The weekend before Summer was born was by far the most calm, relaxing time we’ve had for the past two and a half years. Kent’s parents had Casey at their house in Toronto and we just puttered around our quiet house, reading books, running errands, making up errands to run when there weren’t any left to run, cooking, cleaning the house (I will never again in my life be so caught up on laundry), taking walks, going on date nights every night just because we could. We missed our little guy like crazy but it was definitely a sweet (and much needed) few days.
But the most important thing I did that weekend (or so it seemed) was obsessively time my contractions and obsessively Google labour symptoms. I spent an entire movie at the theatre sure that this was it. Not so much.
As we got closer to my induction date on Tuesday I had to resign myself to the fact that this baby was most likely going to have to be forced out. I pretty much saw it coming all along – I never got really big (proven by the fact that my ten day late baby turned out to be under seven pounds), and my two sisters were induced with their most recent babies (not sure if these things are hereditary, but that was my reasoning regardless.) I love the fact that you never really know when you are going to go into labour. It’s so exciting, and I missed out on that with Casey and his scheduled c-section. I hated to miss out on it again, but by Tuesday I was just so excited and ready to meet the baby that it hardly seemed to matter anymore.
At 8:30am on Tuesday morning we got the call from the hospital – “Eat breakfast, take a shower, and come on in!” I was so grateful that the call came so early, considering that if the hospital ended up being really busy then there was a chance we may not be called until the next day. I was also grateful that they were giving me time to shower and eat, since I wasn’t even out of bed yet. I went downstairs to see Kent who was making pancakes and talking to his parents and Casey on the phone and told him the exciting news.
We arrived at the hospital at 10:00 and were in our delivery room by 10:30. I was happy and surprised to see that we would have one nurse in our room looking after us for her entire shift – until seven that evening – a young, blonde girl who was super friendly and I pretty much felt like she could be one of my sisters. We hung out in the room, met the doctors, and chatted with the nurse for awhile. The wait was getting longer and longer, and we were told that there were a few emergencies that the doctors had to attend to. I was super nervous about having my water broken so I didn’t really mind the wait.
At 2:15 the doctor came in to break my water. I was still only 2cm dilated, same as I was the week before and it took what felt like forever for my water to break. I hated every second of it! The fact that it took so long made me think that this baby would never have come on it’s own. We walked around the hospital for one horrible hour, me wearing that ugly gown, leaking water, dying through contractions and feeling as though everyone was staring at me (let’s face it, they probably were.) and then headed back to the delivery room. My contractions weren’t very close together yet and I was still only 2cm dilated, so we started oxytocin. I was disappointed to learn that I’d have to be hooked up to the fetal monitor the whole time because of having a prior c-section, and wouldn’t be able to use the bath (Kent was just as disappointed as me at not getting to use the bath.) I sat on the birthing ball and contractions became closer together and stronger.
With an induction, the nurses told me that labour is typically 12-18 hours and that oxytocin makes contractions much worse. I had no desire to be in such pain for that long while barely being able to move, and had always planned to have an epidural. Our nurse told us that it typically takes an hour for the anesthesiologist to arrive, but he arrived right away. He was crazy – Kent and I agreed later that it seemed like he thought he was playing the part in a movie about an anesthesiologist, if that makes any sense. He took us through the risks involved, then had me stand up and immediately there were beeping noises and tons of people (or so it seemed) rushed in frantically. The baby’s heartbeat had dropped and it was terrifying. The doctors confirmed that everything was okay, and I got the epidural at about 6:00pm. I was pretty much over being hooked up to everything in the planet by this point (including a catheter by now, blah) and could see why people opted for home births (well, except for the pain part. That epidural was pretty awesome.) This felt like the least natural thing in the world and I just wanted it to be over and to meet my baby, but knew that could be a long wait.
Soon after, I started to feel nauseous and started throwing up, and the baby’s heart rate dropped again. The doctors rushed in again (they are quick!) I was checked and the doctor said, “Do you know why the heart rate dropped? It’s because you’re fully dilated!” I was so relieved that it was happening so fast and that we’d get to meet my baby today and not tomorrow like the nurse was predicting. My epidural wasn’t kicking in the way it should have been – they gave me a low dosage in the first place since I was “high risk,” and soon it completely stopped working on my left side. So frustrating! Kent was really good at helping me through the contractions and just being right there for me.
Soon it was time to start pushing! At this point it actually helped that I could still feel the contractions because I knew exactly when to start and stop. Even though I did not particularly enjoy most of my labour, pushing the baby out is for sure one of my favourite memories of my life. The doctors and nurse seemed so excited because the baby was coming so fast. “I can see your baby’s head!” the doctor said after a couple of minutes. That was the most amazing thing to hear. He asked, “Do you want to look in a mirror?” and I said no. In hindsight I’m not sure if I regret that or not! I was getting so excited, Kent was so excited, and after ten minutes, at 9:53pm, out she came!
Throughout my pregnancy, Kent and I had both been sure our baby was a girl. At work, no one would even discuss the possibility that it may be a boy (if I talked about boys names they would stare blankly at me then change the topic back to girls names.) Random people on the street would tell me I was having a girl. The night before Summer’s birth, we were out for ice cream and a lady told us she had never been wrong and that we were having a girl. At the hospital, our nurse got tired of saying “he or she” and told us that she was just going to say “she” from now on. A week after Summer was born we got a girl-themed card from his aunt who we hadn’t seen in months and months and on the inside she wrote that she’d picked out the card before Summer was born. Kent was so certain that befpre I was in labour he took the blue hat off of the bed where the baby would be checked and weighed after it was born. I put it back when I realized that the bed was heated and was keeping the hats warm… just in case!
So when Kent announced to me, “It’s a girl!” it just felt perfect. The next couple of weeks would be filled with ups and downs but those moments after her birth were so wonderful – I couldn’t stop cry-laughing. I couldn’t hold her right after she was born because the doctors had previously seen that there was meconium in the waters so she had to be taken to be checked and cleaned right away. Her cord was also around her neck when she was born, which could have explained why her heart rate had dropped a couple times. Scary, but thank goodness it wasn’t an issue. I loved watching Kent walk around the room with Summer and watched him with her for awhile before I held her myself. When he gave her to me I was amazed that she immediately stopped crying when I held her. My daughter! Casey and I have such a strong bond (I’ve always felt like there couldn’t be a more perfect little boy for me than him) and I couldn’t wait to find out what it would be like to raise a little girl too.