the next contractions I thought of that strength and pressed through. Hanne's husband Drian came by to encourage us - he spoke of God making a way where there was no way and that became our prayer. We continued to labour until 9:30 and then headed to the hospital to get a shot of morphine and gravol to let me get at least some sleep. That plan helped me emotionally so much. So much time without sleep really grates on you. This is where things start to get interesting.

This was our 4th visit to BC Women's Hospital. Usually you go through the registration, then wait in the waiting room until they call you in to the assessment room, and from there you would hopefully be called into labour and delivery. Normally there were 1 or 2 women in the waiting room but on this visit there were at least 7 labouring women there. This only solidified what we'd been told, that we couldn't be induced that evening. They were obviously bursting with busy. When we signed in at registration they sent us straight to the assessment area, which was interesting. We bypassed the waiting room. I assumed this was because they were just giving me drugs and sending us home. They did a no-stress test and checked me out - the on call doctor said I was at 2-3 centimetres dilated still (!!!) and had a long way to go, and that she agreed that they would give me the drugs and send me home. Discouraging but expected. While I waited I decided to use the washroom - super fun when contracting. I opened the curtain to step out and ran straight into a nurse, Debbie. She said that she realized they had set me home three times already and that they wouldn't send me home a fourth time. She said they would find a way to get me to stay and be induced. She said they would give me the morphine and gravol and that I should work in the parking lot for an hour while they prepped a room for me. By the time I got back from the bathroom and had the shot they had a nurse there for me to take me to my room!! That was a big change! 

Our nurse, Rose, took us to our room in Labour and Delivery to be induced!!! She couldn't figure out why they were letting me in but was happy to help. When we settled in my Doctor came by to see me and said that I was actually 5 centimeters dilated! I enjoyed laying on the bed with morphine racing through me - so enjoyable - and a break in feeling the contractions. Hanne sat with me and Paul napped. Hanne & I looked at the baby clothes I'd brought along and that helped encourage me for what would come next. While that happened they started the Oxytocin. As the morphine wore off, the Oxytocin started kicked in and the real active painful-as-all-heck contractions kicked in. I laboured that way for an hour and a half with Paul & Hanne with me. That was the terrible, painful part. Eventually the pain was too much and I requested an Epidural. I will admit I had no idea how long that would take to kick in. Oh man. We had to wait for the anesthesiologist, and then we had to wait for her to find my back scans from my previous back surgery. Then it was time for the epidural which also takes time and involves sitting. With back labour sitting is painful - I hadn't sat in days...since Monday. I was not sure how I could sit on my hospital bed and be still for the 20 minutes needed but I kept remembering that bible verse and that God was my strength - I sat still, holding Hanne & Paul's hands, through numerous contractions while the epidural was put in. At one point they tried putting a little baby sleeper in front of to encourage me but for some reason that just annoyed me so they put it away. 

Ready to push!

Finally the epidural was in and starting and I finally felt relief again. Hanne laid down to nap and Paul sat next to me. I put my ear plugs in to try and nap but started feeling the urge to push...though I thought it was the urge to use the washroom. Thankfully the nurse asked how I was doing so I explained what I was feeling and she suggested that that was probably the urge to push a baby out. I argued with her (like a dummy) saying that obviously I knew what it felt like to have to use the washroom and would know if it was time to push. I was very wrong. The nurse checked me and conrfimed that I was 10 centimeters dilated (!!!!!) and the head was ready to come out. They told me not to push and to wait while they got the room ready. Paul called Jenna to come back to the hospital (she was there within 15 minutes) and the nurses called my Doctor to come back to deliver the baby (she was there within 20 minutes). They set up the room and then I started to push. Jenna arrived a few pushes in and the doctor arrived shortly after that. Hanne & Jenna held my legs for me while I pushed, Paul was with the doctor down at the bottom to help me deliver. I had asked for a mirror to see what was going on but at the beginning found it very disconcerting to watch. Thankfully they brought the mirror back when the baby started crowning. I pushed for 20 minutes and with the epidural I only felt pressure, no real pain. I definitely was not quiet through this process. As one nurse said, I screamed my baby out. My support team was shouting along side me, which was awesome. I felt like I was running a marathon with all the spectators on the edges. I so appreciated them. Paul then got to help our doctor deliver Avelynn - it was his hands I could see in the mirror guiding our sweet babe out and it was his hands that put her on my chest when she was out. And just like that our baby had finally arrived. 

Our first family shot!

Avelynn Elizabeth Marie Morgan was born at 4:21am, Friday April 17th. She laid on my chest and Hanne, Paul, Jenna and I cooed over her for what felt like ages. They then took her to be weighed and measured, while the doctors stitched me up. Paul was beaming the entire time. He ran back from me to the baby to me to the baby. Hanne sat next to me holding me hand while the doctors worked and Jenna also switched between seeing me and baby. They were both so keen to be near Avelynn. Paul kept checking in with me to make sure I didn't mind that he was with our girl and not me. It was very sweet. She weighed 7 pounds and 2 ounces. We then got to try breastfeeding for the first time. 

The proud Papa with his little girl

Paul, Avelynn & our amazing doctor Dr. MacInnes

Jenna & Paul enjoying newborn cuddles

Such joy!

Our sweet babe

At that point Jenna & Hanne left, as well as most of the staff and our little family got to be together. It was a very sweet time. Also a very tired time. We both kept drifting off once she was done feeding. We put her in the basinet and slept on and off until they moved us upstairs to the Post Partum Ward before shift change.We were wheeled up to the PP ward (Arbutus) and as soon as we hit the bed (or in my case was transferred to the bed) we crashed hard. Well first Paul brought me an everything bagel, then I slept. Well I slept - Paul stayed up dozing lightly in a chair next to the basinet to watch her. It was sweet. Whereas I had no ability to stay awake. I was thankful that he was able to be awake enough to be with her. After a couple of hours of sleep (I caught 2 hours of sleep which made a total of 4 hours of sleep between 8:30am Tuesday and 10:30am Friday) I felt much revived and was ready to learn about baby (the nurses were wonderfully helpful) and start to see visitors. We were so excited to introduce our sweet baby to our family and friends! 

Avelynn's second day post-womb

All wrapped in the hospital blankets

Getting her beauty rest in the hospital basinet


Our adventure was on! We got to head the next day and start our real life as a family of 3. Awesome!
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LeAnna said...

Yikes -- what a marathon session! So glad the verse helped.

Birthways Midwifery said...

Thank you for sharing your story with us! I enjoyed reading it immensely. You are such a strong woman. And so tenacious. I'm so happy for your family!


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