My First Unassisted Birth… 11 Years Later

First UP/UC, First Son (Third Child) born on 8/6/2008

At the time, we thought our due date was the 23rd of July, but when I was measuring 40wks for 3 weeks I decided to check my dates again just to be sure. Sure enough, I had miscalculated and my EDD was actually the 30th.

Contractions began on July 13th (at 37½ (ish) weeks, but I thought I was almost 39(ish) weeks). They came and went several days and would be between 3-11 minutes apart but would cease after a few hours.  I declared and trusted that they were all prep for the delivery that would come in God’s perfect time.

With lots of prodromal labor, the 26th came with more prep, the 29th brought “bloody show,” our EDD of July 30th came and went, and August 2 brought more progress that left me at 2-3 cm dilated.

As August 5th came and went, even more prep occurred: a quick progression from 3cm to 5cm and a smaller gap between contractions but all this ceased to continue by evening. This left me joking on August 6 that I’d never have this baby and the Lord put Isaiah 66:9 on my heart to which it reads: “‘Do I bring to the moment of birth and not give delivery?’ says the LORD. “Do I close up the womb when I bring to delivery?’ says your God.” I chuckled at myself and again trusted in His perfect timing.

As I labored all day on the 6th, contractions varying between 4 and 20 minutes apart, I talked with my sister all throughout it to keep myself distracted. We laughed and she kept me accountable to continue to trust in God’s plan.

At around 5pm the contractions were getting quite uncomfortable and achy and I wanted to be alone so I left my husband in the living room with the kids and laid down, still chatting with my sister on the phone. I was still able to talk through the second half of it after the peak past and we’d enjoy conversing and preparing for delivery until sometime after 6. We talked about videotaping it, perhaps using the tub, things to keep in mind after baby came, considering emergency situations and the like.

Following 6pm, the contractions went from lasting a minute or so to lasting closer to a minute and a half and I could no longer talk through any of it but they were still varying between 4 and 20 minutes apart and I decided that when they were more regular (around 4 and 5) that I would fill the tub. Nearly 7pm came and I had a couple of “great” contractions that left me wondering if I should try to go to the bathroom but still 7 minutes apart. Then another came that left me claiming the promises of God for a pain-free birth.

I then let my sister go and went to the bathroom to have a bowel movement. While I sat there, I noticed trickling warmth and thought, “is that my water?” I had the urge to push and have another bowel and so I went with it (because it hurt when I held back) and more fluid pushed its way through. I hollered for dh down the hallway to tell him that my water had broke and he said “Wow, that’s convenient!” It was now 7:30 and I had him call my sister back to let her know that my water broke and I wouldn’t be calling her back right away. He also got our two and four year old daughters into their beds.

I continued to feel the urge to push and as long as I was, I felt no pain. I figured it would be in the next day or two that this baby would be joining us and began to get very excited! And then I realized my urges to push were not to have a bowel movement!!

I hollered dh back in to let him know that I was feeling pushy and asked him to get the shower curtains that were earlier prepared, onto the floor so I could transition from the toilet to the daybed. I checked my cervix and while doing so, I dilated from 5 cm to 10 and began effacing. I again hollered for him to come back in.

I told him “I’m pushing and I think I’m just going to stay here.” He laughed and joked how his baby’s first experience would be a swirly. I laughed and shook my head at his silliness. “On the floor goober!” So we laughed and he came to help me to the daybed but the contractions were on top of each other and moving my legs were out of the question (as long as they were propped up on stools in a squatted position and pushing, I felt no pain). I explained to him that I was waiting for the contraction to end but it wasn’t happening. He exclaimed how fast that was as he rushed to keep our two and four year old daughters in their room (I’m sure they were antsy and wondering what the commotion was).

Suddenly my water burst and baby’s head was fully engaged and crowning – it was time for babe to come OUT! I hollered for dh to come back, that the head was right there. I got up to sit on the floor, and dh came running in and helped me and asked if I wanted a pillow. He ran back out to get a pillow, only for me to holler that the baby’s head was coming out – there is NO TIME!!! He ran back in and threw the pillow behind me. Propped up on one hand I was in tears and laughter at all of this coming together. I felt the baby’s head bulging through and I was tense against it in a moment of fear and then reminded myself to relax. As I did, without even a push, the head started coming out and before my husband could finish telling me how great I was doing, my body gently eased the baby out and the head came through. Dh was in utter shock at how easy that was for me! I propped myself up with both hands and I again relaxed and felt the rest of the baby slide out like jiggly jello into Daddy’s hands. I heard my dh exclaim how much faster that was than our previous births.

