On August 18th I woke up at about 4:30am and was unable to fall back asleep. My mom had arrived a few days earlier and is an early riser so I gave up on sleep and joined her on my couch. The crampy pains I was feeling at 7am grew and grew. At 2pm they were 20 minutes to an hour apart and pretty uncomfortable but I still wasn’t convinced, so we went for a long walk. There was a bit of a denial factor as well because both my plan A and plan B photographers had gone to the Gulf Islands for the weekend. Darn!
My midwife came to check me at around 1 0pm. My contractions were 5-6 minutes apart, lasting 1 -2 minutes. She said I was still in early labour and only dilated 2cm. HOLY DISCOURAGING!
By around 7am, after 24 hours, the contractions were almost constant. There would be a “wind-down” but it would connect to the next and I started getting a little panicky about my energy level and ability to push. My body had become so tense from this next level of pain and I knew if I couldn’t relax my muscles and find a new coping method I would not have the strength to go on.
I got into the birth-pool on my hands and knees and had someone pour water over my lower back = heavenly! I chanted to myself, and was able to relax my muscles and I even got a pretty powerful endorphin rush. I wanted to stay in the tub but the water was too hot. It was now nearing an hour that I had been in and apparently I became super bossy and mean.
I ordered my family to spritz me and fan me and became irate when a file folder was used instead of the chinese fan I had that no one could find. My sister and father had now arrived and even with all the hands no one could seem to keep up with my demands. “Water, NO NOT TO DRINK!!! ON MY BACK!! Juuuuiiiice! NOT THAT JUICE! Rub my back! NOT LIKE THAT!!! Shut the blinds! BE QUIET! FAAAN ME!! Spritz me! WHO THE HELLS IDEA WAS IT TO PUT TEA IN THE SPRITZER!!!…etc”.
I went to my bed and once I lay down I had the most powerful contraction yet. I opened my eyes to look around and saw my sister, David, my cousin and this really warm smiling midwife and all of them were there to support me.
All my negativity melted away and I agreed on being checked. I just breathed and told myself that 25 hours was a pretty darn good effort and I had prepared myself for all scenarios so I could accept the news of having to have a c- section. “Well, your cervix is all gone and it’s safe to push whenever your body tells you to.” I was ecstatic!
I put on my largest, most obnoxious sunglasses and made my way to the birth pool. Another midwife arrived to assist and just as I began pushing out the head my original midwife arrived. It was a party! Nine people in our tiny apartment crowded around the birth pool with the 10th minutes away.
Pushing the head out hurt but I was so excited to meet her that the pain was secondary. I was really glad we learned that once the head is out there is no rush to push out the body. I rested for a minute or 2 and took some pictures of the head with my underwater camera, which everyone in the room thought was hilarious.
Then when we were both ready she came out all at once. I caught her myself and brought her up on my chest. It was incredible. So much change, emotion, preparation, discomfort, excitement and then finally pain and elation over the pregnancy and labour all leading up to this perfect still moment when you look at your child and it looks back at you……..there are no more words!
Annelie, David & Aeza (rhymes with hey-za or as we have started calling her “amAZE-A”)
Annelie is a born and raised Vancouverite who has worked as a ski patroller and paramedic. David, a painter, handy-man extraordinaire and bead artist, recently immigrated to Canada from Jamaica. They are overjoyed with the birth of the healthy little Jamadian!