Baby "T" Birth | Calgary Birth Photography

Amanda and I met when I was pregnant with my first and she was pregnant with her second. She was already a nurse, though not yet working in labour and delivery. Shortly after her second was born she began working at Foothills Medical Centre’s Labour and Delivery Unit (unfortunately not before Theo made his grand early entrance there, as I would have adored to have her as my nurse).

Perspectives change based on experience. FMC deals with the high high risk pregnancies and deliveries, like my one-pound Theo situation. Amanda had been working with cases like mine for several years. When you are constantly engaged in situations that are on the brink of crisis it’s so hard to remove yourself from that and recognize that sometimes low risk just stays low risk. Amanda is a woman of fierce faith, strength and dedication to her family. Throughout this rainbow pregnancy she had to repeatedly release the fears and anxieties that accompany the knowledge that comes with perspective. I admire her so much for this.

Ok, ok so let’s get to the birth.

As she had had both of her other boys at 39+5 & 39+6 this pregnancy seemed eternal once it passed 40 weeks! But between a sweep and acupuncture on a bright Sunday morning at 40+4 I got a call that the membranes had ruptured and things had indeed started. Knowing this was a 4th pregnancy I rushed up to Cochrane in hopes that the baby hadn’t arrived before I did. I arrived to tea being sipped, little boys on bikes and softly swaying still pregnant hips. The contractions had slowed down, which everyone was totally ok with. It’s a lovely June Sunday morning, is there really anywhere else birth workers would rather me? Hard no.

Over the next few hours they went on walks, did stairs and ate a little, but no real change was coming. The midwives decided to do another cervical check to make sure the membranes were actually ruptured. There was more there, and upon rupture discovered meconium (a contraindication to a home birth, and requires a transfer to hospital). Boy did the contractions change after the rupture though! We all jumped into our vehicles as we knew it wouldn’t be long until this baby came.

I arrived at the hospital minutes after they did, and Amanda was definitely in active labour. It’s not very often you are at a hospital with one of their own nurses about to deliver! The amount of support in that room was incredible! Not only did she have Ian, but she also had her friend (another nurse who had just finished a night shift, bless her heart), her midwives and other nurses who kept stopping by to offer support or help. Amanda was wrapped in love and adoration by all around her.

The contractions came quickly and hard. Her second was a birth centre waterbirth, so she had experienced transition without any pain medication, but without access to immersible water she later said that this one was harder.

She hit transition. “I want an epidural.” We all looked at each other knowing that delivery was close, but when last checked she was 6cm. So they put the order in and 30 minutes later the epidural was placed. Literally moments after it was placed she lay back down and yelled “I NEED TO PUSH!” "If that’s what your body says you go ahead.” Mary the midwife tells her. And with guttural power that all birthing women know, she pushed. Held by all in her raw vulnerable amazing state, without any effects of the epidural yet working, she birthed a beautiful 9lb 10oz baby boy.

Baby "R" Birth | Calgary Birth Photographer

Annie didn’t have an easy start.

Prodromal labour began on Friday evening around her 38th week of pregnancy. I received notification around midnight that things might be picking up soon. I knew that Annie had been nesting HARDCORE the week before, so this didn’t surprise me at all (can you say, 7 dozen cookies in an evening?!). Saturday comes, nothing consistent. Contractions were irregular but painful enough she couldn’t sleep through them. Sunday comes, same story, no change, just pure exhaustion and frustration. I delivered a TENS Sunday afternoon, with the hopes that it would at least take the edge off (it did, she said) and her midwife had recommended the Miles Circuit.

Monday morning, after a trying weekend of no sleep and no progress (though we both think the Miles Circuit did make a difference from Sunday night), her membranes ruptured and active labour began. Thank goodness! I joined them within an hour of ruptured membranes and Tietje (Midwife) was already there. Although she was only 3cm dilated, she was contracting regularly and strong, so neither Tietje or I felt like we should leave.

Annie dug deep immediately and found her groove. While the original plan was to birth at the Birth Centre, once labour took hold, Annie knew she would be more comfortable at home (and understandably didn’t want to get into a car). Convenient that midwives come with all the same gear! In the comfort of her own home, in her own tub a healthy baby boy was born at 2:41pm that afternoon.

Their trusty one-eyed pup stayed by her side throughout the whole thing. Dogs are so intuitive.

Their trusty one-eyed pup stayed by her side throughout the whole thing. Dogs are so intuitive.

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