Birth of Lyzza, 2014
On Friday, September, 20, 2013, after everyone else was asleep, I was laying in bed, feeling sad that I wasn’t pregnant, after we had miscarried. I was rubbing my lower abdomen. I felt “a little ball”... Which, had I not miscarried a few weeks earlier, I'd have been overjoyed. However, this shocked me and I sat straight up.
My first words to myself, out loud, were “no. it can't be! There's NO way! My baby died, I'm imagining this! If I WERE pregnant AGAIN, I wouldn’t be able to feel it yet”…
And yet I went to get my Doppler to listen to my tummy, as I couldn’t imagine what else it could be. Perhaps my inner self was trying to tell me what I needed to know, giving me a way to wrap my brain around something that I couldn't grasp. But the second the Doppler touched my skin, I heard the unmistakable “thwump thwump thwump” of a 140-160 heartbeat, that could only be 1 thing - a baby. And yet I still did NOT allow myself to think it could possibly be true. I listened again. And again. And again. And I allowed myself a small glimpse of joy, but I was still telling myself that I wasn't ready for this yet, that it's just my imagination, that it's not possible.
And yet and that same time, I knew it was real, that it was true, that this was happening. I had so many mixed emotions. Joy. Sorrow. Anger. Relief. Fear. My Baby had only been gone for 14 weeks. I wasn't ready for this yet. I had thought that October would be a perfect time to get pregnant again, then we'd have a July baby, and nobody in the family had a July birthday. I went to bed, tried to sleep, and eventually did. But my head was spinning the whole weekend. I didn't say anything to David. I was trying to grasp the thought for myself, before I said anything. I had already had ALL the symptoms, but I pushed them aside as if my mind was playing tricks on me, because my baby was dead. But I had them all. I was nauseous. I couldn’t change my toddler's poopy diaper without gagging or even puking. I got up nightly to have a middle of the night snack and I was *Exhausted*. I had had the thoughts, a few different times that “these are pregnancy symptoms, I should get a test”, but I brushed them aside, reminding myself that it wasn't true.
On Monday, the 23rd I bought a pregnancy test. I knew I didn't need it, after hearing a heartbeat. But I think I just needed to see those lines – which appeared almost before I had finished dripping my pee into the little test spot, it was IMMEDIATE.
The above was written just a few months after Lyzza was born. It was all still so fresh in my mind then. I had also journaled. I have a “birth journal” with my notes of pregnancy, birth and postpartum, baby growth, etc, for my youngest 4 babies. The following is a mix of my memory and the notes I had written in my journal. I really wish I had typed it all up sooner. As Lyzza is now almost 4. But it is what it is, and I’m writing it out now. For you to read.
The morning I decided to tell David I was pregnant again I still felt weird about it. He sat on the porch to put his shoes on before he left. I sat beside him and said “so…I’m pretty sure I’m pregnant again….. …… [silence from both of us] ….. I already called and have an appointment next week.” – I still was in denial that it could be real. Especially that I have felt my uterus already. How could I have possibly not known I was pregnant until I could feel my uterus? Surely it’s all in my head…. It was all so weird. I still had days where I wanted to hide from the world and cry for my baby who had died.
I wasn’t sure of how far along I was. My last “period” had been weird. At the time, I had pushed it aside as just being my body adjusting after miscarriage. In hindsight, what I thought had been my period was likely implantation bleeding. I had never had that before.
The midwife (hospital based CNM) sent me down the hall for an ultrasound. I thought I was maybe 9-10ish weeks. …. We found a very healthy 13 week baby in my uterus. I sat up and said “WHAT?!?” … With a due date of April 8th, 2014. It took me the rest of the day to wrap my brain around already being done with my 1st trimester.
So many mixed emotions. I cried at every milestone. Putting on pants that didn’t fit my growing belly made me cry. I was pregnant. I had miscarried. And now was pregnant again. I literally could not have had both of theses babies. So many emotions.
When I had read a book called The Baby Catcher, by Peggy Vincent, she had told the story of her miscarriage. She told of how a few months after her loss, her son (age 9 if I remember right) found her crying in the kitchen. He tried to comfort her with a story. He told his mom to just have another baby, because it would be her spirit baby. She had to ask what he meant; this is copied from the book:
A woman has a circle of spirit babies, which are all the babies any one woman could ever have. Each month, the woman doesn’t get pregnant, that baby goes to the back of the line. When a woman gets pregnant, the first baby in line gets born. But if something happens, the baby dies, then that baby doesn’t go to the back of the line, because all of the other spirit babies let it be first in line, month after month, until it gets born.
