Sunday July 8th 2012 – Baby was officially 11 days overdue and still no consistent labour. We had been hopeful and prayerful that I would go into labour on my own over the weekend, but my induction was booked for Monday July 9th. When you are being induced, you go to the hospital the night before for cervical gel to be applied. This softens the cervix and can often cause you to go into labour and not need to be induced.
Our appointment for the gel was at 4:30pm, but by the time we got into a room it was 5:15. They then monitor the baby’s heart rate and my contractions for an hour before the doctor puts the gel in. The hospital was really busy that night so we ended up waiting until after 7:30 before we finally saw the doctor. Then you have to stay for another 30 mins to make sure baby is ok before leaving. By the time we got out of there, it was almost 9pm and we were starving! We had a nice dinner, last one just the 2 of us, at Pickle Barrel and then headed home to bed, praying I would go into labour!
Monday July 9th 2012 – I woke up Monday morning at 4:45 am with fairly strong contractions which lasted until we got in the car to drive to the hospital, but of course they stopped on the way there! Our appointment was for 8:30 but the hospital was busy that morning and didn’t have a room clean yet. So we went downstairs to the Tim Horton’s to get something to eat. Everything still seemed so surreal, such a weird feeling to have such a ‘planned’ labour and birth.
By 9:30 we were able to get into our room so we settled in and Trish and Candice (our midwives) got to work. They set up my IV and did some bloodwork and then just before 10am got fluids and a bit of oxytocin pumping and broke my waters. The contractions started almost immediately after my water broke and for about an hour they got progressively stronger but were very manageable. By 11 they started to become quite strong and I tried to walk around to progress labour more quickly. Unfortunately when you are induced you need to be hooked up to the IV as well as the heart rate and contraction monitors at all times, so I couldn’t walk very far. I felt very restricted and tied down, and disappointed that I wasn’t going to be able to walk the halls or use the Jacuzzi tub due to my situation. It was not helpful to see the midwives consistently turning up the oxytocin…mentally I knew things were about to get much worse very soon! By this point my mom had also arrived at the hospital and was in the room with us.
12:00 pm – I started to feel very sick to my stomach at this point, as well as incredibly hot. The drugs were really starting to take a toll on my body and I was sweating like crazy. The contractions started to get very painful at this point. I tried sitting on the exercise ball and would lean into Marks side while breathing through each contraction. He helped me by rubbing my back and watching the contraction monitor. He could tell me when the contractions were starting to go back down and that helped me get through each one. At this point they were very strong but only lasting about 30-45 seconds each.
1:15 pm – Candice checked me and I was dilated to 4-5 cm. Baby’s head had also moved down a bit more. The contractions got very intense around this time and they also were coming 3-4 in a row with no breaks in between. I tried sitting on the edge of the bed, and then Candice suggested putting the back of the bed up and having me kneel facing it, with my arms hanging over the back. I stayed like this for the next hour while trying to handle the multiple transactions. Mark would rub my back and hips and my mom would remind me to keep relaxed when all I wanted to do was tense up so tight and clench my fists. They were both so encouraging and so was Candice; everyone was telling me I could do it, even though at this point I was starting doubt that! I was so incredibly hot and felt like I was going to throw up. Because I felt so rotten, it didn’t feel like I got a break in between the multiple contractions at all. My dad arrived around this time as well. He had been planning on staying at work until the baby was close to arriving, but he couldn’t concentrate. What a rough time for him to come at…this was when the contractions were at their worst, and he just hugged me and told me I was doing a great job. He started crying when he hugged me and couldn’t stay in the room after that…so sweet.
Around 2:00 I told Mark and my mom that I didn’t think I could handle the pain anymore and was starting to consider an epidural. I was so torn but in so much pain. I didn’t want to ‘give up’ as my birth plan and goal had been to go as natural as possible. I asked Mark what he thought I should do, which was so hard for him to answer. He could tell I really wanted the epidural, but he also knew my goal and wanted to encourage me towards it. I was having such a hard time deciding, I really wanted someone to tell me what to do. Candice then came in to talk to me about a few things. My blood pressure had been climbing each week Kingston stayed inside me, and had been high that morning again. Also, my platelets had come back low from my earlier bloodwork. This meant I may have trouble clotting and therefore may need drugs to stop the bleeding as well as need to transfer my care to an OB. Candice encouraged me that it would probably be best for me to get the epidural. She explained that it would help to bring my blood pressure down and that most women who are induced need to have the epidural because of the number of consecutive contractions and their intensity. Right around this time as well the anesthesiologist just happened to stop by room to see if I would be wanting an epidural. This was my last chance until he’d be back around 2 hrs later. Both of these things made the decision for me, around 2:15 I said YES to the epidural and by 2:30 it had been started and was beginning to take effect. The anesthesiologist was so quick – I didn’t even know that he had started and all of a sudden he said ‘ok, done’!
