Lucia’s Birth Story Baby Sofia, born September 26, 2007
Lucia’s labour went much more quickly than anyone expected, even her doctor barely arrived in time to catch baby Sofia! Lucia urges other labouring moms to be ready for anything and to trust the wisdom of the body.
“My only advice is be ready for anything, any time and trust what your body tells you.”
At my 32-week ultrasound, the doctor noticed that my baby was on the lower birth weight side possibly caused by resistance in the flow in the cord feeding the baby. I had to get additional check-ups and went for NST tests every week where they measured my baby’s hearth beat and fetal movement (which were all OK).
At 34-week, I went back for an ultrasound and they found the birth weight on the low side again. They recommended I stop working and rest at home on my left side to stimulate the flow from the placenta to the baby. On September 25th, at a 36 1⁄2-week ultrasound, the doctor was more concerned at this point because the birth weight numbers were way down, below the 10th percentile, and recommended I get induced that day! I kept on saying: “I am not ready, I did not even finish reading that section of the book!” But ready or not, I understood I had to do this and I was terrified!
Inducing Early Labor
At 6:00pm, I was brought into the birthing room where the doctor started the induction with Cervatil this medication was meant to provoke the effacement of the cervix. The Cervatil was inserted as a tampon and left inside me for 12 hours. I was 1.5 cm dilated at that point and had a long night ahead of me. Throughout the night, I was getting irregular and pretty contractions that felt like menstrual cramps. I did my yoga breathing, mostly using the ocean breath, and alternating between fetal position and sitting-squatting position. My husband was by my side all night and looked like he felt the contractions too!
At 6 am the next day, they removed the Cervatil and said I was 75% effaced but still only 2cm dilated. So at 8am they started the Pitocin this one was meant to induce the contractions and speed up the labor. Although they increased the dose every 1⁄2 hour, the contractions were not getting stronger nor more frequent. I got on the exercise ball to do the circular movements we saw in class which I hoped would help with the baby’s decent. I was checked again around 10h00am and then 12h00pm and the progression was not going well, I was still at 2 1⁄2 cm and the baby was way up.
At 1h00pm exactly, the real contractions started, I remember saying to my husband: “here we go, this is it”, contractions were coming every few minutes and pretty intense. He was a super coach and practically labored with me. During the contractions, I felt severe pain in my lower abdomen, then between then, I felt fine. It as still tolerable pain.
At 2h30pm the doctor came to break my water and told me I was still at about 3.5 cm so he estimated another 6-7 hours of labor (the stats are 1 hour/cm) and left the room. As soon as he broke my water, the contractions went from intensity 4/10 to 10/10 in a matter of seconds. They were so close together, I couldn’t catch my breath. The constant pain in my pelvic area spread through my whole body at the peak of each contraction and I felt like I was having seizures. I was screaming for the epidural. The nurse told me I had get ready for the anesthesiologist, I had to stay in sitting position for the epidural. Plus I had to keep the monitor on me and stop moving because she wasn’t picking up the contractions. But I really couldn’t take it so I removed the monitor myself and told her I would advise her when I got the contractions.
I got up to do my breathing leaning against my husband. I had to listen to my body and couldn’t stay sitting or lying down anymore. The anesthesiologist was paged several times but was not able to come because he was with another patient in OR. The nurses came in and out of my room telling me I had to relax and that it was not possible that I had such strong contractions so close together since I was only 3 cm and that if I relaxed, I would feel better. I told them I needed to go to the bathroom as if I had unbelievably intense bowel movements but they said it was just the contractions that made me feel that way and nothing was happening. I completely blocked the nurses out and focused on what my body was telling me to do. Moving (rocking back and forth) around standing up, leaning against my husband, breathing very loudly (mostly ocean), and many screams came out as well. Also pushed at the end of each breath as my body told me to do.
At 3h30pm, a new nurse came in (there was the shift change) and she actually took the time to observe me and noticed I was in a lot of pain. She stopped the Pitocin which was too high according to her. Also noticed that I had no break between my contractions and that I was pushing at the end of each one so she put a glove on and checked me and said: “You’re baby is halfway out, you’re going to deliver in 5 minutes, get on the bed and push!” The doctor ran in the room, I pushed once and my husband said “I see her, I see the baby” which gave me the strength to push one more time very strongly and she was born at 3:53pm. Since our baby was in fact underweight (4 1⁄2 pounds), she had to go to the nursery and stay in an incubator but she was strong and healthy overall and gained weight very quickly.
In the end, I am proud I never got the epidural even though it was not by choice… I am also proud that I labored standing up doing the yoga breathing as I had intended to do. And I am super proud of my husband who was a #1 coach and support. It helps that he works in the healthcare environment and knows what to do around patients. I was very disappointed with most of St-Mary’s hospital staff both during labor and post-natal as I feel they lack compassion and nurturing with the mothers and the babies. Although some people were great, the majority were not and we definitely intend never to go back here.
Baby Sofia is a wonderful baby. She eats, she sleeps, she looks around and hangs out in her play chair/gym and baby carrier with me, and cries only when she is hungry or tired. We are so blessed.