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Selah’s Birth Story

Selah’s Birth Story

Autumn shares with us the birth story of her fifth child.

“Honey, we are pregnant!”

And just like that, baby number five was on the way. Actually, it had taken over a year of trying after number four, but once that test showed positive, I was ecstatic. I’m sort of a pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding junkie, and we always wanted a big family (but perhaps at some point I should get a new hobby or become a midwife – someday!).

All of my births were incredible journeys of learning, experiencing the power within myself, discovering strength I didn’t know I had, and wonder at meeting a new human. My first birth was a planned unmedicated hospital birth; but I was young, uneducated and I ended up falling prey to their cascade of interventions. So for number two I educated myself, hired a doula and had a textbook wonderful, unmedicated hospital birth.

For number three, I decided I wanted a home birth. At 32 weeks, I started having lots of Braxton Hicks contractions and went into labor at 36 weeks and two days. It was a beautiful, empowering and life-changing experience. At that moment, I decided I always wanted to birth my babies at home; but rarely does life go as planned. I went into preterm labor with number four at 32 weeks, and was admitted to the hospital. They were able to stop me from progressing with medication, but the contractions themselves wouldn’t stop. I was released from the hospital on medication and instructed to be on modified bed rest (Ha! I was a mother to three other children…but I did my best.) From 32 weeks until my water broke at 38 weeks I literally contracted every five minutes – even on medication. I think my body was exhausted.

My water broke spontaneously at 4 a.m. on Christmas morning with no contractions. My husband was only comfortable waiting for labor to begin for 24 hours. So when it didn’t, we headed to the hospital, got some Pitocin, and two hours later without any other medication, I was holding baby number four in my arms. I then proceeded to hemorrhage, and things got a little crazy. Number four’s birth was a little traumatic and went nothing like the plan, but it was still oh so worth it. So when I found out I was pregnant with number five (which is supposed to be our last), I was set on another home birth. I envisioned a perfect birth with a midwife and a photographer capturing all the intimate moments so I could treasure them for a lifetime. And this was my last shot at it!

First on my agenda was to locate a midwife, and then hire a birth photographer. Since we are a military family, all my babies have been born in different states; so I’ve never had the opportunity to have the same midwife with any of my babies. So I located a midwife and began seeing her. Through a misunderstanding on my part at thirty weeks, I realized that I needed a CNM for my insurance to help cover the home birth. So I contacted a different midwife, and she was willing to take me so late in my pregnancy. I loved her. I had never really “clicked” with my first midwife, but after the first time talking with our new midwife I loved her. She felt like the perfect match for our family. The only drawback in my mind was that she lived over an hour away; and we live in the Washington, DC area, so traffic can turn any drive into a much longer adventure.

At 32 weeks again, my Braxton Hicks contractions started in fierce. Given my history, we monitored them closely and I rested as much as possible. I tried all sorts of different strategies to try to keep the contractions down to a minimum. I absolutely did not want to go into preterm labor. I desperately wanted to make it to at least 36 weeks, if not longer; so I was willing to try anything that would help. My mom decided to come when I was 34 weeks to help with the other children and around the house. I homeschool my older kids, so “resting” during the day isn’t very easy. Once we made it to 36 weeks, my mother-in-law decided to go ahead and fly in so she could be at the birth as well.

Two days before my 37-week visit with the midwife, my contractions picked up in intensity and frequency. As the day progressed, they got closer and stronger. I tucked all my little ones in bed around 7 p.m. and then went to take a bath. By about 9 p.m. that night, my contractions were about three minutes apart and a little longer than a minute in duration, and I even a little bit of bloody show; so I called the midwife. In my mind I thought, “This is it!” (I should know what labor is, right? This is baby, number five after all).

My midwife checked back in about an hour later and the contractions were still going strong. She decided to go ahead and come over. Her assistant arrived first and started taking my vitals and helping me through the contractions. Shortly after the midwife arrived, the photographer arrived as well. The contractions were strong enough that it was difficult to talk through them. Then, about three hours after everyone arrived, they just stopped. We waited all night and nothing happened. So the next morning everyone left, thinking that my labor would probably start later that night again.

But nothing happened. My contractions just went back to their regular pattern. About a week later, this happened again. My 38-week appointment rolled around and everything looked great. Physically and emotionally, I was tired due to all the contractions, but baby was doing great. Then 39 weeks came and went as well. By this point, I was so ready to have this baby. I wasn’t sleeping well due to all the contractions, my hips were so sore, and I was tired of wondering, “Is this it?” My best friend had flown in for this week because we were sure baby would be here. But alas, my friend had to get back home to her family while there was still no baby.

At 40 weeks, my midwife arrived at my house for another weekly check. I had all my supplies ready, baby was doing well, and the grandmas were still at our house waiting for baby to arrive. At this point I was not feeling confident in my ability to be able to “know” when I was truly in labor. We had had several “this is it” calls, only to be disappointed… This was baby number five and I still couldn’t figure this out!

My midwife ad I had talked many times about what I envisioned the birth to be, what I wanted, and so forth. My biggest fear for the birth was that my midwife wouldn’t make it in time. I did not want to birth my baby without my midwife there. Especially since I had hemorrhaged after my fourth. We talked extensively about what to do if I had the baby before she got there. I felt so relieved; and for the first time, I felt at peace with the possibility of doing it without the midwife there. I still didn’t want it to happen that way, but I felt prepared in the event that it did. We parted ways with a hug, and a 41-week visit scheduled.

Before bed that night, my contractions had moved a little closer together, but I was not concerned since this had happened many times before. I honestly didn’t even give it a second thought. At 4:30 a.m. on March 23, 2016, I woke up to a contraction. I also needed to go pee, so I decided to get out of bed. While going to the bathroom, I noticed a little bit of bloody show. But again, this had all happened before in the few weeks prior. So I decided to lie back down. I lay down for about 20 minutes and had a couple more contractions, but I just couldn’t get comfortable due to my hips hurting. They had been bothering me so much over the course of the last few weeks of pregnancy.

Most mornings, I had been getting up at around 5 a.m. because it hurt too much to lie in bed any longer. So I slipped out of bed without waking my husband up, and decided to go downstairs and eat something. I made myself some eggs; and while doing that, I had a few more contractions. These contractions maybe felt a little stronger than my normal everyday Braxton Hicks contractions, but were nothing close to being painful. I went upstairs and decided to read. After about 30 minutes I decided to give the midwife a call; it was about 5:30 a.m., since the contractions were coming about every 5 minutes now. They still were not painful or unbearable, but I was still having a little bloody show. I figured we would have the baby sometime that day, perhaps around noonish.

I unlocked the front door and made my way upstairs to get in the bath to see if that would slow the contractions down. Before I got in, I thought I should wake my husband up, just to let him know what was going on. He immediately sat up and was ready to go. I reassured him he should just get more sleep as I didn’t need anything at this point, and told him I just wanted to let him know the front door was open and that the midwife would be there in about an hour. He insisted he wanted to get up, and I finally agreed.

