The birth story

The past four weeks have been pretty hectic. My sweet girl is sleeping peacefully in her bassinet, allowing me the opportunity to make some online updates. So here it is, the birth story of Khloë as I remember it:

I never made it to my next midwife appointment, nor to my due date of December 16th. At 6:40 am on the morning of December 2nd, at 38 weeks on the dot, my water broke! I had been laying in bed when I felt a small trickle. I sat up, unsure, and felt a heavier trickle which alarmed me enough to hop out of bed and run for the bathroom–by the time I made it across the hall my pants were soaked in a big gush of fluid. My first thought was, “As if this just happened”, because it was just like in the movies with the waters gushing out unexpectedly. My second was, “Uh oh, how am I going to get to the phone?!” I ended up wrapping a towel around myself to go grab the telephone. I hurriedly called my husband on his cell. He had left for Kingston the night before, returning to his course. I caught him on his way to breakfast.

“Hi honey. Guess what?”
“My water just broke!”
“Does that mean I have to come home right now?”

I told him I hadn’t felt any contractions yet and that I would get back to him after calling my mom and paging the midwives. I quickly called my mom, who was heading to work shortly. I explained what happened and she said that she would have to go to work first but she would be able to drive up today if I really needed her. Then I paged the midwives and waited for a call back. Suki answered the page and I gave her the heads up: “No contractions, amniotic fluid clear. What do I do now?” Knowing I was positive for Group B Strep, I had a certain amount of time before I had to go to the hospital to start antibiotics. I am allergic to penicillin and amoxicillin which are normally administered every 4 hours through IV; instead I would receive clindamycin every 8 hours. Suki said I was to go to the hospital for noon to start the drugs, she would call ahead, and she would make sure the nurse put in a locking IV so that I could return home afterward. She also suggested I tell my husband to think about making the 3 hour drive home.

I called my mom back and she assured me she could leave work and would be at my house by 11:30 am at the latest to take me to the hospital. Jordan had to stay in Kingston to write a test but I felt much better knowing my mom was on her way. I assured Jordan there was no rush, that it could be hours yet before anything happened, and that he should stay to finish the day. Next I called my “emergency” ride, Melissa, and explained the situation.

Then I waited…and waited. Had a quick shower and got dressed in clean clothes. Texted my sisters, Crystal and Keesje. Skyped with Keesje and Ashe. Called my mother-in-law, Charlene, to let her know what was going on. She was actually scheduled to fly to Ontario on December 4th to stay with me before the baby was born. She couldn’t believe that I would most likely have the baby before she even arrived!

Finally my mom arrived by 11:30 am. I still had not experienced any contractions but I was leaking amniotic fluid every time I stood up. We made the 30 minute drive to Pembroke Regional Hospital. A nurse inserted a locking IV in my left arm (ouch!) and started the clindamycin. We were there until almost 3 o’ clock and then headed home. By 4:15 pm, I began to feel contractions that felt like mild period cramps. Okay, I can do this!

I called my husband and told him he had better start driving! My next dose of antibiotics was at 9:00 pm.

Jordan made it home in time for the three of us to head back to the hospital for dose #2. This time the drugs went in faster and we were only there for an hour. Seemed a waste of a 30 minute drive but I was not ready to be admitted. We stopped at Shoppers Drug Mart on the way home to pick up Gravol. I took two Tylenol and two Gravol and crawled into bed, hoping to get some sleep; it had been a long day and no progress had been made. Sometime in the night the contractions started back up, but much more painful and about 8-9 minutes apart. They slowly increased in intensity and got to the point where being in bed was extremely uncomfortable. I got out of bed and went into the living room where I was able to either sit hunched over or lean on the counter during a contraction. Unfortunately I hadn’t been able to sleep, but my mom and Jordan did. I woke them up at 3:30 am and we all got ready to head back to Pembroke Hospital for dose #3 at 4:30 am. It was December 3rd, my brother’s birthday.

