We are happy to announce the arrival of our baby girl, Eva, born 10 days early on Tuesday, August 7 at 8:10 am. She weighed in at 7 pounds and 1 oz, almost 20 inches long, and like her father, has a healthy appetite. Both mother and baby are doing very well.
We planned to have our baby at BC Women’s and do most of the laboring at home with the help of a doula. We were instructed to call the midwife when contractions were consistently 3 minutes apart, 1 minute long and had been so for 1 hour. I also planned to go as long as I could without an epidural but would get one if I thought I really wanted it at the hospital.
I started having contractions early Monday evening and within an hour the contractions were regularly 7-9 minutes apart. I used a lot of different laboring positions to help with the pain and also to do what I could to move the baby down. The contractions became more frequent; at 4 am, we decided to call our doula to give Shawn a break and help me deal with the increasing pain intensity. I started to feel that I wanted to go to the hospital soon after the doula arrived but contractions were hovering around every 5-6 minutes. The doula was really helpful at directing me on how to use a low voice to help with my pain (or to make the pain of contractions more useful, if that makes any sense!).
At 7am, the decision was made to call our midwife and I said to Shawn, “I want an epidural when we get to the hospital!”. Just as the midwife arrived at 730, my water broke and she informed us that I was already fully dilated!! She told me I had the option of having the baby at home or at the hospital but that we would have to leave right away to make it to the hospital. I asked if I could still have an epidural at the hospital but it was too late for that. When the midwife told me that she thought it was completely safe to have the baby at home, I decided to do so because I wanted it over with. The next set of events were kind of blurry, but I remember the midwife asking Shawn for garbage bags, towels, a shower curtain to line the bed and there was a lot of activity while I rested. When everyone was ready to go, the midwife coached me when to push and by 810 am, Eva arrived! In retrospect, I think the strong contractions I felt during labor had been really good practice to help me know how to push the baby out.
Something I learned from my experience was to expect the unexpected, and also to trust my body. And by trusting my body, I mean that in two specific ways: 1) I probably could have gone to the hospital right after the doula arrived. Even though I hadn’t consistently hit the 3 minute mark, I think I knew inside that things were moving more quickly than the contraction timings indicated. It worked out fine for us, but I also learned that my body is as smart as any guideline, and 2) Before this experience, I wasn’t sure if I would physically be able to push a baby out of my body, but it became really apparent to me that our bodies were designed for this very task!
Antoinette, Shawn & Eva