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Well first of all welcome Sage Marie Haws. 7 lbs 7 oz, 19 inches long.
If you know anything about me you know that I am fascinated by and a huge advocate for natural birth. This story doesn’t contain any disclaimers about how natural birth isn’t for everyone or any of that- it’s just an expression of exactly how birth is and was for ME and how I feel and think about it. That’s ok if you disagree. That being said…
Monday night my sister was still in town from Denver. Her flight left the next day. I teased her that when she booked it she would miss the birth by one day because Brighten was born at 39 weeks and 1 day- which this time was the day after she planned to fly out.
We decided as our last hurrah before she left we would go to Tempe Town Lake and hang out for the evening. We rented scooters to ride around (not me, I wanted to walk, which is a great way to prepare for labor and make your labor more efficient when it does happen because it helps baby get into the perfect position for birth and can save a lot of during labor work). My mom who was also in town walked with me and MAN I was tired by the end- lots of Braxton Hicks contractions but nothing more than I get walking or running in the rest of the third trimester all radiating from the side of my stomach not down from the top- so I didn’t mention it to anyone.
We went back home and although I knew that since I wasn’t in labor already it was basically impossible that my sister would meet baby before she flew back to Denver. I was completely happy with the idea of having one more week to clean and prepare for baby though and let go of any small bit of pressure that I had to have her that weekend. Everyone else went to bed and I stayed up cleaning the entire house top to bottom. Nothing helps me relax like knowing our house is spotless.
I stayed up until 1:30 am cleaning, scrubbing and doing laundry until there was literally nothing I could clean that wasn’t already clean. This makes me smile just thinking about it. Anyone else just LOVE a good uninterrupted cleaning session? (Or am I crazy?).
I guess that was just the oxytocin boost I needed. For those who don’t know oxytocin is the hormone produced that helps labor progress. (Pitocin is the synthetic form of this used in hospitals to induce or augment labor artificially. Oxytocin is released when you are intimate, exercise, feel very relaxed or sleep. It’s a happy hormone and essential for birth. It’s crazy to me that we know this but yet we put women in yucky, ugly hospital rooms with bright lights and beeping machines and unfamiliar nurses in and out all day and night and expect them to have a baby).
I woke up at 2:00 with some cramps and BH contractions. I went back to sleep. I woke up just 30 minutes later with actual contractions- which for me feel like lower back pain (this is called back labor- it happens to a lot of people when their babies head is mal-positioned- for me that’s just how I experience labor.
LABOR TIP: If you have back labor getting on your hands and knees is the way to go. I can see why a lot of women end up getting pain meds in labor when they are instructed to lay on their back and only labor in that position. It literally feels like your back is breaking and you’re gonna die. But if you get off your back and onto your hands and knees it makes ALL the difference in the world. And as a bonus there is a ton more room for baby to come out in this position!
So at 2:30 I woke up Trent asking him to run a bath for me. I THOUGHT I would just relax in the bath for a little while and have him go back to bed but the contractions were getting stronger so fast that he just stayed with me- which he probably would have insisted on anyway because that’s just how he is. He had been brushing up on the Partner Support and Comfort Measures Sections in our Love Your Labor Birth Class the last few days while he did the dishes so he was on his A-Game.(If your husband doesn’t take THIS online birth class with you then hurry and sign up. It completely changed Trents view on birth during my first pregnancy and made him go from being worried but respectful of my decisions to have a non-medicated non-hospital birth to 100% gun-ho excited, and supportive with no worry and totally advocating for natural birth to anyone who will listen- honestly it’s weird to even imagine he ever thought differently. It is 1000% worth the money. Literally. Changed. My. Life. I went into labour, and even before that in pregnancy, feeling empowered and knowing everything that would happen and all the medical or non-medical choices that I could make and the exact risk each held. I can’t even imagine what it would have been like if I hadn’t found this class! It affected EVERY part of my labor in both births and the breastfeeding module is GOLD. If you are set on a natural birth you NEED this class- it’s a birth class, a doula training for your partner, a mindset coach (think hypno-birthing) and so many more things all in one- ok commercial over but seriously GET IT!!).
