Posts tagged natural birth
Our @LittleAmazing Birth Story PART TWO
Photo Credit: Jenny Quicksall

Photo Credit: Jenny Quicksall

If you enjoyed reading PART ONE of Milly's birth story, keep reading to learn what I think helped me have a smooth labor and delivery. 

THE “A” TEAM From the moment I met the Owner/Certified Nurse Midwife, Simona and her team of professionals at the Natural Birth Center, I knew it was the place I wanted to deliver our baby and where I would get the best care possible. I appreciate that Simona is a certified nurse in addition to a midwife. She has attended over 1,000 births and her reputation precedes her. The environment she has created is welcoming, empowering and their philosophy is simple.  They believe that "every woman has the innate wisdom, power and sensibility to birth her baby naturally."  Our bodies were made to do this and their midwives and birth team trust in your own strengths and wisdom as a woman and soon to be mother.  It made me feel good to be in a place where I would be surrounded by women who support my decision to give birth naturally, a place where I would have a voice to make decisions about myself, my baby and my birth. I also loved the idea that I would be in a comfortable environment similar to my home, not a sterile hospital that would make me feel like I was having a medical procedure done instead of a beautiful, natural birth. And, since the birth center is across the street from Cedars Sinai Hospital, it was comforting to know that if myself and the baby needed to be transferred, we were close by.  I also loved that I could have the water birth I had envisioned for myself and our baby at the birth center-something you can't do at a hospital.  And finally, I loved the sense of community at the birth center and the complete trust and love I felt when I was there. 

HYPNOBIRTHING So much of our amazing birth story I credit to hypnobirthing.  Mr. A and I studied with Nina Phelan of The Soulful Birth every week the month before Little A was born.  Nina's class absolutely prepared us for our natural birth.  She was imperative to our birth journey.  Using the Mongan Method, Nina taught us how to relax and trust our birth journey.  I learned how to connect to my body and our baby and tune in to the natural birthing process.  She is an incredible teacher.  Because of the breathing and visualization techniques we learned I was also able to get through the intensity of labor in a relaxed pain-free state. The hypnobirthing classes very much prepared both of us. Nina's class prepared Mr. A so he could be the best possible birth companion.  He was able to help me stay focused and grounded during labor. He knew exactly how to support me through breathing, counting the waves (or contractions) and offering massages during the different stages of labor. He was my constant and my rock-keeping me motivated throughout the process.

No matter what kind of birth you envision for yourself and your baby, hypnobirthing is a powerful, priceless skill that will help you release any fear you have about birth, help you manage pain and stress levels and an incredible tool you can take with you throughout other areas of your life.  

DOULA  I think having a doula is key especially if you're having a natural birth and plan on laboring at home as long as possible.  We were referred to our doula, Darla of Darla's Darling Doula Service from our good friends who hired her for the birth of their daughter two years ago. They swore by her and said it made all the difference in the world having her on their birth team. We really appreciated that she is also a labor and delivery nurse so her birthing experience was unparalleled. I also liked that she is a wonderful mama of four, also had natural births and is extremely tuned in and was supportive of our birth plan. The way I thought of our relationship with her was that Mr. A would be in front of me so I could lock eyes with him, hold his hand and lean on him for emotional support. Darla would be behind me, giving me pressure massages and offering physical support. This would allow Mr. A to be my husband, my rock, my birth partner-and for him to not have to stress or worry about knowing all of the answers or to need to remember everything we learned in our birthing class because we had Darla.  For us, being first time parents, there are so many unknowns and having a doula on call was imperative. As soon as my water broke I texted Darla to give her a heads up and keep her posted on my progress.  A lot of first time parents end up going to the hospital or birthing center too early so having a doula helps you determine how far along you are so you don't go to the hospital prematurely.  In our case, Darla saved us from having Little Amazing at home since my labor did move so quickly! I thought I had time but if she hadn't of told Mr. A to get me in the car and head to the birthing center, we would have definitely had Little A at home (which was not the plan at all)!

