MAMUJI_251015_0104New baby smell is richly sweet like Early Grey with shots of vanilla and excitement. Like the newness of dawn and the start of a new season. Like petrichor and golden falling leaves shimmering in the rays of an autumn sun. Something deep inside stirs with each breath.

Your sweetness breaks my heart. I can barely contain this love.

Your smell reminds me of the previous morning. I took a brisk walk through the forest, enjoying the unseasonably warm air, the turning leaves and how the light opened my lungs and pushed you down. Each footstep reminded us both that your birth day was soon to arrive.

I told you to be born on the 10th and you listened. Just like your sisters before you, I knew the exact day you would come into this world, even though my OB thought differently. Your birth followed a cosmic design that mirrored my hopes for a 2015 Libra, born three days early to complete a sibling birth order of Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.

And while I thought your birth would follow the same pattern as your sisters, you flipped everything on its head.

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Eryn seconds old I’ve been thinking about getting pregnant.

Pregnant bellies have started looking really good to me and I’ve actually felt some jealousy when shopping for baby items and bumping into random bumps. I loved being pregnant and alhamdulilah I had a great birth experience. And of course it’s something that I’d like to experience again.

Naturally, there were definitely some things about my birth experience that I’d like done differently a second time around.

The hospital we chose was AMAZING. Apparently the labour help is  top-notch, allowing labouring mothers to walk around and not to be tied down to an IV; no invasive baby monitoring; a low use of invasive delivery techniques such as forceps or episiotomies; and a dedicated nurse to coach you through labour (I wouldn’t really know first hand though, since we essentially walked in and delivered on the spot).

They don’t routinely suction newborns and will hold off administering any injections or clean-up if you request it. And the first place baby goes after being born is directly onto mama’s chest. There baby is left to calm down, breathe, and get some help latching on from lactation consultants if necessary. The aftercare is also brilliant — with daily group breastfeeding help sessions with one-on-one help available.  I ended up using their breastfeeding clinic’s helpline almost weekly until Eryn was about 2 months old.  They’ve also gone through extensive renovations and now have birthing units so that you deliver and recover in the same room. Each birthing unit is also equipped with a specially designed tub for water birth — which would be really neat in my mind.

Now, there were some things that I could have gone without. We were admitted at 7cm dilation. But within the time it took me to get changed and walk to the birthing unit (oh, about 10 minutes), I had hit the 10cm mark. When I walked into the delivery room I immediately said, “I have to push.” That’s when the nurse gave me a rigorous internal exam.

She swirled her hand around like she was washing rice and I quickly sat up and shouted, “woah! Not so fast!!” To this day I wonder if she was attempting to strip my membranes or trying to get my water to break.  Once she determined I was 10cm, she lifted my legs, told me to grip behind my knees and push.

I was overwhelmed, confused and shocked. First I asked about the Hubby and if we should wait for him to come. He was SUPPOSED to be there. He was my voice and my support network. She said push. I then asked about my position — was it alright being flat on my back? In my head spun the unspoken options that we learned about in prenatal class: side lying, squatting, sitting. My crazy, hippy prenatal instructor was repeating over and over again, “avoid giving birth on your back.”

But instead the nurse said, push.

So I pushed. And a cheering purple push squad came into the room. After 10 minutes when her head crowned and the delivering OB came in he said, “stop pushing so hard. Ease into the push like you’re saying ‘house’. The slower the push, the less you’ll tear.” Great advice, but too late. Recovery had some interesting challenges outside of the broken blood vessels in my face.

So now that I’m wiser about how to deliver and I’ve been able to revisit my birth experience mentally and on film (God bless my techno-Hubby), I have a pretty good idea not only how I want to deliver, but how I’ll have the strength of mind to say, “I want to be side-lying or squatting. I’ll have none of the stirrups thank you very much.”

I also have been thinking about having a midwife instead of my OB. But I really have no idea about what the practical differences would be between a supportive OB (like mine was.. late, but better late than never), and a midwife. I could have my awesome OB throughout the pregnancy and end up with a dud on call for the actual delivery — which is what happened with Eryn. I had a dud throughout the pregnancy only to be delivered by Dr. Wonderful.

Delivering in a hospital setting is something I still would like to do, but to have more control over the actual delivery, which is what a midwife could potentially offer.  There’s also the continuity of care provided by a midwife that the one 8-week OB appointment just can’t compare to. Instead of running to clinics, calling helplines, making specialist appointments during recovery, a midwife would coordinate all of that, or avoid the issues that would require extended aftercare. In fact, from what I understand, a midwife would also be able to mitigate purple push squad nurses and slow the delivery down to avoid a natural episiotomy (or as Dr. Wonderful told me to watch out for in future: prolapse 😦 )

What do you think? Anyone with practical experience willing to share?

We haven’t exactly started trying yet, or even really talked about it, but I’m starting to think the Hubby and I should start doing some research and have a couple of numbers on hand in case of a happy chance.

Eryn just turned one.

She’s ridiculous and wonderful and growing up so fast.  I’m more in love with her than I could ever imagine — I actually get excited to go to sleep because I know in a few hours she’ll wake up and start poking at my nose ring and smacking my face, presenting me with books to read or sock puppets to animate (who coincidentally eat the books and various parts of her body. It’s cavity-inducing when she asks to have the sock put on her own hand.)

In just one short year, she’s developed an amazing personality. She’s stubborn, but willing to listen to reason (for the most part anyway. She is entering toddlerhood); she’s got a great sense of humour, but it’s selective, so we have to work pretty hard to get a guffaw out of her, while she’s a card who loves to entertain; she’s an actress and loves to dance; she’s self-determined and knows exactly what she wants; she howls; her favourite app is the Lightsabre; she loves animals, isn’t afraid of water, and is all-around just a nice, happy baby.

So for her birthday we went back to the place where I spent the most time in labour.

I laboured in a Spirit house on a metal pentagon.

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As you may know, I’ve been wearing hijab for 10 years now. So what I was going to wear, and who I wanted to interact with during Eryn’s delivery was a bid deal.  Little did I know we really wouldn’t have time to worry about that.

This is a post about Eryn and how she came into this world.

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