There are also graphic photos so probably NSFW.
I'm sitting here over a month after Azriel's birth, which is considerably longer than I waited after Aias's birth to share his story! I figure I better get this written out before I forget the details. Some things are already a bit foggy but technology is so helpful with the time-line as you will see!
So below is the birth story of Azriel Everett, born December 27th 2013 at 2:12pm. He weighed in at 7lbs 12oz and was 19 inches long.
My "due date" this time around was January 1st, New Year's Day. It was super exciting because I didn't know what month my child would be born in, OR what year. We were sort of hoping we would have "the New Year's Baby" because we had heard about prizes and stuff, but we didn't really care. Ultimately we were trying for a January baby since they would be the oldest in their school class, but we were well aware that your baby chooses their own birthdate and it doesn't necessarily end up being the date that you want :) Aias was born on his "due date" so we figured we'd be lucky if the baby came in January, but it did feel sort of unlikely. I was secretly hoping the baby would come late so we could get more stuff done! Most important to me was that the baby waited until the Christmas tree was gone.
I started getting Braxton Hicks contractions at 16 weeks, and toward the last several weeks of my pregnancy the false labour was pretty intense. About a week before Azi was born I actually took a trip to the L&D to check and see if my water was leaking but it turned out to just be discharge (I was relieved it wasn't pee, haha). I started basically ignoring the false labour and joking that I wouldn't believe the baby was coming until I saw the head.
December was an exciting and wonderful month, full of fun holiday joy and activity. My last day of work (child care) was Friday December 20th, which I thought may be pushing it a little bit as it was only about 10 days until my due date but I was off very early before Aias was born and was quite bored. That whole first weekend was full of Christmas preparations. My false labour continued but I was consistently able to settle it by taking a hot bath or laying down on the couch. On Christmas Eve we made a beautiful full dinner, complete with a turkey and all the fixings, and my in-laws came over. We wanted Christmas to be as normal as possible for Aias. Christmas Day we took a gamble and drove out to Ladner to have Christmas with my family, knowing I could go into labour at any time and that it would probably be a quick one!
On December 26th we woke up early, and my in-laws helped us take down the tree. I knew we were having a home birth and I was adamant that I not give birth in the same room as a Christmas tree. The tree was gigantic, however, and Morgan and his dad had to literally hack the branches off with a saw to get it out of our apartment. Needles were everywhere but between their sweeping and our Dyson, we got them all up. Once the tree was taken care of, we went to the Mongolian Grill with my in-laws for lunch. After that they took the ferry home. Once they were gone, we also took down every Christmas ornament and decoration, and packed all the stuff away. I was adamant that the stuff go away IMMEDIATELY even though we anticipated that we would have at least 5 days before the baby was born. We had tons of stuff we wanted to do in that 5 days including a deep clean of the apartment. I had been nesting like mad for literally the whole 9 months, and we were SO CLOSE to getting it perfect!
Once the boxes were stacked, we booked a Modo car for the next day, for 24 hours, so that we could take the boxes to our storage unit and so they'd be out of the way for the birth.
At about 11:30pm, I had just laid down on the couch to watch a movie and relax, and I felt a squirt of some sort... I ran to the bathroom and sure enough my pants were wet. I was worried it was a leak in my water but it felt exactly the same as it had the week before when I was wrong about the leak, so Morgan didn't seem too worried. As had become routine, I got into the bathtub to stop the false labour. Except this time, it didn't change. It stayed the same. I let Morgan know that I thought this may be for real. I paged the on-call midwives just to let them know and give them a heads up, and also paged our doula.
I immediately took a picture of my tummy on my phone just in case! I really wanted a photo of my baby bump at its largest!
The midwife that called back wasn't from my midwifery team, and this actually sort of scared me. My worst nightmare was that I would have to deliver with a midwife who wasn't on my team. My birth team, Strathcona Midwives, had three midwives. However, on this particular day, one midwife was on vacation, one was injured, and the other had just been on call for 10 days straight. So midwives from Pomegranate were filling in. I didn't let this worry me because I was still convinced this was a false alarm and just the false labour as it had been for weeks. I paged my friend Charlotte to let her know what was happening because she was going to take pictures and advocate some for me, especially since it may be different midwives and Charlotte knew all my birth wishes.