MIND, BODY, SOUL I believe the harmony of mind, body and soul played a huge part in the ease of Milly's birth.  Labor and delivery is obviously a very physical journey so I knew I needed to keep my body strong throughout my pregnancy.  From the beginning of my pregnancy I practiced stretching to keep my pelvis and hips open, stayed extremely hydrated, did light exercise (mostly walking) and attended prenatal yoga a couple times a week at Happy Baby LA.  I'm obsessed with this studio and their holistic approach to creating a safe, nurturing place for mommy and baby.  I love the sense of community there and how you are surrounded with other mamas. The instructors, the people and the vibe is all positive. It's completely different than going to a traditional yoga studio that offers prenatal yoga. One of my absolute favorite prenatal yoga classes is taught by Khefri who uses Kundalini Yoga, meditation and mantra to nurture the mind, body and spirit. Her class helped me practice my breathing, allowed me to focus on my baby and really put me in touch with my body.  Her class really prepares you to have an empowered pregnancy and birth. The hour and a half I was there each week was so powerful. Every time I left class I felt closer than ever to my baby and more excited about my delivery.

I've always believed in the power of affirmations. During my pregnancy I consistently told myself affirmations. I wrote them down over and over again, would say them out loud and focused on them throughout the day. "Thoughts become things." This is a belief I carry with me through other areas of my life as well.  I told myself I would have a beautiful, calm, peaceful, healthy natural birth. Anytime I heard a positive birth story, I would think about it, take all of the amazing aspects from it and visualize my own birth story. I imagined it all of the time and I was very specific. I even told myself I wouldn't be at the birth center longer than 3 hours...and I actually believed it.  I would paint the picture over and over again of what Little Amazing's birth would be like. I think half of having a natural birth is committing to it. Most importantly, I really believed it would happen that way. In the deepest part of my soul, I believed that's exactly how it would be.  I would consistently have talks with God about his plan and praised him for this blessing. Everyday I would thank Him for choosing us to be Little A's parents and for this healthy, amazing baby.  It's such a miracle to get pregnant and to have a healthy pregnancy and it's something neither of us takes for granted.  And so I would quiet any negative noise I would hear anytime I shared I was having a natural birth at a birth center (which happened often). And Mr. A and I would choose to only focus on our choice, our pregnancy and the power of positive thoughts.  Even when I started getting painful back labor and acid reflex toward the end of my pregnancy we fed our minds with positive thoughts and focused only on the positive. This painful back labor only meant we were getting that much closer to meeting our baby!

YOU & ME + BABY MAKES THREE  I couldn't have done any of this without Mr. A. Having an active, hands-on partner during my pregnancy and delivery made a world of a difference.  I can't imagine going through any of this without him.  My "easy" pregnancy was mostly easy because Mr. A helped me so much. In the first trimester when I was so sleepy I could barely keep my eyes open after coming home from work at 7pm, he would do all of the cooking and cleaning. During all of our baby classes Mr. A is the one who took notes, asked questions and made sure we did all of our homework.  All of the day to day mundane "life" things at home he handled. This allowed me to focus on my body and the baby and not worry about anything.   He gave me a break when I needed it and even when I didn't think I did. He encouraged me to go to prenatal yoga, booked prenatal massages, helped me eat right, made sure we went on date night each week.  When I started getting pregnancy insomnia in my third trimester and the braxton hicks and back labor would hit in the early morning hours, he would get up with me and massage my back, get me water and help me go back to sleep.  He came to every baby appointment with excitement and joy. And on the morning of July 7, 2017 when my water broke and our pre-labor began, Mr. A was there supporting me, holding me and encouraging me. When I got tense and my breathing got off track, he helped me relax and calm down. His overall excitement about us being pregnant was powerful in making me feel secure and excited too. 

