Aria’s Birth Story – Part 1

At 7 weeks pregnant, I was given a due date of February 8, 2017, which never changed through the pregnancy.

At 37 weeks pregnant, you are concerned full term and can start preparing your body to give birth. Most doctors and midwives suggest drinking red raspberry leaf tea, taking evening primrose oil (orally or vaginally), having sex and taking a pill called EZ birth.

On Tuesday, January 31, 2017 at 1:30 pm I went to my midwife appointment, I was 38 weeks plus 6 days. I asked my midwife, Chelsea, to do a membrane sweep but when she check my cervix it was high and still closed so she couldn’t do anything. The only thing that showed any sign of labour happening in the next couple weeks was that baby’s head was engaged.  The midwives expected that could be late by a week since that is very common. I could feel a lot of pelvic pressure so I knew that baby’s head was getting deep in my pelvic so I thought that it was going to be an uncomfortable couple of weeks.

 After my appointment, my husband and I decided to go to Chinook Mall for a walk since the weather had become colder the last couple days and I didn’t want to risk falling on the ice. We stopped at Starbucks and chatted about what I might need to get before the baby comes and what I thought I could just get later in the week.

After a regular evening of dinner, some Tv watching and getting kicked in the ribs over and over, I had a conversation with my bump. I said “ I know I wanted a February baby, well tomorrow is February so you can come out now”. Later that night while lying in bed I had a weird feeling. I felt I needed to go to the washroom but didn’t think I need to pee. The feeling didn’t go away so at 12am on February 1, 2017 I went to the washroom and my water broke as I sat on the toilet. I called to my sleeping husband “ Daniel, my water just broke and my mucus plug is coming out” and with the best response ever he replied “Ha that’s funny”. After taking 5 minutes to have an “oh shit this is happening” moment, I put on a pad to catch the never ending drips of liquid and when back to sleep while I was contraction free.

At 1 am on February 1, 2017, I had my first contraction. It was mild and just felt like a side or stomach cramp. It lasted longer then I thought it would (about 50 seconds) but then it was gone. I figured it would be awhile till my contractions were regular so off to sleep I went again. At 1:40am I had a second contraction that was noticeablely stronger and was just as long as the first, there was no sleeping for me after that. Contractions came regularly and strong enough that I couldn’t stay laying down. By 3am I couldn’t let me husband sleep anymore. I needed him up with me to time contractions or help me breathe. I knew it could be a long road to baby so I wanted to try and eat to keep my energy up, Sadly with every new contraction I would throw up the bites of muffin and water I had consumed moments just before.

At 6:45am on February 1, 2017, I had contractions coming every 4 minutes and they were lasting at least a minute. I was unable to talk or move while having the contractions so I really had to stop and focus while I had each one. I had reached the 411 rule (contractions every 4 mins, lasting at least 1 minute and its been happening for an hour) and it was finally time to call the midwives. At 8 am one of my midwives, Jen, arrived at the house to do my assessment and see if it was time to move to my birth place or if we should labour at home long. All the midwives that had heard I was in labour (Jen, Chelsea and Susan) where a little skeptical on my progression due to the fact that I was just in clinic less then 24 hours earlier with no cervical opening at all. When I was accessed it showed that I was 4 cm dilated and my cervix had completely thinned. It was time to move to our birthplace (The Arbour Birth Centre).

This was my birth room at the Arbour Birth Centre in Calgary. 

Creating a Birth Plan

What is a birth plan? Are you on the fence about creating a birth plan? Or are you just stuck on where to start? Here is some information I found helpful while creating my natural delivery birth pan.

What is a Birth Plan?
A birth plan is a document that lets your medical team know your preferences for things like how to manage labor pain. There are always events during labor that you cant control and your birth plan may not be followed exactly but having a printed document with your wishes is a good way to keep everyone in line with your exceptions of care.

Why create a Birth Plan?
By creating a birth plan you get to have a written document that touches on your requests during normal labor and delivery, How are you hoping for your baby to be treated right after delivery and days after, medications you approve for both you and your baby and What do you want to happen in the case of unexpected events.

Where to start?
When it comes to creating a birth plan some hospitals and birth centers can provide a birth plan worksheet or brochure to explain their policies and philosophy of childbirth, and to let you know what your birth options might be. Most online birth plan worksheets are in line with most hospitals and midwives options of care.

