Hello, my name is Angele Bedard. How do I begin to tell of the amazing and transformative experience that is child birth. Well, it was during the October moon, 2011, that I noticed I was particularly irritable. I remember having to walk a few blocks and noticed how terribly uncomfortable my winter boots were. And how extremely bitter I was about having to wear such awful boots. This lead to me apologize to my then partner, realizing the extreme PMS he was having to endure. Well, with the realization that my period had not yet happened, I said to myself, “Oh boy, I’m pregnant. Am I gonna have to go to a hospital?” The thought of which I just could not fathom. And so, after some tears of confusion due to this gifted pregnancy, I was told by a great woman, and then practically a stranger to me, that she had a midwife, the best midwife, Noreen Walker, with her as she gave birth to her daughter.
Well, having no idea what a midwife was, I googled Alberta midwives, and came up with ASAC’s list. Down I scrolled to the very bottom, where, there she was, Noreen Walker. So I called her up, spoke with her briefly, and was put on a list to maybe be one of the lucky women she would be able to assist in the birth of my baby in July. Well, weeks later, huzzah, my place confirmed, it all became real. I was to have a baby. And no, I was not to go to a hospital, fewf.
After meeting Noreen, I attended our first group session where I met the other lucky ladies due to give birth in the month of July. We were, the July Moms. All of these women expecting their 2nd or 3rd children, I was blessed and somewhat bewildered by their beautiful birth stories, most having delivered with Noreen previously.  At this group we were asked to think of a few words that would describe our ideal birth. Eventually, the words enchanting, beautiful and fun were chosen for what I had decided was going to be my birth experience. For what I had decided was going to change me and my life forever. Goodbye, Maiden, hello Mother.  I learned that much like a marathon runner, no woman should go into this experience blind. There is much mental preparation. My physical preparation, on the other hand, consisted of eating, sleeping and allowing all those fabulous pregnancy hormones to do their work. Well, let’s just say, by 38 weeks, relaxin was definitey doing it’s job, and I was quite convinced by the pain in my hips that I was ready. Yup, those ligaments and whatever else holds your hips together normally, were very relaxed.
Ok baby, let’s do this. Team work was the name of the game.  My Mom was due to arrive from Ontario on July 27th some time around 9:30 pm.  I remember calling her  a week before saying I was ready to give birth, and that she should try to get a sooner flight, but that wasn’t an option. So I dutifully told her, “You better be ready when you get here, cuz we’re ready!” She laughed and said I couldn’t possibly be so sure. Well, July 26th, 8:30 pm, I was connected with 3 lovely ladies from the University, making a film on Midwifery care. They asked to film my birth, and I agreed, as long as they realized that I was having this baby tomorrow, after my Mom gets here. That day I had done what many largely pregnant women do, and walked something like 10 blocks, picked up two huge bags of groceries, and shrugged off any offers for help from concerned looking fellow transit goers. “No thanks, I’m having this baby tomorrow!” Oh the looks I received. Yup, here’s me, on the corner of whyte and 109 st, 39 weeks pregnant. I decided to take the bus back to 76 ave as the final leg. Well, that evening, I was too uncomfortable to sleep on my side, so I propped myself up using a small mattress I use for work (Thai Massage) and slept in a sitting position.
And so, June 27th, I woke to some “bloody show”. Yup, this was it, today’s the day. The scene was set, my Mother was due to arrive, my daytime birth was going down. My good friend and Doula, Erin M., was anxiously awaiting my call and the film crew received the e-mail. So, of course I called Noreen, “Today’s the day, no rush just yet, but be on your toes, I’ll call you when things get more intense.” Well, her response, of course was “OK, well it could be today, or it could be three days. Don’t get too excited.”  Well, convinced I had my labour ahead of me I proceeded to do some transplanting of my tomato plants, and the dishes. I had told myself I wanted to have my alone time, and make labour cookies when Erin got there. As the afternoon approached, I called Erin. She arrived some time around 2 and we proceeded to ensure the hose was connected and that everything would go smoothly filling the tub. OK, actually, she did that while I created a playlist of the same song over and over and over agin, while eating an entire bag of grapes. Alanis, you got my back girl. We started making the cookies and just for fun we timed my contractions. 3 minutes apart! Oh my. I was kind of surprised, and wondered, is this active labour? Yup, it was active labour. I went from being able to converse with Erin while we went over the recipe, to, “I’m just gonna go lean over the arm of the couch for this one”. I remember the open windows blowing in a beautiful breeze, which was very comforting. Erin would also come over, offering some back compression and gentle massage.  We has also notified some family members, notably my cousin, Jenny, who was also very excited about the prospect of my experiencing a home birth.  She anxiously arrived some time around 5, and I had somehow managed to get her to bring me ginger beef. Ugh, one bite and I was suddenly very nauseous.
