Jaden’s Water Birth Story

Okay…so…I’m just gonna’ come across as a hippie. There’s no way around it. And, I live in Portland, Oregon so the shoe fits, right? But, truthfully, this Oklahoma reared girl who was born in a hospital and grew up on McDonald’s, factory-farmed meat and pesticide-laden produce just didn’t know any better then…and now I do. I wrote my birth story with my first one and it was posted on the birthing center’s website a few years back. I thought, ‘If I have the guts to share in open public/worldwide web then, why can’t I do the same now. So, here I am about to share my birth story of my son 4 1/2 years ago. I had him at Andaluz Waterbirth Center. It was an unassisted, natural water birth and my husband  and I birthed our son together in calm, relaxed water. Yep. Hippie. I know. So…pull up a chair and get ready to read and see some vulnerability on my end.

First, I firmly believe in the power of women to birth without intervention. No, I am not anti-hospital or anti-OB, but I am for women birthing how they want to birth and empowering them to do so. When I found out I was pregnant with my first I went into a tail spin of research that spit me out with certain conclusions I wouldn’t have imagined I’d end up with. I was in school at the time finishing up my Bachelors and I ended up doing an 18-page research paper on the medicalization of childbirth in America.  After doing extensive research for almost a year before my son was born, I now know that approximately only 2% of women actually need intervention(s). I know. Crazy. I watched and read everything I could get my hands  on:

The Business of Being Born

More Business of Being Born

Orgasmic Birth: The Best Kept Secret (I know, right?)

Pushed: The Painful Truth About Childbirth and Modern Maternity Care

Born in the USA: How a Broken Maternity System Must Be Fixed to Put Women and Children First (written by an OB who practiced for over 25 yrs.)

Birth: The Surprising History of How We Are Born

Ina May Gaskin’s Guide to Childbirth (Ina May is a world-renowned midwife. She’s amazing and one smart lady. You can watch more about her in ‘More Business of Being Born. I am reading her guide to childbirth now.)

HypnoBirthing: The Mongan Method: A Natural Approach to a Safe, Easier, More Comfortable Birthing (method we used to birth, it’s pretty freakin’ amazing)

And just like the food industry, my eyes were open. Wide open. Something in me became fierce, because once again, I couldn’t un-know what I knew. I had this knowledge of a broken maternity and healthcare system and had to face it head on. I decided at that point, there was no way I could birth in a hospital. On the defense, I know what you’re thinking. It could be along the lines of ‘are you crazy?’ or maybe more of ‘do you know what can happen?’ or maybe you think I come across as judgmental because you birthed in a hospital. Maybe I am crazy, yes I know what can happen and no, I don’t judge you for the birth experience you had. At the end of the day, we want healthy mama and baby. I would go further to say we want a healthy mama and baby and I also want each mama to get the birthing experience she wants. After my own quest, I now know that when we stay out of women’s way as they birth (i.e. interventions: induction, pitocin, epidurals, etc.), we have much better outcomes and statistics for mama and baby. So, there’s that. I tell you guys, I knew nothing of this before I dug in deep and read and learned and talked with people on both sides. It was natural, pain-free once I hit the water, and euphoric: dim lights, candles, my playlist going, Kyle, my husband in the tub with me as each ‘wave’ (contraction) hit and it actually felt incredible!! Say wha?! Yeah, amazing, actually. It was not only painless, but it truly felt good to birth. I, and every woman out there, was born with the capability to birth just like any other mammal. It is God and nature’s design for women to know how to do this. And it is empowering, the most empowering thing I have ever done. This is my natural, hypno, water birth story of my firstborn.

Jaden’s Birth Story

{Written on J’s 1st Birthday. He is now 4 1/2.}

I had the iPod Touch playing in the background this morning for Jaden and me. It was set to shuffle. He loves to look at it and point to it as he eats breakfast, wishing with all of his might he could touch it. But alas, it sits propped up in the speaker in our window overlooking our table and out of his reach. So, everyday he points to it while he’s eating his breakfast…his lunch…and his dinner, hoping one day he can push the “buttons.”

After breakfast, I let him down to play for a bit. When I finished I got up and went over to him. I leaned down to pick him up with thoughts of his birth and his birthday fresh on my mind; he turns 1 today. The second I leaned over him Phil Collins’ “Take Me Home” began to play. “You have to be kidding me,” I said still leaning over as I looked up to the ceiling, as if God and I had this inside joke. The timing could not have been more apropos.

