Powerful birth mama Amber shares her beautiful birth story of her son Benjamin Levi!
He surprises everyone with a quick labor even though he was posterior-stargazing, what and amazing birth story!
Benjamin Levi Gordon was born at 1:39 on Monday, September 24th. He was 7 lbs. 7 oz, 20 in. long, and had a 14 in. head.
My Birth Story (sorry if it’s a bit long!):
My due date came and left and when I got to the 41 week mark, I started to worry that I may not be able to do the home water birth we were planning. That week I had been wearing myself ragged trying to do mild things to get things going: drinking lots of red raspberry leaf tea, walking at least a mile every day, sex, nipple stimulation, but nothing really seemed to be doing anything. I had also had a hard time really being able to tell if i was having braxton hicks, even though I seemed to have them all the time at my appointments.
Things can suddenly happen right out of the blue because at 12:30 pm, on Sunday, Sept 23rd, at 41 weeks exactly, while sitting at the dinner table playing a game on my ipad, my water broke. In between using the bathroom and changing my underwear a million times I called my midwife and she asked me if I was having contractions. I wasn’t, just a little cramping. She explained that the law states that after waters have released, I had to be in active labor by 12 hours and have the baby by 24 or else I would need to go to the hospital. This meant we needed to look into natural inducement methods.
She said we could start things with castor oil, or wait a few hours. I chose to wait a few hours to see if the contractions would start on their own. Then I took a bath and noticed my water released even more, and it had a green tint, which i was concerned about. I called my midwife again and she thought perhaps it would be best to stop by and check me. I called over my doula, and we sent my dogs to my mother-in-law’s house. The doula suggested I lay down and rest while I could.
It wasn’t easy because I was so excited.
At 2:30, after two hours and no strong contractions, my midwife arrived and checked me. I was 3 cm dilated. She swept my membranes and started me on homepathics to get contractions going gently, then left my doula with further instructions. Thank goodness the doula was there, because there is no way either me or my husband would have been able to follow all the instructions, we were too excited and flustered. My husband made me a castor oil smoothie, that actually tasted really good with orange juice and vanilla ice cream.
Then we waited to see if it would kick in and we did our labor project: making lactation cookies.
I actually watched my husband do most of it, because the contractions started. So did the castor oil, which I’m kind of glad for, because it cleared my system out completely. Since the contractions began but weren’t too close together, we started alternating blue and black cohosh tincture. My husband and I also took a couple showers together and did some nipple stimulation. Then my doula suggested I walk the house and sway my hips while she timed my contractions. Everytime a contraction came I would stop walking and do what I had to to get through it.
Leaning on the kitchen island helped a lot.
I can’t remember when, but after we’d finished the last round of blue and black cohosh, we monitored the contractions to see if they were going good on their own, and not just because of the natural inducement methods. They did. I kept begging to use the birth pool, but we were concerned it would slow my contractions before they had a chance to get strong enough.
By 8:00pm I was in active labor.
I was also feeling a ton of pain in my back, so thank goodness for all the hip opening exercises and squatting we did in yoga, because I spent 5 hours in a modified squatting position. It was the only thing that really felt good. My doula would massage my back with a heated rice pack, and that felt soooooo good. Somehow in all of this the birth pool was filled. The midwife arrived at 10:00 pm and the first thing I asked was “can I get in the birth pool now!?!” as soon as she said yes I stripped and jumped in.
Then the hard work began. I started pushing.
My doula was amazing and would breathe with me through each contraction, my midwife would push on my back and I gripped the handles in the pool. In between a few contractions the midwife’s assistant would use the doppler to monitor the baby’s heartbeat. My husband mostly watched at this point, which is fine, because I really needed the support of my doula and the midwives. At some point it felt as though he might be stuck, and I said so, because after every push i would reach down and feel his head and it wasn’t progressing.
The midwife suggested I flip over, which I was scared to do, but I tried it.
My husband would tell me each time that he could see a little more and that helped to encourage me. At the end my husband came and sat behind me on the birth ball and with each push, I’d pull on his hands, while the midwife and the doula each held my legs. Every push I would float up in the water and it felt like doing crunches.
Just when I felt like I couldn’t push anymore, his head came out and the midwives were amazed because he was facing up, or “star-gazing”.
I’d been birthing a posterior baby and no one had known it! It was so amazing to be able to stare into my baby’s face, calmly floating in the water. With a few more pushes I pushed him out and they told me to “grab your baby”. I picked him up from the water and laid him on my chest.
He kept staring with his huge, curious, calm eyes at my husband. Again, the midwife told me how she hadn’t seen a star-gazing baby in 5 years. Considering his unique position, the labor was fairly short. I was in active labor for only 5 hours. If I’d known the baby was posterior, I probably would have worried, so I’m glad I didn’t know!
I did have tearing, again, because of his unique position, which the midwives handled afterwards. Then my husband and I, and my baby were able to lay down to sleep in our own bed.
I am so glad I was able to have a birth in the comfort of my own home, and I hope you all get to have the kinds of births you want, even if they don’t go quite as you expected them to!
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