In a few days, my beautiful baby boy will turn one. So many thoughts have been running through my mind lately. One has been whether or not to share his birth story. I honestly didn’t know if I was going to share it on my blog. Hence, why a year has pretty much passed since I wrote it and it is only now being posted. I still don’t know if I want to share it, but I guess this is me deciding to do it. I tossed the idea back and forth in my head for months. I love hearing and reading about birth stories. Now that I’ve gone through labour myself, it’s always neat to hear how it happened for other women. So why wouldn’t I want to share my story? It’s because I was afraid, and still am. Afraid of what others may think. Afraid of judgment. Most of it was a positive experience for me, and there is so much about that day that I love. But there are parts of Jackson’s birth that I feel guilty about. And that guilt still hasn’t fully disappeared, even a year later. So I struggled with the thought of having it out there in the open. But you know what? My labour was the reality for me. What happened, happened. I can’t go back in time and change the things I wish I could. All I can do is grow from the experience and learn from it, and know that I will do things differently the second time around. And I think that sharing his birth story will finally help release that guilt that I’ve been carrying with me for so long.
When you write on the internet, anyone can read it. Not everyone will like what you write, and you run the risk of negative feedback and criticism. It’s the risk that you take when you put yourself out there. But some will like what you write, and some will be able to relate. I believe in always being honest. I write from my heart. So if you don’t like it, that’s ok. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions about life. But I am also encouraged to keep writing by the fact that my close friends and family know me. And there is no judgment there. Only love and acceptance. And so I share the birth story of my son, knowing that some may not like it or agree with how I did things. But I’m writing from my heart. I’m sharing my feelings and am being honest about the day my son entered this world. I’m hoping for love and acceptance.
(Written last year, 4 days after the birth of my sweet boy) Here it goes…
Wow. I have a baby. A beautiful, healthy baby boy. Jackson Matthew Peters. Here is the story of his birth…
I had what I’d hoped would be my last doctor appointment on Monday, April 30th, 2012 – 2 days before my May 2nd due date. At my appointment, my doctor did an ultrasound to check the level of my amniotic fluid, a standard procedure that they do at the end of the pregnancy. He said that my fluid looked very low, and he wanted me to go in to the hospital for a proper ultrasound to check. He said that if the fluid was too low, then they might have to induce me. If the fluid is too low, then that means that the placenta might not be doing it’s proper job anymore, and that if we waited too long, it wouldn’t be able to provide nutrients to the baby during contractions when the baby was stressed, which would then likely result in having to have a c-section. He reassured me that if I had to be induced, it would just be the kick start my body needed as I was already 3cm dilated and ready to go (and had been for the past 3 weeks already!). So I went home that day waiting for a call from the hospital.
Tuesday morning, May 1, I got a phone call from the hospital at 7am saying that they could get me in at 11am for the ultrasound. I had sent Dave off to work, thinking that things could happen that day, but to keep going as normal, in case they sent me back home. He was working in Surrey, a 45 minute drive away. My Mom was in Kelowna helping my brother move in to his apartment, so my Mother-in-law took me to the ultrasound. I remember that drive to the hospital so clearly. The sun was shining and it was a beautiful Spring day. I remember the striped shirt that I wore. I was nervous. The anticipation of what the day would bring was intense, and I was so ready to meet my baby.
The ultrasound technician confirmed that yes, my amniotic fluid was very low and he told me to go up to the maternity ward and that I was likely going to be induced. Wow, all of the sudden things became very real. We went up to the maternity ward and spoke to my doctor who was very reassuring. I was so thankful that he was actually on call that day. Yes, I was going to be induced, and very soon. Ok, this was real! I immediately called Dave and told him to leave work and come to the hospital. I then called my Mom and told her she better leave Kelowna and start driving. This was actually happening!
We went to triage where they set me up in a bed and we waited for a bit until they had a room ready for me. It didn’t take long, and I was in my own room and was then hooked up to an IV at 12:30pm with oxytocin. It took about half an hour for it to release into my system. I started getting mild contractions which felt like my normal Braxton Hicks that I had been getting throughout my pregnancy. At one point, my nurse commented on how my contractions were pretty intense, and that I wasn’t even having problems breathing through them! She wondered if I would be one of those super women who didn’t feel much pain. I laughed and said who knows, and wouldn’t that be great! Soon Dave was there, and the two of us walked what seemed like a million laps around the maternity ward to help things progress. We walked the halls with my IV trailing behind us, and I soon had to start breathing through the contractions and pause throughout our walk.
(this is me, oh so happy at the beginning…excuse the crappy iPhone photo quality)
We grabbed popsicles from the freezer as I wasn’t allowed to eat anything because of the oxytocin. After lots of walking, we went back to our room and I did a lot of sitting and rolling my hips on the birthing ball to keep the head progressing down. I suddenly had a lot of back pain and we thought that the baby was probably posterior, so I kept on the birthing ball and used laughing gas to help me through the contractions. Dave also massaged my back and applied counter pressure through the contractions which really helped with the pain. All of that walking and sitting on the birthing ball did eventually turn the baby around the right way, thank goodness!
