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A Birth Story, A Story of Love
By Judy

Because this experience was too blissful not to share….

On my estimated due date of October 16th, I did not particularly think I was going into labor. After all, how many people actually do deliver on their estimated date, especially with their first child? I had gained only around 23 lbs and most of it got put on towards the last few weeks. And the pregnancy in its entirety was so easeful so I thought for sure I had to endure some serious discomfort.
My husband, Ryan, and I spent the week before making lots of soups and casseroles to freeze, herbal snacks to munch on during the labor for energy and just overall prep just in case we were close.

The morning of Sunday, October 16th, Ryan had an important test to take for his occupation and was going to be gone half the day at least. In the days leading up to this day, I had already received regular acupuncture and gotten several massages. This particular day, I had us scheduled for foot reflexology massages in the late afternoon to assist the baby and me with a healthy, non prolonged labor and wait period. I also thought it was the perfect stress relief that my husband needed to help him relax after his test. 
After our appointment, we were scheduled to meet up with my in-laws for a quick meal.

I began my day by finishing up some scrap-booking projects, sewing some Moby wraps for winter, having a huge 3 egg veggie scramble, then going shopping. I had returns I wanted to get out of the way as well as find THE perfect purse that I had been in search of all 10 months of my pregnancy and I’m happy to report that I finally found one that morning. When I returned home I decided to chill a bit, have some snacks and wait to hear from Ryan about his test results.

It was about 1:30 in the afternoon now and I felt a bigger then normal gush in my undies. I went to the bathroom to check it out. Hmm…this wasn’t anything I was used to, mainly because it was blood tinged and I hadn’t seen blood down there in 10 months. Was this the start of my water breaking, or even that mucous plug I had read about? About an hour later, more of the same substance came dripping out, but still nothing dramatic or gushing like you read about or see on T.V. I had a feeling though that this was the start of something important.

Soon after, Ryan came home and I said to him, “Babe, did you pass your test?” He was excited and replied, “Yes I did”. Then, with much enthusiasm, I said, “Well guess what? I finally found a purse”! He smiled happily for me and then I said calmly, “Oh and I think my water broke”. His smile then turned into a look of bewilderment. I then heard those famous words that I heard when I first told him I was pregnant, “No Way?” I told him I still wanted to get our foot massages and continue with our plans because I thought it would be good.

I ended up getting a fabulous massage that afternoon and for dinner (China Max Chinese food); I ate a portion big enough for three people including lots of eggplant (an old wives’ tale for inducing labor). We got back home around 7:30p. Ryan immediately started laying out lining on our floor and doing all the prep work in the house for our planned home birth. We both just had a feeling that it was going to be soon. It’s a good thing he did because we were then ready to go when I walked to the bathroom and really started gushing. Ryan came to see and we were just looking at each other kind of laughing. After that slowed down, I finished up some sewing. We had a little ice cream. And then I decided to go lie down and listen to some meditations which included affirmations designed for hypnobirthing (the style of birthing we practiced which consist of deep relaxation techniques as well as breathing styles). Ryan watched the UFC fight.

At 10:30p, we were both ready for bed. We lay together and I looked at him and I said, “You know that this is it, right love?” He grabbed my hand and said, “I know”. We decided to try to get some sleep. I was having what felt like menstrual cramping and they were taking place about every ten minutes apart. They were slowly getting more intense but yet with my meditations I was still listening to, I was surprisingly able to nod off in between these “surges” (hypnobirthing term for contractions). It was around 2a.m. in the morning when the surges started to get a little more intense and closer together. I then decided to wake Ryan up and he drew me a bath. I lay in the bath still listening to my meditations as well as music I specifically put together for the birth. The bath felt amazing. But, I didn’t want to stay in too long as to slow down the progress.

When I got out of the bath, Ryan and I just walked around the house a little together. For the next few hours, as the surges grew closer together and more intense, I transitioned into squats and other hip opening movements, along with some side lying while taking long deep breaths that we practiced in hypnobirthing that mimicked “wu jia” breaths (yoga breathing). It was the long exhale of these breaths that ultimately assisted me in getting through the intensity. I took advantage of these exhales by chanting during them. Ryan later told me that some of the chants sounded like “Ommmmmm”, which is one of the chants that we chant in my yoga class. I remember a few of them mimicking what would be heard from a Native American tribe or a forest or jungle somewhere off in Africa or the Amazon.

