Lola was born on Friday July 5th - the first day of the Calgary Stampede 2019. However, early signs of labour started on Thursday when I woke up with bleeding. I already had an appointment with my doctor in the afternoon, but was seen earlier. Dr. Karlos at Glenmore Maternity
checked me out and said she was confident she would see me the next day at the hospital - and she wasn’t wrong. My aunt had taken me to the doctors as Samir had a job interview (and got said job!). We came home, I bounced on my ball, and then we decided to head to the mall for a walk.
I remember that evening, Samir and I ran errands and enjoyed our last child-free meal at the super fancy restaurant - Quiznos. When we got home I tried to relax but the cramping was starting. I bounced a bit on my ball until we went to bed. I attempted sleep, however I was up every hour or so with what I now know were contractions while Samir slept peacefully beside me.
I woke Samir up at 530 am and instructed him to go get McDonald’s breakfast because I wanted to be at the hospital by 7am. It was go time! I savoured that McDonald’s breakfast, had a shower, and we were out the door. The whole way to the hospital was under construction and I just wanted to cry every time we hit a bump. Samir was so good at trying to keep me calm and focused. I wish I could tell you what the timing of my contractions were but I could not figure out how to time them. All I knew was I was in pain and contractions were not what I had expected.
When we arrived at the hospital I was so scared and anxious for what was about to happen to me. I remember a woman and her family in front of me in the line at the L&D reception desk (I later found out they had a scheduled c-section) and she kindly let me go in front of them. I must have looked as good as my insides felt! I was taken back to triage and this is where I unintentionally spent the majority of my labour.
I was checked and was only 3 cm dilated. The doctor on call at the time suggested I receive morphine for the pain and head home to labour in comfort - HA! Before they could administer the morphine, Lola needed to be monitored to make sure was she ok. The morphine would not only send me to Snoozeville but her as well. I did make sure to mention that I was Group B Strep positive so that we could get the antibiotics going. I was assured we had plenty of time for the two rounds we needed. Thank God Lola was stubborn as I needed to be hooked up the monitor for over an hour because at the hour mark I was ripping off the monitor and throwing up my breakfast! As if that wasn’t pleasant enough, all of a sudden I REALLY needed to use the washroom.
I hobbled myself to the bathroom across the hall and outside the nurses station. This is where the most embarrassing part of my whole birth story comes in. For any woman who has been pregnant and laboured you know your body tries to expel everything before the big show. Well, this is what was happening. Between contractions, I was on the toilet just trying not to die. When it was over, I tried hard to clean myself up and stand up but all of a sudden I couldn’t! My contractions really ramped up and were coming one after another. I started to panic! How do I get myself out of here? Why did NO ONE prepare me for the possibility of this? Mid internal freak out I hear a gentle knock at the door and my husband say ‘Mallory, are you ok in there?’ As he rattles the door handle trying to come in and check on me. I instinctively yelled out "NO! No! Don’t come in! Get a nurse! Get a nurse!". For some reason I did not want my husband to see me like this. I look back now and wonder what my reasoning was because it was only a few short hours later, he would see SO MUCH more than that!
Needless to say I make it back to my triage bed with some help by a less than impressed nurse. As I am laying there in misery, the head nurse comes in to check on me and I can tell by her face she is a bit shocked to see what is happening. I mean one quick glance around the room and you can see things have really progressed! I ask her if I am able to get some pain medication now as I am really starting to want it. At this point, I am still under the impression that I will be getting morphine and heading home - silly me! She helps me try and get comfortable and then heads out of the room - except she doesn’t fully close the door behind her. This is when I hear her on the phone with my doctor explaining she thinks I have really progressed and is wondering what she should do with me AS THERE ARE NO MORE L&D BEDS AVAILABLE. Cue yet another internal freak out. What do you mean there’s nowhere to put me? I hear her suggest the shower.
This lovely gentle nurse that I know I can’t take my anger out on, comes into the room and enthusiastically says “good news! We’re going to put you in the shower” as if I don’t already know this is a ploy to stall getting me a room. We head back there and another nurse wheels in the laughing gas and explains to Samir how to help me inhale with every contraction. Samir takes this job seriously and within what feels like 10 minutes (I am not sure of the timing of everything) I am SO HIGH but also still feeling everything. It was such a trip. While I am in the shower my aunt, who is my second coach shows up. When we thought we were getting morphine and heading home, I told her to take her time and meet me at home. I didn’t know that I would be staying at the hospital. My doctor comes in to visit me in the shower. She lets me know she knows I have been asking for pain medication but she tells me there’s no where that she can safely give this to me (because there aren’t any beds). I just nodded my head because what else was I supposed to do? I do distinctly remember thinking “Mallory Dr. Karlos is too nice for you to be mean to her about not being able to get pain medication”. Who thinks like that during labour?!
