We always knew we wanted a midwife to help bring our baby into the world. As soon as I knew I was pregnant I applied for midwifery care and ended up on waiting lists before I finally got an offer of care at 14 weeks from Heather and Mia at Beginnings Midwifery. Since we weren’t sure early in the pregnancy if we would get a midwife we decided to hire a doula to support us during labour and birth and advocate for us should we end up having a hospital birth. We met with Dyvonna from Labour of Love and decided that we would like to have her there to support us through the birth of our baby.
I was blessed with a very easy and uneventful pregnancy. I had none of the morning sickness, fatigue, aches, hot flashes, swelling, etc. that most pregnant women experience. As I was nearing the end of my pregnancy I was excited to meet our baby but I also knew I would miss this special time with her. All of my ultrasounds and prenatal appointments went really well, both me and baby were healthy and had no signs of complications or issues. At around the 39th week my blood pressure went up higher than normal so our midwife, Heather, sent me for blood work and asked me to monitor my blood pressure at home 3 times a day. After some time monitoring my own blood pressure (which was normal at home), a few rounds of blood work (that all came back normal, ruling out pre-eclampsia), and a consult with Dr. Mayo from the Royal Alex Hospital it was determined that I most likely have “white coat syndrome” and that baby and I were cleared to safely have a home birth. Yay! The only caveat being that Dr. Mayo felt I shouldn’t go much past 41 weeks if my blood pressure was going to be unpredictable.
40 weeks came and baby still hadn’t arrived. I could feel that my body was already preparing for labour and was sure that progress was being made but wanted to try to naturally speed things up even more – the last thing I wanted was a chemical induction in the hospital if baby didn’t come by 41 weeks! I went for acupuncture, drank raspberry leaf tea, ate fresh pineapple and dates, walked, danced, etc. At my next midwife appointment (I was 40 weeks, 4 days) I had my membranes swept in the morning (I was already 3cm dilated!) and was given lemon verbena along with directions on how to make a smoothie that will help bring on labour. The midwife, Heather, said if I wasn’t having contractions by late in the afternoon to come back at the end of the day to have my membranes swept again, which is what I did since I wasn’t having contractions. Minutes after the second sweep I was already having contractions. As soon as I got home I blended up round 2 of the lemon verbena smoothie and snuggled with Samuel in front of the t.v for the rest of the evening.
Mild contractions continued all evening and I decided to go to bed early, as tomorrow could be a really big day for us. Before I went to bed I texted our doula, Dyvonna, to give her a heads up about having my membranes swept so she knew it could happen any time now.
I was lucky to have slept through the early stages of labour. Sometime between 5am and 6am I woke up because the surges were getting more intense. I tried to nap a little longer but was awoken soon after by my surges, and at some point during my nap my waters had broken. Samuel helped time my surges, and for the next few hours they went from being 30 to 40 seconds long to being somewhere around a minute long. We called Dyvonna and she told us to call the midwife!
Both ladies arrived at our house soon after, I was still in my bedroom where I felt most comfortable. Dyvonna reminded me how to breathe through my surges and diffused some peppermint oil before setting up the birthing pool, which I got into it soon after. The midwife, Mia, watched me have contractions to gauge intensity and timing, checked my cervix (already 7cm, I think!), and my blood pressure. My blood pressure was high again. Mia called Dr. Mayo again for his opinion and together they made the decision that we would go to the hospital just in case.
We gathered up our hospital bag and we all met at the hospital, where we ended up in a big room in the corner. I made myself comfortable in one of the chairs and continued breathing through surges. The second midwife, Gaelyn, arrived to help Mia. Blood work was done and Mia and took my blood pressure again several times – my blood pressure had gone down! Dyvonna drew a warm bath for me and set up some candles, which I got into right away. Mia used the fetal doppler to check the baby’s heart rate intermittently to make sure baby was handling the contractions okay, and she was. Not long after I was in the tub I started having involuntary urges to push. I changed positions so I was laying on my side in the water, I knew our baby was coming really soon.
The pushing contractions were incredibly satisfying even though our baby hadn’t made her way out yet. The pushing took every bit of my energy but felt really good. Samuel sat beside the tub and held my hand, Dyvonna offered me sips of water between contractions, and they both reassured and comforted me. It seemed to take several pushes before our baby was crowning, but finally, our baby’s head was out in two pushes! I didn’t think I’d want to see, but in that moment I just had to look. The first glimpse of my baby was the back of her tiny head. After one more push our baby was born. Mia caught her and handed her to me where I held her on my chest for the first time and admired how perfectly formed her little ears are. She was already crying and she was perfect. Lovina Josephine was born at 2:41pm after 36 minutes of pushing and approximately 3 hours of active labour.
After I delivered the placenta, Samuel cut the cord, then held Lovina for the first time. I was helped out of the bath tub and onto the bed where Dyvonna brought me some blankets and juice and the midwives checked me for tearing and bleeding. Everything looked good! While Mia filled out our baby’s paperwork Gaelyn and Dyvonna gave me advice on how to start breastfeeding and Lovina latched on quickly. My blood pressure was taken again and the results of my blood work came back – everything was still normal! Just over 2 hours after our arrival at the hospital we were on our way home with our baby!
So, did we have the birth that we planned? Absolutely! Sure, we had to change the location from our home to the hospital as a precaution, but there was no transfer of care to an obstetrician (we never even saw a doctor while at the hospital) we still had our midwife to “catch” our baby, we still had a water birth in the hospital room, there were no medical interventions, our doula was there to support us, I was free to move and do whatever felt comfortable, and nothing ever came of the concerns over my blood pressure. We had a truly wonderful birth experience and were thrilled to be able to bring our beautiful daughter, Lovina Josephine, into the world in a loving and natural way.
Added to address comments:
- Thanks for the positive comments! They are appreciated. ❤ The negative ones from strangers are not and will be ignored. I’m not expecting a t-shirt, and I’m not trying to be a hero. IT REALLY WASN’T THAT BAD! This is my blog and my story.
- No, I did not ride in an ambulance. Nothing bad happened, it was a precaution just in case. Everything went exactly as planned, just in a different location (but hey, they have cleaning people there, I don’t).
Beginnings Midwives http://beginningsmidwiferycare.com/
Dyvonna Inkster, doula http://www.labour-of-love.com/#!about-labour-of-love
Tori Agius Photography https://www.facebook.com/toriagiusphotography/info/?ref=page_internal
Pregnancy massage and acupuncture http://www.sweetmomma.com/
Alberta Association of Midwives https://www.abmidwives.ca/what-is-a-midwife/
Why hire a doula? http://evidencebasedbirth.com/the-evidence-for-doulas/