19 Jan Masks, Smiling Eyes, and Welcoming Baby Number Five: Rachel’s Lifecycle WomanCare Birth Story
She is my 5th baby, but my first daughter and she was so very anticipated and celebrated! This is a long story, even though it takes place in less than 24 hours!
I arrived at the birth center around 2:30pm on September 25th for my 39 week check. We had been talking about sweeping my membranes to try a “social induction” since my advanced maternal age put me at a higher risk. About an hour before my appointment, I thought I wet myself a little bit. It was nothing dramatic. Just a wet spot. I changed my pants and moved on.
However, when Alexandra checked me she said she could not do the sweep because my membranes were already ruptured. Whaaaat?!
I moved downstairs to meet with the midwife, Francesca. I loved her! She is the only person I’ve met who talks as much as I do! I really enjoyed her upbeat and bubbly, yet professional attitude. She’s easily my favorite person at TBC other than Kia!
Since I was GBS positive, I knew I would need an IV with penicillin. Before that, they gave me a non-stress test in the living room. Baby girl was fine. I chugged some ice water and ate a snack. It was about 4:00 pm.
They also took my blood pressure and realized it was high which prompted them to draw blood work. They said they could not do anything until they received the results. So I sat and waited.
When the lab results came back normal, they started the IV. By then it was 7:30 pm, and my husband had arrived with food. We were eating, drinking, and chilling in the living room. It was nice quality time together. The calm before the storm…
After the IV was done, the midwife said I could go home and wait till contractions picked up, or I could stay. She said if contractions hadn’t started by noon the next day, I would have to go to the hospital for Pitocin.
I haven’t been to the hospital to have a baby in 15 years, so that wasn’t happening – my third baby was born at home, and my fourth baby was born at the birth center (it was a FABULOUS experience). I chose to stay.
They moved us to the blue room around 10:00 pm. I got out my drinks and snacks and changed into my labor gown. I could feel my water leaking, so I sat on the birth ball and relaxed.
At 11:30 pm, she brought in 4 ounces of castor oil with the next dose of IV penicillin. She told me that if contractions did not start soon, I would have to go to the hospital for prolonged rupture. My husband walked to Wawa and bought me a chocolate milkshake to mix it in. I didn’t taste like anything and wasn’t greasy – all that hype for nothing!
Contractions started about an hour later at 12:30 am. I got in the tub and relaxed through them. It was so nice! The nurse checked on me often and made sure I was taking sips of water. My husband came down with a sinus headache, so he was sleeping. I was really enjoying my time in the tub in the dark, just me and my baby bump. The salt lamp was on. It was very relaxing!
Due to the castor oil I had two BMs after I got out of the tub. Nothing dramatic or painful, my feet didn’t lift off the floor like Dumb and Dumber. I was glad for that!
Then I got in bed on my left side with the peanut ball between my legs and “slept through” contractions until about 4:00 am. My husband laid behind me and put pressure on my lumbar/sacrum with each contraction. What a lifesaver. Unfortunately, his headache didn’t get better.
Around 4:00 am, I couldn’t lay down anymore. They checked me before I stood up and I was at six centimetres. She said “OK, you’re in active labor!”
I stood up and started swaying. Lots of low voice moaning. My husband swayed with me. I was starting to panic a bit, and he reminded me to hum and relax my face. So thankful for that reminder! It really does help!
Around 4:55 am, the nurse came in and put some pillows on the counter top and told me to lean forward. I thought it was odd, but I did it. When I leaned forward my water broke the rest of the way with an audible pop, and a huge gush of clear water that landed on my husband’s socks!
I looked at the clock and it was 5:01 am. My husband got on the phone and paged “Midwife to the blue room!”
I guess they could tell I was close to delivery because my moaning changed pitch, and my body started pushing on its own. I could not talk, but they jumped into action! They gown up really quickly!!
At this point I asked the nurse to take a picture. I’m so grateful for that picture! It’s the only one I have.
I had maybe three contractions and Francesca said “you can push whenever you want with the contraction”. On the third one, I pushed and she literally fell out. So easy! Thank goodness the midwives were there to catch her, because she honestly would’ve hit the floor! She was born at 5:27 am.
My boys were all nearly 9 pounds. I knew she was small because it didn’t hurt at all when she came out, but I was not expecting her to be under seven pounds. She was 6 pounds and 15 oz! By far the easiest baby to “push” out.
Elizabeth was amazing and perfect! Her APGAR scores were 8 and 9. She nursed right away to help expel the placenta. After the placenta delivery, about 20 minutes later, they gave me a shot of Pitocin because it was bleeding a little bit. They did fundal massage and a whole bunch of clots came out. As they were inspecting the placenta they were explaining to me the maternal side and the baby side, it was all really neat!
Thank goodness they are so vigilant. When the new nurse came in after the shift change around 7:00 am, she noticed I was still bleeding and went to get help. The new midwife was Autumn. She came in, was nice and calm, and said that since she was my fifth baby, the bottom half of my uterus was having trouble firming up. She said I needed rectal Cytotec and she administered it immediately. It was a little scary but she was very calm and it helped ease my worries.
At this point they checked my blood pressure again and it was nearly 200/100. Wow! They made the decision to send me to the hospital.
I’m glad it is literally across the street. We packed up quickly and drove over, Autumn walked and met us there. I’m very sad that I didn’t get the experience of relaxing with baby, and dressing her up, and taking pics to go home like I did with my last baby.
When I got to the hospital, they admitted me. The hospital wasn’t as good of an experience. I had a nasal COVID test. My husband wanted to go get some Tylenol to help with his sinus headache. But they told him if he left to go get pain medication he would not be allowed back on the unit. Unfortunately, his headache became a migraine and made him sick. Talk about adding in stress!
Thankfully, my labs came back normal. They gave me pain medication to see if it would help my blood pressure. Eventually they said that my increased blood pressure was a “pain response”. I was upset that we transferred for that, but I was so grateful that nothing was wrong with me. Autumn came by and checked on me again. She advocated for me to go home, and gave me all of my discharge instructions in the meantime.
Elizabeth was perfect, my blood pressure was back to normal, and my uterus was firm, so they discharged me at 8:00 pm.
When we got home, we were greeted by all four big brothers (and the cat!). It was a most wonderful homecoming!
We had an amazing experience at the birth center. I feel that they did everything to keep us safe in this crazy COVID pandemic, and even though we had to wear masks, I could see the smiles in their eyes as they helped me bring my daughter earthside. They acted quickly in the emergency and advocated for me when I needed them. A HUGE thank you for helping bring my beautiful babies into the world.