Julia’s Birth Story
On Jan 29th just after midnight Brian and I finally got to bed. I remember making a comment to him about how tired I was and how I wished I was done work. (At the time I had 3 more shifts to go). We fell asleep and around 2am I woke up thinking I had peed my pants a little bit, which I know can happen when you are pregnant so I went to the bathroom and went to change my pajama pants. When I bent over to open the drawer of my dresser there was a gush, there was no denying that my water had just broken. I waddled over to the toilet and called out to Brian who was sound asleep. I probably called him 5-8 times before he work up. I told him what happened and he looked panicked. I told him I was going to have a shower and that he should get some stuff organized. In the shower I remember being scared, I was only 35w4d and I know that a baby can and usually does fine being born at this gestation, but when it is all happening to you it is scary.
Luckily I had my bag and the baby’s bag semi packed so we loaded everything into the car, including the dog, who was very confused as to what we were doing at 2:30am. Of course it was snowing and the visibility wasn’t the greatest. At this point I wasn’t that uncomfortable, but as the drive continued I started to cramp and feel the contractions - they were about every 3-4 minutes. Off course, this is the time Brian decides to drive cautiously to the hospital, where as I was thinking - hurry up! Not that I was going to deliver in the car, but I wanted to be there so I knew the baby was okay.
We dropped off Riley and got to the hospital. I went into Triage and checked with an amnio swab to see if it was my water that was broken, and it was. I was admitted to 4620 and the girls got things organized. They started me on antibiotics because we didn’t know my GBS status, and the cramping seemed to settle down. Dr. Joutsi was on call - the ironic thing is that he was on call when my water broke with Jackson. This time it was a much happier encounter. We decided to wait things out and see what happened over the next few hours. We wanted to make sure I got the antibiotic coverage I needed so we both tried to get some sleep.
In the morning I remembered that Dr. Dervaitis, my amazing OB was away this weekend. I had seen her that week and she jokingly said, now don’t go into Labor this weekend because we are away. Now, what you need to know is that she planned her vacations around my pregnancy, she wasn’t going anywhere so she could be there for us, and of course the one random weekend she decided to get away was when things started to happen. I really value her opinion and wanted to know what she would have done if she was there, so I emailed her and told her what was happening, hoping she would call and give me some much needed advice.
The night staff left and the day staff came on - I wasn’t sure who what working and in walked Cheryl. Cheryl was my nurse with Jackson and I had planned for her to be there on my induction date. I had no idea she was working that day and when I saw her there I can’t explain how happy I was. Not that I don’t trust anyone else, but with her I felt so safe, like I knew that I didn’t have to worry about a thing with her there. It meant so much to me to have her there. Leeann was also working that day, which was amazing because she was our other support person in labour. Leeann is the one who set Brian and I up on a blind date, Lee and I were bridesmaids in each other’s weddings, I was there for the birth of her son and I really wanted her to be there for the birth of our daughter. Funny how things worked themselves out - 3 of the 4 people I wanted there most were there!
We waited until the afternoon to decide if we wanted to get going with the labour. Dr. Sasha came in and talked to me about what he thought was the best idea and we decided to augment my labour and meet this baby. I was scared, I just wanted her to be okay. I knew she was going to be smaller and because she was under 36 weeks she would need to be admitted to the NICU. I asked who was working in the NICU that day it was Louise. Louise was also there for us with Jackson so it was like another bonus, I knew my baby girl was going to be in good hands.
After we decided to get going with labour, Dr. Dervaitis called from Calgary and we talked about everything. How lucky am I? Who’s OB calls them from their vacation to make sure that everything is okay. She agreed with getting the labour going and said if it wasn’t already started she would have called Dr. Sasha herself and said to get the show on the road.
I was started on Oxytocin and within an hour or so I was starting to get uncomfortable. I asked for the epidural, partly because I didn’t want to miss it and partly because I knew how bad the pain could get. I was nervous about it going in, to be honest, I was so high on Demerol and Nitrous Oxide gas last time I don’t really remember it going in…this time I was scared. I kicked Brian out of the way and was hanging on to Cheryl. As he put in the freezing I said “shit, crap, I am trying not to swear, fudge, fudge fudge”. It was pretty funny….the anesthetist said, come on you can do better than that! After just a minute it was in and working fabulously.
Once I started to make progress I dilated quickly from 4-5-8-9-Fully. We waited for an hour to start pushing to let move down lower so it would hopefully be easier. After 1hr and 2 mins of pushing she was born. She came out with her hands up by her face, where they were in all her u/s pictures and where they have been ever since. Brian cut the cord and the NICU nurses took her over to the warmer - it took her a minute to cry, but she eventually let out the faintest little wail…it was the most beautiful sound I ever heard. Tears fell down my face - as I looked over at Brian he had tears in his eyes too. It was amazing seeing Brian’s reaction to her - he was so in love with her, it just melted my heart. They weighed her and she was 5lbs 15 oz, smaller than I thought, and was 19 inches long. She got to come over to my chest and we did skin to skin - it was just perfect.
One moment I wanted to share was when Kathy the Unit Clerk came in and went over paperwork with me. She gave me Julia’s temporary health card and told me how to get her birth certificate and birth registration. Now - this was a pretty big moment for me b/c never being able to take a baby home with me I never had to do this. This was so big for me - I get to fill out paper work for birth registration. I, of course, started to cry. I was just so happy.
That was the start of a very long week. Because she was small she had to be admitted to the NICU. Over the course of the week she ended up going in and out of photo-therapy twice, being poked so many times for blood work, and needing an IV for antibiotics for a positive blood culture. It was so hard to be away from her, I actually had a bit of a breakdown. I obstetrically was fine so I should have technically been discharged from the hospital - but there was no way that I could leave the hospital again without a baby. I had to do that once and I wasn’t going to do it again. I know it was different this time, she would come home with us soon enough, but in the mean time there was no way I could go home without a baby. I am so lucky b/c everyone I work with pulled strings, pretty much every available string that could be pulled. I got to stay there with my baby, and by the last night we got to stay together in a paeds room.
Once we got the all clear that there was no infection her IV came out and we got to go home the next day. Driving out of the hospital parking lot with Julia in her car seat and Brian driving the car I started to cry. I was so happy. I never thought the day would come when we would be able to take a baby home with us. Brian cried too. It was one of those moments that I will never forget.
We were so lucky to have delivered Julia where I work. I felt surrounded by family - everyone truly cared and was genuinely concerned about how we were doing. I feel blessed to know and work with such amazing people.
So here we are - Julia is now 20 days old. No one could have prepared me for the emotional roller coaster that is having a baby. Throw on losing Jackson, her coming early and having to stay for a week in the hospital on top of that and I was a wreck! But day by day I am getting the hang of it. Breastfeeding is getting easier and it is really nice to have that time with her. My heart hurts that Jackson isn’t here to get to know his little sister, but I also know that in my heart he is her guardian angel watching over her. I am sure that parents who have had other kids wonder if they could love their second baby as much as they love their first and I was the same. I thought to myself there is no way that I could love someone else as much as I love Jackson - but I do. The love I have for this little girl is indescribable. I am so excited for all that there is to come. Her smiles, her laugh…every single moment I am just breathing it all in.