Birth Story of Jennifer
Born November 28, 2011
My pregnancy with Jennifer had been by far the easiest of the three pregnancies I had. I had no morning sickness at all with her. Half the time I didn’t feel pregnant at all. I worked in a Swine Nutrition lab at the time, so some of my duties had to be altered, so I wouldn’t be exposed to dangerous chemicals. I also had a small business as a lactation consultant.
I was very healthy through the whole pregnancy. I continued to bicycle to work until 25 weeks. My blood pressure was always really low and I had no issues with diabetes.
I had arranged things with the lab so that I would work until 38 weeks (November 25th) and take 2 weeks vacation before starting my maternity leave. I took the bus to and from work right up until the last day. My labmates had a small pizza party for my last day and they gave me a gift card and some home made muffins.
On Saturday we made a trip out to Ikea to buy the crib mattress and the bug lamp for over the change table. On Sunday we tidied a bit around the house and I took the kids to swimming lessons that evening. I had planned on keeping the car on Monday to do the grocery shopping and get some cleaning up done in the house in preparation for the baby.
At about 1:30 Monday morning I woke up in a big puddle. At first I wondered if I had wet the bed and then as I woke up further I realised that my water had broke. I woke up T to get him to help me change the sheets and set the bed up for the birth. I had no contractions. We called the midwife and Nadine asked if the fluid was clear (it was) and if I was having contractions (I wasn’t). I had a regularly scheduled 38 week appointment for 11:30 that morning. Nadine said that if I didn’t have any contraction by then to just go the clinic for the appointment.
T went back to bed, but I couldn’t sleep so I texted my sister in Australia to tell her what happened. We ended up chatting by facetime for a few minutes. I went back to bed at about 3:00am.
In the morning I still had no contractions, so we sent J (10) and T(8) off to school. I called my parents to give them a heads up and intended to drive T to work so I would have the car for the midwife appointment. After a minute I got nervous that if my labour started I wouldn’t be able to drive back to get him, so I called my parents to come down so they could take me to the appointment. T went off to work.
My parents arrived at about 10:30 am. T came home shortly after that. In the meantime I had swept, vacuumed, and washed the floors, still with no contractions. T set up at the dining room table and franticly put together some supply teacher plans while my parents and I went for a walk around the neighbourhood.
At 11:30 T and I went to the midwives. I was still leaking like crazy but had no contractions. Sarah felt my belly and we talked about what our options were. We decided that we would wait until the morning. If the baby wasn’t born by 9:00 am we would have to go the the hospital for an induction.
T and I came back to the house and had lunch with my parents. T continued to work on his supply plans and went grocery shopping. My parents and I continued to go for walks in hope of triggering my labour. My mom and I tidied up our bedroom to get ready for the birth. We also taped shower curtains to the floor to protect the carpet.
At about 2:30 I went upstairs for some alone time so that I could nap and try some nipple stimulation to get labour started. I was able to trigger some contractions, but as soon as I stopped the contractions would stop.
We had dinner at about 5:30 and I finally started to feel some faint irregular contractions. We called Sarah and she said to call back when they were more regular and strong. T and I went back upstairs to spend some time together. At about 6:30 we managed to get some strong contractions started, so we called the midwife to come. My contractions were going well, until the midwives showed up and started setting up their equipment. My contractions stopped and we couldn’t get them going again. I tried going into the boys room with the lights off and with a lot of nipple stimulation we could get some contractions started, but they wouldn’t keep going on their own. Sarah listened to the baby’s heartbeat (it was fine) and I agreed to an internal exam to try and figure out what was going on. Sarah said the the baby was completely posterior and I was only 3cm dilated. The midwives suggested that they step out to the Planet Bean on the corner and that we call them when thing pick up again.
The midwives left at 8:15. As soon as they left the contractions started up really strong. T and I stood up for a while and then I felt like I needed to lie down and rest. After about 30 minutes I felt like things were really strong and I started to shake with each contraction. I felt that the midwives had just left, and I couldn’t possibly be ready for them to come back. I debated about calling them back until just before 9:00. After the next contraction I realised I needed to push so I told T to call the midwives. He ran downstairs to get the number and while he was gone I had 2 strong contractions and started pushing. He came back up and I told him that the baby was coming. I told him to get ready to support the head and I started breathing though some of the contractions to slow the baby down so I wouldn’t tear. A couple of pushes later Jennifer was born at 9:17pm. T carefully brought her up to my chest and laid her down. I told him to get some receiving blankets to cover her and keep her warm. I latched her on and she started feeding. I asked him if it was a girl or a boy. He said it was a girl.
