Birthing Like A Warrior

My journey to having a home water birth

Prayer Flags For Positivity and More!

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One of my wonderful new friends in Gilgandra, Michelle, recently made me some gorgeous prayer flag bunting. It is a welcome addition to my birth wall, especially with the home birth getting closer and closer. She wrote words on each flag that have a corresponding verse from the Bible, with which I can read, reflect on, and gain inspiration from. The words are:

Peace, strength, love, joy and faith.

I wish to take the time to thank Michelle for her time, creativity, thought and kindness in making these, not only for me, but for my family as well. You are a very kind person with whom I am glad I have a good friendship with.

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I also received my birth pool liner recently. Boy did that make the whole family excited!!! Lill especially enjoyed opening it and discussing its purpose. It has been added to our ‘home birth preparation box’, which literally just is an old cardboard box filled with the things we might need and use during the birth – lots of towels and face washers, candles, buckets, and more.

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Of course, the ones pictured are the special, brand new ones just for baby. We have a ton of old towels as well. Note the delightful scoop net in the picture!?! That always seems to get a laugh. We still have a few items to get, but as we count down the few weeks until we are home birth safe, we are feeling more and more ready.

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As the final 10 weeks approach, I’m beginning to wind down on heavy physical activity. That means no more carrying my darlings around, to ensure I don’t have a repeat of Jac’s preterm birth, and thus no home birth. So I’ll post a few gratuitous carrying photos from last week ‘in memory’ of carrying until 37 weeks!!!

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I must admit that I am becoming increasingly excited for what’s to come. I dream every single night of birth. Invariably, it is always a home birth. It is something I look forward to experiencing, and yet I am in no rush whatsoever. I am comfortable in this pregnancy, patient and happy to go overdue. In fact, I’d really like to experience being overdue, having only ever gotten to 39+1 as my longest pregnancy. So many people tell me I’m crazy… So be it. Like I keep saying, you won’t see me or hear me begging for induction, or trying anything unnatural to bring on labour. No pills or tablets or teas, no anything really except my daily walk as per usual. If I’m happy to go overdue, I’m not too sure why it’s anyone else’s business that I’m actually excited about that?! I’m enjoying this pregnancy, and I hope it continues on that way. Yoga is still as enjoyable and amazing as it was when I first started, and I can still do everything as I could then too. Sure, bump is growing, but it’s ‘mind over matter’ for me. I need to keep going, being as strong as before, to enable the home birth to be successful. For me, that is important.

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Home Birth Support

More amazing stuff from Homebirth Access Sydney appeared in my social media feed this morning that made me sit up and realise exactly why I’m staying at home to give birth this time. This new study shows that low risk women have a 90% chance of natural birth with no intervention at home. This drops to 69% in a birth centre and only 44% in a hospital!!!

Birthplace in New South Wales, Australia: an analysis of perinatal outcomes using routinely collected data

Exactly the reason I am staying at home – I want an intervention-free, natural birth! It’s as simple as that. The statistics side with me on this one, and for that, I am grateful.

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Home Birth Gear!

A big shout out to Homebirth Access Sydney!

My awesome midwife Hazel got me a year’s membership a few week’s ago, and I’ve been reading the website’s amazing resources ever since. I found the shop link, and was so excited to see the resources in there.

I received this brilliant book for Lill and Jac, titled “We’re Having A Homebirth”. So far, it has been well received by the kids. Lill loves pointing out “baby coming out”, Jac just listens. 20140616-152931.jpg
I also got this amazing shirt for myself! It is really important to me because I really love to advertise how normal a home birth really is, and how good it can be for mum, baby and family in a low risk, healthy pregnancy. So I definitely plan on wearing this around town, to my yoga class, and anywhere else I can think of.

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Last but not least, this gorgeous little outfit for our future homebirthed baby! I can’t wait to put it on little Womb Dancer. If you’d like to check out the Homebirth Access Sydney website, just click their link on the name above! Thank you again HAS!!!

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You Don’t Get A Medal For Giving Birth Without Drugs…

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“Why would you go natural?”

