Here are my birth stories. I have had 3 beautiful girls in the past 5 years. All at home, all with different midwifes. 2 in the water and 1 was unexpectedly unassisted. I have had a range of a horrible and excruciating birth to a beautiful euphoric birth.
Edith (5) was due on my moms birthday, so we were hoping she’d come on her due date! Peggy Franklin was my midwife and was such a
wonderful momma during the whole thing! Throughout my pregnancy with Edith, we prayed over the pregnancy and labor every night, I drank pregnancy tea almost the whole time, I made sure to get 100g of protein and do all of the other “good things”. I took a whole food, raw brand prenatal and then starting at 35 weeks I took antenatal labor prep herb pills. I only had nausea for 2 weeks, and had a pretty easy and active pregnancy and swam a few miles a week, up until 2 days before I gave birth! When I was 37 weeks pregnant I found out that I was GBS positive. (in a side note, I was consuming a lot of sugar during this pregnancy—cookies, candy bars, white bread, and lots of ice cream) Since I was having a home birth, I wasn’t going to have the option to have antibiotics during labor. I went through a regimen nightly for the last 3 weeks of pregnancy with garlic, evening primrose oil, and apple cider vinegar vaginally to help get rid of the GBS. During labor I also had to douche once with hibacleanse which was not fun.
When I was 39.6 I was checked by the midwife and 3cm dilated and almost totally effaced. She swept my membranes -but said there really wasn’t any membranes to sweep because I was so effaced. A few hours later I went grocery shopping and noticed a sharp pain in my back every 5 minutes. It was weird and kind of uncomfortable but I didn’t pay much attention to it. I let my midwife know what was happening and she told me It was most likely early labor. Later that evening we went to a cook out and the pain pretty much subsided and then went away by bedtime. At 11pm I started having back pain again and decided to take a bath so they’d go away, and I could get sleep.
After I got out of the bath, my pain went from being a nuisance and every 15 minutes to being 7 minutes apart and painful. We called the midwife and started getting ready! The one thing that I couldn’t get over was that the contractions were irregular and not like they said they’d be in the Bradly Class. One contraction would be 3 minutes long and peak the whole time, I’d have a 2 minute break, the next would be 30 seconds long, and a minute later there’d be a 2 minute contraction. I never had a beginning and then slowly get more intense and then regress. They were 100% intense until I gave birth. WAY different than I expected.
The midwives arrived around 1 am. Labor was pretty easy until around 3 am and It felt like knives stabbing my lower back. We lived in a townhouse but in that moment I forgot, and decided that I couldn’t relax and screaming during contractions was my best option. The only place I could labor was in the bath tub. I couldn’t physically move around the house. We tried different positions and even a labor ball but it was all excruciating.
I hit transition around 4:30 am. I threw up and had muscle shakes. Transition went on for 2 long hours. I tried to relax by counting the tiles on the floor, and the lines on the ceiling and even doing relaxation “sleep techniques” but nothing helped. I didn’t know how I would physically birth this child, I thought my life was over and we would both die together. I just wanted to forcefully push her out of my body- and I thought my midwife was so cruel because she enjoyed being at births. Why on earth would anyone want to see someone in this much pain? Why on earth did I want to have a baby? But I didn’t want to say anything because I figured I was in transition and it would all be over soon. My wonderful birth assistant acted as a doula and softly and steady took deep breaths by my side to remind me to breathe and she rubbed my back and encouraged me through each contraction. Around 6 am I moved to the bed because I needed a change of scene. The shaking was too much and I just wanted to get this over with. Laboring on the bed didn’t really help. but it was one step closer to giving birth. When the baby was moving down through my birth canal I thought my hips were going to break. There was a giant rock grinding my pelvic bone-must have been. Because that’s the only thing I envisioned when I was going through it. How could a little innocent baby cause this much physical pain?
