Amidst the chaos of the Calgary flood and on the night of the most beautiful full-moon (actually called a Super-moon), I delivered a sweet little baby girl that we named Lylah Betty. "Lylah" because I've been in love with the name forever, and "Betty" after my Grandma ("Nannie"). I had an intense but amazing delivery with a beautiful prize at the end.
I think that I was in denial that I was in labour for the first 3 hours because we had just been hit with the worst flood in Alberta's history and I was worried that my midwives wouldn't be able to make it to the hospital and also that the hospital would be a mad house. But as much as I wished that each contraction wasn't actually a "contraction," they kept coming stronger and closer together. We finally called our midwives and decided that we wouldn't take any chances with timing and that we'd meet at the hospital. Once we got there, I was 6 cm dilated. After walking around the unit for a while and experiencing some of the most intense contractions I'd ever experienced (I had had an epidural with my first delivery), I was ready to have my baby. I got into the tub (we had planned a water birth) and felt both relaxed and terrified at the same time. Soon after getting in, my midwife said that "we are going to have a baby soon." I couldn't believe that I had made it this far and that we would meet our baby any time...and that I was actually going to attempt an all-natural delivery. Like...with no pain relief.
Here's why I chose to do it this way if you're interested.
I tried to stay in the "zone" but by this time the contractions were back to back and I could literally feel my baby moving down inch by inch. I could feel everything, which was on one hand amazing, and on the other hand excruciating. The support that I had from my midwives, doula and husband was incredible and even when every part of me thought I couldn't do it, they reminded me that I could.
Before I knew it, the midwife said that I would probably feel the urge to push soon. It was then that I actually said the words "I can't do this," but in unison, everyone around me said "You ARE doing this" and then the most powerful urge to push came over my entire body (it was like no other feeling I have ever had) and within 9 minutes, my baby was out and I actually... DID IT!!! She was screaming when she came out and I was the happiest I've ever felt. I also thought that it was a dream. Did that actually just happen?!
After realizing that I had in fact suffered another 3rd degree tear (likely due to scar tissue), an OB had to come and stitch me up (which in all honesty was horrible considering I did not have an epidural). But it was a small price to pay for my beautiful baby and for an amazing birth experience. We left the hospital 18 hours later and were met by my son and mom at our house. My mom had mentioned that my son was sick and had been favouring his ear, so my husband took him to the walk-in clinic and for an x-ray of his chest, which indicated that he had Pneumonia. Yes — my 2 year old son tested positive with Pneumonia within hours of us arriving home from the hospital with our new baby. Needless to say, it was a rough first two days, but after the antibiotics kicked in, he warmed up to his baby sister and now cannot get enough of her.
My recovery has been amazing compared to what I experienced with my son and Lylah is feeding like a pro. I feel so fortunate to have had such an amazing birth experience and a beautiful healthy baby girl, despite the devastation that our city has endured over the past several days. I cannot believe how lucky we are.
I never thought that I would witness anything like this. This is a developing story but I will do my best to describe what is going on right now... The City of Calgary is under a state of emergency due to a massive flood that has caused over 25 communities (about 100,000 people) to be evacuated from their homes. Surrounding communities, especially the beautiful town of Canmore, Alberta and High River and Black Diamond are all basically under water. It's devastating. Here in Calgary, our downtown core has been evacuated and is closed, the Calgary Drop-In Centre has been evacuated, the Calgary Zoo has been evacuated and animals have been taken to higher ground and many major roads have been closed. I have also just heard that the Calgary Saddledome is has been flooded. The Bow River and the Elbow River are both flowing high and dangerously fast with debris such as flipped over canoes, furniture, parts of houses etc. We have all been advised to stay at home. The Calgary Police and other emergency workers are going above and beyond (some working into their 24th hour of their shift) to help Calgary citizens during this crisis.
Our house (and thankfully the houses of YMC's other Calgarian bloggers) are on high enough ground that we have not had to evacuate, but as I write this, my husband and I are looking out our window where there are men who are measuring our cul-de-sac's elevation to see if there is a risk of flooding on our streets. This is insane. Many of our friends have been forced from their homes, left with only a suitcase and the eerie unknown of what sort of devastation they will be coming home to and when.
And it is projected that there is much more rain to come. This whole situation is truly surreal.
Although my focus is on our poor city and those Calgarians that have been evacuated from their homes, I can't help but wonder if I will deliver my baby today, tomorrow, or if she will hold out a few more days. I've been having on-and-off contractions for a few days and fairly intense cramping. Before this flood mayhem began, I was doing everything under the sun to kick my labour into high gear. I've stopped that now. My due date is this Tuesday and it is my 2nd baby, so she really could come at any time. I've spent the last 10 months doing whatever I can to prepare for a peaceful and trauma-free birth experience as I had a fairly traumatic birth experience with my son. This time, I wanted more than anything to deliver this baby naturally and without injury. Now that our city is under a state of emergency and I have no idea if my midwives or doula would even be able to get to my home or the hospital, I'm not exactly feeling a sense of "peace" about my impending birth. I'm trying to ignore the cramps that I'm having and any other signs that baby is coming, whereas in the past few days, that's all that I could focus on. What would my birth experience be this time? Is my baby going to be ok? What will she look like? Is she in fact a "she"? But now, I can't help but hope that I don't meet my baby for a few days. The plan that we have carefully put into place is all up in the air now as I have no idea what state our hospital is in or if I still have access to my care providers.
Has anyone ever been in this situation before? Is there anyone else in Calgary that is about to deliver a baby?
Please keep Calgary in your thoughts this weekend. I don't think that any of us realize the extent of carnage and devastation that our city has endured and will endure in the next few days.
Broccoli is high in dietary fibre, folate, Vitamin C, A and K. This amazing phytochemical-rich veggie has been shown to prevent certain cancers, heart disease and stroke. It is basically a nutritional powerhouse. It's also quite versatile. You can eat raw or cook it by lightly steaming (the best way to retain most of its nutrients), stir-frying, baking, or roasting. Fresh, unwashed broccoli keeps in the fridge for 3-5 days (don't wash until just before cooking or eating because it spoils faster) and can be stored in the freezer for 12-18 months. The best way to freeze broccoli is to blanch it first. To do this, cook it for 2-3 minutes in boiling water and then place it quickly ice cold water. Drain off the water and then place in freezer bags or airtight containers. It's best not to soak broccoli prior to cooking it or eating it because many of the nutrients will be leached out into the water if soaked for too long. Instead, rinse under cool water before cooking.
I often steam broccoli and sprinkle parmesan cheese and a bit of salt and pepper on top, but I decided to try something different for our Father's Day dinner. My sister-in-law who is both lactose and gluten intolerant served this dish one night and I fell in love. There are literally 3 ingredients (not including salt and pepper to taste) but it is the most delicious side dish ever. The lemon gives it a fresh summery taste.
Preheat oven to 400 F (I have not tried this recipe on the BBQ but I'm sure you could do this in tin foil on the BBQ instead).
Place broccoli in a large bowl and drizzle oil and the juice of your lemon on top. Toss.
Spread broccoli evenly onto a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Lightly season with salt and pepper.
Place in your hot oven (or on BBQ) and let cook for 7 minutes, flip broccoli and let cook for another 5-7 minutes
Remove from oven and sprinkle lemon zest on top and allow to cool for 2-3 minutes before serving.