In 2012 I had the privilege of welcoming into the world the babies of three close friends. (You read Bethany's birth story here and Stephanie's may just be on the way. My story is here.) With Sabrina, I use the word close figuratively, because she is near and dear to my heart, but at the time of her precious little daughter's birth, her and her husband were living in on the other side of our nation in British Colombia. It was hard to have such distance between us but she was amazing with updating me on every detail on the phone.
Here is her story.
It was 5am on Friday, July 20th, 2012 when I woke up to my water breaking. I wasn’t sure at first what was happening because it kind of felt like I was wetting the bed but I couldn’t stop it! I was 38 weeks and 1 day into my pregnancy. Although I figured I would have the baby early, since it is common in my family to go into labour early (with the water breaking first, too!) it was still a shock to me what was really happening! I woke my husband Mike up (he JUMPED out of bed) and he called our midwife Ann immediately. Since I wasn’t feeling any contractions at that point, Ann told us to wait until contractions were starting and slightly strong and close together before going to the hospital. She advised us to get as much rest as possible up to that point and to stay at home as long as we could. We were both too excited to go back to sleep at that point, so since I was feeling so great still, I took a shower while Mike gathered the rest of the things we needed and tidied our apartment a little since we would be gone a few days and bringing baby home! While I was in the shower my lower back started to ache a bit… but I really thought nothing of it, waiting for what I thought contractions would feel like in my belly. I got out of the shower at about 5:30 and started to make the calls to our family members letting them know I was going to be having our baby sometime that day! During this time Mike put together a “labour playlist” on our iPad of instrumental, peaceful worship music. (I was VERY thankful for this!) When I talked to my mom and sister, I realized I was starting to have contractions… but in my back, like their labours. (I did not even know of back labour until this point.. I guess I was just expecting it to feel totally different.) Anyways, around 6:30am after all the family members were called, our hospital bags were finished being packed and zipped up, apartment cleaned, my contractions were about a minute long and five minutes apart- time to go to the hospital! I grabbed my “early laboring smoothies” I had made the day before (perfect timing!) and off we went.
We got to the Langley Memorial hospital close to 7am and our midwife Ann was already there since she had just delivered another baby earlier that morning. Ann got me into a private room (the same one my niece Liberty was born in 8 months earlier!) and checked to see my progress. I was 2cm dialated at that point. We went downstairs to check into the hospital (admittance opened at 7) and Mike grabbed our things from the car, knowing we were not going back home at this point!:) I remember waiting in the hospital lobby for Mike while the contractions were getting stronger—all I wanted was my husband to lean on and for him to tell me I was doing great. He was such a huge support to me already that morning in early labour, I did not want to face one minute of it without him!
When we got back to the maternity floor, we settled into our room (turned the music on, laid out my favourite blanket from my childhood on the bed and put my extra smoothie mix in the hospital fridge) and started getting comfortable. I remember just trying to remain calm, relaxed and laid back and do the breathing techniques we had learned just one week earlier at our Lamaze class the best I could during my every increasing contractions. Our midwife, Ann, told us we should start walking up and down the halls to get things going as she figured we would be there for quite awhile and I was still in early labour. We walked the halls for probably about an hour, stopping every few minutes to lean against the rails on the walls for support while Michael rubbed my aching lower back during every contraction. I have such an amazing, patient and supportive husband. I remember seeing new mothers walking the halls with their fresh babies and it was making me tear up thinking it was only going to be a short time until I get to see my little girl! I could hardly wait to see what she looked like.
When we got back into our room, Ann suggested that I get in the bathtub and Mike run the hot water from the shower hose on my back. Great idea, Ann—I loved this one! I draped myself over the exercise ball that was in the tub and Mike ran the water on my back when I asked for it while the feeling in my lower back was getting pretty intense. After an hour of this, I wanted to get out since I was getting way too hot. I was feeling so insanely hot at this point and also quite tired from the laboring… I got dried off and had a few VERY VERY intense contractions by the window in the room. Ann told me there was some acupuncture type things she could do to my back to ease the pain and also offered me the gas mask to try to relieve some of the pressure. Before I could even reply, I had a contraction which was the most intense yet and my stomach started to push downwards during it- Ann immediately told me to get on the bed so she could check to see if I was ready to start pushing. (yay!)
