Apparently I still remember my WordPress login so here comes a blog post!
We are so happy to announce the birth of our sweet daughter Riley Joy. She was born May 5th at 7:12 pm, weighing 7 Lbs 4 Oz. We had planned for a hospital birth but had the surprise of a home birth instead.
I woke up at 3:30 am on May 5th with some reasonably strong contractions but of course debated if labour was actually starting for two hours before deciding to take some gravol and Tylenol and get some more sleep. I was pretty excited but managed to drift back to sleep from 6:30 until 9:30, which really set me up for success later in the day.
When I woke up for the day, I was still having contractions and Dana let work know he would be MIA for the day. Knowing with Rhys’ labour that I didn’t eat enough, I got a good breakfast in and then Dana and I headed out for a walk to see if we could get labour to progress. It definitely got things moving and I was having contractions leaning on Dana every block… then every half block…
We kept debating when to call the midwife as we didn’t want to get excited if things weren’t far enough along. But as we did call our midwife Tiffany around 11 and she listened to a few of my contractions. She thought I should walk home and get in the bathtub to see if labour would progress.
Somehow we made it home and I got in the tub (managing to save my nice blowout curls from my haircut the day before). My contractions did seem to get stronger and closer together so Dana called Tiffany again and we decided to make our way to Rockyview Hospital to get checked.
Now it seems hilarious to me, but through my contractions I did my hair, put waterproof mascara on, and put on a nice dress. I got in the car in the front seat and off we went. By coincidence we passed my father-in-law as we left our cul-de-sac and he knowingly asked “are you headed to the hospital?” and wished us luck.
The car ride was uncomfortable but not terrible. I laboured through contractions walking into the hospital and up to the L&D floor. I joked afterwards that I was like Moira from Schitt’s Creek showing up: “I’m here to have a bebe”, looking all put together. We checked in and met up with Tiffany. She checked me and I was only 3 cm! I needed to be 6 to be admitted so she gave me the option to labour at the hospital or go home. She administered antibiotics as I was group B strep positive then we decided to go home, with the plan we’d see her around 6 for my next check and round of antibiotics.
I was feeling pretty damn disappointed that despite my discomfort I was only 3 cm! And the thought of not only a car ride home, but then back to the hospital again later on seemed impossible even at that point. I think I knew then we would be having a home birth. It was about 3 pm at this point.
With me on all fours in the trunk of the Edge, yelling at Dana to slow down in between contractions, we made it home. I crawled into bed and tried to rest with some gravol. My contractions were pretty awful by then but I lasted an hour then got in the tub. My hair didn’t look so cute at this point. Dana rubbed my back through each contraction and eventually the contractions started to become a pattern of strong followed by a slightly weaker one. Turns out that’s called coupling and means the baby is turning and positioning for delivery!
One detail I’m forgetting to add is that we hired a doula this time! Her name is Jennie and she was worth every penny and then some. Although she would come at any point in my labour, I had decided at some point (for some dumb reason) not to call her until we were back at Rockyview to have the baby. Fortunately we did call her before that and she arrived at 5:45 to give Dana some relief rubbing my back. Since Tiffany was coming to the house at 6, they got me out of the tub and dried off just in time to get me on the toilet and have my water break!
I think Dana and Jennie were both thrilled to hear the doorbell ring at 6 but it was a delivery guy dropping off a package. Tiffany pulled up at 6:15 and Dana ran out to tell her my water had just broken. She came inside to give me my antibiotics and check me, then quickly announced we were changing plans to have a home birth as I was fully dilated. Dana, Jennie, and Tiffany all rushed around getting the bedroom ready for our baby’s arrival while I was struggling through contractions praying I could have the baby soon.
Midwives work in teams of two: one for mom and one for baby. The on-call midwife was too far away for the imminent arrival of Riley so Tiffany called the nearest in proximity. That midwife, Connie, was out walking her dog and ran home, jumped in her car, and arrived 3 minutes before Riley did!
I started pushing on all fours but was in pain from my IV jabbing my wrist. Jennie recalled my wrist’s discomfort from Rhys’ labour and helped me get upright, leaning on Dana, to finish pushing and deliver Riley. I was hoarse from yelling after. They immediately put Riley on my chest and soon we were all covered in her poop (haha). I still didn’t know the baby’s gender but at that point I was just grateful we were both healthy and that I had done it – a home birth! Thank god I bought the emergency shower curtain to cover the bed 😂.
After that it was a blur of delivering the placenta, stitches, checking on Riley and I, and all the clean-up. Jennie was an amazing help to us through all of this, not to mention the thorough and amazing care the midwives provided.
We capped off the day’s work with pizza and kale salad from Una. It was such a nice feeling being tucked into my own bed, learning to breastfeed all over again with Riley, while everyone gathered around our table to rehash and eat dinner.
My recovery from Riley’s birth has truly been night and day from Rhys’. Riley is 5 weeks old today and of course I am tired, but physically and emotionally I am doing so, so much better.
Welcome to our family Riley Joy! ❤️
Photo credits: portraits by Valerie Richer and labour photos by doula Jennie Charlesworth