Friday, 20 April 2012

Mya's Birth Story

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     As my belly continues to grow and the waves of nausea hit me with incredible force throughout the day, it reminds me that this wee baby will be here wrapped in my arms in no time. The thing about babies and children is that it makes time speed up ten times over. I look at Mya and realize that she is almost 18 months old and I can't believe it. It feels like it was only yesterday that I had her growing so perfectly in my belly, anticipating her arrival.

From a growing belly, to an 18month old who is now caring for her own baby dolls...I have no idea how this happened so quickly.

     With the new anticipation of our next baby, it has pushed me to do something that I have been meaning to do for over a year now...write the story of the day that Mya was born. Everyone always tells you to write down everything when you have a new baby--keep a journal or baby book to document all of the important moments, feelings and milestones that you and your new baby are going through. But when Mya was finally born, we were so overwhelmed with a baby who had jaundice, a baby who had acid reflux, a baby who wasn't gaining weight, a baby who wasn't feeding properly and a baby who refused to sleep, that the last thing that I was thinking about was writing down everything that had happened. I was just in survival mode at that point and trying to relish all of the wonderful moments of complete bliss that I was feeling with this new little person who just came into our lives. So, here I sit, 18months later and I am finally fulfilling my promise to myself to document the day that she was born so that all of those little moments, those feelings and those memories are not lost forever.


 It's difficult to put something so incredible into words...but I figured if I just pulled myself back to that wonderful day, looked through all of our photos and allowed myself to fall back into the feelings that flooded me that day, all of the memories would come rushing back and I'd just keep writing. we go...

     My biggest fear of giving birth was not knowing if I was actually in labour or not. Never having felt a contraction before, I was worried that I wouldn't get to the hospital in time. I had been put on bedrest almost a month before Mya was born since she was already trying to make her grand appearance before she was supposed to--so my OB had told me to essentially run to the hospital the moment that I thought that I was in labour since the baby could come fast.

     The night before Mya was born, my sister and Jeff were over at our house just hanging out and watching tv with us-and I knew. I knew that something was different. I knew that something was going to happen soon, but I was surprisingly very calm. I told everyone that I was going to go to bed, and I fell asleep immediately.
     When I woke up the next morning at 5am with a burning sensation whipping around from my stomach to my back, I quietly got out of bed and started walking out of our room.
Terry quickly shot up in bed, and called out "What are you doing?" if I was about to jump off a cliff with my big pregnant belly.  I looked at him, smiled, and said "I'm going to have a shower because we're going to the hospital now"...and I left the room as I heard him fly out of bed and quickly rummage through his closet for something to wear.

    I felt another contraction coming on and I rested my head against the cold shower wall, letting the warmth of the shower water ease the burning sensation that my body was feeling at that moment. I remember smiling through this contraction though, since I was thinking to myself "Aren't I supposed to be screaming or being a bit more dramatic right now? I've watched the Baby Story a million times and everyone screams...this actually isn't so bad".  But my moment was lost as the shower curtain swung open with Terry staring at me resting against the wall with the most panicked look on his face. All I remember hearing him say was "Will you PLEASE get out of the shower?!". It made me laugh, which I'm sure he didn't appreciate at the time...but I felt so calm and I'm sure it's a completely different perspective watching your wife begin to labour, not really knowing what is happening minute to minute. But I did finish shaving my legs--cause really, you can't go having a baby without smooth legs. Really.

    So we collected our pre-packed hospital bag, fed the dog, grabbed some fruit and snacks from the cupboard and headed to the car. I remember feeling excited, calm, but I also felt some denial about what was actually about to take place. You dream about the day that your baby will be born. You try to picture what it is going to be like, how you are going to feel, what is going to happen. But in the moment that it was actually happening, I just couldn't believe that this day was actually here. It felt so surreal.

    As we got to the hospital and were whisked into triage, I continued to feel each painful contraction every couple of minutes as I slowly laid down on that uncomfortable, yet somehow comforting hospital bed. Terry held my hand and we sat staring at each other and smiling, not really knowing what to say. What do you say to each other when you know that something so miraculous, so incredible, so unbelievable is about to take place? There really are no words.

    As more and more contractions radiated through my body, Terry would try to follow the rules that he learnt in our pre-natal class about holding my hand, breathing for me, rubbing my back. But every time that anyone touched me the pain somehow radiated to that exact spot where their skin touched mine. As this was happening, I was trying to find a way to tell him to stop touching me without hurting his feelings since really, he was trying so hard to do everything that he could to help. So after another painful contraction, I turned to him, smiled, and said "You know the Dog Whisperer and how he has rules for the dog owners about how to train their dogs? He always says to them 'no touch, no talk, no eye contact'. Well, pretend that I'm the dog and you're the dog touch, no talk, no eye contact -and oh ya, no breathing-when I'm going through a contraction. Okay?". And he looked at me like I was nuts. But he got it--and from there on out, the poor guy was forced to just sit and watch me wither in pain. But it's what worked for me and in the end, no feelings were hurt. Complete success.
     As I laid in bed, a nurse came over to check on me and suggested that I go for a walk down the hall to speed things up. So Terry took my arm and we started heading slowly down the long hallway. I remember stopping after only a few steps and needing to hold on to the bar on the wall as a wave of pain swept through my body and paralyzed me from head to toe. After it passed, Terry took my arm and we took a few more steps...but then all of a sudden all that I saw in front of me was black and I could feel the weight of my head as I no longer had control over my neck. I knew that I was about to faint and I quickly told Terry as I held the wall in an effort to control what I knew I no longer had control over. All I remember after that was Terry running down the hall towards me with a wheelchair and a nurse helping me back to bed. Apparently me and walking during labour don't mesh very well.