TRUST When it comes down to why I think I had such a beautiful birth experience it is all centered around TRUST. I trusted my birthing team beyond measure. Even when I realized my midwife's assistant would be delivering Little A because our midwife wasn't there yet, I felt confident and had complete trust in her.  Hypnobirthing taught me to trust my body, trust my baby and trust the birthing process.  Most importantly, I trusted my partner that no matter what, he'd be with me right by my side. I knew I would never feel alone or scared because I was holding on to him. Mr. A was holding me up when I was too weak,  and holding my hand when I delivered our baby girl. 







Our @LittleAmazing Birth Story PART ONE
Our precious babe!

Our precious babe!

Full disclosure: Little A is currently on my breast learning how to latch so I’m using two fingers to type.  Today was a big day! We took her to her first visit to the pediatrician, ran some errands and got home later than I thought we would. I planned on writing this birth story last night but was so sleepy between feedings! Plus I can’t put her down and I know I’m supposed to sleep when the baby sleeps but how is that possible when I can’t stop staring at her?

Our @LittleAmazing Birth Story PART ONE

Milly Blake Simon

Born 7.7.17 at 7:07am

6lbs. 7.5 oz 19.5” long

Despite having an “easy” pregnancy and really enjoying being pregnant, like many other mamas-to-be, the last couple of weeks of pregnancy are tough.  You feel like your body is maxed out. There’s just no way there is any more room for this baby to grow.  It was getting harder to bend, harder to breathe and days on set were leaving my ankles as swollen as softballs.  During the last two weeks it was especially tough as I started getting Braxton hicks and back labor. The Braxton hicks were manageable. The back labor on the other hand, was brutal. It felt like fire and it would come every hour or so…even at night- so not a lot of sleep for this mama-to-be.  The only thing that would relieve it was stretching my back and doing cat cow pose on all fours or rotating my hips on a yoga ball for several minutes. I actually had a segment on the 4th of July for KTLA and between teases I left set to go to the green room and do cat cow pose on the floor to relieve the pressure! Thank goodness no one saw this pregnant lady in her dress on all fours!

The day before Little A came I was ready. Mentally and physically I felt like she was going to come on the 7th of July. My original estimated due date was 7.17.17 but Mr. A and I had joked that it would totally be OK if Little A came on 7.7.17. Both dates are pretty lucky! On Thursday July 6th, I had a meeting in Studio City and then decided to go to Caioti Cafe to get “The Salad.” This magical salad is known to naturally induce labor. I had heard all about it and definitely wanted to try it. I mean- it couldn’t hurt. Plus, I had to eat something for lunch! The salad is basically greens, walnuts and Gorgonzola cheese but the secret is in the balsamic dressing. I ordered the salad and asked for extra dressing. I stopped by POPSUGAR Studios to grab some mail and told all the girls to send 7.7 vibes my way.

When I got home I decided it was game time. I started going down the list of natural ways to induce labor. I ate the salad, drank some raspberry leaf tea (another thing known to get contractions going), did some lunges and continued down the checklist.  I even had Mr. A do some acupressure on me.  We went to bed around 10pm and I put it all in God’s hands.  I obviously know the baby will come when the baby is ready but I had a good feeling going to bed. 

At 1:24am I was jolted awake by a contraction and the feeling that my water was breaking. I ran to the bathroom just in time and felt my water break. Immediately I started having contractions about 3-5 minutes apart. I texted our doula, Darla to let her know what was going on.  I thought maybe I’d try and go back to bed a bit. What a joke. The contractions were too close together so I stayed in the bathroom for a little over an hour and timed them on my phone. They were strong and consistent.  The hour flew by.  At this point I didn’t realize Mr. A wasn’t awake. He had been waking up with me every hour for the last two weeks to give me counter massages anytime I had back labor so I didn’t realize at 3:00am that he was still sleeping. I decided to wake him up and tell him the exciting news. I was beaming from ear to ear. Knowing my water broke and I was in active labor just made me so excited because I knew Little A was on their way! 

