Chloe’s 36 Hour Birth Story


Yesterday I shared my thoughts on why it is important for women to share their birth stories whether they are home, hospital or somewhere in between. Today I’ll share the “factual” side of the story, based on my doulas notes and tomorrow my personal thoughts about this wonderful, challenging experience!

January 8, 2007 at 1:00am I woke up in labor. It was my birthday. In fact, 28 years and 1/2 an hour earlier, my mother had just given birth to me! I thought that was neat.

I’ll start by saying my labor was lovely. It started out so slow and gentle, increasing little by little. I believe the Lord knew how concerned I was about being able to handle the pain associated with labor so He eased me in gently.

Back to the story. I woke up to contractions that actually felt like sharp gas pains coming every 10 minutes or so.  Unsure if it was the real deal or just false labor, but too excited to go back to sleep, I went into the nursery. I sat in my rocking chair, with the lamp on and worked on a knitted blanket for my new baby {another story in itself!}. I hummed to myself, carefully watching the clock, timing the contractions. About 5 am, I was certain it was really labor. I was excited, looking forward to having our baby soon. I was certain that I’d be sharing a birthday with my new daughter, after all, certainly it doesn’t take more than 23 hours to have a baby! {insert tongue-in-cheek smile}

Finally at 6 am, I heard DH’s alarm go and headed into our bedroom, greeting him with a saucy, “ready to have a baby?”.

I had a craving for Kraft Dinner, something I don’t usually eat. DH made it for me for breakfast. I believe he shared it with me, though I can’t recall 100%. The contractions were still mild {sharp gas-pain-like} and quite far apart. I left a message for our doula, letting her know I was in labor but that she wasn’t needed at this time. We watched a couple movies to pass the time, including Cheaper by the Dozen 2.

Lunch was approaching and things were still pretty stable. DH was getting antsy, asking when this baby was going to come! We headed out to Subway for lunch and then a little stroll around the mall. That afternoon, more movies and then Kraft Dinner again for dinner. {Seriously,  I never eat the stuff}.

My parents came over about 6pm for a visit. Dad headed home about 9pm that night but mom {who was certain that I was going to die in childbirth} decided to stay. DH was tired so he headed up to bed. I had headed up and tried but the contractions had picked up and I was uncomfortable in bed.

Downstairs, I had just a lamp on. Mom was knitting on the couch. I had some soothing hymns and another really neat relaxation CD that my brother had given me. About 11:30pm, the intensity of the contractions had picked up and I found that standing, leaning over a table or the couch and rocking my hips helped me through each one. At this point, I called my doula to let her know I was ready for her to come. The doula arrived at 12:30am to find DH resting upstairs, me in the midst of a contraction and my mom knitting. At this point, I wasn’t interested in conversation, it was just nice to have the {wordless} calming music in the background and someone sitting there so I knew I wasn’t alone.

During the labor period, my bowels seemed to work in overdrive. I suppose they were clearing out everything in preparation for birth which I was thankful for. Pooping during labor was a huge concern for me.

About here, things begin to get a little foggy and I am relying on my doulas notes along with my sketchy memories. You may also find that as things get more intense, you may have trouble remembering exactly what transpired.

At 1:00am {24 hours into it} I was on my way to the bathroom but only made it as far as the kitchen sink because I began vomiting. DH made an appearance then, getting our huge stainless steel bowl out for me to bring to the couch. I also decided that a fudgsicle sounded good so I had one of those too. Dh and I sat on the couch together in the TV room. Mom was in the sitting room reading and {I think} the midwife was in the TV room with us.

At 1:30, I was thinking about calling the midwives as things were really starting to hurt but DH pointed out that we didn’t meet the “411” yet. [4 minutes apart, lasting 1 minute, having been that way for 1 hour]. It was at this point that I declared that I wasn’t interested in doing this any more. {Politely and calmly I am sure!}

2:30am brought more vomiting. I decided to try a new position. We headed upstairs to sit in the library, then I tried lying down in bed, then sitting in the nursery rocking chair. It provided a change of scenery but nothing was really “working” for me.

3:30am I gave my exercise ball a try. Sitting on it behind the couch, I could lean on the couch during contractions. That helped.

5:00am I called the midwives. Katie said she would pick up Sylvia and be on the way soon. While waiting for them to come, my doula had me walking up and down our flight of stairs to encourage labor. Thankfully DH walked up and down with me as I couldn’t have done it without him. The walking increased the strength of the contractions and they were now coming every 3 minutes and lasting a full minute long. And yes, there was more vomiting.

5:45am I had had enough of walking up and down the stairs. I was exhausted. I sat on the birth ball and my doula tried a warm rice pack on my stomach and back. I tried to settle on the couch for some rest but with the frequency and intensity of the contractions, that wasn’t all that effective.

6:30am on January 9th my midwives arrived for their first assessment. Turns out I was “only” 4cm. How disappointed I was to hear that, though on a good note, I was 95% effaced. The contractions had slowed again after I stopped walking and rocking so the midwives left then, after giving me the instructions to take a Gravol and get some rest. I did take some Gravol and tried to lie down in bed. Everyone else took a nap at this time too, with the doula in the guest room, mom on the downstairs couch and DH in our bed. But I couldn’t handle the contractions lying down. I decided to have a bath. It was amazing how the warm water helped and I was actually able to doze a little in between contractions. It was quite restful {and something I kept in mind for my next labor when I would spend most of my time in the tub!}

8:00am I was vomiting again. My doula came in with my “big bowl”. I decided to have a shower then and took my exercise ball in with me. My doula went back to lie down and I finished my shower and enjoyed the water for a bit. When I got out, I was feeling recharged from my mini bath snooze and refreshed from the shower. I put on my big, cozy pink nightgown and went to the sitting room on the main floor where I enjoyed an orange while everyone else finished their nap.

