Yael’s Birth Story
Every pregnant lady/mom loves a good birth story, am I right!?
I was obsessed with reading them when I was pregnant and even now, after 2 kids I still love them.
But now that I’ve experienced labour twice, I’ve realized there were always certain details left out of peoples stories or the story stopped right when the baby was born. Lucky for you, I documented every detail of my pregnancies and labour’s and I can sometimes be an oversharer, so that won’t be the case here! I am only leaving out one detail and you’ll find that out later. But because of that this will be a long one. So get comfy!
It was a Wednesday afternoon and I was 2 days overdue- sigh. I had invited a new friend over from our Birth & Babies class (first time pregnant mama’s I HIGHLY recommend that class!!! More on that in another post..). She had the same due date as me and neither of us were feeling anything indicating labour was close- double sigh. It was nice to chat with her because she was feeling the same frustrated and anxious feelings that I was.
At this point every birth announcement that wasn’t mine was killing me! Over half of the people in our class had already had their babies and we were suppose to be a few of the first! That felt like some kind of sick joke!
As we were hanging out my friend started getting braxton hicks contractions. I didn’t think I had ever had one before so she explained what it felt like and I even felt her ROCK HARD belly as she was having one. Then all of a sudden, I got one too! It came with low back pain and sore tummy tightening. Finally! A sign that I wouldn’t be pregnant forever!
After that I kept getting them randomly all night. They were short and uncomfortable for the 10s that they lasted for. I wondered if this was it, but had no clue. This wasn’t feeling or looking like how it happens in the movies….
Around 10pm they started getting so uncomfortable that I couldn’t lay in bed anymore. Getting up felt better but I was brought to my knees almost every time. I decided to sleep on the couch so I didn’t keep waking up Dan. These contractions were consistently 20 min apart all night. Around 2:30am I knew it was labour. I text my friend to tell her and she said that it was happening for her too! What are the chances!
I tried to sleep in between every contraction and I somewhat could. Dan came and checked on me at one point and I got him to make me a bagel because I was starving but I didn’t want to move. During every contraction I was so hot, but as soon as it ended I was freezing and wanted to get curled up on the couch again. It also made me feel better after a contraction to go to the bathroom, so I went a million times.
Around 6am they were still about 15 min apart and I told Dan to go to work since they were taking so long to progress. We were told in our classes not to go to the hospital until your contractions were 5:1:1, happening less than 5 minutes apart, lasting for 1 minute, happening consistently for 1 hour.
From the moment Dan left for work they got closer and closer and all of a sudden I started progressing very quickly. I was having bad back labour on every one which was awful. Ice made it feel better but I could never decide if it felt better on my stomach or my back so I’d move it front to back, front to back. The pain also got so bad that it made me puke a few times too, so much for eating that bagel…
By 7:30am I had text him to be home by 9. Once he got home he helped me time my contractions, which was tricky because most of them were overlapping, lasting 3+min. Ouch!!
For the next half hour our convos were like this;
Dan: “is that a new one?”
Me: “I think so”
Dan: “But when did the last one end?”
Me: “I don’t know! It didn’t!”
Besides being a big help timing my contractions (even though it seemed pointless with them overlapping) Dan felt so helpless for the hour he was home with me. He wanted to help and hated seeing me in so much pain. He asked if he could hold the ice on my back or if I wanted a massage but I didn’t want anything. When he asked what he should do I said “just stay away from me and be quiet”. Haha! Then he asked if he could put headphones in and watch Netflix and I said “YES!” Lol. For some reasons I was getting through them easier on my own.
By 10am I could barely take it and we left to the hospital at 10:30. At about 10:32 I realized we forgot the bag with all our baby things so I made Dan turn around to get it. At this point it was already the drive from H.E.L.L but I was trying to waste time so there was less chance of being turned away at the hospital. In our birth classes the teacher told us to labour for as long as we could at home since it was more comfortable and if you go to the hospital too early you could get turned away and that can create stress on you and slow things down. Resulting in a longer labour. No. No. No.
