Updated: Apr 26, 2022
June 13- The day of Theomonte’s birth!
For the whole week before Theo was born I experienced on and off contractions, some bloody show and mucous, but no baby. Around 145a the morning of his birth I woke up to my contractions and needing to use the bathroom. The day before I was experiencing contractions that were getting progressively more intense, but they had mostly tapered off by bedtime, so it was new to be woken up suddenly. When I wiped, I saw that I had red bloody show. I put rose oil on my vulva and sent good intentions to my womb and baby and then went out into the living room where I set up a cozy spot to labor. After about an hour I went back to my bed to try and sleep.
I couldn’t sleep again, my contractions felt really long and were harder to move through when I was laying down, so I got up again and Ryan woke up with me this time. He made sure I was staying hydrated and fed me yummy warm bone broth and rubbed my back. I spent a good amount of this birth laboring alone which I didn’t do with my daughter’s birth and I loved it. During those moments of alone time I was able to witness myself in a different way by only relying on myself. I remember when I started circling my hips during contractions and how that made it less intense. I also remember at one point looking at myself in the mirror and telling myself that everything was going to be ok, “everything is ok”, “I can do it”, “I am doing it.” I didn’t want my mind to spiral out of control and into a fear state as it started to get more intense. Prior to this birth, I was very nervous about my ability to cope with the contractions and wondered if my instincts would "turn on." They definitely did. I moved however I needed to move and said what I needed to say all to flow with and through the waves of contractions.
Around 5:30a, I entered what I would call active labor, but maybe it was closer to transition? I needed to make sounds at this point and, I was definitely not in "normal" reality, and the contractions were getting really intense. During the sensations I had to reach up high, I circled my hips, I slow danced with Ryan, I moaned and groaned and breathed through them. I would rest in between and as I noticed the contraction start I would get up and move and breathe and make noise. Inara woke up around this time because of my sounds. She was awesome, she let me be during the contractions, she just watched me as I moved through with Ryan’s support. In between the contractions I would attempt to be “normal” and talk to her and ask her questions like “do you want to eat breakfast”. Ryan asked me a few times if I was ready for our support to come and I said no, not yet, I just really wasn’t sure how long it would be and if I’m being honest, I wanted it to just be Ryan and I. This is how I pictured labor to be, whenever I imagined it, it was just us two. Ryan asked if he could call his sister to come be with Inara because of the intensity, I said I don’t know, ok, sure. He called her close to 6a and she miraculously answered! He told her we might need her to hangout with Inara, but we weren’t sure yet. She said she’d be ready and available if we needed her. This is where everything gets sort of time warped. Ryan’s sister got to our house around 6:45a and Ryan gathered everything for Inara and took her downstairs while I worked through the birth process. As soon as Ryan came back, it was ON. All inhibitions went out the window. I let out louder sounds, sometimes screaming. I said that it hurt. I remember Ryan saying “oooopen” and I repeated him during the contraction, saying “oooooooopen, open, open” Did you know you can talk to your body and it will listen, especially in labor?! This has been my experience. By saying open, I felt myself surrendering deeper into the process. I laid down at the foot of my bed during two contractions, these were intense and I didn’t want to move during or in between, it felt a little bit like suffering during these two, laying down during contractions sucked so much, but I wanted to rest, I wanted a break. I let out some screams and at the end of the contraction the involuntary grunt sound appeared. Oh shit I’m pushing. “What if I’m not dilated all the way? What if I push for hours and hours like that one story?” Ryan asked if I was pushing on purpose and I said no, its just happening. I decided to see if I could feel my cervix. I took my shirt off and kneeled on the floor and when I put my finger in I felt a little pop and some fluid fall, not much. And then I realize that I don't really know what I’m feeling for, I’ve never felt an open cervix! But I felt something hard, was that my pubic bone? Or a baby’s head? I feel again. It feels squishy, is that a cord? It’s not pulsing, it must be the baby’s head. Oh shit, there’s a human coming out of me. I yell “I’m scared!!” and start wailing overwhelmed by the intensity of realizing a baby is actually coming and the intensity of the sensations. These pushing contractions feel like I’m sinking deep into the earth, so much gravity, so much downward pressure, so much POWER. My body is doing this! This power is coming from me! Ryan simply witnesses me, he doesn’t try to fix it, he doesn’t ask me questions, he just lets me be in this space. Emily Graham in These Are My Hours says “Your body makes noise through you and you can’t control it”, “these are my hours. let them be hard. I’ll ask for what I need.” And these two quotes feel so true. I said I was scared and I wailed and I screamed and then it was over, it was my body making noise, my emotions coming out, it’s ok that it’s hard at times. It’s ok to move through hard things. I want to be witnessed in this hard place, I want to witness myself in this hard place and see myself come through to the other side. It’s said that the way you birth is an extension to how you live your life and in the years between my two baby’s births, falling apart emotionally and picking myself back up was a big learning that I did. I wouldn't judge myself, I would talk kindly to myself to put myself back together again, learning to