As you all know, Leia joined our family today! I love a good birth story, so I wanted to share ours. At around 11 PM on Sunday night, I began having some pretty intense contractions. So I started timing them, mostly to distract myself, and also to make sure that calling Noreen, our midwife, was warranted. So, after about 15 minutes I called her, and she set off. I continued having these contractions, but then changed over to the ones where I started to make the primal-groaning-my body feels like it is tearing in half – sounds. I recognized these sounds, and called Keith over to fill up the tub. A water birth was in the plans, and so Keith dutifully started filling it up. He came back to ask me how hot to make the water, then I asked him to get an ETA from Noreen. 20 minutes he said. I knew she would not make it in time, as the sounds I was making really reminded me of a baby crowning. So I get into the shower – I knew water in any form would make me feel better – and then “Keith – come – the head is out!” So I opened the shower door and crawled out on my hands and knees. Keith brought some towels and checked that yes, her head was out, and there was no cord around her neck. So with the next groan, out she came, after about 1 hour of labour! Keith said it was a lot like playing a naked game of twister, as I was on my hands and knees, in a tiny bathroom, with my backside facing the tiniest shower stall known to man. He had to pass Leia back under me so that I could hold her while waiting for the placenta. The cord was pretty short, so I just stayed put. Mina and Abby came down to meet their new sister. Mina decided to go right back to bed and Abby hung out with us. Amazing that they slept right through everything! After a few minutes, Noreen and Ava arrived, like angels in the night, and helped us to cut the cord and deliver the placenta. Then they checked us over, cleaned everything up, filled out paperwork and gave me a stitch. Ta Da!
So those are the specifics of what happened. I am not gifted with words enough to describe how incredible Leia’s birth is, not just for me, but for our whole family. Keith, who caught his baby daughter, while staying very calm and together. Myself, who gave birth, and all of the incredible feelings that brings. Abby and Mina, who know that having a baby is normal, healthy and incredible. Planning to and having her be born at home was the right decision for our family in so many ways. At the beginning of my pregnancy, Noreen suggested that I pick some words to focus on throughout the pregnancy and birth. My meditation words were; “trust”- so that I could trust my body, (not easy for me after being so sick and having surgery a month before getting pregnant), and my ability to give birth, and also in the knowledge and skills of my midwife and caregivers; “calm” – to remind myself to not panic, even though giving birth is very intense and can be difficult, everything was normal and not a reason feel any worry, panic or fear. I also wanted my family to feel calm. My third word was “awesome” – not as in “cool”, but a line from my favourite hymn says; “when I in awesome wonder…”; because to me birth is so incredible, it is difficult for me to wrap my mind around the miracle of it all. It really is in awesome wonder that a baby is born. I wanted to remember that this is a gift and a privilege. And indeed it is.