I created a picture birth plan that is easy to follow for anyone (medical staff or non) to follow with questions. I created a natural birth plan to go with my midwifery care and the plan to give birth in a birthing centre instead of a hospital.

I found this website that gives you downloadable word documents for both natural and medically assisted births.

If the visual birth plan isn’t for you here are other websites that helped me get started.

20 Weeks Pregnant – Half Way!

img_2568On September 21st, 2016, I made it to the half way mark in my pregnancy. My pregnancy hasn’t been smooth so far. From 15 weeks of morning sickness to being extremely tired for most of the day, pregnancy really takes its toll. I have lost about 15lb so far due to my intense morning sickness; even now I have a hard time eating as much as I am “suppose” too.

Here are some of the current annoying symptoms and how I have tried to minimize them:

  • Heartburn and indigestion can make it extra uncomfortable to lie down in bed. What to do: Avoid foods that trigger your heartburn, give yourself two to three hours to digest a meal before going to bed, and try sleeping semi-upright in a comfy recliner or propped up with extra pillows under your upper body.
  • Leg cramps while you are trying to sleep. What to do: Ease the cramp by straightening your leg, heel first and gently flexing your toes back toward your shins or walk around for a few minutes. During the day try to get enough water and calcium to minimize the number of cramps you get.
  • Tossing and turning all night trying to find a comfortable sleeping position. What to do: Lie on your side with your knees bent and a pillow between your legs. For extra comfort and support, consider a pregnancy pillow for all around body support.
  • Getting up to pee during the night. What to do: This on this a hard one to avoid, especially once your baby takes up more room in your body. Try to drink all our liquid an hour before bed time and avoid those dehydrating drinks in the evening.

If you have any life hacks about our pregnancy symptoms we would love to hear them!

Hitting 12 weeks

Oh BABY! On July 27th I finally hit the 12-week mark! It seemed so long between the day we found out we were expecting and the day we finally reached 12weeks. Sadly, my morning sickness started at 5 weeks, which made most days feel longer. Many expecting mothers experience morning sickness starting around 6-7 weeks. High levels of pregnancy hormones flooding your body cause pregnancy nausea and vomiting. It’s very common. About eight out of 10 pregnant women experience nausea and/or vomiting.

It had been a long 7 weeks dealing with nausea, throwing up and the secret of why I feel so crappy. I was hoping that my morning (all day) sickness would subside soon. I had been given the morning sickness prescription medication that did little to help with my symptoms. I tried every natural suggestion to ease my sickness, however Google left me disappointment as well. My first trimester included throwing up about 4-6 a day, orange popsicles, Gatorade and hating the grocery store. I had two ultrasounds confirming there was only one baby and it was exciting to see how baby as changed and development. During the first trimester I really wanted to eat healthy, stay active and get all the rest that my body needed, well I think that baby had a different plan. When I come to food I am in survival mode. I was eating whatever looks okay at the moment. Fruit, popsicles and peanut butter has really been everything that I could look at without feeling sick. There are more aggressive options for medications but there are risks to the baby growth with all of them, I was just not interested in taking those even if my sickness lasts my whole pregnancy.

Here are a couple of the natural ideas that my work for you or a friend:

  • Relaxation helps reduce your stress levels, I found my sickness was worse when I was tired or worried
  • Eat a little bit at a time and often. I found foods that were cold and juicy to be better for my nausea. When I started to become hungry my sickness would be worse. Try eating protein with any fruits, vegetables or carbs. This will help the sugars release less quickly, which will save you from a sugar crash
  • Try to have foods rich in vitamin B6, (avocado, bananas and chicken). Taking a vitamin B supplement may also reduce your nausea if you can swallow the pills, but they probably won’t prevent you from vomiting. If you are trying to get pregnancy you might want to take vitamin B6 supplements to try and reduce our morning sickness severity.
  • Stay hydrated. Water is always the first choice but if you are having troubles getting it down you can also try drinks with electrolytes. Try to stay away from Gatorade due to the extra sugar (I went with the new G2 Gatorade which has half the sweeteners) other good sources of hydration include coconut water or the Emergen-c packets.