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Business of Being Born

I had Julia at home. It all started when my best friend Chelsey told me about this fabulous birth video called “The Business of Being Born”. I rented and watched it. I was hooked. It took a bit more to convince my husband Scooter. He is in the medical profession and had many reservations about it. My first was born via caesarean and I knew I hated the birth, I just didn’t realize how much. The more I read and watched the sadder I became about his birth and the more determined I became not to do it that way again. I have to say I am a little jaded when it comes to hospitals and birthing. I called every midwife... and then called again, and again. I truly felt bad for bugging them so much but I was desperate. I went to meet the doula night and started crying because I knew if I had to have a hospital birth my chance of having a VBAC was awfully low. When doula Mitzi teared up too, I knew I wanted her support as my doula during the birth, no matter where it ended up happening. Finally, I had an ultrasound that dated me for mid June and Heidi had one last opening for then. I cried when I got accepted as her client too. 

After Scooter met her, he felt more at ease with the idea of homebirth as well. She had been a labour and delivery nurse for over 9 years and had seen many births before becoming a Midwife even. I had a healthy pregnancy and loved the fact that I could decide which tests I wanted done and not. Heidi would ask if I wanted so and so test, and if I was unsure, she would give me all the information on why or why not and I could make my own decision. For example, I didn’t have a single vaginal check the entire pregnancy and birth and that was something that was very important to me. It was also super cute and fun having my son involved with “helping” Heidi use the Doppler.

Julia was born on a Friday at 10:15 on June 24th, 2011. I was 10 days “overdue” and at a prenatal check up the previous week, Heidi and I had decided to do a membrane sweep if nothing was happening by this particular Friday so that we’d have time to try a few things to get me moving by the 42 weeks mark.

Thankfully, starting on Wednesday night I had been having contractions that were roughly 13 minutes apart and were just enough to keep me from falling deep asleep. I had been having minor, random contractions that whole day too. By Thursday night, I was having contractions about every 7 minutes apart and still not hard enough to slow me down but enough to keep me from getting much sleep. My husband said “13 minutes last night, 7 tonight, 3 and a baby tomorrow night!” I laughed at him but he was totally right. I hadn’t really thought of it actually happening yet. On Friday morning Heidi texted and said she was running late and she would be by later to do the sweep. I texted back and said, “Or I could call you when these pesky, sort of painful contractions pick up. I had them all night long. I’m getting maybe 4 or 5 an hour.” She reminded me to stay hydrated and rest. She also asked if Joe (my 21 month old son) was home. He was and Heidi told me sometimes labour picks up as soon as other kids are gone or sleeping, which makes complete sense to me! So I carried on with routine and Chelsey and I went for our regular walk at the dog park. She went off tromping through the mud with Joe, while I chatted with my Mom on the phone. When Chelsey and Joe came back I was sitting on the ground still talking to my Mom. Chelsey later said she knew the baby was coming very soon as she had never seen me sit down.

On the way home from the dog park, I dropped Joe and Chelsey off at a playground so I could rest for 20 minutes and he would be ready for a nap when they got back. While they were off playing my contractions definitely became more noticeable! Heidi checked in asking for an update around 2:30pm and I responded that not much had changed but that they had picked up while Joe was gone and that maybe during his nap, and mine, that perhaps I would go into harder labor. I still was not convinced I was going to have the baby that day as I asked Heidi if I could still have a midwife attended homebirth if I hit 42 weeks and when was the latest she recommended some sort of induction as I didn’t want to do the sweep if not totally necessary. Silly me! We talked for a bit then I went and had a nap.

When Joe got up my contractions were slightly harder and closer together and I was beginning to realize this was actually going to happen! I started making supper and my husband came home and took Joe outside to play. I was contemplating on calling my Mom to come and get Joe but I didn’t want him to go unless I was actually going to have the baby so I kept on stalling on that decision. Finally I had one contraction that made me stop and lean over the kitchen counter while finishing making supper. I walked across the yard and told my husband I had called my Mom and she was on her way. He asked me “Do they hurt?” and yes, the contractions were actually making me pause and breathe a bit with them. At about 6pm, my Mom took Joe, which I felt kind of sad about, as it would be the last time I’d see him as my littlest baby. My husband and I ate supper and he vacuumed the house one last time. I had crazy nesting urges in the last weeks, perhaps months of my pregnancy and it became all important that my floors were perfectly clean. It was very common to see me on my knees wiping the floor down. I am back to not caring so much, thankfully. I’m sure it was driving everyone crazy! 

