For anyone who is interested in Ainsley’s birth story, here it is. (No worries – I left out the gory details!)
Miss Ainsley’s entrance into the world wasn’t what I expected. After such a smooth pregnancy (a true blessing!) I was ready for her to come early (like my brothers and I had for my mom). Everything was ready – my pre-baby checklist was complete, the hospital bag was packed, and my birth plan was ready to go. I was so ready for her to come that I think I tried almost every Old Wives’ Tale to get her out – long walks, spicy foods, evening primrose oil, etc. (The midwife wouldn’t let me try castor oil, but I was ready to!)
Evidently, I don’t take after my mother when it comes to pregnancy/labor.
As my due date inched closer and closer and I started to feel more and more ready (and more and more like I was a walking house), it was becoming increasingly clear that this girl was quite comfortable in there and not really interested in coming out. My OB was on vacation so I ended up seeing one of the midwives. I might have been in tears at my last appointment before my due date when the midwife said that there hadn’t been any progress and mentioned the i-word (induction). (I was glad it was a midwife and not my OB, who I’m pretty sure wouldn’t have known what to do with me crying.) We scheduled a scan to make sure she was doing ok for the Monday, with the hope that I would go into labor over the weekend.
Despite wishing and trying to convince her to come out, I didn’t go into labor.
So Monday, we did the scan and she was doing well (strong heartbeat). The midwife said she would schedule the induction for Thursday, April 24, and was still hopeful that I would go into labor on my own before then. I was intimidated by the idea of being induced, but my sister-in-law reassured me that it wasn’t as scary as I had imagined.
I did have contractions for four days, but Ainsley wasn’t budging.
Thursday bright and early, we went to Halifax for the
eviction induction. They got me set up – even managed to find a decent vein for the IV lock (I have terribly small veins so IVs aren’t my favorite thing because the nurses often have to stick me a few times – The blood bank won’t even let me donate blood because of my veins, which is sadly because I’m O-, the universal donor.). At some point, the nurse asked what my birth plan was (especially whether I wanted an epidural). “It went out the window when we had to evict this girl. Bring on the epidural!”
The midwife arrived at 8am and broke my water, and at 9am they started the Pitocin. The contractions started about 20 minutes after that. I wanted to go as long as possible without the epidural because I knew it could slow down labor and I really wanted to get through it as quickly as possible. I got out of bed and tried walking around as much as I could tethered to the monitors and the IV lines. (The nurse who did our birth classes was a big proponent of using gravity to help the process along :-).) The hardest thing about the Pitocin was that the contractions were right on top of each other, making it difficult to catch my breath for the next one. When they checked my progress at 10:30, I asked for the epidural, which came around 11:30.
While the epidural definitely made me more comfortable and the contractions more bearable (Evan said my whole body just relaxed when it set in), it did slow things down considerably for hours. We tried shifting me in another position and my BP dropped and so did Ainsley’s heartrate. I knew something was wrong because all of the nurses were incredibly calm and there were many of them. Once they got me back in a position where my BP and Ainsley’s heartrate were both ok, I had to stay that way. Sadly, being in that position didn’t help me progress at all. By 5pm, the on-call obstetrician came in and said that if I didn’t progress in the next hour, she would have the staff prep me for a c-section.
That meant baby girl and mom had to talk. I told Ainsley that she had already stayed in there five days too long and she had to come out, that a c-section wasn’t an option. Not only did I want to meet this little person who was refusing to come, I didn’t want to try to be a mom to a 35-lb toddler for the next six weeks after having a c-section. Period.
Somehow that talk worked and by 9pm I started pushing.
At 9:43pm, Ainsley Grace was born weighing 7lbs 1oz and 20 inches long. Because she had swallowed some meconium in utero, I had to wait to hold her — but the moment I held her, she took my breath away. She was so beautiful and I couldn’t believe that we had lived any part of our lives without her.
Four and a half weeks later, we are all in love with this little girl.
She’s pretty frowny, but when she does smile, her whole face lights up. (Also, aren’t baby yawns the sweetest???)
Ephrem is a fabulous big brother. He loves to hold her, and probably would hold her all the time if we would let him. He loves to make sure her toys play their music for her. I’m learning to be home with both kids and easing into a new routine. It’s getting easier every day, though the days that I get more sleep are definitely more bearable, obviously.
After bringing Ephrem home, I didn’t imagine that I could be more blessed.
Somehow, it was possible.