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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Natural Ways to Prepare Your Body for an Easy and Intervention-Free Birth

Pregnancy can be a beautiful experience. There’s the amazing experience of first kicks, your growing bump, shopping and preparing all the cute baby items (checkout my non-toxic baby registry), and, of course, meeting baby! However, some women experience anxiety when nearing labor.

It’s no surprise many women experience anxiety about labor when we commonly hear and see horror stories about birth in the media and from others. However, many women still have easy and uncomplicated births and you can too! Whatever your desired birth, natural homebirth or uncomplicated and gentle hospital birth, it is important to prepare your body. There are many natural and easy methods to prepare your body for birth!

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.

What to Put in Your Body

Prenatal Vitamins

Proper nutrition throughout your pregnancy is the best thing you can do to keep your baby and body healthy and ready for labor. A good balance of of vitamins and minerals allows the uterus to contract effectively and prevent difficulties during labor such as hemorrhage. Easily absorbed prenatal vitamins and a balanced diet will help ensure your baby and body are healthy and ready for labor.

Dates

Dates are a delicious and nutritious treat that can benefit you greatly in preparation for labor and postpartum. Dates can provide you with antioxidants, high levels of magnesium (which can also lower blood pressure), and choline, a key vitamin B. They’re also a great source of iron, calcium, copper, manganese, and fiber! Not only will dates give you a great nutritional boost, research has found they can lower your need for induction, lower need for interventions, and lower risk of complications.

Women who ate six dates a day from 36 weeks until birthing dilated more quickly, had intact membranes (water hadn’t broken) more often, and needed induction far less frequently (96% went into labor spontaneously) compared to the control group which ate no dates.

https://www.naturalbirthandbabycare.com/how-to-prevent-postpartum-hemorrhage/

Research showed that women who were given dates to eat experienced significantly less postpartum bleeding over women who received a Pitocin injection.

https://www.naturalbirthandbabycare.com/how-to-prevent-postpartum-hemorrhage/

If you’re not a big fan of dates, but want the awesome benefits for labor, you can try this tasty organic date syrup. We use it for baking or topping waffles as a great low glycemic alternative!

h Mama® Organics

Nettle Leaf Tea

Nettle leaf tea is amazing for the last few weeks of pregnancy. It’s important to not use nettle tea before 35 weeks because there’s not enough research to decipher if it may cause preterm birth since it encourages the uterus to tone and contract. However, consuming Nettle Tea during the end of pregnancy may decrease risk of complications and increase chances of a shorter and easier labor.

Nettle leaf tea is also beneficial in preventing hemorrhage due to it’s high iron and vitamin K content.

Nettle is a superb source of vitamin K, and increases available hemoglobin, both of which decrease the likelihood of hemorrhage.

https://www.nightingalebirth.com/nestingblog//pregnancy-teas-nourishing-and-full-of-nutrients

Nettle tea is also helpful because the high calcium content helps the uterus to contract effectively.

The high calcium content, which is readily assimilated, helps diminish muscle pains in the uterus, in the legs and elsewhere.

https://www.nightingalebirth.com/nestingblog//pregnancy-teas-nourishing-and-full-of-nutrients

Red Raspberry Leaf Tea

Red raspberry leaf tea, probably the most well known herb used for pregnancy, is a great tool to prepare your body for labor. Similarly to Nettle Tea, it is recommended to only use this tea after 35-37 weeks because it’s ability to tone and contract the uterus, possibly increasing risk of preterm labor. Red Raspberry Leaf Tea is a delicious and easy way to tone your uterus in preparation for an easier labor.

The fragarine compound found in red raspberry leaves is known to help tone and tighten muscles in the pelvic area, including the walls of your uterus, which can help make delivery easier.

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/red-raspberry-leaf-tea#pregnancy

Not only will it likely make labor quicker and easier, it will also decrease your risk for intervention.

Women who drank red raspberry leaf tea later in pregnancy had reduced use of forceps and other interventions, as well as a reduction in the likelihood of pre- and post-term labor

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/red-raspberry-leaf-tea#pregnancy

What to do With Your Body

Yoga Ball

An exercise or birth ball is really helpful in preparing your body for labor. Using a yoga or exercise ball during pregnancy can help strengthen the back and abs, open up the pelvis, and increase your chances of a shorter and easier labor.

Sitting on the ball in an upright position can also encourage the opening of your pelvic muscles, allowing room for the baby to descend into the pelvis in preparation for birth.

https://www.healthline.com/health/pregnancy/what-is-a-birthing-ball-and-should-i-use-one#benefits

Find great exercises for kick starting labor on a birth ball here.

Walking/Exercise

Exercising regularly during pregnancy may shorten the duration of your labor as well as decrease your risk of needing a c-section. (See why to avoid a C-section here).

The American College of Nurse Midwives, The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the Society for Maternal and Fetal Medicine all endorse exercise during pregnancy.

https://www.gwdocs.com/specialties/midwifery-services/nutrition-exercise-guidelines/
Natural Ways To Prepare for Labor
Natural ways to prepare for labor birth
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Let me know if you find these tips helpful! Was there something you did previously that helped prepare your body for labor?

You may also like: Preparing For A Home Birth and Natural Home Birth Plan

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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The REAL Reasons Moms Skip The Epidural

As a mama who wanted an unmedicated birth herself, I was curious why other moms took a similar path, whether a home birth or hospital birth. I surveyed the moms of Green Mama Life and here are the REAL answers!

Not Enough Time

Fast labor, also known as precipitous labor, is defined as labor that lasts two or three hours. Many women noted they had planned to have an epidural, but were unable to due to quick labor. When quick labor occurs, women may jump into the end phase of labor quickly or arrive at the hospital too close to delivery to receive an epidural.

