I haven’t shared a birth story of any of my previous births, however, I felt compelled to write this one out and share. So here it is. The photos were a collection of effort of myself, Travis and Halle.
I started the day, July 20th, a Thursday, feeling a little… off, tired, different. Feeling like I could not manage my four kids on the hour drive to the city, up a flight of stairs, to see our midwife that day at 3pm. The noise, the travel, just the energy it takes to move a seven, four and two two year olds from point A to point B. I wasn’t sure, but my body was telling me it was too much, and I shouldn’t go.
I decided to lay down at our “quiet time”, I put that lightly because it’s never really that quiet around here. I was able to rest for an hour but still felt I needed to stay home, so I cancelled our appointment to see the midwife. Contractions slowly started at 2pm, 15 minutes apart.
At 3pm, when our scheduled appointment was suppose to be, the kids climbed into our bed with a movie on Netflix, I knew would please all ages. I told Halle, who is seven that I was in labour and everyone being quiet and watching the movie was the best thing for me at that time. By 3:15pm contractions were 3-6 minutes apart and mild. I did instruct Travis, my husband to come home from work, and to bring supper, because I didn’t think I’d be cooking this evening.
Labouring over my bathroom sink, and in and out of the bath, I’d walk into the bedroom and look at them all sitting on my bed, with the heaping bowls of animal crackers they helped themselves to, fully taking advantage of no food in mom and dad’s bed rule, and I remember thinking, this is how a mom of soon to be five labours. With her children. At home. Managing. It seemed fine. It seemed right.
As right as it seemed however, I didn’t expect this. We assumed I would labour in the night, like most moms of many do. I was certain at this time, although contractions were 3-6 minutes, I would give birth tonight, when the house was quiet. I just had some hours of labouring ahead of me and I didn’t like the idea of that. Our midwife knew I was labouring but I didn’t want her to come and spend time waiting around for me to have this baby. We decided if things changed, if contractions got longer, they were about 20 seconds at this time she’d start the 45 minute to 1 hour drive to our house. I think at some point, my words told her, even though I wasn’t sure of it, that this baby was coming and she started the drive out.
Travis, my husband, came home as the movie ended and the kids attention turned to bed jumping and climbing on me. He took the three little ones to do the evening chores while Halle stayed with me. I instructed him to be back in at 5pm to check on how things were progressing. At ten after five, seeing him out the window feeding goats and the pig, I sent a text telling him to get the kids to grandmas, thankfully a one minute drive away, and get in here. This was a change. I knew at this point, the way the contractions felt, I needed to run a bath to deliver my baby. I ran the tub as I watched the farm truck speed down the driveway. Come back and speed down the driveway again. He had forgotten the pizza he had gotten the kids for supper.
Halle, who is seven had planned at being at the birth for months, and she did exactly as we had discussed. She told me how good I was doing. She reminded me to open my throat and make low noises when I wasn’t. She rubbed my back and placed towels on the edge of the tub for my comfort, without even being asked. Travis rushed in, calmly, ready to labour and have this baby. I could tell my his demeanour he didn’t know this baby was coming, now.
After getting off the phone with the midwife he told me I could lay in bed, to slow things down. I knew that wasn’t actually possible at this point. I do believe I answered him with a disbelieving, “yeah, f-ing right”. I leaned over the edge of the tub and felt the head crowning. Something I could feel but also envision because of the many births I have witnessed and photographed. I feel the ‘crowning phase’ was over almost as fast as it started and I reacted by attempting those low noises that we talked about and Halle reminded me to do, but struggled to do so. My eyes tightly closed, I could hear encouragement from Halle and Travis telling me to relax, to breathe. I said repeatedly, with what energy I could put towards speaking, “the baby is coming”, knowing they weren’t getting what I was saying.
As we learned confirmed, they didn’t realize the urgency of these statements and in fact “the baby is coming” meant, now, not soon. The next contraction, my whole body pushed without consciously pushing. Just trying to survive the moments, and I delivered his head unbeknown to my onlookers. Because of how I leaned over the tub and the attention turning to Halle who was worried about her mom, Travis held her hand reassuring her that everything was okay. I let them know “the head is out”, again with as much energy as I could use to speak, but then focused my attention now on the baby. I had a moment where I felt and rubbed it’s head, able to relax. I felt joy. I could breathe. Anticipate. I told Travis “you have to catch the baby”. I’m not sure again, whether he knew the urgency and assumed yes he might just have to, later, when the baby came.
He did tell me his attention was out the window, focused on our long lane, praying the midwife would arrive. Well that didn’t happen quite soon enough and he may then have realized, when I said “baby was coming”, it meant baby was coming, NOW, because with the next contraction he was delivered into the bath and with much surprise Travis reached down in the tub and pulled out his baby, who instantly let out his first cry at 5:40pm. Passing him to me, I will never forget that moment, we both held him. The shock on his face and the joy on mine. Halle right next to us, I’m sure feeling a bit of relief.
We sat a few minutes and recalled what just happened and waited for the midwife. Adrenaline and joy and a little bit of disbelief. The midwives arrived shortly after giving us, especially Travis, assurance that everything is okay and going to be fine. The midwife retrieved the IUD buried deep in the placenta that lived in-utero with the baby the entire pregnancy, proof that this little soul was meant to be here in my arms.
A couple hours later the little ones came back, ungracefully crawling over the bed, big grins on everyone’s faces, to meet the newest member of the family – Monty Mitchell Hobbs.
This pregnancy, this birth, this baby has forced me to grow in so many ways. In learning that we may have the reigns and we can guide in the direction we hope to go, but sometimes things happen, and it’s how we handle what life gives us that really matters. This experience, becoming pregnant with an IUD (six in one thousand chance) and the reality of adding a fifth to our tribe. Learning that it can not simply be taken out (much smaller percentage). Deciding to keep the IUD in and have a pregnancy where there was a day to day worry about miscarriage or preterm labour. And a birth finally at home, in my bathtub, with Halle and Travis at my side, all seems almost, unbelievable, now that he is here. The support during the pregnancy and now since this little soul has blessed us, I wonder somedays if I am worthy of such love. Whether this was all meant to be, or this is just how life is… either way, I am truly grateful for this experience, this life and this new addition to our family.
I am so grateful for the midwifery care in Alberta and the care I received from Mia, Heather and Jenna from Beginnings Midwifery Care. Thank you. xx