Welcome Baby Atticus- A Birth Story

I had a feeling from the beginning that this baby might go overdue, I didn’t want him to, but knew it was highly likely. I had mentally prepared myself that he’d come late, like April 23rd or 24th… But I didn’t expect him to be a May Baby!

My final week of work was at 39 weeks, I had no signs or symptoms that labor would be close, so I just carried on. At this point, I felt like I could hardly move with my big belly. I was having a difficult time sleeping, turning or getting out of bed. We hit 40 weeks on easter weekend, my friend Jodi came for a visit which was a welcome distraction! The entire following week I kept expecting to wake up any day and be in labor. After hitting 41 weeks it was difficult to stay focused that baby would eventually come, I felt a little let down!

Monday April 29th, one week + 1 day overdue, we decided to try a special Verbena Cocktail given to me by the midwives. The mixture was Lemon Verbena oil, Castor Oil, Almond butter & apricot juice. The plan was to take this drink every 4 hours, I would take the first one at home than drive to the city. Baby and I had to be monitored for 20-30 mins than we could go to a hotel and hopefully I would be going into labor that afternoon evening. At our appointment they couldn’t feel his head, they were sure it was down but they sent us for another positional ultrasound anyway. Yes, he was head down, but so low in my pelvis they could hardly feel it. They estimated his weight at 8lb that day.

The midwife came and checked me at the hotel that afternoon, I was still only 2-3cm dilated and 50% effaced, I rested between my cocktail drinks thinking it could be a long night. Nothing progressed beyond what I would say strong braxton hicks. Tuesday we decided to stay one more night in the city because Wednesday we needed to do another non stress test and get another ultrasound to check amniotic fluids, this would give us a few more days.

In Saskatchewan once you hit 42 weeks you can no longer be under the care of midwives, being so far overdue makes you a high risk patient. So if Baby had not come by Sunday May 5th, I would have been transferred to the care of an OB. Before leaving the city Wednesday, I decided with the midwives to schedule and induction for Friday or Saturday. I decided I would rather be induced with the midwives than with a random OB. I also decided Thursday May 2nd, I would try taking the Verbena Cocktail throughout the day, in hopes for the onset of labor.

Wednesday we went home happy and enjoyed our evening, I did my usual routine of strong red raspberry leaf tea, evening primrose oil and falling asleep listening to positive pregnancy hypno tracks.

Thursday May 2nd

5:30 am - Woke up planning on getting and early start on those verbena drinks, I needed to get some real food in me first.

6:30am - Ate breakfast and talked with my Clients that were training in the gym. I had a sore back and strong braxton hicks.

7 am- Ate toast and was feeling a little off, Called my Doula friend Sophian and talked about what I was feeling and the discharge I had that morning. She convinced me I should maybe text my midwife and see what she thought of it. I decided to repack my bag from the night before before.

8 am - Decided to put the TENS Machine on my back and lay in bed with hypno track to sleep a bit more. Midwife texted back and asked if our locale NP could check me

9 am- Drove myself to clinic where they told me I was 6-7cm Dilated and 90% effaced and that I should go to the city. Went home excited but still in a bit of disbelief. I was taking my time getting things ready until the midwife called and asked if I thought I should go to Kindersley (Town 45 mins away). That made me stop everything, grab my bag and leave, I was going to saskatoon no matter what!

We had a pleasant drive to the city, chatting and enjoying the drive in, I was wearing my TENS machine and through the contractions I would press the boost button. I could tell they were contractions now but didn’t find them very bad, I stayed distracted and didn’t focus on them.

12:30 pm - Arrived at RUH, this was the last time I was aware of the time. I took my watch off on purpose, I hadn’t been timing contractions, I didn’t want to know how long I had been in labor or anything.

We got the last available room which was the midwife room, She had already called a head, they wasted no time setting up and filling the birth tub. I was still doing good, I would squat holding onto the sink between contractions. Dallas and I went and walked up and down some stairs. My wonderful midwife came and walked the halls with me as well, she would squeeze my hips during the contractions and say how good I was doing. Super supportive and encouraging. There was a point where I couldn’t talk through them anymore, I would have to stop and concentrate. At this time I got super nauseous, I almost threw up, ( I wish I did, it might have felt better). I also knew it was just a sign of things getting more intense.

They checked me and broke my water, I was at an 8. I just kept focused on getting into that birth pool. I was on my knees leaning on a birth ball when I kept feeling “stuff” come out. We decided to see check again and maybe I would be ready to get into the tub! When I got up the noticed the fluid was slightly stained with meconium. On assessment I was almost a full 10, there was just a little bit at the top of my cervix. I started listening to my labor companion hypno track & was still using my TENS Machine. At this point everything was going smoothly, we were just laboring a bit longer.

Dallas left the room for 10 mins to get my coconut water and came back to a room with 3 extra nurses and a Doctor. I had felt some big gushes come out with a few contractions, it was more and more meconium. They hadn’t seen this much, and one almost looked like a full stool. Even tho we’d had 2 ultrasounds that week checking his position they thought he could be breech. I stayed focused through each contraction but knew if he was breech, it would quite possibly turn into a c-section. Thankfully baby was still head down, he had been so low already for weeks, I don’t believe he could have flipped even if he wanted to!

Debbie our midwife informed us that she wanted this baby out soon. She planned on going hard with the oxytocin, and of course the birth pool was out of the picture, I was on continuous fetal monitoring. Thankfully the first dose of Oxy made the contractions nice & strong I was already hitting 6-7 contractions/ 10 mins, she just wanted them stronger. Dallas’s job this whole time was giving me water every 2nd contraction and everytime the hypno track would finish, it HAD to be started again. I needed that gentle voice constantly telling me to relax & breath.

I was mentioning all the pressure that would come with the contractions, Debbie started letting me do little practice pushes which turned into real ones. I am not going to tell you about pain during this point. I would describe all the contractions, pressure and even the pushing phase as intense. It would be easy to feel out of control the way the contractions can make you arch your back & that you can’t do anything about them. When it came to pushing, I have seen a few births and knew that there would be some new discomfort at this stage, but soon it would be all over.

I guess I am someone who talks to themselves, the whole time I could hear myself reminding myself to relax and open. At one point I asked Dallas if there was hair, he said yes. From the births I had seen I knew how close we were, I knew there was this “ring of fire”, with those last pushes (maybe this sounds weird) I sent my mind somewhere else. I didn’t focus on all the things I was feeling, I visualized where we'd been on one of our holidays, thinking of sitting in the sun by the pool! Once his head was born I was scared that his shoulders might get stuck (hoping he didn’t follow his father’s genetics), so that next push was very calculated and strong. After 18 mins of pushing, we had baby out!

He was started crying right away and didn’t require any suction. I did get a 3rd degree tear down, the midwife said everything looked good, than his right hand came out with his head… It’s crazy how fast everything is just done, no more contractions, no more pressure, your belly is perfectly soft for your baby to lay on. He was so big and heavy!

Atticus McArthur Massey, 9lb 6oz, 21.25 “ Long Born @ 7:28 pm May 2nd

I didn’t get the water birth I wanted, but I feel so fortunate for the way everything went! It was a very positive experience for both Dallas and I, I felt super empowered and amazed at my bodies ability. In my opinion, it was one of the BEST Day dates ever, the night ended with a bedside dinner with Dallas and sleeping baby on the side! Can I say #dategoals ?!