I went to see the obstetrician/gynaecologist for my six week postpartum visit today. I actually mis-counted and it was really a seven week postpartum visit but I don’t think there’s a hard and fast six week rule.
Unfortunately my blood pressure is still high so I will continue taking medication for the next while. I’ll check in with my family doctor soon and hopefully as more time passes, she and I will be able to get my blood pressure back to normal. If this ends up being the new normal I’ll probably have to make dietary changes and exercise more consistently.
Other than the blood pressure, everything else seems to be fine and dandy. I felt very strange about this final visit to the doctor who delivered my babies. My time as his patient is over as is my childbearing stage of life. Saying goodbye to him was like saying goodbye to a big part of me. The end of an era, if you will.
I know it would be dangerous for me to jeopardize my health by being pregnant again, but it still feels so harsh to admit that I’m done. Despite the lack of sleep, I love the baby stage and I know how blessed I am to have experienced it three times with my three great boys. I feel a strange sense of loss and melancholia that I think a lot of women experience after the last baby.
I wrote out the birth story and thought this would be an appropriate time to share it. I know some people love birth stories and others do not. This is as much for my records as it is for those that geek out about all things birth and baby related. Feel free to skip on by if you’re not interested but also, don’t worry, because I kept it fairly clean.
I apologize for the formatting, I can’t seem to get my blog posts looking nice when I use my mobile device.
Birth Story: May 26, 2015
Jason and I arrived at the hospital at 7:45 in the morning and I went inside to let them know we were there; Jason waited outside for Leanne, the doula. We were all settled into the labour room shortly after 8am. I changed into the gown, went to the bathroom, and was hooked up to antibiotics shortly after 9am.
I was surprised that I didn’t have my water broken right away, like the last two times I was induced. Doctor P said I needed antibiotics in me first because I tested positive for strep B. Doctor P and his resident Catherine were there briefly and said they would come back in four hours (after a full round of antibiotics) to break my water.
While the antibiotics dripped into my IV, I enjoyed talking to Nurse Karen and Doula Leanne. I was having minor cramps at this point but it was barely enough pain to cause discomfort.
My antibiotics were replenished around 1:15-ish and the doctor and his student were back around 1:30. The med student checked my cervix and said I was 3-4 cm dilated. Then doctor P used the sterile hook to break the water and the Pitocin was turned on. Both the exam to check the cervix and the breaking of the waters was extremely uncomfortable and rather painful. Doctor P said he would be back in a few hours to check my progress.
After about ten minutes, contractions started coming quickly. I had been having Braxton Hicks contractions for months so the difference between those and actual labour seemed pretty obvious. Nurse Karen seemed satisfied that labour was starting up and it was already what they referred to as active labour. The contractions seemed to last for 30-45 seconds at this point and were coming every two minutes. I knew it was ‘serious’ because I didn’t feel like having conversations anymore. Jason and Leanne sat beside me, on either side. I squeezed Jason’s hand during every contraction and Leanne was rubbing my right leg.
Around 2:30-ish, I broke down and asked Leanne to fetch the nurse to see if I could try some gas. I wasn’t exactly clear about what the gas was but I remember I tried it out during my second labour. At this point, the labour was extremely painful and beginning to feel unmanageable. The nurse came in and helped set up the gas and said, “It doesn’t actually help much with pain but it’ll give you something to do, something to concentrate on.” And she was right, it didn’t do much for the pain, but it did help distract me a bit.
Around 3pm, I felt like I needed to push. I didn’t think enough time had passed and thought I might be mistaking the feeling. But the urge increased and the pain was unbearable and I screaming and crying. I was very surprised because I wasn’t as vocal in my other labours. I also wondered why the nurse or doctor wasn’t coming to check. Just as I was about to ask Leanne to go get the nurse, she came through the door and said, “Are you pushing?!” Then she ran back out and a few seconds later a bunch of people poured into the room, including the doctor.
I was just holding onto Jason and Leanne and keeping my eyes closed and breathing the laughing gas and trying to do what the doctor was saying. He was telling me not to push so I tried my best not to push. I felt him clip something, which I later saw was a little length of the cord. The cord had been wrapped around the baby’s neck and he cut part of it off and tossed it aside. After that, I was able to push and once baby’s head was out, he kind of slithered the rest of the way.
I saw him get taken over to the little baby work-station and he was purple and slimy and small. Leanne tried to take a picture but they told her no pictures because they had to work on him to get him breathing. I’m not sure how long they worked to get him breathing, but they eventually did, thankfully. They brought him over to me for a few seconds so I could see his tiny beautiful face and then they whisked him off to NICU.
After the baby was taken away, the doctor stood around for awhile as we were waiting for the placenta to come out. He didn’t seem happy with how long it was taking so after while, he did a few tugs and pushed on my abdomen. It was a tad uncomfortable but it came out fine and in one piece. Nurse Karen showed me where the doctor had punctured the amniotic sac with the sterile hook and then she said I could touch the placenta if I wanted. Sure, why not? I like gross goopy things.
The doctor was holding pressure to me after the placenta came out because there were two small tears and he wanted to see if I was going to need a stitch or two. The tear at the bottom stopped bleeding but he determined that the little tear at the top need some help. He numbed me with a shot of something and put in a single stitch. The whole placenta delivery removal and stitch procedure made me very anxious and nervous and I was trying very hard not to freak out. The doctor kept reminding me to stay calm and it would soon be over and done. It was a huge relief when it was all finished.
Then I made everyone pose for pictures because I don’t let anyone get away that easy.
The pictures were taken with a ‘real’ camera and uploaded to my computer. Then my computer died so I can’t actually post any fun labour room pictures.
It didn’t really register until later that my baby wasn’t with me. Leanne left around 4:30 (I think) and I recovered for awhile and then ate the supper they brought me. And then I was wheeled to the NICU with Jason so we could see our baby. This was about three hours after he was born. I didn’t expect him to be attached to so many wires, but he was still incredibly adorable.
Soon I will write about the great experience I had with Doula Leanne.