You gave me so much confidence from the other side of the globe!!

Shari, I attended your virtual pregnancy circle in August (from Manitoba, Canada). I had a very positive birth experience this week! I felt so confident, despite it being my first pregnancy/birth. Reading your content triggered important conversations with my midwife and my partner. Sending you so much appreciation and a virtual hug. I had an appointment with my midwife the day before my due date. She offered a cervical exam, and I was pretty curious about what changes my body was making (if any). Turns out, I was barely 1cm dilated. Later that evening, I felt some mild cramping in my back but attributed it to having gone hiking the day before. I honestly didn't think anything of it because 1) they were so mild and 2) I wasn't dilated! At about 9 pm, my husband offered to time the cramps "just for practice" while we relaxed. After an hour he told me he was seeing a pattern... 1 minute long, 5 minutes apart. I still denied anything was happening even though the timings were right there in front of me. He loaded the hospital bags into the truck and I told him he was overreacting! When I woke up the next morning the cramps from the night before had evolved from my low back to include my abdomen. When I timed the surges for myself, they were 1 min long and 3 mins apart. I also noticed a slight pink show. Ok, maybe my husband was NOT overreacting! I called my midwife to give her an update and she encouraged me to stay home until things became more intense. The midwifery team is employed by the hospital here in Manitoba, Canada. So, unfortunately, home birth was not an option since I live too far from the hospital. Sure enough, within a couple of hours of that phone call, I felt a small pop as my water broke. There was a lot of meconium present and I felt a wave of worry come over me for the baby. I took a few minutes to breathe and remind myself that fear and worry would not help me today. The intensity of the surges really picked up from that moment on. I focused fully on my husband's voice counting the time for my breaths. We made it to the hospital and settled into the room while I was still lucid between surges. There were several hospital staff members coming in and out of the room at first. Nurses exchanging their shifts, a lab tech to do a COVID test, the pediatrician (had to be on call due to the meconium in the water), and I remember feeling overwhelmed and self-conscious. Thankfully after a few minutes, they all left and it was just my husband, my midwife, baby, and me. I was 3 cm dilated. We tried a few different positions and movements, but the most comfortable place for me was a warm bath. The midwife strapped a wireless/waterproof monitor on my belly so she could monitor us both from a different room. I settled into the bathtub, and my husband kneeled down next to me. He dimmed the lights and held my hand. Finally, just us!! He kept the water warm for me and made sure I stayed hydrated. He would check in on me verbally and I would answer through hand squeezes. We could hear the baby's heartbeat through the monitor... so surreal. He would praise me through surges, and I would very quickly drift back off to a calmer place between them - in my mind, I was floating through an ancient ocean and experiencing a totally primal sense of calm. Fortunately and unfortunately, the monitors could only be submerged for 2 hours and so I had to exit the bath to exchange them. While I stood and swayed with my husband, I whispered that I thought it was time to push. The midwife checked, and sure enough, I was 10 cm already! I was most comfortable pushing while laying on my side with my husband holding my leg. With every roar and push and breath, I had the nurse, my midwife, and my husband cheering me on. It was so encouraging to hear their feedback. Within a few minutes, she was out and up on my chest! Those first moments with our baby Ava were so precious and rewarding. I will never forget her little wails and her Dad's tears of joy. There was no more pressure, no more intensity. Nothing but calm, love, and pride. We did it. I did it!! Ava and I have had no complications in our recoveries, and my husband has been the best supporter and father I could imagine. Thank you again for everything you do and everything you share on your page! You gave me so much confidence from the other side of the globe!! Karli


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