My journey started a year and a half ago when I discovered I was pregnant. After a long bout of constant nausea, and an intimate relationship with bedside saltines & Arrowroot cookies, which eventually evolved to an exclusive relationship with steak and bacon, unbearable exhaustion (I would literally pass out unexpectedly), unpredictable mood swings, I found out I was having a healthy baby boy! By pass the minor swelling, voracious libido, and expected back pain, I hit 41 weeks and 6 days!! I tried everything I could to avoid medical induction and the day before I was scheduled to be induced I had acupuncture, a deep tissue massage, walked 6km, drank as much red leaf raspberry tea I could and had a second stretch and sweep (only to be told my cervix was still closed!). Well it worked! I started feeling those questionable cramps of early labour, “Is this it? Has it started? Or is this just aftermath from that walk???” followed by more insistent cramping, the kind that makes you inform your partner that you think you’re in labour, followed by the NEED to soak the pain away in the tub… And then it all went downhill from there!
If you have never heard of back labour, allow me to share my experience: Your contractions are irregular and in my case lasted on average 60 seconds up to two full minutes, with sometimes as little as 25-30 seconds in between, although most breaks in the beginning were 4-5 minutes. I had two breaks of 8 minutes in length and one that lasted a glorious 15 minutes. Those were the only times I was able to sleep the entire night… laying in the bath tub at 3am, fantasizing about bumping my head off the ANYTHING in hopes to get me to the hospital and thus medicated faster, or to suffer the rest of my EARLY labour unconscious! After 12 hours of this I was certain my cervix had done more than just “soften and start to open,” only to be told by my midwife I had only dilated 1cm! I could have cried! Of course by this point, I was no longer able to speak, except to swear multiple times that “I was NEVER DOING THIS AGAIN.” At around the 20 hour mark, my water broke, I had already vomited three times from the pain, pretty much broke our headboard, and sobbed at my love to “Stop making me do this,” as he tried to help me “walk off” the contractions, back labour does not allow for that! He described his experience as watching my back contort, and feeling each contraction as my lower back would spasm under his hand. My midwife came back over, with the worst news I could have heard at that moment… I was only 3-4cm dilated! You would have sworn the world was ending by my reaction, I quickly called for drugs and we headed to the hospital! Of course we hit traffic, which made our ride very dramatic as I screamed and moaned down Queen Street, shocking the passing pedestrians while we were gridlocked.
After 24 hours of labour, I finally received my epidural. The angels sang, the heavens opened and I stopped crushing whoever dared put their hand or limbs near me (I actually even bit my love, more than once!). As calm as my entire labour had become after the magical medical intervention, it still wasn’t smooth sailing yet. Unfortunately I was not progressing, and my wee little man’s trace (heart rate) was not showing enough variation, so my marvelous midwife called for everything we could to avoid a caesarean; but there wasn’t enough oxygen, pitocin or time to overcome what I was later told was an “obstructed labour.” The fabulous team at St Michael’s Hospital prepped me and scrubbed in and my sweet little rocket was born at 12:20 exactly 2 weeks after his due date at 42 weeks.
7 and a half months later, I am still figuring things out, am very tired, a little soft and lumpy, but loving being a mom and have become a regular Mommarazzi. It should be noted that although I have shared the drama of my birthing story, I am well aware that there are those that have had it worse, and I do not resent those who had it better… Alright, I still have yet to forgive my sister’s perfect birthing experience, but the rest of you lucky ladies, there’s no ill will! And I am of course incredibly grateful to have been blessed with the opportunity to be a mom, and although I proclaimed to never go through that again, I may, eventually, change my mind.