As many of you know our little guy Jackson William arrived on November 24th and I wanted to share the exciting (yet long) journey me and my wife Dayle shared along the way.
Before I get into the birth story I wanted to share our goals and approach we made leading up to the birth. First off my wife wanted a 100% natural childbirth. She did not want any drugs or medical assistance to speed up the process. She wanted the good old natural way. This was because of the benefits for the baby and the mother. This was the goal and I was surprised by the response we often were given with this choice. When I mentioned my wife wanted to go natural, I often got blank stares or comments suggesting that was unnecessary or a pipe dream. Most people rubbed it off and I could tell they doubted her and assumed we were stupid first time parents with idealistic views. The most importing thing for us was that we had a healthy baby and a healthy mom! Our goal was to achieve this without the use of drugs but things can change we did know that.
To be successful we made a few choices relating to the birthing process. We choose a midwife as our pre-natal caregiver. In Toronto this was an easy choice as there are several associations to choose from and as my wife booked her appointment prior to telling me she was pregnant she easily got a midwife. As well there is no charge, which I have been asked about several times so I thought I would mention that. We chose a midwife as they promote natural childbirth and work avoid interventions during the birth.
The next thing we did was choose The Bradley Method birthing classes. These are pretty intense, and when my wife told me the classes were 12 weeks long and I had to drive 40 minutes north of the city on Monday nights I was not sold right off the bat. However we had a few friends who had previously taken them and they all gave very high praise. There are only two instructors in the Toronto area of this method which focuses on relaxation and husband coaching during birth. I will say after taking this course we gained the confidences needed to approach birth and it really helps the guys be confident in their wife and be the support needed. As a side note our instructor Anna was really great! I do recommend her classes to expecting parents. It is worth the 12 weeks and the cost associated.
The big secret we kept was that we planned a home birth. The thought of this terrifies most people and even saying we were not having one we got a lot of negative feedback on the subject. We considered the comfort of our home and the fact that there would be little pressure or timeline given and we knew this was a good option for us. We were very committed to this option but still would be happy if we had to move to the hospital for any reason. The great thing about having a midwife is that they will in fact move you to a hospital in advance if there are danger signs, this eliminates the main fear most people associate with home birth. We did however choose not to be public with this choice as we did not want to deal with the general negativity and inaccurate information on the subject. I highly recommend the movie, “The business of Being Born” it is a great documentary on the subject of Midwifery and birth.
Now on to the main event! In the week leading up to the eventual birth my wife had been experiencing a lot of activity which made us believe the time was coming. On Sunday night November 20th is when things started to pick up, she had been woken up several times with small contractions and braxton hicks contractions. Come Monday morning I left for work as usual and we kept up via text messages for most of the day but not too much was happening. Same thing come Monday night however it intensified to the point where I stayed home for an hour or so on Tuesday to make sure labour was not imminent. The signs were suggesting it was close but we felt it could be a little longer so again I went to work. On Tuesday night we attend our leaders cell group since it is in our building and our pastors suggested we come over for some prayer and encouragement. This was very nice and uplifting and we walked back to our place at 8:30. By 9pm the real contracts had started and we were confident these were the real ones. Knowing they were still light and we had no idea how long labour we be, we headed to bed to get as much rest as possible before what we assumed would be birthing day just around the corner.
Wednesday morning had come and the contractions were still coming. They were spaced out about 10 minutes or so apart and I decided to stay home at this point. We spent the day mostly watching The Office. This had been a plan of ours to distract my wife from early labour and to keep our minds off of what was about to happen. So we spent most of the day taking small walks, eating as normal and watching The Office. As the day went on the contracts started to increase and I spent a lot of time massaging her back or apply counter pressure to help my wife feel more comfortable during the contractions. By 10pm I called our midwife to give her a heads up that we were in early labour and her contracts were about 5 minutes apart on average. I had mentioned to her I did not want to have to notify her at 1am while she was sleeping. Turns out I still called at 1am! As by this time the contracts had moved on average to about 4 minutes apart for an hour and lasted 1 minute, this is the time when they want to be called. She assessed Dayle over the phone and she concluded that she was not quite ready for her to come and to keep an eye out for a few changes or if she moved to another level of intensity.
