The Birth of Tenley Harper | My First Birth Story!

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Getting personal here today on the blog with the birth story of my oldest. When I sat down to write this story initially it was an incredibly healing experience. Her birth didn’t go exactly how I thought it would in my plans, but being able to write out the entire thing, every detail, every moment, helped me to process the good in it too. Looking through all the photos as I wrote allowed me to see the little blessings I’d missed— how amazing my care team was, the love of my husband and doula, and also be able to recognize how freaking strong I’d been!

Today I want to share that with you. As birth workers, we bring our stories and experiences into each birth we attend. And I try hard to keep an honest and open relationship with each of my families. I believe that being authentic with you, makes it easier for you to be vulnerable and trust in me.

I went in to Tenley’s birth already having been a doula for several families, and having studied pretty much everything I could get my hands on regarding pregnancy and birth. While I was disappointed not to get a midwife, we chose a doctor that I felt respected my autonomy, I had a friend offer to be my doula and birth photographer, and through it all, my husband was my rock- keeping me balanced, positive and comfortable in those overwhelmingly un-comfortable last days of pregnancy. I was ready.

She decided to buck tradition and be one of those rare babies with whom labour start with one Big Bang- or a gush rather! I got up after midnight to head for a regular bathroom break, and before I got there, my water broke all over the floor. I was so excited! We cleaned up, and before I could climb back into bed (I wanted to rest until things picked up), I realized that the contractions had actually started immediately. I was already sitting about 4-5 minutes apart. It was happening!

We started to putter around the house, getting dressed, finishing packing our hospital bags. I sat for a bit in the nursery, just centering myself. We decided to head to the hospital around 3:30am. I was really torn- my contractions were between 3-4 minutes already, and almost a minute long and had been for a couple hours... but they didn't seem super intense. Still, I have a family history of quick labours, so we decided better safe than sorry. In hindsight, I wish I'd waited until they were much harder to cope through. We arrived at the hospital and were checked into triage around 4:30am. I was happy and disappointed to hear that I was 4-5cms. Happy they would get me a room, but a little disappointed I wasn't further along. They had issues with staffing on the low risk side of LDRP, so I was given a room in the "High risk" L&D to start out. My heart sank. It was my first true understanding of how much your environment can affect your mental state and coping. Thankfully we had an amazing nurse who offered us the use of a walk in shower in one of the LDRP rooms, as long as we came back to L&D for our checks when needed. Done.

We were down the hall like a flash, and the shower was exactly what I needed. I laboured there from about 6am-800am. Once in the shower I was able to block out everything else and just focusing on releasing my body during each contraction. The time flew by as I closed my eyes and focused on the sounds and feelings of the water hitting my tired body. Around 8am, shifts had changed and a new nurse came to the room to let us know we had to go back and get assessed again. It took me so long to work up the drive to leave the shower. I was worried about leaving my happy place. We eventually made it down the hall, and crawled onto the bed to be checked. This new nurse was not as wonderful as my initial one had been, and I feel like my entire experience changed with her. I tried to lay still for the ten minute heart rate strip they needed, but I felt myself losing control. I was no longer able to easily cope through the rushes, and felt panicky. Eventually I was able to get out of bed to try different positions, and thankfully my doula/photographer arrived as well. Having her there helped me feel stronger-- like I had more people on my side, and our little team could stand up for my rights and wishes.

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I continued working through each contraction in the tiny L&D room, praying that they'd be able to move me soon. I tried position changes and labouring on the toilet, and finally found that counterpressure on my back was the only thing that touched the pain. Having the constant pressure seemed to allow me to relax the other muscles in my body even through the pains. I tried to grab hold of my labour again.

Eventually around 11:15am we got the amazing news that I was being moved to LDRP. The walk down the hallway took forever, but finally we were settled in. I realized quickly that my new nurses were amazing. They took the time to read and ask questions about my birth plan, and then they followed it to the letter. It was so empowering to be respected in my birth, and feel like they understood me. After being checked again quickly, I was told I was 8cm and breathed a huge sigh of relief. At least knowing that progress was being made helped all of it to feel worth it.

