My Baby is 3.
He doesn’t feel like 3 to me, he feels like my little baby boy that I swaddle, snuggle, and rock to sleep. I don’t do that-rock him to sleep anymore-but I crave that time in our lives again. It’s so weird to have your kid grow. I feel like the minutes just propel forward into another dimension. I swear it was just a few months ago that I brought him home.
Ezekiel was my redemption baby. As I am writing that, I am not entirely sure how that may sound to you but let me explain…
My First Brick
When I was pregnant with Ella, I knew a midwife was the only way to go and to top it off a homebirth made the most sense to us. This wasn’t a decision we made lightly but with a lot of thought & following our hearts, as a family we decided this was the only way to go. We had it all planned out. We rented a birthing tub, we hired a doula, got all the supplies (it’s a lot of work to have a home birth!). I heard my fair share of opinions about my birthing choice. Looking back now, I recognize that despite my best efforts other’s opinions about my birthing choice really got to me. MY FIRST BRICK. I want to be clear that I put no blame on anyone for the outcome of my birth, I am the only one that can take responsibility for allowing someone to affect me. I heard things like “are you crazy?!” “That’s so dangerous!” “You’re a nurse, you should know better” “you’re putting your baby in danger!”. All of those opinions came from those that have never even looked into a home birth, and some even came from Men who really have no idea what it’s like to give birth to a baby. After hearing it over and over from people I loved and respected, it slowly chipped away at my confidence.
-Note to anyone with an opinion about someone else’s birth it’s none of your business!
With my first brick Securely in my bag, I had an uphill battle I wasn’t really prepared for….
This Momma Labored
This Momma labored-HARD. My water broke at 12:30 a.m. and thankfully labor started right away. It was a mad dash to get the bedroom rearranged, the birthing tub in place, and our minds focused on the journey ahead. The energy in the room was so alive that it felt like the room was buzzing. I labored through the night by myself, just my baby girl and me. I needed that time to just BE and to talk to Ella and to let her know that I was with her, that we were doing this together. Jamaal slept and gathered strength for the HUGE job he had in the hours to come. I’ve got this. I’ve prepared for nine months for this. I’ve done the classes, the chiropractor, prenatal yoga, my meditations, and everything in my power to make this moment perfect. I walked around the neighborhood in the wee hours of the morning with my own momma and she supported me during my contractions. What a crazy moment that must have been for her. In and out the midwives came, checking my progress, sending their love and empathy my way. Day turned in to night and my contractions grew more intense with every waking moment. I was also told by my Midwife that with every extra person at your birth, you add an hour or two onto your labor. Boy was she right! I had a house full of family waiting for the arrival of Ella and subconsciously I could feel that pressure. BRICK NUMBER 2. You labor, you learn😘. By that point 24 hours had passed and the Midwife felt like it was time to go to the hospital…
Birth Plan Out the Window
I was incredibly relieved (to my surprise) that I was being transferred to the hospital. Somewhere in me the transfer meant that the end of this messy, intense, glorious labor was near. Something very strange happened as I entered the hospital. I felt comfort. Seeing all the medical equipment, I was overjoyed to put on hospital gown, and was incredibly relieved when the word epidural was thrown around. I can only explain that this crazy comfort came from being in a familiar place since I spend so much of my time in a medical facility . So here I was. In a place I never wanted to be, wearing a gown I never wanted to wear, getting strapped to a continuous heart monitor, and entertaining the idea of an epidural. Birth plan out the window. BRICK NUMBER 3. I labored for another 12 hours while pitocin dripped into my veins (definitely not in my birth plan) with my hubs, Mom, and doula by my side. Around noon the next day. The Physician came to tell me I was going to have a C-section. Let me just stop right here. NEVER, not even one time during my entire pregnancy did I EVER even consider that I may have to have a C-section. It was just a ridiculous thing to hear! Nevertheless, I was only dilated to 5 Centimeters 36 hours in and my cervix was swollen from all the hard labor. So on I went to the OR. By this time, my energy was at an all-time low, I was physically and mentally exhausted, and my spirits had been crushed. This was not the plan. I was supposed to be home in my own bed, with my new babe, relishing in the love and flood of feel-good hormones. Ella was born at 12:36 p.m. on August 5th 2014 at a hefty 9 pounds 5 ounces. She spent the first hour of her life in her daddy’s arms (chatting about the Lakers, btw) while momma was getting sewn up. NOT THE PLAN. Instead of Love hormones I was experiencing nausea (from the anesthesia and from the massive disappointment that was rising inside me), regret, guilt and pretty much the opposite of anything I was expecting to feel. How in the world did this happen?
