Friday, January 20, 2017

Haig Arthur, a birth story

I did not think that I would be going into labor on December 22nd 2016. We had a nice morning laying around in bed and then around 9:00, I got up to take a shower. After, I started to blow dry my hair and then I realized how exhausted I was. I crawled back into bed around 10:00. I was having some back pain along with Braxton Hicks contractions, which I had already experienced in my pregnancy. Haig was on his way out the door at 11:00. He was heading to Summerside (45 minutes away) to write a test for a job that he is currently in the application process for. Once he left, I got up and ate something for the first time all morning, I styled my hair and got dressed. The pain started to get worse and I started to get worried that I could be in labor. I went to the bathroom and after having a pee I noticed a big puddle of water on the floor. Haig had arrived in Summerside and was about to start writing his test at 12:30. He was texting me to find some of our income tax numbers so he could register to write the test. I was trying to get back and forth from the bathroom to the computer to help him with the information while I soaked through a couple of maxi pads. I didn't tell him what was going on because I really wasn't sure how long it was going to be before I realized that I was in fact in labor. As soon as I couldn't talk to him anymore (because his phone would be turned off), I realized I needed to do something about what was happening.

I texted my mom and told her how I was feeling and I asked her if she could leave work to take me to Labor and Delivery (L&D) to be assessed. She asked me to call L&D and tell them what was going on before having to ask her supervisor to leave. She also asked me if I could ask my father to take me to which I replied "No". I called L&D and told them that I was having painful Braxton Hicks contractions all morning and that I had started to leak fluid, possibly my water broke. Dr. Cassell told me it would be best to come in and be assessed. I texted my mom and she was at my apartment in nine minutes, arriving around 1:00. When my mom arrived she waited in the parking lot at first but then I told her I needed her to come up to the apartment (mostly because I still didn't even have pants on). Once she was in the apartment with me I started to feel a little awkward. I didn't really know what to take with me, I felt a little embarrassed that my mom was taking me to the hospital and I didn't even know how to get in touch with my husband. I was more and more uncomfortable with the pain but we finally got ready to go.

On our quick trip over to the hospital I managed to get in touch with a friend who works at the center where Haig was writing this test. She was able to send someone down to the testing and pull him out and tell him what was going on. They asked him to take a few more minutes to complete the test before leaving. Mom and I arrived at the hospital around 1:30 and I checked in at admitting. I didn't even want to sit down at the admitting desk at the risk that I leak all over the floor when I stood up again. My mom and I started to walk down to L&D and she remarked that maybe I should have taken a wheelchair to which I replied I was okay to walk, until we came around the last hallway going into the unit, I thought for sure I wouldn't make it. We rang the intercom and I told them I was there to be assessed. They let us in but then told us it would be a few minutes until a labor room was ready. Once we were in, I got changed into a hospital gown and I wore my nursing sports bra underneath. At this point Haig was driving back from Summerside, and we were lucky he didn't get a speeding ticket on the way. A young nurse came in and assessed me. I was 3 centimeters dilated. SAY WHAT. I was in labor. This was really happening.

Haig arrived around 3:00 and just before he arrived, the nurse had attempted to get an IV into my left hand twice. She was doing such a bad job. I was not happy with her at all and she could tell. I told her that I wanted to wait until my husband got there before she made her next attempt. At this point, I had told my mother in law that I was in labor. I told her the exact same thing I told my own mother, "Mom I need you here now", She asked a few questions and got a couple things ready to come over from Nova Scotia. Haig seemed somewhat surprised when he arrived and I was so happy to see him. My father also showed up sometime around 3:30 thinking he would be able to come in and chat with us about what was going on, but my mom sent him on his way back home to wait. The nurse was unsuccessful with another attempt at getting an IV in. I was still bruised from her attempts almost two weeks after the delivery. She asked a more senior nurse to come in and she had no problem getting the IV in on my right hand.

