CHP - arms with Myer

CHP - arms with Myer

31 July 2013

Myer's birth

~ by Kim

I love hearing and reading about birth stories. I wondered about how much to write in this post, whether to try to keep it short and do a "Cliff's notes" sort of version, but decided to write a more detailed account of our experience. Part of the reason is for myself, as a journal of sorts to remember these couple of days that are no doubt some of the biggest in my life. Another part is for Myer - who may one day want to know about his beginning, how wanted he was and how hard we worked for him, and how he was SO loved before he even arrived. 

July 24th, 2013

Beth, our midwife came by the house to check on me that morning. Nothing had really changed from my last check up, and she was going to organize a non-stress test for the baby as well as a consult with an obstetrician. We went over what our options were, whether we wanted to wait a little bit longer to see if things would happen on their own, the possibility of induction or breaking my water. It was arranged that we would go into the hospital that evening for 7:00 pm, see how the test went and what the doctor said, and then go from there. I was excited, thinking this might be it! Beth had delivered Rowan 2 years ago, and I was excited that I might be delivering with her again. I felt comfortable and confident with her; Rowan's birth was such a positive experience.

After consulting with the doctor at the hospital, it was decided that we were going to break my water. All things were looking good, and the obstetrician said that it looked like that was the way things were heading anyway - and that it could easily happen at home on its own anyway. My cervix was "favourable" and I was already a solid 3 cm dilated, and Beth was able to stretch it to 4 cm.

I had tested positive for group B strep, which is a bacteria that 15-40% of pregnant women carry. It's harmless to adults, but can have cause serious illness or complications for newborns. All pregnant women are tested for this late in the pregnancy, and if the results are positive, IV antibiotics are started earlier in labour or when the water breaks. I got my first dose of antibiotics that evening, and then we waited a couple of hours before breaking my water.

It was just before 11:00 pm when my water broke, and my first contractions started about half an hour later. I was excited because that meant I wouldn't need any medications to induce labour. We could just let my body take over naturally. And it meant of course, that we were having a baby!

Doing the non-stress test. 
Excited parents-to-be!

July 25, 2013 - Early hours

Labour then progressed fairly routinely, as the five of us laboured together through the night. (The 5th being Beth). I would start to tire and just wanted to lie on the bed, but Beth kept us going, trying different positions to get more comfortable from standing, leaning over the bed, using the exercise ball, and as it got harder, eventually the shower. Joel has since said, "that was some good midwifing!" :)

Joel, Janelle, Carl and Beth were all there supporting me and encouraging me. I don't think I could have had a better group with me. It felt like we were all in this together and it really was a team effort. As things became more painful, I would be hunched over during a contraction and was aware that someone was beside me, either with their arms on my shoulders or rubbing my back, but often I wouldn't know who. (I think they were taking turns)

It was around 3 in the morning and I had gone in the shower, and was just letting the hot water hit my back and soothe some of the pain. The contractions intensified and Beth came to check on me and we were at 8 cm! Hearing that, I felt a surge of excitement and renewed energy, thinking that we were coming up to the home stretch! This baby would be here soon - maybe even before breakfast! I had a friend on stand-by, ready to bring us Egg McMuffins!

By 5:00 am, I was just about fully dilated. I write "just about" because there was still a small lip on my cervix. When Beth would pull it, it would pop out the other side. She told me that it was like being 9 3/4 cm and we had to wait for it to go away before we could deliver this baby. I then had to try to get through the next while without pushing, which is a lot harder than it sounds. Everything in my body was screaming at me to push, and being told that I couldn't was becoming excruciating. My contractions were fierce and frequent and it was starting to become unbearable. I had Fentanyl in my IV, but it didn't seem to be strong enough to stop my body from wanting to push.

