My Holiday Baby was the Best Present Ever!
I always thought that the worst day to have a birthday would be on Christmas day (if you celebrate Christmas, that is). People are so busy with holiday preparations that your special day goes by unnoticed. You can’t organize a party with friends as they are with their families. And, you don’t really get twice the amount of presents!
So, when I became pregnant, after a year of trying and not really worrying about the timing of it all, I was very happy and relieved that my due date was January 3. I spoke to my little guy every day in December asking him to wait it out, not to come on Christmas. But with the flurry of the holidays, travelling up north on Christmas day to see the in-laws, travelling back that night to see my family, staying up until 3 a.m. playing cards – well, I didn’t give baby much of a chance to stay put!
Contractions began with a vengeance at 5 a.m. on Boxing Day and were two to three minutes apart. We packed the car and drove 45 minutes back to Montreal. Let’s just say that labouring in a car on Quebec roads is not a very pleasant experience! We unpacked, called our doula and decided to head off to the hospital (against our doula’s suggestion to stay home until labour was further along) since my contractions weren’t letting up. I was so nervous and afraid of giving birth quickly on my bathroom floor – like you see on T.V.! Little did I know then that it’s quite rare for that to happen, particularly with first time moms.
I was examined and admitted shortly after we arrived and was told I was dilated to 3 cm. I was disappointed as I thought I had dilated more than that, and I remember thinking that I should have listened to my doula and stayed home during early labour!
I laboured silently, experiencing wave after wave of ever increasingly long and painful contractions. I had a wonderful birthing team including my amazing husband, a lovely nurse, and our dedicated doula. Without them it would have been so much more difficult! To get me through the pain, they took turns massaging my aching back and applying hot compresses to my back and lower abdomen. And I spent a gloriously long amount of time in the Jacuzzi bath which allowed me to relax and rest. I would have delivered in there had I been able to!
It’s funny what we remember, but at one point, I was lying on my side in my labouring bubble squeezing what I thought to be my husband’s hand every time I had a contraction. After a long time, I opened my eyes only to see my poor doula – a very tiny young woman – cringing in great pain, silently. Sorry!
After six hours, I had finally reached 6 cm and my doctor suggested rupturing my membranes as it appeared that I had lots of amniotic fluid which was not allowing the baby to descend. At this point, I just wanted things to move along quickly, so I accepted. Literally within minutes, I was at 9 cm and I could feel the baby descend into the birth canal! What a strange – but amazing – feeling!
Pushing is Very Hard Work!
No one, not my mother nor my friends, had ever told me just how hard pushing out a baby could be! And what about that ‘ring of fire’?? I found this stage to be the hardest part of my entire labour, and I’m glad I don’t really recall much of it! For the most part I pushed on my side, which I found much less painful than on my back. And the ejection reflex was very strong – at one point the nurse told me to put my leg down, but I couldn’t because baby was right there and I just wanted to push! After what seemed like hours, though it was probably 90 minutes or so, I finally could feel the baby’s head, and after a few more hard pushes, I gave birth to my son.
I Know You!
They placed him on my chest. I was oblivious to everything else going on. I cried tears of happiness, of relief, of love. He looked right into my eyes, quiet as could be. I looked at him. We knew each other! We had waited months to meet and that time had finally come! What a special moment that is – the moment you realize that your life has changed forever.
The following hours were a wonderful oxytocin-filled blur. I remember calling my mom and with tears streaming down my cheeks, I sobbed: ‘I’m a MOM!’ We cried together.
We named him Tristan. Our beautiful baby boy. He was – and still is – perfect.
So, I didn’t have a Christmas baby in the end, but a Boxing Day baby instead – he’ll probably hate me for this in a few years! And since then, our Christmases have never been the same….especially since baby #3 was born December 28, four years later! But that’s another birth story for another day.
The End….to a New Beginning