Birth Stories: Mary and Luc's Journey: Yoga Poses, Girl Support, Irreplacable Husband and Going Within
Birth Stories: Mary and Luc
Note from creator of Love Natural Birth: On a personal note, this is the birth story that started my own journey. I am grateful every day to Mary who invited me in to share her birth, and let me see how the unraveling of societies assumptions can take us into a whole new world of unlimited possibilities. Thank you Mary, and thank you for sharing your natural birth. Don't miss the link to her second natural home birth at the bottom of the page, the journey, growth and the beauty of this moment is what it's all about. Enjoy!
Mary and Luc's Birth Story Starts
Sept. 21st I spent most of my afternoon and early evening with a friend, talking about birth, children, and life in general. What a treat. She thought I would birth in two weeks, so I went home to see my husband thinking I would have time to make a hair appt. Hehe. I remember Jeff and I stayed up later that night, giving each other a massage and cuddling. Little did we know.
At 2:45 am I woke up from a really unpleasant dream: Jeff had brought some friends over and they were dressed up. I answered the door disheveled and cleaning out house. I awoke mad and feeling like I had my period. I ran to the bathroom, dropped my drawers, and could not control the fluid that kept coming. Not gushing like you see on television, just a steady uncontrollable stream. I called Jeff to get my glasses so I could see if there was blood. Yes there was a little blood so we called our midwife. My contractions were just cramps as they had been for the last two weeks, so she advised putting a pad on and going back to bed. Jeff and I cuddled and it was so sweet, our moments before hard labor.
Pretty soon I had to start stretching so I took child's pose over and over, as well as squat. I left the bedroom after a while and called my oldest friend since she lives on the other side of the country and was leaving for France that day! We talked for a bit but then I needed to breathe deeply through a contraction and get back into bed.
An hour or so later Jeff started putting together and filling the birth tub, while I called Brandy, Ashley, and my mom. Before labor I decided not to call mom and dad, but for some reason I really wanted to. Well, the first thing from her mouth was, “oh honey, is it unbearable? How horrible is it?” Okay, thanks Mom. Obviously if I was calling her it could not have been so bad. Anyway she demanded to be kept up to date. Note to self: do not tell people you are in labor because the phone will not stop ringing. Better yet, turn off your phone. My sisters also called me, which was a sweet show of solidarity. Jeff finished the tub and made us pancakes. I could only eat a little before feeling slightly nauseous.
Breathing through contractions never seemed that difficult because they still felt like menstrual cramps, and were about ten minutes apart. I took a shower and called Brandy to come over while Jeff went to the store for stew ingredients. By this time contractions were five minutes apart and just kind of annoying. They did feel good too though, since I knew my body was working. They definitely felt like waves and I enjoyed working with that metaphor as it made labor easier. Brandy brought over a magazine which I read only for awhile, until I really needed to concentrate. I was sitting on a chux pad on my bedroom floor, eating a popsicle, wearing a towel. Brandy massaged my back and it felt awesome. I just melted in as it helped me relax and at the same time, feel my body working more intensely. I stretched in cat/cow poses for a bit then needed a nap.
I had talked with Mary Lou a few times and felt she did not need to drive up just yet. As long as I was comfortable, she said, then she would wait. My water was continuously trickling out at this point, thank goodness for chux pads!
I napped on and off for a couple of hours, in some sort of delirium, I believe. I just told myself that I could sleep through the contractions, and I did! When I did wake up with one, I told myself the pain would ease up and go away soon. That really helped. I felt as if the contractions were just waves and I knew it would peak and drop off, so it was okay and this thought helped tremendously.
I woke up to Jeff telling me Ashley had arrived. I actually thought it was too soon! But I’m so grateful she came when she did. She kissed my cheek and told me I was beautiful. I got in the shower again and moaned quite a bit. It felt so good to have heat on my back. Finally (while in the shower) I realized I wanted to get in the tub, so we called Mary Lou to see if it would be a good time. (Looking back, I should just have listened to myself and jumped in. I believe I was nervous being in the hot water would cause my labor to slow down, but it did not.) She asked if it would make me feel better and I said yes, especially on my back. I believe she thought it was coming time for her to arrive, and I realized this too and told Jeff she needed to come on up.
With help I eased into the tub…oh god, it felt so good! Weightless. Easing the sensations. Hot. Too hot actually, so after Elena the birth assistant arrived (Mary Lou was stuck in traffic), she deemed I needed to get out. I remember feeling that last contraction in the water-it seemed like one on top of the other, my belly rolling with movement, force, and heat. Still, I was so tuned in it was not “painful”. It was really hard and I know I had some small tears, but as long as I focused I was making it. When my mind would wander to what others were doing, or to some distracting story, the “pain” intensified. At that moment I could bring myself back to the moment and focus, leaving the “pain”.
