Samuel’s Birth Story (Pandemic Edition)

Besides the obvious, the pandemic has had a lot of other implications whether it be regarding financials, mental health or just inconvenience. Women who are or have been pregnant in 2020 have experienced unprecedented challenges. It is hard for all pregnant ladies but my heart really goes out to all the first time moms who are missing out on things like on baby showers, prenatal yoga and birthing classes.. Giving birth for the first time (or second or tenth!) is stressful and scary, but giving birth potentially alone without your spouse or support person during a pandemic is next level! If you are pregnant or a new mom, I hope my story at least makes you feel like you’re not alone.

Ok, now I‘ll jump into my story! I was 39 + 4 days pregnant when labour began. I was actually supposed to go to a “drive-by” birthday party for my cousin’s son, to which I RSVP-ed a few weeks prior “I will come if I’m not in labour.” I definitely did not think I actually WOULD be in labour. Clara came at 40+6 (one day before induction day) so I really thought I’d make it to at least my due date (May 17)!

Around 4am, I was awoken by what felt and sounded like a POP! I immediately thought it was my waters breaking and I ran to the bathroom. No water came out, but I did start to feel some discomfort (contractions) within a few mins. The contractions were very mild and I could sleep through them. When I got up around 8am, my contractions were about 30 minutes apart, they were more painful, but manageable.

My mom had already moved in (as this was when Ontario was in a “lockdown” state and we weren’t supposed to see anyone outside our immediate household, so my mom moved in for a few months). So because my mom was there (thank God) she was able to watch Clara while I showered, blowdried my hair and did my makeup. In case I ended up going to the hospital, I wanted to feel ready! Eric asked me if I wanted him to come home, but I told him not to, as I experienced prodromal labour with Clara for THREE DAYS before she came. With the chance of his job shutting down due to COVID at any moment, I didn’t want him to miss work unnecessarily.

I had contractions pretty consistently all day, but never more than 30 mins apart. Luckily I had a midwife appointment that evening, so I was happy I’d be able to get checked out. By the way I did NOT go to my cousin’s son’s birthday party – LOL! Much to my surprise, the midwife told me I was approximately 4-5 cm dilated. I couldn’t believe it!! When I was admitted to the Hospital with Clara (after my water breaking), I was only 1.5 cm dilated. I had to pace around the Hospital and reach 4cm before I could get an epidural. I was so excited! The fact that I was so far along basically meant I could get an epi whenever I wanted!

I went home, had dinner and hopped into the bath to ease the contractions, which were about 10 minutes apart at this point. Since second babies tend to come quicker, and the pain was getting pretty bad, I decided to give the midwife a call around 9pm. Given that I was 5cm around 6pm, she advised me to come meet her at the Hospital. It was time!!

I should also mention that from 8am until I gave birth I was taking 3 pellets of callophylum and 3 pellets of arnica every 3 hours (approximately) which were given to me by my Naturopath. I also was dinking 3 cups of Raspberry Leaf tea from 37 weeks onward. Callophylum is supposed to soften your cervix and Arnica, which is used for bleeding, bruising, swelling apparently reduces exhaustion as tiredness can make contractions weak or ineffective. I took every supplement I could because I was fully preparing to give birth in my bed if the Hospitals were overrun with COVID patients, and I wanted to do everything possible to make labour smooth. I cant say if these did anything and they say second babies come easier, but my labour with Samuel was soooo much easier than my first! Honestly, while IN LABOUR I told Eric I would be ok to have a third baby – LOL!

When I got to the Hospital around midnight, we were told to bring everything with us since we would not be allowed to go back to our cars (due to COVID). We were given masks and asked to sanitize upon entry. When I got to Labour and Delivery, I checked in with a nurse. There was plexiglass in front of her, we both had masks on, and I was in a fair bit of pain, so as you can imagine… I was having a hard time understanding and comprehending what she was saying and what was going on. Eventually, I was checked in and admitted into the birthing room straight away. My midwife checked me and I was already 7cm – yipee! She asked me if I wanted an epidural, to which the answer was YA PLEASE! And she had that organized fairly quickly. The Anesthesiologist was super nice (a lot nicer than the one I had with Clara). He explained everything as he went along. I have a very tricky back, my vertebrae are apparently very close together, which he explained makes things harder. An epidural, which usually takes about 15-20 mins, takes about 50 mins to do on me. When it took an hour for my to get my epi with Clara, I didn’t realize my back was the problem, I thought the Anesthesiologist just wasn’t very good,!! which made me more nervous. I was grateful this time to actually KNOW what was going on and why it took so long when it shouldn’t normally take that long.

