I’m going to let the mama — Iona — tell this story in her own words. My images follow.
The moment I found out I was pregnant with Laelia, I knew I was not done having children. Chris however had different plans, but we let fate/the universe/god decide, and on sept 5 2019 (one day before our 11th wedding anniversary) I took a test that confirmed I was pregnant with my 3rd child. The pregnancy went great, I felt mentally healthy etc, that was until the “pandemic” hit. Although I tried to pretend I was living my normal life, nothing would ever be the same, and the stress due to the unknown in my life, and the life of my family raised my cortisol levels so that baby stayed inside me for much longer then I would have preferred although this baby as with my others truly came at the right time. I had been dreaming of a baby being born during a thunderstorm, with my first being born on a new moon, my second, in a snowstorm, I thought my 3 should most definitely be born with some thunder! My entire pregnancy I had a feeling that this baby would come early, and also that this baby would be a boy. I felt so much less upset and depressed as I was pregnant this time, which was not the case with my second pregnancy, and I was carrying the same as I did with my first pregnancy for my son.
So when I finally hit my due date I was a tad surprised, although I was ok with it because I was the pro of going “overdue” with my first born being born at 41+6, and my second at 41+3, being “late” is my normal. But at 4 days past my due date there was a storm, and I hoped so bad that would be the day, the buds were opening on the trees, there was the storm I envisioned, but no baby was not yet ready to arrive. Later that day as we went for a ride for hanging baskets, and on the ride home a felt a contraction, I wanted to cry my baby would be coming soon!!! Then I felt another about 10 minutes later and I thought this is going to be it! As I told chris I began to cry, then I waited for another and it never came. After that day I felt let down, when would this baby come, I kept picking days, looking for signs, watching the moon phases, looking for a pattern that would tell me when baby would come, but the days kept passing, as did my patience. I was such an emotional rollercoaster, so full of sadness and confusion, making me much more short tempered than ever before, and everything f would make me cry, I was a wreck.
At just shy of 42 weeks my midwife checked me to see if I was dilated etc. I felt that she was going to tell me I was a 5 and 100% effaced because I felt an opening feeling that morning and that meant I was getting close right!? Wrong! I was dilated to a 1-1.5 and only 75% effaced. When I left I bawled, o went for a drive to clear my head nothing helped. I went to go the next day to visit my mom and my sister and her husband were there. I didn’t want to get out of the car, I thought everyone would be judging me. Saying how big I was etc etc. I was now 42 weeks, and my babies are always big! I questioned my strength in my trust in my body, I felt weak, I felt alone.
I reached out to others I knew had gone so far past their due date for comfort, which helped, and then on the morning of May 24 at about 4 or 5 am a light went on. I wrote to my baby about how they had tested me to depths I did not know existed. Made me already grow in ways I did not believe was capable. Yes I did trust my body, I nourish my body, I believe in my body, just like I know my body can heal itself, I know my body will go into labor and I know it will birth my baby. I was then at peace with the fact baby would come when ready, and the next day I would go for a little hike with the family, I thought the nature would be good for my metal state, But thought it would also be good because it was possibly going to be the last hike I had with my family as 4! So we went on a short hike, and then we heard thunder, was it heat thunder or a storm coming!!!? It ended up just being heat thunder, but after we went home, did our normal routine, and I stayed up. At around 10-11pm I felt another real feeling contraction! Then 15 min later I felt another, and this happened for about an hour. I asked my body to not go into labor overnight, because I wanted rest, by I knew this baby was going to be born soon!
