Mackenzie & Baby Mirabel

From the day I became 39 weeks pregnant, I was getting Braxton Hicks contractions which were mostly not painful, but felt like my stomach was hardening. Every day throughout that week, I would get at least 1 painful contraction, which would always get me and my husband excited, thinking that labour was coming! It was always a false alarm, though…

 One day past my due date, I started getting contractions every 20 minutes that were all quite painful. We were getting very excited at this point!

 I took a bath around 7:30pm and called my mom and sister to let them know that labour may get started that night or the following day, but it could still be a while. They would have a long drive so I wanted to let them know well in advance. The bath helped and I figured I would try to sleep at a normal time and see if the contractions continued. I laid down around 9 or 10pm but quickly found I could not sleep through contractions. They were way too uncomfortable!

 I let my husband sleep for a couple hours while I went to the living room to distract myself, but he wanted to be woken up. We had plans for some fun things to do during labour to help keep me happy and relaxed (movie, music, etc.). We watched a movie together while I let the contractions come. I had a lot of pressure in my pelvis so I felt like I couldn’t sit on my bum, and even the birth ball didn’t feel good. I was just on all fours through each contraction while my husband rubbed my back.

 A second bath helped and put off the contractions for enough time for me to fall asleep but I was quickly woken up by a contraction and pelvic pressure. No position was comfortable! My husband slept a couple more hours while I tried different positions – hugging a pillow, lying on the ground, etc. – with relaxing music on and fake candles lit around the room. Unfortunately, I only got about 45 minutes of sleep total that night.

 By 6am, I was having a contraction every 4 mins that I couldn’t talk through for over an hour. I called and Monica said I could come to the birth suite to see how much I had dilated and to see how things progress. Monica checked me and I was only 2 cm dilated, which was a little discouraging because I felt like I’d been labouring all night. She said the baby was descended right in my pelvis, ready to come out, which explained the pressure!

 Jennifer met us there eventually to take over for Monica. We tried to progress labour by walking around outside and sitting on the birth ball (which eventually felt manageable). After a couple hours, around 10am, Jennifer checked me again and I was only 3cm dilated. She asked if I wanted her to stretch me to 4 cm, and I said yes! (I wanted to progress as quickly as I could). Since I wasn’t dilating as quickly as hoped, Jennifer said I could continue to labour at the suite if I wanted but was free to go home for a bit, as that may make my labour progress quicker. I chose to go home with my husband and MIL (even though having contractions in the car was not fun, especially with pelvic pressure!). We had more food, watched TV, and walked up and down the apartment hall and by 2pm, I felt like things had progressed. During contractions, I could still only be on all fours or standing “slow-dancing” with my husband. We called Jennifer and agreed to meet back at the clinic.

 We arrived at the suite at the same time my sister did and I could barely say hello, because the contractions were coming so frequently. Jennifer and Savannah were there and checked me. I was dilated 5cm, and then my water broke! After 19 hours of early labour, I was officially in active labour – we were really getting excited now!

 I went from walking around outside with my family, to the birth ball in the suite, to the toilet for a few contractions. I was in good spirits, and the whole time, my husband rubbed my back and held my hand, and my sister held hot compresses on my neck. I had made a list of “things to do during labour” and brought a book with suggestions for helping labour progress, and my sister was diligently rotating through all the options! The midwives ran the tub for me around 5 or 5:30pm, where my mom and sister took turns holding the tap to keep hot water on my back. They kept feeding me food and water to keep me hydrated, thankfully because I would have totally forgotten! At this point, I was feeling so exhausted and discouraged and said to my husband, “I don’t know if I can do this another 8 hours.” Thankfully, things would be over well before then. In the tub, I suddenly had the first urge to push and everyone got excited. Jennifer said it’s important I try my best not to push yet since I wasn’t dilated enough yet, so I did the candle breaths for a couple contractions which really helped. Soon, they asked me to try labouring on the bed a while, which sounded good to me.

 Once on the bed, the midwives checked me and I was now 7cm dilated! Jennifer said I was now in transition and was progressing really quickly, and the baby might be born today. I had to keep doing candle breaths until I felt that I couldn’t help but push and that happened around 6pm. They checked me again and said I was past 9cm, almost 10cm and could start pushing!

 Monica returned for back up. Pushing was really difficult and I even fell asleep between contractions at some points, but the midwives were great at guiding me through the whole process. Jennifer and Savannah were understanding and encouraging, and helped me feel like everything I was feeling was normal and that I could push through! (No pun intended). It felt like I had my own squad of cheerleaders! The next hour went by so quickly and the next thing I knew, they said her head was almost out! Suddenly my baby daughter was out, at 7:34pm.

 There was shock and a lot of tears; it was so amazing and intense. We told everyone the name, Mirabel, and her middle names (which are those of my mom and MIL). I held her on my chest as she looked around and I was in awe. I received a shot of oxytocin and my placenta came out (which felt easy peesy compared to the baby!). The midwives said my daughter came out with the cord around her neck and her hand up by her face, which they quickly corrected before handing her to me – I had no idea!

 Soon, the midwives noticed I was losing more blood than I should and they calmly let me know this. My husband held our baby while the midwives did a few things to stabilize the bleeding. I had laughing gas at this point which helped! They called an ambulance but were able to stabilize everything before the paramedics arrived. I felt very safe and trusted in them the whole time and just sat back and let them do their thing! When the paramedics came, they got me in the ambulance smoothly, and Jennifer accompanied me and answered any questions I had (I still felt so elated from the birth, I was very chatty!). I was transferred to the hospital for monitoring over night to ensure the bleeding had stopped.

 I had planned to have skin-to-skin for the golden hour and get to spend those first hours bonding with my baby, but keeping me safe was the priority. I had lots of cuddle time with my daughter at the hospital when my husband met up with us after.

 The midwives stayed with me at the hospital while I was stitched up (3 minor tears) and helped me to begin breastfeeding. They were super helpful and I was grateful to have them around as it made the hospital more comfortable. Our stay in the hospital was great as well, the staff there were very attentive, kind and informative. The midwives scheduled a lactation consultant appointment for me and visited me the following day as well. We left feeling very prepared and supported!

 I can’t thank the St. Jacobs Midwives enough for providing a safe and positive birth experience for me and my first baby. We were so impressed with the team, and I hope we get the chance to have our future deliveries with these wonderful people!


Posted on

December 21, 2023