My own birth story

Baby TylerWhen we found out we were expecting another baby, we were so excited! Our third boy! Below is my birth story, as remembered by me.

While being 39 weeks pregnant, I won tickets for my son’s hockey team to attend the Canucks’ Heritage Classic game on March 2. This was a big deal! The boys hadn’t been to a Canuck’s game in a few years, and what a bigger event than the Heritage Classic?! It was all set that Gary (my husband) would take the boys over and I would stay home and not have a baby.

Fast forward to 1am on March 2, when my water breaks. Right, no heritage classic after all. I called my wonderful midwife who came over to administer my antibiotics – because I was GBS+. I went back to sleep with tiny twinges. At 5am, we woke up to the alarm to take the boys over to Vancouver. I convinced Gary that he should still go, and things may not get started soon anyway. Previously, my water had broken with both boys and both times took 8+ hours to begin labour. Gary left at 5:30 to pick up another player on his way to the ferry. Contractions began as they left at 5:30am (of course they did). At 6:30 when Gary arrived at the ferry, he called and let me know that he was going to send the boys over on the ferry with the team, and his mom would meet them on the other end to take them to the game, and he would come home. He got back to the house around 7am.

While he was gone, contractions were coming every minute-minute and a half. They were about 45-60 seconds long. I was managing pretty well on my own. I kept doulaing myself through the whole thing! Relax the shoulders, bend the knees, use gravity, drink water. We called Michele back at 7:30 to come back to the house as things were picking up rapidly. Gary was being helpful making sure everything was in order, and pushing on the right spot on my back during contractions. Michele arrived close to 8am, did a quick check and happily said I was 7cm dilated! (If she said 3cm I was going to FREAK OUT!) Contractions kept coming every minute with not much rest in between. They were hard and fast. I kept repeating out loud, as I was bending my knees rhythmically, “I’m ok, I’m ok, I’m ok”. 20 minutes later, we checked again and I was almost 10cm dilated with a little cervical lip left. I knew that the only way to get the lip out of the way was to completely relax my body and ride the contraction. I relaxed and went to a place I’d never been before. I was calm, I was rested, I was riding the wave. Then for the last half of the contraction, I lost it! I needed to move, and I needed to do it now. The lip was gone, and I could start pushing my baby boy out!

His head was way down already, and he was easily seen. After several pushes, he was almost out! The second midwife, Joanne, arrived as the ears were coming out. A casual “Hey! I’m having a baby, come join the party!” from me, and a few more pushes and his head came out! I remember thinking, just get the head out and then everything else will be easy! Right, I forgot about the shoulders! Once the shoulders were out, I was holding my squishy new baby. 9lbs 13oz of pure love was born at 8:33am at home – only 3 hours after contractions began. His head was said to be that of a 6 week old baby, and not one tear for me. Yay perineum!

Being my own doula has really shown me how if you can relax, give in to the process, and embrace labour, miracles can happen exactly as you intend for them to. There is a difference between pain and suffering, hence my mantra “I’m ok”. I was in pain with the contractions, but I knew that I was ok. Pain is just a side effect to receiving an amazing gift, and it was all worth it. (again)IMG_2469

One of the first things I said to my husband was “You can still make it to the game!” To his credit, he didn’t go. 😉

 

 

*Each of my births have been completely different. The first one was a natural hospital birth 13 hours. The second one was an induction in hospital with an epidural, 6 hours after contractions began baby was born. This time was a natural home birth, 3 hours. Each one happened perfectly for the time I was in and for what I needed. I wouldn’t change any of them.

Luisa Isabella – June 2012

ImageI had the privilege of attending the birth of Luisa Isabella to two amazing laid-back parents, and one smart big brother! It was my second birth in 3 days, so I was really excited to see how everything was going to unfold going off the high I had from the previous birth. Mom was a rock star during the contractions, and I loved the way that dad knew how to support her in every way. They were an extremely efficient team. Luisa is a lucky little girl! Congratulations M & J!

Also, how cute is this picture!?!?

Dads/Partners and Doulas

I get a lot of partners asking me what tasks I do during labour, fearing that I will take over and they will be pushed out of the picture. This is simply not true at all. I am there to support both mom and her partner in the labouring process.

Because there is such a strong bond between mom and dad (they did make a baby after all), the woman in labour usually prefers the partner to be her main support. A birth helper’s role is to tend to the birthing person’s needs, reassure, encourage, love, and support her. They are there to hold her and be in awe of how much strength she has. With all of the tasks falling on the shoulders of one person, plus the need to remember breathing techniques, positions, various bits of medical knowledge and questions to ask the nurse, midwife, or doctor, it might be a good idea to share the responsibilities with someone else. This is where a doula can help.

Here are some ways that doulas can help partners have a positive birth experience too:

  • Partners don’t have to remember everything from childbirth classes. A doula will remind you!
  • Doulas provide everyone with reassurance that they are doing the right thing.
  • Doulas suggest things that can be done if they are at a loss or they simply aren’t sure at that moment.
  • Doulas take care of tasks outside the room or away from labour so that the partner can stay with the labouring partner. (getting water, warm blankets)
  • The doula’s goals are the same as everyone else’s– positive birth experience, healthy mom, healthy baby.
  • Doulas help the partner be more involved with the birth.
  • Doulas can explain medical interventions that are happening too quickly to be explained by medical professionals.
  • Doulas can give support people a break during long labours, to get a bite to eat, or to go to the bathroom.

