Who doesn’t love a good birth story?! Or in my case, two long ones which may end up to be too long.
I thought I’d write a few posts before posting about the two babies I’ve had.
A friend of mine said “you absolutely need to talk about the two experiences” because they could not have been more different from each other.
Warning all readers though this is very long and descriptive.
Warning all readers though this is very long and descriptive.
First let me introduce my babies to you all:
Caterina Laken – September 14, 2014
Adriana Christina – March 31, 2017
And here they are today!
Caterina – 3 Years Old
Caterina was born at 1:24 pm after 5 hours of “real” labour and 4 hours of building up to labour which started around 2 am.
For Caterina, I decided to use an OB/GYN in Oakville, Ontario who I had previously met for treatment about 3 years prior.
I already had a love/hate relationship with her from this prior experience.
One minute she was lovely; totally relatable and endearing but then she would flip a switch and basically act like a know it all meanie who would blatantly tell her patients to do what she said and don’t ask any questions.
Oh and she was always like an hour late for my appointments….pet peeve of mine.
Even though I felt uneasy around her, I also felt like I had to stick with her because she was one of the “best” OB/GYN’s in my area and if I left her, there was still a good possibility she would end up delivering the baby anyway because that’s how it works.
Whomever is on duty when you deliver attends to your birth and so I thought it would be horrible if I ditched her and she ended up there anyway.
Speaking of late, my first pregnancy ran 1 week, 4 days past due and it was absolute misery.
I was huge after gaining almost 50 lbs, it was hot and I just felt awful but nothing was happening.
The day of September 13th, this overwhelming feeling to organize every little thing in my house like folding every pillowcase perfectly in my linen closet, washed over me so intensely that I couldn’t even sleep that night.
I literally stayed up until 12 am washing and folding things until finally I laid down couch with my husband who was binge watching something.
Just a few minutes later, I felt something…something was happening but it was happening a little too quickly in my opinion.
I had been warned by my mother who had 3 experiences with what is called “Precipitous Labour” – essentially meaning your labour is too fast.
- your contractions are fast and furious with hardly any breaks,
- you are more likely to experience a Birth Injury and worst –
- it can result in fetal demise if not properly treated.
- You are more likely to experience this type of labour and delivery if your mother did as well.
DR: “No big deal! See, an epidural slows this down if it happens and we can control it better. I wouldn’t worry!”
ME: “Ok great! I want an epidural anyway….”
My mother never had an epidural for my brothers and I so all of this made perfect sense to me.
When my contractions started they were every 15 minutes or so which was normal according to my “What to Expect” App and so I relaxed because I wasn’t able to sleep from excitement and nerves.
At about 8 am, we headed to the hospital because contractions were now 10 minutes apart but sometimes 3 minutes and I just wanted to go.
When we got to the hospital which was 40 minutes away, the nurses looked at me like I had committed a mortal sin:
NURSES x 3 in unison: “you were supposed to call us BEFORE coming in!”
ME: “OMG so sorry, no one ever told me to call first.” I said. “
NURSES: “They tell you at your appointments and your hospital tour. Did you not do your hospital tour?”
- Didn’t think it was necessary considering I was born there along with my 2 brothers, so had a familiarity of the place.
- I went to the maternity ward for a 2 day stay for a kidney infection 2 months prior….NOT ONE PERSONtold me I had to call first.
Although I had been checked and confirmed as being “In Labour,” the nurses started talking about how making room for me would be difficult as they had hardly any.
I would have to wait a while even though I was 3 CM dilated and having pretty intense contractions often.
I was sent away for a “walk” of no less than an “hour” while they made “room” for me…I felt like I was waiting to pick up a new car from a dealership or something.
The only thing saving me from a total emotional breakdown was knowing I was finally going to have this baby and it would all be better once she arrived. Or so I thought.
We left and ate breakfast all while I was clutching the table every 5 minutes or so and everyone eating at the Sunnyside Grill was watching me, probably wondering if I was going to have my baby right there while they ate their eggs.
Some guy even paid our bill!
We had left the hospital for about 2 hours because I’d rather be out and about, not so focused on the pain.
