What NOT to Say When a Woman says “We’re pregnant!”

There’s only one appropriate response when someone says “I’m Pregnant”. The response is “Congratulations! how wonderful” and then, keep very quiet. You will be told what you need to know and what you aren’t told is none of your business. Here’s a pre-emptive reaction to all the ‘not so helpful’ things people say. It was the FB status of Kasie Monchak when she announced she was pregnant with her 7th child today.

Quoting Kasie: “ Let’s get this out of the way early.

We aren’t Catholic.
Or Mormon.
It was planned.
We know what causes this (and we are very good at it, too!).
We own a television.
I am aware of birth control.
Yes, seven. No, I am not kidding.
They are all ours.
Are we done? Are my fertility and sex life really your business?
We are not finding out the sex.
We are having another family birth.
Yes, that means no doctor.
Or midwife.
Yes, it’s legal.
Yes, that means no epidural. How did you guess?
I catch my own babies. No one “delivers” them.
No, I’m not brave.
Or crazy.
No, you may not touch my belly.

I think that covers it.”
(end of quote)

Thanks, Kasie, for this reminder and BTW, “Congratulations, how wonderful!425pregnant.jpg” Gloria

Letter from Jenny (Homebirth after 2 cesareans)

My dear sweet Gloria,

A year ago today at 4:45 a.m. I gave birth. I have treasured that moment every day. I know it is really Rowan’s birthday. But it’s my birthday too. I feel like that was the day I was born as a woman. Whole, powerful, beautiful, healed.

As you know my other births left me with scars. Scars on my body and scars on my soul. This birth healed me. I am not broken, I am whole. I am not helpless, I am powerful. I am not less than a woman, I am beautiful. I am healed.

Thank you, Gloria, for being there for me. I will never forget the first time you put your hands on my large belly. I could feel love through your touch. For me and for my baby. Visits with you were relaxed; you spent so much time with me. You told me so many stories. Stories to make me laugh, give me courage and impart knowledge. You challenged me to dream of this birth. To really think in detail how I wanted it to be. And I had the birth I dreamed of! What a gift.

Thank you, Gloria, for your quiet confident presence during my labour.
You gave me my space and that’s exactly what I wanted. You gave me quiet encouragement as I pushed, and through the fog I heard your words and they helped me. You reminded me to get ready to catch my baby; you knew how much I wanted that! And you left us to get acquainted with her as you went to get me some tea. What a peaceful birth. I still remember her looking at me with those eyes. Nothing is like that first look a newborn takes at the world around, and I got to see it!

Thank you Gloria for being who you are. You are a woman to be reckoned with! You supported me and my desire to have an amazing birth. And it has changed me.

Happy 1st birthday, Rowan. Happy birth day to me, too. Thank you, Gloria!
Love,
Jenny
PS. My placenta is still in my freezer waiting to be planted under a Rowan tree when we have our own place 😀

Marginal Placenta Previa Birth

Thor’s Birth

Things had been going well until one morning I went to the bathroom and noticed that the toilet was full of blood. I’d passed a small blood clot at 30 weeks but we had just finished moving and I knew I’d been overexerting myself. It concerned me but I wasn’t going to run off to the hospital just because of a small blood clot so I took a number of days of bed rest and since there wasn’t any more blood I figured that whatever the problem was had resolved itself.

DIAGNOSIS

But, then at 34 weeks, there was a lot of blood. Bright red and painless. I knew what that likely meant but I was really hoping it would be something else, like maybe an irritated cervix from doing too much laundry or something. But no, when I went to the hospital and had an ultrasound the doctor told me exactly what I didn’t want to hear, “It’s very concerning, your placenta is beside your cervix…it’s definitely a previa.” I live on an island and the biggest hospital only has a basic ultrasound machine, so the u/s I had was only able to show the placenta beside my cervix. In order to find out whether it was attached to my cervix or just near to it, and exactly how near, I had to go to a hospital on the mainland and have a transvaginal ultrasound. So yuck, I never do things like that, but I talked with my husband and we agreed that it was necessary information so the appointment was made.

I had about six days in between my previa diagnosis and my next u/s and they were a very long six days. Mostly I cried a lot and didn’t sleep and spent a lot of time trying to imagine myself having a cesarean, which I couldn’t. When I wasn’t torturing myself with visions of nightmare birth scenarios I was researching, gathering information on the different types of previa. It was hard, there aren’t a lot of good ‘placenta previa’ stories out there. It was scary because, well, placenta previa is bad. It’s one of the few birth complications that are actually really a problem. The placenta is supposed to come after the baby, not before. So it was stressful times. If the placenta was attached to my cervix I was screwed, not much chance of a normal birth there, but if it was beside my cervix so that it could open without making my placenta bleed, I had hope.

My appointment was with a maternal-fetal medicine specialist at a large teaching hospital. Total twilight zone for me. My first three births were unassisted so the only other obstetrician I’d met was the one who diagnosed my previa. I had my appointment and they took a number of measurements of my baby, which I didn’t think were necessary except that they’d done it at my previous u/s and had said my baby looked ‘small’ and that my fluid was possibly ‘low’. I thought both suggestions were likely bullshit but I was also a bit concerned because placenta previa can be associated with other placenta abnormalities and birth defects. Thankfully, my baby and placenta were both normal. The placenta itself was posterior, on the left, and 1 cm away from my cervix. He estimated that the distance would increase to 2 cm over the next few weeks and that vaginal birth was possible but that a home birth was out of the question. The hospital also manages the midwives for the province and he said that “none of the midwives here would be willing to attend this at home”. (Well good for them, I had thought.) He seemed to have some kind of highly monitored hospital birth in mind, he mentioned that they’d like to check my progress regularly and monitor me in other ways, which didn’t sit well with me. I was very relieved to know I didn’t need to schedule a c-section, but still the mention of a highly-monitored hospital birth really got my back up. It’s incomprehensible how these medical people assume I’m going to allow a number of strangers to stick their hands up me while I’m in labour. But I digress…

At that point I was planning a low-intervention hospital birth, or at least that was what I was telling myself. I really couldn’t picture myself giving birth in a hospital but at the same time I didn’t feel like I had much choice. I mean, placenta previa is “bad”, that and a cord prolapse are the two things that are really serious life-threatening problems, the kind that you don’t want to deal with at home. I also think I was still a little stunned from finding out about the previa, and knowing that an automatic c/s was off the table made a hospital birth seem almost palatable for a while. And it wasn’t like the fact that it was a marginal previa meant that everything was going to be okay, there are still a number of complications that can arise when the placenta is in the lower half of the uterus and that close to the cervix. One involves bleeding before the baby is born, the other involves bleeding after, and neither is good.

