Natasha's Freebirth

Natasha's Freebirth
I knew something had changed the night of June 22nd & the next day June 23rd. I started having regular tightening sensations in my abdomen. I wasn't exactly sure if they were Braxton hicks since they were becoming more consistent, but at the same time they weren't consistent enough to time.  Despite not having a lot of energy in the previous days, I asked my husband if he wanted to take a walk. It was a beautiful evening. Not overly hot & sticky like the other evenings, just a perfect light cool breeze against the skin. I thought to myself, that this walk will probably be our last little alone time before baby comes.

That night I thought to myself, if this keeps up the way it has been going Ill probably will be meeting my baby tomorrow sometime. Around 9:30 PM I started writing down contraction times until about 11:30 PM. I ended up giving up on keeping track because they weren't regular enough. I told myself to try and just get rest while I can. So that I did, even though I felt like I had to pee every 30-40 mins.

By 4 AM I began timing again and noticed they had picked it up a notch in the pain department. I started to wriggle my toes & lightly moan through the small waves. I now knew for sure that a baby was going to be born into the world today. As I lay in bed my thoughts were consumed by all the little things that all of a sudden I felt I "needed" to do. I thought of wandering into the dark kitchen to start cooking a pot of arroz con gondules, sweeping & mopping floors & tidying up my bathroom consume my thoughts. By 5/5:30 AM, I no longer quiet my mind. I made the decision to get up and at the very least tidy up the house a tad. I swept & mopped the floors, pausing through the waves leaning against the broom & mop until the waves subsided. I noticed that while cleaning the waves became closer together, but duration shorter. That went on for  about an hour while finishing up my mundane tasks. I continued to have inconsistent waves for the next couple of hours anywhere from 4-8 mins apart. At about 8AM I felt the waves coming on a lot stronger.

By this time my husband had been setting up my birth pool & I found myself walking away from him & our conversation whenever a wave would hit. I wandered into the backyard grabbing onto whatever I could use to just pull or leverage myself against. After a wave came & went the thought crossed my mind that I may not be using that pool to give birth in after all. It wasn't very private & I keep having the urge to be alone without any eyes on me. I didn't relay my thoughts to my husband, instead I just wandered back quietly inside & upstairs into my small bathroom. I got into my tub, sat down, grabbed the shower head, turned on the hot water & let it run down my torso with the hopes to   somehow ease the pain I was having simultaneously in my lower back & abdomen. I started to worry I was using all the hot water up and that there would be none left for the birthing pool if I decided I did want to use that. I thought about telling my husband to start boiling water on the stovetop, but I couldn't muster the words.

By close to 9AM it's really begin to hit me hard. I somehow managed to text my sister who I have been updating all morning. The only thing I able to text was:
 "LOTS OF PAIN
   CANT TALK
   CALL HUB OR COME OVER IDK.."
I'm not quite sure why ended up getting out of the tub. But I did know it was getting quite uncomfortable and I had the urge to stand up and also to pull on whatever I can get my hands on that was strong enough to hold onto. The only thing that I could think of that could possibly do the job was my stupid towel rack hanging at the top my bathroom door.

Enough time ended up passing and by now I knew I would NOT be using the damn fishy pool I had bought off Amazon to birth in. My mind somehow also wandered to the little mini tripod I had purchased to try & capture the birth. The very thought of that tripod set up in the tiny bathroom staring at me irritated my soul. Even my own naked reflection that I kept getting glimpses of when pulling on my towel rack was beyond irritating to me. I couldn't stand my own reflection & the sorrowful gaze staring back at me in the mirror. I needed to be completely ALONE & I KNEW then that all my plans to birth in my pool with husband, sister & young daughter at my side had gone out the window. Instead all the children were out of the house across the street at grandmas house. My husband & sister were patiently waiting in silence downstairs in the living room cautious not to disturb the raging beast in the bathroom upstairs.

I'm not sure what time it was because at this point I was too exhausted to check the time on the iPad I had taken with me. The night before I recall being a little hungry in the middle of the night too lazy to get up and get anything & told myself to just get rest. So the only thing of comfort to give me strength was my organic coconut water & crushed ice. That felt like my lifeline. It was absolutely priceless.

