Finding out that I was pregnant for a fourth time at the age of 31 was both scary and exciting. My 8-year-old daughter Cassidy, my 4–year-old son Colby, and my 16-month-old son Owen already demanded so much of me and now I was going to have another. Thankfully, I had eight months to prepare not only myself for another child, but my other children for a new brother or sister.
Christmastime marked the end of my first trimester and made the perfect time to tell everyone that we were expecting our fourth baby. I wasn’t surprised when we got mixed reactions from both family and friends. For the most part, people were very happy and supportive. But, there were some people that weren’t so nice, including some family. They felt that three children were already enough and that adding a fourth was irresponsible of us. It was hurtful to work through those reactions, but we knew that once our baby was here, they would feel silly for reacting that way.
I knew as soon as I found out that I was pregnant that I wanted to work with a midwife. I had seen a midwife for my previous pregnancy, but ended up delivering with a doctor. I wanted this time to be different. I began seeing my midwife early on in my pregnancy and was thrilled with the high quality of care and advice that I got from her. My only hiccup during the pregnancy was finding out that we had a Single Umbilical Artery (or 2 Vessel Cord). Where in a normal umbilical cord there are 2 arteries and 1 vein, our umbilical cord only had 1 artery and 1 vein. I was very scared at first, but was quickly calmed and assured that because every other aspect was completely normal, babe would be just fine. We would monitor babe’s growth closely towards the end of the pregnancy to make sure that there was no growth restriction, which is also a concern with 2 Vessel Cord babies.
We had our mid-pregnancy scan done in Ottawa because we were there for a medical appointment with our youngest son. We were so excited that they would be able to tell us the gender of our child. A few minutes into the scan, the tech asked us if we wanted to know the gender and of course we both said YES! We were nervous because we both really wanted our baby to be a girl, having had 2 boys together already. Needless to say, when the tech said, “I see three little lines, so it’s a girl,” we were THRILLED that we would finally have the daughter that we both so badly wanted.
The rest of my pregnancy was pretty textbook, right up until about 37 weeks when my blood pressure started to go up. My midwives were monitoring it closely, when at 38 weeks they decided that I should go in for a non-stress test to see how babe was doing, and have another look at my blood pressure. They were right to do so because my blood pressure was still elevated, so we were able to start an induction.
I met with my midwives at 5 p.m. on Canada Day, thinking that it was pretty late in the day for me to have the baby before the day’s end. I was there with both my husband and my cousin Tracy, who would be this little girl’s Godmother. I got settled in Labor Room 1 (the room in which all three of my other children were born, which was really cool) and waited for the OB to come in to break my water. He was supposed to meet us there at 5 p.m., but didn’t actually show up until 6:30 p.m. He came in, broke my water (and in doing so scratched my daughter’s head) and then left. I was able to walk around a little and started having stronger contractions. My midwife called the anaesthesiologist to inquire about an epidural. I was nervous about whether or not I would get one because it was both Friday night and a holiday, but the anaesthesiologist said that she would just finish up what she was doing at home and would be right in to administer the epidural. When my midwife told me the good news, I felt so relieved that this part of my birth plan was going as planned.
I had epidurals for my previous three births, and this one was pretty much the same. I asked her to make sure she gave me a good one, and when she was done, I couldn’t feel much of anything below my chest area. It was fantastic! I was checked just after receiving the epidural around 8 p.m. and I was 4 cm dilated, so I labored in the bed for about 2 hours before I could feel the epidural starting to wear off a little. I was able to move my legs just enough to justify a walk to the bathroom, since I was feeling like I needed to go. With the help of both my midwife and my husband, I made it to the bathroom and sat on the toilet. After about 10 minutes, I was ready to get back into bed and get my epidural back up because I was starting to feel some pretty heavy contractions. The nurse helped get me settled and they increased my epidural again. I could still feel the contractions even though they were not painful, and after about an hour I said to my midwife that I felt like I was having a contraction every 2 minutes, which she confirmed that I actually was!
All of a sudden felt a lot of pressure and I said that I thought that maybe I needed to start pushing. My midwife decided to check me and said, “It’s time to have a baby!” It was 11:25 p.m.! I was so excited to have this baby on Canada day after all. The second midwife was called to come in and we got prepared to start pushing. My husband also got suited up so he could help with the delivery. I pushed for about 15 minutes before my baby girl came into the world, with the help of my two midwives and my husband. She was 8 lbs 3 oz and was perfect in every way! We all shed a few tears and enjoyed those first few minutes with my baby girl on my chest. With my newborn daughter latched to my breast, I felt an overwhelming sense of accomplishment. We had our beautiful Canada Day baby, Mallory Madeleine, and I knew that my family was complete.