It took me some time to be able to sit down and write this story. My laptop broke and although there is quite a lot of sitting happening as I breastfeed for hours on end, time just seems to fly by and the days blend together like paint on canvas. So here it is: Alana’s birth story.
As per my previous posts, my pregnancy was a smooth and enjoyable one. With COVID, all my plans changed and the doctor that accepted me at 33 weeks was actually my mother’s OBGYN: the one who actually birthed me 32 years ago. In addition to this, his birthday is May 18th and we kept joking around that my daughter would be born that same day.
As of 38 weeks, I was ready and expecting her any day. We waited for what felt like an eternity, confined at my parents and taking walks in nature every single day as a reminder that amid a pandemic, we were still lucky to be alive and surrounded by nature. The doctor would not let me go more than 41weeks, and so at my 40-week appointment, he scheduled an induction for May 18th.
On Friday May 15th, my plan was clear: walk as much as I can to get her out before the induction. That day, my mom and I decided to turn our daily 7km walks to a nice long 12km one. I felt great! I took a long bath after and whispered to my belly: “Alana, it’s time to come out, we are ready to meet you, let’s do this naturally, together, before May 18th.” On the Saturday evening, I started feeling small contractions. I thought these were Braxton Hicks, since they were slight and I had not felt any at all yet. That night, as my husband slept like I baby, I could barely close my eyes and I monitored each contraction, thinking that (and waiting for) things to escalate.
The following day, Sunday, seemed to be never ending. I tried to distract myself with things to do while I monitored the contractions. When I called the hospital, the nurse told me to call back when my contractions were 5minutes apart. I never called back. That night, I was so tired that I slept like a baby, not even woken up by the movements happening in my belly.
Monday morning, things got more constant. I called the hospital once my contractions were 5min and 30secs apart. The nurse, a different one from the previous day, told me that since it was my first baby, I should take a bath to relax my muscles and to continue doing labor work at home for now. After my bath, contractions starting occurring every 15-20minutes, things slowed down! I felt defeated and thought that this baby was going to be forced out. So, I waited for the hospital to call me for my induction. Another nurse called around 3pm to schedule me at 8pm. When I told her about what was happening, she told me to go in at 8pm no matter what, or to go before if my contractions were 4min apart since I was a 30-minute drive away.
That afternoon I was sitting outside on my Pilates ball colouring mandalas while my husband was working out. All of a sudden, I got a very painful 2-minute contraction that made me gasp for air. From there, things escalated quickly. Contractions were painful and coming frequently. My mom had to call the hospital since I could barely speak on the phone and the nurse calmly told her: “Ok sure, you can bring her in”.
We got our things together and left the house at the speed of light. I sat on the backseat with my mom as my husband drove to the hospital. My brother met us at the hospital to bring my mom home afterwards. I remember arriving at the hospital and when the nurse finally checked my cervix, she was surprised to see that I was at 4cm. The anaesthetist was in the next room, so she asked me: “do you want an epidural?” I said yes. In my mind, if I was only at 4cm with this pain, there was no way I could take another 12-18hs of pain and labor until the next morning. While we waited for the anaesthetist to arrive, I told her that I felt like I needed to go to the bathroom. She asked me if I wanted her to check my cervix again, and I told her I didn’t think it was necessary since she had checked it about 20minutes ago. I got the epidural, and she checked. I was at 10cm. I actually thought she was joking. Was it even possible to go from 4 to 10cm within 30-40minutes?
After the next contraction, my water broke. The nurse called the doctor and he was on his way. He was having a birthday Zoom dinner with his family. All those jokes about her being born on his birthday were actually becoming a reality. He was shocked when he arrived that I no longer had a cervix and he went to change. In the meantime, I did some practice pushes with the nurse and my husband, since all this time I had to wear a mask due to COVID, an additional challenge to something that already takes so much energy from you. The nurse had to hurry the doctor in because the baby was coming out.
He came into the room and asked us: what time do you want the baby to be born at? It was maybe 8:40pm. We guessed times that were not so far in the future, like in maybe 20-30 minutes? It took 4 pushes with him there and the next thing I know she is crying and on my chest at 8:49pm. From the moment I arrived at the hospital at 6:30pm… it took very little time to have her in my arms. Honestly, I don’t think I could have asked for a more ideal and amazing birth.