Easy Joyful Natural Birth of Samantha Lynn: Part I – My Pregnancy
I barely ever go to the Dr. July of 2012, I went to my family Dr for a physical. I requested a pregnancy test, just in case. When the Dr came in with a big smile on his face, I knew I was pregnant. I told my husband I had news and handed him a Dr’s slip that same day. It said “Congratulations. You are Pregnant.” He was surprised and quickly accepted it.
I accepted that I was pregnant, although it had been 15 years since birthing my first daughter. At age 21, I chose an OB Dr., induction, epidural, at the hospital, birthing on my back (the position least conducive to an easy birth), with immediate chord clamping and the OB Dr. performing an episiotomy without telling me first. That’s what I knew. There are more choices the more you educate yourself. This time I was motivated to learn about natural childbirthing.
I began to seek resources to help myself be as physically and emotionally healthy as possible throughout pregnancy. I was nervous about my ability to birth natural. I wanted to learn all about natural birth. When I was 8 weeks along. In my pursuit to have a natural birth, I interviewed Chris Miller, one of the midwives in our area. She had a kind and pleasant demeanor and was polite and diplomatic upon first appearance. The birth center which she’d just opened, a mile from our home, was cozy and home like. I decided to go with her and continued my checkups regularly.
I checked out several books from the library and read voraciously the first few months of my pregnancy. Books like Birthing Within, Birthing A Better Way, 12 secrets for natural childbirth, and Get Me Out: A history of childbirth from the garden of eden to the sperm bank left an impression on me. I saw the documentaries “Business of Being Born” and “Pregnant in America,” which were eye opening. There are some disturbing realities about America’s maternity care system and what is happening to women and babies. The USA is last of 42 industrialized countries in infant and maternal mortality.
I started going to “Powerful Birth Group,” a monthly educational / support group for pregnant women and mom’s with babies. There I learned things about allowing labor to begin naturally, water birth, breastfeeding, and delayed chord clamping. I looked into joining an online support group. I checked out some online forums. The one I choose was Barefoot Birthing Support Group on facebook.
In October, I saw a great possibility for birthing well with Hypnobabies, hypnosis for childbirth. I had asked the other moms at Powerful Birth Group if they’d used hypnobabies and what they thought. The two that had taken Hypnobabies heartily recommended it. I, along with my husband Jay, chose to take Hypnobabies classes taught by hypnodoula Talya Matheson. It was like taking a pregnancy and childbirth class with the additional element of learning hypnosis for childbirth. The required commitments to listen to a different hypnosis CD daily and practice the techniques for a moment a few times a day required great expediency to achieve. We were so proud of ourselves for accomplishing the practice throughout the 6 weeks of class, and then for 9 more weeks. My husband even benefited, as he cleared some fears surrounding blood with the fear clearing CD, which was apparent during the birth. He also amped up his ability to support me as he used the birth partner CD.
I was very blessed with a very healthy and active pregnancy. I was well in body, mind, and spirit. I walked, swam, and did yoga regularly. I conscientiously ate well, juiced, and took raw vitamins and dha. I took the time to nurture and care for me via Access Bars® sessions, beginning October of 2012. During an Access Bars® session, the pregnant client is positioned to lie back in an antigravity chair. The practitioner gently touches points on the head. Often times, during an Access Bars session, a cascade of positive energies is triggered, whilst simultaneously allowing for all negative energies to be dissipated, dissolved, and flushed out. Receiving an Access Bars® session allows you to experience more ease with whatever is going on in your life. The deep relaxation that occurs for the client is worth its weigh in gold.
The last month, I slowed and tapered drastically my exercise, but still felt very comfortable moving in my own body. I credit consistent yoga practice and regular Access Bars® sessions for a healthy body and mind. N’eer did I have back pain or other complications. I knew that at At age 36, I was in my sexual prime. If I had gone to an OB at age 36, they would have treated me a lot more cautiously. At age 35, mainstream medicine classifies women as high risk. With such a healthy physiology which I instinctively knew I had, I did not need people treating me different based on a number picked for all women.
