Labour and Lightening Strikes: Atlas’s Birth Story

Birth is an intensely personal experience, and so this post is deeply personal. I felt compelled to share this experience with the world, as reading positive birth stories during my pregnancy helped and empowered me. If this is too much for you though, move along to the next post. I’ll understand 🙂

 

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For those of you still here, I thank you for taking the time to share in this journey of mine. I want to emphasize, particularly to those of you who might be currently pregnant that it is my belief that birth does not need to be a traumatic and awful experience. Too often births are portrayed on TV, in movies, and by other women as horrible and terrifying. We have the power to change how we think about birth, and thus the power to drastically change our experiences. I plan to write more about this in the future, but for now: Learn, read and educate yourself as much as you can, and do whatever is going to help you reduce or eliminate fear all together. Read about the fear-tension-pain cycle. This will help you understand how your thoughts directly correlate with the sensations you will experience and how you can use this to your advantage!

 

In a lot of ways, my birth did not go as I had hoped, and so it was the support of my wonderful partner Dylan, my exceptional midwives, and the fantastic nurses at the hospital that helped keep me positive and feeling in control.

 

Bronwyn holding Atlas shortly after his Birth

 

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Monday October 1st, 2018

 

Dylan and I had been joking that morning about the classic water breaking in grocery store aisle trope. Dylan was heading into work at his sales job for 10 a.m. It was my first day of maternity leave, and I was planning to pick up groceries so I could prep Thanksgiving dinner (on the off chance that I’d still be pregnant that following Monday and not too busy caring for a tiny human). I wasn’t due until the 11th, and most first time moms go over, but I had had a nagging feeling for a couple months that I would go into labour on the 3rd and that he’d be born on the 4th. Like his name, Atlas, those dates had floated into my head and made a home there. I couldn’t shake it.

 

I headed out to run my errands around noon: pet store, bulk barn, and finally groceries. I never shop at the Superstore in town, but today I pulled into the parking lot and resigned myself to the chaos. It was across the street from my previous stop and I was feeling a bit strange and just wanted to get home and rest a bit.

 

Upon arriving, I was immensely frustrated when I realized  I needed a dollar to release a cart from the stack (my usual store doesn’t need change, and the other store I frequent takes quarters…). I had a whole wallet full of change, lots of quarters and toonies, but not a single dollar. At this point I probably should have asked someone to trade change, but I was in a rush and there was no one really friendly looking around. So I dragged my 38 week and 4 day pregnant belly into the store to look for a basket.

 

After wandering around for 10 minutes, I finally found a stack of store-use baskets just as I was about to throw in the towel on grocery shopping for the day. My feet were killing me, my pubic bone was aching like crazy (it had been for a week or so) and I was exhausted (oh third trimester). I was filling up my basket with veggies when I felt a gush.

 

For a minute I panicked. Was that my water breaking? It didn’t feel like enough fluid. Still, my leggings were wet and I was suspicious.

 

I quickly grabbed the last of my groceries (after everything, I was determined to finish the shopping!), went through the checkout and headed home. I felt a few more smaller gushes as I rushed about. It was about 1:30 p.m.

 

When I got home I texted Dylan that I thought my water may have broken. I hadn’t yet felt a single contraction, but continued to leak fluid. Dylan convinced me to page our midwife and after speaking with her agreed to meet at the clinic at 5:30 to confirm that my water had  in fact broken. Dylan rushed home from work early to join me at the clinic.

 

The last photo I took of being pregnant with Atlas. This was about an hour after my water broke.

 

At the clinic, our midwife started by doing a swab test (which promptly turned a dark blueish black) suggesting that it was in fact amniotic fluid. To confirm, we decided to check for ferning. Our midwife took a sample of the fluid and put it on a slide. Dylan and I chatted as we waited for the slide to dry, and for our midwife to tell us the results. It’s called ferning, because when amniotic fluid dries, it creates a pattern that looks like a fern under a microscope (so cool!).

 

After what felt like ages, she confirmed the ferning pattern and offered to show us! I absolutely wanted to see it, I’m a total science/biology nerd so this was entirely up my alley. I’m also fascinated by the idiosyncrasies found in nature and think it’s just so amazing how these sort of fractals show up again and again.

 

We both happily looked at the slide. Baby Atlas was on his way (sort of…)! Dylan and I were excited, but nervous. I still had not felt a single twinge, and we had just confirmed that I had premature rupture of membranes (PROM).

