For years, I’ve dreamed of welcoming a child into this world surrounded only by LOVE, music, warmth, and the most supportive people in our life. Just imagining that security of HOME inspires me. I hoped for this with Dougie too. And, for all I knew at the time, I truly did my best to create the most natural space for my son’s grand entrance. It is my deepest feeling that birthing a child this way can be the healthiest way to begin their life. When done correctly, I feel we can reduce and eliminate common risks. In fact, in the planning alone, an expected mother can learn to prevent, adjust and overcome so many of those risks. Nine years ago, I had no idea that women were giving birth at home, let alone without the help of midwives, nurses, doctors, doulas and experts. In fact, I never even knew what a midwife or doula was until my son was already about 2, and I dove into the world of natural wellness. And, now there’s no going back from the wisdom I’ve gained. My intention is to make the birth of our next Love Muffin one of our most deliciously blissful experiences.
What “Unassisted” or “Free Birth” means to me
I’ve spent the last 5 ½ months brewing a baby beauty in my womb, and the 8 years prior prepping my body for the adventure without the intervention of the medical profession. I’ve had no tests. No prodding. No diagnoses. No medications. Nobody weighed me or told me what to eat.
But I’ve had loads of help. I’ve spoken with soul sisters, nurses, midwives, doctors, mothers, acupuncturists, hypnotists, energy healers, nutritionists and friends. And, I’ve consulted loads of books and spent uncountable hours researching to find information that makes sense and helps me feel comfortable in understanding the natural journey of pregnancy and birth. I may have been born with the physical power and intuition to do this without any help at all, but I sure didn’t remember that. I needed an awakening on the matter.
Because I’ve had so much help, I can confidently plan a birth experience that doesn’t include the assistance or intervention of medical professionals or their chemicals/drugs/medications and machinery. My baby will birth herself (himself), and I will be the body, mind and spirit who fully allows this natural miracle.
I am teaching myself to trust myself in the deepest sense. I am re-learning the remarkable power we have as humans to create life. I’m going through major shifts in my own spiritual growth – picking up pieces of myself from across time and space lines, and facing shadows and fears head-on. When I was pregnant with Dougie, I felt that my doctor was really there to direct how I should be feeling and acting and I was grateful for that. But, this time, it’s pretty freaken awesome to allow myself this deeper inner knowing that comes from the desire to fully understand and express my beautiful human power. And really give my child my ALL.
The multiple internal ultrasounds I was “required” to have with Dougie, irked me. Physically hurt me. And, left me with fear and anxiety that I am just now healing. Doctor visits during my first pregnancy often left me crying. I chose a very well -known and rather progressive Chicago group of women gynies who definitely meant well. I was mostly bothered that they steered me away from my favorite foods, (salmon and avocado… too much calories and fat and mercury), put me on bed rest for quite a while, constantly put their hands inside of me for way too frequent visits (due to a false risk which was determined by a misdiagnosed miscarriage at 5 weeks), and really didn’t show me the compassion I craved. In fact, I heard the word “NO” a lot from them. I was stoked to be having my first baby, and I really craved “help” from someone who was just as stoked. I felt emotionally lost, but logically guided into which steps to take. And, I reasoned that having a healthy baby was the most important thing, and that all of the exams were leading me to that. I took birthing classes and learned healthy breathing, but when I arrived at the hospital to give birth — the professionals there, over-encouraged drugs and forced me into bed to “measure my contractions.” After 10 hours of being told, “don’t try to be a hero,” I said yes to the drugs. Then, the drugs backfired and only caused temporary paralysis in my legs and a full body rash but no pain relief. The measuring of my contractions backfired too and only caused extra weight on me. It was the most amazing experience of my life, clouded by so many uncomfortable interruptions.
Having a healthy baby is the most important thing. But, I went about creating that in the wrong way. I didn’t educate myself on how birthing really happens.
I’ve held that first birth experience in my muscles and skin. I’ve known there was something very very wrong about it. And, now, thanks to the child-within, this forthcoming birth is a fully intentional one. One where I design the setting and make the choices for moving forward. To me, a free birth means that together my baby and I are in complete control. I get to to allow my body to bring our baby into this world. I get to listen to her/him. She gets to move and shift and so do I. And I get to pay attention to that. Serious attention. I will shift my body around physically as I intuit because our bodies know how to sit, stand and how to position perfectly for the birthing of each little blessing. I will be free to ask for the kind of help I need if I need it, and trust that even if I am completely alone, I will have the tools. Perhaps, I will even need to ask to be left completely alone. It’s a Free Birth. Anything I say — goes. The key to success for me is in the preparation of really learning everything I can about my own body and needs and abilities. What a different place to be than the one I spent most of this life in.
