Dashiell’s Birth Story
My doctor had me come in for an early morning appointment at 38 weeks with the intention of inducing me on the spot if my blood pressure was high. As it had been elevated the whole pregnancy, we made sure we were packed and prepared. My blood pressure was high a couple times during the exam, and then normalized so my doctor sent us away and told me she’d see me next week.
Wednesday October 5th (39 weeks) rolls around, and I was still pregnant. Miserable, exhausted, sore… and still pregnant. I dragged my body to my 1:45pm appointment convinced nothing would happen and I wasn’t about to get my hopes up. My first blood pressure reading was 152/95. Doctor checks that baby is head down, listens for the heartbeat and then tells me to get another reading. Second blood pressure check is 147/95. It’s now 2:40pm, and she tells me to head upstairs to the Labour & Delivery Triage area and to wait for her as my pressure is too high. That Wednesday was a zoo for L&D. I ended up calling Jake to have him arrange for my mom to pick up Mattea from daycare and for him to just walk to the hospital from the shop to meet me. Finally at 4:45pm, things slow down enough for my doctor to check me in Triage. She checks my cervix and announces “You’re already halfway there (5 cm dilated)”. Suddenly she gets this funny look on her face and adds, “Oh, and I think your water just broke”. As soon as the words left her mouth, a very warm sensation washed down my bottom half and I knew she was right. Jake was quite surprised to see me come walking out of the exam room with a sheet wrapped around my waist and a big smile on my face. I was pretty amused by this unexpected turn of events. The days leading up to a birth work like a version of Murphy’s Law: just when you think you’ll be pregnant forever, you’re 5 cm dilated and your water breaks from a cervical exam.
The next couple hours entailed blood work, taking my vitals and finally admitting me. If things weren’t busy enough on that Wednesday, they just inherited another patient. The game plan was to get an epidural so that I could try to sleep and have my body labour and progress on it’s own. If that didn’t happen, I would be given Syntocin to jumpstart the contractions. While we waited for the epidural, I developed a bit of a fever so I was given some antibiotics. It must have been a busy night on all floors because the anesthesiologist was stuck in a long surgery and finally got to me at 10:30pm. My epidural went in without a hitch and I immediately felt relief. I have loved the epidurals with both my kids. In fact, if I was single I would marry my epidural, and the anesthesiologist would be my maid of honour.
I was checked before going to sleep and I was still 5 cm dilated. Jake and I slept on and off during the night. It’s a little challenging in a hospital where there are always footsteps in the halls and beeps from machines, and nurses coming to check your vitals at least once an hour. I was checked again in the early morning and found to still be 5cm. Just like my labour with my Mattea, my body never got the memo to start contracting well enough for any changes. Syntocin was started and we waited. I guess at this point things happened quite quickly. I went from 5cm to 7cm, and then before I knew it I was 10cm fully dilated and feeling some pressure to push. I asked to hold off on pushing so the baby could drop on his own. Around this time I developed searing, hot pain in the left side of my back and hip bones during contractions, which my nurse referred to as a “hot spot”. Sometimes a change in the position of the baby during active labour combined with the epidural not getting to certain areas results in one of these beauties. It was literally an “OMG” moment every. single. time. a contraction came. Best way to describe it would be it felt like my bones were grinding against each other and someone was simultaneously lighting them on fire and hacking away at them with a hatchet. My lovely nurse did her best to load me up with extra hits from the epidural but it did little in relief so her best advice was just to push and get the baby out.
From there, everything happened quickly. I did a couple practice pushes and was told I was going to be having the baby soon as they were really effective. A second nurse arrived, and I kept pushing with each contraction until they told me to stop and wait for the doctor on call to arrive. I think I only had to do about 5-6 rounds of pushing. As the OB on call came into the room, I was starting to crown. I was able to reach down and feel the baby’s head, which was both amazing and strange. After a couple little pushes, the baby’s head was out. The cord was around his neck so the OB cut it and had me give one last push. Baby Dashiell Roman Somerville was born at 11:57am. He weighed 9 pounds even, and was 21 inches long.
For me, the moment he was born was a true mix of emotions. Utter relief that the physical aspect of labour and birth was over. Pure delight and excitement that the little boy we’ve been waiting on for 39 weeks had finally arrived. A little fear from the reality that I now had a second child and knowing the responsibility that motherhood entailed. Pride in myself for being able to push a nine pound baby out of my body. And finally, a hefty dose of love for my new son.
Huge thanks to all the staff on the Labour & Delivery floor at Guelph General, especially the nurses. We had such a lovely experience, and it wouldn’t have been the case without all those special ladies.
Thank you to the family and friends who visited us, and welcomed Dashiell into the world with a lot of love. A special shout out to my Mom who took care of Mattea and our dogs during our hospital stay (and made sure everyone was well loved in our absence).
And lastly, thank you to my husband Jake for being an amazing birth partner and husband. Couldn’t have done it without youThank you for taking such amazing birth photos. They are incredible, and mean the world to me as they will always bring me back to his birth day every time I look at them.