By 4pm, my doctor came in to check me, I was still only 3cm dilated (after 3 hours!), and I was so discouraged. He then broke my water, what was left of it, and then the contractions went to a whole new level. I then started to feel the pain that every woman who has done this before, describes as labour pain. The contractions got really intense. The laughing gas was no longer helping and I was beginning to think that I couldn’t handle the pain anymore as it was brought on so quickly from being induced. I asked my nurse for an epidural. She advised against it saying that it would greatly slow down the labour and that things were progressing really well. She said that I could have a shot of morphine instead and that maybe we should try the warm bath, and that I might really like it. By then I was in so much pain that I accepted the morphine.
We then walked down the hall to a room with a bath. I got into the bath, but did not like it at all. I was so uncomfortable. After a few minutes of being in there, I told the nurse that I felt like I had to push, and she said no. It was so hard not to! I was suddenly in the transition part of labour and stuck in this bathtub, wanting to push. They quickly got me out of the tub and back to my room. I think she was shocked at how far along I had progressed in such a short amount of time. I was so out of it from the morphine by then, and in so much pain. I pretty much had my eyes closed for the rest of my labour as I worked through each contraction. The rest is a bit of a blur (sadly, from the morphine), but Dave filled me in on what happened from then on. My doctor came in and I was ready to start pushing. I remember pushing and how painful it was. I don’t think I will ever forget that pain. I pushed for 45 minutes in total. I remember when they said they could see the head and that the baby had dark hair! I remember the nurses telling me to push and keep pushing. Oh, it was such hard work! I was so exhausted. I remember the feeling of the baby coming out, and the immediate relief afterwards. Then the doctor said it was a boy! A boy! I smiled, knowing that my instincts were right and it had been a boy all along. The doctor asked Dave if he wanted to cut the cord, and I remember Dave asking if we could wait a bit to let it pulsate a bit more, so that more nutrients could reach the baby. The doctor, with a sense of urgency, said no, because the baby wasn’t breathing, we needed to do it right aways. So Dave let the doctor cut the cord, and they took our little baby boy to the table. I remember thinking, oh my goodness, my baby isn’t breathing. I just started praying and praying. After what felt like an eternity, I finally heard my baby crying, the best sound in the world. My baby was breathing, thank you Lord. They had to give him a Narcan, which would counterattack the affects of the morphine that had reached him. They then brought him to my chest and I held him for the first time. What a surreal and incredible feeling. I finally was holding the baby that I carried inside for 9 months! That moment can’t even be put into words.
They cleaned Jackson up and weighed him. He was 6lb 12oz and 21 inches long. I remember the cleaning lady coming in to clean everything up, and remember thinking how she was so slow and just taking forever! I wanted our parents to come and meet their newest grandson! Finally at 9:30pm (after almost 2 hours), both sets of our parents came into the room to meet Jackson. I was so excited to show him off. My Mom said that I was really alert when they came in, but that I very quickly faded. They stayed for about 20 minutes and then left us for our first night in the hospital with our new baby.
The first night was surreal and I will never forget it. I fell asleep with Jackson on my chest cozied up in blankets. We slept this way for a few hours, skin to skin. I remember waking up throughout the night and looking over to see him in the basinet. He woke up once with a weak little cry, and I picked him up to cuddle him. There are just no words to describe the feelings that I felt. I tear up just thinking about how vulnerable I felt, and so overwhelmed by the intense love I had for this baby boy and how I knew I would do anything and everything in my power to protect him.
The part about Jackson’s birth story that has haunted me for the past year, was that I took the morphine. I totally regret having it. I hated the way it made me feel. I didn’t feel in control anymore. I didn’t feel like myself, and it made me so out of it, and it caused me to not be able to really remember everything how I would liked to have remembered it. I wish I could take that part back about my labour with Jackson. If I would have known the affect it had on me (and him) and the outcome, I would have never taken it. I felt a lot of guilt about this for a long time after Jackson’s birth, feeling like a failure, and still to this day, have to let it go and give it to God. I had such a quick labour, that the morphine had reached Jackson. He wasn’t breathing when he came out because of it. They had to give him a Narcan to counterattack the effects of the morphine. He was so sleepy (from the drugs), that he didn’t breastfeed well at all in those first few days, which led to a painful uphill battle to climb (which, I am proud to say, after 5 long weeks of perseverance, we finally got the hang of it). All of this was so hard on me and it really affected me emotionally. It definitely didn’t help with the post baby blues. I know for my future births, I will not be having morphine at all. I will do things differently. As a first time mom, I wished I would have done more research beforehand, about the different drugs offered. I wished I would have talked to my doctor about the effects of each drug, so that I would have been able to make a better informed decision about what I wanted. I know now, for next time. I know that you can’t predict how your labours will go, and as hard as it was being induced, it was, in fact, a blessing, as having low amniotic fluid would have posed a greater risk to Jackson and myself.
Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that if you’ve ever had morphine or other drugs during labour that you are a terrible person. Not at all. Everyone handles pain differently. I just know that for myself, it affected me negatively. I wished I would have taken Fentanyl instead of Morphine, as that only lasts in your system for an hour, and it probably wouldn’t have had time to reach Jackson. But like I said before, what happened happened, and I can’t go back and change it. I’m moving forward and learning from my experience.
So there it is. I did it. It’s off my chest. The story of my precious son’s birth. And you know what? He was born a healthy, beautiful baby boy. And a year later, he is still growing, and thriving, and exploring this big world and getting in to trouble like little boys do. Even though his birth wasn’t quite how I had imagined it to be, he came into this world perfectly healthy. What a blessing that is. I am so incredibly thankful for him. He is my gift from God.