During the walk down the hallway, I felt like contractions changed in intensity. although it was a bit early, I was having a bearing down feeling, and since my water had broken, there was no cushion between her head and my pelvic bones. The intensity was like nothing I'd felt before, and I was really struggling to release during each contraction. In hindsight, I think her position was not ideal, and my body was working really hard to try to move her into position. I moved into the shower to try to regain that feeling of peace I'd had before.

A little while later, the nurse came in and tried her best to use the doppler to check baby's heart. I will forever be grateful to her for trying so hard to let me stay there, but after some time it became clear that the heartrate in the shower wasn't exactly what they were wanting to hear. The decision was made for me to come back into the main room and try again, and spend some time walking around the room and using different positions. My nurses encouraged me to start bearing down a tiny bit with contractions if it felt good- they thought that she needed some help to really drop more and engage. I tried different positions around the room, laying down a bit, leaning on the table, sitting on the toilet, and walking. I could feel likes intensifying, and while medication never crossed my mind, I just kept thinking "Holy crap, this is so bad. What's happening!?" Again in hindsight I really believe she wasn't positioned well, and what I was feeling was more the constant strain of her bones against mine, rather than the contractions themselves.

We made the best of it. Around 12:30 I laid down in bed to get another monitoring strip done, and then was checked and pronounced fully dilated, and could start pushing anytime. Yay! Joy! It was almost done! Not quite. In my doula practice now, I talk a lot about labouring down, and allowing your body to do as much of the work on its' own as it can, before adding your own forceful pushing efforts. This preserved your energy, and also helps your baby get into the best position without force. As a doula I knew this in my own birth, but I was so tired, and so defeated by that point, that all I could think of was the end goal- getting her out and stopping these dang contractions! I pushed with all my might. It felt awful if I'm being truthful. It made the contractions stop hurting, I barely noticed them actually. But it added a very real sense of defeat. I would push with all my might and feel like she wasn't moving a single millimeter. We continued trying different positions and angles, hoping that she would shift and make things easier, but in the end I was so tired that all I could do was lay in the bed. I had been in labour for 12 hours, which isn't terribly long for a first time mom, but I'd only gotten about two hours of sleep before it started, and I was pretty wiped.

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Once on my back in bed the nurses helped to break the bed down so that I was sitting up, but in a squat type position. It allowed me to be upright without having to use up so much energy. We also tried on the toilet, standing, squatting with the squat bar and tugging on a sheet tied on to the bar. The sheet seemed to help the most, but I still felt like nothing was happening! Finally at about 2:45 I had one push that finally felt different. I remember whispering to myself "THAT'S IT!" I suspect this is when her head finally shifted slightly better into position, because all of a sudden I could actually feel movement with the pushes. It was such a relief after feeling like I was going to be there forever! Almost instantly the tone in the room changed and the nurses started getting ready for delivery.

It was such a relief to finally feel like something was happening. I was still exhausted, but now I felt exhilerated too. I could DO this! About 3:05 we saw hair. <3 To a poor mama who has been pushed for two hours, it was the best sight ever! Things were getting more and more intense, but now I felt stronger again. The doctor came into the room and introduced herself. I remember being so happy that maybe she could hurry things along. (PSA: I don't recommend this mindset! Birth happens in it's own time, and it doesn't need to be hurried!). They removed the squat bar and started setting up for the typical medical birth. There were blue sterile drapes everywhere. It makes me roll my eyes in hindsight. My nurses had been so amazing at protecting my birth space and maintaining this as just another birth unfolding naturally, nothing to stress about. The OB who came in was most definitely used to birth being a medical procedure. Totally not the feeling I was going for!

