Heather Bay Berry
I've enjoyed reading as many birth stories as possible, to help me prepare for my own delivery and recovery afterwards, and I'm so happy to now share my own. At 8 days, my sweet angel has given me so much to share, these words barely describe the gift we have been so blessed with.
My pregnancy was the most enjoyable experience of my life, not only because I wasn't at all sick with nausea, but because I felt well, happy and peaceful all throughout the 41 weeks. And because I'm tall and fairly thin, I carried my baby high and not very far outwards. No stretch marks, no varicose veins, no aches and pains, whatsoever.
My beloved husband Andy and I planned to get pregnant as soon as possible after having two miscarriages. Little did we know we could be so blessed one month after such an awful loss. As it was so soon after a loss, we were sent for an ultrasound at 5 weeks, and sure enough, a little heartbeat appeared. Though we were elated, we didn't hold our breath and just prayed for the best. My LMP was January 26, so our due date of October 29 pegged us for a cute little "pumpkin baby."
Weeks passed and all seemed too good, as I mentioned before, no nausea. At about the 16 week mark, we had another ultrasound of our little "jellybean" and were absolutely thrilled to see a little baby, and a hand waving a "I'm doing fine in here" and a healthy and strong heartbeating.
At every doctors visit, my weight slowly increased, my blood pressure remained absolutely stable, baby's heartbeat varied between 130 and 150 and she was getting bigger, right on schedule. Yes, "she" was determined during our last ultrasound at the 21 week mark, after much begging. The ultrasound technician was so quick to determine the sex, yet I was so willing to accept the result. Funny how we believe what we want - and as a philosopher's wife, I have been trained to question everything.
My husband and I were ready to be parents, and thought taking a prenatal class would surely help us with the basic fundamentals of changing a diaper in the wee hours of the night, soothing a colicky baby, breastfeeding for the first time, and many more firsts for us. Lynne, Our prenatal instructor was just wonderful, she was very together and had some basic and realistic solutions to what was probably old hat to her. We also met some really wonderful people in the class, and hope to get back together for a reunion when all the little ones have all arrived.
I worked at the bookstore for the entire duration of my pregnancy, and always thought of my baby as my little assistant. She was the best little helper!
Nine months went by almost too quickly, but I was anxious to meet this beautiful person that gave me such great happiness. Though, because I'm so tall, people who even noticed I was pregnant couldn't believe I was already nine months, rather than 5 or 6.
Baby's October 29 due date came and went, and my doctor agreed to induce after one week - Yippee. On Thursday November 5, the seventh day, the prostaglandin gel was inserted at my cervix to start the dilation and contractions. The gel helped my cervix to dilate only one centimeter more than the one centimeter I had already dilated on my own, so the following day we tried the gel again. If contractions were not strong by 8 am the next morning, Saturday, I was going to be given pitocin to definitely bring on labor.
Early Saturday morning, no contractions, my husband and I went in to the hospital to have our baby. We were put in a beautiful birthing room, given the kindest nurse, Kathy, and the whole day to labor in the ambience of our favourite music and dim lighting. The nurse started the pitocin drip as soon as my doctor okayed it, around 11 am, and though I really couldn't feel much other than a little vibration, contractions began. Shortly afterwards, my doctor broke my water. I remember thinking that this meant there really was no turning back. The level of pitocin started at 2 and ranges up to around 24 by the time you should be ready to deliver. This level was increased by 2 every 30 minutes.
Many family members came to visit, most stayed, coming and going as the day wore on. By late afternoon, I think the pitocin was up to about 16, I started to feel stronger "vibrations" and wanted to try the whirlpool out to relax in the water, especially if the contractions were to get more painful. And they did. Thankfully, my nurse Kathy and my husband were there to help me get through the contractions by reminding me how to breath, to relax and know that they would be over by a count of around 20.
By early evening, around 5 pm, I decided I'd better get the epidural before the pain became unmanageable. The doctor who inserted the catheter was just so sweet, and he inserted the catheter with such precision that I felt absolutely no pain (people keep swearing about the great pain of an epidural). After most of the family left for the evening to take in a movie, some dinner and a break, I had a very peaceful sleep. Even Kathy, my most wonderful nurse, had to go home to her beloved husband and three children.
At around 11 pm, The level of pitocin was up to about 22 by the time I started to feel strong vibrations in my left leg, as well as uncontrollable shivers. The nurse I called, Annalee, came in and increased the epidural and the pitocin. It didn't seem to help much but I hung in and hoped it would subside. At around 12am, my husband called Annalee and explained that I still had the same pain and obviously the shivers. She called in the new anesthetist and they discussed the need for reinserting the catheter. As it turned out, I was dilated far enough and it was time to push.
Everyone kept asking if I felt the need to push, and I didn't. Apparently it was time, though. In what seemed like a brief moment in time, the transition from having strong contractions to the time to push came. This was a moment of truth. My doctor, Kevin Leung, the resident doctor, Dr. Zaltar, the attending OB/GYN, my nurse Annalee, another nurse, my husband and his mother (who is also a nurse) were all beside my bed telling me to push with each contraction, breath slowly afterwards and "good, good, good."
With each contraction, I pushed for about 3 to 4 reps. of 10 seconds, and during that time, all the pain went away. When the contractions stopped, the pain stopped too. I pushed for what seemed like only 20 minutes, and what turned out to be an hour.
At 1:20 am, my beautiful angel Heather Bay Berry was born, weighing 8lbs., 11ozs. and measuring 20.5 inches long. From that moment on, nothing ever seemed more important than being with her in her precious world. As I sit here, trying to type while I hold this warm, content and peacefully dreaming baby in my arms, I wonder what could have ever mattered as much as her.
The only complaint I have is of those obnoxious people who insisted on telling me horror stories while I was pregnant.
Much happiness to everyone.