I started pushing around 6:45 and that was even more painful than labor! I yelled so much, I thought for sure the police would be called. I had a cervical lip, so as i pushed the midwife had to push my cervix around the baby’s head. My water broke as I made one of the last pushes. I finally pushed her out- and my husband caught her at 7:12 am! 6#6oz 19.5” long. A little peanut. I just wanted to sleep. I was shocked because there was no euphoria, I didn’t cry. Of course I loved my new precious daughter! but I was tired and glad that it was all over. Pushing the placenta out was annoying but not a big deal. We clamped and cut the cord about 45 minutes after she was born. She nursed quickly after and then we all took a nice long nap when the midwives left! I didn’t drink enough during labor, so for several days i was dizzy when I stood up. I didn’t tear after giving birth, I had some “skids” but that was it. But for a month or so I was in so much pain down there. I didn’t even let the midwife check because it hurt so much. Peeing burned, sitting hurt, and walking was not comfortable. Nursing wasn’t as “easy” as I thought. I had boobs the size (and firmness) of a watermelon. This wasn’t the euphoric nursing my mom talked about growing up. This sucked. I cried every time I nursed for the first 6 weeks. My nipples were cracked, bled and one time part of my nipple ripped off. I went to La Leche meetings and saw a bf consultant and nothing made the pain go away. Finally one day, it all started to get a little better. Little did I know that I would fall in love with birth (and nursing)
Emilia (3) was unexpectedly due on my mother-in-laws birthday (December 12th) since my first came on her due date we thought for sure that the second would too. We prayed daily over my pregnancy and birth- this time being more specific and praying for a pain free birth. I HAD to have something to help me relax this birth because the last birth was so awful and I was everything but relaxed. I got several oils (lavender for relaxing, peppermint for nausea and thieves to kill any germs- which I used only once in labor!! (but more on that in a bit) I was bummed this go round because our first midwife moved her business to northern VA only and was no longer doing home births this far south, so we went with Parveen Kelly, and Leah Paul. We loved Leah from prenatal appointments with our first and wanted her to be a part of this one! This pregnancy, my diet was way different than my first. I ate no refined sugars or processed foods for the first 4 months and was also completely gluten and dairy free. I felt better during the pregnancy and was also making my own pregnancy tea from bulk herbs. I was drinking green smoothies daily and also drank kombucha and keifer. In the morning I would be dizzy first thing, so I started taking fermented cod liver oil every day. Once i started to do that, my morning dizzy. lightheadedness went away! I started noticing that I had serious pain in my legs and inner thigh and learned that I had a seriously large varicose vein and it was pretty uncomfortable. The days I would swim, the veins wouldn’t hurt as much. The days that I was on my feet all day, I could barely walk by 4pm because I was in so much pain. I tested negative for GBS (woohoo!) I started labor prep herbal pills at 35 weeks and then evening primrose oil vaginally at 37 weeks. I started dilating around 32 weeks, so we all thought for sure she would be here early, if not she’d deff be here by her due date! Sure enough 40 weeks rolled around and I was still pregnant- I was 3 cm dilated and ready to go in to labor any minute! That morning I woke up and went swimming, sprinted up and down the pool as fast as I can because I just knew for sure I would be in labor soon. That didn’t work, so I went and got a “labor” pedicure, ate eggplant parm at an italian restaurant, jogged around the mall, and even danced around the living room for an hour. And I didn’t have one braxton-hix contraction. I was devastated. 2 days later I made eggplant parm and made some extra just in case I went in to birth and the midwives were hungry. That evening we went to a christmas party and someone told us about boiling a grapefruit and how it puts you in to labor almost right away. We laughed and decided “what do we have to lose!” That night I drank the super bitter grapefruit water, decided I was too tired to clean the house because I was tired of preparing for the midwives. Because every night that week we made sure the house was in tip top shape.
Around 3 am I woke up with an intense contraction, I figured I just need to pee and then I’d go back to sleep. When I got back in bed I had another one 15 minutes later. Ok, back to the bathroom because maybe I needed to poop- and man oh man did I poop! went back to bed and was determined that I wasn’t in labor and I was going to get rest. At 3:30 I had another contraction and it was yet again, intense and not going away so I decided to take a bath to stop the contractions so I could get some rest. When I got in the bath my contractions were suddenly 7 minutes apart. They were consistent and would start out easy, peak and then slowly decrease in intensity. WAY different than my first birth. I called the midwife and told her what was going on, but we were both not convinced that I was in labor. She said I sounded fine that I was probably fine if I called her back in a bit if I kept up. By that time contractions were 5 minutes apart and my husband was filling up the birthing tub. Around 4:00 Chris called the midwife and said she should probably come because it was getting intense. I was up and moving around the house with contractions every 2 minutes and laboring on all 4’s leaning on the sofa (which was way comfortable!) My husband was boiling water because we ran out of hot water while filling the birthing tub. My mom was upstairs putting Edith back to sleep. Since I was alone, i was able to just breathe. I had worship music quietly playing on my phone, keeping it with me to keep an eye on contraction time and waiting to hear back from the midwife.
