All I can say is ‘wow what a trip’ childbirth is. It was thoroughly amazing, similar to doing a triathlon, different types and levels of pain, but always changing, and the you know the end goal is not just to cross the finish line, but to have your new little bundle of joy in your arms, quite the motivation. Also – you do realise, even in your trance like state, that there is no getting off the ride, you are on the ride to the end.
My contractions started at 11pm Mon night, then I was able to get 3 hours sleep, then woke up with the stomach pains again. Luckily I went onto Facebook and found that our friends Ellie and Jenny Bayliss were online in Australia, so I was doing a live chat with them, Jenny told me to start counting the ‘stomach pains’ to see if they were coming in regularly, as I was two days overdue. Of course they were coming every 4 mins, so I called the doctor, and they said stay home as long as you can, and come into the hospital once they are quite painful, or I really need some medication to help me sleep. We went in at 4pm that afternoon, only to be told after 18 hours of contractions that I was only 1 cm dilated!!! Not impressed. So he gave me a shot of morphine to help me sleep, we went home, and unfortunately I still had the contractions, they were building, and then I started to throw up in a reaction to the morphine. At about 10:30pm after being sick quite a bit they asked me to come in again to get an IV, thoroughly expecting to be turned home again. We got there and luckily I was progressing, slowly, and was 3cm dilated when the nurse checked me. Then they started the drip, called the Doctor in, and after about an hour the doctor checked me again and I was 5cm, so ready to be admitted, yahoo, the real ride had begun. Mark was fantastic the whole time, while in the examining curtained off area, there were quite a few girls coming in screaming, in full labour, and Mark would cover my ears and bury my head in his belly to try and not set me off in a fit of screams too, or to scare me too much. I actually was coping quite fine, the contractions were getting stronger, but they weren’t lasting more than a minute, so it was ok, although I did ask for the happy gas, and that helped a lot. We went upstairs to our private room, it was very nice, lots of space, chairs, tables, kitchenette, ensuite with nice big bath etc. just like the Ritz, best of all, it was 100% covered under the Canadian public health system.
The doctor had to break my waters, and was monitoring the baby’s heart rate closely, as there were some signs of distress, but all was OK. We had an obstetrician come into the room periodically, and her first comment was ‘you are so calm, the epidural must be working well’, only to be told that I wasn’t on an epidural, just the happy gas. Finally by about 6am I really either needed an epidural, or ‘the midwives epidural’, to go into the bath or shower. I wasn’t allowed this luxury as they had two fetal monitors strapped tightly to my belly, just what you want with hours of contractions. The doctor finally gave in and let me have a shower and bath, and it really helped a lot. I also had my lovely husband work out a way that he could sneak in the happy gas to the ensuite too, so I could suck it down during the contractions, and I was relatively happy. Of course I told the nurse I was just using it during the contractions!! During an intense contraction I did tell Mark that ‘I want my epidural NOW!!’ but then only to tell him of course I didn’t need it after the contraction, nothing like a woman in labour changing her mind, maybe a few times.
Anyway, by 7am we were 10cm dilated, the magic number to start pushing. We had the most amazing nurse full time with us, who was actually an English mid wife, plus my pre-natal GP, and Mark, so I was in good hands, literally. After trying out different positions, two steps forward one step back, Jessica Rose Smith was born to the world at 10am Wed Aug 19th at BC Women’s Hospital.
Jess being weighed, a healthy 3.56kg (7 pds 12 oz).
It really was the most amazing experience, a real trip. As soon as she was born I felt instantly on cloud 9, no pain, no nausea, and wanted to celebrate with some bubbly and friends. I was on a huge natural high, full of adrenalin and love, and was ecstatic both to have my baby in my arms and also not to be pregnant anymore! I was told just to relax, and I had Jess on my chest, she was really cute, she came out screaming, but was quite content skin on skin on my chest. I had one tear to repair, so then Mark was told to walk the hallway with his new daughter. I was allowed to have a shower, and then of course started making phone calls and texting the good news around the world.
I was told I should wait until the evening visitor hours at 6pm before having my friends come in and celebrate, so I called the girls at work and 4 of them came in at 6pm on the dot, and we had some lovely Canadian bubbly – Township 7 (thank you Lori and Mike!!) to welcome into the world our new little Canadian-Australian girl. Janet (Mark’s mum) arrived on the 6pm plane from Toronto, and luckily has agreed to stay and help out for 2.5 weeks. She is our guardian angel, an ex-nurse who has raised 4 kids and has 3 other grandkids, so we are in good experienced hands.
Jessica 25 mins old, mum and bub feeling great
A very proud Dad
We all think she looks like Grandpa Peter Donnelly
After a shower and I am in heaven
Party in room 2 – Aunty Alyssa and Aunty Roselle
Karen, Michelle with Jessica and Janelle
Our little cherub
MMMmmmmmm these toes taste great!
Daddy Daughter tummy time
Grandma Janet (GJ) and Jessica with my favourite hat ‘yes … I’m that cute’