The Beautiful, Natural, & Unassisted Birth Story Of Our Second Child

It is so strange and beautiful how every pregnancy and birth has its own story. I always hear how different each pregnancy can be even for the same woman, but I had no idea how true that could be until I became pregnant with my second child.

We had wanted a second child for a while and were hoping to have two little ones close in age so they grew up enjoying each others’ friendship. I also knew I wanted to be a full time stay at home mom while the kids are little so taking a pause on my career made more sense if we had multiple children closer together (although now the plan has changed since we plan to homeschool/unschool long term). 

I became pregnant with our first almost immediately, so it was a bit surprising and frustrating when we couldn’t seem to get pregnant with a second, although it made sense because I was still breastfeeding full time. I loved breastfeeding and I knew how much my little one loved it, so I couldn’t bring myself to wean her just because I wanted another child, so we patiently waited. Finally, around when our daughter was 20 months my cycle returned and we conceived our second child! (I also think switching to a Berkey water filtration system helped with this, but that’s another conversation). 

The pregnancy was immediately entirely different than my first. As soon as I was pregnant with my first, I found myself irritable and moody, constantly achy and tired, and most challenging, I injured my back a few weeks into the pregnancy, which remained injured and painful until giving birth. It was definitely a challenging pregnancy. With my second, I found my mood and patience improved almost immediately. I felt great other than wanting extra sleep and the occasional upset stomach!

With the pregnancies being so different, I was surprised to find I had the same long last month of pregnancy full of prodromal labor. Being much more active and healthy during my second pregnancy, I thought I wouldn’t have the long and exhausting prodromal I had with my first, so when contractions started happening around 38 weeks, I thought baby would be coming soon, but I was very wrong! 

Our sweet baby didn’t come until 42+4 after about 4 days of strong labor. Once I hit 42 weeks, I was planning to get a scan to make sure everything was healthy with baby so I could feel comfortable letting the pregnancy continue as needed. I never made the call to make the appointment because right at 42 weeks, my contractions became much stronger and regular.

I listened to birth meditations, did lots of spinning babies moves trying to make sure baby was in a good position, walked, went up and down the stairs, did squats, and labored on my yoga ball. I was in pure bliss and excited to meet my baby. I thought surely the baby would come in the night. The contractions were waking me up so I labored in the shower while everyone slept.

I finally fell asleep around 4 am and was disappointed and discouraged to wake up the next morning with my contractions slowed and my baby still not here. This went on for 2 more days (Saturday and Sunday) and while it was physically exhausting, it was much more mentally exhausting. I cried countless times feeling so discouraged that again, just like with my first, I had been in labor for days. I kept resetting myself, attempting to stay in a positive and oxytocin filled space.

Finally Sunday evening, I got some encouragement. I lost my mucus plug! Soon after, my contractions became more intense and I could feel baby getting lower. I moaned and huffed and puffed through them grabbing my husband and tensing up. It was the first intense pain of my labor, so I was so happy to be experiencing it because it meant PROGRESS! However, with how exhausted I was, I was not handling them well and I had forgotten to relax and let the pain and pressure flow.

Although the contractions were only getting more intense, I told my husband to go to sleep since baby would be here soon. I too tried to sleep and somehow slept between my contractions which were only a few minutes apart and was in a half asleep daze for each contraction in which I’d wiggle and tense up while lying down. Around midnight, the pain became so intense I couldn’t rest anymore and I was wiggling everywhere. In my half asleep daze, I had a realization. I needed to try and relax and breath normal during a contraction. At least just try it rather than wiggling and making noise. IT WORKED. My contractions somehow went from intense pain to slightly painful pressure. I found myself back in the blissful and excited state I had been in my first day of labor.

After a few of the relaxed contractions, I had to jump out of bed because I very suddenly and urgently needed to use the restroom due to an intense contraction. I went to the bathroom and struggled to get off the toilet because the contractions just kept coming. I threw on a diaper, a very cute adult diaper I purchased for postpartum, in case of another intense contraction so I wouldn’t have to run to the potty again. I walked to the living room and had insane pressure so I hummed and calmly breathed through the contraction but another immediately hit and I again felt like I had to pee. I tried to make my way back to the bathroom. I didn’t make it. (Thank you diaper!)

