To Willow: Who we didn’t name you for 3 days. You were always Willow Sol. Meant to be born on the full moon!
I have been waiting to experience your birth, the birth of my baby but also my birth into motherhood.
On 10/23/18 around 8:30pm I was stretching my hips (nightly occurrence) when I had a gush of water. Dave was in bed and jumped up as I ran to the bathroom. Luckily it wasn’t enough to get on the floor. Dave was confused as to why it wasn’t a big gush! I called our midwife to let her know things seemed to be happening but that contractions had not started. We hoped to be able to get in bed and go to sleep. I laid there making a plan. I was going to fall asleep wake up early with contractions but be able to make it to my 9 am Chiropractor appointment. That didn’t happen! Dave got a few hours, but contractions started around 9pm and I was finally up at 11 pm because as hard as I tried, I couldn’t sleep. I told Dave to get the birth pool ready/set up while I showered. The shower felt great, but it kicked my contractions up a notch. I started being vocal during contractions and even felt the urge to squat down for a few of them. I thought to myself that it seemed odd how fast things were moving. Once I shaved my legs and washed my hair I got out and started getting sick. I sat on the toilet, my contractions were about 3 minutes apart lasting for a minute and around 1:30 am I had Dave call our Midwife and tell her to come. I was really regretting eating shrimp green curry for dinner!
Our midwife arrived around 2:30am. She checked my dilation around 3am and I was 3 cm and 90% effaced. I had no idea what time it was and thought it was only like midnight. It didn’t faze me that I was “only” 3 cm. If being a doula has taught me anything it’s that it doesn’t matter how long it takes for you to dilate, effacement is a better sign.
I started to throw up around that point and labor got much harder. I ran back and forth to the bathroom for a while, we got vitals and made sure everything was good. I never questioned mine or her safety. Dave was with me every moment and I felt safe. He held my hand, swapped out my puke bucket and kept me hydrated!
Around 3:30am one of the birth assistants and our birth photographer showed up. I was finally done being sick and was laboring on the couch. Surprisingly, laboring on my knees laid over the back of the couch really helped. I have bad knees and never thought I would labor on them. I switched from side lying with Dave holding my leg, to standing, to laying over the couch.
Around 4am the other Midwife (who was assisting) showed up and as a team they decided to give me space and let me labor as I wasn’t in “active” labor yet. My midwife went upstairs to nap thinking it would be a while and they would check me again in 4 hours in hopes of active labor. The two assistants waited around in the dining room as I labored with Dave. They checked on me as needed. I decided to get in the birth pool at that point. Labor felt more intense to me and I moved between laboring on my knees laid over the side of the tub, to laying on my side in the tub. I remember starting to think about all the births I had attended as a Doula over the years. How I was sure that only 1 of the natural labor I had been to was “harder” then mine. How silly it seemed to choose natural birth again, that I had done it this time and wouldn’t again
Contractions spaced out a bit to 3-6 minutes apart, not that I knew that. I was in labor land for sure. The midwife who was assisting asked me if I wanted to call a Doula (we had decided to not officially hire anyone and that if I felt I needed that support I would call Doula friends of mine for support) at that point I didn’t want the support as I felt like things were shifting and I HAD to be progressing fast.
I started to get more vocal with contractions and remember crying for a second. Mostly out of surrender. I wasn’t scared. I was just overwhelmed with the idea of laboring longer like this. The reality that I would soon hold my baby, and all this would be behind me. That I would make it through this, just as I had helped so many women.
My birthing area was perfect. I had the pool in our living room. I had hung lights, mantras written from friends, a candle burning from my Blessing Way, an awesome play this, fake candles all over the place and lots of crystals! I kept looking at the mantras and as I rocked in the pool, I repeated that I was safe and capable of birthing my baby. I am a firm believer in creating a space that feels safe and empowering.
Around 5:45am I told the assistant that I felt pushy and that contractions felt a lot more intense. 30 minutes later I got out of the tub hoping to progress with a change in position. Once I was out, there was a bigger shift in sensation, and I asked to be checked. I was SURE I had to be in transition.
At 6:20am my midwife came down to check me and I was 9cm 100% effaced with a cervical lip (a bit more cervix) on my right side. I was so relieved to be 9 cm and we decided to do standing lunges on my right side to create space and remove the lip of my cervix on that side. By 6:30am I was back in the water on my hands and knees pushing! 10 minutes later I felt her move down farther and I knew she was coming fast. My bag of water was bulging. I had intense pressure in my bottom. I remember not feeling like I was getting breaks between contractions. With every contraction I was getting pressure applied to my hips, everyone in the room was working hard to help me. My midwife and I discussed that I wanted to rupture my waters to allow her head to move down farther.
Around 7am she ruptured my water and 20 minutes later I was feeling her head as I pushed! I felt her head and it was so smooth I thought she didn’t have hair, with the next push I felt her head again and yelled that she did have hair, LOTS of it! I was born with a lot of hair so her having hair was important to me. Another 10 minutes passed, she had fully crowned and with one push her head came out. I remember looking up at my midwife and telling her to pull the baby out. I couldn’t imagine willingly pushing her out. Of course, my midwife smiled at me and said to push. I did and there she was!
Our baby girl was born at 7:44am, as I squatted in the birth pool, my husband caught her and we both carried her out of the water. I laid back in the pool and held her on my chest. Dave came behind me and we took it all in! I was so relieved, so unaware of the pain I just experienced. Her face was really swollen so her nose looked big and the first thing I said was, “she has your fucking nose”. We joked in pregnancy that she could look like Dave, except for his manly nose. There she was, so cute with a full head of hair and his nose. I have a potty mouth and I guess that came out in birth!
