Freebirth Story on New Years Day!

*There is some nudity in these videos of my birth, but not very graphic*

On New Years Day 2019, I gave birth to my 5th baby! My 4th daughter, and 2nd freebirth/unassisted birth. I was 40 weeks exactly, she was actually born on her guess date. I had contractions from my 2nd trimester, which became increasingly frequent and strong in the week or so leading up to her birth. I felt a certain change in the strength of them in the 24 hours before labor began. I woke up around 4am on 1/1 and watched a show on Netflix. I went to my rocking chair in the living room and put up my swollen feet. I felt my belly getting stronger contractions but still slept in between them.

My husband woke up around 7am and asked me if he should call out of work. I told him to ask me again soon and I would tell him. I was not certain that I would have the baby yet by then, but while he got ready I decided that even if I didn’t give birth that day, I would need his help with the kids regardless.

Things picked up really fast after this. We were in the kitchen together as the kids woke up, and my husband noticed my contractions were awfully close together. He was keeping an eye on the clock and told me they were about 5 minutes apart. He was surprised by how close they were, and I was feeling certain that baby was coming now.

I called my mom and told her to come get the kids around 8:30am. By 9am, I had sequestered myself in the bathroom where I held onto the sink for dear life as the contractions rocked me. I could not deal with being by the kids, so I called my mom and basically told her HURRY UP BABY IS COMING.

She flew over here and grabbed the kids for me. As my husband put our son into her car, she pushed on my hips for me but then she said, “how do you know the contractions are actually doing anything?” “have you had any bloody show?” I remembered then why she can’t be my birth support with a UC, she means well but her questions were not helpful. I only ever had bloody show or a mucus plug with my 4th baby by the way. I had no obvious signs of cervical dilation, neither was I concerned at all about checking myself, but I simply could feel their power and knew they were doing their job.

She left with the kids and finally my husband Fernando could come in and help me. I had him give me counter pressure on my lower back for a few contractions, then I asked him to run the shower and get in with me. It was very nice to have the hot water on my back and to be close to him physically. He stood in front of me and I leaned into him. He saw I was anxious, because of how fast I went from “maybe labor” to “holy moly this hurts”. He reminded me over and over that I was capable, and strong, and that my body knew how to have the baby. He also reminded me to BREATH. I took some deep breaths and calmed down.

When I felt ready to leave the shower soon I told him to come out and get stuff ready for me. I was having many contractions now, and occasional breaks of a few minutes or so. Those breaks were like heaven for me. In my head I was thinking about escaping the pain, but I would talk back to myself “that is because the baby is almost here, your almost done”. I left the bathroom with a towel around me, and stood by the living room table. I had a pillow on the table that I leaned on, as Fernando pushed on my lower back and reached around me so I could squeeze his hands. It was around 10am and I KNEW I was in transition and baby was coming shortly. I was also resisting a bit, because I had no time to mentally go there.

I was not zen like at this point. I banged on the table, threw a bottle of water, and cursed through contractions. I also did not care one iota. I just wanted to get through this and I kept picturing myself resting with my baby as motivation.

I felt things shift and pressure building. I moved to my previous births “birth spot”, on my knees and leaning over my bed with pillows. I had my husband do something that I never imagined before, but it just kind of happened and felt perfect. He came behind me on his knees, and he leaned over me in a bear-hug type position. The pressure of his weight against my hips and lower back felt awesome and being surrounded by his body and holding his hands was perfect. It actually felt very sensual despite the pain I was in, and it was not the first time I felt sensual towards him during this labor. It was not sexual exactly, but very sensual.

I was being totally consumed by the contractions and the pressure was very intense. My body was bearing down, and my belly was squeezing baby down very hard. My water was still intact. I took out a hand-held mirror and watched my vagina to try and distract myself. I never bothered to watch before, it was a good distraction. I thought I saw the baby’s head and got excited, but it was my own tissues being pushed from the pressure. I knew baby was right there though.

Sure enough, the next contraction came, and I felt her deep in my birth canal. I was in a lot of pain but breathing through it. I put my hand down there so I could feel for the head, again, as a nice motivation and distraction. That is when everything let loose. My water exploded, poop came out, and my vuvla was opening up for baby’s head. I felt the head right there, almost out. My husband was still behind me and I knew all those fluids were getting all over him, but I thought “well, I have to give birth so he can handle that” lol

Next came baby’s head, and then the body just slipped right out! I was SO RELIEVED to have given birth. It was right about 11am.

Right away I noticed it was a GIRL, and we both laughed so hard because I swore the whole pregnancy it was a boy. She was crying immediately, and her cord was very short. I asked for a towel because she was so slippery, I could hardly hold her. She sounded like she had some gunk in her and we considered sucking it out with out mouth, but it didn’t seem too bad, so we just waited, and she was fine.

I was sitting in a pool of blood and bodily fluids, everything was everywhere. But I was so excited to have my baby! She was beat up from her quick exit, but we realized she looked like me! Finally, after the other 4 being my husbands twin.