The fact that I could get turned away made me so nervous. I was in so much pain and was scared that since I wasn’t dilated a couple days before at my appointment, I wouldn’t be dilated enough to stay. I couldn’t do this car ride again! It’s impossible to sit still when you’re having a contraction. I kept telling Dan “they cannot send us home”, “I cannot go back home!” “fight for us to stay!”. I wanted to get this show on the road.
Surprisingly, at this point Dan and I were still both very calm. Dan only road raged at a few people, haha, and I was pretty quiet with the exception of a few groans or to tell Dan that “It hurts so bad”.
Once we got to the hospital (Foothills) we had to wait for what felt like the world’s slowest elevator. When it finally came a million people wanted to get in and I was having contractions; moaning, groaning and barely able to stand, with all these people that I didn’t know. This one guy, who you could tell was on something, was talking on his cell phone standing in the way of the door so it couldn’t close. Dan yelled at him “in or out, bud!”. He chose in and off we went.
Once at triage we got in quickly to see a nurse so I could get checked. But actually getting checked took a while because I couldn’t lay down when I was having a contraction and after a contraction I wanted to go to the bathroom because it made me feel better. But then by the time I came back I would be having another contraction! This cycle repeated a few times before I told myself to just suck it up and get checked so we can get to the next stage of this process. I said this would be my last trip to the bathroom and that made my nurse happy because she started giving me looks and at one point asked if I “really had to go”. I didn’t know anything except for what felt good and what felt awful. Bathroom breaks = good. Well, kinda.
Then, on that last trip to the bathroom, I saw my friend! We basically fell into eachothers arms and mumbled “this sucks” and “good luck”. How crazy is it that she was there too!
As the nurse checked me I was still so nervous about being sent home (maybe that was subconsciously why I was putting it off with all the bathroom breaks?!) but she very quickly told me I was already 6cm! Woohoo!!! I was sooo relieved. We were there to have a baby!!!
As they were transferring me into the delivery room, they asked if I wanted anything for pain management and I said “epidural, asap!”.
Going into labour I didn’t make any kind of birthing plan. I just decided I’d do what felt right at the time. I wasn’t opposed to doing it naturally or getting an epidural, I was going to just see how I felt. I don’t regret not having a plan, but it was silly to think I’d just “see how I feel”. Of course I was going to want the epidural! Luckily, it didn’t take too long for the anesthesiologist to come and I got one quickly. For me, getting the IV before hand was the most painful part. I didn’t feel any pain when I got the epidural because I was having contractions and was more focused on trying to stay still during them. The nurse helped hold me while I got it done and it was a good thing she did.
Once the epidural kicked in I was a whole new women! I could still feel when a contraction was coming, but it wasn’t painful or intense at all! HEAVEN!
For the next 3hrs we basically sat around. I was in the hospital bed getting monitored and Dan was in a lazy boy recliner, although he also paced back and forth, a lot.
I dilated to 10cm very quickly, however, the baby was the “wrong” way (face up- which was the cause for my back labour) and she was still really high in the birth canal. I asked “what are we waiting for??” and the nurse replied that I either have to feel pressure “in my butt” or baby would have to lower more into the birth canal. She said I could start pushing but I would be doing twice the work and it would be a really long time before she came because I’d have to push her into the birth canal and then push her out. 😓
After about 4hrs of this I asked if there was anything we can do to speed it along. The nurse asked the doctor and they decided to “augment” my labour. They gave me oxytocin to speed up my contractions and make them stronger. This would hopefully flip the baby and descend her into the birth canal. Soon after starting the oxytocin the doctor came in and said that if I was ok with it she was actually going to try and manually flip the baby into the right position. I was ok with it! Anything to get this moving along! Sitting and waiting was boring and the anticipation was too much.
Well, there were a few positives to sitting and waiting. In that time we chatted a lot with our nurse and got to know her and build trust with her. One thing I thought was amazing was she asked me how I wanted to be talked to once pushing and everything really started. I told her calmly, no yelling & very encouraging. She also said she’d make sure the doctor was following my wishes as well. I thought this was great because then we were on the same page and I wasn’t getting discouraged by their coaching styles when things got intense.
