Thursday, 6 August 2015

baby jilly's birth story

The story of baby Jillian's birth starts almost exactly the same as her older brother's. Since Ry predicted July 29th as her birthday, I figured I could give it my best effort to make that happen. So on the morning of Tuesday, July 28th, I texted my friend Sarah to see if she wanted to grab a coffee in the Glebe (the same thing we did on April 9th last year, before I went into labour with Coop.) As soon as she said she was thinking of me that morning, I knew it would be the day. 

I had a doctor's appointment later that afternoon and found out I was 4cm dilated, but still had a ways to go before being fully effaced. Coming home that evening, my mind was racing with the things we needed to get done in preparation for leaving for the hospital, even though there were no contractions in sight. 

Cooper went to bed around 8:00pm and I finished packing my last minute hospital bag items. I bounced on a yoga ball while Ryan and I watched MasterChef. Like any perfectly executed plan for labour, the contractions started just before 11:00pm. This is around the time when I looked back on Cooper's birth story just to see the similarities (coffee with Sarah, doctor's appointment, yoga ball, 11:00pm contractions.) Only having my previous birth story to go off of, I figured I'd have a few hours at home to labour before getting in the car.

The first few contractions were so light that I thought maybe it was just a bit of cramping. I timed them anyway, and they were 15 minutes apart, then 8, then 15, then 8 again. This continued until 12:00am and then boom, a contraction that came only 3 minutes after the one before. Maybe it was a combination of living 25 minutes from the hospital, still having to drop off Coop at the grandparents' house, or that video I saw floating around on Facebook where a woman delivers a 10 pound baby in her car, but I did NOT want to mess around and wait too long at the house. 

I called my mom and told her I was heading into the hospital shortly. Of course it would be the morning before our cleaning lady comes, so as we packed up the car and finished grabbing things for Cooper's sleepover, we were also tidying up and leaving the cash on the kitchen counter. Coop wasn't too excited about being woken up at 12:30am so he made the car ride fairly unenjoyable. My contractions were getting stronger, but still not terribly painful. 

To be honest I was a little worried this was false labour and that we would be turned away from the hospital, have to pick up Coop, and that this was all just a silly overreaction. Then I'd have a strong contraction and it would ease my mind; I was in labour. After dropping off the little guy, I told Ry that I was maybe feeling like a bagel from Tim's... We hit up the closest drive-thru and waited at the speaker for at least 2 minutes. Finally we pulled up at the window and Ryan knocked on the glass. That's when we discovered that we had arrived at the world's most open-looking closed Tim Horton's on the planet. With that, we continued our drive to the hospital.

At this point, my contractions were regular but I still wasn't in any kind of distress. We parked in the garage and slowly made our way up to the 4th floor. When I came up to the window at triage, the nurse said, "Having a baby today?!" which I really appreciated because I remembered that moment being awkward last time. It's not really like you can say, "Hey there, I'm in labour, so...."

My mom beat us to the hospital and sat with us in the triage room. The nurse and the resident did the first cervical check (little bit heavy handed, this man) and told me I was still only about 4cm. They suggested we walk the halls for an hour and come back for another check. Ryan and I walked the empty 1st floor, pausing whenever I'd have a contraction for about 30 seconds. The walking definitely made the contractions stronger and I was happy to be progressing. We stopped at Second Cup and I ate a hot ciabatta bun with cheese that changed my life.  

After close to an hour, I was starting to feel tired and anxious to get into a labour room so I could lie down. I just wanted to feel like we were settled in and I figured I could probably get some rest now before the contractions picked up even more. The nurse at triage made it fairly clear that I didn't need to be in a labour room until I needed my epidural. At this point I still felt anywhere between 1-2 hours away from needing an epidural, but the nurse didn't really need to know that. 

As soon as I was in my room the nurse put my IV in. I had a really uncomfortable IV in my hand with Coop's labour, so I was really pushing for one in a better spot. The nurse was an angel and she spent about 10 minutes searching for a vein in my arm. I was not about to complain one bit because I appreciated every minute that she was trying. Finally, success! A painless IV in a great spot inside my left forearm. 

A minute later, the anesthesiologist came in and it was epidural time! It was all happening so much faster than my first labour, and combined with the cold fluids that were racing in through the IV, I started to shiver and get a little bit nervous. I had two epidurals last time and it was one of the most difficult parts of my experience. This time around, my contractions weren't as strong and I knew more about what I needed to do to stay still. 

The epidural was seamless. It started to work really quickly but we noticed it was primarily working on my left side. I laid on my right side and slept for the next hour. From that point on, I didn't feel a single contraction. 


At 5:30am, my OB came by to do another cervical check and I was only 4.5cm. Since I wasn't progressing fast enough, she decided to break my water. The understanding was that she would come back in 2 hours and if I hadn't made some serious progress, we would talk about oxytocin. I had oxytocin with Coop's labour and it worked great for me, so it was never a huge concern. Mentally, I was ready for her to tell me that I was only 5cm by 7:30am. 

At this point most people were up for the day and after I posted "having a baby today!" on Instagram, my phone was starting to go off with texts from everyone.

Also, my best friends are twins...

So happy my Mom joined us for the labour again. She knew all of the nurses and she was wonderfully helpful. All of the ladies who had my Mom for their labour and delivery nurse were very lucky :)

At 7:30am, Dr. Moores came back with her two residents and made my day by telling me I was 8cm. EIGHT CENTIMETRES! I was super excited because in my mind this meant I was for sure in the clear and wouldn't need a C-section. 

We texted Charlotte, the lovely photographer who agreed to come by and take some photos of the birth at the hospital, and she left with her gear right away. 