9:20am I felt a pop. It really was a “pop” feeling and I took off FAST for the bathroom where my water broke. {To this day I do not understand how I managed to not have it gush all over our carpet}. But this was where I panicked. The “water” was quite pink with blood. Since everyone else was sleeping, I called the midwives in a panic and was immediately put through to a midwife. I was under the impression that the fluid would be clear and that if it was greenish {meconium} that was a danger sign for baby but no one had said anything about blood. In our birth class we had talked about the “bloody show” and mucas plug but no one had said that those two things could happen at the same time as your water breaking and thus causing your water to be bloody. Anyway, the midwives assured me all was normal. At that point, everyone else in the house woke up too.

9:45am Now that my water had broken, the contractions were good and strong. I wasn’t thinking they were all that “good” because they HURT! At this point, I was dying of heat and traded my cozy night gown for one of DH’s oversized T-shirts.

10:30am I was saying, “I can’t do it” to which my midwife replied that I could, I was doing well, things were going as they should…etc. It was nice to have a neutral party {the doula} to be annoyed with.

11:00am I ordered that the midwives be called. At this point we were 34 hours in. I was exhausted since I’d only had a few hours sleep since Sunday morning and it was now Tuesday morning! I recall how difficult it was to wait for the midwives and how challenging it was to cope with those contractions. Shortly before noon I remember declaring to DH that if I wasn’t close to ready when they midwives came this time then I wanted to go to the hospital for drugs! {though I am not sure I would have, having already put so much effort into a natural homebirth}.

At noon, the midwives arrived. After my assessment at 12:20pm, I was pronounced 100% effaced and 7cm dilated.  I hopped into the bath while the midwives set up their necessary items. About 10 minutes later, I was feeling pressure; much different than what I had been feeling. In the tub, I began to panic. Katie, my main midwife, came in and helped me try pant/breath and focus to calm the panic. {which later I recognized as my “transition” phase} Katie wanted me to move to the bed to examine me again but that was too far. I told her she’d have to examine me on the bathroom floor. Sure enough, I’d dilated those last 3 cm in 10 minutes. {I credit the bath for that!}

12:30pm They quickly scrambled to get things ready in the bathroom for the birth since I wasn’t moving from the bathroom floor. I leaned on the ball again to push and on my knees pushed out our sweet Chloe. Though I did have some tearing, I didn’t even notice it at the time. It felt good to push. The midwives helped it to be a very controlled birth.

1:15pm Chloe arrived into the waiting hands of daddy catching her 36 hours from that first contraction.

1:25pm I was in my bed and Chloe was tucked in beside me. We snuggled while the midwives prepared things to fix me up. I had some minor tearing during the birth. {Which I didn’t even feel} Shortly thereafter, Sylvia took Chloe to do her exam and weigh her {7lbs 9oz} while Katie did my repairs.

2:10pm I was all fixed up and Katie helped me nurse Chloe. Then daddy took Chloe down to visit with my parents and Nana while I had a nap.


Around 5pm I woke up and came downstairs. My parents were still here and everyone was taking turns holding sleeping Chloe. We ordered Swiss Chalet for dinner. DH and dad went to pick it up and I visited with mom and nursed Chloe again. When they came home, not only did they have Swiss Chalet but they also had a brownie cheesecake to celebrate my birthday belatedly and dad had bought Chloe her first book.

It was an early night that night, with Chloe and I sleeping in our queen-sized guest room bed and leaving DH to have a good night’s rest in our bed.

Two days later Papa Gilles and Gigi arrived to greet sweet Chloe as well.


{And for the record, I didn’t poop during labor.}

Chloe Dawn VanderPloeg ~ January 9, 2007  ~ 7lbs 9 oz, I am so thankful for you!

  • This post links to Gratituesday
  • I still have much to say but will save that for tomorrow’s post since this one is very lengthy.


  1. Beautiful story. It brought tears to my eyes, made me laugh ( especially about auntie knitting, I can just see those needs flying,a mind just spinning but a calm reserved “uren” look). More importantly it encouraged my soul…Life is hard sometimes, but so worth the reward of the labour.

  2. Precious story and I’m glad you didn’t have to head off to the hospital for drugs.

  3. What a beautiful story Jenn. I wish I was that brave. I also had a 36hour long labor with my first but that ended up in a c-section 🙁

  4. […] Chloe’s Birth Story was the very factual side, largely due to my doula’s notes. My memories are much briefer. I recall waking up, excited by my contractions, which weren’t really painful. Heading in to the nursery, I spent those hours thinking, dreaming and praying. It was peaceful. […]

  5. See r u not glad I made u look at a mucas plug LOL
    It was so nicly written, she was and is such a wonderful addition to our family and you did a fantastic Job, and will do again 🙂

  6. […] might enjoy Good Mom. Bad Mom. Perfect Mom., A Birthing View, Why Share Birth Stories, Chloe’s 36 Hour Homebirth Story, My Thoughts & Things to Think About {Chloe’s Birth Story}, John’s 6 Hour Homebirth, […]

  7. […] can give birth on my bathroom floor {which is where I ended up with Chloe} or my bedroom floor {where I ended up with John} and I can change rooms, positions, places etc. in […]

  8. Thank you for sharing your birth story! It’s very encouraging and it is wonderful to hear a story from a fellow Canadian blogger. We are planning for a natural home birth for our first child, due August 11 (only 35 more days till our due date – it’s hard to belief)!

  9. I love your attention to detail as you write.. I am definitely sending this link to my mid wives that I had years ago, whom I still keep in touch with. Beautiful story!

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