Things come and go. We’ve had houses come and go. Boats come and go. Cars come and go. I mean, we come and go! But it’s weird to think that both houses where we homebirthed the girls are now gone. Not demolished, but in the hands of new owners.
A few weeks ago our close friends announced that they had officially sold their house. We were ecstatic for them. It is a move that they have been looking forward to. Something that will hopefully help their family immensely. We’re super happy for them. Congratulated them. And then were back to our regular day.
It wasn’t until yesterday when we were driving in Cabo, and Ellia asked, “Mama, where was I born?” that I realized that the house where she was born had just officially sold. We are still over-the-moon happy for our friends, don’t get me wrong, it was just a funny thought to cross my mind. Both houses where we homebirthed our girls are now under new ownership.
I wonder if the owner of our friend’s house will know that a baby was born in the front entrance half-bathroom!? Is that a selling feature you mention! LOL
Why Did We Homebirth?
We weren’t doing it to make a statement, or fight the medical system, or to be counter-cultural. I had always been attracted to the idea of it.
I almost studied midwifery. And had a pursued my Masters my thesis was going to be on natural methods of relaxation during the birthing process.
Marrying Eben, his mother had homebirthed his two sisters, and so the subject was not “wild” to him either.
I also had two extremely good pregnancies. We wanted the births of our daughters to be as natural as my body would allow. And Alberta has a great midwifery system. All signs were pointing towards having our babies at home.
We had Arias in the first house Eben owned. The first house we lived in as a married couple. More specifically, we had Arias in a kids’ blowup pool which we had set up in our living room.
I woke up early on the morning of my due date feeling small contractions. It was early, they were far apart, and they were manageable. I poked Eben, let him know “it’s happening”, and then I think I even fell back asleep!
We went about our day as though it were normal. We called the midwives and they told me to stay moving and standing as much as possible, letting gravity do the work. They also told Eben to contact them again once I was no longer able to form logical sentences. When I went into “the zone”. We went grocery shopping, we went to the hardware store (we were renovating our house at the time!), we hung out, and we made love (which also helps labour progress btw).
By 6ish things were progressing. My thoughts were scattered and my focus was on having a baby. “The zone” was coming and it was time to call the midwives back.
Call The Midwives
Eben never told me this until after having Arias, but on his call with the midwives they confirmed that they were on their way, she just had to unpack her groceries first and then make the 20 min drive! It was our first baby, and obviously she knew more than we did that we still had time before baby came, she was in no rush!
When the midwife and her assistant arrived my water still had not broken. They gave us the option to break it, or try some natural methods first. Eben did some quick research online about the two options and we decided to try other methods first. So they had me go down to the basement and do hanging squats from the bare rafters in the ceiling. Those were the toughest squats I have EVER had to do. So much pressure! Still nothing happened. They asked Eben if we had something else I could hang from to do them. He thought, and yes, the sex swing (that’s a whole other story right there!!!)
They set that up and I was back to hanging squats. As Eben went to get towels my water burst, all over our bedroom. Of course. My first thought was that I had made such a mess! Funny the way the brain works!
Time To Have A Baby
Now things were really happening. It was time to head to the pool.
They say not to get in the water too early as it can actually slow contractions, unless you’re in the final stages.
Eben sat next to the pool, holding my hands, comforting me, and holding in his need to pee until I gave him permission to run for a quick bathroom break. During all this the midwives sat at the dinning room table having tea and snacks, letting us do our thing.
As Arias’ head breached they asked Eben if he wanted to catch her. He was the first person to hold her. They then passed her to me and I held her in my motherly death grip. My body was rushing with hormones and no one would be prying my baby off my chest!
“Congrats its a beautiful boy”, they told us.
“It’s a boy!?” Eben says.
“What you don’t know?” they asked.
“No, we never found out.”
“Oh, we thought you had. Let’s check.”
Me: nope, not letting this baby go!
I don’t think I let them check for another 15 minutes or so! That’s when we found out we had Arias, our healthily chubby 9lbs baby.
Our family was sailing for most of my pregnancy with Ellia. We checked about having her in the US, or the Bahamas, but couldn’t find a homebirthing scenario we liked. Also the idea of having Ellia with the same midwives we had for Arias was nice. And the opportunity for the family to meet this new baby. We returned to Canada for her birth.
When came time to have Ellia our house was being rented out. We couldn’t possibly ask the renters to leave for a day so that I could birth my baby there! Our friends we were staying with were extremely gracious and offered us their home for the birth day.
On Ellia’s due date I woke up with contractions.
Yep, had both girls on their due dates, waking up with contractions, like clockwork!
This time we sort of knew what we were doing so we knew we didn’t have to call the midwives over so early. We walked to Tim Hortons and to the grocery store. The day went on as normal, I just had to take a break from walking every few minutes, to breath through a contraction!
By afternoon our friends packed up their two sons and Arias, and they headed off for an afternoon of playing and possibly staying the night with their family. We had thought about keeping Arias with us, but we wanted to focus on the birth, I wouldn’t be much help in caring for her and having a baby!
Call The Midwives
The midwives showed up around 7pm. Eben had worked really hard at filling the pool in our friends’ living room, setting up the tripod to film the birth and making sure I was all good. My water had not broken yet (again!). Things didn’t seem to be progressing. The contractions were still the same distance apart. But I had to pee.
There was no way I was going pee on my own. “The zone” was coming. I asked Eben to come help me pee. That’s love!
I made it from the couch to about half way across the living room when I got this huge sensation of dropping. The stop you in your tracks kind of feeling. Eben took my arm and helped me continue walking to the nearest bathroom. It just happened to be the front entrance half-bathroom.
The tiniest room in our friends house. It has a toilet and a sink. No room for anything else.
And Then There Was Ellia
As I slowly lowered myself to pee, woosh! My water broke. And there was baby!
Eben yelled to the midwives, “I can see the baby’s head!”
They walked over and realized there was no space in this tiny room for their assistance. They instructed Eben to get me away from the toilet and onto all fours.
But I wasn’t budging from that position. I was fully in the zone.
Eben had to lovingly buckle my knees for me and get me on the floor. Standing over me, he caught Ellia as she shot out. Her umbilical cord was too short and in the process it broke, but the midwives told Eben to pinch it and not to worry, “it’s not a big deal”. Again, our baby got to be received into the world by her father.
They escorted me to the couch, and handed me Ellia, but not before checking if she was a girl or boy!
The midwife’s assistant, who was Irish, said in her extremely thick accent, “she came out like a bullet”. They recorded my labour as being 11 minutes long!
We called our friends (how owned this house!) and they came back within the hour so that Arias could meet her baby sister.
Goodbye To Those Houses
Years later, while sailing, we decided that the burden of keeping our house in Canada and living on the sailboat was too much of a burden. It was a headache dealing with renters and house issues from afar. And the money from selling the house would give us more travel time.
We sold the house Arias was born in.
Now the new owner does know we had Arias in the living room and has offered that if ever she wants to see where she was born she it more than welcome to stop by.
Now our friends’ have sold their house. The house where Ellia was born.
The houses where I homebirthed the girls are gone.
But I am not sad. No matter who lives in those houses, those birth stories are ours to keep. I will always remember those rooms vividly. It makes me chuckle to think that we had a kids blow up pool to birth the babies, and that I had Ellia in a bathroom.
I hope the new owners of our friends’ home one day find out why that front entrance half-bathroom was repainted red!