It was during my chanting that I channeled my mom and all my ancestors before me who experienced this same endeavor. I also thought of all the beautiful mamas I knew and of beautiful strong women in general. We were built for this. It is our right, our gift, a passage into womanhood. I tried to consistently stay in the moment and not worry about how dilated I was, how much longer it could be or how much more pain I could take. The intensity continued to build and it was still just Ryan and I, the way we wanted it to be.

We chose to work with San Diego Midwife (sandiegomidwife.com). We put off calling the midwives until 6 in the morning. We thought the surges were around 4-5 minutes apart. One of our midwives, Jamin (a highly skilled nurse midwife, a sweet French woman and a mama) asked me if I wanted her to come now and at least see what’s going on, or wait until they were 2-3 minutes apart. I decided they should wait.
Immediately after we got off the phone with her, the surges became consistently 2-3 minutes apart lasting around 45-60 seconds. I continued to chant through my exhales, be present, and channel all my loved ones, my ancestors, my mamas! I thought of all these beautiful woman all night long. I also thought about how my baby was finally coming to us! Knowing my end result was all the motivation I needed.

We did call our midwife back around 45 minutes later and she was at our home around 7am. I was lying on my side in my bed and she immediately suggested I get up and move around, move my hips and pelvis and stomp the baby down the canal. She also suggested a shower which I tried but at this point wasn’t feeling because being wet wasn’t working for me (I was already having sweat bouts and chills as is). Well there was my answer to our next decision on whether to set up the birthing tub or not that we had initially planned on.

She did want to check me once I got out of the shower to see what was going on in order for her to set up certain equipment, make sure everything was okay, etc.
At this point I had already been through the most intense surges, vomiting once during the night, and having 4 major bouts of diarrhea (clearing my bowels for the birth- the body is amazing). I had squeezed my husband’s hand so hard I almost broke his hand bones, and right before the midwife came I said to him “I can’t do this”. I had read that when you get to that point in the birth, it means you’re close. When Ryan heard that he said, “Yes you can baby! This is what you wanted...a natural birth for yourself and our baby, at home. You can do this!” I slapped myself in the face mentally, and said “Oh yeah I can do this” and that was my next chant for some time along with “I am strong, I am a warrior”. There were many other kooky chants I did, but mostly I sang.

So when Jamin said to me “you’re there, you’re fully dilated” during the first time I had been checked, you can imagine Ryan’s and my relief. Although I wasn’t sold yet on resting pretty, after all this was my first time and I still didn’t know what was yet to come. She encouraged me to stomp, hold my husband’s shoulders and bear down during my next few surges. I did with some guidance from Ryan and some seriously strong shoulders! I had not realized at this point that Ryan was down playing how far along I probably was. He had said to me, “We might still have a ways love so stay strong. You’re doing so great.” Along with other things that kept me in the present and not trying to think how much longer we could possibly have. What a great idea.

Jamins’ work partner La Shel (another beautiful mama and experienced nurse midwife) then arrived around 8:30 and they decided it was soon time for me to transition into pushing. This was the best part because I really got to put those crazy surges into use. What a relief!
Our midwives wanted the olive oil they had requested from a list of things we needed in our home for the birth. After they started using it I realized it wasn’t the one I bought for the birth. I was in between surges when I said “Oh no we have an organic one for you to use”. They assured me at this point organic or not the olive oil was just fine. It took me a few tries to understand exactly how to push a baby out. The midwives suggested a snack so Ryan grabbed me one of the energy power balls I had made. After chomping down half of it I pushed again, and the baby was getting closer. I reached down and felt his head. It was squishy and hairy. The baby and I were making progress, our midwives commented on my power balls being “Magic balls”.

Ryan was completely absorbing this whole experience, while also holding my right foot as I pushed. Something was blocking the baby from sliding completely out at this point. We were not sure exactly what it was. Again, I pushed when my next surge came on. He was even further out. Jamin told me to reach down and feel his head again. I said I didn’t need to. This is because I could feel everything already. That was exactly why I wanted a natural childbirth. I wanted to feel it all.

