In this blog, I am going to share a positive story of a home birth with Alberta Midwives.
As a maternity and newborn photographer, I hear MANY birth stories, including hospital births, c-sections, home births, and birthing centres. This is an amazing part of the newborn session… hearing mothers tell me their experiences. All of the birth stories I listen to are different. Many have a challenge at some point: from a birth plan that was thrown out the window, to being sent home from the hospital only to end up having the baby in the hallway. I have heard countless emergency c-sections, inductions, and many unexpected hiccups. But no matter the process, the baby arrives with love.
Every birth story is unique, just like you.
Did we face adversity in 2020 or what? Particularly in hospitals. Here in Alberta, there was a short time when women were having to give birth alone in the hospital with no support person. Add to that everyone around them in Hazmat suits, labouring in a mask, and other factors leading to heightened stress, many women turned to midwives, and explored at home births.
While this can be scary, it is also an incredible way to welcome your new baby into the world. In 2020, a hospital birth was not an option for first time parents, Kendall and Mark. Instead they opted for a midwife with the birth to take place at a birthing centre. Kendall searched Alberta Midwives online, Mark asked friends and family for recommendations, and Kendall checked online motherhood groups for families willing to share their experiences.
Kendall and Mark chose a midwife, and the planning began.
Despite not being able to hold down a lot of food in the first trimester, Kendall’s pregnancy went as expected. Regular visits with the midwife kept her informed, and they were able to monitor their baby’s growth.
Just before her 30 week midwife appointment, Kendall discussed with Mark the possibility of a water birth rather than in the birthing centre. She was worried that a room might not be available, and was open to the idea of a home birth. Her husband Mark needed some convincing as he had been reading statistics about home births needing to be transferred to the hospital and was worried about this possibility.
Their midwife sat down with them and explained in detail how safe and natural the process is. She went over the benefits to both baby and mother, and how Mark would have the option of being more involved. The midwife had a look at where the pool would go in their home, and he was on board.
Mark ordered the pool, and it arrived during the 38th week.
Kendall’s expected due date came and went, but she was showing no signs of anything happening. She and Mark went out for dinner that evening, and a long walk the next day, trying not to feel anxious. The day after that, she started to feel some cramping and some mild contractions. Kendall called her midwife who instructed her to keep track of the frequency and intensity. Still being mild, Kendall and Mark went to sleep that night. She woke at 4:30 a.m. to more intense contractions. She thought she would try to go as long as she could before calling the midwife, and then things started to progress fast. Her contractions were coming every 1-2 minutes and lasting for 1-2 minutes.
Kendall called the midwife, and she asked the questions to determine the stage Kendall was at – how she was feeling, if her waters had broken, and if she wanted the midwife to come. All of the answers indicated yes. The midwife arrived and examined Kendall, while Mark started to fill the birthing pool and setting up the birth space.
When examined, Kendall was 9 cm dilated and she felt the need to push. Mark had everything ready to go. The pool was full, their playlist on, dim lighting, and it was time for Kendall to get into the water. It was warm, and eased her pain. Mark poured water on her back, stroked her hair while saying encouraging words, helping her with breathing. Her midwife was so positive, telling her she could do it, and checking her progress. Kendall laboured in and out of the pool for three hours, feeling the most comfort in the water. Finally, during an intense contraction with a big push, her little boy’s head came through. Everyone cheered and said one more big push to get his body out. He arrived and the midwife told Kendall to raise him up through her legs, and onto her chest.
Relief, disbelief, and joy. These are the words Kendall and Mark used to describe those moments. They stayed in the pool another 10 minutes or so for skin to skin contact and then Mark cut the cord. After getting out of the pool, Kendall passed their son to Mark for some skin on skin contact, while she was set up on the couch to deliver the placenta. The midwife checked Kendall for tearing (none!). The midwife stayed and made Kendall some toast and something to drink, and helped them clean up. Cohen was weighed and was 8 pounds, 2 ounces! The new family was able to FaceTime their loved ones to announce Baby Cohen’s arrival from the comfort of home.
Kendall and Mark had a beautiful experience welcoming him. Congratulations to their family!
If you are considering a home birth with the option of delivering at an Edmonton area birthing centre, contact the Alberta Association of Midwives, and see www.alberta-midwives.ca.
While you’re here, check out my Edmonton and area newborn photography, and let’s chat about capturing your journey into motherhood!