 

We had a some decisions to make. Since my water had broken, the protection from infection was also gone. For most women, their waters don’t break until labour has started. In my case, it had now been four hours and I hadn’t felt a single twinge. We had the option to go straight to the hospital for an induction, or to wait and hope labour started on its own.

 

I had my heart set on an intervention-free water birth at home; Dylan and I had been planning this for months. In the last few weeks we’d stocked up on all the supplies we’d need and I’d spent so much time visualizing this and focusing on having a really positive, natural experience. I had left space in my plan for the possibility of needing to transfer to hospital, but I hadn’t planned for a situation where I wouldn’t get to at least spend early labour in the comfort of my own home.

 

In the end, we decided to wait the night and hope labour would start, allowing me to birth the baby at home. We booked into the hospital for a non-stress test the following morning to check on the baby in case labour still had not started, and decided to go from there. We felt very comfortable with this decision, as the risk of infection was still very low.

 

We left the clinic with high hopes (and instructions to monitor my temperature closely), deciding to go out for dinner on one last date, just the two of us. As we sat down in our favourite restaurant, it quickly became clear that it wasn’t going to be manageable for me. Things had gotten very *ahem* wet. Once your water breaks it just keeps leaking! Laughing, we quickly reconsidered our plan. We’d have to make do with take-out and a quiet Netflix night at home.

 

That night was restless. I tossed and turned like crazy, willing my body to start contractions. I did not sleep, despite my best efforts.

 

Tuesday October 2nd, 2018

 

I ‘woke up’ disappointed and worried. Nothing had changed, so we headed to meet our midwife at the hospital for for the non-stress test.

 

Fortunately I had been to the hospital’s labour and delivery ward before. A few weeks prior I had attended their antenatal clinic and gotten a tour and met some of the nurses. At the time, it had been a ‘just-in-case’ visit. I was now so grateful I had taken the time to do that, as I felt a little more comfortable.

 

I laid back on a hospital bed in their sort of triage area, and midwife wrapped the monitors around my belly. It was a very simple test, two monitors strapped to my belly in order to monitor the baby’s heart rate and accelerations with movement. Our baby passed with flying colours. He was healthy and a little too comfy in there.

 

It was time for another tough decision. Did we want to be admitted right then (we had packed bags anticipating this possibility) or did we want to continue to wait? I tried to contain my tears, but couldn’t quite manage it. Things were happening so differently than I’d hoped. Our midwife talked us through what we could expect from the induction. It was hard for me to picture having to go that route. I’d had such a good, healthy pregnancy, short of the awful morning sickness I’d struggled through for the first 16 weeks or so.

 

Dylan and I talked privately for a while and both struggled with making a decision. After a lot of discussion and some more tears, we decided to head home for one last night. I wasn’t optimistic, but I needed some time to process this turn of events. I wasn’t ready to give up on my home birth just yet. We booked me in for an induction the following morning at 8 a.m.

 

On our way home we stopped by the clinic to pick up a birth pool, just in case. Looking at it made me feel sad, because at this point I felt fairly certain I wouldn’t get to use it.

 

We headed over to Chapters to grab a coffee and browse books as a distraction. We had a quiet rest of the day, reading and watching Netflix. Later on we headed over to Dylan’s parents’ place to meet their new puppy, Zoe. Still, no contractions or signs of labour starting.

 

At around 6 p.m. our second midwife called us to check in. (Our other midwife had gone off call that evening, and her partner had taken over). She advised me to take some Gravol or Benadryl to help me sleep if I could. I’d need my energy up for the next day. With some trepidation I took the Benadryl before bed. I don’t really like to take medications if I can avoid it, but I desperately needed to sleep.

 

Wednesday October 3rd, 2018

 

Thankfully the Benadryl had helped me nod off for a few hours, and while I wouldn’t say I was well rested, I did feel a little less zombie-like.

 

We woke early to make it to the hospital on time. Labour had once again not started over night, and Dylan and I felt it was time. Clearly this baby was not ready to come on his own!

 

We pulled into the hospital parking lot after a short drive (we only live about five minutes away), grabbed a few of the bags we had packed and made our way towards the emergency entrance. Like the previous day, we had been instructed to come through this way. The person at the registration desk sent up to the Labour & Delivery ward.

 

Our midwife was waiting for us when we got to the floor. I was nervous and sad at this turn of events, but had mostly come to terms with the change and was focusing on being as positive as possible. I took a few deep breaths and re-centred myself. I laid down on a hospital bed in the same area as the previous day. My midwife did a few checks while we waited for the OB. My temperature and heart rate were all normal, and after strapping the monitors to my belly again, we could see that the baby was still thriving in there. I let out a sigh of relief. I knew in my gut that everything was fine, but it was still nice to have that confirmation.