The problem now was that labour was too strong for Dayle to sleep and I was busy tending to her pains with massages that I also did not sleep. So we continued this routine of walking around the house, the rocking chair, the couch, the tub… really she laboured in every part of the house by the morning. On Thursday morning we called our midwife again and she came over to asses the progress and had assumed she was getting close to pushing. After examining Dayle, she let us know she was 6-7 cm dilated at this point. This was mixed news for us, we were happy she didn’t say 2 or 4cm but we also realized labour could keep going on for some time. At this point we had been up for about 26 hours and had only slept for about 20 minutes over that time frame. We both were already very tired and I realized while Dayle still was in a good and positive state this could only last so long.
The next 6 or so hours was much of the same. The contracts kept coming and progress was being made. The time was really going by fast and around 4pm our midwife suggested she break her water to try and speed up the progress. During this she realized she was fully dilated and that the baby was on an angle which she believed was causing some of the delay (we would later find out our baby had his hand on his head which slowed things). This was at about 4:30 and as she suggested the contractions got worse as our baby was making its decent. The progress was taking its toll and I was noticing Dayle was starting to fade a little and she was starting to fall asleep between contracts as exhaustion was setting in now 40 hours into labour. Around 7:30pm my wife recognized some meconium which is early baby stool that is tar like and can be a problem if the baby ingests it during delivery. Because of this we had to move to the hospital as per protocol, we needed a doctor to check the baby after delivery to ensure the baby had not ingested its own stool. So we packed up the car and headed out.
This was the emotional climax of the past few days. My wife was physically drained by this point, I had downed 2 pots of coffee in the last 8 hours and we were ready for our baby to arrive. We were getting to the point where it almost didn’t matter what our birth plan was, I had assumed they would start giving her drugs to speed up labour when we arrived and I knew if that happened she would need an epidural to help her through the final hours. During this drive which was about 20 minutes I could see that Dayle was not comfortable and was really getting close to her end. As we walked through the hospital Dayle had to stop several times for her contracts and we found our way to the delivery room which our midwife had started to prepare. As she was setting up something changed.
We had only been in the room for about 20 minutes when my wife announced she was ready to start delivery. This was what we had been waiting for and it took a long time to get there! It was now 9pm when she started to push out our baby. I will admit this part looked terribly uncomfortable, Dayle had been a model of relaxation while dealing with contractions. She had not shed a single tear, yelled at me or cursed out anyone. After some pushing the progress was not as much as our midwives had hoped and they suggested a change of position. This was the absolute worst part! It turns out that this position did a lot of good but it was far the most emotion part of the delivery. This was the first time it was obvious Dayle was in a lot of pain and it was showing. There was a few minutes during this part that I almost could not bare to see my wife in pain. It was a terrible feeling. I did however really believe in Dayle and I was confident in her ability. As soon as she moved to another position she relaxed and I again felt much better. The end was coming really close!
Within a few minutes the end was nearing. Our midwives were amazing and were giving so much encouragement during the process. They were praising Dayle as the head was becoming visible. I have to mention at one point Dayle replied back to them suggesting they were lying and she was not doing as well as they suggested. It was funny and they were telling the truth because within a few minutes the head emerged and our baby entered the world. Seeing your baby being born is an incredible experience and one that I will never forget.
We did not know the gender of our baby and I will never forget the moment when Dayle said, “It’s a boy!” There was this deep love and excitement in her voice mixed with the unbelief that it was all over. Jackson William Meloche had arrived in perfect health and we were thrilled and in love with him. I do have to mention though my wife had always believed she would have a boy, she was convinced during her pregnancy she would have a girl.
In the end I was amazed at how Dayle had endured nearly 50 hours of labour without sleeping for nearly 40 hours. The body is an amazing creation and is capable of so many amazing things. Of course she looked amazing after and I looked like death! I could not be more proud of Dayle, she had nearly lost hope as the end was nearing but she hung in, endured and did incredible! She did all of this 100% drug free as she planned and agreed it was the best decision after it was over.
It has now been nearly two weeks since he arrived on November 24th at 10:25pm. It honestly was a beautiful experience. We had heard many people say they had a beautiful birth, something that seemed hard to imagine. It was however a beautiful experience we will never forget. Glad to say everyone is health and happy! As a side note, newborns poo and pee a lot!Advertisement