Lisa Baker is a childbirth educator and mother of two in Calgary, Alberta. You can reach her by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
My first child was born on her due date. I am told that doesn’t happen too often! But she didn’t come into the world totally of her own will… Just after midnight on May 19, 2009, I awoke to warm feeling in my jammies: “I think my water broke!” I whispered to my husband and then crawled out of bed to call the hospital to see if I should come in or wait to see what happens. They advised me to come in so they could verify the situation and start the 24 hrs to birthday countdown. I went to the hospital and learned my water had broken and I was just 2 cm dilated.
I eagerly went home to bake a cake. I had spent the last month reading all about birthing traditions and one was to bake a cake when you were in labour and then have that as your first food after the birth. The full 24 hours past and nothing substantial in terms of contractions started. I returned to the hospital the next morning and started the induction process, as baby was getting restless but not moving and the environment was no longer sterile for her, given the ruptured membrane. A few hours into that and I asked for something for the pain in my back. I suppose it was a lot to do with what I had heard from others about giving birth: induction, epidural and tada- baby. She was born happy and healthy and after just 12 hours in our room we went home. I had spent the whole process laying in a bed hooked up to the medication drip and then the epidural. After the birth it took a few hours for my legs (and bladder!) to work again.
Two years later I was two weeks over due for my second baby. We were never fully sure of the “due date” because my cycle had not returned from my first baby before getting pregnant again. Yes- I was one of the lucky ones that continued breastfeeding held off my period from returning. This second pregnancy was much different from the first. No time for checking online everyday to see what a 4 month, 2 days baby looks like, etc. No time to sit with feet up waiting for baby. At about 39 weeks, I had a regular check up and was 4 cm dilated. My doctor predicted “baby before the end of the week.” Baby had a different plan. At 42 weeks, one day, I had a review of baby’s living environment and it was determined she needed to be born soon or risk trouble in labour with oxygen to baby.
So here I was again with a timed birth: induction. I arrived at the hospital and was all hooked up for the induction by Pitocin by 3 pm. Contractions really got intense by 4:30 and baby was born (nearly in the bathroom- oops!) at 6 pm. I had laboured in the bathroom with the cold water running over my face to challenge my brain to get confused on pain and it really helped. After 2 hours of ice water on your face you actually don’t notice the contractions as much! I asked to be checked and the nurse said 8 cms. I said, “call my doctor, this baby is coming NOW.” She said, “It’s ok, we have time, still 2 cms to go…” I said, “You better check again because here is her head!” With that, I screamed, she ran and less than 2 minutes later I was nursing a bloody baby
I was happy to have used water instead of anaesthesia and was so amazed that as soon as baby came out I was “back to normal,” felt great, not tired and groggy and looked forward to getting to the shower and a meal and home! Everything afterwards seemed to go easier too- the next day we were at the library with Big Sis doing a puppet show about the birth of a baby. So far from the first time when I never left my house for two weeks after baby’s birthday!
Written by: Leslie