A huge thank you to this mama for the honor of attending her in pregnancy and birth. What a lovely family to work with. And a second huge thank you for writing this beautiful birth story and being willing to share it! Gorgeous photos by Jennifer Liv Photography.
The Birth of Aubryn Clara Rae
5/4/2014 at 2:07 am
8 lb 13 oz, 20 in
Dear sweet Aubryn,
You are just over two months old now and the absolute light of my life! We have spent the last two months cuddling, nursing, and getting to know and love each other more and more each day. I could not imagine a more perfect little girl to join our family – your Brothers, Daddy, and I are so blessed.
This is the story of how you entered the world.
I decided as soon as I found out that we were expecting a baby, that I wanted to have you at home. I longed to be able to hold my baby immediately after birth and get all of the uninterrupted skin-to-skin cuddle time that I could handle – something I never had with your brothers. I wanted you wet, slimy, perfectly new, and placed in my arms for your Dad and I to awe over for as long as we wanted. I couldn’t wait for this experience!
The weeks leading up to your birth were filled with anticipation, and I’ll admit it, a good deal of effort to get you to arrive sooner rather than later. I ate lots of fresh pineapple and spicy thai food, had lots of “alone time” with Dad, chiropractic adjustments, we walked, and listened to the Hypnobabies “Come out Baby” track. Forty weeks had come and gone, and without very many signs from my body (other than a lot of braxton hicks waves) I thought it might be a bit before you would come earthside.
During my 40 week prenatal appointment, our midwife Kate had mentioned acupuncture as a gentle way to encourage waves if I was wanting something to start. She was completely fine with letting you come whenever you were ready, and didn’t think acupuncture was necessary, but that it also wouldn’t hurt anything. I decided to give it a go! I received my first treatment on Thursday at 40 weeks and 2 days. I was told many moms go into their birthing time a day or two later if they are favorable, so I was crossing my fingers this would be the case for me!
Saturday morning at 40 weeks and 4 days, I awoke at 3:00 am to some strong cramps and was having a hard time getting back to sleep. I put in the Hypnobabies “Deepening” track to relax. It was the first time I didn’t fall asleep listening throughout my pregnancy which made me think maybe the crampy feelings were the beginning of my birthing time. I decided to listen to my “Fear Clearing” track too in case this really was it!
At 4:30 am I woke up your Dad and asked him to stay home from work as I was pretty sure that my birthing time had begun. I wasn’t sure how to anticipate things going (your brother Aksel’s birth was so fast, and I didn’t want Daddy to be away in case your birth was similar – though I was visualizing at least 10 hours so that I could enjoy it for longer!). Your Dad was extremely excited and couldn’t fall back asleep. We decided at around 5:15 am to set up our birthing space in case things picked up quickly. Daddy set up the tub right in front of the fireplace, and I put out all of my birthing affirmations from our Blessingway. It was the most beautiful place to have a baby!
At 6:00 am we decided to give Kate a call and let her know that things had started. Waves were coming consistently, but I was still easily able to walk and talk through them. We ate breakfast and played with Brevick and Aksel for a bit. I bounced on my ball while listening to my “Birthing Day Affirmations” cd. After a while Daddy decided it might be best to have Brevick and Aksel go to Grandma’s so that he could focus more on supporting me. At 9:30 am Grandma and Jessi picked up your brothers and took them garage sale-ing for the day! We had the house all to ourselves – it was so quiet and peaceful!
Because I had been up for a long time already, I thought it would be good to rest for a bit. I put on the “VBAC success” Hypnobabies track and was able to get some sleep. I woke up after a half hour and your Daddy suggested that we go for a walk and enjoy the gorgeous weather! We went outside and my waves became much stronger. They were coming about 5 minutes apart and were feeling quite intense, so we never made it out of the driveway! During waves I would lean over the car while your Dad applied pressure to my hips and back. I was using my “Peace” cue and really trying to stay as loose and relaxed as possible.
The day was going by really fast and it was already 12:30 pm. Your Daddy put a pizza in the oven for lunch and we both ate and enjoyed the excitement knowing that you were on the way! My waves were coming and going anywhere from 5-10 minutes apart and I was starting to wonder if you were in a posterior position. Daddy and I tried doing a side-lying release and then I spent some time leaning over the birth ball while listening to the “Turn Your Posterior Baby” hypnosis track to see if that would help you to rotate. I was definitely feeling a lot of back pressure and wanted to make sure you didn’t end up “stuck” in a bad position.