I’m an idiot. I’m strange. I’m a hippy. I want some sort of imaginary medal or trophy or accolade. I want the honour in the natural birth community. I’m a sadist. I enjoy pain. I need to prove something to someone. I am uneducated. I’m screwed up in my head. The list goes on – all the reasons that people have found it (for some strangely-odd reason) perfectly fine to inform me of as to why I am choosing to have a natural birth. Natural, as I’ve previously explained, in this context, meaning vaginally and without drugs or medical interventions. You’d think that the reasons for which I have chosen to pursue a natural birth would be my own, right? Not the ill-informed, rudely-opinionated, made-up perceptions of someone else. Anyway…

When people run marathons, we don’t say to them, “Oh please, why would you do that? Stop this! No one thinks you’re a hero for doing this!” Could someone then please explain why there is such a huge lack of tolerance for natural childbirth?
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I’ll answer my own question… because people love to turn off their brains and be indoctrinated. Indoctrinated by social media, scare tactics, unreliable sources, unproven stories, one-sided and biased journalism, someone’s own story with ‘world-class’ doctors and a baby that was ‘birthed safely’, or people’s own loudly-expelled opinions. They don’t want to think for themselves, so they listen to the people (especially in the medical community) who have an extremely vested interest in doing things their way, and it’s usually in their best interest – not the pregnant woman’s and certainly not baby’s.
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The ‘norm’ these days seems to be all about inductions, epidurals, and caesarean sections, so I guess it’s natural for a pregnant woman to assume that it’s totally normal to, say, be induced at 40 weeks (or 37 weeks, because so-and-so said that 37 weeks is ‘full term’, and I believe them because they’d know, I mean, duh! They have like 5 kids and their obstetrician told them, and why would a doctor say the wrong thing… Right? Or Google search’s first result told me so, right?), or to have a c-section because the doctor told them their scan revealed a ‘big baby’. In fact, just having a vaginal birth, that is, a baby coming out of your vagina, regardless of epidurals and IV cannulas and episiotomies, is seen as ‘natural’ by most people. As I’ve said before, a true natural birth, according to most people who have spoken to me about it, is “stupid and crazy” and “hippyish”. Look, you all know that I do not judge a single person for their birth choice/decision/journey. If you want this or that, that’s your choice, your body, your birth. I’m not here to judge. I’m here to talk about my journey, my choices, my reasons, my pregnancy. It’s not a debate about what is ‘best’ and ‘most medal-worthy’. It’s about making the right childbirth decision for yourself as the birthing parent. Some people might find what I have to say about my own choices educational or inspirational, and that’s why, through this blog, I try to tell you some of the evidence-based reasons for why I choose to go natural.
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“My henna messages to myself on my hand, with one of my sweetheart’s fists around my thumb, representing the strength my babies give me”

One such reason is the cascade of interventions. Interventions lead to more interventions. Interventions have side-effects. These statements aren’t just random speculation. They are proven, fact, hard evidence. Not just side-effects for the mother, but for the baby as well. The baby is often the silent person in the labour equation. Baby relies on its mum to be its voice, because they can’t say, “I don’t think that intervention will be very good for me, mum, please don’t give it to you and therefore me because I might come to you very sleepy and unable to breathe properly.” Do yourself a favour! Please, right now, as you are NOT in labour and able to truly read and understand what you are reading, please go and read the side-effects of having syntocinon/pitocin administered to you and your baby during your labour and birth. Just as an example. I’ve thrown syntocinon out there, but pick what you like – epidural, lying on your back during labour, episiotomy, etc. Please, I implore you. Because when you’re in labour, you won’t have time to read all the fine-print, nor will the doctor have enough time to fully divulge the side-effects of its administration, and the ones they do tell you about, do you really think you’ll be in a fully-capable mind to comprehend, and therefore make an informed decision regarding? Please go and read the proper, reputable, rigorous consumer medication information, not just a google search of what Mrs Blah-Blah and Miss Whosamawhatsee say on Baby Gaga or Baby Bump or Wikipaedia. PLEASE!?! For your sake, for your baby’s sake. It might change your mind. It might affirm your decision. It might change nothing at all. But whatever the case, you owe it not only to yourself, but to your precious unborn baby too, to make the most correct and informed decision that you possibly can.

I choose to have a natural birth. My reasons are my own. They are informed, based on real research and study, and methodically chosen. To me, having a natural birth is the safest way to birth. Safest for baby. Safest for me. Safe, for me, my body, my situation, my pregnancy. If it’s not for you – well that’s ok! Don’t go around spreading silliness about someone else and their situation and their baby and their birth. To the great big fools out there who gain great glee in sprouting the absolute garbage of “you don’t get a medal”. You idiot!!! Of course you don’t! Who told you their reason for having a natural birth was to get a medal? And what planet were you on when you thought that was a legitimate response?!?! The premise is not that you should give birth with every pain relief drug on board possible because you don’t get a medal… The premise is that you give birth how YOU choose. All I ask is that you choose wisely, choose after having done thorough research, and choose for yourself.

