Wow – where to begin?? Our first week as a family has flown by already and although things are going incredibly well I am only now finding time to sit down in front of the computer for more than 5 minutes – having already had an afternoon nap. I think the thing that strikes me most about this past week is that despite the fact that throughout my entire pregnancy, somewhere in the back of my mind I doubted that Dale and I were really ready to take this next step to becoming parents, I now realize that we really were ready. Despite the sleep deprivation, the initial pain of breastfeeding, the millions of questions about caring for and nurturing a brand new human being – everything feels totally natural and right.

I know that some of you are dying to here the birth story, so I will try to recount as much of it as I can. First I have to say that I am overjoyed that we decided to have a home birth. It was truly the right thing for us – which is so odd considering the option never even occurred to us as a valid possibility until 36 weeks into the pregnancy. Friday afternoon we headed into Courtenay to do some errands and see the midwives at 4:45. Well, when we got to the clinic at 4:30, Sadie immediately let us know that she couldn’t see us because she was off to another home birth and that we should call Monday to set up another appointment. I kind of jokingly said that I wanted to have this baby before the weekend was out, but really had no idea whether that would happen or not. Dale offered to take me to a nice dinner and we went to Atlas, one of my favourite restaurants in town, so we headed over there. At dinner I started have contractions, which basically felt like all the practice contractions I’d been having for months, but we started vaguely keeping track of timing. By the end of dinner they were about 10 minutes apart.

We came home, took Turner for a good walk in the field and then settled into watch a movie – all the while somewhat keeping track of the contractions, which seemed to be getting closer and a little stronger. By the end of the movie they were about 6-8 minutes apart and while we did some dishes we debated calling Sadie to give her a heads up. At 9:45 we did just that and she suggested a bath to relax and then trying to get some sleep. At this point we still weren’t convinced that this was really it and while I had my bath, Dale did some Yoga. But after my bath there was birth show when I used the toilet and I was barely able to talk through contractions and had to concentrate on my breathing. dale called Sadie back and hurried to make up the bed with the sheets for the birth. He also called Gill and told her to come over and asked Brandon to come pick up Turner for the night.

After that things start to blur for me – especially time wise. Since Sadie had just been at a birth, it was decided that Emma would come to the house first and I think she arrived sometime just after 11. She checked me pretty much right away and I think she was a little surprised that I was 7cm dilated already. She started rushing a bit to get things set up while Gill and Dale tried to help me relax listening to my hypnobirthing CD and doing some light touch massage. The last time I really remember looking at the clock it was 12:15 and things were pretty intense. I kind of wish that we had started with the hypnobirthing relaxation techniques a little earlier, because I was definitely a little panicked and overwhelmed by the intensity of the contractions. Eventually, with help from Emma, Dale and Gill, I was able to breathe a little better through the contractions and relax more in between. I tried lots of positions – side lying, leaning over a huge stack of pillows on the bed, the toilet, semi-reclining and just when I thought I really couldn’t take it any more Emma said that I was transitioning and there was only a little lip of cervix left.

Sadie had arrived somewhere around 1 am. Shortly after that Emma broke my waters for me because I was having a lot of back pain, and that helped a little bit with the pressure on my back. I was exactly back labour, just that my muscles were really really tired. Things were a little rough for a while trying to get the lip of cervix to move by trying different positions for contractions. Eventually when it was really close Emma helped to move it out of the way as I was starting to want to push. Sadie and Emma were fabulous in helping me figure how to push when I felt the urge and relax in between and make the contractions worthwhile. Gill and Dale were equally wonderful and encouraging. All in all I ended up pushing for about 45 minute – most of it squatting by the bed, leaning back against Dale. Sadie and Emma were a tad concerned because, although there had been no meconium visible when Emma broke my water, there was meconium when I started pushing, so right at the end we moved back onto the bed so that they could suction the lungs when the head was out. However, they never got the chance, because as soon as the head was out, the whole body was out and our baby was crying up a storm! Dale immediately announced that it was a boy and they put him on my chest and covered him with blankets.

I was totally and utterly in awe. I guess it doesn’t matter how prepared you are for the fact that you are carrying a baby inside you for 9 months – when that little tiny human being emerged from my own body I was somewhat shocked. Gill cried and Dale and I just smiled at eachother. Our baby!

Our first challenge was deciding on a name. Although we had had a girl’s name picked from the beginning we had never been able to decide on a boy’s name. We had a short list though, so we ran through it and decided on Nathaniel – Nate for short. It’s definitely growing on us as he becomes more and more a part of our lives. His middle name, Steadman, is my Uncle Frank’s last name. I guess it’s kind of confusing, because “Uncle” Frank isn’t a blood relative, but he has been a treasured member of our family since my Dad was a baby and seeing as he has no children or grandchildren of his own, we thought this would be a fabulous way to honour him.

There is so much more to tell…but this post is already getting long. The bottom line is that we are so happy that Nate is finally here, so thankful to Sadie and Emma and Gill who helped us have the home birth we wanted and so appreciative of everyone’s well wishes, wise words and support. I am looking forward to sharing lots of milestones and frustrations, joys and sorrows as Nate grows and changes and becomes his own person.