After a long peaceful bath on the evening of the 11th, I went to bed a little after 11pm to be awakened at 1:30am by “mild discomfort.” I got up to use the usual method of relief, urination. This method usually worked. After going back to bed, I was unable to find comfort. I rolled over to check the clock to see how long I had been fighting this and found it to be 2:45am. Really? Over an hour and I couldn’t get comfortable. It was then that I realized “something with synchronicity” was happening.
Since Scott had yet to come to bed, I headed to the basement to tell him to time “contractions” or Braxton-Hix. After taylor sitting on the floor, watching
“Sweet Home Alabama” for an hour and having consistent, 30-40second contractions every 4 minutes at best and every 7 at least, we decided to call Katy Joseph, apprentice to my midwife, Kathi Mulder. It was 4:30am. Kathi happened to be in Florida for the week and Katy was covering as the primary midwife.
My backup midwives were Patrice Bobier, the longest practicing midwife in the state with more births than any other CPM and Amanda, her apprentice.
I decided to call my mother and let her know labor was starting. She
was on her way by 5:30am (with a 3hr drive). Scott made me scrambled eggs. While I ate we discussed what the day ahead would look like and last minute things . . . in order to be on the same page before my brain shut off. Things like . . . No prenatal screening, immediate family bonding time, Madilyn in the
room during the birth, etc.
Katy suggested I take a shower, so I did that next. It was 5:30am. Contractions continued. I crawled into bed with my husband, hoping to be able to sleep a bit before Madilyn awoke. I honestly don’t know how it was possible but, I slept the 4-7 minutes in between contractions, woke in the midst of a contraction, breathed through it and went back to sleep. At 8:15am, the contractions were too much to handle in the side laying position. I got up and came downstairs to find my mother walking up the front porch steps. We greeted each other. She unloaded the car. I made us tea. I called Katy again. She mentioned that she would come when
I asked her to, and I said now is not the time.
Mom and I sat at the kitchen table chatting casually in between contractions until Madilyn awoke at 9:30am. She was excited to see Tayta (Syrian for Grandmother), my mother. We began gathering last minute items and prepping things for after the
birth. Madilyn played with stickers, activity books and colored. Around 11am, the intensity of contractions increased and Mom and Dilyn began giving me hands on Reiki to ease through them. Still contractions were 45-60seconds and 4minutes apart.
At 11am Madilyn gladly woke Scott up. He had some last minute Honey-Do items; i.e. vacuum, empty garbage’s, fill the birthing pool and of course get himself ready. Around noon Madilyn, Mom and I ate 7-layer bean dip with flax seed crackers for lunch in order to have something for lasting energy in labor.
Scott and I took Zues for a walk around 11:30, while mom stayed and played with Dilyn. It was a cold, windy day, with wet snow coming down. It was a perfect day to be inside giving birth and cuddling a new
baby. I was insistent to have fresh air and a bit of exercise before contractions got too heavy. We walked arm in arm and stopped when needed to breath through contractions. It was freezing, but nice. It was here that I
realized I was entering the serious stage of labor.
We went up stairs, to Dilyn’s room about 1pm. I tried side lye position.
I used the birth ball. Mostly, I sat in the glider to relax. Dilyn and mom read stories and continued to play in order to keep her busy and for me to have access to the Reiki energy. Scott joined us in Dilyn’s room about 2pm when everything was ready for birth. He continued to time contractions for duration and length.
I asked for tangerines at about 3pm because my mouth and lips were so dry from breathing, I was craving the juice to quench my thirst.
My father arrived bringing more things for Madilyn and they played
downstairs together from 3-5:30pm. It
was at this point that the intensity of contractions increased again. Pressure was low and with each
contraction I thought certainly my bag of waters would burst.
I was subconsciously waiting for this to happen before the final call to
Katy. I was also having hot and cold flashes (a sign of transition) and didn’t want to take any chances with Katy’s 2hr drive from Traverse
City. When I told Scott that there were a couple “hard ones” in a row and then asked duration and length. He responded with,“They are now over 60 seconds and still 4 minutes apart.” I said, “Call Katy and text Sarah.”
Katy and Sarah were on the way by 3:30pm. Sarah is a friend who had agreed to be present at the birth to take pictures and share her energy and knowledge of naturopathy if any unexpected situation arose.
Patrice arrived at 4:20pm. She
observed me shortly in a very positive light and then calmly headed downstairs to wait. I was in final stages of late first stage labor. She said, “I didn’t bring any supplies with me. I came straight from the farmers market. Amanda is bringing everything for birth with her and should be here shortly.”
Amanda arrived at 4:45pm and began to set up all necessary birth supplies as well as emergency supplies. She questioned me about food, water, contractions, and used the Doppler on baby. Everything was on track.
Sarah arrived at 5:00pm. She greeted me with the smile of a friend, a warm embrace and the supportive energy I needed. Tears burst from my eyes. We had small talk in between contractions. During contractions
she and my mother created a plethora of smooth Reiki energy which vibrated
inside of me with intense furocity. They were on either side of me enveloping me in love and light. This energy, I believe allowed me to let go completely and enhanced contractions once more. From here things progressed very quickly. Contractions were intense, sharp, low, double peaking sensations.
