14 Weeks Pregnant Already? (Unassisted Pregnancy Journal)

The belly is obvious, and soon I will feel kicking (I usually feel my babies around 16 weeks). I cannot believe the 1st trimester is over already. I was feeling really exhausted and sick, so I am thankful to be mostly back to my normal self again. Of course I am still exhausted, but the typical I-have-four-kids kind.

So far this pregnancy has been totally unassisted. I have never gone 14 weeks without even an official confirmation of pregnancy before. It honestly feels very normal and casual. I can’t relate to the constant worry that many American moms experience during pregnancy, and I myself have felt before. I think perhaps because most women don’t have more than two babies, they never get to the point of “eh, it’s all good”! There are the rare ones who find UC and freebirth with their first baby, and for them I am happy.

My husband wants me to get the anatomy scan at 18 weeks to check on the baby, and he wants to know the sex. We have always found out the sex of babies (girl, girl, girl, boy). I would like a surprise this time! I understand his desire to check out the baby, and I agree to some extent, but I just “know” everything is fine and do not really want to subject myself the medical system for no reason. I have to think about it, and weigh how much it would bother me with how important it is to husband. If I were to go through with the scan, assuming all is well, that would be the first and last assistance I would receive.

The girls are very excited about the prospect of a new baby, and tell me daily they hope it’s twins. I don’t have a feeling it’s twins, even though the belly is bigger than usual at this stage for me, that is probably because it isn’t my first rodeo.

Anyway, happy 2nd trimester to me! (and the baby)

Shalom.

 

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Unassisted Pregnancy Journal- 12 Weeks “Why an Unassisted Pregnancy?”

How did I come to the seemingly radical decision to avoid all medical assistance during pregnancy? It started 8 years ago.

I am currently 12 weeks pregnant with my 6th pregnancy. I have 4 children, from 7 years old to 20 months. I had a miscarriage two months before my 2nd baby was conceived.

I was 22 years old with my first pregnancy and followed things by the book, more or less. I wanted a natural, vaginal birth but I never considered seeing anyone besides the OB/Gyn I was already seeing before pregnancy for well women care. I never considered a homebirth. I did watch The Business of Being Born and my eyes were opened to the cascade of interventions. I sought to avoid that by talking to my OB, despite his terrible attitude towards me, and writing my birth plan.

Oh, the birth plan! That two page list of wants and do not wants. It was taken from me with a roll of the nurses eyes, and they said “well, we will see how it goes”. I wont get into my whole birth story here, but suffice to say it was traumatic emotionally. I did end up with a vaginal birth, but I didn’t avoid many other interventions.

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My firstborn! Miss Noemi

For my second baby. I decided that I would see midwives. I was taking suboxone (as I had been for years) so they would not do a homebirth for me, not due to any actual increased risks but because of the burdensome laws midwives work under. Many things make a woman “high risk” under the current system, even when it makes little sense and lacks credible evidence. So, a hospital birth it was. I had a bigger room in a different hospital, and I was able to labor in a tub but I found that I preferred land.

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Labor of Love

My midwife made me feel like I was inconveniencing her by coming to the hospital in early active labor, and she didn’t treat me with the warmth I expected. It was far better than my first birth, and I was focused on going through my first all natural labor. Towards the end of my labor, after about 12 hours, I was starting to say “I can’t do this!” (always happens before baby comes!). The midwife suggested she push aside the last bit of my cervix so I could push. I agreed, but once it started and I realized the tremendous pain it was causing me I cried out for her to stop. To my astonishment and hurt, she did not stop. I told her about my history as sexual abuse victim. I told her how my OB forcibly broke my water with my oldest child. Yet, she kept her hand inside of me as I screamed “AMY *(not her real name) STOP!”.

After that I had to get ready to have my baby, because she was coming down the birth canal quickly. I breathed and breathed, and she was born without too much pain although I was stunned by the sheer power of it all. She was my tiny baby, 6lb6oz.

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I tried to minimize and excuse that violation and how I was made to feel like an annoyance. When I realized I was pregnant again, I knew that things had to change. I wasn’t sure who to see, so I went to a new OB practice as I gave myself time to consider my options. I was still talking suboxone, so no midwives would see me at home. And to be honest, I was less than thrilled by my experience anyway.

I had regular prenatal care with a team of OB/Gyns until I was 20 weeks. They started to pressure me about doing the Gestational Diabetes test, that disgusting glucose drink that is worse than soda. I knew I did not have GD, and I knew I was not willing to drink that garbage. I started to think about WHY am I seeing these doctors?

I realized I had NEVER been helped by a doctor during pregnancy. No doctor or midwife did anything to improve my health or my baby’s health. In fact, I had been physically and emotionally injured. It dawned on me all at once that I was doing this solely because society says pregnancy is dangerous and needs to be monitored and overseen by professionals. I realized that it was indoctrinated fear.

