After long reflections of the birth of my son, I realized a few things. 1. I had high levels of stress and anxiety that lead to my son being under stress during his birth. 2. This was not how I wanted it to go and would do anything in my power to prevent it in future births. 3. I needed to ask for help!
The first person I contacted when Owen was about 5 months was Dr. Colleen McQuarrie, my Naturalpathic Doctor. At this point we didn’t even know if it was possible to have a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean), especially after an unhappy conversation with my family doctor. After telling Colleen about Owens birth and all my fears and concerns, she helped me come up with a future birth plan for our next child. This was something positive I could envision happening, something I wanted to happen, this was just what I needed! Dr. McQuarrie also gave me 2 books to read (and I strongly recomend them to any expecting mom), one was “Ina Mays Guide to Childbirth” and the other was called “Hypnobirthing”. These two fantastic books turned my fears into hope and excitement and eliminated my anxiety for my future pregnancies. Colleen also recommended me look into Midwifery and hiring a Doula to ensure my fears and anxieties from Owens birth wouldn’t stop me from a positive birth the second time around.
Dave and I were ready to try again after Owen was 7 months old (we wanted them close in age) and conceived when he was about 9 months old. I had my plan envisioned for this birth early on. I really wanted it to be a positive natural experience with limited intervention. I read the books from Colleen a couple of times through and listened to both the Hypnobirthing CD and Hypnobabies (www.hypnobabies.com) which helped mentally prepare. I called all of the midwife clinics in Ottawa and area and was accepted into Ottawa Valley Midwives with an amazing birth team. I later interviewed 4 different Doula’s and decided that Pia Anderson was the one for us. She was going to be our birth coach and support us in our birthing plan. We also signed up to do a pregnancy class since we didn’t do one the first time around. Both Dave and I learned a lot from the class provided by Healthy Beginnings and gained more and more confidence in our birth plan.
We were ecstatic when we found out that we were having a girl! Owen was going to be her big brother and we were going to have the million dollar family. We learned a lot from our Midwife team and Doula which helped me tremendously to be prepared, calm and confident when my contractions started September 1st. They were light in the evening so I called our Doula to let her know. Pia was calm and happy for us and told us to go for a walk and then maybe watch a movie and relax. Most importantly she told us to get a good nights sleep because we would likely have a new baby the next day. So we did all she said and the contractions went away once I lay down. Part of me was a little disappointed because I was ready, so ready!
Finally at 6:20 am September 2nd 2011, as I lay in bed I heard a pop! I thought it was probably my water breaking due to the information Pia had given us, but nothing was happening. I had pictured gushing water out my vagina. Anyone have a similar experience? I rolled over and told Dave that i thought my water broke and he responded groggily with yeah maybe. I thought I better get up to assess my huge pregnant body and as soon as I stood up fluid started coming down and I started yelling at Dave to get a towel! So after we got our bearings I went to shower and Dave got ready and started breakfast of french toast at my request! Did any of you have a birthing meal craving?
Contractions started in the shower and I was disappointed when I couldn’t keep one bite of french toast down. We called Pia and she was unconcerned saying it could still be awhile and that I wasn’t in active labour. She asked if we wanted her to come to our house and we told her YES! She took her time coming and the contractions got closer and closer together. I stayed with Dave in the living room listening to hypnobabies when Pia arrived and started timing the contractions. She was surprised at the progression and thought she better call the midwife. The midwife also thought I was still not in active labour but decided to come to our house to check me anyways. When she checked at about 10:00 am I was 4 cm dilated and fully effaced meaning labour was active. From our class I knew effacement was the important one and that my body was almost ready physically. So we all went to the Almonte hospital. Pia stayed with me in the back seat as Dave drove and she made each contraction bearable by putting pressure on my hips in just the right spot. I know I could not have made that half hour drive without her.
We were put into a waiting room with fetal heart rate monitors, while they prepped a birthing room for us and shortly after I was getting an urge to push. I was surprised at the progression, but happy as well. The sooner this happened the sooner I would get to hold my daughter! The pushing stage was the hardest and most tiresome. I hadn’t eaten since the night before and the pain was getting more intense. Both the midwives and Pia coached me continuously but our little one was stuck and her heart rate was dropping as well. All I could think of was no c section and get this baby out!!
The doctor of the hospital was called in because I had done all I could on my own. He instantly wanted to do an episiotomy but I told him no. I had learned from Pia and the Midwife team that I had a choice which I hadn’t known for my first birth. With a frown on his face the doctor put clamps in instead to extract baby out and thankfully she slid out without much force from the forceps on her head. It was 12:25 and we all felt RELIEF!!! Anna Sofia was placed on my chest right away and I was instantly in love. No drugs, minimal intervention, and a healthy happy baby! I couldn’t have asked for anything more.
I owe this amazing experience to Pia Anderson and my Midwife team. They were amazing and kept my fears at bay. I learned a lot from this birth, especially the power of positive thinking! We were home by 4:00 pm the same day from the hospital and introduced Owen to his new baby sister. He fell in love with Anna instantly! We were all so happy and our family felt complete! The midwife came to check on us in the morning and consecutive days thereafter. Anna thrived at breastfeeding and was a happy little baby which still is true to this day!
I am so happy to hear our story inspired you and gave you hope Michaela. I hope it will to others too. Happy reading and remember to stay positive!!
Nina - thank you so much for sharing this, it really really inspires me and gives me a lot of hope for my next birth. I'm already reading Ina May's book so I will definitely look into the other book as well. Thanks again!