Tuesday, 15 May 2012

A year later..

 It all started with the movie Flatliners. On May 9 at 10:45pm I was laying in bed like a beached whale at 41 weeks pregnant to the day, and my Fiancee and I had just finished watching the movie. I was at the point in my pregnancy where I was so big I was uncomfortable constantly and bed time was always between 7 & 8pm. The movie had just finished and as I was up way past my usual bed time I was more than ready to pass out. Then it seemed that the  second the lights went off and the laptop was closed, I felt a huge pop within myself, which felt comparable to that of being punched really hard in the ass, from the inside. (Easy to imagine right? Maybe not.)

Ass Punch: Now you know.

I felt a dull ache following that and figured it must be gas so I decided to make my way upstairs to go into the bathroom and sit down. Now, as I was living in a basement and as mentioned - massive, I slowly waddled my way up to the main floor. The second I walked into the main floor bathroom water started trickling out of me and my first thought was "Holy shit I'm having a baby".

"That's not me peeing!"

I get it seems like that should have been pretty obvious during the 10 months of my life I spent being pregnant. Growing, feeling the baby moving inside of me doing barrel rolls, seeing the baby at ultrasound appointments. I knew I was going to have a baby at some point, and I had imagined the moment I now found myself in probably a thousand times during my pregnancy, and what it would be like. I knew that at some point giving birth was something I was going to have to do. I was going to have to push a whole, living, breathing child out of me, and no matter how much mental and physical preparation I had done while pregnant with my first baby, no matter how much envisioning the moment it would happen,  game day was here and shit just got real.

Kind of like this, but out weighing this child by like 200 lbs. And not fighting riot cops. 

So after I called my Fiancee upstairs, he found me sitting on the toilet in the bathroom, the only thing I could think of doing with the constant flow of water. And all I could say was "That sound is not me peeing!!". I have a habit of getting super giddy when I get nervous, so the giggles were plentiful at this point. I got my Fiancee to grab my little journal I had been writing in my whole pregnancy, consisting of letters to my daughter, and I quickly wrote a little blurb telling her my water had broke and I was going to meet her soon! Within a half an hour I went into active labor, which was fairly mild and felt comparable to menstrual cramps. I was able to walk around still at this point, but the dull aching feeling made me irritable and annoyed, and as I was already exhausted from being up so late I decided to make my way to the upper floor where I had a guest bedroom set up with all of my baby things, a bathroom next door, and at the end of the hall another guest room that was set up to be my birth room. 

The morning before I gave birth. In the hospital with my Midwives monitoring the baby for any signs of stress. I had friends who told me about a "Membrane Sweep" procedure that could be done by your caregiver and swore by it as the most sure fire way to get into labor. My Midwives wouldn't do it until I was over 40 weeks pregnant, to ensure my little one could have as much time as possible to grow and to hopefully allow my body to do it on it's own. I was already 4 cm dilated. Don't know what a membrane sweep is? Let me help you visualize that.

I went to lay down in my bed and attempted to fall asleep. I had read so many books and birth stories online where women talked about sleeping in between contractions, and I was already so tired, and with my contractions getting stronger and stronger by the minute and expecting to have 30+ hours of labor ahead of me, I needed to sleep. The second I laid on my side and closed my eyes I had the strongest contraction I had yet that threw me up into a sitting position. My breath changed, my eyes closed, and I braced myself through it. The pain felt comparable to a pair of hands sweeping around the bottom of my stomach and squeezing all the parts inside my lower abdomen and then releasing. 

 38 Weeks

And at that moment I thought about how tired I was, how much more painful this was going to get. I thought about my decision to give birth at home, was it the right decision? Did I want drugs after all? It was so obvious that this was going to not just be all about the physical aspect of giving birth but it was going to be very much a mental game. I moved into the bathroom where I threw up until I had nothing left inside of me, with contractions coming and going, but with ever increasing intensity. This is where I would spend the next 3 hours until I had Cannon.

39 Weeks

Down the hall was the spare room that we set up to be our birthing room complete with a pool, candles, music, and anything else we thought might make me comfortable when the time came. I completely forgot everything about this room. As my body was working hard to get ready to give birth, my contractions becoming more fierce, I went through what I feel was three "stages":

 You'd think someone was trying to have a water birth or something.

The first stage was getting into the bathroom, (impossibly tiny bathroom I should add), and my body purging itself. When I felt that it was over, I moved myself into the shower with the hottest water possible. You always read about these women who go into active labor and just can't stop moving. They clean their houses, they dance. This shit was not happening with me. For the entirety of my labor I kept myself in squatting position, the most comfortable, natural position I could get myself. The only position I could make the contractions somewhat tolerable.