Meanwhile I wandered around leaning on things, mainly the mantle, the dresser, and the bathroom sink. I called my doula Mitzi sometime in there and told her I was in labor and she said to call when I felt like I needed more support. At this point I was just doing whatever my body felt like, which was wandering around.
Eventually I got in the shower with my husband and had hot water pouring on my back and leaning on him with each contraction. The water felt great and when the hot water ran out, we got out. I texted Chelsey at this point and asked her if she wanted to come over, as it was always the plan to have her present and help with the labor and delivery. It was 9:15pm when I texted her and since she lives just down the road it took her about 5 minutes to arrive. I found myself in Joe’s room on the rocking chair and with every contraction I would get on my knees and lean over an exercise ball and sway my hips with it. 

About 2 contractions after Chelsey’s arrival my water broke and it felt like they should have been able to hear a loud “pop”. I told them it broke and they didn’t believe me. I also asked them if they heard it break. Haha! With the next contraction things were 100% different. I felt like I needed to push even though at the time, I didn’t know that is what the feeling was. I asked Chelsey to take my underwear off and she was surprised that it was soaking wet. I asked my husband to call Heidi and Mitzi and when he asked if I was sure, and I think I may have snarled a bit. Heidi could hear me making some pretty growly noises while Scooter was talking to her and since she lives so close too, was here in about 10 minutes. The whole time I was on my hands and knees leaning over the exercise ball. Scooter and Chelsey tried to convince me to move to the bed and there was no way I was going anywhere. I didn’t want to move at all. Heidi set up her stuff and settled in behind me. As far as I know she could already see the head with the contractions. Mitzi came maybe half an hour later. Chelsey tells me the conversation they had was cute in that Mitzi asked if she should set up the birthing tub and Heidi laughed and said baby will be here in 20 minutes or so. I didn’t hear the conversation even though it was right over top of me because everyone was so fabulous at keeping it quiet and serene. I was the one roaring. Chelsey held cold clothes on my face and upper back and Heidi held warm ones over my bottom. Both were the “best thing ever”, and I think I remolded my husband’s hand squishing it so hard. I remember having a few thoughts along the lines of “why did I think this was a good idea again”, but they were fleeting and Heidi and my Husband were great at quietly encouraging me between contractions. I clearly remember Chelsey whispering to me Mitzi had brought in the warm towels to wrap the baby in because she was that close to being born. That gave me the perfect encouragement I needed for the last few contraction. Her head came out with one contraction and while waiting for the next to push her body out, I could feel her head wiggling outside of me and her feet kicking inside of me! It was such a strange and funny feeling and there was absolutely no pain at that point. About 40 minutes after my water broke, Julia slid into the world. Someone remarked that she was a perfect pink color while I sat back and Heidi passed her to me. It was amazing. 

I was feeling kind of light headed and nauseous so I passed Julia to my husband and demanded he do skin to skin with her. I remember looking up and thinking it was so perfect. I laid back down to deliver the placenta and it was pure relief when it came out. Mitzi and Chelsey helped my shower off and then I got in bed with Julia, who had yet to scream, and my husband. Heidi got me up to try to use the washroom and while I was on the toilet I was about to say I wasn’t feeling very good when I came to leaning back against the toilet tank. I had fainted but Chelsey tells me Heidi caught me and leaned me back. I think that was the only time Scooter got concerned and a worried look on his face. When they were sure I was fine, everyone left the room to let us have some quiet time. Being in my own bed was so lovely. A while later Heidi came back to check Julia over and stitch up my small tear. I was surprised that the stitching up hardly hurt at all! Mitzi cleaned up and by cleaned up, I mean you would never have known that a baby was born in the house only a few hours earlier. All the towels were back in the closet, neatly folded. It was wonderful! Chelsey rubbed my one leg and back, which were a bit achy and ended up staying the night so she could help me in the morning as Scooter had to go to work. I think it was about 1 am when Heidi and Mitzi left. Julia had a nice long sleep and so did I. Having a homebirth was the best decision I had ever made and I am so grateful I had the opportunity to do so and such a wonderful support team!