If anything is a test of how good you are at rolling with the punches, it’s bringing a new life into the world. For many women, this becomes obvious during pregnancy: morning sickness, swollen ankles, back pain, and ever-changing breast size are just a few of the physical manifestations of the fact that you are no longer in control. I had a relatively easy pregnancy: the only negative symptom I had was a little lower back pain in the last month. Other than that, Callum was a good little passenger: being pregnant cured me of my allergies and migraines, I wasn’t sick once for the duration, and my little guy reassured me he was healthy with relatively frequent little kicks.
All the complications that I avoided during my pregnancy, though, were made up for during delivery. I had planned a natural hospital birth with a midwife, but by the time we got to the hospital, that plan had flown out the window: I was having overlapping contractions with no chance to catch my breath in between, and I wanted an epidural (stat!). When my midwife arrived at the hospital to examine me, she was shocked at the amount of blood I was losing and quickly transferred my care to an obstetrician. Further examination revealed that I had a placental abruption and that Callum was posterior.
Despite deciding on the drive over to let go of my plans for a natural childbirth, it was a long time before I got my epidural. We arrived at the hospital at 5:00 p.m., but the anesthesiologist was in the ER until midnight. When he finally arrived, I was so grateful for the relief that he provided me that I will never forget that man’s face! (It might also help that he was a dead ringer for Dom DeLuise.) Once the epidural kicked in, I spoke the first coherent words I had since about 4 p.m., when my water had broken.
After taking a quick rest, I pushed for several hours to no avail. Although Callum was descending when I pushed, he ascended each time I stopped. When the obstetrician eventually told me I would need to have a caesarian because Callum was in distress, I was too concerned for my baby’s wellbeing to be concerned about my plans. Callum was finally delivered at 5:06 a.m., weighing in at a healthy 8 lbs 13 oz. He needed medical attention at first but was soon testing the power of air in his lungs. Although we had planned to get out of the hospital within the first day, we actually spent three days there, due to the caesarian. As it turned out, I was happy for the extra support once this new little life had been placed in my hands.
Thankfully, I wasn’t so attached to any of my birth plans that I was heartbroken by the changes to them. I had brought music, pillows, candles… you name it. If it had been recommended as something that might make me more comfortable during labour, I had it. We chose the hospital based in part on the fact that it had tubs that women could labour in. In the end, I didn’t use any of these things, and in the end, I didn’t care who was present for Callum’s delivery. I just wanted my baby delivered safely, whatever that meant.
Next up: Bringing baby home, and how that compares to expectations.