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Finally we saw her beautiful head and at 3:22pm on November 29, 2011 Tenley Harper made me a mama <3 She had such a short cord that she could only be placed on my lower belly, and she was absolutely coated in vernix. We only waited about two minutes after birth to cut the cord, mostly because she couldn't be moved at all without tugging on the cord, and I couldn't even see her face. You can see in the second picture how low she is, and the cord was still pulled taught.

Finally being able to turn her around and into my arms was the best moment ever. I remember looking at her face and thinking "Oh, of course it's you! I know you!"

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And just like that, it was all over! I remember feeling shocked. It seemed like it took SO long while it was happening, and then all of a sudden in a whirlwind she was here, with us, forever. It was a bit surreal as one by one people left and the room settled down. It took a long time to process her birth story and to reconcile how I thought it would go and how I would handle contractions to how I actually did. I realized I had come into the birth with very strict expectations, and that just isn't reasonable with birth! They say the one predictable thing with birth is that it's unpredictable-- how true that is!

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She has lit up our life over the past 7 years and I can't imagine a life without her. She surprises us daily with her thirst for knowledge and incredibly insight. She's already wise beyond her years and I can't wait to see where the next seven years brings her!


What will my doula do?

I sit down for a lot of consults with potential families that go the same. “So… we’ve researched a doula, and we read what your description is. And we love your site and the vibe you give off. But… I guess I still don’t understand what you really do.” It’s true, there’s a bit of a mystique still around doula care, and a lot of misconceptions– many people still think that doulas are only good if you’re planning a twinkle lights style homebirth. And while I’m happy to support that– a doula can help ANY family, in any variety of scenerios.

For just a taste, I’ve started a quick list of some of the things I’ve done in the past year while spending time with my doula families.


Help you set up your birth space— hospital or home, I can get your comfort items ready, set the mood with candles or music, or make sure you’ve got the best pillow. For that matter- I can help you come up with a playlist that has just the right vibe for your labour. I’ve pumped up and switched out birth balls when they weren’t quite right, hunted down more pillows and blankets (for mom or dad), and adjusted lighting.

Help you decide if it’s really labour, or really time to go to the hospital. It can be super intimidating trying to decide if the signs you’re feeling are real labour. I often spend time on the phone or through text, talking about symptoms, feelings and instincts and helping mom decide what the next course of action might be. If it’s too early, I’ll help you come up with things to do in the meantime to keep your mind off of the contractions or to cope with the pain.

Help you transition from hospital to home. Moving from the comfort of home to the hospital can be a bit jarring to your system, especially if you’ve never been there before. I can help bridge the gap, navigate hallways, and even answer questions about parking.

Remind you about preferences that are about to become overlooked. Sometimes you get so caught up in the sensations of birth that you forget about things that were very important to you. I’m there to point out if your placenta is about to leave the room without you seeing it, turn on the music you wanted to listen to, offer up reminders about a position you wanted to try or to ask about delayed cord clamping. We talk beforehand so I know all the things that will matter to you.

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Answer questions when things get confusing. Medical staff can sometimes forget that their jargon isn’t second nature for you. Or you may have questions about recommended tests or options at different points during labour. I’ll help to clarify the confusing language, and figure out which questions you can ask your providers to get the answers you want.

Offer options- whether it’s pain relief, positions or next steps. When you’re dealing with intense contractions, sometimes it’s hard to remember all the comfort techniques you had planned. I’m there to offer reminders of things you can try- and we can even practice those during your prenatals. If natural measures aren’t working, I can help you BRAIN (Ask me about it!) your next steps in an informed and judgment free zone.

Help provide comfort to older siblings (or partners). It can be hard for your loved ones to watch you in pain, and harder still to be in the middle of labour and trying to provide comfort yourself to an overwhelmed family member. As a doula I’m able to give reassurance and explanations about the sights, sounds, smells and progress of labour to those with you, be it your partner or a little one. Sometimes all it takes is a quick reassurance  that all is normal, but I’ve also held hands, rubbed backs, had serious talks and even helped a loved one to a chair when they’re feeling faint. I support them so that you don’t have to.

