Friday, December 10, 2010

They call it labour for a reason

Labour \ˈlā-bər\ :  expenditure of physical or mental effort especially when difficult or compulsory

My labour started on the night of Tuesday October 12th. Maybe it was Monday's  metal claw from hell procedure that sent me over the edge. I guess I'll never know. Personally I think babies come out when they are ready.

Since we still did not have a full kitchen in place, my husband and I decided to go out for dinner. We opted to go to St. Hubert and then to costco for some supplies. Had I known this would be my last night out alone with him for some time, I might have reconsidered the evening's choices of chicken, coleslaw and bulk sized toilet paper shopping.

I was having light cramps at dinner which is why we decided to go to Costco in the first place. We thought the walking might do me some good in the event that this was the early stages of labour. While at costco, I started to notice that my cramps were coming with some frequency (approximately every 15 minutes or so). I didn't mention this to my husband yet as it seemed too premature and they were still cramps at this point. When we returned home we watched one of our favourite shows that we had taped and the cramps were increasing in intensity and coming every 10 minutes.

As we headed upstairs to bed, my husband brought our laptop loaded with another television show but at this point the pain was too great to concentrate on anything..nevermind a crappy episode of Grey's Anatomy.  Holy shit. Here we go.

Remembering my  tips and tricks from pre-natal class, I hopped in the bathtub hoping to soothe some of the discomfort from the contractions. It was at this point that I noticed some light blood in the tub..aka known as the "bloody show" (seriously what a stupid name). I was most definitely in labour. I would call out to my husband every time a contraction started and ended so he could start recording. After only 30 minutes we noticed a definite pattern. 30 seconds each and 4 minutes apart. I was certain princess bean would be here by morning.

At 2 in the morning we made the trek to the hospital. Nervous. Excited. Overtired. It was at this point that I met the world's most unfriendly nurse. I had to lie down for what felt like an eternity while they monitored my contractions, checked my cervix and listened to the baby's heartbeat. After an hour of torture they told me that I'd have to go to the waiting lounge and ride it out. Apparently I was indeed contracting every 4 minutes but I was not dilated at all. That's right. ZERO cm. ZERO. I pleaded for them to let me go home since we lived 5 minutes away from the hospital but they insisted I stay because of the frequency and duration of my contractions.

I was to report back at 5am to the triage front desk. It might have been the longest 3 hours of my life. I paced the empty hall while my husband napped in the lounge. At various times, I attempted to take a nap.
Now I don't want to sound like one of those arrogant people who know everything after doing it once. But seriously. There is no F*&@ing way you can "nap" while in labour. It's just not going to happen sister.

Fast forward to 5am and I had "made progress" according to the old battleaxe of a nurse. I was 1cm. OMG. Princess Bean is never going to come out! I was not keen on getting any painkillers at this point but after she  informed me this could go one for another day or 2 (what a cruel thing to say), I readily accepted a shot of nubain in my bum. It basically just made me groggy enough to take a catnap. I still felt the contractions but they were not as painful. She told me to come back when my contractions were 2 minutes apart and lasting 60 seconds each. Once again, remembering my notes from pre-natal class, I was certain this was called transitional labour (AKA the 30 minutes before you push). I cried at this point. There was just no way I could sustain this amount of pain for another day or 2. Was she insane?

In any case, I was happy to be at home again waiting for the contractions to increase in intensity. At around 11am, it happened. They started coming fast and furious. A rather interesting fact about this precise time is that our electricians were in that day working on the kitchen when they urgently needed my husband to run to Home Depot and pick up a light fixture. This entire hour is really a blur to me but I do remember him coming home and asking me if I had been writing the exact time on my little sheet of paper. I am pretty sure I had some choice words for him at that moment. I can laugh at it now and will probably recount this story to Charlotte when she is older. Yes Charlotte that's right. Your daddy went to Home Depot while I was in full on labour.

We arrived at the hospital by 1pm and by 3:30 pm I was  at 6 cm and the epidural was in.  While I knew I wanted an epidural,  I wanted to hold off for a while in order for my labour to progress. After 17 hours I was completely exhausted and happy to be able to relax.

The rest of my labour was a piece of cake, relatively speaking. I was fully dilated by  6:45pm but had to hold off on pushing because her head had not dropped low enough. They allow you to remain at 10 cm for a maximum of  2 hours before pushing. At the end of my 2 hours, her head had still not dropped and the nurse informed me that we were going to have to push anyway. It might just take a bit longer.

She smiled and said " Ok dear. I am going to go finish my cup of tea and when I get back, we're going to have that baby".

Just like that. The culmination of my infertility and IVF treatment and pregnancy all come down to her finishing her cup of tea.

As I pushed, my mother and husband both watched (there really is no modesty ..everything is just out there on display and you don't give a damn by this point). I could see their faces light up exclaiming in unison "There she is!"

Yes there she was. Only 4 contractions later. A grand total of 11 minutes.