“Emerson’s Arrival”

Emerson was born at 1:34am on a Tuesday morning, nine days after her due date. She made us wait. She made me labour through my favourite kind of live television event; federal election coverage (wah-wah-waaaah *sad trombone sound*, yuuuuup, I am an adult, yo). But despite the waiting, once Emerson decided to get going, she did. And fast.

That little girl who made me a mother turned two today. I can hardly believe it, except that I am WELL aware of her “terrible two”-ness as of late, so it must be true!

I’ve never actually taken the time to write out her “birth story”, and now that another child has since taken that trip through my body, I suppose I should get to jotting down a few things. Finally.

Now frankly, I am not sure I want to detail every single progression of the labour. Do I remember it all? I thiiiink so? The doula that we hired to be there for Emerson’s birth ended up taking notes and providing us with a birth story that has all of the technical times and what not.

I’m going to give you the straight goods and the things that stand out in my mind most about that day instead of the nitty-gritty details though. If the nitty-gritty details are your thing, sorry. But also, not sorry, because this is my blog and I do what I want. Glad we cleared that up.

Here’s a short list of what I recall:

-Gas Pains: I totally didn’t recognize my first contractions as such. I had two or three of them before I collapsed over our bed and said to Zach “Holy crap, such bad gas pains! I really just need to fart.” <— wedded bliss right there.

And Zach replied with “Babe…are you sure those aren’t contractions? You’ve had to fart in waves about every five minutes…” and he was right. My contractions started at 4min 30sec apart, and were over a minute long each. The 5-1-1 rule was out the window from the start.

-Puking fajitas: I ate Mexican food a ton while I was pregnant with Emerson… not ‘authentic’ Mexican. Authentic Old el Paso; burritos, tacos, taco salad, fajitas. On repeat. And on October 19th, I ate fajitas no more than thirty minutes before my first contraction started at about 6:15pm or so. After I realized they were in fact contractions, I puked. And I puked and I puked and I tried to puke even after I couldn’t because I just felt so damn nauseous.

I took a puke bucket into the hospital with me once we got there, and I am pretty sure I recall using it while I was sitting at the administration desk getting checked in. Lovely.

Peter Mansbridge: As I mentioned, I went into labour the night of the federal election. I was determined to try and watch the coverage, so I sat on my birthing ball with my puke bucket next to me and I tried my best to watch and enjoy the reporting. The contractions were already getting much stronger though, and I couldn’t focus on the TV very well at all. I spent most of the time zoning out at a letter ‘O’ in an art print I have on the wall next to the TV.

I needed to see if Justin Trudeau would win, and election results only happen every four years. Welp, I managed to stay and labour at home until around 9:40pm or so when I heard Peter Mansbridge announce that the CBC were predicting a Liberal Majority government. Good enough.

As soon as I heard that I said to Zach “Okay, we gotta go to the hospital now”. My contractions were about 3 minutes apart at this point and 1.5mins in duration.

Labouring in Triage: I got to full dilation quickly while waiting in triage. We were there from about 10:15pm- midnight, as I was stubbornly waiting for a “low-risk” room where I could have access to a shower and the laughing gas if I needed it for pain relief. Those are options not available on the “high-risk” side of the Labour and Delivery ward which was where they were offering to put me. Nope. I wanted to wait, and wait I did.

This was where my potty mouth/quick tongue unleashed itself. I laboured quietly, but packed a punch with the words I did speak. Including yelling “Fuck yah!” when the nurse told me I was 9cm dilated; asking “Is she crawling here?” when I was told for the third time over the course of 45mins that a nurse was coming to get me to take me to a room; and finally, shouting “I AM HOLDING MY ASSHOLE CLOSED!” at a nurse when she asked me if I was ‘feeling the urge to push’. None of those unfortunately compare to the most awkward and regrettable remark I made… which brings me to….

Emerson’s Arrival: I got in a low-risk delivery room and was able to start pushing finally at 12:15am (I never got to use the shower or the gas!). After 1hr and 19min of pushing, Emerson and her conehead was born, and placed on my chest.

Pregnancy hormones are weird. The hormonal surge after delivering a baby is even weirder. At least that’s what I tell myself to justify the first words I said after finally being able to look at my daughter.

“She has a coke nail!” SHE. HAS. A. COKE. NAIL!?!!??!!? To this day I shake my head at myself and get a yucky feeling about it.

What the fuck was I thinking saying that? I didn’t think at all, and that was the root of the problem.

First of all, I’ve never even done cocaine, and my reference for a cocaine nail begins and ends at Snoop Dog and his pinky fingers…and even then…now that I’ve typed that, I am remembering that I think his pinkies have something to do with pimping. Not cocaine. Both? Maybe? …See? Completely unjustified.

I’ll never forget the look on my poor husband’s face when those words left my mouth though. Absolute shock, horror and embarrassment, with a healthy dash of “WHAT ARE YOU EVEN SAYING?!”, all at once.

We were surrounded by medical professionals after all. The resident doctor was literally still waiting for my placenta to show up (*shudder* no they don’t get any less gross even after you’ve had one grow in you. Sure their cool. But gross. In my opinion. My blog. Remember?).

I don’t remember what I said after that, but Zach’s face / the wide eyes of our doula smacked me back to the reality of what I had said, and I quickly realized I was probably just labelled as an illicit drug user by everyone, save for my husband, in the room.

“Holy crap, I did it”,

the first words she heard. The next?

“She has a coke nail!”

Nonetheless, thanks to those same hormones that burned through my frontal lobe and filter, at the time I shook it off and moved on quickly to being in awe of our beautiful baby.

That ridiculous remark is the only part of my labour and delivery with Emerson that I regret or have any kind of remorse about. Otherwise? It was an unreal experience. I’d do it again. Well. I did. But I’ll save that story for approximately another 1.5 years from now.