July 23, 2012
Calgary Midwives Cooperative

Hi Sue,

Our son, Malcolm, was born on Monday, July 23rd at 12:59 am, just over 8 days after the anticipated due date. On Saturday afternoon I knew that he was on his way, because I lost my mucous plug. By later that evening I began to have some bloody show and very light cramping. I managed to get a good sleep on Saturday night, but knew he’d be coming by Sunday.

On Sunday morning, I told Carlos that the baby was coming and that he should get our birthing tub blown up. By mid-morning he had the tub filled up, but discovered that there was a slow leak. By this point my cramping was getting much stronger. I didn’t know if I was experiencing Braxton Hicks contractions or the real thing, but motivated to have a water birth, I decided we should venture out to Walmart to try and find another blow-up pool.

This was a bad idea. Midway through the aisles in Walmart my contractions started getting stronger and there was no blow-up pool to be found. The line-up at the till seemed endless. I told Carlos I needed to get back to the car, and waited there under the hot sun for what felt like an eternity, before he managed to get back. On the short drive back to the house, I had to stop to let one of my contractions pass.

Back at home, I decided birthing tub or not, there was no way I was leaving the house again. Grateful that I wasn’t going to have to go to the hospital, I settled into my bedroom, listening to my hypnobirthing CD, and just tried to relax as the contractions started to come closer and closer together. I thought of the rehearsal we’d done in class, and tried to move between contractions although it became increasingly difficult as they progressed.

Carlos called the midwives, as prescribed, when my contractions were 3 minutes apart for 2 hours, and at least a minute in length. When they arrived just after 10:00 pm I was 9 cm dilated. They got me up from where I was lying on my side, into a more upright position that they said would help the baby move down. Later they moved me to the toilet and tried to get me to start pushing. Unlike Stacey, I had no desire to push, I was content just screaming out with each contraction, and had a really difficult time getting myself to hold my breath and push down.

My screams were so intense in fact that I think the whole neighbourhood new I was in labour. Shortly after the midwives arrived, some concerned neighbours shouted over the fence wanting to know what was going on. Carlos and one of the midwives reassured them that I was in labour and that it would all be over soon.

While I sat on the toilet trying to push, the midwives filled up my bath tub, which I hadn’t thought was appropriate for a water birth, but which they thought would work just fine. Unfortunately, when I climbed into the tub it made me too relaxed. I wanted to fall asleep from exhaustion, and my contractions started coming further apart and with less strength. I don’t know how much later it was when they pulled me out of the tub, and on to a birthing stool, where I resumed pushing, totally exhausted by this point. It was about three hours from the time they arrived, when I thought he would never come out, that Malcolm was finally born. There was a bit of meconium, but fortunately he hadn’t aspirated any so he was bright eyed and crying out loudly. Shortly thereafter I birthed the placenta – which I didn’t feel at all.

I did have some tearing, and am taking some time to recuperate – sitting and standing are not fun – but all is well. Aside from the mishaps with the water birth, I couldn’t have asked for more. We were able to have Malcolm in the comfort or our home, with no interventions.

Looking forward to hearing others stories,

Lisa and Carlos