Mr. A immediately started helping me relax and breathe into each contraction.  During my pregnancy we had been practicing hypnobirthing at home plus we had taken hypnobirthing classes with Nina Phelan of Soulful Birth for the past month every Sunday for three hours.  Nina was absolutely imperative in making us feel confident and ready for natural birth. Her class is phenomenal and equipped us with so much strength and power to conquer our natural birth journey. I feel like she really prepares the fathers and significant others of the mamas to be doulas.  I know I couldn’t have gotten through each wave (the term we use for contractions in hypnobirthing) without Mr. A. He was the best partner ever.  He started timing the waves and letting me know when they’d be over. That’s the beauty of labor. People never talk about the space between the waves when you aren’t contracting. Your contraction might last a minute but then there’s space between each one-even if it’s just four minutes or one minute like what I was experiencing. They are just like the waves in the ocean. The wave comes up and then there’s a beautiful space where the water is still.  The ocean is calm. This is a gift and a powerful time for your body to relax, breathe oxygen in and not focus on the wave that’s up ahead.  He would count down and keep telling me “Only 20 more seconds left baby. You got this. You’re so strong. I love you.  Just breathe. Thank you so much for doing this for our baby.” I could cry just thinking about how grateful I am for him.  He was incredible. 

Around 4:30am the waves were getting more intense. I decided to get in the shower hoping it would relieve the pressure.  It was absolutely fantastic. The warm water felt like a massage and made the waves bearable. I didn’t want to get out but was worried it might relax me too much and slow down my labor.  I continued to trust my body. I kept thinking to myself “Your body was made to do this. You are doing this.”  Leading up to my delivery I knew I wanted to labor at home as long as possible. I knew I would be most comfortable at home and had set goals for myself to only get to the birth center when we were ready to start pushing. Little did I know I should have been a little more specific with my goals and vision.

Our doula checked in with Mr. A at 5:00am and quickly realized I was probably farther along than we all thought. Anytime I had a contraction I would lean against the wall and just breathe through it.  I was taking sips of water between each wave so I could stay hydrated.  Looking back I didn’t think a first time delivery could go that quickly but now it was 5:30am and things were really picking up.  Mr. A texted our certified nurse midwife, Simona around 5:45am and first she said “Why did you wait this long to text me? And why are you texting me and not calling me!”  Whoopsy!  She was concerned I could have the baby at home!

I could feel the baby move. Around 5:50am I felt Little A in the birth canal. The baby was coming! All I wanted to do was bear down (Go Wildcats! U of A reference) and start pushing.  It took so much strength for me to decide to leave the house and head to the birth center but I wanted my water birth damn it!

I told Mr. A to grab our bags and put them in the car and then as soon as he’s ready I would start walking to get in the car.  Both our doula and midwife said they would meet us at the birth center.  As we were leaving Mr. A asked me “Are you sure it’s time lovey? You’re still communicating.” One thing we learned in our birthing classes was that when a woman is in transition or ready to start pushing she will go inward and quiet and won’t be able to talk. She will be primal and focused on her body and the baby and probably not able to communicate anymore. I, however was so verbal that when we walked outside I reminded Mr. A we needed to move my car to the driveway so we didn’t get a ticket for street cleaning that morning.

We got in our car at 6:15am and headed to the Natural Birth Center.  Mr. A put on our rainbow relaxation guided meditation to help me relax and stop from pushing and drove us as safely as possible.  Keep in mind this is a Friday morning in LA. We live in the South Bay and had to get to Beverly Hills.  If we had left any later, it would have taken us at least an hour to get there. Luckily it took us about 25 minutes. They were the longest 25 minutes of my life.  I kept my eyes closed during the drive to stay focused on my breathing and listened to our tapes. Mr. A gave me constant updates on how close we were and how much farther we had to go.  A couple times I started moaning and pushing and then I would try and stop myself. In between the intensity I would talk to Little A and tell our baby to stay in there a little longer. “Not yet baby. We aren’t there yet. Almost baby. We are almost there, baby.”

