A Happy Free Birth in Saint John, New Brunswick
Two years ago today I made the best decision of my life and gave birth to my baby outside of the medical system. Read on to see why, and how it went! Tags: water birth, home birth, free birth
You’re TWO YEARS OLD today, Adrian! It was the happiest day of my life, when I gave birth to you.
I was in a tough spot leading up to your birth.
I believe in natural childbirth. But we don’t have midwives around here. No birth centres. I knew in my gut I could not go to the hospital. Not after my doctor shouted at me in his office that, “We don’t do cervical exams for fun!”, after I said that I wouldn’t have strangers’ hands inserted in me without my consent.
I didn’t know there were lots of families having underground home births in NB. But I knew I was going to have one.
I asked a student midwife if she would illegally attend my homebirth. She referred me to Ericka. Note: Ericka's name has been changed to protect her privacy.
She was my dream come true. Literally! She studied assistant midwifery at The Farm, led by the leading midwife and natural birthing advocate in North America, Ina May Gaskin. She broke fucking bread with Ina May Gaskin. At The Farm. The author of the birth books that armed me with all the tools I needed to birth my first baby naturally, in the hospital. No seriously, Ericka has a photo of herself, arms around Ina May, right after they had a communal hippie supper together.
She had a birth pool too! And she worked with another doula who took pictures. I even have a video of when you came out.
That morning, I was laying in bed. Liam had climbed up for a morning cuddle. As he crawled across my belly to see Daddy, I felt a big pop and my waters gushed onto the bed.
Finally, you were coming!
Daddy took Liam to daycare. I texted him immediately to “Get back here!”
There was no warming up for these contractions. They were full intensity from the start. I immediately went horizontal on the couch in the living room.
I was so relieved when Dad got home.
But instead of tending to me, he was inflating the pool. I was not having any of this. You were coming so quickly.
I ordered him to call my mom. The doulas were already on their way.
My mom arrived, followed by the doulas. I was too far into labour land to notice. I was focused on my breathing. I bent over the couch, swaying and moaning to cope with the pain.
Then Daddy helped my giant, leaking body into our bedroom.
I laboured so quickly with you that my birth team was only there with me for about 30 to 40 minutes before you were born. Few photos of my labour exist, but I do have a photo of this moment. I was laying on my side, eyes closed. Lips in a circle, breathing it out. Daddy and Ericka rubbing my hips and my back.
It was hard getting in the pool. My bottom was coming apart.
Then I experienced The Pause. When your contractions stop briefly, and you rest before it’s time to push. I rested on my hands and knees, with my forehead on the pool, and waited.
Suddenly I had an intense urge to push. I breathed you down and out you came!
Daddy helped lift my leg over the umbilical cord, while Ericka held you. She passed you to me and I plunked down into the water, taking you in.
“Hi Adrian! Hi!!! Hi baby girl. I love you!”, I said. I put you right on my breast. You nursed and I stroked your head.
I birthed you free. In our own home. In my own power. And I can’t wait to see what incredible things we will do because of it baby girl.
Happy Birthday Adrian!