I woke at around 5-6am the next morning to contractions starting again. The first one I felt was stronger then the night before, and in my back (which I was not a fan of) I got out of bed, and decided to have a snack. After the snack I went to the bathroom and as I sat on the toilet I felt a lot of cramping. When I got up I looked in the toilet and there was blood. It was somewhat pale in color, was this my bloody show???? After that I could not sleep, I was so excited, I knew baby would come, but this was off to such a weird start. There was so much cramping, I just kept feeling cramping all morning almost nonstop, then about every 15 minutes I’d have a contraction. As I had the contractions I’d felt an opening feeling, as if I was dilating, with the cramping I felt as if baby was pushing down. At around 8am after texting Brooke in the morning I called Yolanda to give her a heads up that I thought I was in early labor. She said “oh that’s the cramping I was asking about the past few weeks,” and that it wasn’t labor yet, and that she was guessing I’d be calling her in labor around dinner time. Brooke had told me it was possible baby was not in the optimal position so she recommend a thing called the miles circuit to get things moving along. Each position you are to do for 30 min at a time, then you can move to the next then repeat it after the 3 exercises are done. It was still early morning, I spent most of my time sitting on the exercise ball because when I walked I kept feeling the cramping and it was really uncomfortable. Some of the contractions I could feel slightly in my back, so I’d lift my belly with my hands to help.
I then decided I needed to take a bath. As I laid there I felt the baby’s position, felt LOA , which is optimal! Come on baby let’s stay this way! I then turned my bath into a shower because for whatever reason I wanted to stand and have the water hitting me. So I drained the tub and then showered. As I showered the contractions felt stronger yet, so much that I had to moan and really breath through them. Each contraction was feeling as if I had to pee. During one in the shower I felt something coming out, I looked down and there was my true bloody show! Even though the contractions were still spaced out to about 7 minutes, my body was making progress!!! I then felt walking was what my body wanted to do. So I kept walking around my house because the cramping was gone and the walking felt best, although I kept feeling as if I had to pee! I decided I wanted to stop and rest, so I laid down in my bed, I felt a strong contraction in my back again!!! I was so afraid (was this going to be a repeat of my first birth!!!?) that birth was so hard, I didn’t want to go there again, I thought my body knew what to do, I wouldn’t have a repeat, but would I??? I was so scared, scared that this would not be the beautiful gentle birth of my second. I was so worried what was to come.
After voicing my concerns Brooke recommend some anxiety reducing essential oil, I hadn’t bought any for this labor. I did a little google search on which oils are best, and of course my lavender had just ran out but I had a full bottle of ylang ylang! Guess I’d try that, the smell was great to me that day. She also recommended some birth affirmations. Funny enough I made new ones for this pregnancy, and a lot of them had to do with strength, power and fear! It’s like my mind already knew what this birth would be like! My favorite that I kept repeating this time was “ I feel the power of my body with each contraction”. Followed by “I quiet my mind and let my body give birth” I then started the circuit and y body did not like the first position. I couldn’t lift my belly, I could only belt my affirmation during the few contractions. After only about 15-20 min in that position I switched to the next position, ahhhh that felt so much better, I felt as if maybe I could go to sleep in that position. The contractions were no longer in my back, and were about 10 min apart on average. The third exercise was to walk sideways down the stairs, boy did that get things moving!!! Wow, I went from 7-15 min contractions to 2-3 min and about a min in length. they felt so much better, way more mild, I’d take them being more frequent. After walking for about 20 min I decided to sit on the ball again which was part of the final sequence as well. My surges again slowed down, I really wanted to walk, but I needed rest, what if this baby wasn’t born for a while yet! I thought maybe I’d keep walking, Brooke mentioned I could do the circuit again. So I tried it, the first one I couldn’t do for more than 10 minutes the few contractions hurt to much in my back. The second sequence didn’t even feel good anymore, it again went into my back. Ok walking again it is, except now they (the contractions) are staying in my back! Ugh why won’t they get out!?