Beth then told me that she thought I needed an epidural. That she didn't think I would be able to let my body relax enough, and to not push while we waited for the lip on the cervix to completely go away. My heart sank. I wanted to cry. All that work and all that pain labouring through the night without an epidural - only to be told I needed to get one when we were at the finish line. I felt deflated. I felt like if I'd known this was how it was going to be, I might as well of had it when I was at 5 cm and then had some relief, and we all could've at least rested.

Just a side note about why I didn't want the epidural:
I had one with Lily, and didn't with Rowan. Lily's birth had several challenges and Rowan's birth was so much easier, in every way imaginable. (I know...2nd baby.) Despite the pain, my entire experience was so much more positive with a natural birth. Letting my body just take over on its own worked so much better for me, and though the labour was tougher, both the birth and recovery were a lot easier. I wanted to aim for that again and though I wasn't opposed to an epidural, I hoped to try to manage without. 

So after hearing that we were getting an epidural, came even harder news. The anaesthesiologist was busy, and we would have to wait. It was 2 hours before he came, which were two of the toughest hours imaginable. It was agonizing. The pain was excruciating and I started to cry. I felt like I was becoming a bit delirious with pain. A contraction would come, and all I remember is Beth's face and just trying to survive that minute or two till it was gone. When the anaesthisiologist finally made it in, all I could think of was that relief was finally coming. Finally. In my delusional state, I thought he seemed to be taking his time...didn't he realize I needed this STAT!?! This guy looked like he was taking a Sunday stroll! I vaguely remember him speaking, maybe asking my name, I'm not exactly sure. He could have told me he was from Mars and I wouldn't have heard what he said, nor would I remember today.

It was around 7:30 a.m. and finally we had some relief. The epidural kicked in and I was able to relax and take a break from what had been a long night. We'd all been up for 24 hours at this point, and I think it was starting to catch up with us.

Long night, and all of us tired
The birth

It was around 9:15 that morning, I got checked again the lip on my cervix was gone. We were all set to start pushing. By this point, the epidural was in full effect and I didn't feel a thing anymore. On the downside of not being able to feel any of the contractions, was that I didn't know when it was time to push. I would have to wait for them to tell me there was a contraction and when I needed to push. Without any sensation down there, I didn't know if I was pushing properly or if we were making any progress.

It was slow going, and we were coming up on 3 hours when they decided it was time to take a break. The obstetrician came in to check on us, and the hope was that by taking a bit of a break from the pushing, Myer might descend further into the pelvis on his own from just the contractions. We took a break for half an hour and then went for round two. After pushing once, Myer's heart rate decelerated for 4 minutes afterwards. The doctor was there and they decided they were going to use the vacuum to help get him out. It was explained to me that they would start with the vacuum, then forceps if need be, and if neither of those were successful we would go to C-section.

I think the talk of a C-section scared the bejeezus out of me, because when it came to push again, I pushed with everything I had in me. The epidural had started to wear off, and I was regaining sensation again. I was able to feel the contractions and having urges to push again. When they said go, I was ready!

It turns out that this little guy had his arm up and his hand by his face, which is why we were having a hard time getting him out. The cord was wrapped around his neck and when his head came out it was blueish/grey. The cord was tight enough that they they couldn't lift it over his head, so the cord was cut before he was even born - with only his head out.

With a vacuum delivery, Myer was born at 1:09 pm, weighing 7 lbs and 15 oz. He was a little 'stunned' from the birth, but within a minute he was perfect!

It felt like everything crashed on me at once. It was emotional. I saw him at the newborn warmer and started to cry. He was finally here. I heard someone say to Janelle and Joel to come see their new baby. Joel was in between Myer and I, one hand on my foot while looking over to see his new son. He looked at me, and both of us were in tears. I was completely overcome with emotion, and couldn't stop the tears from coming. I was exhausted. I felt happy, excited, proud and relieved. Here he was - this miracle baby we had all worked so hard for. A year and a half of ups and downs, laughter and tears, and he was finally here.