 

When the OB arrived, I immediately didn’t like him. Something about his energy, and air of arrogance turned me off. Fortunately he did seem competent, so I wasn’t too concerned about the rest of it. I was suddenly extra grateful that I had my midwife though, even if she was no longer in charge of my care.

 

The OB did my first cervical check. We had avoided these up until now, as they are a huge risk factor in causing infections  after PROM. It didn’t matter now though, as I was about to be induced and we needed to know where I was starting from. The cervical check was extremely uncomfortable bordering on painful and felt that the OB was particularly rough with it. For me, cervical checks were the least pleasant part of the entire birth and pregnancy experience.

 

I was only 1 cm dialated and my cervix had only just started to soften. We had definitely made the right choice coming in for the induction, my body clearly wasn’t ready to get things moving on its own. Still, the fact that my bishop score was so low, meant that this would probably be a long process. The OB said they would admit me and get me started on a Pitocin drip. I’d be on the drip for the entire labour and birth. I knew this already, but was definitely unhappy about it. I hate needles and the idea of having one in my arm long-term was not a pleasant thought.

 

After the OB left, our midwife asked if we had any questions. I had her go over what I could expect in a little more detail, and asked her about the possibility of avoiding an epidural. I had read that most women who get inductions end up needing an epidural to get through it as the labours tend to be much more intense. I really did not want to get an epidural. Apart from the risks, and possible challenges breastfeeding the baby right after birth (epidurals can make babies drowsier and have more trouble latching), the thought of a needle in my back was a big no go for me. My midwife told me basically what I had read, that some women can make it through without, but that inductions do change things and usually make labours more intense. She encouraged me to stay open to all the possibilities and not view it as a failure, if I did decide I needed one. There is a difference between coping and suffering, she said.

 

It was time.

 

A nurse came to get us set up in one of the birthing suites; we lucked out and got the best one. It was on the corner of the sixth floor, and had windows on two sides with a gorgeous fall view of Peterborough. It was also the largest room and had a space-age looking labour tub in the attached washroom. We got settled.

 

I laid down on the hospital bed and my midwife hooked up my IV, starting with a saline solution. I hate needles, so being on an IV for the whole birth was really difficult for me. She also hooked up the monitors to my belly again. Luckily these ones were wireless and waterproof, so I wasn’t stuck in bed and could even wear them in the tub if I wanted. It still wasn’t the complete freedom of movement that I had been hoping for with my home birth plans, but I was still grateful to not be confined to bed. We had to wait until one of the nurses were free to start me on the Pitocin.

 

Dylan and I chatted until one of the nurses appeared at 10:20 a.m. to start the Pitocin. She started it really low and would slowly increase it over the next few hours. I was a bit nervous even though I knew I wouldn’t feel it right away. The nurse told me most women start to feel it around 8-10, and right now the drip was set to a 2. Our midwife left at this point, we would call her to come back once I was in active labour.

 

Dylan and I chatted the time away. It felt like a bit of a timeless vortex, minutes ticked by but it felt both fast and slow. Nurses would pop in periodically to increase the drip and check on me and the baby. Both of us were still doing great, and I had yet to feel a single contraction. The nurses were amazing; kind and attentive and always took the time to chat with us for a few minutes, despite their busy schedules.

 

Hours had passed and despite the Pitocin being maxed out, I still hadn’t been feeling any contractions. The nurse thought there was probably forewaters cushioning the babies head around my cervix, and that’s why not a lot of progression had been made. I was really hoping this would break on its on, and that they wouldn’t have to break it for me. The nurses were still checking on me frequently, especially since Atlas kept moving around. When he did, the monitors would stop picking him up and they’d have to move them.

 

By about 2:30 p.m. Dylan and I were starving. We had brought tons of snacks, but nothing that constituted a whole meal. The cafeteria had a very limited selection of vegan options so we were going to order something in, but Dylan’s mom kindly offered to drop something off for us. I was really happy to have a tofu scramble wrap, salad and green smoothie from one of my favourite plant-based restaurants in town.

 

After eating I stood up to go to the washroom and felt a huge gush of water. Dylan and I laughed – this was definitely the classic waters breaking puddle on the floor scene. I was happy though, figuring now that my forewaters had broken, labour would finally get going. I also lost my mucus plug; all good signs that the baby was truly on his way!