Can I Really Do This? Overcoming Fears
With my son, none of the interventions worked the way the professionals planned. So having them there seemed like a distraction and a nuisance. I was made to tell them when I was going to “contract” and “push.” I was asked many questions and was motivated to please them. But, when it came down to it — my baby came freely and relatively painlessly with only about 30 minutes of “pushing. “ I did that. During early “labor,” I found huge relief by yoga-ing on a yoga ball. I did that until I said yes to meds. Intuitively, I asked if I could use the bathtub, which was in the hospital birthing room, and was told “no.” But, I did that. I knew as the time came for Dougie to arrive that the water would make it much more magical and comfortable. I had “Simon and Grafunkel” playing from a speaker overhead, and I remained as focused as possible on the music. I did that and it helped. My husband was there the whole time in support of me. My son arrived in a surge of BLISS that I will always remember. I did that. We did that. He swallowed some fluid, and I was happy to have professional support in removing that fluid from him. But, I also believe he swallowed it due to my positioning and the drugs in my body. So, can I do it this time without the distraction of the medical industry? Hell Yes I can!
Hell Yes I Can: Self Hypnosis and Mind Set for Free Birth
I’m a Hell Yes Person! I wouldn’t plan an unassisted birth until I find that HELL YES for it deep inside of me. That knowing that I truly can do it. For me, that means creating a mindset that blows through whatever fears I have/had about birthing so freely. Fear tightens. Fear stops the flow of blood. Clearly I cannot birth freely if I’m in fear. And, of course I had fears. Fears that something unexpected could happen that was beyond my scope of power to solve. And that list is quite long.
So, stepping into my Hell YES, I create mantras for myself. Mantras that speak directly to what I want from the experience. I will repeat affirmations like “My body is all knowing and wise. I have every tool needed for giving birth blissfully.” And, “My baby is healthy and happy and will enter the world smoothly and comfortably.” And, “ I will know just what to do when the time to birth comes, and I will trust my intuition above all else.” And, “I am blessed with the complete knowing of how to bring my healthy baby into this world.” Throughout the day, as I do a million other things, I’ll pause and talk to the baby. And, saying really simple things like “you are perfect” really helps me too.
Hypno-birthing is a practice that empowers women to birth as perfectly as they dream. It has worked wonders for a few of my friends who took classes and used self-hypnosis throughout pregnancy and birth. One of my super mama soul sisters affirmed herself of a speedy birth alone with her hubby, and her baby came so quickly and smoothly that there wasn’t even time for the midwife to arrive. Another woman told me that it completely helped her manifest a pain-free birth. An older friend who has brought five children into this world shared that there was never any pain. Certainly my life continues to show me proof that I can attract just what I set my mind on. And, nature gave me 40 weeks to practice. I’m so grateful that my friends have shared their hypo-birthing books and literature. It is a great source that I continue to read.
Resolving What Can Go Wrong
Sure our bodies were created for birthing beauties. But, how does a woman know HER body can do it… without help? We all think about this. But, it’s a perfect opportunity to educate ourselves, and help us make decisions on what kind of help we want to welcome into our space. I think it’s empowering to ask for help. It’s very different from simply giving our power to “professionals ”– which is what I did with Dougie. We can have an amazing birth experience amongst a team of western medical doctors and nurses if we allow ourselves to completely tune-in to our magical intuitive nature while giving birth.
If you take the time to learn about what happens inside of your body and with the baby as he/she makes his way here, you will understand how to create the safest, healthiest birthing experience.
Proper nutrition helps our bodies build strong babies! Simple as that. We can eliminate tons of risks like early birth, low weight, developmental delays and even problems with physically “pushing” and birthing naturally. Think of all of the other “issues” completely eliminated by having your baby born on time, weighing in at a nice plump “normal” weight, born vaginally, and without added mama stress!
Laura Stanley, home birth educator, advocate and mama says that anthropologists observing healthy tribal women who eat well –even 100 years ago, claimed to never see a complication or death. Of course it was also their complete knowing that they could birth freely. It was simply the way. In our society we anticipate problems. And, many of us may not be connected to why we anticipate problems.