Before I had gone downstairs to eat, I had set up the video camera just in case this was it. This was my last baby, and I did not want to miss getting it on camera. It was about 6 a.m. now and my tub was full of warm water. I put my sports bra on and got in to relax. A few minutes after I got in the tub, I had a contraction and I felt my water break. I immediately knew this was REAL labor and that this baby was coming fast. As soon as my water broke, I felt like I needed to push and I knew she was really close to being born. Mind you, less than five minutes before this I was reassuring my husband he could stay in bed because I didn’t even know if I was really in labor.

As soon as my water broke, I felt intense pressure. I screamed for my husband to get back in the bathroom, call the midwife, and press record on the camera. In my mind I knew the midwife wasn’t going to make it, but I was hoping she had somehow miraculously covered a large distance and was about ready to turn onto our street. But that wasn’t the case. She was still a little over thirty minutes away. We decided she would stay on the phone with us. As we were waiting for another contraction, she asked if I had called the photographer. SHOOT! Given the fact that I wasn’t sure this was it and then now the craziness, it hadn’t even crossed my mind. I texted the photographer to tell her that I was in labor and that she should get there fast. She texted back saying she was on her way.

I had another contraction, and it was all I could do to keep from pushing. The contractions were so strong and powerful all of a sudden. My husband was a nervous wreck. He kept pacing; and all I wanted was for him to hold my hand. I did not want to have this baby by myself. The midwife wanted him to go get a few things ready, but I did not want him to leave me. At around this time, another powerful contraction began. The midwife was talking me through it, but about halfway through I could no longer hold off on pushing. My body just took over; and my daughter’s head was born. The midwife continued calmly talking with us, and I just patiently waited in the water for the next contraction. Even over the phone, our midwife was calm, collected, confident, and reassuring and a source of comfort for me. Her confidence and reassurance translated to a level of peace and confidence in my heart and mind.

The next contraction came at 6:15 a.m. and our fifth baby – our second daughter – joined us earth side just 15 minutes after my water had broken and I realized I really was in labor. She slid into my arms, and I immediately brought her to my chest. It was the most surreal moment. She snuggled in, and within a few moments let out her first cry. What a relief. I had done it. Selah Grace was here, and we were now a family of seven. Just my husband and I were at her birth. My mom, his mom, and our four older children had no idea the baby had been born.

Since the midwife was still about 30 minutes away, we decided to go get my husband’s mom to come assess my bleeding since she was a labor and delivery nurse. She told us she was in shock when he came back downstairs and told him the baby was here. She made her way up the stairs and monitored the situation until the midwife arrived. While we waited for the midwife I tried to get my new little one to nurse, but she was happy to just stare at me and listen to me talk to her.

The midwife arrived, the placenta was born, and everyone finally made it in our room to meet the new addition to the family. The photographer had also arrived so she was able to at least capture these moments. It was so beautiful to have all my children in bed with me marveling at our newest baby. She finally decided it was time to eat and she was a champ from the get go at breastfeeding. It was magical. Everyone enjoyed the next few hours of skin-to-skin, weighing baby, looking her over, and taking her in for the first time.

Her birth happened so quickly that it took me several weeks – maybe even a few months – to come to terms with it. In some ways, I felt like I couldn’t even process it because it had felt like such a whirlwind. It was peaceful and awe-inspiring, but it was just difficult to wrap my mind around. Now, eight months later, I feel empowered. It was a magical moment being the only ones there, and I realize there was no way for me to guess that it would have happened that quickly.

Photographs by Alhalia Photography.

The Freebirth of Poppy

The Freebirth of Poppy

Kerry shares with us the incredible story of her daughter’s freebirth at home. 

This was my first unassisted pregnancy and planned unassisted birth, after two beautiful midwife- assisted home births. At around 37 weeks I began experiencing intense exhaustion; I couldn’t rest enough. All I wanted to do was sleep, and I felt extremely fatigued. Fast-forward to 38 weeks, and my energy level took a 180. I couldn’t sit still, dragging my poor husband and children out for walks even though it was mid-December and raining in Washington. This continued for a few days. On Sunday, December 13 (38 weeks 5 days pregnant), I stayed home from church, not having slept well the night before. We were in the process of selling our house and packing for a cross-country move, so things were pretty hectic.

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That Sunday evening, I experienced lots of mild toning contractions; but that was very typical for me.They didn’t increase in intensity, and even though it was typical for my body to do this, I sensed that my body would soon be in labor. I went to bed at around 10:30 p.m. and finally fell asleep at around 12:30 or 1 a.m. A toning contraction woke me at around 1:30; so I emptied my bladder and went back to bed. A strong contraction woke me at 3 a.m.; I went pee, and tried to go back to sleep. Another wave came a few minutes after I’d gotten back in bed, and it was uncomfortable enough that it required me to get on all fours in bed until it passed. I tried to sleep again. This repeated every five minutes or so for half an hour before I decided I wasn’t getting any sleep and it probably was labor – excitement! Yay!

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I planned to labor quietly on my own until things picked up in intensity before waking Forrest, my husband. This resolve lasted for about 15 minutes before I knew I had to wake him to start filling the pool (my other labors were only four hours long). At 3:45 I sat down next to my sleeping husband and gently shook him, “I’d like the house straightened… Can you help me?” “Right now??” “Yes, right now!” Looking back, I now understand the crazy look he gave me. He tried to go back to sleep, and that’s when I told him that I thought I was in labor. He got up, and began the task of dealing with the pool and hose while I decided it was a good time to sweep the house and change the sheets, having to stop every few minutes to lean against the wall and sway through a contraction.

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My youngest, 3-year-old Phoebe, had woken up at this point and was meandering about, helping me with the bed and asking why I couldn’t talk and why I had my eyes closed when I leaned against the wall. The waves were picking up in intensity; I got in the shower and let the water run down my back through a few contractions, but wanted to conserve hot water for the pool so I got out quickly. It was around 5 a.m. when the pool started getting filled, and I jumped in as soon as there was a few inches of water in it. Phoebe was still awake and wanting to help, so she got her big cup from the bathtub and brought it to the living room and would take turns with me pouring water over my back or belly when a wave would hit. Forrest continued to fill the tub, having to boil water on the stove since we ran out of hot water pretty quickly. I was able to comfortably labor sitting down while pouring water on my belly till around 6:15 a.m. or so.

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I was leaning over the side of the tub as Forrest poured water over my back when a double wave hit, and lasted about two minutes or more. The tightening of the previous contractions changed as I felt my body begin to bear down. I was no longer comfortable in one position or sitting still, and became extremely active in the pool, attempting to get into any position to get some relief, vocalizing through each wave. This was the first unmedicated birth Forrest had seen, and also my most vocal; he asked if I was alright and if this was “normal;” “Yes, dear,” I replied, smiling; “It’s normal.” He may have ended up with a bruised calf with how tightly I was holding onto him through some of the waves!

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I put my hand down expecting to feel a wedge of baby’s head, but there was nothing. Another strong wave passed over me. I felt a bulging bag of water right inside, but the head was still a few inches up behind my cervix. Fetal ejection reflex took over and I had a contraction with my body bearing down as hard as possible. I like to feel my baby continually throughout this stage, so I kept my fingers near baby’s head. Baby’s head didn’t budge, but the bag of water continued to grow/descend. I knew I needed to break the bag to bring baby down, so I pinched it and it emptied into the pool.

