Emilee Saldaya 0:10
I'm just so excited to hear the full story of your first birth. But I also want you to share a bit about who you are as someone who chose to free birth and as a free birth educator.
Awesome. Thanks, Emily. It’s been such a wild transformation. So I had my first child about two and a half years ago, my beautiful daughter Raelia. And she was very semi unplanned, but totally energetically planned. I moved to Maine super spontaneously met my soulmate, right away. And within a few weeks of us dating, we said, “Let's have a baby.” And then everyone in our family said, that's not a good idea. So we kind of backed off on that idea a little bit, but not really, we got pregnant about six months into our relationship. So that pregnancy was just like a huge initiation, right? For me, not only into motherhood, obviously, but also into what it was like not to be a maiden to be at a new level of commitment with someone I was still getting to know. And to just really level up my life, like get serious about my life. Because I was totally living like the Maidan way before that. So I was vegan, and I just like had so much to learn about the world. So right when I got pregnant with my first, I knew that I wanted to stay away from hospitals. And I also just kind of knew I didn't want to give birth at a birth center. I really just knew that like I wanted to give birth at home. I don't know really how I knew that. Because I had no one in my life that I knew of that had had a home birth, like no one. And when I was younger, I remember my mom telling me some horror stories about home births that she knew of that ended in transfers, for whatever reason. So I had nothing besides my intuition telling me that that was the right thing to do. My mom's own birth with me was a hospital birth with a vacuum delivery and all this stuff. And then the doctor ripped her placenta out in chunks. And weeks later, she almost died at home with me there. And so she has like this whole story that I've known my whole life. And I have that's all I knew birth to be, but I just was like, clearly that was the doctor’s fault. So not gonna give birth in the hospital.
Emilee Saldaya 3:47
So now we go either way with these stories and that they smell the bullshit. Or do you believe the fear? You really shape your life around, you know what we take,
but the stories? Oh my gosh, yeah, it really, and I think one of the, like, interesting pieces to my whole kind of arc here is that I, despite knowing this, was still so attached to the medical system. I had so many stories about myself and my body and just so much attachment to that system. So in my head, I'm thinking I'm gonna have a home birth for sure. And then I was like, but I need to go to a hospital to get my pregnancy confirmed. And I didn't understand how the whole medical midwifery system worked. So I thought it was like, back in the day when you like to go there and then a physician like meets you at your home for the birth, you know, so that's what I thought was gonna happen. I went in for my very first, confirmation of pregnancy. And I sat down, and this old man, I don't even know if he was a doctor or what his position was, but you sat down, and he looked at me and said, First thing that comes out of his mouth, no joke. He says, Sir, you're gonna keep it. Yeah. God. That insane. And I was young, I was 22. But not that. Yeah, like, yeah, that was there is
Emilee Saldaya 5:19
No matter how young, that comment would be appropriate.
Totally, totally. And I want a homebirth. And he kind of was like, Oh, well, we don't do that. And so I just was like, Oh, well, then I guess I'll leave. So it was like a huge waste of time. But luckily, that's all it was. Yeah. So I get home, and I'm talking to my partner, and he knows nothing about birth, he didn't even know for sure if he wanted children. He's never been keyed into any of this. He has no reason to be. And he just said, Well, you can do it yourself. And I was like, Ah, I don't know, like that. Just that thought kind of scared me. And he was like, seriously, like, you don't think you can just do it by yourself. And then I said, You know what, actually, like, I have this friend who has a friend who runs the Free Birth Society podcast, and I had heard of you and the podcasts like yours before through our mutual friend, and suddenly, like, remembered that women do this, and that I had just kind of like, written them off as like crazy, or just like extreme people. And I told them, I remember this conversation. So clearly, I said, like, well, if I wanted to give birth on my own, I would basically have to become a midwife, I would basically have to, like, learn as much as a midwife learns, and they go to school for years for this. So like, I can't do that in nine months. I just didn't understand that it was so much simpler than that. So I like convinced us out of that idea. And we hired a midwife who was incredible throughout our pregnancy, like truly exactly what I needed throughout the pregnancy. And I would say throughout like 99.9% of the birth, like, and she's still a dear friend of mine today, and I still call upon her for like, ceremonial, sacred things. But she is still licensed. So I didn't invite her to my recent birth. But we walked through just like this really beautiful journey together. throughout pregnancy. We did so much deep inner healing work together. We were doing ritualistic work, Isaac, and really facing childhood wounds, digging up all the shadow work, like every single month, new shadow work, new healing, and rapid growth together. And I do think that that was part of the reason why my birth just unfolded so smoothly, despite a lot of odds stacked against me. So at the end of that pregnancy, I started having a huge falling out with my family, who had traveled all the way to Maine from Hawaii for the birth. I just like didn't understand how the dynamics would be. And there was a huge falling out around the fact that I was having a home birth. So I officially uninvited them to my birth, which was a big deal. And just like, I completely felt like I was like breaking up with my parents.
Emilee Saldaya 8:49
And so they're together, and you invited both of them to your birth.
My mom and my stepdad. He’s my father, you know. And my younger sister, so they were all there. And I had like a huge fight with all of them while they were here when I was 41 weeks. And I told them You guys need to go home. Like, I can't do this. It was this huge falling out. We were screaming and crying. It was awful. Wow. Yeah, I remember after this giant fight, I tried to drive away, it was February in Maine, and I couldn't get my car out of the driveway because of the ice. So my stepdad had to come and pull my car out of the driveway, like while we were fighting, it was theirs.
Emilee Saldaya 9:38
And what was the fight about?