I spent the 35th week of my pregnancy trying to imagine a hospital birth and gathering information from people who knew about hospital birth and about placenta previa. My biggest concern was that my placenta would start bleeding in labour and I’d have to have a c-section anyway. I’m an herbalist and a student of Susun Weed so I called her for advice. She suggested a half-gallon a day of herbal infusions, alternating nettle, comfrey and raspberry leaf. I’d already ordered nettle and raspberry but it hadn’t occurred to me to drink that much, so I had to find local sources where I could buy it by the pound. So that started me on infusions, I drank at least 2 liters a day for the rest of my pregnancy. The other thing Susun recommended was visualization. At least once a day I spent at least five minutes visualizing the bottom edge of my placenta toughening up and adhering strongly to my uterus, and then I’d see it moving, crawling slowly upward toward the top of my fundus. When I’d drink my infusions I’d picture this and I’d remind myself what each infusion was for – nettle for my blood, raspberry for my uterus, comfrey for my placenta.

When I’d talked to Judy (the herbalist I ordered my herbs from) I’d told her my situation and she reminded me about the importance of language. She picked up on me saying “I don’t want a cesarean” and reminded me that the universe doesn’t hear the “don’t” part. She gave me an affirmation to use: “I am having a vaginal birth and it is easy. My baby and I are perfect and healthy and safe. All is well.” I also started going for acupuncture treatments to help my placenta move up.

I also went to see the OB I’d met at my local hospital. If I was going to have a hospital birth I was going to need an OB and he had seemed like a reasonable guy. He was respectful of the fact that I was a homebirther and that hospital birth was completely out of my comfort zone. I went with an open mind and the intent of finding some agreeable terms for me to have my baby in the hospital. I had some legitimate concerns about homebirth in my situation. Mainly that if I started to bleed badly, either before or after the birth, we wouldn’t be able to handle it at home and were too far away from the hospital to get there in an emergency. We live at least a ½ hour from the nearest hospital in good weather. Since my baby was due in November we couldn’t count on good weather. When I talked to the OB about my concerns and my preferences he was fairly reasonable. He said that I had the right to make whatever choices I wanted and that they couldn’t do anything to me that I didn’t want them to do. So he talked a good line and made hospital birth sound like a viable option, but even then there were lots of little things that were setting off alarms for me. Like when I first went to the hospital with my bleeding I was sent directly to L&D and the first thing the nurse did when she showed me to an exam room was to tell me to take off my clothes and put on a gown. I asked her why I needed to take off my clothes when all they were going to do was use a doppler to check my baby’s vitals. She said that most women like to put on the gown just in case the doctor wants to do an exam but I said no thanks. They also tried to get me to sit in a wheelchair at the hospital, first they wanted to wheel me to L&D and then again from the exam room to the ultrasound. Both times I refused. The second time the nurse had gone to ask the doctor’s permission for me to walk, which I didn’t understand. At 35 years old I don’t see why I’d need anybody’s permission to walk anywhere. Then at the doctor’s office the nurse had wanted to weigh me and get me to pee in a cup and put on a gown. All of which I refused, saying “Oh no thanks, I don’t do that.” Of course, she’d had to go and ask the doctor if I was allowed to do that. Then when I was talking to the doctor about the birth and explaining that my husband or I always caught the baby he said that that was fine but that he “might just have my hand on top of his to guide him”. That really didn’t sit well with me, or my husband for that matter. Having brought our first three children into the world by ourselves we really couldn’t fathom what this guy thought he’d be doing with his hands between my legs while our baby was coming out. Despite my best intentions to be open to a hospital birth, I was having second thoughts.

Then at 36 weeks the baby dropped, which was weird because mine don’t usually come early. When faced with the prospect of being in labour and going to the hospital I realized that I didn’t want to do it. A number of times already I’d started crying, like while doing the dishes or something, and when my husband asked me what was wrong I’d say that I didn’t want to go to the hospital. But at that point I was still telling myself that staying home wasn’t an option this time. At the same time I’d started having dreams where I’d be screaming angry at someone for cutting off my hair. Symbolically a person’s hair represents their power; my dreams were telling me that I’d be really angry if I gave my power away. I had to accept that this less-than-ideal situation I found myself in was still mine to deal with, that the fact that I was no longer having a simple pregnancy didn’t automatically mean that I was going to be able to absolve myself of the responsibility of dealing with it. This is a lot of what UC means to me. It’s not just about avoiding unnecessary interventions and the many other abuses that come with the modern western way of birth. It’s about taking responsibility for myself, my body and my baby and knowing that each birth is my journey and my task, that whatever is given to me is mine to address.

36 WEEKS TO 40 WEEKS

At 36 weeks I was drinking infusions, visualizing a strong placenta, affirming a safe and easy birth and having weekly acupuncture. My husband and I had started talking homebirth or maybe birth in a hotel near the hospital. I was still afraid of a c-section, especially an unnecessary one, so we were talking about how we’d handle a hospital birth if we ended up going there. I had talked to Gloria Lemay and Susun Weed. All was well. And then I woke up at about 4 a.m. and felt wet between my legs. It was the night after the baby dropped and I wondered if it was my water breaking. I went to the bathroom and saw blood running down my legs. When I turned on the bedroom light there was a blood clot sitting on my bed. It was about the size of a small pancake, oval shaped and about ½ an inch thick and it was sitting in a pool of watery blood. I woke my husband up and we talked about what to do. I was having some contractions, they felt like Braxton hicks, but given that the baby had dropped and now there was all this blood, I wondered if the baby was coming. We talked about what to do and I have to say that my husband is such a blessing as a birth partner, no matter what’s happening he is so calm and has such faith in the process. We lay there in bed and watched the baby move in my belly. My husband listened to his heart rate and it was normal. And we watched my bleeding to see if it continued. Gloria had told me that bleeding that could be measured in tablespoons was acceptable but that bleeding that was approaching a cup or more was not. We estimated the clot was a few tablespoons and the rest of the blood was about 2-3 more and it had stopped. I asked if my husband wanted to go to the hospital and he asked, Why, what will they do? We figured that at best they could hook me up to machines to monitor the baby and at the worst we could get some completely spastic doctor that would want to cut the baby out of me at 36 weeks for who knows what reason. So we stayed home.

The same thing happened about a week later, except that I woke up to a gushing sensation and the clot wasn’t nearly so big. Again we estimated the blood loss, checked the baby’s heart rate and activity, and decided to stay home.