Also, after studying the pros and cons, I chose not to get an ultrasound. I did not have a flu shot as a pregnant women. I chose not to have a insanely sugary and nasty glucose test that probably does more harm than good unless you have actual symptoms. In lieu of this, I opted for to have my hgbA1C levels and blood glucose levels checked, and I watched for any out of the ordinary symptoms.* *This info is for informational purposes only. I personally studied extensively the evidence, information, and also included my intuition before making choices fitting my situation as I outline above. Please study your medical choices and choose for yourself based on your own body and situation.
Lastly, we kept the gender a surprise. I had a dream that I associated as meaning my baby was a boy early on. Later in my pregnancy, I pulled the “your daughter” angel card. I felt strongly since then it was a girl.
Easy Joyful Natural Birth of Samantha Lynn: Part II – Birthing time begins
I awoke early Sunday morning, March 3, having only slept 5 hr 30 min. I felt really good. (I’ve been that way a lot lately, after years of 8 hour patterns). I decided to organize my bookmarks. 2 hours later, I was almost done. I lost one of my folders entitled “social media” in the shuffle. Instead of searching for each site again individually, I asked my tech husband to see what he could do to recover the folder. It ended up that 90% of the work I did vanished. I had a melt down where I turn into a hysterical whiner. ”Ahhhh! I have to do this all over again!” Since I knew what to do, I got most of it done in another half an hour. After that, I decided to organize other aspects of my Mac’s existence as well, for the next 4 hours. I never do that. Since I rarely, if ever, organize my computer, I told myself, “This must be my version of nesting.” I hadn’t done much of any nesting up until now. I also dusted for an hour when my husband had attempted to recover my file. I hadn’t dusted in as long as I can remember. Yeah, I was nesting. That afternoon, I remember seeing ‘bloody show’ also.
Later on I was exhausted from lack of sleep and stress about the online tornado that wrecked havoc to my organizing prowess. So about 8 o’clock that night, I invited my husband to come on a walk with me and the dog. We took our dog Pickles out around the 1 mile neighborhood loop. That loop was about all I could do the last few weeks. When we got near our house, I told Jay, “One more loop, I am beginning to feel emotionally more even keel again.” We dropped the dog off home and kept going. I had begun to feel practice contractions. I paid little attention, as walking is when I normally had my practice contractions. With these though, I wondered “Do I have gas?” The sensation was longer and closer together, so we started to time them. I was able to walk through all of them, although with a couple, I walked slower. We arrived home, and I was proud of myself for the 2 mile walk I just did. The contractions, or gas (lol), went away after the walk.
About 10 o’clock, I decided to turn on my easy yoga video to create that much more peace of mind and relaxation of body and spirit. Shortly before 11pm, I offered to give my 15 yr old daughter an Access Bars® session. I had a goal to give her a session before the baby was born, because she hadn’t had one since the summer and we both thought that would create more ease and peace for her. Upon asking if she would like a session, she willingly climbed on the massage table and I sat in a chair behind her head. After performing the initial energy pulls, I had the pressure sensations that I wasn’t sure were gas or not. My daughter began timing these sensations with a contraction timer app on the iPhone. They were every 4 and a half minutes, lasting 43 seconds each, all through the 70 minute session. They were only slightly uncomfortable and hardly noticeable. We turned on my birthing music compilation and enjoyed the rest of the session.
My husband, who looked completely sleepy, was about to go to bed during the session. I said, “you might want to stay up since these are so consistent, just to time a few more afterwards and see what happens.” He really did not wish to be bothered. That didn’t sit well with me, although I didn’t express that sentiment. I thought he would be excited that something may finally be happening. It was the end of our Estimated Guess date period, the last day to be exact. The 40 week guess window was February 26-March 4. It was now March 4. Earlier a couple of weeks ago, he had talked about how excited he would be, even if it were the middle of the night, he wouldn’t sleep when things began occurring. I didn’t care either way. My point of view is let the birth partner sleep in early labor. I really would have let him sleep if I knew this was completely under control, but I really wanted him there!
