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Elimination Communication Four Month Update

Elimination Communication update, for those who are interest in following this part of my journey.

My little guy is four months old and I can safely say that the early months of doing EC have been very similar to doing EC with my two girls. I usually use nappies as a back up (saves the stress in case in case I miss something). I found that right between the 3-4 month mark they will not poo in their nappy anymore. Hooray! This happened with all three kids and it makes using cloth much MUCH easier. Read the rest of this entry

How I Honored The Fourth Trimester

I didn’t leave my house at all for the first six weeks after my son was born at home. Staying home during the early post partum period was one of the most profoundly healing and beautiful experiences of my life. I wrote about my experience here. Often, the post partum experience is expected to end at six weeks, but I feel like my full post partum recovery lasted until about 3 months.

The fourth trimester is a term I only heard about after the birth of my second, but it basically means the time period, about 3 months, after birth when you and your baby are recovering from pregnancy and birth. You take time to nourish your body and soul. And, you spend time bonding with your new child and responding to the baby’s needs. Looking back on my previous babies, I think it took a similar amount of time to adjust to new life when they were born.

After my six weeks without leaving the house, I was very reluctant to go out. The world was big and fast and seemed like it was waiting to devour me. I was surprised at how very fragile, both physically and emotionally, I felt.

The six weeks didn’t just end and I took my first step back into ‘reality‘ and that was that. Oh no… after entering the world, it took at least another 6 or 7 weeks to adjust. Keep in mind, this was with my THIRD baby, no longer a rookie parent, and it still took time.

At first, I had to be very careful when choosing which activities to do. I tried not to do anything too stimulating, (especially for the baby’s sake) and I avoided the elements as much as possible. It was entering summer in Australia when I started to leave the house, so it was hot and sunny. The temptation to take the bigger kids to the beach every day was so inviting (and they begged me)… but I generally had to say no. Doing that would have made me so tired and hot and would have not been enjoyable for my baby. The wind was especially annoying to be out in. Instead, we walked around the cool air conditioning at the shopping centers near our house. And, in the afternoons, we all had big cuddly naps. The few days when I did too much (hello, when we went to IKEA??) I almost always landed myself a massive headache the next day and got easily grumpy with the kids. I had to really watch it and not over-do it!

My son grew very big, very fast, and my body was not strong enough to carry him around for long periods of time. I’m usually as strong as an ox, so it was a shock to me that I was feeling sore from something as simple as babywearing a newborn! But, at six weeks, he was already over 6 kilos (13 pounds). I remember after only taking a short walk one day, with him in the baby carrier, that my feet and joints became sore. This happened for a couple of weeks until I got strong enough to carrying him around. After the three month mark, I noticed that I could carry him for much longer and I didn’t feel so tired.

Here we were at 3 1/2 months, and I still felt a like big adventures were a little too much for us…

Another interesting experience I had during this time was hyper-sensitive senses. Sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch. It was really bizarre, like I was on drugs or something. I remember craving weird things, just like when I was pregnant. The feeling of steaming my face with eucalyptus oil and hot water, was something I felt drawn to. Daily warm oil massage was something else I craved. On a hot day, getting in the car, smelling and feeling the air conditioning on my skin and breathing the cool air in, was almost orgasmic! I sort of wish those sensations would have lasted longer because it was fun, everything was new! I don’t remember feeling this way with my previous births, so I think it was because I had been at home for six weeks and had received some very deep rest. I was extra aware and in tune this time around.

Some things I DID NOT crave were things like exercise and socializing. I felt like I needed to save my energy for breastfeeding and things like having patience with my older kids! And, talking to people, even friends, made me really tired.

My daily activities were enough to make me strong. I did go surfing a little, after 2 1/2 months and that helped me to gain my strength again, but surfing is a sport that I’m used to doing, and it can be done sort of moderately. We made sure to take lots of naps and laid around reading books on some of the really hot days.

So that was the physical part of my return to normalcy, but there was also the emotional and mental recovery as well! Getting used to an extra kid, when out and about, took a while. Before, with two kids, my attention was divided, but with three, it felt scattered (even though the baby was usually asleep and in the baby carrier). So we tried to stick close to home that at I could feedback him comfortably at home. Not because I’m uncomfortable with feeding in public (if you only knew how many years of breastfeeding in public experience I have up my sleeve) but because it was much more relaxing that way.