Fernando helped me move into a reclining sitting position. I was in a bit of pain still, so I didn’t want to sit directly on my butt. I got to know this little person who I carried for 40 weeks. She nursed, and her latch was perfect. She was wide awake and taking it all in.

I decided to try and move into a better position to birth the placenta after about half an hour of needed rest. It just didn’t come, but I was still bleeding a lot. I felt healthy, so I was not concerned. It was about an hour after birth when I stood up for a while and told Fer to cut the cord, so I could focus on birthing the placenta. But, I had a feeling that it was an emotional block. As he went to gather supplies for the cord, I put my hand over my belly and told the placenta to let go, it was ok to let go. I realized I was holding onto the placenta with my fears, because birthing the baby hurt so much. As soon as that fear released, the placenta detached, and I felt it coming out. Just in time, Fernando caught it in a chux pad for me.

I felt incredible for it all to be over! We wondered over our newest daughter and laughed and kissed. We cut her cord after about two hours and I showered off. I was bleeding quite a bit, but I decided to just keep an eye on it and it slowed down later to a normal level. I ate a banana and drank some juice and felt overall very healthy and strong and happy.

So, the birth was fantastic as far as health and autonomy. I love being in my own home, and I love birthing with only my husband. It was a very difficult birth as far as pain levels, and my guess on that is because it was my fastest birth by far. Typically, I have hours to get my game face on and prepare. But this was go time from the start. I learned a lot about my strength, and it was a way to grow closer to my husband because I relied on him so much. I wouldn’t change it for anything, and I am so happy to add her to our family.

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Nearing Birth, 37 Weeks Unassisted

Lately, there has been a major shift; physically and emotionally. I frequently wake up in the middle of the night, and the very early morning. I carefully move my legs out of bed, trying not to cause my hips more pain. I limp over to the kitchen and get something to drink and snack on. I empty my bladder for the hundredth time. I sit in my recliner and enjoy the silent darkness, before my toddler wakes and comes running sleepily to find me and nurse in my heavy, burdened lap.

I need more rest, and more time to think. I’m less interested in what it going on outside and around me. My focus draws inward, to the life that moves so strongly inside of me. I am startled awake sometimes by the strength of this little ones kicking.

Most of the time I feel joyful anticipation over the upcoming birth, but there are moments of panic when I consider the task ahead of me. It is the hardest thing to do. It takes physical and mental strength like nothing else I have done. I draw deep from within myself to have the courage, I lean on my husband physically and emotionally, and I pray to my Savior for His strength to come to me when I lose mine. I hold in my minds eye the image of my newborn, and I remind myself of the joy to come.

My contractions have become more intense since yesterday. Still sporadic, like the casual tossing of a sea. Yet, stronger. Filled with the sensation of my babies head pressing down, helping to soften and open me up to their birth. At times it feels like a powerful hug, almost enjoyable. At other times, it wakes me up and I cringe in pain.

My toddler still needs me so much physically. It is very difficult to handle his demands against my own needs at the end of pregnancy. I have committed myself to nursing him until he self-weans, esp because of his concerning lack of weight gain (a subject for another day). But it is hard!

My due date is still two weeks away, but I don’t think the baby is waiting that long. Time will tell.

I never had a winter baby before. It is kind of fitting, as the earth goes into itself that I would also go inward. It feels right, in some spiritual sense.

Shalom.

32 Weeks Pregnant; Putting Away Fear, Embracing Intuition

I can’t believe I am 32 weeks (plus 4 days) into this unassisted pregnancy journey. I have mentioned before that this was my most difficult pregnancy, and being my 5th I have been given no time for rest! Especially with my very adorable, but very demanding 2yr old son. I have also been much BIGGER with this baby! So, every time I go out people say

“Wow! Due any day now huh?!”

“Are you having twins?”

“Are you suuuure it’s not twins?”

“Geez, you were never this BIG with the other babies!”

You get the point. I’m big. Pretty darn huge. Like a barn. Or a whale. Anything humongous.

So, I kind of started to worry. Why am I so big? Am I having an abnormally giant baby? Is there too much amniotic fluid? What if the baby is enormous? How will I give birth to a hippopotamus baby?

The fear started to creep in. Most people in this society are very, very scared of giving birth. They are distrustful of women’s bodies. They hand over control to doctors the moment a second pink line shows on that pregnancy test. They are tested, prodded, and documented. I constantly have women opening up to me about their births (which I love to share), but I notice consistently the language of disempowerment;

“They told me I couldn’t have a vaginal birth”

“They decided to induce me”

“Oh the doctor wouldn’t let me…”

“I wasn’t allowed to…”

Women are not the primary actors in their births. They are being allowed, or not allowed. They are given permission, or constraints. They are told, not asked.

I had all the fears of the friends, family, dance moms and supermarket cashiers bombarding me. I couldn’t distinguish what was coming from within me, what was genuine.

Then, I had a strange pregnancy dream. I love these weird dreams that happen towards the end of pregnancy. They give me a lot to think about, and it seems like it works out concerns I have in my subconscious. Plus, they are usually absurd and funny. (I dreamt I gave birth to a kitten during my first pregnancy).

