Our daughter, Olive Magnolia, was born New Year’s Day at 11:13pm. She was 7lbs 14oz and 21 inches in length. Her birth was a gift and it will forever be one of my most cherished moments.
On New Year’s Eve, I met with my midwife and she performed a sweep, at my request. I was 5cm dilated, but still quite thick and my baby was still high in my pelvis. This was my third baby, but nothing seemed to happen that day, expect some mild cramping and a dull back ache. We went to bed feeling anxious and excited, like waiting for the first snow. When we woke up on New Year’s Day, we decided to see if we could get things moving. We took our son’s tobogganing (my husband did) while I walked up and down the side crest of the snowy hill. I had a lot of pressure (and funny looks!) while I was walking, but it felt good to be moving. I spent the time out walking visualizing and talking with my baby, connecting with her and telling her I was ready for her to come.
At about 5pm, I began to have some very mild and very sporadic contractions. They had zero pattern, ranging from 5 to 30 minutes apart and lasting from 5 to 20 seconds. They were so strange. I’ve had two children before Olive and I had never experienced anything like this. However, with this being my third and my history of fast labours, I decided to call my midwife about 6pm to give her a heads up, since she was about an hour from our home. I was so sad and surprised to learn that she was driving to another birth! In all of her years delivering babies, our birth was the second she has ever missed. She dispatched another midwife to our house. In the hour it took for the new midwife to arrive, my labour completely stopped. I cried to my husband, telling him the news with tears spilling out of my eyes and my bottom lip quivering. When I realized my labour had stopped, my heart cycled through several emotions, but eventually landed on peace. I had read that a massive change of plans could stall or completely stop a woman’s labour. So although I was anxious to meet my beloved, I understood what had happened.
When the midwife arrived, I opened the door and instantly loved her. Her presence was calming and I felt at ease with her at once. I was so relieved, since I had no idea what I was opening the door to. I explained to her that my labour had stopped and that I hadn’t had a contraction in over an hour. She asked if she could check me, since I was 5cm dilated at the sweep the day before. While she set up, I ate takeout with my family and got our sons ready for bed. Soon our boys were tucked away in their beds and I had a vaginal exam. I had not felt a contraction in almost 2 hours at this point and was certain that I wasn’t having a baby that night. Upon examination, I was quite surprised to find I was 7cm dilated. We also found out during the exam that I was contracting, I just wasn’t feeling them. I was having strong contractions that were lasting over 60 seconds long, but I was only feeling slight back pressure for about ten seconds as the contraction peaked. My midwife said she had seen this a couple times before, but it was rare, and that I was very lucky. After two very intense, fast and painful home births, this was a welcome change of pace. She urged my husband to start filling the birthing pool and by 8pm it was full and ready for me, although, I wasn’t ready for it, at all. I still wasn’t feeling much of anything and it felt strange to get in the pool in front of everyone. Instead, we lit a fire and sat around the living room drinking tea and talking. My Mom had just arrived that afternoon from out of town, so we were able to spend the next two hours catching up. We laughed, a lot. My cheeks were sore from all the laughing. It was such a joyous and peaceful atmosphere.
At about 10:30pm, I was getting tired from our long day and began to long for the comfort of my bed. I asked to be checked and we were all amazed to find that I was 8cm, fully effaced and baby was station +2. Although I was in very active labour, in transition actually, I felt nothing beyond some minor pressure and a growing sense that I was wasting everyone’s time. She broke my waters at my request, and I immediately went from not feeling anything to feeling the full extent of transition. I felt a lot of pressure in my bum so decided to get out of the pool and go to the washroom with my husband. I had multiple huge contractions while in there, so we moved back out to the pool. At 11:09 I felt her head begin to crown, and at 11:11 her head was born. We discovered her cord was around her neck, so the midwife walked me through the plan of what would happen once I delivered her body. She would turn the baby under the water, instead of pulling the cord up and over her head. After that, I was free to reach down and grab her. In the moments while she was between worlds, I remember stroking her thick, long hair and feeling completely overwhelmed with love. She was mine, and she was almost here. Things were about to change forever, but in the very best way possible. Olive was born at 11:13 after just 4 minutes of pushing and only about 45 minutes of active labour. She was born by the light of our fire, and was welcomed into the world absolutely enveloped in love. We marveled at how much she resembles her brothers, and how bright eyed and alert she was. She is the most peaceful and beautiful baby. I am so grateful to have been so fortunate to experience such an incredible birth. With Olive being our last baby, it brought a great sense of peace to the closing of that chapter of our lives.
What an incredible, unique labor! So beautiful. And Olive Magnolia is a marvelous name.