Thursday, June 30, 2011

finally... the birth story.

Around 1am, I woke up (once again) with wicked heartburn. It was so bad that I couldn't even be laying down. After a trip to the bathroom for my fifth and sixth Tums of the night, I decided to head out to the recliner in our living room so I could sleep a bit more upright. It worked and -after quickly checking Facebook and the comments on my blog, of course- I fell asleep and didn't wake up until right around 5am. Almost four hours! Quite the feat considering the capacity of my bladder at 41+ weeks pregnant.

But before I go any further, lets have a recap of the few days prior... courtesy of my Twitter stream.

Saturday, June 11th,
Screen shot 2011-06-24 at 9.00.22 PM

Screen shot 2011-06-24 at 9.00.41 PM

Sunday, June 12th,
Screen shot 2011-06-24 at 9.01.01 PM

Monday, June 13th,
Screen shot 2011-06-24 at 9.01.50 PM

Screen shot 2011-06-24 at 9.02.00 PM

Monday, June 14th,
Screen shot 2011-06-24 at 9.02.12 PM

Carrying on...

5:00 am - Wake up. Feel a contraction not long after... that actually kinda hurts. Get up, grab the laptop so I can listen to my hypnobabies scripts. Head back to bed.

5:10 am - Back in bed, listening to the "First Stages" script. A few more contractions. Have to concentrate a bit during them, more to try to figure out if they were real or not. Have to use the bathroom after each "wave" (more on that later)

6:00 am - Not really able to sleep. Get up to wake the boys for school. Simon and Andrew are already awake. Attempt to rouse Liam. Have a contraction. 

6:05 am - Another contraction. Tell Liam that maybe the baby will be here when he gets home from school. Get no response (but I do get a nice hug before he heads for breakfast).

6:10 am - Sit in the dark of the boys' room contemplating the possibility that this might actually be the birth day. Feel yet another contraction. Go back to bed to listen to my script and try to relax. Not able to get comfortable at all while lying down.

6:30 am - Peter comes back up from getting the boys on the bus. I tell him that maybe he should stay home from work, but "would he be mad if it doesn't happen today?". He says he'll stay. I have him move the chair from the boys' room into ours so I can be sitting up, then move the crib and dresser out of the way so there'll be room for the birth pool.

6:45 am - Not timing contractions, but think about calling the doctor.

6:50 am - Okay. Enough waiting. Call the doctor AND GET HIS VOICEMAIL. Leave a message saying I think this might be the real thing. He calls back and says he'll be here in an hour. I hang up on him because I can't talk through the contraction.

With all my other labours, my contractions followed a predictable pattern. They very distinctly started low and the tightening worked its way up my belly in a wave, peaked, and then worked its way back down. These are so, so different. While I still feel the tightening, there is almost no pain whatsoever in my abdomen itself. It's ALL in my cervix. Deep inside and so, so strong. When I lean forward even the tiniest bit, the pain is unbearable. Way too intense.

I labour mostly sitting up in an armchair, listening to my hypnobabies script. Peter brings in his coffee and newspaper, but Andrew follows him in and keeps trying to climb on me (only during contractions of course). I try a few times to lay down -since I really want to lay down!- but the pain quadruples and I lay there whimpering. I can't relax or concentrate on anything other than just surviving til the wave ends and I can get back in the chair. I try sitting on the exercise ball. I try kneeling on the ground, leaning on the ball. But anything other than sitting slightly reclined in the chair just doesn't work. I feel very nauseous during each contraction.

I sit in the chair with my legs crossed, feet on the exercise ball, and head propped up on a pillow against the wall (Peter has to both lift my legs onto the ball AND reach the pillow that's sitting mere inches away). I concentrate on consciously relaxing all the muscles in my abdomen and uterus, and say to myself "open, open, open" with each wave of pain. I can hear Peter playing with Andrew somewhere in the house. Between contractions I silently curse the woman on the disc and her claims that all I feel is "pressure". This is far, far, FAR more than pressure. FAR. MORE.

Peter comes in often to check on me. I can hear him come in, but he leaves me to my chair and scripts. A few times I sit up to talk to him or attempt to change positions, but whenever I'm not concentrating on relaxing I want to climb out of my skin. Even though listening to the scrips and practicing what I've learned do not make things painless, I feel completely out of control when I break my concentration.

7:50 am - It's one hour after the doctor said he would be here in one hour.  He's not here. I have Peter call him. He says he's 10 minutes away. I'm super nauseous with each surge.

8:00 am - Me: CALL. HIM. AGAIN. Even with deep, deliberate, conscious concentration I'm having a hard time keeping calm and relaxed. Although I still feel in control, I begin to wonder if the doctor will make it in time. He definitely won't have time to inflate and fill the birth pool. Peter fills the tub and puts some water on to boil (since our hot water tank hardly fills the tub 8" before running out).

8:05 am - Peter calls down to the portero (guard) to let him know to expect the doctor and let him up right away. I'm whimpering and starting to feel frantic. I can tell baby is coming, BUT I'M STILL FULLY DRESSED SITTING IN THE ARMCHAIR.

8:10 am - The doctor finally arrives. He and Peter make several trips bringing equipment into our bedroom. I'm on my hands and knees, barely able to speak, and starting to seriously panic THAT THEY KEEP LEAVING THE ROOM. I somehow manage to blurt out that the baby is coming and THEY NEED TO STOP LEAVING. I'm still wearing my pyjamas and at serious risk of delivering baby girl fully dressed. The imminency of the situation now clear, the doctor helps me out of my pjs while Peter runs around the house frantically gathering every towel we own. The doctor tries to check me and I none too calmly tell him to get away from me. I ask Peter to change the track playing on the laptop to the "pushing" script.

