April 22, 2015 was probably the most exciting and terrifying day of my life. 40 weeks is an eternity, the impatience at that point is enough, let alone having to go beyond that. I was 41 weeks 5 days pregnant with my daughter, Rinoa. Things had reached the point where I thought I was going to be pregnant forever. I’m sure every mom has felt this way. You know, the “OMG is this child ever coming out?!?” feeling.
We had been up all night the night before, my man had a touch of food poisoning (yippee) so he was up until the wee hours before he fell asleep. Then, I started getting sick as well (Oh joy). We were both miserable from little sleep. It was a rough night, followed by an intense morning. My contractions began around 6am, it didn’t take long to realize this was NOT like my labour with my son. This was happening hard and fast. I tried a hot bath and breathing, with no relief. I honestly wasn’t coping as well as I had hoped to with my second baby. I was downright hysterical.
By about 8am, I told my man to call my mother, my midwife, and an ambulance, in that order. He called my mother and she came to get my son, who I’m sure, by this point, was traumatized by mommy’s screaming. Then, he called the midwife. She could tell, just over the phone that I was in active labour. I was already begging for the epidural and I hadn’t even left my house yet. She assured me that as soon as we got to the hospital, I could have one. Perfect, I thought, I just need to take this pain away, because OMG OW.
When my mother showed up she asked me how I was doing, and all I could manage was a laugh through the pain. The midwife showed up a few minutes before the paramedics did. I was still naked from my bath and my contractions were literally right on top of one another. My midwife helped dress and walk me from my bedroom to the door. Though I would gladly have gone stark naked as I was to the point of not caring about my nudity whatsoever.
I was no further than my front entry way heading to the ambulance when my water broke. It was quite an odd sensation, I honestly felt like I peed myself. Meanwhile, I was yelling at my man to grab everything we needed: the phone and charger, baby bag, clothes. He was so frantic trying to get everything gathered as fast as he could. Silly me, I had packed a bag for my daughter, but not one for myself. I honestly thought that, because my previous labour was 19 hours long, I’d have way more time to prepare. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
My midwife and the paramedic helped me down the hallway and down the stairs and up on a stretcher and loaded me up. We had almost pulled away and I yelled “No, not yet! We have to wait!” as my man was still frantically gathering everything. It must have been mere seconds, but felt a lot longer. Finally he hopped in the cab of the ambulance, I heard the door shut, and away we went.
The bad news at this point was my daughter’s heart rate was low. We were absolutely terrified. My midwife had me flip over onto my right side, which helped bring her heart rate up some. We left my apartment building and drove about 5 minutes. The intensity grew, and I felt like I was going to lose my voice from screaming so much. The only thing I was aware of was that we were moving. We had just passed the toll booth onto the McKay bridge, heading to Halifax, where the IWK is located. Then all of a sudden I had the urge to push. I was terrified thinking “no, not yet, I haven’t had the epidural yet. I’m not ready”
The ambulance had to pull over. “I can’t do this!” I screamed, the paramedic and my midwife assured me “yes you can.” I pushed with each contraction. My instincts took over, and I merely did what my body told me I had to do. Three short pushes later and my daughter Rinoa Grace Elizabeth was born, at 8:44am, in the back of an ambulance on a bridge between two cities.
Unfortunately, she was born with the cord wrapped around her neck 4 times and had aspirated meconium. She needed to be resuscitated for a short while, and it felt as if my heart had stopped. Time stood still, and the only thing I could think was “I hope my baby is ok”.
It took what felt like an eternity waiting to hear my baby’s first cries, but it was was probably only minutes. They placed her on top of me, and she pooped on me. I didn’t even noticed, I was still in too much shock. One minute I was pregnant, the next I was holding this beautiful infant. It was one of two moments in my life where I experienced the most intense love I have ever felt.
Nothing else mattered but this precious infant I held.
When she looked at me for the first time, my heart melted, and I knew she had me wrapped around her baby finger.
The rest of the drive was a blur, but once we arrived at the IWK we were greeted there by the NICU team. They needed to keep an eye on her because of the complications that took place during her birth. It was heartbreaking to watch someone walk away with my newborn, but I knew she would be okay. I knew she was in good hands. They booked me in to the hospital and I spent the vast majority of my time in the NICU, with her and her father. She is our pride and joy. She spent three days in NICU before she was able to spend a night with us upstairs Then, FINALLY, we were able to go home. Being in a hospital for days on end is not fun, all I wanted was to be home with my family. One good thing is I didn’t have to cook for a few days.
I still remember my son’s reaction to his sister when he met her for the first time. My mother brought him to visit, and I brought them both down to NICU, where I had forewarned him there were a lot of sick babies there. We went to the far back corner where Rinoa was still incubated. I pulled her out and the first words out of his mouth were “I want four more babies!” He really loves her, and is an amazing big brother.
It has been quite the adventure so far, watching my two children interact with one another, and watching each day as they grow closer together. They joy they bring me each day is immeasurable and I wouldn’t have it any other way. We still get the wide eyed “are you serious?” when we tell people how she was born. Definitely NOT the expected, but we were overjoyed nonetheless with the arrival of our daughter.
It’s definitely worth it in the end, regardless of the things we go through to get there. The journey is always just as important as the destination.
Terri Singer is a stay at home mother of two beautiful kids, she lives with her common law husband and her two fur babies (pit bull and a kitty), and loves her family fiercely. She survives on coffee and sarcasm and enjoys the hectic way of life she and her family have quite immensely. They tend to search for humour in every situation just to keep their sanity. Find her on Facebook and Twitter.
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