This is when I decided I would like to be in the tub, also that we should probably call Noreen.  I proceeded to breath and sway through each contraction, feeling very luxurious in my tub, in the comfort of my home, with people I knew, loved and trusted. The film crew had stopped in during my morning early labour, and was to return when things were more intense. Noreen had arranged for Ava to arrive as soon as possible. So, it must have been 6 or so when Ava arrived, followed shortly by Noreen and the film crew, who were meeting for the first time. I am forever grateful for Ava when I think back on my experience. I truly feel like I had the wisdom of hundreds of years of knowledge reminding me to slow my breath, and relax between contractions.  When Noreen came in the room, in walked again, an ancestry of birthing knowledge and support. I said, “Hey Noreen, I’ve agreed to have a film crew film the birth, I hope that’s ok.” She scuffed and said something along the lines of, “What I’m gonna do about it now..” Tee hee.  There were some moments of doubt. I remember feeling my lips go numb. I began to scare. But there was my team, with cold clothes and loving faces, telling me I was doing great. Ava, reminding me to breathe. There was a point shorlty after that where I said, “ok, I don’t wan to this anymore” and the response I got form Noreen was “You’re on a one way street.” Darn. At this point I was sitting back and Noreen had done a pelvic exam and broke my water. I remember her saying “This is gonna get things moving along” Well, I must have given her a look of despair or shear dread. Looking back, this is the moment that I am the most grateful for my team, as Noreen said, “Let’s get you to squat” and put out her hands for me to grab. “No, I don’t want to… I’ll go on my knees” So I grabbed her hands, moved to my knees and that was it. I decided this baby is coming out of me, now. As Noreen stood in front of me, bracing my arms, I asked “Can I push this baby out of me!” With the reply of “Yes!” I told myself, 5 more contractions, and It’ll all be over. I have no idea if that is actually how many contractions it took, but at some point Noreen said “You can feel the head!” I thought to myself, sweet, and went to feel my baby, but instead find three latex gloved fingers. Hmmm, back to a contraction, as I think to myself, “Well that’s a strange feeling baby.” Of course it was dear Ava supporting my perineum  On the next contraction I decided to further this investigation and actually feel for the head, which was not what I expected! It was coming out of my anus! I’m sure I was exclaiming some profanities about feeling like I was taking the biggest poop ever, only it was a baby instead. After being told, “It takes a few contractions to stretch the perineum  I remember asking again, can I just push? “Well, okay..” And out he came! My 8 lbs 3 oz baby boy!  Finally! I leaned back, and realized there was a room full of smiling faces who just witnessed my transformation. My Mom was there! Hey Mom! My friend Ash and Jen has also arrived on a whim! Awesome! And the film crew, hello!
But mainly, I proceeded to gaze into the eyes of this precious little thing I had just expulsed from my vagina. Also to feel out the damage, oh my poor perineum  Kaden Dragon Bedard was born at 10:30 pm on July 27th, 2012, at home, with much love and support. I am forever grateful for Noreen, Ava and Erin, for the support they provided us during this exceptionally enchanting moment in my life. And to my couzin Jenny and my Brother for being there as my loving and frantic partners in birth. My Mom, with her impecaple one hour to spare arrival and the Birthing Babies Together film crew, whom I never even realized were there. Ash and Jen, I am glad you were there to witness those final moments, hopefully in preparation, if you two ever have the joy to experience this magnificent moment for yourselves.
And Kaden, the love of my life, I THANK YOU the most for choosing me to be your Mother. For challenging me to be the best person that I can be. And for showing me the immense strength that a woman can posess. We did it buddy. I will hold you forever, and for you I am forever grateful. This experience will last a lifetime. I will remember the support I received from everyone involved forever.
Thank you. I am one proud Mommy, Friend, Woman. Hear me ROAR!