The birth of Oliver Kaleb Azariah

While Skyping with my mom on October 22, I felt some mild cramps. I didn’t think much of it, but I did mention to her that it felt like period cramps. Later that night I felt them again but a little stronger and they continued until 4 am. I realized they were contractions because they were regular. I tried to get some sleep.

By morning (October 23) I felt that I had had some rest. Jordan went to work but was supposed to come home at lunch time to take me to my midwife appointment at 1:30 pm.

At 11:15 am I went to the bathroom and lost my mucous plug–so gross! Fifteen minutes later, contractions started up again, but stronger than the previous nights’. They remained strong and steady at 4 – 5 minutes apart and 30 – 45 seconds long. After an hour of this, I texted my mom to let her know. I wasn’t sure if I was really in labour… October 23 marked 38+4 weeks. I called Jordan and told him he should come home.

By 1 pm mom decided she would start driving up from Kingston because she really wanted to be a part of Baby Boy’s birth. At that point I called my midwife and told her I was having regular contractions and asked if she wanted me to go to my appointment. She told me to stay put and she would come to check my progress at 2 pm.

Suki arrived around 2 pm. She checked my cervix and did a membrane sweep. Only 1-2 cm dilated! She also confirmed I really was in labour and offered me the use of a TENS machine to manage the pain. I figured I would give it a try. She decided to go home to rest and told me to head to the hospital when the pain is getting too much to handle, and to call her when we leave.

By 3:30 pm the contractions were pretty intense and I had to really focus to breathe through them. They were coming 3 – 4 minutes apart and about 1 minute long. Another hour later, I decided we needed to get going! I knew we had a 40 minute drive ahead. My mom just happened to pull in our driveway at that time too, so she hopped in our car and came with us!

We arrived at the Pembroke hospital and Jordan grabbed me a wheelchair. We had to make a stop at registration but quickly headed up to Labour & Delivery. Suki hadn’t arrived yet, but the on-call obstetrician Dr M showed me to a delivery room. A nurse came in and hooked up the belly monitors.

My midwife showed up at 5:30 pm and checked my cervix: 3 cm dilated. At this point we discussed what I wanted for pain relief; I was really struggling with the contractions and was already feeling tired. We agreed an epidural would be a good idea and she went to talk to Dr M, as an epidural means a transfer of care to an OB.

Around that time a nurse came to start an IV and take my blood. I was GBS+ which meant I needed a round of antibiotics (clindamycin). A fluid bolus was also administered for the epidural.

Two hours later, at 8 pm, feeling like I was gonna die from the pain, the anesthesiologist arrived! Suki joked to Jordan, “Here comes the man your wife is going to want to marry!” And boy was she right. 😂 He explained the risks of an epidural to me, I replied “Let’s do this!”, and he had that epidural in super fast!

My body slowly began to go numb; he said it would take about 20 minutes. Both my legs were completely frozen, but I could wiggle my toes. I couldn’t feel the contractions except in a small fist-sized area on my lower left side.

Dr M checked me at 8:30 pm and voila, 6-7 cm! Finally my body was doing its job and dilating my cervix. The catheter went in at this time, as well as a scalp monitor for the baby. Baby Boy was so active during labour that the belly monitor was having trouble picking up his heart rate so I agreed to the monitor being attached to his head.

Fully dilated by 10:10 pm! This was it! Soon we would meet our little boy. Even though I had been transferred to the OB, Suki still caught the baby. At 10:42 pm, Oliver Kaleb Azariah was born and placed on my chest. He was completely covered in vernix! We waited for the cord to stop pulsating, then Daddy cut the umbilical cord. And guess how much my little guy weighed–a whopping 8 lbs! He was 21 inches long and had a healthy cry. Head circumference was 35.5 cm.


Birth collage

I was so astonished to have birthed an eight pound baby!

After Oliver was cleaned up and weighed, I let him breastfeed. He knew just what to do, my little milk guzzler.

We were discharged the next morning and brought our sweet little boy home. 😀

Third trimester: Weeks 34 – 35

Week 34 (September 21)
As of the beginning of the week, my weight gain was 35.8 lbs. And I finished packing my hospital bag.

Most nights I crawled into bed around 8:30 pm, slept 2-3 hours, woketo pee, then tossed and turned the rest of the night. I can’t get comfortable.

I saw my midwife Kilmeny on Friday. Baby Boy is still head down but floating. Blood pressure was 90/60 and fundal height at 35 cm. We made sure we were on the same page about doing baby’s bloodwork, and discussed symptoms of SMA. Next week I will do the GBS swab.

On Saturday we had our maternity photos done by Nicholson’s Creative. I’m excited to see how they turned out. We had fun doing them!

And finally on Sunday we drove to Ottawa to attend a memorial at Rogers House. Khloë had her name engraved on a mirrored star and hung in the play room with the other stars. The ceremony was fairly short. I’m glad we went because, even though Khloë passed away there, it was also a safe place for her and for us.


