Sacred This Time, Too

sacredthistime

Welcome to the June 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Embracing Your Birth Experience

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have written about at least one part of their birth experience that they can hold up and cherish.

***

June 6, 2009.  My doctor had estimated that my baby girl would have been born four days earlier.  My sister, Krystle’s high-school graduation was that morning and she was graduating from a prestigious private school which she’d attended for the last 7 years.  I’d wanted to go.  Instead I was on the phone with the hospital describing my contractions (which I knew were Braxton-Hicks but wanted to be sure) and preparing to go in.  My eldest daughter Ryleigh, who was 5 at the time, had gone with my family to the graduation.  Just as well.  I was in no mood to talk about how Dora The Explorer probably takes her grilled cheese.  I would go into labor the following day and welcome Logan after only 7 hours, ‘only’ for me because I was in labor with Ry for 26 hours.

I was 19 when I’d had Ryleigh (18 when I conceived) and very unprepared for the process of birth.  I didn’t even know to consider birth a process.  With Logan I knew.  I’d been a mother for five years now and in that time I’d also been growing up, myself.  I’d started to consider that there were options to the mainstream notions I’d been following since birthing Ry.  I’d begun to seek alternatives for what I was doing as a mother that just didn’t feel right to me, at least for my family.  I knew before I had Logan that I wanted a drug-free, natural, home birth – in the water would be super nice.  I envisioned myself with my midwife and my husband, my braids falling down my back, sweat in my eyes, breathing calmly, the top of my copper-brown belly breaking the clear water.  I’d been watching lots of home births and water births and they all just looked so intimate and utterly…sacred.  I wanted that.

I also knew that unfortunately, I was not going to get that this time around.  Logan’s father would not even be present at her birth.  That hurt, a lot.  The days leading up to her birthday I resolved to perk myself up and to not think of the ‘if only’.  I wanted to focus on what was real and prepare myself to welcome this child, who would have no idea of what had been happening before her arrival, and who deserved all of the fanfare and celebration I could muster after my hard work.

I labored at home for a long time, much longer than I’d done with Ry.  Here is where I began to get excited, and to realize that this birth and this baby (and my first birth and baby) were extraordinary.  I wasn’t the same petrified girl I’d been almost 6 years before.  I’d been educating myself.  I understood what was happening to my body.  I was prepared to ask, “Why?” about anything my doctor suggested that I didn’t understand or that made me uncomfortable.  And, most importantly to me – I had a plan for the type of mother I’d be when she was born.  The first item on my list: I was going to exclusively breastfeed this baby until the end of eternity.  Okay not the end of eternity but at least for six months.  I’d weaned Ryleigh very early after about a month of trying, and as I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, it devastated me.

I appreciated now that the pain I was feeling, which I knew would only heighten as the minutes passed, wasn’t my enemy.  I closed my eyes and rocked back and forth on my knees, imagining Logan in my mind, wondering if she was in pain, seeing her little face grimace with each contraction.  I walked around my neighborhood.  I lay on my side in fetal position, and then stretched.  I bent over the counter and breathed.  I think maybe deep down I was trying to birth at home in my little city apartment across the street from the train yard.  My mother was in the back room moaning because she claimed she could feel my labor pains.  I’d told her she better not dare come out.  One of my younger sisters was there as well.  Ry, who had promised throughout my pregnancy to be my labor coach, had burst into tears at my first big contraction and declared, “I wanna go downstairs (to my neighbor’s house to be fed and coddled by old, Southern, black women who were frying chicken at the time)!”  Just as well.  I had no time to hear her ask again if I thought I’d die during labor.

Finally I was at the hospital.  I could feel that my Logan was coming soon.  The midwife I’d been seeing at my Health Plan wasn’t present for my birth, instead there was an MD whom I’d grown to really like.  He was very quiet and personable, smiled a lot, and sort of looked like Anderson Cooper.  The nurse was excellent as well.  My mom sat to my left, holding her stomach and trying to breathe through her sympathy contractions.  My sister Isha, who was 15 at the time, stood by my side.  My youngest sister Jewell and Ryleigh were in the hospital waiting room.  This was my birth party, at least for now.  As I sat up against the hospital bed, breathing slowly and methodically (something I was so proud of myself for because I’d given the docs a really hard time with my crazy breathing with Ry), I thought to myself, “Hey, you are really doing this.  You are so calm.  I know, this isn’t the way you want to be birthing, but it’s the way you are right now.  I’m really proud of you.”