It really was about me going beyond my due date. As soon as I hit 40 weeks, they were just like, it was like everyone changed, including my midwife a little bit, and myself too I went through my whole pregnancy feeling super confident in my ability to birth, I skipped all the testing and stuff besides ultrasounds, which I was just like super indoctrinated into thinking, that's what you do. And then 40 weeks rolled around, and suddenly everyone was like making jokes about like, like, oh, like, this baby's going to be in there forever, and all this stuff. And I was feeling super sensitive about it. And they started subtly like saying, So when are you? When are you going to do something? Right? Like, when are you going to get an ultrasound? Or when are you going to schedule an induction? What is your midwife doing? Why isn't your midwife doing anything? And I just remember being like, whoa, whoa, like, I'm not doing that thing. And, at some point, I finally just called them out on it. And I was like, if this is the energy that's going on, y'all can't be in my birth, which initiated a huge thing. And yeah, so it was just, it was an insane time of life. Also, our dog, one of our dogs, was like, in the process of dying at that point. So there was like this whole other huge, like, letting go of that. And my family left, they went, they got back on a plane to go back to Hawaii. so dramatic. Yeah, it was so dramatic. It was really, I had to, I had to turn my phone off completely for multiple days just to, like, get out of the drama. And I totally was just like, I was so on the Drama Triangle. This whole time, I was clinging to the drama. And in that drama, I kind of told my midwife that we needed to start doing something to get things going. So she came over with castor oil when I was like 41 and a half weeks. And I tried to thank God it didn't work. Like it didn't initiate labor. But it was obviously a super awful experience. I was like shitting my brains out at 41 and a half weeks pregnant. Like all day, it was just no fun, right? And like now, looking back, not the way you want to start labor. So yeah, and I didn't understand any of the risks associated with that either. It was just like, my midwife brought it over. So I tried it. So that that all kind of unfolded. And then, the day my parents landed in Hawaii, my waters broke spontaneously, I just, it was just able to go into labor. And I had a beautiful 12-hour birth at home, I had probably two hours’ worth of completely pain-free transition, which was incredible. It was just the most blissful. Transformative, like psychedelic trippy experience ever. My midwife was there for probably five hours of it, four or five hours of it. And she just like sat in the corner on a chair and watched me the whole time. She was super, like energetically supportive. And then, as I kind of felt like I wanted to push, I said I want, I said I think I might be pushy. And she said would you like me to give you a vaginal exam? At that point, we had discussed not having any vaginal exams. So the question kind of took me by surprise, and I think I just kind of was like, Yeah, okay. It was super uncomfortable. I really wish I hadn't done that. And I wish that I had just been like, no thanks. Because I know she would have respected that. But it really, that that moment really keyed me into how truly vulnerable a woman can be even to just the slightest suggestion in labor, and it's harder
Emilee Saldaya 14:05
It’s even interesting the way in which we make suggestions in the birth room. You know, could be more sensitively tuned to that, you know, like, it's harder for us to say no.
Yeah, and that's something I try to keep that experience in my memory. Any time I'm at a birth, obviously, I'm not giving any vaginal exams, but like, anything that comes out of my mouth, I'm like, is I know is being taken into such a higher sensitive frequency that like, even if I don't think it's a suggestion, it could be taken as a suggestion, you know? So that was kind of my first moment of really realizing this woman is a licensed midwife, like she has paperwork that she has to write down saying that she at least tried to give me a vaginal exam.
Emilee Saldaya 15:04
She has been taught to believe that a woman spontaneously pushing is potentially dangerous, and that she needs to go deep inside your most intimate parts that are working to melt away to make sure that you're pushing is truly intelligent. And that your cervix is completely gone. Because, as you know, there's also this weird thought that you shouldn't be pushing if there's any cervix. Yeah, even though that, of course, happens all the time and is actually a part of moving the cervix out of the way on and on and on. So yeah, right. There's so much beyond just the like charting that it's that she's she actually believes that the most helpful thing to you is to finger you as you begin to feel pushing sensations.
Even if she doesn't want any vaginal exams, this will be the one that, like, you know, maybe makes or breaks a dangerous situation.
Emilee Saldaya 16:12
Let's make sure you're actually allowed to push.
Yes, he's really Yeah. And that was, that was the vibe that I got from it. And I remember, like, reflecting back on this much, much later, thinking like, oh, you know, in reality, like, that was maybe the first moment that I felt like my midwife just didn't actually trust me, like I said, my truth, and she questioned it. And that was enough for that little split second to feel just a completely different energy shift than what the rest of my birth had been, which was this very supported, very loving, very empowered, like super powerful feeling to all of a sudden being like, Oh, maybe I don't know what's going on.
Emilee Saldaya 16:58
Also, you said yes. To the suggestion, and who knows how the energy would have gone and gotten worse. Had you said, No, if I had said no, yeah, totally, she would have started to be like, sweetie, this is really important to do. Because what if you're pushing on a swollen cervix? And we don't want you to transfer like, this is what helps you stay home? Right? You're just tilting away. I mean, you're one know away from, from that with all these, you know, medical professionals. It's really, it's really interesting.
I think maybe some part of me knew that, like, I didn't want to have a conversation I was pushing, right. Like, I didn't want to have a conversation. Just get it over with. And so that's what we did. And I think my energy around this doesn't have to be that big a deal. Let's just get it over with I do think that helps. I wouldn’t let myself feel victimized in that moment. So I just said yes. Which, you know, obviously, I feel some personal like responsibility and regret for, but it didn't ultimately, like it didn't cause an issue in my birth, like a, like a recognizable issue necessarily it altered the energy of my birth at that moment, which makes me sad to reflect on for sure. But I definitely, as soon as it was over, snapped right back into that primal kind of energetic, powerful sensation. And I made my way into the bathroom and got down on all fours, and I birthed my baby. There is also this part of my birth story here where there's been a genuine discrepancy, and no one fully knows exactly what happened. Because I birthed behind me, I was in a child's pose. And Isaac was ready. My partner was ready to catch her. And my midwife was like back taking pictures. So I have a picture of the baby's head fully out. And Isaac's hands like under, and that's all I remember. All I remember is feeling the baby come out, but Isaac has told me that he watched the midwife like hook a finger under the baby's armpit just kind of as she was coming out to kind of like slide the baby and Isaac's hands so I wouldn't say she like pulled the baby out but like kind of pulled the baby out. And obviously, that's not something I would have felt with my body. I didn't see it happen, so I don't know.