The next two weeks were a total blur for me. Visitors came and went. Days came and went. I do remember moments of joy and bliss but mostly I remember feeling numb, literally and figuratively. MOTHERHOOD. What a trippy ride. It took a good two weeks to actually be able to stand upright without having shooting pain in my incision site. I remember feeling SO fragile. I’m grateful that this little chick was a rockstar breastfeeder (that was in the plan!) Because it allowed me to nurture her in a way that soothed some of the guilt I was experiencing. I don’t know why us momma’s hold such expectations for things we cannot control. I could not control my birth circumstances and I could not control if Ella was a good breastfeeder but for some reason I felt I could. I still feel at times that there is something more I could have done to prevent a C-section. I’ll never know if that is true or not though. I’ll never be able to change my birth story because it happened and maybe it’s not my story to change after all. Maybe Miss Ella had a say in the whole thing and I’m trying to change something that wasn’t mine to begin with.
So here I am pregnant with this little man and I’m trying to write a new story for him, maybe one with less expectation and more flexibility. Maybe one where the only expectation is a healthy baby. I’ve already surrendered to the perfect birth story because there is no such thing. The only thing perfect about it is that a New Soul will come earthside and I get to be his momma. I’m entering a different world for me with this little guy. A world I’m not sold on yet. But a world I’m trying to acclimate to. A world that involves an OBGYN, a hospital, and a little thing called a vbac.
Ina May Gaskin, anyone? (Vbac=vaginal birth after cesarean)
I wrote the following as I was preparing for Ezekiel’s arrival. I was not willing to carry my bricks onto the next bithing experience and writing through them was my way of healing:
So my first interview with an OBGYN when I was newly pregnant with Ezekiel went something like this
Me: “my ideal way to Birth would be with Ina May Gaskin.”
Me: “oh boy, here we go.”
I don’t follow an OBGYN for my well woman’s exam, I follow a nurse practitioner so I had to ask for recommendations. I was set up with an OBGYN who seems nice enough.
I totally live in two different worlds. One world is so scientific-based with evidence based practice & big fancy medical words and one world is full of energy healing, affirmations and mindbodysoul connections. Because I’m on both sides of the fence I understand how each side feels about the other. I hear how nurses and physicians feel about things like doulas, midwives, essential oils, and Herbal Remedies. I also hear how the natural based community feels about the medical community. Two totally different ways. Two totally necessary ways. Thus far in to my pregnancy it has made the most sense to go the medical route, admittedly mostly for financial reasons. Because I work at the hospital I get a discount that is hard to pass up. I struggle with this being a reason, and that’s still something I need to work out within myself. I’m not sold yet though. And to those of you that don’t know, Ina May Gaskin is the most well-known Midwife out there. Think nineteen-seventies, VW bus, flower in your hair kind of Midwife. She totally rocks. So as I move through the weeks of this pregnancy and continue to recognize how my body is feeling, I hope to gain more clarity about what is the right way for my baby and I to birth. Maybe I’ll change my mind & jump on the Midwife love bandwagon or maybe I’l forgive my OBGYN for not knowing who Ina May is & jump into that hospital gown one more time. The good news is, I’m working on this, I’m finding healing from sharing my story with you, and in a few short months I’ll be sharing my new birth story once again. BIRTH, PREGNANCY, MOTHERHOOD. Being a woman is glorious. “If a woman doesn’t look like a goddess in labor, then someone isn’t treating her right” -Ina May Gaskin
Console. Forgive. Peace
CONSOLE. Sadness is a strange thing. It’s particularly strange when the most joyous thing on earth is happening to you. I remember when Ella was born there was a part of me that could burst with love and happiness and all of those feelings that are indescribable as a new momma. There was also the other part of me that was so heavy with guilt, sadness and despair. How is that possible? I remember my own momma rubbing my back, recognizing in me that I needed to be consoled. Knowing (I’m sure from her own experience being a Momma) that I needed to be held like a newborn babe.
FORGIVE. For so long (2 and a half years to be exact) I’ve been holding on to these damn bricks, not really sure how to put them down. This process has been about forgiveness. Forgiveness for myself for holding on to this burden, for questioning my body and its abilities, for taking on a burden that wasn’t mine in the first place. I FORGIVE MYSELF FOR ALL OF IT.