And then for the first time since I came into the bathroom, I saw my Fiancee. He peeked into the shower curtain and asked if I needed anything, and all I could mutter stiffly was a flat "No." The contractions were so strong they were heaving my body, and it made me think of the stories I read in Ina May's Guide to Birth, where women described their labor and contractions coming in "waves", and feeling like they were at sea. The strength and hold they had on me was completely consuming and put me into almost a trance-like state, and the only way I could come through each wave was to grip to the side of the bathtub and sway myself back and forth, round and round, like I was trapped in a current. 

Pregnant or hoping to be one day, read this book. It will blow your mind to how amazing birth can be, how amazing it is.

Every 2 minutes of a contraction, felt like eternity, and I was completely inside of myself. Inside of my head. Then I heard my Fiancee try to coach me, trying to do anything he could to help bring me through it. I'm a very inward person when it comes to pain or sickness. I prefer to retreat into a quiet private space where I can deal with it on my own, this bathroom was my space. Inside I was so furious with him, like he was breaking my focus, my connection to myself. But he is the most sincere, considerate person I know, and I told him as calmly as I could, "Thank you, I really appreciate what you're doing but I really need you to fucking get out of here." And being the totally understanding awesome guy he is, he did leave because he knew I could do it, and only would come back with ice cold bottles of water for me to sip later on.

I don't want to say this was an "out of body" experience, because it was very much the total opposite. I was very much IN my body. I soon felt like I was hostage to my body, the only thing I could compare it to is being locked inside of a room with windows and chaos is outside. You can see, hear, and feel everything but inside of the room everything is calm and quiet, still. With every step up in intensity I needed that calm space in my mind to allow my body to relax and do what it needed to do. 

Any and all sense of time was completely lost on me through the whole thing, but I came out of the shower back to where I started, on the floor, in front of the toilet. Every contraction was slamming into me, with the relax periods in between getting smaller and smaller. With each wave I'd get thrown back into that trance but as it got stronger soon swaying turned into teeth-gritting, chin to chest, vein's-pulsing bracing through it. And then with one contraction all of a sudden my body pushed. I felt like everything on my lower body was going to explode. I knew this was a sign that my baby was dropping and I was going to give birth any second. 

 I called my Fiancee into the room and told him to call our Midwives right this second because I was pushing. He looked terrified and said "No!! You can't be pushing! You can't!" and my response was something along the lines of "You call her right fucking now!" He left and when he came back he told me they'd be there within the hour, and then he saw me have another contraction, saw how powerful it was, I could feel my baby right there, and he called the Midwives again. 

Now here's where I get lost in time because the intensity was so strong I couldn't even open my eyes. Contractions were pounding through my body, my legs were screaming from being in squat position for so long. I was beginning to lose my focus, and fear was rising inside of me. What felt like only 10 minutes passing by, I then felt a cold soft hand gently reach around from behind me and settle on my belly and it was as if every part of my body inside and out relaxed. I was completely safe, everything was going to be fine. I felt my Midwife check me to see how far I had dilated, since I had only been in labor a few hours and we very well could have a few days ahead of us. She then calmly said "Megan, if you can, I want you to reach down and check yourself". Eyes still closed, I did, and I felt this weird jelly and I asked her what it was, and she told me it was my baby's head.

This was very much happening and she was coming right away. My Midwife left me and I went back into my trance, gripping the toilet for the strength and power I needed. The stability I needed. When she came back, she said to me "Megan, Andrew has the pool half full, do you still want to get in it?". Pool? What pool?! Eyes still closed, I could only shake my head no. There was no way I was leaving this room I had so much power and control in. This was my private safe place, I owned it. She told me to do whatever I felt was right, and let my body do what it was supposed to. 

My body was pushing, completely free of any of my own will, to move my baby farther down. And then I felt her at the lowest point she would ever be until I gave birth to her. I felt my bones fluctuate with each contraction now, as this heavy head bore more and more weight on them. And then I panicked. Not verbally, but the fear was all over my face. The feeling of my baby crowning was incredibly alarming and snapped me into reality. My Midwife talked to me and told me quietly that I could do this, my body was open. I could only repeat her, "I'm open, I'm open, I'm open". Inside I was having a much more in depth conversation with myself. "Keep your jaw loose, hang the chin low. Relax. Don't tense. You can do this, everybody does this."And with the final acceptance that this needed to happen to give my baby life, I felt my pelvis open itself and move out of the way to accommodate my baby's head. And then I felt the hardness of her skull on my thighs and a huge rush went through me, I was exhilarated at what I had just felt. My bones moved for her and it was so smooth

I stopped and waited, with short breaths, eyes still closed, with my baby's head just hanging there. Waiting for the next push. And when it came, it was over so fast, and she slid with ease onto a pile of dirty towels that had been there for weeks. My eyes were still closed, and then I heard my Midwife say "Megan, pick up your baby!", and I opened my eyes and saw her in my Midwife's hands on the floor. Her cord was short so I had to stay sitting in an awkward, hunched pose as my Midwives wrapped myself and my daughter in warm towels. It was 2:45AM now, and then for the first time since demanding he call our Midwives, I saw my Fiancee again and he knelt down beside us smiling and his first words to his daughter was a breathless "Oh hi!", and he looked terrible.