I laid on the hospital bed ready for her to check me and had the most intense contraction yet—I was so thankful I didn’t labour laying down at all up to this point since the pressure on my back was so painful in a laying down position versus standing or kneeling. It was now 9:30am and Ann let me know that I was fully effaced and 10cm dialated with such surprise in her voice since I had such a short labour and then all of a sudden she said “oh my, I feel a foot! I think the baby is breech!” Ann ran out to get a doctor to bring a portable scan machine in the room to verify the baby was not head down. The doctor came in and let me know that my baby was “footling breech” and the only option for delivery was C-Section. At this point literally 15 people rushed into the room to prepare me for surgery. I was still having the most intense, painful contractions (now even worse since I was laying on the bed). I could hardly believe I was going to be having my baby by C-Section since my labour went so smoothly, without any pain medication and so quickly… I started crying a lot and kept my eyes closed during this whole whirlwind going on around me. One nurse was sticking an IV in my hand, another nurse was taking off the rest of my clothing, another was asking me the last thing I ate and when, and the doctor and my midwife were talking around me about what the plan was and so on and so forth… it was such a whirlwind, I felt like I could not handle this, this was really not happening to me right now, I felt so unprepared for such an emergency. During each contraction at this point my stomach was starting to push downwards and every time, the nurse that was next to me was telling me not to push, breathe through it, don’t push! It was the longest 20minutes I ever remember experiencing in my life. Mike was not by my side since he had to sign paperwork for me since I was unable and he had to get scrubs on and wash up… I remember I just kept asking where Mike was and when I could see him. He had been my strength and support during this whole process so far I felt so lost without him there reminding me I could do this, I could handle anything that came my way, that I was strong enough.
About 5 minutes after I got into the operating room, the anesthesiologist came and was ready to give me the epidural. I had another crazy contraction and she told me to let her know when it was over so she could go ahead with the needle. I let her know when the pain was gone and as soon as the epidural went in, I was completely numb from the neck down. Immediate relief. Mike was able to come in after I was all ready for delivery-I thought he looked really cute all dressed in blue, face mask and all! I was so happy to see him again, and I was so ready to see my healthy baby so soon. I don’t even know when they started the surgery but I could definitely feel my body being tugged around back and forth-- it felt really really weird. (this is, by the way the very first time I have even been admitted into the hospital!) I could hear the doctors talking about what they were doing, which was strange… but I was so excited to see my baby it didn’t even matter to me how it happened at that point. I remember the doctor saying to me my muscles were really tight, and I said thanks. Then the doctors told the anesthesiologist to use some sort of spray under my tongue to loosen my uterus- the baby’s head was suction cupped to the top and they were having a hard time getting it out. So the anesthesiologist told me to lift my tongue as she sprayed under it a few times. A few seconds later the doctor asked if she did it, and she said yes. They told her to spray a few more times, so she did. The doctors kept talking to each other about how they could not get the head out at all…. And then the anesthesiologist sprayed under my tongue for the next five minutes emptying the bottle… This ended up not doing anything to my uterus so the doctors ended up having to make an extra incision (so the incisions they made in my uterus looks like an upside down “T”) to get their hands around the baby’s head to actually get her out. I found this out the day after delivery.
At 11:12am Violet Estelle Maulucci was born weighing in at 4lbs 9oz. Everyone was shocked at how small she was- my midwife included.
Violet was examined by the pediatrician at the nearby baby station and Daddy was told he could then cut the cord.
Mike was able to see this new little bundle and loved her instantly. He had tears in his eyes as he brought our sweet daughter over to me as I was being stitched back up. This tiny 4lb 9oz baby girl had just found her way into a very special place of our hearts forever- as soon as I laid eyes on her. I got to “hold” Violet only for a couple minutes and then I was taken to the recovery room. Mike and Violet were able to accompany me to the recovery room- Violet was the very first baby in British Columbia to come into the recovery room with mom after a C-Section! I was able to have my skin-to-skin time with her which was the most wonderful feeling of my life. I had butterflies- having my sweet daughter laying on my chest… the one I have been longing to see for the past nine months, finally here with me- gazing into her big beautiful eyes. I was so completely and utterly in love. My baby was finally here, and my journey as a mother had begun.