Last week my littlest turned one! How does time fly by so fast?!
We did our family tradition of an at home cake smash and as you can see, she was not too fussed (many tears were shed after this photo!) and it was a short-lived experience. Unlike her older sister and just like her brother, she DID NOT like the icky, sticky icing! As I planted her hands into the icing, the tears welled up and that was it. No more photos and no more touching cake. Good news, is that the rest of us got to enjoy cake, because it didn’t get smashed! The only destruction came from the icing melting into a purple pool from the sun.
For a lot of mum’s, their babies turning one make them feel a little sad, like something has been lost in the conclusion of that first year on Earth. I love this time though, so many new developments and the springing forth of their complex personalities. With Kayla being our last baby (we think…), it has brought about a lot of reflection for me, on the way she came into this world. She was my “big hurrah”, the final note, and what a beautiful way to finish up, than with the experience we shared.
It is a really beautiful thing, to become a mother and the birthing process such a sacred right of passage. For me, the journey of labour plays a crucial role in the transition of carrying my child in the womb, to holding them in my arms.
I have had three very different labours, two that left me satisfied and one an experience that left me disappointed. Pregnant with my first, I was determined to take a natural path and began reading books such as Janet Balaskas’ “Active Birth”, soaking up positive birth stories and opening myself to the idea of an active labour. I believed deep down, in the innate ability of my body to naturally birth my child, as mother nature intended so. When the months had finally rolled past, I was blessed to labour in the small midwife run birthing centre of my home town. I had an active labour, standing and rocking, with a calm and controlled second stage as I “pushed” my baby Earthside. Caught by my exhausted midwife, who had less than an hour earlier, caught a friends baby in the room next door. It was a night for many babies and I was very lucky to have my closest friend and experienced home-birther, Racheal, with me to support, as we spent the majority of the time on our own, lost in time. As the hours past, I found that the standing and rocking, whilst my favourite position to be in for this child, was exhausting. My legs were fatigued, my muscles began to tense, baby began to turn posterior and I knew I needed to rest. I requested pethadine to allow me to relax my muscle again, to “catch a break” and to allow myself to begin progressing again. It was just what I needed, Racheal and I caught a nap for 45 minutes, before the waves of contractions set in again and I was back to my feet. All-in-all, I was ecstatic at the way my first birth had gone. Proud of my body and it’s ability.
My second birth, it was time to stay at home! The stage was set, the birthing pool filled, but my labour just fizzled out and stopped… With my little man sitting high, breaking my waters at home held too much risk and I gave in to the suggestion of transferring to hospital to “induce” my labour again. I regret that decision, especially when my labour restarted naturally on its own. Outside of my comfort zone, in a hard, cold and sterile room, I lost it. With my husband not having been present for the birth of our first, he didn’t know how to support me and I was in no mind to figure out how he could help me. I felt like I was stuck in the most intense pain I had experienced, with no progression. It was my toughest birth, my son was a cheeky one, who didn’t engage until my waters were broken. Unfortunately they checked me after the epidural I requested. So much hindsight from this birth experience and taking my disappointment, I did my best to turn it into a learning experience. I didn’t want to hold on to the negative of it, too much wounding comes from failing to let go. This however, was going to be our last baby.
In July 2015, after spending months training and dieting for bodybuilding competitions (a whole other experience to share there!), we were surprised by two tiny pink lines on a stick! Unplanned, but surprisingly welcomed (I was quietly excited, I didn’t think we would have another), I finally got to work towards the birth of my dreams. And that it was! Everything I could imagine and more, from my beautiful home birth.
Finally I was able to let go of the past and use it to better the future. I began reading Marie Mongon’s “Hypnobirthing”, a wonderful book explaining the theory and ideas behind this great technique. It sparked in me little things I’d done in my first labour, that had worked well and gave me new ideas of how I might work with movement, breath, without tiring myself. I got lots of breathing practice, as the rather intense Braxton hicks increased in the final weeks of my pregnancy. While I didn’t practice the meditative aspect of hypnobirthing, the breathing played a huge role in releasing the pain. It is incredible the difference that it makes and the way it allowed me to relax instead of tense.
My hubby didn’t know what to do first time around, so I wrote him a list. I wrote down things I might not remember to ask if I moved to a state of pained distress. Things to say if I doubted myself or looked to be fighting the process. Visualisation to remind me to ride the waves and release with them, to open like a blooming flower. He laughed and asked if he had to say them word for word! Haha, no my dear, it’s just an example, you can word it however you like. I highly recommend every expecting mother does this for their birth partner, because he was AMAZING! He was involved in the process and no longer a spectator feeling lost. He offered physical touch and support and guided me verbally as I needed it.
Of course, being the oil lover I am, there was no way I wasn’t including them in my home birth, to support myself, physically and emotionally. I chose oils that aren’t always considered when thinking of labour. I allowed my intuition to guide me towards not only the physically useful, but also those that work with emotional patterns. I didn’t want to allow emotions of my previous labour to enter into this one.
With all my preparation, my labour experience was amazing!! It was my first completely drug free birth and the most effective my body has performed, with a short 3hr 9min labour. Even with it being fast and furious my body sailed through and coped without any lingering stress or shock.
I can clearly look back and remember each phase, how/what I was thinking and feeling. How when a negative thought would surface during a tough contraction and I would instantly be able to let it go and replace it with positive. To be able to remember and be aware throughout transition, the time when we usually lose ourselves was so good. I could remember how to release the pain at the peaks of contraction and stay tuned in to anything my husband said to me if I resisted the process. Even now, a year later, I remember these moments clearly and with a smile on my face.
In recovery, I was filled with energy, my body holding no fatigue or soreness and my midwife stated amazement at how textbook my body returned to its normal state of balance. Baby Kayla was beautifully calm, fed like a dream and showed wonderful health and recovery, from what is a stressful event on a little one’s body. I felt so connected to her and she showed such ease in the transition to her new environment.
This has been my most empowering birth experience and I hope in sharing I can help other mama’s to have the same. Whether it is naturally or medically assisted, I hope you can draw empowerment from the journey you take.
I have shared below, the blends I used, so you can learn how to utilise these amazing oils in one of life’s most special journeys.
* In my diffuser for emotional support…
Ylang ylang ~ to keep the heart light and joyful (also helps to prevent mental fatigue)
Lavender Peace ~ to calm and soothe tension/stress
White fir ~ for transition and emotional balance (an intuitive addition)
Lemongrass ~ to dispel negative emotion/thoughts and enhance positivity in the environment.
* My spritzer blend was predominantly for physical support. I rubbed it over my belly a few times in the first half of labour, while bouncing on my swiss ball. Once the going got tough and I was only able to focus on my breath and movement, my husband massaged it into my lower back. The touch became an integral support to me also. Knowing he was there, alongside me, connected and in tune. This beautiful blend also doubles as a wonderful post birth healing blend to rub over the abdomen. With oils for connection and the maternal bond, make sure you have enough made to last through both labour and recovery.
Geranium ~ for support of effective and optimal labour
Lavender ~ for calm and relief of muscle tension
Frankincense ~ to ease tension and encourage focus. To support at a cellular level.
Myrrh ~ to encourage strong, efficient contractions, that are always progressing. To assist in preventing labour stalling. To assist in minimising bleeding. To assist in recovery with its anti-inflammatory effects.
Wild orange ~ to energise. The smell brings me joy and balances this blend too.
If you would like to know how you can bring doTERRA essential oils into your own birth experience, I would love to help you create a package to suit your needs. Contact me here for more information.