I had this dream two nights ago, after worrying all day about the size of my belly. I was on my bed with my husband, when I felt my cervix opening. I said my husband, “I could give birth right now”. I started to push, and gently a baby’s head began to appear. I pushed the baby out easily, quickly, and painlessly. It was a small baby, and a girl. I laughed about that in the dream, because I have been convinced its a big boy.

This dream, somehow in all its weirdness, caused me to feel better. I felt some sort of shift in my emotions. Maybe it was because the dream showed me how wrong I could be. All the worrying, and it was a tiny baby girl. Maybe it was just the fact of remembering birth. I don’t know. I just know that I am not scared anymore. I feel ready, when baby is ready, to do this for the 5th time.

I really can’t wait to discover WHO this baby is!

Count down to birthday.

31 Weeks Pregnant Unassisted Journal

I have not been blogging lately. This has been a difficult pregnancy for me. My body seems to be a bit tired, and carrying this 5th baby in 8 years has taken a toll. I have tried to enjoy being pregnant, like I normally do, but it has not been easy. Every day my hips are in quite a bit of pain from SPD, and I am larger than I normally am so my body just generally hurts, and feels uncomfortable.

Yet, I am thankful for the life inside me. I feel the baby moving often, esp at night, big movements from what I suspect is a big baby. A strong baby, halleluYah!

This is the first time I have gone totally unassisted for the entire pregnancy. I went unassisted from around 20 weeks with babies 3 and 4. This is the first time we left the sex of the baby a surprise! I felt very strongly about not knowing this time, which is a strange departure from my usually impatient self.

Taking care of the kids, particularly my 2 year old, has been challenging at times physically.  I have been nursing my toddler this entire pregnancy, which has been difficult and uncomfortable. Dry nursing triggers feelings of nursing aversion, but I have endured it for my son’s sake. I believe breastfeeding tandem with the newborn will help his adjustment period. My daughters are very excited about having a new sibling, and they have been really sweet about helping me most of the time. They treat the baby as their own already, which really warms my heart.

I have been complaining and saying I can’t wait to give birth for so long that it is hard to believe I am getting so close! Now my thoughts are turning towards preparing for the birth, physically and mentally.

Emotionally, I feel very raw lately. I cry over anything sad. I feel sensitive to everyone, those close to me and those far away. I have been avoiding terrible news about wars and children suffering because it feels like a personal affliction. My heart breaks easily over the thought of any child in pain. I know that this is part of the pre-birth period for me. My heart opens before my body opens. Motherhood changes me profoundly, each time. Bringing life into the world causes me to rejoice and mourn with the world. Caring for such an innocent being causes me to feel maternal towards all the earths children. It is a very complex emotional place to be, and painful at times, but I open myself to it and allow it to change me.

31 weeks, count down!

21 Weeks Pregnant UC Journal- Kicks and Cramps

I don’t know if it’s because I’ve reached the magical age of 30 or if it’s because I have 4 children already, but pregnancy #5 is not easy. I basically feel like an old lady every day. My legs hurt, back hurts, and I want to sleep. I normally love this stage of pregnancy and have plenty of energy, but this time I find myself just looking forward to the end result (holding the baby) and getting my no-longer-pregnant body back. Although, I will have my newly-postpartum-mother-of-5 body which probably isn’t much better. Welp. Put me out to pasture.

Then, two weeks ago I decided it was a great idea to take my 4 kids to the state fair. So I ended up lifting my toddler constantly, pushing our big stroller while stuck in a monsoon rainstorm. We even got lost in the massive “parking lot” (huge fields that look the same). I was seriously about to cry when we found the van. I was exhausted, we were soaked and muddy, and the kids kept wailing “I want dadddddddy”. Where do I get such great ideas??

After we got home that night, I had to wash dishes and clean the kicthen and give the gross muddy kids a bath. I went to bed with serious lower back pain, and when I woke up I was having contractions that felt serious. I was scared of how intense they felt at this stage of pregnancy, I was only 19 weeks, so I called my mother to come and help me with the kids so I could be seen at the hospital.

They checked everything and baby was fine. My cervix was closed, so the contractions were not doing anything. Unassisted pregnancy does not mean that you can never seek assistance if you feel unprepared for symptoms. I wanted to make sure I was not in preterm labor, so I did. I’m glad I went, and my blood work was perfect which was nice to know!

Now at 21 weeks, I have been taking it easier. No more monsoon treks through the state fair. I have been giving myself the grace I need to rest when my body tells me to rest. The contractions have subsided since I am taking better care of myself.

Despite being old and tired, the one thing that brings a smile to my face this pregnancy is baby kicks! I was feeling movement for about a month, but they were small movements. Now I can expect real baby kicks every day, and it is always such a joy. No matter how many times I have felt it before, each time it feels like a miracle and gives me a special connection to my unborn baby.

This is the first time we have chosen not to find out the sex of the baby before birth, and that has also been exciting!

Shalom

 

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.

 

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!