Mackenzie's Birth Story
Most of you reading this may already know a few things about me from Facebook or Instagram but social media only offers a snapshot of who we are as individuals. First and foremost, I’m a mother to the most amazing 7 month old, Mackenzie, whom I couldn’t imagine my life without. She has become the most important aspect of my life and has changed it in ways that I had never imagined. She has also been the inspiration behind my blogging and becoming active in the online community. This being the case, I thought it would be appropriate to share the story of her birth as my first blog post. Mackenzie’s due date was May 30th and on the evening of the 27th my husband and I went out to eat with some friends. Per usual, I was trying to find the perfect balance between stuffing my face and feeling comfortable (it doesn’t exist). At dinner, I noticed she was much more active than usual and for the first time the reality that we would get to meet our daughter soon was setting in. The rest of the night was uneventful and my husband and I went to bed, business as usual. A pain in my stomach woke me up around midnight and I thought it was probably just from eating for way more than two. So I did the pregnant shimmy to roll to my other side. At this point, minor sleeplessness was the norm so I took the thought train to anywhere except sleep-town. After a few more pains, the train stopped at Indecisionville about whether I should wake up my husband or if this was a false alarm. At 3:00 AM, I concluded that these were indeed contractions and I decided I’d had enough of the train ride and woke my husband up to tell him. He went from groggy to on high alert and became the annoyingly wonderful mid-wife I didn’t ask for. He started googling my symptoms, timing my contractions and fussing over every noise I made making sure I was ok. I stood in the shower until there was no hot water left, walked around the house, and stood half way bent over holding onto the dresser trying to manage the pain. After about 3 hours of this and a phone call to the hospital, it was time to grab our bags and get in the car.
Normally my husband won't drive with me in the car because I monitor every move he makes but today he could speed and drive however he wanted because we couldn’t get there fast enough. When we arrived, I was barely 1cm dilated and we had to wait for what felt like an eternity in the intake room. I knew childbirth would be painful. I read all about it, talked to women who’d been through it and tried to prepare myself the best I could. None of it mattered. I was not prepared for the homicidal rage the pain threatened to bring out. I didn’t know it at the time but this was only the beginning! I kept asking my husband what they were waiting for and demanding that he get someone in there. Eventually, we got moved to the delivery room where it was planned for me to labor and deliver our little bundle of joy. Different nurses asked me about our “birth plan” and I kept telling them that as long as she came out and we both lived, that was enough of a plan for me. The only thing I did know for sure was that I wanted an epidural because remember that homicidal rage I was talking about? It was getting worse. I needed to take in a half a bag of fluids intravenously before they would administer the epidural. After countless attempts by several different nurses they finally found a vein and I couldn’t have been more happy. I know that epidurals affect everyone differently and for me it took the edge off the pain and brought my homicidal rage down a few notches, not ideal, but it was better than nothing. After getting my pain to a more tolerable state, I realized I was hungry, more like hangry. It was then that they told me I couldn’t eat since I had already been given an epidural. Whaaaaaat? The only thing I could eat was orange flavored ice chips and I ate so many my mouth felt like an orange fire breathing pregnant dragon. I was not progressing as fast as the doctors would have liked, so they brought in what looked like a cross between a medieval torture device and a shish kebab skewer to try to break my water. That didn’t work. Then they had me lay on my side with a huge medicine ball in between my legs. Did I forget to mention my parents were in the room? Meanwhile every time I had a contraction, Mackenzie’s heart rate would drop in to the low 50’s and then go back to normal after the contraction was over. Our sweet little Mac also pooped inside of me, which is also a sign that she was stressed. When they first told me this I panicked because I had heard stories of babies aspirating the meconium and knew that it wasn’t good. It wasn’t until about 30 mins after that they suggested I have an emergency c-section. I remember I was freezing and shaking uncontrollably, but they told me that was a normal side effect of the epidural. After telling my parents that I would be having a c-section, they were asked to leave the room and my husband was whisked away to get scrubbed in. Everything from this point happened very fast. I remember the doctor asking me if I’d like a clear sheet so I could see what was going on and without hesitation I replied, “hell no.” I was presumably pinched and asked if I felt anything and I didn’t. The doctor made mention of my huge mermaid tattoo that starts on my lower abdomen and goes up my side and that she was not going to cut into it. That was the least of my worries. All I could think about was getting this baby out of me so I could meet her! At 6:36 pm I got my wish and heard our baby girl cry for the very first time. After the doctors were done cleaning, weighing and measuring her, I got to see and hold her and I immediately burst into tears. She was so perfect and beautiful and most importantly, healthy. In that moment, all the pain, discomfort, and worry left and was quickly replaced with an overwhelming sense of joy and gratitude.
Mackenzie was bundled up and given to my husband to wait for me in the recovery room while they stitched me back up. I was exhausted but I couldn’t wait to get back to holding my little girl. I was anxious to breast feed and kept asking the nurse in recovery when I would be able to sit-up to do so. She patiently told me to rest for the moment and I would be able to try soon. For anyone who has gone through the joy, tears, frustration, doubt, worry and elation that comes with breastfeeding, you know all too well that the first couple of attempts to breastfeed aren’t always successful. In my next blog post I’ll be talking about my journey with breastfeeding so I won’t go in to great detail now, but those first few days were emotionally taxing. I couldn’t have done it without the patient and loving help of my husband and the wonderfully talented nursing staff at Fairview Southdale. My husband and I had many questions and rang for the nurse what seemed like every 10 minutes but they always came in happy to assist. We were also at a level of tired that I think only new parents and insomniacs can understand. We were loopy and out of it but the nurses kept telling us what a great job we were doing and that we were one of the only parents not using the nursery at night. We didn’t care how tired we were, we couldn’t get enough of this beautiful new addition to our lives.
After three days, it was time to say goodbye to our safety net and venture out in to the world. Everyone we talked to about their first born mentioned feeling like they couldn’t believe the hospital was letting them leave with this fragile new life. I can honestly say that the nurses built up our confidence to a level where we walked out of the hospital feeling fully prepared to take on this new adventure. From the moment we got home I couldn’t take my eyes off of her and reveled at the fact that I am HER mom and she is MY baby girl.