Our Birth Story
For nine months, I planned for it.
I listened to podcasts and I envisioned it.
The perfect birth.
Unmedicated, without intervention, peaceful, calm and the way nature had intended it to be.
On July 5th, my 31st birthday, at 2pm, I began to experience contractions unlike ones I had felt before. I had a strong feeling these were no longer Braxton Hicks and that I may be getting a very special birthday gift, very soon.
I called my husband, told him not to panic but that it may be go time and that he should head home early from work. I knew being my first baby, this was going to take a while, but he was my main labour support and I wanted him there through the entire experience.
As I waited for hubby to come home, the contractions slowly became stronger and closer together, nothing I couldn’t handle at that point though.
Once he was home, he headed into the shower and me into the other bathroom. He was barely able to turn the water on before I screamed out … MY MUCUS PLUG IS OUT!!! This was the moment it all started to feel so darn real! Thank goodness for my husband who reminded me that now, more than ever, is the time I needed to be calm so I took a deep breath and called my midwives.
They informed us that I was in early labour and that I should do my best to eat and sleep through the night because it could be quite a while before babes arrives.
I was set on celebrating my birthday still and all I wanted was a big waffle with strawberries and whipped cream so hubby made it happen and I ate it in between contractions…lol!
The contractions became progressively stronger but I was able to breathe through them, use my ball, change positions, use the support of my husband and spend time in the shower and bath to get through them. I was beginning to worry slightly as I was only feeling them in my back, aggressively and intensely stronger with each one.
We tucked into bed for the evening and I did my best to sleep a little in between the contractions. In the morning, we called the midwives with an updated and they arrived to check me and see the progression of my labour.
Turns out, I was having back labour and that was the reasoning behind the intensity. My one midwife, who has had SIX of her own children, said that back was the worst type she’d experienced and she reminded me to stay strong and remember my breath through them. At this point, I was only two centimeters dilated and had been in labour for 21 hours so they decided to do a sweep and see if they could speed things along.
With the speed came the most intense contractions I had yet to feel! I spent the remainder of the afternoon in the shower and the bath, doing everything in my power to get through them naturally.
After an hour of contraction that brought me to the ground, hubby called the midwives and they came for another check. I was still only two centimeters but more effaced this time. I was heartbroken! The contractions were so intense at this point and so close together and I was only two, how was this possible?
The midwives told us about our options, things we could do to subside the pain if it became unbearable. One option was a gravol and morphine combo that was to be administered at the hospital. I decided I was not ready to cross that line yet and that I wanted to continue to labour at home and on my own.
They left, hubby and I carried on.
At this point, I was hanging on to him for support with each contraction and they were getting VERY close together, about 1:30-2minutes apart. I felt like I was reaching a breaking point and every position I tired made the back labour worse. After about five attempts, my very patient husband convinced me to go to the hospital and get the morphine.
Our bags were packed and in the car, we were on our way.
We would pop in, get the morphine and return home to continue labour.
The car ride was by far, the most intense experience I have had to date. No position was relieving the contractions, they were a minute apart and the bumps on the road combined with the bumps of driving a jeep were pretty close to unbearable.
Somehow, we made it to the hospital and to Triage where we met our midwives to proceed with the pain relief.
As part of protocol, they had to monitor baby’s heart rate and my contractions for 20 minutes before they could administer any medication. They did a quick check and realized I was only at 3 centimeters at this point but my contractions were 45 seconds apart and bringing me to the ground.
As the contractions became closer and stronger, baby’s heart rate began to show patterns of deceleration. Every time I saw that number go from 165 to 90 my heart felt like it was going to explode. Between the contractions and the worry for my little girl, I felt like I was having an out of body experience.
With the information the midwives had, morphine was no longer an option. They spoke to the Doctor on duty and decided I would be admitted right away and that I would get an epidural so I could get through the birth. At this point, we had been in natural labour for 30 hours.
We arrived in our labour room, within minutes the anesthesiologist came in and began to administer the needle. Seconds later, they had broken my water soon to learn no water had actually come out.
The OBGYN then walked into our room, stated that “she did not like what she saw and that baby had to come out NOW”
I remember trembling through my tears and knowing what was coming next.
When the words caesarean came out of her mouth, the little spirit I had left, broke.
She explained that this was for the safety of my baby, that it had to be done and that it was the only option at that point. There were too many signs and it was no longer worth the risk.
I was so hesitant and didn’t know what to think or who to trust. Thank God, my midwives were there with me, to explain and encourage me to make the decision best for my baby and me. My one midwife had worked with this Doctor for many years while she was a labour and delivery nurse and she told me how this was a very rare thing for this Doctor to order a c-section, that I could get the baby out naturally in about four hours but we didn’t have four hours, we had minutes.
At that point, it was no longer a question. I gave them my consent, they sent my husband out to the car to get my medical records and in fifteen minutes, we were in the OR room about to have the one thing I dreaded my entire pregnancy, a C section.
Everything happened so fast. I was never even admitted into the hospital. No bracelet, no forms. No time.
We came in for morphine, we planned on returning home.
I was now being wheeled into the operating room, begging them to make sure they didn’t begin before hubby was back.
After 30 hours of labour, the adrenaline was so strong through my body I couldn’t stop from shaking. All I can remember is having Marcus by my side while my arms trembled as I prayed for the health of our baby girl.
I was petrified, I was heartbroken, I was in shock.
The moment that first cough and cry came though, it all disappeared.
She was here!
She was healthy!
She was perfect!
Our little girl!
All my pain, all the fear, she took it away.
She came out bright and alert, lifted her head to look right at her daddy, her umbilical cord was left attached until it finished pulsating and then she was brought right to me for immediate skin to skin proceeding to latch and breast feed for 30 minutes in the recovery room.
The medical and midwifery team were beyond incredible, doing their best to provide us with love, support and comfort during this scary time. They did everything in their power to give us at least some of our birth plan hopes and to make this birth, as beautiful as any natural one could have been.
This entire time, I refused to even think about a C-section. It was not my plan and it was not my story. One thing I forgot to remind myself was that this was not up to me. My little girl had her own plan and her own path. The birth I had planned was not the safest route for her entry into this world so the plan changed.
Now that weeks have passed, my emotions have settled, my body is healing and my beautiful little girl sleeps peacefully next to me… I realize there are far more important things than the plan. That there is a story and a life that comes after the birth. The story of motherhood. The story that can truly have no plan and yet be perfectly beautiful each and every day.
I am thankful for my struggle as it has made me count my blessings over and over again, the best one yet, being my beautiful daughter.
Leila Avelynne Thome
Born July 6th, 8:42 pm, weighing 6lbs and 10 oz