Archives for July 2011

A Beautiful Birth

So many of our friends and family are having babies. One was born today, another earlier in the week, some more to come any time. This is so exciting, and I always can’t wait to hear the birth stories. Every birth is so different, and ever since we had our first daughter I’ve been hooked – I’m a birth story addict! This is a unique birth story, and fun to tell, so I thought that since it seems to be a season of new births, I would share our story.

We were privileged to have midwifery care throughout our pregnancy. We loved our midwives from the moment we met them. They were very caring, and spent so much time informing us of all that was going on, and of all the options available to us throughout our journey. We lived at a beautiful children’s camp at the time where I worked, and so were about 20 minutes outside of the city. We considered a home birth, but instead decided that we would like to labor at home for the most part and then drive to the hospital to have our baby when the time was right.

Six days before my due date we woke up on a beautiful Sunday morning, and something felt slightly different. My lower back was a little sore in a way that I wasn’t accustomed to – nothing painful, but it made us wonder if it would be the day. It was a busy day – we went to church, had a quick lunch, volunteered at a city drop in centre, went home to prepare to have my brother and sister and law over for dinner, and had a lovely visit with them when they arrived. Late that afternoon I was quite certain that I was in very early labor. By the time we were playing a board game later that evening, we were pausing the game to write down the time of each short, easy contraction. We said good bye to our guests a little earlier than usual so that we could pack our hospital bag and make our healing herbal bath for after our little one had arrived.

It was shortly after midnight when we paged our midwives who came to see how things were progressing. I remember feeling very vulnerable and weepy when they arrived, which slowed the contractions quite a bit. Our midwives checked me and informed us that I was only about 2-3 cm dilated, and that it would most likely be a few hours before our little one would make an appearance. They offered to stay if we wanted, but said that they would be just as comfortable if we just called when things progressed to a new level. “But how will we know when it’s time to call?” my husband asked. “Well”, they told us, “it is quite common for it to take an hour per centimetre so you can keep that in the back of your mind. But you’ll also know because your wife likely won’t be smiling and laughing any more in between contractions because it will be quite intense”. We decided that we were comfortable with calling them later on, so we bid them good bye. I immediately felt comfortable again and the contractions picked up in intensity soon after we were alone. In fact, they picked up so much that we found ourselves having to use some breathing exercises that we had learned at our natural birth class (that we thought were hilarious during class… turns out they were very helpful- who would have thought???) to help me focus through the contractions. But, we were still laughing and chatting in between contractions, so we thought we were doing just fine still on our own. Quite suddenly, I remember thinking that we needed our midwives here right away. I told Daryl to call, to which he responded “It’s only been a couple of hours, don’t you think it’s too early?” “Call” I said, with a bit of desperation this time. Well call he did, and they said that they would be on their way shortly. Not long after this I knew that I had to push. Daryl began panicking at this point, which I think is pretty natural. “No” he told me, “you can’t push”. He paged the midwives again to inform them of this development, and then he began frantically running around our house preparing for the birth of our child with no one else there to help. He grabbed an extra shower curtain to put down on the bed, found all of our old cloths and rags, and an old soft sweater to wrap the baby in. He was incredible. He comforted me with each hard, painful contraction; and I comforted him in between contractions. “It’ll be fine” I told him. “They will be here soon, don’t worry” I soothed. Well, my body was ready to birth our baby and there was nothing I could do to stop it. A couple of hard pushes, and out she came! (She came out face down in a posterior position, which we later found out was why I had so much back labor, but which also made it even more remarkable how quickly she came, as posterior births normally take longer.) She breathed right away, and Daryl wrapped her up in our old sweater and gave her to me – at this point I did not know that she was a girl and asked “what is it?” to which my panic stricken husband responded “I don’t know, and I don’t care”, as he walked out of the room in shock. Less than five minutes after this our midwives ran in the door putting on gloves as they ran, to find us there all doing just fine, me gazing down at our new daughter who arrived so swiftly to be with us. I should also mention that Daryl had kept the midwives on the line after the last time that he called them so that he could give them quick updates and get some advice as this went on. But our cordless phone had died and we had not yet replaced it, so we just had our corded phone and I’m sure you can imagine Daryl running to the phone intermittently during this process – we always say that if people could have watched us, it would have been so darn funny to watch. But to me it was so beautiful and perfect. I trusted my body and didn’t experience any fear as this went on. I think that it is so special that we experienced such a wonderful thing together as husband and wife, and I wouldn’t trade our whirlwind unattended birth for anything. We named our daughter Zoey, which fittingly means ‘life’ in Greek. She couldn’t wait to meet us on that beautiful Spring day, and we are thrilled with her.

We have had two more beautiful girls since, who were both born at home with our midwife present to catch them, for which my husband is thankful.