Laceinne, 31, London
First child, Vegan pregnancy
She arrived in late October, 1 week before her estimated "due date", and was birthed into the hands of her Father, at her home, after about 13 hours of active labor.
It was perfect timing really, because my mom had just come from Florida for the birth and there was NO way I was giving birth without my mama! Mom landed on a Friday and we went into labor that Sunday!
Mama and me the night before I went into labor
On Sunday, I woke up at around 4 am with some back pain and decided to just stay up because my back was causing too much discomfort. When my mom woke up around 7 am I told her I had been up for a few hours and she told me I was in labor!
I was in disbelief and said, "Yeah, sure!" because, I don't know, isn't labor pressure supposed to be in your belly somewhere?
Little did I know.
So we got ready to do what we do every Sunday. We all got dressed and went to the Farmers Market for our fresh fruit and veggies followed by a trip to Whole Foods. I was excited to take my mom to the Farmers Market because it was her first time in London and I wanted her to see how amazing this market we shop at was!
I remember feeling really out of breath and walking slowly while at the market. I still had no idea I was in early labor and jokingly responded to every person who asked when I was due, "probably today!"!
At the Farmers Market the morning I went into labor
Leaving work Whole Foods the morning labor started
At Whole Foods I made the last minute decision to buy a pack of diapers "just in case the baby comes" because we really had nothing for her yet. We didn't know her gender so we decided to wait until she was born to get things.
We came home to rest for a bit and my mom, GENIUS that she is, suggested my husband and I take some maternity photos with her being our photographer.
We pulled out some Ghanian fabric from Coupe’s last trip to Ghana and dressed it over me. I put on some earrings, eyeliner, and mascara and my mom set up a space to take photos with plants and we had ourselves a little photoshoot!
I'm so happy we did this because hours later my Baby Girl made her arrival and my belly was gone.
About 30 hours before my Daughter was in my arms
Taking couples photos while in early labor
At this point we knew we were in labor, but we also remained calm because I knew that women could be in early labor for even up to 3 days sometimes.
In an effort to remain calm and stay prepared, we decided to go eat some food at our favorite Moroccan restaurant, Comptoir Mezze. We ate a whole spread of delicious food like hummus, falafel, and beans. I remember eating slowly and feeling both hungry and not hungry at the same time. In hindsight, it was a terrible idea to eat all of that food while in labor because I threw it all up later on in the night when I was in active labor!
What a thrill and what a blessing to be confident enough, strong enough, healthy enough, empowered enough, able enough, and most importantly, educated enough to bring my own child Earth Side unassisted!
We had prepared our bedroom to birth our baby and it was exactly what I had imagined:
Beautiful plants like bamboo, yucca, and cotton. A diffuser lightly giving the air in our room a calming lavender scent. Dim lighting glowing from our Himalayan pink salt rock lamps.
Clean. Pure. Serene...
First phase contractions were minor in comparison and I talked, and breathed calmly through each one.
First stage contractions
We used the tub to help ease second phase contractions and it was so very welcome! I compare it to a jacuzzi. Have you ever been in one? Do you know how when you get inside your stomach tenses up as you adjust to the heat? That’s kind of what the relief from the warm water feels like as you’re going through contractions. It helps you to give in to them, release, and breathe.
Breathing through a contraction in the tub
And right after I noticed my mom taking photos, smiling for the camera!
By the time the third phase contractions came, the pressure intensified to levels I've never before imagined! By this time I had traveled from my bedroom, to the bathroom, to the living room, which is where I ended up giving birth!
On the couch experiencing intense contractions
I don't want to call it pain because that would only add to the narrative of fear, but WOW! Unless you've had a child, you can't foretell what that will feel like.
I found that though these contractions were incredibly difficult, they were manageable only because I had learned that a woman typically only has to bear through around 8-12 of these super intense contractions to become fully dilated and bring forth her child.
I slept between these contractions because I was so exhausted (we labored overnight) and after each one asked my mom "How many is that?!".
It's truly the only thing that got me through.
Resting between strong contractions
Once fully dilated, I knew the next step was baby's arrival!
The Ring of Fire is exactly that; what feels like a ring of fire around your vagina as the baby begins to crown.
These contractions make you feel like you *need* to push! The surge just takes over your body completely and even though I knew it best to resist, I struggled to not give in and consequently ended up tearing. I'll do better next time.
My husband suggested I take the squatting position, which is the best way to birth a child, and immediately after doing so, baby started coming!
He crouched beneath us, hands ready, and after about 3-5 enormous contractions, Daddy caught our sweet baby in his hands!
Coupe catching our Daughter
Coupe bringing Our Daughter to my chest
She was a perfect little girl with a head full of hair!
I was completely overcome with emotion, crying tears of joy and simultaneously relieved and overcome with accomplishment that WE DID IT!
We had our ideal natural and unassisted home birth with only our energy present and our love filling our Sweet Girls space upon her very first Born Day.
My Daughter, born in the morning in October, 2017