Since today is my actual due date I thought it would be a good time to share my birth story. While I was pregnant I was unsure as to whether or not I would share it but it was such a great experience I don't see how I can't. I think it is important for people to hear about good labours and deliveries so that maybe less people will be afraid of giving birth.
On Thursday June 20th when I was exactly 37 weeks I started to feel a little different. It kind of felt a bit like I was about to get my period. I was a tiny bit (and I mean just a tiny bit) crampy and I noticed a few other things as well that were just different. I told Ivan that I didn't know what it felt like before you go into labour but that I felt like my body was getting ready. Whether it was getting ready for something that would happen the next day or in five weeks, I didn't know.
On Friday morning I woke up to go to the bathroom (as pregnant ladies do many times a night) at about 3:00am and as I was on my way down the hall...my water broke! I said to myself, "Oh, I guess my water just broke" and continued to the bathroom. I called down the hall to Ivan to calmly let him know but told him to go back to sleep. I thought I remembered the midwife telling me that if you go into labour in the middle of the night just try to go back to sleep so that's what I tried to do. I was pretty wide awake at that point though so I just kind of lay in bed and goofed around on my phone for a few hours.
Ivan's alarm goes off for work at 6:00am so I am going to assume that is the time we ended up getting out of bed. I wasn't having serious contractions at this point, just mild ones, so we got together everything that we needed for the homebirth which we had thankfully just finished picking up the week before. We also tidied up the house and Ivan washed our bed sheets so that they would be nice and clean if we did in fact have the baby that day.
As we were cleaning my contractions started getting stronger and they were between four and six minutes apart and lasted anywhere from a minute to two minutes. I think it was around 7:00am when I had a contraction that made me throw up and I figured it was about time to call the midwife and just let her know things were happening. I should mention now that for some people I'm sure throwing up during contractions sounds awful but I didn't mind at all. It wasn't totally pleasant but it gave me something else to focus on. Also, it didn't happen everytime, just everytime things kicked up a notch or two.
Anyways, we paged our midwife and she called us back and talked to me during a contraction to see how things were going. I was still able to talk so she said that she would come over to drop off the birthing tub and the supplies that they needed to keep in the fridge in an hour or so. Those things should have already been at our house but my home visit was scheduled for the next week so they hadn't been over to drop that stuff off and go through how things would work on the day of the birth. No big deal though!
We continued to putter around, pausing for my contractions, until the midwife arrived. She brought in everything we needed to get the tub set up and then said she would check me. I was 1-2cm and "stretchy" so things were definitely progressing well already. Since my contractions were already about four minutes apart she told me she was going to leave but to call her when they got stronger. I remember thinking, "How am I going to know when they get stronger?". Silly me.
After the midwife had left Ivan called our parents to let them know what was going on. We also needed to get a hose to run from the bathtub to the kitchen where the birth tub was going to be set up so Ivan asked my mom if she could come over and sit with me while he went to get it. He very casually said "sometime before noon" but my mom figured that it would be better to get things done sooner than later so she came over right away. By the time my mom got there my contractions were getting a bit stonger and she told Ivan that she would go out and get what we needed so that he could stay with me.
I think at this point I moved from the bathroom to the couch where I kneeled on the main part of the couch and leaned over the couch arm to deal with contractions. I really surprised myself with what I liked during contractions. When I had my kidney stone I did not like to be touched while I was in pain so I thought it would be the same with contractions. It was the total opposite. I absolutely needed someone touching me while I was having a contraction. Sometimes I liked to have my lower back rubbed and sometimes I just wanted Ivan to rest his hand on my back. I was very much in my own world with my eyes closed during labour but I needed to have that connection with the real world during contractions. Ivan was totally amazing the whole time I was in labour. I couldn't have asked for better support.
Probably by about 11:30 or 12:00 I started having much more intense contracions ( I could totally tell) and I asked Ivan to page the midwife. She arrived very quickly and at that point I was glad she was there. She checked me again and I was four centimeters and in active labour so she wasn't planning on going anywhere at that point.
