Baby H’s Birth Story

Since all during the labour Olivia was still referred to as “Baby H” it seemed appropriate to title this post with Baby H’s Birth Story instead of Olivia’s Birth Story ๐Ÿ™‚

It has now been just over one week since Olivia entered our world as she was born at 3:39 am on Friday, November 24th.

This birth story actually starts on Wednesday, November 22. I still wasn’t showing any signs of labour at 9 days overdue so was scheduled to start the induction process that evening. Eric and I headed to the hospital at 7:30pm where we got a cervical check and found out my cervix was “soft and favourable but closed”. They inserted the prostin gel to soften my cervix even more and get it ready for labour and we then had to lay there for an hour while they monitored both mine and babies vitals before sending us home. I started getting really crampy in that hour and they offered me a shot of morphine but I declined. They said to come back if I couldn’t sleep.

Well sure enough we got home and I took some sleeping pills they had given me but it wasn’t enough. I was crazy crampy and that I probably could have handled but the cramps were moving into my lower back and there was no way I was falling asleep. Eric filled some of his socks with barley and heated them up in the microwave to act as heating pads but even that didn’t help. Back to the hospital we went to get the shot of morphine. It was after midnight when we got there so they had to do another cervical check before they could give it to me.

We headed home and I crawled into bed, still having terrible terrible cramping in my lower belly and back. Eric was laying in bed with me rubbing my back when I got up to go to the bathroom and heard a pop and felt wetness running down my leg. When I got into the bathroom more wetness gushed out of me. Sure enough, my water had broken! Because I was group B strep positive I had to go to the hospital and get a dose of antibiotics so back to the hospital we went for the third time that night.

At this point we called my aunt who was acting as our doula / birth support and she met us at the hospital. It took awhile to get the antibiotics in and actually I have very little memory of this, maybe because of the morphine, but we left the hospital around 2 or 2:30am and headed home. At this point the cramping and contractions were getting pretty strong and it was clear we weren’t going to sleep that night. We had to be back at the hospital at 8am for another dose of antibiotics so we spent the next 6 hours labouring at home.

While I was technically in the ‘early’ labour stage at this point, and I know a lot of people can sleep through early labour, that was not the case for me at all. They say when you are induced it can bring on contractions faster and harder and I definitely found that to be the case. I spent a lot of those 6 hours in a hot bath and my aunt or Eric would sit beside me on the toilet and pour hot water over my stomach when I would have a contraction. My aunt snapped the below photo of Eric and I ๐Ÿ™‚

I found myself dozing off between contractions, which were about 10 minutes apart at this point. I also spent some time labouring on my hands and knees or leaning over the table/counter and swaying my hips. Moving during the contractions definitely made all the difference in the world.

At 8am we headed back to the hospital and I have to say the vehicle ride there was terrible. I had two contractions in the 6 or 7 minute drive and I had to be in the back seat of the truck on my hands and knees.

At the hospital we got our next dose of antibiotics and a cervical check. I was 3cm. At this point we could have gone home, but we were offered to check into a labour & delivery room and I really didn’t think I could handle driving back to the house again so opted to stay at the hospital. Luckily the labour & delivery room had it’s own private bathroom so I again spent a lot of time labouring in the bath tub or walking the halls of the birthing centre. I had another shot of morphine at 9am. At 12pm, I was 5cm dilated so requested they get organized for the epidural. I think it was around 2 or 3pm when I finally got the epidural.

And here is a lovely photo of me getting the epidural ๐Ÿ™‚

Unfortunately the epidural significantly slowed down my labour. From 3pm – 5pm I wasn’t really having contractions despite them hooking me up to pitocin. At 5pm the contractions started again but were very irregular despite being on the highest dose of pitocin. By 8pm I was only 7-8cm dilated.

Honestly all the time in bed is a bit of a blur to me. I looked at my phone, visited with my family, dozed… at the time it seemed like time was moving SO slowly but in hindsight it’s all a bit fuzzy as to what was actually happening.

At 8pm when we found out I was 7-8cm we knew this would be a November 24 baby and also born in the middle of the night so were advised to get some sleep. Honestly it was a bit hard sleeping with all the monitors they had hooked up to me but I slept the best I could. At midnight I was fully dilated and they told me to get ready to start pushing even though I didn’t actually start pushing until closer to 1am. The epidural made this super hard as my legs were completely numb. I had started to feel some back cramping again about 30 minutes before that so had pressed my button to give myself a higher dose of the epidural as the back cramps were keeping me awake. So the first 30 minutes or so of pushing was super difficult because I couldn’t feel anything and the contraction monitor wasn’t doing a great job picking up my contractions so I didn’t really know when to push.

Then the epidural started to wear off because they turned it down so I could feel my contractions. I don’t remember what time this was at but I just remember the pain was excruciating. This is when it got super duper hard. I was pushing so hard and between each push my stomach and lower back was still cramping and having contractions so there was no break from the pain. I would push, then I would “rest” but during the “rest” I was in so so much pain.

