beautiful birth stories.
Birth. A different journey for every woman. But worthy of sharing and learning from. Below are three different birth stories, with different mama’s and scenarios and settings, but all beautiful in their own way. Thanks for sharing ladies!
Rachel Scott: First Baby, hospital birth:
I knew I did not want drugs, especially an epidural (the thought of them makes my legs go weak, no joke). I wanted a water birth, but I wanted to be in a hospital, however that doesn’t work here in Victoria. The hospital for some reason felt safe for me, I knew myself well enough that being home would put so much nerve on me that it would probably create an issue that would otherwise not have been there. So, being at the hospital gave me peace of mind knowing that IF anything happened I was in the right place to handle it.
I went into labour three days early, shortly after 2AM (I wish I hadn’t stayed up till midnight!) I thought: Oh my, this is it—the moment we have been waiting for! Excitement, nervousness, joy, fear, you name it, it was felt. I laboured for about an hour or two at home in the shower, but I just couldn’t relax at home. I wanted to get to the hospital and just be where I knew I would be birthing. I also did not want to be stuck in the car with intense contractions!
We get to the hospital and I went to the check in desk and told the nurses very calmly that I was in labour and going to be having my first baby. My husband, David and I could see they didn’t really think I would be having the baby that day. However when checked, I was already 5cm. My labour progressed fairly nicely as far as labour can go I suppose. I LOVED the big birthing ball, and found myself on it a lot, or in the shower. Poor David, he wasn’t allowed to leave my side, even when I had to pee. I remember looking at him like, “Well, aren’t you coming?”. I was not going anywhere alone. Labour was hard work, but actually went better then I had expected, which was a very nice surprise.
Then transition hit, and it was the contraction from HELL that just didn’t end. It started off like any other contraction and when it felt like it’s supposed to be over, it got worse, and worse, and worse. I let out a loud scream which scared the heck out of David, and brought all the birthing team running in saying. To them, it was time to birth, and they were happy. David was a bit confused…
When it came time to pushing, I was nervous to really give it my all, and I pretended that two of my contractions weren’t actual contractions. Who did I think I was fooling, really? But no way was I going to push! However, the baby’s heart rate had dropped during pushing, so they were busy making sure he was okay. That was actually what did it for me, as I could hear the urgency in their voices telling me push with all that I had. They asked me to roll onto my side to see if that would help get him out quicker and it was only 2 pushes after that and he was out (arms crossed). I was nervous about having the placenta come out too, and I was scared it would hurt, but it was nothing! Sebastian was born on November 26th 2008 at 11:47am.
Sebastian was my dream come true, my answer to prayer, my baby boy. And I was SOOOOO in love, and VERY tired. I did not feel what I thought I would feel after birth. I thought all I would feel was pure joy and excitement, I thought I would be crying tears of happiness. I was just too exhausted to show my emotion, but I was in love. In the end, I was happy I managed to stay off drugs. Nothing against them, they have their place, but needles in my back and groggy head just don’t appeal to me.
Heather Svensson: Second baby, home birth.
My first home water birth was so amazing, and the second time around, I wanted that experience again. This time having an active toddler, I wanted to labor in the middle of the night/morning and have my daughter wake up to a new brother or sister. And that is exactly what happened.
I woke up around 1:00 a.m. to go to the bathroom and as I rolled out of bed my waters broke. I went to the bathroom and called Anita, my midwife. She said to call back when I started having contractions. I woke up my husband, Mattias, and said, “My water broke and we should start getting ready.” He started getting the birth pool set up. I started warming up water for the essential oil compresses I wanted to use. I called my mom and told her to come on over. At about 1:30am, I started having mild contractions and I called Anita who said she would be on her way. She had told me earlier that I would probably have a fast labor because of the strong contractions I had been having two months before the baby was born.
I was leaning over the birthing ball and my husband, Mattias was doing pelvic pressure. As soon as the pool was half way full with water, I got in. It felt so nice to be in warm water. The midwife, student midwife and doula arrived at 3:00 am, and then Mattias got in the tub with me. It is so nice to labor with my husband in the water. He did pelvic pressure and I was holding my mom’s and doula’s hand during contractions. At one point Anita wanted me out of the water to cool down as the fetal heart rate was high. So I got out and leaned over the birthing ball. Then I threw up twice, which was probably transition. After that I started pushing, or rather, my body started pushing the baby out. It felt so good to push.
