BIRTH STORIES - MEET LAUREN
Close your eyes and breathe deep
Breathe in peace, breathe out pain
Imagine your feet
Standing on the dirt
Think of yourself as rooted
Think of your place in the earth
How did you come to be here?
Through generations of women named
A maternal lineage
That brought you to this place
Think of their birth stories
What you know, what you believe to be true
Realize that their births carry deep wisdom
The memory of joy and transcendence
Each birth is a powerful experience
Each birth traces down to you
Understand that your birth is your own
This story is yours
It will be different from all others
Like the swirls in your thumb
With a unique pattern
Unfolding with each breath
This story belongs to you
This story is an opening
It is the end and the beginning
May this story be without fear
May this story bring you home
It's time for another birth story. My favorite kind of story. My hope with this series of posts is to shine light on the very fabric of life, and the wondrous women who facilitate it. I think we can all glean, grow, and find inspiration from storytelling. All of these stories will be woven together with themes of surrender, faith, courage, and the understanding that birth is a body, soul, and spirit phenomena; and when harnessed in it's fullness, truly and miraculously transforming.
MEET OUR MAMA, LAUREN WELLS
This one is brought to you by a fellow birth lover and Georgia local, named Lauren. I met Lauren while coaching gymnastics a few years back. She went on to become a nurse with a huge heart to serve and empower her community! She has one of the kindest, most sincere spirits, and I think you will feel the same as you read her words.
-Tell us a little bit about yourself:
HI! I'm Lauren, 27 year old wife of almost 8 years and Momma to 3 kiddos. I'm a nurse. My husband and I bought a small farm in November of 2017 and we are really excited about that. We are really trying hard to be present with the family, be compassionate and really dig in to this life and world we've been gifted.
-What were your beliefs about birth prior to this experience and how did they influence your choices of where and how to give birth?
So prior to my 1st birth I think I had the view that most women in America have. I knew it was going to hurt, went to classes, thought about natural but not really more than a fleeting thought. I distinctly remember saying to someone how dangerous homebirth was. So with my 1st birth I chose to give birth at the hospital. To keep things short, that birth was a spontaneous labor, contractions 2 mins apart from the word go; 7 hours in I got an epidural and then 12 hours to the minute, my daughter was born. It was amazing. My recovery on the other hand- I had a rare reaction/side effect to the combination of the epidural and being in the stirrups in the hospital and couldn't move my legs or get out of bed on my own. I had to have help, I could shuffle my feet about 3 inches a step. I knew the next day I would never have an epidural again. So, prior to having our second kiddo I had a friend say "Hey, you really have to watch this documentary, "The Business of Being Born." So I did. And it changed my view of birth. I started doing research and since I decided a day after giving birth the 1st time that I wanted a natural birth the next time, my research led me to believe that a homebirth was the safest and best option for me. It took some convincing for my husband and my mom wasn't too sure but they came around.
-Did you have to face any internal or external opposition during your pregnancy? (Fears, doubt, illness, etc.) And if so, how did you overcome?
Knowing I was going to choose a home birth the second time around was pretty scary for a lot of people in my circle. I had a few doubts myself, (what if I cant handle the pain, what if something goes wrong, etc) and then getting my husband on board took a little bit of effort. This was before we were even pregnant with our second. But once we were pregnant and he saw everything that I saw, he was on board 100%. He quite enjoyed telling people we were having a homebirth actually. My midwife, Linda, is amazing. She is so sweet and encouraging. Having a provider I felt confident in was a huge deal for me.
-Describe the day leading up to your labor. When did you realize that “the time had come?” Were you expecting it? How did you feel in those moments?
Leading up to labor on my due date, I got that burst of energy and extreme nesting urge that you hear about. (I had gotten it with my 1st as well but just didn't know what it was). We spent the day deep cleaning our house preparing for having a homebirth. I had a few random strong contractions throughout the day that stopped me in my tracks and when I talked to my mom and told her we were cleaning, I had one on the phone and she said "Im coming over". It wasn't until about 10pm that I really started having timeable contractions and it was go time!
