The next morning the early, easy labour continued. I had some breakfast as usual and then took the dog for a walk. I was so happy and excited. I smiled at all the neighbours and found it amusing that I was secretly in labour and they didn’t have a clue. I was wearing a massive jacket of Kevin’s (the only thing that fit my pregnant body,) and it was so windy that I felt like a kite floating and flapping on the end of the dog leash.
When I got back home we decided to phone the doctor and our doula. We had decided to have a hospital birth with our family physician and hired a doula to help make the birth as natural as possible. Our plan was to spend as much of the early labour at home as possible, and only go into the hospital when childbirth was imminent. Our doctor was going skiing that day, I remember, and I told him not to worry. Nothing was happening very quickly, I just wanted to give him a heads up. We told our doula not to worry either, and we would call her when we needed her to come over. Meanwhile we ordered a pizza for supper, and tried (unsuccessfully,) to focus on a movie we were watching. At about 10:00 pm the contractions were getting quite strong and regular, and I had to focus and breathe to get through them. We phoned the doula and she arrived soon after. I felt a great deal of pressure on my back and tailbone, and found it helped to be on all fours. When the doula arrived she immediately tried some pressure points on the sides of my hips, and the pain was instantly relieved. I was amazed!She was also able to help with acupressure, positions and visualization techniques.
The labour seemed to be going on the same rate, not increasing in intensity, so we decided to stay home another night. The doula rested on the couch, and I tried to sleep. Of course none of us really slept, and at about 5:00am we packed up to go to the hospital. It appeared at that point that things were very intense. The contractions were happening every three or four minutes, and lasting at least a minute. I was so sore in the tail bone area that I was unable to sit fully in the car, and had to kind of hold myself up with my hands. At this point it was snowing very heavily. We lived in a small mountain community, Crowsnest Pass, AB. and we were concerned about the roads on the way to the hospital. They had not been plowed yet at that point. When we got to the hospital the nurses checked me and found that I was only dilated 4 cm! I was so disappointed, and would have probably went home, except for the fact that the snow was coming down so hard that we were worried about the feasibility of getting back to the hospital later. We spent the next few hours pacing the halls, stopping and breathing through contractions. The contractions had become quite painful, and I found I was making quite a bit of noise through them. I laughed at one point, imagining of some poor person lying in the room nearby, wondering who was moaning outside his door.
As things progressed I was moved to a labour and delivery room, I spent what felt like an eternity there, unable to sit down as more and more pressure was centered on my tailbone. It felt almost like an electric shock if I sat down or lay down during a contraction. I spent the whole time on my hands and knees, squatting or standing. My husband was indispensable, holding me when I needed to be held, holding my hand, rubbing my back. I noticed I felt a lot of pain on my lower left side, and mentioned it, but no one seemed to know what to do about that. The doctor decided to break my water, in the hopes of speeding up the process, but no luck. The contractions worsened, and I even dilated to about 8 or 9 cm, but still no baby. It went on like this until finally there seemed to be a drop in my baby’s heart rate. Thy listened as the heartbeat slowed then stopped for a few moments. It was awful. I decided right then and there to get my baby out. It was about 5:00am at this point, and they decided to schedule the c section for about 8:00am. Waiting for that c section, hearing my baby’s heart rate drop, stop for a few moments, then continue... was quite possibly one of the worst times of my life. They gave me a shot of Demerol (another thing I thought I would never agree to,) to help me get through the next few hours. I was delirious and beyond uncomfortable. It wasn’t like the pain was gone; it felt more like it was beside me, just slightly out of my control and very frightening.
When I got on the operating table a few hours later, the spinal block was the most blessed relief I have ever felt in my life. It had been a total of 48 hours since we first came to the hospital, and I was more exhausted than I had ever been before or since. I fell promptly to sleep on the operating table, and slept for about half an hour while they pulled my baby out. The next thing I remember was the sound of my baby Erik- he didn’t cry right away, and they were worried about him at first, but then I heard this low cry. It was more like a little animal, a bear cub or a sheep, kind of low and growly. I began crying. They brought him to me but I couldn’t hold him right away, I could only put his cheek on mine. I was so happy to see him. Then they wheeled me out and put me in a recovery room, where I had to wait for an hour alone. I was dying to see my baby. Finally they wheeled me out and I got to hold him. He was 8 pounds 2 ounces, at two and a half weeks early! He had a massive cone on his head, from all the hours spent with his head wedged in my cervix. He was long and lean with big hands and feet- and beautiful. He was my baby boy.