With Nora, I was 4 days over and we all started messing with the process, because I was impatient and I felt pressure from everyone present to just have my baby already since I was in fact "in labor" just taking forever. We did
-Black and blue co-hosh (strong herbal tincture to make your uterus contract and relax to imitate labor naturally to help kickstart things)
-5 W (another kickstarting herb)
-squats, walks, hip-shaking techniques,
-Clary sage oil
etc etc etc
And when her birth did happen it came on HARD and it never let up for 6 hours. Her birth was, quite honestly, pretty traumatic for me.
So this time I wanted to leave everything alone. I had read about just relaxing and letting the body do it's perfect thing.
My midwife also always says "when the fruit is ripe, it just falls off the tree."
I envisioned me in an apple orchard, grabbing at my favorite apple that wasn't quite ready and YANKING it off the branch, tugging and pulling and ripping. It resisted at first, but eventually I ripped hard enough that I got it off and it was a rough, jagged break at the stem.
And then I'd envision just setting up a picnic lunch on my favorite quilt under my favorite apple and waiting patiently for it. I didn't know when it was going to fall - I just knew that it WOULD fall because that was it's nature. It was a promise to me. I just had to wait. And when it did fall, right into my lap while I rested, it was pure joy. Perfectly ripe, and a clean, swift break from the branch.
I trust my body, for it is fearfully and wonderfully made.
I trust my Heavenly Father that blessed me with this baby, for He loves her even more than I love her.
Fear is a total lie, it's such a distraction. I can't believe how much we as believers get distracted by fear. I refuse to have fear. It literally makes me mad when I sense it because I know what it is - an attempt from darkness to take my Light. Fortunately, I refuse to accept it, so neener neener ha ha, Satan.
So here I am, 7 days "late" and hearing horror stories. I felt my perfect peace start to be questioned. We prayed, we laid hands on my belly and spoke to Violet to come when she's ready and not a day later, spoke that she's perfectly healthy in Yashua's name. I called my midwife to get her take on "late babies" and if we were running any risks.
Let me just say - this woman was put on planet Earth to be a midwife. She carries about her a peace and an understanding like I've never seen in anyone ever before in my life. She knows her stuff. She knows birth like the back of her hand. She's seen so many amazing things, has been delivering babies peacefully in their homes for 37 years, is filled with the Holy Spirit and takes Him with her to help her at every single birth. When we spoke with her on the phone she told us that a week overdue is no big deal. Tons of women go to 42 weeks, and that even The American Gynecological & Obstetrical Society had recently come out with statistics saying what midwives have known for years - that taking a baby before it's ready has so many more risks to both mother and baby than letting the mother go "late". They are starting to induce less and letting more and more moms go later, even in hospitals, because of unnecessary risks.
So we hang up, and I have perfect peace again. It's good to be encouraged by fellow bretheren! If I had to go another week (no thank you Lord!) I would. He knows when Violet needs to come.
The next morning:
I wake up at 6am which had been happening on it's own lately. I was like "eh, might as well clean out that closet of mine, it's been a while." I turned on my favorite podcast (Andrew Wommack) and got to cleaning. From 6-7am I had about 3 strong contractions. I had been having contractions since the Wednesday before (this was the following Monday) but these admittedly felt different. I settled my excitement and thought "give it some time..."
The contractions got stronger. I had to really stop and breathe through them. I knew this was different. I went to the bathroom and when I wiped I saw a slight tinge of blood.
I was ecstatic!
I was smiling so so big. I may have even teared up.
The rest of the house was asleep (actually Kev was crammed in a bunk bed with a middle-of-the-night crying toddler) and I was in our room embracing and receiving the whispers from Yahweh saying "today's the day"
Around 7:45am I went in and told Kevin what was going on and I'm pretty sure today's the day.
We waited for about 30 mins and called Elizabeth. She said time the contractions and let her know where they are. They were about 4-5 mins apart, and getting stronger. We called her back and she said she's on her way.
I had to calm my nerves. I wanted this to be peaceful, I wanted the pressure to be off. I wanted to let Violet come down and out in her own timing. So I really had to set my mind there. Kevin prayed over me that I wouldn't worry about anyone else, that I would just labor as I needed to and not feel pressure to hurry things along. (Why do we women put this pressure on ourselves to be the hostess with the mostest?!) Janet came and got the girls and I continued having regular contractions, but with really awesome 5-7 minute breaks in between. My birth team showed up
Julie, Kev's sister to take pics
Greta, my dear friend from church who is the hardest worker, least whiny, coolest gal I know
And Elizabeth, sweet sweet Elizabeth the midwife.
When E got there, she checked me and I was at a 6 and 100% effaced.
We spent the whole day from around 8:45ish-3:00pm just peacefully smiling, laughing, breathing through contractions, eating to keep up energy, sitting on the porch enjoying the gorgeous fall weather and - one of the reasons I love homebirth - I even took a nap. I told them all I could tell my body wanted a little rest before the big event and I listened to it. And the contractions slowed down for me and I only had about 3 in that hour-long nap. It was so amazing, I felt so in-tune with my body, like my mind, body, and my baby were all working so well together.