While stopped by a contraction, my body involuntarily started to push and I felt a big warm rush. My water broke! It was such an intense and relieving feeling. A warm gush soaked the diaper and more water trickled when I attempted to move. At this point I whisper yelled attempting to wake my husband up. I quietly yelled “Wake up! The baby is coming!” I attempted to put one back on, but it wasn’t happening because baby was coming! With each contraction, my body was pushing. I told my hubby to put the shower curtain and some towels on the bed and I knelt on the bed while holding his shoulders. I slowly and calmly breathed when my body wasn’t forcing me to push (fetal ejection reflex).

After a few pushes, I could feel the baby’s head just an inch or so inside and I recall telling my husband “I feel something but I don’t know what it is” ( I wasn’t sure it was a head because it was wrinkly from the pressure). I pushed two more times, none of which were forced, and the head still wasn’t out and I calmly repeated to myself “It’s okay, it’s okay, it’s okay. They’ll be here soon. They’re almost here.” With another push, the head was out! The baby immediately started crying and my husband said “What do I do- she’s crying!” I told him leave her and get ready to catch the baby because I still had to push them out! We were both ecstatic and completely calm. I kept repeating “our baby is here!” With another push, the baby shot out and only their legs were still inside. My husband held them up as I took a few breaths before my body started pushing again. They were out! I asked my husband to hand them to me and he passed the baby under my legs as I flipped over onto my back.

I laid there in bliss that our sweet baby was there and we both were doing great! I asked my husband to take some pictures and grab some towels and the bowl for my placenta. Within a few minutes I delivered the placenta. We started to clean baby and I up and decided to finally check what our baby is. Our baby is A GIRL! We were pretty shocked and excited!

We were both in a beautiful, exhausted, daze completely amazed we just welcomed or second daughter into the world. It was so peaceful and nothing felt rushed. I nursed our sweet baby, took photos, and slowly started cleaning us. I had my husband help me to the restroom and shower so I could get cleaned up. After a quick shower, we all relaxed, ate food, and basked in the beauty of the experience and our new sweet child until big sister woke up and met the new addition.

I absolutely loved my freebirth and know it was exactly what I needed. If we choose to add to our family in the future, I will definitely choose to free birth again.

You may also like: Ways To Prepare Your Body For An Easy & Intervention Free Birth and The Best Resources For Planning Your Ideal Birth

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The cord was over her shoulders, but not around her neck.
She latched right away!
Meeting big sister! đź–¤

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Preparing For A Home Birth

Home birth is a beautiful and grounding birth option that allows you to experience birth your own way from the comfort of your home. 

Home birth may be an option for you if:

•You are having a healthy, low-risk pregnancy

•You want to avoid an episiotomy, cesarean section, epidural and other similar interventions

•You want to share the experience with family and friends

•You want to be free to move around, change positions, take a shower, and eat or drink freely during labor

•You want to enjoy the comforts of your home and familiar surroundings

https://americanpregnancy.org/labor-and-birth/home-birth

Benefits of Home Birth:

“Benefits of planned home birth include lower rates of maternal morbidity, such as postpartum hemorrhage, and perineal lacerations, and lower rates of interventions such as episiotomy, instrumental vaginal birth, and cesarean birth.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4399594/

“An average uncomplicated vaginal birth costs about 60% less in a home than in a hospital.”

https://americanpregnancy.org/labor-and-birth/home-birth/

Birth Supplies:

Although you don’t need much more than your body to give birth, it’s helpful to have plenty of supplies to create a comforting and relaxing environment that can address any issues should they arise.

The birth supplies you’ll need will depend on whether you’re having a midwife or an unassisted birth. If you’re getting a midwife, you’ll want to ask what they will supply, otherwise you’ll need to get most items yourself.

This post may contain affiliate links. As an affiliate, I may receive a small stipend for any purchases made on links with no additional cost to you.

Helpful Gear:

If using a birth pool and planning a water birth, there are a few additional items you may want or need.

  • Lead-free potable water hose
  • Sink water hose adapter
  • Fish net (in case any accidents happen in the pool)

The Basics:

  • Extra sheets, towels, and rags
  • Thermometer
  • Underpads
  • Plastic sheet or shower curtain liner

Setting The Environment:

  • Dim lighting options
  • Essential oils

Comfort & Pain Management:

  • Birth gown for mom
  • Organic Herbal Heating Pad
  • Ice Pack
  • Healthy Snacks
    • Homemade fruit popsicles
    • Peanut butter
    • Vegetable Broth or Soup
    • Any quick & easy healthy snacks you love!

