Taking Charge of Your Birth
Client birth story when working in partnership with Olena Guseva:
We met S and K pretty far into her pregnancy. I believe she was around 34 weeks at the time of her first consultation. She had been referred to us by her Naturopath - the wonderful Dr. Briana Peddle.
S started her pregnancy very similarly to how many moms begin. She went to a maternity clinic for most of her pregnancy as that is where she was told she would go. She went on with her pregnancy with them but as time progressed, she felt something was just off with the care that she was receiving. Over the course of her pregnancy, she began learning about alternatives to the normal paths.
Her intuition was telling her she needed a different care provider. And that is a feeling a lot of moms experience - BUT very few actually do anything about it. S was different. At 33 weeks, she switched her care to a midwife who was more in line with what she was hoping to achieve for her birth.
Right away, the care felt different and felt right to her. She loved the long appointments and being able to really get to know her midwife.
At 34 weeks, she met with us and decided that we would be the perfect addition to her team, not only for her, but for her husband. She understood that we were not there to take away anything from K - only to help them both have their best births possible.
We quickly got started with the prenatal meetings. At our first prenatal - where we go over what to expect during birth and the MANY options available to her - you could see it in their eyes they were both so eager to learn and to find out about what was really possible for their birth. They took it all in. They were like sponges, ready to learn.
At our second prenatal, she gladly jumped up and down as we showed her the many different ways we can provide physical comfort.
When her midwife told her she felt baby was presenting transverse, S did everything she could to help encourage baby to get into a great position. She started going for regular chiropractic care with Dr. Emily at Optimum Family Chiropractic and went to see Dr. Eran Even for acupuncture treatments. To compliment this, she also did many of the exercises found on Spinning Babies as per our suggestion.
At 37 weeks, she found out that she had tested positive for GBS. She wanted to be fully informed about what this meant and what her options were so we provided her with lots of information to help her decide how to continue. The goal from the start was the stay home as long as possible for her birth - and this threw a wrench in the plans. Her midwife ordered the antibiotics to be able to administer them at home - but we had no idea if it would arrive in time and kept our fingers crossed.
At just past 39 weeks, she decided to retest. The GBS strain only stays active for a few weeks so it was very possible that at 37 weeks she was positive and at 39 she was negative. Most people do not request a second test - but this was important to her so once again. she took charge and retested. Much to her glee, the test was negative. Plans were back in place.
As her due date approached she remained focused and excited for what was to come. She wasn't afraid. She was informed. She knew what her options were. She trusted that her body could do this and that it was made to do this.
Then the days kept passing. Pretty soon she was a week past her estimated due date. At this point the word "induction" is OFTEN mentioned - by everyone! But she stayed focused and believing that her baby will come when ready.
We received almost daily emails from S as she was spending her days distracting herself with LOTS of shopping. We loved it! (P.S. She has GREAT taste in everything.) Usually by this stage we are working on reminding mamas that this is normal and encouraging them to stay in the moment and to enjoy their final days with the belly. We didn't need to do that with S. She already knew.
When her birthing time started in the evening, she followed our tips perfectly. She sent her partner to bed and she too went to rest as she knew that she would need her energy. Within a few hours her contractions picked up. By 3am she was at the hospital and at 4:59am she birthed her baby. She excitedly said that her birth went just as she had hoped. She had her unmedicated, informed, vaginal birth that she had worked so hard for. Her baby was in perfect position thanks to the good work from the chiropractic and acupuncture care she received. Her care provider listened to what she needed and when S told her she wanted to do something, her midwife respected her choice.
During her postpartum visit, S and K both had massive smiles on their face - and it wasn't just because they now had their perfect little one. It was because they BOTH had the birth they had wanted. They totally TOOK CHARGE OF THEIR BIRTH and did everything they could to proactively help them have a positive experience.
S said that many of her friends had no idea of all the thing she did during her pregnancy and her birth were even options. K explained that they learned more in the last 6 weeks of her pregnancy with us supporting them, then they did the first 34 weeks.
No, not every birth goes to plan. Even with people who do everything that S did. But S truly believes that had she continued down the path she was first on, that there was no way she would have had the positive birth experience that she did have.
We wanted to share her story because it is a perfect example of the power of being able to take charge of your pregnancy and birth.
Inform yourself. Get help where needed. Look for alternatives. Be proactive. Birth Happy.
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Samantha Garcia Gagnon is a birth worker in Pitt Meadows, British Columbia. She has a special focus on supporting physiologic home births and shares her years of experience and knowledge in this blog.
Proudly supporting home birthing families in Pitt Meadows, Maple Ridge, Port Coquitlam, Coquitlam. Port Moody, Langley,
Surrey and New Westminster.
Filled with gratitude to be living and working in the unceded and ancestral home of the Katzie, Kwikwetlem, Matsqui, Kwantlen, and
Semiahmoo First Nations.