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Another wave hit, and I roared as I felt the baby fully descend into the birth canal and out into my hands in that one wave. It was 6:30 a.m. The tentative plan had been for Forrest to catch, but the baby descended so quickly that I wasn’t able to verbalize what was going on. I sat back and began to pull the baby out of the water; the cord was wrapped once around the neck, so I unwrapped it and brought the baby to my chest. This all happened in a matter of a minute; and Forrest kept saying, “I can’t believe there’s a baby! Just like that!” The baby felt so tiny in my arms! Levi, our oldest at 6 years old, had woken up about 15 minutes before, so two of the kids were standing in the doorway and got to see their baby sibling being born. (And they’ll tell you alllllll about it!) Sadly, we didn’t get any pictures or videos of the birth itself, but we got the gender reveal on video, which I’m grateful for. We were both certain this little one was a boy, but turns out… she was a girl – our third daughter!

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Baby and I cuddled in the pool for a while, just soaking in this amazing new person in my arms. I finally got out and onto a stool to try to expel the placenta; even though she was nursing, contractions had halted. The stool wasn’t very comfortable so we moved to the toilet and nursed and hung out there for a bit until the placenta delivered. At about 9 a.m. or so we cut the cord, weighed and measured her (she was my smallest baby by quite a bit… no wonder she felt so little!) and spent the rest of the day cuddling in bed. Two days later she finally had a name – Penelope (Poppy) Eileen – after her great grandmother. This pregnancy and birth were such an incredible journey. Trusting my body, learning to listen and be in tune with my baby, and experience the undisturbed wonder of this process that God created so perfectly and that brought our daughter into the world.

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Penelope Eileen//12-14-15//6:30am//7lbs5oz//19.5″

 

Unexpected Home Delivery

Unexpected Home Delivery

Maria tells the touching story of her daughter’s birth. 

On June 1st at around 7:30 a.m., the day my daughter was born I woke up with cramps and the need to use the bathroom a lot (I thought the spicy chips from the night before had something to do with it since I couldn’t tolerate anything spicy throughout the pregnancy). The cramps kept getting closer together but remained tolerable, and I found that it was better sitting down than laying down.

So I decided to take a shower hoping maybe it would stop, since I had heard baths and showers stop the cramping if it’s fake labor, and speed it up if it’s the real deal. While I was showering, it kept on getting worse and I couldn’t stay calm; I was screaming and wanting to calm down, but I just couldn’t.

I got out of the shower, went to lie down, and texted my husband to tell him that I was having bad cramps but that my stomach wasn’t hard like the contractions everyone describes. The pain wasn’t letting up, so I went to the bathroom to sit, screaming all the while; my husband called and I don’t remember what he asked, but I told him to come home.

All of a sudden I felt the need to bear down, and I texted my husband to call an ambulance for me because baby was coming and there was no stopping her. At 12:19 p.m., I delivered her. She came out looking around; I put her on my chest for skin-to-skin time, she let out a little cry after that, and about five minutes later I delivered the placenta.


Paramedics came five minutes after that so I had to open the door because my husband wasn’t here yet! He actually got home just in time to cut the cord! This all happened within 30 minutes of getting out of the shower—and just four minutes of pushing. At the hospital they checked me and saw that I had a tiny tear that didn’t need stitches; they checked the baby as well, and she was perfectly fine.

It is so amazing what our bodies do! I hope this story empowers more moms in knowing that they can do it!

The Birth of Ellis: A Planned Homebirth, Uplanned Unassisted

The Birth of Ellis: A Planned Homebirth, Uplanned Unassisted

My son, Ellis, was born at home on the 6th of November, 2015 in our bathroom unassisted and perfectly peaceful in every way. 

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I had a very healthy pregnancy and worked hard to prepare my body for birth and labor. I envisioned our birth daily, seeing a dark, quiet house, with just my family around me and birthing in our bathroom. Little did I know that my dreams of a quiet birth would be a reality.

Both Tuesday night and Wednesday night before the birth, I contracted mildly for about an hour each evening. We would get ready for bed and sleep very restfully. I felt a decreased amount of activity from the baby on Wednesday night through Thursday morning; I wanted my red raspberry tea first thing that morning to help increase the chance of fetal movement. I felt the baby move very gently and was grateful for the reassuring bumps. Thursday afternoon I had very mild contractions on and off, but in no way felt that I was in labor. I wanted a light dinner and was craving salad, so we all packed up for a family dinner at Ruby Tuesday’s that evening. My sister, Sunshine, and my nephew had been visiting me, my husband, and our two and a half year old daughter for about a week. We returned home and put the kiddos to bed. I had very mild contractions on the birth ball while we watched TV and chatted until about 11 PM when we all went to bed. 

I woke up a few times to go to the bathroom that night, and felt fine. I was able to go right back to sleep each time. When I woke up at 2:36 AM to a contraction that was making me shake my leg to distract myself through it, I woke Satch and told him that I was going to time a few contractions to see if we were laboring.  Contractions were about three minutes apart. I went to the bathroom and saw a slight tinge of show.

I texted the midwife at 2:50 AM:

Harmony: I’ve been having some contractions and bloody show. Not sure how serious they are, slept in between them for a while, now they are keeping me awake.

Midwife:  How far apart are they?

Harmony:  Right now 2-3 min, but I’m having a hard time knowing how intense they are. Still talking through them.

Midwife: How long have they been that close?

Harmony:  Probably for the last 30 min. I don’t think you need to come yet, just trying to give you a heads up. I was not tracking them for a while, just trying to sleep and not being able to.

She told me to keep her updated.

At 3:00 AM, I went into the guest room and told Sunni that I was contracting regularly, had some bloody show, and had been in contact with the midwife. She said she would stay in bed for a few minutes to get her bearings.

I continued to labor in the living room, walking around during contractions and in between. I noticed they slowed and lost intensity when I sat, so I chose to keep walking around – making laps around the living room, stopping to look at my birth vision cards, walking into the master bedroom and touching the baby things. Satch was sitting on the couch and applying my labor oils to my lower back, tracking my contractions with my phone’s app. 

Sunni came out of the guest room at 3:27 AM and sat in the living room with Satch and me. She checked with me if I wanted her out with us. She said, “I don’t want you to feel like a watched pot.” I told her I wanted her out there with us to distract me.  We chatted in between contractions, which were still two to three minutes apart. At one point, I questioned if we should all go back to bed and try to get some more rest.  Satch was resting in between contractions, sometimes struggling to get the contraction tracked in the app, because he had dosed off. He apologized about sleeping in between and I told him that I didn’t care; I wanted him to get rest for when I needed him later. We were all so at peace and the atmosphere was unrushed, dim, and calm.  

Around 4 AM, we started talking about the plan for the kids in a few hours –trying to figure out when to call in child care help and where Sunni and the kids would go, or if they could stay home. We knew it was going to have to be organic decision-making in a few hours based on where I was in labor.

