Thursday, 27 October 2016

Audrey's Birth Story Part 1

What better way to dust off the 'ol blog than with a birth story?

I'll start a couple weeks before my due date. I started experiencing frequent "practice contractions" at about 37 weeks. They would come every night- often as I climbed into bed, as well as in the middle of the night. I would describe them as strong braxton hicks contractions that had no pattern, rhyme or reason to them. They wouldn't interfere with my sleep too much so I wasn't too bothered by them. Given that I had Elliott at 39 weeks and I was experiencing these contractions I fully expected this baby to come early as well. At my 38 week appt with my midwife she also agreed that she wouldn't be surprised if I didn't make it to my next appt.

Then on Sept 16th (38 weeks, 3 days) my Dad fell off a ladder and was rushed to the U of A hospital with a skull fracture and brain bleed. All of a sudden I was praying that baby would stay put while we dealt with this emergency. And stay put she did! I am a big believer that a relaxed body will go into labour much easier than a tense, anxious body, and in my opinion the accident put my body into lockdown. I was fine with it because my focus was all on my Dad. I'm not sure I could have handled having Audrey directly after the accident because that first week-ish was so crazy up and down in terms of my Dad's recovery. Also, each day she didn't come meant one more day I could spend at the hospital visiting my Dad. I was grateful for each of those days.

Now fast forward to my due date. Tues, Sept 27th.

I started out the day by going to visit my Dad in the morning. I was feeling really emotional because I didn't have a lot of time to spend with him- I could barely stay for an entire hour just because of what time it was and needing to pick up Elliott from my friend's house in time for getting home for lunch and his nap. I spent most of the visit just sitting, holding his hand as he slept, but the last 15 minutes or so he woke up and was really responsive to me. At this point in his recovery he had only been "fully awake" for a couple of days, so it was really exciting to talk to him and see his facial expressions change, and see him try to talk (though he was still intubated and couldn't) I was able to read his lips for the first time. He said "I love you too" as I was leaving. The last thing I said to him was "See you tomorrow- unless I have the baby!" Then I chuckled and said "I think I've said that to you everyday you've been in here!" and he grinned. I walked to the parkade attempting to hold back, but the tears started coming once I sat in the drivers seat. All along I had been giving baby a "pep talk" each day saying that he or she needed to stay put until grandpa woke up and could talk. I remember taking a deep breath and silently telling baby that this was good enough for me.

As sat there crying I got a text from Chris. All it said was "I got the job!!!" which caused me to completely break down sobbing. We had been waiting more than two weeks to hear if he got this new job, and it was such a giant relief to finally hear that he had it. It felt like coming up for air after holding your breath for longer than you should. Relief. Release. Joy.

The rest of the day was pretty normal. Not much could get me down- especially because I had a massage booked for that evening! For days I had been telling Chris that I hoped I would go into labour after the massage. With Elliott I had a massage the day I went into labour, and like I said- a relaxed body can go into labour easier than a tense body! I was definitely hopeful.

My massage therapist and I chatted that evening about the excitement and anticipation. She asked me when my induction date was, which is a foreign concept to me because I have had a midwife with both pregnancies. I remember thinking "Really? Is that a thing?" I explained to her that I had a midwife and so therefor I didn't have an induction date, which seemed to confuse her! I left after my massage and said "I'll let you know if I have the baby tonight!" and we both laughed.

As I crawled into bed that night I realized that I hadn't secured childcare for the next day to be able to visit my Dad. I was annoyed with myself that I would have to scramble the next day if I had a chance of getting there, but as I drifted off, once again thought "Well, maybe I'll just have the baby tonight and won't have to worry about it"

I woke up at 4 am to the sound of Elliott calling for me. Not unusual. He's not a great sleeper and often wakes once or twice a night. Immediately, before I even got out of bed I felt a contraction. It was stronger than any that I had been having in the last few weeks. I actually paused until it passed before I climbed out of bed. I went to his room, picked him up and rocked with him in his rocking chair for a minute. Then I put him back in bed and headed back to our room. As per usual I needed to pee, and so I crawled in bed after that and shortly after had another contraction. Again, I noted how it felt quite a bit stronger and I wondered if this might be it.

(Spoiler alert: It was)

..... to be continued!

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