Hospital Understaffed

The hospital being understaffed was definitely my least favorite answer. The epidural is a choice so I find it upsetting, as I’m sure many women do, that hospital staffing is a factor in women’s birth choices. Although women noted they were usually happy with the overall experience of not receiving an epidural, I do believe we need to do better to support women in birth.

Owning The Power of The Female Body

Some women mentioned their desire to really just see what their body was capable of. A few women who skipped the drugs found they felt more empowered after experiencing natural childbirth as they really saw how amazing and capable their bodies are.

What to know about epidurals and women's experiences

Wanted The Experience

Along with owning the power of the female body, women noted they wanted the whole experience. Women were curious about what birth felt like without numbing and wanted full control over their pushing and movement.

Previous Experience

Some women mentioned their previous experiences made them want to skip the epidural. A few women noted bad experiences with the epidural leaving them with no desire to do it again while others noted experiencing an epidural with one birth and not with the second and preferred the birth and postpartum recovery experience without the epidural.

Fear of Epidural

Many women, including myself, noted our fear of the epidural. Their fears ranged from a literal fear of needles, fear of it leading to a c-section, to fear of it harming the baby. All of these fears are valid. As mentioned in the “Previous Experience” section bad experiences with epidurals do happen.

Common symptoms from an epidural include itching, nausea and vomiting, fever, soreness, and a drop in blood pressure, while more uncommon, yet still prevalent, symptoms include difficulty breathing, severe headache, infection, seizure, and nerve damage.

Healthline

Did you skip or plan to skip the epidural? What was your reason? Have you had an experience with an epidural?

You may also like: The Best Resources For Planning Your Ideal Birth, A Natural Mamas Guide to Postpartum Healing & Recovery and The Best Books To Read for Postpartum Wellness and Recovery

Skip The Epidural Women's Experiences

You may also be interested in Natural Home Birth Plan

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Check out our birth and postpartum recommendations!

5 Tips For Attachment Parenting

How To Succeed at Attachment Parenting

Parenting is hard. Yes, there are ways it can be easier and times it can be easier, and people who say it’s easy (are we really buying that story?), but can we just all agree parenting is hard.

If you are an attachment parent, I am pretty sure you’ve already heard “you’re just making it harder on yourself,” or some other variation of that.

First off, not cool. No one wants to hear criticisms on their parenting ESPECIALLY when you are just trying to do what feels right and what you feel is best for your baby. Yet, I don’t think this will be changing anytime soon.

An argument can be made that attachment parenting makes parenting harder, and basically, everyone (who doesn’t follow as an attachment parenting style) wants to make that argument, but it doesn’t have to. If you go about it with a few things in mind, attachment parenting can actually make parenting easier. Ya, that’s right, EASIER.

If you haven’t heard of it or are just starting to learn your options as a new or expecting mom, attachment parenting is basically an approach to parenting that aims to support your baby’s attachment to you (and possibly other caregivers) as well as meeting baby’s needs promptly (aka responsive caregiving). 

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This all-natural style instructs parents to be in tune with their child’s needs . . . Attachment parents . . . respond to an infant’s demands immediately and respectfully.

https://parentology.com/what-is-attachment-parenting/

As an attachment parent myself, as well as a parenting coach, I decided to share my tips on making attachment parenting easy!

1. Follow Your Gut

Stick to what feels right. Do not let people push you around or guilt you into thinking you are doing the wrong thing for your little one. As long as you love and are connected to your little ones, your gut will know what’s right for them. Mom instincts are real and you should trust them.

2. Stay Connected But Promote Confidence

It is great and a part of attachment parenting to be responsive and available to your little one. I have found a lot of parents get confused on how to both be attached and responsive but also promote confidence and independence in your child.

The key is to maintain your responsiveness but encourage them to problem solve and engage with the world on their own with you as their safe base. Contrary to common belief, attachment parenting actually promotes independence as children feel safe to explore when they have a secure attachment.

3. Surround Yourself With Like Minded Mamas

Friendships and like-minded individuals are more necessary than ever, especially if you are a stay at home parent. It is important to connect with others who share your view on parenting because attachment parenting is not a mainstream form of parenting, so you may feel criticized or like you are going against the grain often. Having mamas with these similar experiences allows you to share your real experience of motherhood without feeling judged and also connect on a deeper level. 

4. Self Care & More Self Care

I have always been bad at self care. I love being productive and doing things for others, so it has never been my strong suit, but becoming a mom has made me realize how important self care is. I now practice self care more than ever because it truly makes me a better mom.

Self care can look any way you want it to, but make sure you are taking time for yourself. As an attachment parent, we put our child’s needs first, but don’t forget your child needs a calm and collected parent as well. Also, practicing self care will be a great life-long example to your child on how to care for themselves. 

My self care includes solo coffee shop time or with a close friend, bubble baths, going on a run or hitting the gym. Part of attachment parenting is having a small circle of care for your child.

If you do not have a present partner, try to find a family member or occasional nanny who is supportive of attachment parenting and can step in occasionally so you can get some time for yourself as well. Although we exclusively breastfed, we made solo mom time possible by dad being close by at a park or on a walk so we could still feed on demand when needed.

5. Find Relevant Resources

Find resources for attachment parenting. Stick to resources for parenting that you know will be kind and friendly to your parenting style.

As an attachment parent, you can’t pick up any random parenting book and expect it to work for you, in fact a lot of parenting books make suggestions contrary to current research and attachment style parenting. Ask experienced attachment parents or find groups on Facebook. I also love these resources!

GreenMamaLife Facebook

Natural Parenting Group on Facebook

“Whatever you want to do, if you want to be great at it, you have to love it and be able to make sacrifices for it.”

Maya Angelou


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