65. That's How Many Hours of Labour this Mama Had! (Muskoka Birth Story Series)
Brea White shares her birth story.
Tears of joy had begun to stream down my face. I’ll never forget that moment.
When my husband had asked me what I wanted for my birthday last year, I said I wanted a baby. And he delivered. It was April 24, 2018 – a mere 15 days before my birthday – and he had just left the house to head to work for an overnight shift. While I was getting myself ready to head out for my own work shift later that night, I had planned to add something a little different to my routine. I nervously pulled out a pregnancy test, took it, and paced the bathroom for what felt like an eternity.
‘Pregnant 2-3’ weeks is what the test showed on the small digital screen. I was scared and overjoyed all at the same time. There was no way this was happening on our first official try, was it? I couldn’t believe it. We were going to be parents.
I pulled out my phone and told a few close girlfriends of mine about what had just transpired. I didn’t know how else to express my emotion other than crying while yelling, “I can’t believe it! Look, it’s positive!” I ended up taking a second test once I arrived at work that night, you know, just to be sure. And that was it. It was as simple as that.
I had a wonderful pregnancy, fortunately. I experienced very minimal nausea, though heartburn did get the best of me once my second trimester set in – but it wasn’t anything that a couple of Zantac pills couldn’t fix. But for now, let’s fast-forward to the end of those nine months and get to the good part.
It took 65 hours of labour for my son Jack to make his way into the world.
Sixty-five. That’s a lot of hours.
After five back and forth visits to the hospital, he arrived safely via C-Section on Dec. 30, 2018 at 1:48 p.m. – measuring in at a lengthy 22 inches.
Now I assure you, those 65 hours weren’t all sunshine and rainbows – and I have been very honest and upfront about my birthing experience. Back at our 18-week ultrasound we had been told that I had Placenta Previa – which, if the placenta decided not to move away from the birth canal by close to due date, would have resulted in a C-Section anyway. A few months later, however, we discovered everything had corrected itself and I was given the thumbs up to have a natural birth.
But, obviously, things didn’t go quite as we had expected.
After being admitted to hospital on December 29 – which, I’d like to give a huge shout out to the staff at Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital for all of their amazing care and support – we waited overnight for the dilation process to get going. I ended up being only one centimeter at that time, which maintained itself over the next day and a half or so despite all of my continued contractions.
By the morning of the 30th it looked like seven centimeters was about as far as this chick’s cervix was willing to go. No more, no less. The full 10 just wasn’t happenin’.
Side note: I just want to make it clear that the feeling of my water being broken was, at the very least, one of the creepiest feelings I’ve ever experienced – hands down. Can’t say I give that process a 10 out of 10 – and when the doctor comments “how much more water do you have in there?!” while you’re lying in bed, it doesn’t make it any more appealing. Yuck.
At some point during the me-not-dilating fiasco, the anesthesiologist had come in to give me my epidural. As I’m hunched over trying to get into the proper position with water still leaking from me like a faucet, she asks me what I do for a living and if I’m athletic. I’m thinking to myself, why? Why the heck are you asking me THAT? Apparently my ligaments were so tight that she was struggling to push the needle into my spine. If I recall correctly, I heard her say from behind me, “I’m actually breaking a sweat trying to get this into your back.”
But do you want to know the real kicker about that process? The epidural only ended up working on my right side. Go figure.
But soon after she had finished up and we realized the numbing just wasn’t working the way it should, Jack’s heart rate was dipping a little too low – and stayed that way for an extended period of time. After trying some other meds to help dilation, which put him into more fetal stress, the doc began to speak of a C-Section. Within 30 minutes, the decision had been made and I was wheeled into the operating room.
So off we went, at a fairly quick pace, without really having much time to think things over – we just wanted him here, safe and sound. But hey, the light at the end of the tunnel ended up being the spinal anesthetic they gave me for the operation. Five seconds into getting that bad boy, my entire lower half was numb and the memory of a failed epidural was long gone. Let’s get this party started!
Ten or so minutes later, my husband was let in and plopped himself down beside me to await the arrival of our first-born. We stayed focused on each other until I felt some of the more intense tugging down below, and within a split second, I knew he was out. We took a look to our right and there he was – there was our Jack. When that baby is put onto your chest and you look into their eyes for the first time, it is pure and utter bliss. After that, you could cue the crying and joyous moments that followed in our first few minutes as a family of three. Those are more of the intimate moments between us, so I’ll spare you that experience. It’s not something I could really put into words, anyway.
Whether I was able to give birth naturally or not, was not of any concern to me. I was perfectly content to have a C-Section. I simply wanted my son to arrive safe and healthy – because that’s all we could have ever asked for.
Jack is now almost one month old and we can’t imagine our lives without him. From the moment I read the pregnancy test result, to the first few sleepless nights with a newborn at home, I honestly wouldn’t trade it for anything else in the world.
Being a mom rocks – and I can’t wait to spend the next 11 months of my remaining maternity leave watching him learn and grow.