Melissa’s Birth Story
This is my son’s birth story.
It all started the evening of Tuesday August 13. I had seen Heather earlier that day as I was just days away from my due date. I had asked for a stretch and sweep and we discovered that I was already several cm dilated. Before I left, Heather said “maybe I’ll see you later”.
Well she was right. I had been having lower back pain since 9:20pm. So I called the pager around 11pm. She said I might as well meet her at the hospital (Groves Memorial) since I was already partly dilated. So we arrived at the hospital just before midnight. Heather checked me out and put the TENS machine to my back to help with the pain.
After a few hours of no progression, I was getting tired so Heather talked about breaking my water. Well, what I thought was pain before turned out to be nothing compared to the pain I felt after my water was broken. Heather was with my husband and I every step. She let me go into the shower to help with the pain. We tried laughing gas but the feeling from it was horrible. At this point I was 7-8cm.
As much as I wanted to do it myself, I opted for an epidural. So at 7am I received an epidural. My care now involved a nurse, anesthesiologist, MD and Heather. After being up all night with me, Heather turned my care over to covering midwife Sarah Brown.
After 5 hours of nothing, I had finally fully dilated and was ready to push. The MD didn’t see any complications so my care was fully in the hands of Heather and Sarah once again. With the help of the nurse and Heather, I pushed for 90min. My son Easton was born at 1:38pm Wednesday August 14, 2013. When I was ready, I moved over into my room for the night. Heather showed up early the next day to check on the three of us.
It was a bitter sweet moment because when I was in Labour with my son, my dad was in ICU in Mississauga recovering from triple bypass heart surgery. He had no idea he had just become a grandfather.
I was so happy I managed to find a midwife like Heather and her team. Thank you Heather, Jasmine, and Sarah for the excellent care.
Hilda’s Birth Story
Changing to a midwife was the best decision I ever made. In my opinion they provide four very important things that a hospital could never match: personalized care, unbiased information to help with decision making, postpartum care, and choice without judgement! I did not know that they provide the option of natural birth or birth with intervention (ie. epidural and Pitocin) at either hospital or home. They are the true experts of childbirth. Had I known this, I would have gone with a midwife from the beginning.
When I found out I was pregnant, I chose to go with an OBGYN. I did not know what a midwife was and assumed it was not for me. I searched for the best hospitals in the GTA and found one that had outstanding reviews. I went to the routine check-ups, each time meeting a different doctor. My hope was that I would meet every doctor on rotation just once so that I would be comfortable with them during labour.
Meanwhile, a friend of mine was also pregnant with her first (4 weeks apart). She chose to go with a midwife. While my appointments always felt rushed and impersonal, she described hers as detailed and caring. She talked about having a natural home birth and I thought, unless a caesarean is required aren’t all births natural? Up to that point, I thought my birth was going to be pretty straight forward as I had no complications and therefore did not research or question the hospital procedures. My plan was to go along with whatever they recommended.
However, at my 38 week appointment I found out I had strep b and would require antibiotics during labour. That was the extent of the information they gave me. Nervous about the medication and impact on my baby, I began to research not only that but all possible procedures and medication associated with hospital births. All my research was indicating hospitals have numerous interventions that are not required and sometimes not even presented as choice. Surely my hospital, with some of the best ratings in the GTA, would not be like that!
Just to be sure I decided to bring my birth plan to my 39 week appointment. I knew there was nothing special on it. All I wanted was no interventions unless an emergency arose. I expected the doctor would agree and I would get the peace of mind I was looking for. I was wrong. He was passive aggressive and had an accusatory tone, as if I was crazy not to consider the use of Pitocin among other things. I am not saying all doctors are like this, but I could not take a chance that I would get him, or another doctor like him. I was not fixed on my birth plan as I knew that things could change, but I did want to at least be allowed to give it a chance.
That day, a week before my due date, I went home and started looking for a midwife. My husband thought I was crazy and that I should just do what the doctor was telling me because they are the professionals and should not be questioned. I was so distraught; I could not let it go. I called around and was so very fortunate to find Grand Valley Midwives. They accommodated meeting with me on such short notice and took the time to answer every single one of my questions. They explained all the options available to me and the pros and cons of some of the decisions I was making. My husband left a converted man and I finally felt like my choices were being respected.
I chose a home water birth and luckily for me that is exactly what I got. I cannot boast enough about how wonderful Bekah and Heather were during the labour and postpartum appointments. I never knew there could be that level of care! As for my friend with the midwife? She had complications during her home birth and ended up at the hospital. The midwives knew exactly when to act to keep mom and baby safe and exposed them to only truly required intervention. We both had healthy babies. I now have immense gratitude and respect for the knowledge and skill that midwives have and recommend them to anyone and everyone I talk to!
Onika’s Birth Story
I was overjoyed to find out I was pregnant with my third child and I was also nervous. My previous two births had ended in “C” sections and I wanted to try to have this baby naturally. At my first appointment with my OB, she made it clear that a vaginal birth was out of the question under her care because she didn’t see the point of trying. This broke my heart because I believed I could have a natural, unmedicated birth with the right support in place. My body was not broken; my pelvic bone was not “too narrow to birth a baby”.
I decided to start looking for a care provider that would support my wishes. For three months, I did my research and prayed. I heard about Grand Valley Midwives through a friend. She had great things to say about them so I decided to make an appointment to discuss my situation. They reviewed my chart and we spoke about my options and risks. They answered every question I had and put my heart at ease. I knew I had found the midwives that would be delivering my baby.
Lydia was my primary midwife and what a joy it was working with her. She took the time to answer any and all the questions I had. I never felt like just another “patient”. Every appointment put me even more at ease. I felt empowered and safe. I knew that when the time came, Lydia would be there with me every step of the way. I knew she would ensure that my baby and I were always safe and given the best of care.
At 40 weeks and 2 days, I went into labor. I called Lydia to let her know. She advised me to come to the hospital when my contractions were 5 minutes apart. My labor was intense but I was determined to have a natural and un-medicated birth. I trusted my body and I knew that every contraction was leading me closer to holding my baby in my arms. Lydia’s reassurance and comfort was immeasurable. She held my cheeks and looked into my eyes and said, “You can do this, I believe in you.” That was just what I needed to hear. After being in active labor for six hours, my beautiful baby boy was born naturally. I was overcome with joy and euphoria. I did it, I really did it.
Here I am, months later, still in awe of the whole experience. Having my son naturally was the healing experience I needed and I would not have had the wonderful experience without the loving support of my husband and my midwives. I am eternally grateful for the care I received throughout my pregnancy, during my labor and afterwards as well.