January 22, 2012
Birth Partnership Midwives

Our little girl, Amelia Joyce was born on January 22, 2012 at 1:19pm, weighing exactly 7 lbs, and her birth was everything we could have hoped for. We just wanted to send you a huge thanks for the role you played in helping us have a fantastic birth, and tell you all about it! Here is Amelia's birth story:

I first started having labour pains at around 3:30am on Sunday morning, but just thought I had an upset stomach. I got out of bed and decided to have a snack and something to drink to see if it would make me feel better, but after being up for a couple of hours it was only getting worse. I went back to bed and told Jason that maybe he should start timing the pains I was having to see if they might be contractions. Sure enough, they were three minutes apart and about 40 seconds long. We decided I was probably in labour and Jason probably wouldn't be going to work that day! We called Peggy, our midwife, at 7am just to give her the heads up, but I told her I still seemed to be in early labour and felt really good.

The length of my contractions seemed to stay the same for the next few hours, and they steadily got stronger. I was breathing really deeply through them, and Jason couldn't actually tell if I was having one or not. I would just suddenly walk over the the exercise ball or the bed and lean over and take some deep breaths, and motion for Jason to come and do counter pressure on my hips. I showered and we called my mom to let her know we were probably going to have a baby and to get ready to come to the birth centre later in the day.

At around 11am we thought we should probably call Peggy again and let her know that my contractions were stronger and a little longer, but still 3 minutes apart. As soon as Jason hung up, my contractions suddenly changed drastically. I had a long, hard contraction that almost felt like I needed to push, and I realized that I had bright red blood coming out of me. I panicked a little and told Jason he should call Peggy back and let her know. After talking to Jason, the midwife said this was all very normal and I probably just dilated really quickly. She and Jason both thought I was still coping really well and Peggy figured I had a ways to go. She said that she could come if we wanted her to, but we said we still thought we were doing okay and we'd call her back if anything changed again. I got in the shower for a while, still breathing deeply and starting to moan during each contraction, and at about noon or so I told Jason I thought that the midwife should come fairly soon and check me so we could go to the birth centre. He called her and after a brief conversation, they decided I was probably far enough along that we should meet there.

I got on the bed on my hands and knees to deal with the contractions and Jason started preparing to go to the birth centre. He was trying to find me some clothes to wear when suddenly things changed again and I started having more of an urge to push. I asked Jason to call Peggy again and tell her to come straight to our house instead. She said she was on her way, and that if we didn't meet at the birth centre, there was a chance we might be having a home birth. At that point I really didn't care - I was in the zone and wasn't about to put on clothes and get in the car.

Calgary homebirth with midwivesI then told Jason he should call my mom and tell her to come over. Just after he hung up with her, my water broke. Jason said he was so relieved when it came out clear. I felt a million times better, and my body started to push on its own, which felt great. There wasn't anyone telling me what to do, so I was really just going with whatever felt natural to do. Jason asked if he could check me to see what was happening, and told me he could feel our little girl's head! Just then my mom showed up - they live just a couple of blocks away, so she arrived quickly. We told her that there was a good chance the baby was going to be born at home.

Two minutes after that, Peggy arrived and brought all her bags and equipment upstaires. She started to get out the machine to listen to the baby’s heartbeat, but I asked if she could check me instead. When she came over to look, the baby was crowning! She gave some quick instructions to Jason and my mom, and told me that on the next push, I should just let my body do it instead of pushing. Our sweet baby girl came into the world just seconds later, into her daddy’s waiting hands. They helped me up from my hands and knees position onto the bed and placed the baby on my chest. It was an incredible feeling. She was so alert and content right away, with her eyes wide open. We were able to wait to clamp the cord, and she rooted around for my breast after just a short while, just like the video we had watched in class!

In the end, practising the relaxation techiniques we'd learned and breathing deeply through my contractions helped me cope incredibly well with labour. I kept remembering how important it was to stay calm and just ride out one contraction at a time, and relax all the muscles in my body. In the end, the relaxation techniques are probably the reason we never made it to the birth centre! Jason and Peggy thought I was coping so well, they figured I couldn't be that far along in labour, which meant I kept waiting for it to get a lot worse (which it never did).

We would have a home birth again in a heartbeat - we'll just be a little more prepared next time. ;) There wasn't time to get warm towels and blankets and get ready, but it really was an amazing experience in the end. It was so nice to have our baby in the comfort of our own bedroom, and it was so relaxed with the midwives there. We got to have Amelia stay on my chest for as long as we wanted, and there was no rush to weigh her or anything like that. They even changed the sheets on our bed and put everything in the laundry! It was fantastic.

Thanks so much for everything you taught us in class - you really had such a huge impact on us, and the wonderful birth experience we had. Attached are some pictures of us and our amazing Amelia - enjoy!

Ashley, Jason & Amelia