It took 11 years since becoming a mother, 2 less-than-perfect previous births, so much healing, and 9 months of actively dismantling everything I’ve been told about birth, womanhood, and my body — but I finally found motherhood and birth as it should be. I had my empowering free birth and Lumi shared it with me.
Last spring I came down with a brutal fever unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before. I was having seizures from the fever being so high, which I sometimes do with a history of high fevers — but this was different. The only thing that would soothe me is a burning hot shower. I was sobbing and shaking and in so much pain.
Immediately before the fever struck, I was experiencing my first bleed after about 7-8 months of breastfeeding my son. After the fever subsided and I was sitting in a bath and sat up to start to drain it when I saw something at the bottom of the tub. A little tiny start of a baby had come from my body. I had no idea I was pregnant, I guess now probably about 9 weeks along. I knew what it was instinctually.
I was hurt but it passed quickly. I saved her little embryo in the freezer and planned to bury it. I know that this embryo wasn’t my baby. My body wasn’t ready yet, but my baby was still coming. Oddly enough I repeatedly calculated the baby would be an Aries, although this was inaccurate. Lumi was, however, born an Aries!
The very next month I became pregnant again with Lumi, she was ready, and this time so was I.
Previously, we had a midwife from hell (I still am working on writing about this and about my last birth). I thought I was making a good choice by going the homebirth route, but it ended up being just as painful, shameful, and abusive as a hospital birth. My midwife was manipulative and abusive and I didn’t realize until after my birth, and the result was a tense, scared, and interrupted birth experience.
We were obviously scared to hire another person. After much deliberation, considering our options, even meeting with one midwife who was great, we decided just like everything else in our lives, the path most traveled was not for us. We needed to do this our way in order for it to feel safe.
So we embarked on our freebirth journey together. The birth of our son was traumatic and arguably placed a wedge between us that we needed to work through. We were determined to have the magical, romantic birth we needed. This process should bring us closer, not drive us apart with fear.
At first I tried reaching out to some online birth resources, groups of midwives and doulas and other “natural birth” folks. I asked questions about how to safely freebirth and explored options for backup resources such as a doula, or maybe a midwife who would help out in case anything DID go wrong, what to do with my placenta or option for stitching if needed, and other questions to find information on how to go about this. I got met with a bunch of phony support filling my head with doubt about my body, telling me no midwife would just be “on call”, responding with medical propaganda that was not even pertinent to my questions. One person went on to tell me how “unfair” it would be to ask that a doula attended my freebirth because of the “tremendous liability”. Another started listing things that could go wrong during my freebirth. Ugh… so much for “birth advocacy” huh? It was apparent even in the home birth midwife realm, I was going to be continually told what my body cant do. No matter the intention of these folks wanting to facilitate empowered birth, it was abundantly clear that personal liability was always going to be a priority to most of them over my wishes.
I wasn’t having it. I spent the next two weeks or so undoing the fear and doubt driven into my head from a single inquisitive post, and then moved on stronger. IT WAS NOT EASY! I found some unassisted and freebirth support groups on Facebook and pushed through with the assistance of women in these groups.
In all my research and with each question I had, I kept finding the same answer: “Trust your body”. This honestly was hard for me to hear at times. Finding trust in my body was a huge hurdle, and I can say I was able to make some progress through pregnancy, but I never found full trust until I gave birth. The doubt was always there, but I didn’t let it get the best of me. It sometimes felt like blind faith.
I realized later that my body looked out for me all the way along even though my mind was scared. I was around 34/35 weeks when baby dropped into my pelvis and prodromal labor hit hard. I was uncertain of my due date, so assumed I must be further along than I originally thought. I prepared and started cancelling tours for work, and started to focus on my birth space. I did not feel ready yet – but I needed to be ready quickly. It felt like I could go into labor at any moment.
Well, each week went by with no baby. I went through various stages of coping and analyzing and predicting. For the beginning of each week I would have several nights of intense contractions thinking “this must be it, we are almost there” and by the end of the week it would fizzle out and I’d feel like labor was a distant possibility.
About 7 weeks of this went on I became more secluded and bored and frustrated. My analytical mind kept fighting me, trying to fabricate some predictability. So much wasted effort! It got harder as the weeks went on and my mind started to approach the foggy “labor land” and for a couple of weeks it was like I was IN labor. I was in a dream-like state. I couldn’t do much of anything productive. Work wasn’t tolerable. Sex was difficult because baby was so low. I mostly watched movies, bathed, stretched, and tried to quiet my mind for what seemed like ages.
