Category Archives: Doula

Ryler’s birth, 6 years on

I can’t find an account of Ryler’s birth. Maybe I’ve told the story in my head so may times I’ve convinced myself I’ve jotted it down, but while sharing my birth stories with a new friend recently, I couldn’t find his. So, today seemed like a good day to wrack these old brand cells and get it down on ‘paper’.

I was 40 weeks and 3 days and we were getting anxious. My husband had what was possibly the most prestigious speaking engagement mere days away. He was the selected student speaker for his 2014 graduating class at Regent College. He was speaking the Friday. Today was the Monday. He had told me that he was not going to miss the honour of speaking to his graduating class, and so we needed to get birth a-happening. I still question him on the authenticity of that statement, but he sticks to it.

So we did. If my memory serves me correctly, I had an appointment with my midwife that morning, who performed a solid stretch and sweep, I had induction massage, induction acupuncture, ate a crap load of pineapple, took evening primrose oil (both ways!), went for walks, ordered curry from the takeaway spot across the road and had sex. Comeaaaaaan cervix. We wanted this baby OUT. The induction acupuncture included burning Chinese herbs by my toes – we weren’t messing around.

The following morning I woke up at 4:30am with a sharp pain in my back. YES! Things were happening. I jumped up, grabbed my lower back mouthing a silent ‘OW!’ and made my way to the bathroom, thinking that I’d let Theran sleep, because labouring moms are awesome like that. 2 more sharp contractions frighteningly close together and I realised that, nope, aint no-one gonna let Theran sleep. So I woke him up.

I remember the next hour in a blur of: calling my friend Amy to watch our sleeping Clayden, calling the Doula to meet us at home, I think I hopped in the bath and chatted to an on-call midwife (a locum who I hadn’t met) telling her things were happening. Important point to note in the story: the locum asked us to call her back when we decided to head to the hospital. (Which, spoiler, we didn’t). My Monday of desperately wanting labour to get going was coming thick and fast. As if all our labour inducing techniques were about 12 hours delayed and then hit at once. BAHM. No time to breathe, no time to think, and no break from INTENSE back labour.

What followed, was something about Amy arriving, knowing this was in FULL BLOWN labour, a TENS machine on my back, our doula arriving, coffee in hand and eyes wide, her holding me while Theran packed the car, and her following us to the hospital. My contractions did.not.stop.

Bad baaaaad words came out my mouth as Theran raced through red lights. My membranes ruptured spontaneously in the back of the car at 45th and Cambie. In my Lululemon pants no less. And this was not a waters-breaking ‘trickle’ situation. No, no, the word gushing comes to mind – pouring, streaming – a real bold waters-breaking experience.

Theran screeched up to BC Women’s and I waddled into Emergency as if the baby was half out already. A first time mom was being admitted and the staff taking one look at me yelled ‘multip?’ and I screamed ‘YES!’ (as in, not my first baby) and I was ushered ahead, straight into a curtained off section, and a nurse rushed in to check me. I begged her not to check how far I was dilated and promised her I was 10cm. Promised. I may have even offered her some bribe to send me straight to delivery but, I knew she had to check. Shoes kicked off, and pants pulled down and fully dilated I was. To this day I have no idea how they (my shoes and pants) made their way back to me (I’m presuming my doula had eyes on it all).

10cm dilated, with my doula holding my hand and Theran still in admitting, I was wheeled up to delivery. I remember VIVIDLY, gripping the rails on the bed SCREAMING while the elevator climbed floors slower than a snail could’ve crawled them. The car trip, the 10cm, the elevator pinging in slow motion – this is the stuff movies are made of, man.

Into the delivery room I was wheeled and my doula ran the bath (ah, doulas). I was GBS positive so needed an antibiotic drip. (CONTRACTION). Also, where was Theran and my midwife? (CONTRACTION). A little lady walked in, (CONTRACTION) saying she was going to cover for my midwife until she arrived (CONTRACTION), and that she specialised in premature babies and I could hop (CONTRACTION) into the bath (CONTRACTION) once my midwife had arrived. (CONTRACTION)… you get the idea.

