On October 5, 2011 in Winchester, Ontario, Mila Sims was born to first-time parents Megan and Luke. With friends and family being far away in Oshawa and Exeter, Megan and Mila started a mommy-and-me group with other new moms. The few hours that they spend together every couple of weeks has provided much-needed support to Megan. Her advice to new mothers: being the easy-going mom doesn’t always work and sometimes a schedule is just what everyone needs. Megan has found that having Mila on a schedule takes the guesswork out of what she needs when she needs it. And having a hands-on husband like Luke who takes care of Mila’s bedtime routine (after working 11 hour days!) has made for a much happier family of three.
When my husband Luke and I found out that I was pregnant, it was difficult to feel really excited. This was my third pregnancy in about a year and a half – the first two ended in missed miscarriages. For the first few months (and really, throughout the entire pregnancy) I felt like I was walking on eggshells, never knowing if or when something might happen again. I knew I wouldn’t rest assured and believe that I was actually going to be a mother until I held my healthy baby in my arms. And after still being pregnant 13 days past my due date, there was nothing that I wanted more than to hold my baby. Actually being able to do this took some work.
My due date was September 22, 2011 and initially, my doctor predicted that I would deliver early as the baby was measuring quite large. At one point, the doctor also thought the baby was breech and I mentally prepared myself for the possibility of a C-section. Both of these predictions proved false. My pregnancy had been wonderful and I really was only feeling the effects of the 50lbs I gained in the last few weeks before I was due and in those extra days past my due date.
On Friday, September 30 we went to the doctor and after checking me and finding that I hadn’t dilated, sent us home for the weekend. Nothing happened, although I tried every trick in the book to jump start labour, including eating spicy food, driving on bumpy roads and doing squats. On Monday morning, the doctor inserted Cervidil to ripen my cervix and again sent us home. My parents and sister came from Oshawa Monday evening and nothing seemed to be happening. I took the Cervidil out as instructed 12 hours after insertion and got ready for bed around midnight.
It felt like our heads had just hit our pillows when we heard a pop as my water broke. I jumped out of bed and ran a couple steps to the bathroom while Luke got on the phone with the hospital. They told us to try and get some rest as I wasn’t having contractions, which we attempted, but ended up heading to the hospital around 2:30am. (The hospital is about 40 minutes from our house and Luke didn’t want to risk me delivering at the side of the road. Little did he know we were at least 24 hours away from meeting our baby.)
At the hospital, I slept for a few hours with the help of some morphine and then was moved into my room. I had a Jacuzzi and was feeling really good, listening to my favourite songs on my MP3 and just relaxing. I did my makeup when I got out because I wanted to look good in the pictures Luke was to take immediately after the birth. What was I thinking? I ended up looking like a raccoon with huge black smears under each eye. The pictures were taken but were quickly deleted and replaced by fake post birth photos taken a few days later when I didn’t look so horrendous.
The nurses started me on Pitocin around 10am, but it took me a long time to start dilating even to 2 cm. By 3 pm I was told that they would have to stop the Pitocin as there wasn’t enough nurses on and they couldn’t risk me going into labour. And if I did go into active labour, I might have to be moved to another hospital. This scared us both, although my doctor later told me that she would have come in and stayed with me and wouldn’t let them send me somewhere else.
Fortunately another nurse was called in and the Pitocin was started again around 8 pm. I started dilating and experiencing more contractions so was first given more morphine and then Fentanyl. Neither really helped the pain for long so the anesthesiologist was called and I was given my epidural around 10pm. Honestly I was more nervous about the epidural than actual labour, but when it was time to get it, I had forgotten my fears. The anesthesiologist talked me through everything he was doing and made me feel really relaxed. When it was in, Luke and I both slept for a few hours.
My contractions started to get stronger and to help me deal with the pain, we looked at and talked about the scrapbook I had put together over the past few months to help calm me down and make me happy. Inside the book there were photos of Luke and I when we first started dating 10 years ago, wedding pictures, snapshots of our time spent teaching English in Taiwan and travelling as well lots of pictures of family and friends. This distraction worked well for a little while, but by the time I had dilated to 10 cm around 3 am, it was time to start pushing.
I began to feel a lot of pain so asked for my epidural to be topped up which didn’t really seem to help. I tried every position that I could on the bed to get more comfortable, but it was useless. I felt like my senses were so painfully heightened that I couldn’t stand to be touched or talked to and that music I had carefully selected months before, needed to be turned off immediately. I was exhausted and it seemed like my pushing wasn’t advancing the labour any further. The promise I had made to myself to get through labour without swearing was broken as the F-bombs began to fly.
Eventually my doctor asked me if I agreed to an episiotomy and then vacuum extraction – both of which I agreed to. I just wanted my baby out and didn’t care at that point how it happened. And finally at 6:19 am with one last push by me and one final pull from the doctor, Mila Elizabeth Sims was born.
Aside from wanting to know that she was healthy and what her weight was (9lbs 5oz), I quickly enquired about her hair. This was because the names I had selected (I got to choose the names if the baby was a girl and Luke was in charge of choosing for a boy) depended on whether she had hair or not and if she did, what colour it was. Born with a full head of brown hair meant she was named Mila. This was the name that I was really rooting for as it is a form of the Spanish name Milagros. Not only do Luke and I love Spain after having spent our month-long honeymoon there, the name means ‘miracle’ which seemed very fitting for our little miracle.
Next it was time for me to deliver my placenta and after glancing over at the doctor and seeing a troubled look on her face, I knew that this labour was not yet over. Apparently my placenta had fused to my uterus and would have to be surgically removed immediately. I remember a flurry of activity and medical professionals coming into my room and talking to me and about me before being whisked off to the operating room. As I was being wheeled out of my room, I looked back to see Luke nervously standing alone holding Mila.
In the operating room they again tried to top up my epidural but I begged them to put me out as I just wanted to sleep and could still feel a lot of pain. The anesthesiologist finally agreed and when I woke up, I was in recovery. An hour or so later I was taken back to my room and I finally was able to hold my baby.
Over the next few days, I was given two blood transfusions and Mila was put under the lights for jaundice. My parents and sister visited and Luke stayed with us each day and night.
On Saturday, October 8 the doctor agreed that we were okay to be discharged and we returned to our home in Cornwall where my mom was waiting and Luke’s mom was due to arrive anytime. And so the new chapter of our lives had begun.