My First Birth Story
I LOVE an empowering natural birth story! It took me a matter of weeks to write up my baby girl’s birth story. A birthing pool, my doula, yoga, a skilled midwife, lots of honey, completely unmedicated. The way it should be!
Truth be told, my first birth was NOT the same and it has taken me FOUR years to even put a glimpse of it down. After so much healing, I’m still welling up in tears as I start to write this because the birth of my first baby was TRAUMATIC. I share my birth story because ALL births are beautiful, but damn, you cesarean section Mamas are STRONG!
When I learned I was pregnant with a little boy, I was over the moon. I found a midwife, started prenatal yoga daily, we took @hypnobabiesofficial together, we found a doula, I had Webster technique twice weekly, we learned @spinningbabies for positioning, and I had lots of massage/chiropractic, and even acupuncture at the very end. My pregnancy was great!
When my water broke and I went into labor, we made our way to our midwife’s office and she quickly sent us to the birthing center. When we arrived, I was told that I was having contractions and was 2 cm dilated, but that my water did not break. I explained that I SOAKED the bathroom floor but apparently those little black strips know more than a first-time mom. I was sent home. My waves continued all night, back labor, showers, changing positions, calling my midwife’s office with updates. At one point I grabbed my husband and said: “We need to go, NOW!”
When we arrived at the birthing center I stood up to get out of the car and a GUSH of water soaked my pants – and it was a FREEZING cold January morning! As I walked inside, I could feel movement and quickly realized that my son’s FOOT was between my legs. I was 10 cm dilated. I was checked by the nurses and midwife, and a doctor was called. I WALKED to the connected hospital (with a foot dangling between my legs) and suddenly heard nothing but screaming, “DON’T PUSH!” My world crumbled, I felt panic, I felt fear, there was no doctor on site, there were nurses running, and an anesthesiologist telling me that if the doctor didn’t arrive in 3 minutes that he would have to knock me out completely. My arms and legs were strapped down to the delivery room table. I had NO idea what to do…(I prepared myself for a natural birth, so I wasn’t prepared to feel like Jesus nailed to the cross.) I had NO idea what to expect with an emergency c-section delivery. I was told that my son was in the birth canal with one leg out and STUCK with the other leg up.
The doctor walked in, and immediately, I was cut open. My body started to shake like crazy. I could barely get words out and my husband was finally allowed to come into the room. I remember feeling SO cold and swelling for the first time since becoming pregnant. After what felt like hours of pulling, pushing, and pressure, and hearing comments like, “oh the bladder is over here,” my son was born. He was immediately placed on my chest and I started to sob even more. He was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. My baby was here!!!! THEN my heart started to pound out of my chest, dizziness, shaking, faint feeling, the lights were closing in on me. A reaction…to Pitocin, a drug used to induce contractions, or in this case, stop bleeding.
My beautiful baby was quickly taken from me. I was put back together and taken to recovery. I remember feeling REALLY scared! I don’t do well with Tylenol, let alone the spinal I had just received for a c-section. I was alone because my husband was with my son. I remember laying there crying for my Mom. They wouldn’t let her in, but I could hear her voice outside of the room.
I was out of it, I was afraid, my normally low blood pressure was HIGH, I was in pain and remember finally crying and begging for someone to bring my baby boy to me! It felt AWFUL to be away from him, but he suffered his own injuries because YES my water did break 24 hours earlier, and he had an infection. When he finally came back to me, he nursed right away, and we stayed skin to skin for hours. He was my dream come true! My son, my baby, the BEST and most amazing thing that could ever happen to a Mama! 💙
The birth haunted me for a very long time, c-section recovery was rough, my uterus was enlarged at 12 weeks, and my health took a major hit. Looking back, every though my first delivery experience was a nightmare, I feel BLESSED to have experienced birth BOTH ways. It helps me relate to the Moms and pregnant women that I work with as every woman’s experience truly is different (and sometimes far from perfect). Nobody wants unnecessary intervention, medications, etc., but unfortunately, emergencies can happen, and it’s so important for moms to be OKAY with that and heal the trauma of births like this one. I wasn’t “okay” for a really long time after this! I wish I knew then what I know now because my healing would have been completely different, but I thank God for Medical Medium finding a way into my life quickly after my son was born. 💙
To read about just how differently my second birth turned out, check out my post, Life-Giving Foods for Giving Life.
