I am so excited to share Holly's second birth story. I was really lucky to be able to pop in soon after Alexis was born to pick up Holly's placenta for encapsulation and saw what a wonderfully serene scene the immediate post partum was for this family. I witnessed them all curled up together in their living room with the soft light of the Christmas tree illuminating. SO beautiful!
Enjoy another beautiful birth story:
I am overjoyed to post that our daughter Alexis Erin was born a week ago today; December 6th, 2013, right on my due date!
It all began in the morning around 7:00am. Brandon was nursing and I started to feel some mild contractions. I waited until he was finished to see if they continued, and they did. I texted Mike and told him I was feeling them but to not rush home from work just yet. In the meantime I contacted our midwife Erin as well as our birth photographer Jaydene to give them the heads up. I took a shower and did my hair and makeup, assuming that I’d be photographed that day and I didn’t want to look like crap! Maybe a little vain, but it is what it is! By about 8:30 my contractions were coming about every 4 minutes regularly so I texted Mike again and told him he’d better come home. I kept Erin and Jaydene in the loop about my progress and they both made their way over to our home around the same time. Erin arrived around 11:30, and Jaydene around 12:30. Erin took some time to get all her homebirth supplies set up, and just after noon she checked my cervix, and I was about 4cm dilated. Both Erin and Jaydene decided to leave for a short time to get some lunch, but it wasn’t long before I texted Jaydene and told her she’d better return soon because my labour was beginning to get hard. I had decided that I didn’t really want Brandon there for the birth because I thought I might get distracted and I was worried he might get scared by the noises I would surely make! Mike texted Marcy not long before 1:00, and by 1:30 he was out of the house and off to Play Abby. It turned out to be perfect timing because as soon as he left I really got into the zone of active labour. At some point, the back-up midwife Jules had arrived as well. At around 2:00 I decided I wanted to try getting into the pool. Mike had just finished filling it up and it was nice and warm. I got in, and it felt really nice! I had been feeling the contractions mostly in my back so the water helped a lot. I had a few more contractions in the water, squeezing Mike’s hands. I was aware of the midwives talking to each other, saying that the baby must be coming down based on my noise! At one point Erin told me to reach down and feel her head. Obviously I had felt that she was starting to emerge and it was very cool to feel her. My body really took over when it came to pushing her out; it was really uncontrollable and I tried to focus on relaxing and letting my body do the work rather than consciously pushing her out. It all happened so fast; within 4 minutes she was out! I pushed for about an hour with Brandon so this time was quite a bit quicker. I pulled her up to my chest myself and was just over the moon! We sat there and snuggled for a few minutes, and I got an injection to help my uterus clamp down and get the placenta out. After a short time I got out of the pool and moved to the couch with Alexis. Soon after, the placenta was delivered and it was set aside to be encapsulated. Alexis and I cuddled under some warm blankets and very quickly she helped herself to some milk :) She latched on beautifully with no help from me, and stayed there for probably 45mins to an hour. After we’d had that time together, she was weighed and measured; she was heavier than Brandon at 7lbs, 8oz, and was 20″ long. We both had our vitals taken and all was good. Erin cleaned up all the supplies, the pool was emptied and deflated, laundry went in the wash and before I knew it, the living room was back to normal and you never would have known a baby had just been born! Erin left about two hours after Alexis was born, and Jaydene stuck around until Brandon got home so she could get a few shots of him meeting his little sister.
I was able to have a Facetime chat with Erin and Marc just minutes before they had to leave for the airport to come back to Canada, so that was good timing! I talked to my parents as well, and Mike called his at some point. There was a lot of texting going on as well!
I am so happy with how my labour and delivery went! Obviously I wanted to have another successful homebirth, and am happy I got to experience a water birth as well. I felt much more “with it” this time too. With Brandon, once I was in active labour I barely said a word to Mike, but this time I was still talking and smiling in between my contractions! I felt really good after she was born, and now at a week post-partum I feel great, just tired. After Brandon was born it took me about this long to feel like I had my strength and appetite back. My placenta pills were ready for me Sunday evening so I started taking them Monday morning…that could be part of the reason why I’m feeling so well, have lots of breastmilk, and am coping better with the sleep deprivation.
I love this birth story--I love how it is told to the baby, which will be such a neat thing for him to read one day! The author is such a lovely Mama, and a local RMT (though she's off on mat leave with her second little--look for her birth story in the coming weeks--her contact info can be found on my resources page for future reference!). I'm so grateful to Holly for inviting me to share her story.
If anyone else out there has birth stories they would like to share, I would love love love to read (and post!) them. I've said it before, and I'll say it again SHARING BIRTH IS IMPORTANT :-)
Here it is, Brandon's journey into his parents' arms:
Thursday, June 16, 2011You're Here!