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That’s it!!!

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The Hectic Life of a KOSAHPAOMLM

A-who-se-ma-whatsa?!?! A KOSAHPAOMLM??? Liss has gone bonkers!

KOSAHPAOMLM – Kind-Of Stay At Home, Pregnant And On Maternity Leave Mum. That’s how I’d describe myself. I mean, I’m kind of a stay at home mum, sure, but I’m actually not unemployed, as such. I’m still on maternity leave from Jac, and about to commence my maternity leave period for baby #3. The implications of that are fun, but I’ll leave that there.

Anyway, life has been hectic for us for the past few weeks. We had Lill turn 2 and Jac turn 1 within a week of each other; the kids had a joint birthday party, and Jac was baptised on the same day; we have driven to Sydney and back 3 times in the last month…

Let me pause there to elaborate… anyone who has 2 very young kids to travel fair distances with, and one of those times was by myself mind you, will know that this is no easy feat. Those leisurely stops you see people make… They’re not leisurely when you have to find a place that is reasonably kid-friendly, lug two kids and a pregnant belly/bladder/appetite around by yourself, then organise a meal or snack, plus change nappies, plus go to the toilet yourself without leaving the kids in the car/leaving them unattended/taking them into the toilet with you to touch all the unsanitary items they possibly can (I’ll let you ponder on that scenario), then pack them all back into the car and off we go again, listening to the soothing sounds of crying and/or gagging/vomiting from the backseat. Ahhhhh the serenity!

… We’ve had a funeral, appointments, double ear infections, countless colds that I never though were possible to contract in such a short time, delightful Braxton Hicks contractions from a thoroughly-utilised irritable uterus, shows, visitors, mountains of washing, sleepless nights, did I mention vomiting (???), and more.

The point of my telling you all this is:
A. I am apologising for being a bit lax in my blog post delivery.
B. I am backing up my apology with valid reasons for my laxity.
C. I adore my kids, my life, my everything, and wouldn’t change it for the world, just so you know. It may be hectic, and busy, and tiring, but I am not complaining (and even if I am, I would think that an occasional rant is granted here)!

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So that’s why I’ve been a bit quiet lately. I must also admit that I’ve been making an effort to spend more time with hubs when he’s home from work, and less time on my phone/computer (I rarely go on my phone when the kids are awake or around, this why most of my blog posts are posted late at night). He is important to me, as is our marriage, and we both decided a few weeks ago that with another baby soon to grace our lives, time with and for each other would be even more tough to come by, so we need to make an effort to ‘fill our love tanks’ for each other (for those familiar with the book called “The 5 Love Languages”).

I wanted to also mention a special group of ladies here, before I sign off with a horrid head cold that will see me in bed pretty early for once. I’m a member of a few groups on my social media platforms, and they’re mostly filled with lovely, supportive people. One very special group has come to be so close to my heart. I have never met a more supportive, kind, caring, special, amazing bunch of women!!! I have never been judged by them for my pregnancy/labour/birth decisions and journey. I have actually had many of these wonderful women ask me to assist them with knowledge, to empower them with what I have learnt, and to help them understand why I’m undertaking the journey that I am. They are genuinely interested, incredibly supportive and upliftingly positive towards me, and to each other as well. It is a group of women that I adore. There is no judgement at all, of anyone’s decisions and choices. Amazing! Something that is hard to come by these days. I certainly haven’t been a part of a group like this during any pregnancy I’ve had! Last week, I posted in the group about how I was feeling a bit scared about whether I was strong enough to cope without the prospect of pain relief, especially after Jac’s labour ended up with me begging for an epidural… I was floored by the response from these beautiful, amazing, positive women!!! They absolutely empathised with me. They told me it was ok to feel like this, to acknowledge the feeling, and to overcome these feelings because I could do it!!! There was not a single ounce of doubt for me. How amazing!?! These ladies were brilliant! I had several private messages from a few of them afterwards… I won’t divulge their names just incase they wish to remain anonymous, but I will show a few of the uplifting affirmations that they sent me:

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So to the group of Aussie ladies who have welcomed me with open arms – much love to you. Thank you for being inspirational and awesome. You are ALL birth warriors – strong, capable, amazing. I am blessed to be on this journey with you, to be able to share my journey with you, and to be able to share your journeys with you all. This is for you all, from me, no matter what your labour and birth journeys have in store for you:

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Pregnancy Yoga!