Emilee Saldaya 19:43
Did you ever ask her?
I had a full-on debrief with my midwife because we're friends. So we spoke on the phone for hours and hours. I just poured my heart out about all the things that I felt I wished had been different about my first birth, and I took responsibility for my part in it and asked her to take responsibility for her partner. And it was really, a beautiful conversation. But she said she just said, I don't remember pulling the baby out. I remember the baby just flying out in Isaac's hands, whatever. She goes to lots of births. She probably didn't remember it. But like, Isaac, I believe my partner. And he said that she pulled the baby out. So there was an intervention there that I was just like, completely not spoken to me. That no one told me at the moment, I found out months later, right when? Yeah, that, like the actual intervention itself, didn't bother me much. It was the fact that no one even said, and there wasn't an emergency, there wasn't a need for it. There wasn't any. I was just having a normal birth pushing my baby out. Someone just wanted to get their hands on my baby.
Emilee Saldaya 21:13
Instagram, it's like all these birth photos will be in my Explorer feed. And it's these otherwise beautiful pictures. And then there's just gloved hands, gloved hands, gloved hands, gloved hands all like, maybe gonna do like if they're not a gloved hand. They're Oh, God, there's no way this couple could figure out how to guide a baby out if there wasn't a provider with gloved hands. It's just ruins a picture.
I think after I think it was Yolanda, that in the RBK school she was talking about just like, no one has to catch the baby. Like, you can just birth the baby onto the floor. And it was like, my mind was blown. I was like, how did I because we had this hole. I said Isaac's gonna catch the baby blah, blah, blah. My butt was like two inches off the ground. I could have just like birth to the baby on the floor and picked her up myself. Now I kind of wish I had done right. But again, like all, it was all just happening. And I instantly flipped over I lifted my leg up over the cord so that I could flip over a baby in my arms instantly on my naked chest. She was just crying. And actually, no, that was my recent birth, she didn't cry. I totally forgot about that. She didn't cry at all. I held her, and we just locked eyes. And she just made like these tiny little sounds. She was super, super peaceful from the very beginning. And it was beautiful. It was like this, this incredible. I like it took me a long time to really sink into what just happened of like, oh my gosh, they're like, this is a baby. This is a baby. And I think I said that, like, Oh, this is a baby. And, yeah, it was, it was beautiful. And I'm so so grateful that I had that experience at home. I am also very grateful that I had just enough medical intervention to know that I didn't want to hire a midwife again, but not enough medical intervention to traumatize me.
Emilee Saldaya 23:33
I don't even know if I'd call those medical interventions but they're from the medical paradigm. So I guess there are no instruments or pharmaceuticals. But it’s just enough for you to see the sensitivity and the significance of the power dynamics in the room too.
It was just looking back at those tiny energetic shifts that were enough for me. And I remember telling her afterward, you really didn't do anything, I could have done that without you. And she was totally, you could have. So it’s interesting conversations we've had over the years about about that birth. I had an incredibly, incredibly challenging postpartum with my first baby. That was something we just, completely, didn't even think about. I swear to God, after I gave birth, my midwife said, Okay, would you like me to get bleeding underwear?
Emilee Saldaya 24:55
She didn't help prepare you for postpartum. That's interesting.
Yeah, so she sent me like a list of things to buy. But we didn't really talk about it or why I would need those things. And I don't think I took it very seriously. So I just kind of bought, like, the things that I thought made sense. And I didn't understand why someone would need period underwear. I was like, Well, I won’t have my period for a while. So I just didn't, I was so uneducated, and I let myself be uneducated because I had a midwife. I think that was this other piece to it was that I allowed her to, like, Hero me and mother me through so much that I wanted her to, and I do think that she did a really good job at not mothering me and harrowing me and all these ways that I like kept trying to ask her to do throughout the pregnancy, but I also like no one, no one really sat me down and was like, Hey, this is what postpartum is going to be like, and this is how you need to prepare for it. Yeah, so I felt very victimized by postpartum. And because we didn't prepare because we didn't know anything. My partner went back to work on day two. So I was home alone with a dying dog who was like shitting everywhere. saying, yeah, so and I had this brand new baby and I, because I was so like, unprepared and uncared for I Blood for like, a month afterward. And I was in a lot of pain, like, it was just, it was incredibly hard. Breastfeeding was super, super painful for at least the first two months. And I just I've heard other women say like, oh, breastfeeding hurts, and you just power through it. So that's what I did. You know, eventually, it became not painful. But there was just so much that I didn't know, and I was turning away help that was trying to come to me. And I wasn't asking for help, that I felt like I needed. So I really, I had a lot of like growing up to do through that postpartum. And then still dealing with the aftermath of my broken family situation with my parents. Texting them pictures of the baby, saying here's your grandkid. Sorry, we were fighting.
Emilee Saldaya 27:27
But also, fuck you.
But also, I'm still super mad at you. And I want an apology too.
Emilee Saldaya 27:39
I'm sorry. How dare they fly to where you live to get involved in your birth, and then freak out and infantilize you and be condescending to you and question you?
