At noon, I waddled into the car with Carley, our doula and dear friend, to make the hour long drive to the hospital where we would meet up with dad and start the process to nudge you into our arms. (He had hoped we’d start the induction the next day so you could be born on Friday the 13th just like he was, but due to protocols at the hospital, it was decided that it would happen on the 12th). The drive was absolutely stunning and I even got out of the car half way to take a photo of your beautiful birth day.
At 2:30pm I took the first dose of Misoprostol, a pill the size of a grain of rice, and marveled that such a tiny thing could ignite the process of labour. We listened to your heartbeat, ensuring that you were still happy and safe, and then disconnected from the monitor so we could get walking. We walked and walked the halls of the quiet hospital while Carley readied the room with all the calming components, including a pale-pink Himalayan salt lamp at the bedside, electric candles in the bathroom, and the soft scent of lavender filling the room from a diffuser. Contractions were coming, and they were consistent at about 3 min apart, but not painful. I felt hopeful that things would get moving quickly (as the doctor had suggested), but alas, the contractions slowed and several hours later, you were still staying put. I felt bored and anxious and excited and nervous all at the same time as I sent Carley to run her errands and dad to go get himself some dinner (a sushi feast for one, complete with sake and green tea).
During the course of the evening, the conversation turned to this elusive thing called “Coronavirus” that had just made it’s way across the ocean to Canada and was starting to catch the attention of the nation. As we walked the halls, a nurse from the ER warned us to turn and go the other direction as a man with a mask had just checked in with “Coronavirus symptoms” and was walking through the halls. Before long, I felt myself getting anxious at the thought of bringing a tiny helpless babe into a world stricken with a pandemic. I quickly made a pact with dad and Carley that we were not allowed to discuss the virus at all for the remainder of your birth journey. We had way more important things to concentrate on.
You must have been feeling a little anxious too, because your heart rate was increasing, so Dr. Bev Burton (the doctor coming on shift and the alarmingly similar twin sister of our primary doctor), decided to give me a bolus of fluids through an IV to try and balance us all out.
The contractions remained only slightly uncomfortable, but the bolus did the trick, and your heart rate slowed to an acceptable rate where Dr. Bev was comfortable trying a second dose of Misoprostol. I took the pill just after 10pm and once again was hooked up to the monitor for half an hour (as is protocol after a medication administration) to ensure you were tolerating it well. You kept wiggling and your heart rate was ticking along just fine, so at about 11pm we started walking the halls once again. This time we steered clear of the ER where everyone was decked from head to toe in PPE.
It didn’t take long for the contractions to stop me in my tracks as I braced against the railing and your dad for support. They were coming closer and closer together as the intensity picked up, and soon we returned to our birthing room as walking was becoming too tiresome. I continued to pace the room in a circular motion, making small talk with dad and Carley to keep my mind off of the pressure, and pausing at each surge to close my eyes and breathe through the waves. The atmosphere in the room was quickly changing as Carley whispered to dad that things were about to get intense. Together they laid out the yoga mat and ball, covered it with a lovely lilac colored robozo, and I dropped to my knees, draping my upper body against the ball for support. Dad and Carley took turns grasping my hands and whispering encouragement as the contractions increased in strength and I bowed my head and closed my eyes, humbly succumbing to the sensations. With every contraction, I could feel my pelvis being thrust open with the most intense pressure. I gripped their hands tightly, but consciously relaxed every other part of my body, allowing the contractions to do their job, and carry you down, down, down. There was nothing left to do, but breathe and let our bodies work in harmony at our marvelous task.
When we were given the go-ahead, I summoned all the strength I had left, relaxed my pelvis, and pushed with all my might. I paused to breathe when Dr. Bev coached, gripped dad’s hands, and could feel that familiar burn of immense stretch at my body releasing your body into the world. The pain was immense, but at the same time, everything felt so right.
It only took a few minutes before the final push, when at 12:55am you entered our world, and I felt the most incredible wave of relief overcome my whole body. I cried out for you and you did the same for me, opening your eyes immediately, and sending out that reassuring wail we had waited 9 months to hear. I collapsed down from my knees, and onto my back, where your warm, naked body was pressed against my chest and we locked eyes for the first time. Dad wept too, astonished at the sight of his healthy baby girl, as the cord stopped pulsating and he disconnected your tiny body from mine.