 

And he was. Finally, I was starting to have contractions. They were very manageable for a little while, though they did not start out mild. The nurse did turn down the Pitocin a little bit now that things had gotten going. The OB came to do a cervical check around 4 because they wanted to see where I was at. Dylan had left to get a coffee and I insisted they wait until he got back. I knew how unpleasant it was going to be, and I wanted him there for support. This cervical check was pretty horrible, and caused my contractions to intensify. I was at 2cm, but my cervix had softened.

 

A short while later, our nurse suggested that she should page our midwife. I agreed, I was starting to feel that I could use the extra support. At this point I was still able to chat in between contractions, but needed to stop and focus during them. They were already very close together and getting more and more intense very quickly. I focused on my breathing and used some hypnobirthing techniques I had been practicing to stay relaxed.

 

Time no longer really existed to me. It’s challenging to remember the details at this point, as I was just riding out wave after wave. I remember how it felt, and how the scent of lavender permeated the room (we had brought our diffuser and a salt lamp) and the lights were low. I remember the calm and helpful words of my midwife. Just having her there made me feel much safer and more supported than I would have otherwise. I remember how well Dylan cared for me: For hours he alternated getting me water between contractions and massaging my lower back during them. He helped me stay grounded and focused and created a safe bubble of love and light around us.

 

Things were progressing very, very quickly now. My contractions were so close together, and I was barely getting a break. They would just lower in intensity briefly, before rising to their peak again. I think the most difficult part to deal with was the intense cramping feeling in my lower back. Dylan massaging it helped, but it had reached a point where it never went away. No position was comfortable any longer, and anytime I moved (thinking I could relieve some of the back cramping) it seemed only to intensify the experience. I liked sitting on the birth ball, leaning against the bed. Eventually I moved to lying on my side. It was the easiest way to relax the rest of my body. During contractions I would moan loud and low to cope.

 

By 11 p.m. I was no longer getting a break at all between contractions. Things were feeling out of control. I remember telling Dylan, “I can’t do this/I don’t think I can do this,” though I honestly didn’t really believe that. I think I just needed the encouragement; to hear that he thought I could. I remember crying, “this needs to stop”. I was getting pretty nauseous as well. One of the hardest things to watch was that I could see how difficult it was for Dylan to watch me be in pain and feel that he couldn’t do anything. I also could see that my midwife was getting a little concerned (not by me or the baby’s physical health – both of us were still doing great on that front), but because I was less and less able to cope.

 

She asked if I wanted to try the nitrous oxide. She knew I really wanted to avoid an epidural. I agreed to try, but nearly threw up from the smell and feeling after just one inhale.

 

Several contractions later (I’m not sure how long) my midwife kindly asked me, “remember when we talked about the difference between coping and suffering?”. I think this was the kindest way she could have suggested that I reconsider having the epidural. She was right; I was struggling to cope.

 

She asked if she could do a cervical check, though she already had a pretty good idea of where I was at. The OB wanted to know and Dylan had been fending off cervical checks for hours, knowing that I wouldn’t be able to cope. I agreed, at least this way we would have a better picture of what was going on, and I could make my decision about it whether or not I wanted to go ahead with the epidural. This check was better and worse. Better, because my midwife was a lot gentler; worse, because again it caused my contractions to intensify even further.

 

Earlier, Dylan and I had been light heartedly joking, “needle in the spine still sound like a bad idea?”. Suddenly, it sounded like a really great idea. That’s how I knew I should let go, and allow myself this intervention. My midwife later told me that in her experience, usually the only people who avoided epidurals during an induction (especially one like mine where they were starting with little to no progress) were second or third time moms, who usually wanted them but had their labours progress too quickly for them to get one. That made me feel better, but even without knowing this, I did not feel bad about or regret my decision. I would make the same choice again, and maybe a little earlier. I am certain I would not have needed it had I been able to go into labour naturally, without the pitocin.

 

Decision made, the nurse went to page the anesthesiologist on call. Now that I knew relief was coming, it could not get there fast enough! Both anesthesiologists were stuck in an emergency. I remember telling Dylan “This needs to stop. Get him here!”. It felt like ages, but I think the anesthesiologist actually arrived fairly quickly – in 30 or 40 minutes.

