The labour technically started when I woke Mitchell up at 1:50 AM on April 7, 2022 because I was getting (more) regular contractions than the ones I was getting a week prior, and that I couldn’t sleep off. I got out of bed and starting bouncing on my exercise ball and Mitchell called my parents to give them a heads up that my contractions were more regular and consistent (since my parents are driving all the way from Calgary to stay with Jackson while we’re at the hospital). Thank God my parents have been packed and ready to go for a week now, so upon getting the phone call from Mitchell at 3-ish in the morning, they quickly got ready and started driving to Red Deer.
After talking with my parents, Mitchell called our doula to give her a heads up and Keshia told him to touch base in about 30 minutes to see where my contractions are at. Within 15 minutes, our doula texted Mitchell to say that she’s heading over.
Once our doula arrived, she went straight to rubbing my back and squeezing my hips, which I didn’t know I needed then! A huge part of my birth plan this time (as with Jackson’s birth) was to give birth naturally with no intervention. I’d like to think that my pain tolerance is pretty high given that I had severe period cramps before getting pregnant ever. Plus, having gone through this less than 2 years ago with no pain meds, I was very confident that my body would be able to do it again, but it definitely felt good to have some sort of pain relief while my body was doing its job.
Since I was induced with Jackson, and my labour from start to finish was (only) 7 hours, and normally your subsequent labour is much shorter than the first, Mitchell and I were both scared that things would progress faster than we liked, i.e. we would have to go to the hospital before my parents could get here to stay with Jackson. Thank God that things moved slower and that my parents were able to make it to Red Deer before we had to go to the hospital.
We left the house for the hospital at around 5:30 AM and when we got to Labour & Delivery, one of the nurses checked my cervix and I was 5 cm dilated. By 6:15 AM, I was admitted to the delivery room. The nurse that triaged me (and the other nurses that were on shift during my labour) asked why I was with an OB if I didn’t have any complications with this pregnancy, ie high blood pressure, gestational diabetes, etc., and I had to explain that I had pre-eclampsia at the very end, like 2 hours before I was induced, with my firstborn, hence why my prenatal doctor handed me over to an OB this time.
Anyways, the first nurse that I had this time was one of the nurses I had with Jackson’s birth, which was super cool because I remember her being so amazing when I gave birth to Jackson! Her shift ended literally 30 minutes after I was admitted, and she was replaced by another amazing nurse (who our doula recognized and also said was a great nurse!)
Once all the paperwork was filled out, I asked if I could go in the bath. I was in the bath for a loooooooong time. At one point, Mitchell and I were making bets with our doula and the nurse on when baby was gonna come out. The nurse bet that baby was gonna come before her shift ended at 3 PM, Keshia bet around noon, and Mitchell and I bet around 9:30 AM. It was around 7:30 AM when we made the bet. Mitchell and I were under the impression that because Jackson came out after 7 hours of induced labour, this baby was gonna come out waaaay faster lol.
I remember the bath being soothing and all, but it felt really nice to be in the bath NOT hooked up to an IV and fetal monitors as I was with Jackson. Mitchell ordered us Timmies, which was nice to snack on every now and then, along with my ice water and cold apple juice.
I think I was in the bath until noon when I felt like my contractions were getting stronger. The nurse asked if my water broke, and since I had my water broken by the nurse with Jackson, I didn’t really know (or don’t remember) what that felt like. So I stepped out of the bath and they took me to the room to get checked. When the nurse checked, she saw that my water hadn’t broken yet. So the nurse broke my water and at once, THAT feeling came back to me. I asked the nurse if I could go back in the bath after having my water broken, and she said that as long as I’m not close to pushing, then I can go back in the bath. She checked my cervix before sending me off to the bath and at that point, I was 7 cm dilated. Once I was back in the bath, I thought that I would only need to be there for an hour max before I was fully dilated, but I was in there for another 2 hours! I remember the contractions being soooo painful at this point. Like I remember growling at every contraction in the bath, which made me think that I was maybe at 9 cm and will be ready to push in no time.
The walk back to the room was so eventful in that I had Mitchell holding both my hands and guiding me back to the room, our doula rubbing my back and squeezing my hips, and the nurse holding my robe so I don’t flash everyone in the unit lol. When we got back to the room, the nurse checked me again and I was STILL at 7 cm! I vividly remember her words: “Oh dear, you haven’t progressed yet.” And I remember being so mad at myself at this point. Like why did I waste 2 hours in the bath only to stay at 7 cm?!?! At this point, I asked for the laughing gas, which I also used with Jackson. The nurse then recommended that I change positions. (I was lying on my left side at this point) They then lifted the top of the bed and told me to go on my knees and lean over the top of the bed, so I did. And that position made the pain way worse, which meant that it worked with helping baby descend. I remember thinking thoughts like, “Just give me an epidural now!” and “Just cut me up now and take the baby out!”, and although I never voiced those thoughts out, in hindsight, our doula said that that’s when you know your body is getting close to pushing! (According to Mitchell, he was on the verge of crying from seeing me in so much pain at this point, but he was trying his hardest to hold back his tears and stay strong so I can stay strong!) After 10 minutes of crying and growling and Mitchell letting me break his fingers from my death grip, I told the nurse that I needed to push. She asked if she could check me again, and when she did, she found a tiny lip on my cervix which put me at 9.5 cm dilated! This meant that the urge to push was there. BIG TIME. But since I wasn’t fully dilated, pushing might cause my cervix to swell, which might cause baby to actually go back up and not descend, which may lead to a C-section. At this point, I switched to lie on my right side and the nurse told me to push a little bit so she can move the lip for me. As soon as the lip was moved and I was fully dilated, I saw the doctor and 3 nurses and glove up and prep for me to push. I thought that the nurses came to help hold my legs while I push, but according to Mitchell, the only people holding my legs up were him and I!
During the pushing stage, the OB was giving me instructions on when to push, our doula was doing hip squeezes to help with the pain, and Mitchell was using the roller on my back, all while helping me hold my leg up. I was lying on my right side with my left arm wrapped around my left leg and Mitchell helping me hold my left leg up. I remember the OB telling me to take a deep breath and then to push, but because I had been practicing my breathing exercises for weeks now (and I had been doing it for hours now during labour), every time I inhaled for 4 counts, I would exhale for 8 counts. When the OB realized what I was doing, she said “No, no, no. Take a deep breath and then push! Don’t exhale!” (A little TMI side note - at one point, I started getting the urge to poop and I even said “I don’t think I’m pushing the baby out!” Lolollll) Soon after I passed stool, I started feeling the burn and I remember yelling, “It burns! It burns!” to which the OB replied, “Push through the burn! Push through the burn!” And soon after, I started to feel Naomi’s head, and then she was fully out! I pushed for a total of 7 minutes with her, compared to 20 minutes with Jackson!
As soon as Naomi was out, they placed her on my chest, and all I could do was cry out of joy that she was here!!! After a few more minutes had passed, Mitchell cut the umbilical cord, just like he did with Jackson, and according to him, it was much “easier” to cut the cord this time around.
Here is miss Naomi weighing at 7 lbs and 11 oz, Mitchell and I were shocked at how much she weighed. All my prenatal ultrasounds showed that she was in the 75th percentile, but I took those estimates with a grain of salt, seeing as how small my frame is and seeing as Jackson was in the 7th percentile when he was born.
NAOMI JOY GRAZA LEE: THE MEANING BEHIND HER NAME