I find myself looking back on Honor's birth and feeling happy yet curious about it. Galen's birth was unassisted in that our midwife didn't make it. Our midwife's apprentice made it to Honor's birth. Sometimes I wish Honor's birth had been unassisted too. That was an awesome experience. But at the same time, I'm super grateful for the support I received from my midwife and her apprentice. I also really like having someone there to help get me and the baby settled after the birth.
Anyways, it's hard not to make a comparison, especially since their births (Galen's and Honor's) were really so similar in the way they progressed once things got started. The biggest difference was that Galen came out all at once and I had to really push Honor's chest out after her head was born. Both had cords around them that had to be unwrapped, though Honor's was a lot tighter. She still didn't seem too fazed by it though.
I think I spend the most time thinking over these moments just around Honor's birth. Everything else moved so quickly. It was not easy, but it was do-able. The moments just as she was being born seem almost like they are in slow motion when I think of them. I still vividly recall feeling the bag of waters bulging as I felt inside myself, then I felt her head rush down and felt the pulling and stretching and the “ring of fire” as her head was born.
Still, I opened and allowed her to come. Again I credit the work Scott and I did with the Pink Kit for my ability to just let go and relax the muscles so she was able to just come down and out with no tearing. There was a point just before the pushing started that I felt like I was really losing it. I focused completely on Scott at that point, just watching him breath for me. I'm glad that we worked through the PK together and that he was able to breathe with me – though I don't think he could figure out exactly what I was asking for help on in the moment.
I also pulled a lot from Spiritual Midwifery again for this birth. First, in welcoming the birthing time, saying that I wanted things to get moving, and in embracing that heavy, intense part of birthing a baby. I also wanted to follow the advice in Spiritual Midwifery to “give some” during the birth, not to make it all about me and my work. So I gave Scott a lot of kisses between contractions – it felt right and I think it helped me release some of the energy that build up with each peak.
I feel like in some ways I'm still processing Honor's birth because I'm still processing pregnancy and Honor herself (and her needs). I'm still coming to terms with my body post-pregnancy in a way that I didn't with the others. I feel physically weaker now than I did after the others, probably because I wasn't as diligent with my prenatal preparations.
I still have the bracelet from my blessingway on my wrist because really, I feel like I'm still working through all of this. What “all of this” is, I guess I can't really say… but there's still a lot of processing going on, and I'm not ready to say “this is done.” My bracelet is a tangible symbol of that, I suppose.
Despite the emotional challenge of Honor's pregnancy, and the lack of good physical preparation, I feel like her birth went well. I did do some prenatal yoga and belly dance here at home, but I didn't do as much as usual and I really didn't get out and walk as much as I did with my others. I'm suffering those consequences now with feeling a lot weaker physically than usually. But, I did do a couple of things that really helped me during birthing Honor – the same things I did with Galen.
First, I ate well. I went through a period of weeks early in pregnancy when I did not eat well. But starting at around 19 weeks I was vigilant about my nutrition, and I also started my pregnancy very well nourished. I truly believe that an excellent pregnancy diet makes a huge difference in health and in childbirth. I followed the same diet that had given me four healthy babies already – I truly think it's a winner. Click here for info on pregnancy diet for a healthy baby.
Scott and I also worked through the Pink Kit again. We didn't do as much together as with Galen, when Scott was learning everything for the first time. But we did several review sessions and I re-read all the materials. I also practiced – tons. I did a lot of practice with my breathing and relaxation. Scott and I did the Internal Work every night as well, starting at about 30 weeks.
And a Pink Kit teaching helped me surprisingly much with waiting for labor – deciding “what do I want to do right now.” That helped a lot with the consistent Braxton-hicks contractions I had for a couple of weeks leading up to Honor's birth.
I really feel like with this pregnancy, the emotional support of my midwife was very important. I needed that a lot. I definitely feel closer to my midwife and her apprentice for the level of emotional support they offered, and for their continuous encouragement and ability to listen. I truly felt that they care for me and about me, and were willing to get to know me for who I am (and appreciate me for who I am). I think that was really, really important.
I would say that emotional support during pregnancy, along with a good diet and our Pink Kit skills were the most important things in bringing about a good birth for Honor. As I've mentioned before, people say I'm “lucky” for having “easy births.” I say luck has nothing to do with it 😉