Tuesday, January 5

Haydon's Here!

Yes, our babe finally arrived. Here's how.

(This is going to be long. Just a warning)
Here's the short version:

Haydon Elliott Smith Wallace was born on December 17, 1:36 pm, at McMaster Children's Hospital. Weighed 7lbs, 8oz.

Here's the long version:

I had an ultrasound scheduled for 3:15pm Wednesday, December 16, a routine procedure when babe is overdue (I was 41 wks, 1 day at that point) to ensure that everything is still hunky-dory in utero and that babe is fine to continue on its own schedule. I headed out that afternoon, picked up some Christmas presents, went to the library, found a one hour street parking spot near the hospital and sat down in the waiting room.

Once on the bed,t he ultrasound tech kept getting me to switch positions, lay this way or that, poke the baby where I usually feel the most movement. "Is your baby usually pretty active?" She asked. Yes and no, was the answer - he usually had 2-3 really active periods during the day, but the rest of the time would barely move at all, this being one of those "rest-of-the-times." The lack of movement during the ultrasound, combined with a couple of other factors, was some cause of concern, so they sent me from ultrasound up to labour and delivery to do a non-stress test (NST) - "a routine thing when baby is overdue - no cause for concern."

So, I trek across the hospital, calling James on the way, slightly unsettled, and mostly annoyed, because I knew the lack of movement was not abnormal for my baby, and that everything was likely fine. I get up to reception at labour and delivery, tell them I've been sent up from ultra sound for a test. "Who are you? They didn't call to say you're coming. (huffy breath) They're sending everybody today. Go sit down." So I do. Only to be called moments later and asked who my care provider is. I give them my midwife's name. "Oh. You're with a midwife. She should be the one running this test, not our OB..." (spoken with some snarky frustration - as ifI requested their OB)"...gimme a sec to get in touch with your midwife." Back to sit down. She makes some phone calls, I can slightly overhear from the waiting area. My midwife is in a delivery at the other hospital. My back-up midwife is in a delivery at this hospital. They don't have any of my records. "I have a copy here..." "I'll just get them faxed over." (WHY must we make things more complicated...???I had copies of everything right up to my last visit in my purse.)

Wait. Text James. Call/text a few other people. A woman comes in, introduces herself as Elizabeth another midwife from my midwife's office. Is going to do the test with me - is very apologetic that she is tied up with another patient going through the same thing and will be in and out. Explains that based on what they saw on the ultrasound, induction might be necessary. Says tears are ok (I was planning a natural birth at home. An induction would require me to be in the hospital, and had the possibility of leading to other interventions being necessary, which was totally the opposite from my plan. This wasn't even the hospital I had planned to go as my back-up hospital. I was parked in a one-hr parking spot. I had ground beef in the fridge that needed to be cooked for supper...). Tears come.

She's back in a few minutes, I'm putting on a horrible hospital gown, having monitors strapped to my tummy, sitting on a crappy bed looking at the ugliest pastel plaid curtain in the world. The monitors keep track of the baby's heartrate (which was fine), and my contractions (which I was surprised to discover I was already having, mildly). I'm given a button and told to push it whenever I feel the baby moving. I sit. I press the button, I text James, call my parents, text some friends and ask for prayer. Press the button. Elizabeth is in and out, looking at the print out from the monitors and the number of times I've pressed the button. Blood pressure, temperature check, etc. James arrives (finally!).

Elizabeth comes back, says that the stuff they're monitoring looks ok, but because of the indicators on the ultrasound, they were really going to push for induction. I don't totally understand the way it all works, but there is a point system for how well the baby is doing based on a variety of factors, and we were at 4 out of 8 points - not good. There was concern that this late in the pregnancy the placenta couldn't/wasn't sustaining the baby. Basically, it was best for the baby to come out as soon as possible. Will further discuss with the OB and my back-up midwife (Mariana - just finished a delivery at the hospital I was at.) Induction would be pushed.

(Enter my frustration with this process - I was already having mild contractions, and I knew that the lack of movement during the ultrasound was not a concern - since then the baby had been moving lots. I was pretty sure that I could have a baby on my own without induction in the next day or so).

The decision to induce was made - we toyed with the idea of waiting until the morning and seeing if labour started on its own, but because there were already 4 inductions or c-sections scheduled in the morning, and I wouldn't be considered urgent if we chose to wait, it could have been late in the day or even into Friday before I was next in line. So, at 11:00, they hooked me up to an IV and started the pitocin. Hooray for starting labour after being awake all day and not eating anything since lunch. Sigh. Mom came to hang out while James went home to grab our hospital bag. Then we waited for things to start. Sent Mom home around 1:30-2ish - seemed silly to have all 3 of us there trying to sleep when no one probably would.