Dr. Moores told me that the baby was posterior (not the ideal position for delivery), and asked if I could lay on my left side in hopes that the baby would turn. She said she would come back in 2 hours to check the baby's position, and they started to pack up their things to leave my room. 

Not even 2 minutes after I turned on my side, I asked the nurse, " much pressure is too much pressure to feel right now?" The sweet nurse, Megan, who was also my nurse when I had Coop, pretty much said I should hold off pushing for as long as I could. Okay, I thought, no problem. 

30 seconds later, I asked the same question. I'm not kidding, I was pretty much holding my knees together at that point. Nurse Megan goes to grab Dr. Moores and leaves just Ryan and my Mom and I in the room. I'll never forget my Mom saying, "Yeah, I wouldn't have left the room if I was her."

Oh good, nothing like thinking you might have the baby without any hospital staff in the room. 

But everyone came back. Megan stayed up by my side, Dr. Moores put on her gloves and got her stuff prepped, and another nurse came in to turn on the baby's little bed heater. Holding the baby in was the hardest thing ever...thank goodness I only had to do it for a minute or two. Let me tell you, that minute felt long. Ryan sat in front of me and I made a little talking sign with my hands to let him know he needed to talk and distract me. For some reason, an intense fear came over me about being a parent again. Was I ready to have this baby girl? It seems so irrational now that I'm looking back. I had 9 months to prepare for the arrival of this baby girl and it literally wasn't until the last 10 minutes that the nerves set in.

Dr. Moores told me I was 10cm and ready to push. Just her saying the word "push," I felt calm. Pushing I can do. Less than 5 minutes and about 6 pushes later, there she was. Ryan said the cord was wrapped all around her but Dr. Moores was amazing and got her sorted out so quick. Ryan cut the cord, we heard the first cry, our sweet baby girl was wrapped in a blanket and handed to us. 

5 minutes later, photographer Charlotte arrives. I was so happy to see her, and we were all shocked with how quickly the delivery went! She captured our first moments with our baby girl. I treasure these photos...      

Miss Jillian Louise Kelly, born Wednesday, July 29th, 2015 at 7:56am, weighing 9 pounds 1 ounce, and 21" long... 

Dr. Moores was so great to us. Since my other OB, Dr. Millar was away the last week of August, we knew that if Jilly made her arrival in July it would be Dr. Moores to deliver. I felt so calm knowing either one of these great doctors would be there with us. 

Ten fingers and ten toes...

Ryan is the best dad. That sentence seems way too mild to describe how amazing he is, though. He is my favourite person in the whole world, and I couldn't imagine going through anything like this without him. I love this photo of Nurse Megan handing baby Jilly to him.

Charlotte left us shortly after everything settled down, and I still don't know if we thanked her adequately. Baby Jilly stayed with us for almost an hour while Ryan and I just looked at her. Because Coop was whisked away almost instantly and taken to the NICU, this felt very relaxed in comparison. She was so healthy and perfectly pink.

Dr. Moores told us that if we wanted to, we could go home that afternoon. It was the absolute best thing she could have ever said. The thought that we'd be able to sleep in our own bed that night was so wonderful, and it was such a relief that both Jillian and I were healthy enough to skip a night at the hospital.

I changed out of my gown and into my regular clothes around 9:30am. Nothing like being back in your own clothes to make you feel refreshed :) I was wheeled to the mother/baby room with Jilly on my lap and my entourage behind me. I remember feeling so happy -- so overwhelmingly happy -- in that moment.  

After a visit from Mom and Dad (and a really delicious lunch), Ryan and I had a bit of a sleep. The nurses weren't nearly as annoying with tummy and blood pressure checks as I remember from last time. We started the discharge paperwork around 12:00pm, and then a group of nursing students doing their labour and delivery rotation volunteered to give Jillian a bath for us. They were so careful and thorough that it took almost an hour.

We put some cozy jammies on her and got her strapped into the carseat. We were on the road by 4:00pm and in the Harvey's drive-thru by 4:30pm. It felt so good to be FREE! Plus we decided to leave Coop overnight with Ryan's parents so that we could have one night to get settled in, just us three. 

Jillian was home. Life was good.

My girls, Kim and Brit, came over that night with this sweet little arrangement of flowers, a bottle of pink champagne, and the most darling outfits for miss Jilly in sizes that will span her whole first year. She slept in their arms, we took pictures, and I told them this birth story. It was so incredible that they were able to see her on the very day she was born.

Scott and Rebecca and the girls sent us this delicious edible arrangement :) It was pretty great to eat something that didn't come out of a drive-thru actually.

The next morning we went to an appointment at the Monarch Centre to get Jilly's newborn screening done, and have her weighed and checked out again. She passed every test with flying colours and everyone was marvelling at how healthy and how big she was. Big?! To us she's so teeny tiny!

We picked up Coop from Ryan's parents' house right after. It was so good to see him! Ryan's mom held Jilly, and Coop walked right up to her and gave her three gentle kisses on her face. He rested his hand on her arm and leaned down for a little hug. We couldn't believe how gentle he was with her, and how it seemed like he loved her instantly!  

When we got home on Thursday afternoon, we settled in to this new life with 2 babies. I took Jilly, Ry took Coop, we switched, we repeated. 

Sweet baby girl, we love you so, so much. We love your soft brown hair and how much of it there is. We love the little noises you make when you sleep, and that you've already taken a liking to your crib and the white noise machine. We love that aren't bothered by the shrieks from your big brother, or the barks from your new best friend, Weezydog. 

Oh Jilly, this is the start of a lifelong adventure with you...

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