It all started Tuesday night (July 9th, 2013), two days before my EDD based off of LMP. Max brought home our last birth supply after work which triggered a MASSIVE cleaning, organizing and decorating spree in our bathroom. Everything had to be PERFECT and despite it being late I COULD NOT stop. We joked about nesting but I "knew better" than to think anything of it. I finished my wall of encouraging words and took pictures. My birthing sanctuary was perfect, at last. Wednesday morning I woke up feeling excessively emotional and also using the..ahem..toilet excessively. Again, I knew better than to think anything of it. I didn't want to get all excited and then jynx myself. My best friend Emily planned on coming over and I just wanted to relax and have a nice night! Max and I ended up getting into a very intense fight (probably due to my excessively emotional state!) and the whole time I just wanted to tell him, "Hey thanks for being a butt to me today because I think I'm in labor!" But again, I did not want to jynx myself. My dad randomly brought over Burger King and despite my love for chicken nuggets, I had no appetite. Hanging out with Emily was lovely as usual, we spent our time looking at Max's baby pictures *swoon*, and what I thought were braxton hicks from dealing with crying and handling my crazy puppy (and Fox, geez he can be mean to Emily! Pulling her hair and everything!) were kicking my butt! Eventually Emily had to head home and I had to get the kiddos to bed. Max got home from work around 11 or so, we talked and laughed and apologized for fighting earlier in the day. We discussed nuchal cords, found Robin's buttcrack at the top of my belly and I noted that I had such a hard time figuring out his position because his butt was narrow and extremely bulbus (just like daddy's! hahaha) so it felt like a little weird head! I still didn't mention I felt labor-y. I honestly had NO CLUE labor was going to begin with Fox or Azalea, so I assumed I was just overthinking my current physical state. Braxton hicks were still kicking my butt. Hours pass and we wind up deciding, playfully, in the middle of the damn night KNOWING we had to get up at 6, that we were going to get it on to "induce labor" because I had been in such physical agony over the passing weeks and I honest to God did not think there was ANY room left in my torso for more baby! That made contractions REALLY intense and still, I ignored it. At that point I was blatantly in denial. 2:20 am, we crawl in bed. Max rubbed my tummy and we snuggled to sleep. Or tried. I was woken by contractions consistently until I finally couldn't sleep anymore, 5am. I pulled out my phone and opened the contraction timer. 45 seconds long, 5 minutes apart. Then 1 minute long, 2 minutes apart. Then another 1 minute long, 2 minutes apart. Then another 45 seconds, 5 minutes apart. What a WEIRD pattern. Why does anyone expect a cookie cutter pattern?! By 6am Thursday I decided to wake up Max and tell him to turn off his alarms because he wasn't going to work that day! He called his boss and let them know, and clarified with me that I was POSITIVE he shouldn't go in. I was still in denial and broke down sobbing because I really did not know if he would be wasting his time staying home! Once Azalea awoke around 8, I tried to nurse her and it was EXCRUTIATING! I knew then that I could not be left at home alone with the kids and those contractions. I grabbed breakfast..couldn't eat it..wound up puking and that is when I realized, okay this IS labor and I needed the bathtub. I needed it. Never have contractions been so painful for me! I text Emily and let her know I was in labor so she could come and help with the kiddos or whatever we needed, and by 10 I had Max let her know I wanted her to come over. I am SO THANKFUL she did! The kids had a buddy who they love to play with so they wouldn't miss me too bad, especially Azalea, and she brought me boba! BOBA! What a Godsend in labor! Perfect way to cool down and keep energy up! At this point it gets blurry, I was in and out in the bathtub. I cried. I asked for everyone to just make it stop. I couldn't do it. I had Max grab me a towel to drape over myself to stay cozy and warm and eventually had him wrap my pillow in a trash bag so I could have it in the tub with me! Heavenly! Until I needed to pee, that is, and I didn't want to get out of the tub. But I couldn't pee in the tub. I tried. It wasn't working! Cue more crying because I NEEDED to pee! I sobbed for help out, labored on the toilet trying to pee, FINALLY freakin peed! Back in the tub.. Azalea came to say hi and I broke down crying because I missed her. I wanted to be more present with her. I felt like I had abandoned her. I was unreasonable. Max came to hold my hand, God I needed his