When Baby Poops In The Womb
Sasha is a strong woman in many ways. She is honest, hilarious, and full of vitality. I knew we would enjoy our time together so I was happy when Sasha called me and told me she absolutely needed me to be there for her birth. No prenatal classes, just there on the day of to give her the hands-on support she needed. A homebirth, Sasha declared, and so she ordered a blow-up birthing tub from her midwives and got her homebirth equipment ready.
When the time came and Sasha was having regular contractions (although they still needed to gain momentum), it was August 21st, 2017 and I arrived at her Toronto condo at 8:30am. We set up the tub and comfort tools: rolling pin (for massing the legs and glutes), essential oils, yoga mat, rebozo, and more. Rejean was raising the vibration with music playing and was there, by Sasha's side, ready to do whatever had to be done to help her through.
Sasha spent hours working through her contractions. She walked; she swayed; she lunged. Rejean gave strong acupressure on her lower back and hips which she loved and helped her stay focused through each rush. Her body had been hard at work since the day before, as she showed me on her contraction timing application. Wow, early labour can last a long time - especially for first-time moms!
By lunchtime we were chowing down on butter chicken roti (which I have been obsessed with ever since) in hopes that the spices would help trigger some stronger contractions. But as daylight shone through the windows, Sasha's labour began to dwindle down and out, so I went home and encouraged Sasha to rest herself and stay hydrated so she'd have energy for her labour's return!
I came back around 7pm when Sasha's labour picked up again and we made the space nice and cozy with twinkle lights and calm music. Sasha hung out in the tub for a long while, using Rejean as her physical support through every contraction. Not once during this whole process did Sasha complain or throw the towel in. She did mention a few times that it "fucking hurt like hell" but I took that as a statement more than a complaint. She wasn't exhibiting any signs of giving up on her homebirth, despite her exhaustion and strengthening labour pains.
We waited quite a while before calling Sasha's midwife from Community Midwives. She didn't really believe that Sasha's contractions were only a few minutes apart, so she kept her on the phone for a few minutes to listen to Sasha's sounds during contractions. Sure enough, an amazing midwife arrived a little while later and deemed Sasha 5cm dilated at 11:30pm. Progress. The vaginal exam seemed to strengthen her contractions, and Sasha's labour quickly intensified. By midnight, Sasha's water broke while she was laboring on her bed. There was a dark green substance in the amniotic fluid. Maxwell... Did you poop in the womb? Well that was a surprise and a let down (at the time). Since there was meconium in the water, we would need to transfer to the hospital just in case baby Max's breathing needed a little assistance upon birth. Sometimes the sticky substance can get stuck in baby's lungs and cause the baby stress during labour. Despite the disappointment, Sasha is a brave woman, and she quickly got on board with the new plan. With Rejean at her side every step of the way, they took a non-emergent ambulance trip to the hospital. Her midwife was badass and led the whole transition beautifully.
Sasha stayed committed to her birth until the very end. By 2am, her cervix was fully dilated and she was ready to push. No epidural, no pain meds. She was doing this. It was very intense, but she persevered. As only a midwife would, Sasha's midwife let her bear down while on her hands and knees on the hospital bed. She followed her natural urges with each contraction. Her baby furthered her descent into Sasha's wide-open pelvis. Maxwell didn't need any more convincing - she was finally coming out of her cozy nest.
Born at 2:23am on August 22nd, Max was strong and healthy like her parents and got to feel the warmth of her mama's chest upon her first breath! Pushing Maxwell out was a wonderful relief after so many long hours of labour, and Sasha stared at her with love and disbelief. Rejean cut the cord and grinned down at his baby - tears in his eyes - while Sasha caught her breath and got ready to deliver the placenta.
Maxwell Exeter-Chiasson, welcome to the world, little one!
Maxwell had skin-to-skin with Sasha and Rejean and quickly fell in love with both of her parents. Now, at five months old, I've had the pleasure of bathing Max, playing with her, and putting her to sleep. She loves music and is infinitely smiley. Maxwell, you are a charmer! And I am so lucky to have been your doula.