Labour and Delivery Part 1

How do you write about one of the most special days of your life? How do you give life to the feelings and emotions that come along with giving birth? I’ve been struggling with this over the past few weeks, agonizing over how to make a labour and delivery story interesting, while still conveying everything I went through… so here’s my best shot at it…

In my 36th week of pregnancy I was really feeling uncomfortable. Any woman who has given birth can empathize with the grueling last month of pregnancy. How hard it is on your body and your mind. Being in a constant cloud of fatigue and discomfort (and in some cases pain). The inability to sleep, and the internal mental tug of war between the desire for the end of your pregnancy, and the fear and anticipation of what it means to have a new baby. I can remember every time I stood up it felt like the baby was going to fall out of me… I felt certain it was coming soon, even though I still technically had a month left…and I remember saying to Kyle during one of our nightly FaceTime chats, “I’m not going to make it to my 38 week ultrasound!”. Obviously I was nervous, having resigned myself to the fact that Kyle would likely not be present for the birth, however I was also nervous for what to expect. We had been given so much information during my pregnancy, and yet we had been given nothing definitive. I had no idea what would happen in that labour and delivery room after my baby was born… would it have physical issues? Would it struggle? and worse yet…would it survive?

On Monday March 12, I woke up in a cold sweat. I was shivering uncontrollably and I felt like I was going to throw up. I remember thinking “GREAT! I can barely move and now I have the flu.” I had an extremely high fever and I was alternating between excessive heat and debilitating cold and shaking. I also felt like something was wrong… throughout my pregnancy the baby had been extremely active, particularly at night…But since I had woken up with the flu symptoms, I hadn’t felt it move. I was panicked of course, what mother wouldn’t be when they felt something change so significantly. I lay awake poking and prodding my belly willing the baby to move and trying not to throw up. Eventually it gave a strong kick and I felt reassured, I had a doctors appointment the following morning so I decided to tough it out for a few hours until I could be checked.

The following morning I went in for my weekly doctors check. We went through all the usual steps… by this time I was an expert.. weight…blood pressure…pee… the whole drill. I remember thinking “wow I feel like I could hurl at any second could they just get this over with?” (for those of you who know me well, you know that patience is not one of my stronger virtues) the doctor came in and told me she was worried; I always had impeccably low blood pressure, however today it was very high. I also had some protein in my urine, both of these in combination with my flu symptoms made her suspect preeclampsia, so she sent me across the street to the hospital for 30mins of monitoring…

Once I got all hooked up at the hospital they told me that it appeared my fever was stressing out the baby’s heart, and they needed to cool down my core temperature for the baby’s sake. Despite my uncontrollable shivering they covered me in wet, ice cold towels and took away all my blankets in an attempt to decrease the baby’s heart rate. After an hour of cooling down, the baby seemed to settle, that’s when the doctor came in and told me it looked like I was having contractions. I couldn’t feel anything so I was skeptical. She said she was pretty sure I was going into labour and since I was already dilated I had to stay in the hospital to see if things would progress. Fast forward a few hours and the doctors had decided that I was definitely in labour. I remember the nurse saying, “I think it’s time to tell your husband to get on a plane.” so that’s what I did. Called Kyle and told him it was time. I remember feeling completely shocked. I was not expecting this to happen so early, and I was completely unprepared. I hadn’t finished packing my hospital bag, I hadn’t finished my group project for school, I wasn’t ready! But more than that I didn’t feel ready for what was to come. The baby had been a part of me for 36 weeks, safe inside, and for 36 weeks I was able to live in blissful ignorance about what exactly was going on with it’s health. I was so nervous, I wasn’t ready! I just wasn’t ready… But as with all the best things in life, there is no plan… they come when you least expect them, and they forever change you. And that is what this baby would be for me. My game changer.

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