Beckett Adam Millard was born on Tuesday August 16th at 4:41am.
It did not go the way I imagined and it was perfect.
Sunday the 14th of August I checked off the last thing on my “Get this done before the baby comes” list – new loungey pajamas for after the birth. We had a barbecue with friends and I stayed up extra late that evening listening to Orion play a magical instrument called a Hang. He mentioned that it had played a large part in the birth of a friend’s baby and we joked about him calling on labour.
Earlier that day Laura (she created our incredible wedding ceremony) called us wondering if the baby had come. She said he had come to her in a dream the night before. We didn’t have confirmation that it was a boy, however many women in my life had already sensed it was a boy – myself included.
12:30am rolled around and I’m up with cramping. I went downstairs around 3:10 to express my discomfort to Adam who was still up (night owl) and POP the water breaks. Labour is on. Surprisingly I didn’t feel anxious but a sense of calm and excitement. What would this experience be like?
At about 5am we decide to walk the sea wall and by 7am Karen, our Doula has arrived and is ready to go. We realize that today is the only day that all of our siblings (less Seth in Japan) will be together in Vancouver. They gather at our home and it’s game on. Sarah, camping with Natalie in the Okanagan gets in the car and starts to drive.
Labour must be different for everyone. Time passed both quickly and slowly. I spent ten hours in my house breathing in deeply through my nose and saying “aaaaaaahhhh” in a low register. Supported primarily by Karen, Thea and Adam who all “aaaaahhhhhed” right along with me we stood, laid down on the couch, got in the bath and slowly walked around the house in a daze. Michael, Orion and Emily drifted in and out of the room or hung out in the back yard.
By early afternoon my body was asking me to push but I wasn’t fully dilated. I was exhausted after only a few hours of sleep the night before and felt that now was the time to go to the hospital to meet my midwife (the plan was to stay at home as long as possible and birth sans medications at St Paul’s).
At the hospital they explained to me that my blood pressure had shot up, I was exhausted, the baby was sunny-side up and his heart was beating too quickly for comfort. I had been in labour for 14 hours. They suggested drugs. I said yes.
So there I was, hooked up to an IV, an epidural, a catheter and a vaginal heart rate monitor (best way to monitor the baby’s heart accurately). I’m the kind of person that doesn’t even take Tylenol. It was a little surreal.
I realized after the fact that I was probably calmer than everyone else in my family. I was in the centre of it all with all of the information, making the decisions. Karen was incredible at communicating what was going on to my sibs who then let the soon-to-be grandparents know (all of them anxious in Ontario).
Finally, after 24 hours of labour and the baby’s heart rate dropping every time I had a contraction the doctor and midwife agreed – time for a caesarian section.
Throughout my pregnancy I refused to read the chapters in the books about c sections. My mother had very quick labour experiences and I was certain that this would be my path as well. Thankfully, the prenatal course we took explained what happens during a c section, how many people are in the room etc.
This was the only moment that I felt disappointed and cried. Throughout the entire experience I felt confident in my decisions, yes to epidural, yes to oxytocin, yes to another popsicle. I knew that a c section was the correct choice, it was incredibly frightening to hear the baby’s heart rate drop. I was upset because I thought my body and I were in partnership. I thought we had a deal to work together to push this little soul out into the world. Where had we gone wrong?
By the time I was ready to go in the OR I was half asleep. I had never experienced surgery but didn’t have the energy to be nervous. At 4:41am Dr Matenko pulled our baby from my abdomen and Adam exclaimed “IT’S A BOY.”
Joy. Pure joy.
We spent half an hour with our new baby in the OR as they stitched me up. Adam sang The Banana Boat song, I shielded his little eyes from the blinding OR lights; then I was whisked to recovery and Adam went with our child to the room.
Instead of feeling disappointed that I didn’t get to be with my baby right away, I welcomed the half hour I spent in recovery. I needed some time to integrate what had happened – I was a mom. A human being had been pulled from my body. Woah. I loved that Adam got to spend skin-to-skin time with our son.
Beckett also got to enjoy some music care of Auntie Em while waiting for me to arrive. Michael caught some of it on video. Heart wrenching.
And so Beckett Adam Millard had arrived. We spent the next four days in the hospital due to my blood pressure being elevated. We had incredible care and learned invaluable lessons from our nurses – breastfeeding 101 at 2am in the morning of special note.
Life had changed. The world was new. I remember looking out the window at the hospital, across the park to the mountains and realizing that we get the honour of showing Beckett many things for the first time.
And now, five months in I can’t imagine life without him. Being a mother has made me look at who I am in a whole new way.
What DO I stand for? How do I want to leave the planet for my son and his children? Where do Adam and I need to do work on our relationship so Beck learns about healthy partnerships?
So that’s the story. I’m loving being a mom. It’s fun, it’s challenging and it’s incredibly rewarding. I think I needed to write about the birth in order to make space for me to start sharing about what I’m learning about as a mom. If you’ve made it this far (big post) thanks for reading.