Zev's birth was better than I ever imagined birth could be. When I watched my birth video, I am reminded that birth can be simple and enjoyable. I felt so completely capable and knowing. I am so thankful for the freebirth society course and online community, which was so helpful in my medical system deprogramming ( 10 years working in hospitals as a physical therapist, and later as a birth doula attending birth center and hospital births) and the FBS podcast which was a daily companion on my long walks during this pregnancy.
This birth experience was so radically different than my previous births. Birth 1- 41 hour midwife assisted hospital birth, 4 hours of coached pushing. Birth 2- cholestasis, "high risk", risked out of. Birth center and forced into hospital induction, foley balloon, pitocin, no epidural, almost 5 hours of forced coached pushing, baby born OP, obstetric violence and birth trauma.
On Sunday night before Zev was born a few notable events occurred.
1. We had some surprise last minute houseguests staying with us that week that were sweet friends but not people of my inner circle (My 53 year old male former alpine ski racing coach, his partner and her teen daughter and their dog, traveling up the west coast from Ontario, Canada). I kept telling myself that my body was unlikely to enter the birthing space unless it felt safe and private. I felt birth was distant and far away, however as the days of the guest’s stay wore on, I kept feeling like the cat seeking out a quiet place to have her kittens. My mom, who I love but have a complex relationship with had been with us for a week and left early Sunday morning.
2. We had been at the beach earlier that day and when we came home, my little girls and I took a shower in my bathroom and got sand everywhere. Even though my housekeeper was coming in the morning, I felt an overwhelming urge to deep clean the bathroom after I got my girls into bed.
3. Once the bathroom was clean, I *had* to make a big pot of chicken soup using an entire 4lb chicken. It *couldn’t* wait until morning.
4. Before going to bed, I felt a strong pull to get into the shower and cry. My spirits had been high for weeks and suddenly, I was sobbing in the shower, out of no where. In hindsight, this emotional opening seems to be an obvious sign post for me pointing towards things beginning to happen. It also occurred with both my daughter’s births.
I woke up around 1:30 am on Monday July 8. Josh actually clued in I was likely entering my birthing time before my consciousness grasped it because he had been hearing me moaning through some sensations in my sleep and he got up and made me some labor tea. I accepted the tea but was confused and asked, what is this for? He was like, babe, I have been listening to you moan in your sleep, do you think this birth might be starting up? I was confused and in denial and we stayed in bed until 3:30am just noticing the mild sensations becoming stronger and more rhythmical, Josh says they were about 7-10 minutes apart, until my waters opened with a little trickle and we got up and acknowledged I was probably entering the birthing spiral. I started to set up the birth space, lighting sage, connecting to some of my altar pieces, turning on the salt lamps, clearing away extra clutter and Josh began preparing some infusions and broth and snacks that we had discussed I would want during the birth. Josh set up the camera and started filming around 4:15am My sensations felt strong but never overwhelming, never on top of one another. I mostly paced my bedroom and occasionally got down on my knees and leaned on the bed. Eventually I felt myself begin to feel nauseous and asked for a bowl. I vomited a little bit and very quickly the feeling passed and that was the worst of transition. I began to see mucus plug and eventually some bloody show after this and started to realize for the first time that this was happening fast. Around 5:40 am I got into the bathtub even though I had never planned or visioned a water birth. I could feel the baby’s head within my vagina with my finger. With both my girls, “pushing” took 4+ hours. I thought it would take a lot longer but after just a few more surges of my body spontaneously pushing, Zev was born into the water at 6:20am. I felt with my hands and realized had a cord loosely around his neck and wrapped around his body like a seatbelt. I untangled him and brought him to my body. He received a little bit of help for me to get started with breathing and then came into his body and cried. I waited about 15 seconds before intervening, and perhaps I could have given him more time to transition without my assistance, but he is here, vigorous and vital and I trust my intuition in the moment. Once he was one my chest holding him, I felt his scrotum and realized he was boy. My husband already knew because Zev was born facing up and he saw he was a boy as we emerged. Josh went to get our girls and they were so thrilled. Lizzie my 3 year old said "great baby mom", I got out of the tub, which wasn't appealing to sit in anymore. We went to my bed and got dry and warm. Within 40 minutes, I began to feel cramping and stood at the edge of the bed to check on my placenta. It was low and ready to be come out. I walked to the toilet and birthed the placenta into my hands over the toilet and then put it in a bowl that josh was holding for me. We got back into bed, and ate breakfast. A few hours later, we decided we were ready to separate our baby from his placenta. On day 4, we chose to name him Zev Owen, Zev is the Hebrew word for wolf.