Before birth I had made an infinite playlist of songs ready to be played during what could be hours of labor. Little did I know we would only have an hour from the time we got to the birthing center to the time Jaden was born. And, out of all of the countless songs that could have played during my labor, my very short labor, Phil Collins “Take Me Home” was the one. It will live in infamy in our lives as the song that brought Jaden into the world.
Every time I hear it a lump forms in my throat, tears well up in my eyes and I am transported back into time as if my body was there. I can sense everything, the feeling of being in the water, the warm glow of the candles burning next to me, the sound of music in the background as our birthing playlist played, and water swaying back and forth all around my husband Kyle and I, as I breathed him down. I remember the grip of Kyle’s hands on my forearms, so strong as I leaned on him for support, and the out-of-body experience of being there but not really being there as if I was outside of the situation looking down, but also fully present. My heart’s fullness of hope and anticipation, excitement and exhilaration was overwhelming as my son’s departure out of me and into the world was unfolding with each moment.

‘A year ago today I would be going into labor 6 1/2 hours from now. I take this day to remember. Remember where I was, how I felt, and what took place one year ago. I remember Kyle asked if I wanted to walk the mall that evening. I said no, I wanted to stay in. In some way I think I knew. He came home and I tried to make dinner, but ended up sitting partway through. He took over and we sat at our little two person bar at the edge of our kitchen counter and ate dinner together. I remember I was looking up how to make homemade Laborade when all of a sudden I needed to go to the bathroom. I remember after I went I stood up  and this long line of liquid was coming down (TMI) and then everything went foggy. I tried to take a step forward and hit the ground. I couldn’t walk. And thus began my labor. 8:30 pm February 17th, 2009. The chain of events that would normally transpire were on rapid speed. My contractions were coming fast… and hard. I began to craw and Kyle yelled ‘You’re not doing it right! (regarding the very peaceful hypnobirthing breathing that was supposed to be taking place). I punched the air in his direction over and over again with my eyes closed and screamed, ‘It hurts, it hurts!!!’ and then proceeded to crawl on all fours up our flight of stairs.

Looking back you would wonder where in the hell I was going ’cause no sane person going through that much crazy would try to get up a flight of stairs. But alas, to the tub! Apparently. It was so out of body that it was as if all  my mammalian ability took over and I just wanted to get to water, which happened to be up a flight of stairs on our second floor. So I made my way up those stairs between contractions while Kyle was on the phone with our midwife. He had put a towel down in the shape of a square in the nursery so when I finally made my way up the stairs I took a break in the nursery before continuing to the tub. I sat there over the towel on all fours and just breathed. As he was talking to my midwife trying to figure out what to do a big gush of water came rushing out and down onto the towel. Yep. Water = broke. And the intensity just didn’t stop. I finally got to the tub. The pain was almost unbearable, Kyle was frantically packing the car and making phone calls in between helping me in the water, then out of the water, then to my bed as I crawled out of it, then in it again because nowhere was a place where comfort existed. All I wanted was the birth I had envisioned, but this wasn’t it. I just wanted to get to the birthing center, to be in the big birthing tub and the warm water. Just get me to the water. Get me to the birthing center. And get me there he did.

The next ten minutes felt like the longest minutes of my life. Kyle practically carried me to the car. I still couldn’t walk. I stayed on all fours once I made it in the car with my rear facing the windshield, my knees on the seat and my head facing the back window. Yep. That’s how it went down. My eyes were closed as I focused and prayed the entire time he drove and I increased my tone when I started having the urge to bear down (i.e. push) seven minutes down the road. Kyle discovered a new definition of speed as he raced through every green light (thank, God) from Beaverton to Naito Parkway (a suburb to downtown Portland) and made it in record timing. It was 10:00 pm. As I stumbled out of the car and almost fell to my knees, Joy (my midwife) came rushing out of Andaluz to meet us and she and Kyle both counted and on three made me stand and walk as fast as I could in between waves (contractions) to the birthing room as they lifted each of my arms. I don’t know how I got undressed and into the tub, but somehow it happened and quickly without assistance. I just wanted the water.

And then…peace. It was as if time stood still for a moment and everything was right in the world. The lights were dimly lit, the candles were all around, my labor playlist was going and I was in the water. Warm water, magical water. Water that made all that seemed wrong dissipate and cease. I felt no pain. In fact, I felt really, really good.
Rama

Was this happening? The birth I always longed for? Calm, painless and so very present that every second would be remembered with joy? It was happening. From then on I felt nothing but complete and utter exhilaration as Kyle joined me in the water and I swayed back in for with each wave. We laughed, cried even made jokes and held each other as we birthed our baby boy together.

