Instinct-Led Freebirth

Inspired by a Facebook post by Mama Bird Doula, I wanted to share my experience with instinct-led freebirth. When I had my first freebirth, I guess you could say my eyes were opened to a new reality, but I can’t say I had read studies or looked at statistics. I had found a forum online that had a handful of active women who had given birth unassisted with several of their children. I asked some questions and learned some basic information, like the value of moving around during labor and the benefits of keeping the cord attached until it was done pulsating.
I talked with my husband about things I was learning, exclaiming things like, “Did you know that they originally started clamping the umbilical cord to avoid blood loss of the baby and to keep blood from dripping onto the bed linens? Since then, they’ve learned that clamping isn’t necessary, in fact, it’s beneficial for the baby to wait!”
When I was pregnant with our third child, we reached out to a couple of midwives to see about foregoing certain practices and limit prenatal care that I could do on my own. The midwives I spoke with shared what they’d feel comfortable doing and while I can understand liability concerns, I just couldn’t agree to doing several unnecessary things for a reason like that.
It was these types of things that led us to prepare for having our third child at home without the assistance of a medical attendant. Which was a good thing because I ended up having my son so quickly, I wouldn’t have made it to a medical facility nor would a midwife had made it to my home. I had been having prodromal labor for weeks. I could tell the contractions were changing so I was resting. They didn’t hurt, and were still 7-14mins apart. I had been dilating from 3-5cm and back to 3cm over the last couple days, so I determined labor could either taper off or be quite a while still before baby would be here.
Then I had two contractions that had me reminding myself to relax and then I felt the need to poo. When I sat down, I noticed my water break and from what I had read, determined that the baby would be here within the next 24hrs (based on what I understood about hospital policies – not physiological birth). However, I wouldn’t have the baby hours later… I’d have the baby within 30mins, but I still think I have to poo.
I then realized I’m pushing baby down the birth canal. lol
I call to my husband, he comes to help me, and I tell him I’m going to sit on the floor. Once I do, I feel the ring of fire and told myself to breath. So I did and within five minutes of realizing that the baby is coming, I breathed without pushing, and my son was born into my hands.
I did that. My body did that. My baby did that.
Since then, I’ve only learned more and more, especially from my next four freebirths. Freebirths that defied everything that I’d learned from the hospital childbirth class I was a part of, defied what I’d watched in every single episode of Birth Story on TLC, defied every book I had read like What to Expect When You’re Expecting and Mayo Clinic’s Complete Book of Pregnancy and Baby’s First Year.
My births have not been textbook… and I realized – it’s because birth isn’t. ❤
Quick snippets of my freebirth experiences (to read them in full, click the link):
<Baby#3> Contractions never got closer than 7mins apart, I was dilated at 3-5 for several days, I had two painful contractions, and I didn’t push my baby’s head or body out.
<Baby#4> Again, contractions never got closer than 7-10mins apart, baby was sideways and came spinning out the birth canal, and my water burst as she emerged which had meconium in it. Labor lasted 6 hours.
<Baby#5> Contractions did not get closer than 10mins apart, baby was stuck on my pelvis with chin down and posterior. My instincts were to get into the lunge position and push baby both with FER and using my hand on the outside of my bottom. Once her head was born, she began crying, even before her body was born. Labor lasted 4 hours.
<Baby#6> Contractions were 3mins apart, I did not dilate beyond 2cm nor did I efface, baby came through my cervix as if putting a turtle neck over his head, and his head reshaped itself to what looked like stairs in order to come through. When he came out, his head and body came in one swift push and his cord snapped. Labor was 3 hours.
<Baby#7> Contractions were 15mins apart. I had lots of amniotic fluid. I couldn’t reach my cervix to know dilation. When he was born, he was purple but pinked up quickly. He was 11lbs and I didn’t tear. I had a minor hemorrhage that didn’t require a transfer. Labor lasted 24hrs.

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