Little Prince: A Birth Story* (Part 2)

All three of my children are napping. In their own beds. AT THE SAME TIME. (*cue hallelujah chorus*)

Since I have a few minutes, I thought I would keep plunking down our little Prince’s birth story while everything is still fresh in my mind.

After I woke the Hubster, we both began making phone calls. I called Karla (my midwife) at 2:40am. After a brief conversation, she told me she was on her way and encouraged me to make my way to the hospital. I then called my Mom and Dad to let them know–I’m not even sure the phone completed one ring before my mom answered and assured me that they were on their way. They live a little north of us, and I knew it would take them roughly an hour and a half to get down here. Based on my previous experience with Hank’s labor there was no way I could wait that long, so while I was on the phone with them, the Hubster called our incredible friends who live down the street to come stay with Ruby and Hank.

Within twenty minutes our plans were in place and it was time to go. After a big hug from my neighbour, I waddled out to our van–our last time driving it with an empty baby seat. Our hospital is very close to us (thank goodness) and by 3:15 am the Hubster and I were settled in our delivery room, waiting for Karla to arrive.

During my labor with Hank, it took me a while to realize that I was in “active” labor because the early stages lasted a long longer than the end part. I was having regular contractions, but I managed them easily at home and timed them myself with an app on my phone.

This time was a little different.

Within an hour of my first contraction, I was having trouble speaking through them. There was a small side table in our room, and as each one hit I needed to grip tightly and lean on the table to get through them. They didn’t last long–maybe 35 seconds or so–but they were very intense. By the time Karla arrived at 3:25am, they were occurring less than two minutes apart. I couldn’t focus enough to start and stop them on my phone, so the Hubster began timing and recording them for me.

The nurses did a quick check of the baby’s heart beat, and I was relieved to hear  it stay so steady and strong. The next twenty minutes were a flurry of preparations and paperwork. Karla and my second midwife hurried around the room setting things up while I was helped into a gown, had some blood work done and gave a urine sample.

By 3:45am, my contractions increased quickly in both intensity and frequency. It became clear that there would not be time for an epidural (*sob*) and I began mentally preparing myself to go through another natural childbirth. Having gone through it with Hank, I asked for the “laughing gas” again (nitrus oxide). I can’t say that it did much to help with the pain, but having it help me focus my breathing was helpful in some sense.

You see, when I’m in labor I find I need to go into what I call “The Dark Place” to get through contractions. I need to know that I’m in good hands and know that my Hubster and midwives are nearby… but when I’m in the throws of a contraction it takes all my strength and energy to endure it. I can’t have anyone touch me or talk to me…  I close off the world, bond with my bed railing and nitrus oxide mask and retreat to The Dark Place to breathe through each one.

Everything was prepped and ready to go by 3:50am. After a particularly strong contraction, Karla wanted to check me to see how I was progressing. I was very curious to know as my contractions felt so intense, and I didn’t remember feeling them this strongly until the very end with Hank.

In just over an hour I had dilated to around 6-7cm.

While I was relieved to hear that (if she had told me I was only 2cm along I would have died), it still felt like I had forever to go. I forced myself to remember that Hank had been born–start to finish–in less than four hours. As I watched the clock, I counted down the minutes and repeated “In 3 hours this will be over. In 2 hours and 47 minutes this will be over. In two hours and 33 minutes this will be over” to help myself get through it. Somehow having a time frame helped me get through the worst of it.

Thankfully I didn’t need all those extra minutes as this baby boy beat his big brother by almost an hour.

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