At about 4:30 I asked Trent to call my mom, who we rented an apartment for just 3 doors down, and let her know I was in labor and to make sure her phone was on even though I didn’t feel like I needed more support at the moment. At 5:02 (Trent checked his phone for me just now) I asked him to call her and see if she would come and braid my hair. You might be wondering why this was a priority for me. With Brighten I was in and out of the tub and laying down during contractions and my hair got soooo tangled in just a ponytail.
Considering the fact that my first birthing experience was on the shorter end and this time my contractions had been 2 minutes apart and about a minute long since the very beginning this is probably about the time I should have gone to the birth center. But I was convinced it was still a ways off and even in labor I’m very conscious about putting undo stress on others (aka I didn’t want to make the midwife on call come in to work only to have to wait around forever while I progressed when I could be doing that at home while they got more sleep). We did call the midwife and let her know I was in labor though earlier at about 4:00am and she kindly asked if I wanted to come in and I responded no, I didn’t feel like my contractions where strong enough even though they were close together- which was true- but she also sounded really tired.
My mom braided my hair and went to make some chocolate muffins- evidence that she thought going to the birth center was a little ways off too.
Trent, my mom and I discussed when would be a good time to go and I decided about 7:30 I would be ready (it was 5:30 at the time). Contractions were pretty manageable and I didn’t have any leaking or mucus plug. I felt like my cervix was at about the same place it was when all of this started so I was convinced it would be a while yet.
I lost my mucus plug finally at about 6:30 and thought “finally some progress!”.
Contractions still seemed pretty mild. THEN, transition. It hit so fast and hard. It was probably only about 5 contractions total and I would collapse exhausted after each one because of the concentration they took and sleep instantly, then wake up for the next. At one point I looked at Trent and said “I know this is gonna make you think I’m in transition, and I’m not, but I don’t want to do this anymore”. I was definitely in transition haha. But what I was saying wasn’t self-doubt it was me just really wanting to have baby in my arms. So I told myself “This next contraction I’m just going to imagine this is the last one. Everything is going to open up all at once and be completely ready to push. I’m going to imagine this is the last contraction before pushing”. I used every ounce of energy I had to concentrate on visualizing. I literally closed my eyes and watched my body open and…Well it worked- a little too good! All in a single contraction I felt my cervix dilate completely, babies head drop and apply pressure and a sudden very strong urge to push. If I had to guess I would say it went from 2-3 cm to 10 cm in that one contraction. Note to self: Visualization works.
I looked over at Trent and my mom who had been applying counter pressure. I said “I just dilated fully and my body wants to push, it’s time to go, call Belinda now and I started for the car.
My water didn’t break. The sack was bulging and I did not like that sensation. I wanted to feel her head! I don’t know what it ws besides that but I was very adamant that I was broken. My sisters last baby was born en caul (in the Amniotic Sac) which I think is really cool and it’s also rare but I didn’t care in the moment I don’t know if it was instincts or what but it had to be broken. It took the midwife several tries to rip through it because it was so strong and healthy and POP sweet relief!
A few more pushes and a little trying to keep my body from pushing too hard and she was born. That last push of adrenaline that triggers the fetal ejection reflex is amazing and gave me and baby a wide awake feeling when we met that no other type of birth can give! It was amazing!
When we got home Brighty was sooo excited to meet her (and that excitement still hasn’t worn off).
She wanted to make her a cake for her birthday so my amazing mom whipped up some cupcakes really quick and Trent made some beet colored pink frosting.
Now here is some info that some might think is TMI. It also happens to be things that I would have found really helpful to hear the first or even second time around BECAUSE most people shy away from talking about it because they’re worried its TMI. (Scroll to the end for 10 Postpartum must-haves).