Cord still in tact, seconds after birth.

I had absolutely no clue during my time in my little bubble what he was going through outside. He went to attach the hose we bought to fill up the pool while I was in labor, and realized the attachment didn't fit.  So my mother had to boil big pots of water downstairs continuously replacing them while my Fiancee had to run up and down the stairs as he filled the pool. He was drenched in sweat and every single hair on his head was flayed out from running his hands through it in stress. 

Within a half hour I was in my bed while my Midwives checked my daughter and weighed her (a solid 8 lbs 15 oz). By 6:00AM, we were laughing and listening to CCR while I had stitches put into  my second degree tears. My entire birth experience was so incredible and so amazing because I was able to keep my head cool  and let my body work, and I owe that entirely to my Midwives who always kept me informed and aware about my birth rights, the power of my body, and how much I was capable of giving birth and having it be a positive one. I owe so much to my Fiancee who was always incredibly doting and understanding and who, through the entire process, was always on the same page as I was. I can't imagine what my birth experience may have been like without him, and the guidance of my Midwives. 

Jen weighing my little tank. Within a half hour after she was born.

This past Thursday my baby turned 1 and my Fiancee came up with the idea to fill her room with balloons while she slept as an awesome morning birthday surprise. So he left at 10:00 at night to get them and we spent the better part of an hour blowing them up ourselves. In the morning her face was priceless. 

Fun Facts and Resources:
*I gained 40 lbs from my pregnancy.
*From water break to birth was 4 hours, active labor was 3 hours.
*I took a Hypnobirthing course with my Fiancee. For me, I found it expensive for what it was, but it gave me the opportunity to meet other couples in my city who were also using Midwives and birthing at home, and breathing and visualization techniques I used later on in my birth.
*If you're interested in using Midwives be sure to contact a Midwife in your area as soon as possible after you're pregnant.  To find Midwives in my area I just did an "Alberta Midwives" Google search. They not only monitered my growth and my baby's growth, but gave me advice on my diet and activity, endless resources and reading material, and kept me informed about my birthing rights. Most of all they gave me the confidence that I was capable and strong enough to give birth.
*Awesome local stores that carry natural baby products that we have used - in Red Deer: Wicked Green. In Medicine Hat - Bumbleboo. In Lethbridge - EcoBaby Canada.
*I lost alot of blood after I had my baby, I had been on the border line of hemorrhaging. The bathroom looked very crime scene-esque but my Midwives came prepared. Once I was in my own bed, they needed me to get up and go use the bathroom to make sure my plumbing was still working efficiently. I got up with their assistance, and the last thing I remember is my Midwife asking if I could see stars, and then I fainted. I had the longest most drawn out, vivid, dream ever and when I woke up I was laughing. As I came to I was telling them about my dream that felt like forever even though I was out for seconds. And then I proceeded to ramble on, half conscious,  about Flatliners and how what just happened kind of felt like that.  
*The hardest part was not the birth, but the after birth. It took me a couple days to be able to walk myself downstairs, and even that took a while. The emptiness of my stomach made it hard to breathe, I had been so used to everything being tight and pushed up into my chest. Within hours of giving birth, my Midwife had to kneed and push on my stomach to make sure any and all blood clots and excess was out of me. It was incredibly painful but necessary.

*My birth took place in Red Deer, Alberta. I currently live in Medicine Hat, Alberta, and there are no Midwives here at this time, but there is a Doula service. I would highly recommend if you're pregnant in this area and can't have Midwives, get a Doula. www.medicinehatdoula.com
*The Midwifery group I used - www.prairiemidwives.ca or find them on Facebook at Prairie Midwives and www.blessingwaymidwifery.ca (Blessingway Midwifery on Facebook)
*My favorite website while I was pregnant, the posts and the comments would make me cry from laughing so hard -  www.pregnantchicken,com
*Another favorite website - www.offbeatmama.com

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Kali Goes to the Vet

My baby got spayed today at Ridge Vet Hospital.

And had eye surgery

AND had dew claws removed on her back feet

And she's on to a fast recovery, thanks to some stylin' lightning bolts. This place was amazing. I never felt at any point like I didn't know what would happen to her, and left feeling informed and comfortable. 


Sunday, 1 April 2012


 Blue skies, +15, 2.5 hours of walking this pretty city.

The whole city is in pretty much one giant crater. Hills and cliffs everywhere you go.

THIS! What is this?! Why does this exist?!

Chi puppies in matching argyle sweaters. That happened.


Don't make em' like this anymore.

 I want to live here.

And here.

This place. THIS PLACE has been empty for a loooonng time and would be the perfect place for a retro shop. Now who wants to invest in me?

I hear lots of complaints from Hatters born and raised here. 
Your city is what you make of it.
This is a beautiful place.