Once at the hospital they decided to admit me. I was tired of going back and forth and soon I would be hitting the 24 hour mark of my water breaking. The nurse on duty was super nice and gave me the “best” private room at the end of the hall. I would labour, deliver, and remain in this room during my hospital stay. I received the dose of drugs and tried my best to rest while the nurses monitored the baby. When I wasn’t being monitored, Mom and I walked the halls hoping to kick-start those irregular contractions. Early in the morning Suki arrived. She checked my cervix and performed a “stretch and sweep” (which hurt like hell, I must add); then she informed me I was only 2 cm dilated. All this time, and my body was not doing what it was supposed to. Due to the whole Group B Strep bacteria, checking my cervix was to be limited.

By 10:30 am, Kilmeny (who ended up being my primary midwife) said I would have to be induced. I was not happy about that–one intervention leads to another–but I also knew that it had to be done. An induction means transfer of care from my midwife to an obstetrician. Kilmeny would stay with me the whole time, however. I was hooked up to the dreaded pitocin. Slowly the dosage was increased until the contractions became regular and very painful. Kilmeny suggested I take Dilaudid (a narcotic) for pain relief to take the edge off the pain and so that I could get some much-needed rest. I agreed to this; it was something we had previously discussed.

At 2:45 pm I was given a full dose of Dilaudid with Gravol by needle. Oh my God, did it ever burn! And then dose #4 of clindamycin. Here is where events get a little hazy…

The Dilaudid and Gravol combo made me feel woozy, like I was watching events unfold from far away. Yes, it did take the edge off the pain, and yes I was able to rest in between contractions. Because I was so sleepy, though, it became difficult to speak coherently and to answer questions.

At some point the obstetrician checked my cervix and, without telling me what he was doing, broke a hidden water sac which was apparently the cause of my not progressing. Something he did really hurt and I remember yelling when I saw the hook emerge from between my legs. He informed me I was 4 cm. Seriously?!

By evening, if I recall correctly, the narcotic was wearing off. I became very aware of the intensity of the contractions and how fast they were coming on. I was practically climbing the hospital bed during each one, as if I was trying to escape them. I asked for more drugs, anything, please make the pain stop, etc. Kilmeny said I could have an epidural, but I would have to wait an hour for the anesthesiologist. Okay fine, but I needed something right now. The OB said I was allowed a half dose of Dilaudid, but that didn’t help much. I was struggling with breathing through the contractions.

I remember completely breaking down when I waited the hour and then was informed it would be another half hour before the epidural. I started hyperventilating and crying uncontrollably and couldn’t calm myself down. Kilmeny took charge and firmly talked me down from the ledge, so to speak. She coached my breathing until I was (relatively) calm and able to breathe through the contractions. I don’t think I have ever felt pain like that before. I did get through that excruciatingly long half hour and then I was prepped for the epidural insertion.

I don’t remember the needle hurting at all. I do remember sitting on the edge of the bed, hunched over, with my feet on Kilmeny’s chair while she held me steady. I do remember trying so hard to be still as a contraction ripped through my body. And then it was done.

Once the pain relief kicked in, the nurses kept testing the extent of my numbness with ice. After awhile I could feel my legs again, although they felt heavy, and those contractions kept hitting hard. The nurses were only allowed to up the dosage a certain amount while the anesthesiologist was away. (She never returned because she was in surgery.) The OB came in to check my cervix again and announced I was at 8 cm. So close! I couldn’t believe I had waited that long for an epidural, but it didn’t seem to be doing much anyway. He also said that if I didn’t progress any further in the next two hours, I would be prepped for a c-section. I got really upset when he told me that because I am terrified of having one.

Luckily within an hour Kilmeny confirmed I’d reached 10 cm and was ready to push! At first she let me lay on my right side to push. But this caused an excruciating pain in my right hip, worse than the contractions! I was turned onto my back and Jordan grabbed one leg, my mom the other, and I pushed that way for what felt like ages. I was so exhausted that I felt like I wasn’t putting enough energy into pushing, but I was told later by my midwife that I actually did really well.

And then Baby Girl got stuck! Turned out she was facing up, rather than down. The obstetrician returned once again, this time with a team of nurses, and took over from Kilmeny. He explained that he would use a suction vacuum to assist the baby out of the birth canal; he would also have to perform an episiotomy. Yikes!

After an hour of pushing and with assistance of the vacuum, at 9:22 pm, Khloë Willow Alexandra was born! She was immediately placed in my arms. I couldn’t believe I was finally holding our baby girl! She was covered in a thick white layer of vernix and Jordan made the comment that “she looks like a chicken”, hence the nickname Little Chicken. She weighed 7 lbs 4 oz and was 19 inches long. No one guessed I would have a baby that big! Imagine what she would have weighed if she had been on time or overdue?! After being cleaned up, Khloë nursed right away.