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Last Wednesday, I went to my first pregnancy yoga class! I usually do yoga at home, almost every day in fact! Hubs bought a “Bumps Yoga” DVD for me. I enjoy it so much at home, although I often wonder if I’m doing it correctly, or if the fact that the kids are screaming or yelling in the background renders its purpose meaningless. It was therefore inevitable that I went to a yoga class. Fortunately, I knew just where to go!

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When we first moved out here to country NSW, hubs and I were trying to conceive our third baby. Being the crazy planner that I am, I researched every resource I could have access to out here when I received those two sweet lines! One important resource I came across was Calm Beginnings in Dubbo, with classes held by Catherine Brennan. I saw that she ran Calmbirth courses, yoga for pregnancy and post-birth, as well as meditation and relaxation. I had pestered hubs at the time that we were trying to conceive, begging him to let me go when the time came. I ceased pestering him after a while, as I decided that it would be crazy-difficult to attend any of the classes with hubs working full time shift work on an ever-changing roster, no family or close friends to babysit our two-kids-under-two every week (or for a whole weekend for the CalmBirth course) in the event of hubs working when the class was on, plus the drive into Dubbo and back would make the whole situation even more difficult, not to mention how difficult and costly it is to get the two-kids-under-two into daycare!?! So I just did my own ‘version’ of yoga at home.

Enter a lovely friend who I met through hubs’ work – her hubs works with my hubs. Police wives! Karen had mentioned to me a few times that she attended yoga held by Cath in Dubbo. I had in passing mentioned it a few times to hubs as well. At one point, he said to me, “Just go, I’ll look after the kids.” WOOOOOAAAAAHHHHHH!?! OK! I wasn’t going to argue with him. So I went to my first yoga class. It was amazing!

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Think of how my home birth journey is proceeding thus far – calm, positive, strengthening; affirmations being a big part of my journey; lots of quiet time and relaxation; nurturing of the mother. Well that was all incorporated into this yoga class. I walked in to the class feeling nurtured already, by being welcomed, and shown around and made to feel comfortable. I was asked to choose an affirmation card… WOW! This meant so much to me! My affirmation was about the positivity of change. What was I changing here? I was giving myself time, time to relax, time to find inner peace, time for me, time for my baby. Things I hadn’t previously done with any of my pregnancies. I was changing my attitude, my outlook on my journey. This is my time. I sat on my towel and reflected on the changes that were to come…

The class itself was amazing. I felt empowered, and strong. Amazingly strong. Cath had told me at one point that I was a “strong woman”. I took time in myself to reflect on this… Sure, I thought I was physically strong – definitely! I don’t know many 7-months-pregnant women who can carry two almost-12kg kids, one on my front and one on my back, while walking to and from the shops, 3-4 times a week. But was I emotionally strong? Mentally strong? Spiritually strong? I felt empowered and uplifted, and was beginning to believe in myself that yes, I was strong in all those areas!

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The ladies who attended the class were ethereally beautiful, as virtually all pregnant women appear to me. Being with them to practice yoga just made me realise that these women were strong too. It was just such a positive experience. I felt nurtured by Cath, and I felt that my sweet baby Womb Dancer was nurtured too. Cath really seemed to care about everyone in the class, and their babies too. She gave a few alternative moves that were appropriate for different stages of pregnancy, making everyone feel comfortable and involved. She also ensured that everyone was well at all times – ensuring we stayed hydrated, plumping our pillows for relaxation, making sure we were comfortable, and my absolute favourite part of relaxation, covering us with sarongs (aka ‘tucking us in’), because who ever tucks the mum in when it comes time to rest?!? How awesome to have that!!!

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Did I want it to end? No. I really didn’t want to leave. I am itching to go again next Wednesday!!! I am so very much looking forward to attending the upcoming 6 week yoga pregnancy course. I know how beneficial this is going to be for me and my home birth journey. To feel so nurtured, affirmed, positive, calm and strong. To tone my body, my muscles in anticipation for one of the toughest things I will ever do. To spend time by myself, for myself, surrounded by lovely women and especially Cath, who so understands and empathises with pregnancy and birth. To prepare mentally and emotionally for my journey, which approaches ever closer. This is going to be amazing!

I’ve linked Cath’s Calm Beginnings website to the menu, as well as a little page about Cath and her wonderful business. If you’re from the Central West, I cannot recommend this enough! Please check it out, and tell your friends if they’re pregnant or planning to have a baby!

Now to convince hubs to attend the CalmBirth Preparing for Birth Course…

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Why did I bother???

