Dear Eli, The story of your birth
The story of your birth told from your mom:
Dominic Boire - your father
Barbara Sriver - primary midwife
Jenna Craig- second midwife
Sonya Duffee - Doula extraordinaire
Around 11:30 pm on Sunday April 24th, I went to the bathroom and noticed I had lost part of my mucous plug and some amniotic fluid. Shortly thereafter I began to have contractions. Around 1:30 I woke up your father and told him. My contractions we already 6 minutes apart 45 seconds in length. I texted both our doula Sonya and midwife Barb.
Sonya agreed to come over in the morning. Around 5:30am, having not slept that great dad and I figured it would be good for me to have something to eat and just rest. I was instructed oatmeal would be a good choice. I ate a bowl and went back to bed. Not even 10 minutes after I laid down, I felt the desire to vomit. I sprung out of bed trying to make it to the bathroom and I vomited everywhere! Carpet, curtains, bedspread, pillows. Nothing was safe. Your dad was so great and took it like a champ and got everything cleaned up. I went back to bed to rest until Sonya arrived.
She said Barbara would come and check on us later in the afternoon if things don't progress before then.
Dad and I did end up going to see the midwife Barbara at her office around 4pm. We were still having some contractions. She checked my blood pressure and it was good. She also measured my belly and measured from my pubic bone to the top of my uterus. It was 37.5cm which was larger than the week before. I was surprised by this because you had dropped a lot and started to make a lot of room, your bum was no longer at the top and your feet were no longer kicking me in the ribs. While we're at the midwife she mentioned there is a drink that we could drink that will help start labour's intensity. We had to go and pick up one of the needed ingredients at the Italian centre nearby. As soon as we got home we made it and then I drank it around 5:30pm when we got home. I also tried to eat some almonds and drink water. I wasn't able to keep any food or anything down, but the drink did have some protein in it, so I was grateful for that. As Barb had predicted the contractions started again around 6.30pm. Dad was starting to get pretty concerned and uncomfortable and the contractions were starting to get closer and closer. Dom did contact Sonya for here to come over to provide some support.
When Dom originally contacted her she was actually out getting groceries and would come over right afterwards. She managed to come around 7.30pm and the contractions where about 45 seconds long and just under 5 minutes apart. We all stayed in the living room and worked on having the contractions there. While we're at the midwife office dad noticed a birthing stool and asked if we could borrow, which I'm really grateful we got it because I used it a lot as the contractions progressed. I would sit on the stool and the rest my head on a yoga ball. Just after 8pm my water broke while I was on the stool. Good thing we had towels under the stool. Water continued to gush out for the next 20 minutes. I went to the washroom as during the birthing process my body cleaned itself out. When I got back to the living room I vomited into a bowl the concoction taken to help progress the birth, this was now around 8.30pm. We stayed upstairs until Barb came over as the contractions were getting more intense and closer together.
Barb showed up closer to 9pm. We brought everything we had in the living room down stairs and we continued down there for about 30 minutes before we started to fill the birthing tub for me to go in. I really enjoyed the birthing tub as it reduced the pressure, I was mostly on my hands and knees and your dad would put pressure on my lower back during the contractions. I started to feel like I wanted to push so Barb check my cervix to make sure it was fully dilated so that I could start to push. Turns out cervix was only 3 to 4 cm dilated and you had turned sunny side up and were really far back towards my back.
I'll be really honest with you when Barb told me this my heart sank and I wanted to quit. I wanted to go to the hospital and get some medical intervention. Luckily Barb had a pretty frank conversation with me and I had a decision to make on what I need to do next, with the support of the team I decided to continue and stay strong. Bard told me that I would need to eventually get out of the tub and onto the bed so that I could lay in a position that would help you turn into proper position. That is what we did, the contractions were getting stronger and closer together, they were about 1.5 minutes apart and 45 seconds long. I was really amazed with myself because somehow I managed to relax through these really intense contractions and you eventually helped me and turned into proper position. My cervix also became fully dilated and it was around 10 pm.
I went back into the pool to go and push you out. I laid really low and had my hands up on the side of the pool for support, you dad was at my head holding my hands and reading the positive affirmation we had hung up in the room. Barb kept on checking me and the progress I was making. Around 10.30pm I actually felt you head as you were almost ready to come out. This gave me a second wind and the energy to finish and get to hold you in my arms. By 11 pm you were really close and Barb could see your head getting ready to come out and by 11.37 you were born. You head came out on one contraction and we waited for your shoulders to come out on the contraction after that.