Then I started to order Morgan around, asking him to do the dishes and laundry and pull out the home birth box and newborn clothes, etc. He was probably annoyed but he did it anyway, haha.
The contractions were getting more obvious as the night went on, but they didn't hurt necessarily. They were basically like being pinched a little. When poor Morgan was done with the projects I gave him, I sent him to sleep. He downloaded a contraction timer app for the tablet and passed it to me. The contractions were 15 minutes apart for most of the night so I just slept between them. In the morning I paged the midwives again and there was no answer. I let Michelle, the doula, and my friend Charlotte know I may need them later that morning.
At about 9am the contractions were still not really hurting but I told Morgan he should head to Canadian Tire to get a hose and air pump for the birth tub because we had planned on getting those in those 5 days we thought we had. He left at about 10ish when the contractions were bout 30 seconds long and 11 minutes apart. Aias was still asleep at this time.
My midwife who had delivered Aias was actually not working because of an injury but she called me at around 9:15 am and said she would still come to the birth anyway to assist the Pomegranate midwife and so that I would be more comfortable. I was so appreciative. She asked if it would be an ok plan to see how the labour progressed, and then we decided that if I hadn't given birth in 24 hours I would take the same labour cocktail I had taken when I was in labour with Aias. I thought that was a reasonable idea and hoped I would not still be in labour 24 hours later, haha. She said she would call that afternoon to check in and to page the on-call midwives at the normal number if things picked up.
Once we got off the phone I paged the on-call midwives to let them know what was going on but didn't hear back. I thought nothing of it. I tried again about 30 minutes later and still didn't think much of it when they didn't call back. I figured they were busy and would eventually call.
Earlier that morning Michelle had said to call her when the contractions were 10 minutes apart. I decided to take a bath and see if my best friend Chris would come get the dog so he wouldn't get in the way. She arrived quickly at 10:44, and I was in the bathtub at that point because the contractions were hurting a bit and were closer together.
At around 10:50 I decided I should definitely page the midwives again. I did, but there was no call back. I paged again every 15-20 minutes or so. I still didn't hear anything back.
At 11:55am Michelle messaged me and asked "How long are the contractions? Blood? Babe is moving lots?" and I texted back "Pink blood over a minute long. Maybe come soon-ish?" and she said "Yup. I will make my way slowly :)" which was perfect. I honestly felt sort of bad having her come so early because I was pretty worried she would just be wasting her time. I thought maybe I'd be in labour all afternoon or night.
I decided to page the midwives again, but didn't hear anything still. So I texted Michelle and asked "Should I use the shower to dull them?" and she replied "You can give it a go. If they slow down or space it's still early. If they stay the same or speed up, it's go time. Any word from midwives?" and I replied "Someone named Stephanie from pomegranate will come but Martha will also come."
Morgan was soon home, but only after getting me a tuna salad bagel sandwich from Solly's that I had requested he bring me for lunch. He had a weird plastic tube he was going to use to fill the tub, running the hot water from the sink. He also had a huge manual pump. Him and Aias put the tub in the middle of the room and started pumping air into it while I laid down on the couch, my contractions getting stronger and closer together. It was funny to watch them do it; Morgan was getting over a bad cough and watching him use the pump was sort of scary, I sort of thought he was going to pass out! Aias was actually being really helpful holding the pump onto the airhole of the giant pool.
At 12:30pm Michelle texted "Fill tub! Hot water first. On my way."
Aias and Morgan were still hard at work inflating the giant tub!
At 12:49pm I texted Michelle "Ugh sort of feeling pushing urge. Paged them twice more."
At 12:52 Michelle arrived. She wasted no time. She lifted up the newly inflated pool, grabbed a plastic sheet, shoved it underneath the tub, and they got started filling it up. At about the same time Charlotte arrived.
Michelle, Morgan, and Charlotte sort of rotated at this point. There was always someone holding the tube up to the sink (we couldn't get the hose attached to the sink so someone had to stand there and hold it, haha), someone near me, and someone tending to Aias. Meanwhile, I was frantically texting the midwives sort of obnoxiously and rhythmically between contractions. My contractions were getting pretty strong but I wasn't making any noise. When one would come I'd call someone over to hold my hand and then when it passed I would close my eyes and enjoy NOT having a contraction in that moment.