We got to the birth center at 6:40am and I jumped out of the car and flew up the stairs like a monkey.  We had arrived before our certified nurse midwife and doula.  Luckily a midwife student on call, Addi was there with a nursing assistant, Mayra. As soon as I saw them I was so relieved.  We’ve gotten to know both of these women for the last 10 months at every check up and every appointment and it was so surreal to see them that morning knowing that we were about to have our baby.  As they were turning the lights to the office on, I told them to get the water in the tub because the baby was coming. I’m not sure if they thought I was really ready or if they were trying to have me wait for Simona but there was no time for that.

I got in the tub around 6:45am. I remember my sister, Sonya (who also had a water birth with my nephew, Bexton) said that as soon as you get in the water, you feel amazing relief. She was right. It felt wonderful but I also knew it was game time. At first I was just trying to breathe through the feeling to push. I didn’t want to rush things and all of the sensations were so foreign. It’s an unknown sensation you’ve never felt before. It’s what other moms tell you about but you can’t really explain until you are actually experiencing it. I knew I wanted to surrender to my body and let it do what it was meant to do.  In that moment I also recalled my prenatal yoga instructor, Khefri telling the mamas in her class that pushing “feels good”. I know that sounds bonkers but I think what she meant by that was it feels good to finally be able to push the baby out knowing that you are that much closer to meeting your baby. Right before 7:00am I started breathing the baby down and pushing.  I pushed three times and then held her there. As I held Mr. A’s hand I took one big breath for more energy and pushed once more. Then I grabbed my baby under the water and pulled her to my chest.

I did it! I did it! That’s all I kept thinking after I had Little Amazing.  Our baby was here. It was really happening.  It was almost like I was having this out of body experience.  It didn’t feel real.  I had watched so many beautiful natural birth stories including my sister’s and now I was living it. I had just delivered our baby all natural, medication free in the birthing tub. I had been visualizing this exact scenario over and over in my head for months and now it was actually happening. I remember locking eyes with Mr. A, both of us absolutely beaming with astonishment and saying “I love you” to each other. 

I held the baby against my chest and couldn’t stop staring. I was in a baby daze! Finally one of the assistants asked what we had. We totally forgot to look! I asked Mr. A what the baby was. Boy or girl? I turned the baby around to face him and he said “It’s a girl!” And immediately I knew she was. 

She was so tiny-like a glowworm. I couldn’t get over it.  I was finally meeting this precious gift from God that He chose for us.  This little baby we had been talking to, singing too and loving on for 10 months. I was holding our love baby, our baby we were meant to have exactly when we had her.  Milly Blake Simon.  We had always known our baby girl’s name. We both had thought of it together-inspired by my maiden name, Milloy. Mr. A would always say, “It’s the best name. How could you not love that name?” It always felt right. Even when we were looking for our first home, we would go to open houses and if we didn’t think the house had a room that was right for Milly, we knew it wasn’t our home.  And I think even though we waited to find out the sex of our baby, deep down we knew it was a little girl. 

Minutes after I delivered Milly, our certified nurse midwife and doula showed up. I told them I was so sorry they didn’t make it but they were both so happy for us. I was still in the tub and it was perfect timing. We were able to do delayed cord clamping, cord banking and I delivered the placenta with ease.  Little A got so much skin to skin time with Daddy and we both got to love on her for hours. I started breastfeeding baby, we called our families to share the good news and by 11am we were on our way home! Welcome to the world Milly Blake Simon. You are so loved!

I will never get over how amazing our natural birth story was but I’m confident there were several factors that made my delivery smooth. To find out what I did that I attribute to having a short labor and smooth delivery, stay tuned for PART TWO of our birth story. In the meantime, let me know your thoughts in the comment box below and be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel for more or our Amazing Life!

Minutes old Milly in Mommy's arms and already stealing Daddy's heart!

Minutes old Milly in Mommy's arms and already stealing Daddy's heart!