Barb passed you through my legs under water into you Dad’s arms and then I quickly grabbed you. I then laid my my back against the tub and held you skin to skin. I eventually looked to see if you were a boy or a girls. It took you a little bit of time before you started to breathe and make noise. Barb continued rub you back and eventually you started to make noises, but we could tell you still had stuff in your lungs. It took several minutes before you were screaming and it was clear most of your lungs were clear.
Turns out your dad's prediction was right and you were a boy. Your dad actually thought you were going to be a baby boy before I even took a pregnancy test. He also picked you name when I was about 15 weeks pregnant. Throughout the night your dad was keeping your Aunty Dawn and Grandma posted on the progress of the birth so that they could pray for us that everything goes well. Turns out your mom let your great Grandma Boire know and she contacted the nuns in Toronto to pray for us. Your dad was also having a texting battle with Grandma Sharon because she thought you were going to be a girl. By you being a boy your dad was given two bottles of port, one from Papa Ron and the second from Uncle Dustin.
Back to your birth story... Eventually the umbilical cord stopped throbbing and your dad cut it. I kept you on my chest for a little while and just really enjoyed holding you, I was still in a state of shock and overwhelmed by what my body had just experienced. But it was pretty clear in your dad's eyes how much he loved you and was excited to touch you. I then transitioned into starting to be time to deliver the placenta so you dad got to hold you while I did that. He was pretty excited and got to really connect with you, when he held you, you started to calm down and breathe better. He got to experience your skin change color change to a nice healthy pink color. Even though I did want him too he brought you for a quick tour of the house as he got some more towels for me.
I was a little jealous how he was able to hold you for so long while I was delivering the placenta. I was really struggling with it and we tried many different things. We started in the tub, then moved to the shower and then finally to the bed and it still wasn't coming out. While I was on the bed I did get to hold you while I tried to breast feed you. You latched on right away and I was so grateful.
Eventually while I was on the bed the placenta did come out. Turns out it was the biggest placenta the midwives had ever seen, that's why I think it took so long to come out. I gave you back to your dad while I went for a shower and cleaned up. While in the shower I passed several large blood clots, when I was done I went back to bed and Barb stitched me back up for a smaller tear I had on my left side. It seemed like everything that hurts happened on my left side with my pregnancy with you, I had hip issues, I was sore on my left. It was the side that your back was on, my right side was the one that would get abused by you kicking it all the time.
After Barb was done stitching me up your dad and her measured your head which was 35cm around and your length which was 20.75 inches long and your weight which you were 9 lbs and 1 ounce. I then got to hold you and tried to breast keep you again as the midwife gave your vitamin K shot. The midwifes needed to fill out some paper work and Sonya cleaned up and by 3am every one was gone and your dad and I and you slept in the basement for the night. We tried just butting you in a crib beside the bed but you wouldn't settle down and kept on letting out two cries and then stop. Your dad wasn't going to be able to sleep with that so he grabbed you but two blankets around you and but you between him and I. You the quickly fell asleep and slept until 10am. Your dad and I were really grateful when they how calm of a baby you are and how well you slept, we could talk right beside you and you slept like a champ.
Later that day you got to meet your Grandma Sharon and Papa Ron and then your sister Lily and Jon and Steph. Barb also stopped by to see how you are doing and answer any questions your dad and I had. The next day you got to meet your Pere Don and memere Collette and talk on the phone to your Auntie dawn who gave some helpful advice to dad and I.
Midwives Jenna Craig, Barbara Schriver and your Dad looking on your weight
Special thank you for sharing your birth story with us
Past Full Circle client, Megan Boire whose doula was Sonya.
New Edmonton Magazine
We are so excited to share this new magazine with you geared towards new parents from the lovely and talented Lorraine Stephanyshyn from Lorraine Marie Fotography and contributors all over Alberta.
Inspired Magazine is the passion project of local photographer,
Lorraine Stephanyshyn, and local writer Athena Raypold. Lorraine Marie Fotography photographs newborns, babies, and families in the Edmonton area using a photojournalistic “Day in the Life” style, and Athena writes about her love of food, cooking, and community at The Salty Almond in addition to working as a freelance writer. Between Lorraine’s photography and Athena’s writing and page design skills, they make up the team behind Inspired, a motherhood magazine that exclusively features local, independent businesses and writers that serve young families.