Side note: we now refer to contractions as surges (hypnobirthing-style) but back then these bad boys were full speed, cranked up, non stop, knock you over CON-TRAC-TIONS.

Theran ran into the room, I squirmed on the bed through what seemed like a never ending stream of relentless back stabbing; up, down, squatting, lying, standing, squatting, all 4’s, squatting, groaning, moaning, screaming… contraction, contraction, contraction. The concentration of oxytocin was overachieving that day. Finally, my midwife ran in. She slid behind the foot of the bed with her hands open as if to catch the babe. I saw her and in my not-so-finest moment yelled “WHERE the HELL have you been!?” (something we laughed about after, considering we were the ones who forgot to call her back). She chuckled (we love midwives). I hopped in the bath. With a nurse trying to put the antibiotic IV in my hand to distract me (she kept asking me if she should and I kept asking for the distraction) within minutes he was born, in water. This perfect chubby little boy. Our Ryler Cael Knighton-Fitt. At 6:30am, Tuesday 29th April at BC Women’s in Vancouver, Canada.

At that very minute, birthing Ryler was the most knock-the-world-off-its-axis moment. I had so much adrenalin pumping through me. I felt like an absolute hero. I loved Clayden’s birth – it was, after all, what inspired me to become a doula – but this was so different. A wild ride of raw hormones, emotion, disbelief and massive, MASSIVE adrenalin. And within (what felt like) minutes, I was up, showering, breastfeeding, calling family, having mates arrive, enjoying a hot coffee (post birth request – a good coffee) and then I took a nap. Ah, I was in post-partum heaven. I was so proud of US.

We made it to Theran’s convocation, as a family of 4, with a 3 day old on my chest. As you might know, that 3rd day is quite something. With milk coming in, and hormones peaking, emotions POURED out of my eyes, as I watched my husband speak to his graduating class, graduate with a double major, and receive 2 awards we did not know he would be the recipient of, chosen for him by his professors and Regent faculty. I don’t think I’ve EVER cried as much as I did that night (oh no wait, maybe during my marathon, I may have cried as much during my marathon).

And that, my little Rylie pops, is how you were born. Damn, your birth was epic and you made me feel like a champion – that car ride to the hospital is something I will never, ever forget. I’m also really grateful for your super speedy arrival. Thanks for that.

I love you my little bud. Thanks for joining our family.

x

Remembering Clay’s Birth… 6 Years On

My eldest turned 6 today. Remembering my kids’ birth consumes me. I find it so hard to go through the day without reminiscing moment-for-moment how those days unfolded and what took place, in the minute that corresponds.

I remember reading a friends account of her first baby’s birth. She is not even a ‘journal-type-person’ but she jotted it down. I’m sure I’ve written about Clay’s birth somewhere, but moving across the world and the emotions of wrapping up a life you loved to journey into a future of unknowns encourages the losing of such things. So, here is my feeble attempt, 6 years on, to recall that day. The day I became a mother.

It was the Scotiabank half marathon and I was 39 weeks pregnant to the day. We had friends running, so got up early to support. I was extremely whale-like but I love half marathons and was envious and wanted to support our friends. I remember STRUGGLING to keep up, dashing in the car, driving to the next spot, trying to find parking en route, hopping out the car, rushing to the street to track the guys, running back to the car – I was aching at every move. I literally could not MOVE MY LEGS fast enough. At one point I kept the car running while my friend went to spot her hubby because it felt like a baby would drop out of me if I wasn’t careful. It was cruel – my body was just not managing.

Fast forward to lunch with my cousin and her kids, chatting over cake and imagining a baby and how long it would take for him to arrive (suspecting, like ‘most first borns’ he’d be late)…

Later that evening Theran was watching Battle Star Gallactica (a series I had no interest in watching), and I was watching some other series – each on a laptop in bed. Around 11pm, I got up and went to the bathroom. In the bathroom, my waters broke. After the shock of realising what had happened, I noticed that there was meconium in my waters. I breathed, walked back to our bedroom and waved at Theran from the bedroom door (our room was carpeted, and he had his headphones in). After about 5 seconds of frantic waving and anxiety building, I caught his eye, and told him my waters had broken. He jumped up.

