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 be....is 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
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