My little gal is 11 days old today and I wanted to record her birth story as soon as I could. I know my brain will eventually forget details – some I will want to forget and some that I won’t. I apologize if it’s long however it was my biggest thing I’ve ever done. 

First where does the name November come from and why on earth would we name our child this? There was literally no significance to the name at first. Our criteria in the name selection process was that the name must be able to be shortened as we love a good nickname. Also Rob is French Canadian so the name had to sound good in both languages. This was a way harder then I anticipated! We tried out classic names like Rose, Sophie, Penelope, and Jacquelyn but had no idea what we truly liked – even though I love how much the classic names have had a major come back.

Then I remembered watching a C List horror movie (it was extremely cheesy) 10 years prior at age 16 with Sophia Bush, her character’s name was October. We knew there was no good nicknames there… Octo doesn’t really have a feminine touch. So we literally just went through every month and wrote down November, June, May as options along with three or four others.

At a 14 weeks we paid to have a private ultrasound to determine gender. The moment we were told it was a girl Rob said, “Awe that will be our sweet little November.. Our little Novee”. It was set in concrete that this little gal was named by her daddy and even at 13 weeks she was a daddy’s girl!

It stuck till she was born 23 weeks later. She is our sweet little November, my little Novee. We have had many people tell us, “but she isn’t born in November”.. Yes we know. Not everyone will be a fan of any name and will tell your friends how much they hate it and you just keep calm and carry on!

Now onto the nitty gritty birth story. 

I’ll spare you of the details of morning sickness and the usual aches and pains pregnant women go through. All I can say is it was pregnancy was tough on me since day one.

At 30 weeks I had a lot of bleeding and was dilated to 3cm. I was put on resting orders to avoid delivering prematurely and spent a few nights in the hospital over the next 6 weeks. In that time I had so many false alarms due to being in prodromal labor where I would have regular contractions but no change to the cervix. Also I have been diagnosed with a Rhematory condition called fibromyalgia. I was also showing signs of some pregnancy arthritis in my hips, spine, and hands so to say the least I was constantly in pain. 

And here comes in my saint of my OB who has 4 kids and was miserable pregnant lady too. At 36 weeks she took me off bedrest and told me she was “confident would get the baby out with an aggressive sweep” at 37 weeks. Most doctors refuse to do any type of intervention that early but she knew both baby and I would do better if she was on the outside. Plus she was confident that she was around 6 pounds and was ready to take on the world. 
After researching sweeps at 37 weeks I wasn’t super confident it would work as it only has a 25% success rate so my plan was to do all the wives tales I could think of. 
I had my sweep at 9:30AM on Tuesday and my friend Shyle took the day off and we went to the mall and walked with not a lot of contractions. However my back was throbbing so we skipped on our plans of going to Ikea and went for Chinese food instead since my joints were swelling. We then went back to my house where I drank down 40ml of caster oil in orange juice which tasted pretty much like Vaseline which apparently will really get things going or just make you miserable.

As soon as Shy and I arrived home at 2PM, I went to the washroom and had 3 medium size gushes and some leaking fluid. Shy took me maternity triage to get in checked out and the test was inconclusive – later we learn this was my forewaters. My cervix was still just 3cm (like it had been for 6 weeks) and 50% effaced and posterior. The monitor showed regular but painless Braxton Hicks.

Since Rob would be home soon, Shy dropped me off to have a nap. I immediately went inside and cried because I was convinced I was going to be pregnant forever. We had maternity photos the next day and I sent Rob to go get a haircut since I didn’t think anything was happening. In my head that haircut HAD to get done which turned out to be a great thing because our amazing doula also does labor and delivery photography. 

At 6pm I was throwing up from the castor oil which was no surprise considering how horrible that stuff is. Still no belly contractions, just feeling crazy back pain. Oddly enough all I could eat and was craving was a 7/11 slurpee which I haven’t had in over ten years and usually find them sickly sweet. 

At 8pm I started having contractions strong and fast that were 3 minutes apart (again not unusual for me). I rotated between bath, birthing ball, and shower for pain management. I was trying to balance the pain and being in helpful positions that would help my body progress if I even was in labor (again didn’t think I was). I was having back labor so Rob had to push hard on my lower back with every contraction. My goal was to make it to 8 AM to go to maternity triage so I could see my own resident. By 12:30AM, after four and a half hours of labor I asked Rob to take me in just to get checked, fully expecting to be sent home. I heard women say, “When it happens you will know..”, well I was clueless and doubting my body so I really wasn’t convinced this was GO time. 

