Guest post by Jen P.
The day before my son was born I had such a mix of emotions and so much energy. I was riding my bike (which I could barely fit in between the handle bars and the seat) and attempting to clean my house, although I was having a hard time doing anything because I couldn’t focus for long enough on a task. I was anxious that I had so much “to do” but even at the time I could laugh at how, in the grand scheme of things, unimportant my to do list actually was… vacuum, wash the windows, etc. I had an acupuncture appointment booked to help with the low back pain I was experiencing in late pregnancy, but when I showed up to the appointment, I frantically said “I just need to calm down!” The acupuncturist was excellent and treated me with a round she does to prepare the body for birth and to help relax. It worked great. I slept for 10 straight hours, which was the first solid sleep I had had in weeks.
I woke up in the morning and right away noticed some stronger contractions. I didn’t think I was actually going into labour, but thought I should have a good breakfast just in case it was later that day. The contractions were coming on every 3-5 minutes and made me stop and breathe through them. At this point, I called my husband, mom and doula just to let them know I was having some contractions in case I went into labour. I was home with my 3 year old daughter and I made us some breakfast and then we played quietly with her toys. She was very understanding when I needed to stop and breathe through each contraction and the ponies had to wait until I was finished.
Soon after, I called my husband and said the contractions were every 2 minutes, but I wasn’t sure if he needed to come home yet or not. He said he was on his way. Our doula also came around the same time. Meanwhile I got into the bathtub with my daughter, just to relax and get ready for the long day of labour. I figured I wanted to be well fed and rested to be prepared for the physical, mental, and emotional demands of what was to come.
I told her that we were going to have the baby today and shortly after she returned with a baby blanket and said, “Okay, I have a blanket ready for baby.”
The day was cloudy and rainy, the house was warm and quiet. We were all busy preparing, I was focusing on my breathing, my daughter was playing quietly and helping the adults, my husband and doula were setting up the birthing tub and making snacks and drinks. I just walked around the house trying different positions as I watched what they were doing and got nice back rubs and words of encouragement. My husband and I lay down in bed and he told me that on his drive back into town there was a rainbow over all of Squamish. The image was so beautiful, I could feel it in my whole body and immediately after, my contractions picked up into full intensity. I threw up a couple of times which was actually not too bad, it just relieved some nausea I was experiencing with the intensity of the contractions. I slowly crawled to the sunroom where they had set up the birthing tub, keeping my voice low and steady.
The tub was still filling as I climbed in. The water was just up to my hips. As soon as I settled into the warm water, I had the longest, most relaxing break I had had since the intensity and speed of the contractions had really picked up. I closed my eyes and breathed deeply and slowly into the rest I was granted. Right after, I had two of the strongest contractions yet and then I could feel my body bearing down. It was such an amazing feeling. From my ribs down, my muscles were involuntarily pushing, spiraling toward my pelvis.
The pushing felt good. The pain of the intense contractions subsided and the strength of my body and the muscles took over. It was a feeling of real accomplishment and power. I was so surprised to hear that my baby’s head was crowning. I immediately told my husband to go and get my daughter from the other room.
My husband held her in his arms and pointed to the baby’s head, she jumped down from his arms and came to the edge of the birthing tub to watch. I looked out the window and noticed the rain coming down hard. Later my husband told me it really only thundered down as I was pushing and as the baby was being born. It was powerful, yet cleansing and calm. I gave one more good push, guided by my body and encouraged by our doula, and the baby’s body came out easily. The pain and contractions were gone immediately. I felt light, almost like I was floating. As our doula delivered the baby, she rocked him gently under the water a couple of times when he came out. She guided me to turn over from my knees to sitting as she placed the baby on my chest. I asked her what I had to do next, which she gently and sweetly replied, “nothing, just enjoy your baby.” And enjoy our baby we did! My husband, daughter and I admired our new baby boy and we all had a good laugh. It was one of those beautiful and magical moments in life that I will always cherish and be grateful for. Our baby sputtered a bit, but was very calm and didn’t cry, he just nuzzled up to my chest as he gently cleared his airway. I kissed him a bunch of times then carefully climbed out of the tub and into a nearby bed to warm up. Our whole family cuddled up in bed and admired the baby. I started nursing him soon after and he latched on quickly. The midwives came to deliver the placenta and check out the baby and me. Everything went perfectly. The birth energy was beautiful. My mom and mother-in-law arrived surprised to see the baby already. We all sat around for hours in the sunroom drinking tea and eating snacks, enjoying each other’s company and getting to know our new baby boy.