I never gave much thought about what my birthing experience would be like. I always just assumed, given my skin disease, I would have a cesarean or an episiotomy. I heard that’s how others did it. I was born and diagnosed with Lamellar Ichthyosis. My skin has many thick layers of constricting dry, and at times cracking skin. The only way I can care for it is with lotions and daily exfoliating with my handy lava rock.
Mindful birthing became my most important tool
A friend shared with me a mindful birth company called The Dream Birth Company. Mindful birthing became my most important tool in my drug free vaginal home birth. I learned I didn’t have to succumb to the fear of birth that our culture has put on women. If I can understand what my beautiful body was created to do, I can fearlessly relax and let my body move my baby into the world when the time comes.
Fear triggers the secretion of our fight or flight hormones that will inhibit us from experiencing a positive and calm birth. Oxytocin, our love hormone can significantly reduce pain if I can come at birth with a positive perspective.
With Ichthyosis, I had a fear the size of Texas (where I live) that I would have terrible perineum tearing and never fully heal.
How I prepared
Knowledge is power
Once I heard of gentle mindful birthing, I watched some Youtube videos, bought a book on Hypnobirthing The Mongan Method and I was convinced! I began to prepare myself for my birth mindfully.
A supportive midwife
I dropped my OBGYN who advised against a home birth and began my search for a midwife so I could have a natural birth without forced medical intervention.
My midwife carried me through the rest of my pregnancy and paid special attention to my diet and body positions. No more sugary processed foods, and increased vitamins, primrose oil, Alfalfa, and vitamin D.
No more reclining or slouching. Left side lying only. Baby needed to be in a good head down position and certain positions would only cause a slower labor.
Daily practice of my relaxation and breathing techniques
At home, I practiced daily relaxation and breathing techniques from the Dream Birth Company that I would use for labor and birthing. I also practiced walking meditations nearly every day.
The time came.
The early stages
I went an entire day in labor without feeling any discomfort, just a tightening that I assumed was Braxton Hicks until my midwife told me otherwise during my 41 week checkup. I went home for a slow walk, went swimming, then took a bubble bath. By 10pm I was putting on makeup and curling my hair between stronger surges (contractions). Lesson learned. I should have just napped!
It was quite boring!
I had a lot of stalling and I found out soon enough that labor was quite boring unlike our TV shows portray.
In the birth pool
Majority of the time I floated in my birth pool and listened to relaxing music from the Dream Birth playlist on spotify while my birth team and husband Gabriel chatted around me. I would talk and laugh with them between my waves then go back to focusing on my breath and dream relaxation techniques when I needed.
I was only focused on my body and my baby.
Things really picked up the following afternoon and at that point, I was only focused on my body and my baby. I eventually got into my bed to labor on my side. Meanwhile, my nurse and Gabriel put lotion on me so my skin wouldn’t begin to crack.
Evening came and I was so tired, wishing I had taken a nap the day before. My cervix was taking a while to fully dilate. Gabriel said a prayer for my cervix, then 20 minutes later Ezra was birthed as I stood in the bathroom after thinking I needed to poop! Gabriel, my midwife, and I all had our hands on Ezra’s head as I breathed him out slowly.
I had one small tear to a vaginal muscle absolutely unrelated to my skin. It didn’t even matter to me. I was holding the most precious, healthy Dream Baby in my arms.
My Dream Birth
I am so happy with my Dream Birth and thankful that I made informed decisions through it all. Ezra and I are both healthy. He’s also breastfeeding beautifully which I was also told I couldn’t do.
We are strong and our bodies were made for this.
That is all.