For me, this labour story goes back to before I got pregnant. I was getting serious about trying to get back in shape while we were still deciding if we would "try for a fourth baby." I was going to a cardio bootcamp once a week, also to the gym, and doing wii fit. I worked out from about March and became pregnant in October. This pregnancy also meant that I had an extra years gap from my other pregnancies. Each sibling was not even two when the next baby came along, so this time, Audrey would be nearly 3.
A week after I found out I was pregnant, I re-injured my herniated bellybutton at the gym, by lying on a body ball on my stomach. I had had surgery to repair the herniated umbilicus the previous December so I was really choked that it was now injured and that I was pregnant, which would put extra strain on the area. I got a really crazy coughing cold shortly after that and I was so afraid that I would miscarry. That fear continued for quite awhile with this pregnancy. Obviously, things turned out well, and even the hernia was less painful, the larger the fundus grew.
By 37 weeks pregnant, I lost my mucus plug. I don't recall having lost it in my previous 3 pregnancies. This was very exciting to me.
At 38 weeks, I had had one Sunday with lots of contractions all day. I was sure they had done some dilating work, so I asked my doctor to check me. He said the cervix dilates like a cone and that the bottom was dilated 2-3cm, was very soft and stretchy and that the top was closed. He tried to stretch the cervix at the top a little. I also found out that I was GB Strep NEGATIVE for the first time! This was very exciting to me as it meant I would not have to be on an IV for antibiotics. I have not liked being hooked up to the IV pole in my previous labours.
I went away from that appointment and had a week with very few contractions. I had one or two, here or there, they were painful, but definitely not regular.
At my 39 week appointment, there was no change in my cervix. Again, I went away with little progress that week.
I went to my 40 week appointment, when i was already 2 days overdue, on Wednesday, July 13. In the office bathroom, when it was time to pee in a cup, I noticed that I was having "bloody show." The doctor checked me and I was 1.5cm dilated now. He was able to do a full sweep and could feel that baby's head very well. I was feeling very excited now. I had NEVER been dilated at my due date with any of my other babies. My cervix was always totally closed and it was pretty disheartening, especially having been induced with my 2nd and 3rd labours. This is exactly what I'd been wanting and praying for!
I asked the doctor if I should call in when I'm 9 or 10 minutes between contractions since we had to drive 35 minutes to the hospital (from Mission to Langley). He said, we should wait until 7 or 8 minutes between contractions. I left feeling very hopeful and waiting to see what happened next.
I went and bought some raspberry leaf tea and went home with plans to go for a few walks and see what happened.
Nothing was really happening. I did not have any regular contractions that day. I'd have one intense contraction here or there again, but nothing to get excited about. However, I was having a constant flow of "bloody show" which was interesting to me at the time.
During the night, in the early morning of Thursday, July 14th, I woke up with severe enough contractions that I had to sit up in bed. From what I saw on my alarm clock, it was maybe 3 of these, 2 hours apart. Again, nothing to get excited about.
The kids had a birthday party to go to at 11am. I hadn't had a chance to pick up a gift yet so I left the kids with Grammy and Papa and went to Superstore. I drove to Superstore and decided to just carry a shopping basket rather than to push a cart. This became a little interesting as I did start to have some intense contractions while I was walking around...and I could NOT find the darn EVOO anywhere...grrr...so I had to backtrack around the store. I ran into Joanna and we chatted about me having pain and that it was awkward having contractions while shopping. She offered to carry my basket for me, but she was going to the opposite end of the store and I didn't want to track her down, since its such a huge store. Then I ran into Amelia and we joked about me being "still pregnant". This was all around 10am.
I loaded up the kids for the birthday party at 11am. I was starting to feel a little tired of the pain, but just wanted to get to the party since Derek was working and Grammy and Papa were going to go do errands while we were there.
