I shared my birth story over at my photography blog before I started this blog, but I realized I hadn’t shared it here, so I’m going to do that today as we recognize the superheroes that are midwives!
May 5th is International Day of the Midwife! Did you know that the word “midwife” means “with woman”? And that’s exactly how I felt going with midwives this time. I felt like they were with me, beside me, supporting me the entire time. I hadn’t gone with midwives with the twins – I just stayed with the OB I’d been with leading up to the twins, and being high risk just because it was twins and opting for a c-section I felt I needed to stay put. ALSO, if we’re being honest, I thought midwives were for more of the “crunchy” hippie type. And having not been a Mama yet, I was definitely NOT like that. (Oh how motherhood can change a person… I became more of a babywearing, cloth-diapering, co-sleeping mama as time went on) So when I ended up with midwives in my post-natal care of the twins I must say I was a bit skeptical. But quickly my mind was changed. The two ladies I had with the twins were incredibly supportive, encouraging, and helpful as they came to my home for visits and opened up new mama groups. So I knew right away when we got pregnant with Silas I wanted to be under the care of a midwifery this time. Especially since I was trying for a VBAC. But I still had my reservations at first – were they going to try to talk me out of my desire for an epidural or all the drugs? Because I was not against pain management at all. Having never been through labour, I was so scared I couldn’t handle the pain, so I wanted the drugs to still be an option and I didn’t want to feel pressured out of it. Within the first couple appointments with my midwives, I realized there wasn’t going to be any pressure. It was entirely my choice, all the way – and they were there to support me and my choices. What a relief!! From then on, I really enjoyed my appointments. I never felt rushed, rarely had to wait the lengthy waits I had been accustomed to in a doctor’s office, and felt listened to and cared for by all the staff at the midwifery.
When I started to go into labour, Nooshin was the one on call. She met me several times at the hospital to help figure out how far along I was, and in between hospital visits answered texts and questions I’d had. When labour was finally picking up and becoming more apparent it was truly time to go, it was, of course, the middle of the night. She met me at the hospital and didn’t leave my side. I remember Jason on my left holding my hand tight, caring for me and loving me through my pain and fear, but also Nooshin, holding my right hand, finding a pressure point to help alleviate a bit of my pain. She cooled my forehead with a damp cloth, and encouraged me with her supportive words and guidance. Even Jason remarked afterwards how amazing she was, and how we couldn’t imagine our experience without her.
Not pictured was Bethany who arrived at the end of Nooshin’s shift, just in time for everything to completely hit the fan. She was everything we needed in these moments as well, and we are so grateful for her and her quick response and support!
So if you are on the fence about going with a midwife – my vote is to do it. The care was amazing, the support and encouragement and empowerment that I felt in the moment – even with the ending I had – was unparalleled. THANK YOU again to my incredible midwives, and to any other midwives reading this on your day. Thank you for the work you do, thank you. <3
And now, here is the birth story I posted originally on my photography blog!
I’ve never shared a birth story before. With the twins it was all pretty straightforward… all I did was show up on my scheduled c-section date and boom – parents of two. Then of course the whirlwind of newborn twins, and who has time to document the birth story?? 😉
This time was a little different though. I was going to let my body decide what was going to happen and attempt a VBAC. Since I had never gone into labour I was considered a perfect candidate to attempt to labour – they would just consider me like a first timer. I went into it with zero birth plan, and no expectations. I had no IDEA what to expect.
So as I approached my due date I had been getting really anxious. Waiting is the hardest part, isn’t it? Friday evening we went to Costco and I figured the walking around couldn’t hurt. That evening around 9pm I noticed my braxton hicks contractions had a little bit of crampiness to them and started to time them – 10-15 minutes apart but consistent. I went to bed praying this was the start!
The next morning I woke up at 6:00am and knew these had turned into real contractions. I timed them and they were around 3-5 minutes apart – so after a while I decided to phone my midwives and find out what to do. They had me come in to check where I was at. Driving to Abbotsford from Mission was NOT my favourite thing ever! I knew I wasn’t very far along so I wasn’t surprised when they said I was only about 1cm dilated. They gave me morphine and I went home to rest.
As an aside – this was all happening on the one day I DIDN’T want it to happen on!! I really preferred that no one except my closest circle knew when I went into labour, and this Saturday was my twin nephews’ 2nd birthday – the entire family and some friends were celebrating and it was INCREDIBLY obvious when we sent my mom with my twins what was happening. But that’s ok. I was grateful for the prayers I knew people were praying for us.