About 4:15 AM, contractions became more intense. I tried sitting on the birth ball and it felt wrong, so I got down on my hands and knees and was rocking to a rhythm. I commented that I was feeling the contractions in my vagina and had never felt that with Maelyn’s labor. In between some of these stronger contractions, I was still picking back up our conversation from the last break. I asked Sunni to fill my diffusers with frankincense and she went into the kitchen. At the end of the next contraction, I felt fluid and said to Satch, “Oops, I peed.” Then, I immediately told him, “No, my water just broke.” They went to get towels and shove them under my knees while I was still on all fours on the living room floor. It was 4:30 AM.

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I told Satch to call the midwife. Sunni was on the floor behind me and I asked her what color the amniotic fluid was. She said it was stained, but because of the dim lighting we would need to confirm in different lighting. I asked for my labor oil blend to be sprayed on my lower back, because I was feeling nauseated. I told Satch I wanted to move to the bathroom. I had already started to feel pressure like I wanted to push and was feeling like I should do that on the toilet. There was so much pressure and my contractions were really strong. Satch supported my weight to the bathroom and started moving the rugs out, and Sunni took out the bathroom trash. We all knew instinctually that it would be soon. 

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I sat on the toilet and the next contraction was so intense. It rushed through me and I prayed out loud that God would give me a break, so that I could get my perspective back. I also said something about just needing to give up control and let go. I did get a break from that contraction and knew that I was going to push the next time one rushed through my body. I asked Sunni to start filling up the bathtub and told her not to get it hot. There was a longer break before the next contraction. Sunni told me, “Your baby is going to be born on November 6th.” 

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I told them I was so hot; Satch opened the bathroom window and Sunni looked around out in the other room and found a stiff manila envelope on my printer. She brought it into the bathroom to fan me with, but never used it as my next contraction started and I began to push. It felt right and I felt between my legs and could feel the baby’s head. I used the whole contraction to bear down and steadily push. Satch and Sunni tell me that they didn’t know I was pushing. The baby’s head came out and I eased back and waited. I stood up from sitting over the toilet. I was holding the head gently and it was so smooth and round. My hand kept stroking it gently and I remember saying to the baby, “Just wait a minute for me.” The head was so smooth and I was expecting to feel hair, so when I didn’t, I asked, “Is this the head?” For a fleeting moment, I wondered if it was a butt and I was delivering breech. Sunni and Satch both told me it was the baby’s head, and I started right into the next contraction. 

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Working to push slowly, the baby’s body slid right into my hands and I brought it to my chest. It was 4:50 AM. Sunni also held the baby’s back as it came out, asked if I needed any help, and I said, “No,” and she stepped back. I walked across the floor and stepped into the tub. The baby had the cord looped around its arm and neck, so I loosened the cord from its arm and Sunni pulled it from the nape of its neck over the top of the head. Sunni said, “It’s a boy.” We were all so joyful, especially Satch. I asked Sunni to hold Ellis so I could sit down in the tub. Satch went to get the nose frida, and Sunni cleaned out his nose and mouth. Satch gave me a washcloth to wipe his face and chest. Ellis was moving well and was so peaceful. He had cried softly, as he was coming out and after we had removed the nuchal cord, but he was calm as he lay in my lap in the water. Satch handed me a towel to help keep Ellis warm in the water.

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The midwives arrived at 5:05 AM. Satch met them at the door and told them I was in the bathroom. They asked if they had made it in time and Satch told them Ellis was born. They commented that they were not surprised. They checked the baby and were pleased. I sat up in the tub to birth the placenta and we placed it in a two gallon bag and it went with Ellis to our bedroom. I got out of the tub and the midwife dried me off. Satch took a towel, wiped some blood off my feet, and helped me to our bedroom. I got in our bed with the baby and Satch, and I spent the next 30 minutes snuggling with Ellis while the midwives prepared the herbal bath. Maelyn, our daughter woke up at 5:55 AM and Satch carried her in to meet her brother. Satch cut the umbilical cord at 6:10 AM and Maelyn checked to be sure it did not hurt the baby. Ellis and I enjoyed an herbal bath with Satch pouring water over the baby the whole time. The midwives took Ellis back to our bedroom for his newborn check and the whole family watched Ellis get checked and weighed. He was 8 lbs. 11 oz. and 21 inches long. The midwives asked if I wanted to be checked for vaginal tears and were pleased to report that there had been no tearing with only two pushes for delivery. It was then time for me to eat breakfast in bed. The midwives left, and Satch and Sunni resumed the morning routine with the kids with an extra amount of excitement in our home.Collage

Unassisted Home Birth

Unassisted Home Birth

I had a very eventful, and luckily smooth, second birth and thought I could share a little picture of it. I’ve never felt as empowered as I did in this moment. My second little love decided to come a week early and fast! We had decided to do a home birth, since our previous hospital experience with our first son was not so hot.

This was my ocean baby – always doing yoga in my belly, never pushy. The three hour precipitous labor a week early came as quite a surprise, given his personality. My midwife missed the show and my husband almost did, too! My toddler was my doula, holding my head at the end of my contractions, telling me I’m ok until I moved to the bathroom on instinct and started pushing.

Daddy caught my sweets, unwrapped a bit of cord around his neck, and handed him over to me as I moved from all fours to grasp him. I felt like a 6lb 8oz freight train had just run through my body! The midwife couldn’t believe her ears when my husband told her the baby was born and healthy. I pushed out the placenta, and Daddy cut and clamped the cord with our kitchen scissors and home birth kit materials. Amazing!

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Accidental Unassisted Birth, Down Syndrome, Mom Catches Baby Born En Caul

Accidental Unassisted Birth, Down Syndrome, Mom Catches Baby Born En Caul

My pregnancy with Blake was discovered in October 2014; I had noticed clothes not fitting well for a while and was having to pull my t-shirts down when wearing Tyler on my back. I didn’t think much of it until one day I posted in a tandem nursing Facebook group, complaining profusely about how painful it was to feed the kids at that time.

I hadn’t had a period since forever, so it didn’t occur to me that anything might be going on until another dear tandem nursing mama friend ordered me gently to go and ‘pee on a stick’. Which I did out of curiosity. Poor hubby got told via text message as I was quite stunned & speechless at a positive result. Very delighted – absolutely – but just unexpected!

It explained my chaotic thinking that seems to occur early in my pregnancies, and my stress and anxiety type of symptoms. A bit of magnesium had helped with that, and that was all I had thought of it. I’m thankful that my naturopath had put me onto folinic acid which I had been taking (mostly haphazardly as I wasn’t expecting to get pregnant until I at least had a period) – that small amount of planning was very valuable.

There was a few things happening. I got sick with a sinus infection that I couldn’t shake, and we had a homeschooling camping trip that we went to before going to a GP in November to organize an ultrasound to figure out how far along things were.

So we went for the scan, to be introduced to the student radiographer who would be doing our dating scan. The poor girl just about fell over upon having a look, as instead of seeing the little jelly bean she expected, she saw a 17 week old baby. Oops!

