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Homebirth Info


Next Session:

5pm, Sunday, March 19th, 2023
On Zoom

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Soren’s Story

shapeimage_1My first experience with home birth was when I was almost three years old.  My mother was giving birth to my brother and I was rubbing her back.  Later, after I had eaten my breakfast cereal at her bedside, I watched as he was born – pink and screaming.  When my friends’ mothers went to hospital to birth their siblings, I didn’t understand why they’d go to hospital just to have a baby.

It was that early experience, and a wish to be fully in control of my birthing experience that led me to switch my care from an OB/GYN practice that oversaw births at Sibley (high C-section rate) to Mairi and Erin at around week 20.

IMG_4020Mairi and Erin came to our house for the regular prenatal appointments and all progressed well with the pregnancy, but I didn’t enjoy being pregnant – it was nine months of nausea, fatigue, joint pain and feeling huge!  By the end it was beginning to feel as if I would be pregnant forever and I was looking forward for it to be over.

It was the middle of the night – 4am on the morning of Thursday August 27th – when I woke up to go to the bathroom.  As I sleepily got out of bed my water broke with a gush.  My husband Brendan leaped up.  Despite being 39 weeks and 4 days pregnant it was still a big surprise for me that my labor started this way.  Trying to mop up the mess, we called and woke Mairi who was then on call.  She asked some questions about the color (clear) and told us to do a kick count and call her back in an hour.  Of course everything was fine, but by then we were too excited to sleep much and contractions (very mild ones) were starting.

Around noon Thursday, Erin stopped by, checked on me (fetal heartbeat etc) and said that I was in “early labor” and that she’d expect active labor to start within 24 hours, in the mean time we should get some rest.

Soren being bornBy around 11pm Thursday the contractions were strong and frequent, but not entirely regular.  They varied between around 5-8 minutes apart and if I lay down I would find them slowing down.  We spoke to Erin several times that evening and she said that she’d expect to see us later that night.  Around 1am Friday morning I could barely walk down the hall to the bathroom and was doing everything I could to relax and breathe through very intense contractions.  In fact, every time I got up, Brendan would follow behind me with the birthing ball so that I could sit on it when a contraction began.

What I didn’t know then was that I had 30 plus more hours to go!


Erin arrived at about 4am Friday and fairly soon after that, the contractions became more erratic and rarely less than 5 minutes apart (though also rarely more than 8).  This went on for hours, with little sleep, but Erin encouraged me to rest to save my energy and somehow I managed to get some sleep, a few minutes at a time, between contractions.

At around 1pm Friday, I had my first internal check of the pregnancy and was found to be 4cm dilated and 60 percent effaced, so Erin tried a “stretch and sweep” to enhance dilation.  I suspect our neighbors heard me screaming at her to stop!  Not comfortable at all.  Then, later that afternoon, after discussing our options with me tearfully insisting that I didn’t want to go to the hospital, we embarked on a series of techniques to augment labor.  I drank castor oil, with an orange juice chaser.  It didn’t do anything, so three hours later (by this time Mairi and our birth assistant Susan were there), I drank another two ounces, this time mixed with orange juice and a shot of vodka which would help me relax!  The second dose worked immediately in that I ran for the bathroom, but it didn’t stimulate more regular contractions.

Mairi also syringed evening primrose oil directly into my cervix to help soften it, and we were sent to the privacy of our bedroom and ordered to try nipple stimulation (didn’t work, but it made us laugh).  I was given some homeopathic remedies to augment labor and I walked and walked up and down the stairs.  Nothing seemed to get things moving any faster, and still the contractions were extremely intense and difficult to manage.

shapeimage_4The turning point came for me at around 9pm on Friday night.  The stairs were just tiring me out, so Erin suggested that instead I should walk around the living room, but to be sure to “sashay” my hips to get the baby to move down.  So I started my “sashaying” and it felt like dancing, so I put on some music and swayed.  My conference of midwives (Mairi, Erin and Susan) watched with amusement from the dining room table where they had set up camp.  When I had a contraction I walked over to the stairs and hung on to the banister with one foot a step or two up from the other swinging my hips in time to the music.  This made the contractions easier to manage and the dancing really lightened my mood.

However, the contractions STILL were not progressing (by this point a second internal exam revealed me to be 6cm and 80 percent effaced).  We tried another technique to augment labor and within 15 minutes things were finally moving and contractions only a couple of minutes apart.

Just before 6am, some 50 hours since my water broke, I finally started pushing.  By this stage I was so focused on the task at hand that I was barely able to communicate.  I was either too hot or too cold or thirsty and was barely able to say much more than “water” or “robe” in frustration.  While Brendan attempted to read my mind, Mairi, Erin and Susan were saying reassuring things in the background.   Erin suggested a mirror to see the baby’s head, but I didn’t want anything else to concentrate on or to distract my focus – I just zoned out all the reassurance determined to get through this.  After just under two hours of pushing, at 7.44am our beautiful baby was born.

Brendan, who had been the perfect labor coach for the previous 52 hours, was ready to catch him and in fact was holding his head when Erin stepped in to unloop the cord from around his neck.  He was put on my chest with some warm blankets which Brendan moved aside to check and then announce that it was a boy – Soren.

Our son looked up at us and nuzzled on my chest just a few moments old.  It was amazing to finally meet this little creature who was already so alert and inquisitive.  He nursed straight away and when he was about 15 minutes old the placenta came out with a gentle push.

When he was around an hour old, Erin conducted the newborn exam.  Our sweet little boy weighed in at 9lb 3oz and measured 21.75 inches long.  His head measured 15.25 inches – a big head like both his parents, just as we had thought.  None of us had believed he would be quite that big, except my mum who had scoffed at the suggestion that I would give birth to a “small” 8 pounder.  His head was a little bruised from the long labor, but Soren and I both recovered very quickly.  Not being pregnant has felt great and Soren has been a joy from the day he was born.

We are very grateful to Erin and Mairi for everything and are so happy that despite such a long labor, Soren was born at home.