Although I spent 6 weeks bonding with my son at home, I still had to get used to how he would respond to being out, in the car, etc. It wasn’t bad, but it was still something I had to get used to and it was pretty stressful the first few times.

I’m so glad that I honored the process of birth and recovery. Lots of my friends on social media had babies around the same time as me. It would have been easy to get worked up, comparing what they were doing and how they were looking, with my own experience. But, I wanted this post partum experience to be authentic and deep. For once, I felt the need to really listen to myself and to the true needs of my entire family.

Slowly leaving the fourth trimester is a little sad. I still get remnants of it here and there, as my son is only just under 4 months old and still holding on to those small baby qualities, but now he’s starting to change fast. And, I’m starting to change too! Slowly, my attention is being pulled away from the mother-baby bubble and is starting to focus on everyone else’s needs. Life is moving on. There’s no going back. The few months after a baby’s birth is a once in a life time opportunity to take it easy, simplify and tune in. It fills my heart with joy that I honored my needs, and the needs of our new little person, during the few months after his birth. I feel so complete, like I finished writing a chapter of my life and I couldn’t have written it better.

 

Dear Cotton, Oh Where Did You Go?!

When will the open shoulder sleeves go out of fashion? Soon please.

It’s summer. It’s Australia. It’s hot. After a big wardrobe cull last year and spending the better part of the year either pregnant or post partum, my wardrobe has been depleted, so I dragged the kids to the shops and began searching for a few cotton shirts to replenish what had been stretched out, puked on or torn.

I know that with a baby in the house, there’s no point in buying anything nice. Kmart, Target, Big W…. that was my scope at first. I mean, you can almost always find your basic cotton shirts there, right? And, with three kids in tow, I wanted to do a quick in and out, but I soon realised that I wasn’t going to easily find what I was looking for. Everything I found was either made from polyester, polyester/cotton blend or viscose. Hmmm… no thanks. I mean, in summer?! Read the rest of this entry

Nature vs. Nuture: How Much Does Our Parenting Matter?

Years before I had children, I went to a talk by the spiritual leader, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. Somehow the question came up on parenting. Although he’s not a parent himself… he is an enlightened guru, so he gave some insightful advice.

He said that 50% of a person is just how they’re born, it’s their nature, you CANNOT change that. The other 50% is something that CAN be changed by their environment/parents/experiences/nurturing, etc.

This idea of nature vs. nature is not something new that he came up with, and lots of people have talked, researched and written about this topic. In fact, I’m sure there’s some expert out there could argue the exact contribution that our parenting makes towards the outcome of our children, but I like to think 50/50 is a good start. Anyone can observe that sometimes kids who come from even the most nurturing families still turn out a little um… like maybe they need a hug… While sometimes people who come from horrible, abusive or traumatic childoods, turn out to be outstanding citizens of their society.

Hopefully it makes some of you reading this feel a little lighter. While we do have a big responsibility to do our best as parents, at the end of the day, we can only work with what we’ve got! Our kids are still little people who come with their own set of qualities. These qualities, are traits we might love or might drive us bonkers!

And, it does make me feel better to know, that when my kids are acting like lunatics, even after I’ve tried every trick up my sleeve, that I can just shrug my shoulders and leave as ‘just their nature’.

I Feel Like I Could Do This Forever

“It’s a thankless job“, said the elderly lady in the shopping center. She sat on a bench licking an ice cream cone while my kids ate some sushi roles next to her. She peeked at my 2 month old son, sleeping in the baby carrier, and complimented me on how well behaived my kids were acting.

I smiled back at her.

Thankless‘ I thought… what is she talking about?! I feel like I could do this shit forever!

There certainly are days when I wish the time away.  But right now, I’m so in the thick of it, I can’t imagine doing anything else with my time.

The good times make it easy for parenting to be a ‘thankless job‘. But, I also don’t mind too much wiping up messes, listening to cries, feeding mouths, cooking like it’s Groundhog’s Day, tackling Mt. Foldmore (not that I really fold my laundry anyway), picking someone up who needs to be carried, getting in the car and out of the car 800 times a week (if I had a dollar for every minute I spent waiting outside the car for a four year old to organise themselves, I would honstly be a millionaire). I mean, I could easily do without the challenging parts of parenting, but for now, I don’t mind them so much, it’s part of the package.