When I voiced my concern, he agreed to stay up to time a few contractions, to see if they would become even stronger and closer together. I leaned on the birth ball over the bed while he lay on the bed timing them. At 12:30, they were a bit stronger, every 4 and a half minutes at 45 seconds each. Because my first child’s birth had been induced using pitocin, with the epidural coming after a handful of intense waves, I had nothing to compare these too. We decided to text my sisters, a couple of girlfriends, the midwife, and doula, just to give them a heads up that I was having pressure sensations unlike anything I’d yet experienced. My doula texted back to try to get some sleep if I could because she said I would need my energy later. I decided that was a good idea. I wanted to sleep, but I was too excited. At one point I was shivering with excitement. I put on some frankincense oil, which I learned from Essential Survival pregnancy e-book, calms anxiety. I took a warm shower. I inhaled Young Living’s Peace & Calming oil before my shower. Then I added a few drops of Lavender oil into the shower before climbing in, while my hubby timed contractions on the toilet seat. I got back on the birth ball to relax, and my husband lay on the bed facing me. My 15 yr old daughter got out the air mattress next to camp out next to our bed. We all hoped that this was it. She was excited and hopeful this was it. We turned on the Early Birthing Time hypnobabies CD track. I began to need my partner’s verbal and touch support during waves, as we’d practiced with Hypnobabies.
By 2am, the pressure waves were a bit stronger, lasting 53 sec, every 4 min. I felt a bit like I had to have a bowel movement with each birthing wave. I decided it best to call our midwife Chris. She said to come on in to the birth center. We got our birthing bags, pillows, and baby car seat to the car. Jay stopped at WalMart to get a veggie and fruit tray for the staff, while my daughter and I waited in the vehicle. My birthing music playlist was playing. I had begun using my hypnobabies tools of “Peace” and light switch to handle to birthing sensations. We drove the 1.5 miles to the birth center, while one of my favorite birthing songs played: Siulil a Run by Celtic Woman. That made me so happy hearing it. We got to the birth center and there were 2 flights of stairs to climb. I began a birthing wave just as a started up the stairs. I focused and climbed the stairs fast. It wasn’t easy but I wasn’t about to stop, either! The midwife apprentice met us at the top of the stairs in the birthing suite. She took my vitals and checked baby’s heart rate while I rested through waves on the couch. My daughter found a cozy chair to nap in for a half hour.
I was excited and walked around looking at my environment. I sat on my birth ball leaning over pillows on the bed as my husband lovingly assisted me through waves as I cued the beginning of waves.
A good thing about this birthing center is that we let things unfold naturally. Although the midwife apprentice offered to check to see how far dilated I was when we arrived, I declined. I trusted my own body and didn’t want the mind interfering or interjecting meaning behind the work my body intrinsically knew how to do. (I put little importance into how dilated the cervix is, this method is over relied in, in my opinion). I put my lotus oil from Vibes Up on. This oil is rare and functions as an opener, on all levels. I put out my altar items on the nightstand by the bed. First was my statue of the Goddess Kali, the great giver, protector, and destroyer of life. Second was my lotus oil from Vibes Up. Third was a purple picture of the flower of life. Lastly was my my 2011 Ogden Marathon Race Medal.
My midwife Chris walked in around 3am and without hesitating came straight towards me and gave me a BIG HUG. I just melted in love and knew I was in good hands. She has always made me feel completely loved and safe. I told her how I was doing. I told her I was still experiencing pressure that felt slightly like I needed to have a BM. (That’s not technically supposed to happen, I thought, til pushing. These were mild though. I knew from my research that a very powerful urge like that can occur when you start the pushing phase).
Around 3am the waves were coming closer and longer. I remember thinking and using the affirmation “MY BODY IS STRONG! AND CAPABLE.” which was also posted on the wall as a reminder in our the body’s ability to birth. I knew I was in active labor, without actually having this thought. It is only now that I think about it I make that connection.
