The journey home

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2018 was the year of wild birth stories, and this one is right up there full of surprise and absolutely unexpected!

There is something about being pregnant that has the potential to bring out the ‘knowing’ that we all have. This Birther was always full of questions about this new journey she was on, but one of her questions had an answer written inside of it. Somewhere in her third trimester she shot me a message “It should be okay to go to a Wedding in Kenora around 34 weeks right?”  Loaded question, with only the sketchiest of possible answers. In true Doula style I replied along the lines of “it should be okay, but babies do come that early, so tune in to yourself and if when it comes time to go you aren’t feeling it, just don’t go” Easier said than done.

Like everything in pregnancy and labour and birth and newborns, the averages are just that, average. And there are no rules and the exceptions make for incredible stories.

So the day came and they had to hustle and get up early to make the more than 2 hour drive in time for the wedding.  And as they drove past the city limits, they joked about ‘what if her waters ruptured’ and it seemed incredulous and impossible and they kept on driving, but somewhere, somehow, they knew without knowing.   A knowing they couldn’t do anything about, a knowing they just had to live through.

Fast forward twenty hours and one wedding later, and she was sending me a message asking “How would I know if my waters broke?”  And they were calling their friends who were staying in rooms nearby in the hotel, and who happen to be Nurses. And we all said the same thing, “your waters have ruptured”.

And they were more than 2 hours away from their home. It’s the story you don’t think will ever happen to you.  The story we joke about. We all asked her if she was feeling any cramping, was the water clear? No cramping, clear water.

And so they went to the local hospital for a check over.  Baby was good, mom was good and she was dilated to about 2 cm. That hospital did not have a NICU, and the Doctor on call was 40 minutes away. And it wasn’t home. She didn’t want to have her baby there. She wanted to be home.

She told them she was going home, and off they went.  I kept asking “do you feel any cramping?” Because I know early babies are often efficient in the coming.

She says there are no cramps. Okay, drive! Come home.

About half way home and two hours after the rupture, she was contracting. They were 8-10 minutes apart, uncomfortable, but she could breathe through them and even talk through them.  She was feeling a lot of emotions; are they ready for this? He was just driving. Getting his people where they need to be. Determined.

Four hours after the rupture, they were heading to triage at St. Boniface General Hospital, in Winnipeg! Home.

The labour really picked up once they got into triage, she was breathing and coping so well, but certain she would want whatever help was available to her. The triage Nurse told us she was now dilated to between 2 & 3 cm.  But this did not look like that labour. This looked like more.

An hour and a bit after we arrived, she was admitted to a labour and delivery room. It seemed like every contraction brought more labour.  The intensity was building. She was checked again in the room because the labour looked so different, and now she was dilated to between 4-5 cm.

That was a big jump in less than an hour.  

She was feeling those labour shakes, he was right by her side. An epidural wasn’t available right then, so she had to make do with other helps and breathing and focus.  And she did! The contractions were very close together by this time. And the pressure feeling was building. Every time she would catch up to the labour, it would run ahead again!  We went through a shift change and then because of the shakes and the pressure and obvious intensity of the labour, the Nurse wanted to assess her before she went to the washroom. And now she was dilated to between 6 & 7 cm! In just an hour!  That body was racing. This baby was coming. After her successful trip to the bathroom, we could see the labour shifting into a new level of intensity. We were helping her find positions to be in that helped her feel centred and to help the baby move down, or at least avoid slowing things down.  

And then she was throwing up. What about that epidural? The next check tells us there was almost no cervix left! It had only been 47 minutes since the last check! Woah.

They felt excited and surprised to be meeting their baby today!  It was only a few minutes later that she very clearly felt the need to push this baby out. There was half an hour of just hard work getting through the contractions, breathing and focussing and not pushing.

And then she was bearing down. And then he was here!

Born quickly, but where he needed to be. Only 8 1/2 hours from her waters breaking to her baby on her chest!

Because he was born early there was staff in the room to assess his needs.  This amazing care provider made sure he spent the first 30 minutes of his life snuggled on his Mama, skin to skin. His home.

So good for baby, so great for the birther.






Born 6 weeks before his guesstimated date of arrival, he may have surprised them a little, but they stepped up and met him where he was at.

A new family, a new paradigm, the oldest of loves. A new kind of home. 








  1. Betty McFarlane on January 19, 2019 at 2:37 am said:

    Just spent the afternoon with that adorable little boy. G.G.Betty

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