You either dive in head-first or not at all when you and your spouse decide to start a family.
Nick and I had been married for just under a year when we found out we were expecting. The timing was anything but right; my mother had been diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer 10 months prior and was quickly on the decline. We were thrilled to be able to share the news with her and she was genuinely happy for us. I still remember her sad eyes behind her smile; while she was exultant about her first grandchild, she was mourning the reality of never knowing him/her. She died March 13th, 2010. I ended up miscarrying two weeks later.
After four months of emotional recovery, we felt it was time to try again, and we conceived our first child, Edward. I went thru the ups and downs of all-day sickness, fatigue and still mourning the loss of my mother, but the little life growing inside me helped me cope with everything else. We had a vague idea of what we wanted in regards to prenatal care, labor and birth, but not a real sense of how to go about attaining our goals. I was referred to an OB just like any new mom, but after 5 months of long waits for scheduled seemingly 30-second visits, I knew this wasn’t going to work for me.
I had heard about doulas and it was at this time I started interviewing some. I met with the lovely Rhea Eady at Taloolah Café, and while I didn’t feel her personality was the right fit for me, I credit her for getting my wheels turning in the right direction. She suggested calling Midwives of Windsor to check for any availability. I came home and discussed the possibility of turning care over to a midwife with my husband, and while he wasn’t completely sold on the idea, he trusted my judgement. I called the next day and was very excited to discover that Ginger Girard-Fram had just been hired and was accepting new referrals.
For me, the difference in care was night and day. I never wanted to feel like my pregnancy was something that was “happening to me”, but rather that I was an active participant in something incredible my husband and I had started. Ginger was incredibly accommodating, and thru the next 4 months, I developed and deep respect for her knowledge and genuine friendship. She always took the time to answer any questions, and thoroughly explained any and all procedures or tests. I always had the option of declining certain things, which I appreciated.
In this timeframe, I was also continuing a search for a doula. While some women may feel they can get along without the extra support, it was really important to me to have a trained female there. I interviewed Sara Kelley a few weeks after meeting with Rhea and it was clear right from the start she was the one for me. Her and I shared the same university background (both graduates of Human Kinetics) and her previous work experience as a personal trainer ensured me that she’d be able to motivate me thru what would be the most intense work of my life!
We did all the other things new parents do to prepare, including attending prenatal education. Despite working in the medical field, I consider myself somewhat medically-averse. It was important that I found a course that focused on pregnancy and labor as a naturally occurring thing, vs. a medicalized procedure. Enter Rhea Eady and her awesome Prenatal class! Her 13-week class helped get me prepared for a natural labor and gave Nick great advice on how to help properly support me.
So, fast forward to April 16th, one day before my due date. I had been feeling wonderful in the last few weeks, having gone off on maternity leave 2 weeks prior. It was a Saturday morning and my husband and I were enjoying the beautiful day, getting breakfast ready together. I was buttering up some toast when pop! My water broke! I immediately called my doula and midwife and since labor hadn’t started, we decided it was imperative to try and get it started naturally.
So we walked. And walked. And walked some more. I spent a lot of time on my hands and knees, bouncing on a ball, using my breast pump. Ginger suggested taking castor oil to get the contractions started, but I didn’t want diarrhea or vomiting to exhaust me during what could be a very long labor. I decided against it. Everything we tried failed to bring on contractions so we were scheduled for a induction the next morning. I was somewhat discouraged since we had originally planned for a home birth, but I’m glad I took the prepared myself mentally for changes to that plan.
The induction went off smoothly: I was started on Pitocin at 7am and by 1pm I was really starting to feel contractions! The labor was fast and intense. At 6cms Ginger suggested I get into the shower to help cope with the intensity, since I had been laboring pretty much unmedicated.
I went from 6cms to 8cms in 1 hour, and then after 5 strong contractions, I got thru transition and was 10cms and ready to go!
Edward was born at 4:04pm, eyes wide open, 6lbs, 15oz and 21in long. Screamed like a banshee right from the start. He was a lazy nurser and had it not been for my doula, I doubt I would have been able to continue breastfeeding thru all the issues (cracked nipples, bad latch, engorgement…ugh). But we stuck with it.
My daughter, Odette, was born almost exactly 2 years later and her birth was completely different! I’ll revisit that experience at a later time…
Jasmine Plante is an exercise specialist by day, hooker (of the yarn variety) in her free time. Besides dabbling in photography, she is also a pianist and vocalist at her local church. She is usually found babywearing on the streets of Olde Riverside. Say hello! She doesn’t bite!