Right after the birth, teary and emotional
Beth and Myer
Joel bringing Myer for me to see for the first time.

Myer was doing great! He scored well on his Apgar and mom and dad were over the moon!

Now, we just needed to deliver the placenta, but after 30 minutes it still wasn't coming out. The obstetrician was still there and apologized to me, saying that he was going to have to go in to retrieve it manually. He put his arm up into my abdomen to get the placenta, but it hadn't detached from my uterus, so in pulling out the placenta it pulled my uterus along with it. According to my chart, I had a "complete uterine inversion."

Wikipedia describes it as:
"a potentially fatal childbirth complication with a maternal survival rate of about 85%. It occurs when the placenta fails to detach from the uterus as it exits, pulls on the inside surface and turns the organ inside out. It is very rare."

Some of the next parts were a bit of a blur for me, but since the birth I've been able to fill in the missing pieces from talking with Carl, Joel, Janelle and Beth.

People started running. Some were running in, some were running out. Staff starting making calls. I heard the OB call to get him his back up, and the second obstetrician on-call was called in. Someone called to prep the OR and someone was calling for blood to be brought in. The room was suddenly full of doctors and nurses.

I looked at the doctor, and could tell by his face that something was really wrong. He had his arm up inside of me up to his elbow and was yanking around. At one point it was like he was cracking a whip, with his arm going up and down, and at another it was like he was lassoing inside of my abdomen. I could see my entire abdomen waving and rippling up and down as I lay on the bed. He was trying to get my uterus back in place. I remember feeling like a jack-o-lantern being carved out as his arm seemed to swing around inside of me.

I'm not sure how accurate my sense of time was at this point, but suddenly it all stopped. Beth thought it was maybe 3 minutes. It was a long 3 minutes. I heard the doctor exclaim, 'it's ok, I got it!' My uterus was back in place! Carl has since done a fair amount of reading on uterine inversions, and told me that the doctor only had a 20-40% chance of getting my uterus back manually without having to go to the OR. I feel pretty fortunate, and glad I didn't know any of this at the time. Apparently amidst the chaos, I told him not to worry, because I didn't need my uterus anymore.

Unfortunately, after the uterine inversion I started to hemorrhage and was losing a fair amount of blood. I'd had a second IV line put in at some point when all the running around was going, and was given more meds to try to stop the bleeding, as well as a shot in my thigh. The estimated blood loss was 1000 mls, which I was told is double the normal amount. I remember my body shaking and feeling cold, and the last few minutes had become a blur to me. I just remember Carl beside me telling me that everything was ok now.

The epidural was left running for another 1-1.5 hours, and I stayed on the labour & delivery unit longer than usual, while they made sure I was stable and were confident that we weren't going to need further interventions. Once things had settled down, family was allowed in and they got to meet Myer for the first time.

When it was time to go the the mother/babe unit, I felt drunk - I think I must have been in a drug-induced fog. I could hear myself talking, but not remember putting the words together or really being aware of what I was saying till after I'd heard it. I had things hooked up to me everywhere, and I was weak and completely drained.

Janelle, Joel and Myer with two proud Grandmas
Finally able to leave labour and delivery

Mother/Babe Unit

Once things settled down we were finally moved to the mother/babe unit, just before dinner time. We had a private room, which allows for one other person to spend the night, so Janelle and I shared the room, with Joel staying in the family room next door. All of us were beyond tired. I had a couple of moments of tearfulness, I think a combination from the day we'd had and the sleep deprivation. The first one while watching Janelle nurse Myer. It was so beautiful; I remember thinking everything was as it was meant to be and they were finally together. That moment will stay with me always.

The next one came later that night, when I was finally starting to feel a little more human again. Janelle brought Myer to me to hold, and I couldn't stop staring at him. I looked at him and felt my heart soar. "I love you," went through my head. It was the first time that I've ever felt that way about a baby that was not my own. I don't know how to explain it; it wasn't a motherly love like I had when the girls were born. I felt like I knew him, he was somehow familiar. Here was my buddy that had been with me for so many months. I was finally seeing who it was that would kick me, squish my bladder, the one who made me so sick in the beginning, and "made" me eat poutine. Him and I went waaayy back.

