Embracing Our Birth Stories

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Ameli’s birth was the most amazing birth experience I could ever have dreamt of. As a first timer with no real experience and nothing but book knowledge, the 48-hour labour and peaceful birth was magical, and an experience that shaped my future, as every birth does.

Welcome to the June 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Embracing Your Birth Experience

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have written about at least one part of their birth experience that they can hold up and cherish.


I was terrified of giving birth again, because I knew that a second birth had every chance of not living up to the first. As the date grew closer and I began submitting to monitoring for being ‘post dates’ my dreams of another peaceful birth became clouded by external fears. I fought for it though, and in the end had another home water birth with Aviya.  The result was wonderful. I had a vernix covered, 9lb 6oz little girl, just under three months ago.

But for too long, I felt a deep sense of disappointment. Despite being 42+5 by ‘their’ dates – I was pretty confident that I was only 40+5 – and having had on and off contractions all day, when it came to the birth, we just weren’t ready. I was bearing down by the time there was enough water in the pool to even get in, and everyone around me were either acting as though we had hours still, or running about like headless chickens and my midwife – who was under a lot of pressure for still attending me at home when her boss had been trying to convince me to go in for an induction – was obviously nervous. There was no sense of calm, or peace, and this deeply affected me in the moment.

I was in panic, it was all happening too fast, and it was only when I managed to calm myself down – I asked for music to be put on, the same playlist I had for Ameli’s birth – that things improved.

Even so, in my memory banks, this was a noisy birth. I wasn’t as calm, as composed or as peaceful as I had been with Ameli’s birth, and while it doesn’t ‘matter’, it did to me and I felt disappointed in myself.

Rhiannon, my doula, kept saying that I had been a birthing goddess –  but I didn’t feel it.

What changed it all around for me was almost two months later, when I sat down to watch the birthing video. I wish I had done this earlier.  I had felt so angry over various little bits that had happened, but felt that I couldn’t talk to anyone involved about it – with the exception of my doula – for fear or ruining the birth memories for them too.

Watching the video I realised that I was right. It was a noisy birth, but not from me! There was constant ‘chatter’ and although I wasn’t being directed on how or when to push, there were a lot of voices (one is a lot when all you want is silence!) telling me what to do or how I was doing. “Almost there!”, “There’s a head”, “Don’t touch now, don’t touch now!” (an unnecessary fear of overstimulating the baby before birth, causing it to take a breath), and “Take the baby out of the water now, right now Luschka, pick it up!” (again, totally unnecessary for up to a few minutes!)

I, meanwhile, didn’t make a sound! I breathed her out! I hadn’t ‘failed’ my expectations. I hadn’t let myself down! My head was so busy focusing in on pushing my prescious baby down that I heard the noise, but didn’t filter the fact that it wasn’t me making it.

I know it sounds silly, probably to everyone reading this, but it was important to me. I didn’t want her to be born to the sound of my screams. I wanted it to be a calm and peaceful transition earthside.

And between her and me, it was.

Everything else was just noise.

I still feel a bit sad that I wasn’t awash with the awe of birth from the start, and I wish that my named midwife had been on duty (she was off after an unrelated injury), because she knew that silence was necessary for me to feel calm, and I wish that my birth supporters, who also knew, had been a bit more vocal for me, but, in the end, what was most important to me– that I birthed my baby peacefully, at home, in water – happened.

I guess it could have gone either way, and either way I’d have had to make peace with Aviya’s birth, but though I won’t ever share the gory details, I’m so glad I had the video to restore my confidence in me.

Aviya’s birth was fast, and dramatic and at times aggressive and violent, but it was perfect after all. It was the most perfect birth she’ll ever have.


Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be live and updated by afternoon June 12 with all the carnival links.)