 

When he arrived I had to sit up on the bed and lean far forwards so he could place the epidural catheter. I had to stay perfectly still (people always say that this is the hardest part about getting an epidural). The anesthesiologist quickly went over the risks. I didn’t listen, I was caught up concentrating on riding through waves of contractions. It was ok though, I had already researched the risks and benefits during pregnancy. The anesthesiologist recited the script, I’m sure he could tell I wasn’t really able to listen. Both Dylan and I really liked the anesthesiologist. He had a really nice energy about him, and was quite a quirky guy. Dylan placed his hands on my shoulders to remind me to stay still. The anesthesiologist gave me a shot to numb the area. I stayed very still and focused very hard as a contraction rose over me. I honestly didn’t find it hard to stay still; maybe it was because I knew relief was coming so soon, but I was somehow better able to deal with these few contractions. I think this point was the only time where I truly relaxed my body and fully let go, knowing that I could not move, or do anything else to cope. If only I had gotten to this point sooner! It is a reflex when we are in pain to tighten everything. Who knew the real trick here was to just give myself over to the sensation.

 

Next, the anesthesiologist placed the catheter and injected a bolus dose to check for an immediate allergic reaction. Dylan later told me this had been a very generous dose, and that the anesthesiologist had winked at him when he had administered it. I had been told that it would not work immediately; that the contractions would slowly get less and less intense, until all I could feel was a little bit of painless pressure. I felt relief pretty much right away though, it probably had something to do with the very generous bolus dose I had been given. My next contraction was already significantly easier to manage. The next was even easier. The anesthesiologist hooked up the drip and taped it down, then rushed away to his next call. My body relaxed, I teared up knowing I had made the right decision, for me.

 

Once we were sure the epidural had completely taken, my midwife inserted a catheter. I wouldn’t be able to tell when I had to use the bathroom, never mind walk there. She also checked my cervix again. This check I certainly didn’t mind, everything was numbed so it was not uncomfortable at all. Turns out I had been going through transition when I was getting my epidural. Looking back had I known this, and had used the technique I learned during (to relax and surrender to each contraction), I’m certain I could have made it through without any pain medication. I was at 9 centimetres now, soon it would be time to push. But first, rest.

 

Thursday October 4, 2018

 

It was around midnight now, and I sent Dylan away for a walk and a coffee. I could sense he needed a break. It takes a lot of emotional energy to support a partner during such an intense experience as birth. I think It‘s important that birth partners have support and have some space to regroup when it’s possible. Had I known we would end up at the hospital going through an induction I probably would have hired a doula. We had met with some wonderful doulas in town early on in my pregnancy. Though I liked them, I decided not to go with a doula because I wanted to minimize the number of people present at the birth. I also didn’t think I’d need their support during pregnancy as I’m a meticulous researcher and not prone to panic. I was right about this as having the midwives was more than enough support for me during the pregnancy.

 

That said, in retrospect I think because we ended up in hospital, and because of the induction, having a doula would have helped. There were points during the labour I felt a little abandoned by the nurses and my midwife. It was totally understandable given the circumstances: There were 3 labouring midwifery clients including myself at that point and only two on-call midwifes (plus their student). I believe there was an emergency happening as well, though of course I was not privy to the details. I also feel that Dylan could have used the extra support. A doula could have relieved him at points, taken some of the pressure off, and helped him care for me.

 

All this to say that at this point I was happy to send Dylan away for a break. With the epidural in place I was smiling and back to a lighter, less intense place. The nurse helped me roll onto one side to rest. She wedged a pillow between my knees, helped make sure I was comfortable, then left me to try and sleep and labour down. I happily rested my eyes but could not sleep. I was too excited, knowing how soon I would meet my baby.

 

After a while Dylan returned and lay down on the pull out chair next to my bed. He managed to sleep a little thankfully. I lay there, feeling as the baby moved further and further down. The epidural had not taken away all feeling, just the pain from the contractions. I could still feel the baby’s head descending. I remember wondering at what point I would be pushing and at what point I should press the call button. No one had told me, and everyone had left me to rest. The baby’s head felt so low now. I was pretty sure I was ready to push.

 

A few minutes later (it was around 3 a.m. now) the nurse and my midwife came in to see if I was ready to push. My midwife checked and confirmed it was time! The nurse went to get the OB. He was to be the one to deliver the baby and I was really unhappy about this, as I wanted my midwife to do it. I asked her if this was possible and she said unfortunately it was at the discretion of the OB and he was choosing to do it.

 

The OB swooped in, told everyone it was time to push and then left, saying he would be back. The nurses scrambled to set things up the way he liked them. I could tell the nurses didn’t like him much either. I didn’t appreciate the way he treated them, so I can’t imagine they did. It seemed that he was very particular about how things were set up, but always wanted it done differently and got annoyed when the nurses couldn’t read his mind.