It seems I’d bypassed ‘morning sickness’ somehow (something to be thankful for), but I felt like I’d missed a big chunk of the pregnancy by being so symptom free. Or in denial of the symptoms I was noticing perhaps.

So with that scan started our roller coaster. The senior radiographer came in & did a bunch of measurements, more so than what I understood. We went home happy to now have an ETA for bub, but this was interrupted by being contacted by the GP fairly immediately to go in to ‘discuss’ the scan.

My memory is hazy of this appointment; I mostly remember the horror of ‘chromosomal abnormality’ and ‘termination’ being mentioned in the same sentence, multiple times. Thankfully my husband had been able to come with me to the appointment.

My 2yo had fallen asleep in my arms nursing during the conversation. I carried him out while we were escorted out the back exit; I handed him to my husband at the car & fell into a heap. My first & only thought was “what have I done to my baby?” There was no question for us about continuing the pregnancy. This was our child, no matter what.

So we then had multiple appointments at King Edward Memorial Hospital. Whilst they were respectful & knowledgeable, they were puzzled by our lack of desire to confirm any diagnosis, and also by my desire to birth at home.

The first scan was organized quickly, about a week later. It wasn’t until we were there talking with the obstetrician afterwards about it, that I realized it was so they could still offer termination (which they did, a number of times), as they will do it up to 20 weeks. This discovery just broke my heart to learn. However, the appointment where I was told bub had a heart defect was the hardest, as it meant that our plans needed to change for the safety of the baby. However, I told them we would wait until the next heart scan before making any decisions.

I could see the pity in their eyes, with a knowing that I would be disappointed look about them.

Thankfully, during this time, I engaged the services of my gorgeous independent midwife who rescued me from feeling sucked into the medical world, where I truly don’t fit. I don’t think like they do, yet somehow I was ending up with multiple scans despite only having had one at 20 weeks for my previous two pregnancies and having to justify myself constantly. To them & in my own head.

This pregnancy was difficult & I had to work hard to protect myself in my bubble. I was offered the hybobirthing course by a doula-in-training friend, and it was amazing! Among the anxieties of the pregnancy and the busyness of 2 other little ones, it gave me a small amount of time each day to just enjoy bubby and to relax & block out the negativity that we are all so very susceptible to while pregnant.

So the second cardiology scan was basically, “Oh, that’s not what I thought it was. Baby’s heart is fine and perfectly safe to be born at home if you want. Just have it checked out when you’re ready.” Such relief! It was amazing and infuriating at the same time. And still the obstetrician wanted one last scan about a week later.

So, by the time I was done with the scans and follow ups, etc., I got a few weeks of just enjoying pregnancy as it should be and as it is intended.

My beautiful Blessingway was organized by some amazing friends for when I was about 36 weeks. It was a gorgeous day and I feel so very lucky to have been as super spoiled as I was. It really wasn’t until I had some hindsight & had birthed & felt a bit more normal emotionally that I experienced full appreciation of how truly blessed I am with my friends. This special photo was taken by Capturing Adventures.

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On Thursday 2nd April (at about 36w4d) we went to playgroup as usual. I was on my butt a lot. As usual. I was getting a lot of tightening, but nothing out of the ordinary. I was getting Braxton Hicks anytime the kids had a feed. I complained at one stage, had another mama put her hand on my tummy to comment that there was still plenty more room. Maybe there was.

So that night, hubby went out for a few drinks, which he rarely does. He didn’t get home late, so played with the kids for a while before they went to bed. But oh my gosh, I laughed and laughed and laughed at them. I’m surprised my waters didn’t break on the spot just from sheer pressure.

That night I was messaging a lovely friend who listened to me and supported me so much through the pregnancy. I was telling her how I had googled something about Braxton Hicks being more intense at night for some reason (I actually forget why now! Hormones perhaps?) and that I was glad to have discovered the reason for my nightly discomfort. I had my hypnobirthing track on to go to sleep to – it was after dozing through 3 or 4 changes of tracks that I thought I’d have a shower just to try to settle them down.

It was about 2am and I messaged my midwife to let her know. She replied with something to the effect of “have a good sleep” which just confirmed my idea that the discomfort would ease. The shower felt amazing but when I hopped out, I just wanted to walk around a bit. I let hubby know I was up and he went back to sleep. My 2yo woke so I hopped into bed to feed him. As soon as I could, I got back up as breastfeeding was NOT helping me relax!!

I wandered around the house and found myself swaying against our crazy-never-ever-tidy bookcase. All good. I was chatting to bub, reminding them to wait at least until Sunday so I’d be 37w and we could avoid any hassle. I was looking forward to going back to sleep.

Little 2yo person woke up again, wandering out to find me. Hubby got up with him. I sat on the lounge to feed him this time; quickly demanding hubby sit next to me while I squeezed the shit out of his hand through two contractions. And I call them contractions with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight. There was still no acknowledgement in my mind that a baby was probably joining us that night.

I had to peel my 2yo off me and hand him to hubby. I just couldn’t do it, I needed to get into the shower. I was so torn by his sadness, but needed to go. Hubby picked up our little boy and walked and cuddled him to help him sleep.

I managed to send a text to my midwife as I was adjusting the water temperature of the shower “I think I need you here” at 3:30am. I vaguely recalled the same panicky feeling from my previous birth, and remembered how pushing helped relieve the pain, so as soon as I got in, I braced on the shower shelf and pushed.

It worked! It felt so good to push! But did anything happen?

I had a bit of a feel, totally clueless and only really just checking for a head which I was disappointed not to feel. Then the next wave came over me. I instinctively knelt on one knee, put my hands down… and caught my baby en caul! No wonder my waters hadn’t broken. (I was waiting for that as a sign of truly being in labor, just as I was waiting for morning sickness to start ha!) It was an amazingly brief acknowledgment as I wiped the membranes away immediately because I was very aware of being alone and needing bub to breathe.

I sat cross legged on the floor of the shower with him. I think I turned the water off somewhere along the way and called hubby, who it seems nearly ignored me as he almost had little guy to sleep. So they both came in to meet our newest gorgeous family member and cover us with towels. It was 3.33am.

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We got the big sister up who had just woken anyway and eventually called our midwife to come join us.

From there we had a few hours at home adoring our beautiful baby, before being ordered/ threatened/ whatever into KEMH by the pediatrician there, because bub displayed features of Down Syndrome. So we spent about 5-6 hours there while multiple staff examined him, x-rayed him, took blood, tried to vaccinate him, tried to admit us …all for no apparent reason than “people prefer to be in hospital if their baby has Down Syndrome.” Um, no thanks.

We eventually left and finally got our family home together late in the evening. We were so, so fortunate to have a beautiful friend waiting patiently to bring us dinner, heat it and serve it to us. I’m sure we were just in a total daze and exhausted by the energy exerted to protect our perfect baby. I still feel a loss from that time in hospital when we should have all been snuggled up together, discovering each other, but so absolutely grateful for the support around us and that I didn’t have to leave him at any time.

