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BABY ABYGAIL

    


The story of Abygail Saoirse Gwen Pinder
Born February 27, 2014
Written by Natasha Williamson

Abygail was due on Tuesday, February 18. The date passed without incident and our 
excitement mixed with mounting stress as my husband was waiting for baby's arrival so 
that he could take an overnight business trip out of town.

Friday we went to our midwife, Heidi Coughlin, where she did a membrane sweep and 
said that she thought baby might arrive that weekend. But the weekend passed as well, 
and finally on Wednesday my husband decided to head out of town despite the baby 
not arriving yet, in his place he asked his mother (my mother in law-referred to as "MIL" 
hereon), to come watch me.

The next day was Thursday, by this point I was 9 days overdue and really feeling done 
with being pregnant. Thankfully that morning I had another appointment where we 
discussed inductions. Heidi told me about the natural induction mix she loved to use referred to as 
the "verbena cocktail" -verbena being a plant extract she gets from Germany- it is mixed 
with castor oil, almond butter and fruit juice. She warned me that for some women they 
need to take two doses and for some it doesn't work because it's just not time yet, but 
most women start getting contractions 4-6 hours after taking it. This sounded fine and 
I planned to take it that afternoon so that my husband would be getting back home at 
around the same time baby would likely be born. I warned relatives that tonight could be 
the night.

We got home, got last minute stuff ready for birth and we all had lunch. At 1 Pm I mixed 
up the cocktail and laid down with my 2 year old son for his nap. MIL had said she was 
going to go out and grab a few things during our nap.

At 2:15 I started getting some cramping with contractions. After a few minutes I heard 
a "pop". Thinking it could be the water breaking I sat up to head to the bathroom, it 
was not water (I'm not sure what it was-maybe the cervix?). Around that time I knew I 
needed to use the toilet, and figured it'd be safe since contractions had only just begun, 
despite that I could feel that baby had moved much lower. I began texting the midwife, 
doula and various family. Here was the conversation with Heidi:

Me: (2:30) “I took it at 1, I'm definitely crampy and starting to feel more defined sharper 
contractions, baby definitely moved down too”

Me: “The doula is on her way, not sure when you should come over, the contrax are 
painful”

Heidi: “That’s great! Longer, stronger, closer together...the same in any position. What 
time did they start?”

Me: “About 2:15 The contrax are not organized, one was 45 sec then the next followed 
minute and a half later and was only 30 sec, then 2 minutes later I had one that was 45 
sec”

Heidi (at 2:45): “I will shower and do the home visit, but call when u want me.”

Me: “I'm in a lot of pain, maybe as soon as you're done your shower. I'm going to have a 
bath” 

Heidi: “K, I will shower quickly”

Me: “ok”

Then, just after 3 (after I was in bath) I sent: “Ok you need to hurry please” 

Shortly before 3 I started running the bath and at 3 I realized that nothing was 
happening on the toilet and I must actually be in labor... So I quickly got into the bath, as 
soon as I was in the water the cramping disappeared but the contractions and need to 
push got stronger, that's when I texted Heidi to hurry and immediately phoned her.

Me: "you need to hurry!"

Heidi: "I'm on St. Albert trail! I'll be right there!"

Me: "uhhhhnnnngggg" (transitioning)

Me: *hang up*

Right as I hung up I felt between my legs and felt what seemed like something rubber 
about to come out. Immediately I called Heidi again, at the same time that she called 
me back (having recognized the sound of me transitioning) and our calls intersected, 
when we connected, this was the conversation:

Me: "the placenta is coming out!" (I was determined that it could NOT be the baby and 
came up with the only other thing I could think of it having the slightest possibility if 
being)

Heidi: "the placenta? Are you sure? Are you sure it's not membrane?"

Me: "I don't know!"

Heidi: "do you need 911?"

Me: "I don't know!"

Heidi: "can somebody there call 911?"

Me: "I'm here by myself!"