We had stopped timing contractions since leaving home, but I knew it was time to alert our doula around 3:30am. I had asked for the water in the pool to be drawn about the same time we alerted our doula Talya to come in. Talya arrived about 4am. My husband left to the kitchen to take a snack break and Talya andithe midwife apprentice stayed and rubbed my back and pushed on my knees as I sat on the bed for a couple of intense waves. My doula was very good at calmly scripting as I cued her as to when other waves began. I really don’t remember much…things were focused.
“I’m ready” by Imani Uzuri came on when my husband came back and I could no longer sit. I knew I wouldn’t be comfortable lying on the bed either. So we stood. I would lean into my husband during waves and my doula would rub my back and shoulders and script softly into my ear to enhance the relaxation response. I also remember looking at the beautiful pictures on the wall of the hands touching (and also of one of the newborns) as an inspiration and a focusing agent.
I enjoyed hearing the music and that was one of my key supports. It was like the music was it’s own entity, supporting me throughout the entire birthing process. Music by Anton Mizerak, Enya, and Karunesh, among others, were featured on my playlist. Without fail, the perfect songs would come on just when I needed them. The only song that bugged me and was too manic was Calypso, by John Denver. I had my husband skip that one.
After a few birth waves of standing up and leaning into my husband against standing up, I declared that I would like to labor in the birthing pool. The midwives assisted me into the 101 degree water. It felt great. I welcomed the submersion into water that I’d so missed during pregnancy. Then I had a break from birthing waves. I did not have a pressure wave for a twice as long as had been occurring, which was nice. When they began again, I cued my team by saying ”Release” so Talya could gently guide me and Jay could also support me with touch as learned in hypnobabies class. There came a time when I told him, “that is too much pressure,” as his hands were being extra strong in an effort to help. I asked for only mild gentle touching. My husband says I would say “that was quite the peak” after a wave would subside, and that this went on for several waves. He said there came a point where that stopped altogether, and I really liked to just rest and get a sip of water in between waves. This was what is referred to as tranformation in hypnobabies terminology. I remember asking my doula to help remind me to breathe deeply, as I was getting to a point where it would be really easy to hold my breath, tense up, and resist the waves. About this time I requested lavender oil to help me relax also. The doula soaked a cloth with some and would place it near my nose. Also, a cold, wet cloth was placed on my forehead, which was refreshing. I attempted a couple of position changes, leaning over the tub, stomach facing the water. Once with Jay, and later once with Talya, I would gaze at them and they would lovingly affirm me, but I found that position was not at all comfortable. The most relaxing position for me was on my back, stomach facing up. I asked for the pool to be cooled down and I looked at myself in the mirror. I got nauseous a couple of times during birthing waves, only. I requested my altar items to be set on the wall board to gaze at, which the team immediately did. I remember asking Jay at one point to get in his swim trunks, in case I invited him in the water.
And then it happened. I gave a primal half-grunt, as a surge with the urge to push rushed through me. This one quickly came and went though, as if to signal me that it was time. I moved to my final birthing position, facing out towards the room. *One thing I will note is that the transformation waves were unpredictable in length and strength. Some were shorter and less intense, some strong and long. The rest of the birth experience seemed to be this way.
I invited my partner Jay into the tub. He sat opposite sides of me, and I put my legs on the sides, up over his forearms. This felt very good to me, and he would caress my legs and calves in between birthing waves. The urge to push was strong, and I naturally groaned loud, low, and long as I heaved and worked with the waves. I would say things like, “I love life,” “I love my body, thank you body,” and “I love everything, everybody!” I would wave my hands in the air to gather energy like I had done in yoga dancing. When a surge came on, I would grab the sides of the tub to help myself push. Talya would remind me to bring the hypno-anesthesia directly to where I needed it, and it would get closer to the exit, she would constantly remind me to “bring the hypo-anesthesia in front of your baby’s head.” That helped a lot. One of the midwives encouraged me to check to feel where the head was, it was 2 inches up from the exit. At one point. Chris pulled up a chair and encouraged me to focus. She said, “Don’t sit on the exit.” The midwife apprentice, on my left, would say “You’re doing great,” and other things.
