Soon after we purchased 475 Broadview for our new home and clinic space, Anja was conceived. There was much to do in preparation so we worked around the clock. Despite our contractor’s efforts, we didn’t meet our deadline of 2 weeks before the due date. So after much denial and many tears on my part, we decided to birth in my parent’s home.
And this is Anja’s birth story…
7 AM – Woke with mild menstrual-like cramps.
I asked my parents to take Esmé to my sister’s since there was a rainstorm brewing and I wasn’t sure how long the labour was going to be. I hemmed and hawed over whether she should be present for the birth but knew it would be a game-day decision. So away she went.
9 AM – Just going about our day.
Jonah and I decided to go about our morning and reconvene in the afternoon to wait for the baby’s arrival. He went to work to our previous clinic (180 Dundas West). I drove to our new home (475 Broadview Avenue) to attend a meeting with our contractor. While waiting in my car for him, I started to experience contractions.
9:30 AM – Active labour started!
With contractions every 3–4 minutes and pacing around our new yard, the contractor arrived. Between contractions, I quickly chose the stain for the hardwood floors for the clinic. While in active labour, I drove to my parents’ condo. (In hindsight, I don’t recommend this to anyone. I should have called a taxi!). While driving, I was still worried about a long labour so contemplated picking up some DVD’s from Bay Street Video but decided against it since parking is difficult in that area.
10:00 AM – Safe and sound.
I arrived at my parent’s place and called Jonah to come home since labour had begun. I then called our midwife Julie to let her know I was in labour, but made it very clear that I didn’t need her to come yet. A friend had warned me against calling my midwife too early with our second. This was the mistake she had made, and when her midwives arrived, she was only 4 cm dilated. I wasn’t going to make the same mistake.
10:15 AM – I am reminded that labour is intense.
The most comfortable position I could find was to sit on the toilet. So, when Jonah arrived, I was sitting and trying not to tense up while having contractions. I was caught off guard with how intense everything feels; we really DO forget. I went in the shower for some more relief.
10:30 AM – Midwives have a sixth sense when it comes to babies.
Julie, our midwife, called to check in. She knew I had a fast labour with our first and just wanted to see how things were progressing. Jonah asked her to come as soon as possible since labour was in full swing.
11:00 AM – 8 cm – YAY!
Julie arrived and assessed me, and I was 8 cm dilated. I breathed a sigh of relief because I knew I would be pushing soon. While Julie set up, I stood in a bathtub full of warm water, breathing and counting through contractions while Jonah squeezed my hips. I focused on staying as relaxed as possible, but was starting to push, involuntarily.
11:30 AM – The final push.
While pushing, I let out a deep grunt and bit on Jonah’s shoulder. I birthed a healthy little girl in the caul while on a birth stool in the bathroom. Moments later, we broke the amniotic sac which is completely intact. Anja took her first breath.
Our family grows to four and Esmé came back soon after to meet her sister. She helped us name her Anja, and we all had skin-to-skin as a family.
Happy birthday Anja!
– Du La, ND, Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner, Acupuncturist, Birth Doula
Posted: 2016 June 1