Friday, August 6, 2010

Kaitlyn's Arrival Detailed

It has taken me far too long to write this post! I have had many friends ask me about my water-birth experience so I have been meaning to document it. So here it is. Just a word of caution, I'm sure I will share way too much information, so if you fear that after reading about me giving birth you won't be able to look me in the eyes, I recommend stopping reading after this paragraph and just know in your heart that it was a great experience and we'll leave it at that. Mmmmkay?

Kaitlyn's due date was July 21st, but as anyone who has had a baby, or even been around someone who is pregnant knows, Babies tend to come when they want to. They can come weeks before or weeks after that date, so we had pretty much booked the month of July as “have a baby” month. This was a bit of a problem, since Mark works in television and literally half the month is spent preparing for/covering the Calgary Stampede. He has a hard time taking time off during those 10 days and the days leading up to it, so we were just kind of hoping that Baby wouldn't come then.

The Friday (the 9th) that Stampede started my family was all coming to town and so I had invited them all over to celebrate Madelyn's birthday since it wouldn't have worked for them to be at her actual birthday a few weeks earlier. Since this was also the first night of the chuckwagon races, Mark had to work. Basically this would be the worst day possible for me to go into labour with 13 extra people at my house and my husband tied up. Thankfully I didn't. The next day, the Saturday, would have been the next-worst day possible for me to go into labour. This is the day of our family's annual trip the Stampede midway and Grandstand show. I love this day! I would be slightly upset if I missed it. My family has been going to the Grandstand for over 60 years. I live for the closing song that the Young Canadians perform every year where they all come out wearing red and white and loving Canada. But everyone knows that walking around helps bring on labour and if there is anything you do on a midway, it's walk. I packed my birth bag in the car, just in case, and made it very clear that if I went into labour before the Grandstand was over, I was going to sing the O Canada Finale at the top of my lungs all the way there. It's my favourite song. It makes me feel patriotic and gives me warm fuzzies. Never seen it? Thanks to YouTube, here is a clip for your viewing pleasure. Unfortunately it's taken from right in front of the stage so you can't see the full effect and it's hard to hear the words because of the fireworks blasting off, but know that it's amazing. The part I love starts around the 3 minute mark. Sooooo good!

What was I talking about? Oh ya, Kaitlyn's birth. So it rained on the Saturday which meant that we spent little time walking around the midway and instead most of our time in Buckaroo's (the indoors kids area) and going to see the Superdogs (when you have a two-year-old obsessed with Puppies, this is what you do). So, I didn't bring on labour. I got to hear my beloved song. On the way out of the grounds, Mark asked me if I wanted him to go get the car. Meh, it wasn't that far, I figured I could walk. I forgot about the hill. I don't remember that hill being so steep. I'm sure if I were to go back to see it today, it wouldn't look so steep, but when you're 9 months pregnant, that thing is huge. I basically had a contraction all the way up it. I chalked it up to braxton hicks and didn't think much of it.

We got home at 12:30am. By 12:40 I was in bed. I woke up at 1:44 with this knowing feeling that my water was going to break. I jumped out of bed and ran to the bathroom and sure enough it broke. For the record I'm SUPER happy that it happened at home, in the bathroom and all contained-like. (Its every woman's greatest fear that this event will happen some place really public and embarrassing!) 15 minutes later contractions started. They weren't super strong so I tried to sleep through/between them as I knew I would need all the sleep I could get.

In the morning I told Mark he better call work and tell them he wasn't coming. I called my midwives to let them know I was in labour. We then called my Mom (who was staying at my brother's) as she was going to be with us for the delivery. Turns out this was the BEST day for labour. My mom was already here, my sister was staying at my house and could babysit (and meet the baby before she left). We like to think this means Kaitlyn will be accommodating. Haha!

The next couple of hours I laboured at home. Around 3:30pm I called my midwives and let them know it was time to go to the birth centre. We met them over there at about 4:30ish. My contractions were strong, close to a minute and about 6 minutes apart. Really, they never got much closer than 5 minutes apart, which made for a long labour.

They checked me and found that the baby was slightly posterior (turning toward face up – you don't want that). So I was encourage to walk around, go up and down stairs, and get on all fours to encourage the baby to turn. Well let me tell you, she was stubborn and didn't want to move. Once the contractions got super intense I begged to go in the water. They let me for a while and then would make me get out and walk to help her turn. For the record, can I just say that labouring in water is THE most fantastic thing EVER?? Wow! It's like instant relief. You still feel the contraction, but it takes the edge off. I think everyone should do it this way.

Later when they checked me, they figured out that she was also not lined up with my cervix, which meant that if I felt the urge to push I couldn't or I would cause my cervix to swell. Not cool. More walking, more stairs (I HATED the stairs by this point). I was so tired and all I wanted to do between contractions was sleep. When I wasn't begging to get back in the water, I was begging to lie down on the bed. Basically I was grumpy and whiney. God bless my patient midwives! The midwives were all nice and parent-like and would say “Sure, you can lie down, after you do three more sets of stairs.” Man! I use that same technique on Mady! They also pulled out the arsenal of everything to help turn her and speed up contractions. Every essential oil and herb I could take they were giving me. Honestly, I don't even know what they all were.

Well sure enough it wasn't long before I felt that urge to push. Man is sucks to not be able to push when that's all you want to do. We did this not-pushing thing for a few hours and finally they came and explained that they would give me one more hour and if things weren't progressing they would have to transfer me to the hospital and give me a shot of pitocin to help the contractions advance. I have a Hate/hate-even-more relationship with pitocin so that inspired me to do those stairs a few more times.

They figured out that the reason she was off centred was because my bowels were full (I told you too much info was coming!). I blame midway food and probably not drinking enough water the day before. So all my pregnant friends, empty your bowels often because otherwise you have to do it in front of other people! They had me labour on the toilet (didn't like contractions happening there, let me tell you), but it did help “move things along.” (Ahhh, I'll stop, I promise) With the extra space she could get into the correct position. Finally. By this point it was around 11:30pm. They moved me to the bed so I could push her down and once she was engaged we got in the tub and she was born at 12:08am on Monday July 12th. 8.5 hours of active labour and 30 minutes of pushing (would have been shorter if contractions weren't so far apart and I didn't take until the third one to figure out the best way to be effective.)

So she's here and she's great. She was 7lbs 2 oz and 20 inches long. Dark mop of hair (!). She eats like a trooper (so weird after having 8 weeks of struggles with Mady. Wait, who are we kidding we struggled with eating issues with Mady until just a couple of months ago!). She can sleep through anything (though we're still in that stage of eating every 3 hours so the sleep for Mommy has not yet arrived). And she's just the cutest little thing! Mady loves her and smothers her with kisses and love. I'm so blessed to have 2 sweet little girls to call my own. I'm looking forward to putting a million hair bows in her hair and making their room all girly. Hehe!

If you actually made it to the end of this post, I'm impressed!

For the record, do I recommend midwives? Yes, Yes, YES! Do I recommend water-birth? Oh my goodness yes!


  1. I LOVED reading your birth story, Melanna. I'm soooo happy for you that you got to have your midwife-assisted water birth. What a wonderful way to bring Kaitlyn into the world. All that and you got your Young Canadians too. ;-)

  2. I LOVED this post! I would love to be a mid-wife/doula.

  3. Thanks for sharing your birth story Melanna. I had a hospital birth with epidural/vacuum with Ezra and a MUCH shorter, all natural birth with midwives for Joel. I love hearing birth stories & I love midwives!


The fact that you take the time to leave me comments makes my day! Thanks for taking the time. I read every single one.