I’d never felt anything so intense in my life when the pushing would start. I would want to tense up, but remember to relax like the hypnobabies practice I did for days and weeks on end encouraged. I groaned long and deeply while pushing with each surge. After several moments, Chris got my attention. She asked me to direct my energies down towards the baby’s exit, with my breath, like I did in yoga. She said it’s not good to let the baby stay in the canal too long. Chris asked me to feel my baby’s head gently. I did. My husband and daughter tell me I got the most melting look, exclaiming, “IT’S SO SOFT!”
Easy Joyful Natural Birth of Samantha Lynn Part III – She is Born
This is when I mentally noticed a change. The energy had been more scattered until then. Every time I knew it was time to push, I would direct the energies, with everything I had, down towards the exit. Every surge seemed to grow in intensity. I really wanted to
run away. There came a point of no return where I knew I had to jump over the edge…a real ”It’s now or never” decision. I prayed with everything I had and I took the plunge. As I did, I saw 3 dolphins in the water with me. One on each side at each hip, and one behind my back, supporting me deeply and perfectly. A couple more pushes only, I knew, before the head would appear. I asked the apprentice not to touch me, because, when she did, I felt myself contract the baby’s head back up the birth canal slightly, which I didn’t want. She had been massaging my perineum to encourage optimal stretching without tearing. With the next surge, I pushed with all my might, and the head was crowning! In between the last pushes, I looked at my husband, who was completely engaged with me. His energy contributed to me so much. Just staring at him helped immensely as I gathered my strength for each last push. With the next push, I looked at my husband. And before I knew it,
with the next push, she was up from the water into my arms and on my chest, and I was relieved it was over. She was so warm and cuddly. She cried well. I noticed the pool turned red. My husband, who normally has a hard time with blood, was completely with me in the experience. I credit this to hypnobabies partner and fear clearing tracks that he did to help him manage fears.
I held my baby for a couple of moments. Then I asked, “what do we have?” It was a girl. Wow! The chord was still intact, as was our wishes expressed in our Birthing Plan, for delayed chord clamping. There was a lot of bustling around me. I had to be reminded to keep the baby above water because it was a fine line between holding her too high where she couldn’t stay warm, and too low. At one point the midwife grabbed her away from me and turned her upside down briefly, because she had been close to
being submerged in the water. After that I made very sure she was kept safe. Very soon the midwife was pushing down on me again. It was slightly uncomfortable, but very soon after, the placenta slipped out very easily. Jay and my daughter Amanda together cut the chord. The chord had naturally clamped itself off by that time. No sooner had all this happened where I was escorted by 2 midwives out of the pool carefully and onto the bed into warm towels and blankets. Ahhh!
The baby came to me right away. Talya brought the most refreshing drink of coconut water I had ever tasted, telling me how well I did. Everyone told me how well I did. Talya stayed by me as I helped feed the baby for the first time. I affirmed that anybody who ever wanted to use Hypnobabies definitely should. I thanked her, telling her what a contribution her energy was for my birth. Then she said her goodbyes.
The midwives palpated my midsection a couple of times. They encouraged me to use the bathroom and have a shower if I would like. I did. Chris brought me supplies in the bathroom. Chris told me that pushing is something that doesn’t always come naturally and can seem awkward to work with, which I admitted it did. It had felt like I was on fire. It was the most intense sensations in my hips and back I’d ever felt. It took up all the courage I could muster not to run away from that feeling and to directly jump into it, but when I did, the baby was born. Chris was kind and had other things to say as well. While I was in the shower, the baby had her newborn checkup. All in all, the labor was from 11-6:30am, so about 7.5 hours. When I climbed back into bed, she brought me breakfast of fruit and bagel with cream cheese. The midwives told us to stay as long as we would like to rest and nap before going home. We stayed and rested and than gathered our belongings to go home in the early afternoon.
