At Light Speed
Lisa lives in Kitchener, Ontario with her partner and three children. She is an Ayurvedic practitioner, a Pre/Postnatal Yoga teacher, Reiki Master, and Doula. She weaves all of these beautiful practices together to provide loving care for birthers and their sweet babes. The immediate postpartum period has her heart! You can connect with her on all social networks as Wise Roots Therapies.
During my first pregnancy, I learned all that I could about natural pregnancy, birth, and baby care, and I planned on having a water birth. After only a short time being in the birth pool, my midwife asked me to get out of the pool so she could check dilation. I was told I was fully dilated, and as another contraction came on, I had felt like I wasn’t able to move and I ended up giving birth on my back on my bed.
With my second pregnancy, I was hoping to give birth in a more upright position. I had thought that being on all fours would be the most comfortable for me. As my waters naturally broke, we discovered the presence of thick meconium, and I was told I needed to transfer to the hospital, and ultimately, birthed my baby while on my back again.
So when I discovered I was pregnant for a third time, I was determined to give birth in a more favourable position for both myself and my baby.
Three days before my due date I had an appointment with an OBGYN. My plan was to have a home birth with midwives, but due to my “advanced maternal age” (I was a month shy of 41 years old and had already had two uneventful pregnancies, and easy, relatively quick births), I was required to see an OBGYN in case I needed to be induced as it wasn’t recommended that I go past my due date. Thank goodness it didn’t come to that!
My appointment was scheduled for 9:10 a.m.. I woke up around 8:30 a.m. and thought that I should eat something before I left for the clinic, but for some reason, the thought of food didn’t appeal to me. As I waited for my partner Premdas to get ready, I noticed that I was feeling a bit off—a little bit achy, but nothing major.
When we arrived at our doctor’s office, we were told that we’d have to wait as she had been at a birth earlier that morning and had not yet arrived at the clinic.
As we took a seat in the waiting area, the discomfort I had experienced earlier returned, but this time it felt much stronger ... like a contraction. The feeling kept increasing, coming in waves and getting closer and closer together.
Finally, the nurse called me to the back. I sat down as she started asking questions and after one look at me she said, “you’re in labour!” All I could say was “yes.” I was surprised, as I really didn’t think I was exhibiting any signs. In fact, I think I was still in denial that it was actually happening! She asked me if I’d be okay to go back out and sit in the waiting room, assuring me that the doctor would be with me very shortly.
Back in the waiting room, which was near capacity at this point, the contractions continued to gain momentum. I focused on my breathing while I squeezed Premdas’ hand. I felt self-conscious and a bit nervous. I should have been home. Thankfully, it wasn’t long before I was taken to a room to wait for the doctor.
A few minutes later, the doctor quickly breezed into the room, sat down, and whirled around to look at me exclaiming, “You’re in labour!” I found it quite funny to hear this exact statement twice. I guess when you spend a lot of time around birthers you know just by looking at them when they’re in labour.
She performed a quick cervical check and said that I was about 6 cm dilated and around 80% effaced. “You’re going to have your baby today!” she said excitedly. Then she asked, “what would you like to do? Go home and have your home birth?” to which I replied, “YES!”
She paged the midwife, Minke, who immediately called back. The doctor filled her in on what was happening, said that I was doing great, and that I was going to go back home to have my home birth. Minke said she’d meet us at our house.
As we left the doctor’s office to make our way back to the car, I kept pausing to breathe through the contractions. I stopped walking to lean on my partner several times: in the hallway, in the elevator, on the steps outside the building, on the way to the parking lot, and once more before stepping into the car.
It was only a five-minute drive from home. Not a word passed between Premdas and me as I gripped the door handle and focused my energy on my breath. A brief moment of panic passed through my thoughts as my “thinking brain” kicked in, realizing what was about to happen once again. I pushed the thoughts aside as I relaxed into the present moment, trusting that my body and breath knew just what to do.
Once parked in the driveway, Premdas helped me out of the car as another strong contraction came on. I had to lean on the wall of the house for support. When it passed he asked if I needed a minute. All I could do was shake my head and move quickly up the path and into the house. In my mind, I knew I needed to get inside before I hit the transition phase as I would no longer be able to move. I was determined not to have this baby in my driveway!
Another wave hit before I could even remove my shoes. When it passed I went straight into my bedroom and felt another contraction coming on. I struggled to remove my clothing as I knew it wouldn’t be long before the baby’s arrival.
I remained standing while holding on to the change table for support when the next contraction brought out a deep, long, moaning exhale.
Now I could only take quick, sharp inhales that extended into really deep and low, long, groaning exhales. Out of nowhere, I heard Minke’s voice saying, “Lisa you’re doing great!”
With my back turned to the door, I heard Minke call out to Premdas, instructing him to go to her car to get the emergency birthing kit. A moment later, I heard it hit the floor behind me as she unrolled it. Minke must have known by the sounds that I was making that my baby’s birth was imminent, because as she was struggling to open the suitcase of supplies, she said to go ahead and push if I felt the urge to with the next contraction. As I gently bore down, my water broke with a loud pop and startled me as it splashed everywhere! Minke reassured me that it was just the waters breaking and that the fluid was clear so not to worry.
The next contraction came and I felt my baby’s body descending. With one more gentle push, I birthed my beautiful little boy. Later, my partner would say that it looked like our son came out at the speed of light!
His birth happened so quickly that his cord actually snapped with a popping sound. Minke caught him and handed him to my partner as she clamped the baby’s cord. Later, when inspecting the placenta, she mentioned that the cord was quite short.
Minke assisted me from standing to lying down on my bed as the second midwife, Cheryl, came through the door. Once settled, Premdas kneeled down beside me and leaned in to kiss me as he gently rolled the baby from his chest to mine.
It all happened so incredibly fast. Minke was only present for 11 minutes before my son, Arjuna, was born. He arrived at 11:06 a.m., which was just under two hours from my scheduled appointment that morning, and the first inkling of a contraction.
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