Things were a bit of a whirlwind after that. Jordan spent the night in our room while Mom went back to our house. I was awake most of the night from either breastfeeding or being poked by nurses. Sleeping in a hospital is impossible. I don’t remember ever feeling this kind of exhaustion before.

Blood-work that was taken earlier came back showing an iron deficiency. Anemic! This meant I had to stay in the hospital until Thursday (I gave birth on a Tuesday). The next night I was alone since Jordan had to head back to Kingston for work. That was the worst night because I still hadn’t slept and Khloë fussed a lot. Finally at 3:00 am I asked the night nurse to take her so I could rest. When she rolled my baby out of the room I started crying because I wanted her back and felt awful for sending her away. I knew I had to try to get some sleep, though, or I would be no good to anyone, let alone a brand-new baby! I woke up at 6:00 am and paged for the nurse to bring her back.

Later in the morning, on Thursday, Khloë had her heels pricked and a release was signed for her. However, I still hadn’t been released. Mom showed up around breakfast time and we waited and waited until after lunch, when finally my release was signed. Time to go home! We made a pit stop at Walmart to pick up a specific kind of iron pills that wouldn’t upset my stomach, but they didn’t have any in stock. I ended up having to nurse the baby at the back of the store before we could head to the drug store. And then–at last–we made it home!

Dec 4: When we left the hospital, Khloë weighed 6 lb 14 oz.
Dec 9: Suki made a home visit and Khloë weighed 6 lb 10 oz and had mild jaundice.
Dec 12: Khloë visited her family doctor and weighed 7 lb 1 oz.
Dec 14: Another home visit from Suki and Khloë weighed 7 lb 2 oz.
Dec 20: On our last home visit Khloë weighed 7 lb 10 oz.
Jan 9: Upon discharge from midwife care, Khloë weighed 9 lb 15 oz.

Third trimester: Weeks 36 – 37

Week 36 (November 18)
The pain I was experiencing from SPD was much better this week. If my body felt like I did too much, I would acknowledge the ache and sit down to rest. My last physio appointment was Thursday and Donna said if the pain becomes worse then I’m to come back to see her after the baby is born.

On Friday I met with Kilmeny and she told me I tested positive for Group B Strep. We talked about what that means if my water was to break and when I should page her or Suki. When I’m in active labour, I’ll need antibiotics administered through IV every 8 hours. (I can’t take penicillin or amoxicillin, which is given every 4 hours.) Next appointment will be November 29th.

Fundal height was 36 cm and my blood pressure still good.

On Saturday, Jordan and I toured the Labour & Delivery floor at Pembroke Regional Hospital. And the car seat’s installed!

Weeks 36-37

Weeks 36-37

Week 37 (November 25)
Full-term! I don’t think I’ll have the baby early, but one never knows. I haven’t had that nesting feeling but both midwives said Baby Girl could be early.

This week the SPD pain came back. I probably should have gone back to physio, but I thought I’d wait it out. Met with Kilmeny again on November 29th. We talked about what happens after delivery; she explained about the vitamin K injection and eye ointment for baby. My blood pressure was fine and fundal height still at 36 cm. I peed on a stick and it showed a high amount of proteins and sugar in my urine. Midwife wasn’t concerned as this is the first time either have shown up. She said not to worry and we will check again next week.

My total weight gain is 36 lbs.

Second trimester: Weeks 18 – 21

Week 18 (July 15)
The cold was gone by this week, but I was left with a persistent cough that kept me up at night. I have had a craving for peanut butter on toast. Mid-week, while I was sitting at my computer, I had a sharp pain at the top of my belly (right side) that lasted maybe 20 seconds. It spread to my back and was quite painful. I was a little concerned but it only happened the one time that day. For the rest of the week I would get that pain a couple times throughout the day but it would be very quick and not leave me breathless like that first one.

On the 19th, while sitting on the couch, I felt something poking behind my belly button. It happened 3 times in the span of 15 minutes so I believe I finally felt the baby kick! A storm rolled in that afternoon and I lost power and water for 2 days, which wasn’t fun.