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To begin with, let me copy and paste my latest Facebook status to explain the title…

This morning, I had the delightful task of booking in to the hospital ‘out of courtesy’… I walked in and was asked who my Dr was. I told them, “Actually, I have an independent midwife as I’m having a home birth.” *Death stare* “Ah one of those hippies, huh?”… Here we go. And so it went on:

Midwife: “Just sign here to consent to your baby having the vitamin K shot at birth.”
Me: “I haven’t discussed whether we will be doing this with my husband. How about we sign the form *if* we actually do decide to have it when the time comes.”
Midwife: *sneers at me* “I should have predicted that answer.”
Me: *shocked*

Midwife: “So you had a heart problem with your daughter?”
Me: “Yes, paroxysmal atrial fibrillation.”
Midwife: “Oh my God! Have you seen the cardiologist this pregnancy?”
Me: *by this stage, finding her visible and audible judgements quite humorous and predictable* “Shit! What’s wrong with me right now?”
Midwife: *raises eyebrow at me while I beam a smile at her*

Midwife: *seeing my cardiologist referral letter* “Well, I’m glad your GP has brains, when are you seeing them?”
Me: “If and when I have a problem.”
Midwife: *wide-eyed stare* “Huh?”
Me: *big smiles at her again* “You know, when my heart has a problem, then I’ll go see them. Isn’t that the concept of primary health care?”
Midwife: *glares*

Midwife: “So I suppose this Hep B form is pointless then?”
Me: *another lovely smile* “Actually, I’m all for immunisations, but please, continue to make judgements about me.”

Midwife: *clearly rushing to get rid of me* “Do you need any booklets, pamphlets, information at all? I suppose you know it all by now…”
Me: “I’m fine, but thank you for your offer.”
Midwife: “Are you sure? Contraception perhaps?”
Me: “Contrary to your rudely and incorrectly perceived opinion, all my husband’s and my children were PLANNED, but thank you again for your humorous display of ignorance.”

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Yep. This all happened this morning. I had a referral letter from my midwife to book in at the hospital, out of courtesy. A nice thing to do, really, if you ask me. I mean, we are covering our bases, ensuring that the hospital has all my up-to-date scans and blood tests and results on hand in the event that I turn up there. Because, let’s face it, if I do turn up there, it’s likely to be with a problem, because I’m having a home birth if there are no problems. Home birth = no problems. Hospital = problems. Sounds obvious, right? It would be clever and intelligent, and possibly even responsible to make sure that in the event of a problem, the hospital has all the information it needs regarding me, my history, my current pregnancy, etc. Sounds imperative to my care and all that jazz. Anyway, blah blah blah Liss, stop boiling. So, I turn up to maternity bookings, where I have an appointment. I was very clear from the get-go, even telling them on the phone when I originally booked, that I was booking out of courtesy, that I was having a home birth, that’s all folks. Apparently in this day and age, if you have something nasty to say, you go right ahead and say it out loud to the person’s face ***sarcasm***.

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I’m currently ‘zen’ about everything that happened… being calm about all that was said. I’m not sure that I would have gotten away with speaking so plainly to any of my patients as an emergency nurse, but I guess some people just don’t have a social, moral or ethical mouth/face filter.

The above excerpt of my conversation with the hospital midwife is exactly the reason why I refuse point-blank to step into hospital this pregnancy. I’ve had to do it today out of courtesy, and now that’s it, no more. How am I supposed to have my birth intentions fulfilled during labour and birth by a midwife who tells me her opinion of MY educated choices the instant that I walk into hospital, ‘their hospital’, as it would seem? I can see it now, how it would all pan out… I would turn up in labour and be allocated to a random midwife – a midwife who I’ve never met before today. It would be completely counter-productive to the natural progression of labour (and the effect it would have on me as I labour) to try to argue with that particular midwife on the day that I want delayed cord clamping, or don’t want monitoring, or vitamin K for my baby. I’ve tried it before!!! Just like others have messaged or called me telling me of how they asked for something to happen or not to happen, I have, in my past birth experiences, had opportunistic vultures dressed up as health care providers who completely ignored my written birth plan and my thrice-explained wishes to have delayed cord clamping (cord was clamped immediately while I was staring at my newborn baby for the first time… Opportunistic much…), to be able to eat and drink during labour (I was bullied by a midwife who told me that the sandwich and juice was for my husband, not for me, and I was NOT to eat it), to be allowed to walk freely to assist in pain relief (again bullied and told I was now a falls risk due to hypotension that was probably caused by not being able to eat or drink, was ordered into bed and had a hand placed on my shoulder when I tried to get up), and to not have an epidural offered before any other pain relief (the midwife actually asked me if I wanted it, did not even mention a single other method of pain relief, and had an anaesthetist in my room literally minutes after I broke down and begged “yes”). If you have a midwife who disagrees with you, all of a sudden, you’ll find a brand new, only-made-up-today rule against whatever you want. Or you’ll just be ignored.

