Do you love birth stories?
I love birth stories, so have decided with all that is going on in the world right now I will add a few birth stories to my blog to shine some sunshine on your day and hopefully provide some loving encouragement to all the amazing people getting ready to birth their baby soon.
If you are wanting to read more positive birth stories, Ina May Gaskin's Guide To Childbirth's first section of the book is full of beautiful stories written in the same way the one below is; in the birthing person's point of view.
Here is Lennon's birth story in the words of her Mama along with photos by me.
The beginning of the story (before I was there to take photos)
I had decided that I would take the "midwife cocktail" the next morning at 6 am to try and naturally induce myself. It had worked with my first babe, so I was sure that it would work a second time. Was tomorrow really the day that I would meet my daughter?!
5:30am: I woke up nervously, knowing I had said to myself that I would drink the shake. I went to the washroom and had a loose stool. Related or unrelated, it's the start of what would become Lennon's birth story. I went downstairs to mix up the shake. I text my midwife to make sure she was on board and she gave me the go ahead. I plugged my nose and downed the concoction and went back to watching Grey's on the couch.
9:30am: I felt a leaking when I was playing with my son and visiting with a girlfriend. I went to the toilet expecting a gush like I did with Ryder, but just a trickle. I told the midwife what I was experiencing and she said it likely wasn't my water breaking and we agreed that if nothing had happened around noon, I would take the shake again to try and get things going.
10:30am: I was feeling regular small contractions but felt totally fine. I was going about with my day not really knowing how close actual labour would be. My midwife and I had agreed that we would touch base at noon to see where I was at and if I had progressed. She had a full clinic day, and although I believed she would drop everything for me, I was reluctant because I didn't want to be one of the "false alarms"
12:30pm: My contractions were ramping up and I had to take time to breathe through them. I was still talking and laughing in between but it felt for the first time that this really could be it. My contractions were about 40 seconds in length and a minute and a half apart.
2:19pm: My Mum and Luke were with me for labour support. They were incredible birth partners. Luke had broken his collar bone a few weeks before so my mum had taken some birth classes with us so she was prepared. They took it in turns to rub my back, apply pressure where needed, hold my hand, whisper words of encouragement and keep me hydrated. I felt so lucky to have such amazing people supporting me through one of the biggest moments in my life. I found labouring on the exercise ball the most comfortable and things were going well. I felt like I was progressing but still comfortable. Luke was texting Theresa (our midwife) to tell her that he thought things were starting to get more intense.
2:57pm: I attempted a few contractions in the shower but found it to be not as comfortable as the exercise ball next to the bed. The contractions were getting more painful and causing me to throw up. I no longer wanted to eat anything and felt like active labour was getting closer.
3:21pm: Theresa arrived and I was so so thankful to see her. Not that I was holding back before, but I felt more confident knowing she was with us and supporting us. She checked me right away, and I was still 3cm. I felt so discouraged that all the pain and hard work and still no progress. Baby girl was doing great and her heart rate was strong.
I was starting to feel defeated and like this early stage of labour was taking forever and way too painful to not be considered "active". Theresa hadn't even called her second midwife yet thinking that I wasn't even close. I was not progressing at all and stuck at 3cm, even with sweeps every time Theresa checked. My membranes were also still intact. I was tired and frustrated and just wanted things to get going so I could hold my baby girl and not be in any pain.
4:30pm: I asked Theresa if I could continue to labour in the bath. I knew from Ryder that I was the most comfortable in the water while labouring. Theresa was concerned that it might slow me down even more but it was a chance I was willing to take to get some relief.
As soon as I got into the bath, I felt so much better. My contractions were intense, but I would have about three in a row with no break and then long breaks of 15 minutes. It was painful but so manageable. My labour with Ryder was so fast and furious and so painful, that this seemed like a breeze.
5:04pm: Theresa was worried that I wasn't going to progress at all so she asked me to squat in the bath for about three contractions. I don't remember exactly what I said, but all I know is that I hated it and begged her to not make me do it again. In true Theresa fashion, (this is why I love her and will always choose her to be my partner), she encouraged me to continue to squat for three more contractions. Frustrated that my baby hadn't just fell out of me through those horrible squats, Megan (I think, this was just a blur) encouraged me to try a contraction on the toilet. I remember leaning over on to her, and breathing through a contraction. I really disliked this position and asked to go back to the bed and ball.
5:23pm: I walked to the ball and all of a sudden I felt the need to poop. In my head, everyone looked at me like "do you have to poop or push?" I don't know if I yelled "I DON'T KNOW" but that's how it felt in the moment. Theresa said she would check me, definitely not convinced that I had gone from 3cm to 10cm in a couple of contractions. I laid down on the bed and all I remember is a slight panic followed by Theresa saying "YOU WANT A WATERBIRTH DON'T YOU? BABY'S COMING, GET IN THE BATH"
5:28pm: We positioned ourselves in the bath, Luke behind me, supporting me the whole time and telling me that I could do it and how amazing I was doing. I remember Theresa checking babe and feeling so relieved that her heartbeat was still strong, as I still had some nerves from Ryder's birth.
The second midwife hadn't even arrived yet so my mum was put in charge of charting everything Theresa was telling her.
5:31pm: I consciously put my birth class education into practice and did my fast short breaths to push, and with my next big push, she was out!
I cried with relief and joy. My daughter was finally here! Even though my active labour was short (50 minutes), it felt so long in the moment. I sat in the bath in complete euphoria holding our sweet girl. We waited for the cord to stop pulsating, and Luke cut the cord. Lennon was wrapped up in a towel and handed to Luke to be snuggled while I waited in the bath to deliver the placenta.
The reason I chose a home birth was so I would feel comfortable in my own space and so we could all cuddle up in bed after and embrace the first hours as a family of four. I loved being able to share that moment with our close family and friends and I still smile thinking about everyone gathering around the bed to meet our new addition.
Ryder meeting Lennon for the first time was magical. He was so excited that she was finally here and in awe of his little sister. He wanted to kiss her and hold her and seeing his pride made us beam with happiness. Our family felt so complete and it was so beautiful to witness in the comfort of our own home.
This birth was so perfect. I felt strong and empowered and like it followed a pattern that I expected. I felt more in control this time and so thankful that it went according to our birth plan. I still can't believe that I have a daughter!! She is the perfect addition to our sweet family!