I also dropped off urine sample at the end of the week. Next midwife appointment is August 1st.

Weeks 18-19

Weeks 18-19

Week 19 (July 22)
The pains at the top of my belly continued so I left a message on the non-urgent line. I just wanted to make sure that what I was feeling was normal. Suki called me back and said it’s probably just muscles stretching and organs moving around. No other symptoms to report. I’ve gained 11 lbs total.

Week 20 (July 29)
The anatomy scan ultrasound! Drove to the big hospital early as instructed. They were behind so we had a bit of a wait. I didn’t drink as much liquid as last time, but rather than water I drank orange juice. I think the scan lasted a good 45 minutes. The technician was super nice. She told me that the baby’s head is pointing down and the bum is upward, with the feet out to the right. At the end of the ultrasound, she brought Jordan in and showed him the baby and pointed out that we are having a baby GIRL!

At the end of the week I saw the substitute midwife again. She explained that everything looked great with the ultrasound. Placenta is in the front and there’s a normal amount of amniotic fluid. We heard the heartbeat again (140 bpm) and Baby Girl is in the right spot. My urine sample showed no UTI. Blood pressure normal. Up 12 lbs total. Next appointment I will see Suki, on August 30th.

Weeks 20-21

Weeks 20-21

Week 21 (August 5)
So far this pregnancy has been pretty uneventful. Nothing new or weird to report for this week, other than gaining a total of 14 lbs so far. My belly seems to have popped out!

First trimester: Weeks 4 – 13

The reason this post has taken so long to show up is because I wasn’t sure how to put it together. I have been keeping a journal and taking weekly pictures of my growing bump. My due date is December 16th, 2013. 😀

Week 4
I found out I was 4 weeks pregnant on a Friday. I had waited 6 days past my longest luteal phase, then peed on a stick. I kind of had an inkling that something felt different, and I was ecstatic to see that plus sign show up! After all our fertility issues over the years, this was finally happening. It also felt very unreal. My earlier symptoms were typical of “that time of the month”, except that I tired easily. I had assumed my exhaustion was from shoveling the driveway every single day! (Yes, we still had snow.) After the weekend passed, I called the local midwife centre and left my information, hoping that they would have room for me as I didn’t have a doctor here. Two days later I received the great news that I would have a midwife!

Week 5 (April 15)
These were my symptoms that week: peeing way more than I normally did (and I usually pee a LOT); constantly feeling like I needed to put food in my belly; mild period-like cramps; that wonderful bloated feeling; and the need to nap every afternoon for 30 minutes to an hour. I hadn’t been sick to my stomach yet. The only thing that worried me was sometimes I would get a sharp, stabbing pain that would double me over (in Canadian Tire, no less). However, there’d been no spotting or bleeding. My first midwife appointment would be April 26th.

Week 6 (April 22)
This week I met Kilmeny, one of the midwives I would be seeing throughout my pregnancy. We discussed my health history; I explained about my abnormally long cycles and that because I temped I knew when I had ovulated and that I was due December 16th. She gave me a requisition to have blood work done (eek!) and explained that I would need a dating ultrasound to be sure.

The only new symptom this week was queasiness. My next appointment was set up for May 31st.

Weeks 6-7

Weeks 6-7

Week 7 (April 29)
Where we live, there are two hospitals. The smaller one is located about a 10 minute drive from our house. The larger one, where I’ve chosen to give birth, is more like 40 minutes. For the dating ultrasound, I chose the closer hospital to go to. That appointment was set for May 28th. The receptionist on the phone explained that I would not be allowed to see the baby on the screen or be given any information regarding the ultrasound. (The reasoning behind this is because the small hospital doesn’t have a radiologist on staff and the ultrasound images would be sent away to be examined. I would receive the information 3 days later.)

Still no “morning sickness”, but the queasiness bothered me. I found myself eating a lot of bagels and cottage cheese.

