May 2, 2011
Aurora Midwifery

Here is our birth story of baby Rhys. I can’t wait to get together and meet the other little babes, what an amazing group we have.

Sunday May 1st started for us like a normal nesting day preparing for baby. Todd was up at 6:30 am to start doing yard work from a long winter of neglect and I decided that I would finish organizing the kitchen and clean my car. We talked that morning that we were three days away from our due date and how we were going to sit down that night to re-read the birth stories from the group. We loved reading the beautiful stories together and enjoying the pride of each of the new families as the babies entered the world. Mid-afternoon Todd and I discussed the fact that I had not taken a rest that day. I thought that was fine as I was feeling great and we were both convinced that the baby would be overdue. No problem, we had daaaays!

That evening after dinner I was talking with a girlfriend on the phone when I felt a strange sensation and stood up to see a pool of water forming at my feet. Todd and I just looked at each other in shock. I got off the phone and we called the midwives and let them know that my water had just broken. All we could do was laugh at the decision we had made not to rest all day.

I had tested positive for Strep B and since my water broke I needed to start IV penicillin every 4 hours. This also meant that I had approximately 24 hours to deliver this baby.  I laboured through the night resting/sleeping in between contractions as much as I could. The next day my labour slowly progressed until my contractions were 4 minutes apart. I remember thinking this is great, things are really moving along.  Todd was diligently timing contractions. He told me that he was not timing all my contractions only as things changed. I recently found five pages of tracked contractions… boy that is a lot of changes:)

Then some people showed up at the house to “see” how I was doing. This had the effect of slowing things down to a crawl. At 4 pm my contractions had spaced out to 10 to 15 minutes apart which was really discouraging. My midwife Peggy then brought up the suggestion of using a verbena induction drink to try to kick start the labour again. My water had been broken for about 19 hrs hours and this could result in a hospital induction or c-section if the labour continued at this slow rate long past 24 hours. We chose to try the verbena cocktail.

At 5:30 pm I choked back the beautiful lemony/almond butter/castor oil drink and then we waited to see if it would work. My midwife did not want to sit and watch me so she chose to leave, however she warned us that sometimes the drink has no effect and other times it works very well. About 30 minutes after she left I had three strong contractions that were about 3 minutes apart. We both started to panic a little but the next couple stretched out to 5 minutes. About 10 minutes later I threw up the drink and felt much better. The contractions began steadily arriving four minutes apart for an hour and a half. My  midwife arrived for another penicillin dose. She checked me and I was effaced with a soft cervix and 4 cm dilated. She said that since things had progressed so well in a couple of hours that if I did three laps of the stairs we would go to the birth center. Todd had asked me numerous times in the past many hours to try doing stairs, each time I did half a lap to appease him and make him stop suggesting them.  I was really looking forward to labouring in the tub at the birth center so I did the stairs and off we went.

I had a contraction getting into the car that I did not think that I would survive; I had never felt anything so intense before. Todd kept encouraging me as I rode out the contraction and off we went. I had another contraction as we pulled up to the birth center that made me question why the front seats of a car are so poorly designed, with limited headroom when kneeling on the seat. I could not believe that my body was creating such pain in my lower back!

We headed into the birth center and my midwife, Alli checked me again. I was now 7 centimetres dilated and things were really moving. I got into the tub and the water took the edge off but was not the pain relief tool that I had so hoped for. I laboured through transition for about 1.5 hours I am told, although time for me was a blur. At some point I started to panic and the best words that I heard were “don’t be scared Amanda, it’s your body and it won’t kill you” . I focused on these words as the contractions continued until I heard Alli suggest that I might want to try a little test push.

This was all I needed to hear and we were off. I “asked” Todd to get behind me in the tub and grabbed his shoulders as a perfect pushing support. I pushed with all I had and was amazed that I could feel the baby move with each little push. 13 minutes later, at 11:21 pm, baby Rhys was born calm and quiet, all covered in vernix. I was shocked to hear later that the backup midwife still hadn’t arrived so my wonderful sister had to go get towels out of the oven, and acted as Alli’s helper for a short while.

Our new little 7lb 9oz, 19.25″ baby boy had arrived and we were beyond ecstatic, and beyond exhausted!!

Four hours later our new family was back home, lying in bed, falling asleep. Life couldn’t be better.

Todd, Amanda and Rhys.

Welcome Rhys – Water birth at Arbour Birth Center
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