Every journey to motherhood is unique, each so compelling. Some of us have more difficult paths to navigate before reaching our final destination, while others follow the straight and narrow, hitting bumps further on down the road. For all of us, however, motherhood is a roller coaster that brings inexplicable joy and unavoidable pain, making us feel as if our hearts might leap right through our chests. To celebrate all of motherhood, we at Wichita Moms Blog are sharing our personal journeys.
I almost opted out of writing this. Why? The cliffs notes version of my path to motherhood reads:
We got pregnant the first round of trying. I loved being pregnant. Labor went almost exactly to plan and I thought it was wonderful.
*insert eye rolls here*
I have the rainbows and unicorns birth story no one wants to hear.
Just when I think that my “textbook” pregnancy is boring, I remember “Wait, people think I’m weird!”
Here are some of the more unique parts of our birth story…
Planning and Announcing:
From the beginning of the cycle in which we would be “trying”, I abstained from all the things you can’t have when pregnant. I wrote in a journal to my little egg, telling it that I was making it a really awesome lining to imbed into (SO dorky, I know). I worked out and overhauled my diet an entire year before we planned to get pregnant. My husband did the same.
*We knew that most of this was ultimately beyond our control, but we were going to do anything we could to try to have some sort of control.*
I couldn’t decide on just one pregnancy announcement, so we did a little of everything.
-I never saw an OB. Nope, not once. Certified Nurse Midwives at New Birth Company took care of all of our checkups, testing, and the birth. It was beautiful, relaxing, and naturally minded.
I got the same general medical treatment we would have gotten at an OB except fewer tests (urine tests, no dilation checks in the last few weeks, one ultrasound, and less blood work).
-I took a LOT of herbs. My least favorite was the alfalfa. The tablets smelled and tasted like a dry teabag. I don’t like tea.
-You know that nasty glucose test? Well, instead, I got a list of healthy food options to get the same glucose levels.
-We took a LOT of classes…like almost 48 hours worth total. The most intensive were our Bradley Birthing classes. Classes focus on the father being an important part of labor. You learn to prepare your body physically (with both diet and exercises) and mentally. You are armed with important information about the tests and interventions that may be offered to you during pregnancy and labor, as well as the possible effects they may have on having an unmediated birth. We also took a natural birthing class and a water birth class at our birth center.
-I labored as long as possible at home. My husband kept in contact with our doula and midwife who helped us know when we would finally need to leave for New Birth Company.
– We got to pick our suite. They have three suites, each decorated uniquely around a queen sized bed and Jacuzzi tub. A cabinet hid all the medical equipment, a seemingly small thing that makes the world of difference in the atmosphere of a room.
-I took my dream team (my husband, my doula, and my birthing ball) and we walked through the wooded paths around the center during early labor.
– I was never hooked up to a monitor (they DID monitor periodically, don’t get too freaked out).
-I didn’t have to have an IV. This was BIG for me. I don’t do needles. I also didn’t want to be restricted.
– They encouraged me to eat throughout labor and even made me a SUPER tasty smoothie to help me maintain my energy.
-I had my midwife, doula, husband, birth photographer, and my very own nurse in my room. No one else. My eyes were closed almost the entire time (apparently that’s how I roll), so I only really remember my husband’s voice and touch. My JJ Heller playlist was our soundtrack.
-I wore my most comfortable sundress, and later my swimsuit to labor in.
-I labored in the tub. It. Was. Awesome.
-The baby’s heart rate was dropping during pushing, so the midwife had me get out of the tub and onto the bed to finish. I walked across the room FEELING Eli’s head between my legs. This was the most awesome thing I have ever felt. Ever. What, in another setting, might have been cause for alarm and interventions, was instead the highlight of my entire labor.
– I delivered on the bed, leaning over a birthing ball on all 4’s…one of the reasons I think I managed a basically 9 pound baby with only a tiny tear.
– I was the first person to hold my baby, the doula says I “caught” him, but I feel like I just picked him up. “Caught” always makes me think of something being thrown. No babies were thrown.
– No one took him from my arms (or my husband’s). All his vitals and testing were done while I held him.
-His vernix was rubbed in (not wiped off) and he was not given a hat (as per our birth plan).
– They waited until the cord stopped pulsing before having my husband cut it.
– The midwife held up my placenta and gave me a tutorial because she knew that I would love it…and I did.
-My birth photographer (joyfulbegginingskc.com) left with my placenta in a bag. Yes, yes, I had my placenta encapsulated. I took the pills for the coming weeks to help balance my hormones (aka mood swings), replenish nutrients, and encourage my milk supply. My husband tries to keep this a secret, but he was the FIRST person to go get me a pill if I began to get weepy or moody over the coming weeks.
*Uh huh, that’s his dried umbilical cord in a heart.
-The staff baked me a cake and sang me “Happy Birthday” (odd, but I like cake, so I embraced it)
-We got to go home about 8 hours after Eli arrived. I was comfortably in my own bed, with all my “stuff”, without people interrupting by that night.
-Our nurse came TO OUR HOUSE for our 24 hour check up.
Yes, our experience was a bit untraditional, some might say “weird”, but it was wonderfully weird.