I just think there was no point arguing with her, when she obviously had her opinion formed the instant I walked into her office and started talking, and nothing I presented to her as factual, evidence-based knowledge was going to change it. I knew there would be no point on God’s green earth to asking her why she thought it was necessary for me to go and see the cardiologist, because I knew her answer would be proverbial baloney!!! If her answer was ‘because you had a problem before’, I’d just ask her why a year’s worth of cardiology tests that cleared me weren’t good enough. Perhaps I missed the memo where you apparently now go to the doctor when you’re not sick just to see if you are sick. Or not sick, for that matter.

For the record, I am insanely happy with the care that I’m receiving from my amazing midwife. I have never felt healthier. I’ve never felt better in any pregnancy in my life. I love the fact that my midwife makes me feel healthy instead of ‘high risk until proven otherwise’. That’s not how pregnancy should be. Pregnancy is not an illness. These days, pregnancy is made out to be ‘a condition’, it’s way too medicalised…

Anyway, I just laugh and smile, because honestly, does her opinion hurt me? No. Am I going to change her opinion in an hour’s booking time? No. Does her opinion of me have any bearing on my life? Change my life? Make me want to birth in a hospital that she works at? Awww hell no! As a nurse myself, I don’t understand why a person in her profession and position would think it’s even remotely ok to disempower a pregnant, soon-to-give-birth mother. She is certainly fulfilling her holistic, empathic, caring role as a nurse/midwife in respecting a woman’s educated choice *sarcasm*.

20140508-171513.jpg6 months bump with my baby boy!

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A Few Of Our Birth Intentions

This won’t be a full ‘Birth Intentions’ post, but rather a few mentions of parts that are very important to hubs and I. To begin with, I’ll discuss my intention to have a natural birth. The phrase ‘natural birth’ is used interchangeably to describe different things. In its essence though, a ‘natural birth’ means to deliver my baby vaginally, without medical interventions. This means no pain relief medications, no ‘gas and air’, no anaesthetics, no episiotomies, no assistance from forceps or ventouse. Basically, anything that I had in my previous births is not deemed natural – syntocinon, gas, ventouse, epidural, antibiotics. This time, I don’t want any of that. My birth, my baby, my body, my educated choice, my prerogative. My midwife does not provide any medical forms of pain relief – no gas, no narcotics. She just doesn’t do it. Doesn’t bring it. This was part of the reason hubs and I chose to have our own private midwife to assist us to birth at home – there is no option of medical pain relief, and therefore I am not at liberty to rely on this form of pain relief. I therefore have to rely on other forms of natural pain relief – the water of the birth pool, heat packs, guided imagery, meditation, distraction, dancing with my gorgeous and hunky hubs (yes, we did do this during my labour with Jac, and yes, it was effective!!!), etc. I am immensely excited to attempt to succeed in this! I know I can do it.

20140502-144734.jpgBirthart by Nancy Bright.

Another intention for birth that hubs and I have is to labour in relative darkness, with only natural and candle light wherever necessary. It is well-known that many labours begin in the early hours of the morning, while it is still dark. Oxytocin, the ‘labour hormone’ is released in its greatest quantities at night, and in warm, cosy, safe and private, dimmed light or darkened environments. These requirements are often very difficult to come by in an unfamiliar, brightly lit hospital a car ride away, so therefore, we have chosen to birth at home. Hubs will drape our windows with black material, lock the front gates of our property, and light candles when labour is occurring. No electricity will be used at all in the birth room – no TV, no lights turned on. Gentle labour/birth music will be played via a music player in the next room, to prevent any LCD displays providing unnatural light to the room.

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Delayed cord clamping has been something very important to me for a while. I wanted it to occur at Jac’s birth, but my requests were ignored, even though I discussed them quite a few times with midwifery and obstetric staff before and during labour, and after birth (another reason why I’m not going near a hospital this time if I can help it). I have done a lot of research regarding this option, and I think the pictures below speak for themselves:

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Quote and picture taken from the website of Gloria Lemay, a well-known birth attendant:

Twins born vaginally in the hospital, baby A (left) had instant cord clamping and baby B (right) had delayed cord clamping. Isn’t the colour difference striking? This is a really good educational visual for the value of keeping the cord intact for as long as possible.

