Saturday, July 28, 2012

An Intuitive Unassisted Birth

 Another amazing birth story.  An involved dad, a trusting mother, and few people who love them.  And of course, a healthy baby.  What more could you ask for?
Enjoy-

The Unassisted Homebirth of Joya

We've changed a lot in the 5 years since we had our second baby (a midwife
attended homebirth) and even more in the 8 years since we had our first (a
cytotec/pitocin/epidural hospital birth).  By the time we decided to
conceive baby #3 we knew for a million different reasons, we wanted an
unassisted birth.

Prior to conceiving #3 I was in the best health of my life.  I had done a
lot of work with my Naturopath, I had my metal fillings removed (that made a
HUGE difference in my health), and I was eating a grass-fed, organic, whole
foods, low grain diet and taking lots of fermented cod liver oil.  I was
also very in tune with my body for the first time in my life.  So we happily
progressed with this pregnancy doing our own prenatal care and preparing for
this birth.  We spent hours researching interference-free birth, learning
about common labor and birth complications so that we knew what we could
handle at home and how, and when we needed to call for help.  One of my best
friends, who happens to be a midwife, had agreed to come if intuition told
us we needed a professional birth attendant.  We told very few people of our
plans, doing our best to keep other people's fears out of this sacred time
in our lives.  We trusted my body, we trusted our baby, and we trusted
birth.

From the very beginning I asked baby to tell me her sex, her name and
anything else about her that she thought I should know.  At 22 weeks, I had
one of the most vivid dreams of my life (I am not known for my dreams) where
she shared with me her sex, and also seemed to confirm the name I had been
leaning towards (although we chose to wait until we had actually met her and
spent some time with her before naming her).  This entire pregnancy was much
easier than my previous two.  While it wasn't all a piece of cake, the
sickness stage was shorter and after that passed I felt mostly like myself
the rest of the pregnancy and didn't experience the dramatic mood swings I
had in the past (and the few times I did feel out of balance my Naturopath
got me back to normal with a simple homeopathic remedy).  Around the last 2
months of my pregnancy I felt led to stay home and rest, focus on my little
family and protect myself from negativity, fear, and drama.

A week before my due date a dear friend of mine, who is also a photographer,
came to visit.  She was here to take birth photos and help with the kids,
boil water, etc.  My birth kit had been assembled for weeks and the birth
tub, cloth diapers and baby clothes were prepared and waiting.  I felt
centered and ready, yet also extremely patient, while waiting for baby to be
ready.  I was, however, getting really tired of people asking me if anything
was going on, was baby getting ready to come, etc. and had my husband screen
my email and phone (I had already been off facebook for weeks).

3 days past my due date, after texting with my midwife friend, I made peace
with going 10 days past my due date (normal for her mamas).  We also bought
return tickets home for my photographer friend, figuring 2 weeks was plenty
of time for her to be away from her own kids.  That night I laid down with
my kids at 10:00 pm.  While laying there I noticed that I was having
contractions every 7 minutes!  Just like all my previous Braxton Hicks these
weren't painful, which is why I only noticed them when I laid down, however
they were regular which was not normal for my BH.  I got up around 10:30 and
stayed up until midnight chatting with my husband.  I woke every hour after
that to roll over, because whatever hip I was laying on really hurt, which
normally didn't happen until I'd been laying in bed for much longer.

Around 4:00 am I got up to use the bathroom again, and noticed that I was
still having regular contractions.  This time when I laid back down they
were uncomfortable (the first time all pregnancy), so I just stayed up.  By
7:00 am I was sure this was it, and figured my husband had had enough sleep
to be not only functional, but very supportive and present for the birth, so
I woke him up so he could set up the tub before the kids were up.  Around 8
or 8:30 our oldest (almost 8 year old boy) was up, but he's the easy morning
kid, used to being on his own when daddy is working and mommy and sister
(almost 5) are still sleeping.  About then I called my photographer friend
to ask her to come over.  Sometime after that my daughter was up.  I was
attempting to watch a show on Netflix and was having a hard time focusing.

By 11:00 am I had sent my friend and the kids back to her place right down
the street with birthday cupcake making supplies and some wrapped gifts for
the kids, and got into the tub.  I loved the soft padded bottom and sides of
the La Bassine I was using.  By 11:45 we noticed the tub was leaking air and
my husband had to keep adding air (this continued throughout the rest of the
use of the tub).  I was handling contractions best by being upright on my
knees and before long they got very intense.  It was around then that the
lack of depth of this birthing tub was disappointing.  But even though
contractions were intense, close together and getting difficult to manage, I
was excited, and in between contractions I was overwhelmed with joy.  This
was the day!  I knew by the time I went to bed that night I would be holding
my baby.

At 2:00 pm I realized that things were even more intense and much closer
together, so I texted my friend to come back with the kids and I also had my
husband get into the tub so he could apply counter pressure to my lower back
more effectively.  By 2:20 my friend and the kids were back (she took a
picture of the clock then).