It was now 3:03; At this point I threw the phone down on the edge of the bathtub. I 
reached down and felt a bubble, which was the head fully out of my body and finally 
realized for the first time that I was actually having this baby by myself and I now had to 
finish the job, so I pushed once and the rest of her popped right out. I felt something on 
her head and pulled it off, it was the membrane still on her face (this is something quite 
rare, lookup "caulbearer"). And I pulled my baby up to my chest; she was completely 
dark purple from head to toe and not crying. I was still in shock from just happened and 
hardly believing I was holding a baby, but I began rubbing her all over saying "she's not 
crying, she's not crying!" In return I heard "wuh wah wun wuh"- Heidi's muffled voice 
over the phone- partly panicked I yelled "you're not on speakerphone!" And started 
stabbing at the phone but my wet hand would not get the screen to work.

At that moment my son came into the bathroom, something had woken him up from 
his nap and he was drowsy. He walked right past the bathtub to the toilet, grabbed his 
potty seat and turned around before seeing me. The look of shock on his face is not 
one I'll ever forget, he was desperately trying to comprehend what he was seeing. I tried 
to seize this opportunity to get a towel and started saying "hey buddy! Can you give 
mummy the towel? Right there bud!" Apparently that was too much shock for him and 
he dropped the seat, gave a little cry and went running back into the bedroom.

Still dazed I went back to rubbing baby and again heard Heidi saying something very 
muffled, so once again I panicked "you're still not on speakerphone!" And stabbed at the 
phone again, somehow this time it worked!

Over the phone she helped me assess baby thru feeling the umbilical and her heart, it 
was amazing to be the one doing this initial assessment for my new daughter.

Then my MIL knocked on the bedroom door (it's a master bedroom- bathroom attached) 
because she had heard Jesse running around. 

MIL:"is everything ok?"

Me: "Not really-you'll want to see this"

She walked into the bathroom and her jaw dropped.

Me: "hi!"

MIL: "why didn't you yell?"

Me: "I did!" (I might not have- I just figured that I can't have been quite when I was in 
labor!)

MIL: "why is she blue? She's not crying!"

Heidi: (over the phone) “it's ok, just the deoxygenated blood but her umbilical cord is 
pulsing so she's fine....”

Once Heidi calmed MIL down, MIL took my son downstairs for a snack. It took a long 
time for her to get over the shock, apparently she had come home while I was in the 
bathroom and had been downstairs the whole time.

A couple minutes later the doula arrived and was also shocked to discover that I 
was already holding baby. I decided it was about time we told my husband so the 
doula called him for me and held it up to my ear, he didn't answer so I left the voice 
message "hey I have some big news for you, call me ASAP.... By the way you're a 
daddy again!" Then Sonya, the doula, talked me thru the placenta contractions; she told 
me afterwards that she was just praying that it wouldn't come out before Heidi arrived. 

A few minutes later Heidi got there and immediately helped pull out the placenta (it 
was a relief that she was there because it released a lot of blood and that would have 
probably been quite startling without her!) She showed me all the parts of the placenta-
which is quite fascinating, I got to see exactly where baby lived - and then I got to cut 
the umbilical cord, it felt like a beautiful poetic finish to the process for me that I had 
done almost everything myself from beginning to end.

Afterwards she helped clean me up, check me and baby over- I needed 1 stitch, baby 
weighed 7 pounds 12 oz. (Heidi even cleaned up the bathroom for us afterwards!-I love 
this midwife!)

***

I have zero regrets over the birth; it was about as least traumatic as I can imagine a 
birth being. I have been told that the only reason baby arrived so fast was that she was 
my second baby, first ones always take longer, which is true about my sons birth. Baby 
was named Abygail and is an extremely healthy little girl. In the 6 weeks since her birth 
she's gained almost 3 pounds. Recovery was surprisingly fast; probably because of how 
fast this birth happened. 

***

If you want to use a midwife, I could not imagine a better one than Heidi, she will 
become your best friend during pregnancy, will be accommodating to your desires 
and is completely non-judgemental. With her help your pregnancy and birth will be an 
extremely personal experience and you will be well informed on all your choices. She 
makes it much more than simply helping you get a healthy baby, it will be something 
you will look back on fondly for the rest of your life.