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I intend to leave our baby’s cord pulsating for as long as it will, and the cord will be cut only when I have birthed the placenta. I intend to birth the placenta naturally also – no syntocinon injection to ‘manage the third stage of labour’. I do not have any past or current medical issues that necessitate a managed third stage, so I choose to physiologically birth the placenta.

Speaking of the placenta, yes, Hazel my midwife will be encapsulating it for me, but I will speak of this at a later stage.

Literally, this birth is intended to be as natural as possible – no unnatural interventions, as hands-off as possible. I will not be having any internal checks in the lead up to labour (some people request them from 36 weeks onwards for some strangely odd reason), nor prior to birth. There just isn’t any need. Knowing how dilated or effaced you are at 36 weeks or even 40 or 42 weeks has absolutely no bearing on virtually anything! I don’t want them. There are other ways to determine dilation once labour is established – the sounds you make and the way you talk, increasing irrationality usually indicates transition (it certainly was in my case with Jac), the ‘bottom line’, a bloody show, and more. If all these ‘hands-off’, natural methods are utilised and taken into consideration in conjunction with one another, an accurate determination can be made without invasion to the labouring mother… Because I don’t know about you, but I don’t know ANY women who enjoy internal exams!!! In most cases, the subjective measurement of how ‘dilated’ you are often brings about upset, disappointment (at how far you have or haven’t progressed) and doubt in the labouring mother – feelings they just do not need during labour. Not to mention pain and fear, which are not conducive to the natural production of oxytocin.

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Obviously, not birthing in a hospital means we do not have to even consider certain things in our home birth – Caesarean section, episiotomies, ventouse/forceps, pain relief medications, gas and air, anaesthetics, IV cannulas, etc. This is not to say that we do not have contingencies in the event that they are needed. As I’ve mentioned previously, hospital measures are discussed between Hazel, hubs and I. They are understood, boundaries are set, and we leave it at that. They don’t need to be discussed further. It is not our intention to birth in a hospital, so they don’t need to be discussed at present. We are not silly enough to think that these contingencies just won’t happen. A few people have confusingly asked me what we planned to do if my heart started playing up………… I am honestly bewildered at this question. As far as I know, you need a heart to live (I’m not a vampire or zombie, seriously), so if my heart starts to not work properly, I would think it would be an intelligent thing to do to go to the hospital. I mean, really people?!? Come on! Heart not working = you get pretty sick or perhaps even die = invariably, no home birth = no baby. I don’t know anyone who could fathom that the prospect of having a home birth would outweigh living!!! *AHEM* ok, I am off my high-horse now. My point is, the so-called ‘plan Bs and Cs’ or whatever you want to call them are there. They are known, discussed, in place. I am NOT going to dwell on them. Let’s leave that there!

My biggest and most amazing intention for this birth is actually something that occurred with Jac – delivering my own baby! Yes, I delivered Jac from my birth canal, up to my chest. I had my hands on his head as I birthed him. I felt him turn as he came down. I felt his little hands pop out as his body was birthed. I brought him up to me as I felt him literally slide out of me. The most amazing thing ever!!! This time, hubs and I actually intend to birth our baby together. At transition, we will get into the birth pool to labour and birth in the water, and he will assist me in bringing our baby up to my chest to breastfeed for the first time in their sweet new life. Jac had his first breastfeed within minutes of birth. Having me touch him first before anyone else, and having him ‘breast-crawl’ to his food-life-source as soon as he wanted was immensely important to me, and these things will be important to us for this baby too.
I was blessed to be able to deliver my son up to my chest
I hope this gives you all a better idea of the things we intend on having occur for our baby’s labour and birth. If you have any questions, or anything you’d like me to clarify for you, just drop me a line!

Love and light, Liss xxx

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Gifts from Beautiful People!

I’ve spoken before about the items I had collected from friends from around the world, gifted to me in preparation for Jackoby’s birth – beads that now form my labour bead necklace, and hand written affirmation cards. These are greatly cherished by me, and now proudly adorn my birth wall.

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Recently, I have had a few very kind and generous people who have told me that they want to send me something for the birth wall. They want to be involved somehow, and I think it’s a beautiful thought! I feel almost unworthy of this generosity, but blessed also that people are so moved by my journey. One such person, a sweet and kind friend named Anny, sent me today a birth candle. It is personalised, with a beautiful message on it:

Birth is the sudden opening of a window, through which you look out upon a stupendous prospect. For what has happened? A miracle. You have exchanged nothing for the possibility of everything.