Children spend their lives so much in the present moment, it’s sort of contagious. I don’t find myself counting on my fingers the numbers of years left of hard work to be done, I just do it. And, most of the time, I do it with a half smile/borderline mad woman smirk on my face.

I realised that I don’t find myself wishing for ‘freedom‘. I’ve had that sort of ‘freedom‘ and I know that even living the most carefree life, in a tropical paradise, you can still make yourself miserable and stressed!

One thing that makes the thankless bits easier is that I take my self care seriously. Daily showers are a must (don’t laugh… unless you forget what it’s like to have your first newborn). Yoga and meditation every day, also a must. Exercise and getting out of the house for paid work occasionally is important for me. Staying at home is hard work, and it just happens to be unpaid.

Once every year or so, I do a silent meditation retreat to really get my energy back to par. I take my self care seriously so that I don’t burn out doing the mundane stuff that would otherwise be the end of me (dishes, wiping butts, etc). So, it’s not like I’m doing all this ‘thankless‘ stuff on an empty cup!

Maybe, one day, when I’m as old as the lady in the shopping centre, I’ll look around at all the young mothers and say that you couldn’t pay me to go back to those days… maybe… but for now, I’m doing it 100%, no regrets and no feelings that this will get boring any time soon.

They Can Know The Truth And Still Believe

When my oldest was 2 years old, she was petrified of the dudes dressed up as Santa in the shopping centres. It was real, legitimate fear.

Without thinking twice, I told her that anybody can dress up like Santa. It took her another year, but after a while, she wasn’t frightened anymore. She’s 6 1/2 now, and we still ‘do‘ Santa. On Christmas Eve, we put cookies and (rice) milk out for him (daddy). And, sparkly oats and carrots for the reindeer… My kids know the truth and it’s still fun. Something that adults often forget is that children have an amazing imagination. They can know something isn’t real and still play along with all the enthusiasm as if it were real.

I generally don’t lie to my children about anything, and let’s face it, telling kids that Santa is real, is actually a big fat lie. I know it’s a nice, sweet, well intentioned lie… but it’s still a lie.  I know a lot of my friends are conflicted about whether they should ‘keep the magic‘ of Santa, or tell the truth and then Santa is ruined. So, that’s why I’m sharing my experience. You can do both! Tell them the truth and still have the fun.

Not pictured is my 4 year old… for some reason, she was terrified of Santa this year. I’m not really into the pictures of crying kids on Santa’s lap and I mean… really, look at the dude, he does look pretty scary. (He was actually the nicest Santa ever)

The Benefits of Post Partum Belly Wrapping and How To Do It

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My Ayurvedic doctor recommended to me that I wrap my belly for six weeks after birth. I had heard of the benefits of belly wrapping (or belly binding) with my second baby, but when I was told about it, I was already 7 weeks post partum and sort of past this ‘golden window‘ of opportunity for belly wrapping. Luckily, each time you have a baby, you get a chance to reap the full benefits of belly wrapping. So, when I found out we were having a third, I was happy to know that I could give post partum belly wrapping a try.

I guess there’s two schools of thought when it comes to post partum belly binding and they sort of overlap.

One is more scientific and the other is more spiritual.

The western view of belly wrapping is that it brings your abdominal muscles back together. I had a three finger split (diastasis recti), in my abdominal muscles. That sort of split is typical during a third pregnancy. I remember having to cough an hour after my son was born and MAN did that huuuurt! However, when I went to see my midwife at our six week post partum check up, she was happy to say that my split was less than one finger wide (that’s about as good as it gets after three babies). So, my post partum belly wrapping helped in bringing those muscles back, according to the western ideology.

The ayurvedic or eastern approach to belly wrapping is slightly different. By the way, the practice of belly wrapping is present in many cultures around the world, but I’ll just talk about the ayurvedic background.

To understand the ayurvedic approach to belly wrapping, you need to understand what vata is. There are three different sort of energies that govern the body (I’ll make this simple). One of these energies is a called ‘vata‘. Vata is movement and air and cold and dry. It’s the energy that makes the baby come out in the first place. My ayurvedic doctor was saying it’s hard to translate the meaning in English, but when the baby comes out, there is a void (a space) where the baby was. This vulnerable space is vata. If you can heal the space (by wrapping), a woman can feel the benefit from it for the rest of her life. If the space is not healed correctly, after six weeks, it seals anyway and can sort of trap a whole array of ailments. Because, when vata is unbalanced, it causes all sorts of mental and physical problems. Following me??

