A Birth Story - Alex Sheldon Blum

                I had a plan, you know. Or at the very least, an outline of one. I wasn’t so arrogant as to think I would actually make it to my c-section date, but I was fairly confident there would be a c-section.

                Let’s back up a bit. About two weeks ago, I cried wolf and Sheldon ended up taking me to the Barrhead hospital, and then on to the Sturgeon hospital, thinking baby was about to make an appearance. Turns out I was just dehydrated, laid in a hospital bed for a couple hours drinking a horrific amount of water, and went sheepishly but gratefully home.
                Braxton Hicks have always been a thorn in my side. Or a pain in my stomach, I suppose. But never a pain in my back. So in the wee hours of Tuesday morning, when I started to feel contraction like pains in my back, a little red flag went up. They were annoying, but not horrible, and I dozed off and on from about 1-3am. The contractions then came around to the front, still not horrible, not consistent, but enough to alert Sheldon that something may be up. He got up and went out to feed the cows in case they turned into something real. I drank water and decided to get up and move around, get packed, and see if that made them go away or get worse.
                Well! I basically stood up, got slammed with a contraction that took my breath away, and before I could make it into the kitchen to see if Sheldon was still in the house (he was not.), I got slammed with another. I try calling Sheldon. I try texting Sheldon. If anyone has ever tried to get a hold of that man before, you know the odds are never really in your favour. I continue to just try to pack, but moving around is triggering contractions to come even sooner than two minutes apart. I decide to call the Barrhead hospital to see if the doctor there would do my caesarean, as I don’t want to be in this much pain for any more seconds than I have to. The nurse can’t really legally give any advice as to which hospital to go to, but says of course they wouldn’t send me out to have a baby on the road, so I just have to decide where to go.
I call Sheldon’s mom and ask her to come over to watch the boys, and to fetch my husband from out back. The contractions are horrible. I am bouncing on the edge of the bed like it’s a birthing ball, trying to focus on breathing. I’m also kind of mad. I do not need to be in pain, I’m getting a c-section, my baby is breech! My body doesn’t care, and continues sending those nice waves of pain.
I hear Sheldon come in and he comes running to the bedroom wild eyed.
“We have to GO.” I grit out between clenched teeth, just before I yelp I’m about to throw up. He comes running with a garbage can, but I don’t actually throw up, but now I can add waves of nausea to the already awesome time I’m having. Sheldon quickly helps throw the last things together and I officially give up, knowing I am leaving behind half the stuff I planned to take, but no longer caring.
I wait for a contraction to pass, then make my way to our porch, where another overtakes me. Mid contraction I hear Sheldon ask, “Do I have time to make a coffee?”
Do I have time to make a coffee.
In all fairness, it is an instant coffee, but still, that question made me rather vehemently swear in front of his mother with a resounding NO.
I don’t make it to the vehicle before another contraction hits. My delusions of making it to St. Albert are fading fast. A lot of my delusions are fading fast.
The roads are snowy. I’m holding on to my bucket. Sheldon asks where we are going. My answer switches from St Albert to Barrhead pretty quickly as the next contraction is accompanied by the dreaded feeling of pressure. I hadn’t done a natural birth since Kadon was born, but that feeling is unmistakeable.
I am forever thankful that the sounds coming out of me as I was battling contractions and fighting not to push are not recorded. Suffice it to say that even during the excruciating pain, pressure, and fear, there was a tiny part of me that was aware that I was making noises like an angry bull. Sheldon could tell pretty clearly that I was pushing and trying desperately not to.
We made it to town. I saw the light turn red up ahead. I looked at Sheldon and growled, “Don’t you dare.”
“I’m just gonna slow down a bit to make sure no one is coming, I’m not stopping.”
Okay, deal.
Hospital. We are here. Sheldon comes to a stop at the emergency doors and jumps out to press the button. The nurse comes over the intercom and he tells her his wife is having a baby. She opens the inner doors, and then both of them turn towards me. Sheldon tells me they could hear me screaming through the closed doors behind him and the closed vehicle doors. The nurse realizes he means RIGHT THIS SECOND and a wheelchair appears at my door. I kind of vault myself out of the vehicle and off we go down the halls. I’m sputtering something about a breech baby and a c-section. I can’t actually quite sit in the wheelchair.
Sheldon wheels me into the room then turns and runs to go move the vehicle from the emergency exit. (Forever a rule follower)
I force myself to leap out of the wheelchair and crash down on the bed. The pain is unlike anything I’ve ever felt. I’m screaming. I’ve never been a screamer from pain. I’m trying to scrunch myself in the corner of the bed, I’m holding on to the rails for dear life. I later ask Sheldon why it feels like my head is bruised, he tells me I had my head wedged between the headboard and the side board, like I was trying to escape. I hear the nurse trying to ask me if my waters have broken. They hadn’t. They are trying to take off my clothes. Apparently, I am uncooperative, unresponsive, too busy screaming, lost in my own world of agonizing pain.
I can hear the nurse pleading with me not to push. The doctor isn’t here. I have no say. Sheldon heard my screaming and it must have given him super human speed, as he makes it back into the room to see a foot is making an entrance. A foot. Unbroken water membranes. And a cord. A trifecta of NOT. GOOD.
Sheldon has to come wrestle my leg down as the nursing staff realizes this baby does not care if there is a doctor, or that he’s breech, he’s coming, and he’s coming now. The nurse finds the other foot, and just like that, baby and my waters come flying out, and my contractions instantly stop. I see them grab my baby and take him over to where they are checking him. It is quiet. So quiet. I keep asking and asking if he’s okay. Sheldon later tells me no words were actually coming out of my mouth, and that’s why they didn’t answer. They are giving him some oxygen. They tell me his heart rate is coming up.
It has only been three minutes since I made it to the hospital bed. I collapsed on the bed at 5:20am. He was born at 5:23am.
I just lay there. Still and quiet in shell-shocked calm. The doctor arrives. He is not surprised it’s me. I have a reputation for drama, I guess. He checks the baby and is happy with his breathing. He turns his attention to me.
I am beyond done and do not want any attention. But doctors don’t really care if you don’t want to deliver the placenta. Apparently it is not optional. With my other two natural births, my placenta came out easy peasy lemon squeezy, as Eli would say. This time, it decided to be stubborn, because why not. It took half an hour of pushing on my stomach, and a shot of oxytocin, and finally the doctor just saying, “okay, it’s been too long, I’m just going to go in and get it.”
EXCELLENT. My favourite.
The relief of the placenta being out was short-lived, as then I had to be assessed and needed a few stitches. I may or may not have said some words and told the doctor to get out multiple times. Luckily for me, he ignored my muttered requests and took good care of me.
The baby boy (yes, yes, part of me was hoping the ultrasound tech was wrong and it would be a surprise girl) finally came over to me. So tiny, so sweet, reminding me of a smaller baby Silas. We already had the name picked out. Alex; a name in honour of a teeny 17 week baby we lost last year named Alec, and Sheldon; because I decided having five boys and none of them named after their amazing daddy just isn’t acceptable.
Little Alex is definitely the calm after a very angry storm. While I am enjoying an easier recovery since no surgery happened, I would not recommend a birth like that. I give it zero out of ten stars. We stayed in the hospital overnight to keep an eye on Alex’s leg, which seemed to have lost circulation in utero and was blue and purple at birth. It is recovering nicely, the x-ray showed no breaks, and the colour is looking better and better. I think I’ve only heard his tiny cry twice, and his brothers are over-the-moon in love with him; especially Eli.
So there’s the tale, folks. In a nutshell I guess you could say, it did not go well, but all’s well that ends well. 


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