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A Birth of Surrender - Dana's Home Birth of Xavier

Back story:

We gave birth to our first son Lorenzo in the hospital at the peak of COVID regulations, during the time of lockdown. The hospitals were scrambling. For our second birth, we decided we wanted to only have one midwife caring for us as with Lorenzo we had rotating midwives. When we chose our first midwife, she held more of a medical mindset and something didn’t sit right. I prayed and asked God if I should get a doula (our first midwife disagreed). Then at 30 weeks, after hiring our doula, we did switch midwives. It was the best decision we ever made as well as deciding to switch to a home birth.

Birth story:

My birth story in one word - surrender

39 weeks and 3 days:

It all started at midnight on Sunday, November 13. I was feeling crampy. I tried to fall asleep but I was mostly awake to irregular “waves”. I didn’t want my mind to associate the word pain with a contraction and so I decided to think of them as “waves”. On that morning, I had a midwife appointment booked and my husband, Patrick, was worried because the contractions were picking up. I persevered and said to him, “Let’s go, it’s going to be awhile.” I was right.

We came home and this time the contractions were getting more intense but still manageable. My mom was at our place during that time and we decided to have her take our toddler to her home (good call). It wasn’t until that evening that I felt very connected with Patrick. We instinctively decided to set up our home with lights, candles, lavender in the diffuser, and an open space for the birth pool. I had already set up words of affirmation all over the walls and bathroom, including some artwork from my toddler and the Made for This Birth affirmations. It was wonderful!

At 9:00 p.m. we decided to call our doula, Martha, to set up the pool just to be safe. She asked me if she should stay but I said, “No I’m still able to manage”. Then it happened. At 12:00 a.m. I shifted into active labor. We called Martha back and she came right away.

At that time, I was in the shower with the water running on my back while the pool was being set up. I immediately jumped in when it was ready and was in there for a couple of hours. It just felt so warm and pleasing having Martha pour water down my back while Patrick was there to hold my hand. I had a pause in labor and it gave some time for myself and Patrick to nap.

After being in the pool for a while, I decided to get out - I needed new scenery. I continued listening to my body’s needs. I clearly remember these final moments. I went into the bathroom but I was so hungry! Martha prepared a bowl of oranges for me and I was eating in the dark while swaying back and forth. I was completely grounded with affirmations and praying through what I now know was transition. I continued to surrender myself to Him and allowed my body to take over. My hands were open as I looked up, eyes closed, and I was swaying back and forth. It was a surreal moment to feel connected with my baby but mostly with Mother Mary.

I eventually asked for the TENS machine and moved to the couch. I was feeling “pushy” and feeling it NOW. During this time of active labor, we had called our midwives for a check in. It turned out Martha was calling the non-urgent line! Oops! We finally sorted that out and called them right as I began pushing. I asked if I could get back to the pool but it was too late. The water needed to be heated up and baby’s head was coming.

The midwives arrived but they were so good in giving me space. I felt baby’s head but I used my own counter pressure where I felt possible tearing. It was just wild how I continued to listen to my body. He finally came out at 4:52 a.m. The cord was wrapped around his neck, a very common occurrence. Everyone reacted calmly and the midwives treated it normally.

Because of my previous birth, the next part for me was the scary part, birthing the placenta. I experienced a postpartum hemorrhage with my first. I asked a lot of midwives, researched, and learned a lot about why that possibly happened. The answer that I came to was that I didn’t produce enough oxytocin after the baby was born because there were just too many interruptions and chaos in the hospital room and therefore, the shot of Pitocin I received was a substitute in my system. Once that Pitocin wore off, that’s when I had the hemorrhage. My first baby was born at 2:16 p.m. and I had the hemorrhage around 6:30 p.m.

After much research, I decided to opt out of taking automatic Pitocin this time. My body did all the work and unbelievably enough, I delivered the placenta in under 10 minutes with no hemorrhaging. I truly believe I had enough oxytocin because I was given the privacy and more skin to skin time with my baby. Both my husband and I agree that we loved having a home birth. We didn’t have to leave our house and were able to snuggle our baby right away.

This birth has truly been empowering and I never felt so much growth in myself as a mother, a wife and a daughter of Christ. To feel so close to Mother Mary and completely surrendering myself to Him has been life changing. I truly believe if my body is capable of birth, I can do all hard things with Him.

Dana is mom to two wonderful boys named Lorenzo and Xavier with her husband Patrick. She lives in Vancouver, Canada and runs a small shop called A Lil’ Plant where she makes and sells saint dolls as part of self-care. You can visit her shop here and follow her on Instagram here!

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