The first issue of Inspired, was an advertorial magazine that Lorraine funded completely. It featured advertorial articles by local businesses that were complemented by Lorraine’s photography. Since its inception, however, the magazine has evolved from strict marketing piece to legit local magazine. Lorraine's goal is publish Inspired quarterly, each issue themed toward a different stage of childhood and, thus, motherhood. The first issue of Inspired was a newborn guide, the Fall issue is baby themed (3 months to 15 months).
Because she values the local economy, every advertisement and sponsored article will promote a local, independent business and every article will be written by a local writer or blogger, featuring relevant and researched topics. For Inspired’s Baby issue, she has writers contributing articles on exercising with baby, babies and play/development, teaching babies emotional regulation, sleep training, introducing solids, discipline and babies, breastfeeding, and mom wars. Each issue will address topics specific to the theme’s age group, allowing the magazine to appeal to parents with children of all ages.
You can check out her website here: www.lorraine-marie.com
There are a few locations which the magazine can be picked up at and Full Circle office is one of them! Be sure to check out this magazine, next time you are by for a visit.
Ironically, I encourage my doula families to take the time to write down their birth stories while it is still fresh and new in their memory.
Life has a way of getting ahead on you in the busy moments of tending to a newborn, chasing toddlers, caring for the young child and all the activities that having young teenagers bring. It is easy to say it will get done, tomorrow.
Almost twenty two years later, I am finally taking the time to do this for myself and to share the moment this little one made me a mama.
To be honest, I struggle with putting words to paper and it is not an easy task for me. I contemplated writing her story many times over the years, but with the busy years of homeschooling, working, running a midwifery and doula practice, getting certifications and managing a family, consumed me and the years went by. It's true what they say, years do go by quickly, almost in a blink of an eye.
We welcomed our first born daughter into our arms almost twenty two years ago on April 21, 1995 at 8:37 AM on a bright and beautiful Friday morning.
I remember the very moment of sitting in a cafe with my friend Michele, who had happened to be my maid of honour in my wedding a few months back. Michael had been talking about wanting to have a baby and I was contemplating, should we or should we wait.
We had been together for a few years and it seemed that it was the natural progression in our relationship together, but were we ready to become parents? Michele was against the idea and practical in her mindset of waiting until we were more established and secure.
Obviously, we threw caution to the wind excited to be parents, resorting to the fact we'd figure it out if it happened and decided to see what the universe provided for us.
Low and behold, we conceived shortly afterwards.
It was summer when we conceived. Strangely, my husband, Michael sensed I was pregnant, even before I really knew. I was still in denial, although the symptoms were definitely there and I knew, I wanted the extra reassurance at the first pregnancy test.
It has been interesting to me that for some families, when a new life begins another passes on.
Over the years of being a birth worker, I have witnessed this many times amongst many of the families I have attended. I am not sold on the fact that it is just coincidence.
Sadly, earlier on in my pregnancy, my father became quite ill and was diagnosed with brain and lung cancer with numerous tumours.
The time I spent with him in the hospital made me realize that I was not comfortable with the idea of having my baby being born there.
I remember the conversations Michael and I had discussing birth options and the anxiety I felt about being in the hospital with little control of who was present and what was being done to me, proceeded the idea of giving birth. A few weeks after getting pregnant, Michael ran into a friend of ours who recently had a home birth and raved about the care she received and her experience. We went over for dinner where she proceeded to share her birth photos and story with me, I knew instantly that this is what I wanted and moved on to finding our midwife to have our baby in the comfort of our own home.
It was 1995 in Calgary, Alberta. Midwifery was not regulated.
I called the only midwife available and chatted with her over the phone and immediately set up a consultation. At our visit, we both felt at ease and felt we were in good hands and proceeded to secure our home birth with her. At that time the fee was $1000.00. I was working as a nanny and taking care of an 86 year old senior who was mostly bedridden and working part time as a florist, Michael was working odd jobs in carpentry. Our finances were beyond tight, but thankfully we managed to pulled it all together.
My guess date was April 20 and I didn't give much thought to it.
