Truth be told, this post has been prepared and saved in my Drafts folder since early last month. It was one of the first I prepared when I started writing here regularly, since McKenna’s birth. I can’t quite tell you what it is that has had me holding out on sharing it for so long – I always knew I wanted a written account of my feelings from this day. I think in some ways I was coveting it for myself, as a private recollection of thoughts, as if that day wasn’t truly so far away, but moreso something that just happened yesterday. Because with all of the pain I felt that day, the most tremendous emotion I felt was an outpouring of love, a feeling that is so absolutely indescribable it’s hard for me to put it into words. But I will do my best.
On December 1, 2012, at 4:04 in the morning, you were placed on my chest, and life as your father and I knew it, changed forever in a split second. The story of how you came to be in this world is not one of roses and unicorns. It is not the picture perfect birthing story that you hear about in movies. It is in fact, the hardest thing I have ever done – but with the absolute greatest gift the universe could have ever blessed me with – you, my perfect, angelic, daughter.
On November 29, 2012, I found myself in the middle of yet another sleepless night. This had become the norm so late in my pregnancy – I spent many a night clock watching, while sleep evaded me. Whether it was the constant heartburn, the effort it took to switch positions, or the anxiety and restlessness I felt awaiting your appearance – or undoubtedly a combination of the three – I was not sleeping well. But this night was different. All night long I kept feeling a tingly sensation in my leg, as if it was perpetually asleep. I spent the night pacing, shaking it off, and running cold and warm baths, whatever I could to regain some sort of feeling to no avail. Your father awoke at 5 in the morning as usual (he is such a hard worker) to find me on the couch, watching tv. He took one look at me and decided to call in for the day. I thanked him, and told him although I would have never of asked that of him, I thought it was a good idea.
At 9 AM on the dot, I called my doctor’s office and told them I was still having difficulties feeling my leg. He sent us straight to the hospital. Now, your father and I were not too sure what to expect, but I can tell you one thing – we did not expect to be told that you were going to be here much sooner than planned, but that is what happened. When I was finally seen by a nurse, she was shocked to find my blood pressure in the 200’s – almost eclamptic, meaning, I could seizure at any moment. The room turned into a bustle of activity, I was given beta blockers immediately, told to relax (are you KIDDING me?) and to prepare for the fact that I may be having a baby that day. Your father stayed by my side, held my hand, and reassured me that whatever happened, we would be okay.
Fast forward to an hour or so later, and my BP had dropped considerably. I was still hovering in the high range, but was now around 160 – MUCH better than how we started. It was decided between the doctor and the nurse that we would go home that night, with plans to attend at my regular doctor’s office first thing that morning. Your father and I went home that night, happy that you were still an image of perfect health and that, at least for now, my health was also under control. We both went to bed early that night, but not before checking to make sure our bags for the hospital were packed.
When we awoke that morning, on November 30, 2012, we moved quietly around the house before leaving for the doctor’s. I was one of the first patients seen that day, and as usual, I gave my urine sample, and sat down to have my BP taken. It was still in the mid-high range, and now there was a new development – a high amount of protein was found in my sample. This gave our doctor enough reason to send us to the hospital, with the plans of an induction that day. He told your father & I as we nervously listened that I would be given a dose of Cervadil to try to start the process, a process that could take up to 2 doses within a 48 hour period to get started.
We left the office, nervous, hand in hand, and headed home to make final preparations. We made arrangements for your Nanny to take Shiloh for the night, to feed the cats, and called all the family to be on call for support as needed. I will always remember your father and how nervous he was. I went downstairs to see what he was up to and found him, so frazzled, trying to remove your car seat from the stroller. He was so nervous – a task such as this would normally take someone as smart as your father a mere minute to complete but we ended up needing to phone a friend for help because of the nerves. It was in that moment, the impossible happened – I fell in love with him even more. He was so excited to meet you McKenna.
I remember leaving the house that day so clearly. I cuddled all your fur sisters for a long while, and shed a tear or two saying goodbye to Shiloh. I knew we would be returning to our home as a threesome, and I was so nervously excited for that moment to come.
We arrived at the hospital around 12:30 and the induction process began at 1:30. Now all we had to do was sit and wait. Half an hour later your Auntie E showed up, to help pass the time. Your Nanny popped by to pay a visit and give your father and I some much-needed words of encouragement and to assure us Shiloh would be in great care.
Nothing much happened those next few hours, and we were moved from the induction unit down to another room to begin the waiting period. This is where my conception of time gets a little vague. I believe your Auntie Helen, who drove all the way from Turner Valley to meet you – a four-hour drive – arrived at the hospital around 8pm. At this point, I was feeling the contractions. I alternated between laying in bed and focusing on breathing, holding your father’s hand, and sitting in the shower. The pain REALLY kicked in around 10pm. I found myself losing control of my breathing, and crying from the contractions. At this point, it was SO HELPFUL to have three people – your father, your Auntie E, and your Auntie Helen all surrounding me with positive encouragement. I remember your Auntie E massaging my back while your Auntie Helen simultaneously massaged my feet. Now McKenna – I don’t think your father let go of my hand for longer than 5 minutes, and he never left the room. I remember the look of worry painted across his face. He said it was killing him to see me in so much pain. That he just couldn’t wait till this part was over and he had his girls safe and sound. That is the kind of person your father is – he loves us both, so strongly. We are both the luckiest girls alive, something you will grow to understand when you are older, and you come to realize how many awful men there are in the world.
Now at some point, a nurse came and checked my progress and to my dismay I was not very far along – maybe 2 cm. It was at this point I was offered and accepted morphine to help me sleep. The morphine helped me to relax for about an hour, but after that time elapsed, the pain came back – fast and furious. I remember your Auntie E getting the nurse to check me again, as she had been timing my contractions which were not very far apart. It seemed as though there was no relief from the pain. I can’t remember how long it took from the time I was checked last – and was 3 cm – to the time the nurses decided it was time to transfer me upstairs to Labour and Delivery. You were coming McKenna, faster than any of us ever imagined you would.
Part 2 next Friday.