I looked at my midwives, I felt my husband’s warm hand, and a feeling of euphoria suddenly came over me. My midwives were no longer trained birthing nurses, but they were angels, goddesses, something not from earth. Ryan, he was the only man I had ever known. I was definitely on another plane that no drug could ever bring me on.
On the next push, the baby’s head was completely out along with his left hand that was pressed high up against his face. That’s what was blocking- his huge paw! One more huge push and the next thing I knew, I heard a hefty cry and saw this long little person staring right at me completely alert and coming in for a landing on my bare chest. I immediately rejoiced with the words “My baby!” When he heard that, he instantly stopped crying. He recognized my voice. Ryan kneeled next to us and greeted our child into the world. Our baby immediately responded to his voice as well.

Several minutes went by when I realized I still did not know our babies sex. I waited 10 months to find out and at that moment, it was the last thing on my mind. Eventually, I had an “Oh yeah” moment and I looked at Ryan to ask him if he knew the sex. He said “yes”. I saw as HE was coming out.” A boy, it’s a boy! He was born at 9:56 am weighing 7 lbs, and measuring 21 inches long. His hands were ginormous, his feet so large, and his legs so long. Words cannot describe what I was feeling next. Something along the lines of amazement, overflow of love, Relief!

So it turned out, the baby would have come out even faster and more easeful if his hand was not up against his face. It was this position that caused me to have extensive tearing. and unfortunately, it was too extensive to repair that morning so the next morning we would have to go to the OR outpatient center. But that was okay, because at the moment nothing could have ruined my bliss.

Next thing I knew I had a Super B juice next to me, and Ryan had handed mimosas to our midwives, and they were all there in our home saluting me and our son! That could only happen at your home. Then there was sweet chatter about what everyone was going to do with there beautiful Sunday afternoon.

The next morning, I was a little disappointed about having to leave our home and go the OR, but when it was all said and done and my little man and big one were waiting for me with open arms (and mouth-the baby), I was a happy, healthy mama once again.
Overall, everything went amazingly well. We had a successful homebirth, as well as a healthy baby and mama. The home birth was an extraordinary experience that I would never trade. I highly recommend it to any woman who wants to feel empowered, who wants her own unique experience, wants to be in control, but mostly its for those who have an amazing husband! Ryan had to be my husband, birth coach, nurse, doctor, janitor, nutritionist, chef, nanny all at once.

Yes I am strong and I have definitely earned my woman stripes after this, but the truth is, I could not have done it without my love. I have eaten the most amazing meals this week (prepared by Ryan), I am taking all my supplements regularly, I am sleeping more then I thought I would, and I have not lifted a finger. Our son is now established with eating. He is a very good sleeper. Overall, he is a bundle of love and we are all still on cloud nine.
When our baby was inside me, Ryan and I told him that we loved him several times a day. Now he highly responds to the word love. We have a love song for him that we sing whenever he needs a reminder (during a diaper change) and he immediately stops crying.

 

Prenatal Regimen/Supplements:
Exercise: Yoga (2-3x/week plus as often as possible before pregnancy)
Walking (4x week)
Swimming (when sunshine or warm water allowed for it)
Prenatal Multivitamin with probiotic and herbs (Rainbow lite)
Fish Oil (Newchapter brand- but anything cold pressed and salmon source good)
Ca/Mag (2:1 ratio, 1000mg ca/day)
Cranberry pills (for bladder strength)
Royal jelly (for fetal growth and hormone regulation)

Postpartum: 
All from the above plus:
Alfalfa tablets (for iron and Ca)
Extra probiotic (important for baby)
Postpartum Chinese Herbal formula (tonics, and herbs to ease bleeding)
Placenta pills (regulate hormones and build up blood from loss)
Exercise: Pelvic tilts
Hip and back stretches
Keigels

Soups:
Chicken soup from crock pot boiled with whole chicken, veggies, and Chinese herbs (Huang Qi, Dang Gui, Korean Ren Shen)
Beef Barley soup from crock pot boiled with bone marrow, and other Chinese remedies (Da Zao, Gou Qi Zi)

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