On Wednesday I received a phone call at 2:03am. Dad informed me at that time that Mom was in labour and would feel more comfortable meeting me at the hospital because she felt like she was progressing quickly. We had made arrangements a few weeks earlier to spend early labour at a birth suite in Saskatoon, since that would keep us closer to the Royal University Hospital (RUH) than their home 20 minutes out of town. I hung up the phone and got ready to go to meet them at the RUH. Within 45 minutes (2:48am) Dad called back with news that Elyse had been born already, and that the paramedics were on the scene to transport her and Mom to the hospital. I was surprised and said that I would meet them there soon.
I arrived at the hospital at 3:15am and waited for about 10 minutes on the fourth floor just outside of the labour and delivery unit at the RUH when Mom and Elyse arrived together on a stretcher with the paramedics. Once they got Mom on to a hospital bed they explained to the nurse that Elyse was born at about 2:10am and had an APGAR of 10 by the time they arrived (shortly after she was born). The umbilical cord was cut about 5-10 minutes after birth and the placenta was bagged and transported with them to the hospital.
I held Elyse while Mom explained her medical history and answered questions for her charts, and then Elyse was placed under a warming lamp because she was quite cold by then (5:25am). Mom unfortunately received many stitches for multiple first to third degree tears. Elyse was weighed shortly afterward and determined to be: 7 pounds 2 ounces, 52.5 cm long, 34 cm head, 31.5 cm chest. All of the usual newborn routines and screening procedures were performed on Elyse. She was obviously a healthy term baby, just a bit cold from the transportation. No information was passed on to Mom and Dad about the condition of the placenta, so we assume that it checked out OK.
Mom had bled about a litre or more after the birth, so she was given IV fluids, Sintocinon, Fentanyl for pain relief during suturing and antibiotics to prevent infection. She also had two oral doses of Ibuprophen for pain relief after suturing. The nurse checked her uterus by pressing the fundus and had said that it was good and hard upon arrival. She was very calm, reassuring and helpful throughout her shift which ended around 7am that morning. I left around 6:45am and returned later that day to check on them. Breastfeeding had not been established when I left, because Elyse was too sleepy and uninterested in it at the time.
When I arrived at 2pm I found them all asleep in their room, so I returned again around 3pm and stayed until 4pm. Mom was breastfeeding well, and Elyse was spitting up a bit of mucous and milk, but other than that seemed to be thriving. I suggested that Mom try breastfeeding her in a more upright position, like the video we watched prenatally on baby-led breastfeeding, because many women find that that position helps babies who have reflux and problems with latching on correctly. Physically Mom seemed better than before. When she arrived at the RUH she was quite pale and had passed out at home after the birth. She also had a wave of dizziness and felt faint shortly after Dad and Big Sister arrived to see her (around 5:20am). By 3pm she was doing great considering the unexpected ordeal that she had experienced earlier that morning. They had few questions at the time, and were doing well so I left around 4pm to pick up my daughter from daycare. We are planning an in-home visit in a week at their home.
As surprised as I was by how fast Elyse was born after their first call to notify me, I knew that Mom and Dad were as well prepared as anyone could be for the experience of an unattended surprise home birth. Big Sister helped them by collecting towels and letting the paramedics in the house. She was delighted and proud of her baby sister. She wanted Elyse to leave with her when she had to go to school later that day, and was happy to tell everyone that Elyse had splashed into the toilet and made a big mess. What a birth story for her to tell!