As an anxious workaholic, it was not easy. But this process was protecting me. I NEEDED that time so desperately. This magical passage into another level of womanhood was helping me reset. I was burnt out on work, I was still scared as hell of repeating my last birth, and I needed to finish healing before I could bring this baby to the world.
After tears of frustration and weeks of worrying, I finally caved. I gave up. I accepted that this baby may never come and that I will be fine. It sounds kind of silly but I truly did accept that! The timing and waiting and charting was all pointless. I may have been almost 42 weeks pregnant like I thought, or I could even have been 39. I realized my biggest contender – time – was no longer existent. I need to just let this baby come. She was healthy, I was healthy, nothing was going wrong – I needed to accept that. I finally did and things became so much clearer.
It happened after months of trying to grasp the idea of surrender, and I finally realized there was nothing to grasp. I just needed to surrender, truly. Not just say the words or practice. Just let go and do it.
The next full moon, I woke up early in the morning to see a client after 7 weeks of not seeing any at all. He is a long-time regular whom I’d seen now through two pregnancies and probably the only person alive that I would have been willing to touch in a sensual way other than my partner at that point. My family went out for breakfast so I could see him at home and not make the trip to my incall.
During our time together, I had intense contractions, but they were sporadic and short. They felt much more intense and deep than they had in the weeks before. I could feel them in my sacrum now which was a new development.
Seeing my client was a decision made after careful deliberation with Zachary. I did not really want to see anyone for weeks, because I needed to focus. Being an empath, other people’s energy could really affect me as I tried to center myself for labor. We decided that both the money, and “break” from focusing on birth would be very welcomed.
It proved to be a great decision. I believe the distraction was helpful to get me going. My client was totally understanding that we could not have a rigorous session, and we mostly talked and cuddled. He was a person who was truly honored to be in my presence during this unique time, and that was great energy for me to receive. When a wave would hit, I was surprised to see he instinctively knew to press his hand on my sacrum and just hold me gently until it was over. Eventually, our time was up, we said our goodbyes, and he wished me luck. I still wasn’t sure I was in labor just yet but I knew it was about time.
I welcomed my family home and told them the baby would be coming that day. I bathed and considered whether or not Zachary should cancel his photo shoot for that day. He had brought back breakfast for me, a Greek omelette, and I devoured it while sitting in the tub and it tasted SO good.
My contractions continued and I quickly discovered that rubbing my vagina and stimulating my clit was very soothing. Zachary sat by the tub speaking to me about my beauty and our baby coming, and gently massaged my vulva with his warm touch through a contraction or two before resuming getting ready for his shoot.
Finally right when it was time for him to leave, I had a big contraction. I felt the urge to call out for “daddy” like a little girl. Labor was making my vulnerable, and I needed him with me.
When he came to me I buried my face into his furry belly to soothe myself through another short but intense contraction while he softly stroked my back. We were both getting excited knowing our baby would soon arrive and then began preparing and giving each other celebratory hugs and kisses.
I did need him there. So desperately. That sense of vulnerability reminded me to checked in with myself and remembered that he is here, and I am safe, but I also had a profound recognition that I was the true traveler on this journey. I had to remind myself that he has nothing to save me from. I was going to bring our baby here, and my body would be loved and safe in his care while I did, but I needed to trust and stay with myself too.
It was around noon when I officially decided I was in labor. I began to question whether or not I was really ready. I hadn’t slept the full 9 hours or so I normally did during pregnancy, and was a little anxious about becoming too fatigued. It was important to me to feel present and coherent this time so I could remember, and most importantly – not feel traumatized. We applied some homeopathic remedies for pain relief and exhaustion.
The energy was high, although steady and calm. I had a lot of things I wanted and needed and I vocalized them readily – I real conscious and deliberate task on my part. We laid the floor with yoga mats and blankets, got towels and warm washcloths prepared in a crock pot, and hung a sheet over the window to block the light as I became sensitive to it.
We referenced the checklist I’d prepared for things to do when I went into labor and accomplished some of them but I had my own flow beginning to take over. I had a lot of ideas ready, which did help, but we found ourselves truly in the moment as my contractions increased in length and frequency.
I started to feel a bit too distracted and interrupted by my older children. I could sense some agitation in myself, so we sent them to the back bedroom with some snacks and a computer to watch movies on. My oldest was a great help with her baby brother. They came out to get stuff a couple times, but were so respectful and quiet for us.
I really wanted to sit and be loving and affectionate with Zachary, but my body wanted to move around a lot. I obliged and started to surrender – fully accepting that labor was happening right now. I reminded myself frequently that all is happening as it should, I was in labor because now the time was right.