After he was close to being out, Phill Collins began to sing. “Take, take me home…” I became even more determined as I openly breathed him down one wave after another. If it was any other moment I would have probably thought it was the cheesiest thing in the world, but it wasn’t any other moment, it was that moment. “Take, take me home,” it was as if it was Jaden’s anthem as I breathed him down slowly but with purpose. “Take, take me home, ” the song sang as I waited to see him, to lay eyes on my son for the first time. What would he look like? Feel like? “Take, take me home,” I remember as his head was crowning and Joy told me to reach down and feel to see if he was there and I did, and he was. I will never forget that. Absolutely indescribable. My heart was overflowing. He came at 11:01 pm his due date night, all 8 lbs. 13 oz., 21 inches and into his parents arms. He was home.’

And that was it. 2.5 hours after it began. Jaden came into the world. We stayed up that night ’til 3 am on a high of emotions. Family and close friends came in and out for those first few hours as we basked in the joy of our baby boy. The on-call midwife checked in on us periodically, but mostly just gave us our privacy. We were now a family of 3. We stayed for two days, which was an option they gave and some of the best memories we had of those two days were giving our little one his first bath as a family in the big, beautiful tub, ordering take-out from our favorite Middle Eastern restaurant from the book of restaurants that was part of our stay and then eating it in our big hotel-like bed with our midwife sitting on the edge of it eating with us as we all talked about life and love. The care we were given by everyone at the birthing center was incredible. The staff brought in organic herbs from their gardens for sitz baths and homemade food they made us for meals (also from their gardens) and cramp bark tea I was given to drink to help with the uterine contractions that bring it back to normal size, which I didn’t even know existed until then, and so many more little intricacies that made our entire experience one I would do again in a heartbeat.

Red Room

Waterbirth

mama & k

Waterbirth

Waterbirth

Mama &  Waterbirth

Newborn Jaden

Waterbirth

Waterbirth

If you have ever considered birthing in a birthing center or at home with a midwife, look into it. I say this with care because everyone is different and some births are considered high risk, but do your research, interview different midwives, read some of the books above (especially Ina May’s) and definitely watch the Business of Being Born and other films you can get your hands on. It is empowering, it is fierce, it is all things woman. It is birth.

*Jaden is now 4 1/2 and I am currently waiting for our second to arrive. I’m 38 weeks and 1 day and we are having a home birth this time. I didn’t really want to start pushing in the car again. 😉 We’re ready. Keep you posted…

birthing

 

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7 Comments

  • Nancy Cole says:

    child birth is not a disease, and this is beautiful. I am77, miss my husband, he has been gone 14 years, we have 5 living children who are from 47 to 57. My oldest daughter had her first baby in my bed, Had to be in town, near the hospital in case of complications. You are blessed because of your memories of child birth. Congratulations, you can show others there is a better way for everything on earth. 🙂

    • Freshly Grown says:

      Nancy, tears. Thank you for your words. I wasn’t sure I wanted to post it because it can be so controversial even though it shouldn’t be at all. Blessings to you and your family. -Rama (rayma)

  • Jane says:

    I am glad you posted this as well! We are currently dealing with infertility, TTC, and I love all the resources you posted! What a beautiful story, and good luck with your second!

    • Freshly Grown says:

      Jane, thank you and I hope you and your partner get the outcome you want with fertility and birth. I focus solely on diet and the food aspect and I’m sure you have looked at fertility and the link to your diet, but if not definitely check it out. I had a 20% chance of infertility due to my cancer, I know, small, but it was something I thought about a lot throughout my twenties and after cancer. I soo hope you guys are able to have the outcome you want. Best. -Rama (rayma)

  • Sara Soltani Gobet says:

    Oh Rama,
    Tears are streaming down my face (for a multitude of reasons) your birthing story is just so beautiful. Thank you for sharing! It’s been hard it seems everyone we know is welcoming new additions, and its made me rethink “the baby factory is closed” statements I had made previously regarding our own family. Reading stories like yours proves to be inspirational & empowering knowing that there is another way (As with all things that become an “industry”) and that it can be an absolutely beautiful experience. I unfortunately had both my children at St.Vincents (which I liken to a baby factory with the sheer amount of volume of births they have every year, I feel reducing “quality” of care recieved) having not know there were other options. Silly me, there are always options, we just have to know to look for them 🙂
    In a nutshell reading your story is the exact opposite of birth control and my hubs better watch out lol!
    Looking forward to you sharing another lovely story and pics of your home birth with your baby girl! Congrats again I’m excited for you that she’s almost here!
    🙂 Sara

    • Freshly Grown says:

      🙂 🙂 Thanks, Sara. I’m so glad it’s opened up a door of possibility for you. Yes, there are other ways, beautiful ways. I know you’re a reader and a researcher. Get your hands on the above material. It will change your world and keep me posted on more babies…!! -Rama

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