Welcome to the World, Baby (My Empowering Birth Story)

by - October 15, 2020

As I am being told I had an ‘easy & fast’ labor, I prefer to say my labor was SMOOTH and EMPOWERING, but it certainly was NOT easy for one second. 

Don’t ever tell a new mom how ‘easy’ her birth was, even it may have been a short one. No matter how short, there’s absolutely NOTHING easy about birthing a baby. These words should NEVER even be used in the same paragraph, let alone a sentence...

I am SO proud of myself and my body for how well we were able to work together to birth my baby in the most gentle and mindful way I could have imagined. I am beyond grateful for this incredible transition of birth that brought my healthy baby earthside.

I’m totally amazed by the INCREDIBLE female body and how mamma nature designed the beautiful complex process of us goddesses being able to bring little humans into this world. I admire women for this amazing gift. Women are truly magical beings with special powers and if you ever EVER doubt that - watch a woman give birth to a baby! 

Three years ago on this day, I posted a blog (Awaiting the Rainbow (Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month)) following my first pregnancy that ended in a miscarriage. Today, I am sharing a birth story of my beautiful and healthy rainbow baby. 

I started experiencing light contractions on Saturday morning (3rd of October) I timed a few just to give myself an idea, they were very sporadic and manageable, so I got on with the day. By the afternoon Daniel and I did ALL we naturally could to speed up the labor and strengthen my contractions. The cherry on top was an evening walk with Reef along with some curb walking when contractions became intense enough that I’d have to stop, focus and breathe through them. We cut our walk short, headed home and I knew our baby was going to come soon. 

I set up a little 'labor space' in the baby room and used my birthing ball to do some exercises helping my baby to move down faster. I listened to birth affirmations and tried to relax in between contractions. Later on, we ended up watching a movie on a projector with our neighbors in our shared little yard while I had a delicious vegan risotto for dinner and moderate contractions at about every 5-6 minutes.

Around 9.30PM my contractions picked up from moderate to pretty strong, so I decided to head to bed and to try to get some sleep. I’d sleep for about an hour, briefly awakening through a few contractions before they got too intense for me to lay in bed so I’d try to move during and rest in between them. I was happy to see my partner Daniel sleeping next to me, knowing he’s getting some rest before it's 'go time'

I’d feel the pain of my surges mostly in my back and tailbone area, and to my surprise - along the outer sides of my hips and thighs. By around 11PM the contractions were around 4-5 minutes apart lasting about 1 minute. Soon my water did a clear little ‘pop’ and broke, a little after midnight, and I knew the baby was definitely coming soon. I started getting chills and feeling nauseous. I messaged our doula Jasmine to get ready to come over within the next few hours.

Around 1.40AM with the contractions REALLY picking up Daniel woke up, feeling he’s needed and from then on helped me with each surge and holding my hair while I puked (bless him) up until Jasmine. Jasmine labored with me - basically sitting on the toilet leaning back and dozing off between contractions. The toilet seemed to be the most comfortable place as I was having a ‘back labor’ (baby was face up/ 'sunny side up' as opposed to facing down). In the meantime, Daniel finished packing the baby's diaper bag and our hospital bags, loading everything in the car.

By that point, I was far gone in in the ‘labor land’ (active labor). It’s amazing how the mind just turns off and instead the body, intuition, and, let’s call her ‘wild feminine’, takes over. I was fully aware, and yet not at all understood what was happening around me. From there I recall the power and intensity of my contractions but not really anything in between. 

I remember Jasmine’s hand on my chest and her penetrating eyes in front of me, guiding me to breathe and focus when I was losing control. I remember telling her and begging her to just go to the hospital. When she asked me why I had no answer. I somehow thought they could ‘help’ me but I knew I didn't need help, all I needed was right there with me at home. My loving partner, supportive doula, our crazy puppy Reef, and the warmth and familiarity of our home. I remember the annoying smell of clary sage essential oil and how I held my breath every time she wanted me to breathe it in to make my surges stronger, I remember listening to the baby’s heartbeat with a Doppler. I remember telling Daniel I smell food and I didn’t like it. I remember dreading every upcoming contraction. I remember saying that the lady’s voice chanting birthing affirmations currently playing was annoying and ask to have Gabby Bernstein’s affirmations played instead. I remember pulling a towel rack out of the wall mid contraction and getting annoyed because it couldn’t handle my weight. I remember recalling and repeating my power words - I am fierce and fearless! I remember Jasmine speaking to the hospital that we were coming soon. I remember putting clothes on, having contractions on the way to the car, the car ride and Daniel passing on a red light - twice! I remember Jasmine speaking to the hospital again while she was sitting at the back with me. I remember nice relaxing music playing during the car ride and thought that was a nice touch from Daniel. I remember arriving at the hospital right at a peak of a contraction and not having anyone waiting for us although we called twice. I remember Daniel running around looking for a wheelchair and eventually all three of us rushing inside the hospital leaving the car where we shouldn’t have. I remember they won’t let Jasmine in and me feeling sad as I never got to say goodbye or thank her. I could hear Daniel’s angry voice asking where was the help as we finally made it to the labor and delivery floor. 