This whole time I was on the couch, I could feel the pushing urge but I didn't want to push on the couch. At about 1:55 I asked if someone would help me o the washroom. I had to pee and I sort of wanted to do a push to relieve pressure. I wasn't sure if maybe I had to poop. I stood up and saw lots of bright red blood drip down my leg. A large drop landed on the carpet and within 1 second Michelle had wiped it off. I asked "Is this blood normal?" and Michelle said it was good, it meant my cervix was doing what it was supposed to do. I wasn't worried.
Halfway to the bathroom I had to stop and breathe through a contraction and then made my way to the toilet. When I sat down I called someone in, I think it was Michelle, and told her I was going to do a push but I wanted her to look and make sure I didn't push the baby out (ha!). It was 2:02 at this point. I did my push and I heard a GIANT pop and then a bunch of water came out. That was evidently my water actually breaking :P I felt something weird and Michelle told me to feel and see if the baby's head was there but I told her I couldn't because I was too grossed out so she put a glove on and checked and said she didn't feel the head.
Then the contractions started to get pretty close and pretty painful. I was fairly sure I was going to push the baby out pretty soon. I was getting really hot in my bathrobe so I chucked it off and was just sitting naked on the toilet. I asked Michelle "You know what to do if the baby comes and there is no midwife right? Can you try and find a midwife, any midwife?" Michelle said she was going to page and call midwives that she knew.
In front of me through all this, as I sat on the toilet, was the bathtub of hot water. I hadn't noticed before but Morgan had filled the bathtub and was walking back and forth, back and forth, between the bath tub and birth pool with a pot, filing the birth pool up with the hot water. I had a CRAZY urge to jump into the hot tub water, but I didn't want to get his water messy, so I asked if it was ok if I went into the tub. He said yes. It was 2:05pm.
I waddled to the tub. Charlotte helped me in. The balcony door had been open the whole time because I was sweaty, but they insisted they now close it to keep he baby warm when it was born. Once I was in the tub I immediately got into the squatting position and asked Charlotte to sit in the chair in front of me so I could grab her knees. Michelle was behind me, apparently frantically texting every birth attendant she knew. She was on phone call with one I think for a minute or so, and I could hear her double checking what to do if the baby came.
I was asking Charlotte if I could push and Charlotte said to do what I need to do and listen to my body. I asked Michelle over and over if she would "look at my ass" (ha) in case I pushed and the baby came. I was pretty scared I'd push the baby out and no one would notice and he would drown! I did a big push and apparently pooped,which actually felt amazing because at this point I just wanted ANYTHING to come out. Michelle scooped it in about 2 seconds. Then I said I was going to do a HUGE push and the baby was surely going to come out. Michelle had a look and said she saw the cord, so she asked Morgan to call 911 and tell them we were having a baby and the midwives weren't there. She was worried the cord was coming out first, I guess. I asked if it was ok for me to push again and to have the baby be born and she said to go for it. So I did, and he came out! At first he was blue and not breathing and apparently the cord was around his neck but he wriggled out of it in the water. She then pulled him out of the water, blew in his face (I didn't see this part) and he started to cry. I didn't check to see that he was a boy, but for some reason I totally knew. I asked "Is he ok? He's a boy, right?"
At this point I turned around and I was sort of shell shocked at first! I couldn't believe it was so fast! Finally Michelle said "Take your baby!" and I took him and put him on my chest. It was surreal. He looked HUGE.
Morgan was still on the phone with 911 at this point but the baby was obviously fine so Michelle told him to tell the 911 operator that. Morgan then said "They have to come anyway, they want to cut the cord" and all at once in a chorus, Michelle, Charlotte, and I shouted "NO!" Then we said they could come but could NOT cut the cord and could wait outside in the hall.
We had to get the baby warm so I stood up in the water holding Azriel, still attached to me, and they helped me out of the tub. I went over to the couch and we wrapped him up, still on the cord. I was just sitting there in the bathrobe, cord still attached, snuggling the baby. I can't remember if we nursed right away or not.