PEACE. Little glimmers of Peace are popping up here and there and I am starting to feel lighter about the whole thing. Through stories that others have shared with me, I realize that we all have a story. We all have regrets and wishes we are working through. I have begun to accept my birth story. I can feel the light of Peace creeping into my bones 😙.
And then, after Ezekiel was born, I wrote this;
Healing From a Home Birth C-section
I’m still very much in the Haze of postpartum. It blows my mind that EZ is already 12 weeks old. The details of the past couple months are so fuzzy and I’m having a hard time remembering all of these amazing moments with a new babe. He’s already gone up a size in diapers and is just barely getting too big for his newborn clothes. My little baby is growing right before my eyes.
My pregnancy with him with so special and a little tortured. I was plagued by my last birth experience with Ella and felt heavy (self imposed) pressure to make this delivery a better one. I trusted that my body could allow for the experience I craved, it was my mind that I wasn’t so sure about. Having a planned home birth and then ending up with a c-section will mess with you. I felt guilt, shame, heavy sadness, and an unbelievable feeling of failure. I had a lot of work to do in order to get my mindset into knowing, BELIEVING that I could have the birth experience I had seen so many times in my visions.
In an effort to preserve my memories and perhaps help another momma going through the same struggles, I am sharing my new birth experience with you. This is my story of overcoming, working through, and coming out the other side a momma of 2.
My Heart dropped in the OBGYN office as she was asking me if I wanted to schedule a C-section “just in case”. Just in case what?! Just in case I fail again?! I knew that wasn’t what she meant but I somehow managed to twist her intentions into being unsupportive, unwilling, and untrusting in my body. I left her office feeling down, almost like I had already failed.
Here’s the great thing about personal development, it forces you to recognize the nonsense that we tell ourselves. After I had time to put myself in check, I realized that her offering to schedule a second C-section was her way of allowing me to surrender to my situation. SURRENDER. Not the easiest thing to do, Most times we are holding on to things in ways we don’t even recognize. SURRENDER. The most important part of any process. Without it, we are not allowing what we truly want to reach us. Lesson learned.
I went to work. I journaled my feelings, spoke with women who have gone through it before, sat in my own thoughts, allowed myself to feel. With every conversation or stroke of the pen, I could feel the weight of those heavy bricks falling. I could feel the shift in my energy, a shift in my thought process. After sharing my birth fears with you in my series, my body fully surrendered! So much so that I started having contractions like major, every two minutes, need to go to the hospital contractions at 27 weeks! IT was almost like my body heard my heart and said “Y’all she’s ready! Let’s do this!” There was a moment that I looked at my husband and said, I’m good with whatever happens. I know what I want but f it doesn’t happen, I’m okay.
That’s where the surrender kicked in. I allowed whatever was to be, BE.
If Only My Water Didn’t Break
With Ella, my water broke. That’s how her whole birth experience started. Contractions soon followed and within 10 (short😩) hours, full-blown labor ensued. I had never considered the time restraint that is loosely in place once one’s water breaks. Honestly I had never considered that I would be in labor for 24 hours! By the time it had been 24 hours after my water broke, I was still only at 4 centimeters. So, off to the hospital we go. I was totally relieved to be honest. Those first 24 hours of Labor were no joke. Once at the hospital I labored for another 12 hours, never getting past 5 cm. I was then told a C-section was my only option. I thought, maybe a thousand times, that if only my water didn’t break, I wouldn’t have to have a C-section. So, as you can imagine, I did not want my water to break the second time around.
Well damn those Delta Gammas, it did just that. I honestly think I was in early labor all day. I was having contractions and was more uncomfortable than usual. The voice of my old birth coach popped into my head and I followed her instructions, eat a burrito, go for a walk, and ignore the whole damn thing. Walk I did, like a crazy lady, that’s for sure. I strapped Ella in the stroller and pushed her around my neighborhood in circles with my shirt pulled up exposing my swollen belly. I was a sight to be seen 🙈. I was so uncomfortable that I could have been walking around in my chonies and wouldn’t have given a damn. At about 8 that night, I was walking up the stairs when my water broke. Noooo!!! A flood of disappointment came over me. Here we go again…
I waited a few hours before I went to the hospital. I wanted my contractions to be good and strong before I went because I didn’t want to be held to the 24-hour rule again. Surrender snuck in and reminded me that this process will go exactly how it needs to go, not how I wanted it to go. So, we headed in.