Anyways… The Doctor had a resident with her so everything she did, the resident did. The resident started and was able to turn her a bit and then the Doctor tried and was able to successfully get her into the right position. Yay! She said there was a chance the baby might flip back on my next few contractions, but thankfully she never did. Also, thank God I had an epidural for that!
After the flip they were going to try and put me into some positions to help lower the baby but upon getting into my first one, they lost the heartbeat. They tried for a long time to pick it up again but couldn’t. They asked if they could put on an internal monitor that clips onto baby’s head a tiny bit and I said I’d rather not but if it’s necessary then we could. They tried a bit longer to find the heartbeat but had no luck and felt it was necessary to do the internal one. Not being able to find the heartbeat was nerve wracking. I flipped onto my back and the nurse was starting to internally get it ready when she said “actually I think it’s time to push”. She asked the doctor if it was ok and she said Yes! Time to push! Once the doctor changed the babies position, she slid right into the birth canal. I wish we had of tried that 4 hours ago!
On my next contraction I did 3 big pushes and then waited for my next one. Pushing felt fairly easy because 1. I couldn’t feel any pain and 2. My contractions were now slower and around 3 min apart so I had time in between to recover and get ready for the next one.
Shift change for my nurse and Doctor was at 7pm and I started pushing just before 6. They had told me if I didn’t deliver by 7 I would have all new staff delivering my baby. Not that I didn’t trust anyone else but I had just gone all day with the same nurses, I didn’t want to have new ones! So I was determined to get her out by 7. The nurses told me that they “liked my attitude” but that most first labours push for 2-3hrs.
After pushing for about 45 min the Doctor taking over on shift came in to introduce herself and wanted to check how I was progressing. Once she checked me she said “I gotta put my robe on!” I asked “does that mean she’s coming now!?” She said “Yup!”. I felt like this doctor was really good. Babies head, I could tell, was right there (but no pain) and on some contractions she would tell me not to push because she was working on babies head positioning, helping with less tearing.
Then, on one push the doctor said “open your eyes and look at me”. I did and at that moment she pulling my baby out. (This part always makes me cry, even 2.5yrs later). 😭
There she was. She was here. Our sweet baby Yael. And it was insane.
(Yael is pronounced Yale, like the school.)
I immediately started crying and they put her on my chest for skin to skin. I could not believe what just happened and that she was here! How did Dan and I create this baby!? It is such a miracle!
While we were doing skin to skin the doctor started stitching me up. I had a 2nd degree tear, which is very common. She mentioned that my placenta hadn’t come out but I didn’t really care or know what that meant. I was in my own world with my perfect little baby.
Once I was stitched up it still hadn’t come out so they took Yael from me. This is when I started paying attention and realized this might not be good. The doctor called someone else to try and manually get it out but they were also unsuccessful. Then they called someone from OB and told me that if they couldn’t get it I’d have to go to the OR. Uggggh.
Once Dan found out I was 6cm dilated he text everyone that it was time and our families all came to Calgary, driving 2-3hrs. They’d all arrived and been waiting so long that I just wanted to get out there! I didn’t want them to have to wait longer while I go into OR and I sure didn’t want Dan to introduce her without me.
I got my epidural topped up and then the OB started trying. I looked at her and very seriously said “I know you can do this and I know you will get it out!” and she did!! It took a while and as Dan put it “it looked like a blood bath” but she got it. I looked over and saw….it…(the detail that you don’t need a visual of…) and I asked “Is that my placenta?” she said “Yes, but it doesn’t normally look like that”. Again, ugggggh.
Because of all that, I had to be put on antibiotics and stay in the hospital for 2 nights. The OB also tore my stitches while trying to get it out so those had to be redone. Again, thank God for the epidural!!!!!
While all this was going on (it took about an hour) they weighed and measured Yael. Weight: 6’4 lbs and height: 19 inches.