Apparently, the mummy pouch that so many mothers find nearly impossible to get rid of, is excess vata! That’s why sometimes no matter how much weight  a woman loses, the belly still seems to be there.

Belly wrapping helps to bring all the organs back into their places and it also helps to balance the hormones. When I wrapped my belly, it felt so comfortable. It took away that jiggly feeling. A woman’s digestive system is very delicate after having a baby, so it is really important for her to eat easy to digest food. Warm, soupy, slightly oily food that is easy to digest, is the best for post partum.

How to Wrap

There are many ways to wrap your belly. The idea is that you lift the belly in and up. I chose the quickest way to wrap. Even though I made the decision to stay at home and not leave the house for the first six weeks post partum (you can read about my experience here), I still wanted to make this easy on myself.

Compression Shorts

A friend of mine gifted me some SRC compression recovery shorts. I called these my uniform, as I wore them the most. Everyday, after a warm oil massage and a shower, I would put these on and wear them all day. You can start wearing compression shorts from about 4 or 5 days post partum. These shorts are really great as they offer good support while being very flexible and super easy to put on. However, they are expensive and can be hot in summer! A few weeks ago, I was walking by the undies section in Target and I saw these body firming shorts that look almost identical to the compression shorts and they are only $20, so worth a shot if you don’t want to dish out $190 for the recovery shorts. There are some off brands out there too. You can find them online. I haven’t tried them and they are about $40. You can also find compression shorts second hand on Gumtree or Craigslist for about half the price and usually in good condition.

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These are the SRC compression shorts.

 

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I saw these body firming shorts in Target and I think they would be a good substitute for the compression shorts. Make sure it says ‘firm’ support. Not bad for $20!

 

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These were shorter body firming shorts that I bought after the six week post partum period and they donn’t go up as high. The shorter pair was a good transition short to go from wrapping everyday to not wrapping. At 10 weeks post part, I’m still wearing them sometimes for light support.

 

Post Partum Belly Wraps

Another wrap I wore quite often, mostly at night, was this bamboo belly wrap. I got it second hand off gumtree. There are lots of similar ones you can find on line. I liked this one because I could make it really tight. (In ayurveda, they recommend that you wrap fairly firm). However, it was pretty stiff and hard to sit in, so I used it mostly at night, while lying down.

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Traditional Wrapping 

I tried using a woven baby carrier wrap a few times… never really felt as good as the purpose made ones and it took too long to put on. But, it is an option. You can google ‘post partum belly wrapping with a woven wrap’ and Youtube tutorials should pop up. You can also use long bandages. Some cultures use a super long and narrow strip of cloth or muslin and wrap it around and around the abdomen. Do a bit of google searching if any of these approaches appeal to you. I looked, and while it looked beautiful, it all was a bit too complicated compared to the propose made wraps.

Heat and Oil

At night, I would sometimes give my wrapping a break and instead go to bed with a hot water pack resting on my belly. The warmth helps with your delicate digestive system. Massaging your belly with warm oil, in a circular motion (clockwise to follow the intestinal tract) also helps. Wrapping afterwards and the combination of warmth with oil helps reduce the vata. Daily warm oil self massage is also recommended in ayurveda to help reduce the vata. This is a great tutorial on how to do warm oil massage.

How Often Do You Wrap

In ayurveda, you’re meant to keep the belly wrapped most of the time. I gave myself a few breaks of an hour or so here and there, but if I left my wrap off for too long, I would feel all gassy and bloated (that’s the vata, the air creeping in). I would put my wrap back on, do a few big burps and farts (haha, yup, that’s the vata coming out) and feel back to normal. The western view says to not wrap all the time because you need your muscles to get strong but I don’t agree with that one. If you had to wear a cast or a brace to heal a wound, you wouldn’t take it off, right? I felt the same with the wrapping. Anyway, I noticed that my muscles were ready to get strong again quickly after six weeks.