There has since been a lot of healing through that. And, I will never forget, I like before I got pregnant with my second, I heard one of your podcast episodes with a woman who had had a similar situation. I don't remember who it was. But her first birth, had was a home birth. And there was just so much drama with her family around it that they completely fell apart. And then, as she became pregnant with her second and chose free birth, it was like this wound with her mother just slowly healed itself and became this really, really beautiful, healed relationship. And I remember listening to that thinking, like, Whoa, I wish that could be me. And it totally took a long time. And it was really hard. But my mother and I, because that was like the primary conflict was my mother and I, we really worked to have the conversations, and we visited each other multiple times, like with the intention, ice, miss out and we, we healed it. We both owned up to RPS in the drama and apologized, and it was really incredible. So by the time I got pregnant with my second son, we were really on the up and up. And from the beginning, you know, I had, and in that time, I had done the radical birth keepers school and learned all these tools that completely changed my life and my view of how that drama went down and taught me how to take responsibility for all of that drama, which I really think just like, catalyzed me everything going forward. I learned how to take responsibility for that birth and how that unfolded. I learned about wild pregnancy, and all of these choices that I made in my first set I just wouldn't have made if I had known better, and yeah, I, the radical breath keeper school was, for sure, like the turning point for me in coming to terms with all the drama that happened in my first birth and then making a complete shift. I quit my corporate job. I was working for Child Protective Services. So I gave birth to my baby. And knew that I wasn't going to vaccinate her and instantly was just like, oh, I can't go back to work with an unvaccinated. So there was this huge cognitive dissonance forming from the life I had built over here. And this new life that my birth was like pushing me into this, like home birth, empowered birth. I wanted to be a doula. So you know, all this stuff. So I started, like, trying to meld those worlds together through like, attending hospital births as a doula and, you know, just all this. It didn't work. I was in cognitive dissonance, and the radical Earthkeepers school just like snapped me out of that. I was like, I can't go to hospital births anymore, especially after I had a home birth. And I know, like, how good birth can be, right? And spoiler alert, it gets way better than an uncomplicated home birth with a midwife. So I, yeah, I had this huge turning point, I rectified this issue with my family. I started attending births outside the system. I started doing more independent work like online work supporting other Earthkeepers and just other women, led businesses in general, and really starting to see this picture of what sovereignty in life actually realizing I can just be a mother without having to take my kids to the doctor and get instructions on how to care for my kid on a monthly basis.
Emilee Saldaya 32:40
They don't give you those?
Yeah, it's really just about injecting them. And from what I've heard, right, because my kid has never been to a doctor, from what I've heard from other people who have taken their kids there, the advice that they do get is not what I'm about. So I just, yeah, I, it was this long, slow, arduous path of like me coming back to my intuition. All the while my husband is over here, just like, in his intuition, knowing all this stuff. No one taught him this stuff. And he's just over here being like, no, of course, we're not going to vaccinate. Yeah, of course, we're gonna have homebirth No, of course, we don't need a midwife like all this stuff. And I'm like, I have to go through this deep questioning process within myself with is that really true? Like, can we really do that that was incredible to have his just like, chill, unwavering support, as I worked through all this stuff. And by the time I got through the RBK school, and was like, telling him all this stuff, he's like, yeah, baby. I know. Like, I know, you had this in you, like you just needed to figure it out. So then, we again, like, unexpectedly, but also kind of intentionally called in our second baby probably sooner than we would have liked, but that was the timing that we let happen, so yeah, I was experiencing implantation, and the craziest way in this pregnancy and I love this like the piece to my story, because I had traveled to California for a birth. Actually, it was my aunt, giving birth. And she was she was choosing birth outside the system, and she wanted me there. I didn't make it in time for the birth, obviously, because I had to travel 3000 miles, to be fair. But I got there like a few days after and took care of her and postpartum, so I was there like taking care of My aunt in her like sacred postpartum after her incredible free birth, and I went to this epic Full Moon women's circle with another RBK from the Freebird society membership in this hot spring in Ojai, and like, we were naked, like shining our Yonis and moon and like howling, singing, like hugging each other and crying for no reason. It was like maybe the most like witchcraft thing. And it was so incredible. And I got back home and like back to my aunt's house and started having like crazy and like, insane sensations in my womb and like low back pain. And I was swaying on the bed and moaning like I was in labor, and I thought I had a kidney infections.
Emilee Saldaya 36:05
I did the wrong spells. I did the wrong.
So it was just a baby. So I got home and discovered I was pregnant. I got super nauseous, and I took a pregnancy test. And I was like, Yeah, that makes sense. So I had the most like jam packed wild pregnancy, I traveled out of the state five times during my pregnancy. I did a road trip. I got together with some high school girlfriends. I went to a wedding when I was 39 weeks. I just had like, so much fun. And I did hot yoga up until the same morning that I gave birth. I went from this first pregnancy where I was kind of asking my midwife her opinion on everything and still like doing more radical things, and most people do. But not feeling very good about just not being sure of myself and not listening to my intuition to just do anything and living my life. Yeah. And I really like taking advantage of that heightened sense of intuition. And I was eating super well and super, like, robust, like I was eating all the time and feeling super good about it. And yeah, I just loved this pregnancy, it was so good feeling. And the whole third trimester was kind of punctuated with these intense pleasure. days, just like days that were all about pleasure in my body. And I was so open. And yeah, just a very sensual, good feeling, amazing pregnancy. And I loved I was teaching tons of yoga. Yeah, so I felt really incredible. And I had, I really didn't know when my 40 week, whatever date was, because I didn't have a menstrual cycle between my first birth and getting pregnant. So I kind of just picked a date on the calendar. Based on when I started feeling nausea in the first trimester, I was like, Okay, well, maybe that was like six weeks, and I just picked a date. And it was the exact date that I gave. And I always tell people, like, literally, you could pick a date on a calendar, and it probably be more accurate than like getting an ultrasound for your due date or whatever, you know. So I just kind of like intuitively was like, Yeah, I think it's going to be early June, maybe June 7. And then as I was halfway through towards the end of pregnancy, I was like, No, I think it's going to be June 4, which is the birthday of my deceased grandfather who was like, by far my closest, most special family member that I had a really really close connection with all throughout my childhood and really, really seriously grieved his death for many many years and still like pray to His Spirit and see him and dreams and all this stuff. So when I realized my baby was probably going to be born around that, and I knew it would be on his birthday, and it was so yeah, that yeah, it was like I guess I had an exactly it which was also a full moon so I think I hadn't exactly nine Moon pregnancy, which is pretty cool. From full moon to full moon. Yeah, so I think that everything from the pregnancy was just like going insane, insane wild?
