Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Birth of Kairos Yarah

I planned and prepared for this birth and labor for so long.  I had everything set up - the birth pool, the supplies, pillows and blankets, his first outfit, my laboring outfit and my outfit for when I got out of the birth pool, mood lighting, music playlist, scripture verses around the home to meditate on during labor... seriously everything was all set up so that I would feel comfortable and "ready" for the whole thing, but was I really "ready?"

A couple days after my mom arrived, we had already made some matching stenciled onesies and toddler shirts for my two boys, we had the home all cleaned up and a few meals already prepped.  I was literally looking for stuff to do (I would call this over-compulsive "nesting").  

It was Friday evening (7:15pm) and I was finishing up some crock pot meals to freeze for later when I felt a "contraction."  It was mild like a menstrual cramp, but it was long, and when it passed, I felt some liquid leak out.  I looked at my mom and Preston and said "um...I need to go to the bathroom to check something..."  Preston's eyes lit up and said "are you in labor?!"  He was getting ready to leave for a meeting, but when I sat down on the toilet and a gush of water came out, I said to him "I think my water just broke!"  He was so excited and said "I'm not going tonight!"  So I called my midwife and she said to call her when the contractions become more consistent.

Ok here we go! I thought.  And I started running around the house trying to finish up the meals and turn on my playlist and mood lights, and my heart was pounding - I'm nervous!  Why am I nervous?! I could not shake the nervousness.  All the hype and anticipation and planning and prepping, and now was THE moment, and I kept questioning myself Am I ready for this?  I did not expect to have this kind of reaction, especially since I had everything ready and had tried to calm my spirit the previous few days to prepare my heart for this.  When I went into labor with Courage I had absolutely no fear, no doubt, no nervousness or unsure feeling whatsoever.  And it went beautifully, so why was I experiencing this uncertainty this time?  But Preston was very reassuring and released a lot of peace and security and joy for me at this time.

Finally I decided to lie down and soak to the worship music, while Courage rolled his train over my body and gave me kisses.  My contractions were mild and spaced out between 8 and 12 minutes apart.  I started to feel the peace of Heaven fill me and Preston started to fill the birth pool.  About an hour later (around 8:30pm) I called my midwife to tell her things were more consistent.  I also called my friend (who is a doula) and my other friend (who is the photographer) to come over as well.  Preston got Courage ready for bed, which was actually a bit of a relief for me.  I had thought I wanted Courage to be a part of the whole labor and to see Kairos come out, but I found myself being distracted by his presence.  So it was perfect timing that it was his bedtime when my labor picked up.  I do wish he could have been there to see Kairos come out, though :)

I labored through the "rushes" (contractions) mostly on my hands and knees, rocking back and forth.  Most of them felt very good and "productive."  During some of the stronger rushes I found myself on my hands and knees facing the couch and driving my head into the couch during the climax of the contraction.  It actually felt good as I concentrated on breathing through each one and thanking Jesus in between.

As the rushes picked up and got stronger, I found myself wanting to stand up and lean forward on our mantel/fireplace.  Someone (my mom, doula, or Preston) would gently rub my lower back through the stronger rushes, which was quite relieving.  As things picked up, all I could think about was when I could get into the birth pool.  My midwife said that since my water broke it's better to wait til I'm close to pushing to get in the water.  I was kind of disappointed since I remember my labor with Courage felt so good in the water.  She also suggested I try laying down through a few contractions for awhile since I had been leaning forward most of the labor which puts a lot of pressure on the front part of the cervix to help open it up, and so it's good to kind of switch it up.  I was a little apprehensive at first, but once I got comfortable and had a couple rushes in the reclined position, I realized it wasn't that bad.  