By the time everyone was situated and most of the pieces were in place, I was very much in labor. I was leaking a lot of bloody mucous and the contractions were strong enough that they began to take me down a little. I had back labor so I would walk around quite a bit, but have to squat a bit or sit to bear through them and relieve my back.
Zachary began rubbing my body through them. I quickly decided I hated that, it felt too stimulating. I just wanted to be held with still hands and he happily followed instruction. He held my head, we kissed when we could, he would kiss all over my neck and any skin he could reach while holding me close through each contraction. He’d quietly remind me that everything was going perfectly, and nothing bad was happening to my body, and I was going to birth our baby soon. These words were perfect for me, and we had discussed them previously as I was coping with the frustrations and pains of late pregnancy. Because of the sexual trauma I’ve experienced, it was very important to me to be in touch with my body and acknowledging that nothing BAD was happening TO me. I was, instead, accomplishing something great.
I practiced and verbalized a lot of mindfulness. I forced myself to speak readily about what I wanted and needed. I let go of my anxiety of being a burden or overwhelming Zachary. I spoke out loud about needing to surrender. When I found myself resisting, I vocalized it, which helped me comfortably let go. Zachary was amazing about switching directions along with my changing desires. Together, we welcomed my natural anxiety and indecisiveness. We didn’t let it scare us or disrupt us.
We experimented with some sexual touching, but the sensations were intense enough that I needed to take things into my own hands – so to speak. I found my vibrator and started using that to stimulate my clitoris during contractions. As the pain grew the increased sensations of vibrator over fingers was much welcomed. Zachary resumed simply embracing me as I took control and began getting in touch with my vagina. He would coach me gently, reminding me to let go.
It helped tremendously. I would respond by rhythmically repeating “Okay… Okay… okay…” as I swayed and moved my hips, often thrusting them forward to press into my vibrator and ease the intensity. Sometimes the “Okays” would get louder, but it helped my from crying out in pain. I couldn’t say much anymore, but I could say “okay” reminding myself it was ok, I needed to surrender and that was okay.
This was the first birth that I touched my vagina at all, and it made all the difference. I felt around and softly touched myself in between waves to feel what was happening. I wish I’d known before how comforting this was. It helped me stay present, to know that my body was working for me and my baby, and I was safe here with my partner.
The sensations of using the vibrator weren’t exactly what you think of as pleasurable or sexual, but I found proof that my clitoral nerves were meant to help me birth. As soon as I would feel the slow squeezing of my uterus revving up for another contraction, I would grab the vibrator and apply it to my clit, and somehow my whole body would follow my womb and just let go of the urge to fight. The pressure on my vagina and pain from my cervix stretching would immediately release and I’d feel my muscles follow along and just relax and submit to the power of my womb squeezing my baby down.
I felt like I understood my body so well in this moment. I’d learned that in order to give birth, you really have to let go of the analytical human mind. I was afraid I couldn’t. But I did, because no one disrupted me. Zachary was the only one there, and he knew to just follow my instincts and my body as well. He never once told me what to do, and I don’t think he even asked much. He was a humble servant of this process and my body. He knew what to do when it was needed. It was amazing! The trust he felt in my body was so affirming. We were so connected on a primal level.
The energy never really died down. I was up and down and back and forth across the house, carrying my vibrator all along the way. I alternated between the toilet, the corner of my bed, a floor cushion I had on the ground, and a “shower chair” that had a cutout on the seat for access.
The shower seat became my favorite. It was the cheapest thing I could find that resembled a birthing chair. I would sit on it backward with a pillow wedged toward the back to cushion my thighs and support my vibrator. The cutout made me feel comfortable and open. But as soon as a contraction was fading away, I would be on the move again. I almost had no control of it! My body would just get up and need to move.
I knew when I was about to transition, because like my last birth, I vomited with the pain and adrenaline rush. I found myself on the floor, leaning over to puke in a bucket, while I was using my vibrator to soothe a contraction, and throwing a chux pad behind me because I was peeing and possibly going to poop, while Zachary caressed me as romantically as he could through this hilarious scenario. As soon as I stopped puking so violently I started laughing loudly and Zachary joined in. It was the most fucked up and funny combination.
I had a slight bout of anxiety wondering how much longer and intense the pain would be. My only doubt in myself at this point was that I had been managing SO well, that we must still have a long way to go. Luckily I was wrong!
I kept pushing forward, and worked through the pain. Zachary kept soothing and comforting me but the most help was my own body. The waves reminded me to surrender, let go of my thoughts. I was in it, for real, and I could do it!
