I’m delighted to share the wonderful news with you all that our newest blessing has arrived! He was born at 1:41 am yesterday morning (Weds), and weighed in at 7 lb, 6 oz – a very nice weight, especially considering that he was three weeks early!
The birth ended a pregnancy that’s been different than my norm very appropriately – with a labor and delivery that were very different than my norm. My water broke three days before I actually gave birth, early Sunday morning, but since that happened last time, I wasn’t too anxious about it. My midwife had told me then that most women will deliver within 72 hours of their water breaking. There aren’t studies or statistics available on this, though, since most women have hospital births and are put into a situation of needing to deliver within a shorter time frame than many would if labor was allowed to unfold naturally. My midwife has been in the field for 13 years and has only seen this situation 4 or 5 times prior to me – and here I change her ratios by presenting her with the situation two times in a row!!
I really believe that alot of the labor process is a mind game, and how well prepared you are mentally determines a lot of what you experience in the birthing process. So when so much of this birth contradicted my past experience and expectations, it left me mid-labor feeling like I didn’t know the rules of the game. For example, I had very strong transition like contractions, but only about every 8 minutes. I told my midwife I didn’t know how to handle contractions like that so early on, since usually there aren’t more than just a couple like that at the very end. She thought they were closer together than I thought, and that I might be much further along than I thought. But they never got more than four or six minutes apart. The unusual labor pattern was followed by an equally unusual second stage – you have to understand that after seven births (and being present for at least forty births of others), you get a sense that you know what to expect. So when something is drastically different the eighth time around, it’s probably not a surprise that it caught me unaware!
But as different as this labor/birth was, it resulted in another beautiful baby. The minute the baby is born, it always amazes me how quickly your mind shifts out of the laboring zone and into a totally different space of just being in the present with your newborn. And for me personally, no matter what labor has been like, it all feels worth it the instant the baby is there (though five minutes before that I was wondering why I thought another baby was a good idea!).
This time I drank a strong raspberry leaf tea (two doses, since one didn’t seem to be helping), which is supposed to make labor much quicker and less painful. I can’t know what the effect was since I don’t have another birth like this to compare to, but I have to think it was beneficial. I’ll try it next time around and see how it works then. :)) For those who want the recipe, it’s very simple. Take one ounce of red raspberry leaves, and pour two cups of boiling water over it. Let it steep for 30 minutes, strain, then drink as hot as possible once labor has begun. (My personal tip – add honey so that the strength of the flavor doesn’t upset your taste buds.) You can get the herbs from your local health food store, though I buy mine in one pound bags online since I get terrific bulk prices and enjoy the tea throughout pregnancy (when I remember to make it). Raspberry tea is a great uterine tonifier during pregnancy and after birth, as well, but in regular tea-like amounts, not in this kind of strength. Sometime in the future I’ll share the recipe that I have for pregnancy tea (I planned to share it with you when I made it for myself this pregnancy, but making the tea was one of those things I didn’t get around to doing).
I haven’t yet taken any raspberry leaf since the birth, though. My midwife has a wonderful (in results but absolutely disgusting in taste) Chinese herbal mix that is great for easing afterpains. I used to have such horrible afterpains that I always felt that they made labor seem minor – they went on for two weeks and are the only thing I’ve ever taken any pain medication for. The last birth was the first time I used this midwife (since it was my first birth in this area), and the cramping didn’t last more than three days after using this herbal mix plus the tincture she recommends, which is an amazing difference. I unfortunately don’t know the recipe, because it’s a special mix that is made privately for her to give her clients, but the tincture that she recommends is called Afterease. The bottle is upstairs so I don’t remember exactly what herbs are in it, but the company that makes it is called Wish Garden. She also recommends taking liquid calcium, which I haven’t had, but I’m sure is a good idea as well. So far the cramping has been very manageable, and it’s less than 48 hours after the birth. I’m hopeful that by tomorrow there will be just minor twinges left.
My mom came by and gave me a massage, which was nice, since my ‘sit’ bones are seriously sore from the posterior presentation of the baby. But even that is feeling much better than last night. Isn’t it wonderful how quickly the body rejuvenates and heals itself?
Now I’m gratefully off to bed!