I went to lay down around 5 am because I was starting to shake and I figured I was in transition… Waiting to feel like I would puke, and feel that intense pain, I was pretty convinced that I wasn’t even in labor because it wasn’t super painful and it was actually easy. I got in the birthing tub and Chris turned the diffuser on with lavender in it. He and my mom were messing with the heaters trying to warm the room and suddenly I felt the urge to push. There was no way I was that far along so I didn’t say anything for about 15 minutes. I didn’t push, I just stayed there and relaxed- envisioning my body opening up like a flower. In the meantime I was in the birthing pool in the squatting position. I looked over and told my mom and Chris that I felt the urge to push, and they kinda laughed and went back to what they were doing. I went back to relaxing and then my body actually made me push. but it was such a satisfying feeling. I yelled at the bystanders (who were still minding their own business) and said my water broke and the baby was coming out. Chris jumped across the bed as fast as he could and caught our newest edition. I started to cry and laugh because I was in shock. Did I really just birth a baby in 2 hours? And without any excruciating pain? And WITHOUT A MIDWIFE?! Come to think about it, where was the midwife? I looked over at my mom and she said the midwife just called, she would be at the house in an hour. So there I was with my new little baby, in a birthing pool that wasn’t very warm in the middle of December. The umbilical cord was short so I was squatting… I was afraid if I got out of the water the cord would rip or something (I didn’t know much about it) so we bundled towels on the baby and just enjoyed her cute little self in some serious skin to skin time. Leah Paul, was our birth assistant and got there 30 minutes after Emilia was born. She helped me deliver the placenta, it was hung on my pelvic bone and wouldn’t come out so I had to go in and move it around so it would come out. Parveen arrived 30 minutes after that. Emila was a solid 6#10oz and 18” long, we clamped and cut the cord after about 1.5 hours of birth. I had some skid marks but didn’t have any major tears! I drank lots of fluids and had a high protein packed breakfast after giving birth! We didn’t use a liner for the tub by mistake and the clean up for my husband took about 4 hours. Note to self– always use a pool liner. My recovery was way easier this time around than the first. My bottom was sore for about 3 weeks. Nursing was almost a breeze and I was back at the gym swimming within a few weeks!
Elinor (15months old) When I found out I was pregnant it was game on! I was excited and ready for another amazing birth. We kept on with our tradition on praying over the birth and pregnancy constantly. We loved Leah Paul so much from the previous birth (or post birth) that there was no question as to who would be the midwife! This pregnancy I was by far healthier than any other pregnancies. I was eating sprouted, soaked and fermented foods daily- we were also drinking raw milk! I also did not take prenatal vitamins this go around. Since we were eating such nutrient rich food and I was drinking pregnancy tea daily, we came to the conclusion that I was most likely getting the vitamins I needed! I was also adding raw, pastured egg yolks to my smoothie to add fat and DHA!
I had just joined Young Living, and was excited to use more oils for the birth! Pregnancy was my main reason for signing up for the biz! The varicose veins were still there and more present than ever. They showed up about as soon as the positive line did on the pregnancy test. This was especially hard because I was chasing around 2 littles this time. I hurt so bad. It was miserable. One Sunday at church (I was about 30 weeks pregnant) I went up for healing for my circulation. I had gone up many times but never had relief. This time was different. I felt tingling in my leg and thigh. But could it really happen? For the next weeks of pregnancy my veins weren’t painful! At times I’d feel them throbbing but that was it! The pain was GONE. I had been healed! I started dilating around 30 weeks too. Braxton hicks came early and frequently and consistently. 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!