  • I Had A C-Section. So What! — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama rewrites her birth story now that she has worked through the feelings of inadequacy and disappointment of not having the “perfect” birth.
  • The Perfect Birth — Kellie at Our Mindful Life reflects on how a birth can be far from what we imagined, but still perfect.
  • Own Your Birth: My Hope For All Expectant Moms — Andrea at Tales of Goodness shares how she owned her birth spiritually (while navigating it physically) in order to have a joyous experience.
  • Carnival of Natural Parenting: My Birth Experience — It wasn’t what Lily at Witch Mom wanted, but it was everything she needed.
  • The Painless Natural Homebirth of BabyE — Shannon at GrowingSlower wants women considering natural birth to know painless births are possible.
  • Reflections on Jemma’s Birth … 20 Months Later — It took a second pregnancy for That Mama Gretchen to fully embrace her first birth experience.
  • Loving My Unnatural Birth Experience — Erika at Cinco de Mommy cherishes her very first birth experience, in all its unnatural glory!
  • Be Careful What you Wish for in Birth — Amber at Strocel.com had two births, and it was the one that went to plan that she struggled with embracing.
  • Redeeming an unexpected hospital transfer — Lauren at Hobo Mama looks back at her first, interrupted home-turned-hospital birth, and finds the beauty in what happened.
  • All of it — Laura from Pug in the Kitchen had to learn to embrace the whole experience of birth even though it meant being naked . . . with an audience.
  • Birthing Dreams & RealitiesMomma Jorje never had a “dream birth,” but she wouldn’t change a thing about her births.
  • Memories of Birth: Calm Amidst the Storm — While neither of her children’s births had been quite what she expected, Cynthia at The Hippie Housewife cherishes one moment in particular from each of her birth experiences.
  • Embracing Our Birth Stories — Luschka from Diary of a First Child shares a sensitive post on her recent birth which both did and didn’t go ‘to plan’, and writes about the journey of coming to terms with the good and the bad.
  • Two Beautiful Births — Sheila at A Gift Universe remembers how her mother brought out the beauty in each of her children’s births, and tries to do the same with her sons’ birth stories.
  • Embracing My Supernatural ChildBirth Experiences… — Jenny at I’m a full-time mummy shares her fond memories on both her supernatural childbirth experiences
  • Embracing the Hospital Birth Experience — Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction believes that sometimes a medicated, induced hospital birth is the right choice for a natural parent.
  • Carnival: Embracing Your Birth Experience — Stephanie at The Other Baby Blog embraces the birth experience from a paleobiologist’s point of view and takes a look at how humans defy their anatomy.
  • Reflections on My First Birth and Preparing for a Second — Abbie at Farmer’s Daughter shares the strength she didn’t realize she had until she gave birth to her son.
  • becoming a mama – embracing my birth experience — Meegs at A New Day remembers the birth of her daughter Gwenivere, and the empowered feeling it left her with.
  • What About Us? A Poem About Birth — Kat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment shares a poem she wrote about healing from an unexpected and emotionally painful birth experience.
  • Be a Man: One Father’s View of Birth — Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children shares her husband’s advice to other fathers and partners.
  • A Birth Monologue — Kat at MomeeeZen shares a monologue she wrote during the process of healing from her birth experiences.
  • Forgiveness: My Birth Journey — Leah at The Crunchy Farm Baby discusses what happens when her planned homebirth doesn’t end up the way she wanted, and explains her journey of forgiving herself for losing that “perfect” birth.
  • Patching together a perfect birth — KrissyFair at Think Mama, Think learned that sometimes a perfect birth happens in pieces.
  • Celebrating and Sharing the Possibilities of Perfect Birth — Terri from Child of the Nature Isle joyfully shares details of her perfect births and wishes to inspire a more positive cultural expectation about birth.
  • Instinct – Embracing Your Birth Experience — Laura at Laura’s Blog reflects on instinctual moments during and after the births of her two daughters.
  • I was Foolish Then — ANonyMous at Radical Ramblings describes how foolish lack of preparation for childbirth led to a feeling of powerlessness and fear, but that in the end she had her baby in her arms, and that’s one thing she can celebrate.
  • Sometimes no plan is the best plan — Tat at Mum in search contemplates that maybe she doesn’t need a birth plan for her upcoming birth.
  • Disturbing the peace — Kenna at Million Tiny Things thought she would be a calm, quiet baby-haver. Ha!
  • Accepting the Unexpected During Birth — Emily at S.A.H.M i AM imagined herself laboring on a birthing ball but she never imagined where she’d really be most comfortable when the time came…
  • Sacred This Time, Too — Kimber at The Single Crunch learned enough to know that the way she birthed wasn’t they way she wanted to; but she also knew to enjoy it for what it was.
  • The Birth Partner: A Great Natural Labor Companion — Justine at The Lone Home Ranger thinks that the secret to her pleasant natural labors was having a great support system.
  • the Best Thing About My Labor ExperienceCrunchy Con Mommy realizes that amidst all the things that seemed to go wrong with her labor, the love and support of her husband was the one thing she could always count on!
  • Your Birth Was My FavoriteDulce de leche describes some of the highlights from each of her four births and explains why despite the differences, they are all her favorites.
  • Birth Story: Part One – Moon on a Stick! Gentle Mama Moon tells the first part of her birth story to share some of the delight of labouring at home.
  • Embracing My Birth Experience by Sharing My Birth Story — Dionna at Code Name: Mama made peace with her first birth by sharing the story with her son.
  • Focusing on the Beauty of Birth — Julia at A Little Bit of All of It shares the beautiful aspects of her birth center water birth.
  • A Joyful Induced Delivery — Amy Willa: Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work notes the meditations and perspective that helped her achieve an unmedicated birth despite being induced for medical reasons.
  • Finding Joy in an Imperfect Childbirth Experience — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now tells what she learned from her two very different childbirth experiences.
  • What’s to like about a c-section? — Jessica at Crunchy-Chewy Mama is glad she her second child at home, but she also cherishes much about the c-section she had four years earlier.
  • What Story Will I Tell? — Rachael at The Variegated Life realizes that the way she tells the story of her second child’s birth matters — and could be exhilarating.
  • I Quietly Put My Hopes to Rest E — Erica at ChildOrganics shares her emotional ups and downs with the highly intervened birth of her special needs daughter, Bella.
  • Tale of Six Births — Jessica at Instead of Institutions appreciates that unique challenges and joys of each of her births.
  • Labouring naturally: nature’s gift — Caroline at stoneageparent describes the most beautiful, spiritual aspect of the labour of her son, the first stages along a bumpy road to giving birth.
  • All The Woman I Am. — Lindsay at This Woman’s Work shares a poem about letting go and surrendering during the thralls of labor.
  • A twin birth story: embracing the unexpected — Megan at The Boho Mama shares her twin birth experience and how she found the silver lining when faced with preterm labor, premature birth, and a two-week NICU stay.
  • Giving Birth With Eminem — Kerry at City Kids Homeschooling shares how fiery rap music contributed to an empowered homebirth with her third baby.
  • Two Different Births — Cassie at There’s a Pickle in My Life shares how she learned from her first birth experience and how to trust yourself and your body.
  • Embracing Our Potential: Birth as a Metaphor — Sheila from A Living Family guest posts at Natural Parents Network and expresses how birth has served as a metaphor to help her through other experiences in life.
  • Little Sister’s Birth Story: Our VBAC Adventure — Charise at I Thought I Knew Mama describes the recent birth story of her baby girl, her pride in an epidural-free VBAC, and how her story isn’t exactly the birth experience she had planned for.
  • A Journey in Birth Confidence — Shannon at The Artful Mama shares her experiences with labor during both of her sons’ births.

