*This is the second part of Violet Marie’s birth story. To read Part One, click here.
Neil came into the bathroom to check me at 3:00pm and sat beside me while I had five back to back contractions then transitioned and puked all over myself and lost my mucous plug. They got me out of the tub and told me the baby was coming and it was time I started pushing. I asked that my midwife check my cervix for the first time after I fell on to the bed. Her mentor, D, checked my cervix and said the babies head was already passed it and it was in the birth canal. I started to push at 4:00pm. At first they said to try and stand up and squat using the sheet we had hanging from the door frame as support. I was too tired to stand so I laid on the edge of the bed. They had an old school birthing stool that they also told me to try but I said I needed to be on the bed so I could rest between pushes. I only wanted to be on the bed and really felt like I needed everyone right there with me giving me instruction and progress reports. This was interesting because I initially wanted to have the baby in water and with no help. I think if I wouldn’t have gone into ketosis/exhaustion I would have birthed that way but due to my circumstances I needed them there with me and I needed to be grounded and on land.
Neil locked Laddie (the dog) into a crate because he was worried he was going to be possessive and concerned about me and didn’t want him biting a midwife or something if they were in my bubble. He hated being kennelled and howled the whole time I “howled” during my pushes. It was actually the most insane thing ever. I have no idea why this rescue dog and I are soulmates, but this totally confirmed it.
Between the pushes I would fall back into Neil’s arms and sleep/pass out for a few moments. My breaks between pushes were longer than the actual pushes and that was what got me through without having to be transported to the hospital. I pushed for almost an hour and a half. I’ve never grunted so hard in my life.
I kept trying to lift my hips and relieve the pressure but the midwives were telling me I needed to bear down and push into the ground like I was pooping if I wanted the baby to come out. It was so hard for me to push through all the pain. As my vagina stretched they chanted/sang “you’re stretching, you’re stretching, you’re open, baby is coming, you’re stretching”. They were so encouraging and it really helped me to keep my focus.
As the baby started to crown they saw that it was still in its water sack and that it was slowing things down and making it harder for me. My midwife tried to pop the sack as it came out but because of the way everything was suctioned it only just released the tiniest amount of water at the top of the babies head. I pushed some more and they noticed the baby had their hand by their face and she warned me that I could maybe tear. They massaged my perineum and told me I needed to stop pushing and very gently ease the baby out with very small pushes. I finally got the head and hand out of and then pushed a few more times and got the shoulders out. With one more swift push, out came the body. The baby was still en caul (in it’s amniotic sac) so she drained the water and pealed off the sac which looked like plastic wrap stuck to the baby. Being born with a caul is rare, occurring in fewer than 1 in 80,000 births. At 5:21pm She placed the baby on my stomach and I felt a slimy warm body move and squirm on top of me. I was so relieved that we were both alive.
I was still completely exhausted and could barely even talk or function. My body was in shock and I could not stop moving my legs and shaking. All I could do was hold my baby and repeat “You’re here baby. We did it. Hi, baby.” over and over. The older midwife went and got me a cup of miso broth while my midwife wiped the baby up with a towel and talked softly to the baby telling it that it was safe and welcome here and that there was lots of space for her to “come in.” I laid there in relief.
D, the older midwife/doula fed me the broth and within seconds I was feeling human again. She then made me a banana, blueberry, kale and coconut water smoothie and I drank that and felt even better. Laddie came into the room and laid on the bed beside us. As I snapped back to reality the baby started to cry and wiggled up my body and started to nurse.
The midwives cleaned up my yoni and made sure everything was okay with my vagina and labia. I had a small cut on my upper labia from Violet’s hand being by her face when I pushed her out. They were so surprised I didn’t tear my perineum.
We still didn’t know the sex of the baby and Neil said “I think it’s a boy, yup it’s a boy”, then they checked and said, no, it’s a girl. My midwife said yes, I knew all along it was a girl! The baby cuddled on top of me and Neil and I conversed our excitement back and forth. I then looked into my baby’s eyes and said “Hi, Violet!” like she had introduced herself to me. We hadn’t discussed names prior to her birth and decided that we’d wait until she was born to name her and Violet was the first thing that came to my mind. This wasn’t a name we had come across while I was pregnant and we were all so shocked when I blurted the name out!
30 minutes passed and I still didn’t deliver the placenta. They gave me some herbal tincture to try but it still didn’t come. They knew it had released from my uterine wall because I gushed blood shortly after Violet was born but I was not having any urge to push it out. D decided to massage my stomach and very gently tug on the umbilical cord (which was still attached to Violet). After a little massage and time the placenta slid right out. Y, my midwife tore off two bite sized pieces of the fresh placenta and fed them to me. I ate them right up and surprisingly enjoyed it (with the help of a chaser). I think my body really needed the energy and vitality from it. We wrapped the placenta in a towel and placed it on my stomach still attached to the baby.
The midwives left us in the room and started to clean the house and prepare some postpartum things for us to use (sitz bath tea, comfey pads, cut up my placenta and homeopathies and tinctures).
Neil, Violet, Laddie and I all laid in bed and marvelled over our new family member.
We laid in bed for 4 hours bonding as a family then decided to burn her umbilical cord and officially welcome her earth side. The midwives each had a candle and burned the cord until it released. We weighed and measured her and the midwives left for the night.
Neil called and text all our family and shared the news. We tucked into bed and snuggled and waited for her to pass meconium. We kept Violet naked for the first 48 hours of her life so we could be skin to skin as much as possible. We used cloth prefold diapers under her to keep the fluids contained. We all fell asleep and had a great first night as a family of three (It all seems like a blur to me now!).
My parents came the day after she was born to help us for a week. The midwives came to check on us in the morning and afternoon before my parents arrived. Once my parents arrived, my mom cleaned the house, did laundry, and made sure I was fed and had lots of water and got lots of rest. My dad supported Neil and played with the dogs and made sure they had their needs met.
My healing journey was rather quick considering the fact that I just pushed out a 6lb 14oz human. My uterus was shrunk back to its original size and my bleeding stopped within a few days and I was up and about feeling energized three days postpartum. I took 1 full week of mindful rest and took advantage of the help we had from my parents. For the first month I tried to consciously be in bed from 9pm-9am even if we weren’t sleeping. Keeping this routine definitely helped my recover and process the whole experience.
Motherhood came very naturally to me. I didn’t have any postpartum anxiety or depression. I was very ready to be a mama and was so excited to embark on the journey with Violet once we officially met. My milk came in on day three and breastfeeding was easy besides having tender nipples for the first 10 days or so. I still have an over abundance of milk which leaks everywhere. It did regulate a little bit at 13 weeks but it seems that every time it tapers, Violet cluster feeds or goes through a growth spurt and I over produce again… It can sometimes be a frustrating blessing!
Violet will be 4 months old this month and each day is a new and exciting adventure. I LOVE HER SO MUCH.
So there you have it. The raw story of Violet’s entrance into the world. I hope you enjoyed the lengthy read. I’m already looking forward to another birth to see how it goes differently now that I have experience.
Submitted by Whitney Paige.