8:15 am - I ask Peter what time it is. He tells me 8:15. I start pushing and can tell she's coming fast. About three minutes after asking Peter to turn the hypnobabies pushing script up, I tell him abruptly to turn it off. I'm not listening anymore... or maybe just not hearing. At this point it's all about getting it done. I vocalize loudly, but am not screaming like with Andrew. Pushing is painful (way more than pressure!), but is also a relief. I feel intense pain as she descends through the birth canal and crowns, but am not worried I'll die before she's born like I did during transition and pushing with Andrew.

8:22 am - As her head is born, the doctor asks me to stop pushing. Ha. As the rest of her body emerges, there's such a wave of relief. The bag of waters breaks as she's born -or the doctor broke it once her head was born- as it hadn't broken prior to labour. Still on my hands and knees and shaking from the effort, I don't even pick her up immediately. Either Peter or the doctor wraps her in a hand towel and I get my first good look at her as she lets out her first little cries. I again ask Peter what time it is and am amazed to hear it's only been seven minutes. After a few more minutes, I manage to turn over so I can sit and get a better look at her... and her red hair!

8:30 am - The nurse arrives as we're waiting for the placenta to be born. The look on her face when she sees the baby already here is priceless. After sitting for a few minutes more, I decide to get up and head to the pre-filled-but-now-barely-warm tub with the baby. Even with all the boiling water from the stove, it's not comfortable for long. It does give me the chance to clean us both up a bit and to nurse the baby.

After changing into a clean (and non-pyjama) shirt (that I managed to put on backwards), I headed to the bed and we finally called my mom and Andrew into the room... to meet Eloise Amora Kaye Bundy. Andrew climbed right up onto the bed and was quick to give hugs and kisses to both me and Eloise, although he was more focused on me than the baby.

Eloise birthday-12
about 75 minutes after birth

She didn't have even a hint of a cone-head, no bruising whatsoever. She came out so quickly, there was just no time.

Eloise birthday-11

After a few pictures, Peter took Eloise out to try calling his family on Skype, and my mom was able to get ahold of my younger sister. Since I was still laying on the bed covered by a towel, I finally asked the nurses to get the doctor to come assess the damage. As he started with the freezing, I had to ask one of the nurses if they'd mind getting me some toast or a muffin or something to eat. I was feeling light-headed and realized that -at 10:30 am- I hadn't eaten a thing that day!

Stitching completed, they brought Eloise back in to weight and measure her. As you can see, she wasn't a fan of the process.

Eloise birthday-10

After another shower, I headed out to grab another snack and pretty much parked myself on the couch for the rest of the day. The doctor and nurses mentioned several times "how strong Canadian women are". They couldn't believe how quickly and "easily" I laboured, that I was up taking a bath 10 minutes after the birth, and walking around getting myself something to eat a few hours later (they had, however, just come from a 21 hour labour where the mom pushed for four hours). They left about four hours after Eloise was born.

I'll end here even though I haven't written about Liam and Simon's first reactions (Simon said some hilarious and blog-worthy things), since it's taken me this long to make it this far... and she'll be 15 days old tomorrow!

Eloise birth was not quite what I'd envisioned... It was not the calm waterbirth I'd wanted. There was no birth pool. No cute bathing suit I'd bought specially for the occasion. There was no peaceful easing, no gentle waves of pressure, no letting my body bring the baby out. It was intense and powerful and overwhelming and fierce AND FAST.

BUT... even amidst the pain of contractions (although some women have painless births with hypnobabies, mine WAS NOT!), I felt so... in control. There was no fear. I welcomed the pain of the contractions, rather than tense up and fight it like my prior births. I don't even have the words to explain it... other than I felt so confident and, yay, in control. Only when it became clear that baby was crowning and the doctor still hadn't arrived, did I start to panic and feel overwhelmed by the pain. I do wish that he'd arrived sooner and I'd been able to stay relaxed throughout, but it was just too fast!

So fast that there are no pictures! *sob*

I'd gotten the camera all charged and ready to go, brought it into the room and set it on the shelf... where it remained untouched throughout the entire labour and birth. Being a photographer, I'd really hoped for wonderful images to remember this, my last, birth.

But what I do have are wonderful memories of a quick, intense and empowering birth welcoming this amazingly sweet little soul into the world. Our sweet little Eloise who we've spent the last two weeks getting to know and love.

june 22-10

june 22-1

Next up, a post about the placenta in our freezer. Not to be missed.


  1. thanks for posting this amy. a beautiful sotry. not being able to deliver naturally, i love reading about others' birthing stories.

    don't you just lvoe how babies always do that hands behind the head, i'm so relaxed, kind of sleeping?

    -smothermother (julie)

  2. Can't wait for part deux! She's a beauty and you are amazing. Thanks for sharing your story.

  3. You are a warrior Amy! Good work!! And Eloise is beautiful. We can't wait to meet her!! Love and miss you all.

  4. OMG, Amy, what a fantastic story! Such a natural, empowering birth! Lucas's birth was like that for me, completely natural save for the pitocin to move him along. Laughing about the lack of pictures -- but you've obviously made up for it since. ;)

  5. Eloise is an absolute doll...PRECIOUS!!! What a wonderful gift from God. Can't wait to meet her. Love the pictures!!! Can't believe how fast she is growing already!! You are a trooper, Amy. That is a last birth worth remembering! Love, Mom/Mora/Nana

  6. I stayed up way too late last night reading your birth story.... so beautiful: just like you and Eloise. It's never exactly as we imagine... Yet these little souls arrive exactly as they want to. She is a strong little girl... Full of light and peace. I adore the photos... Especially the light in the second to last one.

  7. beautiful story Amy. I love birth stories! She is just priceless and I am so glad she arrived safe and sound!


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