Last you heard, we were arriving at the hospital. It was always the plan to have my Sister and of course, my SO in the room with me as my birthing support, so they came to my birthing suite with me while my parents went to the waiting room. I got into my gown as my SO went to register me at Admissions and my Sister organized my bags.
Our dear friend Lydia, had sent me this gorgeous birthing gown from Mod Mum Maternity. It comes fully washed and ready to be worn in the hospital. It is super convenient because it snaps all the way down the back to ensure you will have full coverage from behind, there are snaps on both sides of your breastbone to nurse discretely and comfortably on each side and you can unsnap the front flap completely for easy skin to skin breastfeeding.
It is designed with the hospital in mind to ensure your doctor and nurse will love it too
After you leave the hospital, you can use your Mod Mum gown as a nursing night gown. I absolutely loved this gown. I loved that it clasps down the back so I had full coverage without needing to wear two of the hospital gowns. It is overall very comfortable and practical, I would recommend it to any Mommy to be.
*The order of which some of these events happened may be a bit muddled in my head- it was a lot all at once, so my apologies but I will try to be as accurate as possible!*
Once I was changed and all settled, a nurse came in to ask questions concerning my health, medical history etc. They also set up the IV. I will say this, the IV, which is put in the side of your wrist is one of the worst parts of the whole experience for me. Not because it is too painful but it is merely uncomfortable and in a bad spot- especially for when you want to nurse later on. It gets in the way and it hurts to bend your wrist in a way that is good for holding your baby- it was irritating. At the moment, I am over a week postpartum and I still have the hole from where they inserted the IV clearly visible on my wrist. Anyways, they also put the monitors on my belly so we could track Liam’s heartbeat to ensure he was safe during the whole process. I was offered lunch, and while I wanted food to make sure I had energy, I could feel that if I did eat, I would be nauseous and I did not want to be sick to my stomach so I just made sure to drink a ton of water and juice. They also took two vials of my blood. The nurse who took the vials had apparently been complaining about how it was such a gorgeous day outside and she wishes she wasn’t working…. I later I had to give my blood again because she hadn’t taken one of the vials properly- surprise surprise.
Breaking the Water
After awhile, I was checked to see how dilated I was and I was at 5cm, so that’s when they asked what my preference was. Would I either a) want to start the drugs (like Pitocin etc) to jump-start labor or b) would I like them to break my water and see what happens. I wanted to avoid any extra medication (other than the epidural) so I wanted to see if simply breaking my water would be enough. I am so glad I made this decision.
The process takes two seconds, and is painless. It feels like you are a water balloon that got popped by a pin. After they do this, it is possible that if you need to use the washroom, you have to put an insert in the toilet so that they can monitor whatever liquid comes out. For this reason, I asked to use the washroom beforehand. About five minutes after they broke my water, I was dilated to a 6 so just by breaking my water, the labor progressed quickly on its own and in the end, I did not need any medication to help move it along, which I am thankful for.
It was not long after this, that the contractions started to hurt and hurt quite badly. I told my Sister that I don’t know how she had done this three times, there was no way I could do this again and I really wanted to say every swear word I knew… but I tried to hold my tongue as much as possible. To be honest, if you asked me just a few hours later what contractions felt like, I wouldn’t be able to tell you. The joy you feel takes away any memory of the pain; THAT is how people have several children. I need to say “Thank You”to Jesse and my Sister for helping me get through the contractions; you both helped enormously.
An epidural was always part of my birth plan so I asked if I could have it once I thought I could not take the pain anymore. I wanted to see how long I could go before asking for it, but I did not want to miss my chance of receiving it, especially since I didn’t know how long it would take to get the anesthesiologist to my room. Depending on the dosage, it was possible I would not be able to walk to the washroom myself later on so I once again, went to the washroom. Let me tell you- using the washroom, with the IV bag following you around, waddling to and fro with a towel between your legs so the liquids from getting your water broken don’t go everywhere and having contractions at the same time is painful. It was not pleasant.
The Doctor who administered the epidural came in not too long after at around 2:16 PM. I had been laying on my side to deal with the contractions and to grab on to the bars on the side of the bed. Once the Dr came and I had to sit up to get the epidural, I had no idea how I would get into an upright position it hurt so badly. I needed the help of my SO and nurse to get me in the right position on the bed. We put the hair nets on and I grabbed on to my SO’s hands. I was nervous about having a contraction while getting the epidural more than anything else. The Dr started and all I felt were two tiny needle pricks and that was it. It took about another 5 minutes to finish up. When they administered the medication, I could feel the cold going through my back and it was a really neat feeling. It took about another 15 minutes for me to feel more comfortable during the contractions. After awhile, I asked if they could increase the meds just a tiny tiny bit and they did. At this point, I was feeling MUCH better, but the pain I felt in my tailbone was excruciating. That made my lovely nurse check to see how dilated I was and she said that it was time to start pushing! So a bit after 4:13 PM, I began to push, knowing I was about to finally meet my Son. I couldn’t believe it.
As I had expected, I did not have my Doctor deliver my child but the one I got was amazing and I feel lucky to have received such great care in the delivery room. I was completely fortunate. I think the only tough part about pushing was finding enough air. I would have sworn that the nurse was counting way too slow since it was a struggle for me to keep enough air in for the full 10 second count but apparently she was as accurate as a clock… it just felt too long for me. Other than that, it was amazing. I would push during every contraction for ten seconds, three times in a row. I really didn’t know if I was pushing properly or if I was making any progress but they kept assuring me I was doing a good job and continue doing what I was doing. At one point, even though I had said beforehand that I did not want to, my nurse grabbed my hand and had me touch the top of his head. It was quite unreal. We had been wondering about the color of his hair since we both were very blonde when we were young but everyone laughed and said “That hair is definitely not blonde.”
