Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Benedict's Birth Story

Benedict turns one tomorrow. He is so determined to walk, and has been practicing and mastering it more each day. It is so incredible to watch how tenacious he is, falling and getting up. I still look at him, daily, and wonder how he managed to get so big already, but he is such a charming and content toddler that I honestly have loved every moment of his past year.

As planned, I wanted to write a post about Benedict's birth story for his birthday. It is crazy to think that, just a year ago, he was not quite here yet, but I was so ready to meet him.

Snuggled up and ready to take on the world
Currently, I am sitting in a Tim Hortons, drinking a coffee and writing, when exactly a year ago at this time, I was just starting active labor. For my second pregnancy, I was fortunate to have the same midwife I had had with my first. I was, again, very low risk throughout the duration of my pregnancy. Over the last month of being pregnant, I began to feel sure that I would go into labour early, though I was hesitant to trust this instinct.

However, I had an uneasy feeling when Tharin left for a retreat a few hours away, though I was still ten days from my due date, and I jokingly told the baby to wait until Sunday when daddy would be returning. At that time, I was having a lot of tightening and very mild contractions, which I wrote off as Braxton Hicks due to the lack of pain.

Tharin had that Monday, April fourth, off work, so we ended up staying overnight at my sister's house where I had been staying. We had planned to leave around noon and were even packed to leave when my sister made Tharin a latte, which became a bit of a joke, as we, fortunately, ended up staying the rest of that day.

3:00 PM Everything was in the car, Tharin was even outside waiting by this time, I think, when I quickly ran to the bathroom and noticed a bit of show. I was still so hesitant to believe I was actually getting close to labour, afraid it was just wishful thinking stemming from how ready I was to meet the baby. I decided to ask my midwife what she would recommend.

It took her a while to respond, and by then, I had noticed a more definite show. She advised us to stay in the city, though I was still unconvinced I was close to labour - I had yet to experience a painful contraction. It was strange for me, though it was my second delivery, to experience the beginning stages of labour, as the induction with Jerome had started so intensely and abruptly, and I felt very unsure of myself.

7:00 PM We decided to go for a walk to see if it would strengthen my contractions. I began to notice the contractions were closer and more intense, which is probably why I was on such an adrenaline high that I wanted to jog. When we got back to my sister's house, my sister and brother-in-law left to meet another nephew that had been born earlier that day (with my same midwife!) and I washed the supper dishes. By this time, my contractions were very frequent and becoming more painful - although still not unbearably so, and I finally admitted I was in labour.

8:30 PM Having decided to stay overnight in the city, the others sat down to start a movie and I called my mom. We ended up being on the phone for half on hour, most of which, I was taking the stairs. I was determined to do whatever I could to help the baby come more quickly, and maybe feeling a little over energetic.

Desperate to be back with mom

9:30 PM I sat down to finish the movie and my sister asked how I was feeling. Her husband laughed and told her to stop asking, that I would most likely tell everyone if anything progressed. It was this conversation, however, which made me realize how regular my contractions were, and I asked Tharin to track a few. He ended up downloading a contraction counting app which promised to advise us when it was time to go to the hospital, and we all laughed, writing it off as unreliable.

10:00 PM After a few contractions, the app told us to go to the hospital. At this time, I decided to update my midwife, who told me we would definitely be having the baby that night, based on the frequency, and we aimed to meet in an hour at the hospital.

However, as we were at the door, birthing pool and hospital bag in hand, my brother-in-law brought up the idea of us staying there, of having a homebirth, though I had tabled the idea earlier on in my pregnancy. I had thought the idea of a homebirth, not in my own home, would be too strange. When I expressed this concern, everyone was very enthusiastic, including Tharin, and the more my brother-in-law and sister supported the idea, the more convinced we became. I had a fear of repeating the terrible car ride of my first delivery, thus, the idea of staying where we were was appealing to me.

We decided to stay and quickly told my midwife. The boys left to grab a few things she recommended we have for a homebirth, and I went in the shower. I was shaving, and doing my hair and makeup when my midwife arrived, and by the time I came downstairs in my bathing suit, the pool was going up.

11:00 PM Pretty quickly after coming downstairs, I thought my waters might have broken, but I, of course, did not trust they had and did not make a big deal about it. My sister was making a veggie tray, and I helped peel carrots until my waters completely gave way, and my midwife then lead me back upstairs to check on my progress. She was unsure of how far along I was, based on my nonplussed attitude, but, sure enough, I was six centimeters dilated and completely thinned.

12:00 PM I climbed into the birthing pool, and my contractions intensified pretty quickly at this point. After about fifteen minutes in the tub, I wanted to get out so I could cool down, but as soon as I stood up, I felt the first sensation of pressure. It was right around then that my sister received a phone call from my parents in the lobby of the hospital. We realized we had forgotten to call them about our change of plans.

The pressure intensified, and I remember thinking they would miss the baby being born. At this point, I was very focussed, praying fervently for strength, because I wanted to be anywhere but in that tub. My parents arrived right when I felt the urge to push, and in a few deep and slow breaths, the baby was partially out; one more push, and he was finally here. At 12:41 AM, my perfectly plump and round-headed Benedict was in my arms.

When Benedict was first born, my dad told everyone, with a lot of pride and excitement, that he had seen his birth. It had definitely not been planned, and I know it probably seems a little strange, but I know how special it was for him, especially with the added meaning of our previous plan to give the baby my dad's name as his second name.

Brothers meeting for the first time
So peaceful together
I am so grateful for the peaceful experience of my homebirth. There was such a feeling of joy, relief, and wonder when Benedict was placed in my arms. It had been so close to a painless labour, and I felt such a connection with my tiny baby who had helped it go so peacefully. I went in the shower when my midwives told me I could, and then I climbed into bed with Benedict, who had been screaming hungrily, almost since the moment he was born. In the soft, warm light of my sister's guest room, I nursed my brand new baby, while my parents, my sister and her husband, Tharin and Jerome - who woke up in the commotion of the baby being brought upstairs, crowded in.

It was funny for me to explain this story at first, realizing how crunchy it sounded, when I had not thought myself to be that kind of a person. However, this is my midwife-attended, family-oriented, water-birth natural, home-birth story, and I am so proud of it.

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