The doctor had given me the phone number of the head obstetric nurse at the hospital so I could talk about their policies and procedures. He had explained to her that we were a homebirth family and that we were really only interested in being in the hospital as a precautionary measure. They assumed that I’d be agreeable to the heparin-lock but I told her that I wasn’t and that I thought having a needle stuck in my hand would be uncomfortable and distracting. I forget how often she said they like to monitor the baby but I said I’d refuse that too. The nurse said that some of the nurses would get snippy with me for refusing but that I should ignore them. She also told me that the nurses would be told not to check my dilation because of my previa. I told her that no one would be checking my dilation because of my previa and she said I’d need to talk to the doctor about that. I didn’t understand why, it’s not like he would have any say in it. I asked her about all of their standard newborn procedures and told her I’d be refusing those too. I could tell she was trying to be accommodating but it really wasn’t going that well. The final straw for me was when we came to the issue of the placenta and the cord. I explained to her that my husband always cuts the cord, which she was okay with though for some reason she thought he’d need help with it. Then I told her that we leave the cord intact until the placenta is born and she was silent. After a minute or so she said “Oh…” I don’t think she’d ever heard of that before and didn’t know what to say. Once she regained her bearings she told me that I’d have to discuss that with that with the doctor because that was his decision. I told her that she didn’t understand, that my husband would not allow anyone to touch the cord before the placenta was out. That he would physically prevent them if necessary and that it wasn’t negotiable. That made her very uncomfortable and she again told me I’d have to discuss it with the doctor. And then came the deal breaker. When I told her that we would be taking the placenta home she said they couldn’t give it to us, that the health board doesn’t allow them to, that it wasn’t negotiable.

By the end of the conversation I knew I would be having my baby at home. Besides how misguided they were about whom the placenta belongs to, I realized there was a serious disconnect between the nurse’s view of the situation and mine. Essentially, she thought that the doctor was going to be in charge at my birth, whereas I thought I would be. I knew then that I wouldn’t be going anywhere near a hospital whilst in labour unless I was dying.

Aside from just how wrong and bizarre most of their thinking was, my husband and I realized that the hospital actually had very little to offer us. They offer the illusion of safety, but an illusion is all that it is. When we looked past all of their technogizmos and protocols we saw that the two things they had that we didn’t were monitors and surgery and we decided that if we needed monitors or surgery then we’d go there. We also decided to cancel the appointment for the second ultrasound. Both doctors had put a lot of stock in knowing the exact distance between placenta and cervix, but to me it wasn’t so important. I wouldn’t plan a c-section just because it hadn’t moved as far as the specialist had predicted.

After that I went back to preparing for the arrival of my baby. I continued my infusions, visualizations, affirmations and yoga and all was well. Then at about 40 weeks I stood up from a chair and walked into the kitchen and felt a gush. I hoped it was my water breaking, though even that would be weird because my water’s never broken before, but when I went to the bathroom I saw it was blood. Probably a few tablespoonfuls. I was pretty sure the baby was napping so there wasn’t much movement but his heart was normal and I managed to get him to squirm a couple times after nudging him. Still, I was very upset. I have a couple friends who really understand UC and they heard from me a fair bit the last few weeks of my pregnancy. I talked to them because I knew they understood where I was coming from, that I was scared but that fear alone wasn’t a good enough reason to go to the hospital.

After the bleed at 40 weeks I had a few days respite and then I had bleeds three days in a row starting at 41 weeks. Prior to this my longest pregnancy had been 40 weeks 6 days; it never occurred to me that I’d still be pregnant at 41 weeks. I was wondering if this baby was ever going to come out and then my placenta started bleeding again. That was really upsetting. But the baby was still moving normally and I figured that if I went into the hospital at 41 weeks with a bleeding placenta they’d feel compelled to try and do something. So I stayed home. After the third bleed I realized that it was always happening after I got up from sitting on the living room furniture. I’d tried putting cushions under my butt to keep my spine straight but it hadn’t helped. What was happening was that the placenta was on the bottom back wall of my uterus and whenever I sat down the baby’s head was pushing into the placenta and making it bleed. I think that’s also why I passed the big clot after he dropped at 36 weeks. Up until then he’d been sitting really high on my right side but when he dropped he went LOA. I think that’s why he kept on switching back and forth because no matter how much time I spent doing Cat and Cow positions in yoga my baby would not stay anterior. Once I realized that sitting was making my placenta bleed I just stopped doing it. I spent the last 3 days of the pregnancy standing, kneeling, or lying on my side. It was uncomfortable and a little boring and I was beginning to wonder if the pregnancy would ever end but I didn’t bleed again after that.

My husband and I spent a lot of time preparing for the birth, reviewing all of the hemorrhage treatments we had. I’d had a bit of luck and my TCM practitioner had given me Yunnan Baiyao pills for controlling bleeding and shown me the acupuncture points to stop uterine hemorrhage. I’d had him mark the points with a black marker for my husband. The one tincture I’d been unable to find on the island was witch hazel bark but I asked around and found an herbalist who grows it and she gave me an ounce.

THE BIRTH

I started having regular contractions after the first bleed at 41 weeks. They had gotten to 5 minutes apart and I thought labour was starting but then they just stopped. After that there was nothing for a couple days and then I started having low cervical contractions early in the morning. They’d start at about 4 am and stop by about 7 am when the kids got up. There were three days of that and I was really beginning to wonder when this baby was going to come out. I hadn’t sat down for three days and I was having contractions every morning. Then finally, at 41 weeks 4 days, after dinner when my husband was putting the kids to bed I had a few contractions that felt like they were going somewhere. There were only a few of them in an hour but they were intense.

By 8:15 p.m. I’d had a few more contractions and my husband was watching something banal on TV. I’d told him that I thought I might be in labour but that it still wasn’t consistent. I was in the living room saying that I wasn’t sure if the contractions were picking up yet and he asked me if the TV show was distracting me, instantly I realized how irritating the show he was watching was and told him to turn it off. At 8:30 I had another contraction and it was painful. A few minutes later I had another one and holy crap was it really painful. I told him I was having more contractions but he didn’t get it. He was in the kitchen getting some ice cream and I had this contraction that went on and on and on and it really hurt and I yelled at him “Now is not a good time for you to be getting ice cream!” And then he understood that I was serious about this labour thing and came to be with me. I didn’t really need him to do anything I just like having him around when I’m in pain. He asked if I was sure this was it and I said Yes and asked if he was okay with staying home and he said Yes and went to get my birth kit. Over the next hour I had a number of contractions that were insanely painful. The baby was somewhere between ROT and ROP, I knew this because he had kicked a number of times while I was having a contraction and his feet were over on the left front side of my belly.