2:40 pm – A scary 10 minutes. Although I couldn’t see the monitor and didn’t know what was going on, Kingston’s heart rate dropped from the 150s to 84 suddenly. Trish and Candice had me turning over onto my right, left, back, and then back again. They also called in a few other nurses to help and put oxygen on me. I had no idea what was happening, but everyone stayed so calm that I wasn’t afraid. Mark was staring straight at the monitor, but he didn’t give anything away to me. He just kept saying ‘its ok, its ok’ when I would look at him, and he totally kept me calm. Within a few minutes, Kingston’s heart rate had climbed back up to normal, and they explained that this can often happen post-epidural. The concern of course is making sure that the heart rate goes back up again, otherwise an emergency c-section may be necessary. Praise God this ‘dip’ was just a result of the epidural and nothing was wrong with our baby.
3:35pm – Trish checked me and told me I was now 7cm dilated – from 4 to 7cm in 2 hrs – very rare and fast for a first baby! I couldn’t believe it. She also said that the head had moved way, way down! By now I was completely comfortable and not feeling any pain, just pressure during the contractions. Dad, Mom, Mark and I had such an enjoyable time hanging out in the room talking and joking around. I felt so much better – no longer sick to my stomach or sweaty. The epidural did give me the shakes for about an hour, but apparently that is just a side effect. I will always remember that time that Mark and I were able to share with my parents while they awaited the arrival of their grandchild. I felt like a completely different person after the epidural – WOW. To go from that much pain to hanging out with my family – amazing. My dad would watch the contractions and tell me when they would be ‘record-setting’ – they were coming 4 in a row and were mostly off the charts, and I could barely feel a thing! I definitely understand why women choose to have epidurals!!
Around this time we also found out that my second round of bloodwork had come back completely fine with no need for concern at all – another blessing from the Lord!
By 4:45 pm I was feeling quite a bit of pressure and Candice and Trish both checked me. Candice thought I was 9cm dilated and that the head was quite close, and Trish said I was definitely a full 10cm! This means that from the time of induction (10am) and being 2 cm dilated, to being a full 10 cm, was only about 7 hours – almost unheard of for a first-time mom! Though I was ready to push at this point, Trish and Candice asked me to wait to let the baby’s head come down even further naturally.
6pm – My parents left the room at this time and Trish and Candice sat up on the bed with me and explained how I was going to need to push. They mentioned that since Candice is still a student, they would need to call another midwife to be there for the birth. This midwife would be Alison, who also had a student with her, so I was going to have 4 midwives with me! I didn’t mind at all, the more the merrier!
Once I started pushing, Candice and Trish started to look at each other in surprise, saying ‘is that the head? I think that’s the head’. They couldn’t believe it! Trish decided to call Alison right away!
Pushing was not at all what I expected. I thought it would be frenzied and somewhat chaotic, but it was so calm and relaxed. Mark sat beside the bed and the midwives sat on the end of the bed holding my legs. With each push they would all encourage me to keep going, keep going. My epidural had run out but it didn’t hurt one bit to push – it was rewarding to feel like I was doing something! The Lord certainly gave me the strength – after the epidural and the numbness/weakness in my body I had had no idea how I was going to be able to push! I did throw up at one point but it was not much and I felt much better afterwards. I know it’s very common to vomit during this time too.
Kingston moved down the birth canal very quickly and the back-up midwife Alison did not make it in time for him to be born, but her student Claire did.
He wasn’t stuck coming out, but his body was a bit twisted, so it took about 2 minutes for the rest of him to come out after his head was out. Mark watched the whole thing, I was so proud of him. I will always remember him saying ‘oh my gosh, oh my gosh’ when Kingston came completely out. His eyes were full of tears and he sounded so overwhelmed. He was born exactly at 6:40pm. They immediately placed him on my chest and started to clean him off. I had to ask Mark ‘what is it?!’ three times because he was still so caught up in the moment. When they lifted Kingston’s legs I could hardly believe what I saw in between them, and Mark yelled ‘It’s a BOY?!”, which sounded more like a question than an announcement. It was such a relief to hear him cry and to know that he was healthy and pinking up quickly. I also couldn’t believe that he was so big – 8 lbs 10 oz and 22 inches long!
I am so overwhelmed by all of the evidences of the Lord’s care and protection over us during the labour and delivery. Though it was nothing like I hoped or planned for, it was clearly His will for us. The following thoughts stand out especially:
- Though I did NOT want to be induced, if I had gone into labour naturally prior to July 9, Trish and Candice would not have been my midwives. I had seen both of them more than any other midwife on my team and felt the most comfortable with them. They were honestly amazing and I truly feel like they made such a difference for me
- My blood results – from being a worry to coming back the second time with no concerns at all – only can be explained as an answer to the many prayers being offered up
- The anesthesiologist just ‘happening’ to stop by my room at just the right time, before being unavailable for the next 2 hrs
- Me being able to stay calm during the dip in Kingston’s heart rate, and the fact that it was temporary and climbed right back up again
- The quick progression of labour and delivery - all said and done I was only in labour for about 8 hours - very rare for a first baby and rare for having an epidural as well!
Here I am after the epidural...that's why I am smiling!
Here are a few of the first shots of Kingston Leonard Vincent Sylvester. Leonard is Mark's dad's middle name, and Vincent is my dad's middle name.
Love that this precious moment was captured:
Our incredible midwives - so, so thankful for their care, encouragement, and expertise
First family shot