The neatest thing that happened is that the music ended just after I was done giving birth. The 2 songs I liked the most, a version of Amazing Grace by David Tolk, played when I got in the water. Dolphin Dreams by Jonathan Goldman, which featured Whale and Dolphin singing, was the last musical selection to play. This piece happened to be an hour long. Even Talya at one point during this piece reminded me during a pressure wave, of My Safe Place that I’d created in Hypnobabies class. Mine featured dolphins, among other things. That reminder really was loving and supportive. The fact that this music was the music during pushing was magical and miraculous to me. I really hadn’t set my mind to any particular birth. I just desired ease, joy, and comfort. I had asked myself daily “What would it take to have an easy, joyful, comfortable birth?”
The Access Consciousness® tools I remember using during birth was being in question. “What energy, space, and consciousness can I be to have total ease and clarity with this for all eternity?” At one point when I was resisting the energies, I repeated in my head, “Interesting point of view I have this point of view.” And even once when things were intense, “Everything is the opposite of what it appears to be, nothing is the opposite of what it appears to be,” came to me. I would ask “What position would my body like,” and “What’s a good question to ask here,” as needed also. Before I left to the birthing center, I quickly wrote to my online birthing support groups that I was in my birthing time, and to send good vibes my way.
Easy Joyful Natural Birth of Samantha Lynn: IV – What I know for sure
The one thing I know for sure is that when the mind and body are relaxed, and you get out of your own way, the birth process’s length and speed are optimal. There are many ways to do birth. What worked the best for me, was to go completely limp and loose in my mind, allowing my body to do the work, like I’d practiced with Hypnobabies. Birth instincts and the mother’s intuition are enhanced. When you feel safe and supported, with the people who are present and also with a calm environment, an optimal birth can be achieved. This is why I believe the birth center, with it’s dim lights and respect for the mother’s wishes in how to birth, created an optimal birthing environment for me. Birth is a right brain process. Hospitals can be overly reliant on left brain processes and technology, which can be counter-intuitive to birth. Birth is not an emergency waiting to happen, like western medicine paradigm often suggests.
Two articles that speak to what I know about the deeper initiation process and power inherent to women in birth are Healing Birth, Healing The Earth by Sarah J. Buckley, and Alchemy of Midwifery and Women’s Initiation, A talk given by Shivam Rachana. Two videos that completely inspired me in the last weeks were Birth as We Know It and Birth in Nature: Natural Birth.
I sensed during birth how important one’s tribe is. I couldn’t have done it alone. It made me that much more aware of the intensity that can be present during the birth experience. I am willing to be there for others in their birthing process, whether symbolic or real, as needed. I was so touched by this affirmation.
The Naming of Samantha Lynn
About an hour after she was born, I was lying in bed, getting comfortable and settled in with her. I talked to her and called her “Samantha.” It just popped out of my mouth. I was surprised that name pleased me so much. I told my husband and my daughter, and they also fell in love with that name. I think the being told us what she would like to be named. Just to be sure, we sat with a few names over the next week. However, the name Samantha just kept coming up. Originally, I would have thought it too masculine, but I knew this was her name.
Now for the middle name. My daughter Amanda Mae was named Mae in honor of one of my first elderly patients that I cared for on a regular basis. I loved the old fashioned name. Now you think “Rae” would rhyme well with “Mae.” It would have been cute. I wasn’t sure why, but I knew Samantha Lynn was the name. Not Samantha Rae or even Samantha Raelyn. Well, on day 8 we called the midwife and she wrote up her birth certificate officially. I told the midwife, “Samantha Lynn.” Then Amanda initiated creating a birth announcement we could email to family and put out on facebook. Amanda looked up the meaning of the name Lynn. It was “of the water.” This made me cry. Not only is she a Pisces, with a sensitive nature, but she chose to be born in the water! Wow! Samantha means good listener, flower. Spirt whispered this being is a gentle soul a couple of months before she was born. She is such a beautiful girl who gifts us with joy and love and peace every day.