-Describe how your labor progressed and your thoughts and feelings associated with it. Was there anything that surprised you? What was the most challenging aspect of your labor?
So I had those random contractions through out the day, maybe once an hour or hour and a half. We spent the evening snuggling and spending some precious time with our oldest. At around 10PM, I was reading her a bedtime story and my husband, without my knowing started timing contractions because I was swaying with them. When we left her room he asked me how bad the contractions were and how far apart I thought they were. I remember telling him, "well, they are making me sway but obviously I can still do things; they're probably maybe 10 minutes apart?" He replied, "well, actually, we probably should call Linda (our midwife) because they are about 3 minutes apart! We called Linda to fill her in and she advised us to get some rest. At midnight we called her back as I wasn't able to rest anymore and she headed our way. I spent the majority of the time listening to a playlist I had made and rocking on the birth ball. My husband used heating pads on my lower back and counter pressure during contractions to help. Linda arrived and checked baby's heartbeat and we continued to labor. She suggested I get into the birth pool about 4AM and I did and continued to labor. I was so comfortable being at home compared to being at the hospital!
-Describe the delivery and immediate postpartum. What were your thoughts, feelings, sensations, most memorable moments?
At about 6:15AM, I was leaning back in the pool with my eyes closed and Linda was looking at me and said "let me know when things feel different". 15 minutes later, I sat up and said "That was different, I gotta change positions." I got on hands and knees and my contractions started feeling different. They were pushing down. I wasn't but they were. Linda said "let your body do the work! Just breathe." I was trying to focus on my breathing and could feel my little man moving down. I HAD to push. I remember feeling like I couldn't hold myself up with my arms and my husband just leaned over the pool and held me and I pushed (loudly). It felt like something was pushing against by backside- turned out to be his elbow as his arm was up at his neck- elbow to the side. My waters were intact and part of the sac came out; then on the next push it burst and his head was out. One more push and at 6:55AM my baby was born. My midwife pushed him in the water between my legs, he gave a little kick and my husband and I pulled him up together. Our oldest came into the room and just stared at him. My little boy just stayed on my chest until his cord stopped pulsing and turned white then my husband cut the cord and took him skin to skin while I got out of the tub and WALKED to my bed. Y'all, I was 10 minutes post partum, just gave birth and walked from my living room to my bedroom. It took 4 days to that the first time! My midwife checked my bleeding and I had no tears (yay!) then I took my baby man from my husband and within 15 minutes he was nursing all on his own. After about 1 hour of snuggles and just taking him in, Linda did his newborn assessment right there on the bed and our oldest got to help with the measuring tape and held his hand the entire time. Big sister got to hold him after his assessment and then baby man fell asleep and I ate then took a shower. Then we spent the rest of the day snuggling in our bed, in our bedroom, in our home.
-How did your birth experience affect you body, soul, + spirit? Did it change your beliefs about birth?
After this birth I was obsessed with telling everyone how different birth could be! So was my husband. We shared our experience with everyone who would listen. I felt so strong. There is nothing to remind you of God's love for each of us quite like seeing and holding your baby the first time. As far as my physical body, my recovery was completely different! I could walk! I didn't swell up like a balloon from IV fluids. I got so much more rest in the first few days being at home. I even got in trouble from my midwife for skipping the day after I gave birth. Oops. I felt like a million bucks. Don't get me wrong, I was sore and needed some ice packs the day I gave birth but after that I was good.
-What would your advice be to the current pregnant mama’s of earth?
Find YOUR birth circle where you feel educated, supported, and encouraged. Find YOUR parenting style. There is a lot of information and should and shouldn't out there. Find where you can be your best you and your best mom and just be.
I'm in tears. What a wonderful birth story Lauren. Wonderful because it's yours. You were heard, respected, nourished, and empowered. Thank you for sharing it with the Eden House family.
Birth is beyond this world and our words and pictures just can't quite bring it to life the way an experience can. If you have an experience and are looking for a place to share it, we would love for this to be your place.
Drop a comment and let us know. Show some love. Feed the beauty.