Ash Christopher Beehler arrived on October 7th 2017 at 9:31am. He was 8 lbs and 21 inches long. He was healthy and calm. Within 30 minutes of being born he breastfed 4 times in a row. We were all home in bed as a family within 3 hours from the minute he entered this world.
This is our birth story.
I woke up from bed around 1:30am and had to pee (as I had been doing, multiple times a night, with great difficulty). I was so pregnant at this time that I dreaded mid night bathroom trips.
As I waddled to the bathroom I noticed I wasn't quite making it to the toilet. I yelled to Shane,
"Shane, I think my water just broke! OR I just peed all over the floor!"
I stood up, and water poured into the toilet. That's not pee! I sat back down instantly. So excited. So shocked.
"It's my water! My water broke!!!!"
Shane wakes up and says back,
"Now?!! What should we do!?"
I had no idea!
Insert a 45 minute laughing fit here.
I was so excited that our baby boy was coming and in shocking situations I tend to laugh uncontrollably before acting. We'd been talking about being really ready for about a week now, and was so excited to finally meet him. It was time!
During said laughing fit my mind went completely blank. Every step of protocol that our midwife had covered with us (when to call and what to do) flew out of my head and I had nothing. Just laughing.
I texted my parents to come from Niagara and paged the wrong number twice in an attempt to let my midwife know what had happened.
Luckily Shane was a bit more together.
Eventually he confirmed that the number I was trying to use was in fact the wrong one and we finally paged the right number. Once I spoke with our midwife I was instructed to change positions, time my surges and call back when things intensified. Check!
I moved from the bathtub to my bed and within 10 minutes the intensity had really picked up. I spoke with our midwife again and was given the green light to head to the birth centre. At 4:40 am we were on our way!
The feeling overall was excitement!
Zinnia was wide eyed and chatting, Shane was focused and driving and I was giddy and practicing my breath. I was ready to tackle this delivery with confidence and strength.
When we arrived we found out we were the only ones at the Toronto Birth Centre that "night". My parents arrived from Niagara at the exact same time that we pulled up and we all walked in together.
The rooms are all named after trees, and we selected the Ash room (when we saw there was one named Ash, we made the obvious choice).
Our midwife knew my plans to birth in a tub and had a giant bath ready and waiting for me to use when I felt it was time.
When we first entered the room I began to get settled while Shane set up our essential oils diffuser and filled the room with the calming scent of lavender. I focused on my breathing and Shane put on my music, MissErykah Badu (she always manages to get me in a groovy and confident headspace, so she was the natural choice).We read through my affirmations booklet a few times together and I held my black onyx and red jasper stones tightly.
Shane was with me and we were ready.
Once we climatized to the new space, the surges picked up speed and intensity and I transitioned to the shower for some comfort. Breathing in and out of my nose with long inhalations to the count of 20 and exhalations just as long and slow. I focused on visualizing the power of my breath swooping down around my uterus, creating space and comfort between my body and our baby and back out again.
Rather than telling Shane when a surge was coming on, I physically communicated it to him with my body language. As each surge came on, I closed my eyes, rested my hands on my knees (palms up) and breathed long and slow in/out of my nose. This allowed us to go through the motions together and stay focused. I allowed my breath to connect us so we could work together to bring our child into the world.
When my eyes were open I was using a giant audible sigh breath to release and stay focused and communicate that the surge had passed. Sometimes I talked out what I was feeling with Shane in the interim and sometimes I just relaxed.
While I was in the shower I was sitting on a birthing stool and Shane used the shower head to manually focus the water from front to back.
During each surge I sat in my meditative position, visualizing and breathing. Shane would focus the water on my surging belly and baby and the warmth and steady stream felt amazing.
Once I was through a wave, I'd let out the big sigh and Shane moved the water to my back. It was pure heaven. We were communicating without words and it was working beautifully.
We continued to follow our plans and participated as a team throughout the experience. For the first 3/4's of labor.
Before that night we had thoroughly discussed our goals for delivery and we were very clear on how we had wanted to give and receive support throughout the process.
We planned to do it together, and that was exactly what we were doing. It helped immensely to of had a clear path once we got to the birth centre and to have Shane by my side through the whole thing. I felt grounded every time I looked at him.
As things progressed I transitioned to the tub. Following the intuition of my body, I couldn't find a comfortable position there and decided that for now, I'd try a few positions in the bed.
Once I was lying down on my side Shane snuggled up behind me, read me our affirmations, changed the music between the artists I'd chosen, held my hand and rubbed my back. It felt wonderful to have his undivided attention and support as a constant reminder to relax and just breathe.
Our midwife said after the delivery that for 3/4's of the labour she could barely tell when I was having surges, because of the focus and control. When I transitioned to bearing down, things got a lot more obvious!
The final 1/4 of my delivery was intense and didn't go as we had hoped.
In the last hour of labor I was only 5cm dilated. My body was saying it was time for Ash to arrive and was putting in the surges to make it happen. As my uterus began to naturally bear down, there was nowhere for our baby to go. This meant that he was bearing right down on my unopened cervix.
Feeling the road block, lack of progress on each surge and a spike in the intensity of the pain I found it hard to not only practice my hypnobirthing techniques, but to take a breath at all.
I felt defeated, overwhelmed and incapable.
As any woman who has given birth knows, when the baby is coming, it's coming! Your body just does that. There wasn't much I could do in the way of dilating faster or slowing down the process. My body was moving this baby down, wether my cervix was open or not.
I tried my best to breathe through this time, but the pressure and pain were leaving me breathless. I had lost my confidence and felt the lack of progress in moving Ash down would be the end of me.
The uncertainty of how long this portion of my labour would last made it even more unbearable. I was losing myself in the end.
I wanted so badly to get things back under control, but my body had taken over at this point and I felt like I had become nothing but a passenger along for it's ride.
Shane, our midwife and a midwife student helped me stay focused affirming I was doing a great job and to remember how strong I am. At this point I really wasn't sure how I was going to do it, but they were all reminding me that I already was doing it!
Luckily, I went from 5cm to 10cm within that hour (which is a pretty fast dilation in the end). The second I was 10 cm's, Ash arrived. At this point I was on my knees, leaning over the raised up head of the bed with my back to our midwife. With two strong surges his head and then his body were out. I scooped him up from the bed and held him close.
There he was.
It was that moment like the one I'll never forget, when Zinnia came into this world. It happened again! Everything stood completely still. The painful end to my labour was far from my mind. I couldn't hear anyone or anything. The music in the background was silent and I was intensely submerged into the present. I kissed Shane and together we basked in the glory of staring at our little boy. He was here. I couldn't think of or focus on anything else.
Some retrospective thoughts.
Overall my second birth story was both an incredible and intense experience to which I'm grateful I had. Feeling my body work to bring this life into the world was nothing short of miraculous. I'm in more awe than ever at what our bodies are capable of, and even in all it's unpredictable glory, I appreciated the whole experience.
We got our sweet baby boy and our family is now complete. The four of us have a month together to connect, adjust and figure out our new foursome, before Shane goes back to work. So far we've been lazy homebodies soaking in all the slow down time we have together as a family. Lots of snuggles and lots of naps!
One of the great things about delivering at the birth centre was that I was home in our bed within 3 hours of Ash's arrival. And our team of midwives saw us in the comfort of our own home for all our checkups in the weeks to follow.
Before going to bed on the day Ash arrived, Zinnia snuggled me to say goodnight and said "this was the BEST day EVER!" With all the excitement and heart.