June 09, 2015

The FreeBirth of Arabella

February 13th 2015-

Subzero temperature day.The ground coated in a white,fluffy blanket of fresh snow.
Not the kind of day I would wish to leave my house,especially not heavily pregnant.
I am far past the day which most women assume their baby would arrive,but having gone to 41+1 with my previous baby,I wasn't really in uncharted territory.
I felt good,I felt ready.I felt capable,peaceful,intuitive.
Babies come when babies are ready,and my baby decided that approximately 41+4 was the right time.

I awaken to a contraction.
Knowing that it could very well just be a random contraction,I wait for it to go away and I try to rest in bed a bit longer before my children can't possibly wait any longer for breakfast.
I continue to have contractions every 10-15 minutes through the next two hours...really short contractions,but also very real contractions.

My husband calls on his break and I inform him that my contractions have not picked up,but seem to have spaced out since the kids got up,so IF I were to have a baby that day labor likely would not pick up again until later in the day.
I called my mom to inform her as well,since she would probably be helping with the kids if I happened to start laboring down during the day.

I decide to cut my oldest boys hair,as he has been asking for a few weeks,and what better way to help pass the time.
I begin to put on my apron,when a huge contraction comes crashing in.I grasp my door knob,amazed at the strength of the rush.
"Caleb,mommy can't cut your hair right now...please keep an eye on your siblings for a few moments"
I lose all sense of calm for just a brief few seconds and text my husband:
"I think maybe you should come home...I'm serious"
A shower was what I needed,so I took a hot shower...The hot water pounding on my back felt incredible.

My husband arrived home and took over most of the childcare duties while I rested.

Go figure,my contractions had spaced out again and were much more tolerable.
I felt whipped.I had no energy,so upon the suggestion from my fellow freebirthers,I had a snack of protein,fruit,and dates for energy.
It was a special moment:I sat with my (still) youngest,my daughter,eating dates and having the occasional contraction.

My contractions are picking back up a bit.I'm still not ready to call it (labor),but I am hibernating in my bedroom as if it is really my time.
I read a few affirmations and go into my primal mindset.
I am ready.My room is my safe haven.I don't need much to birth a baby,but I have all I need.
I tell my baby:
"I am ready to meet you baby"

I call it.

"This is it"

It's not going away until my baby is in my arms.
It's Friday,so that means two of my children are to stay the night with my parents and I don't want my husband to leave,so I call my mom to come get the boys.
We start to fill the birth pool.

My mother arrives and at this point,I am needing to really focus during my contractions.
I feel like my baby could be born very soon,so I ask her to take the boys back to her house and then come to help with our younger three so Matt can attend to me if I need him.
I lean in the doorway between my bedroom and the bathroom,staring at the door frame through each contraction.
"This is my baby being born"

I am not aware of the rest of the world or even much of the happenings in my own house.
The birth hormones are making me so very sleepy between contractions,yet so aware of my body and baby.
I get in the birth pool and allow the water to cradle me as I rest my head on the inflated edge,dreaming of my baby,watching the visuals in my head of life coming forth.
I nod off,dozing in and out between contractions.

I decide to take a hot shower,as my instincts are to be more upright.

After a soothing shower,I go back to my bedroom.
Matt has put Marlena in bed and I hear the faint sounds of my mom reading to Payton and Jacobi in the living room.
I start to feel like counter pressure is helpful,so Matt begins tending to my need during contractions.
As with my last labor,I lean over/into the birth ball while I stand next to my bed.
I start repeating an affirmation in my head during every contraction as I breathe:

"In peace,out tension"

It helped,so it ended up being my main affirmation during the entire labor.

I tell Matt that I think he should put the boys to bed.
While he is getting them tucked in,I have several contractions and I have to brace my hands on the wall or in the doorway.I breathe deeply,slowly,with great intent.Consciously sending oxygen to my baby and my body.
I pray and ask God to help me continue to have such a peaceful labor and birth.

Matt comes in my room and says that the boys are in bed.

Upon hearing that,my body kicked into gear.Contractions became much more regular and intensified.
I felt tired between contractions-even dozed off through many of them.
A contraction would start to wake me,and I had to move as swiftly as a pregnant woman can,standing up and leaning over something while Matt would press on my back and hips.
A few times,I took too long to fully wake up and I just couldn't stand up once the contraction was coming on.Matt would hold my hand and we would acknowledge "Waited too long"
Matt brought me a piece of cheese to help energize my body.I fell asleep eating it!

Matt seems tired from doing counter pressure,and I want to save his energy in case I need it later on in labor.
I decide to take another hot shower to manage my contractions.
I would turn the water super hot for the length of the rush,then fairly cool between contractions so my body could cool down.
My water hadn't broken and there was no visible bloody show.
I experienced a blissful contraction,one that must have been chuck full of oxytocin.
I felt so good being upright,standing and bracing against the shower wall.

"I could have this baby right here in the shower,standing up"

It sounded like a wonderful plan.I felt very flexible in regards to how I would give birth.