So we put the shower curtain on the bed and I layed on my left side-definitely uncomfortable to position at first. I felt so heavy getting out of the tub and onto the bed. Ashley had my hand in hers and Jeff was kissing my back. It all felt so loving. They kept putting cold washcloths on me, like they did in the tub. I was so hot! Not too long after getting in bed did I have the most forceful, deep urge to PUSH. Oh my goodness. I grabbed Ashley and dragged her, poor thing, as I went with that sensation. I remember roaring into my pillow and Ashley telling me to “lion it out”. The girls and Jeff were so loving and supportive-always telling me I was a warrior goddess, beautiful, strong, and what a great job I was doing. That helped me continue to feel strong and powerful. I almost wrote confident, but never until I was pushing at the end did I feel completely at ease and confident.
Mary Lou arrived and I practically yelled my need to just push. She asked if she could check me and I said yes. She did and announced the head was down, I was complete, so go for it. Wow…what a powerful sensation. I had no control, it just took over so I went with it and pushed two contractions in bed. I knew I had to get in the water so they put ice in the tub to cool the water down. I was so heavy but upon emergence, I knew I was free. Still holding onto Ashley, I made my way over to Jeff and clung to his neck. Using him as my support felt so strong and reassuring, not to mention intimate and comforting. It was perfect. As I pushed through a few urges on my knees, Mary Lou and Elena kept telling me not to blow my breath out, but to hold it in and push from the depth. Though I thought I understood their direction, it sure took me about three contractions to really use their advice and what a difference that made! The push felt much stronger and I felt my vagina open with his head. I also felt with each push forward, his head would slide back in a little.
I remember looking at the girls and Brandy giving me this look of amazement and saying I was doing great. Ashley too, although a much more calm face. She was so strong with and for me. I actually think Brandy gave me the thumbs up sign.
So I could feel him coming but for some reason I felt it should be faster and I also just wanted him out. I asked Mary Lou what else I could do, and she asked me to face her. I found out later she was just beginning to wonder if I had slowed down from being in the tub. I turned toward her and she saw the head! He was crowning. I never felt the “ring of fire” as described by others. In fact, I don’t remember it hurting at all; it was just immense work. Immense pressure, urge, and power. So I propped myself up on my hands, leaned back, pushed and he came out with two contractions! Apparently I screamed while he came out, but I hardly remember that now. What I remember feeling is the huge opening of my vagina and vulva, his head coming, and then his little body slipping out-that was the coolest feeling. I felt relief and just, oh thank god!
I was crying with happiness, pure joy, and relief when Mary Lou pulled Luc out of the water and put him on me. She said, look at him and talk with him. I opened my eyes for the first time in ten minutes and continued crying while he calmly looked at me and Jeff. That moment was brilliant. Our baby, intently staring at us. No crying, no scream, just awareness and curiosity. Writing it now brings tears to my eyes. So Jeff and I said hello, good job, and we love you. I’m sure we said more, but it was that first moment of welcoming. I believe Mary Lou suggested we see the sex and to my surprise it was a boy! I had not even given it a thought when he was born. She asked what his name would be and Jeff proudly answered, “Luc Frederick!”
He was clearing his airways a bit, then Elena asked me to check the cord for pulsing. It wasn’t pulsing anymore so Brandy cut the cord as Jeff was just so into our baby and I was shaking. Luc was on me, in a blanket, when Mary Lou wanted to get the placenta out, and ended up pulling it out. (Note: this is not how I wished to birth the placenta the second time around, I believe they will just come on their own time, most of the time) We had a bit of a science experiment with the placenta-all of us touching it while Mary Lou explained it to us. We also rubbed Luc’s vernix into his body and a bit on our arms. Luc wanted to nurse (he was sucking his hand) so I decided to get out and go to the bed since the water in the tub was so high and I was cold at this point. Jeff took Luc while the girls helped me into the shower. Blood was dripping everywhere and I was shaking, but the shower felt awesome and I felt victorious, high. I was on a high!
Pulling on a diaper, I crawled into bed and Elena covered me with pillows so I could learn to nurse Luc. I really thought it would all fall into place and be natural but it was so awkward. Plus I was exhausted. Even though on a high, there was so much going on and I needed a moment to center and orient myself. Elena wanted to try nursing the other side, but I asked to wait a moment. I think the wait was brief and we resumed our attempts. All went well and Elena gave me much good advice about keeping him on my breast and skin to skin contact. She also talked about the difficulty of having a lovely natural birth in a hospital. Mary Lou and Elena stayed until 7pm or so, cleaning up. Brandy brought us stew and we all talked about the birth. I truly needed the girls for their support. They helped so much and it left Jeff time to love me. Birthing with someone other than Jeff is unthinkable. His presence was amazing. Really, words do not describe what I feel. On one hand, this was my birth into a deeper, more powerful person so it is solitary. But Jeff gave me encouragement into that power, nurtured and welcomed it. When I look at the birth pictures, I see our regular loving gestures taken to a new level. He was nothing but pure calm love and support. So even though my act, my birth, was solitary, it wasn’t. It was a partnership with Luc, Jeff, the girls, and myself too.
Birth Stories: Mary's 2nd Home Birth with Leo... don't miss it!
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