Unassisted Birth Medical Gear:

•Home Birth On Your Own Terms: A How To Guide For Birthing Unassisted

•Hanging Weight Scale

•Blood Pressure Cuff and Stethoscope

•Umbilical Cord Clamp

•Kleenprint Footprint

For Baby:

  • Newborn diapers
  • Receiving blankets
  • Birthday cake (for family to celebrate!)

You may also like: Natural Ways to Prepare Your Body for an Easy and Intervention-Free Birth and The Best Resources For Planning Your Ideal Birth

C-Sections: What You Need To Know and Why To Refuse Unnecessary C-Sections

What Research Says About C-Sections and How To Mitigate Negative Effects

C-Sections are a revolutionary medical procedure that have saved many women’s and babies’ lives. C-Sections are an important emergency tool, however, C-Sections should only be used as a life saving tool and not regularly used by physicians as a way to control birth or as an alternative to vaginal birth. 

“Nearly a third of childbirths in America happened by cesarean section in 2017, but whether a woman has a C-section may have more to do with where she gives birth than her health or that of her baby.”

https://www.usnews.com/news/healthiest-communities/slideshows/c-section-rates-are-highest-in-these-states

Although some may feel C-Sections are a better choice because they are more controlled than vaginal birth, C-Sections can have a myriad of consequences for both mom and baby.

Not only can more medical issues occur for mom such as hemorrhage, infection, and blood clots, C-Sections can also have a lasting impact on baby’s health and development.

“Research had shown various associations between cesarean delivery and long-term health problems, including higher rates of obesity and asthma in children.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/23/well/family/autism-c-section.html

Despite the research showing the negative impact on both moms and babies, C-Section rates remain high. Some doctors continue to push mothers to schedule a C-section merely because they are near their due date or because it is more convenient. 

“Rates of cesarean deliveries have increased despite warnings from WHO that it should only be used in life-threatening cases due to risk of complications.”

https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/cesarean-section-complication-risk-rises-mother-s-age-study-finds-n993611

It’s important as mothers that we are aware and educated about the possible effects of a C-section so we can make an educated decision when a doctor suggests a c-section, whether it be continuing with a C-section, getting a second opinion, or changing doctors.

Risks For Baby

“Studies have reported negative health outcomes in offspring born via cesarean delivery, including obesity, allergy, asthma, type 1 diabetes, and acute lymphoblastic leukemia.”

https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2749054#225229759
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Asthma and Allergies

“Cesarean section rather than vaginal deliveries may raise the risk of childhood asthma and allergies by interfering with the child’s immune system development”

https://www.webmd.com/baby/news/20080521/c-section-tied-to-childhood-asthma

“The report found that infants delivered by C-section were at more than double the risk of developing food-borne allergies and asthma by their third birthdays than babies born vaginally.”

https://beta.ctvnews.ca/national/health/2019/4/19/1_4387238.html

Autism and ADHD

“Birth by cesarean section was associated with a 33 percent higher risk of autism and a 17 percent higher risk of attention deficit disorder.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/23/well/family/autism-c-section.html

Type-1 Diabetes

“Even when accounting for all the known risk factors, it was found that children delivered by C-section were 20% more likely to have type 1 diabetes than those delivered vaginally.”

https://defeatdiabetes.org/c-section-delivery-increases-risk-type-1-diabetes/

Decreased Breastfeeding Success

“Women who had a cesarean delivery showed a lower rate of exclusive breastfeeding and any breastfeeding than those who had a vaginal delivery. In addition, cesarean delivery was related with using formula in the hospital and delayed breastfeeding initiation.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29365288/

Risks For Mom

“Women who had C-sections were 80 percent more likely to have complications than those who delivered vaginally” even when controlled for pre-existing health issues or complications.”

https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/cesarean-section-complication-risk-rises-mother-s-age-study-finds-n993611
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What If I Need An Emergency C-Section?