I had stayed up late that evening watching T.V. I distinctly remember the ER episode, included a horrific childbirth scene and regretted my choice before strolling into bed at 11:00pm. Michael had to work late, he was putting in hardwood flooring for a client and wanted to get it completed before baby arrived, he strolled in around midnight. I remember this because just as he drifted off to sleep I was awoken by cramps, contractions started immediately after.
I tried going to sleep but couldn't. So I slipped quietly into the living room and called my mom. I wanted to share my excitement and nervousness with someone and I just wanted to hear her my mother's voice and get her reassurance.
I figured I would try to get through as much of labour as I could before waking Michael. I remember my midwives emphasizing that you never know how long labour could go on for, so I chose to let him sleep.
My friend, Michele mentioned I could call her at any hour and she would come by. I thought her company would help me. She arrived within a few minutes, I was in hands and knees moaning through the contractions. My back was beginning to ache. She placed her hands above my back and provided me with Reiki at the same time of the contraction.
Waves of nausea were rolling through me and the intensity increased, we had thought about going for a walk, but at that point I realized I just wanted to be left alone. I gently broke the news to Michele who understood. After she left, I decided to hop in the shower and this point the contractions were coming about every 5- 7 minutes or so it felt like, I was not in a state to time then, I didn't feel I was getting much of a break in between them and as soon as I gathered my thoughts another would seem to begin.
My tolerance of Michael sleeping was wearing thin,
I was becoming more annoyed that Michael was sleeping while I was in a great deal of discomfort and pain. I woke him up, demanding he get me some water. To this day he swears he leaped out and ran to the tap to get my glass of water, but to me it felt like an eternity of waiting.
I moved from the shower to our bed, my back was killing me and nothing was helping me. Waves of nausea returned and I regurgitated the last night's supper..
We had called the midwives earlier but they just disregarded my call and said to keep doing what I was doing. I remember feeling annoyed that they weren't coming.
By now it was about 5:00 AM in the morning of April 21. The wooden massage balls were firmly pressed behind my back as I sit on the toilet ramming my back deeper into the massager, "please go get your sledge hammer", I pleated with Michael, the tension in my back and bones were unbearable and I remember feeling like if only they would break apart, would I feel relief. He obviously refused my request, I crawled to the bedroom floor urging him to call the midwives again. This time they said they were on their way.
My primary midwife arrived at 6:00 AM. My contractions were every 2 minutes lasting about 45-65 seconds long in length at that time the records indicate that I was 4 cm dilated. and 90% effaced. I was already beginning to feel pressure and was urged not to give it any effort and to breathe as much as I could.
I remember feeling frustrated that no matter how hard I tried to control it, my body continued to bear down. At this point I was on all fours and the midwife was setting up and Michael was beginning to pump the pool up. I called for Wendy, but she most likely was on the phone with her second midwife Sharyne Fraser, Michael came in her place and attempted to breath with me. His tone threw me off and I had a hard time getting into it, for some reason when Wendy breathed with me, her voice became like a tunnel that I could move through and it was easier to breathe and centre myself.
Looking back I feel bad that Michael attempted to comfort me but obviously he didn't have the tools or resources to know how to help and ended up being the observer through most of it. I mostly didn't want to be touched or coddled, I just needed space to get down to my work.
It was comforting knowing he was there and that was enough at that time. To this day, he feels that although it was an honour to be there and of witness, the real work is that of the mother and women tending to women. I think he just felt out of his element.
7:00 AM Second midwife Sharyne Fraser arrives with coffee in hand. Wendy and her are in the living room setting up.
At 7:45 AM I was checked again and found now to be 7-8 cm dilated, the anterior part of the cervix was swollen. Thankfully that resolved quickly as I move into the tub which is situated in our living room. Michael sitting by the side of the tub, unsure how to help me. After my first contraction in the tub my water spontaneously breaks.
8:15 AM I am fully dilated and begin pushing spontaneously in the hands and knees position
8:30 AM Karen Robb, the student midwife walks in and comments how lovely it is to be able to eat and grab a coffee before coming and thanks me for the lovely morning birth. I move from hands and knees to laying against the birth wall. The contractions are like waves one after the other and I am getting little break. I recall looking at Michael and saying in a quick exhausted breath, " we are never doing this again" ( he calls this the Linda Blair pea soup moment, I call this transition)
With one huge push at 8:37 AM, Sara grabs the mirror to show my progress and without much thought, I push the whole baby out in one contraction. Michael and Wendy together surprisingly caught off guard, catch the baby and Michael brings her up to my chest. Everyone in the room, including my self remarked how quickly she arrived. I am completely overwhelmed with what just happened and catch my breath as Michael kisses my forehead and greets our little one.
