It’s a GIRL! End of birth story.
Just kidding – I will elaborate, as I’m sure many of you are curious and it’s a birth wonderful story that I’ve been looking forward to sharing. I will preface the story with her name: Coral Beverly Poppy Jones. ‘Coral’ has been on our list for 5 years now as it was our ‘girl’ name if Caimen turned out to be a girl, ‘Beverly’ is my wonderful mother’s name, and ‘Poppy’ is Ken’s Grandmother’s nickname (and it’s awesome).
For many of you in my classes and personal life, you probably heard me say that I wanted to go overdue and that being two weeks ‘late’ would have been great! Well, instead of two weeks late, I went into labour two weeks EARLY. Fancy that. Something in my head told me that it wasn’t going to be long; she was born on a Tuesday and the Sunday prior, I woke up with a strong instinct and some pinky-tinged show. Oh, I forgot to mention that this blog entry will be very descriptive 😉
On Monday, I taught my regular Carrier Fit class and felt really tired, barely doing any of the workout myself. I got home from class and I texted Natasha and Bianca (my business partners and doulas) about feeling pooped, but continued on with my day like normal with some computer work and then picking up Caimen from school. That evening, I had plans to go over to my friend Jessica’s house (she is also one of our doulas) as she was going to cast my belly and turn it into a beautiful sculpture. I was really REALLY looking forward to it but was so tired – the only reason I didn’t cancel is because something was telling me that I didn’t have time to reschedule. That something was right, because at 6:50pm (about half an hour before I was going to leave for Jess’s), my water broke! It started with a trickle, and I wasn’t quite sure what it was so I sat down on the couch and told Ken that it may have been my water. Then I felt some more… I looked down but since I couldn’t see past my uber big belly (see pic below taken at class that morning waiting for the ladies!), I asked Ken to look and the look on his face said it all. I ran to the bathroom and the water was streaming down my legs and pants and pooling at my feet. Some of you may have seen the picture of that posted on Facebook!
Ken and I were laughing and giddy with the excitement and right away he got to work setting up with birth tub. Caimen was ecstatic, jumping on the couches and literally climbing the walls; he couldn’t wait to meet his sister! He kept asking: “Is the baby going to be here in one minute?”. Haha – if only!
I made some phone calls: first to my doulas that my water broke, then to my midwife who asked a bunch of questions and told me to check in later, then to my mom, and last to Jess. I asked Jess if she could come to me to do the casting since I didn’t want to be driving across the city after my water had broken, and she happily agreed. After all of this excitement settled down, we realized that dinner had been burning! That’s what happens when your labour starts at dinner time I guess.
The regular Braxton Hicks contractions that I had been having for weeks quickly turned into real contractions. They were about 6-8 minutes apart while Jess was doing my belly cast and felt very mild. Having my torso plastered in early labour was very relaxing! The sculpture is still being worked on, and when finished, it will be up in our new space at 3 Munro Street – come check it out!
By 10pm we finally got Caimen to bed and my contractions were about the same; 6-8 minutes apart, mild and low down in my uterus. I was thinking that things would pick up quickly, but I took my own advice that I give doula clients, and went to bed since it was my bedtime. Thankfully, my contractions slowed down to every 18-20 minutes as soon as I lay down. They were slightly more intense, but I was able to physically rest in between. I laboured like this all night, getting up three times to pee and every time I was up and moving, my contractions were back to 6 minutes apart. After not much sleep at 5:30am, I texted Natasha and Bianca (who had been waiting with phones in hand for me to call!) to let them know that I was going to wait until the sun came up to get up. “Good plan!” they said! However, about 10 minutes later, the intensity of my contractions picked up and I texted them back saying “Screw that – I’m getting up and I need one of you here now”.
Ken and I got up and as he filled the birth tub, I walked around. It felt good to be upright and moving. These positions sped things up though, and my contractions were anywhere between 5-9 minutes apart and about 60 seconds long. They were more intense now and I had had a bit of bloody show, which was great as it meant things were changing! Ken took this picture of me as my last belly pic.
Bianca arrived around 6:45am and helped Ken get everything else set up. Ken made us breakfast and I called the midwives again once things intensified around 8:30am. By then, my contractions were consistently 4-5 minutes apart and lasting close to 90 seconds. My midwives decided that they’d better head over soon since it was my second baby and my first birth was so fast. Caimen woke up and we got him comfortable with a movie to watch; we decided to keep him home from school that day and be a part of the birth. My mom was on-call for him in case he wasn’t enjoying the experience or if he was bugging me, but I really wanted his first experience with birth to be a positive one, especially since he didn’t have any preconceived thoughts about it yet.
