My daughter is now 5 days old and I have managed to figure out how to get both my hands free so I can take an opportunity to write her birth story as I’ve been wanting to do since she was born. Rayna Katya Maria Rostek entered the world on Saturday March 17th 2012 at 4:32 AM, but as Ryan puts it, her arrival was not without a bit of drama.

We knew that Rayna’s arrival was imminent in the wee hours of Friday morning, when my water broke at 1AM. Ryan frantically packed his hospital bag as I showered and off we were to be assessed at the hospital. With no contractions the nurse sent us home after confirming that baby sounded healthy. We were instructed to get some rest and return in the morning for further assessment and possibly induction. I was excited at the possibility that Rayna may be born on her cousin, Rachael’s, birthday! When we returned to the hospital at 7:30AM my contractions were about 10-15 minutes apart and though I had been able to rest I’m not sure who would be able to sleep through contractions even at 15 minutes apart. With our arrival at the hospital we were informed that March 16 was a busy day at Chilliwack hospital maternity ward and I would not be induced until further notice or at the very latest on Saturday morning. Also, my doctor happily examined me to confirm my water had broken (when a woman who has never had her water break before knows without a doubt that her water has broken, you would think confirmation would not be required, but protocol is protocol). He subsequently informed me that as of 4PM he was on vacation, told me that I would do great, and let me know that his former resident, whom I saw a few times in the office, would be covering for him. So back home to wait for my contractions to either get regular or for the hospital to call.

At this point I was very uncomfortable, but I would not really say I was in too much pain. I wanted labour to progess and there are all the stories of walking or jumping or physical activity to get labour going; but, I was in no mood for any sort of physical activity other than showering and having Ryan hold me as I sat through contractions. To help pass time Ryan and I pulled out Tribond and Ryan implemented the rule that when I lost my turn I had to walk around the table. I tell you that walk around our dining room table felt as strenuous as any bodyrock interval work-out I’ve done!

Finally I received a call from the hospital that Dr. Loch wanted to assess me at 7 PM. Since Dr. Loch is a brand new family doctor and with my previous experience with her, I knew that she would be a bit more conservative and probably push to have me induced sooner rather than later. I was correct and there was a bit of tension as the nurses were informing her that they could not handle another induction and she was really wanting to get me induced. However, by the time I was examined (4 cm dilated) and pumped with 1 liter of saline since I was a bit dehydrated, my contractions started to get more regular and I was far enough into active labour to be admitted. From here my true labour began. I understand the importance of monitoring baby’s heart rate, but I tell you I sure did not care to be forced on my back with monitors strapped to me while enduring a contraction. I much preferred to be sitting and later into my labour I spent much time kneeling leaning against an inclined bed. I’m not sure at what point I decided that labour really hurt, but it was then that I asked for drugs. I was given my first dose of Fentanyl just before Dr. Loch returned at 1:30. Now I really don’t know what it would have felt like without the Fentanyl, but thank goodness for drugs since labour felt barely tolerable with the Fentanyl! I felt really light headed and dopey between contractions and Dr. Loch looked a little worried as I was getting the first rush of Fentanyl.

Let me tell you a few thoughts that went through my mind as the pain of labour really set in. Firstly, having a focal point during labour? Seriously? I wanted to focus on Hawaii, the waves crashing and the tranquility so we had a piano spa track with waves playing through out my labour. Now the music was nice to soften the feel of the institutional hospital, however, there was no way I could even bring my mind to a place of thinking about Hawaii. I was in a place that was the furthest thing from Hawaii. It really hurt! Furthermore, in my yoga DVD part of their mantra at the end is to thank yourself and your baby for a great workout in preparing for an amazing birth. I thought numerous times to myself, this is NOT an amazing birth! In addition, there were moments when I kept thinking of when Rayna was breech and there was discussion of a c-section and I just really didn’t want a c-section. Well, in these moments of labour I was thinking that it would have been real nice to have had a c-section.
“More Fentanyl, please.” I asked the nurse. She had to check me again and at that point I was 8 cm dilated. Seriously 2 cms left to go??? I suppose those 2 cms were the worst; the pressure begins on the bowels and you’re not supposed to push and I kept saying through my contractions, I really want to push, hoping the nurse would just reply, Ok let’s get you pushing! Ryan says I was less vocal than he thought I would be, but I thought I had many grunts and painful moans and even found myself saying “ow”. Understatement. Finally, I informed Ryan who informed the nurse that I was ready to push. I’m not sure I felt that much different than for the previous amount of time, but I was through with just taking the pain and ready to do something. Thank goodness I was 10cm dilated.
Onto my back to assume the position of pushing. I didn’t realize the practice it took to get the hang of pushing, but then I got it and my labour became the athletic endeavor I had anticipated. I must say that pushing was the absolute best part of labour and I did not really find it painful; however, as soon as I started pushing my contractions slowed as did my progress. The drama began here. I was given some oxytocin at some point to bring on more contractions. Dr. Loch called in the obstetrician at the 2 hour mark. His assessment (and let me tell you it is not very fun having someone assess the baby’s position internally at this point!) was that things were not progressing fast enough and a c-section was warranted. He asked me if I wanted to keep pushing, I gave a big absolute ‘Yes’. I did not go through all that to end in a c-section! So he gave me 10 minutes to see how my progress would go. The nurse was fabulous and got me on the toilet for a few pushes to try and speed things up. Then at the 10 minute mark, the obstetrician called in the c-section team, Ryan and I signed off on the surgery and removed my jewelry in resigned preparation. Thank goodness for the wee hours of the morning. The obstetrician gave me the okay to keep pushing until the team got there and if I beat them then I would “win”. Well I pushed with all my might and as she really engaged it became so awkward feeling that I just wanted to get her out. The team arrived and at this point the obstetrician noted that I had made enough progress, but would need an episiotomy to get her out promptly. He was ready to cut me with my next push and it was with that push that out came Rayna, no episiotomy required!
I can’t tell you the pride I felt at the end of all that! I was proud of my ability to have my daughter naturally, that I was able to bring her into the world with my might and determination. And here she was a beautiful baby girl on my chest! I could barely keep my eyes open (in fact I had almost been nodding off between contractions during pushing) but I was loving every moment! And there inside and just outside my room was a whole host of physicians. My family doctor, the family doctor resident, the obstetrician, the anesthesiologist, the pediatrician and the pediatrician’s resident! Rayna arrived with fanfare!
Rayna is a beautiful girl. She has taken a part of my heart. I cannot believe how much I just want her to stay tiny and precious. I usually shy away from holding infants and here I have my own and I don’t want her to grow. At times I cannot believe she is mine, she is ours; but, she is and what a precious gift. Thank you God for our Rayna, for our song of the Lord. We praise you for this incredible gift. Take her, protect her, grow her into a beautiful young woman.