Birth Stories: Mary and Leo's Journey through Natural Birth
Birth Stories: Mary and Leo
Note from the Creator of Love Natural Birth: Mary's second birth was a wonderful reflection of the work and growth she had done between her first and second labors. It is wonderful to see women embrace more of their own power with each birth. May we all be so blessed, no matter what our starting point is! Don't miss Mary's first
birth story with Luc.
Birth Stories: Mary and Leo...
The day before Leo’s birth, my son Luc and I had been out and about and when we got home I started to feel shaky. I felt a little sick to my stomach and could not stop shaking, so I called my friend Brandy and my husband Jeff to give them a heads up that something was going on. I had been waiting for weeks with what felt like menstrual cramps, and was so excited to be birthing again. I had also been in my month long inner retreat, internally preparing for my new baby, and was so ready to move into post partum, already having a good idea of what it would be like.
I tried to clean and Luc helped me a lot. Sweet guy. Then we tried resting but Luc wouldn’t have it. I really needed some quiet time but it didn’t happen. Jeff came home and we had a nice evening. Luc fell asleep easily and Jeff and I talked, watched a bit of a movie, and went to bed early.
At 3:30am I woke up hungry so I made some chamomile tea and had some yummy chocolate coconut cake a friend had made us. I emailed Brandy and surfed online a bit before finally going back to bed. Cramps had started an hour before I fell asleep and they were timeable. I’d had lots of cramps and contractions for 3 weeks prior, but these were every ten minutes and intense. The night before I had told my baby I was at peace and ready. I felt very peaceful at the moment I realized my cramps were starting. :)
We all woke up around 7:30am and I looked over at Jeff and told him it had started and I would definitely be birthing today or tomorrow. We were excited. I remember making a green smoothie right away, a “freaky tiki”, then almond milk for later. I started laundry and brownies too! We were going to hang a picture up that morning as well, but the contractions started picking up. They were probably time-able but we did not bother. I breathed through them until about 10am, when I abandoned the brownies as a contraction brought me to my knees, and I headed for the shower. The contractions were short bursts, but extremely intense, not at all like my first labor. No warm up, just intense. I felt present the whole time. I finally managed to finish those darn brownies, but got in the shower two or three different times before Jeff and Luc started to fill the tub.
Jeff and I were in our bathroom after one of my shower stints and I grabbed the counter to hold onto during a contraction and moaned. He said he wanted to call Ashley, our assistant midwife, as Mary Lou our midwife was out of town. He wanted her to come right away. I had called her around 10am and left a breezy message about labor starting, but all was well. I had also called my sister to let her know today wasn’t a good day for hanging out, and Brandy too, to let her know labor had begun. Sweet Luc had rubbed my back during my phone calls, as I was having contractions through them. It’s funny-the time lapse between my calls to the girls to say labor had started and the call to come over was very short, half an hour! So Brandy was on her way.
Jeff called Ashley the midwife even though I changed my mind and told him no, labor had picked up and I gave it the okay. This time around I had been reading very empowering books like Unassisted Childbirth, and felt even more protective of myself than during my first labor. I truly wanted to labor alone or with just Jeff…just having some space and peace to go within and listen to my body.
Ashley arrived and I immediately told her no exam, as she had requested to do one. She probably didn’t think I was that far along since I was seeming very relaxed. She then called Mary Lou’s backup midwife, Davi, and I had no idea when she arrived. I was in the tub moving around, trying out different positions-hands and knees, standing, squatting, sitting. Nothing felt awesome, as I was nearing transition and the rushes were so extremely intense it was almost hard to stay on top of them. Sweet Jeff, I would grab his shoulders and chest and accidentally pull his chest hair, but he just went with it. :) We also kissed a few times during contractions at my request and I really think that helped. I also kept telling myself to be here now, stay present, you are doing it.
Davi entered the birthing room and I remember us each saying hello, then Brandy arrived and Luc was ecstatic. They played in the living room for a bit. Surprisingly I started to fall asleep during contractions so I got into bed to rest. Not so restful, but helpful. I had one long rush and felt I needed space in my hips so I pushed my right hip toward my feet and BURST! There went my bag of waters, all over the bed. It was so surprising since it felt like something exploded out of me!