My experiences all contradicted this fear, and this belief that pregnancy is a medical condition to be closely monitored. I saw clearly that I was simply a woman who was pregnant, and this was a completely normal and nature state of being. I was not sick, or diseased, or in danger. I did not need help, testing, or assistance. All I received from prenatal visits was stress, which was hardly good for me or the baby.

I left that appointment and told my husband my plan to go unassisted, and have the baby at home unassisted too. He was very supportive. I felt free!

Unfortunately, my little one was facing OP (her face to my front instead of my back). This caused a very long and very painful labor. I had never experienced back labor before, and I had no relief from the severe pain. I managed to endure it for 23 hours, but my mother was very fearful. I cannot blame her for my choice, by any means, but her fear kept rubbing off on me. Finally I checked myself and I was more than 9cm dilated. I knew  my baby was almost here. I could see the worry and concern on my moms face, and she suggested we go to the hospital. I knew that it was either right then, or never, because birth was imminent.

Out of fear, I choose the hospital.

I arrived there with my mom and my husband. I refused their IV and other interventions. The OB was condescending but didn’t fight me. I allowed him to break my water, and immediately my baby was coming down. I was on my back, legs in the air (the typical hospital birth position). I started screaming, really SCREAMING. It was difficult, and everyone was yelling PUSH at me. I pushed as hard as I could, knowing that I was damaging myself in the process. The pain was too severe to insist on changing my position.

The OB yelled at me once again to push, and he pulled on her, and out she came. She was 8lb12oz, my biggest baby by far. She was perfect. Although I had only superficial tearing, not requiring any stitches, my insides hurt badly. I was in a lot of pain, and unable to resume normal sexual activities for 6 months. I knew that being on my back, and forced to push so hard was the cause of my suffering. I resented that, and I was angry with myself for allowing it to happen.

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My Big Beautiful baby girl

My next pregnancy came when my 3rd daughter was two years old. I felt elated to be having another baby. I saw the same OB practice just long enough to get confirmation of pregnancy for his birth certificate, and to get an ultrasound. I found out that we were having our first boy!

I chose to have an ultrasound/anatomy scan, because I wanted to make sure that my baby had no serious health issues before having an unassisted birth. If my baby had a heart defect that needs immediate attention, or some other condition that required medical help, I wanted to know that. Many women having a UP/UC forgo ultrasounds, and that is a perfectly valid choice as well.

My birth with our son was finally, finally, my freebirth! It was everything I knew birth could be. It was a dream come true. I was so excited about it that I told everyone who would listen. You can read about my freebirth story here

After that incredible experience, AND a peaceful pregnancy where I did not have to constantly defend my right to choose my own medical care/refuse testing and interventions; I could not imagine NOT having another UP/UC!

So, really the question is, why NOT have an unassisted pregnancy and birth?

Shalom!

 

 

 

Unassisted/Freebirth of 4th baby at 41 weeks (Husband assisted)

I stood on my front porch this morning (Oct.14th 2016) with my less than 24 hours old newborn son sleeping on my chest. I soaked in the warm autumn sunlight, smelled and kissed my son’s head, and considered just how incredibly healthy and happy I felt. My son is also healthy, calm, and peaceful.

I spent 41 weeks (well, one day shy) pregnant with this little treasure. My 4th pregnancy, my first son. I had wanted to birth unassisted with my 3rd baby and came close, but in the end I allowed fear to get the best of me. That delivery was a very difficult recovery. I knew I wanted better, needed better, this time around. After getting some minimal prenatal care with an OB practice along with the anatomy scan at 18 weeks, I just knew that I had to do the rest of this pregnancy unassisted.

Once I made that decision, a weight was lifted off my shoulders. I spent the rest of my pregnancy learning to trust my intuition and body. I took care of myself well overall, and I paid close attention to the growing person inside of me.

Around 35 weeks I started to get some contractions that would come fairly regularly. Prodromal labor, again. Only this time, much more convincing to me that active labor would start soon. I thought about what I would do if my baby came early. I thought it was certain he would never make it to his due date!

Well, two serious false alarms later, I was past my due date and feeling depressed. I was so large, so uncomfortable. I had a lot of emotions that I needed to work through until I came to acceptance. As long as the baby and I were healthy, I would wait.

The morning of Oct.13th came and I woke up having a painful contraction. I was not fully awake yet and said to myself “no no no, not like that”. I knew these contractions were different, but after so many false alarms I was scared to say this was it. My husband went to work that morning and I told him I would let him know if anything changed. I texted my mother and told her “not sure if its labor yet, but please be ready to take the kids just in case.”

My last labor was 23 hours long, so I assumed that if this was actually labor, it would be a long time before the baby was born.

