Calder's Birth Story

Four years ago today, I became a mother. And it feels like ever since then I have been meaning to write down the details of Calder's birth story. . .

On March 7, 2009 we had our good friends, Jordan and Danielle Clarke over for supper. My sister, Jes, was in town for some sort of gymnastics thingy and was at our house as well. After supper we headed downstairs to play a bit of Mariokart on the Wii.

At about 10 pm someone cracked a joke and we all burst out laughing. I not only started laughing, I peed my pants a bit. Well, so I thought. I tried to "squeeze" the pee off, but had no luck. I quickly handed my controller off to the person sitting out and dashed up the stairs. When I got to the bathroom it became VERY clear that I hadn't peed, that in fact, my water had broken. I had been having Braxton Hicks all night, but getting 30 - 40 of those a day was very typical, so I hadn't paid attention to them. (To this day, Hugh says that it was the fact that he was kicking my butt at Mariokart that sent me into labour! For the record, he wasn't kicking my butt ;-)

As soon as I realized my water had broken, I yelled for Hugh to come upstairs. I was 36 weeks 5 days pregnant and not entirely ready to have a baby. Logically, a bit of craziness ensued. Hugh and Jordan were put in charge of the car seat. We hadn't even taken it out of the box, let alone got it into the car! Danielle and Jes then helped me throw all the things from our list into the suitcase. About 1/2 hour later Hugh and Jordan were still struggling in the garage with the baby seat, so Danielle went out to get the job done! It took about an hour to get organized to leave the house. As we stood in the doorway to leave, my brother, Luke, called from Rapid City. We started chatting and once he realized we were on the way to the hospital he got a bit antsy and quickly said goodbye! Hugh's brother, Billy, had been at our house earlier in the afternoon. Both Hugh and I thought it was neat that the day we went into labour we saw/talked to all 3 of our siblings.

I felt my first contractions on the way to the hospital. They weren't much stronger than my Braxton Hicks, but I felt some excitement to be on my way to meeting our baby.

Once we got settled at the hospital, Hugh and I walked down to the kitchen area and he made me some toast. The contractions were starting to get a bit stronger by this point. When we got back to the observation room the resident checked me and I was at 3 cm (approximately midnight). I laid down and suggested to Hugh that he get some rest. I didn't feel like having a back rub and was doing fine on my own breathing through my contractions. For the next 6 hours Hugh nodded on and off and I went back and forth to the bathroom (my body was getting rid of everything in it!). At 6 am I got checked again and was still at 3 cm. The nurse suggested I have some morphine. She said most women cease to feel their contractions, fall asleep and wake up with more advanced labour. I was exhausted and although morphine was not on my list of things I wanted, I said okay. The nurse told me if I didn't feel some relief within 20 minutes to buzz her and she would come back. I felt NO relief after 20 minutes and buzzed. At 40 minutes, the nurse still hadn't come back and I was feeling much worse. We buzzed again. 20 minutes after that I was back to running to the bathroom. This time I had more water breaking and an urge to push. Hugh had to go personally ask the nurses at the front desk 2 or 3 times in the next hour to come and check on me. Two hours after getting the morphine a nurse finally came in. I was 10 cm dialated. Even writing this makes me angry. I never got moved out of observation to a room. The nurses said they didn't want to dirty two beds. Observation is right outside the nurses station and all night we had heard the nurses talking and laughing. Little wonder we weren't able to get any rest. I felt VERY neglected. They were right there - we could hear them- and they didn't bother to check on us. 

The resident was immediately brought in and she told me I wasn't getting an epidural. I started crying. The only part of my birth plan that I knew for sure when I walked into the hospital was that I wanted an epidural. I quickly gathered my strength and they moved me into a wheel chair to transfer me to the delivery room. On the way there, the nurses were talking (like I wasn't there) saying that Hugh didn't know how lucky he was! When we got to the delivery room the nurses commended me on my composure, toughness, and pain tolerance. I told them I was the wimp in my family. They thought I was kidding until Hugh backed up my story! LOL

Still wanting to push, the nurses told me I needed to wait until a doctor got there and they gave me laughing gas to use during the contractions. Laughing gas is awesome! It totally took the edge off of the contractions. While in my happy place the nurses gave me some tips for pushing (our last pre-natal class was the following week!). They told me that typically women push for 1/2 hour to 1 hour. I looked at the clock. It was 8 am. I could do this. It was only an hour.

When the doctor arrived the pushing began.

Things I remember during that time:

  • Hugh's cell phone going off. At one point I told him, "If you don't turn that phone off I am going to throw it out the window!"
  • Falling asleep in the one minute between contractions. I was pretty sure I was falling asleep, but Hugh confirmed it for me :-)
  • Staring at the clock. I had told myself it would only take an hour. There was a clock right in front of me. Unfortunately, Calder wasn't cooperating (the resident kept telling me that the baby needs to turn the corner). I pushed for 2 hours.
At 10: AM Calder made his entrance into the world and someone announced, "It's a boy!" I heard him cry and was in a bit of shock. The moment seemed a bit surreal. I hadn't wanted a slimey baby tossed on me, so they took him away to get him cleaned up. Calder's APGAR was 9/10, so the nurses wrapped up my 5 lb 7.5 oz boy and brought him back to me.