Our sweet baby’s soft cry permeated the air around us.

We rested the baby’s bottom on the floor (that was covered in a sheet and a puppy pad) as I held the upper body in my hand and we looked at each other at the craziness of what just happened. It was all in a matter of 30 minutes (but felt like 5), and we were holding our baby in just 5-10 minutes after we “knew” it was time. I realized I didn’t know the gender and reached down. I looked up and said “It’s a boy!” and we both cried and laughed at the amazement and awe of all of what just happened. I held him close as my husband got the girls up to meet their brother. We were all so excited and laughing and celebrating. I wiped him down and rubbed his back as his color got brighter and then massaged the vernix into his skin.

Dh then helped me to the daybed and we loved on our newest addition to the family. I then nursed him as dh called to let all the Grandparents know as well as my sister, his brother, our cousin, and his aunt, that we just delivered our SON.

About an hour later I delivered the placenta into a bowl and I got into bed and nursed him again still in utter awe that God had blessed us with a son. When he was 2 hours old and the cord was no longer pulsating, we cut it and got him all snuggled up and cozy. “I can no longer say ‘the girls’ when referring to my children!” I whispered. We were nestled together for another hour before I laid him in his bed and he drifted into a quiet sleep. I couldn’t sleep… I was so in awe and so I got up and called my sister. We were both amazed at how fast it all happened.

It was a BEAUTIFUL experience; raw, real, personal, and fun. No poking, no suggestions, no tests, no monitors… We were immediately made comfortable and got plenty of rest that night.

 

Postpartum: New Life; New Baby

So often, when one becomes pregnant, a lot of the focus is on growing a human inside the womb, birthing that human, and then raising that human.  Sometimes we can forget that there is a transition period between birth and the new life with a baby. This period of time is called postpartum and it’s a transition for healing, adapting, and discovering your capabilities; learning to trust oneself in this role of motherhood.  As a Postpartum Doula, my job is to encourage women to do these things – to see their power, to know their body and their baby, and to trust their instincts. It’s an honor to be a part of this support that surrounds women during such a time when we are tired, hurting, and taking the time to take care of ourselves while also caring for a newborn.  Not all women want or need a doula, but for those of you that do, there are wonderful benefits in doing so. Could you share with me what some of the things you wish you had help with from a doula after you gave birth to your baby? What would you have appreciated as you transitioned and adapted to your new life with a new little person to care for? What is something you had that you are grateful for? I’d love to hear your experiences and thoughts as I prepare to begin doula work and find ways that truly benefit women.  Thank you so much for sharing your experiences via email (cornerpillarsofapalace), IG @cornerpillarsofapalace, facebook (https://www.facebook.com/cornerpillarsofapalace/), and here at this blog.

Take Action Accordingly

In a culture where birth has turned into something quite medicalized, every once in a while something will come along in my Facebook Newsfeed or someone will mention something in one of my Facebook groups that really just get me thinking about the information that is out there. During my research journey I learned a lot of things that have opened my eyes to how people tend to slide into tradition rather than really ponder what makes the most sense. That’s how it was for me during my first assisted pregnancy and birth. I did everything that I was told to do because I believed the doctor knew best and therefore I trusted everything they said as fact.

It was after I gave birth to my second child that I began learning things about the estimated due date (how pregnancies can go to 38- 46 weeks along depending and that 41 weeks is the mathematical average of how long a pregnancy is), induction (and how different a medically induced labor with synthetic Pitocin is in comparison to the hormone oxytocin that is released naturally by the body), uterine rupture (which I discovered can happen in a first time mother with no uterine scar from a prior c-section and the risk goes from 0.007% with no prior cesarean to 0.51% with one prior cesarean, but the risk remains the same at 1.85% with each subsequent cesarean), birthing positions (while laying flat on the back or resting on the tailbone while curled in a C shape are the more common birthing positions in hospitals, these positions can reduce the pelvic outlet up to 30% and therefore unless the woman feels led to be in such positions, it’s more ideal to be on all fours, squatting, standing, or in the lunge position which can help decrease risks of shoulder dystocia, as well as prolonged pushing phase, and tearing), and clamping the cord (where delaying the clamping of the cord has showed benefits for the baby to receive all the T-cells in the cord blood as well as oxygen as they transition to taking their first breath).