Emilee Saldaya 40:02
How did it go this time around letting your family know that you were going to free birth?
Well, because of the work I had been doing, I think it was just kind of obvious. I don't think I actually ever said out loud, I'm going to free birth to my parents, you know, but like, I have this Instagram account where I'm talking all about free birth and how like good it is, and how important it is, and all this stuff. And I'm actively attending births outside the system and telling my mom about it. And so when I told her I was pregnant, I think it was just this like, And, I really think that was due to me fully, like standing in my power about it, like fully saying, This is what I believe this is what I believed all along. Like, this is what I do for a living. I've seen this happen. And it's, this is the way, and so when it came time for me to be like, I'm pregnant again, there was no discussion of like, well, what are you going to do for prenatal care? Or whatever it was? Yeah. Like, my mom just asked me how I was feeling. And she was very supportive and loving the whole time she loved seeing pictures of my belly. And she, you know, we just didn't talk about that part of it, which was right for us. And it allowed us to have a really beautiful connection throughout the whole pregnancy. Yeah, I think there were times when I had wished like, Oh, I wish she would ask me a little bit because, obviously, this is my passion, and I love talking about it. But I'm so glad that it was just simple and easy. And I really feel like I chose to not have a drama-filled pregnancy and birth. And that's what happened. Like, I committed to letting go of drama. And I didn't have any drama. I mean, that's, yeah. Which, like, blows my mind. And it blows other people's minds when I say that. I'm like, No, I literally just chose to stop having Trump. And it was, it was really incredible. I think that choosing a drama, free pregnancy, and birth was the most important choice I made out of all of them because that underpins all the other choices. You know, I don't want the drama of intervention. I don't want the drama of like, oh, is it time to go to the hospital yet? I don't want the drama. It just don't. And that made it so easy and simple to just be like, I'm just going to live as a pregnant person. And I'm just going to, like, live as a birthing woman, and the baby is going to come out. Yeah, so it felt really easy. And then obviously, on top of all the like, physiological information that we learned in the rVk school about how truly safe physiologically optimal it is, it felt like a complete no-brainer at that point. Like there was no other no other option considered, there is not even a conversation. So yeah, I went through it feeling just like very free. Very, very free, which was like incredible free from myself and my own baggage and my own drama and free from the system and all of their drama and, and I really think that it made like physiological difference in my body like my body felt better.
Emilee Saldaya 43:38
Tell us your second birth story.
So on the morning of June 4, we woke up, it was a Sunday. And we had plans to go to a 9 am hot yoga, vinyasa class, and I had been kind of feeling the day before like that spacey kind of high kind of feeling like, Oh, I think birth is happening. And I had this date in my head of June 4. So I kind of knew I had had a little bit of like weird fluid gush on the Saturday before just like random tiny little bursts of fluid, like could have been pee. Not really sure. So I just was like, should I stay home and rest but ultimately, I decided, I was gonna go to the yoga class. If I start having contractions, and I don't want to keep going, then I'll stop. And just let it be. So I went to the yoga class, which was by far the best yoga class I've ever been to because I was in that super high like, and I was sweating. It was like 95 degrees. I was doing tons of super deep squats. Like my body was so open and it was amazing. And then afterward, we went to the grocery store, and I think Isaac was also like, tapped into the birth energy because we were walking around the store like we were high. And we are so sober. We are like so suppose over, and we're walking around the store being like, oh, we need all this food. So we just like loaded up on so much food, like the most impulse buying we've ever done. We got the nicest, most delicious food. And we went home, and we got home around noon. And we put our daughter down for a nap. And we all fell asleep. And then Isaac and I had sex, kind of knowing it was going to be like the last time before the baby came. And we fell asleep for a little bit more. Or maybe we had sex first and then napped. Yeah, I don't really remember that timeline. But we slept. And I woke up at like 330 or four in the afternoon with just the tiniest, tiniest, crampy little pinchy sensation in my womb. And I just told Isaac to sit, I know that today is going to be the day. And that like tiny little pinchy sensation kind of got a little rhythmic for maybe every 30 minutes or so for a while and then maybe every 10 minutes, but it was like every 10 minutes for most of it. And it was really, really, like way less than a period cramp like so small. Yes. So chill. So like a really, I woke up from her nap Isaac, and really I went outside, and they were like, playing in the woods and just kind of puttering around. It was like this kind of gloomy, wet rainy days, like everything was it was just like a wet day, right like hot yoga sweating like little bit of fluid here and there. And then this like, gloomy, moist day. So I was just kind of puttering around the house cooking and cleaning. I just like couldn't stop eating. I was nonstop eating. I had probably like six to eight full-cooked meals. I'm not even joking. I was eating so much like up until the baby came out. And then I had another huge meal after the baby came out. I was every bite of food was like orgasmic. It was so good. Emily, like, really? Yeah, I loved the food. So I just kind of did that like puttered around the house, I set up my little birth altar. I had a blessing way ceremony a few days before. And all these women brought like these beautiful things for me to put on my birth altar. So I built that out. And just enjoyed, like, put on some music and had a good time and really didn't like notice the sensations hardly at all. But I knew at some part of me that I was like in labor. So I think it was around 630 that they came back in, we had another meal, and we sat down to watch our favorite show on the world Avatar The Last Airbender. And I was texting my friend, who is just a mom, a friend that I love. And she was in town with the intention of supporting me and postpartum. And I told her that, like if I wanted her at the birth, I'd let her know. So I texted her, and I was like, Yeah, I'd love for you to come over and just like be here and hang out with my daughter if she wants to hang out. I'm like, I think today's the day. But it seems like it's going really slow. So take your time, you can come over in like two hours. She took her time and showed up in two hours. And she got there five minutes before the baby came. So it was like 10 minutes after I sent that text. All of a sudden, it was 180 degrees different like I was we were 10 minutes into the first episode of Avatar, and I literally was like you got to turn that off and close all the windows right now. Yeah, I was in it so fast, so rapidly. So I just like was on the ground on all fours, just arriving. And this was like incredibly intense, incredibly painful. I'm not gonna pretend I had a pain-free birth. It was super painful. It was insane. And what got me through it was fully narrating out loud my entire experience, which I didn't do intentionally.