I had about 10 or 15 of those insanely painful contractions and then they stopped for a few minutes. I waddled into the kitchen to get a glass of water and while I was at the sink I got this contraction that felt like pushing so I pushed a bit and thought ‘Am I pushing?’ I pushed again with the next contraction and a glop of fluid ran down my legs. I took my underwear off to see if there was blood but there was just clear fluid. I pushed a couple more times and felt the baby move down and then he stopped. I’d had this with my last posterior baby; getting the back of the skull past the tailbone is hard. I tried hanging on to the counter for leverage and pushing hard but nada, nothing budged. My husband had come in to the kitchen and asked me if I wanted to come into the living room where all the birth stuff was but I said No way am I moving, so he brought some towels and the birth basket in the kitchen. I got on my knees and pushed again but still nothing was moving, and I thought Oh shit how am I going to get this baby out? I scuttled around a bit, got myself in a better kneeling position and with the next contraction pushed hard and yelled, I felt a bit of movement so I pushed harder and yelled louder and suddenly the whole baby shot down and the head was crowning. I felt myself stretching a lot and put my hands down to support where it was burning and I realized the baby’s head was at a weird angle. Instead of facing directly front like my last posterior baby he was looking at the inside of my thigh, so I had to ease him out slowly to avoid tearing. Once the fullest part of his head was out his body shot out along with the rest of his amniotic fluid. He started crying right away and I pulled him up and checked his sex and said “Oh Thor you’re here!” It was such a relief to finally be holding my baby.

Sitting on the floor holding my baby I did start to bleed more than usual but my pot of witch hazel was sitting right there on the stove so my husband poured me a glass and I gulped it. I thought it would taste horrible and acrid but it was actually kind of tasty so I think I must have really needed it. After about 10 minutes I moved to the living room where it was more comfortable. We spent some time loving our baby and after a while the placenta came. The fetal side of the placenta looked fine but when I tried to turn it over it was like trying to grab jello. The maternal side was jiggly and one edge was sloppy and coming apart and had a few pieces missing. The other pieces of the placenta came out over the next half hour and when my bleeding eased up Thor and I went up to bed. He took to nursing with great zeal and I had some wicked after pains that night but I was happy. I’d had my baby at home and all was well.
Written by Alice, July 2010

Third births: finally getting it right

This came in as a comment on my blog post “What’s a Poor Midwife to Do?” but I think it should have it’s own blog space. Gloria

Gloria, this jumped off the page for me: “Something to notice is that for many women, it takes two screwed up births to get the third birth somewhat acceptable.

This is me. I had two coerced c/s without labour and thereby two premature babies, the first of which was so premature that his skull would mold to my hands while I breastfed him and from sleeping so that I spent weeks gently re-forming his skull manually. He had breathing problems until 6 months pp, and his skin was so soft that I couldn’t even feel it under my fingertips.

I look at pictures of him now and see how obviously premature he was. He was my first and a c/s because otherwise, “if I [went] into labour, he could [have] die[d]” from his frank breech position. His brother was also a no-labour c/s for the very same positioning ‘reason.’

For my third baby, I saw an OB in my 1st trimester (midwives wouldn’t even talk to me seriously- I’d had ‘shared care’ for the first two pregnancies after breech was indicated in the 3rd trimester) but left his office and never returned.

I freebirthed the next baby with my first labour- at 46+3, a 9 hour painless birth. It was GLORIOUS! He was 10lbs 3oz, strong and beautiful. 🙂

I then freebirthed another boy at 42+3 at the tail end of a flu that my whole family had. It was a precipitous labour- 3 minutes long, and he was 10lbs 8oz. Also beautifully formed and strong.

Now I am 45 weeks tomorrow with our fifth baby.

Our first 4 were born in Ontario and now I am in a Canadian territory. I would not even consider asking a midwife to be present at my births after the first two. I have a deep respect for midwifery and have seen through years of research that began after my second c/s, how it has collapsed as a woman-centered and truly beneficial art.

Just the hockey-bag-sized tote of intervention paraphernalia that a midwife in Ontario was required to have present at births was extremely off-putting. If birth is safe, and midwives support that reality, then why the hospital-in-a-bag???

My then mw, who became a friend, a few yrs later said that she felt like OBs hands, like she was expected to go through all the same motions with all the same cautions and procedures, but just on a much more rigorous schedule. She felt used- doing more work for less pay, enduring the upheaval of her whole family to be present for her clients, and then being highly scrutinized by the OBs who were her overseers. She was only a few yrs in, and already burning out. 🙁 She began with passion and an overflowing heart for loving the families she worked with.

Anyway, I don’t need any pity. I enjoy freebirthing and happen to prefer to be alone anyway, and if someone even tried to examine me during labour, I’d likely send *her/him* to the hospital, lol- not intentionally of course, but I am very focused and mama-bear-like in labour and pp since my 3rd birth experience.

BUT the lack of truly woman-centred midwifery has obviously left a huge vacuum for the majority of women in childbirth.

Natalie, I didn’t know my dates for my first two because I was taking birth control pills and had bleeds while pregnant. So, I was ‘required’ to do u/s for dating, which ended up being waaaaay off and obviously not helpful when two premature babies were taken early because of it. The first was extreme, and the second child not so much, but still obviously early.

Also, my surgical records indicate nothing (even though I spent time in the ICU for full-body anaesthesia paralysis and a heart rate that wouldn’t go above 38 bpm after the surgery- for three hours) and the hospital staff refused to admit that my child was obviously premature and instead just told me that I cannot take my eyes off of him ever- not to pee, not to eat or leave the room at all- ever, not for a second. So I didn’t.

I tended a baby and brought him to health at a stage of growth and development that would have usually meant him living still in my womb, and in the worst case scenario, in the nicu for at least a month or longer. It was very, very difficult and it has taken me seven years to recover my own health from those experiences- and with a huge amount of diligent effort, not passive recovery.

My midwife was then just newly practicing and we grieved this whole scenario together. She didn’t know the horrors of the medical industry so intimately previously. She was not prepared for it, and the medical industry representatives (OBs) took full advantage.

Gloria, thank you for your willingness to address these issues. And thank you for being available to discuss them openly. I have tried to talk people out of supporting the regulation of midwifery where I live, but I have not found a single sympathetic ear. It may be more helpful to attend to how it is regulated, I don’t know, but it would be better to have a better model in place before regulating so that midwifery doesn’t end up swallowed whole, like it will be if this goes through.

I am sad for what will happen once midwifery is regulated and it’s “available to all” through gov’t funding. I’d rather pay the $2500 out of pocket and receive actual care than pay more with my life and births than I’ll ever be able to recover. But that’s just me. The women here want the regulation for funding. 🙁 They don’t know how much that will change things- how it will create the conflict of interest that plagues midwifery in Canada where this has already happened.

After my 3rd birth, I was asked to do a lecture from the perspective of a (finally) educated former client on the state of midwifery by the College. I was also asked to consider becoming a midwife. I declined both: the first because I was due with my third child during the conference, and the second because I could not adhere to the stipulations and counter-conscience requirements placed on midwives.

If it were legal (here it still is), I would only consider lay-midwifery and my clientele would have to choose my offer of service based on their own perspectives on their needs and whether or not I am suitable to meet them. This would be the only chance we’d have at enjoying a mutually fulfilling and compatible relationship.

