From the City...
I’ve been meaning to write Theo’s birth story for quite some time now, primarily as a way to remember it for myself but also for little Theo. Something for him to someday read that will possibly shed light into his parents unwavering love and support for each other during our life’s most transformative experience. So what better time than to write this than on Theo’s first birthday, today, March 22.
As my due date came and went, I honestly thought baby might never come out. Being on the tail end of three other babies born around the same time as Theo, I was aching to get going. I awoke many a nights with light cramping and swore up and down that I’d be in labor by the morning but alas, nothing. Nine days past my due date, at an appointment with my midwife, we went ahead and scheduled my induction date at the hospital for Saturday. Knowing that an induction meant no home birth, and likely no natural birth, it was hard to hear but just gave me the motivation to get labor going on my own. I bounced for hours on a ball, ate Indian food and walked for what felt like miles but what really did it was a powerful castor oil smoothie.
I made and drank the whole smoothie at 9 am the next day and then Simon and I packed up and went to the hospital for our 41st week ultrasound, which I wanted nothing to do with. I was miserable and unimpressed and after the ultrasound as I waddled to the car Simon cheerily offering to take me out for lunch, I snarled at him to take me home and leave me alone. Poor guy.
Within an hour of getting home as I lay on the couch, I felt like I had to pee, I waddled to the washroom and experienced a huge gush. My water had broken. It was game time. We called our midwife and our doula but I assured them that I was far off and fine, assuming that I had a long haul ahead of me. I also think deep down, I didn’t really think this was happening. Almost immediately I started to experience contractions. To get things going, Simon and I went for a walk down the street. I realized though that I couldn’t go far so we walked home stopping every once and awhile so I could grip onto Simon and pant through the contractions which were quickly becoming painful.
Our doula Viviana knew that I was further along than I had thought was so when we called her again she was already packed and out the door. When she arrived, I was in pain but it still seemed manageable, no longer could I talk through contractions though, they had become something I needed to focus on to get through. As I was laboring Simon set out snacks for everyone and went and got popsicles, which I was craving. Viviana and Simon took turns rubbing my back and holding me up as I labored. Surprisingly though, I enjoyed spending the majority of my time by myself, laboring in the bathroom or the bedroom, eyes closed, quietly moaning and chanting to myself.
After about two hours of laboring, Simon and I got into the shower to relieve some of the pain. At this point I was starting to question my ability to have baby at home. The pain was so intense and I was already feeling worn out. I was assuming that I’d have another 10-12 hours ahead of me.
It was a good thing Viviana was keeping track of my contractions because if it were up to Simon and I we would have never known when to call the midwives. After about two and half hours of laboring, my midwife Cindy was called. At this point, the arrival of Cindy and her student is almost entirely a blur. I simply remember the relief that they were here which meant that I had to be getting closer to giving birth.
When Cindy checked my cervix, I was 6cm. I remember being heartbroken. I thought, how am I ever going to get to 10cm??? It’s not possible. Cindy encouraged Simon and I to get back in the shower to try and relieve some of the pain. Within 15 minutes of showering, I was feeling the urge to push. It was almost unbearable. I swear I could feel his little head powering down. Cindy had me squat on a birthing stool where she quickly realized that this baby was coming and not messing around so off the stool and onto the bed to try and slow things down until the secondary midwife arrived. It was during this time that the contractions were so intense and so painful, which I later found out was attributed to a doozey case of back labor, that it was all I could do to get through them. Lucky for me I had this amazing team consisting of students (2 in total) my amazing encouraging doula Viviana, my confident midwife Cindy and my Simon, who lovingly stroked my head and held my hand.
When our second midwife Corinne arrived, there was no stopping this little baby from coming. He may have been almost two weeks late but there was no way he was going to be late for his big party. Within five minutes of Corinne’s arrival, little baby boy Theo was placed on my chest, pink and crying. He was lovely and perfect. Simon and I stared at him in total amazement.
Happy birthday to our little Tanky, our greatest and best adventure yet.