Baby Charlee’s Birth Story
I knew shortly after she was born that I needed to share this story publicly. Why? Because we don’t hear enough positive, powerful birth stories. Don’t get me wrong, the birth of my daughter was likely the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but it was the absence of fear and presence of an incredible amount of support that made it so different from my son’s birth.
Our baby girl was due August 6, 2019. With my son being 5 days early, everyone was sure she’d be here around the end of July. Unfortunately at 38 weeks, Chris tore his ACL and stress fractured his tibia and femur mountain biking. Not being able to move much for a few days added a fair amount of stress and anxiety and our little girl decided to stay put. It was shortly after that day that my pre-labour symptoms started. I was up all night for days with contractions and nausea hoping that this would be the night labour would begin. Suzanne ‘The Foot Guru’ came and did a reflexology treatment on my feet that I hoped with put me into labour. It didn’t, but it did take away most of the false contractions and the nighttime nausea! (Thank you Suzanne!)
A few days went by and we received some more news that Chris’s mom had lost her 25 year battle with cancer and wouldn’t be meeting her new baby granddaughter. We were heartbroken and feeling stuck in Vancouver when family in Victoria really needed us. She was an amazing woman and a ‘medical miracle’ due to her incredibly positive mindset.
August 6th, her due date and daddy’s birthday past and still no signs of baby. At this point I completely surrendered to the fact that I had zero control over the situation and tried to relax and enjoy the last few days. Perhaps she would have come early if it wasn’t for the roller coaster of stress and emotion the previous 2 weeks had brought. Then on August 8th our little Leo decided it was her day.
I woke up to contractions at 12:45am in the morning, as I had several times over the past two weeks, but this time I couldn’t get back to sleep and realized they were pretty consistent. I had had a relatively short labour with Hudson and we live 30 minutes from the hospital, so by 1:30am we had called the midwife (Colleen from Canopy Midwives) and decided to head into the hospital. At this point the contractions sucked (especially in the car) but I was fine in between. My incredible sister was in town and met us at emergency to pick up Hudson and take him back home… with her 3 month old in tow! Our doula, Tania (Cove Babies Doula), met us at the hospital as well.
We quickly realized labour was not going as quickly as we thought it might and we had gotten there a bit early, but better safe than sorry. Tania helped me relax and breathe through contractions while Chris had a nap on one of those horrible pull out hospital chair beds. Of course we teased him for ‘working so hard’, but ultimately his knee still wasn’t great and rest was a good idea. By around 7 or 8 am things had really started to pick up. The nausea came out of nowhere and their were fewer jokes between contractions. I found some relief in the shower and on the ball. I was also continually annoyed with how much our baby girl moved around during contractions! It felt AWFUL!
After a couple hours I was getting really tired. I reached for my oil bag and used basil on my lower back to help with the overwhelm and stress, frankincense to help ground me and support my emotions, and wild orange to give me the pick me up I needed. I used both balance and wild orange a couple times to support my emotions just by inhaling it deeply.
I found myself starting to yearn for the desire to push and for things to switch gears. It was near noon and I was exhausted from being up so early and not being able to keep much down. Funny thing was the incredible urge to push never came as I remember so clearly with Hudson. Having done zero cervical checks in pregnancy or labour, we were going entirely off how I felt. After pushing for an hour and having my waters break, I asked the midwife to check and see what was going on. She guessed that baby was sunny side up. She’d been moving and turning constantly while I was in labour. Turned out she was stuck on a piece of cervix and was indeed sunny side. Once the cervix was pushed back, she instantly rotated around and 4 pushes later she was born at 1:39pm.
Unlike with Hudson we decided to do delayed cord clamping and deliver the placenta without any oxytocin. It wasn’t long for the placenta to be delivered and we waited until the cord was completely white to cut it. Our baby girl was so alert and wide awake for the first couple hours after her birth. She immediately wanted to feed and since that moment breastfeeding has been so easy with her.
After she was born, Tania immediately started feeding me cup after cup of ‘anti-bleed tea’ and honey. Chris went and got food and we relaxed for a couple hours. Once she was two hours old, I was getting ready to get out of there. Having not torn or had any complications, we left the hospital when she was just three hours old. It was so nice to get home, have an amazing pasta meal (thanks to my sister!) and introduce our baby girl to her big brother!
So what made this birth so different?
Hiring a doula. Tania made a world of difference in my ability to cope. From position ideas to pain management and emotional support. She was also there for support when I was dealing with pre-labour and of course post-partum once Chris went back to work. Ladies, seriously… hire a doula! You can find Tania here: Cove Babies Doula
Making a list of clear intentions. I typed out a list of what I wanted (thank you Tania for this great idea) and gave it to Colleen (our midwife) when we arrived at the hospital. My care team knew exactly what I wanted and everyone stayed on the same page.
I think the biggest difference was that I felt empowered. I had enough support and knew my body was completely capable (partially a product of having one healthy birth with zero complications). However having a natural, drug and intervention free birth left me feeling powerful and overwhelmed with joy once it was over. I remember the whole journey, unlike Hudson’s birth that I blocked from my memory, and felt immense pride in what I was capable of doing.
A huge thank you to Canopy Midwives for the amazing care I received throughout my pregnancy. To Colleen for providing exceptional care and support to both me and Charlee and to Tania for going above and beyond what I expected. Your support meant everything to me.
So, what oils did I use in Labour & Postpartum?
Balance - I made a spray with balance and water and used it for calming/grounding
Frankincense Touch - Emotional Support and grounding. I used this in transition when I felt like I couldn’t on. I also used it after her birth on my temples.
Wild Orange - Inhaled to increase energy and positivity. This oil helped me feel like I could continue on.
Basil - incredible for stress and overwhelm. It also felt amazing on my lower back.
Digest Tabs - These were helpful with nausea in early labour and postpartum.
Balance - Diffuse and inhale as needed. I also apply this to my feet and the back of my neck.
Lavender + Siberian Fir + Copaiba - Apply for afterpains as needed. This was so helpful!
Immortelle - This was so helpful in a peri spray to support healing after birth. I also apply this to my abdomen to support the skin as it shrinks down.
Myrrh - Dilute and apply to the umbilical cord stump
Melissa oil - HUGE Emotional and Physical support. This is a MUST HAVE and worth every penny.
Citrus oils - diffuse to uplift mood