I was proud of myself.  I was calm.  I was in control.  I don’t know why but even though I was given an epidural with Ryleigh I could feel much more of what was happening with Logan.  I stated to Dr. Ross that I needed to push and he repeatedly said, “No, you don’t.”  That was pissing me off.  Finally I said, “Dr. Ross I seriously need to push, now!”  He assumed position and asked me to breathe and give him a big push.  First one and her head started to emerge.  “You really did need to push, huh?”  He asked.  Ha-ha-freakin-ha, I thought.  I pushed two more times and Logan was born.  Screaming at the top of her lungs; demanding to know who’d expelled her from her warm, wet sanctuary; eight pounds, three ounces of caramel-colored chub.  Carnation-pink lips, a mass of shiny black curls atop her head, and staring at me like I was all she needed to know.  This is the voice, her eyes said.

My sister Isha cut the umbilical cord because I didn’t know about delayed cord clamping at the time.  She was very proud and I was happy to have her do it.  Dr. Ross showed us the placenta, how it had functioned for Logan, and said it looked great.  They cleaned her off and gave her back and I did what I’d been waiting so long to do: I put my baby to my full breasts.  She had a perfect latch.  She closed her nickel-sized eyes and moved her gigantic cheeks softly, in rhythm.  I heard the faint, “Gmm, gmm” of her sucking and a tear fell from my cheek.  This wasn’t my ideal birth but I’d still received the finest outcome.  I was holding a new human being in my hand.  I was a mother for the second time.  I was going to get a chance to change all of the things I’d wanted to improve on with Ryleigh.  I’d given Ryleigh a sister.  I’d given my mother another grandchild.

When I remarry and have more children, there are numerous things I will do completely differently than I’ve done with my first two children.  Having a home birth is certainly the first change I’ll make.  But when I reflect on Logan’s birth I am not disappointed.  Maybe it’s because I was educated about what I wanted but knew that I just couldn’t do it at the time…but that I will someday.  And as I think back on the way I felt and the way I continue to feel, I know I didn’t miss out on anything.  Logan will be three years old in two days and we are still breastfeeding.  She never had formula or cereal.  She’s a worn baby.  I cloth-diapered her.  I’ve changed a lot about the way I parent and I will continue to share what I know with my children I am currently mothering; and learn as much as I can before the next ones are here.  I’m happy with my birth experiences, they are part of the reason I realized I needed to learn.  My home births will be astonishing and breathtaking and everything I want them to be, but I look at my children, at my Logan, and I know that it was sacred this time, too.

How was your birth special for you?  Please share in the comments!

***

Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be live and updated by afternoon June 12 with all the carnival links.)

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Categories: Single Motherhood

Author:Kimberley

I'm Kimberley, work-at-home single momma to two girls, Ryleigh, 9, and Logan, 3. The Single Crunch is the story of our journey from a lifestyle saturated in mainstream ideals to an organic existence, and learning to love each other, ourselves, and any living thing, unconditionally. I'm passionate about breastfeeding, unschooling, single parenting, writing, grief, childhood abuse, childism, and natural living. I write about all this and whatever else moves me, which is a lot, and I throw in some funny on the regular. I'm humbled and grateful to have you reading, thank you. I hope something here will help you in any way.

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20 Comments on “Sacred This Time, Too”

  1. June 12, 2012 at 9:56 am #

    Don’t you just love it when someone else tells you that you’re not ready to push yet, and you know your body is telling you otherwise?! I tease my husband b/c with our second, I told him that I was getting ready to push and he kept denying it. Sweet man, how would you know?!
    ~Dionna @ Code Name: Mama

    • June 12, 2012 at 10:01 am #

      What’s funny is that I’ve heard from many women that they were told the same thing by their doctors! Weird. Thanks for reading. – Kimber

  2. June 12, 2012 at 10:01 am #

    I only have one son, and at his birth/labor my husband was the only one around, but I kind of liked that. I have thought about next time I have a baby maybe asking someone else to come for labor support though because my husband may need to take care of our three year old!
    My husband was the best part of my labor-he was so sweet and encouraging, even when everything went the opposite way of my birth plan!

    • June 12, 2012 at 10:03 am #

      I think it might be nice to have only one person, but it would be different for me. When I had Ryleigh there were probably 8 people present LOL. When I remarry I will have a doula present to support my husband. :)
      - Kimber

  3. Mel Roberts
    June 12, 2012 at 10:01 am #

    I will preface this by saying I was so so blessed to have two beautiful, glorious homebirths :)
    With my first, I was a goddess, I smiled and laughed and talked between each contraction, and spontaneously pushed out my beautiful boy with joy and amazement :D
    My second was different, it was hard, it bloody hurt, I fought against the pain in my back and waited for the moment I would start pushing without any thought…that didn’t come. My midwife gave me backrubs, helped me breathe, helped me get back inside my body…and eventually I started pushing, after about 14 hours of hard labour. It was such a journey, but I was so much more proud and amazed at what I had done, that I had gotten through it, that my body had made a second perfect person, and birthed her.
    I think that because I now know what I am capable of, if I couldn’t have another homebirth(which is likely given that a) independent midwives are being totally f**ked over here in Australia, and b) I am nearly 33, and I have no potential daddy on the horizon, and I’m not looking at the moment…) I would feel able to go to the hospital, and tell them all where to go if they tried to do anything I didn’t want them to do, ie. touch me. LOL!