Katy arrived at 5:40pm and again I was whole heartedly glad to see her. Not only was she one of my midwives, but someone who had become a friend whom I respected greatly. She was in her 3rd year of apprenticeship. Madilyn was her 12th birth and Lucien was her 99th birth and the 13th birth she had
acted as lead midwife for. I had watched her grow into an incredible midwife. We embraced and I wept in her arms. The next contraction came and went.
She asked if I felt like getting into the tub and I gasped yes. She asked if I wanted her to check me first and I said, “Yes, but I don’t think I can lay down that long.” She said let’s try. Amazingly, she managed to check me quickly, without a contraction.
She removed her hand with my entire mucus plug on her pointer and middle fingers, stating, “Oh, there’s your plug.” And then, “Actually Heather, you’re a
really big 9.” Without hesitation, I began climbing off the bed and said with disbelief, “I am So In the Pool Already.” I didn’t make it before the next contraction. I dropped to all fours to get through it, in order to get into the birthing pool. Mom and Sarah were right there to help me through.
The room was warm, dimly lit, quiet, and filled with only positive energy.
Sarah grabbed her camera. Mom and Scott helped me in the pool. It is now 6:01pm. The water enveloped me in warmth, comfort and familiarity. I was on my knees leaning over the edge with Scott on one side and my mother on the other. As I began calling to the angelic realm for support and compassion, I felt my daughter climb into the pool to comfort me like a tiny premature mother. She went from sweet and caring beyond her nearly three years to wanting to do belly flops in the pool.
She ended up watching the birth from behind, with Papa.
My Father, a veterinarian, was a much calmer, relaxed, quieter observer than at Madilyn’s birth, where he questioned all aspects of humans giving birth outside of a hospital.
I called in Archangel Raphael, Michael, Gabrielle, Mother Mary, Mary Magdeline, Angels of midwifery and doulas, and many others. I began pushing at 6:13pm. My bag of waters broke, pressure release, sharpness gone. They call it submerged rupture of membranes. It was clear and free of meconium.
Welcome burning sensations almost immediately, stretching and ring of
fire. Amanda reached in with the doppler to check fetal heart tones, it was uncomfortable, I told her, “Amanda, No more the baby is fine.” Katy
replied, “Awe, sweetie we need to check the baby.” I felt like I barely had a break between pushing contractions, they were
a seemingly continuous wave! I began saying “Big and Open” over and over again. I knew affirmations were powerful. At 6:23pm the group could see the head. I was breathing, panting, blowing and saying oooohhhhh in order to release while pushing. My glutes tensed, my arms reached, my hands opened, my neck and head raised through each contraction. As they subsided, I had minimal time to relax before the next one came. Intense burning, pressure, stretching, the most powerful completely overwhelming sensation I had ever felt. At 6:31pm the head, was
born. Madilyn and I both felt his head, as we did he kicked my guts. As if saying, I either want to be in or out - not both! Then a final push to release shoulders with a left occiput anterior rotation.
Much to my Surprise . . . He was born. A Boy!
Lucien Loras was born at 6:33pm.
I reached between my legs, and brought my baby out of the water. It was a surprise and a shock to find I had given birth to a boy. As the entire pregnancy I felt in the
deepest inner most part of my being that I was carrying a little girl. It was a beautiful parturition, loving and sweet introduction to our future.
Nuchal cord once.
Flat, non-pulsing cord.
Katy stated she had never seen before. Lucien was covered in thick, creamy,
white vernix. Madilyn touched it and smiled. The midwives rubbed it in. Katy took heart rate and listened to lungs. Amanda began to rub his feet and back in order to get him to start breathing. Lucien took his first breath about 25 seconds after coming out of the water. He pinked right up, began looking around and picked his head up. As I looked up at my birth team, while holding Lucien I saw only wide-eyes and smiles. I was so glad to have each and every one of them there, each bringing a unique love and support to surround me with.
Scott was proud.
Madilyn was proud.
Tayta and Papa were proud.
Mama was proud.
And Sarah recieved a new light for what Birth Can be like, given the chance.
Contractions continue, placenta still needs to exit. With help I exited the birthing pool and used the birthing stool to push the placenta out, while still holding my son. Whew! What an experience; so non-textbook, so different from Madilyn’s experience.
Katy later stated, “Heather I know you had considered an unassisted birth this time. You definitely could have done this birth without any help. You did an amazing job.” Maybe birth three, if and when it happens will be unassisted?
Amazing, incredible, fantastic, powerful, intense and wonderful are the words I would use to describe this birth. I would not trade the ability to feel every second of Madilyn’s birth or Lucien’s birth for the drug induced dazed numbness that 89% of the birthing population requests without knowing. I believe natural birth is the most empowering experience a woman can do in her lifetime.
Once again I am thankful for having taken Natural Childbirth Education classes, The Bradley Method. I can’t imagine going into labor and birth with no education as to how to do it naturally or what to expect. Knowledge truly is power.
Lack of knowledge = Lack of Choice.
*This story was written 4 days after Lucien's birth with Raw Emotions.
I honor and respect every woman's right to decide what is best for them and their family.