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Emerson's Beautiful, Healing Birth


Emerson Elle was born on Monday, March 31st, 2014 at 9:38 pm weighing 6 lbs 9 oz. I had a website back then in which I focused on gluten free, dairy free recipes and healthy living and I happened to post my birth story there, so I truly have the benefit of referring back to that original blog post. It is interesting to look back on this old post from four and a half years ago and contrast it to my most recent birth experience... twins, but that is a story for a different day. We decided to have a natural home birth with the assistance of midwives and, although it didn't quite go as planned as you will see, it was beautiful and, I would argue, healed me from my first birth, which was highly medicalized and traumatic for me.

I knew I was going into labor Sunday night, so I went to bed to rest up for what I knew could be a long stretch without sleep (my first labor was 36 hours with no sleep). Fortunately, I was able to sleep through the light contractions until 4:30 am when they became too painful, but not horrible. I told Cam to stay home when he got up to go to work because this baby was on her way! The contractions continued throughout the day, sometimes moving further apart sometimes getting closer together, so we thought we'd go for a walk in the mall and purchase some clary sage essential oil to make the birth go smoother. We enjoyed a really nice lunch at an fantastic Mexican place that is sadly no longer there. By dinner time the pain had become too much and I couldn't eat, so I jumped into a warm bath tub around 7:30 pm where I felt much more comfortable. By 8:30 pm, I told Cam that he'd better call the midwife because my contractions were getting closer together. Cam convinced me that we didn't need the midwife just yet because our first birth took so long and he was concerned that we had a long night ahead of us. If we called too soon everyone would get tired and I would end up going to the hospital - good reasoning at the time, but guys don't know shit about birth. By 8:45 pm I, again, asked Cam to call the midwife and this time he did. It took her a while to arrive, so it's good her put the call in. In the meantime, my contractions started to get closer and closer together and the duration between them became shorter than the contraction length, so definitely moving into active labor. At around 9:30 pm I experienced my first "pushing contraction" and my water broke (still no midwife). At around 9:34 pm I had my next pushing contraction where I literally could not help but push. This time Emerson's head emerged (still no midwife!). Just then the midwife barged through the threshold into the bathroom where I was still soaking in my tub. I told her, "The head is out and the next contraction will be the whole baby." She asked me to get in a reclined position so she could better see. Up until that time I had been rocking back and forth on my hands and knees, which turns out, is my very favorite birthing position, and, sure enough, Emerson was born a minute or two later. The pushing phase was less than 10 minutes in total - you gotta love it! Sure, it was painful, but that's to be expected. I know the second time is always faster and easier, but I also credit the changes I've made in my diet for the difference in births between Baby 1 and Baby 2. I had no drugs, including no pitocin for the delivery of the placenta and no pain relievers afterward. My recovery was also very quick (compared to the first time around) and I was up and walking pretty much right away. I think the thing that bothered me the most were the after pains, which you don't get with the first child. They were almost as strong as contractions and occurred about every 15 minutes for the next 4-5 days when they thankfully disappeared.

I tried not to edit my original birth story too much here, but there was some language in there from almost five years ago that I felt uncomfortable with, even though I was already on a natural birth path. I was bothered by my submission t