I went into adrenalin overload. Shivering. Naked. More waters, more meconium.

Theran phoned the midwife. We’d meet at the hospital in half an hour. Sitting on the edge of the bath in a gown. Prayers on the couch. Calmly we packed the car. Excitement. More adrenalin.

We Skyped my parents in South Africa in the car on the way to the hospital. We knew meconium meant things would be moved a little faster, and more than likely a baby was going to be born in the next 24hrs.

I remember arriving, checking in and being hooked up to a monitor and watching my contractions (which were totally manageable so I was stoked). I had to pee in a cup, and was then induced. My midwife leant down and in my ear she whispered “Sweetheart, 9 out of 10 women will take an epidural when induced like you’re about to be, go easy on yourself”.

I laboured for 7 incredible hours. 7 undeniably life-altering hours. On the toilet, on a birth ball, squatting, standing. Walking, groaning, the induction smacking me across the face with peaks the size of mountains and the depths the size of puddles. The chemical version of oxytocin my heart was furiously pumping through my body was unlike anything I could have imagined. We called the anaesthetist. A mere 15 minutes later, I was numb. And I came back to life. Seems my body was fighting itself, and I dilated to 10cm almost as instantaneously as the epidural took effect (that’s pretty instantaneous in birth time).

I remember Theran adjusting the video camera (he’s a filmmaker). I remember it was calm, it was dim, it was quiet. It was 7 in the morning, we were chatting, and the staff shift came. I said goodbye to my nurse Hazel (who felt like a sister – I think I may have offered her money to stay with me she had been so incredible) and hello to Michelle (who I didn’t know what the time, but who was equally as awesome).

I pushed – for hours, maybe? Eye-ball-popping pushing. The OB on call was ready to catch.

Clay’s position was head down, but, posterior. He was otherwise known as sunny-side up. Preferably a (first time birth) baby should be anterior. And his heart rate was dipping.

In the calm, quiet of 7ish in the morning, at the announcement of the posterior positioning about 8 medical staff entered the room – in symphony like precision. Tables were moved, cloths were pulled revealing shiny apparatus, doctors faces were in my face explaining things to me, papers about potential emergency c-sections needed to be signed: Clay had to turn for me to push him out.

It was like I somehow flew into the OR, and on the next contraction, with the help of 6 (I’m not kidding) of the team, they turned him. Blood, waters, bold moves by the medical team. I remember praying that he’d turn. I was stunned to hear he did – as if my prayers needed to play catch up with what was happening to me. On the first go. He had turned. The next contraction, I was told, would be when I needed to push him out. Push. Him. Out.

I so so very clearly remember grabbing the waists of the women on either side of me – my midwife and Michelle, and as the contraction grew, and the team encouraged, I pushed with EVERY-SINGLE-PART-OF-MY-ENTIRE-BEING. Still focussing on breathing in for the 2nd of 3 pushes per contraction, a baby was handed to me. A beautiful, healthy, safe baby boy. Caught off guard, I looked up at the paed anticipating him taking this vernix covered being away, and he looked at me and said  – “he’s perfect, you keep him”.

(Meconium babies often need to be suctioned immediately after birth to clear the meconium from their airways – but Clay was breathing perfectly).

Theran cried, I cried. We had our beautiful baby and standing around us was a team of about 8 people who, for the 5 minutes we were in the OR, focussed every ounce of themselves on me. It was then, feeling so encouraged and so supported and SO loved, that I knew I wanted to make women feel the same when they birthed – so supported – so known. That level of intimate care and love. That, coupled with my new baby boy – changed everything.

Clayden – I will forever, and ever and ever be changed by you and because of you.

Oh, the Fathers love for us…