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  • Lydia Ojuka Riley

My Empowering Peaceful Natural Birth (with pictures)

Updated: Jun 8, 2019

41 weeks 5 days. My waters have been broken and we go home to rest and prepare for labor. Im not a professional at this natural birthing thing, but I do know the one thing that I should do to get ready for the WHOLE THING of labor and birth and then baby is REST.


So I do, and Im glad. To this day I am so happy about how I rested and cared for myself pregnant. I was really lucky to be able to do that. I had my first REAL surge around 3am. (Why does it always have to be 3am?) - My doula was at our house by 5am and we had an appointment to go into the birth center by 7am because my water had been broken the night before.


( I'm doing another post on ALL the many ways we tried to induce this baby... he was committed to staying forever, I swear. )


Beth the doula is great, we chat casually over coffee and she comforts me with her warm hands. My surges come every 15 - 40 mins.. they come slowly, but they are definitely requiring my attention.


We make it to the birth center around 7am. I meet Rowan, my photographer for the first time in person. Her vibes are good and I like her immediately.



Adrienne, my kick ass midwife does vital taking-midwife type things, asks a question here and there but generally observes for her busy regular day of midwifing. Shes in and out in a way that I know shes done this a time or two, I'm something like her 800th birth, so I feel really calm and safe. In fact, the most amazing thing about her midwifery was that she did everything and nothing all at once. Of course midwifes are busy as hell, casually bringing new life into the world- but her main job was definitely not to command or demand anything of me. She'd make suggestions about relaxing this or trying that, but really, she just kinda has this "your body knows how to do this" kind of energy. I liked it.


Ben sets up the room, plugs in salt lamps and diffusers. citrus fresh and lemon aroma fill the air. I wanted something fresh.


My surges slow, so she gives me a castor oil smoothie that I reluctantly choke down. But, weird, it tasted good, like an orange Julius. We go for a short walk. My surges stop me in my tracks and I stop and breathe every time they come.


We count smashed empty plastic vodka bottles on the side of the road as we walk, their are a surprising amount on this road. its totally weird. I think we counted 6.


as soon as we are back to the birth center, things get hot IMMEDIATELY! the castor oil smoothie becomes, um, effective. EVERYTHING MUST GO! my bowels have a liquitation sale, a close out sale and its as intense as the surges. I'm laboring in the bathroom for a solid amount of time... I'm relieved once that literal shit show is finished. Pardon my French.



We go back out to the bed labor area and I just want to be cozy. My husband and Doula alternate applying pressure to my sacrum as I lay on my side, just vocalizing through the surges. They are getting HOT!


then the surges come and come and come and I suddenly I feel like I can't stay on top of them and they are cascading over me and taking me down- I don't feel so capable.


I'm not proud of this, but I wanna go to the hospital. And I verbalize this. I tell my husband and doula separately that I don't think I can do it and I want to go to the hospital. In hindsight I know and realize there is no shame in however you feel during birth, but its true that I did have that moment of real hesitation.


I do think that what I really was feeling was "how much longer"?


Adrienne steps in and asks to check my cervix. Turns out I'm 9 cm plus and getting ready to transition.


well, shit.





So I jump in the water so I can have the magical water birth of my dreams...




But turns out, I hate it in there. something about my temperature always being so sensitive and I'm alternately chilly and then hot and chilly and I hate it.


So I get out.


And I sit on the birth stool and just birth a human baby. I pushed for about 40 mins. Its was instinctive how I pushed and I waited until I could feel my babys head one or two inches from my opening before I started to push. ( it is said to help with tearing to wait and not over push) - Im not tryin to have pelvic floor issues, so I'm content to let the pressure build, until pushing feels instinctive.





I held him as long as I wanted and then Ben took him while I got stitched and cleaned up.








I did something that was hard, and that is what was the most empowering part about the whole thing. I feel like I earned credibility with myself. I did a hard thing. And I do believe I recovered quickly!


I am on team healthy babies, as long as we are educated about our options for birthing, Im happy with any womans choice. Make a choice about how you want to experience your birth, and have a doula or other advocate their to remind you of that. You deserve to be empowered in that choice because its your body.

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