I placed her in-between my legs and admired her perfect little body and face as she gleamed up at me and Michael. not knowing about the strong determined woman she would become.
We named her Arie McKenna and she weighed 6 pounds, 10 ounces.
I spent many days and nights looking into my sweet little baby's eyes and wondered what kind of person she would become, what she would be like, where would life take her and what passions and pursuits she would strive for, as she set forth on her own path. The intensity of knowing that I was just given the biggest gift in the world made me question my own ability to parent and be everything I wanted to be for her, a good mother, teacher and mentor for her, these thoughts would sometimes consume me. For the first time in my life looking at my daughter made me want to be the best I could be for her.
Along the way, as she grew and evolved into the person she was designed to be, we had our joys, giggles, challenges and struggles and many head butting moments of disagreement.
Many times I felt like I was failing as her mother as she has challenged me every step of the way, but through it all, she taught me so much about love and took me to my core, learning about myself, who I was and ultimately influenced my life for the better.
I am grateful for her and for the lessons I have learnt over the years.
Michael, Sonya and Arie at approximately 2 weeks old.
There is one poem that I feel represents and reminds me of what being a parent is all about. I would like to share with you this wisdom, may it remind you that our children come through you, but are not you. .
On Children Kahlil Gibran
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.
Aaylas Birth Story: a home birth
My first son was born 10 days before his his EDD weighing 5lbs 11oz. I had prodromal labour for a week leading up to his birth and delivered him vaginally with an epidural and forceps delivery (Including an episiotomy). He spent four days in the NICU for low blood sugar and jaundice.
My second son was born 8 days past his EDD weighing 8 lbs 9 oz. labour was induced via cervadil and later with pitocin after an epidural. He was also born vaginally with second degree tearing. We were home within 24 hours.
Both recoveries were ok, not horrible but definitely had their painful moments. One distinct thing I can remember was the absolute throbbing headache I had after pushing each baby out, eight minutes with the first and twenty minutes with the second. My neck and eyes had burst blood vessels and my head was throbbing after each. In addition I hated the swelling and side affects from the epidural.
When I got pregnant with my third baby I knew I wanted to do things differently. I wanted an easier recovery and a more enjoyable birth. I wanted a drug free birth.
"My first step was to hire a doula. I knew my husband could support me, after all he had done it twice already, but I really wanted him to know how and what to do in a non-epidural situation.'
If we're being honest he took a lot of naps during the first two labours. I got in touch with a friend who is a doula and after meeting with her we mutually agreed it would be a great fit! Throughout my pregnancy my doula got me in touch with a lot of information and reading material to prepare me for natural child birth (Childbirth without fear, Birthing from within, hypnobirthing and more). The more I read the more confident I felt in going drug free to deliver my baby. As my third trimester approached I started to regret not having considered or looked into midwifery care. I voiced this with my doula but she assured me I could still have a wonderful natural birth under the care of my OBGYN.
We also decided not to find out baby's gender as we had known ahead of time with both boys and wanted to try for a surprise just once. My suspicions were that I was having another boy as all three pregnancies were identical.
I stayed very active with this pregnancy and felt wonderful throughout, gaining just shy of 20 lbs.
One night at 37 weeks pregnant I was about to get into bed and do a little surfing of the Internet when my doula tagged me in a Facebook post. It was a midwife (The midwife who had delivered my doulas babies) who was accepting a handful of clients if they had a February or March due date. I freaked out a little at the thought of changing care provides just weeks before my due date but after a quick chat with my mom(the sounding board for all of my major life decisions) and a few text questions to my doula, l decided to get in touch with the midwife. I set up an appointment to meet her the next day and barley slept a wink that night.
At my appointment the next day I met the midwife and her student and was given a ton of information and was able to ask questions. They accepted me into their care and the plan was to have a water birth at the hospital she was able to work out of. Over the next three weeks I continued to have prenatal appointments with her and stayed in touch with my doula. As my due date approached I began to get more and more anxious about going over due and requiring another induction. I felt I had come too far to have to give up my hopes for a drug free brith.