I ask myself — what did tribal women eat? What was different about food 100 years ago? What was different about our bodies and stress levels? How can I solve this in a modern world? Holy Easy Sauce! Yes, soils are more and more deplete of nutrition, food is gmo’d up the wazoo and I’m working full time and definitely contending with some environmental toxins – but superfoods are rocking my world. I simply eat the most nutrient dense food in the best combinations that I can. I love spirulina and chlorella, fermented fish oils, maca, bee pollen, reishi, raspberry leaf, coconut kefir, sea veggies, avocados, green smoothies, hemp, chia, fermented vegetables, coconuts and salmon. Lots of amazingness to choose from. I use whole-food based raw, organic mineral, vitamin and protein supplements and definitely remain satisfied and listen to my instincts. If I’m craving meat I eat it. If I’m craving salad I eat it. If I’m craving cookies, I try to get the healthiest sweetness or alternatives available because every craving has a reason. So much of my food is coming straight from a garden, fresh and abundant in enzymes! 100 years ago, hungry, tired pregnant women didn’t have the temptation of fast food that depletes nutrition. They didn’t perhaps have the option to even crave the wrong kind of milk. No worries about added hormones or antibiotics in their food. Now, we just have to be a little more conscious of what we put into our mouths and babies bodies. You can see a little more about what I’m eating here.
Breech Babies Wrapped Cords and C-sections
Beyond nutrition- related complication prevention, I like to think of all other “complications” as potentials for varied experiences. Some babies are simply born breech. They have no “problems” living. They are simply more comfortable coming out this way. My brother was born breech, naturally. Daily yoga practice and “downward Dog” ing can help your baby get in the right (way easier) position. Hypno-birthing teaches a position called “the polar bear” which also helps babies’ heads and bottoms get into the easiest position for birth. That’s butt up, head down. I spend time each day assuring my baby and myself that he/she is in this position. I visualize it too.
You can also manually check your baby’s position, and stay connected with just what you’re feeling as she tumbles around.
Many babies do get the cord wrapped around their necks. It’s very important to know this even if you are planning a hospital birth. When planning an unassisted birth, dads and moms need to be prepared to calmly unwrap the umbilical cord. And, remember –as long as the cord and placenta are attached, your baby is receiving some oxygen into her blood stream.
At least 25% of women experience C-Sections. And, many of them do so for reasons that can be prevented by practicing some techniques mentioned above. You can also prepare your body to birth by practicing yoga stretching and muscle toning. Squatting and hip opener exercises are great for this. Also, using coconut oil can help your skin and muscles stretch without tearing. I use coconut oil (as well as blends of organic oils) both internally and externally. I’ve had no stretch marks with Dougie and don’t foresee any this time.
When a baby can safely pass though the birth canal, she receives nature’s first inoculation from illness – though her mother’s vagina. She will get to be exposed to the proper bacteria to help set her immune system.
Necessary C-sections save lives. And, by educating yourself, you can more deeply understand if and why you will need one.
We plan on having a fetal stethoscope on hand, and we’ve already been checking our wee one’s heartbeat. Changes in heart rate can indicate problems and you can be right on top of this. If your baby is in distress on her way out, there is a good chance you will know so by checking her heart rate.
I also think it’s smart to be prepared to help the baby if he or she swallows or gets fluid stuck in their mouth or throat. As they take their first breaths, this can happen. But, also a mom’s positioning can help her baby enter without swallowing. Doug and I know infant CPR.
There are many indications of infection that can make it difficult for your baby to birth without medical assistance. And, if we really tune in, we can work to know this ahead of time. I had a friend who noticed this as her water broke, and she decided to go to the hospital. She had a sludgy, very smelly “water” that wasn’t baby poop. She had also been sick during pregnancy. So, it wasn’t a huge surprise to her.
Going to the Hospital
There are plenty of valid reasons for going to the hospital, and having a hospital “plan B” for sure. To me, western medicine is best used in trauma situations, and I am grateful we have hospitals and doctors for that. Many midwives can take care of a breech birth naturally. I met one who has delivered more than 200 breach babies.
We will have a midwife and hospital back-up plan in case we need it. If not being used to save a baby’s life, I believe these interventions are more risky than helpful.
Reading Birth Stories
There are countless stories about why birthing at home was the proper choice for many families, even in what seemed like “medical” situations. In-tune mothers have been able to push out their babies far quicker than a doctor could prep for emergency surgery, and in effect save their babies lives. When I read these stories I feel that so much of their success depends on how much they believe in themselves. If they were overcome by fear, and unable to focus, they may not have been able to do it. I don’t attach to birth stories, but to the essence behind them that inspires me to really focus on exactly what my baby needs. That seems to be the connecting thread of the stories. Women, bold enough to do what they know is right for their babies. Amazing Mamas.
Who knows exactly what is going to happen on the day our baby is born. You can’t plan nature. All I know is that whatever happens will be divine. And, that our experience up until this point has been divine.