I started my herbal labor prep regimen at 35 weeks, and then at 37 weeks started evening primrose oil. By 37 weeks I was about 3cm dilated, and the baby was flip flopping around. Some days she’d be super low about to fall out, and other days she’d be transverse. One day she decided she wanted to flip 180 and freaked me out. But luckily she went head down and she didn’t go back up. At 39 weeks I started having prodromal labor every night. Waking up with cramps and contractions at 1am and having them every 10 minutes for 2-3 hours. After a few days I was exhausted, worn down and ready to give birth and thought I’d never go in to real labor because I had had so much false labor. The midwives were on guard of course because my last birth was classified as “prodromal” because it was so fast.At my last prenatal appoint I was measuring at 4cm. What! 4cm? Dude I was technically in labor. But no. No baby for a few more days. A few days later I checked myself and was 5cm dilated. And still no baby! 2 days before my due date I woke up around 6am with contractions as usual. They were about 10 minutes apart and pretty consistent but not very noticeable. I sent my hubby to work, and we both figured if I was actually in labor, he would be able to make it back in time.
After an hour or so during my contractions I found myself leaning over the counter to rest. I decided to call the midwife and let her know they were getting closer together but they weren’t in the least bit painful. I started boiling water and carrying it downstairs to the birthing tub so we would be sure not to run out of hot water this time! Consuming lots of labor aid so I wouldn’t get dehydrated.I set the diffuser out with rose, jasmine, lavender and peppermint oil in it. Made breakfast, Took the kids to the neighbors and even did a little veggie picking in the garden. By then, the midwives had arrived and my husband basically turned around after getting to the job site. It was about 10am and I was really enjoying laboring. Contractions were 2 minutes apart and a breeze! I wasn’t even making noise during contractions! When I went inside where the midwives, the photographer and My husband was, my labor would stop. I tried convincing the midwives I was in labor and they just laughed (knowing I was in labor- I think I was just trying not to convince myself I was in labor haha! ) I had an egg sandwich, downed a glass of labor aid and then realized I needed to keep moving so Chris and I went outside and walked around. I was barefoot and pregnant that was for sure! We took some silly pictures of me mowing the grass and then I decided I wanted to go back inside cause I was ready for something new.It was about 11am now.
I rubbed Panaway oil all over my belly and back to help with pain management. Then got in the birthing tub (that was full and nice and warm) then for the next 20 minutes I only had 1 contraction. That one contraction was pretty strong, but I had convinced myself that I wasn’t in labor and that there wouldn’t be a baby that day. But I
didn’t tell anyone because I didn’t want anyone to be disappointed. I tried to envision myself as a flower opening up and relaxing my uterus. It wasn’t as easy this time… Maybe because I needed to poop.. Anyways. A few minutes later I felt a huge pop and it felt like a balloon popping inside of me! Sure enough my water had broken. Woohoo! Ok so I had maybe 2 more pretty strong contractions and felt the urge to push! Everyone raced downstairs to be there when the baby came out. I was squatting and leaning over the side of the birthing tub ready to push this baby out And then it all stopped again. It was like I was in a dream and it just stopped. What on earth. I was going strong again and nothing? So 10 minutes went by and I told them it was a false alarm and asked them to leave the room. As they were standing up about to walk out, I had a huge sudden urge to push and out popped a little head. everyone ran back down and the next push my sweet little (super slimy) mucous covered baby popped out. At 11:30 (And she was caught by her father)
It was such a wonderful birth and I didn’t feel any real pain except when I pushed her out. Wow! So 45 minutes later I was still trying to push out the placenta. (Ugh!) I was given tinctures and more tinctures, coughed and coughed. Nothing was going to move that bad boy out. So finally I got on the floor and squatted… While nursing Elinor and coughing at the same time. And after a few pushes the placenta finally came out. Nobody ever said that birthing the placenta was the worst part. Goodness gracious that was awful.After that, the midwife put a drop of Helichrysm oil on my perineum to help with healing and then rubbed some gentle baby on my abdomen to help with after pains.
We cut the cord after about 2 hours and didn’t clamp it. Nursing was a breeze and I felt like a champ! Seriously that was the best birth ever. My bottom was only sore for 2 days! I seriously believe it was the Helichrysm oil! The oils really helped during my birth, they made it so enjoyable and relaxing. I also was super affected by having people around. I had my placenta encapsulated by my wonderful neighbor – it helped so much in my moments of despair in the months following the birth. I’m now a placenta encapsulation specialist because my experience was so great from taking mine, I wanted to learn how to do it to help other mommas postpartum!! After birthing alone I realized that I birth best and am able to relax without an audience! I can’t wait until I my next birth!
Lizzi Bambakakis is mother to three precious girls. She is also a Placenta Encapsulation Specialist, serving families in our area. You can find more about her services here. To read her first two birth stories, head over here.