hand. Nothing more. Those contractions were the easiest. I am so thankful for him. Anytime I told him I couldn't do it, he told me I could. I'm crying typing this because he was my hero by helping me be my own hero. Taylor had told me days before that she needed to hold someone's hand in labor and I told her I didn't like people touching me. Not this time! At one point Max asked if I needed anything and I told him to knock me out! He said he couldn't, of course, and asked if I wanted Emily to come in. So I asked him, "Will she knock me out since you won't?!" More hand holding, more crying, and the pushing contractions started. Just like with Azalea's birth, I had no urge to push but the pressure was disgusting. I had to hold my vagina so it wouldn't fall out!! Eventually I could NOT take it anymore. I had to get out, sit on the toilet. I felt my cervix. WOW. He was right there! I felt my baby for the first time! A whole different world in there, in his fluid safety. I had Max feel, with tears in my eyes. Our baby! I had Max bring in a bean bag for me to rest my feet on and had my pillow behind my head, cozy but it did not feel productive. I didn't consciously note a cervical lip when I felt my cervix, but apparently my instincts did! I just had to get in a squatting position. I leaned forward over the bean bag in a squat and Emily rubbed my back. Thank God for Emily! But it was too intense. When I got back on the toilet, I felt no cervix anymore! Yay for redistributing pressure on my cervix! Bulging bag of waters, and my instinct told me my waters needed to go. They were holding us back. Just like with Azalea. I didn't question it, I just did. It was not easy! Amniotic sacs are TOUGH! I broke one layer and that was good enough for me! A massive contraction started and I was yelling, grunting, wild woman sounds! Oh what the neighbors must have thought! POP went my waters! I asked if Max or Emily had heard it and to my shock they had not! Then things got REALLY intense. I felt inside and there was his head! Well, I hoped! His scalp was so wrinkly and molded it felt like an ear or a vagina! I was confused! Max and Azalea and Emily all gathered around, Fox played in his room. I told Max to boil his knife and a shoelace. Felt inside again, and baby hadn't budged. I told Max, "I just don't think I'm making any progress." I just wanted relief. My other labors were not painful like that.. Little did I know that was me being unreasonable as the fetal ejection reflex began.. Next contraction hit and without ever pushing, my body took over and I couldn't make a sound. Couldn't move. I braced myself with the counter, feet on the bean bag, managed to mutter to Max he needed to catch so he could hand Azalea to Emily, and felt as my body pushed Robin's head through my cervix and out. I felt the ring of fire this time! Then grabbed his head and myself so I wouldn't tear, and again was overcome with the inability to speak as my body "threw down" and shot Robin straight out! No pause between head and body! Seriously the most amazing feeling EVER.
Robin Alton Reed cannonballed Earthside at 2:02 July 11th, 2013 (we didn't check the time, thank God again for Emily!) straight into daddy's awaiting hands. We soaked the bean bag in amniotic fluid! He had a nuchal cord (instinct was right!) so I unwravelled it, sucked some fluid from his nose with my mouth out of instinct, and he began to cry! Our baby was here! We did it! WE DID IT! Max cried, I am so thankful he got to catch our baby. We both healed our birth trauma immensely.
I birthed the placenta right into the toilet hahahaha within the hour after lots of screaming OW and some placenta tincture. Goodness, afterpains are evil. We cut his cord some time later, and Robin nursed up a storm. Then I showered and we all sat and talked, recovering from such an unEarthly experience! Azalea and Robin tandem nursed and I was ecstatic. I did it. We did it. We brought our whole, amazing baby boy Earthside in our own home. Into our own hands. On our own terms. No fuss, no stress, no fighting, no fear, no intrusion. We never weighed him but we think he was 6lbs or less. Newborn clothes swallowed him. And he really does have daddy's butt! Transition was so much easier without leaving our home, without forcing Azalea to spend the night without me for the first time in her life. It was perfect. Robin is perfect. Max and I are more in love than ever before.
Birth is normal. Birth is meant to be beautiful, ecstatic. Birth is meant to bring couples, families together. Believe in your body and your baby and you can achieve this too.
family of four and counting! unassisted birthing, placenta eating, vax free, intact bodied, organic, toxin free, diaper free, baby wearing, bed sharing, extended breastfeeding, PURE LOVE!