At 1:45 pm I got into the shower hoping that the hot water on my back would feel good. My waves were not increasing in intensity or frequency, but instead staying about 5-8 minutes apart. My doula brain started to second guess whether or not this was really my birthing time . I decided to check myself to see if I could tell whether or not I was making progress. My cervix definitely felt open (which it hadn’t at all the day before) so I knew the waves were doing something!
After the hot shower, Daddy thought another walk might be nice. I wanted to try to get out of my head and not over-analyze what my body was doing. We walked for about an hour and my waves became consistent again at 5 minutes apart, lasting at least a minute. I was doing belly lifts and swaying during each wave while your Daddy was helping me by saying “Relax” and reminding me how strong I was. Several neighbors were curious about what we were doing and looked a bit concerned that I might have you in their front lawn!
At 3:30 pm we came back home and I decided to take another shower. The hot water felt so comforting, as I was still having quite a bit of back pressure. I used my “Peace” cue and really focused on sending my hypno-anesthesia all around you, my cervix, and my back. I would think to myself “open, open, open”, affirming that I COULD do this!
I got out of the shower and decided to lie down on the couch to see if I could get anymore sleep. I put on “Easy First Stage” and my waves spaced out to 10 minutes apart. I think it was just what my body needed in order to get some sleep! I slept for about an hour, and when I woke up things were different. My waves became stronger and started to feel more productive. Your Dad could tell something had shifted and thought it would be a good time to update our birth team. He texted our doulas Lindsay and Holly, and I called Kate to let her know we were ready for them to join us. I wasn’t sure if I should call our birth photographer yet, because it was her daughter’s birthday too, and I didn’t want her to miss the festivities. I decided to wait and see how things were progressing once everyone else arrived.
Lindsay showed up around 6:00 pm, and shortly after Kate joined too. My pressure waves slowed down a bit once there were other people in my birthing space – this was something I knew could happen, but definitely didn’t expect! Kate checked on you and your heart tones were perfect! Lindsay jumped right in with Hypnobabies cues to help me during my waves and I started to feel more comfortable. When Holly arrived she adjusted my pelvis and my waves began to pick back up. They were around 4 minutes apart. We decided it would be a good time to call our birth photographer so that we didn’t miss capturing all of the important moments coming! Jen and our second midwife Aly arrived around 7:30 pm and were so calm and quiet that I didn’t even know they were there!
At around 8:00 pm Kate asked me if I was ready to get into the birthing tub, and I thought that sounded heavenly! The tub was filled in record time! As soon as I got in, my body completely melted. It felt so good to be surrounded by the warmth of the water. I spent some time in the tub by myself, which was just what I needed to let go. I was listening to “Easy First Stage” in the background, and using my lightswitch to shut “off” during waves. It was amazing to be able to connect with you all by myself, knowing that our birthing team was just right up stairs when we needed them! They were busy decorating your birthday cake – one of my favorite parts of your birth!
After some time by myself, I asked Daddy to join me downstairs. He was such an amazing support – rubbing my back, helping with my Hypnobabies, and encouraging me by telling me what a great job I was doing!
After a couple of hours in the tub, I decided to check myself again. I am so amazed at how much more open my cervix was and how awesome it felt to touch your bag of waters! It had been quite a while since I had gone to the bathroom, so Kate suggested that I get out of the tub and try to sit on the toilet for a while. The change of “venue” might be good for bringing you down. While sitting on the toilet I had a lot of bloody show and mucous release. Everybody was excited to see the changes in my progress! My waves were staying about 5 minutes apart and I was still having a lot of back pressure. I wanted to get into the shower again to see if that would offer any relief. While in the shower I began to feel a lot of pressure and started to make grunting sounds through the waves. When I got out, Aly suggested trying some belly lifts for a while to bring my waves closer together. Daddy would lift up my belly, and Lindsay would do the “Relax” cue and recite mini birth prompts to help my body remain loose. I could tell you were trying so hard to get into a good position because you were moving like crazy! Your movements were intense and quite uncomfortable at times. I was really trying to keep my body soft and open to give you the space to turn!