Emilee Saldaya 49:57
So were you literally saying “Put my hand on the floor now. Yes, my hips. No, I'm good.”
Yes. Literally, exactly like that. And, and also narrating all of my thoughts. Yeah, I really think I was like channeling my yoga, whatever. It was also speaking aloud every single thought I had. So I would be like, I'd be like, Oh my God, I didn't think it was gonna hurt this bad, but I know that birth hurts like I've seen birth hurt all the time. And so it just like I just have to get through it and oh my god, I feel another contraction coming. Oh, God, please help me. Please help me. Okay, that one's over now. Like it was nonstop. Probably super annoying. But it was just speaking in tongues, it just came out on me. And for whatever reason, it was helpful. It was like helping me regulate my breathing. I don't know. I had no inhibitions. So like, I wasn't worried about what anyone was thinking of me. Isaac went and set up a Raelia with a movie he put on Mallanna for her in the other room. And our house is super tiny. So she was just like, right on the other side of the wall from me. And he started drawing me a bath, and I made my way into the bath because it really as for the water really, really helped. That was like what instantly snapped me into that pain-free psychedelic state. And so I was like, oh, yeah, maybe get some water pains gonna go away. That didn't happen. I was like, pretty disappointed. I got it. And I was like, why is it not getting better? Probably because I was in transition. So I got in the water. It was kind of relaxing, but not really. My daughter got in the water with me for a little bit. I had some contractions. We like had a conversation. I told my daughter like, I'm working really hard because the baby's gonna come out. And she kind of understood but didn't care. She's at the time of birth to she's so yeah, like two and a few months. So yeah, she sayid, whatever, mom. Yeah, she like didn't care. She wasn't scared, she wasn't weird about it, she was just like, Okay, I'm gonna go back to my movie. So she went back to her movie. And I kind of went back and forth between my ground station of pillows, blankets on the floor, and the bath. But it was a long walk between them. So I think a lot of that like walking back and forth also made it like, I don't know, kind of got things moving. But I was just feeling every single sensation. And that was something from my first birth, I remember hearing other people say like, I could feel everything I could feel my cervix opening. I could feel myself dilated, I could feel my pelvic bones opening, and I remember thinking, I didn't feel any of that my first birth, I just felt the pain of the contraction, and then my baby coming out. And now I know what people meant when they said that, like I was so so so keyed into every little sensation in my body that it was all the more painful and intense. But also, like so cool and fascinating. And that like, observer back part of me was saying things like wow, this is so cool. Like this is so amazing and so beautiful. And so I got to have this very powerful dual experience of just being fascinated with birth and with my body. And that only you know that back and forth only lasted for a few hours until like I was on the way to the bathtub. Again, I told Isaac that this was the last time I was going back and forth. So like please bring the blankets and stuff to the bathroom because if I want to get out of the tub again, like I'm not walking anywhere. So he did and made me like this really awesome little blanket pillow thrown right outside of the bathtub. I got in the bathtub, and it was around that time that our photographer had arrived who was a woman from my women's circles she had been coming to village prenatal for a while she knew that I was all anti-medical system and was super awesome about it. She was a fly on the wall, which was so cool. And so she showed up and just did her thing I didn't even notice her there and I kind of got into this like more quiet internal like Winfrey kind of state. wondering like where am I right now? How much longer is this going to be kind of thing So I decided to feel inside myself, and I shouldn't even say decided, because I just did it. My body just like put my fingers inside fully out of like, I don't know, it just instinct. I didn't consciously decide that at all. And I felt that the amniotic sac is still intact. And that was like the coolest feeling. I was like, wow, this is so beautiful. And I remember thinking like, okay, so I just kind of had that little cool experience of knowing what it was like to like slowly and gently feel inside myself in an intuitive way, as opposed to having another woman do it in a nonintuitive way. And it was like not obviously, it wasn't painful at all, it was like borderline pleasurable. And my baby's head was like right there, the sack was still intact. So that gave me a little bit of kind of boost of energy. I then intuitively got out of the bath and onto the floor in kind of all fours position where I was leaned over like a big pillow. And that's when my dear best friend Stephanie arrived. And she just very quietly walked in and sat down on the edge of the bathtub next to me. I think she like brushed a piece of hair out of my face and said hello. And I instantly her presence made me feel so good. It wasn't like I like I was relieved that someone was there. For me, it was more that I was like, hi, I love this person so much. And I'm so glad she's here. Like, I just wanted to embrace her. I just felt so good having her near me. And she just literally That's all she did was be near me. And I loved that Isaac and really were off somewhere else in the house. I don't know what they were doing. And then I think it was really that like wave of relaxation and just like joy that my friend was there that helped my waters to release because, like, as soon as she entered the room, like two minutes later, my waters exploded everywhere. And it felt so good. It felt like incredibly pleasurable. And I then, like I found my body moving my right leg up into a lunge position. And I remembered that an observer, part of my brain remembered that piece of information that I think I heard sister Morningstar, say at one point, which is that like, a woman will intuitively move into the most optimal birthing position when she's left undisturbed, whatever that position is for her. And I like watched my body move my leg and thought to myself, Oh, I'm doing it. That's so cool. So I was in this lunge. And in the next, like, exhale, my baby was coming out. There was no pushing. There was no like, head out, wave turn. Nothing like, I just waters exploded. And I looked down and my leg is up and my baby is just like, being like, exploded out of my body in this incredibly powerful way. With like, no effort from me whatsoever. I mean, obviously, it was effortful, but I wasn't intentionally pushing. And I caught my own baby. Like I had my hands around his head kind of or like, you know, around on his head as he was coming out. And then he just like split out into my hands. And he was screaming. And he was so like, full and chunky and healthy looking. And I just brought him to my chest. And it was I was in the most ecstatic, blissful incredible joy I've ever experienced in my entire life. It was, it was so so very different than the feeling I had from my first baby. And I thought that was the most joy I've ever felt in my life. And I think that's what like just keeps recurring to me is this thought of like, I didn't even know it could get so much better. So good, like so good. I just couldn't, and it lasted. It lasted for weeks into the postpartum, and that was really really cool.