Weeks 34-35

Week 35 (September 28)
On Tuesday evening I had some intense Braxton Hicks and overnight Baby Boy was fairly quiet. Usually he kicks and jabs me while I’m trying to sleep. The BH stopped when I was laying down but as soon as I would stand up, to head to the bathroom, I would get one.

I met the new midwife, Ashley, on Friday. She is nice and seems knowledgable, and I felt comfortable talking to her. She may attend my birth if they need her but most likely it will be just Kilmeny or Suki. My blood pressure was 118/70 and baby’s heart rate was in the 140s. Fundal height measured at 35 cm, so right on track. Baby was still head down but hadn’t dropped yet. We discussed my SPD pain, restless legs, and I did the GBS swab.

Third trimester: Weeks 32 – 33

Week 32 (September 7)
Whether I was sitting, walking, or laying down, this baby was on the move this week. He didn’t want to keep still. Plenty of hiccups, too! At the end of the week I saw one of my midwives. My blood pressure was 98/64 and baby’s heart rate was in the 140s. Fundal height measured at 32 cm. Kilmeny said that the baby was head down and floating, but there’s plenty of time for him to make his way into my pelvis. I have an ultrasound, to confirm his position, scheduled for next week.


Weeks 32-33

Week 33 (September 14)
On Monday I had an ultrasound at Pembroke Hospital. Baby Boy is definitely head down! His back is curled around my left side, hence the constant bulging there, and his feet at my ribs. No wonder I constantly feel like he’s booting me on the right side of my rib cage. The tech showed me the baby from head to toe on the screen. It was so cool to get to see him again! And the rest of the week was uneventful.

Third trimester: Weeks 28 – 31

Week 28 (August 10)
On Thursday I met with Suki. Baby Boy is still doing fine. Fundal height measured at 29 cm and blood pressure was 100/75. While she was feeling my belly she discovered his head is up by my ribs. But there’s still plenty of time for him to turn.

That same afternoon I finally got my hair cut! It was way too long and very damaged; I hadn’t cut it since last July. Now it’s layered just above my shoulders and feels healthier.

I’ve been having pain in my ribs, which feel like spasms. One night they hurt so much it woke me up and it was hard to breathe.

On Sunday our church held the service out of doors. The weather was very hot but there was some shade under two tents. Afterward there was a BBQ with great food and friends.


Weeks 28-29

Week 29 (August 17)
On Wednesday we started our drive to New Brunswick. We stayed in a motel the first night after a 9 hour day. The worst part of the drive was trying to find a comfortable position to sit in and the multiple stops we had to make so that pregnant lady could pee. The next day we stopped at the Target in Bangor, Maine and bought a few items for the baby. We made it to Jordan’s parents’ home by 7:30 pm EST. His mom fed us pineapple chili for dinner. My sister-in-law and family arrived shortly after we did. The weather was sweltering hot and humid.

Jordan’s brother got married on the Saturday. There was no air-conditioning in the chapel. I’m pretty sure it was over 35°C outside and with everyone crammed into the building it felt even warmer inside. I kept drinking water but I felt like I was going to pass out a couple times. Waiting around for the group photos to be taken was brutal. And then no air-conditioning in the reception hall, just some fans going. I had never felt so hot and uncomfortable in my life! Unfortunately I was so miserable that I couldn’t wait to leave and blast the a/c in the car. I think I would have enjoyed that trip more if I wasn’t pregnant.

Week 30 (August 24)
During my midwife appointment this week I saw Kilmeny. Baby Boy’s heartbeat was strong and steady. Fundal height measured at 31 cm and blood pressure was at 100/66. By feel she thought his head was down and feet in my ribs. Two days before the appointment baby was doing some massive movements so that must have been him turning.

We received a letter from Rogers House (palliative care building associated with CHEO) about adding Khloë’s name to a mirrored star for their memorial wall. We agreed to let them engrave her name on a star. There will be a small ceremony on September 27th that I’d like us to attend.


Weeks 30-31

Week 31 (August 31)
Not much went on this week. Baby’s movements were still strong and keeping me up at night. Cleaned up the house in anticipation of Nancy and family’s visit for the weekend, which took a toll on my poor pelvis. I loathe SPD. I’ve gained 32 lbs so far.

We had a good visit with my friend, her husband, and their little guy. Loukas enjoyed playing with some of Khloë’s toys and he was obsessed with the magnets on the fridge. I wouldn’t let him touch the magnets of Khloë but I let him play with the princess ones that my sister made; he loved that! Nancy gave us a gift bag with some baby clothes, too.

Also I booked a newborn photo session with Cole Creations. She did our maternity photos two years ago and was offering a very reduced-price newborn session so I put down the $50 deposit. She will be travelling from Kingston within 7-10 days of Baby’s birth! I’m really excited to do these pictures because it’s one of the things I regret not doing with Khloë.