There was a lot of pressure.
I talked to baby a lot:
"Baby come out,come on baby"

I decided to get out of the shower and use the potty-and finally I had some bloody show/mucous plug.I think I actually squealed.

Matt comes in the steamy bathroom where I am leaning over our changing table.
I feel a ton of pressure and a hallowing feeling in my cervix.

"I could have this baby right here" I think to myself.

Matt asks if I want to get in the birth pool,as it seems like one or both of us must have thought baby was coming very soon.
I tossed the idea around in my head and decided that maybe I did want a waterbirth.
Matt added more hot water to the pool and I sank into a deep kneel,leaning my upper body against the side of the pool.
My contractions were coming about two minutes apart,and after one of them I said "There shouldn't be more than maybe 20 more.I can do that" (I don't know where that thought came from,but I had to say it out loud)

After a few contractions and Matt applying counter pressure,I felt a fullness in my birth canal.

"Hmm,maybe a few little pushes" I thought.

I pushed a little bit and I felt the "baby" coming down.
I pushed a little more,a little more and....

My water bag.
It was my water bag-the amniotic sac.

"My water just broke" I declared.

I started to feel shaky all over like I always do during transition.
I knew I would be birthing my baby any minute.How exciting.How powerful!
The rushes were coming one after another and I felt so much pressure.

I decided to give in to the feeling to push.

After a couple little nudges from my own pushing,my uterus moved baby down.

Baby was coming fast!

"I'm pushing,baby is coming" I said to Matt,while groaning.

"Ma,she's pushing!" Matt said,loud enough for my mom to hear from the living room.

I push a little more-one push,two pushes,three pushes..baby crowns.

I am still in a deep squatted kneel,and I feel my baby crowning.

I put my hand down and feel my baby-

Soft,wrinkly,vernix-coated hair.

"Are you OK?What are you doing?" Matt asks.

(He later tells me: "I was pressing on your back,watching behind you for a baby to come out!")


I feel baby's head touch the bottom of the pool,so I lift myself up a bit to give enough room for baby's body to be born.
I pant as baby's head and shoulders are born,never taking my hand off of my baby's smooth,cheesy head.
It's incredible.

I am catching my baby!!

Baby glides out of my body and I grasp baby and bring baby up to my chest.
"Wow,you are so tiny" I think to myself.
I lean back into the side of the pool,cradling this tiny,cheesy baby.
I'm in awe.I did it.I just gave birth.
It had gone so quickly once things got intense.

Baby starts gurgling and pinking up right away,looking right into my eyes.

"Is it a boy or a girl" asks Matt
I feel around.I even look.

"I can't tell!" I say in confusion.
Matt moves baby's legs and looks:

"It's a girl!We have another little girl!"

I gasp in disbelief that I actually have a second daughter.

She starts to cry that hardy,newborn cry and starts rooting for the breast.
We start nursing right away.Perfect latch.
Matt brings a towel as I look baby over,processing this amazing thing that just occurred.

"Do you have a name picked out for her?" my mom asks.

"Arabella..we don't know her middle name yet"

My mom and Matt make a few phone calls and I sit with baby.

"She is beautiful" I think to myself.

I notice some bleeding is happening,that I feel cold,and baby is not happy either.
I also notice that I have some good cramping and pressure occurring,indicating that the placenta is ready to be birthed.
My mom leaves after congratulating me and informing me that I did a wonderful job.

Matt helps me out of the birth pool and sets my good ol' roasting pan on the floor next to the birth pool.
I squat down and proclaim sarcastically:

"This is gonna be attractive"

After I birth the placenta,we lay baby down and see that the cord is flat and white and since cord cutting was our choice of action,we tied it off with the special braided embroidery string I had made in preparation.
Matt weighs Arabella:

"She's 8 lbs 6oz"

I had guessed she might be smaller than my last two babies who were 8 lbs 8 oz at birth.

I chose to hold off on measuring her length and head circumference,as I was both tired and hungry!

"I am starving!Please make me some food!"

Matt makes me "Egg on a bagel" and I devour it immediately!

"Another please!" I beg.

As I wait for more food,I open the towel we are wrapped in...Meconium!

"She pooped!"

Matt holds Arabella as I go to clean up a bit and put on a postpartum pad.
I feel great.
I have an Oxytocin high so big,I smile and contently soak up all the good feelings.

Knowing that I will likely experience intense postpartum after pains,I take a couple of Motrin and a good amount of AfterEase tincture.
I snuggle up with this tiny new being.

I breathe her in,smelling her fresh little head.
She still has vernix in her crevices and it's caked in her hair and ears.

Birth is incredible.
It's intoxicating.Life altering.

It's about connection.Believing in that which you cannot see.
It's about faith and love.

It's pure,raw,primal.

It can hurt.It can be sweaty.Intense full body work.

It's the beginning of such a beautiful blessing of the relationship of mother and child.

I thank God for birth....for which it has changed me and impacted my mothering,my life,and how I feel about all things.


  1. Will you be coming back for an update?