We got to spend time with her on my chest as we waited for my placenta to come. I wasn’t feeling the urge to push so we got out of the pool. The placenta was still attached to her via the umbilical cord. We wanted to delay cord cutting. We got out of the pool with help from everyone and laid on the couch to deliver the placenta, while she laid on my chest. I was so hungry immediately and requested a peanut butter sandwich, my raspberry flavored BCAA’s and for Dave to pop the bottle of Rose from our trip to France! It was fun to toast to her birth and the hard work we did together as a family
Three meconium poops later she had to be washed off because it’s like TAR! We got into bed as a family, had our vitals done and finally got to weigh her! She was 19 inches long and 8 lbs 5 oz. Soon after we were settled and everything was cleaned up our birth team left, and we got to sleep.
I still can’t believe that my labor was under 12 hours from water breaking to pushing her out! I went from 3 cm to 9 cm in 4 hours and 3cm to delivery in less than 5 hours. She was born with her hand up and based on her facial bruising our midwife said she most likely was facing up at some point but managed to flip into the right position for delivery. All that to say our bodies and babies are AMAZING! I am so thankful for a healthy pregnancy that allowed us to give birth at home. For our amazing birth team, my midwife and friend Morgan and for my amazing partner for being there in every way.
Special thanks to Stephanie of Stephanie BC Photography for our amazing birth photos and this beautiful video of our birth. It still brings me to tears to watch.
I want to focus on helping you build a great birth plan. I am going to walk you through what I talk to all my clients about. There is so much information out there about birth plans and I am sick of referring my clients to templets that just aren’t extensive enough.
It’s time to plan, we all know a stork doesn’t just drop off your baby, so you need to figure out what you want for your birth.
A birth plan is necessary in hospital births so that you have a written plan for what your wishes are for you and baby. This gives you a voice and the ability to feel empowered. Most expecting moms have an idea of what a birth plan is and what it consists of in general terms. It is a buzz word these days. I ask my clients to start with just a bullet point list. Things they know they want and do NOT want for their birth. This is just a starting place. Even if you aren’t sure of all your options or what you want. Don’t get over whelmed!
Do not want/NO:
This information helps you start to think of your day of birth. I then have my clients spend some time thinking about what that day looks like. Do they envision birthing at home? When would they want to go to the hospital or birthing center. How do they envision the atmosphere being when they give birth? Do you want dim lights, your favorite slippers, your own pillow? Who do you want in the room? What about a pushing positon or baby care postpartum?
I then I go over their bullet point birth plan. It gives me a good idea of what sort of research they have done. I may point out options or areas to do more research in. I then ask them to write more details/specifics in these main stages of labor.
The main points to focus on when writing a more complete draft of a birth plan are; admitting, labor, pain management, pushing, third stage(placenta), after birth for mom, and after birth for baby.
A good sample birth plan to look at is Healthwise. This gives you a format to follow if your feeling stuck. I don't recommend this format as a final draft.
There are some things I would like to point out, that you might want to do your own research on. It will help you decide if you want to include them in your plan. During labor not having vaginal exams done, eating/drinking during labor, your preferences for music/ lighting in the room, how much staff you want allowed in the room, clothes you want to wear, having your water broken and continuous fetal monitoring. After birth Pitocin after birth to deliver placenta, how you want to deliver the placenta (unassisted or Pitocin/care provider assisted), placenta (are you keeping it to encapsulate), delayed cord cutting (for how long), chest to chest bonding (for how long), baby led breastfeeding, medications for baby (Vitamin K shot, eye ointment, hepatitis shot, circumcision), and delaying babies first bath.
I also like to remind my clients that just because you have a birth plan; detailed or not, it might go out the window because of a medical reason that warrant intervention or your choice to medicate/use interventions. In that case you still are informed and know how to handle those decisions if they were to arise.
Creating a birth plan insures that you don't give someone else the ability to form decisions for you and baby, you allowed them to make necessary lifesaving interventions for the best outcome or interventions you felt comfortable with.
Once I email them back with those suggestions I tell them to print what they have and bring it to their next appointment with their care provider. It is so important to talk to them about all the details. This way they know where you stand and they can tell you beforehand what they will or won’t do. You then have the choice to change providers if necessary. Most of my clients want to have a natural birth but will be in a hospital with either a Dr. or Midwife. If you are having a home birth, then it would change your birth plan and you might not feel you need one. Kristen Burgess at Naturalbirthandbaby.com has a great birth plan templet for a home birth.
Again let the focus when creating this birth plan be about learning your options and preferences for Your birth. This gives you a voice when you talk to your care provider. Feel empowered! As always comment below if you have specific questions or email me. I would love to help you.
I talk with my clients about the importance of relaxation in pregnancy and ways to help them relax in labor. It can be important to use visualization and mantras during labor and to ease anxiety in pregnancy. I figured I would share some of my favorite visual mantras, that you can print out and hang up during your birth to create a birthing space you love.
Remember that this is just a part of your coping techniques and needs to be practiced! Having a birth plan (envisioning the birth process) along with other coping techniques like essential oils and movement are necessary components of birthing your way! Check out my other blogs on creating a birth plan and essential oils.
Hope you feel empowered by these cute images.
Essential Oils For Birth
I am a Doula, Childbirth Educator and Primal Health Couch. Essentially I am a women's health nerd. I have struggled with Autoimmune issues for the last 10 years, and more recently fertility issues. This along with my birth work, has driven me to self research. I have added a blog to my site in hopes of giving resources to clients or those interested in these topics. I would love feedback and comments.
I love that you want to share the inspiration you have found here. Please keep in mind that all images and text on this site are property of EllenBBirth. Feel free to use one or two photos provided that a link back to my original post is included. Please do not remove any watermarks, crop, or edit any of my images without first obtaining written permission from me. Pinning is always welcome and appreciated!