    • June 12, 2012 at 10:05 am #

      Yeah, I don’t think I mind so much being in the hospital, it’s all the interventions that come with it. – Kimber

  4. June 12, 2012 at 2:01 pm #

    Wow! Way to go Mama! I’m so glad you were able to educate yourself and find your strength to be the mom you want to be! You’re awesome! And, seriously, if someone had told me not to push I might have hit them. It was such an involuntary thing for me. My midwife recognized that my body was pushing before I realized what was going on…I thought I had to poop : )

    • June 12, 2012 at 4:43 pm #

      Thank you! I plan to trust myself more next time so I don’t think it will be a problem. ;)

  5. June 12, 2012 at 5:39 pm #

    You are an awesome rockin’ mama. So many women lose sight of the ultimate objective in hoping for a “perfect” birth. You are right on with “This wasn’t my ideal birth but I’d still received the finest outcome.”

    • June 12, 2012 at 6:04 pm #

      Thank you, Kenna Lee. I was so overyjoyed to have my big, healthy girl in my arms, I couldn’t have overlooked that.

  6. June 13, 2012 at 12:42 am #

    I teared up reading this. I loved your beautiful descriptions — of yourself, of your baby, of the process of birth, and of the birth itself. You are such an incredibly beautiful woman!

    Thank you so much for sharing the sacredness in your post. It’s touched me deeply and made me dream, especially after the depressing day I had! Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    You’re a wonderful mama.

    • June 13, 2012 at 9:39 am #

      Thank you very much! I am happy to share and pleased that it touched you. Thank you for reading. :) – Kimber

  7. June 13, 2012 at 1:50 am #

    Oh, my goodness, I absolutely love your writing. So glad to have you with us for the carnival!

    It really sounds like you had an empowered birth despite the environment. I’m glad you were able to be so in control and so aware.

    I also hated being told not to push — what is that?!

    Your comment about Dora’s grilled cheese — ha ha ha! I have a 5-year-old, and it’s questions like that all. day. long.

    • June 15, 2012 at 3:37 am #

      Thank you, Lauren…this comment was in my spam folder, I apologize! I was very empowered and grateful just to be having another child. And now I get to do those Dora comments all over. LOL. Thank you for allowing us to participate.

  8. June 21, 2012 at 4:23 am #

    Kimber, I love it how you explain that knowledge is power. I will be birthing my first baby next month and am reading all the books I find valuable on the subject, attending prenatal classes and doing various exercises. I’ve always believed that fear is the biggest obstacle to success in anything and the biggest fear is the fear of the unknown. That’s why as you educate yourself you let go of fear and let in excitement and joy :) You are such an inspiration!

    • June 22, 2012 at 9:11 am #

      Thank you very much, Alinka, and congratulations! I am always excited to hear about the birth of a new baby. I truly believe that how we experience our births is all about our perspective. There is so much I know now that I didn’t before; but I knew how I’d been blessed. I hope your birth is what you want. Thank you for your comment, I am glad to inspire however I can. Much love to you and to your baby and family. – Kimber

  9. Arin
    June 28, 2012 at 12:47 am #

    Ok, so I am just going to ask whether than trying to search for it and I am not sure if I have seen it and keep running past it. So do the girls share the same Daddy? I haven’t been able to figure this out since I started following you. I know Ry goes to her dad’s and Lo misses her and that has me stumped <3

    • June 28, 2012 at 12:54 am #

      Lmbo! Arin we need to meet in real life. No, they don’t. Ry’s father is my exhub. Logan knows him and his mom has offered to have Lo over but it’s not the same. I *think* I’ve mentioned it before, but maybe not. Anyway I’d rather you ask. ;)

  10. Alanna
    June 28, 2012 at 11:31 am #

    Beautiful, absolutely beautiful! I love the description of Logan when she was first born.

    My 2 birth experiences were similar. With my oldest daughter I was induced, had an epidural, and struggled with breastfeeding. I supplemented the entire time and weaned her at 8 months. With my youngest I had a midwife, labored at home and arrived at the hospital an hour before she was born. I did supplement in the beginning but at 22 months she’s still nursing. Thank you for your sharing so openly. I don’t have a local momma tribe, but the virtual momma tribe has provided so much support. Thank you :)

    • June 28, 2012 at 4:44 pm #

      Thank you so much, Alanna. I don’t have a local tribe either, and I love reading and sharing with everyone. Thank you for sharing your experience, so cool that you supplemented and were able to continue bf’ing! Thanks for reading. – Kimber

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