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So, little Blakey is the youngest of three. He has two adoring, loving siblings. We are all so lucky to have each other & I so look forward to watching them all grow together <3

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From the Grocery Story to Unassisted Home Birth in 15 Minutes

From the Grocery Story to Unassisted Home Birth in 15 Minutes

My daughter, Aisha Skye, was born on the 19th of February 2013 weighing in at 8 lbs 11 oz, after an unexpected homebirth.

I had my first daughter, Avalon, two years previously at our local hospital. She was born naturally after a few complications and six hours of active labour and pushing.

I was expecting a similar delivery as my first daughter so I was ready to be “in it for the long haul.” I was in “active” labour with Aisha for a total of two hours. My contractions were never closer than 15 minutes together. I spent most of it in my Mother’s spa bath. I was actually in Woolworths 15 minutes before Aisha was born, getting “supplies ” (reading material, snacks, etc.).

I returned back to Mum’s and jumped straight in the bath after almost pooping my pants in Woolworths. After calling for my sister and Mum and telling them that I needed to poo (while in the bath) they got me out. They placed me on the toilet where I felt my daughters head. Literally seconds passed and my waters popped on the toilet. My sister pulled me up off the toilet. I then placed one leg on the step of the bath and after one push my daughter Aisha was born. My Mum literally had to dive between my legs to catch her. We don’t know the exact time but we guess she was born around 8.23 pm.

The ambulance was called and we were taken to our local hospital. Aisha spent eight days in SCN as she has complications with her breathing and a few other issues. She is now a beautiful 6 month old. We still have a few issues regarding her breathing but she is a trooper and never ceases to amaze me.

Thank you for allowing me to share my story with all Mothers and families alike.

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A Decision to Birth Unassisted

A Decision to Birth Unassisted

When I first planned my birth, I wanted an empowered homebirth. With my doula, my midwife, a student midwife, my birth photographer and my husband and children present. I wanted a party! I wanted a shot of jacks after birth to celebrate. (I know kinda crazy but I can dream, can’t I?)

That all changed at 36 weeks. My whole pregnancy, I was in the care of one of the most respected midwives. She was a beautiful soul whom I’d worked with frequently in my line of work. We had our first appointment at 16 weeks. I told her my birth plan. We discussed my history of fast labors. And I asked about availability on short notice. She said “if she was available” she would come. And if she wasn’t I had to go to the hospital even though I was planning to birth at home. Red flag number one.

Should I not be a priority as a mother in labor?

We also discussed how I wanted to birth at home, unhindered with intervention only *IF* needed. I told her how I wanted my children present to witness birth and the normality of it… How I wanted to embrace whatever time of day it was. I wanted candles. Lots of candles. I wanted to catch my baby. She proceeded to interrupt me and say, “Children at labors can slow a mamma down. You should have someone readily available to take them at the onset of labor. And candles are a fire hazard with kids (or anyone). No candles. No kids.”

Whhhhaaaaat??? Red flag number two.

I overlooked it. She was right. Candles can be a hazard and I have seen crazier things slow a laboring mamma down. So I subconsciously obliged.

At 22 weeks we had another appointment my bloodwork came back. I was anemic: Borderline cut off for a homebirth. To me, I was far from concerned. This was normal for my pregnancies. My hemoglobin shoots back up around 35 weeks. It would go lower before it went higher. I tried explaining this to her to no avail.

My next appointment I was approached with the glucose test. Which I refused. (No two bodies will digest that drink the same to give accurate results. Body weight, diet, activity, etc. all plays a part in that test.) This was at 28 weeks or so. Plus with my other children 2 under two, no freaking way were they going to sit there quietly for over two hours while I tested. I was constantly rang to take the test each time politely declining. 32 weeks I measured larger than normal. I then realized that I was not being compared to my previous pregnancies, but I had been placed in a pool of statistics.

I was now fighting a losing battle for the birth I wanted.

The following day I got a phone call. My lovely midwife made the appointment for me, on a Saturday stating my husband could watch my children while I took the glucose test and now I had no reason to decline (red flag number 3). I was furious and ready to give up fighting. I unwillingly went for the test against my will- with my homebirth being threatened and held over my head if I didn’t submit.

A few days later, the results came back (bear in mind I was now taking a 28 week test at 32 weeks and the further in pregnancy you get the more of a diabetic state you become). My results came back positive for gestational diabetes. By ONE point.

I asked to retest because the results were SO close. I was refused.

I offered to finger prick for a week to show my levels were fine. Again refused.

I was now classed high risk. And even received my own diabetic association card (woo! *drips with sarcasm*). I was now confined to pricking my finger four times a day and eating “healthier” needing obstetric clearance to have the birth I wanted. I was set up with an OB that same week and I was cleared! I rang my midwife ecstatic.

She sounded SO surprised. I asked what was wrong and when she asked if it was the doctor she set up with and I said no, she stated that clearance didn’t count. What the hell!?

So I set up again with the same original OB. I ended up with a male OB that was not homebirth friendly. I asked how he felt about me birthing at home. He stated he wasn’t a fan and thought it was dangerous and silly, but there was literally NO reason he could even make up to tell me no. So he cleared me on the basis of an ultrasound. I was hesitant. Those are so inaccurate!

Again. I rang my midwife. Saying I had been cleared only to get the same response. It doesn’t count until its with the OB I set up with. I also voiced my concerns about having my homebirth approval being based off of an ultrasound that was horribly wrong for predicting baby weights. I told her I was afraid I would be forced to be induced early because it would be a “big baby” and end up in a section with a little 6 pounder. She said it’s not based on that. I knew it was.

I cried to my husband. I had done everything to please her. Even though it was against my will. I knew my body. My blood tests came back too. My hemoglobin was now under the cut off to birth at home anyway. So it didn’t matter if I got clearance or not. My homebirth dream was dead.

At 36 weeks I took the ultrasound even though I told her I didn’t want to do it unless medically indicated due to the risks associated with multiple ultrasounds. She said it was medically indicated because I had GD….yet I had never measured larger since that first time. There was no indication my baby was “large”. I fought back. And asked what if I don’t go? She said she wouldn’t attend my homebirth. Point blank.

I asked to redo my hemoglobin again. She agreed. My hemoglobin came back about 30 points higher than the previous test putting me back “in the run” for *MY* birth. Problem was, the OB had no opening until I was nearly 38 weeks. I was told if I birthed before then I *had* to go to the hospital. This was my final red flag.

Wait. So I *HAVE* to go to the hospital???

Again, I cried to my husband, this time uncontrollable snotty tears. I couldn’t take the constant back and forth. Homebirth, no hospital, okay homebirth, no you need clearance, this this that… the list seemed like it never ended.

Here I was nearing the end of my pregnancy and I had no idea where I was birthing. I did not feel like a safe and secure birthing mamma. My husband said to me, “Just don’t go. Lets do it here exactly how we want.”

*LIGHTBULB* I have been studying birth, women’s bodies, and babies for years. I was incredibly informed and the fact my husband trusted my wishes and believed in my body as much as I did, we decided that was the best decision for us. I wanted an unobtrusive birth. Unhindered in every way. I wanted to birth like an animal. With my kids running wild around me. Because that’s what my life was. Wild. I wanted my baby to be born in that same wild environment. The same environment he was conceived in. I had been contemplating doing this already, but had been too afraid to tell husband in fear of his reaction. So when HE mentioned it to me, I knew it was right.

