my Self

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Fort St John, BC, Canada
My husband, David, and I had been trying to have a baby since November of 2007. After 'letting things happen', we got the amazing news that we were pregnant in June of 2008. Sadly, that pregnancy ended at 9 weeks with a natural miscarriage. After two more chemical pregnancies, we turned to fertility treatments in 2009. That decision was a disaster, with lousy medical care and poor monitoring. In December of 2009, we made the huge decision to move onto IVF. Things fell into place like magic and we began treatment on January 15, 2010. After a blighted ovum in March, we did a successful FET in June, only to endure another blighted ovum in July. We kept up and underwent another IVF in September/October of 2010 with the arrival of our son, Brogan in July of 2011! After our lovely success (finally) we decided to undertake yet another IVF treatment and hope for a sibling for our little red headed boy. Well... so far it's worked. Our story continues below!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Brogan's Birth

Wow... how to start... when to start...

The week before Brogan was born I began having small signs that things were happening, and I had a lot of false labour going on. 

On July 3rd, Sunday, I was home all day, helping out with some of the lighter reno chores... putting together Ikea shelving, directing as much as I could, and generally getting in the way more than anything.

My in-laws were also there helping out, and I found myself telling my father in law to come and sit on the front porch and take a break (he was looking tired!). He kind of ignored me for the most part and pretty soon I just announced that I had had enough and was going to sit on the deck. 

I knew I had been having contractions off and on, but when I was sitting on the deck, I noticed they had been coming pretty regular again and decided to start timing them. It was almost exactly 3 o'clock in the afternoon. 
By 4 o'clock I'd had four 40 second contractions ten minutes apart, and then they suddenly dropped to six and seven minutes apart and still 40 seconds long. Around 4:30, David went out to get groceries for supper ( I was STARVING) and I climbed into the tub and called my mom. By the time he got home, and I got out of the tub, the contractions were five minutes apart and still at least 40 seconds long.

Now it gets kind of funny... I insisted that David find the one and only summer pregnancy dress I own because I did NOT want have pants on... and while getting dressed, thought David was making dinner (chicken spinach salad...mmm.... (did I mention how hungry I was?). I was still on the phone with my mom and timing the contractions, which were between four and three minutes long... sometimes going up to five. I couldn't talk through them very well, but they peaked pretty fast and were not getting stronger with each one, instead, every once in a while I'd barely count one as a contraction because it wasn't very strong. I did have more bloody show throughout the day, but nothing really alarming. 

I actually thought it was false labour because I've always thought pregnant woman had very little interest in eating when they were in labour.... anyhow... I came out expecting food and instead, David was painting the kitchen???? I wasn't upset with him, but rather supportive because I saw how anxious he was... and of course, I still didn't think I was in labour although I wasn't sure at this point. 

So, while David put the last coat of paint on the kitchen, much to my amusement, I stood at the table in the middle of our half-put-together kitchen making salads, and concentrating through a contraction every three minutes. 

Before we sat down to eat, I called L&D to ask if they thought I should come in to have the baby checked even though he was moving around nicely. They said with contractions that close I should could come in and they would assess me, but it was my decision as long as I wasn't bleeding and there was no membrane rupture. We decided to eat dinner and go in afterwards. 
David put in a movie that we'd wanted to see (The King's Speech) and as we were sitting down on the couch, I felt a 'pop' inside, like a knuckle popping. 

"Something popped!" I said, unsure of what to do..
"What popped?" David asked, looking around.

As my water started leaking out, I squealed "I did! My water broke!" And stood up, instantly aware that I was gushing hot fluid all over the new hardwood floors. David ran for towels as I stood there, giggling at it all, and stripping my dress and underwear off. I could not believe that my water had actually broke, and was astounded at how much there was and how little there was I could do about it. 

After changing into sweats and grabbing our bags, we headed to the hospital. I was still having pains, and at one point there was one so strong that I let out a small scream and urged David to go through a stop light. I suspect that's when the baby engaged his head. 

We got to the hospital and were checked in quickly to a labour room. Things were happening very quickly at this point, and I was still asking if they could just check me and let me go home to finish the first part of labour! Looking back, I can see how rather insane this idea was, but I really dreaded the idea of spending hours and hours in a sterile room. And besides... I was still hungry. 

I was dilated only 3 cm and about 80% effacement, so I knew there was a LOT of labour to go through (or so I thought). At 7 pm I was officially in a L&D room, with David's parents, my mom, and his sister in the room. Sigh. The crazy people all showed up, nearly beating us to the hospital. We finally convinced them it was going to be a long night and to go home, we would call them when I was 8 cm and they could all come back for the delivery. Disappointed in my lack of belief that I would be delivering before their 9 o'clock bedtime, they finally agreed to go home, watch their reality TV shows and come back if and when we were ready to really do something exciting. They agreed to stop by the house and bring us our chicken spinach salad first, though.

