Birth Story: Welcoming Lovina Josephine

Lovina7final cropWe 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.

FullSizeRenderThe 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.

Lovina1finalAfter 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.

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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/

The Baby’s Room!

We are pretty excited about how well the baby’s room is coming along! We purchased used things on Kijiji and worked on refinishing some furniture ourselves, and since I’m pretty handy with a sewing machine I made several other things for the baby’s room. We aren’t huge DIY-ers, but we do think that people can be far too wasteful and when it comes to kid stuff as it doesn’t get used for too many years before the kid grows out of it.

Refinished antique dresser

My favorite thing that we got on Kijiji was an antique dresser that was in pretty good shape but the wood wasn’t the color we wanted – and someone painted the top white?? I spent an afternoon stripping all of the old paint and varnish off, sanded (Samuel helped), then stained it with a rich, dark walnut stain, and sealed it all with varnish. I love the color that it turned out to be, it matches the new crib and change table in the room and the grain of the wood is still visible.

Wood Eddie Bauer high chair.

We also purchased this wooden high chair from Kijiji for a pretty reasonable price. It was originally a reddish cherry color but it had a ton of scratches and wear right down to to wood and the cushion was worn with food caked into it. Actually, most of the pieces of the chair had food caked into it so there was a lot of cleaning that had to be done. I wasn’t sure the safety strap could be salvaged but I picked up some supplies from the fabric store and re-created it using the old one as a guide. The next thing to work on was the ugly seat cushion. I used some leftover fabric from making diapers for the front and used some fabric I already had, plus some polyester batting from the fabric store. It wasn’t overly difficult to make but my machine didn’t really like sewing through the batting. I was going to make two so I would have a backup while one was being washed but I think I will just use the old one as a backup. Samuel did all of the stripping, I sanded, stained, and varnished using the same color stain as the dresser.

And then there’s the mural. THE MURAL! I cannot take any credit for this. My talented mother hand painted a mural on an entire wall of the baby’s room. We collaborated on what it would look like but she did all the work. It’s so amazing! We kept the color scheme gender-neutral since we don’t know if we are having a boy or girl. The walls were already grey (we painted all the bedrooms the same color when we moved in) and decided on a bright, sunny yellow as an accent color for the baby’s room.

    Birch trees and birds.           photo 2

I didn’t do much with the change table but I did make a cute change pad cover (I still have to make a back-up or two for laundry day) and added some shelf paper to the shelves just to make it look a little nicer. 🙂 I love it. I also whipped up some curtains and used clip rings to hang them.

Cloth diapers are still an ongoing project for me. We really wanted to use cloth diapers so I figured we would save a ton of money by making our own. We definitely are saving money but I’ve been working on them for months! I gave priority to the smaller sizes so at least they are ready to go.

photo 3          IMG_0610

I was dreading organizing the closet since this room has such a tiny closet, but I guess tiny people have tiny things so it all works out for now. 🙂 We picked up a closet organizer/storage system from Ikea and installed it into the closet, which turned out to be a lot more work than anticipated. We had to take out the old shelf and closet rod and do some spackling, priming, and painting before we could install the new system. I think it will work great for us and it can be changed as the baby grows up.

The first things we bought for the baby’s room were a crib and change table. Even though they came from two different Kijiji sellers we were able to get a matching set in decent condition! IMG_0613

IMG_0612 IMG_0606Overall I think we did pretty well getting the baby’s room ready for his/her imminent arrival. I can’t wait until there is an actual baby in there. Soon!

The Second Trimester

We’re officially through the second trimester and into the third!! 27 weeks! 6 months down, 3 months to go! 🙂 A lot has happened. We did a bunch of reading and research about pregnancy and birth, worked on getting the baby’s room ready, and giggled over my bulging baby belly moving and jumping around.

Things are coming along perfectly both in our home and with my pregnancy – the baby’s room is about 70% complete, I still don’t really have any pregnancy discomfort or “issues”, and baby is growing right on par! We purchased a few used furniture items for the baby’s room from kijiji and got some really good deals. Also, some of our awesome friends have been kind enough to pass on a few of their old baby things they don’t need any more so we have been really fortunate with all the things we already have for our baby. ❤

Last week we met with our doula who refreshed our knowledge on anatomy (as it relates to pregnancy/birth), taught us all about the different stages of labor and what it feels like for some women and how to identify which stage of labor I am in, gave examples of how different women react to what is happening in their bodies during the various stages, how long it can take, etc. So many things to know about! We borrowed the Hypnobirthing book from her lending library and Samuel and I have been reading it together (I’ll probably write about the book when we finish it) but so far we think it will be really helpful. Next time we meet with our doula we will learn relaxation techniques and birthing positions. I love having a doula and am thrilled that she will be there as we bring our baby into the world.

Things I learned about pregnancy/things people don’t tell you…
The baby can actually kick you in the butt hole (from the inside). So weird. It totally depends on where your placenta is and the position of the baby, but half of the mom’s I’ve mentioned this to have no idea what I’m talking about and the other half are like, “Ya! It’s so weird!”.
Hot feet. SO HOT! No, they aren’t swollen. The rest of my body is not hot, just my feet. I Googled it and it’s a thing that happens to some pregnant women but nobody knows why. At least it’s only occasional for me.
The baby moves ALL THE TIME! Of course, I was expecting to feel movement and I know it’s a good thing, but a break for a few hours would be nice sometimes. Shhhhh…. sleep, baby. Sleeeep… Actually, I love it when the baby moves. ❤

Speaking of movement… our wiggly baby wouldn’t even lay still enough at the 20-week ultrasounds (yes, there were 2 ultrasounds again) to let the ultrasound technician have a peek at his/her organs to make sure they have developed normally. Both times we were also unable to find out if we are having a boy or girl, so I guess it will have to be a surprise! I have a strong preference for gender-neutral things over pink or blue anyways.

Things I’m looking forward to in the third trimester…
More cute maxi dresses, the baby shower, seeing how the baby’s room turns out (my Mom is painting a mural!), getting really good at the relaxation exercises, ice cream on hot days, and finally meeting our baby.

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