They were ready for me when I arrived back at the hospital and right away, things got moving. It was now 10:30 am and I was in the bed, ready to go with this epidural because the pain was becoming a bit of a burden.
It was nothing like I had ever felt before and no one had told me what it really felt like which I think we can all agree: it feels like you have to take the “biggest you knowwhat of your life.”
About 50 minutes after settling in, I was checked again and was now 4 dilated.
The epidural was put in and I didn’t find that part to be that bad actually.
Instantly I had a warm feeling all over my body and the cramping feeling was gone.
Contractions came and went for 30 minutes, didn’t feel a thing.
BUT then they told me they were putting a catheter in. What the? No one told me this! I felt woefully unprepared for this birth.
For some reason THAT HURT. I don’t know why but I felt every second of that and it didn’t leave my mind what was down there so all I could think about was that.
Then the OB/GYN on duty came in and broke my water which surprisingly didn’t hurt, it actually felt like a huge relief of pressure.
That thought of relief is actually funny to me looking back now because if I had known what breaking my water would do to my labour – I may have declined.
The epidural was a huge relief no doubt and it did slow things down for about an hour.
In the hour in between having an epidural and Catheter put in, not much happened. After that hour, my water was broken with a needle hook and
I went from 3cm to 9cm dilated. A huge transition for 2 hours total.
Rather than checking my progress, THE NURSE TURNED UP THE EPIDURAL!
“There is no way You would be ready yet.” – Nurse
This did nothing but completely numb my legs. The nurses couldn’t understand why I was acting crazy; gripping the side of my bed and screaming;
I need to go to the bathroom really bad!!”
Finally, she (one of the attending nurses) checked me and looked at each other with bewilderment.
“Call the Dr now! The BABY is coming now!”
It was now around 12:30 pm. Now this is where things get a little irritating for me because that baby should have just fallen out but because I was laying on my back, pushing took 40 minutes which were the longest of my life.
I know they said I’d feel pressure but I was acting and feeling like I hadn’t had an epidural at all.
It was so bad at one point my husband started to cry because he was scared. I kept trying to sit up and they would push me right back down.
Oh “The Ring of Fire…” it is VERY REAL and I felt every second of it, not knowing what to do, I panicked. I swore, I screamed, until FINALLY she just popped out and it was over.
I finally had my 8lb baby girl on my chest, screaming her lungs out but then all these people started rushing in and they took her from me.
We had no idea what was going on other than being told she wasn’t breathing right from all of the fluid she swallowed but she would be ok.
My husband went with her while they gave me a “just in case” stitch (I was almost unscathed)
I was then left to wait there alone until my mom came in. For an hour I didn’t really know what to do and it just felt wrong.
Everything happened so fast and I was in this fog. Caterina was in the Special Nursery and doing fine but I was not.
I felt completely disconnected from every thing and every one even though by now we had all of our immediate family at the hospital.
I had the nurse slap a note on my door saying “No Visitors Please – Moms request.” I just wanted to sleep – they knew where the baby was.
Anyway after a few hours, I was finally ready to go see my baby. She was beautiful, swollen and overcooked as the skin on her heels was rubbing off.
It was now 9:30 pm and I finally held her but wondered why she wasn’t with me?
This can’t be good for her, no?
I was assured she would be with me soon, they were just concerned because she had thrown up some of the fluid she had swallowed and it was a concern for sleep safety or something.
They told me to go back to bed and rest – I would need it. So I did.
I was awoken at Midnight to a nurse telling me to get up and call my husband; they were sending Caterina via ambulance Sick Kids in Downtown Toronto.
(amazing hospital by the way)
She had thrown up bile so she could have a blockage or a twisted intestine….all horrible awful shit. They told me to stay but that wasn’t happening.
Less than 12 hours after giving birth, my husband and I drove at 1 am to Sick Kids hospital while following our daughter in an ambulance because they don’t even let you go with your baby.
By now my epidural had completely worn off and it was a feeling like no other like I had been ripped in half and put back together. I was exhausted and just wanted to sleep but felt like I had to push myself up and awake for Caterina.
By now I had barely slept 5 hours in what was now a 24 hour time period from when I had woken up on September 13th because I didn’t sleep then night of the 14th. It was awful for the both of us actually because my husband hadn’t slept at all.
