Our baby girl is turning 2 this week and I honestly don’t understand where the time has gone. Every parent before us had the same warning that time somehow speeds up when you have children and they weren’t lying. I felt like the first year of her life flew by, but truthfully this year went even faster. She’s a little girl now, not a baby anymore…even though in my eyes she will always be my baby. She’s talking up a storm and becoming her own independent little person. Asking for things that she needs or wants and protesting when she can’t have chocolate all day every day. There are so many things she says that I want to remember and capture somehow. I have a daily journal that I write down what she’s doing and I’m so grateful to my dear friend Vicky who gifted us this journal when Mckenna was just a few months old. I look back at the dates and can’t believe this time last year she was just saying a few words and now she’s a full blown chatty toddler!
Nearly two years ago I had written down in the notes section of my IPhone my birth story. Or more accurately our birth story. I don’t have the best memory and I knew I wanted to remember all the details as they had just happened. So the first few days after her birth I wrote everything out on my phone while she was breastfeeding. I have yet to take those notes and put them to paper. Here I am today just before her second birthday reliving and writing out our story. Mckenna, I hope one day you stumble on this blog and read your story. I hope you see how much love was surrounding you before you even took your first breath. The anticipation of your arrival and how your Dad and I could not wait to meet you. We were blessed to become pregnant on our first month of trying, and we joked that you had waited years and years for us to get together, to date, to marry and to finally decide that yes we did want to start a family! You were so ready to be here you didn’t even wait a month to plant yourself firmly in my womb. And then fast forward to your birth, I was 37 weeks and 4 days pregnant. At 37 weeks you are considered full term. I thought I had 3 weeks to go as most first time moms have babies’ days after their due date. Mckenna, you once again showed us you were beyond ready to be here and get the party started! I hope you enjoy reading the story of how you came into this world.
April 23rd 2018 – 37 weeks and 3 days
It was about 9am and I was still in bed getting a late start on my day. It was my first day of my 3 weeks of vacation I had booked. Friday was my last day of work and this was Monday morning. I finally rolled over to get up and get ready and when I did it felt like I peed on the bed. I thought it was weird but so many things in pregnancy are weird that I really didn’t give it much thought. After getting ready I was sitting on the couch in the living room and at 10:45am I got up and I peed again. I told Chauncey and he thought I should call my Midwife. I called and she told me I should come in to get checked. At this point I didn’t think much of it and neither did Chauncey.
At 12pm I left for the Midwife and Chauncey had an appointment in London so he left to head there while I went the opposite direction to Hamilton. At 12:30 after getting checked, my Midwife confirmed it was an amniotic fluid leak (water breaking). I became pretty scared, I was not expecting to go into labour so early. My midwife checked the baby and said that the heartbeat was strong at 150 beats per minute and everything looked ok. She said I needed to go to labour and delivery at the hospital (St. Joes’s in Hamilton) to see an OB and determine what should be done. I called Chauncey and told him he needed to head back to Hamilton. I wasn’t sure if I would be admitted or if I would be delivering that day so he had to go home to get Hunter, drop him at my parents and have my Dad drive him to the hospital so we wouldn’t have 2 cars there. He has his own crazy story to tell and how fast he was driving down the 401! I’d love to hear his side of the birth story one day. I’m going to ask him to write it down.
At 1:30pm I was in the hospital in the labour and delivery area and they hooked me up to a monitor. I spoke to a medical student and she said the OB was in a C-section delivery and it would be a while. While I was on the monitor I felt light cramping and then full on leaking off and on. I soaked my pants and ended up having to wear a gown. This part was scary for me as I was alone in this room waiting and the nurses were not checking on me very often, as there wasn’t really anything to report. I called my Mom and my sister and told them what was going on. I spoke to a couple girlfriends and I text a few people as well. Everyone was on standby to see what would happen.
At 3:45pm the head resident (a nice woman named Val) finally came in and she did a vaginal check which really hurt. At this point she said I was 3cm dilated and she also checked the fibroid they had been worried about during my pregnancy and said it should be alright and that she thought it would move during the birth. She also said I was backed up (aka full of poop) which I knew already! She said the baby’s head was engaged and my cervix was shortening. I was pretty shocked that basically she was saying the baby was coming. She said that if I didn’t go into labour naturally by tomorrow morning they would be inducing me. I really didn’t want to be induced as I knew it could be harder as the contractions come on so strong. They had to get the baby out within 24 hours after your water breaks as they have a fear of infection. Chauncey arrived with all our bags in tow just as she was finishing up and said that we could go home.
At 4:30pm we were on route home with instructions to come back to the labour and delivery ward at 7am to be induced. We stopped to grab some Indian food (spicy food should help right?) and also to get some RestorLax to try to clear me out before birthing! I know it might be TMI for some, but this is childbirth people!
