I was never one to read a lot of birth stories when I was pregnant. I read a few around that time when pregnant-you decides that you want to learn all the nitty gritty stuff about childbirth and then quickly realize that it sounds terrifying and is it too late to change your mind?
But I think there are a lot of people out there who do like reading them, and find comfort in them, so here I am sharing mine with you.
October was my busiest work month of the whole year and I was taking in as much as I could. I worked right up until 39 weeks and the only reason I stopped was that my best friend came to visit me that week. And thank goodness for her! She helped me slow down, she cooked for us, she cleaned my bathroom. We shopped, did puzzles (because we’re basically 29 year old grandmas), watched movies, and enjoyed a kid-less week.
Side note: best friends should not have to live half a country apart. So not fair.
October 29th // two days before my due date
Bestie flew back home, Matt went to watch a soccer game, and I spent the day puttering around the house convinced that baby Z wouldn’t be showing up any time soon.
October 30th // one day before my due date
It was one of those really great Sundays. We had a quiet morning at home, drinking coffee, and probably stayed in pjs until noon.
I finished a diy for the nursery, worked on some blog posts, and decided that I should probably repack my hospital bag since I hadn’t touched it in a few months and had no idea what was even in it anymore.
I remember my sister in law coming over for a quick visit that afternoon and as she was leaving our conversation went something like this:
“How are you feeling?”
“Good. Same as usual…”
“You might have a baby the next time I see you”
“Haha, yeah right. He’s not going to come for at least another week.”
A few hours later I started feeling a bit different.
I should also probably mention that I had an incredible pregnancy and for some reason I didn’t have to go through any of sucky stuff that most pregnant women do. Other than my massive belly and walking slower than usual I felt pretty much exactly the same as I did before I was pregnant. So when I say I started feeling a bit different I mean that I just felt kind of a stirring inside. Not the baby moving or kicking, just something… different. I don’t know how to explain it really.
But of course, it was probably in my head so onto the next thing I wanted to do that day.
Matt was watching a hockey game on tv that evening so I decided it would be a good time for me to finally write a letter to myself (one of my 30 before 30 things) and then wrote one for the baby too. I got Matt to take some Instax photos of us to put in the envelopes with the letters and some for the baby book too.
Around 8pm that “different” feeling I had was growing stronger. I thought that would be a great time to Google “How do I know when I am in labour“. Not even joking haha.
Of course it couldn’t be labour… labour was supposed to be obvious. And all the things the internet told me basically said “even if you have these signs it could still be a week away. You’ll know when it’s happening”. So I wandered around the house alternating between sitting and standing while watching the game with Matt.
The game finished around 11pm and by now I was a bit more convinced that something real was happening. I was getting more and more uncomfortable and suspected that what I was feeling was contractions.
So I did the next obvious thing: “Matt, can you find some sort of contraction timing app for me to use?”
He already had one. The pain was getting stronger. I decided to go to bed.
My thought process was that I did not want to be the couple that goes to the hospital just to get sent home because it’s false labour. No one was going to roll their eyes at me for showing up at the hospital too soon!
I also remember thinking, “Well, if I’m actually in labour then the contractions will wake me up and I’ll know for sure we should go in.”
Which kind of worked because we went to bed around midnight and I lasted about half an hour before finally deciding that this really hurt and if these weren’t real contractions then there was no way I was going to survive them when they did happen.
Around 1am we grabbed our bags and drove the 10 minutes to the hospital. We parked in the short term parking and left our bags in the car because of course they were going to send us home. That’s what happens to all first time parents, right?
(Left: the face of someone getting their photo taken before giving birth. Thanks husband / Right: the face of someone in the midst of a contraction and someone who’s feeling great about it haha)
We went up to Labour & Delivery and signed in. After about 10 minutes they finally brought us to an exam room and a few minutes later someone came to check on me.
“How are you feeling?”
“I’m alright. The contractions hurt a lot though”
“What kind of pain medication will you want?”
“Everything!” (that was my only “birth plan” I had. Least amount of pain and get a baby in the end)
“Let’s check you out………. Okay, you’re 8cm dilated and we need to get you to the delivery room NOW!”
Well, that was unexpected.
They got me in a wheel chair and practically ran me to the delivery room. While they were trying to get my IV in Matt asked if there was enough time to go park the car and grab our bags. The nurse looked skeptical, but said that if he hurried and didn’t stop for a coffee on the way then he should be fine.
Off he went and in went the IV (eventually).
Now this part is always a little hazy. The way I tell it and the way Matt tells it are two different stories, but since he was the one watching it happen and I had my eyes closed the whole time I’ve come to believe his version of events.
They hooked up a monitor to check baby’s heart rate and found that it was very low (60 when it should’ve been closer to 140). The umbilical cord was wrapped around the baby’s neck.
They called in more doctors.
I asked for drugs.
They said that’s not happening.
The baby inhaled meconium.
The NICU team arrived incase the baby needed to be resuscitated.
I heard the words “c-section” and at that moment knew I needed to do whatever it took to avoid that.
They said I was 9cm dilated and although you usually don’t start pushing until 10, I could try.
And did I ever. I pushed hard. But kept forgetting to breathe so my pushes weren’t long enough.
This was taking too long and they asked me if they could use the vacuum.
You’re the doctors, do whatever you need to to get this baby out!
They told me to keep pushing, counting it out so I wouldn’t stop too soon.
I never understood before how people said that you don’t remember the pain of childbirth. But now I totally get it. I remember it being the worst pain imaginable. I remember thinking that there was no way anything on earth could ever hurt more than it did at that moment.
And then he’s out and the pain stops. And immediately it wasn’t so bad. I did it.
October 31st // my due date
Suddenly there’s a baby crying. I open my eyes to see them handing me this puffy, red, bundle of perfection. Everything is okay.
Matt is beside me and we are now a family of 3. We can’t stop staring at his perfect little face.
He cuts the umbilical cord and I get 2 stitches and some Tylenol. We did it.
The room empties out and we are left alone with our baby and a nurse who needs to do all the paperwork that usually gets done well before delivery. Oops.
“What’s his name?” she asks
“Bastian William Zambonin. Bash. Our little baby Bash.”
The next 24 hours were kind of surreal. We texted everyone letting them know that the baby had arrived, and Matt’s parents came first thing in the morning to meet him.
I didn’t end up sleeping until the following night. How can you sleep when the cutest person to ever live is right there beside you just asking to be stared at?
We had visitors in an out that day, we learned the tricks to the perfect swaddle, and found out that Bash’s least favorite thing in the world is bath time (still true today).
November 1st // going home
We were supposed to leave by 11am, but the angel nurses let us have some much needed sleep. After we woke up and Bash had all his final checks, Matt got him dressed in his going home outfit which turned out to be entirely too big for him, buckled him in his car seat and we said goodbye.
Nothing feels as strange as walking out of the hospital with your new baby. You mean they’re just going to let us take this tiny human home and take care of him by ourselves now?
It kind of felt like the end of a movie. Like everything was right in the world.
The young couple carry their new baby out the hospital doors and into the rain. Smiling and talking about this amazing new adventure that’s about to begin as the cheesy music starts and the credits begin to roll.
And I can’t wait to see what happens in the sequel.