On the morning of my due date I cleaned my house and got groceries. I took the dog for a walk in an attempt to move baby down and engage the head. I thought about having a nap but felt the desire to clean up the house and prep things for valentines dinner that evening (hindsight I was very clearly nesting). That evening during dinner with my husband and kids I started to feel spontaneous contractions, not overly painful but noticeable. I was assuming I would start experiencing some prodromal labour again like I had with my first. By the time we went to bed the contractions were slightly more frequent at about a handful every hour. I decided to let my doula know what was going on just so she had a "heads up" on the situation. After watching a movie we went to bed for the night. Around 2:00 am I decided to time things for an hour to see if we were progressing at all and the contractions were about 40 seconds long every 4-6 minutes. Back to bed I went to ignore the contractions. At 4:00am I was no longer sleeping well and decided to call my doula, who arrived an hour later. She advised me to call the midwife to let her know I was in labour and to let the birth photographer know as well. My midwife was at another birth so we were put in touch with her partner who would end up being present for my birth. We decided our plan of action would be to sleep a little longer, until my boys woke up for the day. At that point we would send them off to my Mom's and then get moving to help labour along. The other decision we made was to stay home rather than head to the hospital.
By 6:30am active labour had started. My contractions were painful and I was no longer talking through them. My doula came upstairs to help me through them while my husband got the kids up and fed before my Mom arrived to take them. At this point I distinctly remember thinking how much things hurt and wondering how I was going to do this as it got worse. I decided to relax and just do one contraction at a time and not worry about what was coming. I said my goodbyes to my boys as I knelt on the stairs. My photographer arrived by 8:30 and my midwives arrived shortly after. When the midwives checked me I was thrilled to find out I was 6-7cm dilated. Things were well on their way! My husband and doula started to fill the pool and by 10:00am I was able to get in. We tried various positions to help move baby down but when I was checked again at 11:00 I was sitting at the same point, about 7cm. We then decided to break my waters in hopes that things would progress. After a few attempts my student midwife was able to break them and things got very intense very quickly. I was very vocal through my contractions which surprised me, but also helped a lot with the pain. I was fed bananas and granola bars and sips of juice to give me energy for what was inevitably coming. I was tired and wanted to be done and began to complain that I wanted things to be over. I didn't want anything for the pain I just wanted to have a baby. In hopes of distracting me my doula asked me what I wanted for lunch. Through gritted teeth I replied "a baby". I kept my audience entertained!
Not long after my waters were broken I began to feel a sensation a lot like throwing up but down south, aka "the urge to push". I was told to let my body do what it felt like doing. I was completely unaware that I was in transition and baby was on its way out. After a few contractions with this sensation my doula started breathing with me, "he he he he" giving my perineum a chance to stretch out as baby started to crown. I remember her breathing with me so vividly. It was so encouraging and helpful, and not a single word was spoken between us. Moments later my midwife reached between my legs and passed baby through my legs to me. I remember being surprised that I didn't feel immediate relief once baby's head was born. The shoulders were equally as uncomfortable to birth. As soon as baby was in my hands I picked it up and lifted it out of the water. I held it up to my chest and sat back, feeling instant relief and satisfaction. I was overwhelmed with pure joy and happiness that this sweet little thing was finally in my arms. After a moment I realized my baby was born and earth side and remembered I didn't know the gender (not officially anyway, as I was certain it was a boy). I lifted baby up, cord still attached to baby and connected to the placenta still inside of me. I saw the cord tugging on baby's belly button and thinking "penis" I declared it's a boy! My team looked at me strangely and my husband said "no its not". I lifted baby up again and looked properly to discover my sweet little one was a girl. The most overwhelming and joyous surprise! I never imagined my third boy would actually be my daughter. My husband cried and I cried and we were so happy to have our first daughter.
After celebrating and processing all that had just happened I handed off our daughter to my husband and birthed my placenta shortly after. My midwives got me out of the pool and took me straight to my shower where I cleaned up while my doula made me a snack. I got immediately into bed while the midwives checked baby and then me. We visited for a short while and revelled over all that had just taken place that morning in our very own home and within in a few short hours everyone was gone, leaving my husband myself and our new baby daughter alone for some bonding time. We napped skin to skin all afternoon and then began to call our family and closest friends to share the good news.