We got home had a nice dinner and just talked about what tomorrow would look like. Chauncey also went to the store and bought me some Depends as I was legit “peeing” nonstop, my water was leaking. Now that’s a good man going to the store to buy some adult diapers for his wife. At 8pm we decided to go for a walk around the block trying to get things moving. It was fairly warm but a bit rainy. We made it all the way around the block and nothing was happening yet.
We got ready for bed and I had been texting with my girlfriends off and on that night. Now here’s where it gets a bit personal, but hey if it helps someone then that’s good! One of my girlfriends midwives had told her that something that helps get contractions going is “nipple stimulation” she did it (well her husband did it) during her labour and it worked. So we thought what the hell let’s try it! At 10:45pm Chauncey literally touched my nipple for less than a minute and boom contractions started! He jokes that he was hoping it would take a bit longer but I was happy! We both went to bed and I tried my best to sleep in-between contractions. At this point they were 20 minutes apart. By 1am they were 10 minutes apart and getting stronger but I was able to breathe through them as Chauncey slept peacefully beside me. I wanted to elbow him in the face, but I let him sleep. At 4am they were anywhere from 5-10 minutes apart and very strong, I woke Chauncey at this point and said we needed to get going. I started throwing up and that really sucked as it was hard to catch my breath while hunched over the toilet. Not fun at all at this point!
April 24th 2018, 37 weeks 4 days
We called the Midwife at 5am and said we were heading to the hospital and we would be there just before 6am. I listened to my hypno-birthing the entire way to the hospital and the 45 minute drive honestly wasn’t too bad. The walk from the car to the labour and delivery ward though was hard and I was having a difficult time with the contractions. Our midwife had said she would let the labour and delivery ward know we were on route. I don’t know what happened but when we arrived the nurse (who wasn’t overly friendly) said she hadn’t heard from our Midwife and so I replied (not overly friendly) “Well I’m here now!!!” They put me in a windowless room and our Midwife Christine arrived a few minutes later and had us moved to a bigger much nicer room with a huge window and a bathroom.
Christine checked me and I was 5cm dilated. I was still throwing up and that was making it all much worse as I wasn’t able to get my breathing under control. My plan was always to have an epidural and so I was asking how quickly they could get there. This was just after 6am and working in the OR as a medical sales rep, I know that surgery doesn’t start until closer to 7-8am and even if they did page the Anesthesiologist he/she wasn’t likely to rush to the hospital considering they were so close to the OR start time. We also had a Midwife student named Erika and she was so helpful! She was by our side the whole time, rubbing my back and trying to keep me calm. Chauncey was holding the barf pail for me. It was quite the scene. The pain was getting worse and I was so scared I wouldn’t get the epidural in time. The contractions were 2-3 minutes apart and very strong.
Finally at 7:45am the Anesthesiologist arrived and I apparently said “Is my friend here? Is my friend here?” I was a bit delirious at this point but I knew this guy was my savior from the pain. He was so young with a baby face, he could have been a medical student and I didn’t’ even care, I was like stick that needle in my spine please! He did a great job and the epidural started to work in less than 15 minutes and I was a new woman. From 8:30-11am we were left to nap and relax. Everything seemed to slow down and I could catch my breath and take in what was happening. I know not everyone wants an epidural but my advice to you is if you have time, GET THE EPIDURAL!!!!
At 11am Christine came in to check me and I was 10cm. Just like that it was time to push. I could not believe that it was time to push already. Once the Midwives had everything set up I started pushing around 11:30am I was able to feel the contractions somewhat even with the epidural. With this being my first birthing experience I kept asking over and over if I was doing it right. Christine did reassure me I was doing a good job, but it felt like I was making no progress. Chauncey and Erika were holding my legs while Christine was watching the baby. Around 1:30pm another Midwife who was pregnant (named Hanna) came in to help with the delivery. I pushed until close to 2pm when finally I could tell by the Midwives faces that we needed back up. At St. Joe’s the Midwives and the OB’s work very closely together and they decided I needed to be switched to an OB to have a vacuum or possible C-Section. I was so upset. I did all this work and nearly 3 hours of pushing and now I was going to have a C-section?!
A little back story…at my first ultrasound they discovered a small fibroid that they showed some concern over. The fibroid continued to grow with the pregnancy and got to a fairly large size (10cm) and I was referred to an OB. The OB was great and talked me through everything but overall she thought I should be ok to continue my care with the Midwives, seeing as I was doing a hospital birth. In the event of an emergency my care would have been transferred to an OB anyways. Chauncey and I both really liked Dr. Chamberlain’s direct style and really hoped that if we did have to be switched to an OB by some miracle we could get her. There is a rotation at this hospital and you basically have a 10% chance of actually getting your OB, this was one of the reasons we wanted a Midwife.