Also around this time chris comes up to check on me (kids have been playing outside the whole time on this hot 90 degree day) As he comes up and asks a question I’m mid contraction belting out my affirmation and I then respond only to look down and see that the timer is been using was not stopped!!! Now my timed contractions would be all messed up. I yell at him for interrupting me and messing up my counting. A thought goes through my head that maybe that was transition. And now it feels as if my water is about to break!? What is going on? My contraction’s had been ranging from 2-7 minutes, this is not active labor right let alone transition. I decided I wanted to take another bath, our beautiful bathtub would be a good place to give birth. I explain the pain of the contractions to Brooke, she thinks I am in fact in active labor, and suggests she comes over to observe and then advise when Yolanda comes, or not. I then think yeah ok, then yes come now! I asked chris to call Yolanda because I think baby is coming soon. He calls and she said “oh she’s in labor!!!? I just started an appt, do I have 15 minutes? If her water breaks before I’m there, call!” I keep feeling that bag of waters wanting to burst. The tub is also still being filled, I get in, No I wanted to keep walking. Chris gets the underpads and I ask him to put them on our rug next to our bed as I am still pacing. There is so much pressure in the bag of waters. As I’m walking there is suddenly a pop and a gush of slightly discolored water goes all over the pads. Chris calls Yolanda again tell her my water broke! And I’m pushing, I’m standing and pushing. Oh my god baby is coming and Brooke is going to miss it and Yolanda. Chris calls her and Yolanda says she’s walking in right now, phew she’s here. I keep looking out the window as I pace hoping to see Brooke and finally she’s arrived too!
I’m standing and pushing, Yolanda wants my legs wider, I can’t get my stance wider!!! She suggests hands and knees on my bed (ha! Just like my birth with Laelia) yep liked it then, I’ll try it now! After this position as I’m pushing I begin to poop, thankfully Yolanda is wiping me so I stay clean. Baby is coming quick I’m feeling as they can see the head, feeling as the head begins to emerge. Baby’s first contact with anyone is with their mom, the one that loves them most. Call the kids up here!!!! Brooke grabs them.
I’m not feeling a ring of fire thanks to Yolanda’s perineal massage, if anything I’m pushing too quickly. I don’t realize when the baby is fully crowned or when the heads completely out aside from them telling me. The cord is wrapped around baby’s neck and I feel something I don’t like, I’m feeling tired and I don’t understand what Yolanda is doing??? I tell her I don’t like it and she’s not listening!!! I then find out baby’s shoulder is stuck. She’s unsticking it now I have to push and baby comes all the way out. I scoop up baby who is a purple tone and not moving or breathing a ton. I check to see the gender and what I had thought this whole time was a he turned out to be a she! Yorke Elara was born! Yolanda then takes her rubs her body to bring more color to her and breaths into her mouth two times. Her breathing picks up and I hold her in my arms. My beautiful baby is here at last.
The kids are curious and Athrun becomes upset, he had his heart on a boy and this was not what he expected. Don’t worry he’s completely smitten with her now, but it took a few hours to sink in. I’m holding Yorke we are all in the room relaxing and waiting for the placenta to arrive. It’s taking some time like it did with my first. I’m asked to cough, nope, then she feels around and says it’s ready to come out but it hasn’t. We planned on burning the cord this time so the cord is still attached and someone goes and grabs the box and candles. It’s brought up and then shortly after the placenta comes out. Chris holds up the bowl to drain the blood out of the cord, and then we (our family) begin to burn the cord. It take some time, Athrun gets a bit restless, followed by Laelia, but finally she’s detached.
Brooke then makes me a placenta smoothie and we start the newborn exam. They say I don’t think you have a 10 pounder this time. Yolanda asks for guesses but after that comment I guess 8.8 and I don’t recall what chris guessed. She’s weighed and she’s not 10 pounds but 10lb 10oz! I had guessed 10.8 only a few days before so I should’ve stuck with that guess. She did great on the entire exam and was so calm. I couldn’t take my eyes off of her. I had another beautiful daughter. I am so blessed. After the exam I got cleaned up and went to the bathroom. We got some photos Yolanda left and the kids got their gifts for Yorke, and their gifts from us, then we almost forgot…her birthday cake! It wasn’t part of her story from the beginning like the other two, but we still had to have it be part of the story somehow. And we sang her happy birthday and we were too tired to eat the cake after we finally had dinner, we had goulash and had the cake the next day❤️
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