I wish you well, and again, thank you. 🙂
Imogen

Update Dec 2014: Adding this exquisite film from Slovenia of a family birth of a 4th baby. The mother had her first baby in hospital and, after that, three home births.

1981: I Got a Baby for Mother’s Day

I was due in May of 1981. I knew exactly how my birth would go. It would be the beginning of the summer in Vancouver, BC, Canada. Because I lived right across from a beautiful beach, I knew I would spend my early birthing hours down at the ocean with my 4 year old daughter. I’d be dressed in something loose and billowy. We would spend a few hours contemplating the waves coming in and out, in and out, in and out; just as the waves of birth would take over my body like an elemental force of Nature. I would get my guidance from the sea and then go home to birth my baby peacefully.

Birth waves

Birth waves

Of course, this was my fantasy birth and the real birth went the way it went. It began at the pharmacy the evening of May 9. While paying for my purchases, I felt something “whoosh” out of me. What the heck?, was that the mucous plug? Such a strange feeling of something dropping down. When I got home with my daughter and checked, sure enough, there was the mucous plug in my underwear. I put Jenny to bed and called my midwife, Jude, to give her an early heads up about this beginning of the birth but told her I was not having any birth sensations at all. When I hung up the phone from talking to her, I realized that I WAS getting mild sensations but they were very light. I settled into the last night of the pregnancy knowing I’d be meeting my baby soon and happy that everything was ready.

I woke a few times in the night and couldn’t sleep so I picked up the novel I was reading, “Shogun”, James Clavell’s epic story of Japan. I would read a few chapters while the birth sensations came and went easily and then I would snooze again. The book and the birth sensations combined to give me dreams of having a little Japanese baby.

About 6 a.m. my membranes released spontaneously while I was resting in bed. I thought to myself “this isn’t the way I do it” “That is so weird!”. I expected this birth to proceed along to the pushing stage and, then, have my membranes “go”, like my previous experience of home birth.

Here I was at the very beginning and my membranes had released, how strange. I phoned my midwife again and let her know that the membranes had released but I really wasn’t having the baby for a long time and that I would call her back when it got stronger. She said “no, I’m coming over to be with you now.” I assured her that it was okay for her to come but that it really wasn’t necessary. She was adamant that she was on her way.

As soon as I hung up the phone from speaking to her, my body shifted into high gear birthing. I could feel hormones running through my body like someone was injecting them with a needle. I let the feelings be and even tried to intensify them. I sat on the toilet and reminded myself “What you resist persists”. I let go of all fight and surrendered more and more to the intense force of the birth and I found it to be painless when I did. I knew big things were happening and, if I lost my resolve and resisted, it hurt but then, when I surrendered and tried to expand the feelings even more, it was painless and actually fun to observe.

When Jude came in to the bathroom, she said “How far apart are they?” I said “It’s just one sensation that goes up and down but there’s no space in between. It doesn’t hurt though.” She swung into action getting linens out and boiling water on the stove and I can remember thinking “What is she doing? I’m not going to have the baby for ages.” My sister tells me that I called her about 8 a.m. and calmly told her to come to my place for the birth but I have no recollection of doing that. My daughter, Jenny, woke up and got into her best dress for the “birth day party”. At one point, I recall her asking me “Mommy, do you know where my little socks with the blue frill are?” and that question broke my focus on expanding the sensations. I replied through clenched teeth “Go call your Father.” She went to the phone and called her dad saying “Can you come over, daddy, my mommy’s having her baby today.” My ex knew that it takes me a long time to give birth so he got up, showered, shaved and missed the birth because it wasn’t long this time. When she called him back shortly and said “Daddy, I have a new baby sister”, he came running.

Somehow, the four women who I wanted at the birth arrived. . . I was oblivious to their presence except to notice that I could fully focus now that they had my back. I felt the urge to push and was astounded “Wait a minute, I haven’t had any pain yet! I CAN’T be pushing.” Pushing waits for no woman and, there I was, right into it and looking for the right position. I had visualized all through the pregnancy that I would push on all fours. That position felt so right the last time I birthed, but it was all wrong this time. I tried side lying with my leg elevated. . . “Oh no, that was SOOOOO awkward”. Finally, I semi-sat scrunched into the corner of my bed supported by the walls on two sides and that’s what worked for me. I was completely silent through all this. I quickly felt the baby move down to give me that “stretched beyond known limits” feeling in my bum. Now, it was painful. I remember thinking “Gloria, you idiot, you knew it would feel like this. . . how could you get yourself here again?” At one point, it felt like my midwife had a large, prickly gauze square pushed hard up against my bottom. With closed eyes and through gritted teeth, I said “Get that gauze square off my ass.” Jude said gently, “Gloria, open your eyes. . . there’s no one anywhere near you.” Sure enough, I opened my eyes to see my four lovely attendants all standing seven feet away from me as I had asked them. (Long before the day of this birth, I had told them there was to be no touching, no fetal heart tone taking, no blood pressure checks, no exams of any kind. I wanted to catch the baby myself and I was confident even to do it alone if they hadn’t agreed to my wishes.) The feeling of counter pressure on my butt was just the forehead of a 10# baby trying to exit a tight place.

I put my hands down to hold my tissues and baby Joanna gently emerged into my hands. She was perfect. Jenny and I sat and marveled at her beauty. The “fairy godmothers” around the bed leaned in with loving gazes. I had made it through and the feeling of relief and relaxation engulfed me. Then I heard Suzanne say to Jude “There’s more blood than I like”. When I heard that, I realized that I needed to consciously stop bleeding and so I changed my state momentarily and tightened things up to keep the birth at home. Right away, I heard Suzanne say “Oh, it’s okay now.” I’m so grateful that she gave me the information I needed so I could do what I needed to do to help my body.

We hung out for a long time with the new baby and then I napped, ate and washed. After that, all the women and my two daughters sat in a circle in the living room and we talked about birth. My sister and my friend, Faye, had both had cesareans and their experience with major abdominal surgery was the main focus of the conversation, as I recall. It may sound strange, but I remember that the conversing about cesareans was so perfect. I was happy that my sister was able to see her niece born so peacefully and Faye went on to have a VBAC birth a few years later.

Jude Loyer, my midwife, had been a student midwife with me for a few years. We were very close friends right from the start and I wanted my birth to be her “birth” as a midwife. I was not an easy first client so she was a brave soul. She went on to attend many births in Calgary, Alberta and she died of non-Hodgkins lymphoma at 47 years old. This is a photo of Jude around that time with her own baby daughter, April. JudeApril.part I was able to help Jude’s grandson be born so our families are still intertwined. I’ll be forever grateful to Jude for helping me learn so many important birth lessons that I have been able to pass on to others.

