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.

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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!?!?

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.

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!

Ellyssa Belle – June 2011

Waiting until she was the exact same birth size as her older brother and sister, Ellyssa Belle came into this world with a very determined mother. A slight scare would not deter her from her birth plan, and luckily she was successfully able to deliver this little angel into this world without a cesarean. Thank you for letting me be with you as Ellyssa was born.  Congratulations to this growing family, hopefully baby number 4 knows how to sleep for you!

Birth Doulas and Cesarean Birth Rates

There have been many studies done to show the link between a continuous support person and the rate of cesarean births. Studies show that not only do birth doulas lower the chance of cesarean birth, they also lower the rate of epidurals, forceps, vacuums, and other medical interventions. As a result, doulas can increase the immediacy of breastfeeding, and bonding for the family.

The advantage to having a doula, especially if this is your first child, is that the doula has been the support in labour before, and has been trained to support the couple in labour. (Keep in mind that every labour is different, and even if you are pregnant with your third child, you can still benefit from having a doula) Many times, the labouring woman and her partner are in the room alone, and unless the partner has read the books and remembered everything from the prenatal classes, they may be at a loss as to what to do. Doulas can suggest different possitions, can reassure the woman that she is doing a great job (and that the partner is doing well too), can get water for the woman so that she is never alone in the room, and so much more.

A randomized controlled trial of continuous labor support for middle-class couples: effect on cesarean delivery rates.

Alternative Strategy to Decrease Cesarean Section: Support by Doulas During Labor

Continuous Emotional Support During Labor in a US Hospital

To find a doula in your area, contact your local doula organization or DONA International for a list of certified doulas in your area. The local Victoria network for doulas can be found here.

Harley Bruce – May 2011

Ever wanted to be fashionably late for something? Take note from little Harley, born 19 days overdue! He was much too comfortable in his litte hot tub and refused to come out until he was ready. New mom and new dad welcomed him with open arms and are overjoyed with his arrival, finally! Amazing strength, a lot of patience, and unyielding support brought this little guy into this world. I can’t wait to hear what the dog and the cats think of this new little being. Thank you for allowing me to share this great experience with you, and so many congratulations to the new family.

Laila Grace – April 2011

Making an appearance a few days early is the beautiful Laila Grace. She had a fast and speedy entry into the world, and she was very eager to take everything in and greet everyone. Strong, intense contractions were managed like a pro by a very strong mother and extremely supportive father. She was excitedly greeted by her older brother who showed her his toy bus and baseball. Great job and many congratulations to the family that has grown by one exquisite little girl! Thank you for allowing me to be there to support you and relish in the amazingness of your little angel.

Baby Charlotte – Jan 2011

Two of my best friends, and a wonderful couple, had a baby girl in January 2011. Their “whatever comes our way” attitude really helped them through their pregnancy and labour. I was honored to be there shortly after Charlotte was born and to have helped them in the postpartum period. Charlotte is thriving, and has two amazing, loving parents to take care of her every day!

Love you guys!