So as luck would have it, when Christine paged the on call OB, in walks the resident (Val) who checked me the day before and Dr. Chamberlain! I was so relieved to see her. She checked me and said that the baby was no longer in a good position from all the pushing and that she had to re-position. Yes like reach both her hands up there and turn the baby. Honestly with the epidural it still killed!!! Without it, I likely would have passed out. She said that she thought that I needed the vacuum and I was honestly so scared. I hadn’t really planned for this, but my best friend had just experienced this a few months prior so I know that it wouldn’t be pain free. I actually had to sign paperwork in between contractions to give them permission to use a vacuum, including all the risks to the baby. I remember looking at Dr. Chamberlain and saying is it safe and what would you do? She advised I agree to the vacuum or it would be a C-section. I trusted her and I knew she was giving us the best advice, so I signed the documents.
Dr. Chamberlain had me push for a count of 10, and she was very loud and strict! It was actually exactly what I needed. She wasn’t being overly nice, she was somewhat yelling over the noise telling me to push harder! They rolled in the vacuum and I started to panic, all of a sudden the room didn’t have just 2 midwives and a midwife student; it now had Dr. Chamberlain, her resident, a medical student, and 2-3 nurses. It was chaotic and I was really scared. I remember a new nurse came in and said “Hi I’m Kelly and we are going to have a baby soon”, in my fog and panic I remember saying “Well I sure hope so Kelly!” It helped to break the tension as everyone laughed. Chauncey could see the panic in my eyes and I remember him telling me to look at him and not to look at the massive machine (aka the vacuum) that they just rolled in. He said to focus on him and keep breathing deep. He was holding my hand on the left and my midwife Christine was on my other side with Erika right behind her.
The vacuum really hurt and I remember thinking how the hell people do this without an epidural! I kept saying that my epidural wasn’t working, but that wasn’t the case. Dr. Chamberlain said I would feel it. I remember at this point now Dr. Chamberlain could see my fear and she said to look right at her, right in her eyes and to focus only on her at this point as I really needed to push the baby out. She was counting to 10 for my pushes and I think I only pushed maybe 3 times with her using the vacuum to help. Honestly, she was my saving grace at this point and I am forever grateful for her direct no bullshit style.
We had decided and let everyone know that if things went smoothly we would like Chauncey to announce the sex of the baby. Finally on the third push Dr. Chamberlain said look down and I saw her pull out our baby. She placed the baby on my chest and I was in shock. Chauncey was bawling and he was looking for as he says “the twig and berries”! We both thought without a doubt we were having a boy. Dr. Chamberlain was telling him to say what the baby was! And finally he said “It’s a girl!” I couldn’t believe it! At 2:53pm Mckenna entered this world, all 6lbs 5 oz of you. Our tiny little peanut.
Our daughter was cleaned up and weighed while Dr. Chamberlain and her resident Val helped deliver the placenta. They said they had to put a stich in, and I was quizzing them about what sutures they were going to use! My days as a suture rep at J&J were coming in handy in the birthing room!
When everything had calmed down and Chauncey was holding Mckenna they all left the room to give us a while to bond. I was holding Mckenna and within 20 minutes after birth it seemed like she wanted to nurse. Erika came in to help me with that, but honestly Mckenna just knew what she was doing. She was so content, she didn’t cry and was just happy to be there. It’s so funny thinking back now on those first few moments with her. She’s exactly the same today. She was always an easy and happy baby and she continues to be an easy going and happy toddler. It seems who she was at birth is who she continues to be.
Within about an hour we were wheeled into our private room (thankfully we got a private room!) We were then left in that room alone! We honestly didn’t know what to do. We looked at each other and thought can we hold her? Should she stay in that clear plastic tub thing? Finally Chauncey picked her up and we just couldn’t believe she was ours and that we were parents. It was a whirlwind and then all of a sudden time stops and here you are in a hospital room alone and in charge on this new human!
So Mckenna there you have it! The day you were born is and always will be one of the best days of my entire life. You are the greatest gift I have ever been given. I always said I never wanted children. I didn’t want to “give up my freedom” and here I am saying I wouldn’t just give up my freedom for you, I’d give up my life. You are the greatest decision I ever made. I was so fearful of being a mother, and it’s the best experience of my life. Watching you grow and seeing who you become, there is nothing to describe the joy I feel. You are a light. Your personality shines through every day. I don’t know how much personality fits into such a tiny body! You are funny, you love you to joke and play tricks on us. You are a social butterfly always waving to strangers. You are not shy! You laugh and giggle a lot. Your smile and big blue eyes light up a room. One of my favourite qualities you have is how kind you are. You want to help others, you are sweet and thoughtful and you are only 2 years old! I can’t wait to continue to watch who you become.
Happy 2nd Birthday baby girl. I love you.