On the evening of July 8th, 2022, Jessica and I found ourselves at the hospital for the third time. We were somewhat skeptical that we’d be admitted given that Jess had been in false labour the previous times.
We had wanted a home birth with a midwife, but being relegated to waitlist purgatory meant that a hospital was our only option. We also wanted Jess’s mother and my mother to be there with us, but covid restrictions meant that we could only have visitors post-delivery.
When I finally got the text to come upstairs, I rushed to grab all of our bags and bedding from the trunk of the car, and I hobbled my way to the birthing unit looking very much like a sherpa.
Although Jess was in obvious discomfort from her impending labour, we felt optimistic that everything would work out. After all, we had worked tirelessly on our birthing plan, so we knew how we wanted things to go.
Jess wanted a water birth, which the hospital’s website mentioned they could accommodate—and she also wanted to forego the epidural. But as the nurse helped us settle in and got Jess hooked up to the monitors and IV, we discovered that we had to scrap our birthing plan altogether.
When we learned that the whirlpool tub was only for labouring, we decided to explore other birthing options like standing. But when we learned that standing was only acceptable for labouring and not delivery, we resigned ourselves to the whims of the hospital staff and OB.
Between trips to the ice machine for Jess, the labour pain quickly started to ramp up. And because our son wouldn’t stay still long enough to get accurate heart readings, he had to be hooked up to an internal monitor, which restricted Jess from assuming any positions that might bring her some pain relief.
So epidural it was.
This labour experience was a sign of things to come—an indication that very little is within our realm of control.
Our parenting journey began at the ungodly hour of 4am on July 9th. Although it’s impossible to sleep on hospital chairs, we were reassured by the constant presence of nurses and doctors tending to us. But when we were finally sent home with an entirely new human, we lost all confidence in our ability to be…