We made it to the hospital at 11 p.m. We somehow managed to sneak Ella in and hide her the whole night. She slept soundly and never made a peep! I rocked in the rocking chair and walked around my room Through the Night. By 8 a.m. my labor was ripping out my insides (okay not really, it just felt like that) and to make matters worse, I was told I needed to stay in bed because EZ’s heart rate was dropping if I was standing or seated. Have you ever tried to labor unmedicated lying down?! Impossible. I was 7 centimeters at that point which means I was two whole centimeters farther than I had gotten with Ella! I could feel that my body was working hard to open me up and I invited every effort. By 3 p.m. I was at 9 1/2 centimeters and I could taste the victory of a vbac on the tip of my tongue. So close! And then… crickets. I never progressed past nine and a half centimeters. I started to feel doubtful, I started to allow myself to feel disappointment. And then at some point I couldn’t hold any thought because every ounce of my energy was assigned to working this baby out.
This is the point where I asked, begged to start pushing. My contractions had shifted from opening me up to forcing EZ down the birth canal. I can’t even begin to tell you what a trip it is to feel your body push on its own. With every contraction I could feel EZ headed further down. UNREAL. By 10:20 (for those of you doing the math, it was 26 hours after my water broke at this point) I begged again to push through this next contraction. Because I was still only 9.5 CM, the OB was hesitant. She allowed me to push slightly just to see what happens. That next contraction changed everything…
“We need a table set up! This baby is coming!” The OB shouted. My arms flew in the air in excitement and I felt a massive flood of Victory. As it turns out, EZ was nearly out when she let me push and he was about to come any push now. I knew it!!! I had been begging for hours to push knowing that he and I were ready. 5 short pushes later and he was out and I was in love all over again.
Can I just tell you how much I enjoyed the pushing part? With every push there was relief from the contractions and with every push I knew I was getting closer to having a successful vbac. Anyone else with me?
So there it was, the Glorious feeling I had missed out on with my first birth. What an incredible experience! I just pushed a human out of my body. What?! All sorts of Love hormones came washing over me. I never had that with the C-section, numbed from meds and disappointment and all. There he was, laid out on my belly. We did it, buddy, we did it 💙💙💙
Up & Walking
I got up and walking right away. I had no pain, no discomfort, and the nurses kept offering me ibuprofen but I couldn’t figure out why. I felt great! We snuggled and breastfed for a few hours and soaked in the excitement of the birth of my son. THIS was how I pictured it so many times in my head. THIS is what I craved for so long.
Four short hours later, EZ was taken to the NICU. The nurses were concerned for his breathing and color. Turns out his oxygen saturations were only 70% and my little babe wasn’t getting nearly enough oxygen into his lungs.
Four exhausting days and no real diagnosis later, EZ was discharged and we could finally go home as a family of four. In a great stroke of irony, I had the birth of my dreams and then I had a sick kiddo on my hands. It’s a helpless feeling when your baby is sick in the hospital and you can’t be by their side 24/7. I slept in a waiting room outside the NICU on a hospital chair. I used the term sleep Loosely because I was feeding him every 3 hours. He fed for an hour, I then went back to the waiting room and pumped, and then snuck in 45 minutes until the next feeding. It was a pretty stressful couple of days but, we survived.
There’s no evidence now that EZ had a little bit of a rough start in this world. He is so strong, so alert, so happy, and such a joyful little soul. It’s amazing how these kiddos can cause your heart to flip upside down with just one breath.
I’m still not sure why I put so much pressure on myself during my pregnancies. I think mostly it was about me knowing that my body could do it and I wasn’t taking NO for an answer. I wish I was a little more graceful with myself after my c-section. It would have made postpartum a whole different experience. We’ll save that story for another day… So, to all the mommies out there struggling with their birth experience, I say this; I see you, momma. I see your hurt, excitement, anticipation and fear you are feeling surrounding your birth. I see you when your experience was not what you had hoped for. I see you when you have physical pain from the wounds of delivery. And, I see you holding your healthy baby no matter how they made it earth side. Be graceful with yourself. We are all just doing the best we can. If you are holding on to your desires with the death grip, release it. Allow it to float away from you. Allow it to just be. Holding on so tightly will only push it away. Surrender.
So, now here I am 3 years later, watching my little boy play with his new birthday toys. He is healthy, happy, and completely a mommas boy (and I wouldn’t have it any other way).
Happy birthday sweet boy, your momma loves you with everything she has :).
To see my birth story on IG click here
In good health & birthday wishes,
Ezekiel’s birth video!
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