Now – I’m not saying I believe that. I know that we’re on earth and can’t actually know what happens. We all believe different things. And I really don’t know that I believe that ‘spirit babies’ is a thing. But I loved that story. I especially loved that her son told it to her. It somehow helped me get through these hard, emotional moments.
I felt first movements at 17 weeks. I saw the CNM around this time too. She told me she was leaving Hastings. I was stuck going back to a doctor. I waited a few weeks, then made an appointment with a doctor in Kearney. The same clinic I had used for my 2nd and 3rd babies. This time I knew what I wanted. At 23 weeks, I sat in the office of a doctor I’d had one interaction with when one of my older kids had had bronchitis. She said almost all the right things, but it didn’t FEEL right. She said I wouldn’t be allowed to skip the gestational diabetes test, but I decided I was ok with that compromise. She said I’d be required to have a saline lock and allowed to not be hooked up to an IV. She said I’d be able to birth in any position I wanted… but it felt wrong. I knew half way through the appointment that she wasn’t the doctor for me. And I made another appointment on my way out that door, even though it didn’t feel right at all. I had lost my midwife and this was the best option I had – is the lie that I told myself.
I skipped my appointment. When the office called a week later I apologized for not having let them know that I had chosen a different care provider, and that was that.
I spend the next few weeks worrying about where I’d birth this baby. Until I finally realized why it all felt wrong; why I hadn’t found what I wanted.
I wanted a homebirth.
I had wanted a homebirth with my previous 2 births. I NEEDED a homebirth this time. I was so scared of going back to having someone else tell me to lay on my back to birth; screaming at me to PUSH. I could not GO back to using a doctor. But I had zero options. A few more weeks went by. I spent all of my time reading blogs or books, and watching unassisted birth videos, and asking questions of others who had birthed alone already. I was planning a freebirth, without telling my husband.
I had some concerns, based on fears of others, and what had happened in my previous births. I read all I could on each topic of concern I had. I read and read and read. Until I was no longer afraid. I was still worried, but the fear was gone. My birth with Jonnie had been the last bit of encouragement for me to know that I could do this. I will always be grateful for my wonderful CNM who left me to be in charge of my birth. But my biggest worry had nothing to do with the birth. My biggest worry was how I would labor and birth at home without having to fight my husband if (when?) he tried to get me to go to the hospital.
I pushed it aside, knowing in my heart that THIS was how all women were meant to birth; knowing that he didn’t understand; knowing that if he wasn’t going to educate himself, then I couldn’t let his fear distract me from what I knew deep in my soul was what I needed, what I knew was best for this birth and this baby.
It all felt so much more real when I started collecting birth supplies. A new shoe string to tie the cord. A new pair of first aid scissors to cut the cord. Shepherd’s purse, in case of hemorrhage. I upped my greens, added dandelion, raspberry leaf, nettles to my daily routine. They’re so full of goodness, but iron and Vit K were my main reasons.
I was loving every part of this pregnancy. I felt, for the first time, that I knew my baby before birth. I was the only insight I sought. I went deep within myself, connecting with my baby. Talking with and listening with my instincts, to my baby’s wisdom.
We got this.
37 weeks- I was feeling “it’s getting close”. Physically, emotionally, hormonally, mentally. I was ready to hold my baby. To smell my baby. That intoxicating newborn smell. I was ready to nurse. To tandem nurse (I was still breastfeeding Jonnie, who is 28 months older). I was ready to birth ALONE. I had told David that I, me alone, am picking this baby’s name. But I couldn’t settle on a name.
As I neared 40 weeks, my doubts crept in. Had I made the right choice? Is everything going to be ok? Should I be afraid? And every fear and doubt that crept in, I squashed. I knew we could do this. I knew we’d be ok. I squashed the fears by yet again reading about whatever fear I had; by watching amazing birth videos; by connecting with my baby, by trusting my deep knowing. I was ok for baby to come at any time, and also ok if baby waited. I had maternity photos scheduled, and told baby to wait until that was done. – she did. And then we spent the day in North Platte, went to the railroad’s Spike Tower, walked around a lot. I felt so good.
As I neared 41 weeks, I settled into being ok with being pregnant for another 4 weeks if that’s what this baby needed. I had told everyone I was due “mid April” even though my guess date had been the 8th.
