I want to thank Dr. Emilie so much for helping me through a very anxious time of my life. I do believe that processing and preparing myself for the birth helped open the space needed to bring in this second child in the natural way it was meant to be. It is all interconnected. I felt supported and I trusted that my body could do what it was designed to do. I had Emilie reassuring me twice a week that my body was not a ‘lemon’ and that it knew, and I would know, what to do (and I did). I am so grateful for the many years of love and support I have received from Emilie, Ryan and everyone at Acubalance. I feel like I am a part of their family and they are part of mine. It is through their dedication to my cause that I am a mother at all and I could never have done it without Dr. Emilie, physically, emotionally and spiritually.
It took us seven years of trying to conceive to create my first daughter, Isabel. At 44, I finally became a mother through the use of donor eggs and regular acupuncture appointments. Dr. Emilie came to the fertility clinic to do my pre and post-transfer acupuncture. We were told to expect many embryo transfers before one would work to create a baby. Isabel had worked on the very first try of the very first embryo.
With my first birth, I had envisioned (naively) a deeply spiritual, calm, natural birth. I listened to my birthing hypnosis tracks every night for three months and I had my tea light candles packed in my hospital bag. Sadly, that did not happen and after 53 hours of labour and intense dehydration, heavy stimulation drugs and an epidural, I had only dilated 5 cm and I needed a c-section. People told me that I ‘got the outcome I wanted, my baby being the prize at the end of the journey’ and how I got there shouldn’t matter, but I felt angry and cheated. I had had heavy antibiotics and was on an emotional roller coaster, while I detoxified from all the meds. This made motherhood very challenging in the early days.
In our fertility process to create Isabel, we were left with a second healthy embryo that we froze for later use. This was our ‘bonus embryo’ At Isabel’s first birthday, we put the second embryo in to see what would happen. We had beaten so many odds through this process after so many years of heartbreak.
At 46, I was now going to be a mother of two daughters. I had never dreamed that this could be possible and I was so grateful. This time I had been doing acupuncture throughout the pregnancy and so it was much more comfortable than the first.
When it came time for getting ready to deliver, a range of emotions started coming up. Anxiety about going through the same traumatic experience was very strong for me. I definitely did not want to go through the same experience. This was my opportunity to potentially do things differently.
My midwife sent me to the Best Birth Clinic at Women’s to discuss the risks of VBAC vs scheduled section. The BBC is supposed to be biased toward encouraging women to try for VBACs. My age and fertility process dominated the conversation, which ended in scary statistics and some ‘arm-twisting’ to schedule a c-section the minute I went overdue. I left the appointment feeling betrayed and bitter.
My midwives told me I had ‘lots of time’ and showed me more optimistic data supporting VBACs, even post-dates, and were supporting me giving myself the time to try and have the birth I had envisioned.
I had been working with Dr. Emilie on getting the baby in position for delivery, cervical ripening and lots of calming and sleeping points. I was also doing physical exercises that help move the baby into position. I had learned in my first birth that I was not the one who drove the bus in the delivery process, I was merely a passenger. If I was going to end up having another c-section this time, then I wanted to make that decision from a place where I felt I did everything I could to prevent it.
Ashley arrived at 3:50 am on Tuesday, Feb 12 by vaginal birth. (yay!)
The labour had started out taking me to the same place I was afraid of - big painful contractions and vomiting. I was able to voice my concerns about being ’stalled out’ to my midwife and she helped me address them. Then I remember thinking that the contractions were coming way faster than the last time (it was probably a few hours of them being 2-4 mins apart, ie. no real rest in between). Then when the midwife checked me I was at 6 cm and the baby was super low. My new option was to have the baby at home since she was coming so quickly. I wanted to go into the birthing tub so we all packed up and headed to the hospital. Once I got to the birthing room, Ashley arrived 20 mins later. No tubs available but there wouldn’t have been time to even fill it up anyway. It was a hard and fast process that took about 8 hours in total. I am so grateful that I was able to have a vaginal birth this time!! It was such a very different experience than my previous c-section. I feel like another part of my journey to motherhood had been fulfilled. I am so proud of myself. I really was in that ‘place’ inside and just moved the way my body told me to. As intense as it was, I don’t think I have many negative aspects of the birth to process, only positive ones this time. When I look at my post-birth photos of the giant grin on my face, I still get all teary. I also got to leave the hospital and go home to my own bed the same day.
I had to fight for this delivery the way I wanted it and I’m glad I did.