Angelina's Birth Story
I found out I was pregnant at the end of August 2002. My husband and I had only been married three months and were living in a tiny apartment. We soon got used to the idea and couldn’t wait for our first child to arrive. We bought a house that we rennovated just a few months before our bundle of joy was to arrive. I had a great pregnancy, and never felt healthier.
My due date of May 11 came and went and I began to get pretty serious about having this baby. I walked a lot, I ate spicy foods; I did everything to try to start my labor. Around 4:00 a.m. on May 15, I woke up to go to the bathroom and when I looked into the toilet bowl, the water appeared a little cloudy, but I didn’t think too much about it. I went back to bed, and decided not to wake my husband since it might take hours–if I was even in labor at all. Around 5:30 a.m., I started to feel a little pressure and I had to go to the bathroom again. The water was cloudy again, and this time I woke my husband. I called the hospital and they told me my water had probably broken, and to come to the hospital. My mom had come to stay with us, so we went to wake her up. Around 6:45 a.m. I went to the bathroom, and the water in the bowl was green tinged. I knew this meant the baby had probably passed its first stool and that I better get to the hospital.
By the time I got to the hospital I was leaking with every step I took. I finally got to Labor and Delivery where they checked me out and confirmed that my water had broken and there was meconium in it. I needed to deliver in 12 hours because of the meconium so they started a Pitocin drip, hooked me up to monitors and inserted a catheter. I was disappointed because I wanted to use the techniques my husband and I had learned in our prenatal classes. Within two hours the pain was almost unbearable, and all of it was in my back. I had hoped to deliver naturally without any medication, but I decided to get an epidural. After it was put in, the nurse covered me up and told me to try to get some rest.
In the meantime, my mother was downstairs outside of the hospital with her cell phone waiting to hear any news. We live in Toronto and I went into labor during the SARS crisis, which meant that my mother could not come into the hospital at all. Up until the week before I went into labor, fathers weren’t even allowed in. My mother stayed on the front lawn and my husband would call her from our room to let her know how things were going.
Since this was my first child and I had never had an epidural, I didn’t really know how I was supposed to feel. But when the pain started again, I knew something was wrong. The nurse tried to help, but the pain continued to get worse. Finally, about four hours later, the anesthesiologist came back and restarted the epidural. I got some relief for about 45 minutes before it became excruciating again. I was going to deliver without medication after all!
My doctor had been in a few times to examine me, and once she told me I wasn’t progressing very much and that I would most likely have to have a Cesarean. NO WAY, I thought! I had endured almost 12 hours of labor by this point, and the epidural was not working. I did not want to have to go through all of that and then have a Cesarean. She said she would give it a couple more hours, but if nothing changed she was going to have to take the baby by Cesarean.
Finally around 5:30 p.m., I started to dilate and the baby descended. I went from four cms. to nine cms. in less than two hours. During this time, the nurses were getting concerned because the baby’s heartbeat was dropping with every contraction. They called in the Head of Pediatrics and a Respiratory Specialist as a precaution.
Finally I started to push around 6:00 p.m. but nothing happened. Every time I took a breath between pushes the baby’s head retracted back. The doctor finally used the vacuum to help things along. As the head came out, I heard the doctor say, “There’s the problem.” The umbilical cord was around the baby’s neck. My blood ran cold and I pushed as hard as I could. At 6:57 p.m. someone yelled “It’s a girl!” and then she was whisked over to the doctors. She didn’t cry for what seemed like an eternity. When she did, it was like she had the lungs of six babies! She was loud. In fact, she was famous on the floor for her cry by the time we left. Angelina was nine pounds, five ounces, 23-1/2 inches long and the most beautiful baby I had ever seen. Despite their concerns, she was perfect.
About half an hour after she was born, my husband went down to see my mom. Somehow he managed to convince them to let her come up to see me for a few minutes. My mom was holding Angelina for the first time when the nurses discovered that my bleeding was not stopping. I was going into shock and my blood pressure dipped to 48/30. My mom was asked to leave and didn’t know what was happening. They gave me bags of medication to get the bleeding to stop, and it took a few hours before it finally did. It also took me quite a few weeks before I felt like myself again.
My labor and the delivery were truly awful, but I really do have the most beautiful, happy, incredible daughter. I marvel at her everyday. We are so lucky. I honestly didn’t know it was possible to love this much.
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