When we heard that Dan and I’s jaws hit the floor. I thought for sure I had a 8lb baby in there!! And considering how big of a baby I was (10 pounder- sorry Mom!) I thought I’d for sure be having a big baby too (stay tuned for labour for baby #2 on my next post, lol). Although it did made sense considering I was measuring 37″ at 40 weeks.
Since Yael was so small, smaller than her gestational age, the Doctor wanted to keep her for 2 days to monitor her blood sugars and make sure we established breastfeeding. I had to stay anyways so that was no big deal.
About now is when the other Doctor who I had been with all day popped in to check on things. She apologized for not being there to deliver my baby, but said she was busy delivering another one. I immediately remembered my friend was there and I asked if it was hers. She couldn’t tell me but by her look I knew it was. We had the same due dates, started our labours at almost the exact same time, got to the hospital within an hour of eachother and then ended up delivering our babies 1 hour apart! How bizarre and totally cool is that! I love it.
After all of that, all the wonderful nurses we had spent all day with left and I got a new one. She was the worst. She insisted that I had to do a good, long feed before she took me to postpartum otherwise she was going to give Yael formula. So, we tried breastfeeding. As soon as my shirt was down Yael started rooting. It blew my mind that without ever doing it before, she knew exactly what to do.
The nurse was helping me because obviously I had never done this before and even though baby knew what to do, it was new for both of us. But as she was helping she was being really aggressive. I was overwhelmed and oblivious so I let her take the lead. This ended up being a huge mistake because this first feed created a lot of damaged. But how was I supposed to know! I trusted her and didn’t know any better. Regardless, we had a “successful feed” and were able to move on.
Later I found out the damage was from a lip and tongue tie. I wish the doctors looked for that and could take care of it in the hospital… but I’ll share the rest of that story in another post.
Around 9:30pm it was finally time to go to postpartum and meet everyone! I got into a wheelchair because I couldn’t walk from the epidural and held Yael in my arms. It was such an emotional moment! Everyone cried and took turns holding her. It was beautiful and she slept peacefully through it all.
We lucked out and got a private postpartum room. This was awesome because then we could have visitors and didn’t have to worry about bothering anyone. It also meant I could ask uncomfortable questions to my nurses without worrying someone would hear and I could walk around with no top on (when there weren’t visitors) because my nipples hurt soooo bad from that first feed.
I loved my nurses in PP! They took such good care of us and really made me feel comfortable. At night they took Yael to the nursery so I could sleep and they only brought her in when she needed to eat, which they made sure was every 3h on the dot. They were very strict with feeds because of her size.
The ‘break’ was really nice because I had had very little sleep the night before. I tried my best to relax but it was hard. There were so many things running through my mind of what just happened and what’s to come.
In the morning at 7am they brought Yael in and now it was my job to take care of her. This is when it hit me and when I feel like my love for her really came in. I immediately started crying and did almost every time that I held her or looked at her. So basically DID. NOT. stop. crying.
That day we had visitors all day which was really nice, but also very overwhelming and tiring. Dan couldn’t stay the night, hospital rules, so he went home around 11pm and again the nurses took Yael so I could ‘sleep’. But I actually spent this time sending texts & emails to people that she was here and looking at all the pictures Dan took over and over.
The next day it was time to go home, we packed up all our things and I cried saying goodbye to my nurses. The thought of not having them at the end of a button was scary and they really seemed like they cared about us. I was so jealous that they were more comfortable with MY baby then I was but it was also so reassuring and nice to learn from them. I felt like I should have been totally at ease but nursing was hell, changing diapers on a tiny crying baby was scary and I could barely see her through my tears. Good grief.
My first “mom fail” happened next. We brought Yael a going home outfit that was WAY to big (again, I thought I was going to be having a way bigger baby) and I didn’t pack pants or socks…. In the dead of winter! Oops! Luckily we remembered a hat…. Lol 🙄
Phew, that was a long one. Stay tuned for my birth story with my son which is COMPLETELY different. I will also have a post coming soon talking about both my postpartum journeys, including breastfeeding struggles. That’s the sh*t no one talks about….
Stay tuned and thanks for reading! 🙂