Friday, December 31, 2010

A butterfly birth

To end off the year, I wanted to share a lovely birth story from one of my blog readers, Brieanne. She lives in rural California, is LDS, and has three children. This was her second unassisted birth and third unassisted pregnancy. 

A few hours after Annelise's birth, once it was light enough to take a picture
I woke up on the morning of August 16 feeling a bit sad, as this was my daughter's fifth birthday. How time flies! This particular day I was also 12 days past my due date. This was not uncommon for me, as my first was 16 days late and my second was 17 days. We started the day by asking the birthday girl what she would like me to cook for her birthday dinner. She said she wanted a roasted chicken and potatoes, with loads of gravy, and an apple crisp.

After I made my shopping list we all packed into the truck and went to the chiropractor for my bi-monthly adjustment. The chiro made a comment that he would "help me get things started." In my head I thought it was cute he could think he would make any of my babies be born if they weren't ready. Not in this family! I thanked him and told him I hoped I would not be back in two weeks. He agreed.

Our next stop was the grocery store. I picked up all the ingredients to make my daughter's dinner, and then we came home. I put groceries away and then Eric and I sat down to place our food co-op order. Eric was annoying me by opening every page of the website to look at every single item. I had a weird sense of urgency, but was having a hard time relaying this to him without thinking I would hurt his feelings. I finally went outside to call our landlord to see if I could borrow her oven to roast a chicken. She said it was fine, although it was over 100 degrees that day and would make her kitchen hot. I told her I would be up in a bit.

Once I gathered up my items we all piled in the truck again and drove the minute to her house. I preheated the oven, and started prepping things. As she and I were discussing the birth, I felt a click in my uterus and felt a trickle down my leg. I looked down at the white floor and noticed whatever came out of me was yellow. I am sure my face flushed red because for a second I thought I peed on myself. I must have gasped because she asked me what was wrong and I told her that I thought my water broke. We both went to the bathroom and I took off my pants and sniffed, but there was no odor. I knew then it must have been amniotic fluid.

Eric was upstairs fixing a toilet for the landlord, and just as I came out of the bathroom he was coming down the stairs. I told him my water broke, and he smiled really big and looked very happy. I told him I needed help because I anticipated a fast birth, and he agreed. Once we started cooking I had an enormous contraction, which was about 45 minutes later. The time was 7:45 at this point. I knew I had better get down to the house and start preparing for a baby, since my last birth was only 3 hours. We got everything in the oven and then Eric took the kids and I back to the house. He told the landlord he would come and get the food when his phone timer went off.

Back at our house I cleaned up the yard, had Eric set up my tent as this was an outside birth, and got blankets and my birth basket in the tent. At one point I looked out and saw my kids helping Eric put up the tent, and realized what a beautiful picture it was of the whole family helping prepare for our new baby. My daughter then came in and asked if I had put on my blessingway beads yet. I thanked her for reminding me, and then went to put them on. While I was placing them around my neck I dropped one side of the string and all the beads slipped off. My 3 year old scrambled around picking up each bead and then carefully placed each one in my hand with his chubby little fingers. I will never forget this little detail in all my life. It was so symbolic! Here is my former baby helping me prepare for the new one. It brings tears to my eyes every time I think of it.

It was around this time my contractions were pretty steady, but were not very painful nor did they require my attention. Eric left to get our food, and when he came back I fed everybody. After dinner we all gathered around holding hands while Eric gave me a blessing. I felt the Holy Spirit telling me all would be beautiful, and not to worry one bit. During my pregnancy I had butterflies follow me around whenever I thought about the upcoming birth. It started when there were 3 in my blessingway tent just weeks before, and then almost every day after, up until the birth. My husband's grandma even called one day to tell me a butterfly was following her around, and it made her think of me and the birth. She had known nothing of my similar experience prior to calling me. I could see my Heavenly Father's hand in all of this, and I was so at peace during the Priesthood blessing.