This is when I started sobbing and saying I couldn’t do it and I couldn’t handle the pain. I was basically hyperventilating between contractions and pushes and they were trying to calm me down. Finally they started giving me laughing gas between contractions as it would force me to regulate my breathing and take the edge off.

At one point I flipped onto my hands and knees and pushed on my hands and knees for awhile because I literally could not stand the pain in my lower back anymore. We later found out the back labour was due to her not ideal positioning…

I don’t remember when the doctor arrived but that is when things got pretty crazy. I guess as soon as he arrived he knew he had to get out the vacuum so he could pull while I was pushing. Baby’s position was not great and she was not moving down the birth canal as she should have been. So for awhile he pulled on the vacuum while I pushed. Again this was SUPER HARD, I can’t stress enough how hard and painful this was. Now that it’s over it does seem like it went by so quickly but in the moment it was excruciating, felt like the hardest thing I’d ever done and I truly truly felt like I could not continue.

Then things got really scary…

All of the rest of this is what I was told by my aunt, mom and Eric who were all in the delivery room with me. I of course did not know this was happening at the time (thank god) and now that it’s behind me I realize how truly lucky we were to have incredible and competent medical staff looking after us.

Of course we did not know we were having a 10lb+ baby and apparently my pelvis was not quite big enough to accommodate her so her shoulders got stuck after her head came out. This is called shoulder dystocia.

But here is the scary part. Our doctor has delivered babies for 40 years and he told us later this was the worst case of shoulder dystocia he had ever seen. Once the head is out the babies breathing is usually cut off and that means they need to get the shoulders out ASAP. They have 5 – 10 minutes to do so before there is a huge risk of permanent brain damage from lack of oxygen.

Olivia’s shoulders were stuck for 6 minutes.ย 

Eric was right there watching and he said her head came out and then he could literally see it start to turn blue/purple almost immediately.

A code blue was called and suddenly the delivery room filled up with other doctors and nurses. The doctor had to give me an episiotomy to get her out and he also had to tug very hard on her one arm / shoulder. When she came out she was completely blue/purple and was not breathing. They put her on my chest for all of 3 seconds so I could see her before whisking her away and starting to work on her to get her breathing again. I kept saying “where’s my baby?” “is she ok?” and my aunt and mom kept saying she was and they were just checking her over (which was a lie they actually didn’t know what was going on).

I then had to deliver the placenta and the doctor started stitching me up and I kept asking over and over again if my baby was ok. Finally, after what seemed like forever, we were told that she was and everyone in the room was SHOCKED when she was weighed and we found out she was over 10 lbs. Talk about a big baby and explains why she had shoulder dystocia. Also, Eric’s shoulders got stuck when he was born and apparently shoulder dystocia can be hereditary.

After what seemed like FOREVER, she was placed on my chest for some skin-to-skin. As you can see in the below photo her right arm / bottom arm is still really purple. Her whole body was that colour when she came out! That is the arm that was stuck when she was yanked out and it got hurt. They thought her collar bone might even be broken but after some follow-up with the peadiatrician and x-rays we found out it just has nerve and tissue damage. We need to take her to physiotherapy but they expect her to make a full recovery.

I am doing pretty good considering how tough of a labour it was. The episiotomy is obviously very sore but I was lucky to have such an experienced doctor, all of the nurses in labour and delivery told me that his stitches are impeccable. I actually don’t even know how many stitches I have, he wouldn’t tell me, but it took him a good 20 minutes to stitch me up and I was told by a couple of people that it was a big cut!

So, after 26.5 hours of labour that included 2.5 hours of pushing Olivia Mabelynn was here and healthy despite the scare. And in the end, that’s really all we can ask for.

Kudos to you if you read this whole thing!! ๐Ÿ™‚

21 Responses

  1. Lisa of Lisaโ€™s Yarns says:

    Oh man that is a traumatic birth! I am so glad you are both ok! I havenโ€™t heard of women getting morphine in labor – maybe that is a different practice in Canada v the US. You are a warrior for getting through it. My mom only had back labor with one of us and it was the one birth she got an epidural with!

    I love the photo of you and Eric with the candles! So beautiful.

  2. Shoshanah says:

    Congrats! I love ready birth stories so thanks for sharing! I have to agree with Lisa in that it’s a very Canadian birth. In the us they basically require the baby to be born 24 hours after water breaking and don’t use laughing gas. I will say no one would tell me how many stitches I had either which 3 years later still annoys me a little.

  3. Cara says:

    Loved this! Oh man, you went through so much, hoping you are healing well! My first birth was induced and it is a COMPLETELY different feeling than not being induced!

  4. Lauren says:

    Oh gosh, that sounds pretty scary there at the end! So glad the Dr could get her out!! I had group strep b too and am impressed that you were able to get antibiotics and then head home. For us, once my water broke and we went to the hospital, I was admitted and labored the whole time there. But looking back at it, I would have done better laboring at home for at least the first half of it. I wonder if they would let folks head home here.