I wasn't assessed again until 5:00 or so and I was only dilated to 4 centimeters. At this point I thought I would be in labor for hours. They asked about pain medications at this point and I was offered two options. Dilautin would be an injection into my hip to help with some of the labor pains and to help me get some rest. An epidural was my other option. I was unsure about what to do and I seemed to be doing alright with my husband and mother by my side to help as each contraction became more unbearable than the last one. My mother offered really great support for breathing techniques. Haig was really good for paying attention to the monitors and knowing when the contraction was wearing down. Around 7:30 I was assessed again and they moved me into the birthing room. I wanted all of the drugs now. I had the dilautin injection to start because the anesthesiologist who would give the epidural was finishing up in a surgery. I was told that he would come after he was finished. The dilautin was nice. I was able to sleep on and off for close to an hour although I threw up during a couple contractions. I asked for the epidural when I woke up and they told me the anesthesiologist had been pulled into trauma and that he would come when he was finished. I was not impressed and made that very clear to some of the nurses.

My mother-in-law arrived and switched places with my mother for a little while. I was still hopeful that I would get an epidural in time to start pushing whenever that would be. When I was assessed at 10:00 they told me it was time to start pushing. I was shocked that I had progressed that quickly. My mom had come back into the room. Haig and my Mom were by my side through every contraction. There were a couple of times when the nurses were not even in the room when I started to have a contraction. Each contraction I pushed three times. Most of my labor I was on my back, but I did try on my side a few times but it just wasn't going to work. My lower back was in so much pain. The next few days I thought for sure I had sprained or bruised my tailbone, but it was unlikely because I was still able to sit upright and also bend over. When I was pushing, Haig and my mom held my knees up and I pulled on a sheet that was wrapped around a bar across the bed.  Midnight passed and I was still pushing. Dr. Cassell kept saying I needed to push the baby around a corner, it sounded so weird but it worked. It seemed like there was so many people in the room as he got closer. We were so close and then Dr. Cassell told me that the baby was in distress and that I needed to get the baby out NOW. I pushed with all I had. Once the head was out, the rest of the body practically slipped out. Baby Pinsent was born at 12:44 a.m on December 23rd 2016.

The nurses and doctors whisked baby away very quickly because baby was not breathing very well on their own. Looking back on it now, I am very sad that they were not able to place the baby in my arms right away, but our baby needed serious help and attention. Haig was so close to me and had his arms wrapped around me. I felt pretty smothered to be honest and I could hear my mom saying "Haig aren't you going to tell her what it is". Towards the end of my labor, I didn't say anything to my mom or Haig, but I knew it was a boy. My body was telling me that I needed to push this baby boy out. Haig finally whispered in my ear "we have a son". Our little boy was being taken care of just a couple feet away and my doctors started to take care of me. His pediatric doctor (who was my doctor as a teenager), brought him back over before they went to the nursery. I held him in my arms for only a minute (tearing up again now), and I was amazed by every feature I could see. He was inside of me for so long and now he was here. Once I was taken care of, I went to the nursery by wheelchair and I was able to see him again. He was under a big light with a breathing mask on his face, but he was still perfect. I was so worried about him but I was comforted knowing he was in good hands. Haig and I got to our room around 3:00 a.m and settled to sleep.

The rest of the story won't be documented in great detail, but we spent the next 10 days at the hospital so that he could be monitored and gain weight. It was some of the hardest days of my life but I am so proud of our little family and what we accomplished. I am so proud of myself for all that I did to bring this sweet little boy into the world. I am still in shock that my labor and delivery went significantly well. I am so proud of my husband who stayed by my side the whole time and was such a great support. My mom was an amazing support too. I really wasn't sure what it would be like to have her there but know I can't imagine how I would have been able to do it without her there. I am so thankful my mother-in-law also came over to help and show her support. We are all so impressed with the wonderful staff of unit 4 at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. We were well taken care of and I am glad I was able to spend my first few days as a mother with some wonderful women who offered lots of great advice and support for caring for our newborn son. Most of all, I am proud of our little boy. We are so blessed with his sweet spirit and that he was sent to us. I love being his parents and I look forward to what the next few days, weeks, months and years bring to our family because he is with us.

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