The Birth of Hunter

December 8, 2006 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Induction-The Lease is Up 


June 6th, we woke up early and phoned the hospital case room to arrange a time to come in for induction.  We arrived at 7:45 am and were set up in a delivery room.  I gave a urine sample and we were strapped into a fetal monitor belt, with one belt on baby and one on my uterus to watch baby’s heart rate and uterine muscle activity.  We spent about 30 minutes being monitored and then had a visit from our family doctor.  Dr. R went off to deliver a baby by Cesarean and we were monitored for a bit longer, to get a good reading of the baby’s heart rate and the activity of my uterus. 

Dr. R returned and we were induced at 9:00 am with the application of prostaglandin gel onto the cervix.  After the application of the gel, we waited for an hour being monitored to see if there were any changes in the muscle activity of the uterus or any influences on the baby’s heart rate.  After an hour of no changes because of the gel, we were told to go walk around the ward for half an hour.  We walked around the floor and checked out all the babies in the nursery, getting a chance to talk to some families of newborns.  Then we returned to be monitored for another thirty minutes.  There was still no action, so we walked around some more. 

At this point, we were both pretty tired so we decided to curl up and try to sleep.  After a third post-gel monitor, there was still no action in the uterine monitor so we were dismissed to go home with a list of things to watch for that indicate the onset of labor and would require us to return.  We were told to return at 3:45pm for another check and another application of the prostaglandin gel.

We went home and rested.  We did some e-mailing; I made some cranberry scones and then we had a nap.  At around 2:00 pm, while napping, I started to feel a little bit of tightening in my belly that I thought to be the beginning of little warm-up contractions.  They were very irregular and quite short and I was sleeping, so it was hard for me to time them to keep track of their regularity.

At 3:45 pm, we returned to KGH to get another monitor strip done.  I gave another urine sample and set it on the ledge in a four-bed room.  As soon as the belt was put on, the tightenings began again with a little more intensity and were very regular.  The contractions started at about three to four minutes between onset.  They were not very strong though, and could be felt simply as a tightening.  According to the readout on the monitor, the nurses and Dr. R figured that I was seeing natural contractions occurring, as well as contractions because of the gel.  Interesting!  We waited and monitored for a bit longer. 

The nurse came in to see us again and asked about the urine sample on the ledge.  I, trying to be funny, said that it was actually apple juice and she left it there and made a comment about being thirsty.  Uhhh… not a time for humor.  Sure did feel stupid after that. Because we were seeing something going on, Dr. R wasn’t sure if she wanted to go through with another application of the gel because that would have overstimulated the uterus, which could have caused some problems.  So, we postponed the application and we were monitored for another little bit.  At 5 pm Dr. R decided that we were in early labor and that we should go home to rest and let things progress naturally.  We were pretty excited, but it still felt pretty surreal, as things were not very strong and we weren’t quite sure what to make of it or how long things would take…

When we got home, we decided to run out and get some groceries so that we would have food in the house for when we returned home with baby and for when Justin was home waiting for us.  That was interesting.  Walking around the grocery store, feeling contractions getting stronger and stronger and becoming more and more uncomfortable.  We stocked up.  When we got home, I sent out some e-mails to let people know what was happening and made some phone calls to inform family of where we were.  Then, I tried to rest. 

That proved to be more challenging than anticipated.  Contractions kept getting stronger and the distance between only got shorter.  Lying in bed, timing them, the contractions were between 30 and 40 seconds long and there were between 1 minute and 3 minutes apart.  At about 7 pm, the contractions were very intense and I wasn’t able to talk through them.  We decided to have a shower and time the contractions again.  Still getting stronger, they were consistently around 35 seconds long and 1 minute 30 seconds apart.  I was in the shower for about an hour, when we called my parents to let them know where we were.  Mom H decided to leave for Kelowna to be there through the labor.  About half an hour later, Justin’s parents (Grandma and Grandpa d) called to let us know that they were also leaving to come for the labor. 

I tried to focus on other things for a while, but no position seemed to offer any solution, and I was too anxious about the pain to really put any effort or time into trying out the many different breathing techniques that we saw in prenatal classes.  At around 10 pm, I decided that I wasn’t going to be able to keep going in the state of anxiety and discomfort that I was in, and that I would like to have some pain relief soon.  At 10 pm, we called the hospital to ask about contraction intervals (the hospital had said to come in when contractions were between 3 and 4 minutes apart and lasting 1 minute to 1 minute and a half).  Well, we were wondering about that because the contractions were consistently lasting half as long and half that time apart.  We decided, with the nurse on the phone, that we would come in and prepared them that I had changed my mind and decided to have some pain relief.  Shortly after 10 pm, we made the phone calls and the e-mails that we were leaving for the hospital.  We gathered together all the things that we would need and headed out… perhaps the last time to leave the apartment baby-less.