My midwives arrived all together (primary, secondary and student) at 9:30am and quickly got set up. You can see some of their stuff set up in the picture below by Carrie Duncan, Four Bees Photography.
I was actively labouring by this time, and really enjoyed standing and leaning against Ken while Bianca squeezed my hips during a contraction. I was getting a lot of intensity in my back and upper legs for the second half of the contractions and so I was also wearing a TENS machine. It was AWESOME. Ken and Bianca were also massaging my legs between contractions as I was getting a weird sciatica-like sensation (not pleasant). I was continually moving and changing positions; it’ what felt right. I laboured standing up leaning on Ken, I leaned on the wall, I was on the toilet, then on the exercise ball, walking between contractions and then having one wherever I was at that moment.
Part of my birth plan (I realize I never ended up posting my birth plan blog before the birth so here is a link to my actual birth plan posted separately) was to limit the number of vaginal exams; I had my first and only exam at 10:30am and I was 6cm dilated and 90% effaced – YIPPEE! That was wonderful news to me as it was further along than I had anticipated. I was still coping really well and while things were intense, I was still feeling great.
Then I felt like I wanted to get into the birth pool – I all of a sudden had a craving for warm water and was anxious to get in. We filled it with salt water for extra buoyancy! I got in the tub around 10:45am and the water felt amazing – it was nice and warm and there was less pressure on my hips and back. Caimen got into his bathing suit and jumped in with me! He liked the warm water and liked being near me as well – he was holding my hand through contractions and even making birth sounds with me! He was like my third doula 😉
By that time, Natasha arrived and I opened one eye to see who was coming through the door. My mom arrived shortly after that and it was nice to be surrounded by such an amazing support team (Midwives, Ken, two awesome doulas, Caimen, and my mom).
I wasn’t in the tub long before I started to feel the urge to push. My contractions were 3 minutes apart, 90 seconds long, and super intense! With Caimen, I had a severe tear and lots of stitches and healing so my MAIN goal for this birth was to have a slow and controlled pushing stage. I succeeded, as I took twice as long to push Coral out than I did Caimen! I breathed through contractions and my pushing urge, trying to ‘blow it away’ and not push harder than I needed to. Natasha and Bianca were reminding me how to breathe and what to relax and it was SO helpful. They kept me focused and motivated and Ken was right there beside me holding my hand which made me feel calm and safe. Caimen was out of the tub by this time, but still watching the whole thing with a front row centre seat – check out this picture of his face as Coral is on her way out! He still follows “Congrats on being a big brother” with “I saw her come out!”. He was completely fascinated with the whole process and I am so impressed by how he was. It was definitely the right decision for us to have him there.
Once her head was crowning I reached down and kept my hand on her head the whole time; I could feel that my pushing urges and breathing were bringing her closer and it also kept me focused. Her head was born and it felt like right away that I felt the urge to push again and when I did, at 11:54am, her whole body came out into my hands and I pulled her up onto my chest. RELIEF! There is no greater feeling of instant relief than having a baby go from inside to outside your body. I just kept saying “Oh, that feels better!”.
It was between 4-5 minutes of relishing in the fact that I wasn’t in labour any more and my baby was in my arms before I was ready to find out what she was. No one had seen if she was a boy or a girl yet and so finally I lifted her leg up for Ken to see. It felt like the longest time ever while I waiting to hear him say ‘boy’ or ‘girl’.
He said “I can’t see!” which drew it out even more, haha. I lifted her leg more and he finally said “It’s a girl!” and the whole room ERUPTED in celebration. My eyes are actually teary now just writing it and remembering that moment.
I got out of the tub with her still attached to me and lay on the couch where the umbilical cord pulsed for 18 minutes before stopping! I delivered my placenta half an hour after Coral was born, and Jess (who is also our placenta encapsulation lady) said it was the thickest and most dense placenta she had ever seen. Go me! I also had no tearing or damage to my perineum thanks to the super controlled pushing stage. Go me again!
The next couple of hours were wonderful; I will briefly describe them here, but then I will let the incredible photos taken by Carrie Duncan at Four Bees Photography tell the rest. I spent a lot of time skin to skin with Coral, breastfed her, she spent time skin to skin with Ken, had her newborn exam, Caimen held her, and then we snuggled down into bed for our first family nap (minus Caimen who was out with my mom for lunch).
The pictures below are very special to me as Carrie was able to catch the first moments of our family being complete; she did so without being noticed, and took such tasteful pictures in such an immodest setting, I will forever be truly grateful.
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