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10 thoughts on “Embracing Our Birth Stories

  1. This is a wonderful birth story. It sounds like you got a precious birth both times around. I’m sure both of your daughters will be overjoyed to hear their birth stories. Or even watch them. You have much to be proud of.
    Andrea’s last blog post ..Shoddy Garden, Happy Me


  2. Lauren @ Hobo Mama

    Oh, Luschka, this story is so beautiful to me. I’m glad you were able to see that your calm was centering to Aviya in the midst of the hubbub around you.

    I know one thing I’m most happy about in remembering my second birth was how still and quiet it was, after one of the disappointments from my first birth was how bright and noisy everything had been. Now, I in fact was not quiet when pushing, but it was focused noise, and my only birth attendant (Sam) was being calm, and then at the end, quite happy, along with me.

    Thanks for sharing your story, and I’m glad you’ve made some peace with your second birth after realizing how well you had birthed.
    Lauren @ Hobo Mama’s last blog post ..Giveaway: Everyday Minerals – $41 ARV {6.23; US/Can}


  3. I love how you said it was the perfect birth for her – of course it was! She was born into the loving arms of her wonderful mama!
    Gretchen’s last blog post ..12 in 2012: Book Update


  4. It is amazing how those videos/pictures can totally reframe our experiences. It sounds as if your body did exactly what you needed regardless of the outside chaos – how powerful!
    jessica’s last blog post ..Tale of Six Births


  5. Thank you for sharing your birth experience with us. Congratulations on a beautiful baby girl! You have me curious about comparing my perception of my birth of my ds and it’s reality. I still haven’t watched his birth video, I need to do that!
    Erica @ ChildOrganics’s last blog post ..I Quietly Put My Hopes To Rest


  6. I love the last line of this post – so true!

    I’m so glad you had the birth video to look back on. It was so interesting for me to see the videos and pics my doula took – especially because I didn’t even realize she was taking them. I loved seeing that my memory of the event matched up with reality
    Charise @ I Thought I Knew Mama’s last blog post ..Little Sister’s Birth Story: A VBAC Adventure


  7. I’m so glad you were able to look back and embrace *your* birth experience with your daughter, minus the outside noise. Sounds like you did an amazing job Mama! This is a beautiful post.
    Meegs’s last blog post ..becoming a mama – embracing my birth experience


  8. I am so happy that you were able to have the birth you wished for. I did duck my ears under the water during labor to help center myself but my actual births were accompanied by vocalization. The second was a bit less dramatic then the first. I had always been aware of how some cultures value noise during birth and believe the louder the mother is – the more beautiful the child will be. Your daughters are beautiful and didn’t need any help from extra vocalization on your part!


  9. I am definitely *not* a quiet birther. With Kieran, Tom teased me that I sounded like Louis Armstrong ;) While I’m ok with the fact that I make noise, I love the picture you’ve painted of your own quiet experience.


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