While at the party, I was having pretty intense contractions, but often joking "OOOOH that was a good one!" to the girls there. One mom encouraged me to start keeping track of when they were coming. I started counting and they were coming around every 10 minutes. I started feeling pretty exhausted from the pain and wanted to go home. I did not feel like loading up my kids in the van and was starting to think driving might be dangerous.
Derek's parents were available to come back from Abbotsford whenever I asked them to. Derek was on track to be home by 3pm. I decided that I would get Renee to help me load the kids in the van and then to drive me home by 3pm and Derek could drive her back to the party. So that's what we did. We waited in the driveway for a few minutes then Derek came home. I told him to just keep the kids in the van so I'd just be alone.
I had an intense contraction when trying to unlock the house with Derek standing there. It didn't really phase him as he was just trying to go drive Renee back. In the house, I knelt down on the bottom stair and had a really crazy one that made me feel very scared. I thought, uh oh. that really hurts. I don't know if I can do this without drugs. I want to go to the hospital now.
So I went upstairs, called the hospital and told them that I wanted to come in now but that they are only 10 minutes apart, but 1.5 minutes long for sure.
The charge nurse was really kind and said for sure I could come in. I asked if she would call my doctor and she said no, not until I was admitted. I was a little scared thinking that he would have to wait an hour or so before even finding out I was coming in and that he might have a hard time getting there (he has a broken foot so it makes his travel time longer). I immediately called Grammy and Papa and asked them to come home now and that I was going to go in to get checked out. I knew they'd be another half hour coming from Abbotsford. Derek needed to shower, so I figured we wouldn't get there til 4.30pm. I was commenting to Derek about not being able to let our doctor know and he said "Call his office." OH Ya! ha ha, it was still during office hours. So I called, and the receptionist was very excited and said she'd let him know.
We FINALLY got on the road and I was assessed around 5pm. My contractions stayed at a solid 10 minutes all this time. The nurse was awesome and explained everything she was doing. She checked me and I was 4 cm dilated! I was so excited, but still not sure if I was getting admitted. She said they had a room ready for me, but Derek said not to text anyone that we were admitted, until we were actually admitted. So we were admitted around 5.30pm and as I was moving to my room, the contractions increased (or decreased?) to 5 minutes apart. They did intermittent fetal monitoring, but did not have me lying on the bed for a monitoring strip, another thing I was so thankful for.
At 6.03pm I sent a text to Grammy and Papa saying that they were 5 minutes apart and that our doctor was coming in about 1hr. That was the last text message I sent.
Right after that I had a killer contraction that also felt like "the push" so I got really really scared and started crying. They got me on the bed and checked me and I was only 6cm. She said she'd try to feel if my cervix opened more during a contraction. That one push feeling really threw me off and I was feeling like I can't handle this and that I was really afraid of the pain that was coming, or just the pain of the next contraction (sounds like transition!).
I started trembling which really scared me too as I went into shock after Audrey was born and I was shaking like crazy. I did not have another "push" feeling right then. It was back to regular contractions. She said the head was much lower and that I was staying at 6cm, no bigger, during contractions. I think, in retrospect, that it was just baby's head coming lower which was a new feeling and probably did feel like pushing a bit.
I got back up to standing and leaning, looking out the window and trying to relax as much as possible.
Derek sent a text to Joanna at 6.45pm saying I was 5-6 cm, but things must have gotten serious right after that.
I felt a new sensation, of the baby going lower and my body really opening up. It was very painful, but it was also exciting.
Just as an aside, in between contractions, I was totally lucid and chatty. Derek thought I was coping really well. I probably had 8 to 10 contractions that were so painful I felt like quitting. but then they were over and I was chatting it up again.
Around 6.50pm I felt "the push" again. They got me back on the edge of the bed and I was kind of arguing saying "I can't. Its not like the baby's going to fall right out." and the nurse said, "it might." so I got moved up in the bed. She started to frantically try to put in my IV site on my hand (as they were concerned that I was a bleeder with previous deliveries and that I might need either blood for myself or oxytocin for my uterus). The push came again and I had to stay as still as possible while she finished getting the IV site in my hand. She checked my dilation next and I heard her tell another nurse "She's fully. Get her doctor." I heard someone say that he was three minutes away. I said enthusiastically, "Okay, I can do this! Let's do this!"
