Miles to Journey Through
Aly has settled in Huntsville Ontario. She met her husband in high school and they have been together ever since. They currently have two children, a son born in 2016 and a daughter born in 2019. Aly is a Registered Early Childhood Educator and uses her knowledge on a daily basis. She enjoys reading and writing, and so she was thrilled to contribute a meaningful story about such a precious event. Midwives attended both her births and their support was out of this world. She believes everyone could benefit from having a midwife and/or a doula!
"If you don’t score an 8/8 during your ultrasound, you will need to be induced,” my midwife
informed me over the phone. I was 10 days overdue at the time.
This was my first baby and even though I knew most first-time moms go over their due date, I always thought labour would start on its own. So at 9:45 a.m. on October 17th, which also happened to be my birthday, we drove 21 km to the hospital for the ultrasound—an ultrasound that I was supposed to have had on the Friday before, but the hospital never informed me of my appointment.
Twenty minutes later my partner and I are told to wait for the results. Turns out I did not score an 8/8. My amniotic fluid was low and I needed to be induced. My midwife and the on-call doctor were called to meet me upstairs.
First, my midwife did a vaginal exam. Then the on-call doctor examined me as well, although I had never met them before. My birth plan consisted of maintaining my modesty and only having one midwife examine me vaginally. But sometimes plans are thrown out the window.
I was treated to a stretch-and-sweep, and Cervidil to trigger contractions. We were instructed to come back at 9 p.m. to have it taken out.
Finally, at 1 p.m., we left the hospital and emerged into the pouring rain. To save some money, we chose not to park in the hospital parking lot, but we didn’t expect it to rain. Laughing, we quickly walked down two hills to our car and drove back to our apartment.
Because it was my 21st birthday, we had invited our families over to celebrate. We enjoyed the company, the cake, the presents, and especially the excitement over possibly welcoming our son into the world on the very same day. How cool would that be? I remember sitting there with everyone trying to join the conversation, but I was so focused on rubbing my belly and moving side to side to dull the aches that were beginning.
Once everyone left, around 9 p.m., we drove back to the hospital. The midwife and the on-call doctor took out the Cervidil and to my surprise came some of my mucus plug with it! They confirmed my cervix was soft and I was most likely experiencing contractions, and so we returned home to rest and wait for labour to begin.
At 1 a.m. on October 18th (yep, no baby on my birthday) the pain was getting stronger. I tried a hot pack, a hot bath, walking, resting, all while my partner binged on Skittles. Finally, we called my mom to bring over some Tylenol. We also called our midwife over as we had been timing my contractions for an hour and they were one minute long and a couple minutes apart. When she arrived, she checked for dilation. I was 5 cm dilated and she said I could be admitted into the hospital!
I nodded vigorously and my mom said she would meet us back at the hospital later in the morning.
It was 3 a.m. by the time we arrived at the hospital. I soaked in the soothing labouring tub while my partner had a nap.
According to my midwife, I had an abnormal contraction cycle because she couldn’t see them properly on the monitors. I had to tell her when they were happening, although it was hard to say when one ended or began sometimes.
The pain kept getting stronger so I used the TENS machine to abate it, but the contractions continued to get stronger, longer, and more frequent.
I tried the laughing gas, but it didn’t do anything for me. I had a vaginal exam again, I was
7 cm dilated.
We decided to break my water to further induce me.
By 11 a.m. I was extremely fed up with the pain and lack of rest so I asked for any type of medication other than epidural. I was also starting to get worried as it was becoming more difficult to hear the baby’s heartbeat. I thought some pain medication might help me to calm down and rest so that maybe we could see how the baby was doing. As my midwife was preparing the medication, I curled on my side, squeezed my eyes shut, and groaned, “why does it feel like my uterus is pushing?”
She turned around, shocked, her mouth agape. She dropped the needle, and coaxed me into turning over for another vaginal check. Sure enough, I was ready to go, fully dilated. She rushed over to her phone, called the second midwife, and rushed back to me.
“Alright, you need to bear down with the pushing feeling,” she instructed me, settling herself between my legs. My partner had to go outside at that point because my grandma and his mother decided to pay us a visit. My modesty was honestly the last thing I was thinking about; I was in full birthing mode. I wasn’t thinking about anything, only aware of what my body was telling me to do. I knew this was it, and I was ready.
I kept my eyes closed and my hands were gripping the bed rails. Once I began pushing, it felt so good, until his head was crowning. My midwife had to run and call the nurses. I felt the ring of fire as his head came through, and my partner told me he could see it!
I thought pushing would take longer, but my midwife rushed back, accompanied by two nurses who placed themselves on either side of me supporting my legs with knees up to my chest to help get my baby’s shoulders out. They all kept chanting, “you’re doing amazing,” and I truly felt amazing. I was this strong, capable woman, bearing a child naturally as I planned!
At 11:41 a.m., October 18th, my baby boy, Oliver Miles, was born and he was immediately placed onto my chest. He was 9 lbs 3 oz, and 21 inches long, with the most perfectly round-shaped head. He wasn’t crying, but his eyes were open. It was such a beautiful and shocking sight to see my newborn son looking up at me. As soon as I held my baby, I forgot all about the pain, basking in his first moments. I felt nothing else.
After my partner had cut the cord, the nurses said goodbye, a midwife took my son to be cleaned up, and my other midwife instructed me to help her guide the placenta out. I pushed and a gush of blood came out, then I pushed again and the placenta swiftly slid out. Only I kept on bleeding. Suddenly, everything happened fast. My midwife barked out an order and the student midwife came at me with a large syringe. She gripped my knee and I blurted out, “will it hurt?” She answered yes, and stuck it in my thigh with no warning. It definitely hurt but I later learned it was full of oxytocin to help my bleeding to slow.
After I had some time to rest, I was told I could get up and have a shower. I swung my legs over the bed and walked to the shower with my midwife. As I was waiting for the water to get warm, I said, “I need to sit down.” The next thing I knew, I was laying on the ground with my head in my student midwife’s lap and the other trying to rouse me awake—I had fainted from loss of blood! I looked at my partner who was holding the baby and I realized I couldn’t hear anything, nor could I feel my legs. It took a few moments for all my senses to come back. I was told not to move and had to drink ginger ale to perk myself up.
I sat to shower while the midwives monitored just outside the bathroom. The water falling onto my back was the most incredible feeling on my worn-out body, the warmth of it carrying away the chill and shakes I had after giving birth. Once I was showered, my midwife helped me into a huge pair of padded underwear and we were moved to another room so I could stay overnight.
Oliver’s middle name, Miles, continues to be a testament to our journey as a family, even four years later. We experienced a lot of struggle through postpartum, breastfeeding, solids, and development. But we have come so far from the newborn who wouldn’t latch, to the infant who wouldn’t sleep, to the toddler who couldn’t speak.
Birthing my baby naturally made me feel invincible, and I was proud to have followed in
the footsteps of my grandmother and my mother.
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