Give your partner a chance to step out to grab a meal, or move a car. I remember back to my first birth and how relieved my husband said he was after our doula arrived. While I was buzzing on labour adrenalin, he hadn’t slept or eaten all night, and by that time he desperately needed a few minutes of fresh air and some nutrients. With my doula by my side, he was able to go take care of himself so he could continue taking care of me. I’m so glad to give this same relief to partners now as I know how much it meant to him!

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Help with early breastfeeding. Sometimes your labour goes perfectly according to plan but it’s breastfeeding that you struggle with. As an experienced breastfeeder and doula, I’m there to help prepare you ahead of time, and also postpartum to get your breastfeeding relationship off to the right start.

Remind you to do life during early labour. One of the easiest ways to get burnt out during your labour is to sound the alarm bells too early. I highly recommend that my clients stay aware of their bodies, but continue to “do life” during early labour for as long as they can. We’ll keep in contact during these hours so you can communicate how you’re feeling, but I’ll encourage you to ignore those contractions and rest until you can’t ignore them any longer. This puts you in a better headspace once true active labour begins.

And of course, provide physical support through touch relaxation, massage, position changes and more. While much of doula work is through the ‘heart’ side, I also use my hands to keep your body comfortable. Whether it’s strong counterpressure through hours of back labour, walking the halls with you through early labour, a foot massage after you’ve gotten your epidural or supporting you while you changing pushing positions, I’m your girl.

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Dads and Doulas | Winnipeg Doula

With Father’s Day almost upon us, I wanted to talk about one of the elephants in the room. One of the most common concerns when a couple is talking about inviting a doula to their birth, is what about dad? Doesn’t he feel displaced? What if he wants to be part of the birth, helping his partner through the experience? I hear stories from families where the birther wants a doula, but dad isn’t sure. He worries about being “unneeded” once they hire a doula.

Rest assured, having a doula present does not mean that the mother’s other support person, be it her partner or another loved one, is replaced. On the contrary, having a doula can help support the partner so they can better support the birthing mama.

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With my first pregnancy, I know my husband was hesitant to invite someone else into our birthing room. By just a few hours into labor though, he already expressing how thankful he was that we’d chosen to have a doula. While my husband remained by and large my primary support, my doula was our rock. She was there to offer tips or encouragement when I needed, and having her perspective was priceless. My husband knew me- he knew what things relaxed me and could read my facial expressions. My doula knew birth. Together they were an unbeatable team.

But she didn’t just help me. She was around to grab snacks and water when my husband needed. She was able to stay in the room with me when he needed to make phone calls or go for a walk. The birth room can sometimes be a stuffy place, and getting even just a few minutes of fresh air while knowing your partner is still supported is such a relief. My daughter is almost seven, but he still talks about how unburdened he felt as soon as our doula got to the hospital– he was still my support, but it wasn’t *all* on him anymore.

As a doula I see the same thing in the families I work with. Partners who are worried that they might not know enough or have the right words to say, gain confidence as they watch an experienced doula care for the birther. My favourite thing to see is when they start to copy things that they see me doing, providing the perfect combination to their partner. A dad who started the labour maybe just lightly rubbing a back learns exactly the right way to prov

ide counterpressure during contractions, or how to sway with the rhythm of her breathing. As he’s able to step into a larger role and feels more comfortable, I’ll take the opportunity to grab snacks or water, maybe grab lotion for moms back, or help her fix her hair. Sometimes one of us will be provoding physical support while the other stares into her eyes and talks to her. Dad and doula complement each other, always one ready to step into the role that mom needs.


And when things get intense, as a doula I’m able to lend support to both partners– I’ll often provide physical support to the birther while explaining to the partner what is happening, reminding them that these sights and sounds may seem intense, but that it is all normal. Especially as you get close to the moment of birth, the hospital staff or midwives are often focused on the medical side of things– as they should be. This can leave both mom and partner feeling a little lost and sometimes scared. Having a doula there who understands birth and typical protocol can be incredibly reassuring when everyone around you is talking above you– not TO you.