Jude Loyer, my midwife, with her daughter, April

Jude Loyer, my midwife, with her daughter, April

May 10, 1981 was Mother’s Day. Instead of the sunny, warm beach day that I envisioned, Mother Nature opened up the sky and threw down lightening bolts and thunder. Right after baby Joanna’s arrival we had a massive rain storm that overflowed the streets with water and washed the Earth clean. Joanna is turning 29 years old and, to this day, there is nothing I would change about my experience of giving birth to her. How wonderful to experience a birth with no regrets. Whenever I do feel blue, I remember that God sent me the best Mother’s Day present ever in 1981–a healthy baby girl who has filled my life with joy and sunshine. Lucky me.

What I see first thing in the morning is:

I was asked to answer these questions by an Australian online magazine called “JOY”.

What I see first thing in the morning is…my bed canopy and blue curtains (unfortunately Robert Redford lives somewhere else)


The moment that changed me forever was
…when the midwife placed my daughter, Genevieve, on my thigh and she squeezed my skin with her little baby hand as if to say “Hi Mom, we made it.”

The most amazing thing I ever made was.. 3 daughters

My favourite book is
Daughters of Copper Woman by Ann Cameron

I adore being…cute, funny and brilliant

Give me a broom and I’ll make you some…clean kitchen floor (was that a dumb question or is it just me?)

My perfect date would be…me, Robert Redford, on that boat in “Indecent Proposal”

As a blind date, I would be…a complete fraud until I got the poor guy into my trap

When my style is in fashion, it will be…a foggy Friday


Yesterday I
…had a Blessingway Ceremony for an almost-due woman. Her 17 y.o. daughter was there, too. I attended her birth 17 years ago and it’s so nice to be looking forward to attending this one, as well. Life is good.

Amy & Phil’s Unassisted Birth (third baby)

Baby Leo Dane Themba, born 7:40 am Sunday Jan 17, 2010 about 10 1/2 lbs, 42 weeks and 2 days.

Well first I’d like to congratulate myself on doing so well with the longest pregnancy ever. It seems like this baby needed to grow a bit, and I’m glad I let him.

So baby was due on New Year’s Day. I was having zillions of contractions for weeks before which were a new thing for me. With the other two babies I never felt as much as a Braxton Hicks contraction before I was in labour. So I figured that with all the contractions I would probably not go much past 40 weeks. ANYWAYS….

On Friday evening I decided to try and see if I could feel my own cervix to see if I had started to dilate at all…well lo and behold I could actually feel that I was about 5 cm dilated, mostly effaced, and I could feel baby’s head through a thin layer of fluid and membranes! I was very excited. It made me feel much happier to be able to know I was making progress. I also began to think it would be a short labour once it started because I was already halfway dilated without any “labour”!

On Saturday I was a bit disappointed to wake up still pregnant, so I decided to stop moping and go grocery shopping. I walked around a few stores and then went home. Still not in labour.

That night, when we said our prayer together, Phil said “please help us to have a good rest and then that Amy will go into labour in the morning.” heehee! That was very specific. I guess God agreed it was time for baby to be born because I woke up after 5 good hours of sleep at 4:30 am with contractions.

I wasn’t sure it was labour though because they weren’t much stronger than the contractions I had been feeling on and off for weeks. I decided to get out of bed and go sit on my recliner chair in the bedroom thinking that an upright position might help things along if it was really labour.

I sat there for about an hour or so having a bunch of contractions, I couldn’t see the clock and I was purposely avoiding timing things because that’s not useful. So the rest of the story I will try to estimate times, but they aren’t accurate because I never looked at a clock until he was born. Anyway, I figure for that hour on the chair I was having a pretty strong contraction every 5 min or so.

About quarter to six Phil woke up and asked me if I was in labour. I was pretty sure I was, but I wasn’t sure if it was time for him to get out of bed and set up our birth room yet, so I said “I think so, but I don’t know”. And he asked if he should go set up the pool etc and I said “well I guess you could if you want.” so he got up and went downstairs.

I spent the next hour or so after that labouring upstairs getting more and more unable to find a good position. I mostly stood up and leaned on the windowsill or the two walls in the bathroom since I was finding it necessary to be near the toilet 😉 I tried labouring on the bed a bit, but there wasn’t anything to lean on, and I found it horrible to try and support myself with my arms during a contraction.

Eventually I thought it might be a good idea to try and eat something since I hadn’t had anything to eat since supper. I went downstairs to the kitchen where Phil was setting things up and was able to kind of drink some juice, but I really didn’t feel up to eating. By that point I was having really hard contractions and I was making some noise to get above them. I still stayed standing and just leaned on the counter or just stood in the middle of the floor and sort of rocked. The pool was almost ready, but the water was much too hot. I stood around the kitchen waiting for Phil to be able to cool off the water and get the level up where it should be. Phil was asking me questions, but I found it impossible to speak. It would take all my effort to muster a nod or a shake of the head, so mostly I just ignored his questions. It wasn’t that I was in so much pain; it was more that I was just totally stoned on birth hormones and was in another world.

By that time I was having contractions almost nonstop it seems like. I would only get a lull for a few seconds where the contraction would be duller, but it never totally went away. But in those lulls, it was like my head was floating and I would feel REAL good…the birth hormones are kind of pretty sweet drugs 🙂

So I guess it was about a quarter to seven when I got in the pool, and it was like HEAVEN! It made the pain so different and more easy to stay above. I just leaned on the wall of the pool and zoned out. While I was in the pool I had my most difficult contraction and I yelled swear words through most of it, lol. That was the only one where I really lost my grip on things. Labour is good like that because if you lose it for one contraction, you can regroup and start over with the next one.

It was about 7 or so when I decided to try and feel my progress again, so I reached up and I couldn’t feel any cervix anymore, and I could feel the bag of waters protruding out. That made me feel so much better to know I was nearly done, and I just kept my hand there so I could feel that during contractions after that point. I guess the older kids woke up then, but I didn’t hear them. Phil left me and went upstairs, brought the portable DVD player and some grapes and told them to stay in their room a while because mom and dad were busy! lol.

While he was gone I started to feel like maybe pushing a bit at the peak of contractions, so I tried some gentle pushing and I found it felt good! This was a happy discovery because my pushing with Roysten felt like torture. After that, I would push a little bit when I felt like it, and I could feel the bulge of waters slowly moving even more downward. Phil came back into the kitchen and around then the sac exploded during a contraction. I think if I had not been in the pool it would have made a HUGE mess! the fluid was clear and full of bits of vernix, but I didn’t notice that at the time. All I was thinking then was that I must be really almost done because after Roysten’s water broke in the pool, he was born within 2 or 3 minutes.