In the case an emergency C-section is needed or you choose to go through with a C-section when suggested by a doctor, there are a few ways you can mitigate the potential negative effects. According to research, there seem to be a few key factors that cause the negative health effects to babies born via c-section. A primary factor is babies receiving moms’ microbiome by going through the vaginal canal. An alternative that can be used when a c-section occurs is vaginal seeding.

“Experts have long suspected that bacteria passed from mother to baby during vaginal birth – a process known as “microbiome seeding” – could play a role in protecting children.”

https://beta.ctvnews.ca/national/health/2019/4/19/1_4387238.html

Vaginal seeding, also known as microbirthing, is the practice of using a cotton swab to transfer mom’s vaginal fluids to baby’s mouth, nose, and eyes in an attempt to transfer mom’s vaginal bacterial flora to baby. While there is little research surrounding vaginal seeding since it is a new practice, the only risk of attempting vaginal seeding is if a mother has a vaginal infection or STD. Otherwise, baby is simply being exposed to the fluids they would have been exposed to had they experienced a vaginal birth.

Another key factor is breastfeeding. It is often hypothesized that the lower rate of breastfeeding among c-section mothers plays a role in the negative effects correlated with c-sections such as obesity, allergies, and Type 1 diabetes since breastfeeding has been found to protect against all of these issues as well as other illnesses and disorders.

“There are many health benefits to your child from breastfeeding, including prevention of infections such as ear infections, diarrhea, and other bacterial and viral infections. Research also suggests that breastfeeding may help protect against diabetes and some cancers.”

https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapediatrics/fullarticle/1107563

Whatever choices you make, it’s important to make the decisions knowing the facts and choosing the best direction for your family. I hope this helps empower mothers to make the best choices they can and feel informed when being their own and their baby’s advocate.

You may also like: Preparing For A Home Birth, The Best Resources For Planning Your Ideal Birth and Natural Home Birth Plan

Facts risks of csections

A Natural Mamas Guide to Postpartum Healing & Recovery

Being a new mom and experiencing postpartum was, and is, one of the strangest and most difficult transitions I have ever experienced. As someone already familiar with the world of parenting and childbirth due to my education (masters degree in infant and toddler mental health and 8 years as an infant and toddler teacher), I thought I had some slight idea of what postpartum would look like. Oh, how wrong I was. Most likely, your body will look nothing like your pre-pregnancy body and really it shouldn’t. After all, you just created another human. It takes a toll on your body. From the fun and oh so stylish adult diapers to the roller coaster of emotions, postpartum can be a challenging and life altering experience.

My Experiences

Having a home birth with my first, I had a supportive group of midwives to guide me and attended monthly childbirth classes. We discussed the process and what to expect regularly. Regardless of the support and education, there were things I just had no clue about, especially regarding the postpartum body.

First off, I felt like I had been hit by a car after birth. Every muscle in my body ached and I couldn’t walk unassisted for a few days. To be fair, I had an unusually long labor, 75 hours, with around 7 hours of pushing, but I had no idea I would be so physically exhausted and aching after birth. I knew birth was hard and would be painful in its own regard, but I didn’t realize the residual pain it would cause, and not just in my nether regions.

Pregnancy and birth completely changed my body. Everything looked and felt different. Fluids were coming out of literally everywhere. I would wake up drenched in sweat, breast milk and other fun fluids everyday for weeks. (Apparently heavy sweating is a postpartum thing?!). I didn’t recognize myself or my emotions. I would swing quickly from one mood to the next even though I had some lovely bliss hormones from meeting my new baby. Postpartum is different for everyone, but if no one shares what really happens, how can any of us really prepare for this crazy time? I had endless numbers of people attempt to tell me what to expect from the baby, but no one told me I’d be in diapers icing my nether regions for a week or so.

Thankfully, my midwives, tips I picked up from other moms, and my own research helped me to make it through postpartum and heal my body. After what felt like endless months, I found my balance and my identity as a mother. I began to feel healthy and whole again. As I prepare to bring my second child earthside, I’ve decided to compile a list of helpful tips for postpartum to make the transition less dramatic and easier for myself and hopefully for other mamas who face the transformative time of postpartum. 

This post may contain affiliate links. As an affiliate, I may receive a small stipend for any purchases made on links with no additional cost to you.