As David and I munched happily on our salads, and sipped Pepsi between contractions, my kids and their girlfriends showed up. I was in MUCH brighter spirits to see them and convinced David to go home, take a shower and pick up a couple things we'd forgotten. My boys were awesome. They made me giggle through a couple of contractions by MAKING me wriggle my toes and 'not think about the fear', just like when they were little and going to the dentist. 

"C'mon, Mom", Jerry teased me.... "You know you can't tense up if you wriggle your toes!" 

They even held my hand and urged me to focus during a couple of the harder pains. I was surprised and unbelievably reassured with them in the room while David was gone. 
Finally, it was just David and I together... about 11:30 pm, with the kids also making us promise to call them once "things got going".

The next few hours spent with David were some of the most intimate and spiritual memories I have ever shared with another human being. We turned the lights off, we joked, we talked about all that we had gone through to get where we were. We were excited, nervous and thankful for the experience. 

We attempted to watch the rest of our movie on the Mac laptop until the noise became annoying when I was having contractions and we could not find the mute button in the darkened room. We tried different positions for pain relief (standing was the WORST - I thought my legs were going to fall off and ended up *almost* in tears!). I had taken a morphine/gravol shot after eating and was offered the laughing gas, which by this time I was learning to use and found it very effective at taking the edge off the worst of the pain.

Our nurse was amazing at communication and pain management. She was the only person we saw during the labour stage and I am so thankful she was there for us. She often held my hand and offered soft words of encouragement when David could think of nothing to say at that moment. 

By 2:15 am the nurse said I was dilated to 6 cm and the pains were pretty much one on top of the other. I was meditating through them as calmly as I could but we all agreed that things were going quickly and that family and the doctor should be called in because we felt we would deliver within the next hour or so. Phone calls were made and the room was prepped for delivery.... I continued to doze for a moment or two between contractions and then work through them one at a time as they rolled across me.

As the baby moved lower and lower, we noticed an alarming drop in heart rate with the contractions. I was turned onto one side to ease the pressure on the cord as he was being gently squeezed into the birth canal. As long as I stayed on my side, the heart rate was acceptable, but still dipped terribly low at the peak of the contractions. 

Soon the room filled up with family, hair askew atop excited, but sleepy faces, and a rather drowsy, slightly irritated doctor was on the scene. He checked me and announced that I was "only 6 cm dilated and had a lot of work to do". 

I was upset and surprised that I was still only at 6 cm! It was nearly 3 am and the pains were getting unbearable. He ordered a final shot of pain killers and left for the doctor's lounge to sleep until I was ready to deliver. My nurse, who was so in tune with me and so sure that I was going to deliver soon, was unsure about what to do, we could tell, but left to get the medication.

As the next contraction hit my body, I told her to "Come back, please! He's coming!"

There were no stirrups, the bed was not converted into the delivery mode, and there was no doctor anywhere, just myself, David the nurse, and six family members all staring silently with a look of worried wonder on their faces. 

As the pain built, I found myself curled into David, who stood beside me, urging me to not push, to breath, that it wasn't time yet.... I tried in vain to pant and hold back the pushing, but I could feel the baby's body moving through me, quietly but quickly.

I looked up into his eyes and issued a plea for him to "Look! Look or you'll miss it!"

He looked down and the baby's head was already out, and with another mighty surge, our son slipped quickly out of my body and rolled up into a ball on the table.... like a kitten. It was that fast. The doctor was walking in when it happened.... and collected the baby, placing him onto my chest.

I looked at Brogan... and issued another plea, "He's not breathing. You need to work on him. Please, he's turning blue too quickly!"
The doctor asked if we wanted to cut the cord and I insisted, "No! Just do it and get him breathing!"

Soon the baby was whisked away to the other side of the room where the doctor and a NICU nurse began reviving him.... It took a minute and twenty seconds. I was still drugged and in shock that everything had happened so fast, and not fully appreciating how dire things could be. 

Across the room, I urged, "C'mon baby boy, breath, baby.... Brogan...."

Everyone else was silent, eyes glued to the baby. Everyone said that David's face was completely blank. His eyes were expressionless as he stared across the room at his son being worked on, still blue and unresponsive.

When the baby yet out a healthy scream, it seemed everyone in the room came back to life. Soon, he was placed onto my chest, quickly turning a beautiful shade of life-like-pink, and quickly latched onto a waiting breast, where he began nursing like a champ.

There were no stitches, no labour complications, and other than the scare, which they say was a combination of the cord being compressed and the speedy delivery, it was a perfect labour and exceptional delivery. 




  1. Oh this is so what I needed to read! Thank you for sharing. I am so glad that things went so smoothly. I hope my experience mirrors yours!

  2. I love this birth story! It was very well told. I got chicken skin (goose bumps) while reading it. it's amazing how well women know their bodies, much more so than the doctors. What an amazing experience! Thank you for sharing it with us.