So just how does a natural livin', essential oil lovin', salve makin' mama give birth? With a lot of hard work, of course! ;)
As a bit of background, Lovebug was born via c-section, which we later learned was never medically indicated. (Perhaps it was convenient for the provider; I don't really know). I learned everything I could between babies, and Freddie Bear had a completely different entrance into this world.
We were in move mode since the end of Feb or beginning of March, not sure now. Our dates fluxed, so movers picked up our belongings on 3/21, but we remained in our mostly unfurnished house. I kid you not - one mattress stayed behind so I'd have a safe sleep surface for Freddie Bear, one chair in the living room, and a Little Tikes picnic table in the dining room). Mr. Hockey was supposed to leave on April 2nd at 3:00 am for the 700 mile trek to the new job, leaving behind myself and Lovebug on my "due" date. During the pregnancy I was mentally prepared for a 44 week pregnancy if need be because of how my body works, I knew all my dates, and I went post dates with Lovebug. But I found myself wanting our family together for the birth over and above letting baby bake and not interfering.
So, on Sunday night, March 30th (39+5) a local doula who also is trained in acupressure came over and it was amazing. I had no stress dreams to that point. That night, I had the best night's sleep I've had in 4 years, and all the missing weird prego dreams lumped into one crazy dream.
That Monday morning at 11:00, Lovebug and I left for grocery shopping and a playdate. Contractions started on the first drive and endured shopping, light and 6-7 minutes apart. They stopped on the second, more stressful-ish drive - had to use gps, had to keep braking fast. Knowing it could well be early labor still, I walked on the rubber curb thing (the kind that keeps mulch in its place) for an uneven walk at the playground, and then after dinner I sped walked a mile while on the phone with my doula.
The contractions picked up again at 6:00. I updated our birth team, and we enjoyed our evening. I thought Mr. Hockey and I were on the same page with where I was in labor. Remember that. At 2 am I woke up in active labor. I woke him up to tell him. That day was his last day of work, and he had to go in for a couple hours. He went back to sleep, and I went into my birth cave and called my birth team, including a friend to help with Lovebug.
People started showing up around 4 am, and by 6/6:30 I was in the pool. When I got in, the water was cool, and I was so afraid our hot water wasn’t keeping up and I wouldn’t be able to use it. But they were able to do something to the temp limiter and fix it. At one point it even got too warm on my left hip, and I think I yelled something at the apprentice, but then felt bad. Oh, hormones!
Mr. Hockey and Lovebug woke up while all this was going on. I heard her crying for me and to nurse, and that made my labor slow down. He came out all dressed for work, and was surprised to see birth team members sitting in the living room talking. He had no idea I was really in labor (I’d had 2 weeks of false starts) or why I wasn’t in bed when he woke up, or where I was. He quickly changed and made breakfast for Lovebug and her friend.
During this pregnancy, I watched birth videos with Lovebug to prepare her. She doesn’t like anything loud, and I wanted her to be comfortable with whatever sounds I might make in labor. I also wanted her to be able to choose her own level of involvement. I loved getting to see her and tell her what was happening, give her kisses, and just do what I could to remind her I love her in the middle of something focused entirely not on her.
Someone came in to tell me I had to try other positions to pick things up or I’d have to get out of the pool. It wasn’t a threat, but they didn’t want it to drag out and have me too exhausted to push. It was the motivation I needed.
I had LOTS of back labor. As far as I know, and as of my last appointment the Friday before labor started, baby was LOT (left occiput transverse) when labor started, so we had a lot of work to get him turned. And he did turn, even between contractions (ouch). But it gave me rest between contractions, even in transition. During this whole time, my doula used a hot water bottle on my back in between contractions. I wanted the warmth during, but couldn’t bear the touch, so she had to take it off every single contraction. She also sprayed the room with diluted peppermint essential oil. I was nauseated at the end of every contraction, and the peppermint kept everything down. I also sniffed clary sage essential oil to help the contractions.
I didn't really believe that I was in transition because of those breaks, but also knew the contractions were different because of the pressing sensation at the end. I had to keep changing positions in transition to help him turn, and it HURT. This was when I felt like I couldn't do it, but kept telling myself that sticking it out and powering through was the best thing for all of us. My doula also did a lot with my arnica salve I make, with essential oils, and reading affirmations to me.
Around 10:40 I had the urge to push. It was disappointing to feel so much, and not see him crown right away. At one point I said to my team, “I don’t want to know, but does anyone know when I started pushing?” I was also surprised it was still morning. My only other labor experience was a 26 hour miscarriage, so this was all new for me. And the ring of fire? It’s no joke! But pushing really is the best phase. I felt all warrior like, trying to work with this huge force coming from within me. It was amazing!!
Mr Hockey came back in and helped support my weight, and I rested my head on him in between contractions. Someone put a flashlight in the water and held a mirror for me so I could see… he crowned with his water still in tact! I took sooooo much extra c at the end hoping for an in caul birth, and I almost got it. His water broke at 10:58, and the last push was at 11:01. When he came out I thought he was really just his bag of waters and I was waiting for the next contraction. My midwife told me to pick up my baby and it took me a few seconds for me to realize that it was actually him in the water!
I picked him up (still didn’t know gender though), and he blew bubbles! Lovebug was outside the door and heard him crying. So she announced to everyone else, “Tiny Toes is here!” I was all wrapped up in the emotion of everything - that I really did it, that my rainbow baby was finally in my arms, that Mr Hockey was right there with me, that I was first to hold my baby, and no one was pricking him or annoying him. He had a completely peaceful entry into this world.
Almost an hour later we got the placenta out (it detached fine, I just couldn’t figure out how to push it out), and I cut the cord. By the end of the day we named him. (Kind of funny because we had just picked out a possible girl’s name during dinner). He was 7 lbs 11 oz, 19.5”, and my pelvis is so roomy that his 14” head didn’t have to mold. Wowzah. I’d like to tell that to the other midwife that told me Lovebug was too big to deliver frank breech (15" head if I remember correctly).
From there was a two month whirlwind. Mr Hockey finally left for his new job that Saturday. Some of my family made a 600 mile drive to stay with me while I healed (still healing, but that's another blog post), and then about two weeks later, with help, I packed up both kids and drove an hour to stay with Mr Hockey's family. We were able to attend our niece's baptism, stay for Easter, and just enjoy some rest (me) and time with family members that are much too far away now that our move is complete.
Two weeks or so later, we had a closing date and I had to get the kids north so my amazing sister in law and I loaded up and drove for two days to my parents', where we stayed until the first week of June. We were hoping for a faster closing, but it just never happened.
And now here we are! A family of four, unpacking, settling in and getting ready for winter.
So how does this mama give birth? Peacefully (ish), with hard work and a party (7 other people in our home!), in the middle of one of life's many chaotic moments.
I am the mama who is over the moon in love with her family and green living.