Throughout that afternoon I was getting contractions about every 20 minutes, sometimes even 30 minutes apart. I was leaning against the wall or table and “ooooo oooo oooo”ing my way through them. My little girls were curious, and tried to help me sometimes too.

I knew that these contractions were getting real. My husband came home around 1:30pm and I asked him to watch the kids while I tried to rest in bed. I would sleep for around 15 minutes and then WAM “oooooo ooooo oooooo”. I was not getting much rest, and it hurt more laying down.

I came out and my husband was looking tired. I told him he was absolutely not allowed to be in a bad mood, because I needed him! He asked me “you think this could be it?” (after so many false alarms he didn’t believe it yet) and I told him “no could be, it is!”

Then, he saw me have a contraction and he sprung into action!

I realized that I very much needed his attention and help to be on me instead of the girls, so I told him to text my mom to come over. I packed up their bags, leaning against the walls every so often. My husband looked at me and said “those are coming much closer than every 20 minutes hun”.

It felt like it took forever for my mom and kids to leave, but once they did I continued this pattern of moving around and then leaning against a wall or table and my husband pressed on my lower back. With my previous labor, I needed him to push as hard as possible against my back due to back labor but this time I really needed him in front of me with his hands to squeeze so I told him that as things progressed.

He ran the tub for me while I peed and passed a lot of bloody show. The rest of my labor I would bleed a bit throughout, my cervix was opening and opening much quicker than it usually did! I didn’t realize this yet. It was about 4:30pm and I imagined that I would be in labor the entire night, into early morning like usual.

I saw in the tub and had some really big contractions. This is where transition hit me. I wanted to cry, but couldn’t yet. I spoke my fears outloud to my husband “I cant do this” and he would answer “yes, you can do this!”

“I’m not strong!” I would whine

“your SO strong! You have this!” he replied

Sometimes I would have a contraction and I wasn’t prepared yet mentally for it. I felt like I was flying away in a sea of pain, unable to anchor myself. Then, I would change positions and ready myself “I will be stronger than this next contraction” I told myself. It would hit me and I would moan, growl, oooo and ahhhh, and squeeze my husband’s hand. Then I would look up at him and say “this is so hard” and he would sympathize with me but tell me I was capable.

“You’ve got me right?” I needed to know. I had to know he was truly WITH me. He couldn’t do this for me, but I needed him with me. And he was.

I had to move from the bathtub but we left it filled just in case I wanted to return to it. I knew I was in laborland. I couldn’t think beyond the next wave. Just one more wave. I can do this. I can do this.

I labored on the couch, hands and knees.

I labored on my bed, sitting and leaning into my husband.

Then, I moved down onto the ground next to my bed on my knees, and leaned over onto the bed. Fernando had left to get something for me, I don’t recall what. I was hit with a massive contraction. I clawed the bed and GROWLED and HOWLED and Fernando came running into the room and then POP my bag of waters exploded all over the place!

Fernando was so excited, “Baby! Your water broke!”

I felt a rush of energy. The smell of the amniotic fluid was like a drug to me, and I knew that I had one task; birth this baby.

Fernando helped me crawl to the other side of the bed (still on the floor, on my knees) so he could help me better. Here comes anotherrrrrrrrr oneeeeee!!

I roared again. I felt his head move down.

“I’m having our baby!” I said. I had to say it outloud. It was a declaration.

I felt suddenly focused and purposeful. My baby was coming and I had to get him out. It was that simple. Not easy, but simple.

Over the next 20 minutes or so, I pushed and my body pushed. At one point I realized that he was ready to be born, and I just had to give one tiny push and my body would do the rest. I took a deep breath. I was ready. PUSH.

My husband was behind me “Oh hunny, our baby is coming!”

“can you see him?”

“I see you opening, he is close”

My uterus was smaller, he was down in my birth canal, I felt his head start to come out.

“I see his head!” Fernando told me

I reached down and touched my son who was almost born. I wanted to get him OUT immediately but I knew I needed to breathe a little and not rush.

My body pushed. I panted. Burning burning burning…out comes his head!

His head is out! I see my baby’s head!

Fernando has his hand right there, “I’m ready for him don’t worry” and then “I see him turning his shoulder!”

He birthed himself the rest of the way!

He came out crying! Right there inbetween my legs, in own bedroom. My husband I exclaimed over how perfect he was, over how WE DID IT, over how AMAZING it all is!

I didn’t know what to do. I was so elated. I was beyond happy. I finally cried a little too.

I asked Fernando to wrap him in a towel and hand him over to me. I had a difficult time moving my legs to sit down but managed, then most of my placenta came right out.

I felt amazingly good. I had never been so energized and healthy after giving birth. I was overjoyed to be holding this little guy in my arms. Our son was here, in our home and we could just enjoy him.