I had three contractions in the car ride (about 7 minutes) to the hospital.  Upon arrival to the hospital, one more contraction in the parking lot, and we were headed in through emergency (doors lock at 10 pm).  Another contraction hit in between the double set of sliding doors.  We walked in and the greeting person asked, “Are we having a baby?”  Upon a positive answer, we were rushed through to admissions and she yelled, “We’re having a baby!” to security.  A couple people waiting in emergency chairs said congratulations to us.  We got things sorted out with admissions (two more contractions) and headed down the hall (contraction in the hallway and in the elevator).  We arrived at the door to 3 West (Maternity and Delivery) and buzzed.  Right when we were in the middle of the door (which is alarmed if it is held open for too long) another contraction hit, more intense than the ones before.  For these contractions, it made me feel a little bit better to lean on Justin’s shoulder.  Justin encouraged me to get through the door and finish the contraction on the other side (he he).  We checked in at the desk and were put into another four-bed room.  I gave another urine sample (contraction mid-stream –OUCH) and returned to the bed to be strapped into the fetal monitors again.  No sooner had I sat on the bed and had the belt put around my waist, than another contraction hit – the strongest yet.  It was extremely painful, so I cried out a little bit.  In the middle of the cry, I felt a little gush between my legs and said “Oh, and I peed!”  Thinking about it very quickly, I realized that I had felt a little pop prior to the gush and my water had broken!!  The nurse (who had not yet put down an absorbent sheet, oops) swabbed some of the fluid, as two more contractions came very quickly, to verify that it was amniotic fluid.  Indeed it was, so I was put into a huge pair of underwear with a big pad in them and moved into a delivery room (the same room, in fact, that we had been induced in).  Walking down the very short hall to the birthing room proved to be more challenging – Birthing Room #2.

In the birthing bed, we asked, again, for an epidural.  The anesthesiologist came in and told us about the epidural and the precautions and possible side effects.  I was really nervous about it because I had wanted to have a natural delivery with no pain medication.  While thinking about it, in the middle of a very intense contraction, I decided to have an epidural.  It was one of those moments where I still couldn’t decide, then when the contraction hit, I said “YESIwantonereallybadly!”

As the epidural went in (~11:00pm), it was the easiest contraction I went through.  Hindsight tells me that next baby, I should just do more focusing through the contractions, instead of panicking.
It didn’t take right away.  I was still incredibly anxious through each contraction and felt a lot of pain through my back (still didn’t know it was back labor).  As they put in a catheter, I remember my Mom being there and thinking, “I don’t want her to see this” but was in too much pain to do anything about it.   I just enjoyed her smoothing my hair and patting my hand.  The epidural had to be increased a couple times because I was still feeling the contractions very intensely and wasn’t supposed to.

There seems to me, now, that there was a lot of time between when I got the epidural and when I finally started to feel better.  Somewhere in that time, I loosened up and began to relax.  I relaxed so much, in fact, that I began to experience a lot of shaking in my legs.  The nurses were a little curious about why I was shaking so badly and kept checking to make sure that I was okay – I was fine!  Ah, the joy of not feeling labor pains.  I began to talk with the nurses about all kinds of things and even shared the recipe for cranberry scones that I had made earlier in the day.  **At some point prior to all this, it was determined that I was 2 cm dilated.**  Once my water broke the nurses were hesitant to carry out an internal exam.  So… we waited.  I ate ice chips (lame) for many hours, craving iced tea.  I was waiting to feel the urge to push.

At about 5:00am, after no sleep, despite trying, I still couldn’t feel the urge to push.  The epidural was turned down and I asked if I could try pushing anyways.  I was getting bored with this.  They turned the epidural down again, so that I could feel more of what was going on.  Dr. Richardson did an internal exam and found that I was 10 cm dilated.  Whew, I wonder how long I had been there for??  Watching the contractions on the monitor, I began pushing at about 5:10 am after Dr. R said that it would be okay to try.  I pushed for about ten pushes, then they checked to see what kind of movement they were getting from the baby.  The nurse was checking to see where baby was and wasn’t able to distinguish which part of the head she was feeling.  When Dr. R returned (I guess she had left for a bit) it was determined that the baby was posterior.  This would explain my extreme back pain during contractions.  Instead of his spine to my tummy, his spine was rubbing along my spine with each contraction.  The nurses then turned my epidural down some more so that I could try to take on a different position to push from.  Due to my extreme leg shaking, that wasn’t possible, although I was shifted a little bit.

