May 5, 2011
Foothills Midwifery

Hi Sue and Classmates,

Joshua was born on May 5th, at 7.30pm, weighing a healthy 7lbs 6oz. The birth was pretty quick and an amazing experience. We were home from the hospital by midnight that evening, and while we have had a challenging first day with Joshua not feeding - he didn't seem to know how to suckle and everyone was getting frustrated so had to resort to expressing the colostrum and feeding on a teaspoon - we had a really successful morning with the lactation consultant at High River and are now feeling a lot more positively and just keep trying with the feeding, don't feel bad if it doesn't work straight away.

Hearing people's birth stories - both from our class and from others has been really useful in preparing for our experience so below is a (rather detailed) account from both myself and Nathan, in case anyone wants a read, also added a couple of piccies.

Abi's recollection:

I lost my mucus plug in the morning and thought my water may have broken, it was hard to tell though as there was no gush, and not a lot of fluid. So I let Nathan know what had happened and carried on with my day - Food shopping, cooking meals for the freezer and a hair appointment scheduled in the afternoon. I got to my hair appt at 1pm and felt what I thought was my first contraction, so opted for just a cut (as it turns out this was a good choice!) I had one other mild contraction between 1 and 2pm, then when I got home and was finishing off my earlier cooking, the contractions got more regular, so started timing them and they were 15 minutes apart lasting for 30 seconds each time. At 3pm I phoned Nathan and asked him to come home as the contractions were starting to get painful. Nathan arrived home about 3.30 and we phoned the midwife who came around 15 minutes later. I was checked and found to be 2cm dilated and fully effaced. We then made the decision that I would labour in the bath at home for a while and we would make our way to High River when we were ready, the midwives would be there anyway for a meeting. I fully expected the labour to take some time so asked Nathan to take our dog for a walk so we didn't have to worry about him, and I would be fine in the bath as I just wanted to deal with the early part myself. While Nathan was out the contractions got much stronger and more painful. I found the water a really great help, lying on my side and on all fours in the tub. I also just let myself go with the contractions and found moaning loudly a great help!

I then vaguely remember Nathan returning and insisting I get out the bath and get dressed so we could go to the hospital. This took some time to achieve as the contractions I was then getting were making me pee and have bowel movements so kept having to run to the toilet. I remember Nathan dressing me and getting me in the car. The journey to High River was interesting to say the least. I spent most of it hanging on to the car door with my feet jammed on the floor and my head near the roof of the car as the contractions were pretty intense. We got to the hospital at 6.30, and I had another strong contraction in the car park - must have been an interesting sight - I just remember hanging on to Nathan. At the admitting desk had another contraction and they suggested we fill paperwork out later. I insisted on walking to the delivery area where we met one of our midwives. She checked me and I was 10cm dilated and at the pushing stage. The room was quickly set up and I remember the first two pushes I was on my back and baby's head was almost there, after that it was all a bit vague. I remember getting into a more comfy sideways position, being told to push down into my bum, hanging onto the bed rails and Nathan, and pushing as hard as I could whenever I got the urge. I didn't believe anyone when they said the head was out, and a short time later baby was born and put on my stomach. It was the most amazing experience and I can't believe how the pain just went away like a switch off, and we had a little boy. The placenta was delivered and I had a tear which was stitched up while we lay and enjoyed the first few moments with our baby boy. Apologies for the length of this account, I just have it fresh in my mind.

Nathan's memories:

I'll just add to Abi's comments and fill in some of the later details ...

As Abi mentioned I took the dog out and got back just before 5.30pm and by then Abi was much more uncomfortable, I checked her timings and they were under 5mins apart (sometimes less) - instinct took over so I hurried her to leave the bath and get ready, phoning the midwives an update as well. The 30mins between 5.30pm and 6.00pm were the most worrying for me during the whole experience - drying/dressing/evicting a labouring woman from her nest is not a quick or easy process. Driving to the hospital was calm despite the abnormally slow RV in front of us and we will also be thanking Canadian Pacific Railway who were kind enough not to schedule a 100 car train during our journey time which crossed two of their tracks.

Hospital parking was easy, and a quick contraction moan by Abi hurried us past the receptionist. We met our midwives and they took us to the delivery room where Abi settled on the bed around 6.30pm. One of the midwives did a second vaginal exam, checked for no lip, winked at me and confirmed 10cm dilated and time to push. A couple of nurses came in and assisted with preparing the room further and then politely left.

First couple of pushes were in the classic sitting position and this was obviously painful so the second midwife suggested a side lying squat position which was better for Abi and ultimately she didn't move from this second position. I was next to Abi and during the contractions she squeezed my hand (tip: remove any rings beforehand as my fingers are still bruised), I also used my other arm to provide resistance for her upper leg when she needed to push. This position also allowed me to see the baby's head slowly push it's way out - amazing experience. Midwives applied hot compresses at various stages. Abi was amazing and did about 3 long pushes before needing a rest and then repeated. Everyone in the room all reassured Abi that her pushes were great as this is where a little self-doubt kicked in. It was also at this stage that she went into euphoria and was less aware of events. Baby's head was soon out and at first Abi did not believe the midwife. A few pushes later baby was out, quickly placed in a towel and onto Abi's chest - euphoria in full swing now.

Almost as soon as the baby was out, the oxytocin thigh shot was given to help the placenta out and a few minutes later the umbilical cord was clamped which I then cut. The midwife helped the placenta gently out and we all took a look to make sure it was intact - it was certainly bigger than I expected. Abi had a little tear which was repaired. A little later after the important bonding, Joshua was given the eyes drops and vitamin injection, noticing neither. (PKU blood was taken a few days later).
All in all a great albeit quicker than expected experience. The classes were a good source of information and prepared us for a lot of what if scenarios; many things were used either consciously or sub-consciously. Our midwives were also fantastic and made us feel right at ease through friendliness and confidence. We're attributing the quickness to EzBirth pills and lots of walks.

We wish everyone else a great experience and joy when you first hold your child.

Nathan, Abi, Joshua (and Merlin the dog)

High river hospital natural birth storyHighriver hospital natural birth story