After 9 months of anticipation and excitement, Emilia finally arrived on July 20 at 4:29pm! 😍
She arrived 10 days early because my arms and legs started feeling itchy on July 15. When I asked our OB about it during our 38 week visit, she said that I might have a condition called cholestasis. There’s a blood test to find out but it takes 10 business days for results to be available, at which time I’m already due. Having cholestasis increases chances of stillbirth so our OB recommended that we induce labour as soon as possible. Better safe than sorry.
So we went into the hospital on July 19 to start the induction. Because my cervix hadn’t started dilating yet, I needed to have cervidil inserted into my cervix to help get things started. Once it was inserted, we spent 2 hours in the hospital to make sure the medication wasn’t having any negative effects on me and the baby. Afterwards we were sent home as we waited for the drug to do its thing.
We went back for a check 12 hours after the cervidil was administered and I was still not ready so we were sent home again. At this point I was starting to feel the cramps though, and the pressure on my hips and lower back finally made my movement slow and waddly.
This is a picture of me at 2am on July 20, a few hours before we headed to the hospital.
That evening I had a hard time falling asleep as my cramps increased in intensity. Shortly after I fell asleep, at 5am, I felt the amniotic sac pop inside my belly and a gush of water flowing out. (Good thing Andres suggested for me to wear the disposable incontinence underwear for bed that night!) I sat straight up and woke Andres as I said “My water broke!” 😮
We quickly took a shower and drove to the hospital. The contractions are feeling a little more intense now, about 4 minutes apart, but still relatively weak that I can get through them easily with a few deep breaths.
Once we arrived at Labour & Delivery, I was strapped to the heart monitors again and a doctor came to perform a cervical exam. I was now 2cm dilated and 50% effaced, still a while to go but since my water broke I could stay in the hospital. We waited for 2 more hours at the triage for another cervical exam. At 9am, I was 4cm dilated and 100% effaced so I could finally be admitted into a birthing unit. However, all birthing rooms were occupied so we had to wait.
The doctor released me from the triage and encouraged me to walk around as we were waiting to help further speed things along. The contractions were getting much more intense now and it was getting harder and harder to breathe through them. After an hour of walking, we went back to the triage to check if our room was ready but no luck. The next hour was quite painful as I was so tired and sleepy but had no place to lie down.
Finally at 11am, we got our birthing room! 😃
Because my water broke and I was being induced, I had to be hooked up to the heart monitors and an IV drip. The IV drip is so that oxytocin, which is used to induce contractions for active labour, can be administered.
At this point, I had to answer a very important question: do I want an epidural? After hearing many women scream in pain at the triage and knowing that contractions elicited by oxytocin are generally stronger, I decided it would be wise to have an epidural and that I should have it earlier than later since I was still able to sit still as I was breathing through contractions.
Boy am I glad with the decision I made! 😂
Once the epidural is in, I could finally take a nap. Praise whoever invented this pain med! 😍
Every few hours, our nurse Jessica (what a coincidence that we have the same name! ) came in to check my progress. At 1pm, I was 6cm dilated. She said generally the progress is 1cm per hour so we were probably looking at 5pm for 10cm fully dilated.
At about 3pm, Jessica came into the room looking a little worried. I didn’t pick up on it as I was lying down and feeling drowsy but she tried adjusting the baby’s heart rate monitor, had me lie on my right side instead of left, and did a few other checks. It seems Emilia’s heart rate suddenly dropped. Finally, she decided to check my cervix again.
Voila! I was fully dilated and had to do some pushing! 😮
Andres and Christy jumped out of their chairs in excitement. I pushed a few times so that Emilia could move into a more comfortable position. Now that her heart rate had steadied, Jessica called in Dr. Harding, the doctor on duty to examine me. Dr. Harding said we needed to wait for more pressure on my lower back to build up before we can start pushing for real.
We waited for an hour but I didn’t feel much pressure build up. Meanwhile Jessica got prepared the room so everything is ready for use. Dr. Harding came in again at 4pm and said, “you know what? I think we could start pushing.” And so we did!
At first only 2 nurses were in the room. They needed to see Emilia’s crown pushed out before calling Dr. Harding in once more. Jessica guided me to push for 3 rounds every time a contraction came on. And apparently I was so good at pushing that they had to stop me quickly to call the doctor back in. “Stop! And don’t laugh or she’ll slip right out!” they said. 😂
As we were waiting for Dr. Harding, I reached down and felt Emilia’s head! It felt so soft and hairy and squishy! It’s a very weird feeling I don’t know how to describe in words. According to Andres, it looked like an avocado seed.
After Dr. Harding arrived, I pushed for a few more contractions and at 4:29pm, Emilia Grace Rodriguez was born, weighing 7 lbs 5 oz / 3.325 kg!!! ❤
As they handed Emilia to me, it felt so surreal! Somehow, even after carrying her and preparing for her arrival for 9 months, I didn’t expect to be holding a human being. Feeling her skin on mine was a shock and I couldn’t stop crying. Tears of joy and relieve. I made this perfect little bundle!
According to the doctors and nurses, I’m a labour unicorn. I got dilated super quick and I only pushed for a total of 8 minutes. Thanks for being so good to me yet again, Emilia! ❤
The next hour was a whirlwind as nurses and doctors busied around the room performing health checks on Emilia, cleaning up and sewing my perineum tear up. After everything was done, I breastfed Emilia for the first time and we’re transferred to a mother and baby unit (semi-private hospital room) for recovery.
The whole experience was very pleasant and kind of magical. I realize this is all thanks to the professional care provided by all the nurses and doctors at North York General Hospital (and that epidural!). Not to mention the support from Andres, the love of my life, and my sister Christy. Here’s a big kiss to you all! 😚❤