Friday, March 3, 2017

Our Third Birth Story

On most Monday mornings, our routine is a bit rushed: wake up to William calling us between 5 and 6. Go downstairs around 6. Have breakfast. I get dressed and leave by 6:30. Kayleigh gets William dressed and at daycare by 7:15 (or around then). I assume she also gets dressed at some point.

In that sense, Monday didn't start off feeling too differently than any other day. We didn't have the luxury of a lazy weekend morning; after all, we had somewhere to be by 8:30! Except this morning, we wouldn't be going our separate ways - our job that day was to go through a third birth together.

We arrived at the Gatineau Hospital shortly after 8. A bit early. There hadn't been as much traffic as expected, what with the Quebec March Break. So we took the time to get a tea and coffee at the cafeteria, and had a conversation about... exactly what you'd expect for people in our situation: how the cafeteria was in need of a few improvements.

At 8:30, we made our way up to the birth centre, and Kayleigh was given a bed to lie in for the fetal monitoring (which they do prior to admission). Since they were a bit busy, we had to wait for them to have the chance to get to us - however, we were well prepared with a board game on hand! It was helpful to have a distraction to focus on.

Finally, monitoring began at around 9:30. Juliette was in great form. I felt confident staring at the heart beat monitor, and I remember hoping that my confidence would be able to last throughout the day.

We were admitted shortly after 11, and Victoria (our doula) started to make her way over. This time, it would be just the three of us. It felt like enough.

We were given the choice of birthing room. Thank goodness for having been offered that choice, because the first room our nurse showed us was the very same room where we had spent December 19, 2013 with Anya, after she had passed. We decided on the room right across from that one. It felt a bit like slaying some personal demons, having something wonderful happen right next to where we had the most difficult day of our lives.

Our doctor let us know the typical way they induce in Gatineau - setting up an IV of Oxytocin. She informed Kayleigh that they would get that set up for her. However, given our experience with William, where the only intervention needed was a hook to break Kayleigh's water, Kayleigh suggested starting with that approach instead. After all, it only took about four and a half hours from breaking the water until birth last time.

This didn't seem like a request they get very often, but our doctor agreed to start that way, and re-evaluate if needed.

And so, around 12:15, after another short bout of monitoring, we got started with the hook.

As with William, the contractions came gradually. My beautiful wife took them in stride, being as zen and relaxed as possible at first.

Victoria set Kayleigh up with a TENS unit, which had some success at dulling the pain. But as with every other birth, there came a point where there was no relieving that pain. That point seemed to come more quickly than ever before. Kayleigh had to endure. And I had to help her, re-assure her, and be proud of her.

And I was very, very proud of her. Still am.

There were moments when she questioned why she was going through this without an epidural. It was, once again, extremely difficult to see her in so much pain. But I was determined that this time I wouldn't let anxiety get the better of me. And while it came close a couple of times, I was able to re-focus myself on supporting Kayleigh. It helps to not pay too much attention to the monitoring, and to trust in our medical professionals.

Before long, Kayleigh was ready to push. By that point, she was a woman possessed, and determined to bring our second daughter out into the world. At 3:42 PM, a mere three and a half hours after induction, Juliette was born, and with her cries I felt the weight of the world lift off of my shoulders. It was replaced with absolute wonderment at how amazing life can sometimes be.

How lucky we are to be her parents.

Her heart beat never decelerated more than expected. We did not need any interventions to get her out. She had as perfect a birth as we could have hoped. It was actually... a good experience all around. Who knew that was possible?

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