A few thoughts…
Birth is beautiful… empowering… and sacred.
No matter how your child comes into this world, drugs or no drugs, C-section or natural, your birth is beautiful. Each story is unique and none can be compared to another. I feel as though the most important aspect of birth is that as a Mother and/or Father you are at peace with the decisions you make for your child.
Piper’s story begins in 2016…
Our family is kinda crunchy, non-conventional, and we do our best to get back to the way of life before modern day conveniences. Back in 2016 I discovered a few books that drastically impacted our journey to get pregnant. I’ll list out some of the books, doctors, and resources I’ve been following and implementing. For anyone interested in more details, I’m an open book. To make it short and sweet, I’ll just say I began cleansing my body and preparing before our conception journey began.
Here are a few resources I found extremely helpful and began implementing:
With this in mind, I want to say, health is NEVER an equation. 2+2 never equals 4 in your journey and pathway of discovery. Rather, it’s a very personal journey that you are responsible for. It looks different for everyone, includes ups, downs, highs, lows, and constant trial and error. And ultimately, although we are responsible to steward our health well we must remember:
Never, will we achieve perfect health in this fallen world.
May health never become our god.
You may do “all the right things” and find that your journey involves heartbreak, failure, disappointment, and constant trial and error. Don’t lose heart in your journey and protect your heart from seeds of comparison, discontentment, and despair.
Fast forward to 2018
Although this isn’t birth related, it’s a crucial part of Piper’s story. I began to realize that as we journeyed towards conception, I thought I was in control. Pursuing absolute health was making me proud. I was forgetting the single most important aspect of life. God is the author of life. I began praying to my heavenly father for humility, trust, peace, and surrender.
January 18, 2018
I had a stroke. Yes, healthy me had a stroke. This is a story in an of itself that perhaps I need to write out as well. But, in an effort to get to the actual birth of Piper let me be concise. My stroke was serious but God spared my life. I’ve learned even more about the neuroplasticity of the brain since my stroke and how our Father’s clever design allows our brain to heal and achieve our former quality of life. My stroke was not caused by any blood clotting disorder or any typical stroke symptoms, it was caused by a previous traumatic brain injury. Even so, darkness would creep into my heart during my pregnancy and make me fearful of blood clots and the risk of another stroke.
The Lord used my stroke to humble me, to rely more on him, to pray without ceasing, and to trust Him in my journey. Although I continued to be as healthy as possible, my heart and mind trusted the Lord.
Piper in the Womb
Shortly after my stroke we became pregnant with Piper! I had been seeing a Naturopath, Cranial Sacral therapist, Chinese Medicine Practitioner, and Functional Neurologist in those months after my stroke to make sure all blood work, lab work, and testing came back supporting the fact that I was ready to get pregnant after my stroke and my body was in a good place.
I enjoyed a wonderful pregnancy full of adventures and activity. I heard many people tell me I should be less adventurous and to be careful. ;) My midwife, Carie, empowered me, encouraged me, listened to me, and never judged me (even though I shared some crazy ideas (camping in labor?! what a joke. hehe.) Piper and my team work began with her in the womb. I learned to listen to my body, but to not live in fear. Fear had no place in our hearts. I could not live in fear of another stroke. I could not live in fear of defying the “conventional” mindset to pregnancy. Although I will tell you, it was a journey of constant prayer, surrender, and love.
A few other protocols I followed while pregnant that I believe helped TREMENDOUSLY are as follows (feel free to ask more questions if you’re interested). :)
Essential oils targeted at skin support and trimester hormonal balance
Vitamin C baby protocol - involves taking HIGH dosage of vitamin through out each trimester. When my water broke I pounded 30 grams of ascorbic acid. I attribute Piper’s ability to keep a healthy heart rate despite a non-typical and extremely difficult birth canal situation to the vitamin C boost.
Postpartum depression avoidance protocol began around month 5 of pregnancy.
As well as continuing certain protocols to for my traumatic brain injury and to promote the vascular integrity of my blood.
Alright, lets get to what you all have been waiting for. Her earth coming. :)
January 18, 2019
I woke at 2:00 AM to my water breaking. The excitement began to rise thinking, will she really be born today? What will labor genuinely feel like?
