As I write this post, I am sitting at my kitchen table with a little babe wrapped up and held close to my chest via a Moby Wrap. Nothing beats this, this feeling of unexplainable love and peace that surrounds us as this babe sleeps quietly against me, head on chest, continuing to hear my heartbeat that he has so long heard from the inside. These are the moments I cherish.
If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll have already seen photos of our delicious little boy. Matthew James was born two weeks ago yesterday, on Sunday, February 7th, 2016. This little bundle weighed in at 7lbs and 14 oz, measuring a whole 50cms long (almost 20 inches). His birth is one that I will never forget..
It all began the afternoon of Saturday, February 6th, when Damien and I walked through the doors of the Emergency Room. I was having some weird pains in the upper right quadrant of my belly, and since we didn’t yet have an OBGYN (even though I was 39 weeks pregnant) we wanted to get it checked out for peace of mind. Let me restate that: we simply wanted to get it checked out for peace of mind. We assumed it would be a quick (as quick as an ER visit could be) hospital visit, and that we would walk out with reassurance that everything was just fine. That, however, was not the case.
Once up in the Maternity Ward and after going through all the routine triage room tests it was found that my blood pressure was abnormally high which led to a whole myriad of other tests (one of which they learned that I had protein in my urine, whatever that means). They also checked down there and found out that I was already 3cms dilated, which apparently rare for first time pregnancies. After sitting in the triage room and having my blood pressure monitored for a good four hours with no sign of it going down to a healthy number, we were informed that it was highly recommended that I be induced, immediately. While we technically were given a choice as to whether or not we wanted to go forward with the induction, the look on the Doctors face told us that there in fact wasn’t much of a choice.
At 8 o’clock in the evening I was taken to my own private delivery room and labour was induced. Half an hour after that, the Doctor broke my water, which, up to that point, was the most painful thing I had ever experienced.
To be honest, the beginning half of my labor wasn’t at all as bad as I thought it would be. I experience fairly painful (and at times debilitating) menstrual cramps, and that’s exactly what my contractions felt like. It wasn’t until after I took an hour long bath that I started to get squirmy because of the pain. When I found out that I was only 5cms dilated, Damien and I decided that it would probably be wise to get an epidural ASAP, while I could manage to sit relatively still.
While our birth plan was to have everything happen as naturally as possible and having the hope that I could deliver without an epidural, it was definitely the right decision to get the epidural (although complicatedly so..). The epidural allowed me to get a couple hours of sleep in before the brunt of labour began.
At some point during the night, I started feeling my contractions in my left hip area, which we later learned was because Matthew was sunny side up and because his head was pushing on the left side of my pelvis. To combat the pain, I was informed that I could push a button to get extra medication through my epidural. This was supposed to take away the pain, however I had a rare reaction to the medication and upon pushing the button, excruciating pain ran through my upper back and down my arms. Eventually the pain became to much to bear, and I broke down and cried like I’ve never cried before. The nurses and Doctor couldn’t do much for me, so they decided it was time to practice pushing. Now, it’s important to note that at this point I had already been fully dilated for a couple of hours, however Matthew wasn’t dropping like he was supposed to.
I pushed a total of two times. The first was a little practice push, and the second a push with which I used all of my strength. That’s when things when further downhill. Matthew’s heart rate began to drop dangerously low. So low, that Damien says there was immediately around fifteen people that rushed into the room. All I remember is them urgently telling me to get on my hands and knees, which was hard to do even with all the strength I could muster because of the pain running through my back and arms, and my numb legs. It was unbearable, but somehow I managed.
The next fifteen minutes or so are a blur, but I do know that they managed to get Matthew stabilized and after getting me to scribble my name on a consent form, they rushed me into surgery for an Emergency C-section.
All I remember of the surgery was the blue curtain shielding me from seeing anything below my chest, the nurse and Damien on either side of my head talking me through the procedure and my shaking uncontrollably. Next I remember a pressure on my tummy and hearing “the head’s out”. At this point they called Damien over to where they were doing the initial checkup to make sure everything was okay with Matthew. There were a few little hiccups, but it wasn’t long before they declared we had a healthy baby boy. The biggest concern for the nurses was that Matthew refused to cry when he was born, but was content with looking about at the world around him. The nurses swaddled little Matthew and Damien brought him over to me, laying our little boy on my chest so that I could see his face.
I cried. I mean, I was already crying from first pain, then fear, and now this uncontainable awe and love for this brand new baby boy. It is a birth I will never forget, a birth that is riddled with God’s faithfulness and goodness and love. I am so thankful..