I remember entering my delivery room, it was around At 5AM in the morning. Daniel helped me change into my labor ‘dress’ (thank you sis that was the best outfit EVER), and then he set up the room - dimmed the lights, put music, and diffuser with essential oils on. At 5.30AM I was hooked on monitors briefly to check the baby's heartbeat, position, and time my contractions. I remember I asked the nurse and the midwife about my options to get an epidural right after Daniel just talked to them outside, telling them not to offer me an epidural or any pain medication! All I got from them was puzzled looks and silence! I had my cervix checked for the 1st time. I was 6 CM dilated, 90% effaced and 0 stationed. Since then, things picked up on speed and intensity and an epidural had not crossed my mind. I was too busy and focused on bringing my rainbow baby earthside. I remember changing and trying out many different positions as well as a birthing ball that worked a little but I eventually made it back to my safe place, the bathroom toilet.

I remember Daniel wasn’t with me when I felt a contraction coming, I asked for him and he rushed in being the anchor for me I needed him to be. I remember feeling an amazing amount of love and gratitude to have him there, for him to take on my pain, and I couldn’t imagine what it would be like without him. I was so tired by then and remember telling him I can’t and I do not want to do it anymore and that it’s too much. I remember his hopeless face looking for things to say and do to help me. To me, Daniel was the only person birthing with me. I tried to remember that I wanted to have natural unmedicated birth for all the mamas who wished but didn’t get to do so due to long or complicated labor, I thought of all the mamas who have lost and never got to birth their beautiful babies and their strength kept me going. I worked with and listened to my body, I kept reminding myself that the stong surges are happening for me and my baby (not to - me). I kept comforting myself in believing that my body would not create pain stronger than what I can handle. 

Soon I began to have the urge to push I was told not to as it was too early and I probably wasn't dilated enough yet. After about 3-5 pushing waves of contractions, I knew I HAD to push and that my baby was coming NOW.
Getting back into bed, lying on my side, they finally checked me around 6.30AM and I was 10 (+2cm) dilated and more than ready to push. I started pushing but not with much success due to the position and the fact that I was stopping myself from pushing the last few contractions. I found it difficult to understand that I can and how to actually push rather than trying to breathe through. Thankfully Daniel suggested a change of position to work with the gravity as we planned instead of me lying on the side which was one of the main reasons we wanted to avoid epidural. The bed was adjusted and added a squatting bar so that I could push in a squatting position, a mirror was placed in front of me, which at first I thought would be the last thing I’d want to see but turned out to be an amazingly empowering tool in helping me to see the progress. The midwife and the nurse were brilliant, using my choice of oil and hot compresses to help things progress and open as gently as possible. Not once I was told or forced to push. I allowed myself to simply wait and only push when I felt the urge. I remember them telling me to slow down pushing when the little baby head was crowning to protect my perineal area and avoid birth injuries. I remember Daniel telling them with a sharp voice not to pull the baby but the midwife needed to assist our baby to turn a little as the position wasn't ideal. I remember I also told the midwife to stop touching me but it turned out the discomfort was caused by the baby's shoulder getting a little stuck. From there on, with a few more pushes I was able to push our baby out completely, catching the baby with shaken hands, bringing and gently placing the baby directly to my chest without even looking if we had a boy or girl (7.18AM). While I birthed the placenta and was examined for tears or other birth injuries (I had no tears or injuries!) we were finally able to check that I just gave birth to a beautiful baby girl (although Daniel said he saw a penis at first!). While on my chest, the nurse checked her vitals and I still couldn’t believe she was here. So tinny and perfect, with a head full of dark hair, resting on my chest.  I didn’t want to touch or mover her too much as I was too scared because she was SO tinny and fragile.

ᗩᖇIEᒪᒪE   EIᒪᗩᑎI   ᒪᑌᑫᑌ

Born at 07:18AM on October 4th 2020
Weight: 7.08lbs / 3.21kg
Measuring: 19.5in / 49.53cm
Sun: Libra (peace-loving)
Moon: Capricorn (calm & productive)

Once I delivered my placenta, I was bleeding a little more than was normal and after no improvement, I had to be eventually put on Pitocin while the midwife and nurse were trying to stop my bleeding. I was crying my eyes out at that point as, among other things, they massaged my uterus trying to stop my bleeding. I thought I was done with the painful part of birth but it wasn’t stopping, quite the opposite, the pain was getting worse and I so desperately wanted them to leave me alone! It was so painful I'd much rather give birth all over again than have them touch me once more. Finally, after what felt like an eternity and a few more interventions, the bleeding eased out and Daniel was asked to cut the umbilical cord. Although we hoped to have our doula present at birth, due to Covid she was not allowed in, and I am happy it happened that way. Having only Daniel by my side had brought us closer together as we worked as a team, and we delivered our baby as a family, just us two and our little newborn baby girl, our new little ohana. We were finally left alone to bond and bundle in love. My heart full, body exhausted, and mind in awe.

I know that labor and birthing are unpredictable, but I believe that my mental and physical preparation helped me achieve the birth I had hoped for. I kept physically active throughout the whole pregnancy as well as followed a healthy nutritious vegetarian diet. I'd spend about 30 minutes to an hour a day connecting with my baby and practicing mindfulness from the very beginning until the very end. From about 34 weeks of pregnancy, I'd spend about one to two hours a day preparing my body and mind for birth. I had a nice little daily evening routine and did all I possibly could to feel relaxed and prepared. 

And so I decided to create an online Prenatal Yoga Course as well as a Birth Preparation bonus package to share all that I've learned and researched, and all that have worked for me, to help other mamas to be, to achieve a beautiful and comfortable pregnancy as well as gentle and empowering birth. Send an email to: hello@veronikablanar.com if you'd like to learn more about my upcoming Prenatal Yoga Course & Labor and Birth Preparation. 

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