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Tips for Postpartum Recovery

Magnesium and Zinc Supplements

A few months into postpartum, I found myself still struggling with the baby blues and mood swings. I struggled to regulate my emotions. Looking for solutions, I took to the internet and dove into the research. I was so thankful to have actually found somewhat of a solution. It turns out, depression or depressive symptoms can actually be a symptom of magnesium deficiency. I even heard a few other moms mention it helped them during their postpartum period. I decided to try it out and within a day I found it easier to enjoy daily living and not so hard to regulate my emotions.

“Magnesium deficiency could cause abundant psychiatric symptoms including depression, behavior disturbances, headaches, generalized tonic-clonic as well as focal seizures, vertigo, tremors, irritability and psychotic behavior”

“In pregnancy, the fetus and placenta absorb huge amounts of nutrients particularly magnesium from the mother; this depletion of magnesium with not enough intake of magnesium by the mother is hypothesized to be the cause of postpartum depression.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3430492

Although I personally did not try zinc supplements during my postpartum time with my first, I plan to try it with my second. Similar to magnesium, this mineral may play a key role on postpartum mood disorders.

“Zinc as a trace element has the second highest concentration of all transition metals in the brain, and its deficiency is associated with behavioral disturbances. Lower zinc blood concentration was found in women with postpartum depression.” 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3430492

Herbs

Herbs have endless medical and healing properties and are a great resource for healing during postpartum. From sitz baths to teas, herbs can play a key role in healing after giving birth.

For a sitz bath or peri bottle to promote healing after birth, there are some great recipes of natural herbs to prevent infection, soothe pain, and speed up healing. My favorite recipe is from Wellness Mama:

Ingredients:

1/4 cup Comfrey Leaf

1/2 cup Lavender Flowers

1/4 cup Plantain Leaf

1/2 cup Red Raspberry Leaf

1/4 cup Yarrow Flower

1/4 cup Calendula Flowers

1/4 cup Shepherd’s Purse

1/4 cup Uva Ursi Leaf

1/4 cup Sea Salt or Epsom Salt

You can find a premade sitz herb mix here.

If you are interested in a calming cup of tea rather than a soak, there are a few great options that will help you heal and recover.

Red Raspberry Leaf Tea

Red raspberry leaf tea strengthens the uterus, helps it to return to it’s pre-baby size, and eases postpartum cramping pain.

Chamomile Tea

Chamomile tea regulates digestion and promotes calming relaxation to ease anxiety and promote better sleep.

Ginger Tea

Ginger tea promotes breast milk production, relieves nausea, and reduces stomach cramps.

Nettle Leaf Tea

Nettle leaf tea helps restore iron levels, calms the body, and boosts breast milk supply. It also replenishes the body because it is a great source of vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, calcium, magnesium, and potassium.

Sunshine

Even if this seems like common sense, it needs to be said. Getting outside during the postpartum period is pretty low on any mamas priority list, but it’s necessary for you and baby. The sunshine will replenish your Vitamin D, as well as babies, and regulate both of your hormones, especially sleep hormones. The more natural light baby gets, the more likely they’ll jump on a day/night sleep schedule and you’ll all get more sleep. Not to mention, the awesome happy hormones the sunshine will help you release.

“The light-induced effects of serotonin are triggered by sunlight that goes in through the eye. Sunlight cues special areas in the retina, which triggers the release of serotonin.”

https://www.healthline.com/health/depression/benefits-sunlight#mental-health

Support & More Support

As much as you may think you will not need support during postpartum (me thinking i could be a super mom), you WILL need support. If you don’t have family or friends available to help, try to set aside money or request as a gift from your baby shower practical support like a maid or food service.

Enlist those who are willing to help with the daily duties, not the baby, while you recover and bond with your new baby.Although I didn’t really want my mother to be present after having my daughter so I could enjoy my new time as a parent, I actually ended up being really thankful she did show up. She was happy to help with the grunt work like laundry, dishes, and walking the dog while I focused on my new role of being a mom. Also if possible, have your partner take off as much time as possible. You’ll both want to be present for these new days and learning together what works makes you feel more like a team.

Postpartum, or the fourth trimester, is a substantial time in your new experience as mama and while no one can predict how it will go, it is helpful to have natural healing remedies on hand to face any challenges that may arise as well as ease the basic aches and pains that come with giving birth.

Please note I am not a medical professional and this information should not be substituted for medical advice.

You may also like: The Best Books To Read for Postpartum Wellness and Recovery

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