We got there but couldn’t go up and see her for another hour because they had to check her in and run tests etc.
She was breathing absolutely normal and was not throwing up any more so I was beginning to feel angry about this situation like it has all been blown up.
Like what about all that epidural the nurses had given me? Could that have caused this? My mind was racing and I was a puddle; an anxious, angry puddle.
I slept in the Breastfeeding room on a chair for two hours until the sun rose.
I remember vividly thinking; “I am a Mother now: get out of bed!”
Finally after a day of tests, Sick Kids said she was fine and didn’t need to be there any more but it was now 9 pm on the 15th so she would go home the next day. I’m thinking great, we get to come get her in the morning and take her home.
She hadn’t even eaten yet and was starting to get a little antsy for food and comfort so we just focused on that and it went wonderfully.
I finally felt like a real mother, holding her in the picture I posted of me holding her on here.
Then they dropped a bomb telling us she would have to go back to Oakville via ambulance the next day and she would be released from there after meeting with the lactation consultant and having a nurse show us how to bathe her with the umbilical cord attached.
“What the hell is going to happen Next?” was all I could think because I thought we could just go home.
Her ambulance the next day was delayed because of another emergency at the Oakville hospital so she didn’t end up back there until 10 PM. YES…..PM.
BY now she had figured out who I was and what I had to offer her which was food, comfort and that familiar voice she had heard for 10 months.
MY husband and I were becoming angry now as we just wanted to take our baby home.
She finally did come home on September 17th; with red, bloodshot eyes from her crazy birth being her only real ailment.
At least we knew we had a healthy baby because she literally had every test under the sun done and I have a three page sheet to prove it!
Here are some pictures from that lovely experience:
If you want to see a thousand more of her, follow my IG: @mommythebanker
Ready to go at 41 weeks, 2 days. Labour started a day after this picture was taken.
Adriana Christina – 6 Months Old
Both of my pregnancies were pretty much uneventful aside from horrible sickness in the first months lasting 10 weeks with Caterina and 13 weeks with Adriana.
I knew what to expect the second time around but I also knew I did not want the same experience at a hospital setting with a OB/GYN for the birth of my second baby.
When I started telling family, friends and coworkers about my horrible experience and how I was determined to have a home birth and a midwife attending, every one including my husband looked at me like I was crazy.
No one believed I would go through with it but my experience with Caterina’s birth lit a fire inside of me and I was determined to do it this way.
Having a Midwife isn’t as easy one would think; there is very limited space and I only got my spot because one became “available” which I think we all know what that means.
I had called them at 6 weeks pregnant and still ended up on the wait list but finally got my spot by 8 weeks.
I highly recommend calling the second you find out you are pregnant otherwise you may not find one.
The first pregnancy I raced to my family doctor whereas this one I went online to Access Midwives in Stoney Creek, Ontario, filled out the online form and waited. If I didn’t end up with a Midwife from somewhere, I probably would have paid privately for one.
Thankfully that didn’t happen.
Midwives and OB/GYNs are not synonymous with each other. They each offer a totally different experience and a Midwifery practice often assigns a team of 3 to your care so any one of those three could end up delivering your baby. All three meet with you throughout your pregnancy and communicate with each other about you.
Read more about Ontario Midwives and their standard of care, experience and education.
By 36 weeks, I was already pretty big and the baby was doing really well but I was stressed the F out and everyone was concerned.
My husband had to go to Montreal for three days and I was left with our daughter which was totally fine but had my mom up in arms with worry because if I went into labour, he wouldn’t make it considering my fast labour history.
Our last day together before she became a big sister – March30/17
I was the perfect candidate for a home birth despite Caterina coming so quickly as I am not high risk.
We had done the seminars on Home Birth, I watched some YouTube videos and of course The Business of Being Born.
On March 28-30, while my husband was away, the familiar “nesting” feeling (craziness) came over me and my Mother in Law watched Caterina as I furiously cleaned every inch of my house.
