Robbie's birth story doesn't begin with a contraction, nor does it begin with his conception, it began several years ago when I became pregnant with our first baby. It was the summer of 2005. Dave and I were SO EXCITED to be expecting our first child. I had the usual first trimester nausea and fatigue, until one Sunday evening I went to the washroom and discovered I had started spotting. The following week was a blur of doctor's appointments, ultrasounds and tears. We heard the news we never, ever expected to hear...we had lost the baby. At 2:30am September 19th, 2005 I woke up in the guest bedroom on my inlaws house with intense cramping (we weren't living in Saskatoon at that point, but were there for work stuff). I ran to the washroom where I birthed my angel baby ('passing the pregnancy' sounds like such an awful term to me). I sat there for a few minutes, holding my baby in my hands. I sobbed until I had nothing left in me. I felt empty, I felt numb, I felt broken.
After the miscarriage Dave and I tried and tried and tried to conceive again. After seven painstaking months, we conceived again, a couple of weeks after our angel baby's due date. This time, we were terrified. I was OBSESSED with having a healthy pregnancy. I read, and worried and did everything I thought I should do in order to carry a healthy baby to term. We knew that Dave was not a 'medical' kind of guy, so hired a doula half way through my pregnancy. We prepared for the birth, but throughout that entire time, I carried this major fear that I was unable to carry a healthy baby to term. I didn't believe or trust in my body. I went to term, in fact I went over due. When I was a week overdue, I went in to labour. It wasn't the labour I had expected. I didn't trust my body, I didn't trust the process. After 3 days of labour and an epidural I finally gave birth to our beautiful boy, James. He was 10lbs 4 oz and 22 inches long and he was a very healthy baby :)
When James turned one, we decided we were ready to try for a second child. This time I knew my body was capable of growing a healthy baby, but I still lacked confidence in my body's ability to birth the way it was designed to do. From the beginning of my pregnancy I began preparing for the birth. We hired our doula again and decided to go with a midwife instead of a doctor. Throughout my pregnancy we had decided that plan 'A' would be a hospital birth, but if all was going well and we were comfortable, we would be open to a home birth. Again, my due date came and went. This baby was COMFY and NOT ready to come out. I knew this baby was going to be big. James was a big boy and there was no doubt that this one was going to be big too. We set up the birthing pool in our kitchen area so we were ready for when labour began. On Sunday, June 28th (11 days over due) I began nesting like a crazy lady! Of course, I didn't realize that I was nesting, I was just SO pissed off that this baby was still inside and needed to clean in order to get the anger out. My doula asked me if there was any doubts I was having and I told her that I didn't believe that I could do this. She told me to be positive for the rest of the day and to watch some home birth videos on YouTube. I watched them and bawled my eyes out. They were beautiful, I realized that I REALLY wanted to see my baby. I went to have my afternoon nap and woke up 2 hours later at 3:30pm feeling very rested and happy.
I got out of bed and felt like I had to go to the bathroom (I had eaten an entire watermelon the day before in an attempt to empty my bowels and stimulate labour...yes, I was DESPERATE!). I went to the bathroom and went downstairs to continue my nesting. All of a sudden I felt like I had to go to the bathroom again. I went, thinking nothing of it. Finally, after the third trip to the bathroom, I said to Dave "I think I'm having false labour again, I'm going in to the tub to see if anything happens". I grabbed a glass of water and my watch. As I sat in the bath I realized the contractions were coming every 3-4 minutes, lasting about 30-ish seconds, they weren't going away. At that point, I called my doula, she agreed that it sounded like labour and to call her when I needed her. I decided to give my midwife a call and while on the phone with her, I had a few contractions. She decided to come over immediately. Soon after talking to her, I called my doula and asked her to come over. During all of this, Dave was trying to fill the birthing pool and locate my mother-in-law to come get James (she was on the golf course, having an amazing game WITHOUT her cell phone).
My doula arrived and she helped me through a few contractions. It was obvious I was in active labour and was having a lot of trouble getting comfortable in the tub. We decided to move to the bedroom where I laboured on my hands and knees on my exercise ball. Once I moved in to the bedroom I did what I had been preparing so long for...I surrendered. I allowed my body to take over, I simply allowed it all to happen, I didn't fight it, I didn't analyze it, I just was. It was very primal, very raw, very real. It was amazing. My midwife arrived and checked the baby's heart rate, my blood pressure and checked my cervix. I was 6-7 cms with membranes bulging. She said everything was going really well, but this was the point at which we needed to decide whether to stay or go. We called Dave in (who was still trying to fill the birthing pool...he had managed to locate his mom, who had taken James to her house). After a quick discussion between contractions, we decided to stay at home. I felt SO confident in that decision. After our discussion, I went back into myself, simply allowing myself to surrender to the process. I remember at one point looking at our bedroom clock and it said "5:30pm", I thought to myself "I am going to have this baby in the next hour". At 6pm, my midwife checked me again because I had begun to bear down at the peak of my contractions. I was at 10cms with my membranes still bulging. My doula and midwife suggested that I move to the toilet to see if my membranes would rupture while I sat on the toilet. Sure enough, first contraction on the toilet, they ruptured, nice and clear! At that point I felt the ring of fire! Yup, that head was definitely there! I didn't freak out, I didn't think much about it, just continued to follow my body. I tried pushing on the floor, but felt I wasn't able to get my knees wide enough. So I climbed up on the bed and pushed while I laid on my side. At that point the secondary midwife had arrived and they were getting set up for the birth. As I was pushing I had my doula to my right, holding one leg, my primary midwife at the end of the bed, supporting my perineum and the secondary midwife cheering me on. I felt like something was missing. I said "I need Dave" (still filling the birthing pool....) so the three of them all screamed "DAVE!" and he raced in to sit on my left hand side. I recall that time stood still, an out of body experience. After 30 minutes of pushing, Robbie was born. His cord had been wrapped around his neck twice, but the midwife calmly removed it. He was placed immediately on my chest and we hung out and snuggled together. We let the cord finish pulsating and then I cut it. After delivering the placenta the midwives checked me over and told me that I had one small 'scratch' inside my vagina, no actual tears. After some bonding, they did the newborn exam. Robbie was perfect :) When they weighed him, we were all shocked. He weighed 11lbs 14oz and 23 inches long!!! The biggest baby that both midwives had ever delivered at home.
I had done it. Woke up in active labour and gave birth 3 hours later to an almost 12lb baby! I had my birth the way I had wanted it, the way I had NEEDED it. It completely changed me. It gave me confidence in myself that I never knew I had. Now I know who I am. Now I know what I'm capable of. I no longer doubt myself. I believe.
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