After losing our first son 3 days after his birth, I struggled to find any reassurance in healthy midwife appointments and positive ultrasounds throughout my pregnancy. I was riddled with anxiety and just needed to hold my son safely in my arms, hear him cry and know he was ok.
For the weeks leading up to my due date I had been experiencing false labour nearly every night. I would get excited and start cleaning, washing laundry, or organizing random things, always thinking I’d go to bed and wake up at 3am with contractions. But instead I just kept waking up in the morning still pregnant!
The day after my due date I got a call from my Midwife’s office (Grow Midwifery) asking if I’d like to come in for a sweep (my second one). I practically ran out the door to see her.
She estimated I was about 2.5cm dilated (only half a cm from my previous check), but my cervix was favourable. Then she asked if I wanted to have my baby that evening. (Emphatic HELL YES.) I was given a recipe for the Midwife Cocktail and told to take it no later than 1pm. We said our goodbyes and joked that we’d see each other again around dinner time.
On my way home I gathered the cocktail ingredients (lemon verbena essential oil, thick mango juice, castor oil, and peanut butter) and chugged that nasty concoction right away. (The worst part was the burps afterwards…)
At home I felt crampy and uncomfortable from the sweep, but didn’t give it much attention as it had been my normal for the previous two weeks. I spent the afternoon at home with my husband and son, tidying the house, eating and drinking lots, making electrolyte iced tea, and bouncing on my ball.
My mom, who lives in the basement suite of our home, came home from work around 3:30 and we all relaxed together in the living room. We were watching a show and I was bouncing on my ball in discomfort when I felt the strangest sensation – a pop inside of me. Suddenly the urge to use the washroom overwhelmed me and I excused myself.
As soon as I sat on the toilet I started experiencing intense contractions. After a few minutes I texted my husband to come to me. When he arrived moments later I was visibly in pain. Although I told him (for some crazy reason) I wasn’t ready to call the midwives, he knew better after our last son’s fast and unassisted arrival and called right away.
While he was on the phone the pain became unbearable. I moved to the shower to try and find relief. Chris poked his head in while on the phone and asked if I was ready for the midwife yet. I remember screaming “YES,” wishing she could instantly be there to help guide me through the pain.
The shower wasn’t offering any relief, so I moved to my hands and knees on the bathroom floor. Chris had finished prepping our bed and brought me some water. My surges were relentless, one on top of another, and I leaned over the bathtub exclaiming to my husband “I don’t think I can do this!” repeatedly.
And then the waves intensified even more. I had three contractions back to back that made me roar in pain as my entire body surrendered. I remember looking towards my vagina and seeing my waters gush out with each surge.
Able to catch my breath, I transferred to the toilet thinking I needed to have another bowel movement. As soon as I sat down I felt pressure and reached down to touch my baby’s crowning head.
Our midwife hadn’t arrived yet and my first thought was “Oh my god, not again!” I stood up and told my husband he was going to have to catch our baby. As my contractions continued, my body began pushing baby out and I stood paralyzed, unable to control my own body.
With a powerful surge and immense pain his head came out, followed moments later by another wave and his slippery body. My husband caught our boy safely and with amazing confidence. As I sat on the bathroom floor he handed me our sweet babe and we heard his first gurgled cry. We wiped his face off and his cry became strong and clear. The sweetest relief!
Knowing our boy was safe, Chris and I looked at each other and exclaimed “What the fu*k just happened?!” We were astounded that this babe had arrived in less than half the time of his rocket brother, and we’d delivered unassisted AGAIN!
As we sat on the bathroom floor laughing in shock, our midwife Kristi arrived in the doorway shaking her head in disbelief with a smile on her face. It was so wonderful to see her and know that we were all safe in her care. Moments later our birth photographer Dori showed up.
After checking on both babe and me, Kristi asked if Chris would like to cut the umbilical cord since it had stopped pulsing. I said that I still wanted a few more pictures of the beautiful cord, so she suggested that I deliver the placenta intact! It was something that hadn’t even crossed my mind, and I’m so thankful for her thoughtful suggestion.
Once the placenta was delivered, Chris snuggled with our boy and I rinsed off in the shower. (Birth is messy!) As I snuggled into bed with baby, Tanya our other midwife arrived. We all sat together around the bed recounting the experience, trying to put the pieces and timeline together! It was decided that he had arrived in under 25 minutes (my birth records say <20 mins) from beginning of labour.
His explosive entrance was not without a little trauma though. His poor face was bruised and swollen, his head had fluid lumps, the blood vessels in his eyes popped, and I sustained a second degree tear that required stitches. But we were both healthy and well, with a wild story to share.
After babe and I were both thoroughly checked by the midwives, Chris went downstairs and got our (very excited) toddler Cian. His presence and energy was so wonderful, and he has loved his brother from the moment they met. (Somedays he loves on him a little TOO much…) Tanya and Kristi let him be part of their final checks before they went home, and Cian couldn’t stop talking about the “mudwives” for days! I’m so thankful that we’ll have these images forever to remember the day our dear boy joined us earth side.
Part of me is glad it was just Chris and I together to deliver our son (again). Even though it was a stressful situation, it was so intimate and emotional for us to experience together. I’m eternally grateful for the safe arrival of our sweet and healthy babe.
Dear Zennon, you are so loved – xo.
All photos are capture by the amazing Dori Marie Photography!