I hesitate telling ALL the details of the birth of our second son, Black Top (ha ha….he has darker hair than our first born, Golden Top).
But I’ve decided I will.
I strongly believe in the power of having a positive outlook and in believing all will work out well.
So even though Golden Top’s birth was not ideal I didn’t let it get in the way of the story I played in my mind about how our second child would be born.
That is… I had confidence that the birth of our second child would be a beautiful story and a joyful outcome.
Because most births are straightforward and beautiful events.
And for all you pregnant readers, let a positive story play in your mind too.
So here’s how it all went down…
A big snowstorm hit Toronto on Thursday, December 11th, 2014.
My son and husband just recovered from the stomach flu a day earlier.
I had been up with our son, who was… well, you can imagine what he was doing throughout the night. And it was the first time my poor baby had vomited… ever:(
I considered myself blessed because I hadn’t caught it. I had a bad case of diarrhea a day before them and figured I was getting away with a milder version (sorry for the details! lol!).
And by the grace of God, I didn’t let it worry me that I would (or could) catch the stomach bug.
I did, however, catch a cold a few days before and was coughing up a lung.
So, between the insomnia of pregnancy that I’d been experiencing and the coughing that was keeping me up… and then my son and husband getting the stomach flu… well I couldn’t catch a break.
I got pink eye. Yes. Seriously. THANKFULLY it developed the night before my final optometry appointment for the pregnancy.
So Wednesday, December 10th, I started antibiotic eye drops to clear things up.
It’s kinda funny, cause I really didn’t want to have a nasty looking red eye in the birth pics… I’m sure you ladies understand.
Thursday morning I was SO exhausted that my husband took our son for the whole morning and I slept in until 10am.
My husband and I headed to my OB appointment that afternoon on the very snowy country roads that lead to the clinic.
It was frightening. It didn’t help my husband had just recovered from the stomach flu and some vertigo that came along with the lovely package.
We made it safely to the appointment and the OB had some good news…
I was 2 cm dilated and 50% effaced!!!
Even with that, the OB said it could still be 1-2 weeks…
But we thought otherwise.
Especially my hubby, he thought it could be just days away.
That night, around 8 pm, I started having lows that would not go up… like I’m talking 70 carbs and I’m still sitting at 3.5 mmol/L (63 mg/dl)… for 2 hours straight.
I knew ‘IT’ was starting…
My body responded with the same blood sugar pattern with Golden Top.
I called the labor and delivery department because I was having mild contractions, but they told me not to bother to come in until the contractions got stronger.
Urggggh…I was reminded of how many healthcare providers are CLUELESS about type one diabetes.
I informed them that I needed to be assessed because low sugars in late pregnancy can be a sign of placenta issues and can distress the baby.
They didn’t understand. They actually asked me to page my diabetes clinic to make sure that’s what they wanted me to do.
So I called my diabetes clinic and they told me to ABSOLUTELY go in. And that is what I did.
But on the frantic way out the door I started feeling progressively worse and then…
I projectile vomited 3 times.
(Again, so sorry for the details).
My husband, mother-in-law and I drove to the hospital on the snowy, dark roads.
I actually felt a lot better and the contractions were barely noticeable.
Arriving at the hospital I was assessed and found to be 3 cm and baby was happy.
The OB told me I could go home “if I wanted to”, since it was early labor and it could take a long time. And they weren’t willing to give me a room.
I gave her one terrified look and said:
“I’m not going home… I totally have a stomach virus.”
You see, they thought I was just vomiting from the early labor.
The OB allowed me to walk around the hospital while we kept our stuff in the room…
But they wouldn’t register me. Not until I was in more “progressive labor.”
So this is how it went…
Walk around the floor… vomit… walk… vomit… and repeat x 4.
It took 4 trips around the nursing station for them to see me running for dear life to my room to believe that something wasn’t right.
Then something amazing happened…
I was assigned a miracle nurse. Literally, an angel appeared suddenly by my side.
This nurse happened to have a mother with type one diabetes and she knew exactly what I needed… SO she went ahead and told the doctor that I NEEDED a strong anti-nausea drug, IV fluids and insulin.
Apparently, she started giving me some of these things before the doc gave her the “okay”… so she kinda risked her job for me.
As soon as I was on this lovely combo, I felt awesome… for about an hour.
Then the labor pains kicked in, brought on and intensified by the gastro pain.
They were intense and very close together, every 2 mins and lasting 1 minute. But no one believed me because they thought it was pain from the stomach virus.
So when I had gastro, they thought it was labor pains… and when I was actually in intense labor pains they thought I was just having intestinal pains from the gastro. I’m not kidding!
So between 5:30 am and 8:15 am I waited and waited and waited for an OB to arrive. (I guess I wasn’t a priority since I was just having “gastro pain”).
My husband and mother-in-law were beside themselves about how to help me. Nothing helped.
I just kept asking them to bring me pillows, cold face cloths, and other distractions…like a squishy pumpkin stress ball I bought after Halloween (with the intent of using it in labour… yes, I know it’s weird… but distractions like this helped me with Golden Top too).
Finally, when I didn’t think I could take it anymore the OB arrived at 8:15 am.
He looked like the hulk… and had hulks hands, too.
I told him that I was terrified of him doing an exam on me with those hands.
He didn’t laugh (he must have heard that many times before).
I was 4 cm. And by feeling my uterus in just a second, he said:
“Melissa, you’re having this baby today.”
I was in active labor and could have the epidural right away.
And by this time the pain was so intense I cried out, “Lord, have mercy on me.”
By 8:30 am I had the epidural and was a different woman.
I laughed and chatted with my nurses… I was blessed with 2 nurses, since one was a new grad.
Eventually, my mom and my midwife showed up.
By 3 pm, I was 10 cm and going to be getting ready to push.
Miraculously, my contractions maintained the same strong 2 minute pattern… even with the epidural. My nurse told me she hadn’t seen such good contractions with an epidural before. (Woohoo!)
At 4 pm, I started pushing with the very little energy I had left.
Negative thoughts flooded my mind:
“How can you find the energy to do this, you just had gastro.”
But with the encouragement of my husband, midwife, and nurses I pushed away. And apparently I did quite well.
The midwife told me for a first time delivery, the average pushing time is 1hr 33 min.
And since this was a VBAC (vaginal delivery after c-section)… it was my first time pushing.
There were some concerning things happening though.
Black Tops heart rate was wonky at times, possibly signalling a problem.
I was having some unusual bleeding, possibly signalling a serious side effect with VBACs.
The likelihood of a VBAC seemed to be dwindling. I needed to get this baby out. Fast.
So I wasn’t bothered a bit when the OB said he needed to use a vacuum, called a Kiwi. I had just read about how great they were on one of my favourite blogs.
Talk about perfect timing.
After an episiotomy and a few more pushes, along with the power of the Kiwi…
Black Top was out at 5:03 pm on Friday, December 12th, 2014!
Total pushing time? 1hr 3min.
Even with the umbilical cord around his neck and a placenta abruption, all was okay.
Our little gift arrived just in time for Christmas!
Hello world, grandson #8 for my husband’s side (literally no granddaughters yet! :))
After a happy dance where I proclaimed…
“I got my VBAC! I got my VBAC!!”
I was settled into my recovery bed to, well, recover from a whole host of issues.
Here we are… after over 3,500 finger pokes… 65 appointments… and what felt like endless nights of insomnia…
But now? That’s ancient history because I’m holding our beautiful son!