Sidebar about nurses. Nurses come good, and nurses come bad, and we got to experience both. Our first nurse, Catherine, was the latter, unfortunately (I think she probably would've been a nice person, but I didn't like her as a nurse). One of the first things she asked me was if she should order my epidural.
"No thanks, I'm planning a natural birth."
"That's what you think now, honey. Wait until it's 4 or 5 am, you've been up a day and a half and the contractions start. We'll see then."
She asked me what was important to me about a home birth so we could see what could be protected. I told her it was important to me to be able to move around as much as possible so that I could try different positions to labour in, in an effort to keep the labour moving along and as natural as possible. She pretty much laughed, and said "Well, that's out the window now honey." I was attached to two monitors that wrapped around my belly - one to measure fetal heartbeat, one to measure contractions, plus the IV. "You're stuck in that bed," she told me. I asked if the hospital had a birth ball I could try. "Yes, but not an option with these monitors and wires," was the answer. (Later a resident dr. came in, acknowledged that I wanted a natural birth, and offered the birth ball. Nurse hesitates, states that she has a latex allergy and something in the ball sets it off....GRR!)
But, there were 2 great nurses to make up for this frustration. When Catherine went on her lunch around 4am, Cindy came in, and she was awesome. First thing she said was "Why don't you get up off that bed and move around for a bit! Try some different positions!" (At this point I'm thinking, you've got to be kidding me, I thought that wasn't allowed....). She gets me up, brings a stool we can try, the ball, lets me walk around a bit. She gave James some tips on how to help me, where to touch, what to say. She was AMAZING. I was sad when she had to go (we actually asked her if she could stay). Before her shift was over at 8, she came back to wish us luck and say good bye. Made me cry.
Second great nurse was there for the rest, from 8am on. Her name was Pam. She came in and said "So, we're doing this naturally, eh? Good for you - I know you can do it! I did it four times, you can do it." Such a nice change of tone. I really appreciated it.
Around 5:30 things were ramping up, contractions getting stronger and fairly close together. James called our midwife, Emily, and she arrived 6ish. I laboured on my own until about 9, and was running out of steam. I was also sick of having every random resident dr. walk in and say "Why hasn't she had an epidural yet? Would you like an epidural?" Pam the wonderful nurse finally told one of them "We're not saying the e-word. She knows it's an option." Finally, I said I think I needed the epidural. James was wary - he knew how important it had been to me to do this naturally. Pam suggested I try labouring another hour and see how far I progressed - I was at 4 cm at this point. I agreed, but within about 15 minutes asked to have the epidural. As much as I would've really liked to have given birth naturally, I was too exhausted at that point. I had begged them to take off the monitors and let me get in the tub or shower (the heart monitor had been fine all along, and the contraction monitor wasn't even picking anything up), but they couldn't, apparently. Pam and Emily were both very supportive of the switch. I had the epidural administered, and everything quieted down for awhile. James was able to sleep for an hour or so, I dozed in and out, Emily went home for lunch with her kids. Within an hour and half, I was dilated to 9.5 cm.
Pam and Emily both said that sometimes the body just needs that help to relax and things pick up from there. By about 12-12:30, I was ready to push.

That was awful. You don't need details. I'm pretty sure that my epidural was NOT as strong as it could've been, let's just say that (which I'm ok with - I wanted to be able to feel my birth, but it was frustrating to be told that it shouldn't hurt that much - especially when they were stitching me up after).

Haydon Elliott Smith Wallace was born at 1:36pm, 7lbs 8 oz. Daddy cut the cord. Because I was induced due to fetal concerns, there was some crazy neo-natal swat team that scooped him and started examining him, which I was upset with - I had stated under no uncertain terms that he was to come right up on my tummy before any examinations or anything took place. James and Emily argued and wrangled with the team and he was back with me before long, laying on my chest while I was stitched up. Because Haydon and I were both healthy, I was transferred back into the care of Emily, and the ridiculous number of drs. and residents left. I showered, she tidied up and examined Haydon, and we were off to the post-partum ward in an hour or so. We left the hospital the next afternoon at 2:30.

Haydon is now almost 3 weeks old. He's gaining weight like a champ - up to 9lbs, as of yesterday. He is a very content baby, sleeps well, eats well, and we couldn't ask for more. James is the best dad and support I could ask for - he is a laundry machine, and is doing everything he can to make sure I get as much rest as possible and to support me (in return, he gets to sleep through the night, most of the time).

I...am doing ok. It's taking me a long time to heal, and I can't walk far or stand for too long without being in a fair bit of pain, which is frustrating, 'cause there are things around the house that I would like to do so that I don't have to ask James to, but it's just not happening. Breastfeeding has also been a bit of a challenge (for me - Haydon seems to be ok with it, judging by his weightgain), and I am being treated for an infection right now, which is a pain (literally). I think if it wasn't for the physical stuff, I'd say I'm doing pretty well - I'm enjoying my babe, am getting enough sleep, and am excited about momming - I'm just frustrated by the physical set-backs.

I'll add a picture soon! I just realized they are all on James' computer.


  1. Wow.... so similar to my birth with Rylan.... even the epidural, and the "not supposed to hurt being stitched up" part... it was awful... shheeesh and I'm willing to do it again soon... I must be a sucker... nah... Rylan is totally worth it... and so is Haydon! Thanks for sharing Rachel!

  2. Rachel, sounds a lot like my first delivery as well. I was put on a monitor too for Eli's heart...they said he had a murmer they were concerned about. It really limited the movement I had planned to keep the whole process going. I totally understand your frustration. His heart didn't settle down until they rushed me from labour into delivery and heaved me up onto the cold steel table. Then all of a sudden, poof! Eli's heart was right where it should be and I delivered.
    I just have to say "Yay! For the good nurses!" They wouldn't do much of that in my day. So, I am glad they gave you as close to a natural birth as possible. You did great and healing will come...and the second one will be a whole lot easier! :)

  3. All I can say is, it's over with now, and your babe is with you. Hallelujah! Enjoy him and enjoy the time. Your body will take time to heal, but it WILL get there. In Kenora where we are epidurals are not an option unless you're in for a section. Lots of my friends explain the stitches as the worst part.

    When Caleb was born we, too, had our share of not-so-nice nurses, and them some amazing nurses who made our 5 day stay after birth wonderful. It's amazing how they can truly make or break the experience.

    You DID IT! Good work.
    BTW, what's with that receptionist's thing against MWs? Man!

  4. Sounds alot like my labour/delivery with Natalie too. In fact - I am pretty sure Pam was my main nurse too and she was AWESOME! Glad you are sticking with the nursing despite the infection... ugh! Keep up the good work momma - you'll be great :)


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