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I’m not one to bounce back quickly after pregnant, but this was my belly at 2 weeks post partum and I was pretty happy it. Much flatter at that stage than I had been in subsequent pregnancies without wrapping. Anyway, the point of wrapping is to reduce the vata, the flat tummy in incidental.

What If You Missed The Six Week Post Partum Window?

If you plan on having more babies, you can do it again after their birth. If you’re finished with babies, you can still bind your belly and do oil massage and be mindful of your data (if you feel yourself getting jiggly and bloated). Getting enough sleep, meditation, eating warm soupy easy to digest foods, especially during cold winter months will help.

I Didn’t Leave the House AT ALL For Six Weeks After my Baby Was Born: It Was Fantastic!

imageWhen my first daughter was born, I’ll never forget my grandmother telling me over the phone, “Now, Katie, a winter baby stays in the house for 4 weeks, a summer baby stays in the house for 2. Your baby was born in autumn, so you should stay in the house for 3 weeks.Read the rest of this entry

Clean As You Go People… I Can Never Be Like You

imageMy husband can’t understand the disaster zone I create after every meal. To start, I DO clean as I go. A little. Trust me, you would see the difference if I didn’t tidy a few things while I cook.

Let me help you understand. Have you ever seen a toddler in the middle of his imaginary play stop what he was doing to pack away?

Nope.

Would you stop in the middle of your run to take a shower because you’re sweaty?

No!

You would logically wait until the activity is over.

Can’t you see that I’m CREATING something?! Something that you will eat and something that will be exposed to your judgement?!

One simply does not stop to ‘tidy up‘ whilst cooking. Cleaning up while cooking, to me, is like getting stuck in traffic.

Plus, I’m probably starving, and for all I know, YOU might be starving too! I don’t want you to starve to death just for the sake of cleaning while I go. I’m a Jewish mother, my DNA requires me to worry that your tummy should be full before you even know that you’re hungry.

Also, it’s almost garunteed that I will barely have enough time to cook before some small child needs my attention. The eating part has to happen in a timely fashion. The cleaning part can wait.

After the meal, then we can clean. Anyway, isn’t the person who cooked not supposed to clean? (Ahem) Ok, that doesn’t always work in our house. My precious family runs away from the kitchen table as soon as they eat their last bite. I have to remind them every stinking time to at least put their bowls near the sink (the kids are still little, ok). Then, I usually end up cleaning anyway (we don’t have a dishwasher *yet*). An hour later, I look in the kitchen and think, “Wow, who cleaned up?” One hundred percent forgetting that it was actually I who cleaned. Seriously, that happens to me a lot. #babybrain So, either way, I do end up cleaning, and I’d much rather do it after my belly is full.

Anyway, I know YOU can clean as you go, you have some special quality that allows you to stop and go, dividing your attention between creating and maintenance. But, I don’t posses that trait. I’ve thought about it… I’ve TRIED it… I really have! But… I just cannot..

Baby Boy Baltrotsky’s Homebirth Story

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imageThe five month lead up to this little boy’s arrival was anything but relaxing. Instead of getting ready for a baby, we had to move house (twice), negotiate buying a house, then, my husband’s father passed away. Work was crazy, we were sick for weeks and weeks at a time. Everything we did seemed to end in crazy. And those were the big things. We only moved into our permanent place when I was 36 weeks pregnant, just 3 weeks before the birth. Nesting? Forget it.

So many little things were also crazy, right up until the last minute and there was so much to do! But, I didn’t feel ready until all the boxes were ticked off. The very last thing that had to happen before I felt ready to birth this baby was our homeschool re-registration meeting. That happened on a Thursday. Finally… everything major was ticked off the list. I was 39 weeks the next day, and I knew that this baby was already cooked and ready to come out. I had accurately guessed with my previous two the round-about date when they would be born, and I knew with this one as well. The time was now.

The next day, I went to get an ayurvedic massage, I’d been going weekly since 34 weeks. My ayurvedic doctor told me it was important to get these weekly massages, as it helps the baby descend (brings the vata down). And, man, did it work because his head was down…waaaayyy down, which is apparently unusual for third babies. My ayurvedic massage lady gave attention to some marma points, energy points, to help if the baby was ready to come. That night, I had a mucus loss. And… my first real night of false labour was about to begin (although it had been sneaking up on me every night for weeks before).