These are a few of the things I learned in just the first months of researching… so now, being 13 years later, I’ve only discovered so much more. Where is a great place to start? Start with finding answers to your questions… like, what if the baby is born and does not breath right away (because the thought of that can be scary). When you look for the answers, you will discover that knowledge and solutions can equip you to address fears, reduce panic, and create a proactive plan in how to move forward rather than getting paralyzed by the unknown. By the way, many babies take a moment to transition to take their first breath. Keeping the cord pulsing to allow the oxygenated blood to travel to the baby and rubbing their back while they lay on their belly is the first thing to do, clearing the airways by wiping down with a cloth from the nose and mouth, or if necessary using a suction device (an aspirator for instance). If the baby’s color starts to change, calling for help and performing Infant CPR are the next steps. From there, a paramedic can help.

So what is some bits of information you trusted until you learned more about it? What are some of the “what if” questions you have that spark fear in you, or used to until you researched it? Let’s quash the idea that labor and birth is a medical event and inherently dangerous. It’s empowering to have the knowledge of what is a true emergency and what is not so as to be able to take action accordingly.

Water Birth Supplies

I saw these pools and a water pump posted on Facebook today and I had to share for anyone who might be able to benefit from these great prices!

Aquarium Pool 60in
$40
60″ Diameter
22″ Depth
Pre-tested vinyl with extra wide horizontal I-Beam walls
Three-ring design with soft, see through walls
Sturdy sidewalls allow even adults to sit on edge
Inflatable floor provides extra cushioning
84 gallons

Superior Pump 91250 1/4 HP Thermoplastic Submersible Utility Pump with 10-Foot Cord
$48.80
Moves up to 1800 gallons per hour, max head 25 feet
Tough thermoplastic construction
1-1/4-inch NPT discharge with 3/4-inch garden hose adapter
Removable suction screen and handles up to 1/8-inch solids

Oasis Round Water Birth Pool

$85
60″ x 24″
3-ring design
Anti-slip textured top and floor
110 gallons

Six Months!

My 5th freebirth baby is 6 months old now! He’s such a happy boy and we’ve been really enjoying him as he grows. I love to watch the slideshow of my labor with him… such a precious gift from my friend that allows me to really recall the events of that day. Thanks to everyone for understanding that we’re a little busy these days, but I hope you all will continue to reach out for any support or information as needed. If I’m unable to do the research, I can always post for others to offer suggestions, information, personal research, and good places to start for further understanding on things! Enjoy your summer!

Kristi’s Freebirth Story of Baby#7

Fifth UP/UC, Third Son (Seventh Child) born on 01/07/2018

Despite being our seventh babe, the pregnancy came as a surprise. Once the original shock wore off, we were so thankful for the newest babe growing in my womb. We shared the news with my oldest daughter first, who then wanted to tell her siblings through the game hangman. As they solved the puzzle, their faces lit up with excitement once they learned the news. Another babe was joining our family!

It was an uneventful pregnancy but I got quite big and it was more and more uncomfortable getting around. By the end of it, I had gained over 70lbs to my dismay. I took a poll asking friends to guess the reason for my extra large belly: lots of fluid? big baby? twins? haha

At 2:56pm on January 6th, I noticed a change in the contractions I’d already been having for a couple weeks. The intensity was changing and began taking my breath away and made it a little more difficult to talk or walk through. I watched them for an hour, asking my husband when he’d be home from work, and informing him that the contractions were 7-15mins apart and increasing in intensity. I made a guess based on history that he should be home in under 4 hours to be on the safe side and I’d let him know if anything changed that needed him to come home sooner.

Not much changed by the time he got home so we just hung out. I let my friend know that it might be the real thing and to keep her phone on. I went to lay down around 8 to see if the contractions would stop or wake me up when I laid down. Each one woke me every 7-15mins over the next hour. It wasn’t comfortable so I got up and went to sit with my husband in the living room. I decided to call my friend and let her know that she could come in about an hour or so but that it could still subside at any time. She came and we chatted between contractions.