At this point we heard the midwives come in downstairs. They came in the room and checked her out. They helped T cut the cord and encouraged me to push the placenta out. Jennifer latched and fed for almost an hour. Once she was done I went in the shower to get cleaned up. They weighed and measured her (7 lbs 0 oz, 51 cm) and dressed her.
The following morning Jennifer and I had a nice bath in our large tub and I cleaned her up. I noticed that I thought she had a posterior tongue tie. Her palate was really high as well. After a couple of days my nipples were cracked and scabbed. She had lost weight and now weighed 6 lbs 8 oz. The midwife and I disagreed on whether or not she was tongue tied. My milk came in on Wednesday night (Nov 30 2011). At that point it became obvious that Jennifer wasn’t latching well or able to drain me properly. I had T put together my hand pump in an effort to relieve the engorgement. The next time we saw the midwives I insisted that they send in a referral to Dr. P in town to have her tongue examined. Over the weekend I noticed that my breasts were really soft and I was only able to pump a few ml of milk. I tried to tube feed at my breast, on my finger, and finally bottle feed Jennifer. She didn’t seem able to suck very well and only took in about 10ml of milk at a time.
On Monday afternoon Nadine, the other midwife, came by and she was very concerned about the fact that Jennifer had lost over 10% of her bodyweight and hadn’t gained any weight in over 5 days. She said that I needed to start feeding her 90 ml of my milk or formula every 3 hours (for 8 feeds in 24 hours) until she gained back her birth weight. She also said that it was going to take too long to get into Dr. P and that I should book in with Dr. Jack Newman’s clinic in Toronto. T went out as soon as he got home from work and found somewhere to rent a breastpump. I started pumping that evening and had to pump every hour to get 90 ml by the time my 3 hours was up and I had to feed her again. I had to force feed her with the bottle because she couldn’t suck very well. I started fenugreek and blessed thistle the following morning. I pumped around the clock for 7 days until our appointment at the Newman Clinic. My friend M supplied us with some donor milk to make up the gaps in my pumping. Jennifer only had 1 1/2 bottles of M’s milk.
On Monday December 12 2011 I got up with Jennifer at 5:00 am. I pumped and fed her 90 ml with the bottle and we got ready to go to Toronto. At 6:00, just as I was gathering everything to pack in the car the power went out. It was pitch dark and I couldn’t remember where we put the flashlight after the birth. Using my phone as a flashlight I went upstairs an woke T (so he wouldn’t be late for work) and found the flashlight. I finished packing the car and we drove off.
Jennifer cried for about the first 20 minutes and then she fell asleep. The traffic wasn’t too bad and I arrived at 8:00 for our 8:30 appointment. The clinic staff were really nice. I sat with her in the waiting room and filled out the intake form. I was nursing her on and off because she was getting fussy. Even though the couldn’t get much milk, she always still liked to pacify at the breast. They showed me to a private room and a student IBCLC spent some time with me going over our history and she worked with me on Jennifer’s latch. After about and hour the doctor came in and examined Jennifer’s mouth. He agreed that she was very severely tongue tied. He discussed the risks of getting the tongue tie clipped and explained the procedure. I agreed to everything and handed her over. They held her down and in a matter of seconds they used scissors to clip under her tongue. He commented on how far up her tongue jumped when she was clipped. There was only a smear of blood in her saliva. She screamed really hard and took about 10 minutes to calm down. The student IBCLC stayed with me and helped me tube feed her at the breast once she was calm enough to latch.
At this point it was 10:30 and I was getting very tired. I booked the follow up appointment and left to go home. Once we arrived home Jennifer and I had a nice warm bath in our big tub. We nursed in the tub and for the first time she truly drank from my breast. From that day forwards she was strictly fed at the breast and has gained weight like crazy.
She is now almost 2 and still happily breastfeeding.