10 Postpartum Must-Haves:
(A few I’ve used with both postpartum experiences and a few I can’t believe I didn’t have with my first).
10) A well packed arsenal of feminine hygiene products. With Brighten I just had giant pads and 2 depends (diapers- lets just call them what they are) that my mom grabbed from my room at the birth center. This time I bought a box of Depends Silhouette at the rec of a friend, some disposable underwear from FridaMom (fyi these are not lined- I didn’t know this at first), regular pads, witch hazel liners from FridaMom and the Pad-sicles from FridaMom too (it’s a great brand and the inventor of that nose sucker thing that actually works so I will buy anything from them haha). What I ended up doing is using the depends with the Pad-sicles for the first 3 days (you can make homemade pad-sicles too but what I have found is the frozen homemade ones are colder but for a shorter time if that makes sense. So they’re great for the first day when you’re changing them a ton anyway but after bleeding slows down for you a little the crack and shake ones are great and convenient and stay cold longer even though they’re not AS cold). I switched to disposable underwear with a regular pad on day 4 and used the witch hazel liners which are AMAZING! It is so nice to feel that cooling affect with none of the bulk after a couple days of sitting around with an ice pack in your pants haha. What I’m saying is don’t just use one thing! Every day of recovery is different and you will be best served having a lot of options.
9)Peri-Bottle. Do NOT, I repeat do NOT throw away they one they give you wherever you give birth. I also got the FridaMom one and although I wouldn’t say its mandatory it’s easier to squeeze and easier to squirt without spreading your legs too far apart. I would say definitely get if you have stitches or are really prone to swelling.
8) A really cute, really big water bottle or cup that you love drinking out of. I have several 40oz hydro flasks and I love drinking out of them! I think it’s a great splurge if you don’t have one because hydration is so so important post part especially to fight depression and support breastfeeding. If you have a water bottle or cup you love it makes it that much easier to remember to keep hydrated! IMO straws or straw lids are a must so you don’t have to tip. This makes it easier to drink while your lap and hands are occupied.
7) A nursing pillow- your back will thank you. I use the boppi. Last time I had another brand and I had to get 2 for it to be thick enough. I rarely nurse without this pillow and they have waterproof covers for it which is so nice so I can slip off the top cover and wash it and wipe off the second waterproof cover and know the pillow is staying clean.
6) A Hot Water Bottle- especially if this isn’t your first. The cramps get worse each time I’ve heard and it was definitely true for me. I order them off of amazon and you just fill them with hot water.
5) Lanolin – 100% pure from sheep. It’s a thick slightly sticky oil and the best thing for your nipples PP. I can tell instantly when I forget to put it on. It makes a night and day difference the first few days of breastfeeding. I got some from the health food store. I think you can get it anywhere really.
4) Frozen Meals- if you’re like us you make most food from scratch. So next time you make a big batch of something freeze half and save it for Postpartum you.
3) New toys for other kids. We got brighten a few new toys for when Sage was born and they have been amazing and occupying her. To give you some ideas we got her: Water guns, a swimming pool, a bubble machine (ok that was for her birthday but we finally got batteries for it haha), a new movie, a toy unicorn and a unicorn blanket. Nothing too fancy but just some things to help her have fun and help her stay occupied and happy during this transition from being an only child!
2) A diffuser- with all the stress and newness and hormones diffusing a calming oil or blend can really help everything come back into focus. Fight that PPD!
1)A night light or small flashlight for beside the bed. Something small enough to not make you wide awake when you turn it on but enough that you can turn it on when you nurse at night. In just a few months you’ll be able to do it with all the lights out and your eyes closed, in your sleep, backwards haha- but for now especially because baby can do a lot of damage if they’re not getting their still tiny mouth latched correctly it’s good to have a light to keep an eye on sucking and see what you’re doing while you reposition and adjust