Answered prayer

Like many women, my perception of labour and birth was that it was something to be

feared. Many of my friends had already had kids and the stories I heard from them and

other moms was that “it’s the most painful thing you will ever have to endure but don’t

worry dear, it’s all worth it”. Hmm, how exciting! Not until the end of my first trimester

were my eyes really opened to the possibility that it didn’t have to be that way.

A friend of mine in Calgary had a traditional hospital birth with her first baby and

because of the terrible experience she had, decided to explore other options when she

became pregnant with her second baby. She had a home birth with a midwife and told

me that it was the most amazing thing she had ever experienced and that it was virtually

pain free! She actually told me that she would have given birth again the next day if

given the chance! ......What?! That’s not the way it’s supposed to it?

After my conversation with her I started doing some research of my own on the subject

of birth and the evolution of medicine in this regard. I read books such as “Ina May’s

Guide to Childbirth” by Ina May Gaskin and “Childbirth Without Fear” by Michael Odent

and Grantly Dick-Read, among others. As I read and researched, I would come across

story upon story of women who gave birth seemingly pain free. Why was it, I wondered,

that in other cultures birth seems to be something to be celebrated rather than

something to be feared?

I decided that I wanted that experience. The one where the woman works hard to birth

her baby but she’s in full control. The one where peace is present and chaos is absent. I

stopped watching all those crazy You-Tube videos of women screaming bloody murder

while giving birth and I started to pray. I prayed first of all for a midwife. I prayed for the

strength I needed to deliver my baby. I prayed that my body would perform the way it

was created to perform while giving birth. And above all, I prayed for peace.

I started emailing midwives in the area but was repeatedly told the same thing. I was too

far along. I should have started looking the moment I found out I was pregnant. As I was

looking at the websites of different midwives, there was one that really stood out to me.

HOPE midwives was within walking distance of our apartment and she shared the same

belief in God as we do. After several disheartening rejections from other midwives, I got

an email from Heidi that a spot had opened up in November! That was my first

answered prayer.

Now fast forward a few months to the morning of November 17, 2012. I woke up to a

beautiful sunny day after sleeping through the entire night which was something of a

rarity those days. I had a shower, got dressed, put my makeup on and was feeling more

refreshed than I had in a while. That was answered prayer for the strength I would need

because at 9:30am I felt my first contraction. I was ecstatic!! Finally I was able to test

out all the research that I had done over the last several months, plus I was going to

meet my little girl very very soon!! I reminded myself to relax and breathe and when it

had passed I thought “hmm that wasn’t bad”. I let Heidi and my husband (who was at

work, an hour outside the city) know that labour had officially begun. My husband asked

if he should come home and I told him no. I was feeling great but it could take hours

and I’d let him know when things start to pick up.

Throughout my entire pregnancy we had been planning to give birth at the hospital with

the benefits of a midwife. My husband felt very unsure about a home birth and

especially where it was our first baby, we decided that we would feel better about being

in a hospital in the event that something should go wrong.

At around 1:00 pm the contractions started to feel a little stronger so I got in the bathtub

at home. I was still by myself but was feeling pretty good. I didn’t think it was necessary

to get Brett (my husband) to come home yet because I was waiting for things to get

really intense. I thought that if things weren’t that intense yet then that means that it’s

probably going to be a long time still before the baby comes. At around 4:00pm I texted

Heidi to let her know that my contractions were about 5 minutes apart and asked her

when she thought I should get Brett to come home. Her text back was “YOU”RE

ALONE?!!”. Um yeah? I was feeling pretty good and really didn’t feel like it was

necessary to have anyone there yet. She suggested that it would be a really good idea

to get Brett home right away.

I continued to relax and breathe through each contraction. While I can’t say that they

were painless, I can say that they were more than manageable. They felt quite similar to

menstrual cramps! It was completely quiet and peaceful in my little bathroom and I was

really able to focus and remain calm. Heidi and Brett both got there around 5:00pm.

When Heidi checked me I was about 7 cm and she strongly suggested staying home to

deliver the baby. I was all for that! The last thing I wanted to do in that moment was get

out of the tub, get dressed and drive to the hospital. We had rented a birth pool to take

to the hospital so Brett and Heidi set it up in our living room. I started to push while I

was still in the bathtub and the baby was coming quite quickly. I got out and moved to

the birthing pool and progress kind of stopped. So I got out, pushed for a bit on the bed,

then back in the pool. Pushing was not super painful but it was quite exhausting. It was

a lot more work than I anticipated. At 7:33pm our little Elizabeth Louise was born

weighing 7 lb 8 oz and measuring 20.5” long. As I held her in my arms I was quite sure

that I have never felt a love like I did in that moment. As far as i was concerned she was

perfect in every way.

After going the route that we did for pregnancy, birth and postpartum care, I can’t

imagine doing it any other way. The level of care and one on one attention we received

was beyond amazing. I felt sad when our 6 week postpartum care was over because I

wouldn’t get to go see Heidi anymore! It felt more like saying goodbye to a friend than a

medical professional. The whole experience from the start was more than I could have

asked for. God gave me a real gift in Heidi and I know that she was my answered