April 17; 5 days before birth; I had cleaned all day. Dishes, bathrooms, laundry, even moved furniture. I tried using some Clary Sage essential oil, a bath and a glass of wine. Nursing my toddler. All helped, they brought contractions, but not painful ones. Just tightness. Not labor contractions. Just practice ones. I nursed Jonnie to sleep, then got back up to finish cleaning up after dinner. I then cleaned the bathtub. I had become accustomed to doing so almost nightly, “just in case”. As I had imagined myself birthing in the bathtub. When I used the potty after that, I had a GUSH of blood. Not enough to alarm me, not a huge amount, more like a “plop”. It was more than likely more mucous than blood, but it only takes a bit of blood to look like a lot. I grinned. “THIS IS IT!!!” I made sure the tub was super clean. And went to bed, since I wasn’t having contractions. At 1:25 I did have a single contraction. I had hopes of having a completely pain free birth. I went to my inner self. Imagining my birth. At home. In my space. With no one telling me how. “Soon baby, I’ll see you soon”
Fri, 1pm: still not here yet. No more signs of labor either. I was very much hoping to be holding you in my arms by now. I will happily wait until you are ready.
I went to Walmart just to try to coax you out by walking around. That was at 10:00, 3 hours ago. Now I think it’s time for a nap. Because even if you aren’t coming now, it will be soon.
Easter was on the 20th. Still pregnant. I fully enjoyed the day of egg hunting with my kids. My mother in law said something about when baby will come, and I remember saying “It could be 2 more weeks”. And I was fully prepared for however long needed to happened.
Easter was on Sunday, the 20th. Still pregnant. I fully enjoyed the day of egg hunting with my kids. My mother in law said something about when baby will come, and I remember saying “It could be 2 more weeks”. And I was fully prepared for however long needed to happened.
Journal: 5:30pm – I think I now fully understand what prodromal labor means. I keep having contractions, pressure, even bloody mucous, but nothing that leads to true labor and birth of baby. I’ve been having wimpy contractions for about 2 hours now, but nothing that I’d associate with labor. My cervix is definitely more dilated. I’m emotionally exhausted. I’ve been waiting for baby to come since Thursday. Now we’re about to start another week. I’ll be 42 weeks on Tuesday. While I’m ok with waiting, in theory at least, it’s hard. I think its been made harder since I’ve thought it was labor so many times since Thursday. Maybe I’ll run to Walmart – to keep my mind busy and to walk. Or maybe I’ll walk around the shop a few times…
Journal: On Monday, I went to the chiropractor and then at midnight I was having contractions. They weren’t painful and were 20 minutes apart, so I headed to bed. Every time I woke up I’d have 1 or 2 more but they didn’t keep me awake until 6am. I was noticing the were still 20 min apart though. At 7, Jonnie woke up to nurse -which pushed contractions closer – to about 10 minutes apart. Now, at 8am, they’re 6-8 minutes apart, and increasing in intensity. ‘I’ll bet it’ll be 2 hours – at the most, but for now, I have to hide that I’m in labor for another hour if I can’.
We had a funeral to attend. So I got bagels in the toaster for the kids, told David I needed to stay home ‘cuz I’m not feeling good…’ And I went back to bed, with the door shut, waiting for them to leave. They all left around 9:00, and had left Jonnie at home. (I’d have left the toddler too… lol). I jumped up out of bed. Contractions has slowed a bit, so I started hip circles, walking, dancing, to get them back faster and stronger. I cleaned up the kitchen, took some selfies. The last pregnant belly pics. Prepared last minute baby items, all between contractions.
It all felt so right. I was so excited to be staying HOME! Not once after labor started did I ever question my choice. Not once did it not feel perfect.
I was needing labor to speed up. I needed to birth before everybody came home. I nursed Jonnie. THAT did the trick.
Journal: 10:20 – I was 100% effaced and feeling baby’s head was AMAZING! I’ve never before felt my cervix during labor! When I changed positions and checked again, I felt the water bag bulging! So exciting!!
11am – Contractions now 2-3 minutes apart. Through some, hip circles feel best. Or Hula dancing. Others, I feel the need to sit on the toilet. Some I just blow/breathe through. Some I have to vocalize.
11:15 – got in shower.
I stood; doing hip circles in the shower through a few contractions, leaning on the shower wall for others. At some point I sat. But soon had to move to my knees in a kneel. Some in a squat. I checked baby’s head again and baby was right there. I had a brief moment of fear. Thinking that I couldn’t do this. Then seconds later reminded myself that as soon as you feel like you can’t do it anymore, that means you’re almost done! That thought made me so happy that I laughed.