reparent myself. And then inviting Ryan to witness me in this space, to not fix and not “do” anything about it, but just be there with me, solidly holding space for me to bloom once more. This part of my story, yelling that I was scared feels significant, to be scared but to not be stopped by the fear. I mean there’s really nothing I could have done about it anyway, the baby is coming whether I’m ready or not, it’s happening and I can’t stop it. I stay in this kneeling position for some time, talking to myself, telling myself to stay upright so that the birth doesn’t take so long and to help my baby come through my pelvis. I ask my baby how they’re doing in there. I never once feared their safety during this process. I could feel him, I could feel everything. I could feel baby moving, my pelvis opening, my sitz bones moving away from each other and making space for this new being. I can’t bring my legs closer together at this point, I’m at that uncomfortable place, saying I don’t know what to do anymore. At one point I touch my clitoris and it brings SO MUCH SENSATION, it actually felt good and it also felt like a lot with all the intensity I was feeling. I had every intention of birthing here on my knees and to not birth standing again, but my body had other plans. I tell Ryan that I need to pee. He says that I can pee right there, but I tell him I can’t, so I get up and we walk to the bathroom. I get to the toilet and try so hard to let go and let my pee come out, but all I can feel is pressure, so much pressure. It feels like I have to poop, I know what that means…my baby is coming. I’m in a standing squat, hands on my thighs, leaning over. I can feel everything, my bottom flowering, my bones moving, I’m roaring. I put my hand on my vulva. I hear my bones adjust and the ring of fire. Oh the ring of fire, it stings so much. I feel the top of my baby’s head in my hand. All of the sensations come at me at once, I start panting and blowing as I realize his head is right there! I don’t want to tear, I try so hard to slow down his emergence. Ryan says, “our baby is here!” and I say shh shh. Then baby’s whole head comes out, I keep my hand there and continue panting and wait for the next contraction. So much fluid falls down with the emergence of his head, water and blood. I’m surprised by the amount of liquid falling out of me. I see my socks get drenched. Ryan says “lets move away from the toilet” so I take a few steps away towards the middle of the bathroom, next contraction and baby tumble flies into my hands. I catch him somehow, through pure instinct. I was the first to touch this beautiful being that grew inside me. It happened so fast. He was slippery and wet and curled into a little ball, knees tucked. His chord was wrapped around his knee and around his body like a sash. He cried a few moments after being born and that was comforting. I am so happy he is born, I go to look and I see that he is a boy! I am so incredibly happy and in love, I can’t believe that I just did that! It’s amazing what our bodies are capable of, the love that is possible for our little babies. I was in pain just a moment before and all of a sudden that discomfort is all gone and I am flooded with love.
It was difficult for me to see what was going on with his cord, how he was wrapped in it. Ryan and I are trying to get him untangled and it was a bit stressful for those few moments, Ryan kept trying to untangle him and I kept telling him to stop. I didn’t want his cord to break or my placenta to get pulled out prematurely, I doubt either of these things would have happened in hindsight, but I was nervous about it anyway. It took us about a minute, but Ryan got him untangled. I then tell him to call Inara and my parents. Baby was born probably around 7:51am. Ryan went into our bedroom to set up a little space at the edge of our bed for the placenta to come out. I remember getting up from the stool in the bathroom and walking with the baby in my arms, sort of leaning over because the placenta is still inside me. I look down and see a lot of blood still coming down my legs and my socks getting soaked. My body is adjusting well to the blood loss and I'm not worried about it, just taking notice and paying attention to my body. We set up on the bed and we are talking to the baby, getting to know him. Inara and her auntie come up and are so excited and happy to see us, I’m sure we have huge smiles on our faces. Inara is happy and comes over to meet her baby brother, she looks and tells us that we have a boy. I’m watching the baby and making sure he’s transitioning well, he starts to look a little bit blue to me and I start rubbing him and kissing him and telling him we’re so happy he’s here, he makes a grimace and then starts to cry and I’m relieved.
My parents arrive maybe around 8:30a and they are so happy, crying and congratulate us and come meet the little babe. My dad goes to cook chicken soup for us and my mom, Ryan and Inara stay in the room helping me with my placenta. Ryan calls the midwife we worked with in my last trimester because it’s been about an hour since baby was born and the placenta still hasn’t come out. I tried squatting, coughing, tugging, nursing, pushing and nothing was happening! I feel like my bladder is full, but I couldn’t pee either. Ryan suggests that everyone leave the room so I can work on getting it out myself, so him and Inara leave, but my mom stays, and I’m glad she did because she started rubbing my back and out plopped the placenta. I’m so happy she was there for that part of the birth and that she listened to her mama instinct and helped me with the placenta, it was really special.
I’m so happy I had this experience of freebirthing with just Ryan and I. It was intense for sure, but so beautiful and powerful. I didn't have anyone telling me what or how to do anything, I just tapped into what my baby and body needed to do to be birthed and rebirthed. Birth works with no interference a big majority of the time if we can just let our bodies do it, with loving support, trust and the space to unfold as it needs to and will.