Since I was fully dilated and I just let my body push even though they said to wait. I had decided ahead of time that I was going to let my body do the work and not try to stop "the push." Derek was coaching me to try to stop from pushing but I was ignoring him. He says that I was partly trying to follow his direction, from the way I was breathing. Another nurse came in front of me and said in a sing-songy voice "If you want Dr. DeLair, you're going to have to wait to push."
They brought in a relief doctor. One I'd never met. She tried to get me to come to the edge of the bed but it really hurt my tailbone so I started to cry a little. She let me sit back a little. She said, "Okay, with the next push I want you to pick up your legs and push into your bottom." and I'm pretty sure someone said they could see baby's head. I was looking at her thinking, I don't know you lady. I don't know if I'm going to do that...and then in hobbled my beloved doctor! about 6.55pm.
I had one more regular push with him, and then a big one and he got me to take 3 breaths and to push 3 times and the head was out, so he got me to pant to get the body out slowly and baby Bennett was totally out at 7.02pm! I was literally saying "oh hallelujah, I'm so glad its over." I had minimal tearing.
Bennett was delivered in his sac of waters intact and posterior!! but it didn't really feel like a posterior birth maybe because I was just so glad it was over or from being delivered in the amnion. There was meconium in the sac but because he was born head up with the amnion covering his face, he did not ingest any. They peeled the membrane off his face and he took his first breath and started crying. Being born in an intact amnion is called being born en-caul. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caul look up a picture if you want to see what it looks like.
I wish I had known as I would have liked to see it. This is the first birth that the doctor didn't tell me to look, but I guess I could have of my own accord, but at that point, I was kind of following directions again ;)
It is extremely rare, 1 in 80,000 births (and this includes the births that are "true caul" (where it is an actual face mask only with loops around the ears that have to be unlooped or they may leave a mark or scar) or partial (like a hat or over one eye), or en-caul (in the full amnion)).
Derek said it freaked him out to see something covering Bennett's face. The doctor told us that the legend is that a baby born "en-caul" is destined for greatness.
Bennett started suckling by 7.30pm and had such a perfect latch. He continued to eat like a fiend and my milk came in, in a day and a half!
Bennett Antony Henri Salmon
Born at 7.02pm
Thursday, July 14, 2011
8lbs 4oz. 21" long
Black curly hair just like his big sister Diedre!
Antony is my father's (Paul Mellenger) middle name, and Henri (pronounced Ohn-Ree, in French) is my step-father's (Richard Gagne) middle name. And we found out, after the fact, that Richard was named after his uncle Henri, a priest.
Our heaviest baby yet! 8lbs 4 oz
Daddy got another boy ;)
Audrey was very excited to be a big sister. Diedre shows such tenderness in dealing with her new brother.
Some interesting facts about the names and birth dates:
Diedre & Audrey both have six letters in their names.
Ezekiel & Bennett both have seven letters in their names.
Both of our sons have their grandfather's middle names in them.
Our eldest and our youngest both have two middle names, whereas our second and third both have single syllable names.
Diedre and Ezekiel were born on Saturday (like Grammy Salmon, Derek and my brother, Uncle Andrew), Audrey was born on a Monday (like my Mom and Auntie Marsha, Derek's sister), and Bennett was born on a Thursday (like me!).
First car seat ride, picture outside the hospital
In retrospect, I'm so glad that I went with my gut, although it was driven by fear, and called even though I was still having contractions 10 minutes apart. If we had been even half an hour later to the hospital it would have been so much more stressful. It was such a great labour and delivery, a great way to end my childbearing experience. We are complete now (unless God has other plans or interventions!).