I was freebirthing! And nothing would stop that now. In a matter of minutes, I’d see my baby!
I felt tremendous pressure, felt with my finger, baby’s head was only about 2 inches inside still, filling the space, pushing its own way out. I thought ‘This is IT!’ and I pushed, expecting baby’s head. My water broke. I felt the need to stop pushing, as I held my hand on my perineum, and bulging baby’s head. At this point I had stopped taking deep breathes and switched to panting – as I felt led by my body. The pressure eased up a bit, and then the most INTENSE pressure of the whole birth, a big push, with my hand on my perineum, and then I was holding my baby’s head!! For a few seconds I marveled again at what I was doing, took a breath, and easily pushed the rest of my baby into my hands.
The emotions that flooded me as I brought my baby to my chest are not describable, but I’ll never forget them. I noticed the cord was over her neck – draped like wearing a scarf, so I took that off. And for a moment, took the time to look at myself. The cord still leading to the placenta which would deliver itself soon. I focused again on the baby, marveling that I was alone, in the shower, holding my newborn.
I held my baby back a bit and remember thinking that I did not want to check the sex just yet. It didn’t matter in that moment. I had just freebirthed!
As I looked into the eyes of this new baby, I marveled AGAIN that I had just freebirthed! And I now held my baby. No one was there to take my baby. Or tell me to sit back before I wanted to. It was just the 2 of us. Just the way it should be.
I had so badly wanted a baby girl. But I wanted just one more moment to hope, without knowing. When I checked, I felt another wave of joy flood through me. A girl. Not only had I birthed her completely on my own, but it was a girl too! REALLY?!? Was it true? … check again … YUP! I finally had another girl!
At some point, I had turned off the water. I don’t remember doing it. She had cried only briefly. My family had gotten home moments before the birth (I heard them and was briefly distracted until another contraction forced me back to birth mode), but I’m not exactly sure which moment. I called for someone to come, but nobody heard me. Baby was going to get cold fast, so I stood to get the towel that was on the sink. That’s the first of any blood. I had not had any blood in the birth, it was all after.
I sat, covering baby with the towel, and then I heard David’s voice. I called for him to come, and when I saw his shadow under the door I added “don’t freak out!”
The look on his face as he stopped midsentence (I think he was saying something about why come in or what did I want or something…) – the look was priceless. He was speechless although managed some confused half words, before asking if I wanted him to call his mom. To which I said “no, we’re fine! What’s she going to do?!” I asked him to turn the heater on and hand me another towel. He barely got through that. I’m sure he was grossed out and it’s a good thing I was prepared to not have his help.
The older kids had all come to see what was going on.
Blayne was first. Daddy tried to tell him to stay out and I was telling him “it’s ok, he can come in!”
Sierha, confused & curious, came in and her look changed to awe and joy and she oohed and awed right away.
Little David came in and said, “Did the baby pop out?!”
Blayne wondered “is the baby blooding?”
Jonnie pointed and said “baby!”
Daddy was no MIA. I had no choice but to ask Sierha to help. I had her bring me some blankets to pile for me to sit on. I had her get the pan, and I squatted and pushed the placenta into it. I had her bring me the Shepard’s Purse for me to take; not because I was bleeding, but because I worried that I would, and wanted to prevent it. I had Sierha hold the baby as I rinsed off in the shower.
It was now 12:15.
I was ready to move at 1:30, and didn’t want to haul the placenta around, and the cord was cold and white, so I tried to explain to Sierha where the to get the shoestring and scissors. After getting everything settled, she helped me move to the kitchen where she held baby while I tied and cut the cord at 2:00 There was really no need to tie it, as it didn’t bleed.
Baby decided to poop all over big sister, who was happy that the blanket caught most of the meconium. After cleaning her up and getting a diaper, David came in. I asked if he was mad. He didn’t answer that, and just asked “how are you going to get a birth certificate?” I said “you just file with the state”. He nodded and left. I think he was “shell shocked.”
I went to bed, Sierha made me eggs (“toad in a hole”). My friend Vanessa came over a few hours later, started the laundry, cleaned the bathroom, washed the dishes, got me more food, and was amazed at how I was moving around “as if I hadn’t just had a baby”. I felt AMAZING! At one point, I thought and told someone “I feel as though I could FLY!”
She didn’t have a name for a couple of days. I sent my “narrowed list” to David and he picked the one he liked from those. Lyzza Naomi was 6 pounds, 13 ounces; 20 ½ inches long, had a 13 ½ inch head and 12 ½ inch chest.