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Amy’s Birth Story – Baby Zoe, born January 19, 2007
Amy gave birth to Zoe at the Jewish General on an early January morning, and shares her intense and amazing journey through active labour and beyond.

Yogaspace - Pregnancy Yoga - Birth Stories     Well it started around Jan 1st cramps and irregular contractions. At first I got very excited thinking 'this is it!' after a couple times I learned to keep doing life stuff, playing with my daughter Maya, cooking dinner, etc. My baby and body were practicing getting ready but were also chilling out and in no rush.

     Wednesday Jan 17th around 7:30 pm I went to the bathroom and lost a lot of mucus and fluid. No big gush but I knew it wasn't urine from the smell. Over the course of putting Maya to bed I filled 3 thick sanitary pads. I cleaned up dinner dishes and by 10 pm was having sharp contractions, somewhat irregular, but sharp and close together. We called Lesley, our doula, who cheered us on and told us to keep in touch. I paced around for a bit before running a hot bath, dimming the bathroom lights, got stacks of pillows and towels and settling in for the night. I just wanted darkness and warmth. I tried to sleep but couldn't through the sharpness of the contractions, they were very edgy for quite some time.

     Around 5 am the contractions changed and had a distinct beginning middle and end and were increasing in frequency and strength, I couldn't talk much between them and was totally inward focused. Adam woke up Maya and took her to a friend's house. We called our doula, and asked her to come over. I knew if I didn't move soon someone would have to knock me out to get me out of my tropical steam room. Around 10 am we were on our way, labor pains and car rides are not a fun combo. Upon arriving at the Jewish General my contractions were 3 minutes apart, I was 3 cm dilated and 90% effaced. We still had a lot of work to do.

     Because I was attempting a VBAC through family medicine I would have to have a OB consultation upon arriving at the hospital. Thank the stars for my husband Adam, doula, and doctor. We had to fight much harder than I ever thought we would. OBs, nurses, everyone wanted me on my back w/ constant fetal monitor, and IVs. If I heard one more horror story about uterine rupture I was going to hit someone. We fended everyone off, found our allies in some wonderful nurses and OB residents. Between the intense vocal toning and my instance that people 'GETOUT' of my room things settled back down around noon. I had a IV shunt put in and intermittent fetal monitoring.

     As I labored I was most comfortable leaning forward or on my hands and knees through a contraction. I focused on breath, exhaling long and down and vocal then letting the inhalation rush in to fill my lungs and stretch and massage my back from the inside. It felt so good. My doula and husband took turns massaging my lower back and hips. All day we labored I rarely opened my eyes. Focused inward and trusted Adam. We had a Jacuzzi bath twice and around midnight I was almost 9cm dilated.

     Clearlight, our yoga instructor arrived and began humming along with my vocal toning. The sound was very reassuring. Our doctor came to check on us every 2 hours and other than intermittent fetal monitoring we were left alone. My mom called from the USA, it totally surprised us. So in the middle of a contraction Adam talked to her on the phone which made me cry and strengthened the contraction.

     By around 3am I was fully dilated and 100% effaced but had cervical lip, our doula gave me some homeopathic remedy and very soon I was ready to push. Nothing in the world could have prepared me for the transition and pushing stage, maybe the sensations are beyond description. Overwhelming, overpowering yet empowered I pushed on my hands and knees pushing through to the count of 10 and resting briefly in adapted child's pose.

     The room was full of good energy, holding and trusting, supportive energy —my doctor, our doula, my husband, our yoga instructor, a wonderful resident who had tears in her eyes off and on throughout the night. At one point in between contractions (after I declared I just wanted to go home and sleep) I remember asking who was making breakfast, it felt like a roomful of old friends. The pushing however wasn't going so well. The first hour she came down from 0 to +2 but then no further.

     I was exhausted and my contractions were actually slowing down becoming less and less frequent. Her lovely head was not making it under my pubic bone. Her heartbeat was steady and she never panicked or had any distress. Like with Maya's birth, the worry turned to me. The mood in the room began to change around 7am. Consults with OBs started and talk of C sections were discussed. The doctors did not want me to push any longer (going on 3 hours) and there was general agreement to move to a C section.

     I was shattered, exhausted, and pissed off. Later I was reminded that I apparently 'told off' my doctor around this time, this I don't remember but don't doubt either. We were left alone for a while, our doula said my body may be slowing down to protect itself (slowing of contractions can be a warning sign of impending rupture). We tried to focus on healthy mama and baby delivery in whatever form. Silence. Silence. Slow motion. Sadness. Labor Pains.

     Large beautiful eyes kindly supported my sadness, mirroring my emotions but still holding our space. Beautiful touching words were spoken to me as the space and time morphed. The OB who would perform the C Section, a very quick thinking alert and loud man came into the room and asked if we were doing hypnosis to cope with labor. We were in our own world.

     Moving to into the OR was jarring. The dark and cozy safe space we had created was over and replaced with bright lights, lots of energy, bustle, chatter. I felt like I was on ER the TV show. I closed my eyes and listed to the new space, I was still in labor with no meds so I needed to stay focused and wanted to stay connected with my body and baby. The room was more manageable with my eyes closed.

     The voices became friendlier, alert, fuelled by Friday morning coffee, chatting where I got my tattoo, and the weather. I received a spinal, oxygen and a glucose drip. The sheet barrier went up, Adam came into the room and the section began. Tugging. No pain, I told Adam I was scared and he told me a story. Pretty sure it was about Maya but I don't remember. A few minutes later and one giant tug I heard a gentle soft cry of our daughter. Adam cut her cord and Zoe, our dark haired gentle soul entered this side of the world.

Clearlight’s Note: I was very privileged to be invited to attend Amy’s birth by her, her husband Adam and their doula Lesley (who I had the great fortune of assisting previously). Amy was enrolled in the pregnancy yoga class, and her and Adam attended the Couples Workshop. After my classes on Thursday evening, January 18th, I went to the hospital to join Amy, Adam and Lesley – Amy had been working all day through her intensifying contractions.

When I arrived I could hear Amy in the jacuzzi vocalizing with beautiful, low and steady tones, she was definitely in her zone. For the duration of the night we all huddled around Amy in the birthing room, as she worked, rested, changed from position to position according to how her body felt best supported.

Amy’s dedication and unwavering commitment to be fully present with each contraction was truly amazing to witness, her labour was a testament to the immense strength and power of a labouring woman. Amy had delivered their first baby by caesarian, this time around she was hoping to deliver vaginally. Although this was not the final outcome, it seemed most important that Amy was supported in her choice to have an active labour and to trust her body and the unique unfolding of her experience. And of course Zoe is absolutely precious... and it was an honour to share the space of her journey into her parents arms.

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