Unassisted Pregnancy/Birth; Past 40 weeks with Prodromal Labor

(I wrote this after having yet another “false” alarm of the baby coming. I was feeling really down and discouraged. I really needed to remind myself of what I am fighting for, what I believe, and what I want. Prodromal labor and drive a pregnant woman nuts!)

The only thing I have to think about is you; baby Markos. The one swimming in my belly, pushing on my cervix, causing me to stop and breathe.

I had to hear that. I have your three older sisters to care for. It is so difficult to let go and allow my mom and aunt to watch them, take over for me. It is so difficult to not feel pressure to perform, to get you here earthside.

I have too much in my mind like a pressure cooker, ready to explode. I need to just b r e a t h e.

I feel you, right beneath my taunt belly. Your legs and feet pushing against my side, your back rising against the other. Your right here, but yet your far from me; someplace inside that I cannot reach into and hold you.

I wanted this unassisted birth because I believe it is best for you, and for me. I wanted it because I believe my body can do this. I have wisdom inside of me, from generations of women who have given birth down the line to this moment; you and me.

I have to remind myself of these things. When labor gets difficult, it is easier to hand over control to someone and someplace else; like the obstetricians and hospitals. It is easier to say “okay, you take over this situation. You tell me what to do. You tell me what is happening to my body and baby.” But, this comes at a great expense of losing something sacred. It also endangers us both physically and emotionally.

I have a vision of your father and I together, your head stretching and opening me, I reach down and feel your hair (I know you will have a lot of it), and then I push more and your body slides out into your father’s hands.

And then I will know—I did it.

So come baby, I am ready for you when you are.

There will be no bright lights to assault your senses, no cold gloved hands taking you from me, no needles stuck into your feet, no uncomfortable clothing and strangers talking.

There will be you, there will be me, there will be your father and then your sisters who are eagerly waiting for your arrival.

And peace, love, family.

 

 

37 weeks Unassisted Pregnancy

Well, here I am at (almost) 37 weeks pregnant. This is my second unassisted pregnancy but I transferred to the hospital with my first unassisted birth attempt (due to my own unfounded fears, we were fine!). A UP is when a woman receives no professional care during her pregnancy, with a OB or a midwife. This doesn’t mean that the pregnant woman does not take very good and diligent care of herself, often times we who make this choice pay far more attention to the details of our pregnancies and health than do women seeing traditional birth professionals.

I stopped seeing my OB practice around 18 weeks. I knew that I had zero interest in taking the tests they wanted me to take. I felt stressed and pressured after each appointment. Then, I realized that I was doing this to myself for no reason. Yes, I am pregnant but pregnancy is not an illness! I am healthy. I do not see a doctor on a regular basis when I am not ill, so why would I do that while pregnant? I went over all the painful memories of my first baby’s birth due to the cruel manner of my old OB. I thought back to my midwife hospital birth with my second baby and understood that although it was significantly better, I was still not given full control over my own body and had to fight to keep my baby with me after she was born. I thought about how I had never, ever been helped in any way, shape or form by any medical professional during any of my births or pregnancies! I realized how absurd it was for me to continue doing something for the fourth time that stressed me out and had never proven beneficial to my health or my baby’s health! I left and never made another appointment.

This is has been a time for to regain my power and voice. Pregnant women in American are treated like children who cannot make their own choices. We are told what we are “allowed” to do, and we are bullied and shamed into major medical decisions like c sections when we disagree or push back. They want us drugged up, numb, laying down and quiet. They want us to be “good” and obey their orders. They chastise us for not being happy our baby is healthy after we endure all manner of physical and emotional abuse in labor and birth. I, for one, have had it.

This pregnancy has been a time for learning how to trust myself and honor my body. I have paid attention to what my body needs in regards to food, rest, hydration, sex. I have chosen to believe that my body knows how to grow this baby and birth this baby. I have taken steps to connect to my body in a way that I never have before. As a survivor of sexual abuse and rape, it is incredibly freeing to connect to and honor my body as I grow this precious baby.

I have learned that many times you simply cannot please other people with your choices. I will be maligned and spoken badly of due to my choice to UP/UC (unassisted childbirth), but I will let it roll off my back. I have only told my husband and my mother, but I do not allow my mother to speak negatively about it to me. She can have her feelings about it, but I do not have to listen to it. After the baby is born and has been seen healthy for months, I might make my choice to UC public. I have really enjoyed connecting with other women over the internet who are making this same journey as I am.

Pregnancy is a spiritual time. I am connected to my child in a way that is unique; because pregnancy is unlike any other human experience. It is a creative time and a sensitive time. I am emotional, but not in that negative stereotypical way. Women are mocked for our emotions during this time, but it is good for the heart to open and grow and be shaped by deep empathy.

I think this baby will be born soon. I am ready to welcome him, and I am ready to wait for him in peace; either way. I am at peace.