I love working with families, and especially love seeing these strong dads become more confident as they support their partners. For more information about working with a doula to support both of you, head on over to my doula page.  If you have questions, send me a message! I’d love to hear from you. Happy Father’s Day!

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Hello Henry | Winnipeg Cesarean Birth Story

I met Lea and Mark last year just as fall was settling in. Their easygoing natures and warm personalities were such a breath of fresh air. As we got to know each other, I fell in love with their trust in the process of birth and in the story their little one was cooking up for them. If I could come up with one phrase to describe their vibe to the upcoming birth it would be settled. It was just a lack of fear or stress. They knew what their preferences were for the birth, and they prepared for it thoughtfully with both prenatal classes and a doula. But they also had a fantastic relationship with their care providers and between being well informed and holding a trust in those providers, they were prepared and open to whatever path they needed to head down.

In January Lea and Mark found out that their little one was breech. They talked about their options with their doctor, and agreed that they would follow baby’s lead. If baby decided to stay bum down, the safest delivery for both Lea and the little one, would be a planned cesarean. A few weeks later when baby was still breech, they proceeded to plan their cesarean birth. Of course this wasn’t Lea's first choice, but I loved her understanding and security with the path they were heading down. It wasn’t the experience she would have picked for their birth, but she was confident they would make the best of it, and knew that it was the right decision. In so many births where the parents feel satisfied, I hear that common thread— regardless of the type of birth, or what happened during it— what makes the most difference is that the parents had a voice and were able to make their own informed decisions. Lea and Mark did, and I am so proud of them for being able to look so calmly through their options and choose the right one for them.

Right away, Lea began speaking with her doctor about her preferences for the birth and the possibility of having me attend, and thankfully her amazing provider was on board. We talked about what else to expect for their birth, and made plans for their special day, February 16th.

As is the case so much of the time, their little one had other plans! Despite being the one day Lea said she didn’t want to have a baby, she started having contractions on February 14th. We laughed a bit about the irony, and they made plans to go to the hospital and be checked out. After a couple hours it was confirmed that she was in labour (gee thanks, she could have told you that!) and they would be meeting their baby tonight!

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I headed over to meet them, and could feel the excitement in the room when I joined them in triage. Mark updated me while they started getting Lea set up with her IV, and we were able to confirm that both Mark and I would be welcomed into the OR for the birth. I was so happy to be able to continue supporting and documenting their journey! Often doulas and birth photographers are not allowed into the operating room for cesarean births due to a one support person limit at both Women’s Hospital and St Boniface Hospital. Thankfully this tide seems to be very slowly turning, as care providers and nurses are seeing the benefits and focusing on how they can improve the experience for these families as they welcome their babies. And we are SO thankful!

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Scrubs on and ready to go, we counted down the time until they came and got us for the birth, excitement building as each minute passed. Finally we went down the hall and waited in recovery. When they came to get Lea she made it to the door before running back in to give Mark a hug— their last as a family of two! I’m pretty sure I grinned like a fool.

Once in their birthing room, it’s like time speeds by. Mark comforts Lea, whispering in her ear and keeping a reassuring hand on her. As they await the birth, Backstreet Boys start playing on the radio. Lea laughs and they tell me that in a previous surgery she had, one of her requests to make the experience better was to have Backstreet Boys playing in the background. What serendipity that it randomly came on now, just as they were meeting their baby!

Before long, we’re able to peek over the curtain and Mark announces that they have the most beautiful baby boy! He looks big and strong, has the most annoyed look on his face (what a shock to the system birth must be!) and is absolutely perfect. He lets out his first cry, and I’m pretty sure all of us tear up.

