When we found out I was pregnant, my husband and I sat down to talk about the kind of birth we wanted. He has been through his kids’ birth (9 and 12 years ago) and this was my first time.
Both previous births were traumatic. He was not willing to budge on the idea of having a home birth. We had to be in a hospital. We had to have an OB. There was no room for discussion. I remember sitting on the couch in our living room, he was sitting on the armchair across from me, and I was crying, telling him I had to have a natural birth. I know I can have a natural birth, and I am scared that being in a hospital I will not. The hardest part was when he told me he didn’t think I could do it. That my tolerance for pain is so low there is no way I’ll go without an epidural. I cried so much that morning, and when he went to work I started researching. A midwife was now off the table, so I had to find another option. I called my doula friend and neighbor, Amira over and shared the news with her. She was so excited for us, and was so supportive that we’ll find the right OB for me. I felt some relief.
As I was searching for a natural-minded OB who worked at a nearby hospital with low c-section rates I found the name Rebecca Perlow on a message board. Within minutes of finding this name, Amira sends me a text with the number for “the OB who is most like a midwife in the valley” I match the numbers- they are the same! Immediately I felt a sense of relief, I’m in good hands, I remembered my Higher Power and relaxed into knowing I was going to be taken care of.
When I met with Dr. Perlow weeks later I was again reassured that I found the right OB. She not only discussed the physical with me, but also the emotional and the energy my husband was carrying with him, and how that could affect our birth. Throughout our monthly visits, she’d check in with me on our relationship, our sex life, and our connection. The best advice she gave me was “put down the research and go watch a sunset.”
During my 9 months of pregnancy, I attended prenatal yoga, barre classes, TRX and sculpt, I hiked and kept really active. I was really grateful that I had no morning sickness & no food aversions. I gained 40lbs and felt stunning the whole time. I had weeks in which I was in severe pain. I had bad sciatica and muscle cramps and a pulled muscle in my arm, oh and hemorrhoids! I saw the Chiropractor on a weekly (sometimes biweekly) basis. Magnesium in my water helped so much- it relieved all of those pains and attributed to how my labor went, and baths with Epsom salt.
I joined Corrine Brown’s Love Your Labour program which is an online course for pregnancy & birth. I followed Corrine’s protocol to prevent GBS. I sat on a ball as often as I could and I listened to birth affirmations almost daily while taking slow walks through the neighborhood.
My husband and I also attended an in-person birthing class. This class brought up a lot of discussion, fear, frustration and eventually a deeper connection with each other and greater trust. When I talked with my OB about it, she said the main reason she recommends couples take that class is for those reasons, more so than the actual practical labor information.
Around week 37 I started a homeopathic protocol and drank Red Raspberry Leaf tea on a daily basis. By week 38 I was drinking this tea by the gallons. Also by week 38 I was taking Evening Primrose Oil orally and inserting it vaginally as well. I was also doing perineal massage with sweet almond oil daily for about 3-5 minutes. During the last week I ate pineapple and increased my walks- by this time I was walking slower, really taking in the sky, the trees, the flowers. I was listening to birth meditations while walking and rubbing my belly, with the focus of full relaxation.
Our baby was born 2 days before our “due date”. We had a totally natural delivery. No medications, no interventions. Arrived at the hospital 8cm dilated and 50 minutes later baby was in my arms. After delivery (next post for birth story in detail), Dr. Perlow was leaving our room and looked over at me and said, “This was a very healing experience for your husband.” It was healing on many levels.
I’m really grateful that I could dedicate the 9 months to go all in to the pregnancy. There were lots of emotions that came up, some PTSD in the first few months that felt like a toxic wave of emotions. I got so much help from the people in my life (worked weekly with my Energy person Scott Clover), reached out for support from my Sponsor and other women from my Alanon family. I read books, I watched videos, I asked questions, I found answers, I wrote, I prayed, I lit candles, I planned, I visualized, I did so much work! I think that’s why toward the end as I was feeling the birth getting closer I was able to relax into it. I was able to slow down and be at ease. I wasn’t worried, or scared. I felt I had a good support system and I was ready to deliver my baby into the world.