Brace yourself… It’s a long read! I hope you enjoy it, I share every detail I can recall of my labour and delivery from my own perspective
I had a pretty unconventional pregnancy in the sense that I didn’t participate in any regular prenatal care. I didn’t have a doctor or obstetrician, I didn’t have ultrasounds, no diabetes test, minimal doppler checks, I planned a homebirth and I continued eating my high carb vegan diet throughout my pregnancy. I didn’t participate in regular prenatal care for personal reasons and beliefs.
*I in no way think my way it the “best way” for everyone, it was just the best way for me at the time! Please be aware that this is not my recommendation for others to follow what I did, I am just sharing my personal experience.
At 11 weeks pregnant I hired a local “midwife/doula” who supported me from that day forward. She isn’t a trained nurse but has 18 years of experience delivering babies and supporting women who want natural and holistic home births. My prenatal support was mainly working through emotional stuff that could potentially hold Neil and I back from being the best parents we could be. We did a lot of healing, talking and clearing while I was pregnant. Y, my midwife and I both strongly shared in the desire to allow me to have an undisturbed/gentle pregnancy and birth.
My “due date” came and went on March 24th, 2016. After this I checked in with my midwife almost daily. She’d pop over with her adopted 5 month old son to check to see how we were doing or we’d chat on the phone. By this point in my pregnancy I was getting quite antsy to go into labour, but also trusted that my body and baby were in perfect unison to trigger spontaneous labour when we were both ready.
At 41 weeks I had an appointment with a local chiropractor. He assessed my body to make sure everything was in alignment for labour. He said I was the happiest and fittest overdue woman he ever met! That was a great thing to hear.
Another week past and nothing changed. I was still full of energy, was able to tie my shoes and put on socks, was walking and rebounding on my mini trampoline daily and was feeling like I might stay pregnant forever.
Neil and I had be anticipating meeting our baby for weeks now. Our days slowed and all we could think about and focus on was labour and delivery. We had the birthing pool ready to go, the house clean, food made, and our bedroom ready to welcome our child. Still nothing happened. At this point my midwife started to suggest some gentle tools to encourage baby to come. I took some homeopathic remedies and herbs, and she did acupressure and acupuncture on a few points on my body. She was convinced that I’d go into labour that night. I didn’t.
I then decided to take matters a little more seriously and hired the local acupuncturist to do three consecutive treatments on me in three consecutive days. On Thursday April 7th (Neil’s 29th birthday) I went to his office for my first treatment. He went gentle and just encouraged my body to open up and move energy downward. On Friday I went back and he intensified the treatment slightly and focused on emotional surrender and clearing. If I didn’t go into labour that night he planned to come to my home the next morning at 11am to do the final treatment. I went to bed Friday night with no signs of impending labour.
At about 1:00am I woke up with some mild contractions and couldn’t sleep so went and watched a movie on my laptop on the couch. The contractions were nothing to “write home about” so I just left Neil sleep! His sister was visiting and stayed overnight on Friday so on Saturday morning at 8:30am he left me home and took her to catch the bus so she could go home. While he was gone I only had a few contractions. 11am rolled around on Saturday and I had my 3rd acupuncture treatment. Going to the hospital for induction still didn’t cross my mind at this point even though I was 42+3 days pregnant. During my final acupuncture treatment I started having some more contractions. He left and Neil and I spent the day just hanging out listening to music and playing cribbage as labour slowly started. By 11pm that night things were getting pretty intense and we called our midwife/doula to come over. She took about an hour to arrive and Neil was starting to get nervous because the contractions were getting closer together and a lot more intense. I kept reassuring him that I was fine and everything was normal.
I paced around the kitchen and living room into the wee hours of the night moaning through the intense sensations. Our 4 dogs all slept in their beds through the noise and energy changes, which surprised me. Neil was slightly in shock and didn’t realize I’d be in such pain. He tried to rest as much as he could because I didn’t want to be touched, talked to or even acknowledged during my contractions/rushes. I sipped ice water and joked and had a lot of energy between my rushes. I also peed and had a few bowel movements during the night of labour. I had so much adrenaline and excitement I didn’t sleep all night. During contractions it was all business and I was totally gone within. Looking back I wish I would of rested and ate between contractions instead of talking and walking and wish I would of got Neil and my midwife to coach me in breathing through the contractions instead of refusing their support. I wasted a lot of energy that night that I needed for the next day of labour and pushing.