This is where I really lose track of time. I laboured in that same position on the couch while things went on around me. My midwife called the midwifery student who had been at my appointments to join us, the tub was being filled and I'm sure lots of other things were happening too. Having the student there was really great because she acted as extra labour support, passing me water between contractions, rubbing my back if Ivan was in the other room doing something with the tub, passing me my barf bowl and other glamourous things like that.
At some point the tub was ready (maybe around 2:00? I have no idea) and I was checked one last time before I got in. I believe I was 5 centimetres at that time and the midwife told me that I had got through the part that takes the longest. Getting from 5 to 10 would go much more quickly. I got in the tub and it was so amazing! The warm water felt fantastic and I was pretty comfortable on my knees leaning over the edge of the tub. I continued to labour in there and then eventually I had two or three contractions that were much more intense than the ones I had been feeling and I started to feel pressure and the urge to push. I was checked and sure enough I was 10 centimetres and ready to push. My midwife called the second midwife who just comes while you are pushing. She also had a student working with her and I said it was ok that she came as well. My main midwife was actually supposed to leave at 4:00 because she had a previous commitment and had arranged for my other main midwife to show up at 4:00 to take over for her. Well, my other midwife showed up but the one who had been with me all day didn't end up leaving because I was in the pushing phase at that time and she wanted to be there for the birth if she could. So...there ended up being three midwives and two students there at the end. This is something that I thought I would have hated, having that many people around, but I ended up being really happy to have so much support. Everyone just blended in so well and knew exactly what to do I never felt like there were that many people there. I feel really lucky that I had so many people there for me helping out in different ways.
When I started pushing I was on my knees leaning forward. At some point someone told me to reach down and feel his head. It wasn't out a lot at that point but I could feel something squishy and I said, "I just feel something squishy, is that it?". They told me it was and I decided that feeling the head was not for me. I totally trusted that my body knew what it was doing and I am not grossed out by birth at all but I didn't like feeling the head for some reason. I don't remember this but Ivan told me that they asked me again later if I wanted to feel the head again and I politely declined.
At some point the midwives were checking on his heartbeat, which had been perfect the entire labour, and they couldn't find it. What they thought was his was actually mine and I got a little concerned. The midwives were very calm about it and they had me switch on to my back and push that way for a while. I guess his head kept on coming out a bit and then going back in because it was having trouble getting around a bone. I remember asking after one push "Did it go back in?" and the midwife said no. Ivan told me later that they totally lied to me and it had gone back in. I find that hilarious and more proof that midwives know just what to say to you while you are in labour.
After pushing on my back for awhile my midwife said, "Ok, you need to push him out, flip back over onto your hands and knees". I flipped back on my hands and knees and I vaguely remember someone knocking on the front door. The midwives thought it was a neighbour or something but I found out later that it was my mom dropping off dinner for us. Apparently the midwife told her I was pushing and she dropped the food on the coffee table, asked if I was ok, found out I was and then left. We had told people that we just wanted it to be Ivan and I at the birth so that we could spend that first bit of time together as a family. I am really touched that my mom respected that especially when she was there just minutes before he ended up being born.
Ok, sorry back on track. Once I was on my hands and knees I think I gave a few good pushes and he came out all at once, head, shoulder, body, everything! I reached down, grabbed him and leaned back against the wall of the tub. Seeing him for the first time was completely nuts and I remember it and don't quite remember it all at the same time. Ivan took a couple photos right after he was born and I am really happy to have them. Our little Milo was born in our kitchen at 4:24pm on June 21st, 2013 at 6lbs 5oz and 19.4 inches long.
Community Midwives of Hamilton.
I think that this was the longest post I have ever written and I definitley wrote it as much for myself as for you guys to read. I have probably already forgot and left out some details but I really happy to have this documented. Thank you for reading.
PS. If you have questions about anything I didn't mention just let me know!