I saw I asked my photographer and she said that, shortly after the birth, maybe 10 minutes after because I was just sitting there observing my baby. At some point. I said Oh, someone needs to get Isaac. So, Isaac, someone got Isaac, I think, yeah, he was. He was nowhere to be. He was just with our daughter. And so he came in, and he was like, Oh, the baby's here. And he asked me Do you know, if it was a girl or boy and I looked, it was a boy, we knew we knew the whole time, it was a boy, there was no doubt in our mind. So I was like, oh, yeah, it's avoid that. And that was really cool. Oh, I remember also, the cord looking at the cord was so vibrant, so blue and so beautiful. And I loved seeing the twisty cord and everything, and just like being able to touch everything myself, and just this very primal experience of like, there's no midwife here to like, do anything. So I get to just like play, it was very playful, like, I can play with the cord, I can play with them, you know, so maybe 10 or 15 minutes after the birth, I start, you know, whatever is subconsciously like speaking out these like incantations about the placenta. And I didn't even realize I was doing this, my photographer told me later that I said something like, I'm ready to get this sent out to me now. And just as those words came out, so did the placenta just like slid out, I didn't do anything. It just came, it just plopped out onto the ground. And that was really nice and useful. And I was able to just like, open it up and look at it and feel it and everything. After we severed it, we like held it up and swung it around to show my daughter and she thought that was really funny. So we kind of slowly made our way into the bedroom into the bed. And Isaac made me my like, favorite meal ever. super juicy, red, bloody cheeseburger on sourdough bread, and I served to have them down. And then we, after a couple of hours, we did an umbilical cord burning ceremony with like, candles and whatnot. And that was really, really beautiful, and just very nice and slow and peaceful. And our daughter got to hold a candle with the help of my friend. And yeah, it was just it was all very simple and very easy. Like it was just a part. It was like how we spent her afternoon. It's just a part of our day. And he was born right before 9 p.m. So like, we got to go to bed at a normal time. Yeah, and that's actually how it happened with my daughter too. She was also born right at 9 pm. So I had had a full night's sleep before, and a full night's sleep after both births. I'm so grateful for that, like such a privilege. Yeah. So it was really it was really, really just very simple and peaceful. We all got tucked into bed, and he breastfed easily no pain whatsoever. Like, just just easy. Everything was easy. And we woke up the next day in our new in our new beautiful life. And I had the most incredible postpartum, the most blissful, amazing postpartum, like, everything. Everything was orgasmic. Every meal I ate was orgasmic. Laying there with my baby. Cuddling my baby was so good. I felt so good that I wanted to go back to working I had, I was building websites for some people. And I was like, I'm so excited to like, dump some creative juices into my work. Like I Yeah, it was like, the most joyful, blissful time ever. And Isaac was home with me, my friend was taking care of us like, it was Yeah. And that was obviously a result of us changing our life very intentionally to be able to support a postpartum because of the things we learned, like, through the radical birth keeper school and like taking responsibility for our life. So that when these things happen, they can be joyful, you know, rather than just like being the victim of this experience, like like I was the first time so yeah, it was like a very full circle kind of experience. And I still feel like now I'm almost three months out, and I still feel like I still have those days of postpartum high and bliss just like looking at my baby and feeling this deep cyclical joy.
Emilee Saldaya 1:05:06
I remember on day two laying in bed trying to calculate my age with how many babies I could pull off. Tell me a little bit about your decision to have a birth photographer there?
Yeah, so it was literally a last-minute decision for me, and I would not have done it. I wouldn't have rather had it any other way. So she's like a personal friend of mine who had come to our women's circles a bunch. And she had done family photos for us in the past. So I knew her vibe, she had heard my dream birth story a bunch of times. And she basically told me, one of the things that I have routinely over and over again, felt really sad about was that there weren't more pictures from my first birth. And so she came to me and was like, very, very kind offered me a pay what you can and said, I'm just gonna put my cell phone call for you. You don't have to commit. You don't have to sign a contract. We'll talk about money afterward, pay what you can just if you're in labor, and you think that you want a photographer, I will be there. I know all your boundaries, don't worry. So that that made me able to make a more intuitive decision at the moment. And I should correct myself, obviously, I realized she was there. And she like walked in the room and she was trying to be so hard to have a fly on the wall. But like I saw her and I was like, hi, Angela. I see you it's okay. Yeah, yeah. Like she was being so cautious. And like she didn't even come into the room. She was in the doorway.
Emilee Saldaya 1:07:20
So have the pictures snapping didn't bother you?
No. And I think part of the reason is because she got there so late in the game that I was already so in it. That it was just those kinds of things weren't registering for me. And it didn't feel as though she was there. So, I noticed her energy and her persona. But I didn't notice the sounds of the I don't actually think she had like a shutter sound. He didn't notice the camera itself. And because Isaac can really uh, we're in a different room, and I was like, in this kind of dark corner in the bathroom and all the lights were off and my friend kind of just like, sat there super quietly next to me. I felt like very alone. Yeah, I didn't feel like there were a lot of people there. When I look back. I'm like, oh, there were like four people besides me in the house, but it was so undisturbed. It didn't feel that way. But I don't think I would hire a different photographer. Like I don't think I would just like look for a thrive. hire them fit for you. Yeah, totally. And I'm so glad I did it because those photos are priceless. I'll probably just have Isaac snap a couple of next time.
