I had the honor of meeting Kristi and Felix yesterday afternoon, albeit very briefly! I hope our paths cross again! Thank you for taking the time to participate and share your story!
Who are you? What do you do for a living? How many kids do you have? Tell us a little bit about you!
My name is Kristi Oudenampsen, I am 25 years old and I am a Registered Nurse. I have a husband names Cameron who I have been married to for almost 3 years, and 7 months ago we had our first son, Felix James Oudenampsen. He is our world.
How did you come to know that midwifery care was an option to you and your family?
I was first introduced to midwifery care through my sister. She shared such wonderful and empowering stories about her birth experiences that even before I became pregnant I was sure that was the way I would give birth to my children.
How far into your pregnancy did you apply for care?
I knew through my sister that you pretty much had to be calling while you were peeing on the stick, hahaha. I called as soon as I saw that we were expecting.
When did you find out you were accepted into care?
I found out I was pregnant mid November, so I called to apply and I was denied, so I had found an OBGYN. It wasn't until late January that I received a call saying a spot opened up and that I was accepted. I was ECSTATIC!
Are you willing to share your birth story/stories with us? We would love to hear them!
I had a lot of pre-labour stuff happening during the week of my sons birth which resulted in a couple false alarm trips to the birth center. When I woke up on the morning of Thursday July 9th it felt different and I knew it was getting close. I could feel my contractions becoming stronger then they had been earlier in the week. Part of me thought maybe it was a false alarm again, so I wasn't getting my hopes up. I didn't want to go too early and have yet another false alarm. I went for a walk with my husband, and hung out at home with my many birth supports. I live in a suite under my parents house, and my sister ( who was my doula) was over with her three kids, so we went up to visit with everyone which was a nice distraction for us while my body worked on preparing itself. I visited and laboured all day at home. I drank my weights worth of raspberry leaf tea and some other herbal tea my acupuncturist had given me. It was a beautiful day out so we had the porch door open and I was in and out...walking around and bouncing on the birth ball as I visited with family. It was a wonderful way to labour. It wasn't until 3:00PM that we decided we should go to the birth center. I was barely feeling the contractions, but I had been labouring all day, my contractions were within the range to be considered active labour and the day prior I had already been sitting at 4cm, so my husband was becoming quite antsy as rush hour approached. He was getting fearful of potential home birth which we were not prepared for. Haha. I agreed to go, and off we went... But we quickly stopped in at my chiropractor so he could adjust my hips so they were ready for birth. Upon arriving at the birth center, I was checked and informed I was 8cm and 75%effaced! I turned on the music and went into the shower and stayed in there for hours. Man was it heavenly in there! My sister always told me the shower works like an epidural and it seriously did for me. I don't even know when I finally came out, but I spent the majority of my labour at the birth center in the shower. I came out and chatted with my husband and birth supports, planned my baby shower a little bit... Haha. Everyone in the room thought I was ridiculous. Maybe I was a little ;). Around10pm I was checked again and I was almost 10cm, just a little lip leftover. I wasn't feeling ready to push, and I actually felt a little hungry so I called my mom and she brought us all pita pit. She also ended up staying which was nice! I walked up and down the birth center halls with my husband and talked with everyone while we all waited patiently. I think it was around midnight when I asked to be checked again..I was getting a little anxious for our son to be born. I was fully dilated, but my bag of waters was acting as a cushion between my sons head and my cervix so I wasn't feeling the need to push yet. Being eager to meet my son, I asked the midwife to break my waters and when she did it got intense and FAST. Nothing can describe that feeling. I was extremely overwhelmed by the intensity of my contractions that I was having trouble focusing my mind and body. When I was doubting my abilities, my midwife and my birth supports helped me focus on my breathing and reminded me I could do it and I WAS doing it. They were all so lovely and supportive. I never felt rushed. I felt like I could let my body progress at its own pace. I absolutely love the hands off approach. I felt safe, secure, and most definitely empowered throughout the entire labour! I love how there was just intermittent monitoring which meant I wasn't hooked up to a machine. I was monitored with the small little handheld Doppler as necessary, but my body was the main thing being watched and attended to. The atmosphere of the birth room was so calming. It was quiet, dimmed lighting, with my favourite music playing. I was free to eat and drink whatever and whenever I felt I needed something. Once I got the ok to push, it felt SO amazing to be able to work with my contractions. It was so crazy to experience the strength my body was capable of. I have never experienced a rush like that in my life. While pushing,I started hiccuping which made me start laughing because I have quite interesting hiccups which then turned into hysterical laughing between contractions. I would go from intense seriousness during a contraction to hysterical laughing to the point that my eyes were welling up with tears. I had everyone in the birth room laughing. It was so contagious and a great way to release endorphins if I do say so myself! I'm pretty sure all the staff at the birthing center thought I was nuts! I pushed for just over 2 hours and then my son was born on July 10th at 3:51AM. Felix James Oudenampsen 7lbs8oz 20inches. He needed some medical attention after being born, but all steps were taken and he was transported to St. B where he received additional care. Throughout my entire labour Danielle and Ali were there, ensuring myself and baby were safe and comfortable. The whole team of midwives continued to support us while our son was in hospital and they ensured we were able to be with him and that our voices were heard. Once home, they continued to pop in for visits to ensure we were doing well and settling in. I am forever thankful for all of their dedication to ensuring the best possible care for my family.
What, in your opinion, was the most important part about the care you received?
there are a lot of things that jump out to me about the care I received. I really appreciated the quiet calm atmosphere that was provided to me while I laboured. They made me and my birth supports feel at home.The midwives were there when I needed support, but I never felt as though they were hovering over me. I was given my space. I always felt safe and secure and I was able to focus and relax my mind and body. They focused on me and my body as oppose to focusing only on a machine to monitor me.
Would/do you recommend midwifery care to family and friends who are expecting? If so, why? If not, why not?
Absolutely! I fully believe that a normal birth should be done in the care of a midwife. I absolutely support and am very thankful for medical expertise when it is necessary (as it was with my son after he was born), but our bodies are built to have babies and midwives are extremely educated and experienced with natural births. They provide a calm, secure, relaxing atmosphere wherever you choose to be, and they allow you to let your body do the work at it's own pace. It is just so empowering.
Finally, who were your midwives? Do you have a message you would like to send them?
Ali Swanson, Danielle Laxdal, Maren Kliewer & Susan Wintoniw - Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Whenever I had a question or concern, one of you were always just a phone call away to reassure me. If we needed to meet, one of you would be there, even if it meant a 4am house visit. I don't know of any OBGYNS that would be doing that! You guys give phenomenal care and I greatly appreciate everything you did for myself and my family during the prenatal, birth, and postnatal care. Even when there was a hospital transfer after birth, you stuck with us and ensured we were heard, informed, and involved in the care and decision making for our son. I cannot begin to express how appreciative we are of this.
**If you are looking for ways to help, you can sign the petition supporting our Midwives and Midwifery care in Manitoba. It can be found HERE.
***If you would like to be a part of this series, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org . I would love to share your story!