I remember being much more aware of everyone in the room this time, unlike my labor with Courage.  When my midwife and her assistant were across the room chatting about something, I remember it being distracting and wanting them to pay attention to me, so I got a little louder for a couple of the contractions - I think mostly because I wanted them to pay attention to me and to say I could get in the birth pool :)  (I should say that these couple contractions were actually pretty uncomfortable and painful, and I believe it is because I was distracted and annoyed and trying to control the situation.  Also, I was probably pretty close to, if not already in, "transition," which is when the laboring mother can get a little irritable.  Just a reminder to try to remain in the peace and not try to control the situation.  Ride with the rushes as if they're waves!)

Finally, shortly after midnight, I was allowed to get into the birth pool!  Hallelujah!  The water felt wonderful, but I wasn't exactly sure what position I wanted to be in to go through a contraction.  I tried relaxing in the reclined position, on my side, and on my hands and knees.  I think I only had 2 or 3 contractions in the water before all of a sudden I flipped over on my hands and knees in the water and said "I think I'm puu--UUSHING!!"  The pushes felt great and I made sure to listen to my body and try to breathe through each contraction and push.  In between the pushes I was able to smile and look at Preston and I could hear the worship music playing.  I even found myself singing "Holy Spirit You are welcome here...come flood this place and fill the atmosphere..." (a song by Bryan and Katie Torwalt, which was on my playlist).  My midwife kept saying how close Kairos was, and I was getting so relieved and excited to meet him for the first time!  But I knew I didn't want to hurry it and I wanted to let my body push him out.  It only took about 4 or 5 pushes and I reached down and saw his little body come out and I pulled him up into my arms!

It was so beautiful.  He hardly made a peep, and he was pink and breathing perfectly.  It was 12:51am on Saturday January 18th (five and a half hours after my water broke).  6lbs 1oz and 19 and a half inches long.  He latched on to my breast within 20 minutes and I was able to remain in the birth pool with him as he nursed (for almost 35 minutes!).  My placenta came out shortly after the birth, right in the pool, and it was super easy and painless!  (I had a hard time birthing the placenta with Courage, and I couldn't nurse him right away, so these were two things I was believing God for with this second birth!)  

I am so grateful for how beautiful the whole birth and labor went and how God gave me all the things I asked for!  God is so good and loving and such a protector.  Kairos is perfect and I am just so much in love.  I feel a greater love for Courage and a greater love for Preston too!  It's amazing how filled I am, and what a beautiful time this is in my life!  Thank you Jesus for your glory and this supernatural birth experience.  Jesus is so real and so pure and so present.  He helps us through our fears, and His perfect love really does drive out all the fear.  When our eyes meet His and we turn our hearts to trust Him, our spirits are caught up in the glory and it manifests all around us and in our bodies!  Pain and fear vanish and He is our strength and our power!  

I am so blessed.

Click HERE to read about my first birth of Courage Ruah!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

After-Birth Herbal Sitz bath

Here I am in my "last" week of pregnancy (week 39), and I have been enjoying my time of prepping, relaxing and spiritually preparing for a beautiful birth of Kairos Yarah.

I have been taking baths every single day lately, and I came across this recipe for an After-Birth Herbal Stiz Bath to help soothe afterpains and such.  I've seen a couple videos out there where the Mom (or even the Dad) soaks in an herbal bath with the newborn baby shortly after birth.  It looked so peaceful and wonderful that I wanted to find out what kind of herbal bath it was so I can do this with Kairos.

So with the help of Courage, we put together these herbs and have it stored in a jar ready to make for a soothing bath!

1/2 cup Epsom Salts (or sea salt)
1 cup Lavender Flowers
1 cup Red Raspberry Leaf
1/2 cup Comfrey Leaf
1/2 cup Plantain Leaf (I couldn't find this locally, so I left it out for now)
1/2 cup Yarrow Flower
1/2 cup Calendula Flowers
1/2 cup Shepherd's Purse
1/2 cup Uva Ursi Leaf

Combine all in a ziploc bag and shake it up! (Courage liked this part)


For a bath, add 1 cup of the mixed herbs to 2 quarts boiling water.  Remove from heat and steep for 20 minutes.  Strain, and add to bath!