False labour really messes with your head. The first night wasn’t too bad. I woke up around 11pm with mild contractions, about 10 minutes apart. I got excited! I also noticed the baby being really active, which was unusual because all had been pretty quiet for the past couple weeks down there. With every contraction, the baby would squirm and wiggle! (more on this in a sec). In between one contraction, I felt really tired, and laid down. I fell asleep and woke up in the morning! Labour had stopped… nothing happened all day. I felt really anxious… What was going on? In my head, I was planning and analysing. “It was the new moon, the baby should be born on the new moon, or on this date,” blah blah blah. But, then nothing.

The next night, the same thing happened. Same time of night too. Except, these contractions were slightly stronger, then they got much stronger and were perfectly spaced apart. My previous labour had only been 2 1/2 hours, so I figured I better call my midwife. At 11pm, I called her and told her to stay tuned. The baby was wiggling a lot again… then, I got tired, laid down, only to wake up again in the morning, with my babe still in my belly! I was exhausted, emotionally and physically. What was going on!? Surely, I knew my body better than this?! This was my third birth, how could I not know the difference between real and false labour?!?

Well, it turns out that the baby was most likely in a funny position, his little chin needed to be tucked in, but it was flexed. My midwife came the next morning and had a feel around. She could feel that his chin wasn’t tucked in. Our theory was that every time I would go into false labour, he would start to wiggle, hoping to tuck his little chin in so that he could negotiate that pelvis. In hindsight, he was very big and long, so it must have been hard for him to have enough space to get that head in the right spot. She showed me a few exercises I could do to help when I felt a contraction lift the belly up with my arms cradled and tilt the pelvis). Talking to her also put my mind at ease. She told me it was normal to have these false labours, and yes, it can mess with your head, but to try and relax.

I felt better after seeing her and immediately did the exercises… Then, BAM! A few hours later, it was on. I knew this was it. False labour tends to happen at the same time every day, and this was a different time, and a different feeling. I texted the midwife and asked her if she had gone far from the house. She had, indeed, gone all the way to her house, 45 minutes away. She asked me to time the contractions, they were strong and less than ten minutes apart. She was there for our last home birth, and that one had been quick, so she hit the road straight away when we told her how close together they were.

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By the time she arrived, it was obvious, this was no false alarm. But, things weren’t too intense yet. Everything was light and fun. Our friend, Julie, was over, playing with the kids. Art was frantically filling up the pool. The midwives were setting up. We were chit chatting and I could still talk to everyone. About an hour after it started, I hopped in the pool… and then it hit me that I was going to have this baby, and it was going to happen soon… and that I WASN’T READY!!!

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I don’t know what happened, but I sort of shut down. It COULDN’T be happening this fast! Could it?

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And, what’s worse, was that I felt like I had to poo. The midwives joked and said, “Aw, you probably just have a BABY to push out… probably not a poo.” But, no, I definitely felt a poo and I was not about to poo in my birthing pool. The same happened with Goldie, I couldn’t have her until I pooed! I knew this was happening again. By this time, the contractions were very strong. My waters had not broken yet and there was so much pressure. An enormous amount of pressure that I felt I could not handle in that moment.

I climbed out of the pool, felt freezing and was shaking all over. I dried off and put a dress on and staggered down the hall way to the toilet. And yes, did a big massive poo. Hooray! But, I was really a mess in my head. Because, I knew this was it. I knew I would be pushing this baby out in just a few minutes. And, I felt such a resistance. I have no idea why. I stopped half way down the hall and absolutely could not walk another step farther. I put my head on my husband’s shoulder and starting sobbing and thinking in my head. “Why me?! I don’t want to be doing this! I hate this! This is crazy!” He said I cried only for a few minutes, but it felt like I was standing there for at least twenty.

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I just wanted to jump out of my skin!!! But, there was no where for me to run and hide. It was me who had to birth this babe. Whether I liked it or not. I had not felt like this with my other two births, so it was a real shock to be going through this sort of denial.

I mustered up some strength and walked back to the birthing pool. It felt so nice and warm. A few minutes later, my waters broke, which was a huge relief of pressure. Then, I felt this baby’s head slam into my cervix. Still, the thoughts of ‘why me’ and ‘get me the f@*! out of here‘ were floating around in my head, but I had to ignore them, there was nothing I could do other than what I was doing.