The next morning Carl brought the girls in to see us in the hospital and it hit me how much I missed them. It was the motivation I needed to get moving again so I could go home. I had tried a couple of times before they arrived to get out of bed, but my legs weren't able to weight-bear and had given out on me once already. The nurse told me after checking my chart, that they had given me a whopper of a dose of the epidural, so it was just taking a bit longer to regain sensation in my legs. My mom took the girls home and after they left, Carl was up with me, supporting me as I tried to walk and get mobile again. I knew they wouldn't let me out if I wasn't walking yet, nor would they take my catheter out until I could make it to the bathroom by myself.

                                                        A little pooped...
                                                              - OK, A LOT pooped! But happy nonetheless!

Carl and the girls with Myer. Unfortunately Rowan's head is blocking Myer, but he's there!
Rowan with Myer. She is beyond smitten with him.
Coming Home

The afternoon of the 26th, we were all able to come home. The entire family came over to our place, where we had a pizza party and toasted to the end of the journey. We even had a cake to celebrate Myer's birth. We were all home, and we were all healthy. 

Myer's first cake
How I'm feeling today

It's been almost a week since Myer was born, and sometimes I'm still in awe of the entire experience.

Today I feel good. I'm happy, I feel proud of what we've done. I feel a sense of accomplishment having finished this journey that we started so long ago. I feel relieved that we're at the end, and excited to start the next chapter and get back to our "normal." I look at Myer with Joel, Janelle and Asher, and I feel like things are perfect. That everything is as it should be. I feel emotional, but not sad. Most of the time I feel like I have it pretty together, but sometimes someone will say something or ask me about it, and as we talk I'll feel emotional all over again. Right now it's easy for me to become teary-eyed, and sometimes the enormity of what we've done really hits me. When I look at pictures of him, my heart is full. Every sacrifice and every challenge was worth it. He was worth it. Just to have him here is incredible. He's changed so many lives, including my own. He's taught me that I'm capable of so much more than I ever thought.

The first few nights home from the hospital I didn't sleep well. I would wake in the night with my pain medication having worn off and needing to clean myself up from the postpartum bleeding. By the time I was done, I'd be awake. I had a hard time getting back to sleep, with my mind racing about all that we'd just done and processing the past few days and the birth. That first night I woke at 3:00 a.m. By 4:00 a.m. I was feeling overwhelmed and cried quietly in bed - over what, I don't even know. I didn't get back to sleep till after 5:00 a.m. My sleep is still not great yet, but it's getting better.

Since the birth, Joel and Janelle have been amazing. I feel so fortunate, and really couldn't ask for more supportive people to have done this with. I've gotten to see them and Myer everyday. The other day we had a really good heart to heart, all of us checking in to see how everyone really is doing. It was a bit emotional, but I think all of us are in a really good place right now and we're so grateful at how everything has turned out. I told them that I feel like I have a backstage pass at a concert; I have all this access to the hottest act in town! (That being Myer, of course!) They've been incredibly supportive and even with their lack of sleep that comes with a newborn, have still made time to include me in their new chaos. I'm truly appreciative of that, among so many other things.
We really are incredibly blessed.

With Myer - 5 days old
Joel, Janelle, Myer and I
Myer - 6 days old. (Waving hello?)
Melts my heart. 


  1. Truly amazing! Congrats to everyone involved! Children are such blessings!

  2. Finally had the chance to read this and catch up on everything. I am so in awe of this entire process and what you have all been through...I can imagine your emotions will be running high for a long time to come, and you will always have such a connection to this little boy. I`m proud of you, Kim, and I`m sending you all my love and prayers. (((HUGS)))