Normalizing Birth One Baby At a Time: An Unassisted Birth Story

by Birth Without Fear on October 17, 2011

Jackson Timothy Lee
Born October 11th at 11:30pm.
7lbs, 20 inches

Our second unassisted birth was nothing like our first, but was wonderful just the same. The first was my husband and I, candle-light, music, thunderstorm and then Jasmine; all beautiful and perfect.

Now, five years later (literally the same due date) I wanted to have big sister included, to show her that birth is magical and beautiful and natural. I wanted to get to her before Hollywood could so that what we do could be her “normal”. I invited my mom to be a part of the birth and Jasmine’s “keeper” so that my DH and I could just focus on us and labor.

I enjoyed pregnancy, had very few symptoms, soaked up books like Laura Shanley’s “Unassisted Childbirth”, Gaskin’s “Spiritual Midwifery” and “Guide to Natural Childbirth”. I also enjoyed every minute of Grantly Dick-Read’s “Childbirth Without Fear” although it took the good second ½ of my pregnancy to get through it.

Contractions began at 11pm on Monday the 10th of October, the day after my husband’s birthday and a week before my daughter’s 5th birthday. I was in bed and stayed there until 12:30am when I decided that I was no longer going to be able to lie down. It was sprinkling outside so we bundled up and headed out for a walk. I was so excited I wasn’t sure if I was shaking from the adrenaline or the chill. We labored through the night. My first labor was 11 hours long and I suspected this to be even quicker.

I was surprised how fast 6am came and my daughter woke up. She was very excited and my mom switched into Granny-mode and we continued to labor. By early afternoon I was started to get frustrated that it wasn’t going how I thought it would and my husband and I both had to address how our expectations not being met was not the same thing as labor not going well, although it was hard. I had been very confident that I would be able to be relaxed and fear-free enough to have a painless or near painless childbirth and found myself feeling more disappointment when I couldn’t.

Contractions got more painful as I became more and more exhausted. A contraction would begin and would have complete control over me and really hurt until I could get my ‘pitch’ right or my breath right and take that control back – and then it was powerful, but not painful. We were never concerned with how dilated I was, we never timed any contractions. We danced to music, I swayed while hanging onto my husband’s chin-up bar and we walked. Sometimes I would lay down and rest and it would feel great, until it didn’t and then we’d change it up. I was able to joke, even 20+ hours into labor about the constant search for the illustrious position or thing that will feel comfortable and provide rest and relief; knowing it doesn’t exist never stops one from searching.

My daughter was amazing. She would “pet” me and tell me how strong I was, she would mimic my noises and breathing then go back to working on her puzzle or game. If she ever looked concerned I would wink at her and she would melt and run off. She brought me water and later told me that I was the best laborer she ever knew. Around 9pm on the 11th, a full moon and still rain, I sent my husband to bed and said I’d wake him when I needed him. All my dreams about birth had involved me asking everyone to leave me alone so I could be by myself; so I sang to myself, swayed and met each contraction. I was quiet and kept my eves closed.

By 11pm I knew it was time. With the next contraction I roared so loud which felt great and was an effective way of letting everyone know they could wake up now and join me.

It worked.

I got into the birth tub just after 11pm. The water felt wonderful and within 10 minutes of pushing the head was crowning – as you know, it felt wonderful when the head came out. I leaned forward and my mom and husband said they could see the baby blinking and looking around and that there was no cord so I should push, but I yelled out “wake up Jasmine”! It was hard to wait, but she was up and with us in no time. She could see the baby and watched as he was born.

I was able to stand up and get out of the tub by myself. No tearing or much bleeding. We sat down and Jasmine cut the cord about 30 minutes later when the it stopped pulsating. We bundled the little man up, adjusted him and he fed right away. After about an hour we all climbed into bed. I didn’t deliver the placenta until 10 hours later, but it took 15 hours with my daughter. Another example of normal for one vs. common for most.

The next morning we took Jackson to Earth Fare and put him in the produce scale to weigh him. We had taken Jasmine to the automatic scale at the post office so this seemed appropriate. With diaper, onsie, blanket and hat he weighed 7lbs and was 20 inches long. The whole family is doing great and I’m so happy to share this story. ~Jess

weighing baby




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