So, another thing that changed with the pushing contractions, especially after the water broke was that they didn’t hurt anymore. My body stretching around the baby did hurt, but not like torture, and the contractions themselves did not hurt anymore. and pushing felt kind of good to do even though it did hurt. I didn’t say anything to Phil about what was going on, but later he told me he could tell I was pushing by the sounds I made. He told me that when he went behind me to see what was happening. the room was quite dark though, so he couldn’t see very well.

I was making very loud roaring sounds, not because of pain, but just because it somehow helped to make noises as loud as possible. I wonder what my kids thought! They stayed in their room very nicely anyhow.

I could feel that the head was going to come down, and then I knew it was serious so I took my hands away from my bottom, and leaned on the wall of the pool again, kneeling. I just pushed how I felt like doing, which was sort of panting a bit and pushing hard, but panting a bit and then pushing hard… it hurt quite a bit, stretching around the baby, but I knew I wouldn’t tear so I wasn’t afraid. I gave one strong push with a contraction, and I felt his head be born under the water. I reached down and felt to make sure, and yes, there was his head sticking out of me! YEAH! I was glad. My mind got very clear then and I was happy that I had done the biggest part. Later, Phil told me that he was behind me watching, and he saw something in the water, but wasn’t sure what it was because it was so dark in the room, so he also reached in the water and felt the lump he saw, and figured, “yep that’s baby hair!”

Then, I rested for a minute waiting for another contraction, and I thought about just not bothering pushing the rest of the baby out because it was pretty painful with all the stretching, but I figured I had done the big part, and so I would just be tough and do the rest quick! heehee. So I just pushed like crazy with the next contraction and the baby slid out and floated into the water. Phil said “there’s the baby!!” or something, which was good because I wasn’t totally sure the whole body had come out, and then I somehow flipped over really quick, leaving the baby underwater for the moment, and Phil picked him up and put him on my chest! ahhh!! that felt so good! It was just amazing.

He was very quiet for a bit, but I could tell he was alive, just looking around, so I never felt worried that he didn’t cry right away. in fact, it seemed like it was only about five seconds that he was silent, but really I figured out later that it was the more part of a minute. babies who are born in water and whose cords are not cut are often quiet like that because they feel calm and there’s no big rush since the cord is still giving them oxygen for a minute or three. anyway, after a time I felt that I would like to hear him make a noise, so I said to him “ok baby, it’s time for you to make a noise.” and he cried a little, and then he cried a little more.

I wanted to wait until after the placenta came before cutting the cord, but after half an hour in the pool after the birth it hadn’t come out and I was worried the baby was getting cold, so I decided to get out even though it was sort of tricky with the baby still attached to me, and getting us both dried off! but anyway, we did it fine and I went and lay down on the couch with a towel and a couple of chux pads under me. after another half hour, I knew the placenta must be separated by then, and I was having very difficult contractions with the dumb thing just sitting inside me, so during one of them Phil wrapped a facecloth around the cord and pulled it a bit and it came out which was a relief. then we tied the cord with sterilized string, and cut it with sterilized scissors. it had been an hour since the baby was born.

Phil had gone and called the kids down when I was in the pool right after the birth, and they both came in and were very excited. Averie likes the baby, and has given him lots of kisses and wants to see him all the time, but Roysten LOVES the baby and is very enthusiastic…so basically I can never ever put this kid down or Roysten will crush him with loving embraces! lol. I hope he figures out how to be gentle soon. Roysten has even shared his blankie with the new brother, and has tried teaching him about dinosaurs already. also, he has named the baby Roysten. Averie wants to name him Molly, but she understands that’s not a boy name. Roysten might call the baby Roysten for a long time though.

So this little guy slept all day, but has been nursing ALL night since the moment we tried to go to bed. He literally nursed for about five straight hours, just going from one side to the other. Wow, I hope my milk comes in fast. This is a hungry giant baby.

Now that I’m on the computer he has finally decided to sleep. I put him in one of my slings, and walked around with him until he fell asleep. he liked that, but when I tried to go sit on my recliner with him in the sling, he started to cry, so that was a no go. Oh well, Phil is off work for a few weeks, so I can sleep today.

Right now he’s sleeping in my arms. He’s the cutest baby ever and we like him lots and think we’ll keep him 😉
______________________________________________________________________________
Amy’s first birth was a hospital birth with an epidural at the end. Second birth was in a birth centre managed by registered midwives in Canada.

Amy & Phil's Unassisted Birth (third baby)

Baby Leo Dane Themba, born 7:40 am Sunday Jan 17, 2010 about 10 1/2 lbs, 42 weeks and 2 days.

Well first I’d like to congratulate myself on doing so well with the longest pregnancy ever. It seems like this baby needed to grow a bit, and I’m glad I let him.

So baby was due on New Year’s Day. I was having zillions of contractions for weeks before which were a new thing for me. With the other two babies I never felt as much as a Braxton Hicks contraction before I was in labour. So I figured that with all the contractions I would probably not go much past 40 weeks. ANYWAYS….

On Friday evening I decided to try and see if I could feel my own cervix to see if I had started to dilate at all…well lo and behold I could actually feel that I was about 5 cm dilated, mostly effaced, and I could feel baby’s head through a thin layer of fluid and membranes! I was very excited. It made me feel much happier to be able to know I was making progress. I also began to think it would be a short labour once it started because I was already halfway dilated without any “labour”!

On Saturday I was a bit disappointed to wake up still pregnant, so I decided to stop moping and go grocery shopping. I walked around a few stores and then went home. Still not in labour.

That night, when we said our prayer together, Phil said “please help us to have a good rest and then that Amy will go into labour in the morning.” heehee! That was very specific. I guess God agreed it was time for baby to be born because I woke up after 5 good hours of sleep at 4:30 am with contractions.

I wasn’t sure it was labour though because they weren’t much stronger than the contractions I had been feeling on and off for weeks. I decided to get out of bed and go sit on my recliner chair in the bedroom thinking that an upright position might help things along if it was really labour.

I sat there for about an hour or so having a bunch of contractions, I couldn’t see the clock and I was purposely avoiding timing things because that’s not useful. So the rest of the story I will try to estimate times, but they aren’t accurate because I never looked at a clock until he was born. Anyway, I figure for that hour on the chair I was having a pretty strong contraction every 5 min or so.

About quarter to six Phil woke up and asked me if I was in labour. I was pretty sure I was, but I wasn’t sure if it was time for him to get out of bed and set up our birth room yet, so I said “I think so, but I don’t know”. And he asked if he should go set up the pool etc and I said “well I guess you could if you want.” so he got up and went downstairs.

I spent the next hour or so after that labouring upstairs getting more and more unable to find a good position. I mostly stood up and leaned on the windowsill or the two walls in the bathroom since I was finding it necessary to be near the toilet 😉 I tried labouring on the bed a bit, but there wasn’t anything to lean on, and I found it horrible to try and support myself with my arms during a contraction.