Again, it was determined that I wouldn’t be able to push without feeling anything and the epidural was decreased again.  I waited again for the urge to push.  At this point I’m not sure how it was decided that I would just try to push anyways.  I think that I just kept bugging the nurses because I wasn’t feeling anything and just wanted the baby out!  At about 6 am, they decided that I would just push as best I could.  I pushed for about an hour, then they called in the Obstetrician.  He was amazing.  He pushed in various ways to help ease the baby’s position, but they didn’t work.  Then, they went to get forceps and the vacuum to try and help.  I asked for no forceps and because baby’s head was still so far out of sight, they weren’t an option.  So.. vacuum it was.  That in place, they tried pulling Hunter out for quite a while.  They weren’t finding very much success as Hunter kept slipping back after I would push him down.  The nurses and attending doctors kept complimenting me and saying how well I was pushing.  I kept thinking “Well then, where is my baby?”  After a number of pushes over a long time, they called the OR to prepare for a Cesarean and had me discuss and sign the release. 

I remember so well, the Obstetrician saying to me my option of a Cesarean was looking more important.  I remember feeling really sad at the thought of going through all I had done so far to have to heal from a c-section after.  I asked if we could try pushing some more.  The Obstetrician was very encouraging.  We just pushed and pushed and pushed.  I remember asking for a break because they were asking me to stack my pushes and I didn’t think I could do it anymore.  I also remember the moment I watched that contraction start on the monitor; I decided to push anyways because I couldn’t waste these contractions (maybe that was the urge they had been telling me to wait for).  In the middle of the nurse shift change and pushing for all I was worth, the anesthetist for the OR came in and a nurse shoved the surgery prep drink in my face.  It felt like the Obstetrician shouted at this point “Elizabeth, three more pushes and we’re having this baby or we are going downstairs” I guess that fired me up…  the next push he yelled (I think) to the Anesthetist ‘”Cancel the OR, we’re having this baby” at which point the surgery prep drink was taken away (whew).  I remember seeing the doc pulling on poor little baby’s head so hard with the vacuum.  I remember pushing and yelling (whimpering) with each push.  It felt better to make noise, it really did.  I don’t remember feeling pain, but I remember that it felt better to be loud.  I remember thinking that my Mom and in-laws were in the hall and I wanted them to know when I was pushing.  I pushed for over two hours straight.  Hunter was born by vacuum extraction.  Thank God. 

He was a perfect little miracle and his Dad got to see his face as he came out into the world for his first breath.  He was placed onto my chest right away.  He was all purple and I checked between his legs right away and yelled, “It’s a boy” to my family outside.  We were so happy.  Our perfect little man – Hunter James Phillip, born at 8:16 am, Tuesday June 7th.  His head was very misshapen and (I’m sorry Hunter, to admit that) my first words to describe you were “Well, you look… special.”  Because I had had a fever during labor and my IV had to be moved so many times, Hunter also had a fever.  He was checked and tested in the delivery room while I was sewn up (three stitches from an episiotomy I didn’t even know I was having) and was delivering the afterbirth. That was the most painful part of the actual delivery (sad, isn’t it?).  I remember making a lot of phone calls from Mom’s cell phone, right there in the delivery room.


Hunter was taken to the nursery pretty soon after being born to get an IV put in.  Justin went with him and observed that he wasn’t very fussy (high pain tolerance) and he liked being tickled on his feet).  Justin got me my iced tea shortly after Hunter was born and I didn’t even drink it. Sorry, J.  Hunter was on an IV for three days and came home on Friday the 10th.  We had a shared room for the first night as Hunter wasn’t with me – he slept in the nursery.  Then, for the second two nights, Hunter was in my room with me, in a private room.  We had outpatient bilirubin tests done on Saturday (because of jaundice) and Hunter was admitted into the hospital on June 11th because his levels were so high.  Because of ABO Conflict (my and Hunter’s blood types are different), and the vacuum bruise on his head, Hunter was quite jaundice and had to spend Saturday, Sunday and Monday morning in the hospital, under UV lights.  It was very hard for me to be there, but I was very glad to have Justin there with me, over the weekend.

My milk came in, in full force, when we were re-admitted into the hospital.  I remember being comfy out of my robe and in my sweats (soo nice) and looking down at my completely foreign body as I walked to pick up my little bundle in the nursery.  The nurses kept apologizing when they woke me to bring me to nurse.  I was only too happy to get to see him and hold him again.  Who cares about sleep when their baby is in another room in the hospital?  I didn’t like having to weigh Hunter before and after I nursed him, while we were re-admitted.  It was quite stressful and made me feel a lot of pressure to feed him enough.  I was sooo full while we were there that I pumped a little bit to relieve the pressure.  Man!  That electric pump was nasty.  I was quite misshapen after I was finished!  Then, the milk being gone, only made me produce more!!!  We went home on the 14th.  Hunter was already a week old.  As I experienced then.. time goes by too quickly when we have such precious memories to safe keep.

Elizabeth is a 26-year old working Mom.  She is a teacher and enjoys trying to balance work and home.  She is blessed by the support of many family, friends and a fantastic husband.  She would love to have another baby for Hunter to shower with affection.  Her hobbies are blogging, baking, playing basketball and having lots of adventures as a family.  Elizabeth thinks that Motherhood is wonderful and you can read more at her blog Look at Us Now.