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How the Grinch Stole Christmas…and Our Hearts: A Labour Story

How the Grinch Stole Christmas…and Our Hearts: A Labour Story

As our due date approached and then passed by, I frantically tried getting everything in order for the arrival of our little one. Little did we know, Muppet had no plans on arriving on time, in fact, our little monster decided to stay so long, that our doctor decided we needed to be induced on December 27. Originally she wanted us to come in on Boxing Day, but later decided we’d probably like a day of shopping. We were so crushed to hear that we would have to be induced, and I spent all the days leading up to our induction crying and trying to figure out how we could postpone our appointment. We both really wanted to do things as naturally as we could, and didn’t want to force the baby out before it was ready, as this was truly the opposite of our plans. Unfortunately, there didn’t seem to be any answer, so I tired to face the upcoming hospital visit as positively as possible (not so easy).

I did keep busy though by finishing up Muppet’s Christmas stocking, though I was so sad to know the baby would be missing Christmas holidays and all the presents we had gotten for the little one, including the most adorable Baby’s First Christmas ornament made by our friend Lesley Wellington from ‘The Cat’s Pyjamas’. She makes the cutest cake toppers and ornaments and I know I will be buying many for years to come! You can purchase her amazing and unique artwork from her website which links to her Etsy store:¬†

On Christmas eve, we headed to Chris’ family’s house to celebrate Christmas. It was a little difficult to get into the spirit of the holidays knowing our baby wouldn’t be able to celebrate with us, but everyone did their best to keep us in good spirits and even helped me keep my mind off of the sad news by looking up natural ways to induce labour. We read that drinking red raspberry leaf tea, primrose oil, pineapple juice and walking around a lot can help speed up labour. At this point, I was willing to try anything, so I spend Christmas eve drowning in tea and juice and playing with Sawyer at the dog park in the snow. All day I had constant braxton hicks contractions, but around 11pm, after opening Christmas presents, I started to notice the contractions were coming in a pattern. I quietly began timing them, without telling anyone, and after an hour of them being evenly spaced out, I showed Chris. Neither of us wanted to get our hopes up, as we had experienced this before, and they just turned out to be plain old braxton hicks, so we decided to just keep an eye on them. As the evening wore on, they got stronger and more frequent until they were 3 minutes apart. We decided to head home so I could labour at home (if this was labour) and be closer to the hospital. All night I had contractions, until finally around 4am Christmas day, we decided to go to the hospital.

At the hospital they decided that I needed to dilate more before they could admit me, so they had me walk around for 2 hours through the mostly empty hospital. Thank goodness for all those railings throughout the hallways! I was constantly stopping, turning to the wall, gripping the railing and pressing my head into the wall. By the end of our hospital adventure, my forehead was very bruised. I was finally admitted into the hospital and brought into our room, which was the room of my dreams! It was large with it’s own bathroom, kitchen, rocking chair, television and birthing ball. It was nice and private, which was very important to me. They found my contractions to be strong, but not quick enough, as they slowed down from 2-3 minutes apart, to 5-6 minutes, so they had me go and walk the halls again to see if that would speed things up. Around 7am, I called my family, as they were expecting us to show up for Christmas breakfast around 8am, and I was pretty sure we weren’t going to make it. ;)

After calling my mom, we went to see if we were progressing, but sadly my body was not learning how to labour properly. They decided to break my water, and when they did that, they found that the baby had already passed some meconium inside me which can be a sign of the baby being under stress, or simply be dangerous for the baby to ingest while in utero. They decided they needed to monitor the baby, so I had to be hooked up to some machines and had to stay in my bed (which was exactly what I didn’t want). Again, I was a little crushed. After a few hours of moitoring, our nurse spoke to the doctor and they decided that the baby looked okay, and that I was able to walk around as long as I checked in every half hour for monitoring. I am so thankful for our nurse. She really understood how I felt, and tried to do everything to make this labour easy on us.

After 5 hours of not progressing any further, they decided I had to have pitocin to speed up my contractions. Apparently my body was not getting the hang of this “labour” process. I again didn’t want any medical intervention, but knew they were concerned about the baby being inside with meconium, so I said yes. My labour pains intensified strongly from then on, as pitocin not only speeds up contractions, but makes them sharper as well. I tried to deal with the pain, but it came to a point where I was so tired from having no sleep and being confined to a bed again that I gave in and got an epidural. My feelings on the epidural are mixed, as I really appreciated the sleep I was able to get, and don’t think I could have pushed in the final stages of labour without it, but I didn’t like feeling just strong pressure without the sharper pain, as it didn’t make sense in my mind. I also hated being confined to bed. They found the baby was sunny side up, which was causing me to have intense pain in my lower back, so in came the “Baby Whisperer”, who reached in the turned the baby around. It was a little crazy!

