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BABY SYDNEY

My husband, Dwight, and I have been together for almost 8 years, and married for 5.  In January 2011 we decided we wanted to start having children and in April 2011, we discovered that I was pregnant. 

I had heard so many stories from my other friends with children about their birthing experiences at our local hospital and I was not too impressed with most of them. To be honest, they made me nervous. I was determined to have a completely natural birth, but most of my friends who went into our local hospital with those same intentions had been persuaded by the staff there to forgo their desires for drug free birthing... and they came out of the whole experience disappointed and even angry.

I began researching our other options... and came across the alternative of a home birth, and even more interesting... water birth! However, in order to do that, we would need a midwife, and unfortunately, there are no midwives in our community.

So, I went onto the Alberta Midwives Association website, and after discussing it with my husband, we decided to email all the midwives in Edmonton, which is a 5 hour drive from our hometown.

We were so excited to receive an reply back from Heidi at HOPE Midwives!

When we made our first 500 km trek south to Edmonton to meet with Heidi in June and were so blessed by her sweet and welcoming demeanor, and her willingness to answer all of our questions and help us understand the process. We didn’t have to wait for hours like I had at my 1st prenatal appointment with my family doctor (don’t get me started on that! LoL!) We had also read about a program called Hypnobabies and decided to do the homestudy program, and Heidi was very interested in it and willing to accommodate our desire to use it as a form of coping with the birthing pain (or pressure waves, haha!).

We both really liked Heidi, she is so extremely friendly and encouraging, and we felt instantly relieved and excited!

Most of our friends, coworkers, and even some of our family couldn't believe we weren't planning to give birth in a hospital with a doctor around! Many people called us "brave" and "crazy"... asking "aren't you scared?", "isn't it dangerous?" "what if something goes wrong?" But we were so excited, and not worried at all. We just knew that it would be an incredible experience and we wanted to fully enjoy it – our way!

So, we continued to make our monthly trips to Edmonton for our prenatal checkups and always left feeling refreshed, reassured and informed. Heidi was the most encouraging and understanding person for us and we knew that no matter what anyone else said about our birth plan, we would always have her support!

In the month before my due date, Heidi did our prenatal appointments via Skype because I did not want to make too many trips on the icy highway, as it was definitely not the most comfortable 5 hour drive being 36 & 38 weeks pregnant! She was always so accommodating of our changing schedules.

One week before my due date we headed to Edmonton to prepare for our baby's birth. We were staying at a friend’s apartment and planned to check into a hotel suite at the south end Sawridge Hotel once the pressure waves started, which ended up being 48 hours after our arrival in Edmonton, at 11pm on December 5th - only 10 hours after our final checkup with Heidi where she told me I was 3cm dilated and 50% effaced!

Heidi met us up in the hotel room shortly after we let her know we had checked in, and started setting up the birthing pool. She knew that my husband wanted to be very involved and the major support for me, so after I got into the pool at around 3pm, She graciously stepped back and observed to ensure that everything was going along safely, while my husband and sister knelt at either side of the tub holding my hands, bringing me water, Gatorade and food. Heidi routinely checked on me using a mirror, and explained how it was going and was very calming and supportive. At around 4pm I felt my water break, and over the next 30 minutes I became quite frustrated that I continually felt the urge to push but was not dilated enough to begin. I remember I kept saying “I need to push! I feel like I have to push” and Heidi kept calmly replying “Not yet. You can do this. Just wait a bit longer. You’re almost there.” Her reassuring words, along with my husband and my sister’s encouraging comments helped me to relax and just focus on telling my cervix to “open, open, open” over and over again.

At around 4:30 I felt like I was going to throw up, and when Heidi said, “that’s good”, I almost laughed. But she was right… my body was going through transformation (aka transition), and about 15 minutes later, when Heidi checked me again she said I could begin pushing when I felt. So I began “breathing the baby out”. At first, I was leaning back against the edge of the pool, then turned over onto all fours for a while, and then Heidi suggested I get into squatting position. I was glad she reminded me. I had spent my whole pregnancy doing squats because I knew that was the best position to birth a baby in… and once I got into squat, it was much easier. 
Shortly after that, Heidi and my husband said, “we can see the baby crowning!” I was so excited and from there it all seemed to go by so quickly… I felt this HUGE relief as the baby’s head came out, and Heidi told me to wait through the next pressure wave so the baby could rotate back into proper position. My husband jumped into the birthing pool, and I breathed out and down one last time, and saw my husband grab our baby! Heidi said “Wait. Wait” and unwrapped the cord once from baby’s neck, and then said “ok”, and my husband placed our baby onto my chest!

It took a few moments of shock and excitement and relief and joy to pass before someone (I think it was Heidi) asked Dwight (because he wanted to be the one to announce the gender), “Is your baby a boy or a girl?!” I tilted her off my chest and he looked… “Is that? Is it a girl? It’s a girl!!!”

So, on December 6th, 2011 at 5:14am our daughter, Sydney Marlena, was born 6 lbs. 14oz. and 19.5” long, in a birthing pool in the Sawridge hotel suite, 6 hours after my first pressure wave and after only 30 minutes of pushing. It was the most bonding experience in our 5 year marriage and the most amazing and beautiful and empowering experience of my life!

Our daughter is now 15 weeks old and Heidi has been a constant help. She was very thorough in her first week follow-ups and we were able to do the next 4 post-natal checkups via Skype. And she was always available via email to answer my questions about my personal healing progress, breastfeeding, Sydney’s growth, and her first cold. I am so grateful to Heidi for all of her assistance, advice, information, encouragement, support and care. We were very blessed to have her as our midwife and thank God for such a wonderful care provider. We highly recommend Heidi and HOPE Midwives to any expectant mother who wishes to have a wonderful, personal, and pressure free birthing (and pre & post natal check ups).