2020 has been an incredibly eventful one, let me tell you- and it began with the early arrival of this gorgeous human:
Colleem at 10 minutes old!
Colleen made an early arrival on January 3, 2020 (she wasn’t due until the 20th, making her another Canning to make a dramatic early entrance like her big sister Evelyn). And if you are curious about my other births, here are the birth announcements of John, Leo, Rose, Joseph, James and Phoebe.
Here’s how it all went down:
December 24, 2019: We had all kinds of people over at our house for Christmas Eve. It was glorious, I was in my element, I was so happy (and even more happy I found something in my closet that fit and I felt good in, LOL). The entire night though, I was feeling all kinds of pain. I chalked it up to cooking up a storm, being on my feet etc. Baby wasn’t due for 3 more weeks, so no way this was labour.
December 25 – December 30, 2019: All kinds of pain EVERYWHERE. A few times I would have to pause a conversation because it was so uncomfortable. But again, baby isn’t due for 3 more weeks so no way this is labour, riiiiiiiight?
January 1, 2020: I recorded my first podcast episode (DID I TELL YOU I HAVE A PODCAST NOW?!?!?) on the floor of my guest room office. I legit did not think I could get off the floor because of the pain. But there’s no way this is labour. ZERO WAY.
January 2, 2020: I am 100% in labour. BUT I AM IN FULL DENIAL BECAUSE I AM NOT DUE FOR THREE MORE WEEKS. But essentially…
4pm: Oooh I think I peed my pants… wait, what is that? Proceeds to google mucous plug because 8 children later I still am not 100% sure what one looks like. But there’s no way I am in labour.
6pm: My niece from Canada is visiting and we have a lovely catch up. I go to the bathroom and there is definitely all kinds of stuff going on down there (and of course more Google- this time what is a bloody show again???), now combined with pain. But there’s no way I am in labour.
8pm: I causally say to my niece, maybe have your phone on just in case I do go into labour tonight and you can be here with the other kids- but there’s no way I am in labour.
9pm: My husband is pouring himself a drink but pauses, and says- maybe I shouldn’t drink anymore incase you think you are in labour? No way I am in labour I tell him, as I proceed to google how many hours between mucous plug or bloody show labour actually begins. I find one random site that says it could be days (ignoring all the ones that say it could be hours) and tell him to have a drink! Pretty sure he gave me side eye and decided better to be safe and maybe let’s go to bed early just incase.
10pm: I decide this is the perfect time to watch as much of the Die Hard movie franchise as I can. In between all the machine gun antics I finally realize I cannot get into a single comfortable position while lying down so finally…
11pm: Yippie kiyay (LOL) I realize LISA YOU HAVE BEEN IN LABOUR ALL DAY AND HAVE BEEN IN DENIAL. Baby is coming TONIGHT.
So we text all the people, I wake up Josh who is passed out, I pack a bag and all that and we are on the road by 12am…
12am: In the van, experiencing the most intense contractions I have ever experienced. I remember closing my eyes, managing the pain as best I could, feeling like the contractions were lasting FOREVER, thinking, it’s OK we are almost there, only opening my eyes to realize we had only been driving for 5 minutes and had not even left my town yet. The hospital is 40 minutes away so this should be interesting.
12:45am: I check in, and spent an agonizing few minutes in the public waiting area where an entire group of people are standing watching me stand in the most ridiculous positions and moaning all kinds of sounds reminiscent of young cattle. Legit, I sounded like a cow.
12:50am: They ushered me into a bathroom where I was told to charge- and oh my goodness I remember thinking I am legit going to die right here from this contraction in a SW Florida hospital bathroom- tell my mom where to find me- the pain from the contractions were so intense. And I could not for the life of me figure out how to get the hospital gown on it had all these foreign snaps and ties- and let’s just say it took my 6′ tall husband, and a sweet 5′ tall nurse, to peel my half dressed body off the floor of the bathroom- I remember the nurse saying, “you have got to get up, you can’t have a baby in the bathroom dear!”
12:55am: I am on an exam table by some sheer miracle, thinking, it’s ok- I can definitely still get an epidural. There’s all kinds of time.
And I will never forget what the nurse said to me next:
“Well, you are at 10cm. It’s time to have the baby NOW! No epidural needed!”
Now I need to pause this what I hope is entertaining linear story telling to tell you something: I have had seven births all with an epidural. 7 glorious times, I allowed an anesthesiologist to legit puncture my spine, so I could not feel labour pains during childbirth. 7 times, I was too afraid to experience pain I opted for medication.
And I was your classic commercial for epidurals during delivery! I was smiling, I had lipstick on, I was joking with the nurses and doctors that this is like pilates! Engage the core! Giving birth felt effortless.
So somewhere in my motherhood journey, I developed the story of there is no way you can do a natural birth. NO WAY.
1:20am: In one glorious, powerful, most incredible push, Colleen came out. And my life was changed forever.
Here’s the thing I really want to tell you- and this will probably need it’s own separate post / podcast / youtube / all the things. My life was changed forever not only because we became a family of 8- but because I did something that I never thought I could do. I did something- a natural birth- that made me ask the question: if you just did something that 7 times previously you elected not to do because of fear, what else are you too afraid to do right now that might actually be possible????
From left to right: Phoebe, John, Rose, Leo, Colleen, James (on my lap), Joseph, me and Evelyn.
We are so excited for baby Colleen, and you better believe me that there is much more of this story to be told as I continue to process the experience of giving birth naturally. I learned a lot about pain management, I learned a lot about what our thoughts do to our bodies and how much power our thoughts have on outcomes in our lives.
I am overwhelmed by the love we have received from all of you. It has been so much fun to share the joy. Grateful, so grateful, for this experience.