     After a couple of hours in triage, we were moved into a nice large room where our family started piling in. My mom works in the hospital and she just happened to be working that day, so she kept coming up to check on us until her shift was finally over. It was such a surreal feeling to be watching our family start to arrive, sit by my bed, pull out magazines, nibble on snacks and send texts on their phones to keep others up to date. Even through the painful contractions that were clearly letting me know that something huge was about to happen, I remember feeling that there was no way that an actual baby was about to be born. I remember saying to Terry "I just can't believe that a real live baby is going to come out of me". He looked at me, laughed, and replied "Do you think you're about to give birth to a puppy or something?". Good point..but I just couldn't wrap my head around the fact that this miraculous thing was actually about to happen and we'd have a baby in our arms in only a short period of time.

     With each sweeping contraction, I can't even tell you how thrilled I was when they finally told me that the epidural was on it's way. Hallelujah. After convincing those lovely nurses that Terry needed to stay with me to hold my hand as that needle went into my back, I remember also cutting them off when they began explaining everything that they were doing and everything that were about to do to me. I don't need the gory details, just get the job done. So in silence, Terry sat there staring me in the eye, squeezing my hand as that needle went into my back and I knew that glorious relief was soon to come.
     As the pain began to settle and our family continued to sneak in and out of our room, trying to quietly surpass the limit of people allowed in our labour room, it felt like a relaxed little party. People were hanging out, laughing, talking, watching the monitor, bringing me ice chips and chatting up our wonderful nurse who I absolutely loved.

      We were all relaxed, happy and just anticipating the arrival of our little girl...until my OB came in and announced that in 20mins they were going to have me start pushing. I almost had a heart attack. All of a sudden we weren't just having a little party anymore. We weren't just hanging out at the hospital making new friends with the nurses. The reality of what was about to take place hit me so hard and I started to shake and I felt like I couldn't catch my breath. I remember saying to the nurse, "But I don't think I'm ready to do that...I don't know how to push. I'm not so sure about all of this anymore". She just smiled, touched my hand and said "Don't worry, I'll walk you through it all and you'll be just fine". Easy to say when you're not the one about to deliver a real live baby. Real, live baby. I couldn't believe it.
    As they got me positioned and explained to me what I needed to do, all of a sudden I was pushing, waiting for another contraction, then pushing again. I had Terry, Jen and my mom all cheering me on..telling me I was doing a great job, counting til 10 and holding the oxygen mask over my face since baby's heart rate kept dropping. There was so much love in that room, you could feel it with every sweeping contraction and every moment of holding my breath.

     I was quiet throughout all of the pushing, concentrating and trying to do my I was going to be graded at the end of it with a pass or fail. But when my OB finally said "here she comes", my world completely stopped and I squealed as I felt slippery, wet skin touch my chest. I looked down in complete shock and awe as this perfect, tiny baby squirmed right there in front of me. My eyes filled with tears and I kissed her sweet, wet head. I looked at Terry and with tears in his eyes too he bent over to kiss her as well. It's a moment I'll never forget. Love just radiated throughout the room. I remember my mom kissing my cheek, telling me that I did a great job as Jen snapped all of the photos that I'll forever cherish.

     Terry fell in love with her immediately, as we all did...but when I asked him what he remembered most about her birth he said that he remembered holding her hand, wanting so desperately to comfort her as she was being checked over by the nurses.

    After they got Mya all cleaned up, weighed and checked, the rest of our family started to pile into the room. I'll never forget looking up to see my dad walk in and hug my mom as tears filled her eyes. They said something quietly to each other in their embrace and to this day I don't know what it was..I've never asked. But I can only assume that it was a moment between them where they were acknowledging the miracle of their youngest baby having a baby herself and the miraculous moment that they were experiencing together of becoming grandparents themselves for the first time. It was just confirmation for me that this baby was going to provide not only Terry and I with everlasting joy and love, but others as well. The room was full of excitement, flashes from cameras going off, tears and smiles. What a wonderful way for this baby to enter this world, already completely consumed by love.

      As I think back to this incredible day, it makes me excited to think about doing it all over again. I don't think there is anything like carrying a baby in your belly, watching it grow, feeling it kick, then experiencing the miraculous moment of meeting your baby for the first time. I really feel like I can't even do it justice by putting it into words, since there really are no perfect words to describe an experience such as this. I know too that it means that there are of course a million little parts and moments left out. But regardless, it was the most incredible moment of my life. And 18 months later I have finally put it down on paper with the hope that I will never let the stress, chaos, heartache and busyness of life overshadow what's really important in life...our little Mya and our mini, but growing family. Nothing else means more.




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