Birth #1: Madison

Where better to start than at the beginning? Madison, my first, my steep learning curve. She began her entrance to this world when my water broke at 4:30 AM, exactly a week before my due date, waking me up with a gush of fluid. As soon as I realized what had happened and that there was still liquid flowing I jumped up from my bed and stood beside it to calmly tell Matt. He groggily asked “are you sure?” and I paused to let him hear the fluid still trickling out of me hitting the hardwood before answering “yes”. He grabbed me a towel, I got myself into a ladies diaper and I started to get mild contractions over the next hour as I took my time to get myself ready for our trip to the hospital. I knew I didn’t have to hurry but that water breaking is one of the criteria the OB told me for going straight in to get checked out. The nurse and on-call OB said I was in good shape and sent me back home to progress more before being admitted. Well my progression was quick! On my way home I hit the 5-minute mark on the spacing of contractions. I stayed home the obligatory hour to prove out the 5-1-1 rule (5 minutes apart, lasting 1 minute each, for 1 hour). They were becoming much more painful through the hour and closer together. I could hardly stand or talk through them. I did a lot of rocking back and forth to cope because movement just felt right, although it didn’t actually ease the pain.

Matt was tracking my contractions on an app and once we hit the hour-mark we headed back to the hospital. By the time we arrived they were only 2-3 minutes apart and I could hardly make it to the front doors. We stopped twice on the way from the car, the second time, I had to come to to a kneel at a garden edge, holding onto the “no standing” sign posted by the doors to emergency. No standing. No kidding! Matt said he’d go and get a wheelchair for me and as soon as he left I puked bright red watermelon (a snack I had at home) into the mulch. A nearby woman saw me throw up and rushed over. She worriedly asked if I was okay and I explained I was in labour, “that’s watermelon” and my husband was coming back with a chair. She said she’d stay with me til he returned which was just a minute later. Even though she was a stranger and couldn’t offer to do much I appreciated her gesture of staying by my side until he got back.

This time I was admitted. I was in a lot of pain by that point and asked for epidural. I was already dilated 6cm (out of 10) and contracting every 2 minutes for at least a minute duration each. I couldn’t even think. I can’t imagine going through the whole birth without pain medication so I have the utmost respect for women who do, and utmost solidarity with the women who don’t. We tried laughing gas while I waited for the anesthesiologist but all it did was make me loopy. Once I got the epidural I had a huge wave of relief. It all seemed much more manageable. I even dozed off briefly here and there. Before I knew it they told me I was fully dilated (around 2pm) and it was time to push! It was exhausting and went on for almost two hours. The staff kept saying, “she’s just around the corner”… “she just has to turn that corner” to encourage me to hang in there and keep pushing, which eventually prompted Matt to ask “how many corners does this chick have to turn?” and everyone laughed.

Finally when the OB came in and gave me a good stretch and encouragement, we moved along more quickly. It was sharply painful when she crowned. I announced “it hurts! It hurts!” to which someone replied, “I know. That’s ok”. Ok by who? Madison arrived healthy and pink just before 3:00 PM! Once they laid her on my chest and cleaned her up a bit I tried letting her breastfeed and she caught on easily while the OB stitched me up. I was pretty preoccupied but it seemed she was down there a while. I felt a lot of needle entries so I asked how many stitches it was. She told me 3. That didn’t sound right but I took her word for it. I’d later talk to other moms who all heard 2 or 3 and we all suspect they just say that so you aren’t alarmed to hear “12” or something.

Madison and I both had a mild fever so they said they’d keep us for 24 hours. Madison’s 4-hour blood test was still abnormal for white blood cell count so they ordered a 12-hour test to be done in addition to the originally requested 4- and 24- hour tests. No one seemed very alarmed so I didn’t take these complications too seriously and it ended up that she was completely fine.

Matt and I were both mesmerized by this new person in the room. We stared and stared. When I would hold her I had the strangest feeling like she was me. I don’t mean part of me. I mean, I would unintionally think of her as “little Myvie” for a second. Maybe the drugs hadn’t worn off yet, or maybe it’s the rush of hormones. It wasn’t rational. And I had this brand new sense of need to take care of her. An urge to ensure she never had any pain or discomfort. That’s impossible of course but I sure tried!

A bit of paperwork, a few hospital checkpoints and we were released. Off we went to figure it all out.

Weight: 7 lb 8 oz

Length: No one told me nor recorded her length to reference when I asked multiple staff later on. I was really annoyed about this because it’s a pretty staple piece of information that people talk about with a newborn and is used for a reference point of growth at the 1 week checkup.

What I learned

  • Don’t eat slightly fermented watermelon while you are in labour (or ever I guess).
  • Laughing gas does nothing for me.
  • OBs will not tell you how many stitches you got.
  • Paediatricians need to be reminded to record your newborn’s length.

2 thoughts on “Birth #1: Madison

  1. Ask Madison’s doctor for a print out of her growth chart! I was given my firsts length but misplaced it. My doctor had everything in their system.

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    1. Hi Sara! I appreciate the suggestion. I actually asked multiple staff members at the hospital and it was never recorded. Oh well. Her growth was fine and she’s healthy and happy!

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