Midnight arrived and Kate offered to check me to see if there was any cervix left. I had been having “pushing” type waves for a while, so I thought it was a good idea! When she checked there was just an anterior lip of cervix left. I decided I wanted her to hold it out of the way while I pushed to see if I could push past it. James was reminding me to use my “Peace” cue, while Holly and Lindsay placed cool rags on my forehead. After a few pushes on the couch, I was able to move you down quite a bit and wanted to get back into the tub.
The water felt great and I was able to completely relax in between pressure waves. During waves I would grab onto the side of the tub and bear down with as much strength as I could. At around 1:15 am I began to feel a bit frustrated because I couldn’t “feel” you coming down anymore despite how hard I was pushing. You were moving around so much, and trying so hard to find your way out. Holly checked my sacrum and gave me another adjustment to try and get everything lined up just right. Kate checked me again and said that I was making progress and that she could see your bag of waters every time I pushed. Your extremely bulging bag of waters was likely a big part of the reason I felt like my pushing wasn’t doing anything, but I definitely wanted it to stay intact as long as possible!
My back pressure was getting very intense, so Aly applied counterpressure to my tailbone, which really helped to provide some relief. I continued to push for a while and was getting tired! At 1:45 am Kate asked me if I would be willing to try some clary sage to bring my waves closer together. I was up for anything! Lindsay and Holly were massaging pressure points on my hands, and that along with smelling the clary sage instantly brought my waves to 2 minutes apart. I suddenly felt like my pushing efforts were doing something since you no longer had time to sneak back up in between. Kate and Aly thought you might be a bit asynclitic, so they suggested some pulsatilla to help you get lined up. They put a tiny bit under my tongue and you immediately started kicking and I felt a big shift in your position! I was pushing and you were now coming! I had planned on getting out of the tub to try pushing on the couch for a while, but knew that I needed to stay put if I wanted to have the waterbirth I had been visualizing.
At 2:00 am Daddy took over applying counter pressure to my tailbone. He pushed really hard into my sacrum just as a pressure wave was beginning and I felt a HUGE pop. Your bag of waters released and right away I started to feel you crown. In one pressure wave your head went from about +2 station to half way out. The sensation was incredibly powerful and Lindsay was right in my ear reminding me to relax and send my “peace” out in front of your head. Kate helped Daddy get his hands into position to catch you. After another wave your head came out and I could feel you twisting to line up the rest of your body. Kate had me lunge on one knee to get your shoulders through and you slid right out into Daddy’s hands! He pushed you through my legs and I quickly grabbed you and gently brought you out of the water and up to my chest.
At 2:07 am on May 4th we would finally meet face to face for the first time! That moment that I picked you up out of the water was pure joy, beauty, ecstasy, relief – an absolute flood of every good emotion one can experience!
I leaned back and stared at you in complete amazement! My baby was finally here, in my arms, exactly how I envisioned! You were covered in yummy vernix and your Daddy and I gently rubbed it into your back, while you let out little cries and whimpers. You were perfect in every way! After a few minutes your cord stopped pulsing and I birthed the placenta. We got out of the tub and snuggled on the couch skin-to-skin. As soon as you were on my chest you were ready to nurse! You latched right away and were so content gazing up at me, learning where your new home was.
While your Dad and I were loving up on you, Kate and Aly were getting some things cleaned up and checking in on both of us to make sure all was well. I did have a little heavier than normal blood loss so we decided it was best to get a shot of pitocin to prevent any further bleeding. Despite your incredibly fast crown I didn’t have any tearing which was awesome! You and I had all of the uninterrupted snuggle time that I had so longed for before you were born.
While we were snuggling, Holly and Lindsay were busy making us some eggs and toast. Holly fed me while you happily nursed. After about an hour and a half I was finally ready to give you up for the newborn exam. You weighed in at a whopping 8lb 13oz, 20 inches long, with a 14 inch head. I couldn’t believe you were so much bigger than your brothers!
At around 4:30 am we were ready to settle in for a nap. We moved upstairs to the bedroom and our whole birth team celebrated your arrival with a champagne toast. Afterwards they tucked us into bed and we drifted off to sleep listening to your tiny newborn coos! Your birth was so healing, so triumphant, so empowering, and absolutely perfect in every way! Thank you for such an amazing experience sweet girl!