“Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting.  The soul that rises with us, our life’s star, hath had elsewhere its setting, and comet from afar: not in entire forgetfulness, and not in utter nakedness, but trailing clouds of glory do we come from God, who is our home.”

William Wordsworth

read this first


February 20

At 8:20 pm I had my first twinges while lying in bed watching Sharpe with Taylor.

10:30 pm and they were still keeping on keeping on.  I im’ed my friend Jess to let her know what was going on, and that I thought they were the real deal.  I also let my mum and sister know.  We started to feel equal parts excited and sleepy.

At around 1:30 am they started to be actually painful.  Not awful but more than just an inconvenience.  This is where I start to debate with myself and Taylor whether or not to let my midwife know whats up.

2:00 am  I decide to let her know before it gets any later and ruins her entire nights sleep.  I call her and feel like a major asshole for waking her.  She says that it (she listened to me during a contraction) most likely is the real thing, and to have a shower or bath and try and sleep (HAH)

After I finished talking to her, I showered and sat on my bath stool and prayed, trying to work out how I felt about everything. I decide this is the real deal, that I’m mostly excited, and majorly relieved that I will obviously not need to be induced.  Give myself a pep talk that the next 24 hours will probably suck.  But then BABY, so trade off seems ok to me.

3:00 am  I try and sleep.

4:00 am Things are definitely getting into the bad period and yucky feeling category.  I try and sleep, give up and watch some Emma.

5:00 am and I am drifting in and out of sleep still being woken by my lovely contractions that never really stop, just vary in degrees of discomfort and pain.  I also realize that it is impressively blizzarding out.  I found this very funny, because way way back when I figured out my ‘estimated due date’ I said, “it is totally gonna be a huge blizzard ya know!” (we always have our big ones in February) And I also realized that Monday would be the 21 which is Family Day in our province AND the day my Midwife predicted I’d have the baby. (HUZZAH for predictions)

6:00 am

This is where I am pretty hazy on times. I ‘think’ between 6-7 Taylor calls her again.  Things are a good deal more painful, but I am still able to talk through a contraction.  But not able to feel like I can cope by myself anymore (and where I feel like a huge wuss) She listens to me during one and says that she will get ready to come over and check things. Around 8 they (midwife, and student midwife) arrive.  I instantly felt better, and calmer as soon as they set foot in the door.  M sets up the birth station area and has me pick the most comfortable place to be for her to check me.  I lie down and she checks to see how things are progressing in the cervix department.  I am almost 2cm inside and 1 outside and babies head is right there.  I wasn’t surprised, or discouraged in the sense that I couldn’t do this.  But I was discouraged in the sense that I knew then, it would be a lot more work and pain for me to get her out.

I have experienced a lot more pain than the average person in my life. I have chronic pain health ‘issues’ and thought that I would be able to cope with labour pain better because of it.  That was not the case.  The biggest shock of my life was how intense the pain was and feeling overwhelmed trying to cope with it.  This is where my student midwife came into play.  She was the anchor that kept me able to work on coping and not drowning under the fatigue and overwhelming (at times) intensity of everything.

After I’m checked, M and SM leave ( I think they went to check on someone else and their new baby?  I’m not sure) with instructions to call when things pick up or I just need them to be there.  I manage on my own with Taylor till around 1 pm.

I would like to take this time to mention the things we did not do.  1. film anything till the very end. 2. listen to music. 3. take pictures 4. basically do anything that would break my focus.  Also, I did not swear. Not even a damn or hell.  Even in my head. O.O

I have a suspicion that it all went this way, because of the lingering contractions.  And how I am when I am in pain.  Also, the shock of how much pain I was in, in what I felt was very soon during the whole labour process.

At 1 pm I called them again, really wanting them to come. Things had picked up even more and I needed the extra support.  By 2 pm (I think it was 2 anyways) they arrived and I was checked again. (NOT FUN but I wanted to know) I think I was 3 maybe close to 4? They stayed and things slowly picked up.  Details after that feel like one giant wheel of repeating different postions. Lie on my side and labour, labour on toilet.  Labour on my hands and knees, leaning against a tall dresser. Back on toilet.  Around 5 or 6 was when I felt that mentally I could not cope anymore. I was done. I wanted pain relief.  M and SM and Taylor tried encouraging me and talking me through it, and said I was doing beautifully etc..  I finally said that it wasn’t the physical aspect of the pain, but that mentally I just could not do it.  M then walked me through what would need to happen to go to the hospital if I chose to do that.  All during that I was having this big argument with myself that went, “I CANNOT do this anymore, but I CANNOT go to the hospital. AHHHH”  Then I threw up massively and felt much better. THEN I realized, “Oh, so that’s transition. -.-”

After that things went very quickly. The pain was more intense, the contractions were now a constant stream and I was switching positions much faster. Bed, hands and knees, leaning on dresser, toilet, swaying against sink, bed, toilet.  Hands and knees on floor against bed.

