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Category Archives: Birth Out Loud

Birth Out Loud: In the Philippians Pt.2

by Amanda

Midwife clinic

“The hardest part for my husband I think was not having me around. Being a full time dad. He is a provider so not earning any money brought feeling like he wasn’t providing for his family was hard for sure. He had to sacrifice that a lot those years.
I spend a lot more time alone in Canada than I did in the Philippines. We just live with the 4 of us in the house as opposed to the 20 people rotating in and out so there’s a lot more isolation here. There is also a lot less fear involved in the first year here. I’m finding I have a lot less to worry about with her. In the Philippines death is so common in the first year, it’s so common. That’s why you never celebrate the birth, only the first birthday. So for my son being born in the Philippines, we came from a culture where of course we would celebrate the birth but they didn’t. It just is known that a lot of babies die. So in Canada now there’s this excitement around her that wasn’t there with my son. Because here people expect them to live, and usually they do. It the rural areas, maybe 30-40% don’t make it to their first birthday. Probably most of those are before 6 months.”

 

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Birth Out Loud: In The Philippines Pt. 1

by Amanda

Birth

Two births (First in Philippines, second in Canada) and midwifery clinic in a rural village.

“I went back to work when he was 4 weeks old and started attending births, mostly doing prenatals in our midwifery clinic in the rural Philippines.  I watched one birth with him on my back and quickly asked if I could take a couple more months off because it was still too fresh. But he was on my back constantly while I did prenatals and did postpartum and then I started attending births when he was 4 months old, catching again. It was a whole different experience and it was still very fresh even though it had been a couple months.  I found my empathy for these women was through the roof and it definitely changed how I practiced midwifery. Once you have been through birth you’re like.. oh yes, I get it, I understand what you are feeling.

One month we had 39 births at the clinic where I attended at least half of those. Sometimes as an assistor, sometimes a charter or primary. It would get intense.  It’s different when you have a kid as he was still nursing. My husband would bring him in and I would quickly nurse him between contractions if I was the primary in the birth room. Sometimes it would be 20 hours of birth before I would get to see my 4 month old again so there was definitely an aspect of sacrificing time with my son in order to do it but my husband was awesome.  He filled in, took up all the slack that I was giving in the mothering aspect.

Having my newborn around the clinic was awesome.  It was a big family, all the midwives there were family so there was always someone there to play with him. Someone to hold him, even at 2am because he was a night owl. Especially if I was in a birth then I could always hear him in the hallway which was the hardest part for me.  Being in an intense birth and it’s so emotional, then hearing him cry and knowing I couldn’t go to him because I had a responsibility in the birth and I had to be a midwife first before I could be a mother.  That was hard and something I didn’t expect.”

 

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Birth Out Loud: Premature Labour

by Amanda

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I was 29 weeks along when the cramping started and wouldn’t stop. It really scared me and my husband and we went into the hospital to get checked out. The contractions were coming pretty regularly and I remember laying in triage waiting to see what would happen as they put the monitor straps on my belly. They kept offering me drugs but I refused. I wanted to feel exactly what my body was doing, trying to understand why it wanted my baby to be born so early. The nurse came in and gave me steroids to help develop baby’s lungs in case they weren’t able to stop labour.

My husband sat beside me on the bed while the doctor told us all beds were full in the hospitals in surrounding cities for preemie babies and they were looking into transferring us to Edmonton or Seattle. I cried thinking about if my baby would survive being born this early and I didn’t know anyone who had been through this. The staff was amazing and very loving to us. I remember it exactly as the sweetest older nurse came in to chat with me. She sat down and told me about her own baby born at 28 weeks and how hard and emotional it was but that he survived and was thriving as an adult. Her words were what I needed to hear, to be reassured and loved on. I think that’s what makes a good nurse, knowing what your patients need even if it’s just saying the right words and being someone to cry with. She probably will never know what a gift she was for us.”

 

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