Dear Brandon Connor,
You're finally here! You were named after Daddy's oldest brother, who tragically lost his life in a car accident in 2000. Connor is a name that both Daddy and I liked.
At about 12:15 am on June 14th, I was laying in bed trying to fall asleep when I felt and heard a "pop" in my abdomen. I had heard that that's a common sensation to feel when the amniotic sac (bag of waters) breaks. I didn't feel any fluid right away, until I sat up in bed to switch sides. I woke up Daddy and told him that my water just broke. He turned on the bedroom light and sure enough, the sheets were wet. Good thing we'd put the waterproof mattress cover down a few days before! We first paged Beth, the midwife on call at the time and told her. At that point I wasn't yet feeling any contractions, so she advised me to take a few Tylenol, and try to get back to bed, as it can sometimes take up to 24 hours to start having contractions. Next I called my parents to let them know, as my Mom was planning to come over and hopefully be there for the birth. She would have to wait until the morning to catch the ferry over. Daddy sent a text message to his Mom. So we went back to bed despite our excitement and realization that the day had finally come. I was shaking like a leaf! About half an hour later, I started to feel some contractions. They weren't painful at first, just uncomfortable so I was able to partly ignore them. Within a few hours they were getting uncomfortable and I had to breathe through them, while at the same time sitting up in bed and walking back and forth. Around 4am, it was obvious that I wouldn't be getting any more sleep, so we got out of bed and moved to the living room. Daddy started timing my contractions, and they were about four or five minutes apart. Over the next two hours, it started to get intense. I generally would get down onto the floor on my knees, and put my arms on the couch. I moved my pelvis around which felt better than staying still or standing up. I was breathing quite hard by this point, and Daddy would help me take drinks of water when each contraction was over. Around 6:30am, Daddy called Beth again to let her know that things were getting pretty hard for me. I managed to speak to her on the phone and answer her questions, but I had to stop talking during the contractions. She suggested getting into the bath, and let us know she was on her way. Daddy ran the bath nice and warm, and in I got. I found it relaxing to lay back a bit in between contractions, but found I had to sit up and squeeze Dad's hand to help me through. I was already starting to feel pressure and was getting the urge to push, but was trying hard not to until Beth arrived. About 45 minutes later she finally arrived and I soon got out of the bath. I moved into our bedroom and got on my hands and knees on our bed. She checked my cervix and found that I was fully dilated and could start pushing anytime. Daddy held my hands the whole time and I started pushing with each contraction. It wasn't long before I laid down on my side, with one knee bent and facing the ceiling. This helped to open up my pelvis so that you could come down as easily as possible. After 20 minutes or so, Beth told me to reach my hand down and feel your head. That was pretty cool, and it gave me more energy for pushing, knowing you were so close. After about an hour of pushing, I felt some intense burning and stinging as your head and shoulders emerged. Then your body and shoulders came out, and that was the best feeling ever! After about nine hours, the hard work was done and we finally got to meet you at 9:35am on June 14th. I was 39 weeks and 4 days along. I wanted to have music playing during my labour, and you were born to the song Let Her Cry by Hootie and the Blowfish. It seemed appropriate, since I had a few tears of joy! You laid on my chest for a while, and Dad was able to cut your umbilical cord. Eventually one midwife did your newborn checkup, which included listening to your heart and lungs, and weighing, measuring you. You were smaller than we thought you'd be; 6 pounds, 14 ounces! You were 21 inches long.
After your birth I still had to deliver the placenta. I was given a shot of oxytocin in my leg as you were being born to help my uterus contract and squeeze out the placenta. I just had to push a few times gently and it came out. The next part was a bit scary for Daddy and I, because I continued to bleed, and lost more blood than the midwives generally consider to be normal. They said I lost about 800ml, and the average for a vaginal delivery is 500ml; 1000ml for a C-section. They gave me another shot of oxytocin and began to massage my uterus on top of the abdomen. It wasn't working though, so they had to give me another drug that just dissolved under my tongue. That did the trick, and the bleeding finally stopped. Beth had to give me a few stitches since I had a bit of tearing, but she said they were very minor and would heal within a few days. Once that was done, I finally got to hold you and try to breastfeed. Daddy and I just admired you and couldn't stop staring! You were born with dark hair like me, and the typical bluish-grey eyes that most newborns have. It will be interesting to see what color they turn out to be.
My mom arrived about two hours after your birth, and was sad that she missed it. She did her best though, and she fell in love with your gorgeous face right away! So that's the story of my labour and your birth! Beth told us that it was a relatively quick labour considering this was my first pregnancy. She also said I have a very high pain tolerance, since I didn't have any painkillers during labour and it all happened quite quickly. As I said it was intense at the end, but part of me also wondered when it was going to get worse!
Samantha Strange-Yoga Instructor and Perinatal Support Person