We had been expecting to meet this little baby long before she came. I was dilated and baby had dropped many weeks before her due date, and I was even put on the “take it easy” plan from the midwives, but thankfully she stayed put until the perfect sunny Good Friday.
Thursday evening I had a midwife appointment, I was already 4 cm dilated and they stripped my membranes and said that she would expect to hear from me soon when things picked up. We ordered pizza because I was just too
tired lazy to make dinner, and then headed to Lowes to get some PVC pipes so I could make Maddie a cool fort.. Don’t ask me why that was a priority, but it was. Every toddler needs a birth fort. I was having mild contractions throughout the evening/night, but nothing too crazy.
I headed to bed around 12 and got a solid 4 hours sleep, before I woke up and started feeling some contractions a little stronger. Off to the couch to catch up on the latest episode of Scandal, because what else can you do when you’re in labour, in the living room, by yourself, at 4 in the morning. I called my mom and sister to ask them to get ready and head on down, it was Good Friday (Canadian holiday) and I didn’t want them to be stuck in a long border wait for hours and hours.
Maddie woke up at 6, and I tried to read her stories, and play in her new fort, but my contractions were pretty strong and I kept having to stop while I was reading “weeed mommyyyy” she would yell. So I woke up Brian and informed him that he wouldn’t be going to work today, and he was on Maddie duty for a while.
I called the midwives around 8 am to let them know what was going on, they wanted me to head to the Birthing Center right away since I was already 4cm the night before. She was worried I might not make to the center if I waited too long. I really wanted to wait until my mom and sister arrived, so that they could care for Maddie, so we waited until they arrived at 9:30 to go in. It was great to be able to labour a home for a while, rocking back and forth while making myself toast, being able to walk and rock while roaming in our own home.
I arrived at the birthing center, waiting for me was my wonderful photographer Heather and my fabulous midwives Ann and Jesse (and student midwife Sarah who was AMAZING). It was comfortable, and I was walking, rocking, swaying and laughing through contractions. They checked me not long after I arrived and said I was about 6/7cm dilated, what a relief that was, only 3.5 cm to go! I was already almost completely effaced for the last few weeks, so I knew my body didn’t have too much work to do.
Brian went back home to eat some breakfast and get a few things we forgot. My contractions were getting a bit stronger so I got in the tub and let my body soak and relax. Brian came back, and we put on a podcast (Who doesn’t love a little This American Life) so I could be distracted. The podcast turned out to be a bust, the only episode we hadn’t heard was 522: Tarred and Feathered, and as you can imagine, that wasn’t the most positive birthing background. I asked Brian to head back home to get us some playing cards so I could kick his butt at crib, but the Midwives suggested that they check me before he went anywhere. To my surprise I was already at an 8! I shot a text to Heather, who had just run home to feed her baby, and called my mom and sister to head on over, and my friend Megan to watch Maddie (Elaine, Brian’s mom was stuck at the border).
At this point my contractions were getting stronger, but I was still able to laugh and enjoy conversation. I had read Hypnobirthing and was happy to think of these contractions as “surges” and “intense sensations”. It’s amazing how you can trick your mind into perceiving pain differently. I was stuck at an 8 for a little while, and I was starting to feel tired. Breaking my water was suggested, and I wasn’t sure how I felt about that. With Maddie, once my water was broken I felt like I wanted to die. My contractions were so intense and didn’t let up at all. But since I was stuck at 8cm, we thought that it might help things along. It didn’t make my contractions worse this time! But it didn’t help much either. I hated being out of the water, so I
jumped waddled right back into the tub. They checked me again, no progress. I sat on the birthing stool and Sarah tried to stretch me during each contraction, it was very painful. I can’t remember if that helped or not, but eventually I got back into the water.
9cm-10cm was hellish. I was up and down in the tub, thrashing around like a wild woman. I remember Sarah looking at me, and calmly telling me to focus my energy to get baby to descend downward. I finally started to feel transition, and I could feel her descending, but she was SO heavy. I was fairly certain that at once point I was going to be the first person in the world to poop in out a baby. I was on my hands and knees swaying back and forth,trying to relax, but it was impossible at that point. Sarah was behind me putting pressure, and everyone was assuring me that I was doing great.
Still on my hands and knees, I birthed her. Sarah caught her from behind me, still completely in the water and swam her through my legs. I lifted her up out of the water in front of me. There she was. This little baby, so perfect with every crease and roll, and hair, all that work was SO worth it. The feeling of complete exhaustion and relief while holding your baby for the first time, is something that can’t easily be explained. It’s euphoric.
Someone helped me to the bed, I was checked and everyone left us to have a few minutes of peace. Brian, myself, and our unnamed baby. We cuddled on the bed, looked down at her and named her. Sadie. It was perfect.
This was such a positive experience for me. I felt in complete control, it was so amazing to experience birth without intervention. I wasn’t being poked and prodded. I was left to birth, naturally, letting my body do exactly what it was meant for.
Maddie and Elaine came to meet her, and we cleaned up and were home within three hours of her birth. I loved being at home in my own bed, able to cuddle this new child in the comfort of our room. Elise spent the night, and took great care of us all. Sadie has just fit in to our family so perfectly, and I can’t imagine our life without her.
Birth is just so amazing, I still feel like I’m on a high from having this natural birthing experience. I can’t thank my birthing team enough for their love and support. Jesse, Ann and Sarah were absolutely amazing midwives. Heather did a beautiful job capturing such an emotional day. My mom, who had been sick for many weeks, was able to make the birth which meant so much to me. Elise who is such a natural caregiver. Elaine and Megan for making Maddie feel comfortable throughout the day. And of course Brian, who was as laid back and calm as usual, and gave me the gift of those few tears post baby, just like after Maddie.
9 pounds 5.5 ounces | 22 inches long
Images from the day taken by Heather at Jagger Photography, and shared happily by me. Hopefully this will encourage people to look into midwifery care, and birth photography. Two of the best things we had chosen to do this time around.