The next contraction, I had that undeniable urge to push. Except, this was no airy fairy breath-your-baby out and have an orgasmic birth sort of urge. It was a ‘push like hell heave ho‘! And I did. In once contraction, his head made its way alllllllll the way down, and half way out. It wasn’t one push, it was a bunch of pushes, but all in within a minute or so. It was insane. And, he felt HUGE. I was like, “Oh shit, how many stitches, and what sort of surgery am I going to need for this one?!?!” (turned out to be not even a graze, amazing bodies we have).

His head was almost all the way out, and the midwife asked if I could push a little just to get the chin out. Push? You said push?! Yes yes! I can push because that’s all I want to do! I pushed a little, and his head was out.

The head’s out” the midwife said.

Oh God, yay, the head’s out” I thought.

I vaguely could hear Margo (6 years old) yelling, “The baby’s head is out!!! The baby’s head is out!!” to get her sister’s attention. I really had no idea what everyone else was doing during this whole thing. I think at one point, the kids were kicking the giant birthing ball down the hallway, just a few feet away from me. And, Julie was making a frozen pizza for the kid’s dinner. Everyone was joking, “which will come out first, the baby or the pizza?!

The pizza came out first, but only by a minute.

Then, I thought I might just have a little rest for a second and wait for the next contraction to get the rest of the baby out. I flipped to my back, but oh there, was no waiting. I just couldn’t wait. The baby felt so massive in there. I had to push, had to had to push before that next contraction. In my head, that next contraction might be next century, for all I knew!

I gave a tiny push. Nothing. This baby was big. Then, I gave this all-mighty heave-ho with corresponding guttural growling scream. And out came our baby! But, he was like a mile long! It felt like I was pushing forever and he was still coming out! Arms and legs stretched out and it looked like I had birthed a giraffe! He shot so far out into the pool, he looked like an astronaut flying into outer space, only connected by his air hose. He seemed sooooooo far away from me. I started grabbing for him like he was going to slip away. It was pretty hilarious. Finally, I CAUGHT HIM like you would catch a slippery fish, and pulled him back to my chest.

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I held him close for a few minute, then lifted his leg to take a peak”

“It’s a BOY!!!” I said!

And everyone chorused, “IT’S A BOY!!!”

Every birth is so different. His birth was so powerful and intense… more than I had experienced before. He was my ouchy one. The one that knocked me to my knees and made wonder how the hell the population of the planet had reached 7 billion people if every birth was like this. My previous two had been all soft and sweet.

I stood up to get out of the pool, thinking I would have to stand to get the placenta out. Two midwives and my husband were gathered around to help me out. But, I couldn’t move an inch. They were giving me a pep talk, “You can do it Kate, just one leg over… here we go..” I said, “I can’t, I can’t, Just wait!”

What I couldn’t articulate was that I was about to birth the placenta. Here they were trying to pull me out of the pool and I was standing like a donkey in quicksand. Finally, SPLAT! The biggest, juiciest placenta splashed down into the birthing pool and sprayed them all with bloody water.

See! That’s what you all get for not listening to me!!!” We all laughed.

We walked back to the bedroom to get comfy. I ended up losing quite a bit of blood, not enough to be alarmed, but enough that I couldn’t stand up properly. So, I spent the night peeing in a bucket on the side of the bed. It had been the same with my last birth, so I wasn’t overly surprised. My rock star husband was there to help empty the pee bucket and he even helped me change my pads. Wow, you just don’t know who you’ve married until you go through a home birth together!

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Our little boy was 8lb 6oz (3.93 kilos) and 21.25 inches long (54cm).

It was an intense birth, yes, but it was fun too. Anyway, the intense part was only twenty minutes. I can’t imagine how it would have been if I hadn’t birthed at home. Home is so comfy. You can really let loose and relax. The poo, the crying, blabbering on my husband’s shoulder, the peeing in the bucket on the side of the bed…  And, the girls probably wouldn’t have been there to see it.

So, hooray for insanely intense home births! Looking back, there’s nowhere else I would have rather been. He doesn’t have a name yet, but the Baltrotsky boys have a long standing tradition of having no name for so long that written on their birth certificate is ‘Baby Boy Baltrotsky‘. I don’t think it will take that long though.

My midwives were from the My Own Midwife midwifery practice on the Gold Coast.