Harlowe's birth story, written as a letter to her. I have taken out names of doctors and nurses for confidentiality. Warning! This is a long read!
We started to realize that you’d probably arrive early at the end of February. I had some spotting that led to an ultrasound. At the ultrasound, we found that you were on the small side, had lower fluid in your sac, and that my cervix was short for your gestational age. Our OB decided that we would go to Calgary for a second ultrasound. They were going to look at the blood flow in the umbilical cord to see if you were getting enough nutrients. In Cranbrook, they do not deliver babies before 35 weeks, because there isn’t a NICU. So, our OB suggested that we may have to stay in Calgary if things didn’t look good on the ultrasound. At this point, I was almost 32 weeks.
We went to Calgary at the end of February, and the ultrasound turned out fine. The doctor at the clinic went over the results and said everything was normal and that you might just be a small baby. So, we were sent home to Cranbrook.
Back home, everything went back to normal but it was decided that I would not work anymore. I was told to take it easy and prepare myself for an earlier labor and delivery. We had decided that we would have a c-section, so we went ahead and booked that for April 16, 2018.
In the few weeks that followed, I had bleeding about every 7 days. We spent a lot of time in the hospital being monitored. You continued to thrive and the bleed was coming from my cervix, so our doctors weren’t overly concerned.
Towards the end of March, when I had a bleed, it was sort of continuous, which was different than the other times. I ended up being in and out of the hospital for a day and night. Early Saturday (March 24th) morning, around 3:30 a.m., I started to have, what I felt were gas pains in my lower abdomen and around my lower back. I was at the hospital and mentioned it to the nurses. It seemed to come with Braxton Hicks. The nurses hooked me up, and you were doing well, and the monitor didn’t pick up any contractions. I didn’t sleep at all that night, especially because I was room sharing with a couple and a newborn. I spent some time walking the hallway and drinking water, because it was too uncomfortable to sit down. Another couple was walking the halls as well.
When the doctor on call came to do rounds, around 8:30, I told her again that I thought I was having gas pains. The bleeding had stopped, so I was discharged. I went home and slept for a couple hours. When I got up, I had more bleeding. Back to the hospital. Home again later. I got home, ate some lunch, and went for a nap. I was still having pains, but was able to sleep through them or breathe through them. Dada took Duke and Jude swimming in the afternoon. They came home for dinner, and now I was heavily breathing through the pains. We face-timed Po Po and Pa who were in Mexico, and Po Po thought I should go back to the hospital. I didn’t think anything of it, and was thinking of what I wanted to eat for dinner. I wanted pizza!
After Duke and Jude went to bed, Dada and I decided that I should call up to maternity and see what they thought. The nurse said we should come back in the get checked out. So, grandma and grandpa came over, and we drove to the hospital. I was very uncomfortable in the car! The “gas pains” were painful!
We got to the hospital around 7:30 p.m., hooked up to the monitors and our nurse was asking questions and filling out paperwork. The monitor wasn’t picking up contractions still! She said that the fact that I was breathing through these "contractions" meant that I was probably not in labour. She asked, “has anyone checked your cervix lately?” and I replied, “No, but I’d like someone to!” Tim told her that with Duke and Jude that the same thing had happened, where the monitor didn’t pick up contractions but that I was laboring.
I still didn’t think much of my pains, but the on call doctor came in to assess me. She felt around in my cervix and said, “well, you’re about 4-5 centimetres dilated, with bulging membranes”. I couldn’t believe that I was in labor and hadn’t realized it! I cried when she gave us this news. We were having YOU that night!
The on call OB came in to go over the surgery procedure with us. We started to get prepped for surgery. It was all happening so fast. Dada and I got changed into scrubs and a gown, I had my blood work done, IV put in.
We face-timed with Po Po and Pa, called Grandma and Grandpa, and texted some of our closet friends. I was still contracting quite a bit, but chose to walk down, in my socks, to the operating room. Luckily, we had an amazing OR nurse, that we knew, and she was with mama for the surgery prep and spinal block (ouch!!). Once I was all prepped up, Dada was allowed to come in. We were behind a curtain while they started the c-section. I did not feel any pain but a lot of tugging and pulling on my belly! After what seemed like forever, you came out, we heard you cry and we all laughed when they announced you were a girl! FINALLY, my girl had arrived. It was 10:25 p.m. on Saturday, March 24, 2018. I told everyone that I couldn’t believe the ultrasounds until I saw you in person. We got to cuddle you for a couple minutes, and everyone said how tiny you were. Dada left with you and the nurse and pediatrician to go upstairs to check you out. Dada got to have skin-to-skin time with you upstairs as well.
It felt like forever, laying there on the table while they stitched me up. I hummed to myself to distract myself from thinking about the surgery. Every once in awhile the anesthesiologist and OR nurse would give me updates on how the surgery was progressing. Finally I was done, and out to recovery. There is quite the procedure in that!
Our maternity nurse snuck dada with you down to recovery. They wanted me to try breastfeeding right away and get some skin to skin time with you. You did great! You were very sleepy. We tried for a bit and then you went back upstairs. You had such long fingers, a button nose, and the sweetest lips. You had a head full of dark hair, a perfectly shaped head, and skinny arms and legs.
You were tiny, precious, and perfect. I connected with you right away. I am so in love with you, little girl!
Thank you for reading. Stay tuned for my post about our 5-day hospital stay!
MRS. + MAMA