At 1:00am I started to not feel well and became more tired out. I had already been up for 24 hours at this point and only had a few rests during early labour. At 2am I puked in the kitchen sink and it made me feel a lot better. After that I got into the birthing pool in our bedroom. I laboured in there for 3+ hours while Neil and the midwife hung out and rested in the bedroom. She’d check the babies heart beat periodically and gave me homeopathies. The time in the birthing pool was the most insane and intense spiritual journey/meditation I’ve ever experienced in my life. I felt so connected to the baby and was basically having full conversations with the spirit inside me while I moved through the rushes. Between contractions I’d meditate and go off on wild crazy trips.
I felt like I needed to start pushing at around 4:00am. I started to feel afraid and not ready for the next phase of labour. My midwife was tired (she was 10 weeks pregnant at the time) so decided to call her mentor to come support us for the birth. We had discussed this before I went into labour and all agreed that it would be okay but in the heat of the moment I was in such an altered state that I didn’t comprehend what she was doing and became fearful that something was wrong and she needed backup. My body completely closed up at this time and about an hour after her mentor came (who I hadn’t yet met – she was in the living room meditating and trying to hold space for me) my labour completely slowed.
I got out of the pool at 5:00am as the sun came up and was feeling completely defeated and disappointed that the baby hadn’t arrived yet. We were all exhausted at this point. Neil and I got into bed and had a nap from 5am-8am. I didn’t have contractions during this time and slept very deeply for three hours straight. At 8am I was awoken with the most intense contraction yet. It lasted what felt like forever and I cried and moaned the whole time releasing frustration over the fact that I was still pregnant. At this point I had completely lost track of time and didn’t even feel like I was apart of society. I was in a whole other world.
The midwife came into the room and gave us a pep talk. She instructed us to work as a team and told us that it was our job to get this baby here and that we needed to work together as a couple to make that happen. She said we needed to pull ourselves together and get this baby here or else we’d need to consider alternative measures like going to the hospital. This little talk snapped us back to the reality that things needed to happen and that we needed to get our shit together and take on our first challenge as parents. Neil decided to take the three female dogs to boarding which was just a five minute drive from our house and leave Laddie the male dog (who has separation anxiety) home with me.
I was utterly exhausted by this time. I barely slept the night before and wasted all my energy labouring and was basically back at square one. I was so mad at myself and I started doubting my choices. I started to have fears that something was wrong with the baby or that I couldn’t give birth naturally.
My contractions intensified from there. I hated laying down through the contractions and had the strongest desire to be walking but I didn’t have a choice at this point because I was so tired and physically couldn’t even move off the bed without assistance. Neil laid beside me and calmed me by repeating “stay calm, just breathe, breathe, breathe, it’s okay” over and over through my contractions. His voice and energy made everything so much more manageable that day.
At 10am I started violently puking between my contractions. Neil would try to feed me sips of water or juice and I was so weak I couldn’t even lift my head to drink. I was so frustrated because I’d work so hard to get just a few millilitres of liquid and was trying to stay hydrated and healthy but I’d puke it up right away and I just didn’t have the energy to be puking so much.
I was getting weaker and more delirious by the minute. I really needed an IV at this point but because my midwife isn’t a nurse she didn’t have the ability to administer one. They knew that I just needed electrolytes and kept trying to give me miso broth, coconut water and labouraid but I refused and was being so stubborn. I hated the thought of puking those beverages up. Just thinking about it made me puke.
They were all getting concerned for me and started to tell me that I NEEDED to keep something down or we’d have to go to the hospital for IV. I remember laying there dreaming that an ambulance was going to come pick me up and take me to the hospital. That was all I wanted at this point, was for everything to be over. I didn’t know how I could go on. I told them I couldn’t do it anymore and that I couldn’t have this baby, it was too hard…
My midwife was checking the babies heart beat with her doppler and having me pee on a stick to check for ketosis every hour. I had more and more ketones in my urine as the hours passed and was starting to get into dangerous territory.
At 2:00pm I asked if they could help get me into the tub. I laboured in our bathtub while the midwives and Neil sat outside on the deck making an action plan for if/when I needed to be transported to the hospital that was 40 minutes away. I laid in the dark bathroom with one small tea light flickering in the corner, breathing and moaning through my contractions and passing out between them. I didn’t even feel like I was in my house or my body. My dog sat stoically beside the tub protecting me and giving me all the energy he had. I felt like he was keeping me going and I could actually see energy coming from his body into mine… I’m guessing this was the ketosis talking and it wasn’t actually happening (maybe it was though- we’ll never know ;)!!).
Read Part Two of the birth of Violet Marie here!
Submitted by Whitney Paige.