At this point I am definitely in active labour yet I STILL did not realize this. All I kept thinking was what the actual hell was real labour going to be if this wasn’t it - remember my cervix hadn’t been checked by my doctor since I was put on a monitor. The three of us slowly make it back to my triage room - having to stop multiple times during contractions. When I am back in the bed all I could do is shut my eyes and breathe through everything.
The head nurse comes in back in to check on me (honestly she was incredibly sweet). She offers me some encouragement and lets me know my doctor will be in shortly. Dr. Karlos comes in, checks me, and I am at 8 CM!!!!! At that point it was a flurry in the triage room to get me to a L&D room. I remember I was laying on my side, and a nurse needed to put an IV in to start my antibiotics, so I just lifted my arm in the air and in went the IV. Someone else was throwing blankets over me (I was naked and wasn’t going to be able to walk over to my room) as they prepared to wheel me across the unit. I vividly remember asking Dr. Karlos if I was in transitional labour as I remember learning that was the most intense part of labour from our AHS Birth & Babies class. She just looked at me and said “No! You’re past that! You’re almost ready to push!”. I inquired about an epidural again and there was just no more time. So there I was, about to bring Lola into this world without an epidural.
Before Lola was born I suffered with some anxiety through my pregnancy. In order to keep that anxiety in check, I didn’t really make a solid birth plan because I didn’t want to have to stress about it if it didn’t go my way. Everyone asked me about it as the time came close and closer to having Lola. I always answered “I want to go into the hospital pregnant and leave with a healthy baby in my arms. Oh! And I want an epidural”. Literally the ONLY thing I planned, I was now being told I was not going to get. But miraculously, I was a touch too occupied to even care!
We make it into the L&D room and it’s bright with a window. I notice the comfy chair and feel sad for Samir that he didn’t get to sit in that all day (again who am I? Why am I so nice when trying to push a baby out of my vagina?!). Then I realize there is a nurse in here - like to stay with me. This nurse is nothing like the head nurse in triage! She is almost like a drill sergeant, but in a good way if that makes sense? I looked at her and told her I was so tired and she calmly and sternly said ‘you can’t be tired. You have no choice now but to push this baby out’. She was so matter of fact that I just shut up and followed her direction. This was also the last time I had my eyes open for anything other than to look at my aunt and Samir until I met Lola.
My water hadn’t yet broken so we were preparing for it to be broken by the doctor. As they were setting everything up and explaining how it would happen, I felt it break. I just whispered ‘water’ and Samir thought I was asking for something to drink. Then I said it again and he got the point! There ended up being meconium in my water which prompted the need for the NICU team to be on call. I was checked one more time and I was at 9.5cm.
It amazes me how instinctual this whole process was for me. I was the one who told the nurses I needed to push. The urge was overwhelming! My body knew what it needed to do and it was yelling at me to do it. I started on my back but quickly wanted to move to kneeling and leaning against the bed that had been elevated for me. I stayed in this position until I had to return to my back for delivery. The stern delivery nurse leaned in and told me to listen to her and the doctor because it was very important I listen to their direction. This came in handy as Lola got her right shoulder stuck on my pelvic bone during delivery (resulting in a broken collar bone). Both Samir and my aunt said I was pushing so hard I turned purple with every go. All I could think about was that I needed Lola out sooner than later because I was running out of steam! The horror stories of two hours of pushing were playing in my mind and I knew I wouldn’t be able to do that. Luckily I pushed for only 45 minutes…
Then the moment came! She was here! I still had my eyes closed so I didn’t realize that Samir didn’t even get to cut the cord because Lola was rushed to over to the NICU team to be examined. I was told later that Samir and my aunt exchanged worried looks as there wasn’t any crying coming from Lola. Everything was ok because she soon let out a little wail and the whole room relaxed. They finally placed her on my chest and everything was right in the world. I also demanded that someone take a picture and show me because I couldn’t see her face! My little girl was here!
We arrived at the Rockyveiw General Hospital at 7am, Lola was in my arms at 112pm, and our lives have never been the same.
Happy 1st birthday sweet girl!