Walking in the Moonlight
It was the weekend of December 12, 2009, the coldest weekend of the year, and we were moving into our new home – I was 39 weeks pregnant. We were planning a home birth for number three so I was relieved to be settling into our new “nest” prior to her arrival. Just as in the past, my due date came and went.
With Christmas only a few days away I met with our midwife on December 23. At my request she passed along her “no fail” recipe for natural induction. I had already decided that I’d leave no natural stone unturned as long as both, the baby and I were medically well.
That night Shane, my significant other, and I decided to wait until after Christmas and our visit to his parents to drink this labour aid. On the Boxing Day drive home from Shane’s parents, we decided to drink the “no fail” smoothie once we were home.
Around 2:00 p.m. I slipped into a warm bath to soak away the day. I spent the better part of the afternoon in the tub relaxing and admiring my very large baby belly Shane and I had created together. As big as it was I always thought it was beautiful!
Our son Noah even joined me for a while. He sat on the floor, next to the tub in the candlelight, playing with all of the bubbles on my belly. I enjoyed his company and his questions about why our baby still wasn’t out.
By 4:30 p.m. I’d spoken with Shianna and Joy our midwives. We’d agreed to a second round of the labour aid. Within a half hour of Shianna’s visit I’d drank it and waited for something to happen…
Around 9:00 p.m. I climbed into bed to enjoy a movie with Shane. However I was beginning to think our idea of enticing our wee one into the world was not going to work. I shared my doubts with Shane and he gently reassured me what was meant to be would be. Knowing with all of my being that he was right I drifted off to sleep in the crook of his arm.
I woke a couple hours later feeling utterly defeated that nothing was happening. I planned to go to bed hoping to sleep off the feeling of failure. Shane and I whispered in the dark for a little while then fell to sleep tangled together in my favorite position.
In my dreams I felt my abdomen tighten and relax several times. I was satisfied with the idea of meeting our baby soon. By 1:00 a.m. I was standing next to our bed starring out the window. As I enjoyed the view, I focused on the waves in my abdomen. Shane stirred and woke with abruptness wondering why I was no longer laying beside him.
I confirmed that I was having regular contractions and had an insatiable desire go outside for a walk. With unexpected enthusiasm he leapt out of bed and began pulling on his jeans. I chuckled at the sight as I headed to our ensuite.
As I got ready for our walk in the moonlight my water ruptured –this should have been my first clue that my body had been working harder than I had given it credit for.
My parents stayed with the children and around 2:00 a.m. Shane and I were headed down our driveway to the road. As we walked our voices were soft and my abdominal rushes were frequent. We would stop so I could lean forward and focus on my breathing with each contraction. It wasn’t painful it was just the natural pattern and it seemed to be working.
At home we made tea and settled on the couch. Shane and I talked about everything and nothing all at the same time. Looking back it was exactly what I needed. I drew strength from his presence without realizing. He was my rock and looking into his eyes gave me courage to believe all was well.
When things intensified I traveled around and leaned on our kitchen island. Shane rubbed my back in all the right spots and offered to call the midwife.
As I walked towards our bedroom I explained that it was still too early, but I reassured him I’d let him know when to call.
In no time at all my contractions had my knees buckling and I was face down from the waist up leaning on our bed. I stayed like this for a while until one of the rushes had me involuntarily pushing. Although I know what this usually means, in the moment it caught me by surprise so I denied it to myself.
Shane having been witness to the sudden turn of events reached for the phone. Between my quick rushes I somehow managed to convince him not to call just yet - I wanted two more contractions to make sure the sudden urge to push hadn’t been imagined. He reluctantly obliged. However the next contraction had me changing my mind – he needed to call because I could feel our baby moving down all on her own.
Shane stayed with me but made the necessary calls to our midwife and his mom as they were all part of our intended birth team. With each additional contraction our baby moved closer to the world even though I tried my best not to assist her decent.
Thankfully Shianna lives close because I was starting to realize our wee one was going to wait for no one – she wanted out and fast!
All the while I was confused by what seemed like rapid progress. What my body and mind were telling me were no longer in sync and I was losing the sense of calm Shane and I had been enjoying together.
Shianna arrived and joined us in the bedroom. She confirmed my cervix to be eight to nine centimetres and super stretchy. For some unknown reason I didn’t want to believe her. Things were going too quickly now and I felt out of control. It had only been a few hours, I was not feeling pain but things were happening too fast now… I needed more time to mentally process.
I was ready to meet our baby but the process no longer made sense it felt like all calm had been lost as I saw our bed sheets being torn off. Through a contraction I watched Shianna and Shane prepare our bed with the plastic cover I’d purchased and the old sheet from my grandmother. It all seemed so surreal.
By the time the bed was ready I told Shianna I needed her to catch our baby. I sat between Shane’s legs on the bed. We waited for the next contraction to subside before Shianna attempted to check my progress. It was no surprise to me Shianna said our baby was right there waiting to be born. I put my fingers between my legs and felt her head.
With Shane behind me, stroking my arm and whispering “you can do this, Hon.” I mustered up the strength needed to birth our baby – three miraculous pushes.
With both our midwives, Shianna & Joy, present we gave birth to our daughter Jocelyn Mary Peters on December 27, 2009 at 3:48a.m. Jocelyn tipped the scale at 8lbs 6oz. Shortly after her quick and painless birth Jocelyn was greeted by her big brother Noah, big sister Anika and overjoyed grandparents.
Reflecting on Jocelyn’s birth I have been reminded how amazing the natural birth process can be when uninterrupted. I am grateful for the blessings of a calm, supportive and loving partner, for myself and all three of our children. I am very thankful for of our caring midwives Shianna and Joy. What an amazing journey it was to have that kind of prenatal, birth and postpartum support available to us.
Erin Moyen is a certified birth and postpartum doula working in the Calgary area. She lives in rural Cochrane, Alberta with Shane Peters and their three children.
This birth story was taken from our Fall 2010 issue of Birthing Magazine