A few minutes later we heard a buzz, it was 911. At some point Martha called. Morgan asked the paramedics to stay in the hall and said everything was fine, which they were ok with, but they said they had to stay in the hall until the midwife showed up.
A few minutes later we asked them if they wanted to come in and look over the baby but told them we weren't cutting the cord. There were two of them, a tall younger man and a shorter older man. The older man didn't seem very phased but the younger man looked sort of mortified. I guess I was a strange sight, sitting on the couch half naked with a cord hanging out between my legs and a baby attached to me lol. He asked if he could check the oxygen saturation of the baby by attaching something to his toe and I said that was ok. He reached down but the baby flinched so he was like "Oh he seems fine!" Haha, so weird. You'd have thought this would have been pretty tame compared to some things he must have seen in his line of work.
A little bit of time passed (I'm not sure how much time) and I ate my tuna salad sandwich from Solly's that Morgan had brought home for me earlier. It tasted AMAZING! Food tastes really great right after you give birth.
When Martha arrived, she was really apologetic. We didn't know at the time but apparently there was a problem with the mobile paging service towers being down during this time frame, just my luck. When the blood drained completely from the cord, it was time to cut it, and I asked if Charlotte would because Morgan was ok not doing it and was tending to Aias. I thought that was sort of special! The last thing to do was pass the placenta and that happened quickly and without the oxytocin. Michelle carried it off to be stored for encapsulation. Once it was out I was sooooo happy to not have to push anything else out of me!
Morgan, Charlotte, and Michelle drained, cleaned, and deflated the pool incredibly quickly. I don't even remember seeing it happen. Soon the mess was all taken care of. Martha checked the vitals of the baby, I took a shower, and then when I was out, we weighed him. Martha was trying to get the full story and all the important details from Morgan, Michelle, and Charlotte. They figured it was about 2 pushes to get him out and 27 minutes of active labour. The birth was recorded as a "precipitous unattended home birth." When all necessary info was gathered, they made a nest for me on the couch, started me nursing, and then everyone went home.
All in all, I'd say it was an amazing birth, even though the midwives didn't make it. We were planning on having Michelle catch the baby even if the midwives were present and I was never scared or distrustful at any point during the labour. I felt pretty awesome even minutes after giving birth, didn't need any stitches, and didn't need the oxytocin.
Azi is a wonderful, relaxed, sweet little baby. He picked up on nursing immediately and that night he slept so well right next to me. Morgan, Aias, and I were so calm and relaxed in the comfort of our own home and were thrilled to not have to deal with the hospital. I'd have a home birth again in a heartbeat!
|Minutes after my water leak... about 11:50pm December 26th|
|Napping next to me on the couch in anticipation of the birth progressing.|
|My little birth buddy watching Jake and the Neverland Pirates and holding my hand while daddy gets the birth pool supplies.|
|Morgan's parking receipt from getting the birth pool stuff. We cut it pretty close!|
|Filing the birth pool, with a cat overseeing his work. Photo by Charlotte Watson|
|A contraction. Photo by Charlotte Watson|
|Happy to be in the pool but SUPER hot, eager to push. Photo by Charlotte Watson|
|A contraction. Photo by Charlotte Watson|
|A baby! Caught by Michelle, doula of the year! Photo by Charlotte Watson|
|My newest little one. Photo by Charlotte Watson|
|Keeping him warm. Photo by Charlotte Watson|
|He's fallen asleep already :) Photo by Charlotte Watson|
|Staring into my eyes, so sweet! Photo by Charlotte Watson|
|First sight of his new brother. Photo by Charlotte Watson|
|A little nervous at first, but daddy sure looks happy! Photo by Charlotte Watson|
|A super wrinkly foot! Photo by Charlotte Watson|
|Placenta and cord. Photo by Charlotte Watson|
|Weighed for the first time. Photo by Charlotte Watson|
|Weighed for the first time. Photo by Charlotte Watson|
|Thinking about nursing. Photo by Charlotte Watson|
|Skin-to-skin with daddy. Photo by Charlotte Watson|
|Happy and brand new with his dear friend Charlotte who helped him into this world!|
|While the EMTs were outside! This is what they walked in to see, haha.|
|Sweet little face|
|My little old man face :)|
|So happy he's here!|
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