The labor I had dreamed of for 41 weeks.
At about 3:00pm the contractions started getting really intense. Like, ok...let's go inside I may need to focus a lot more here intense. I got in the shower because the hot water felt amazing. I stayed in there and had more and stronger contractions - and more blood. Blood at this point in life is so exciting because it means things are starting to break and what's in there is coming out. Remember, we pregnant people don't see blood for 9+ months so the sight of it is like oooooh hallelujah party's getting started!
I got out of the shower and each contraction, Kevin gave me counter-pressure, which is an earthly present from Yahweh Himself. Your partner squeezes the back of your hips while your uterus contracts strongly in the front. It kinda takes the pressure off the front and it just feels AMAZING. Greta my beloved showed us this.
Then she pulls out the been-sitting-in-the-crockpot-all-day hot rags for my lower back and the been-sitting-in-ice-water cold rags for my neck and forehead for each contraction which is basically the natural-birth version of an epidural. That plus getting in the warm (98.6 degrees exactly) birth pool water is just - oh, feels so so much better.
I am not sure what time I got in the birth pool, but if I had to assume I'd say 4:00pm ish.
Contraction after contraction, my awesome team would help me. I'd say "ok guys, here it comes"
and I'd bend over the birth stool, breathe,
Kevin would give me counter-pressure
Greta would get me hot and cold compresses
Julie would fan me with the greatest invention on earth - a paper fan. (eventually, we had Kevin and Julie on both sides of my face fanning ferociously with each contraction! It felt so good)
I reached up to see if I could feel her head several times during this part of the labor, to feel if she was getting any lower. That's kind of how I gauged where I was at in the process. So fascinating to feel your baby descend while you patiently wait and breathe through each contraction pushing her out.
You're amazing, Yahweh.
With each contraction, we worked as a team and I breathed. Then the contractions started getting familiarly painful. Like, truly indescribable pain. There's nothing like it. I moaned in a deep but soft voice - it just naturally comes out. They all encouraged me "there you go, that's the sound that will help her come down. Relax." A little bit before that, I had reached up to feel her head and didn't see much progress, like she felt pretty much right where she was last time I checked.
A little bit later I reached up, feeling discouraged, not knowing how much longer I could take. The pain was excruciating. The discouragement vanished when I could feel her head about an inch from crowning. I couldn't believe it.
oh my gosh she's so close. i can't give up now. she's so close.
I instinctively switched positions and was trying to cope with the pain and I just got move-y. I couldn't sit still. I even stood up, like "oh my gosh, I can't stand still with this kind of pain, oh my gosh, oh my gosh"...
I sat back down, leaned back on the birth stool, closed my eyes and felt a strength rush over me with a strong contraction.
I pushed again - her head was right there.
My eyes were closed but I knew exactly what was happening.
Another push, head was out, and an immediate contraction followed that allowed me to push again and birth the rest of her perfect chubby little body.
8lb 8oz 20inches long
The moment she was on my chest, I didn't care an ounce about due dates or labor pain.
I felt like Wonder Woman. I felt like Mother Teresa. I felt like a Queen. I felt like a Mama.
It was all so worth it.
It's always so, so worth it.
I can honestly say her labor was so gentle and sweet. I said to my team "it's like she's coming down but she's doing it so gently." Elizabeth smiled and said "that's the exact word I prayed for on the way over here - that this birth would be gentle"
It was like Violet was being careful about it for me or something. I could feel her coming down so sweetly and it just deepened our special bond. What a good girl.
So that's the story of how Violet Amelia came into this earth. By far one of my favorite days ever. It was healing and restorative for me. I'm not afraid of birth anymore, I embrace it. I'm so honored to do it! It's the most amazing, powerful thing I get to experience in my life and I've learned it literally changes me so I might as well just dive right in.
And if you're pregnant and reading this - you got this, mama. You've so got this!
DISCLAIMER: I pray that you don't feel a drop of guilt, or pride, or competition, or anything of that nature by reading this or any other birth stories. Birth is a unique-to-each-woman kind of thing and cannot be compared. You must do what you have a peace about and then be confident in that! If you are a momma, whether through blood or adoption or foster or whatever - I'm proud of you. You have a story that's all yours to tell. Be proud of that story! (And tell your babies that story, they love to hear where they came from!)
p.s. I'd like to thank Kevin for the following-
Letting me squeeze the living daylights out of his hand and causing him a smushed wedding ring in between fingers injury.
Also, when an animalistic pain management instinct came over me and I started clenching my jaws to counter-act the contraction pain (aka biting) I'm sorry that your fingers were involved. I felt you nervously and quickly pull your hand to yourself and whisper "please don't bite my fingers"
Thanks for handing me the Olaf blanket to bite instead. That poor Olaf blanket!
I had so much fun birthing with you, love. Thank you for taking such good care of me for the past 42 weeks. You're just amazing.
Let's do it again in a few years! ;)