Davi asked me what my body needed then. I knew I should get back in the tub, but I just wanted to rest. So I had another contraction and a loud moan on the bed then returned to the tub. I hung out on my hands and knees for awhile, using a mirror to see if the head was coming. The incredible pushing urge had arrived and I had a few pushes on my knees, holding my breath down low. Davi asked me again what my body needed and I knew I needed to stand up, so I finally did. I think I pushed four more times or so, in a standing squat, using the side of the tub as a support. I also leaned into Jeff while doing this, my head buried in his shoulders. Luc and Brandy arrived into the room just in time. I had been eating some raw chocolate and orange juice during labor, and while I was pushing I remember Luc asking me if he could eat my chocolate. Ha! I answered yes and went about my pushing again.
Feeling Leo come down and start the opening of my vagina and vulva is truly unexplainable. That huge opening…it felt good to push and open. There was no pain, but it was so extremely intense. I knew I wanted to let nature take its course and not push because I thought I needed to…it worked out well that way and I also remember Davi telling me to let it be slow, easing the baby out. Well, his head was out in between urges and pushes for a bit, and it was quite an odd sensation! There was a little urgency too, since the cord was around his neck twice, and this created a hurried and stressed moment while Ashley and then Davi worked to get the cord off him. I really wanted him out but my body stopped the pushing when the midwives were working on the cord…I was just waiting on my body at that point. With the next rush I felt part of him emerge, pause, then the rest of his body slipped out and he landed in Jeff’s hands. I had a hand in there too since I had been rubbing his head when he was “waiting”. We caught him! Slippery, pink, chubby, and beautiful. I only looked at his face and said, it’s a boy, isn’t it? Everyone else had already seen his penis so they knew. He cried briefly then latched himself on to my breast and nursed for the next 3 _ hours!
We sat in the tub briefly, as I felt more contractions and the placenta was near…Davi suggested I stand up and the placenta would just plop out. I said, okay, and stood, holding my nursing boy, and it did fall out! All in one amazing piece. Davi drained it and put it in the fridge for us, giving Jeff instructions on how to encapsulate it.
Luc, Jeff, Leo, and I stayed in the tub for maybe twenty minutes, bonding and realizing what had just happened. It was such a quick journey, about four and a half hours total. I needed lots of time to process. Plus I think I was processing becoming a mother of another boy. :) Jeff put some towels on our bed and I made my way there. Leo nursed and nursed and we finally weighed him in at 6 pounds, 12 ounces. I felt like a queen with coconut water, watermelon, orange juice squeezed by Davi, and raisens brought to me. Everyone gave me so much love and support. Laundry was started and the kitchen was cleaned too. I was checked and had no tearing, so I put on a cold pad and rested in bed with everyone surrounding us.
Luc was so sweet, just kissing Leo and giving me some love too. As Brandy put it, it was seamless. Luc seemed like he thought the whole thing was normal, even though it was a very extraordinary day!
• This birth was so empowering to me, even more so than my first homebirth. I felt very in tune with my body and with labor, and I wanted to be more in tune as well. Davi was extremely helpful in gently reminding me to listen to my body…it was almost as if she was reading my thoughts. My labor may have been longer had I not listened to both my body and Davi, and moved around as I did, especially with the standing. I truly feel that had I not stood up, I would not have birthed as easily since Leo was so low. There may not have been enough room for him to maneuver his way out had I been in a typical birth pose such as reclining. I am really grateful to have had the courage and support of my partner and friends to birth this way.
• I also wanted to add I drank a lot of red raspberry leaf tea during this pregnancy and even a cup during labor. This tea is reported to shorten labor and even tone the uterus afterward and help with bleeding. Overall, my labor was much much shorter than my first, my bleeding did not last as long postpartum either, so perhaps this tea did help.
Mary and Luc's Story... Don't miss the first part of the journey!
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