THE DAY FINN was born is in the top three days of my life. There are very few things as life changing as experiencing labor and bringing a new life into the world, especially the first time you do it. I will preface this post by giving you fair warning that it is a long one. I love details and I want to remember all of them. On September 29th, 2014, after a week in Toronto with family and with Sam at work, I left to go back to Montreal since I was 37 weeks (full term) and needed to be at home and near our doctor in case I went into labour early. Since Finn was my first baby I heard from everyone some variation of: "don't worry, first babies never come early, you'll be going to 41 weeks with this one", ha! If only that were true...
I woke up early on the 29th to drop Sam off at work since we wouldn't see each other for two weeks. Maybe it was the pregnancy hormones or the stress of not knowing when the baby would come but I was really upset to leave him that morning. I went back to my moms and packed up my stuff to head back to Montreal. My dad had decided to join me for a few days to keep me company since Sam wouldn't be joining me in Montreal until I was 39 weeks. Dad and I leave around 11:30am, stopping at Burrito Boyz on the way out for an obligatory Toronto burrito and then we were off. We pulled into Montreal around 5:30pm and settle in for the night. I had a bit of an urge to nest so I assembled the stroller and did some tidying up around the house. We ate spicy sausage pizza and started watching Lord of the Rings while eating sour gum balls. Ten minutes into the movie, at 7:50pm, while watching Gandalf drive his cart into the shire, my water breaks. And I'm talking dramatically, out-of-the-movies water breaking! I ran to my bedroom and called Sam. He didn't answer since he was at work. STRESS. So I page him. (Yes, my husband still owns a pager). We had previously titled the pager "the labor pager", and agreed that I would only page him if I was in labor. He immediately calls me back with a "No way! Seriously!? Are you sure!?". I was sure. He tells me he will try and catch the last flight out of Porter Airlines and will be there as soon as possible and we hang up and I frantically begin to pack a hospital bag.
I look up from our bedroom door and my dad is standing in the kitchen and I say to him "Dad, we need to go to the hospital" and he goes "WHAT!?". (I can't help but laugh every time I think of this part of the story). "My water just broke and we need to go to the hospital" He immediately goes all "Steve Martin from Father of the Bride" on me (one of our favourite family movies) and starts pacing saying "What do I do? What do you need me to bring? To carry? I know! I'll get the car!" and he runs out the front door as I gather everything that needs to come to the hospital. Even though you could see the Royal Victoria Hospital from our house he proceeded to run three red lights to get us there, and we made it, truly, in record time!
I walk into the labour and delivery ward and start talking with the nurse there. I'm sure I sound frantic while I am saying "My water broke and I need to confirm that it is broken because my husband is in Toronto and I need him here if this baby is coming!". She was very sweet and led me to a triage room where she checked me and confirmed that yes, in fact, my water had broken and this baby was coming soon! Of course the one thing I forgot to pack was a phone charger so I am texting Sam with 4% battery left, freaking out trying to find out whether he made his flight.
Because my water broke and I was only 1cm dilated and 70% effaced with no contractions they knew they were going to put me on pitocin. I was adamant about waiting until 11 when Sam should be there so that I wouldn't have to go through any labour without him or worse, have the baby without him there. (Sometimes those drugs make peoples bodies move things along quickly!). Around 10:15pm, I still had no contractions and they decided to move me into my own labouring room so that when they administered the pitocin I wouldn't need to do any further transitions. That wonderful husband of mine strolled into the room at 10:30pm and I can honestly say there are few moments in my life that I had a greater sigh of relief than that one! It's also quite amazing that from the moment he got the call to the moment he walked in the room it was 2.5 hours, thank you Porter! Because Sam hadn't eaten all day and we knew it was going to be a long night he ventured out to Pita Pit for a quick bite while the nurses got my pitocin drip ready. By 11:10 the contractions were every 40 seconds and lasted 40 seconds and I was texting Sam "SOS" texts to get back asap. (His brothers had popped into pita pit while he ordered to say hi and celebrate the baby coming). He made it back in record time and was there to help me through my contractions. The only thing that helped me was leaning over a table and counting up and down throughout the contractions (the worst part peaked at 20 seconds) while Sam squeezed my hips together. The only pain I really felt was my hip bones moving and so the only point I felt relief was when he was squeezing them back together as hard as he could.
I continued experiencing these contractions for about 3 hours until they checked me again and I had only dilated to three centimeters. I remember my sweet nurse, Genvieve, asking me at this point "Are you ready to sleep?" and I was ready, so we requested the epidural which came about 40 minutes later. That thing was dreamy, like a baby angel kissing your uterus. Once I had the epidural and wasn't in pain anymore Sam took a nap and I rested for about an hour thinking about the baby, preparing myself for what was going to come and then eventually I fell asleep for an hour.
About an hour later I woke up in a lot of pain. My nurse came in and I told her "it's not working, the epidural... it stopped working". She asked me if I felt pain or pressure (keep in mind that 2 hours before this I was only 3cm dilated). I responded with "Pressure. I'm not sure this baby knows where they're coming out of." (That may be graphic, but that is what it feels like. Ha!) So she pages the resident on call to check how dilated I am so they can determine when to call my doctor to come in. The resident checked and I was 9cm! She made a comment to the effect of, "Are you sure this is your first baby? Things almost never advance this quickly!". Obviously I was sure, and I was also sure that I hadn't felt pressure or pain like that before.
I should tell you a bit about my doctor. Doctor Benjamin was a dream and I love her. She delivered my husband and his two brothers at the same hospital I delivered Finn, and she pretty much guarantees to be at your delivery. She is an old school doctor who leaves herself on call to her patients 24/7 and I felt so comfortable with her. She was incredibly warm and kind during all our appointments and trusting her to deliver my baby safely was never an issue.
It took Doctor B about 40 minutes to get to the hospital, get all scrubbed up and have me and the room ready for delivery. Those were arguably the longest 40 minutes of my life since I was laying on the bed so anxious to meet this baby and feeling all the pressure you can imagine but waiting to push. Once I was given the go ahead to push, I was so determined and ready to get that baby out. There is so much relief in finally being able to push, you feel like you actually get to do something about all the pain and pressure you are feeling. I began to push and then had to be put on oxygen in between contractions because Finn's heart rate was dipping during contractions. Once he was born we realized that the umbilical cord was all kinked which explained the dips.
I pushed for 24 minutes and at 6:49am my sweet boy was born weighing 7lbs 8oz and 20 inches long. Sam announced "it's a boy!" as they placed him on my chest. He only cried for a moment and then lay there on my chest looking around, looking right at me and taking in all of his surroundings. He was so curious and observant right from the moment he was born. I couldn't get over how perfect he was and how much he looked like his daddy. His face was so squishy and his eyes puffy and he had a little cone head. What a miracle to create a human and have them grow from smaller than a sesame seed to a full grown baby! He took to me right away and nursed for 30 minutes straight... he always has had an appetite! The following day and night at the hospital were so special for us. We had lots of family and friends in to visit and meet Finn. He slept for a few hours at a time over night giving us a rest and he never cried for more than 30 seconds and stayed like that until he was probably 6 or 7 months old.
I loved spending that night watching him sleep, his little hands exploring his surroundings and moving onto his face with his fingers spread. I loved having his little body sleep on my chest and watching his little breaths make his chest and stomach rise and fall. I loved how he would open his eyes wide and look around and how he immediately took to both his daddy and I.
I feel so blessed and am so proud to be able to be his mum.