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The Night I Became a Mom

by Hannah B about a year ago in pregnancy

AKA the scariest night of my life

My son, Locke Odran.

TW: if you don’t like birth stories, if you haven’t yet become a mama and would rather not read a birth story, if you’re easily squeamish, and for all of the other reasons you may not want to hear this story, please scroll past. I understand Mother’s Day and Father’s Day is not a fun day for a lot of people for a multitude of reasons and I absolutely respect your need to do whatever it is to get through this day, hence my warning for you.

I see a lot of people post the story of their delivery when their baby turns one, or post the little “who made you a mama” questionnaires, but I thought I’d share mine now rather than on Locke’s birthday because the night I became a mom made me respect motherhood in an entirely new light, which makes this first Mother’s Day pretty special to me. Not because it’s my first Mother’s Day, but because it’s a Mother’s Day where I am truly celebrating every loving mother I know, after having my own glimpse into what we go through to bring our babies here. No matter if you grew your baby or adopted your baby or have lost a baby or had a c section or pushed them out or are still trying or WHATEVER, I can’t tell you what kind of respect I have for you moms and soon to be moms. Because becoming a mom is... insane.

So here’s how I became a mom.

So, you all know how much I was done with being pregnant, and finally the day came that this baby boy was due and he needed an eviction notice. So, July 22 at 8am, I was induced. We waited and waited but not much happened, so Lance and I went home and came back around 2pm for another round. Waited and waited, nothing. I was maybe 2cm dilated with not much to show for it. So again we went home, thinking I’d get home and go to sleep, and we’d get this sucker out in the morning.

Well, about halfway home from the hospital I had my first contraction. The induction was working, alright. Little did I know, it was working REALLY well, because at that time I probably had gone from 2-5cm with how fast my contractions were already happening but I decided this was just what labour felt like and I needed to suck it up and go home. Lanced begged me to go back to the hospital but I figured since my pain tolerance is that of a mayfly I was probably going to be turned away so we headed to my moms. I laboured and laboured and laboured while Lance tried to get some sleep and my sisters tended to me while I had a billion contractions in the bath tub until finally the contractions started to feel really different. I mean REALLY different. I mean it felt like I was about to have a big BM. My youngest sister raced upstairs to tell my mom what was happening and I contracted like every 2 minutes on my way up the stairs and to the car. My mom was putting gloves in her purse while Lance ushered me out the door because she thought she may be delivering this baby roadside. This was like 11:50pm.

So poor Lance is driving like a bat out of hell while I’m trying not to give birth in the car. I swore a few times but was trying really hard to just breathe and not scare the hell out of him 😂 At this point I still think I’m getting my epidural (LOL), and we get to the hospital but they have us pull in to the ambulance bay because, again, unbeknownst to me, this kid is about to drop out of me (theoretically). I heard my mom say “like she’s having this baby right now!” And I yelled “I AM?!?”

They rush me to the room, check me, and I’m 10cm and they can see baby’s head. The very nice nurses break the news to me I can’t have my epidural. I’m like well, frick whatever, been in pain this long, let’s rock and roll. I probably should have got an Oscar for that performance. Lance gets behind me where he stays rubbing my shoulders and pep talking me the rest of the night (god bless him). Except for when the doc asks if Lance wants to come see the head, which he quickly does and then returns and whispers in my ear “I’m good up here.” This is when mom calls my sisters to come to the hospital because she figures the baby will be here by the time they get there.

I get up on the bed and in the stirrups and I get pushing. I push and push and it’s a lot of work but apparently I’m doing a good job, so I’m like damn I’m pretty good at this having babies thing. But turns out I’m pushing and pushing and not much is happening They’re getting him turned around in there for a good hour (I think?) and I’m getting tired but it’s all good. Sisters get there and I had at one point said I don’t want anyone in the room but my mom and Lance but I’m like yeah whatever come in I guess I don’t care anymore— this baby will be here in a sec.