A mere 45 minutes of pushing later, and Liam Maverick Scott was born at 4:56 PM weighing 8lb 4oz, 51 cm long and with a head circumference of 37 cm. A Thanksgiving Baby that I will always be insanely grateful for.
During the end of the delivery, his heart rate went down to the 70’s so they just made me push until he was safely out, which caused a second degree tear so I did need stitches, but I was not told how many since I probably didn’t want to know. They showed me the placenta, which I hadn’t wanted to see but I am glad I did in the end- it’s pretty neat to see where your little one was living for 10 months. We were able to do delayed cord clamping, then my SO cut the cord and since Liam was so healthy and the delivery went so smoothly, I was able to have skin to skin contact right away. It was beautiful. I won’t share the pictures of him actually being born due to the angles the shots were taken but I am so glad my Sister was there so I will always have those memories in picture form.
Liam received a 9/9 on the APGAR score and I received a 9/10 when rated for the initial breastfeeding score (more about my BF-ing adventures to come). My nurse came up to me and said that if I ever have another child to make sure she was the nurse to help deliver it because she had such a great experience with me. She did not expect me to push him out in 45 minutes seeing as I was a first time Mom. She told my Mother that I am a role model to other Mothers which I only found out later on but it makes me tear up just thinking about it. There is so much going on and so many unknowns when delivering your child and to hear such great compliments made it a bit more calm for me; even if they were just being nice.
My family came in to meet Liam, and I was offered dinner. Then, at around 6:30, they came to bring me to my recovery room. I tried standing to be put in the wheelchair and I was still unable to, due to the epidural. I was therefore, put on a stretcher and wheeled to the room. I saw a few more family members there, and then everyone left to leave us time to rest.
Recovery in Hospital
Now, when it comes to my experience in the recovery room- I did not have an entirely pleasant one. Numerous things happened that were not done correctly and it was surprising to have the treatment I did after having such a wonderful experience during delivery. For example, about 3 hours after I had been brought to recovery, I asked if I could use the washroom since I was pretty sure I felt that I needed to go (the epidural really does numb you very well). The nurse walked ahead of me with the IV bag almost dragging me along, and when she looked back at the bed, she said “Oh well it seems like you did already go- look at the mess you made.” Wow, I’m so sorry for being NUMB after giving birth and not realizing I had to use the washroom. Thank you for not only checking to see if I had wanted to go to the washroom earlier and for now making me feel bad that I had an accident. Believe me, I did not WANT to sit in my own urine for hours without knowing. She also did not offer me a new robe so I ended up staying in my delivery gown which was full of my own urine for over a day. Yes, I could have asked for a gown myself and I should have done so but I was so tired and focused on my Son and the countless amount of nurses coming in and out that I was not holding myself at high priority. I thought I would be able to get changed and dressed into other clothes but finding time to do so was tough.
We were also woken up at 1:30 AM, (after finally falling asleep for about 5 minutes), to give him his first bath… after a doctor had told them numerous times to wait as long as possible to give him his first bath since the vernix is good to be left on the baby’s skin for as long as you can. This annoyed me quite a bit but if they have a schedule they want to follow, I was not about to argue and honestly, I was too tired to even if I had the desire.
They also made sure to wake us up every 2-3 hours to feed him. I understand that some hospitals won’t let you leave until your baby has gained back enough weight but they never told me to not do this when I got home. They made it seem like even at home, I had to wake him up every two hours to feed him. They also started my journey with breastfeeding on the wrong foot. The nurses never explained what I was supposed to be doing or what I should visualize to assure that he gets a good latch. Instead, they jammed their hands onto my chest and shoved his head into my chest at the same time. When I removed my hands from the area so that he had more room, they got mad at me and told me to put my hands back. I would be feeding him just fine and they would come shoving his head further into my chest which made him cry. We had been perfectly fine until they continued to intervene.
A lactation specialist came around and when I showed her what I had been told when it came to how to hold my chest, she rolled her eyes and said it was wrong, that they shouldn’t have taught me that way and I said I didn’t want anyone to get in trouble or anything but that was all I had been shown. Then, the nurse who had told me it HAD been the way to do it, came back and gave me attitude. “So. Did you LEARN anything from HER?” I politely said, “Well, she told me to hold it this way and not that way.” She continued to give attitude saying that “ACTUALLY” both ways were just fine. Having several different ways of breastfeeding being shoved in my face and hearing a ton of wrong information, caused me to go home with no knowledge of what I was supposed to actually do and that is what caused him to have an improper and painful latch. My chest was cracked and bleeding, I was engorged and I honestly cried every time I had to feed him after the first week. It was only after my Sister came over to help me and I got advice from other Mothers, that I was able to start nursing properly. Breastfeeding has been quite the ride.
That was just the beginning of the things that occurred that made my recovery seem extra long and it was not a pleasant experience. When I later spoke to my Dr about what had happened, she nodded her head instantly, saying it is known to many Dr’s that many women have the same experience. Several of them have been trying to get something done about it but they need more leverage so I need to write the hospital a letter to complain. Believe me, whenever Liam gives me a tiny break, I will be writing that letter. Needless to say, when we were discharged on the 12th, we were all VERY excited to go home.
In the end, all that truly matters, is that my Son is finally here and he is healthy. I could not ask for a better pregnancy, delivery or baby and I am truly fortunate. It has been two weeks since his arrival and there is so much to say but that will have to wait for now. Thank you so much to all of you who have e-mailed me, commented or have left well wishes on Instagram (@joannathemontrealer)- I appreciate it more than you know. I will try to be more active on here when time allows for it but for now, this little guy is keeping us very busy.
Joanna & Liam