After that bit of clarity and excitement, I went deeper into the process and my labor high. It was like a mushroom trip! I felt kind of queasy in the beginning and that was messing with my head a bit. I did not want to feel sick to my stomach, nor did I want to be pooping at all! I was getting flashes of sweatiness and euphoria or perhaps dissociation. But then it hit hard! Just like when I’ve done mushrooms, the sweaty queasy phase went away with a puke and some pooping and finally surrendering to this crazy trip my body was on! It was amazing.
I finally had to totally give in, and from there it didn’t take long.
I continued walking around and swaying my body. I got into the bathtub briefly again, but I really needed to hunch over during contractions, which the small tub did not allow. I got out and Zachary dried me off and Then I felt a huge squeeze.
At this point I can’t even call them painful or “contractions”… it was just becoming a whole-body experience. It was intense, but with this one my whole body was syncing on its own. I somehow knew to sit, and give my vagina space. I sat on the edge of the tub with my butt hanging over the edge above the water and I let out a long groan and we could hear my water splash into the tub.
I was still speaking and narrating my experience some, but far less now. Zachary asked if that was my water and I said yes and indicated that I wanted to be back in the bedroom. We walked slowly back, and the pressure was intense. In hindsight I knew exactly what I was feeling although I couldn’t have identified it like you normally do through logical thought. It was pure instinct! Even the times my thinking mind popped in wondering how much more intense it may be, it quickly faded as my instincts forced my body to do what it needed to. It’s so hard to explain but you just KNOW, you don’t think it at all. You’re just doing it.
No more than 10-15 minutes passed and I may have had another contraction or two but don’t recall. I do remember feeling a big one coming and maybe even verbalizing that. I sat on my chair, quickly grabbed my vibrator and I don’t even know if I got to use it before standing back up over the chair and reaching down to feel my baby’s head crowning while saying “she’s coming”.
Zachary was surprised and maybe said something like “are you sure?” but no more words were spoken as I felt her head slowly come out of me. Logic did kick in for a moment as I wanted to protect myself from tears. I tried with all of my might to slow her down but her head just popped right out! I didn’t push at all, she just came. The pressure was intense but relieving. I don’t recall pain at all. I felt myself tear anyway, but it didn’t hurt.
It turns out it is a theme for me to become 100% silent during the last phase of labor, which also has had a record of being quick! I don’t moan, or scream, or say anything. Not even a little grunt! Which is funny because I’m definitely a moaner through labor.
I relaxed and breathed and felt her wet little head with my hands, caressing around the back of her head before feeling another contraction come quickly. I gripped the back of the chair while listening to Zachary tell me how beautiful she is. Her body started to slowly come out and I felt myself give into the urge to push while standing up straighter and let out a satisfied moan as her shoulders popped out and her body slid out right after completely seamlessly.
Zachary said something along the lines of “she’s here, our little girl is here” and I stepped over the cord and he placed her in my arms. I kept moaning in relief and enjoying the euphoric energy shooting through my body that can only be described as orgasmic! I didn’t feel necessarily sexual and know now that orgasmic does not necessarily relate to sex itself.
My older children came running down the hall and entered as soon as they heard the baby. I continued to let out orgasmic cries from the sensations of releasing my baby from my body. It was such a beautiful release.
We all smiled and cried and laughed in excitement while finally meeting Lumi while I stood holding her, directing my oldest to take pictures. We frantically set the bed up for us to get in and cuddle, my legs were getting weak at that point.
As I made my way into the bed, holding my tiny little baby with both hands, I paused because I felt my placenta coming. It plopped right out of me onto the bed without even trying. My oldest said “WOAH!” haha
After laying down, Zachary gave me some herbs to stop bleeding and for the pains. I also learned that placenta helps stop bleeding, so we cut off a small chunk and I placed it in my cheek. It was remarkably flavorless and much less gross than it seems! It also did seem to be quite effective.
I was so alert and stayed up for quite awhile with the baby, admiring her and of course eating a lot of food. There’s no hunger quite like it!
After about 3 hours or so we cut the cord and weighed her at 8lbs even. Zachary made me a placenta smoothie with frozen berries and almond milk, and it was fantastic! It did not taste like placenta, just a regular smoothie, but it was a beautiful bright vermillion color.
Immediately after my first home birth, which was attended by a midwife just a year and a half prior, I thought to myself “I don’t think I can do this again”. That was such a sad thought for me to have, because I knew I wanted many more children.
My freebirth was the most amazing, healing, and pure moment in my entire life. After so much trauma and a lifetime of confusion about my body, I really finally felt like my body was trustworthy, whole, and mine. Immediately after birth, and still almost two months later, I can not wait to do it again!