Birth Story

This was a challenging pregnancy. After my ectopic pregnancy in December 2020, I was much more anxious this time around through my entire pregnancy. Physically, it was about the same as my previous pregnancy experiences, but by the end (39+ weeks) I was definitely feeling the most pregnant I've ever been.

A curve ball this time around was the fact that we moved. I was unable to find a midwife until the end of my second trimester, and when I did find one, the midwife assigned to me was transitioning to another practice and I was caught in the middle of a number of staff changes. I struggled to find a place of comfort with my new primary midwife. I wanted to trust my body to do something it has already proven capable of (multiple times) but was met with lectures about me saying no to everything and declining interventions. The result was my last few weeks of pregnancy were spent in an anxious blur of therapy, support from my doula, and many tears shed over no longer feeling confident about the birth experience I was looking for or capable of. As much as I wanted to make informed decisions, I found myself the recipient of a bunch of worst case scenarios and detailed explanations of all the things that could possibly go wrong during delivery. Not a great confidence boost going into things, but I digress.

November 9th started as a day like any other. I woke up, surprised that I hadn't gone into labour in the middle of the night. Spent the day working on a big wholesale order that had come in a couple of days prior. We'd been to the midwife the day before and she recommended not doing anything to induce labour. By dinner time, I was feeling a bit off, but assumed I was tired and anxious. By bedtime, I'd been feeling crampy and was trying to dismiss what I thought were Braxton Hicks. I didn't trust my body anymore and was in denial about going into labour. As my contractions started to become consistent, I got my husband up and just sat there in utter confusion. I honestly didn't know what to do with myself, and as much as I wanted to be confident that I was really in labour, I was filled with so much doubt and fear about everything going wrong that I was completely in denial about what was happening.

I decided that I'd had enough and just needed to get some rest. Quick bathroom break #53 of the day and then I'd get some sleep. My denial came crashing down when I saw blood and felt a small gush that I suspect was my water breaking. Asked husband to page the midwife and I texted our Doula to give her a heads up. As my husband was fielding 742 questions to confirm I was actually in labour, I had a particularly strong contraction, and I knew she was coming. Midwives were finally convinced, doula was already packing her stuff when my husband called her. We started getting situated to wait for everyone to get there while my contractions were still very manageable. No mad scramble. Just calm and collected while getting things organized for the inevitable.

Everything was pretty much ready. The birthing pool had been inflated for 3 weeks already. I sat on my yoga ball, breathing through relatively mild contractions and sometimes timing things. As with my previous labours, contractions were under 4 minutes apart once they started being consistent. Doula arrived shortly after we got situated, and midwives were about half an hour after that. Mild contractions continued and got closer together as midwives got set up. Progress seemed slow and things were still very manageable but quicker, so it was suggested that I try the birthing pool.

Once filled, I got in and my labour almost immediately stalled. I was trying not to freak out, but everything inside me was telling me that stalling wasn't good. But I knew I needed time to gear up. I let it stall for about an hour and enjoyed the warm pool. Baby was doing fine and I needed time to get in the zone and finally listen to myself. Queue badass fight music here.

Honestly, the next bit was a bit of a blur. I changed positions in the tub and started to lean in to every contraction, talking myself up mentally and releasing my muscles as much as I could through the pain. I honestly think that I put myself into active labour mentally before I was there physically. I started to try to push (unsuccessfully) and stay focused on progressing. Turns out, when I was mentally ready, my body stepped into high gear. My contractions were almost immediately on top of one another and the intensity exploded. I literally went from about 10 to 100 in a matter of minutes.

That's when things got real. The contractions were very quickly becoming more than I could handle. I started doubting myself again. How could I get through this? I didn't feel like I had it in me to push for 30 minutes through the excruciating pain. I was clawing at the side of the birthing pool, trying to escape the intensity and pain. It felt like everyone in the room was miles away, telling me to slow my breathing and slow things down and get control. As much as I tried to get things under control, all I could do was scream and gasp for air. No controlled breathing, no control at all. Pure, raw female badassery filled the air as I screamed for what felt like ages.

It was four minutes. Four fucking minutes. From holy shit this is getting a wee bit intense, to pulling my baby up out of the birthing pool. Four fucking earth shattering minutes.

So it turns out, I was capable all along. Despite the doubt, fear, anxiety, and all the rest of it, I had exactly the birth experience I wanted. At home, in a birthing pool, I rocketed this baby out of my privates and into the world, scooped her up and said hello as I put her on my chest without a single person intervening. Looking back, it's a bit of a blur because everything happened so quickly. My active labour was 1.5 hours long and 4 minutes of pushing.

The final shock came when they weighed her, and she was just 7lbs 12oz. My longest pregnancy and my smallest bebe. Go figure. But there you have it, the story of how Eleanor May came flying into our lives.

Fun fact: it took you longer to read this birth story than it did for me to push a baby out of my body. We all have our hidden talents. Mine is efficiently having babies.


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