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Christine and Kaitlyn
Toxemia, Epidural, Vaginal Delivery

It all started on Thursday, August 15, 1996. I went to my weekly doctor's appointment in the morning. My due date was August 21st and I was getting excited. At the appointment, the doctor discussed inducing me on the 22nd if nothing had happened yet. At the last few visits, my blood pressure had been on the high side but no cause for alarm (yet). At this particular appointment, my blood pressure had increased even more so the doctor sent me across the street for a no-stress test.

I met my friend later that day for lunch and we went shopping in the afternoon. I felt totally exhausted while shopping and had to sit on the bench in the mall in between stores. When I arrived home at around 4:00, I checked my answering machine and there were about eight messages from my doctor's office ordering me to get into the hospital immediately. I called the office and they told me that I had toxemia and that I had to be admitted into the hospital right away and that my doctor would induce me first thing in the morning. I called my parents and let them know what was going on. My boyfriend drove a truck so I couldn't get in touch with him for a couple of hours. My mom asked me to pick her up from work. I wasn't even packed yet. I threw my things together, picked up my mom and off we went to the hospital. I was very excited; my father was very concerned. He called my doctor and gave him the once over with every question in the book to make sure I was going to be alright.

We arrived at Oakville Trafalgar Hospital at 5:15 and I was admitted. I had lots of visitors that evening but I wasn't even in labour yet. I was scheduled to be induced Friday morning at 7 a.m. That night I couldn't sleep because of the excitement. I asked my mom to get me a laxative because my sister-in-law told me that she went on the table during her delivery of my niece and was mortified! I didn't want that to happen to me. So, of course, I was up at 3 a.m. sitting in the washroom for some time. Then I was up at 6 a.m. with the hustle and bustle of the hospital. It was a beautiful, sunny summer day. My boyfriend Steve was supposed to be there at about 7/7:30 a.m. My mom showed up at 8. I was still in my room and was starting to get very ticked that Steve hadn't arrived yet. He had gone to play hockey with my older brother (their Thursday night ritual) and then enjoyed a few beers (their other Thursday night ritual). Steve finally arrived at 9:30 with a huge bouquet of red roses. This definitely helped to calm me down. Everyone at hockey was celebrating that Steve was about to become a father and were buying him drinks (that's his excuse anyway!).

Well, I was finally taken into the labour and delivery room at 1 p.m. Apparently a woman came in during the night and delivered twins and this is what put everything off of schedule. At 1:30, Steve went to Subway to get subs for everyone (except me because I wasn't allowed to eat) and at that time my doctor broke my water and hooked me up to an IV and blood pressure machine that took my blood pressure every few minutes. I was also put on pitocin to make things happen. I still occasionally had to run to the washroom (aftereffects of the laxative). Luckily that problem stopped.

I had my first contraction around 3:00 and by 5:30 I was in a good amount of pain. I was using the gas which was wonderful stuff (not as wonderful as an epidural though!). I was laughing hysterically between contractions. The contractions were still painful and I still felt them but the gas took the edge off of them. By this time, I had my boyfriend, my mother, father, younger brother and best friend in the room with me. At around 6 when I was dilated to only 4, I was in agony and wanted an epidural. The anaesthesiologist arrived and applied my epidural as everyone went outside for dinner. By this time I had tears rolling down my face and my contractions were every two minutes and lasted for over a minute in duration. After that, I felt much better and was able to relax. I got the shivers and was brought warm blankets. I could feel myself dilating as the evening went on but thought that it was the catheter that was so painful and insisted that it be taken off which did not help. My epidural wore off and I was in agony again! The anaesthesiologist came back and administered another. A couple of hours later the epidural wore off again. I was getting sick of this. Apparently the epidural slowed things down and they didn't think things would be progressing that slowly. The third time the epidural wore off, I was wheeled half way across the hospital to the anaesthesiologist who was in surgery and popped out for a second to help me out. I was beginning to think that I was never going to have this baby! I was only at 6 c.m. at 11 p.m.

At 11:30, Steve decided that he was going to go out to the car and have a little nap. The doctor checked me at midnight and said that I was at 7 c.m. but that it would be another three hours. My mom thought nonsense and sent my brother out to get Steve. At 12:15, Steve came in and suddenly at about 12:35, I was in agony and had to push. I screamed for Steve to get the doctor. Just then she ran in and checked me and told me that I was dilated to 10 (so much for three hours) and that it was time to push. I thought I was going to split in half! I suddenly had to throw up. Steve held a bed pan for me as I threw up four times (only water). Then it was time to push. I asked for another epidural as it had worn off again but they told me that it was too late. I was going to have to push this baby out without drugs.

I started to push with everything in me because I knew that the harder I pushed, the faster this whole ordeal would end. The doctor pulled out these huge what looked like scissors and headed for my birth canal. I screamed that I was not frozen and she quickly explained that she was just going to detach the monitor from the baby's scalp. As I pushed, amniotic fluid squirted out and hit the doctor right in the eye. "Sorry about that" I said, trying to keep my sense of humour. I pushed and pushed and asked my mom how she could possibly do this four times!?! I told her that I loved her for doing this because this was HELL! As the baby's ears were half way out, I was ready to throw in the towel. I screamed to the doctor "Forget it! Put it back in. Put it back in!" The doctor told me to get a hold of myself, that we were going to have a baby any minute. I pushed and pushed for what seemed like hours and out came my baby! Instantly the pain was gone. My first thought was not "what is it?", it was "It's over, it's over!" I was so relieved.

Steve said that the doctor twisted and turned the baby's head so as not to let me tear. The head just molded to whatever the doctor did. They pulled out the baby and started to suction her and clean her. At this point we didn't know what we had. I sat up in bed for probably a minute and waited to hear whether I had a daughter or son. The doctor announced after what felt like a very long time, that we had a girl. Then she stopped and said, just a sec, let me check again and then confirmed that it was a girl. I was thrilled! They took her and cleaned her and did her apgars as I delivered the placenta. As it was delivered, blood splashed all over Steve's shorts and shoes. He was covered! It was kind of funny.

They finally brought us our daughter. She weighed 7 lbs, 4.5 oz and was born at 1:17 a.m., Saturday, August 17, 1996. I had no tears and required no stitches. My mom started crying with joy as soon as she was born and ran out into the hallway where my dad and brother had been during the birth, listening to all that was going on. They hadn't seen the birth but had heard everything. I had pushed only for 20 minutes and out she came. This apparently caused her to have an irregular breathing pattern so they kept her in the nursery until 11 a.m. the next morning when I was brought to her to breastfeed. Steve slept beside me on a chair that night. Neither of us got much sleep.

The next day we named her Kaitlyn Leigh. Today she is 4 years old and the joy of our lives. She is such a sweetheart. She speaks perfectly, is in junior kindergarten and loves to do anything artistic (colouring, painting, gluing). She can print her name and is learning small words. It is unbelievable how much you can love a child. I couldn't live without her.

Since then, Steve and I have married, are very happily married and we are expecting our second child in 7 weeks! Kaitlyn is very excited and is going to be mommy's little helper! I am due Valentine's Day 2001. The day of Kaitlyn's birth was the most wonderful and exciting day of my life and was worth every single bit of pain and it is true, you do forget the pain.

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