Sorry. Pause real quick. A few notes about labor preparation. I confess, I read half a book on hypnobirthing, watched a few SUPER empowering birth videos, youtubed some breathing techniques… and… that’s about it. I avoided many pregnancy apps and overload of information intentionally. I really wanted to go into my birth with as little head knowledge and watch my instincts kick in. Do I regret this decision? Today, I will tell you not in the least. :) (During labor my answer may have been different! haha!) My husband also went into this experience with less knowledge than me. I did write out affirmations for him to read to me and ideas of things he could do that I thought may help. He was absolutely perfect my entire labor.
Back to January 18, Friday.
The day was peaceful. For the most part I put my phone away and began creating my sacred space to prepare for labor. (Sorry to the friends and family I neglected at this time!). We ordered in sushi for lunch, took lots of naps, Rich played his guitar, we read a little, I stretched, and most importantly prayed without ceasing.
By Friday night I had a few contractions that were very minor - maybe some would consider cramps - and sporadic. My midwife, Carrie checked in with me through out the day, was reassuring and supported my peace.
January 19, Saturday.
I woke up around 3AM with contractions 10 minutes apart. By 4AM the contractions were 4-6 minutes apart and anywhere between 30 seconds to 1 minute. I continued laboring at home until all our hot water in the shower ran out around 5AM! I texted Carrie and asked if we could meet at the birth center at 6AM. I was ready for that tub!
From here, everything is already starting to become a blur. What seemed impossible in the moments now feels thrilling to look back at. I believe active labor started somewhere around 7AM for me.
I specifically asked for a labor with very little intervention. Aside from my midwives coming in to check on babies heart beat and taking my vitals, it was just Rich and I in our room. I can’t give you information as far as how long and when I was progressing. I wanted it that way. I wanted to remove the mental game of “how far along am I” and just experience each phase of labor as it came. It was raw, humbling, exhausting, painful, and unlike anything I have ever experienced. Moments of “I can’t do this anymore” were certainly present. Moments of, “why did I ever choose to do a natural birth” were certainly present. Moments of, “why did I not take a class?” were certainly present. But through it all my husband stayed with me, calmed me, touched me, kissed me, loved me, supported me, and was absolutely perfect. He labored with me. He trusted me.
Somewhere around noon (I think) I began to feel the urge to push. I’ll spare you all the details here. However, because of Piper’s positioning - posterior and ascynclitic - the pushing was extra difficult. My instincts didn’t quite know how to get this baby down and in the birth canal.
Thankfully, I had my wonderful team of midwives who stepped in (at my request and always respecting my space) and began to help me figure out alternate ways to push our little Piper out. I have no remembrance of how long this was. I know with each push I pushed thinking this had to be my last. I couldn’t bear another. I had nothing left. Yet, she was so far. I remember thinking about preseason sprints from college soccer. You know, the ones where your coach asks you to run 100% effort 120 yards in 110 degree weather and doesn’t tell you how many you will do. Each one you run your hardest hoping it was your last. Usually, you were far from your last.
I heard Carrie’s encouraging “mhhms” and felt her empowering presence as she guided me through the process, Lenora reassured me my baby’s heart beat was strong and healthy, Jillian helped calm my breathing, and Rich… poor Rich… was the subject of my squeezing and leverage. Without each of them I wouldn’t have made it.
At 3:42PM Piper arrived into this world. I wish I could say I had the overwhelming flood of emotions. Those emotions that say, this was all worth it. I’ll be honest, the only emotions I felt at that time was, “was that worth it?”
Tears flooded Rich’s eyes.
The birthing center practices many primal birthing techniques for after birth. Delayed cord clamping, immediate skin to skin, no bathing, and other practices that I am so grateful for.
Piper’s poor head was extremely molded. She was in discomfort. From here we had a cranial sacral therapist come in (at the recommendation of our midwife team) that very evening. She helped Piper tremendously. The rest of the evening we slept peacefully skin to skin together as a new family of 3. My heart began to burst with joy.
By the next morning…
The PTSD from birth began to fade, and the high of the fact that I “FREAKIN” DID IT kicked in. The joy that Piper is OUR child kicked in. My heart began to hurt from a love I’d never known.
The postpartum midwife team took extremely good care of us. It felt like a 5 star hotel stay with the loveliest room service. We left Sunday evening feeling supported, our bellies full, and overjoyed.
Reflecting back today, the main thought I have in my head is… I’m addicted to giving birth!! It’s absolutely unbelievable how your mind transforms an incredibly difficult experience into pure, sacred, unearthly magic.
God’s design is perfect. What grace he’s given to humanity that we may experience the joy of bringing new life into this world.