About 3am but while they were increasing in intensity, they were still 7-15mins apart. Since she lived close by, I suggested she get home and we get some sleep and I’d call her when I thought it was time. I went to bed and woke up with each contraction, still maintaining about 10mins apart and chose to get up around 6am as the contractions were too much for in bed. My husband also got up to help with the kids as I worked through the contractions and rested. My friend joined us around 10am or so and we enjoyed each other’s company between contractions. With each contraction, depending on where my husband was, I’d call to him and he’d sit with me as I breathed through it.

I would begin to question whether I was truly in labor, and then I’d have a strong and intense contraction and we’d all laugh that it obviously was. I noticed with a couple of the contractions that my body began bearing down so I was trying to decide where to ultimately labor and birth the baby. In the past, I’d ended up in the bathroom and that was where I stayed until baby was born, but I was a bit apprehensive of the intensity and wanted something a bit more comfortable. My husband brought our mattress into the living room and covered it with the shower curtain we had bought, to protect it. I climbed onto the bed and started out on all fours for several contractions.

I then turned around for a bit. At 1:45pm, as I was laboring in a sitting position. Lots of water kept coming and coming, so my friend helped my husband to get some towels underneath me.

I decided I wanted to be on all fours again and turned around. I labored there and more water kept coming. It was quite surprising just how much water there was, actually. haha I continued to labor and the intensity was too much for the strength I had left. My legs were shaky and I chose to turn around. I am unsure whether I regret this or just think it would have been easier if I just held out a little longer. I didn’t know at the time that baby was going to be born very soon.

I decided I wanted to sit on my bottom, so I turned to do so and I chatted with my husband. He always knows just what to say to make me laugh. I was sitting on towels now, because of the waters that had poured out onto the bed. The contractions were difficult in that position with no support behind me, so I had my husband sit behind me to lean on him.

With each contraction, now much closer together, I allowed my body to bear down as my husband reminded me to breath and follow my body. I could hear myself hollering and roaring with each push so between contractions, I looked to my 13yo daughter to remind her that I was okay and not to worry. Her and my 11yo daughter was present, awaiting the arrival of their youngest sibling.

I checked to see if I could feel the baby’s head and I felt it, all squished and coming down. I continued to bear down, and felt myself poo. I was thankful that I was covered in a blanket for my personal comfort of modesty. It was around this time that I could hear voices surrounding me and I realized someone was praying. I found great comfort in it and I was so thankful that I had my friend and her daughter along with my two daughters present. I continued to push and felt the baby descend, I could feel the baby’s head all squished as it crowned and asked my friend to check to make sure it was the head and not the bottom (though in hindsight, labor would have been more intense for my back and hips if that had been the case). She assured me it was the head and I relaxed despite the burning sensation.

I heard myself say to my husband that it was too hard and he encouraged me and reminded me of what I’m capable of. I began to roar again and pushed the baby’s head out. I was shocked how big his head was, as it was bigger than the size of the birth canal. I said the head was out and was facing down. I breathed and continued following my body’s lead and pushed the rest of the body out with another roar, feeling arms crossed at the chest. I breathed a sigh of relief for a moment before uncovering the baby from under the blanket at 2:20pm. I saw he was a boy, noticed poo up his back, then I saw his arms flop, and his face was purple.

I noted to my husband that he was purple and I needed a towel. I wiped his face, wiped his back, and rubbed his back and chest to encourage him to breath. Ready to take the next step, he made a little squeak and his color began to pink up, then he began to cry.

I looked up at that point to see everyone tearful. He was here. He was here after 24hrs of labor, all 11lbs of him with that 15″ head! I laid back with him and could feel all the work I had done and felt tired. Not long after, I delivered the placenta, thankful to find that I hadn’t torn at all. My husband then cut the cord, helped me wash up, and cleaned up from the birth, then helped me to bed so I could sleep and nurse the baby. I slept for the rest of the day and through the night as he took care of the rest of the kids.

Chelubai Theodore (whole hearted gift of God) has been nursing like a champ and is a sweet addition to the family. It’s as if he was here all along. Life has been pretty normal considering another person being added to our crew. The Lord knows good gifts and this boy is a great gift indeed.

So thankful for you, Chelubai…