At 36 weeks, my husband and I decided to birth without the presence of a midwife.

We planned and prepared. I wondered how the atmosphere of my birth would be affected with my standing feelings for my midwife. I had no option to change. It was her or the hospital. After much much MUCH deliberation, I decided it was best for me to protect my birth space.

A week later after 45 minutes of labor, our little darling was in our arms. With my littlest watching and riding his scooter around me. It was the most glorious and orgasmic experience. EVER. It was truly a pain free birth unlike my other two hospital births.

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I did end up getting clearance from the OB to birth at home. I knew I would. But by that time, my trust had been lost when an appointment was made without my consent. When I stated my birth plan at 16 weeks and it was shit on. What vibe was I allowing into my birth space by ringing her?

Birth is not about seeking the approval of your birth team. It’s about having the birth team support your birthing plans and choices. And that is exactly what I did.

I am not saying freebirth is for everyone and you should do it. Goodness no. I am saying that it is fully within your God given right to protect your birth space and have the birth you want. And when you don’t have the support, find new support. Having just me and my husband and children present was the most intimate experience I have ever had. Catching my own baby. Pure bliss. Take charge of your rights and your choices, women. Whether it be hospital, a long desired VBAC or a VBB.

Our bodies are made for this and we are all simply #variationsofnormal.

Unassisted Homebirth of a Baby Girl

Unassisted Homebirth of a Baby Girl

Amanda Rogowski shares the story of her second daughter’s birth – a beautiful and empowering unassisted birth at home. 

I decided to have an unassisted birth before I even had children. I have always believed in women’s abilities and intuition. I remember trying to tell my husband, Krzys, with our first pregnancy, and he thought I was insane. I couldn’t even convince him to do a home birth at that time, but I did manage to get him on board with a birth center.

After a long and chaotic laboring experience I ended up at the hospital for an epidural after 18 hours of labor, and was blessed by my sweet baby girl Anzley after 25 hours. After having Anzley, I kept planting the seed of a free birth with Krzys. Then we got pregnant with our second child, and he was still not comfortable with it. I continued to explain that I didn’t need outsiders and showed Krzys all the research and information I could find while preparing myself as well. I got the absolute minimum care by my midwife; after two prenatal visits and my 20 week anatomy scan, Krzys and I finally agreed on the birth of our baby.

I felt so relieved to have my husband’s support and I was free to follow my intuition for the rest of my pregnancy. I made sure to take care of myself and baby very well; nutrition and exercise were top priorities. I had chiropractic care throughout my pregnancy. I spent all of my spare time researching birth; but not out of need. It started as preparation, but pregnancy and birth became more of a hobby. I loved learning more and more, right up until I went into labor.

I awoke around 2:30 am to a contraction and needing to go to the bathroom. I wasn’t able to get anything out, so I went back to bed. I couldn’t sleep. I was feeling contractions every 3 to 10 minutes, varying in times and strength. I decided to get up, get some water, and decided to sit on my birth ball. Lying in bed only made the surges more painful.

I knew at this point that labor had started and I needed to stay hydrated and relaxed. It was different this time around. With Anzley the emotions took over when I started labor; just being so excited and then so scared of what was to come. With this baby I was in bliss; I knew that I had some work to do before it would truly be time and I wanted to let my body do all the work. I set my birth ball in front of the couch and after contractions I would lean over and nap for a few minutes before the next one came.

With each surge I felt it slowly build up, reach its peak, and then slowly let go. It was like I was exercising – flowing with each one, and then returning to complete relaxation after. It was an amazing feeling to be able to do that, and to be so happy and relaxed in this tranquil state of mind. I remember praying for the baby’s safe arrival, for strength to allow my body to work as it should, and just to stay relaxed…I knew that was my key.

After a bit of laboring I decided to light my labor candle from my Blessingway and let my prayer team know; that was at 3:30. I took a picture of the lit candle and texted it to the girls. I then sent a quick text to my doula letting her know that labor had started but I was handling things well. It was so nice sitting in the quiet of night with just the room lit by candle. It was beautiful.

I used the restroom again and somewhere around 4 I decided it was time to wake up Krzys. When I did, I told him, “I’m in labor.” His response was, “No you’re not, come lay down.” I immediately went, “Excuse me,” and then had to bend over to deal with a contraction. I guess that was proof enough because he then got out of bed.

I went back to my ball and Krzys asked what I needed. I asked for a little back rub, and then breakfast. I knew I might get to a point where food would be unappetizing and I wanted to get some nutrition in for the long journey I was facing. I requested French toast. I told Krzys my contractions were about 10 minutes apart; after that statement he told me they were much closer because he had just timed four minutes. I think I was being a bit naïve and also not wanting to concentrate on timing them at all, so I think I was guessing on purpose so as not to pay attention…but I did notice they were getting much closer and I was beginning to feel chills as well. After another trip to the bathroom I was freezing, so Krzys covered me with a blanket. Then a contraction would come and I would be hot and sweaty so I’d pull it off. Then it would pass and I would be cold again. This went on for probably 20 minutes.

I started to lose my concentration, focusing on being hot and cold, and on the discomfort of the blanket touching my skin. It was all starting to bother me, which pulled me from my focus. I told Krzys I needed a change and thought I needed the pool now. He immediately began working on getting it set up and filled, checking on me every few minutes for a quick rub, hand on my shoulder, reassuring statement of my strength. After another visit to the restroom he called my doula and had me touch base with her. I heard him telling her that it seemed to be going so much quicker. My doula asked how I was handling things, and I felt I was doing great. All within the norm. In my mind I was prepared for around 12 hours of this, since labor with my first was so long. I prayed a few times for the strength to make it until lunch time.

It was strange that before Krzys woke up I was fine with being by myself. But once I had him there, when he had to leave my side I felt uneasy. I started to lose my grip on any sort of relaxation when a surge came, and knew I needed to refocus. Krzys said the pool wasn’t full but I didn’t care. I used the restroom again and when I returned I went straight into the room and got right in. The water was hot and only to my lower back when I got in…it felt amazing! I immediately felt relaxed again. With each surge my lower back was hurting more and more and there was a moment when I wondered if this was back labor. I told Krzys when I got in the pool to tell the doula to come now; this was at 5:20.

I enjoyed laboring in the pool when the water was steamy, so the second it started to cool I was requesting boiling water from Krzys to add to it. He was so wonderful. He held my hands through the contractions, and as I closed my eyes he read the many affirmations I had all over the room to me. It was so encouraging to hear him have so much faith in me and my body’s ability. I prayed a lot during my contractions. I knew God gave me the ability to do this; I told him I trusted him; I knew I was safe, I knew he was with me. I don’t know if I’ve ever been as close to God as I was in those hours.

The doula arrived shortly after I got in the pool; I remember seeing her sneakers still on her feet when she came into the room, and thinking how I can’t stand when people wear shoes in the house – but I couldn’t pull from my task at hand to say something.