We arrive at the hospital and it was so busy they were ambulancing all high risk patients to another hospital across the city. We waited in the waiting lounge for an hour and a half and it was finally our turn. The nurse checked and I was 5cm. I didn’t want to believe it till I was admitted to the labor and delivery floor. I had let them know in triage I wanted an epidural so they had the anesthesiologist waiting in the room *Amen*. I never felt another contraction after that point. I got a walking epidural which made me so happy because I didn’t want to spend my whole labor in bed. We tried to rest from 5AM-8AM but I couldn’t sleep. Poor Rob got 2 hours of sleep. 

In the morning they checked me. I was still 5cm and my epidural slowed my labor WAYYYY down to contractions 7 minutes apart. I originally didn’t want any Pitocin but at this point I had been awake for 24 hours and I just wanted to get things going. Unfortunately that meant they had to up the epidural so I was no longer allowed to get out of bed. We told our amazing doula Carla to come for 8AM since I was so comfortable.
Summary I was on large amounts of Pitocin till her birth 11 hours later. I was excited to start pushing and I was told by the anesthesiologist that I wouldn’t feel pain when I pushed just pressure so I had 0 anxiety about it. This definitely wasn’t the case.

At 6pm I went into transition hard. I had 1/4 of a cm left and they wouldn’t let me push because I could swell that little piece of cervix and then need a c section. They put my bed in an upright position and I kneeled upwards facing the bed. The only person I was aware of in the room was Rob since he was by my face coaching and encouraging. Carla was pushing on my hips and supporting Rob as he supported me. 
After an hour of pure discomfort I naturally had pushed her past the lip and was ready for the real pushing. I was feeling everything, not just the pressure they told me I would experience. 

I had the most natural pushing situation I could have dreamed of in a hospital. I pretty much refused to go onto my back because I wanted gravities help and honesty it just felt plain unnatural. To push I basically sat on my knees and pushed against the bed for leverage into a yoga child’s pose. The room was apparently filled with 8 people but I only noticed the nurse who was softly coaching me and Rob who was whispering in my ear encouragement and giving me ice chips in between pushes. There was no yelling, no chaos, no episiotomy and just a quiet and peaceful space. My brain was oddly calm and I could hear that they were calling the NICU because her heart rate was shooting high whenever I pushed. 
Suddenly after only 15 minutes of pushing the nurse started yelling for a delivery team since I was close. My OB was in another delivery and they told me I would have to stop pushing. My response was “I can’t stop” and pushed even harder (because my body literally could not stop). They got a resident who told me to go on my back. Again my answer to him was a big “no” followed by pushing. I had momentum going so he seemed okay leaving me there since I only had 5 pushes left. Apparently later I found out many OBs will only deliver babies when you are on your back so I felt so lucky to be in control of my birthing experience. 10 minutes later, after 24 hours of labor she was born at 7:10PM. It took me a minute to get turned onto my back and I as oddly surprised to see a baby. She also wasn’t the little 6 pounder I had been expecting, she was 8 pounds 3 oz which is the 96th percentile for a 37 weeker!

She was having breathing issues so the whole NICU team came. I just kept saying to her, “mommy and daddy are here” over and over while I was getting stitched up (least favorite part)! Then they put her back on my chest under this warmer to allow my body to heal her lungs. I had never felt more empowered in my life. She is the hardest and best thing I have ever done. Finally after an hour, Rob was allowed to hold her and I shed a tear knowing this baby is the perfect mixture of us! Within three hours Rob was swaddling, changing diapers, and feeding. Seeing him be a daddy makes me fall more in love with him daily. 

It’s been 11 days and she is a dream baby. Novee only cries if she is hungry or dirty. She loves bath time, being swaddled, and kicking her feet. She sleeps very well and we have to wake her for feedings. 

She also is a major daddy’s girl already and she loves mommy’s snuggles. She is easily soothed by our presence and voices. She loves her swing and bassinet where she puts herself to sleep.. Yes I’m bragging about how good of a baby we have but she was exactly what I needed to ease into motherhood. November has her daddy’s personality so far that she is extremely laid back, not much frazzles her, and quite the introvert who will only socialize with Mommy and Daddy… Everyone else gets napped on.

I love our little November Emette and I’m soaking up every little moment. She will only be this small for such a short period of time! Don’t grow too fast darling!

14 thoughts

  1. Way to go standing your ground and givung birth the way you wanted! So many people would not stand up for themselves! We often have Mom’s deliver in the position that is most comfortable for them in Steinbach, but then again we also have a fair amount of midwife deliveries. Beautiful birth story Gwen!! And congrats on your beautiful little babe.


  2. Also, I LOVE that you stayed true to your birthing wishes. Those rights are so easily stolen from women when they’re in such a vulnerable place. Way to stay strong and bring November into the world the way YOU wanted to!!!


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