Week 8 (May 6)
Nothing new to note in regard to symptoms. I went in for bloodwork, which I’m normally okay with even though I’m not a fan of needles. What helps me get through it is to just look away and breathe slowly. Unfortunately, near the end of the second phial of blood, the nurse told me that my vein had collapsed and she might have to find another one. As soon as those words were out of her mouth, I began to feel faint and a cold sweat broke out on my face and neck. My body started shaking in reaction. The nurse squished my vein a bit and happily said that she had been able to fill the last phial. She noticed that I was about to faint and immediately had me put my head between my knees. After she bandaged my arm, she had me lay down with an ice pack on my neck. I think I laid there for a good 20 minutes before I started to feel like a normal person again. I have never reacted that way to bloodwork before! I felt ill and light-headed the rest of the day and slept for 2 hours after arriving home.

Weeks 8-9

Weeks 8-9

Week 9 (May 13)
Where the heck did that belly come from?! Almost overnight it looked like I had developed a “food baby”. Since most of my tops were fitted, it was difficult to disguise unless I wore a zip-up hoodie. My jeans became too tight buttoned up, so I had to wear them undone but with a hair elastic holding them closed. Stretchy yoga pants were my new best friend. I hadn’t gained any weight, but the queasiness disappeared!

I decided to tell my mom on Skype the good news and show off my brand-new gut. She completely freaked out–with happiness–and I almost peed myself laughing at her reaction!

Week 10 (May 20)
This week Jordan and I drove to Ottawa to shop for some maternity clothes before he went away for the summer. I found one pair of jeans that fit my tiny frame properly and one long black skirt at “Motherhood Maternity”. Maternity clothes are really expensive and most of them are way too big on me. (No surprize there, as normal clothes tend to not fit me properly either.)

Sciatica started to bother me around this time. I’ve suffered from sciatica over the years so it wasn’t anything new. We also Skyped with the in-laws and Jordan’s grandparents and told them about the baby. The reason we told them so early was because I wanted them to hear the news from both of us and not after Jordan left for a tasking up north. Still need to tell my dad.

Weeks 10-11

Weeks 10-11

Week 11 (May 27)
I sent my dad an email with a photo of my bump and the note to “call me when you get this!” Took him a couple days to check his email, but he called and joked that I must have been eating too many hamburgers. He’s excited!

I had the dating ultrasound this week. I was told to drink 1 litre of water but I only drank 500 mL and thought I was gonna die from the pain in my bladder. Before leaving for the hospital, I peed and then drank a bit more but I still couldn’t walk unless I was bent over. The drive over was supreme torture. During the sonogram, I swear the technologist kept pushing the transducer directly onto my bladder! Finally she told me to go to the bathroom because my bladder was too full. No kidding!? As stated before, Jordan wasn’t allowed in the room and I didn’t get to see the screen while she finished the ultrasound. I wanted a confirmation that there was only one baby in there but the tech said I’d have to wait for the results.

My appointment for May 31st was cancelled due to another woman going into labour. Rescheduled for June 4th. I was dying to know the results of the ultrasound. On the phone, Suki explained that my iron levels were excellent and that everything looked great with the baby! She confirmed that I was 11 weeks along and due December 16th (no surprize there).

Week 12 (June 3)
My midwife appointment with Kilmeny this time was quick and painless. She asked if we had given any thought to prenatal classes, but I honestly don’t think we will go. For starters, Jordan will be away on course during my third trimester (oh the joy of being a military wife) and can’t guarantee that he can come home on specific weekends. She used the Doppler to search for a heartbeat, but it was too early in my pregnancy to hear it. Next appointment was set up for July 4th and would be with a substitute midwife. No new symptoms to report.

Weeks 12-13

Weeks 12-13

Week 13 (June 10)
The skin on my belly was starting to feel stretched and sensitive around this time. Sciatica was causing me pain in my lower back and hips, making stairs difficult (or getting out of bed, or up off the couch, etc). Occasionally I found my ribs aching. I continued to eat as normal, with the addition of extra fruit and vegetables, and successfully gained 4 lbs! Up to this point I hadn’t thrown up or had any bleeding.

Ashe: 4 months old

My little nephew is four months old. FOUR MONTHS! I remember the day he was born, and now he’s getting so big! Unbelievable!!

Big smiles!

At the moment my friend is in labour at the hospital. It’s been a long, painful day for her and her husband. I can’t wait to find out whether the baby is a boy or girl and meet the little one for the first time. 🙂

Stacey’s baby shower is on Sunday and almost everyone from work and a few who used to work with us will be there to celebrate. I have found some adorable outfits for Baby Girl!