She immediately got me refocused. She breathed with me through the contractions to remind me to blow it out, and it worked. Looking into her eyes gave me something to focus on and reminded me not to focus on the contraction itself. I had to use the restroom again. Boy did I hate going to the bathroom at this point. It wasn’t even like I was going all that much. It was the fact that when I was in there, sitting on the toilet, and the contraction came I felt so much worse. I couldn’t breathe the same, I couldn’t relax, my muscles felt tighter, it was awful. I told Krzys to hand me my daughter’s potty insert, the little cup that sits in the seat that she actually pees in to. I just stood up, held that between my legs and went. It was so much easier than that awful bathroom.

I don’t remember if Anzley woke up while I was in the tub or out but she was awake around her usual time – 6:30 or 7:00 am. She came into the room, stared at me and asked what I was doing.

Krzys told her that I was having the baby and she said, “Oh, okay, can I have some yogurt?”

I couldn’t laugh, but in my mind I just couldn’t get over how cute she was.

When I returned the last time from the bathroom I didn’t get back into the tub. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to or didn’t like it; I just didn’t get back in. For some reason I walked right past it and leaned over onto the bed instead. Throughout labor I was fully aware of my body and was listening to it and to my intuition. Something told me not to go back in, so I didn’t. I tried hands and knees on the bed since my back was hurting so much, but it didn’t seem to help at all.

I ended up splaying out and then just leaning/rolling on to my side when the surge passed. That’s where I spent the rest of my time. I can’t explain why it felt good, but it did. My doula was behind me cradling me from behind, reminding me to breathe with each contraction. This is when I went completely into myself. The surges were so strong at this point. Crying out did no good, and to stay relaxed I stayed quiet. I closed my eyes and just breathed. I remember praying some more.

With each contraction I took a big breath and slowly blew it out through my mouth, all while opening my hands as far as I could relaxing them and waving them down my side and away from my tummy. I traced the outline of my naked body (I was only wearing my sports bra at this point) over and over again, while imagining the force of the surge working through me and slowly letting loose once it hit the end of my vagina. I let them each blow through me and away from me, breathing and relaxing every part of my body I could. I didn’t tense up my tummy, legs, forehead, or any other part of my body. It was hard work but I had to stay relaxed.

During those last few contractions I had to go to the bathroom again, but I did not want to be on that toilet. So I kept telling myself, “After this next contraction I’ll go really fast.” Then the next one would come and go, and I’d say, “After the next one.” I finally couldn’t wait anymore. I opened my eyes to see my doula looking down on me from above, and Krzys sitting next to me. I told them I had to use the restroom and sat up. I had one contraction on the way to the bathroom in the hallway; Krzys held me up while I hunched over and drooped in his arms. Then after I had sat on the toilet, the doula came in and Krzys said he was going to check on Anzley.

The doula crouched in front of me on the toilet and asked if I felt the pressure to push, or if I really needed to go to the bathroom. I got a little annoyed with this question and responded rather snarky, “I have to go to the bathroom. I’ve had a baby before; I know the difference.” I had to pee and pushed too, then saw my waters break right into the toilet. I looked up at the doula and told her my water just broke. I guess I kind of yelled it because Krzys ran back to the bathroom.

I had an awful contraction that made me grab at everything in the bathroom. I was holding the toilet paper holder and sink, moaning and partially whimpering before it passed. When it was over, I felt as though my vagina was swollen so I put my hand on it to check, it was definitely swollen and felt rounded. The doula said, “Amanda that’s the baby’s head.” I was shocked and giddy.

She asked where I wanted to have the baby, and I told her the birth pool, definitely in the water. She said we needed to get there right away, and put her arm out to help me up (I was still sitting on the toilet, mind you). Only, when I went to stand it felt very, very wrong. I told her I couldn’t move; that I wasn’t going anywhere. She asked me to bend down and get on my hand and knees on the floor. I said, “No, I can’t move.”

The next surge came; only it was different. It felt like electricity passing through me. The surge took over my body from head to toe and I felt myself shake as I yelled. The baby’s head was out. I was shocked because I didn’t do any pushing and there was her head! I cradled her head in one hand while holding the sink with the other. I leaned back, tilting my rump up as far as I could to keep my hand holding the baby’s head and shielding it from the rim of the seat.

I looked to my right and saw Krzys and Anzley standing in the doorway, and another electric surge started. I shook and screamed, and the baby came flying out of me in seconds.

I can’t even explain how I picked her up – I just did. It was all so natural. I had her cradled in my arms on my chest as I looked over at Krzys, who was holding Anzley. Their faces showed exactly how I felt. Shock and amazement.

I held the baby close and slowly walked back to my room and sat right in the tub. I just laid in it and relaxed. Krzys asked what the baby was, and I said it was a girl.

He said, “But you didn’t check.” I told him I just knew. I leaned her forward and sure enough, the goods of a girl. I was feeling the contractions working on my placenta. The tub slowly filled with the after birth.

Anzley was amazed at the little baby I was holding. She stroked her little head and gave her kisses. We then realized we totally forgot to record it or even take a picture! I’m disappointed at that, but it all just went so fast. I was in shock at just how quickly it all went. Estimating from the time I woke up initially it was five or five and a half hours of labor and my baby girl was born. I never pushed. No one was there telling me what to do, touching me, invading my privacy. My doula was the perfect amount of support; never once pulling me from my focus. She arrived exactly when I needed her support.

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I delivered the placenta with the baby in my arms after a few trying pushes over about 50 minutes. Even that was amazing. I got to hold it and inspect this wonderful organ that my body created to keep my baby girl alive and growing.

Placenta1bwf

Placenta2bwf

After I delivered the placenta I had to use the restroom. I handed the baby and placenta (still attached) to Daddy, and went to the bathroom. I showered, and then came back to my bed to snuggle with my family. After some time relaxing together, about 3 hours, we saw the umbilical cord was completely empty and starting to flatten a little bit. So we decided the placenta and baby were ready to be separated.

Lovebwf

Mom, Dad and sister each got a candle, and we burned her cord for separation. It was nice; but did take a long time. Krzys took the placenta and made me a raw placenta smoothie which was actually pretty delicious.

CordBurningbwf

That night, I called a midwife friend to come and check on the baby and me. I was pretty shocked that even without pushing, and the baby practically flying out of me in two contractions, I didn’t even tear in the slightest.

Krzys kept telling me how awed he was by me, how amazed and glad he was that I got to have the birth I wanted. That went on for a couple of days; he was so supportive. I was pretty amazed myself. I had planned to not push; I wanted to let my body do as much of the work as possible before I got involved. I told Krzys several times that I didn’t want to push until I felt the absolute need to. And what do you know, that plan not only worked but surpassed my expectations. The whole birth did! The whole pregnancy did!! I am so amazed at how awesome life is. We are amazing creatures with amazing abilities. And now I have a beautiful family of four thanks to that amazement.

Kenzley Rogowski was born May 13, 2014 at 7:37 am, weighing 7 lbs, 11 oz and was 19-1/2 inches long.

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