Emilee Saldaya 1:09:51
Such a powerful thing. And every meal and postpartum is great.
Oh, yeah. Issac is a chef. He was a professional cook for a while. Yeah, so he totally going all out with the meals. Oh my gosh, she's gonna hate that I tell this story but actually one of the meals he thought it would be really funny to play a little joke on me and he brought me this like, beautiful tray full of awesome oats with that goddess ghee on top and like cinnamon sprinkled on top and this array of fruit and like bacon and all this stuff. And he put a tiny little dead carpenter ant right on top of it.
Emilee Saldaya 1:10:49
Put some extra protein on it. Did you eat it?
No. It took me a second. But I was cracking up. The really challenging postpartum experience was the after pains which did get worse the second time. They were three days. It was super intense. It was like I was in labor again. Oh, yeah. Yeah, it was so hard tinctures helped. But the more pleasurable the orgasmic experience I had, the more intense they were right, like all the oxytocin was flowing. So I would like to look at my baby and be like, Oh, I'm so in love with my baby. And I'd eat this amazing. Food. Yeah. And then it would have her bored. I'd be like, stop feeling so good. Yeah, there's just this little cycle of like, feeling really good. And then the after. Yeah, like maybe a little bit of an upper limit problem. But yeah, but it helped me to just like tap back into that, like resting kind of recovering mode. Because I did feel so good. I'm glad I wasn't tempted to like sabotage myself and get out of bed. So I like committed myself to staying in bed for three weeks at least. And then I started kind of walking around and whatnot. But I didn't physically feel like I had to because my body felt so good. Like, I remember actually thinking that, like, my body felt better than it did before getting pregnant. Like, I felt so good and healthy. And I just wanted to like bask in that. And I'm committed to staying in bed for three weeks. And I think that helped to continue that feeling. So now like three months out, I'm feeling like in incredible health, like better than I was before, which I've heard in like ancient Ayurvedic wisdom, they say that, like those first 40 days, determine the next 40 years of your health and I am really seeing that, like, I think I actually did some serious, deep healing of maybe some physiological wounds that happened in my first postpartum. And, like, full circle completed that. So yeah, I mean, my, my free birth, has healed so many wounds of my life, like it, you know, I watched my wound with my mother heal, as my relationship has healed in many ways. It even helped me to heal, like whatever kind of awkwardness or tension there was between my midwife from my first birth and me, as I came into my power and realized that I didn't want her there. Like, we were able to have a friendship. Now, you know, so like, just so much healing has occurred, through this of mind, body, and spirit, and I think even healing with my daughter that I didn't even know needed to happen like, yeah, and healing of my business. My business feels like it's going in the direction that I really want it to be going. That's incredible. Birth absolutely changes your life.
Emilee Saldaya 1:14:20
It can. It has. It's a it's it's one of those peak X, you know, markers on our graph, that it has the potential to rapidly accelerate in either direction. But I totally like every woman necessarily feels super changed, you know, but obviously, we see it in the free birth world. And I think you know, what you're saying to around all this healing is, is kind of what I'm talking about that that not everybody has a free birth and feels more in their power, but a lot of women do. And it's like, it's a possibility, but you didn't just free birth in a vacuum, you cleaned up your life in order to free birth. Right? So it's like, yeah, it's this apex of the, of the whole thing for sure. And what you said, like having Isaac at home, being really intentional about who's there and who's not and you know, healing stuff with your family. I mean, all of these markers create a total, a totally different shift. And so the healing, what am I trying to say is that that part of becoming fully embodied and in your own power, creates the softest opportunity like creates the reality where you can alchemize all your relationships, because you are going to be a lot less tempted to project power dynamics on them. Right, yeah. So then all of a sudden, you can actually heal and actually be in a much deeper layer of intimacy with the people around you because you're not just like outsourcing.
I had no idea how much I was outsourcing until I made this shift in my life and looking back, it's incredible that I was still doing as well as I was in life because I was living in victim consciousness, so hardcore, and it feels so good to be out of that and to have that like, fully crystallized by the birth, and really by the postpartum, even more so like that. It was like that final ceremony of this long rite of passage that I kind of created for myself and I called in other people to help me formulate this rite of passage journey. Like I called in the healing with these different relationships, as you said, alchemize in these relationships, and the birth was this big, grand, final ceremony. I just, can't think of any other better way to describe it. It was the most ceremonial, joyous day of my life. And I just reinforced in me so strongly that any woman can claim that if she wants to.
Emilee Saldaya 1:17:28
Totally. So how can women find you?
I am on Instagram as wild mama birth that's W O i LD mama birth world is like a play on words for old wild world. Yeah, so you can find me on Instagram and all my contacts and website and info. Everything is on there.
Emilee Saldaya 1:17:53
But what if someone's not on Instagram?
If someone's not on Instagram, they can go to wildlife wellness.com W O LD Well, wildlife wellness.com and all our info is on there. We do all sorts of radical birth stuff on mine, and I do radical birthkeeping here in Maine. And then my husband also does like nutritional ancestral, like food healing stuff, too. Which is on there as well.
Emilee Saldaya 1:18:24
Awesome. Well, thank you. Thank you for your time.
Thanks so much, Emily. Thank you. I thank you in my heart all the time, but it's not very often that I get to look you in the eyes and say thank you. But thank you so so much for this work that you're doing and for the podcasts and RBK school and everything you have been such a huge mentor and turning point in my life. And I'm so grateful.
Emilee Saldaya 1:18:57
You are so welcome.