Finally the baby is in the right position to finally vacate the premises but he keeps kind of almost getting out, then going back in, and out, and I’m not strong enough to hold him in place in between contractions because I’ve been losing a lot of steam already with all this damn pushing. The Dr notices that baby for sure has the cord around his neck so we don’t want to mess around too much longer with him getting stuck.

So my Dr asks if we can try the vacuum and explains some of the possible side effects, I say “seriously just get this baby out”, and out comes the vacuum. They pull and pull and pull and... nothing. The Dr., I kid you not, puts a leg up on the table and pulls as hard as he can until the damn thing pops off and he goes flying; the vacuum isn’t working. Dr. (Who is amazing, by the way) is mortified, but he tries again, pulls and pulls and pulls and... nothing. Well frick, now I’m DEFINITELY running out of steam and baby is too. He says he’s very sorry but it’s time for an episiotomy, and I’m like alright let’s do this. So... snip snip, no drugs, super fun. I push and push and push some more.

Aaaaaand they still can’t get him out. So at this point we are in quite a pickle. I’m bleeding a fair bit what with the cutting and whatever, and I can hear someone say baby’s heart rate isn’t looking amazing at this point. I keep pushing and they give me an oxygen mask. I start to get pretty confused at this point and I don’t remember a lot of details, but from what I gather, baby’s head is now out but now his shoulders are stuck. I later learned that this is called a shoulder distocia which is a pretty significant medical emergency without the cord around the baby’s neck, let alone with, and my baby of course checks all the boxes. Doc decides it’s time for the Hail Mary.

A nurse put my knees to my chest while another one literally puts her entire weight pushing on my stomach, I push, AND my doctor basically puts his entire arm up in there to pull baby loose... Nothing.

They decide to try one more time and my doctor tells my mom if this doesn’t work, they will need to break Locke’s clavicle to get him out.

At this point both my heart rate and Locke’s are not looking good... basically from what I’m told by my family , this is the point where both of us almost died. I say “I can’t do it”, but Lance says “you can do anything. Push.” and my mom yells that if I don’t push right now my baby might not live.

So I push as hard as I frickin can. Suddenly there’s enough energy there to push him out twice if I wanted to.

They get him out and he’s blue, not crying, not breathing. I heard “CALL THE EMERGENCY DOCTOR NOW!!!” And then i waited what felt like an hour to hear him cry. I kept asking, “why isn’t he crying?” and no one would answer me so I was sure he had died. Everyone was really quiet while the emergency doctor did CPR on my baby. I waited. And waited. And waited.

But the doctor saved him!! And there he was! All 10lbs 9oz and 22.75 inches of him! Making noise and looking around and healthy for the most part except for his big cone head from the vacuum and the whole getting stuck thing! I will never be able to thank the doctors and nurses at Wetaskiwin Hospital that night enough for saving me and my baby.

So there I was, after the most traumatic, horrific, near death, insane experience of my life, but... it was time to be a mom. No time to dilly dally, time to tend to this wrinkly little human nugget. And you just... do it. You have to. NOT WITHOUT HELP, but you have to. You’re that baby’s mama.

This 9 months of being a mama has been the best 9 months of my entire life. Not even despite what I went through to get here: because of it. That doesn’t mean I “pulled up my socks” and “just got over it”, it means that because I have this beautiful, joyful, wonderful child who needs and loves me, I have now more than ever been inspired to heal myself and be the best version of me I can be. It’s pretty powerful.

Motherhood is not just taking care of children. It’s realizing that to do so, you need to take better care of you. It’s being the best version of yourself every single day because the first time you look into those little eyes looking back at you, you realize you have to be who you want them to become. And it’s realizing that if you want to be the one who teaches this beautiful little person how to heal themselves, you better be in a place to teach that lesson. Even with 40 stitches in your vagina. And bleeding nipples. After almost dying.

Hannah B
Hannah B
Read next: Understanding the Effects of Addiction on the Family
Hannah B

Mom, Wife, writer, social worker, self proclaimed funny girl, and publicly proclaimed "piece of work".

Currently working on a challenge for 2020 to complete a piece for every community on Vocal!

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