Lying on the bed for the last time was when everything changed. I felt a lot of pressure and urgently needed to get on my hands and knees. That is when I needed to push. M checked me but I was barely 9 and the lip wouldn’t slide over the baby at all.  This was the worst and more stressful part for me.  Having to pant through the need to push! I also knew what pushing too soon could do.  I’m not sure how long this lasted.  I know not too long, because then I could not pant anymore and was 10 and pushing.  Tzigana-Mae came out in about 20 minutes of completely painless pushing.  The Ring of Fire felt more like paper cuts and therefore was inconsequential to me.  Which I am sure was greatly due to the wee-ness of Zs head and the Warm cloth/oil magic the midwives were doing to my junk.

8:13 pm

Tzigana-Mae Tulip Winter is born.  Weighing 6 pounds 12 ounces and 19 inches.

It was AWESOME. I pulled her out and she was slimy, definitely fresh, and was hollering her wee head off.  She smelt awesome, and she FELT awesome.  We didn’t even check to confirm she was a girl for a few minutes.  We were all swept up in fresh human glory.

Not long after, I pushed out the placenta (Which, was easy peasy. No bones.) and that’s that. It’s in my freezer all frozen and gruesome like.

My midwife asked me the next day when they came to check on us, “If I had another baby would I do a homebirth again?”  At the time I wasn’t sure. It was a, “NO WAY!  But well, Yah.”

I wasn’t sure because the pain was so fresh (though I can still vividly remember, it isn’t juicy fresh), and I wasn’t sure because I’m not sure if we will have another babe.  But now I can say for certain.  Yes I would.  The recovery and peacefulness, post birth carnage is worth it.  It was amazing to have a shower in my own home, and then go right to bed with the new babe and my Mr.  It was fantastic that my parents and a couple friends could come by and be out in the living room while I chilled peacefully in my bed.  And it was worth everything that I could keep my babe with me and control everything that was or was not done to her, and that I had complete peace of mind.


My thoughts/Epilogue 

Before my pregnancy was even a whisper, I was a birth and pregnancy junkie.  I spent most of my time reading and watching and learning what I could get my hands on.  That’s important because I feel it changed things for me and how I made decisions and experienced my pregnancy and birth.  Knowledge is Power.

If I were to break the Birth of Tzigana down into just a few words they would be,

Fatigue, Fire, Gratefulness, and Joy.

Fatigue would be the 24 hours.  The resting in between the crashing waves of Fire.  The not wanting to eat anything. (my midwife got me to eat half a sandwich and keep up my fluids.  Thankfully, I listened to her even though I did not want too)  I felt mentally Fatigued during Transition and in the early morning hours of labouring.

Fire was the pain.  The smoldering, slow burn of the low points of contracting. The bright burning high points. I did not experience “the ring of fire” it felt more like getting several paper cuts at once. I said “ouch ouch ouch” and laughed.  Fire was not the birth I wanted but the birth I needed.  Ziggy is Fire.  And I truly believe my pregnancy and birth prepared me for the person that she is.

I felt Gratefulness often. Gratefulness over the student midwife who I had come to love over my pregnancy that acted as (what it felt to me during and after) Doula. She was Strong, and Confident in me, she was my anchor. She massaged my hips and joints. Kept me present and vocal. She helped me regain confidence and was very calming during Transition.  Thinking of her and my midwife still makes me feel strong echos of how I felt in those hours.

Another point of Gratefulness is to my midwife, who kept me focused and working.  She was my rationale when my mind felt out of control.  She made me feel safe, and that I could just let go. My midwife had my back.  I am forever and eternally grateful to her and to them both.  They were a fantastic team.

Joy.  My first strong feeling of Joy was when I was able to push.  I loved it. No. More. Pain.  The endorphins and good feelings were running high and it was fantastic.  Tzigana-Mae was out in 20 minutes.  I was so excited to be almost done, to almost have her, and to have Taylor there with me.  When I was able to start to feel her head with my hand that just spiked it all up that much more. It was so amazing. A person, our little person, coming out of my body!  What craziness is this?!  Equal parts Science Fiction and Magic.

The Joy has not stopped.  There have been many emotional ups and downs in the short five months Z has been earth-side.  Trial by Fire comes to mind.

She is helping us be the best we can, so we can be the best for her.