"Having a baby at home was the most amazing and unexpected experience I could have ever imagined. I felt so empowered and strong bringing my baby into the world, without any drugs or interventions and in the comfort of my own home."
The care we received from our midwives was so wonderful and comforting and the support my doula provided was indescribable. She pushed me to explore a part of myself I didn't know was there, and allowed me to accomplish a birth I never thought I was capable of. My husband, my doula and my midwives were the greatest gifts in the birth of my daughter, I could not imagine a more beautiful birthday for our sweet little daughter.
Special thank you for sharing your birth story with us.
Past Full Circle client, Jami McLaren whose doula was Vanessa.
Where is your baby sleeping?
Most new parents spend a great deal of time preparing for their birthing experience and getting ready for baby to arrive.
They have spent numerous hours decorating and organizing the baby’s room only to find that upon arrival, their baby doesn’t like being in the bassinet. Some parents feel pressure from family or partners or even an internal conflict within themselves to get baby in the basinet at night, because we have been told that is safer.
Babies are simply more content laying on your chest, curled up and close to you and most parents find that their baby sleeps better and for longer periods this way. Parents also state that baby is more content when close to them.
“skin to skin in a biological sense, human newborns are born immature, and therefore completely dependent on maternal care for a prolonged period. Dr. Nils Bergman
All babies are born with a need to feel safe, warm and protected,
Dr. Nils Bergman, a Swedish specialist in perinatal neuroscience says that, “skin to skin in a biological sense, human newborns are born immature, and therefore completely dependent on maternal care for a prolonged period. He goes on to state that the first days and weeks of life this happened through continued physical contact with mother, in skin to skin contact. “
Researchers measured the heart rate of sixteen, two day old sleeping newborns for one hour and compared a baby sleeping on its mother’s chest and then sleeping alone in it’s bassinet.
By measuring the heart rate they could verify the stress levels of the newborn and which method proved to be less stressful on the infant. Scientists from the University of Cape Town found that separating babies from their mother proved physiologically stressful for infants and produced babies to have more “anxious arousal” and less “quiet sleep” states. Which translated into unnecessary stress on the infant.
The question is still debated amongst many as to where is the appropriate place for the newborn to sleep at night, alone or with it’s family? The controversy still exists as there is concern for its link to sudden infant death syndrome.
Inevitably there will be a time that exhaustion sets in and sleeping with baby in arms just happens. There are safe ways to practice co -sleeping to minimize risks and parents need to be educated and aware of these in order to reduce the potential hazards to their infant,
Current guidelines for Safe Cosleeping can be found here: .http://cosleeping.nd.edu/safe-co-sleeping-guidelines/
The author of Sweet Sleep, Nighttime strategies for the breastfeeding family and La Leche League put together the following 2014 copyrighted document on Bedsharing Talking points tear sheet http://www.llli.org/docs/0000000000001Tear_offs
They also put out another tear sheet for talking your doctor about bed sharing, should you feel inclined to discuss your sleeping arrangements with your physican or other health care provider: http://www.llli.org/docs/0000000000001Tear_offs/talking_
Sleep arrangements are a personal choice, that needs to be made exclusively by the parents and their unique situation and needs.
Debating what is the best method can make the decision a challenge and sometimes cause a rife in the relationship when one parent is not in agreement with the other. Take the time to read and explore before baby arrives, it might make it easier to fully dive in and discuss your thoughts and concerns without the pressures of being new parents transitioning into parenthood.
As always, we suggest parents to have an open mind, follow their instincts and explore options to find what makes life easier for them and their situation.
Further resources and information:
'Sweet Sleep": Nightime and Naptime Strategies for the Breastfeeding Family, Theresa Pitman
"Sleeping with your baby; A parent”s guide to co-sleeping" Dr. James McKenna
Dr. Sears Addresses Recent Co-Sleeping Concerns
An excellent compilation of Safe sleep resources https://www.platypusmedia.com/safesleepresources
Frequently Asked Questions
The Natural Child Project, co-sleeping articles:
Mothering.com, co-sleeping resources:
Attachment Parenting International, co-sleeping information and advocacy:
CoSleeping page on Facebook
Welcome to Full Circle's blog, creating content for our clients and readers with a focus on all things pregnancy, birth and beyond.