Suddenly I said “Anita the baby is coming.” I must have felt the head drop past my bones into the birth canal. It seemed like the baby didn’t like that position so I leaned with my back toward Mattias. At that point I was holding both of my mom’s hands over my shoulders. Anita said I was ready to push and I was like “really?” I couldn’t feel crowning or hadn’t felt the head yet with my fingers. So, I got my feet up against the wall of the pool and pushed the baby out in two contractions. My baby shot out of me with that final push. Anita said “Get your baby,” and so I leaned over and got her. That was at 5:02 am. Just four hours of labor. My last labor was 13 hours. I wanted the baby to crawl to my breast (mama’s, see a UNICEF video of a breast crawl here) so I just placed her on my tummy as I searched to see if it was a girl or a boy. It was a little girl! Then just minutes after the birth my older daughter woke up! We named her Verona Corazana Lova Maple Svensson.
During the time of thinking of names Anita looked to see if I tore and I did a little bit. Enough for 8 stitches! So, they sutured me right on the couch with my baby still crawling to breast. My doula brought me my requested hot chocolate with Bailey’s to keep me warm.
After the suturing we burned the umbilical cord with beeswax candles. Mattias held one candle and I held the other. I love the idea of not cutting the cord and to let the baby receive all the blood that it wants from the placenta before separating the two.
Eventually we moved to the bedroom where we got all nice and warm and cuddled. There I swallowed part of my placenta which my doula had washed and cut into small swallowable pieces. I placed them under my tongue and let it work homeopathically and then swallowed them. It tasted a little salty but that is it. No strange taste. Even with a small hemorrhage and a tear and a fast intense labor, the next day I was up and about and had so much energy and strength!
Chelsea Chalifour: thoughts on birth, first and second baby.
I thought I’d share the few things that I realized after going through labour just twice. Both my labours were natural. Both were pretty short, too. Before giving birth I was set on having a natural birth. I was skeptical of the medical community and its birth methods – and the resulting prevalence of C-sections. I knew that one thing leads to another, and that before you know it things aren’t progressing and the baby is in stress and a cesarean becomes necessary.
During labour with Solomon he wasn’t completely posterior so he was coming out sideways. While he didn’t have a particularly large head, he seemed to be getting stuck on my pelvis bone. I only pushed for fifteen minutes before he started going into distress. I think I remember his heart rate being somewhere around 40bpm in-between contractions. They ended up giving me two episitomy’s and used a suction and he came out (episiotomy’s without any pain relief pretty much suck). In the moment, when everyone was being ushered out of the room and things were getting intense, my prior convictions about a vaginal labour meant nothing. And it made me realize that, while I still believe that there are ways to encourage a vaginal birth and there are things that unnecessarily lead to c-sections, I realized that there are also so many things that are out of our control, and that a C-section really doesn’t matter. I also realized that every woman’s experience is just so different.
You will confront fear and pain in a way that is really unimaginable during labour.
I didn’t have any medications during either of my labours, but with Mikaylah I had three people (two were men) rotating putting pressure on my lower back to try to cut the sharp edge off the pain. They were rotating because they were using all their strength and were completely worn out of their strength. And it was only impacting the tip of my pain. At one point, I literally felt like I couldn’t breath and that there was nothing to grasp that could get me through.
BUT, my labours were short – with both, I went into labour in the morning (around 6 or 7am), started having heavy, hard contractions around 10 or 11, and had them by 1:30 or 2:30pm. Pretty much dream labours. I was home in my own bed the same evening with both. Which is why I say that, having gone through it without medication, and knowing that my experience was about as good as it gets, I couldn’t imagine suggesting that all women should be able to get through that kind of pain. If she can I wholeheartedly agree that the benefits are incredible, but I also see that its a flawed process. And it is such a mountain of pain. Pain that, in any other experience, we would numb out in a second. We would never even consider that pain to that magnitude should be tolerated without medication.
Having said that, I will always choose the natural approach. What I was surprised by in the whole experience was the incredible, out of this world, intimate bonding experience it was between my husband and I. I felt more connected to him and in love with him in that moment than I ever had before. It was close to a euphoric high. An experience I could only feel through the intensity of a natural birth. AND, I will say that having the episitomy’s made me realize how much our body naturally compensates for the pain of birth. They felt like a harsh pain which I could tell my body wasn’t ready for, while the birthing pains seemed to feel different. Finally, the most amazing thing is how all that pain is gone in an instant, once the baby is born and there’s an incredible feeling of peace.
For that reason I totally hope that every woman can experience a natural birth. But I am amazed at what a fragile process it really is, and am really grateful that we have the options.