If I knew then, what I know now…
14 Tips for Physically and Emotionally Recovering from Birth (C-Section or Vaginal Birth)
And now here are some tips for foods to eat and other steps to take to support your recovery after birth. All of these tips are super beneficial for physical and emotional health, whether you’ve gone through homebirth, vaginal, or cesarean delivery.
1. Consume lots of Fruits
This helps us to get high levels of glucose in our bodies, which becomes the fuel we need to help us both recover from birth and keep going when we’re exhausted and taking care of our precious new babies.
2. Eat Potatoes
Potatoes provide grounding at a time when hormones are changing, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the chaos of this important (but unnerving) time. They help you feel more connected to your baby and more at peace with knowing you’re right where you need to be.
Potatoes reorient us, help us to feel pleased and gratified by our experiences, and guide us to make choices not based on ego but out of true grounding and stability.
3. Consume Foods Rich in Silica
Silica aids in skin recovery, which is a great need after any type of birth. Some recommended foods include melons, cucumbers, artichokes, asparagus, dandelion, and leafy greens.
4. Eat Your Greens
Barley grass juice powder, spirulina, celery juice, and sprouts all collectively support your liver, and in turn, support your adrenals.
5. Eat Every Hour/Two Hours
Eating often allows your body to have enough glucose to recover. When your glucose is steady, your adrenal glands don’t have to work so hard. (Their job right now is to heal and restore themselves after birth!) This can be difficult when taking care of a helpless newborn, but you can make it easier by keeping food /snacks near where you sleep and nurse your baby. Bananas are a great food that can sit out and remain peeled until you’re ready to eat them!
6. Support Your Adrenal / Endocrine System
The stress on our bodies during birth, during recovery, and when at home caring for a new baby is unavoidable, but we can help ourselves by taking time to BREATHE. Relish in the moments where you are holding (and lovingly staring at) your baby. Allow your body this downtime to recover. Additionally, consuming dulse and other sea vegetables which contain iodine helps provide support!
Iodine acts as an antiseptic for the thyroid. It is a disinfectant and cleans the thyroid out of any viruses.
7. Prep Your Meals
Taking the time and the planning out of eating makes a huge difference when you’re home and adapting to your new role. If you are able to prepare (or have family members prepare) and freeze some meals before your baby arrives, simply throwing a dish in the oven for quick access will be a huge help.
8. Drink Water
Hydration is key for recovery! Further, if you are breastfeeding, your body is losing liquid at each feeding. Do what you need to do to ensure you’re keeping up the water intake, whether that means leaving water glasses or bottles at all feeding and sleeping sites or designating someone else as your “water checker.”
9. Drink Beneficial Tea
Teas such as red raspberry leaf and nettle provide hormone support and stimulate breast milk production. This is also one more way to maintain your hydration. Add raw honey for additional benefit and flavor.
Yes, yes, everyone says it. Easier said than done for sure, but think about it! Your body just did something AMAZING! When your baby falls asleep, really try to sleep yourself. Many babies sleep longer stretches in the beginning, so this is a good time to catch up just a bit. Soon enough, most of you will be back on the grind, tackling jobs, parenting other children, paying bills, cleaning, etc., etc., so sleep when you can!! The laundry and cleaning can wait. Really!
11. Get Sunlight
Sometimes it helps to just get out of the house and feel the sunlight on your face. Getting some vitamin D and just reconnecting with the outside world can do wonders for you. If you are unable to get outside, sitting by a window with the sun shining in works too!
Once you’re medically cleared, of course, it helps to just get your body moving. Taking a slow walk, and/or doing some gentle stretching or yoga can go a long way as well.
13. Ask for Help!
You, mama, have a lot on your plate right now. Don’t hesitate to ask for others to bring you water, help get you food, take the baby for a few minutes so you can shower, etc. It takes a village, so don’t feel like you have to take on everything on your own!
14. Address Your Birth Trauma
It is SO helpful to take the time to process what you’ve been through. You can journal, meet with a mental health professional, or attend a support group. I encourage you to check Tap Within and Muneeza’s Emotion Code sessions. You can also schedule a consult with me if you are looking for some deeper, one-on-one guidance.
More Support in the Empowered Moms Course
There are even more ideas to support new moms (seasoned moms too) in the upcoming Empowered Moms course. In the next round, we’re going to have something NEW and special! We are encouraging Moms to share birth stories so we can help each other relate and HEAL emotionally. Positive or negative, empowering or traumatic, we all have stories to tell! As always, the course will connect you to a TRIBE of mommas all over the world who are wanting to increase their confidence and fine tune their intuition when it comes to all things motherhood, including how to take care of yourselves and your little ones! Check out the course now!