Saturday, January 04, 2014

The Story of Louisa’s Birth

Welcome to the world, Baby Girl!

Louisa Blanche Sarrazin

January 3, 2014 at 2:58am

7lbs 8oz

December 31, 2013 / January 1, 2014:

Angelo, Nico and I spent a very quiet NYE, making puzzles and watching CBC. We went to bed at the usual time, but as I lay in bed, I started feeling small contractions. I tracked them on my phone and noticed they were about 10-12 minutes apart and getting more intense. They lasted about 4 hours, but finally I fell asleep and woke up the next morning with no signs of labour. False labour had begun. The next day the contractions came and went throughout most of the day, with no pattern. Some were very mild, and others had me breathing through them. I also lost my mucus plug (sorry for the TMI).

January 2, 2014:

I had a scheduled appointment with my midwife. She was actually teaching a student, which was great because she was explaining everything she was doing in great detail. She said the baby’s head was quite low, and she suggested she check me and maybe do a stretch and sweep if she could. During the check she told me that my cervix was quite soft, 50% effaced, and I was dilated to 2cm. Just by gently stretching she got me to 3cm. She said that she’d be very surprised if I was still pregnant after the weekend. She also told me that if her sweep would do anything, it would be only in 12 to 24 hours from now.

And true to her word, at 10pm that night I started feeling contractions. I assumed it was more false labour, but when a couple of them had me out of bed and on my hands and knees to get through them, Angelo suggested I page my midwife. At that point the contractions were 10 minutes apart, but they were lasting a minute long, and they were intense. My midwife called back and said she’d come over to my house to assess me there. By the time she got here, my contractions were about 5 minutes apart, but had shortened to 30-45 seconds each.

at about 11:30pm, she checked me and said that my cervix was 100% effaced, but I was still at 3cm. She said that I was in labour, and that we could either stay home for a bit, or go to the hospital right away. Given my last short labour, we agreed to go to the hospital right away. We got there at around 12:30am. (of course baby girl had to come on the COLDEST day of the year! With the windchill, it was -40C that day)

This was my first time going to the hospital while in labour (since with Nico I drove myself to the hospital to be induced). I was pretty nervous about having contractions in the car, but thankfully we live about 5 blocks from the hospital, so I only had one or two in my seat. Still, the night air was glacial cold, and we made the mistake of parking the car in the lot near the Main entrance. But since it was so late, the main door was locked and we had to walk all the way around the building to the emergency room entrance. I teetered along, grabbing hold of sign posts and benches whenever a contraction raged through my body. Poor Angelo could do nothing but stand by me in the freezing cold and help my slow procession to the entrance.

Once inside I asked for a wheelchair and Angelo wheeled me to the labour ward. Even in the wheelchair, I would ask Angelo to stop walking whenever I had a contraction. It was too distracting to be in motion, and seemed to make the pain worse. It’s amazing how forceful I was in my irrational requests while in labour!!

January 3, 2014:

By the time Angelo and I got to the labour ward, our midwife had already checked us in and had a room ready for us. We settled in and our midwife drew a bath in the tub. I was shaking uncontrollably and worked through a few contractions. I stepped into the hot bath and the shaking subsided for a bit, but as the contractions kept on coming, the shaking returned, even in the hot bath.

I laboured in the tub right up until and through Transition. When our midwife saw – and heard – that I was struggling through some intense and shortly-spaced contractions, she checked me and said I was at 9cm and if I felt like pushing, I could. She asked if I wanted to deliver in the tub. I may have been intrigued by this option if it had been presented to me beforehand, but at that moment, I wanted something, ANYTHING, that was vaguely familiar to what I had experienced before, so I said no, I’d prefer to be on the bed.

Oh yeah, I also tried the Nitrous Oxide again for one of my contractions, but I didn’t really like it. It did take the edge off, but for me, it’s best to deal with the contractions head on. I don’t like when there’s something else I have to deal with when I’m focusing on the pain.

I got back to the bed, shaking violently, and Angelo put the heating pad on my back. I was on my hands and knees on the bed, and our midwife would squeeze my hips together through a couple of contractions, but I knew I wanted to push on my back.


Whoa pushing. Seriously guys… It was extremely intense. Way different from my experience delivering Nico. With Nico, I felt in control during the pushing. But with Louisa, that’s the moment when I lost all control. I don’t even remember much about it, and I know that I went outside my mind for a couple of minutes. I was loud, grunting and yelling, and it HURT. At one point a nurse came in to see if I was okay, because they could hear me down the hall.

But the reason things went haywire during delivery was because Louisa was born in the caul (in her sac of waters). On the first push, just the sac came out. Angelo described it like a toad’s throat when it bulges out. Then it retreated. On the second push the sac came out again. Then on the third push, the sac came out, and then the baby’s head emerged into the sac.

At this point the pain was so bad I just kept pushing, contraction or not. I do remember grunting/yelling “HELP ME!” at one point, because I really didn’t know if I could keep on going like this. It bears noting that this birth, just like Nico’s, could NOT have happened without Angelo by my side. He was there for me from start to finish, and when he told me that she was almost out, it was the equivalent of talking me off the ledge. I pushed hard and her shoulders came out. The sac broke and she was there.

She was given to me and I held her on my chest for a long time. We waited 3 or 4 minutes before Angelo cut the umbilical cord. Then our midwives attended to my placenta and the couple of stitches I needed (much less than last time). I nursed the baby and Angelo had some skin-on-skin time with the baby too. We were basically left alone by everyone for a good hour. Our midwife was still in the room, of course, but she let us have our moment and would only come to the bed periodically to add another heated blanket over us.

When it was finally time to weigh and measure the baby, I also got up and peed and had a shower. Since everything was normal for baby and me, we started getting ready to be discharged. We were in our car driving home at 5:30am, a mere five hours after we’d arrived!


There’s a lot that I want to say about birthing, now that I’ve done it twice. I’m surprised at just how different both my labours were. Even though we all go through the same stages of labour, there are SO MANY variables. With Nico, I was in better shape physically, I wasn’t nearly as sleep deprived, my whole pregnancy had been easier, and I had spent a LOT of time mentally preparing for the birth. And then, I went over my due date and was induced. I was on a Pitocin drip, and I laboured with monitors on my stomach. With Louisa I went into labour naturally and there was hardly any intervention throughout, and while I thought I knew what I was getting into again, it was just entirely different and I wasn’t as prepared for the pain or any of those unexpected outcomes and setbacks.

(the only thing that was really similar both times was Transition. Transition sucked both times!! haha)

It’s also interesting that the two times I doubted myself during my labours (with Nico as I was going into Transition, and with Louisa as I was pushing) it was because I feared that things weren’t progressing and I’d never make it, when in fact they were progressing extra quickly and THAT’s why things were intense.

I had also made a little resolution to not be quite so emotional when the baby was handed to me this time. I hear myself on the video with Nico, and I’m slightly embarrassed at the blubbering bag of emotions I became when he was handed to me. Well, let me tell you, I was even MORE emotional this time around. I totally lost it when she was presented to me. It’s hard to describe, but that moment when you first see and touch the baby you’ve been carrying for so long, it’s just… overwhelming. It washes over you, and within an instant you feel the shock of meeting this someone, realizing that of course it HAD to be them all along, and discovering just how madly you’re already in love with them. I didn’t stand a chance!!

I don’t know how I managed to deserve two such beautiful babies, and a man who has such strength but who also has faith in my own strength, but on the two days I became someone’s Mom, there’s nothing more I could want from the world.

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