Saturday, March 31, 2012

Harrison's Birth Story

Since Harrison is down for a nap, I thought now is as good a time as any to recount how this handsome little man came into this world.

My water broke at 11:30pm on Monday, February 20th after having what I now realize were contractions all day (I thought I was just having stomach issues!).  The hubby and I had just turned the light out when I returned from the washroom, got all cozy in bed, and then it happened.  I felt a 'pop' and a 'gush'.

And then it began.

Almost immediately after that the contractions started coming about 3 - 4 minutes apart, and were lasting close to a minute.  Right off the bat, I wasn't able to talk through a contraction.  It was intense right away.  I had never given much thought as to what I would do to cope with the pain during contractions, but I don't think that matter because I didn't give it much thought while I was going through it.  I settled into a pattern of deep breathing, holding a cold, damp cloth to my eyes and having a death grip on a stuffed animal during each contraction.  I remember the hubby timing each contraction, but sometimes it was hard to tell when one ended and another began because they were getting to be so close together.

My sister-in-law had agreed to be our doula, so we called her when my water broke to let her know and then called her again around 1:00am to ask her to come over.  Shortly after she arrived, we called the midwife.  The hubby wasn't sure if it was time yet, as we were given the 3-2-1 rule to go by (three minutes apart, for two hours, lasting one minute), and we weren't at the 2 hour mark yet.  But I told him to call her as they were getting faster and closer together.  It was so nice to have another person there with us, especially for the hubby.  I was pretty oblivious to what was happening around me, but I remember being thankful she was there.

Our midwife on call, Beth from Pomegranate Midwives, got to our house around 3:00am.  Shortly after she arrived she checked to see how much I had dilated.  I was already 5 -6 cm!  At this point Beth asked me if I wanted to head to the hospital.  I said 'Not yet'.  I wanted to stay at home for as long as I could ( I hate hospitals!)  We decided to wait a little while longer before heading out.

Up until this point I had been lying on my right side since midnight.  Beth encouraged me to go to the bathroom, and then flip onto my other side once I got back into bed, hoping that the change in position would help with the progression of my labour.

Shortly after I got back into bed I got what I thought was either the urge to push or throw up.  I couldn't be sure.  When that happened, it was just me and my sister-in-law in our bedroom, I mentioned to her that I felt like I need to push.  And when on the next contraction, I definitely had the urge to push, she got up to let Beth know.  This was probably around 4:00am.

It was then that Beth suggested we head to the hospital.  I was fine with it at that point, but the thought of getting into the car and putting pants on was a little much!  I had always envisioned getting to the hospital fully clothed.

This was the reality:

Why was I smiling?  Because someone put a camera in front of my face.

This was the reality.  Contracting all the way to the car wearing a sports bra, underwear, my housecoat and flip flops. 

Quite the sight, I'm sure.

I remember when we were driving to the hospital, the clock read 4:32am.  Thank goodness the hospital is only 10 minutes away.  It was more challenging contracting (with the pushing urge!) in the car, than in my comfy bed.

It gets a little blurry at this point, but were admitted to the hospital and the only thing I really remember is  blurting out mid-contraction that I wanted a private room.  It must have been important to me if I spoke during a contraction.  That was the only one!

Once I got in a wheelchair, the cold cloth back on my face, we were wheeled into the delivery room.  This was probably around 5:00am.

While everyone got settled, and we reconnected with Beth (she took off from the house before us to get to the hospital before us and get registered), I was just leaning against the bed, rocking back and forth.  But that didn't last long.  I was tired, and wanted to lie down!

After I got into the bed, Beth checked me again and I was 10cm. 10cm!  I went from 5-6cm to 10cm in about two hours! Shazam!

It was down to bid-ness at that point.  I needed to start pushing.  The noises that were coming out of my mouth while trying to not push were astonishing. I wasn't yelling or screaming, it was more of a gutteral moaning.  I just know that my throat was raw for the next day!

Without going into the gory details of the pushing process, let me just say that it hurt, it was hard work, and there were some contractions that I didn't push as hard as I could have because it hurt so bad!  

I was somewhat aware of what was happening while I was pushing.  I knew that there were people around me (my husband, my mom, my sister-in-law), but I didn't know who was doing what.  Someone was holding my leg, and someone was holding the cloth on my head.  I remember the point when Beth told me to stop pushing mid-contraction.  This was also the point that my sister-in-law/doula told me was the MOST IMPORTANT TIME TO LISTEN TO YOUR MIDWIFE!  When she says stop pushing - stop pushing!  And I did.

It was shortly after that point, that I was told his head was out and I was almost done!  I think there was only a few more pushes before I had my baby boy on my chest.

It was such a relief! Physically and emotionally.  I had my baby boy on my chest, and all I could think of was how happy I was he was finally here.  I remember touching him all over, trying to get a good look at his face.  When he was taken away from me to get cleaned up, I asked someone to hold him up for me so I could get a good look at his little face.  And he was absolutely beautiful.

If I could have planned 'My Perfect Labour' this would have been it.  Sure, it was extremely painful, but the whole process was such a positive experience that I am actually looking forward to doing it again.  There is nothing I would change about my labour.   The two things that were important to me were to stay home as long as possible (if we stayed home any longer, Harrison would have been born there!) and to not have and pain medication.  Success on both counts!

Although, through almost every contraction while I was at home I thought about asking for some when we got to the hospital!

It was wonderful to be able to let my body do what it was designed to do without any interference at all. I didn't even have to be hooked up to an IV!  Super excited about that part, I hate needles.

My beautiful baby boy, Harrison Robert Shaun C. was born on February 21, 2012 at 5:45am.  He weighed 7lbs 13oz, and was 20 inches long.


  1. What a beautiful Story! I'm So glad it was a positive experience for you!!!

  2. I loved reading this! Can't believe it's all over and now the real fun begins!
    Katie Craig

  3. Wow... how amazing!!!!!! I wish that I had an amazing birth story like that. Obviously your body knows what to do :o) Harrison is absolutely adorable!

  4. Love your story and the pictures :)

  5. Love your story and the pictures :)