My Birth Story: Madison's Journey
Updated: Apr 3
Trust the process. I was walking with another woman at the dog park one day and she said, "Dogs are like children. You don't get the one you want, you get the one you need." I've never forgotten that. Madison has taught us already to trust the process. Here's my birth store and her journey earth side.
I had a midwife appointment at 39w5d and was offered a membrane sweep which I declined. I wasn't ready for intervention quite yet. Quinn still had two more night shifts and I was fully intending on trusting the process and letting labor start on its own. That being said, the further I went past 40 weeks, the more I had to actively calm myself down and not panic. I really didn't want to be induced and I was ready to be done with appointments (I had an ultrasound and midwife appointment booked for the next week). I booked an acupuncture appointment for 40w3d at Omnia. I simply needed to feel like I was trying something. At 40w4d I went for breakfast with a few girlfriends to get some spicy food. We went to Falafel Place - their hot sauce is excellent! By the end, I did start to feel a little crampy. Was this something?! My goal was to go into labor today because it was the Super Bowl and I knew that would be a good distraction for me. In the meantime, I drank some strong red raspberry leaf tea and massaged my belly with coconut oil and clary sage oil.
We watched the Super Bowl at our neighbor's house. By the end of the game, the cramping was getting stronger. As soon we got home, I went to bed knowing that if my cramps got any worse I wouldn't be able to sleep. Wouldn't you know? My water broke two hours later. Not a gush, just a trickle.
Contractions went from every 10 - 20 minutes, to every 3-5 minutes in the matter of two hours. We contacted both the midwife, Naomi, who was on call, and our doula, Jenine, to let them know what was happening. I went between laying on the couch between contractions to leaning over the counter during them. Then, I started puking between contractions. While I knew it was possible to puke during labor, after my second puke, I wanted to head in. We called both the midwife and texted our doula to let them know.
On the way to the Birth Centre, I had six more contractions. Having a contraction while sitting in the vehicle was not fun. When we arrived, I was checked and it was determined I was only 1 cm dilated. I couldn't be admitted yet, but I did not want to sit in the car again, so we were given the option to wait in the family room in the meantime. Unfortunately, my puking continued so I received a gravol injection in my butt and some Tylenol to take the edge off. We tried some Spinning Babies techniques to improve baby's positioning and hopefully encourage dilation.
After about an hour at the Birth Centre (my timeline could be off from here on out, la la labor land is a complete time warp), the midwife checked my pad. What I thought was some blood in my discharge and amniotic fluid, was determined to be meconium. Baby pooped in utero, which is more common in post date babies (like us). Because I was so early in labor, it was highly suggested we move to St. Boniface Hospital for continuous monitoring to ensure baby was doing okay. I asked if HSC was an option. She called there and they were full. St. B had room for us. We were on our way.
We arrived at St. B and while we were waiting for security to open the door for us, I puked in the vestibule. At this point, I had puked at least 5 times, that I can remember, probably closer to 10. We went into triage and waited for our midwife. She had another labor at the Birth Centre that night, coming in just as we were leaving - what are the chances?! She was waiting for back up.
I don't remember much about triage, so I assume I was in and out of sleep. They did hook me up to continuous monitoring there as we waited for our room. Quinn says we were there for at least two hours. If I were to guess, I would have said 30 minutes. And by this point, I fully resigned to the fact that I was going to have this baby right there. And if it needed to be a c-section, so be it. I didn't care how it happened anymore, I just wanted it to happen. We were asked what kind of room we wanted, thankfully Quinn requested a private room where we were eventually taken. I was told I could still move around with the monitor and it would be no problem to disconnect to use the bathroom, if I needed - I was very happy to hear this. I fully intended on laboring on the toilet.
At 8:30, our midwifes changed over. We were now with Sarah. I must have still been puking, because I remember getting another gravol injection around this time. I'm not sure when it was determined I was fully dilated, but I think it was around this time, also. Jenine also came sometime around here, too. I was trying to push so hard to get that little baby out, but it felt like it was doing nothing. And turns out, it was doing nothing but swelling my cervix because baby's position wasn't quite right. I had regressed to 8 cm. I wasn't sure I could do this anymore and very ready to give up. I fully understand why anyone would opt for a c-section. That seems like a much easier and more predictable route. Thank god for my midwife, doula, and the nurses on staff - without them encouraging me and trusting that I could do it, I would have given up. I can't say enough good things about my team, they were absolutely incredible and exactly what I needed. And Quinn made sure I was drinking water and electrolyte (and that no one stepped in poop!). He also set up the music and candles. It was a mood.
I was offered a few interventions at this point. An IV for fluid, which I declined, I didn't want to be hooked up to anything. I was offered an epidural to give my cervix a break, which I also didn't want and declined. Then I was offered nitrous gas, which I jumped on.
As a side note, I love listening to the Down to Birth podcast, and they have said many times, that you'll know when an intervention is right or wrong, and I so knew. I didn't even have to think about it, it was all instinct.
All of a sudden, I felt baby shift and I just knew she was in a better position. But, I was being advised not to push, to try and let my cervix calm down. Around this time, it was also determined I had an anterior cervical lip, which Sarah manually moved. While this was painful, it made a world of difference and I had the nitrous to help take the edge off.
I moved to the toilet, where I liked to labor because it felt so natural and all of a sudden it felt like I was going to take the largest poop of my life! Here she comes! I moved back to the bed and labored standing next to it. After a few good contractions where the fetal ejection really kicked in (I couldn't not not push!), I got back on to the bed, on hands and knees, ready to get her out. Moving positions ensured my contractions didn't slow down, so I sat up on my knees between contractions. Around now, a team of labor and delivery nurses entered the room to help. Her head was now coming out! It took a few good pushes and with great coaching from Sarah and Jenine, and her head was out. But, her shoulders weren't coming. I was urgently instructed to flip to my back, which I knew meant shoulder dystocia. I got there, pushed more and out she came! She wasn't breathing and her cord was wrapped around both her neck and body. This is actually fairly common and not typically an issue. After some vigorous patting, she was breathing. To be honest, this part happened so fast that if I wasn't briefed I would have barely noticed. I was just so excited to have that little girl out!
I delivered the placenta about 30 minutes after Madison was born. I was offered a pitocin injection to speed this process up, which I declined. I understood the benefits of delayed cord clamping and chose to keep it in tact until after I delivered the placenta. I didn't know exactly why, but I just knew that it felt right. Since then, it was discussed on this podcast and it turns out there are a ton of benefits (with minimal risks) of delaying the cord clamping, even past the standard 5 minutes or until it stops pulsing.
About an hour after birth, she was fed, and did a great job on both sides, despite her tongue tie (I have one, too). I was stitched up. I had one second degree tear posterior and two minor anterior tears. She was weighed, measured and examined by both our midwife and the team from St. B. They weren't sure if her right shoulder was totally okay, so we also brought in the NICU doctors to clear it and they were happy with what they saw. Three hours later, we headed home, but not without picking up some Indian food and smoothies from Stella's first. We were tired and starving.
While it wasn't the birth experience I had envisioned, it worked out exactly the way it needed to - all because we were able to trust the process. Thanks for that, Madison.