Doulas not only provide services for the birthing person, they provide services for all support people. Having someone with you, constantly, can make you feel more confident and at ease, and will help you be a better birth partner.

 

Noah David – June 2012

 

I love when couples become parents for the first time! Everything is new, the tiny toes, the sweet faces babies make, and the things said to the new baby. This is the case when little Noah came into this world. Noah was born surrounded by friends and family. I’m sure that he will be loved his whole life!

Thomas Gordon – March 2012

Oh my goodness what a cutie! Another successful VBAC that I am so proud to be a part of. Mom was able to breathe and cope so well with her contractions. She is a superstar!! Dad was there for her the whole way through and was such a great coach. I can’t believe the control and strength mom had during pushing! I am so proud of this couple, and thank you for allowing me to be there to support you and welcome this little guy into this world. Congratulations new parents!! He’s such a sweetie.

Clara Jane – February 2012

ImageI had the privilege of attending the birth for two of the most laid back, relaxed parents-to-be. Even though mom was doing all she could to have her precious little girl arrive, little Clara was determined to arrive on her own date, in her own way. The love and care that these two parents have for their little girl is amazing, and it’s not hard to see that she will be especially loved.  Thank you for being my first clients in 2012! Congratulations to you on your first baby!

Superhero Doulas

I recently read a great blog post from Doulafilm.com about doulas being superheroes. These are the numbers that really stood out for me. Remember, this is all based on scientific studies.

“No. 9. A doula-supported mother is 50% less likely to need a caesarean section = mother and baby healthier = world is a better place”

In the era where the woman who didn’t have a cesarean is a superhero, and not just normal, we need to perhaps re-evaluate what women were built for. I’m not here to harp on cesarean births, in fact I think that they do have their place, however, it is unacceptable to have a cesarean rate higher than 30%, (it should really be much lower), which we do have here in Victoria. It’s not hippy, granola, or unsafe to have a home birth, just as it’s not a negative decision to give birth in a hospital. But, there are MANY things we can do to lower our cesarean rate, like this hospital in Ontario.

“No. 7. Benefits of doula = 60% reduction in epidural requests = mother and baby healthier = world is a better place”

When a mother is recalling her birth story for family and friends, or maybe sharing stories with a mom in the park, and mentions that she had an all natural birth, she is not gloating or trying to prove that she is the stronger woman. She is simply saying that she was able to cope with the pain of labour in her way. She prepared. She had tools and knew how to use them to her advantage. Moms-to-be can use a doula to her advantage!

“No 2. Benefits of doula = 67% mums still breastfeeding at 6 months = world is a better place”

Breastfeeding is on the decline. I feel that sometimes it is viewed as a “hippy” thing to do. Breastfeeding your baby past a certain age (and I would guess that age is under 6 months old), isn’t seen much out in society any more. Long gone are the days when breastfeeding was normal. Breastfeeding used to be on Sesame Street! You aren’t doing the “better” thing for your child by breastfeeding, you are doing the “normal” thing by breastfeeding. It’s free, you don’t have to prepare anything, the milk is packed with immunities that your child needs, it lowers your risk of several cancers, it provides a lot of bonding time, and it helps prevent postpartum depression. Some women have trouble breastfeeding, and there is A LOT of help in your community. Lactation consultants, public health nurses, breastfeeding educators, other moms. REACH OUT for help if you need it. You will do yourself and your baby a lot of good.

I really enjoyed this article, but I don’t feel like a super hero, I just feel really grateful that women choose me to help them bring their beautiful babies into this world. What do you think?

See the full article here

Penelope Jean – August 2011

What a fun birth to be born at! Little Penny was born a little early, but as soon as she was head down, she was eager to meet the world. This couple had waited a long time for her to arrive and she is finally here to complete their family. With dad’s hilarious commentary and mom’s focus and determination, Penny was born into a lot of love. Having a baby was goal number one, having a vbac was goal number 2, and I’m happy to say that we accomplished both of those goals. Thank you for allowing me to be there to help you through this and thank you for keeping me entertained. You have a new beautiful daughter!!

Gemma Rose – August 2011

When little baby Gemma decided she was ready to greet the world, she moved quickly. She was born to two wonderful parents who worked together so beautifully during labour. Dad knew exactly what to do to keep mom grounded and calm and worked with her the whole time. Mom was so strong and committed during the birthing process that we were all so amazed at how she found the focus. Sometimes our body knows that we can do something that we are unsure of, and goes with it. I am so thankful to have been able to support such an amazing couple in bringing their daughter into this world, and to have seen the strength that I did. You are an amazing woman, and you are so strong!

Vanessa Rose – July 2011

VBACs are pretty rare in Victoria, and unmedicated VBACs are even more rare. This birth was a special thing to witness. Mom had such amazing strength and dad supported and helped keep mom stable the whole time. A quick labour and intense pushing and little Vanessa was here and ready to cuddle and coo and make us all melt. I’m sure that big sister will be in awe of how great you are. Remember to keep your pinky finger out at the tea parties!