They topped up my epidural with another medication that would wear off when it came time to push, and that just knocked me out. I couldn’t feel anything, not even pressure, and I fell into a deep sleep. The next thing I know is someone is shaking my shoulder and telling me it was time to push! Push what? I didn’t even know I was still in labour! I was supposed to push with each contraction, but because of the drugs, I couldn’t even feel when I was having them at first. After a while, the drugs began wearing off, and the pain came back. All I wanted to do was get up and walk around, but I was hooked up to machines and my legs were numb from the epidural, so I was unable to. This became the worst part of my labour. I would take the pain over not being able to move around any day! I started to feel¬†claustrophobic and began panicking. I kept saying, “I need to get up, I need to get out of here!” The nurse and Chris both tried keeping me calm, but I could see the worry in Chris’ eyes and just wanted the whole ordeal to be over. As I pushed and the baby’s head came out, they told me to wait and not to push, and I’m pretty sure I freaked out and said, “Either take it out or put it back in!” I was not happy with it being half in and half out. *shudder* With the next contraction I pushed hard, and finally our little Muppet was born!

Chris, the proud new papa, looked down and exclaimed, “It’s a boy!” I have never seen him prouder. :) Chris even cut the cord! As they cleaned him up (and stitched me up), I remember saying, “He’s so cute..and I can’t even see him!” That’s really how you feel, no matter what they look like, to you, your child is the most amazing and beautiful baby ever created. In that moment, I couldn’t tear my eyes away from Chris and the baby. It is a vision I never want to forget, as I’ve never seen such pure love shown before.

Little Oliver Sullivan Ysebert Gallant-Turner *whew* was born December 26 at 1:20am, weighing 7lbs 4.6 ounces and measuring 20 inches in length. He just missed Christmas and was a little grouchy because of that. He also made us miss Christmas, so we think of him as our little Grinch. :) I also think it’s interesting that he arrived the day before we were going to be induced. Maybe that was his gift to us. I have to say, this is a Christmas we will never forget, and now this wonderful winter holiday will be even more special to us each year, as we truly spent Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day waiting for the arrival of the best Christmas present ever.

And I have to say…Our hearts grew three sizes that day. <3


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  1. SockBoy says:

    Your memory is impressive! I will add some random memories & moments :)

    Santa Claus!

    Having to wait 6 hours for a coffee.

    Going to give our nurse the tin of Quality Street chocolates, dropping the whole thing on the floor, making lots of noise. :)

    Watching a bunch of DVDs while you were labouring (Stranger Than Fiction, a Fish Called Wanda, Yes Man) and paying attention to none of them.

    Watcing Wag the Dog while you slept on my iPhone because there was no way I was sleeping.

    You taking a shower to help take your mind off the pain, me getting to hold the shower head and hose you down.

    The nurses tagging me in to hold your legs while you pushed, me wondering what was going on. :)

    Constantly watching Ollie's heart monitor, getting all nervous when it dipped and did strange things.

    Feeling like I was going to have a breakdown when I had to leave while you were getting your epidural and feeling completely powerless. Stressful!

    During your pushing, the doc was checking things out and he said "Look at all the hair on it's head! You can see it coming for miles" and I felt proud, because that's my contribution. ;)

    The instant he was born and having so much joy, relief, adoration & appreciation concentrated into one single moment, feeling overwhelmed by happiness and pride for my honey. :)

    Surprised at myself for not being grossed out by anything, not even the cord cutting :)

    Getting to run out to grab our families from the waiting room and being completely unable to hide my enormous grin.

    Those are a few from my perspective, I'll comment again if I can remember any more. ;)

  2. Nancy says:

    Blinded by tears of deep emotions I proudly accept the honor of being a Meme for a second time.Amanda your writing tells it as it is and Chris I can feel exactly what you are saying. It is as if I have just relived my own experience at giving birth to you Amanda.I am very proud of both of you and you will be awesome parents. Welcome to the family little Oliver. I love you so much!!

  3. Anonymous says:

    We did not realize what you both were going through!We are so proud of all three of you and love you lots! Thank you for sharing. We love our little Oliver to pieces. :)

  4. moxy says:

    This was such a fantastic read – SO nice to get a glimpse into your world and experience that day where all we could do was try to be there.. but always wishing we could do more. Of course, this was absolutely a time for you and Chris, but thank you for sharing your world with us :)

    And.. besides the Baby Whisper's "reaching in there" that made me laugh, I loved reading about the love between you both.. so warm and unconditional.. especially when you think it couldn't be there, it is. *smiles* Ollie's a lucky little guy, as are all of us! I'm glad we got to meet him before we left! Looking forward to life with the family that just keeps getting better. :)

  5. Anonymous says:

    Amanda that is such an amazing story!

    It is an incredible feeling when you look at your husband holding your baby for the first time. I know I will never forget it either :)

    Thank you for sharing your story.

    I actually had to have a scheduled c-section because baby was breech! And she just didn't wanna turn. It really sucks when things don't turn out like you hoped. But with baby's they decide how it's gonna be lol

    Elizabeth Mills

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