The emotional moment as we hear baby cry for the first time <3

They take him over to the warmer to get his first checkup, and Mark gives Lea a continuous update on how he’s doing and what’s happening. It’s been months and I can still hear his voice in my ear as clear as day, proclaiming over and over how perfect their son is, voice dripping with emotion and love. Finally they have him wrapped up and bring him over to show Lea her son for the first time. It can be hard to see when you’re still lying down but Lea immediately starts to talk to him and is able to reach her hand out and touch him. I feel so blessed to be able to witness these amazing moments.


Mark sits down to cuddle with baby while they wait for Lea to be ready to go back to recovery. She can’t see their little guy, so he makes sure to continue giving her all the details. I love how much he makes sure at every moment to keep her involved. It can be so isolating to lay on the table covered by the drape while so much is going on around you, but Mark continues to reassure Lea and recount for her everything that she can’t turn to see.

Finally it’s time to go back to recovery, and like some kind of miracle mama, Lea is able to sit up right away and wastes no time getting to know each detail of her son. She talks to him and rocks him like a pro when he fusses, like she’s been doing this for years already. They latch him on for his first breastfeed and start to learn together. I watch quietly, lending a hand when needed, but mostly just being witness as the three of them transition so well into their new role as a family of three. It seems like such a natural move for Mark and Lea, and I think how lucky baby boy is to have their soothing personalities in his life.

Time flies by as they take in each detail and soak up the newness of this amazing new personality. He's content to just sit and hold mom or papas finger, knowing he's safe and loved here.


I am so honoured to have gotten to know Lea and Mark and to support them as they become parents. I can't think of two more deserving people, and I know Henry will be a very loved little boy. Welcome to the world little Henry!

Hello Enzo! | A St Boniface Hospital Birth Story

April is Cesarean Awareness Month, and I am so excited to share this beautiful St Boniface Hospital birth story with you all in honor of it. Some cesareans are planned, and some happen despite all preparation and persistence. These births can be incredibly hard to process, especially if the family has gone through a long or intense labour in addition to their cesarean birth. I believe these mamas are some of the strongest I know.

I met Anna and Andrew last spring and we had a super fun coffee date together. I loved the twinkle in their eyes as they talked and teased each other, sharing stories to help me get to know them. They planned to deliver their baby at St Boniface Hospital and I could tell already that working together would be so much fun.

Anna was very relaxed as her due date came and went. It was encouraging to see her so trusting in her body and that things would start on their own time. As anyone who has gone overdue knows, these last days can drag on, but she kept herself occupied and was in good spirits! On Thursday morning, Anna texted me that she'd started having light contractions. We made a plan to check in again later, and in the meantime she was going to eat, rest and keep busy-- a perfect early labour plan!

Around 8:30pm Anna let me know that they were ready for me to join them. I arrived and she was labouring beautifully in their baby's nursery. She made great use of distraction and movement, spending time on their yoga ball and talking to her mom on the phone and to Andrew and I. Contractions continued to get closer and intensify, and when they were about 5 minutes apart and feeling very strong with lots of pressure, we made the decision to slowly get ready to move to St Boniface Hospital.

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winnipeg birth photographer winnipeg doula st boniface hospital

We got to St Boniface Hospital very early Friday morning and were disappointed to hear that despite feeling tons of pressure and increasing contractions, Anna wasn't dilated enough to be admitted to the labour ward. We made the decision to go walk the halls and the stairs for some time, trying to move baby down more and encourage these contractions to continue changing her cervix. We amused ourselves going through the desserted hallways in the basement, reading notes on people's doors and funny posters and artwork. Andrew did a great job working to keep Anna's spirits up, and she was a trooper, trying funny walking positions and lunges, and stopping every so often to lean against Andrew for a contraction while I provided counterpressure.