I held Calder for a few minutes and passed him off to Hugh. By this time the room had been cleared of all personal except for our wonderful delivery nurse. As Hugh held Calder he began asking the nurse a few questions, one being, "Are his lips supposed to be blue?" The nurse responded, "Oh, that's common, often babies extremities are a bit bluish at the start." As she finished saying this she glanced over at Calder. She immediately ripped him out of Hugh's arms and took off to the end of the room. She slammed a red button on the wall and laid Calder on a table. She then pulled all of the blankets off him, flipped him over and vigorously rubbed his back. Not getting a response she flipped him back over and gave him a puff of oxygen with a mask. In the meantime, the room was filling up with nurses and doctors. The nurse's quick thinking with the oxygen started Calder back breathing, but had it not, there were at least 6 other people in the room at that point who would have been able to give assistance had the oxygen not worked. 

Calder was then thoroughly checked over. The nurse brought him over to us to say good-bye before they took him to NICU to be further looked over and monitored. 

No more than 5 minutes had passed since the nurse realized Calder wasn't breathing and the time they took him to NICU. I was scared when he wasn't breathing, but it happened so fast, I barely had time to think of the consequences. I remember saying to Hugh once they got him breathing, "He's going to be alright - right?" To which he responded, "Of course." And that was it. We weren't worried. Our baby was going to be fine. In hindsight, neither Hugh or I can believe how naive we were. Our baby stopped breathing - for no apparent reason - and we basically weren't worried about it. I am glad we had that moment without worry, though. 

I then showered and had a piece of toast before we went to see our son in NICU. Hugh and I did a once over look of our list of names and decided on Calder, which was at the top of our name list. Calder's middle name is Hugh. Hugh's family has a tradition that the first born son has his father's first name as a middle name. I love traditions like this!

Calder spent just over 30 hours in NICU. We got to see the doctor the next morning for rounds. His theory as to why Calder stopped breathing was that there was still morphine in both our systems at the time of delivery (The effects of morphine last 4 hours and I started pushing 2 hours after having the morphine). The doctor said the morphine caused Calder not to "do his job" during delivery very well and caused him to "forget" to breathe. Just before supper on Monday morning the NICU staff delivered Calder to my room on the maternity floor. 

Hugh and I were so excited to be parents. We watched so carefully as the nurse told us how to change a diaper (neither of us had changed a diaper before!) and how to give Calder a bath. Later that night a different nurse came by and told us she would take Calder to the nursery so we could get some sleep. Neither Hugh or I wanted that. The nurse was so pushy that after repeatedly saying, "No, we would like our son with us," Hugh had to raise his voice and ask her to leave to get her to drop the idea.

The next day, with breastfeeding not going well, my doctor agreed that it would be fine if I stayed one more night (in hopes that I could get a bit more assistance from the lactation consultant). The 3rd evening Calder and I had our first alone time. Hugh had a provincial hockey game and left for a few hours in the evening. This was incredible bonding time. I remember never feeling so much love.

We are so lucky to have Calder in our lives. Happy birthday, baby.


  1. Great birth Story Jordan! I love the honesty and the reflection.

    Jaiden too, had the same thing happen with his breathing and I also had morphine before delivery. Unfortunately for him, they popped his lung when they tried to get him breathuing again so he had to stay in NICU until his pnemothorax healed:(

    I think it is great you did not have an epidural:) With two hours of pushing, you would have likely ended up with a cesarean if you had an epidural, since pushing is generally less effective when the women can not feel what she is doing.

    I bet your labour is going to go Awesome this time Jordan. You may think you are a wimp but I don't think that is true at all!

    Happy Birthday Calder!

  2. Happy birthday Calder...loved reading your birth story. You are very blessed to have an amazing family! Have a special day.

  3. What an amazing story. Thank you so much for sharing it... <3

    Happy Birthday Calder!!

  4. Kelly, I can't believe the same thing happened with Jaiden. I hadn't heard of anyone other than us experiencing that.

    As much as I wanted the epidural, I am glad it didn't happen. My plan with Tripp was to avoid any sort of intervention. I think it was very empowering having Calder to learn what my body was capable of (what ANY woman's body is capable of) and it was really scary to think about what the drugs did to Calder.

    After having a c-section with Tripp and taking over 2 times the length of time to "unfreeze" after it was over, I am even more sure that I want to do this without drugs.

    I can't predict what will happen in the moments of this delivery, but I do know the best plan for me is to do it as naturally as possible.

  5. Well I am cheering for you all-the-way! If is hard work, but that is why it is so empowering and spiritual: because it tests you and pushes you into dimensions of yourself you didn't know exsisted.!

    I went completely natural with Emme and it was the most empowering and beautiful moment of my life:)

    You can do this Jordan!!!


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