  5. Britt says:

    I’m so glad both you and Olivia are ok. Sending your little family so much love in these early weeks! xoxoxo

  6. Hayley says:

    Thank you for sharing Olivia’s birth story, I’m so happy she is healthy. You are a warrior! It’s such a long, endless marathon to go through. I admit I was having flashbacks to my first son’s birth (he just turned 4) as he too had shoulder dystocia – which was not something I had ever heard of before giving birth. I’ve never known someone to also go through the same thing. It is so scary, and thankfully in the moment we don’t really know what’s going on. For me I felt like it was a traumatic birth and I held onto a lot of anger about how things went, and could have gone differently had they acted faster. Thankfully my son is perfect and healthy, but it is such a scary thing to go through. Anyhow, you are such a beautiful and positive person and I’m so happy you shared your experience. I know it will help others too. P.S. The midwife told me my pelvis was too small to handle another baby that size (8 pounds, 1 ounce), and advised me my second baby should be a lot small, as if I had control over it. My second son was born perfectly healthy at 8 pounds, 11 ounces without any medical interventions needed. I hope this gives you hope if you want more (ridiculous to even think of after just giving birth to your first).

  7. Susan says:

    Thank you so much for sharing with us! You did an awesome job and it sounds like you had amazing support people with you ๐Ÿ™‚ Iโ€™m 25+2 in Edmonton and so interested in what hospitals do and allow in Canada vs reading of so many birth experiences in the USA. Congratulations to you and Eric- I especially think the photo of you in the bath is absolutely beautiful.

  8. Lori says:

    Oh my goodness! I’m so glad that she’s here and she’s safe! I have a teeny little girl in the baby nursery now and she’s so precious! I just can’t imagine the pain or how scary it all was! She’s absolutely beautiful and perfect!!! Sending hugs!!!

  9. Kara says:

    What an incredible birth story! I’m so glad she’s here safe and sound! Episiotomies are no joke, I hope you’re healing up okay. Mine made sitting so uncomfortable! You should be incredibly proud of what your body can go through, and then to have such a beautiful reward in the end. She’s just perfect and I’m so happy for you and Eric.

  10. Lindsey says:

    Oh man you are a trooper as is Olivia! I remember the back labour and pain too well from Avery’s birth and it is no fun! Glad you guys are all home happy and healthy ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Nora says:

    All I can say is the following…
    1. Wow. Just wow.
    2. I’m really glad I knew the outcome before reading this story.
    3. I hope you are healing well – I can’t imagine the pain!
    4. I had no idea morphine shots were a thing for ladies in labor.
    5. I love her name. And her cheeks.
    6. I’m so happy for you! <3

  12. Becky says:

    You and baby are so strong. <3

  13. That is amazing! A mother’s strength really does appear from the very beginning.

  14. Stephany says:

    Oh my goodness, this birth story sounds so traumatic, Amber! The outcome was ultimately a healthy baby, but I imagine the aftermath of her birth was emotional for you. <3 You are a badass!

  15. San says:

    Oh my goodness, that was quite a journey to get this little girl into your arms. You and Olivia did a great job!

  16. Jenny says:

    I remember being told to sleep through early labour – which just seemed impossible! I’m glad that in the end both you and Olivia are healthy.

  17. Alison says:

    You are so strong! I am so glad she is here and now safe in your arms! What a traumatic birth for sure!! She is beautiful and well worth the wait!! Congrats mama!

  18. TravelSpot says:

    Wow, that sounds like a bit of an ordeal! I have been watching Call the Midwife and they have had a couple of deliveries where the shoulders have gotten stuck, but I didn’t know if had a name! I am so happy that things went well in the end and that you are all happy and healthy!! Welcome Olivia! I can’t wait to hear more about you!

  19. Wow, I am so happy to hear Olivia is doing so well!! Our birth stories are VERY similar, only I did not get to see Emery until 18 hours after she was born and she had a stroke. I know they say uneventful birth can be somewhat traumatic, but add any sort of complications…make sure to take care of yourself and cry all the tears you want! It took me a LOONNGG time to get over Emery’s birth story, but I did and if you ever need to chat or vent or whatever, I am here! Congrats to your little family! It is going to be such bliss!

  20. Hooray for the happy ending and I’m sorry for how scary everything was for you. Happy to hear you are all home safe and sound. Olivia has the most darling, round cheeks.

  21. Oh my goodness Amber! That is a very scary birth story, and I can’t imagine how hard it was for Eric to watch you going through all of that. I am so sorry you had such a rough experience.

    When I saw her beautiful chubby cheeks, and how not-squished she looked, I assumed she was a c-section baby. Pushing out a 10 lb baby -wow girl! You are incredible.

    I am so glad to hear that in the end everything was okay, and you have a beautiful, healthy baby.

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