I kept thinking to myself this can't possibly last much longer... Or can it??? I knew from the past I had rather shorter labors. (Previous 3 births all hospital births & medicated) I was desperately hoping for some sort of sign that it was almost over & there was none. I even checked vaginally with my fingers to see if I could feel anything... & nothing.  I grabbed my little compact mirror to try to see if there was anything, crowning just SOMETHING. The only thing that gave me some sort of hope was the little trickle of blood that was now running down my left leg accompanied by bits of my plug.  Still I felt out of control. I felt like I was at sea in a storm being tossed like a rag doll onto jagged rocks. I had to constantly remind myself to breathe in through my nose and out through my mouth. I kept catching myself rapidly breathing in and out of my mouth so much to the point my lips were drying out. Then thats when I would reach for my ice cold coconut water and refresh myself before another round of waves would come crashing down upon me. All along I had been also having the annoying urge to use the toilet, but was unable to get myself to move there & change positions. I had now been standing upright since I got out of bed earlier in the morning except for the time I was in the tub. I thought to myself if I end up peeing or even pooping on the damn floor so be it. I just had to stand up. There was no other positions that gave mere relief or felt right. I remember glancing in the mirror and seeing that my belly had flattened out at the top of my stomach & the baby bump had moved down. That sight gave me some more hope & a little more strength to carry on & that things were progressing as they should.

As more time went by my hands & fingers were so sore & felt bruised from tightly gripping the cold hard metal towel rack. I finally made the decision to start bearing down even though I wasn't quite sure it was or the right thing to do. The thought of premature pushing entered into my mind, however I quickly dismissed the thought. My two choices were to either start to bear down and work with the storm or continue to get tossed by the waves. So work with the storm is what I made up my mind to do. Each wave I was bearing down all while loudly groaning like a caged animal. I instinctively used both of my hands to support myself in the behind & vaginally due to all the pressure. It began to give just a little relief when pushing and actually felt right for once. I finally got a true sign I had to be close, my water bag popped! It wasn't a lot of fluid it reminded me of a small water balloon splashing at the base of my feet. I wanted to call out to both my husband and my sister and let them know what had just happened, but I was just too mentally and physically exhausted I couldn't muster up the energy. I had to reserve the little I had left. I started to bear down once again and felt what people call the "ring of fire". Except it didn't feel like it was a complete ring or circle. I only remember feeling it at the bottom of the circle like a smiley face or half circle. I actually thought to myself this isn't too bad. (I had remembered reading post about the torturous ring of fire)
I once again pushed with all my might & suddenly felt the whole head being born! I was both amazed & relived that it was actually happening! I then caught my breath & lowered myself in a kneeling position close to the floor. I pushed once again & the body quickly slipped out onto a towel on the bathroom floor! All of a sudden there was a baby crying and I was just still, trying to catch my breath unable to move. I felt stunned.

My husband and sister came running up the steps and made their way into the bathroom. My sister grabbed my baby that was crying & had her eyes already open peering  through the blood on her face. I was helped to get into a better position & my husband was grabbing all the towels to get baby warmed up. I was able to hold my little baby after my sister wrapped her up but unfortunately I have to give her back. I was taken back and was not prepared to be in so much pain after I had just given birth to my baby. I thought to myself, out of all the birth stories I had read & listened to nobody mentioned this pain right after birth! I felt a little robbed by pain of the bonding time that was to immediately follow in the minutes after birth. I was then helped into the tub once again to run hot water over my body to try and give me some relief. It was very uncomfortable and I remember having the crazy brief thought that there was possibly a second child still in me waiting to come out! I remember thinking my stomach was so much smaller so it couldn't possibly be a full-size baby maybe it was some sort of deformed baby!! ( I blame the Netflix show "Call The Midwives" for such a ridiculous & irrational thought to even have cross my mind.)

About half hour later I stood up with my sister sitting as close to me as she can holding baby on her lap on the ledge of the tub & I pushed the placenta out into a  wooden bowl held by my husband. The relief was instantaneous! Finally I was able to get washed up and my husband administered my tincture  of Shepherds Purse. Not sure if I really needed it at the time however it felt like possibly a lot of blood lost & I was a little weak. So I took some as a precaution since I had it on hand. My husband and sister then helped me make my way downstairs into my bedroom & into bed. The cord was left intact for approximately 1- 1.5 hrs until cord was limp & white. My young daughter was then fetched from across the street to help with cutting the cord. I was finally able to really get comfortable and start nursing right away. Complete bliss, all the work was well worth the reward. A new healthy surprise baby girl!

This has truly been the most rewarding & awesome experience of my 36 yrs of life!

I am so grateful for all the tribes of women who allowed me to read & listen their personal stories. I am also grateful for my ever so supportive husband who was able to trust in my truth and my power. & for my little sister for calmly holding  space for me, & lastly for my mom watching over me in spirit (RIP). By all this support I was able look within, to find the courage, let go of fear & just trust the natural process of FREE BIRTH!!

Natasha

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