Time gets blurry after that.  The contractions had changed to starting off
immediately overwhelmingly intense, then slowly tapered down to manageable
where it felt good to push as they ended.  I was still getting on my knees
for these contractions, where I was in front of the window a/c unit and able
to see the ocean, but I sat back down in the water in between so I could be
submerged and warm while I rested and waited.  I changed positions for
awhile, climbing onto hubby's lap and hugging him while he did his best to
rub my back.  Soon the tub needed more air so I was back on my own and up on
my knees again, this time really cursing this shallow birthing pool that
would not allow me to be submerged while upright (the Aquadoula I used with
#2 was better for that).  Sometime after that I felt like I really needed to
be submerged in the water, while still remaining in a straight body
position, so I laid down long ways in the tub, resting my head on the edge.
Almost immediately I had to hold on to the side for dear life as the
contractions lengthened and just took over.

Knowing that birth was soon, I had my husband yell for the kids and my
friend to come in.  Shortly after that I had a long incredibly intense
contraction, felt babe move into the birth canal and felt the bag of waters
pop. I thought at that point that the intensity would wane, just like it did
at my last birth, but it didn't.  While I intentionally did not push because
I really did not want to tear, these intense contractions continued to come
and propel the baby out without any extra effort from me.  Slowly I felt her
crown, and unlike my last babe this time it hurt, and things sure went
slower since I wasn't pushing.  I reached down and felt the hair on the top
of her head and pulled little pieces of the sack off.  With the next
contraction there was a bit more of her head.  Then the whole head was out.
I cradled her head in my hand and remember it felt so wonderfully soft and
lovely, then I moved down to her neck and felt the cord wrapped around it,
but knew instinctively it wasn't a problem.  I just waited knowing very soon
she'd be out and this would all be over.  Another contraction, more
stretching, and. she was out!  I sat up so I could see better and I
unwrapped her from the cord in the water.




Time seemed to stop and we all watched as she just floated there arms
finally spread out after months of being bound up in my womb.  I picked her
up out of the water and held her on my chest.  It was over!  I had my baby!
While I was content to just sit and bask in my success, my husband and the
kids were anxious to see the sex and said so  I quickly came back to the
moment and looked between her legs.  A girl!  My dream was right.

The placenta came soon after that (felt like mere minutes to me, my friend
said it was more like 10 or 15).  And when my husband checked later I hadn't
torn either, a first for me and a huge blessing, especially since this was
my biggest baby.

Everything went perfectly smooth and my recovery was remarkably easy.  This
labor was intense and far from easy, but without a doubt just as it was
intended to be.  The whole process felt so perfect and normal, and I can
honestly say I never gave a single thought the whole time to being
unassisted.  It just felt right, like it had from before conception.  The
whole experience was just amazingly peaceful and felt like just any other
day at home - albeit a day where we welcomed a baby.

The next day my dear husband processed the placenta.  He started a tincture,
cut small pill sizes for me to swallow raw over the next few weeks, and
dehydrated and encapsulated the rest for my future use.  I've been eating it
raw daily since her birth, and have yet to experience any kind of postpartum
issues.

My husband was absolutely a different person with this birth, as he too has
grown and changed a lot over the years.  He was intimately involved in
planning and preparing for this birth, and joined me whole heartedly in
accepting complete responsibility for the outcome.  He was absolutely
present and peaceful and patient the entire time.  He was amazing.  He's
always been my best friend, my lover, and my biggest supporter and I
couldn't imagine a more perfect way to welcome this child we created
together.

I am so glad we trusted our intuition and followed our hearts - it was an
absolutely perfect birth experience.  As I write this just 2 weeks later, I
know I have yet to realize just how much this experience is going to impact
me.  For now, life is still peaceful.  Baby's amazing, peaceful birth is
still lingering in our home and it feels like this is what living life is all about.

6 comments:

Sarah said...

Beautiful birth story! This is truly beautiful and reminds us that women should trust their bodies (and babies!)- this is what they were made to do. :)

Jenny Hatch said...

Thankyou for sharing!

I would love to have you and your husband on my radio show while you are still glowing...

Just let me know!

Jenny Hatch

Jenny@NaturalFamilyco.com

Jenny Hatch said...

Thankyou for sharing!

I would love to have you and your husband on my radio show while you are still glowing...

Just let me know!

Jenny Hatch

Jenny@NaturalFamilyco.com

Marie said...

Loved this story! I've been thinking of having an unassisted birth for any future babies we may be blessed with.

kim said...

AWWWW Thanks for sharing Jennifer! You guys are both amazing people! Congrats again on little MISS J~ Kim

Keri said...

Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful story.

I would love to learn what resources you and your husband used to prepare.

"We spent hours researching interference-free birth, learning
about common labor and birth complications so that we knew what we could handle at home and how, and when we needed to call for help."

Keri Brown

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