Birth Story

As I sit down to write this Birth Story, Gage is sleeping in my arms and I couldn't be happier. This is a long birth story, but it was worth every second in the end.

Gage was due on Friday, July 16th, but he wasn't in any hurry to leave his first home. Even a full week after his due date, he had made no signs of decent. My midwife, Lori Miller, felt concerned there may be something holding him up. She described his head as floating, when it should have been engaging in my pelvis weeks ago. Rick and I didn't mind though. We were enjoying the last days of my pregnancy. We went to the beach, spent lots of time with Porter and I got to continue my yoga in preparation for birth. We also thought Gage would arrive when he was good and ready. We wanted to be patient and let him make the move.

On Tuesday, July 27th, we had an appointment with our midwife, Lori and the OBGYN who was working at Richmond hospital that day, Dr. Laura Heslip. We knew going into that appointment there was chance they would recommend a Caesarean Section if Gage had not made any moves since my last appointment the Thursday prior. They had several concerns waiting much longer for labour to happen naturally. So Monday night, Rick and I went out for a nice dinner together. We sat on the patio at Drink in New Westminster and I had a glass of wine with dinner. It was delicious. We were getting mentally prepared for the surgery the next day, while still hoping for some positive news in the morning.

Dr. Heslip was excellent. She discussed some of the concerns going past due and then did an assessment on me. We were all thrilled to hear Gage has made a little progress, not a lot, but enough to try a natural labour. Neither the doctor or my midwife felt comfortable waiting for Gage to move though. They felt he needed a push. Dr. Heslip did a membrane sweep and inserted Cervidil, a drug used to soften the cervix, at 10:00am. We stayed at the hospital to be monitored. Shortly after the induction, Gage started to move. I don't think he liked being pushed. His heart rate was up near 180BPM for a good three hours. After he settled down, we headed back home.

That afternoon I started getting contractions, although very gentle, they were coming every two minutes. Lori called to check in on us and when she heard how regular the contractions were, she asked us to go back to the hospital. She said they weren't labour contractions, it was simply the Cervidil doing its job, but they wanted to make sure that many contractions wasn't putting stress on Gage. We got to the hospital at 8:00pm and they preformed a stress test. All was fine. They sent us back home with Ativan to help me sleep through the night.

The next morning, Wednesday, July 28th, we met with Lori and Dr, Sarah Monahan at 10:00am. Dr. Monahan did another assessment and membrane sweep. She was very pleased with the results from the Cervidil. My cervix had soften and I was already starting to dilate. The not so good news, was Gage's head still hadn't dropped, and again they feared something was holding him up. Dr. Monahan thought that some strong labour contractions may get him in position and suggested a full induction using Oxytocin. The Oxytocin used is a synthetic form of the hormone your body naturally produces during labour. If he still couldn't get into my pelvis with real labour contractions, they could do a Caesarean Section the following day. This wasn't the news I was hoping to hear. Oxytocin scared me and the unknown reason for Gage's hold up scared me even more. There were a few tears, but that was our best option at the time.

Rick and I grab lunch in the cafeteria, then settled into room twelve in the maternity ward. We had an excellent room with a view, TV, fridge, air conditioning and private bathroom. It was going to be a comfortable stay. Over lunch I was still getting contractions, which seemed to be getting stronger. Perhaps due to the second membrane sweep or my body finally deciding to start labour. At 2:00pm I was given a low dose of Oxytocin and by 4:00pm was in active labour. My body responded very quickly and within a short time, I was seven centimetres dilated and Gage's head had finally dropped into my pelvis. The doctors were all surprised and we were relieved.

The labour was intense and all consuming. I took comfort in knowing Rick was right there the whole time, he held my hand during every single contraction. I also found the gas helpful, not so much for relieving the pain, but it forced me to focus on my breathing during the contractions. Dr. Monahan broke my water shortly after I reached seven centimetres, which made the contractions even stronger and much more frequent. I got to nine centimetres, but the tenth was tough. That last bit felt the longest and I wanted to quit several times. Rick helped keep me focused and they gave me Fentanyl to relax through the last few contractions. Then finally, Dr. Monahan stretched the last of my cervix. It worked, and it was now time to push. The pushing took every single muscle in my entire body. It was extremely difficult, but the end felt near and the effort had purpose.

After only forty minutes of pushing, at 11:05pm on Wednesday, July 28, Gage was born. He was perfect, beautiful, tiny...and ours. I couldn't believe it. Lori put him on my chest and within minutes he was already trying to eat. After I delivered the placenta, Dad cut the umbilical cord. We were done. What an exhilarating feeling. Once we finished our first snuggle and feed, the nurses examined Gage. He was perfect. 7 pounds, 9 ounces and 52 centimetres long. While it wasn't the natural labour we had hoped for, given the situation, it couldn't have gone better. We all slept well together that night.

The next morning we got up at 6:00am for our first bath. Then we had lots of visitors at the hospital: Grandma, Granddad, Aunt Lindsay and several friends. Everyone was anxious to meet Gage after such a long wait. We stayed at the hospital for the second optional night, because the nurses were so helpful. We wanted to make sure the feeding was well underway before heading home. Gage mastered eating in no time, and we headed home on Friday, July 30th as a family of three.