That afternoon I was told this was likely prodromal labour and that this could last for days. DAYS?!! No thank you. This wasn’t super intense but it wasn’t a walk in the park either. I wanted these to progress to something more so I could meet my little boy!
That evening I went back to get more morphine in hopes of getting more rest that night. (Which, incidentally, meant ANOTHER DRIVE TO ABBOTSFORD. See above. Not my fave.) We got home around 11:30pm and I fell asleep at midnight.
I woke up thinking it had been several hours…. Wrong. It was 1:00am. It had been one hour. But suddenly these contractions were strong. And coming fast. 1-2 minutes apart. This was definitely happening. We texted the midwife and off we went. Yes… another drive to Abbotsford. This was my least favourite one!
When we arrived it was around 3:30am. My midwife Nooshin (who is the greatest EVER) checked me and I had jumped to at least a 5cm. I was finally going to be admitted and I wasn’t going to be leaving there without a baby! So I had a popsicle to celebrate!
When I first got admitted I asked when I could get an epidural, since I had heard I needed to ask early for these things! She encouraged me to try the gas first. Oh, the gas. Apparently it doesn’t work for everyone – well, it worked for me. It didn’t take away the pain of a contraction but in between I was high and a little loopy and felt okay. I was able to focus on breathing through contractions by using it.
This man. This wonderful best friend of a husband I have. He was amazing. Held my hand through every contraction and was the best support I could’ve asked for.
You guys… I was so scared! In each moment I knew I could do this, I was empowered in the moment itself but the fear of what was yet to come was overwhelming.
JJ Heller seems to be my go-to music for when I’m anxious and scared. Prior to this it was my playlist for when I was on an airplane. (I hate flying…) Something about the lyrics and the songs themselves that speak God’s truth to me and bring a peace that I can’t quite explain.
In what didn’t feel like long (I guess it wasn’t long at all – around 7:00am) I was able to start pushing. I pushed for a half an hour, and then Nooshin’s shift was over and Bethany took over for her. It was around this time that they started to try to move me in order to get Silas into a better position. He wasn’t moving into optimal pushing position. While they changed my position around, they started to have a hard time hearing his heartbeat and decided to attempt to put a scalp clip on him. His heart rate was low, or kept dropping, so they brought in the OB to make sure they had it on correctly. When he put it on Silas he realized he was definitely in distress and I needed a c-section immediately. These next moments were chaotic. So many people in the room. I was in so much pain and they let me know that the anesthetist was not available and that I would have to have this c-section under LOCAL anaesthetic. Local?! That’s not even a thing usually. Apparently this was an emergency and needed to happen NOW. It wasn’t until later that I realized how terrible that really could’ve been. However, I truly truly believe in the power of prayer and there were some HUGE prayers going up at this moment. Bethany (my super good friend who took all these photos minus the OR photos) had spoken to several people who were praying hard. When we arrived at the operating room there was an anesthetist there waiting for me to do a spinal before the cesarean. PRAISE God!!
That spinal brought me so much relief. I had been pushing for about an hour at this point and was so exhausted and just done with the pain. After some prep and some pushing and pulling and tugging (always so strange!) we heard that little squeak of a cry and Silas was here! All 8lbs 15oz of him! It turned out that his umbilical cord was just too short and he wasn’t going to come out any other way.
Breastfeeding twins was such a challenge I wasn’t sure what this would be like. While I was in recovery I was able to have skin to skin time with him and he started to breastfeed right away. I feel so blessed that I get to experience this. I’m a firm believer in a fed baby being best, however that looks and have zero regrets from the first days of my twins’ lives, but really wanted this experience for myself.
Eli and Livvie absolutely adore their baby brother. It’s been really amazing watching them get to know Silas, and step up and help with things he needs, or I need. It’s definitely been an adjustment for everyone and it’s surreal to have a new member of our family to love but it’s incredible how your heart just grows to accommodate him. I feel like my heart could burst at any moment, it is just so full.
And with that, we are a family of 5. My heart is full.
Hugest shoutout of thanks to Mission Midwifery (specifically Nooshin and Bethany who were there for me at my most vulnerable moments, but really all of them in the office along the way in this pregnancy. They are amazing.) The maternity staff at Abbotsford Regional Hospital – also amazing people who took fantastic care of me and brought me medicine lol! To Bethany for taking these photos that I absolutely treasure and for your prayers and support along the way, to my mama for taking good care of my biggest littles, and to my Jason for being in this with me and helping bring another gorgeously cute tiny human earthside.
I made a slideshow of these photos and some more to share our story. I can’t watch it without crying – I am beyond blessed and grateful for this family and these littles that God has given me to raise up.