Eventually I thought it might be a good idea to try and eat something since I hadn’t had anything to eat since supper. I went downstairs to the kitchen where Phil was setting things up and was able to kind of drink some juice, but I really didn’t feel up to eating. By that point I was having really hard contractions and I was making some noise to get above them. I still stayed standing and just leaned on the counter or just stood in the middle of the floor and sort of rocked. The pool was almost ready, but the water was much too hot. I stood around the kitchen waiting for Phil to be able to cool off the water and get the level up where it should be. Phil was asking me questions, but I found it impossible to speak. It would take all my effort to muster a nod or a shake of the head, so mostly I just ignored his questions. It wasn’t that I was in so much pain; it was more that I was just totally stoned on birth hormones and was in another world.

By that time I was having contractions almost nonstop it seems like. I would only get a lull for a few seconds where the contraction would be duller, but it never totally went away. But in those lulls, it was like my head was floating and I would feel REAL good…the birth hormones are kind of pretty sweet drugs 🙂

So I guess it was about a quarter to seven when I got in the pool, and it was like HEAVEN! It made the pain so different and more easy to stay above. I just leaned on the wall of the pool and zoned out. While I was in the pool I had my most difficult contraction and I yelled swear words through most of it, lol. That was the only one where I really lost my grip on things. Labour is good like that because if you lose it for one contraction, you can regroup and start over with the next one.

It was about 7 or so when I decided to try and feel my progress again, so I reached up and I couldn’t feel any cervix anymore, and I could feel the bag of waters protruding out. That made me feel so much better to know I was nearly done, and I just kept my hand there so I could feel that during contractions after that point. I guess the older kids woke up then, but I didn’t hear them. Phil left me and went upstairs, brought the portable DVD player and some grapes and told them to stay in their room a while because mom and dad were busy! lol.

While he was gone I started to feel like maybe pushing a bit at the peak of contractions, so I tried some gentle pushing and I found it felt good! This was a happy discovery because my pushing with Roysten felt like torture. After that, I would push a little bit when I felt like it, and I could feel the bulge of waters slowly moving even more downward. Phil came back into the kitchen and around then the sac exploded during a contraction. I think if I had not been in the pool it would have made a HUGE mess! the fluid was clear and full of bits of vernix, but I didn’t notice that at the time. All I was thinking then was that I must be really almost done because after Roysten’s water broke in the pool, he was born within 2 or 3 minutes.

So, another thing that changed with the pushing contractions, especially after the water broke was that they didn’t hurt anymore. My body stretching around the baby did hurt, but not like torture, and the contractions themselves did not hurt anymore. and pushing felt kind of good to do even though it did hurt. I didn’t say anything to Phil about what was going on, but later he told me he could tell I was pushing by the sounds I made. He told me that when he went behind me to see what was happening. the room was quite dark though, so he couldn’t see very well.

I was making very loud roaring sounds, not because of pain, but just because it somehow helped to make noises as loud as possible. I wonder what my kids thought! They stayed in their room very nicely anyhow.

I could feel that the head was going to come down, and then I knew it was serious so I took my hands away from my bottom, and leaned on the wall of the pool again, kneeling. I just pushed how I felt like doing, which was sort of panting a bit and pushing hard, but panting a bit and then pushing hard… it hurt quite a bit, stretching around the baby, but I knew I wouldn’t tear so I wasn’t afraid. I gave one strong push with a contraction, and I felt his head be born under the water. I reached down and felt to make sure, and yes, there was his head sticking out of me! YEAH! I was glad. My mind got very clear then and I was happy that I had done the biggest part. Later, Phil told me that he was behind me watching, and he saw something in the water, but wasn’t sure what it was because it was so dark in the room, so he also reached in the water and felt the lump he saw, and figured, “yep that’s baby hair!”

Then, I rested for a minute waiting for another contraction, and I thought about just not bothering pushing the rest of the baby out because it was pretty painful with all the stretching, but I figured I had done the big part, and so I would just be tough and do the rest quick! heehee. So I just pushed like crazy with the next contraction and the baby slid out and floated into the water. Phil said “there’s the baby!!” or something, which was good because I wasn’t totally sure the whole body had come out, and then I somehow flipped over really quick, leaving the baby underwater for the moment, and Phil picked him up and put him on my chest! ahhh!! that felt so good! It was just amazing.

He was very quiet for a bit, but I could tell he was alive, just looking around, so I never felt worried that he didn’t cry right away. in fact, it seemed like it was only about five seconds that he was silent, but really I figured out later that it was the more part of a minute. babies who are born in water and whose cords are not cut are often quiet like that because they feel calm and there’s no big rush since the cord is still giving them oxygen for a minute or three. anyway, after a time I felt that I would like to hear him make a noise, so I said to him “ok baby, it’s time for you to make a noise.” and he cried a little, and then he cried a little more.

I wanted to wait until after the placenta came before cutting the cord, but after half an hour in the pool after the birth it hadn’t come out and I was worried the baby was getting cold, so I decided to get out even though it was sort of tricky with the baby still attached to me, and getting us both dried off! but anyway, we did it fine and I went and lay down on the couch with a towel and a couple of chux pads under me. after another half hour, I knew the placenta must be separated by then, and I was having very difficult contractions with the dumb thing just sitting inside me, so during one of them Phil wrapped a facecloth around the cord and pulled it a bit and it came out which was a relief. then we tied the cord with sterilized string, and cut it with sterilized scissors. it had been an hour since the baby was born.

Phil had gone and called the kids down when I was in the pool right after the birth, and they both came in and were very excited. Averie likes the baby, and has given him lots of kisses and wants to see him all the time, but Roysten LOVES the baby and is very enthusiastic…so basically I can never ever put this kid down or Roysten will crush him with loving embraces! lol. I hope he figures out how to be gentle soon. Roysten has even shared his blankie with the new brother, and has tried teaching him about dinosaurs already. also, he has named the baby Roysten. Averie wants to name him Molly, but she understands that’s not a boy name. Roysten might call the baby Roysten for a long time though.

So this little guy slept all day, but has been nursing ALL night since the moment we tried to go to bed. He literally nursed for about five straight hours, just going from one side to the other. Wow, I hope my milk comes in fast. This is a hungry giant baby.

Now that I’m on the computer he has finally decided to sleep. I put him in one of my slings, and walked around with him until he fell asleep. he liked that, but when I tried to go sit on my recliner with him in the sling, he started to cry, so that was a no go. Oh well, Phil is off work for a few weeks, so I can sleep today.

Right now he’s sleeping in my arms. He’s the cutest baby ever and we like him lots and think we’ll keep him 😉
______________________________________________________________________________
Amy’s first birth was a hospital birth with an epidural at the end. Second birth was in a birth centre managed by registered midwives in Canada.