Beluga Baby's founder, Haley, tells the story of the birth of her second daughter, Scottie Reign.
Around ten PM on September 17th I was working (I kid you not) on getting Beluga Baby’s fall 2022 Collection ready to launch the following Monday. I had been having un-painful contractions on and off all day, I would call them “tightenings”. I could tell my body was getting ready. My cat wouldn’t leave me alone; he knew something was up.
By 11 PM, the contractions had more feeling behind them, uncomfortable but nothing too bad. I breathed through them and decided to go to sleep. I woke up all through the night every ten minutes or so to have a contraction, then tried to sleep in between. I wanted my husband to rest at this point, so he could be ready when labour really ramped up, so I breathed through several hours of contractions on my own until about 3 am, when I got up to have a bath and see if that would provide some relief or cause the contractions to stop. They didn’t. I called my doula, Kayla, to let her know I was in labour, but contractions were still only ten minutes apart, so she told me to continue to try to sleep. I also called my mom and she headed over at this point.
I remember thinking, around 3 am, that I must be in the middle of active labour. Boy was I wrong! I had been practicing lots of breathing techniques and I really thought that if I worked hard enough and concentrated enough, I could have one of these “pain free births” I’d heard of.
I had been hoping for a faster labour with this baby than I had for my first labour, but at around 11 am on Sunday the 18th I started to get frustrated that things weren’t progressing any faster. My doula called me and gave me a pep talk which was great, but honestly I was tired and upset at this point that things weren’t moving faster, I remember just being annoyed (even though she didn’t deserve that!). I was dejected and grumpy.
I moved to what was to be my birth space in our downstairs guest bedroom, complete with fairy lights and a birth pool set up. I moved and breathed through contractions for several more hours on my ball, on the bed, with my arms around Ash, my husband.
And then around 2 pm my water broke! From that moment, my contractions sped up to 2-3 minutes apart for a minute and a half each time, sometimes right on top of each other. Things got really intense, really fast, and I was hopeful we were in the home stretch. The midwife came and checked my dilation, and I was at 4 cms. I was devastated to say the least. I was so in my own head and focused on the number, even though I know women can go from 4-10 cms really quick.
My doula arrived sometime in there and worked hard to protect my birth so I could begin to turn inwards and get into that birth zone. She set me up with the TENS machine which I think I liked but looking back I wonder if it took me out of the “zone” because I couldn’t figure out the settings completely and was never fully happy with how it was working.
The contractions were so frequent and painful at this point, I was not coping well. My mom, Ash, and Kayla were all supporting me beautifully but it was apparent I was not one of those magical birthing goddesses who breathe their baby out. Nope, I was going to be angry and sad and loud!
I decided to get in the tub, even though my doula told me it would likely slow down my labour at this point. I ignored her excellent advice and got in anyways, because I’m stubborn. In the pool I did not get the relief I was expecting, and I remember wanting it hotter. While in the tub I had several contractions and a HUGE emotional breakdown/release of emotions and I bawled over the fact that my first daughter wouldn’t be my only baby anymore. It was such a release and I sobbed loudly in the pool for a while before getting back out and sitting on the bed. I got really cold at this point and covered myself in the duvet blanket and went through a few contractions on my hands and knees in the dark under the blanket. I was in a dark space figuratively and literally.
I turned to my doula and told her I couldn’t do it anymore, that I needed some relief, that emotionally I wasn’t in a good space to stay at home. We all agreed to go to the hospital and either get some morphine so I could rest, or an epidural depending on how far along I was.
The hospital is luckily only a five minute drive, so I only had three contractions in the car, two on the walk in, and a few more while I waited for them to check me in. The walk and the stairs probably did wonders for moving baby down at this point because when they checked me at triage I was 6/7 cms dilated. YAY! Progress.
But when I was checked, the (OB?) who checked me said they felt something weird, and were concerned baby had turned breech. They needed to call another doctor and do an ultrasound. I yelled at them that baby was head down and had been for months. I was so mad. My doula whispered to me, “don’t be scared, you know your baby. If you say she’s head down, she’s head down.” I loved that she validated me at that point.
I kept saying, “I can’t have another single contraction, please.” They were so strong. They were all encompassing. There was no breathing through these suckers.
Finally an experienced OB did an ultrasound, confirmed baby was head down, as did my midwife who had arrived at the hospital, and it was time for my epidural prep. They took my blood to the lab, standard to check platelet levels and such, and called the anesthesiologist to the hospital. I went to our room, took all my clothes off like a crazy person and went back into the hospital labour tub. Again I wanted it hotter and my midwife scolded me for turning the water up.
In the tub were the scariest contractions for my husband. I was screaming, crying, convulsing. My mom said I sounded like a snow troll. My doula kept telling me - “You’re safe, baby is safe. Your body is doing what it’s supposed to.” I have never felt more out of control or in pain than in these moments. Turns out, it’s because I was in transition and in the last few minutes before birth!
I got out of the tub when they told me the epidural was ready. I leaned against my husband as I stood, and had several very strong contractions with my arms around his neck, pulling hard on him. The doctor was numbing my back, getting me ready for the epidural. I said, “I feel pressure”, and someone said “that’s normal for the epidural”. They didn’t realize I meant pressure “down there”. Baby was coming!
The epidural went in and within minutes I could once again breathe through contractions instead of yelling. I still felt them and they were very painful, but manageable. I like that I had a mild epidural. I told the midwife I felt pushy - just minutes after getting the epidural - and she checked me and I was complete! Ready to push!
I rolled over and grabbed on to the back of the bed and pushed a few times squatting like that. This part was fun! The pain was still there but I knew I was about to meet my baby, and that it was almost over. Then I turned over and put my leg on the bar above the bed, and pushed that way. I felt down and could feel her head. It felt smooshy but they assured me that was normal. Three or four more pushes and she was out!
She came out with her hand by her face - one reason for the active stage of labour to take a long time. She was perfect and wide awake as soon as she came out. They placed her on my chest and she latched as I delivered the placenta. Pure bliss!
Labour is just that - hard freaking work. But this labour I got that immediate rush of love and bliss that I didn’t get to feel right away with my first birth where I got the epidural sooner. I felt like a superhero for getting to 9.5 cms with no epidural, and 20 hours of labour. And I had no regrets - I loved my epidural and honestly would also have loved it an hour or two earlier (hindsight).
I hope you enjoyed our birth story. Each birth is so unique and special, just like each of your beautiful babies. I'd love to hear your stories in the comment section below!
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I reached out to Mamas for Mamas see if we could design a charity wrap together, with $5 from each wrap donated to their cause. I asked if they had a particular mama they wanted to name the wrap after, and that’s when this project became larger and more touching than I ever could have imagined.
This is the story they wrote back with, asking for us to name the wrap - The Samara.