It is in my favourite colour, blue, and my favourite scent, lavender. Both are related to my birth journey – they are my calming colour and scent. They are my focus colour and scent. I am truly grateful for the thought and kindness that Anny has placed in this gift. I will be lighting the candle once my labour journey has begun, and it will be the centre point of a beautiful display that will be right near the birthing pool – a focus point of candle-light, dimmed fire, calming scents, and beauty.

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My truly wonderful and very talented sister-in-law, and great friend handmade some beautiful birth artwork and affirmations for me. They have become a focus point for me already, with some of the saying having great meaning for me even at this point before labour and birth. I read them and look at them often in my day, and chant the words of one in particular:

Be calm. Be at peace. The journey has started and you are in charge.

This one especially helps me to remember that I am in control of my journey. I control my thoughts. I am in charge, and all will be fine.

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I can’t thank my amazing friends and followers enough for their support on this journey. I feel like everyday, you are all here with me, experiencing it all too. I know that you will all be here in spirit during the labour and birth too.

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Capturing The Moment

Post prompt from a comment from a very dear and wonderful friend of mine – Anny! I hope I’ve answered your question thoroughly!

I’ve been thinking a lot about having birth photography for our home birth… Reeeeeeeeally thinking about it. I’ve also been slightly hesitant about having it done though. I had photos taken during my labour and birth of Jackoby, and I love them! My midwife took them for hubs and I. Some of them are on here for you all to see, and some I’ve kept just between hubs and I and a select few friends, not because I don’t want to share them, but because hubs prefers that some of them are kept mostly private, and I respect his request. It’s funny, I’m not modest about birth… I think it’s a very natural process that doesn’t need to be hidden or censored, but I realise that it’s not to everyone’s taste. So I put a few modest ones up, and the rest I had made privately available to those who requested to see them.

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So why am I hesitant? Well, I’m hesitant about having a stranger in our home during a time that is all about family, very close friends, love and togetherness. This home birth is all about our family. It’s about me and my birth journey, my hubs and his journey, our babies and their involvement in the birth, and of course our soon-to-be newborn. It will be close, mostly private, comfortable and family-orientated. Our midwife, Hazel, fits so well into our family that she is virtually a part of our family anyway. Our birth assistant, also called a doula by some, is my sister-in-law and a great friend. I have asked another great friend of mine to be at the birth, and she has gladly accepted. My brother may be present in our home, perhaps more to be a help with hubs and Lill and Jac, as I haven’t yet ascertained if he wants to be present and witnessing as such. I’ve also made it known that my friend’s husband can be there to assist with Lill and Jac or as a support to Scott too if he wishes to be, but he is a family friend of many years anyway, so virtually part of the family. I think that makes a full house. I’m family-orientated. I love having family around. This is important to our journey. But to have a photographer there as well… I am hesitant. In my experience, some photographers can be pushy, invasive, unpleasantly present. I don’t need that while I’m labouring. If I did have a birth photographer, I would want someone who just takes candid shots, and who is an unobtrusive presence. Even someone who we all knew, who we were comfortable around. Birth, after all, is not something that is staged, or contrived, but rather natural, candid, beautiful in all its forms, and raw. A known presence can enhance that photographic beauty, without the need to ‘place an arm here’, or ‘move into that light’, or ‘appear more elated’, or ‘do that again’. NO! That won’t be happening.

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So my brilliant mind (hahahaha *hack cough splutter*) got to thinking. How could I get around this? Do I just leave my phone camera around for people to candidly take shots? What if they forget, or the quality is poor, or they’re too busy at the time? No. It’s all or nothing…

Here enters a person who is a family member. A person who has been and to this day is one of my greatest friends. A person who has amazing photography and artistic skills. A person who has recently again become an integral and important part of my life and of my little family’s life. A person who hubs and I are comfortable with. My sister!!!! Who better to have present at the home water birth of our third child, to capture those amazing moments?!? There could be no better person. Am I excited? HELL YES! I get to have my sister present at the birth, AND I get to have a birth photographer.

20140429-205122.jpgMy sister and I (complete with almost-23-week bump), with hubs and Jackoby, at his recent Baptism.

I feel contented. I feel happy. One less thing to stress about. Plus, we get professional photos of our home birth! Amazing. Problem solving at its finest.

On a random note to end this post, check out what I had to look forward to this evening after our kids went to bed! Do I love my hubs or what?!?

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