I had my 36 week appointment on March 30th and I received my Home Birth bag of supplies which included EVERYTHING a Level 1 Maternity and Delivery unit of a hospital has:
Oxygen for baby
vitamin K for baby to receive after birth for blood clotting
Gauze and pads
Antibiotics and Anti Hemorrhage meds
Just everything you need including the underwear you get at the hospital
Finally after a few delays, my husband got home very late on March 30th and he was surprised to see how immaculate our house was!
I woke up the morning of March 31 feeling just different. The baby felt really low like she was going to fall out and when I drove Caterina to daycare that morning, I swore I was having contractions.
Little did I know I was in actual pre-labour until 6 pm rolled around and I started to have contractions every 3 minutes or so, lasting exactly 30 seconds.
My trusty app said “GO TO HOSPITAL!” So after having a little wait and see direction from my Midwife, we decided to go to the hospital which I unfortunately had to do because a Midwife will only attend a home birth after 37 weeks.
My mother arrived at 7 pm, my daughter was sensing something and flipped out while my husband fumbled with the car seat. We had nothing ready other than her crib set up because there was supposed to be at least 2 weeks left….
I didn’t have a bag packed either because you don’t need one if you are having a home birth!
That was stupid of me – you should always pack a bag in case.
There was no doubt in my mind as we drove to the hospital to meet my Midwife there: this baby was coming and she was coming soon.
We got to the hospital at 7:45 pm, got checked in and hooked up on the monitors. I was already 4 cm dilated and in full blown labour.
The baby was facing the wrong way
My Midwife said this was my last opportunity to have an epidural but I chose to stand for contractions and lean over the bed with a hot water bottle.
There was no chance to have an epidural if it was even possible considering how quick all of this was going but this time I had a plan to stick with:
NoFor interventions like breaking my water or administering pitocin (not like I needed this any way)
No IVs, epidural or meds including antibiotics (didn’t get the last one tho due to risk of Strep B on preemies) and No Catheter
I can sit, stand, walk, etc. During labour or pushing
I basically wanted a non-medical birth in a hospital setting and let nature take its course.
It totally did – within an hour. From 4 cm dilated at 8:15 pm to holding Adriana at 9:24 pm.
The contractions didn’t stop coming as I never really had those “transitions” they talk about.
Granted, there were a few breaks lasting a minute but it was just the worst pain of life I don’t lie.
It is literally like shitting out a brick…
It was absolutely insane; on all fours completely immersed into the process, the pain. I don’t remember my Midwife messing up the Antibiotics IV because of the contractions intensity which resulted in a full arm bruise.
Totally blinded by the pain; all you can do is push through it and I swore I felt her hit every mark in my spine and tailbone.
The reason it felt this way was her position which you can read more about:
READ: “Sunny Side up” Anterior and Posterior Babies and how this position leads to back labour.
Finally my own strength from pushing broke my water and she literally fell out with every thing else. It was the biggest rush and then high of my life and she was still a good 6lbs exactly for being born 4 weeks early.
“Aren’t babies so beautiful when they are first born?” 🙂
That was it, the pain was over and I had this burst of energy which would come in handy for her 17 day hospital stay which I’ll save for another post.
Once again and this time much worse, the quickness of it all plus her Prematurity resulted in her having a condition called TTN which is what people called “wet lung” long ago.
When women labour normally throughout hours, contractions allow the fluid to be pushed out of their lungs as you push.
- Caterina; this happened becauseshe still came fast but also had way too much epidural in her. She recovered within a day.
- Adriana got the worst of it because she literally flew out with my water breaking and never experienced a real push. She had to have a CPAP: continuous positive airway pressure for several days.
As I am not the only one to experience the repercussions of a precipitous-labour as it goes way back but without treatment, babies did die so thankful for the treatment she received.
You may be thinking: “weren’t both your births fucked up?”
ME: NO. Caterina’s by far takes the cake on a horrible experience for me personally.
I can tell the story with so much emotion in person but no words can describe the fear and bitterness I felt. It resulted in mild Post-Partum depression for months.
With Adriana, I had full control from start to finish. Not just the birth but also in my pre-natal care.
You do NOT win a medal for giving birth naturally and I support any decisions women make for themselves.
It was my traumatic first experience I had to replace with an amazing second one – a self- fulfilling prophecy.
Our pretty little baby girl:
If you have ANY confidential questions to ask me: email me or IG @mommythebanker