Sunday, December 25, 2011

The Big Day

When I took this photo I had no idea I was in labour. I knew that something was up. I mean, I thought I was peeing in my pants! I woke at 2am on Friday night with heart burn - damn Dino's pizza. To ease the pain I walked around the house, ate a tums and drank some water. It was then that I felt a trickle. In the back of my mind I knew this was weird, but I was getting so big in the belly that I figured baby was putting pressure on my bladder - yet another phase of pregnancy. So I put on clean panties and went back to bed.

In the morning I awoke 36 weeks to the day pregnant and with dry undies. Fewff. So I got up, made breakfast and attempted to clean the house. I say attempted because I was zonked. With every sweep of the floor I felt the need to lay down. That's when the waters started flowing, again. Now I knew something was up, so I called Dr. Lindsay for some clarity. I left a message that sounded something like this, "Hey Linds, not sure what's up, pretty sure it's nothing but I'm wetting my pants. It's not pee. Anyways I feel fine so I'm gonna head out. Call me." And that was that. I let Rich know about the wet pants, but together we agreed it was nothing. So I hoped in the car, picked up my breast pump from Lindsay's house (still no answer from my call), and met Cara on the Danforth.

I went about my chores knowing that today was maybe the biggest day of my life. I kept that thought in the back of my mind as I picked out chicken thighs and bought a nursing bra. Then I met Cara for a mani-pedi, joking that maybe I would deliver at the nail salon. They do have so many clean towels around. After we strolled the Danforth and went for a coffee when Lindsay called. "Go to the doctor. Don't panic. But go."


I drove home. Met Rich in a calm state of panic. We packed up the car. My bag, baby's bag, Rich's bag, oh and the car seat.

We arrived to a sleepy Sunnybrook hospital. Much different than the usual hustle and bustle from my weekly appointments. At triage in the maternity ward we were assessed. Yup my waters had broken, nope I wasn't in labour, but since it had been 12 hours it was time to induce me. What? Really? Um...ok. We took the news rather well. We took the news actually really calmly. My first thought was, oh but my baby is suppose to be born in January, which means according to Malcom Gladwell, it will be one of the smartest in school. Rich reassured me that school is irrelevant, especially in the future. He's right. As the idea of being put into labour set in I realized that I hadn't eaten since breakfast. How will I have strength to push? So we pleaded to go out and eat. We were faced with resistance but the doctor and nurses agreed to let us go.

Thai food. We ate amongst happy couples out on a Saturday night. So much chatter around us. All of a sudden I felt so pregnant. We prepped for the big event, with all sorts of mind visualizations and pep talks. We knew we were ready, even though it was a whole 4 weeks early.

We got back to the hospital and after all of the talk and head nodding, they showed us to our super deluxe room. The oxytocin was administered at 11 by our nurse Lanna. I felt nothing. Apparently it takes time. Every half an hour they took my blood pressure and upped the dose. All the while the baby was being monitored. Apparently he was happy, so I got into bed and waited for something. It was hours till I felt a cramp. Rich and I walked the halls, wondering what's next. I sat on the ball. I napped. I sat on the couch. We went for a walk. An ouch here, a cramp there, but nothing insane. Then at 6 in the morning, I felt something stronger. We called our doula Isabelle who joined us an hour later. That's when the labour kicked in. The contractions rolled in and out. It was manageable. Isabelle, Rich and our new nurse Merene coached me through every spike. Lots of breathing. There was some barfing. No screaming, but lots of moaning. I was checked on twice during this phase and both times the Doctors helped my cervix along. At noon, I was at 4 cm. I was exhausted. In the room there was a massive digital clock staring me in the face and knowing that at noon I was only at 4cm, I wondered how much longer I could hang in. I knew in my heart it was time for the epidural. So I went for it, with a bit of regret but a massive sigh of relief.

A tough anaesthesiologist came moments later. A no-nonsense doctor with no time to joke. She suited everyone in scrubs and swiftly inserted the epidural. In 20 minutes my legs were pins and needles and I was rested. So I slept. We all did.

I awoke happy. Isabelle and Rich were standing by. My contractions rolled in with a minutia of the force. I watched the monitor to understand just how big they really were. From 3 to 4 we chatted and laboured through the contractions. I tried to pee, but the epidural freezes everything. It was around 4:30 that my left hip started to hurt. It was cramping or aching. I wasn't sure if it was a muscle pain or a bone thing. I wondered if the epidural didn't reach that area. Isabelle advised me to lay on my right side, as I had laboured so well on this side earlier. Still my hip hurt. Just then my amazing Dr. Wong walked in for a check-up. I stayed on my side as he checked my progress and wouldn't you know it...the head was there. The head was right there. While I was napping and chatting, the baby had worked its way down. WOW. I just couldn't believe that baby was finally almost here. I even questioned out loud if maybe I was dreaming or was it the drugs.

The lights went on. Dr. Wong took his position. Isabelle stood beside. Rich rubbed my forehead and whispered sweet words of encouragement and love in my ear. And then I pushed on command and stopped at request. Then I pushed and stopped. Pushed and stopped.

Oh they can see the head.

Rich peeked down at the head. I just couldn't believe that there was a head down there. I pushed. Dr. Wong asked for my hand. I figured I would touch the head. Then he asked for my other hand. And then with Dr. Wong's help he placed my hands around my baby and I gently eased him up and out to my chest.  If I could relive just one moment in my life over and over it would be this one. Pulling baby up and close was the most amazing experience. Seeing him (yes a him) for the first time was pure joy. Having such love and support around me as we brought baby Gus into the world is and will forever be my most favourite moment.

Gus arrived at 5:42. He weighed in at 5 pounds. He was pink. He cried a bit but on my chest he rested happily. We all rested happily. I am so grateful for the night and day and the story that I now have of our son being born. He's a gift. A sleepy gift.

Welcome Gus Evan Cooper. You will make the world a better place. I just know it. On the day you were born Kim Jong-il died - see already you're doing good.