 

After an hour the OB came back and got snippy with my midwife about why I wasn’t already pushing, despite the fact that the hospital hierarchy meant that he had to be there (even though of course she was more than qualified to do it!). It was now around 4 a.m. and I got started.

 

I hadn’t planned on pushing on my back; knowing that it’s actually one of the worst positions to push in, since you’re fighting gravity. But being confined to the bed because of the epidural made it necessary.

 

They turned down the epidural a bit so I could better feel the contractions. For it to be effective, I needed to push with the contractions. Dylan held one of my knees and my nurse, the other (they rotated a bit throughout). Every time a felt the pressure of a contraction, I took a huge breath and pushed. I did this about three times per contraction.

 

It was very hard work but I was really happy to be actively doing something. I’m not sure how I still had any energy left, but honestly I felt pretty good. I was feeling pretty detached though. I think this was the effect of the epidural, it does really detach you from your body and thus from the birth experience. I found this very disappointing. I very much wanted to be in my body, and not in my mind.

 

I pushed for around an hour (it was now around 5 a.m.) and I was getting pretty close. I had made a lot of progress very quickly. The nurse went to get the OB, but he had been called into an emergency c section and we were supposed to wait. That wasn’t going to happen, I was so close! I cheered silently. My midwife would get to deliver my baby after all. The nurses asked how she would like everything set up. She said anyway was fine.

 

I was still pushing. Things seemed very relaxed, actually. Between contractions everyone let go of my knees and quietly chatted. I would rest until the next one, and then go again. At one point my midwife offered me a mirror, but I wanted to stay focused on the sensations rather than a visual. She asked if I wanted to feel his head. I reached down and could feel the top of his head. I could tell he already had hair! This was an amazing moment; the first time I got to touch him.

 

Encouraged, I pushed extra hard at the next contraction. I could feel all the stretching and intense burning as I pushed. The epidural had not taken that part away. I think a lot of people refer to this as the ‘ring of fire’, a term I absolutely despise because it makes birth sound terrifying; a detriment to women everywhere!

 

I’m not sure how many more contractions it took, but very soon I had pushed his head out. The intensity subsided a bit. On the next contraction I got his body out, all of the pressure disappeared and my midwife helped me lift him into my chest.

 

The second he was born a bright flash of lightening lit up the sky and loud heavy rain started pouring down. I could not have dreamed up a more spectacular moment! The huge flood of emotion as I held my baby for the first time, and a spectacular display across the skies. A rather poetic moment: Atlas is born onto the earth plane and the heavens fall. It was 5:36 a.m. on October 4th. My gut feeling about his birthday had come to pass.

 

I can not accurately describe this moment, of finally holding the baby I had carried and birthed. Love, all the love; joy and relief intermingled. Such happiness; such power. So, so much gratitude. My healthy boy, a remarkable birth. Despite my fears, my body had needed no further interventions. My baby came fast and entered this world in style. I laughed to myself and wondered whether this would speak to his character. I drank in his beautiful face and tears streaked down my face. I looked at Dylan, he was crying too. Our gorgeous son. I was a mother. He was a father.

 

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Atlas’s umbilical cord stopped pulsing and turned white almost right away, so we gave the midwife the go ahead to cut it. The placenta came easily and quickly. And with it, what I felt was an explanation to why I had not been granted my wish for a home birth; why my waters had broken early.

 

When the midwife was checking the placenta she discovered that the cord had a velemetous insertion, meaning that the cord had been attached to the placenta’s membranes, not directly to the placenta itself. And not only this, but that the main vessel attaching it was very large. It was shocking that it had not been caught on one of the several ultrasounds I had had during my pregnancy. The location of my placenta, plus the velementous insertion and large vessels, meant that had my waters needed to be broken, the vessel could have accidentally been ruptured along with it. Had this happened Atlas would have exsanguinated and there would have been nothing anyone could have done.

 

Instead, my waters broke on their own. Twice. Preventing ever having to unknowingly take this risk. My smart, intuitive body. Gratitude, gratitude, gratitude.

 

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At the time of this post, I’m nearly 4 months postpartum and still in awe at the power of birth. Atlas and I are doing wonderfully and the three of us have settled happily into our new realities.

 

I think I will follow this up soon with some thoughts and stories about my postpartum recovery thus far, and about Atlas’s journey. But until then,

 

Love & Light,

Bronwyn

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