For some reason, my contractions never got as bad as they did with Clara, even though I made it 2-3 more cm further with Samuel before getting the epidural. I actually wonder if I could have done it without medication, and will definitely strongly consider not getting an Epi if we have a third baby. Although Eric says a third is out of the question! LOL we’ll see..

Once the epidural was in, I was pretty much pain free. Eric was pretty much sleeping the whole time since it was about 1am, and I just played on my phone until it was time to meet Samuel. I actually posted an instagram page like 5 mins before it came time to start pushing – LOL! I only had the epidural for about 2 hours before my midwife said I was at 10cm. I didn’t have the urge to push yet (like I had with Clara, prior to me being 10 cm), so my midwife said we could wait a little bit longer. She waited about 20 mins, and then it was time for him to come out. It took about 23 minutes of pushing for him to make an appearance. I felt Samuel come out, just as I did with Clara, this is referred to as “the ring of fire” (that name has a pleasant ring to it, doesn’t it?) But it was no where near as bad since he came out in 20 mins, and Clara took around an hour of pushing. The epidural was also turned off near the end of my labour with Clara due to my not feeling the contractions well enough to push at the right time, so this time I was so thankful that the epidural got to stay turned on the whole time. It was NOT nice to watch his arms move back and forth and feel the pain of the doctor stitching me up after having Clara, so it was appreciated to not feel that with Samuel!

And there you have it, my little chunky guy, weighing a whopping 9 lbs, 11 oz, was here! I couldn’t see him at first because I was holding him quite low while my midwife did my stitches. Since I could not see Sam’s face, I kept asking Eric to describe him – “Is he cute??” “Does he look like Clara?” were of course the burning questions! When I finally got to see him, I could not BELIEVE how much he looked like his older sister. He also latched on right away – the most perfect (not so little) newborn!

After he was born, Sam and I did skin to skin for a little bit, he nursed, and then the Midwife took his measurements. I cried for my lady bits when they told me his weight. I had no issues getting up to go to the washroom, so the epidural wore off quickly. The midwife told me I could go home if I wanted to. She knew I was anxious to get out of the hospital because of COVID, but I couldn’t believe she let me go home literally TWO HOURS after giving birth! I didn’t get any cute hospital photos (i.e., in the glass bassinet) since it was such a quick experience, and it was dark out so lighting wasn’t very good. Sam came just before 3:30am and we left around 6am. Anywhas, I was super happy to get out of there! We left the Hospital so fast, we didn’t even have a name for him!

We had a few names but I actually had intended to name him Nicholas, as this was my favourite name for years! I had second thoughts a few days before he was born, one being that we have soooo many girlfriends with the nickname Nikki so it would be super weird if we ever nicknamed Nicholas as Nicky. I still loved the name, but I wanted to really discuss it with Eric before baby was born.

Eric had been working late a lot the weeks before he came, so we didn’t see each other very much. We were planning to firmly pick a name that weekend, but we never got to that as Samuel was born on the Friday! We ended up both agreeing Samuel was the best name, but it took me at least a month after he was here to get used to it! I don’t regret his name at all, but in the beginning, I definitely kept calling him every name but Samuel – LOL

So, to make a long story very short.. I woke up Thursday morning with some pain. It got progressively worse throughout the day, but not terrible. Clara went to bed around 8:30/9pm. The pain got worse, we went to the hospital. Samuel was born. We got breakfast at Tim Hortons on the way home around 6am. Clara woke up around 8am to a new baby brother. The End!

If you made it to the end of this, thank you so much for reading! If you are a fellow recent mother during this time, or are currently pregnant, I hope that you were relate and know you are not alone. I went into this so worried but I ended up having a better birthing experience than I had with my first pregnancy. We have had some postpartum struggles, mainly with breastfeeding, which I think I will do a separate post on (just in case it could potentially benefit from my experience), but overall we are doing very well! The pandemic is not over yet, but cases are less and less. We feel comfortable seeing family now, as long as everyone washes their hands before touching Sam, and anyone that works with the public has been wearing a mask. These are unprecedented times, but we are working through them!

Thank you for reading!

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