After a few hours, Anna headed back to triage to be checked again, and to all our surprise she hadn't dilated any further. She talked with Andrew and they made the decision to head home to rest for a couple hours on their own. As soon as she climbs into bed at 7am, her water breaks! Her contractions picked up again, and Anna headed into the shower to see if the rhythm and heat would help her to rest and get some relief. Soon her contractions were very close and very intense, with lots of pressure. Feeling a bit worried, Andrew called me and they made the decision to head back to St Boniface Hospital right away.

At 10am Anna was able to be checked again and we were heartbroken to hear that she was 3cms still. She had been working so hard, and her symptoms didn't seem to make sense! We took a while to process and decide what Anna wanted to do next. Eventually she decided to receive some pain medications so that she could get some rest! Thankfully this gave her a break and she was able to sleep for a bit while her body continued its hard work.

Saturday morning (If you're keeping track, Anna has been labouring like a rockstar for 48 hours now!), Anna had progressed to 7-8cms! I checked in on them as she woke up, and I remember smiling as she looked so serene just peacefully laying in bed and chatting with Andrew. I was so grateful she'd been able to find some relief from the constant pain. Fully dilated now, Anna starts feeling more pressure, and she decides to continue labouring down until she feels a strong urge to push. Labouring down is a wonderful tool, because your body will put in the work to move the baby down and into position without you having to work as hard while pushing.

In the early hours of Saturday morning Anna is ready to begin pushing. She's making good progress and the St Boniface Hospital nurses work with us to come up with different pushing options that may feel good. For someone who has been in labour for so long, she is such a trooper and so focused.

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After a couple of hours of pushing and moving baby down, we receive news and everything falls into place-- Andrew and Anna's baby has settled into a firm position with his head sideways and he has no interest in turning that cute little head of his! This explains so many of the weird symptoms that Anna has been having- the extra pressure, the hip pain, the contractions that don't quite want to fall into a pattern, and some of the transition like feelings. Her body has been working overtime trying both to contract and change her cervix, and also to move that baby into a more favourable position so he can come through the birth canal. All this work and we didn't even know!

After taking some time to go through their options, Anna and Andrew decide to give her body some more time to labour down while she relaxes. We hope that with some relaxation, baby may be able to shift more easily into a good position that will work with all that effort Anna has been putting in. They rest up for a bit while preparing for the next step!

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winnipeg birth photographer winnipeg doula st boniface hospital

After a rest, Anna resumes pushing. She has renewed strength and works so hard with her body, but unfortunately the baby is firmly in an occiput transverse position and doesn't want to move. We can see on her face how hard Anna is trying to push through the pain, but it starts becoming clear that their little baby does not want to be born this way, no matter how strong she is. They make the hard decision to stop pushing and wait for a cesarean birth to bring baby earthside safely for both the little one and Anna. Thankfully Anna receives a break after this while they wait to meet this little person that has made her work so hard.

I can see the defeat in her face, but all I can think is how proud I am of her, and I can see that Andrew is too. She has worked through everything this labour has thrown at her, trying one thing after the next, and I hope in these moments that she can see how amazing she's done. I talk a lot in my prenatal meetings about honouring each baby's story, and I remind them that this is their babes story, nothing to do with their abilities. For reasons we don't understand, this babe needed this birth.

Finally just after 4:00pm we are taken down the hallway to the birthing room where Anna will deliver their baby. She goes in, and Andrew and I begin the long wait in the hallway. We talk about what to expect, and chat to pass the time, which seems to slow like molasses. After what feels like ages, they come and invite him in to join Anna and meet their precious babe.

4:41pm Anna and Andrew welcome the most adorable little boy into their family. I rejoin them in recovery and I can see the elation and joy in their faces. It's been such a journey, but now that he's here, it's all worth it. They start breastfeeding and getting to know this amazing little guy, and I see so many more of those ridiculously connected looks that I remember from my first meeting with them. My heart swells at the love between these three.

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winnipeg birth photographer winnipeg doula st boniface hospital
Winnipeg birth photographer Winnipeg doula

Thank you for inviting me into this sacred space with you Anna and Andrew. Welcome sweet Enzo! You are so loved.