After the blessing I laid in bed with the kids and attempted to read them a book, but the contractions got too strong and I had to let Eric take over. After the kids fell asleep I stood in the front doorway looking out and my contractions got really strong and regular. I decided at this point to go outside in the tent. It was a beautiful summer night. The weather was really warm and the owls were flying around, like grey ghosts in the sky. We live on 22 acres, in a pretty rural part of California. Going outside was making the decision to join nature in something only nature does the best: giving birth. At this point I let go of all tension and entered my tent. This was a kitchen tent, which was just screen on all four corners, that zipped up so that flies and mosquitoes couldn't get in. Eric was in the shower, so I labored all alone for about 20 minutes. I really got into the flow of labor while he was gone, so when he came in the tent to tell me he was coming in and to ask if I wanted a chair, I felt a bit disturbed. I agreed to the chair, but couldn't bear to tell him I didn't want him coming into my space. When he came in he set my chair in front of me with a towel on the seat, to put my head on, I was on my knees so this was perfect for me. He then set his chair in a corner and just sat there, silent as a mouse. I could see him in the moonlight, and he looked so peaceful there, just watching me. I decided then it didn't bother me too much. Every time I focused on breathing through a contraction, I would look up and see exactly half a moon in the sky, and and then feel so centered.

After doing some pretty hefty labor dancing, I got back on my hands and knees and started pushing. I didn't feel "pushy" at all, but something deep inside told me to just push. When I did I felt the baby come down and then felt pushy. I ripped my shirt off and announced I was hot, so Eric grabbed a book out of my birth basket and started fanning me. I heard a pack of coyotes all howl in unison, and I felt so in touch with myself and with my Heavenly Father's creations. Finally I felt her head crowning, and after screaming at the top of my lungs into a towel, I lifted up one leg and our baby slipped out. The time was 12:41 am. Oh how easily I forget how painful the crowning part is!

Since Eric had made the decision to fan me instead of catching the baby, it gently unfolded onto the blanket. We had only the light of the moon by which to see, so when I turned around to pick up the baby, I swept my hand over it's bottom and didn't feel some parts I expected to feel, since I thought for sure it was another boy. I told Eric she was a girl, and he said he had known all along. I held her close expecting to hear her cry, but she just kind of made some little tiny noises. I felt in the dark and realized the cord was wrapped around her neck, so I gently unwrapped it. She then let out a tiny cry, but not much more than before. She was perfect in every way, but just didn't feel like crying I guess. In the moonlight I could see she looked exactly like my daughter! She was also born 41 minutes after her birthday.

About a minute after she came out, I felt what I thought was the placenta come sliding out, so I immediately wondered why the placenta came out so fast. I had Eric get his headlamp and shine it on the mass. It turned out to be a huge bunch of blood clots! I was confused about this part, but obviously we were both fine, so I didn't worry. I am still a bit curious to know exactly what these were and why they were so big. I didn't experience this with my previous births. About 20 minutes later I tried to push out the placenta, but it only partly came out, so I left it alone for a bit longer.

The baby started to vigorously suck her fist, so I nursed her thinking I would take a shower when she was through, but every time I tried to unlatch her to quickly clean myself off, she would start crying. I ended up sitting there cross-legged, nursing her in the dark, for almost three hours straight! Finally she was through, and so I had Eric cut the cord and pushed out the rest of the placenta. I "rushed" to the shower inside to get clean, and then got dressed and took the baby. All this time the kids had been asleep, so it was actually pretty romantic spending time with my husband, and now just the three of us.

After a few days we decided to name her Annelise Farfalla. Farfalla means "butterfly" in Italian. I want her to always remember how much her Heavenly Father watched over the two of us on our journey through the pregnancy, and then the birth, and how spiritual and wonderful her birth was.
Annelise with her two siblings


  1. Thank you so much for sharing that beautiful story. That really touched me :)

  2. What a beautiful, perfect birth story! It brought tears to my eyes. Thank you so much for sharing!

  3. So lovely! I had a lot of clots with my first birth- though the placenta was large and intact. It's amazing how something that could be an emergency anywhere else, can be handled calmly in the right circumstances!

    It was a beautiful story. :)

  4. I have always dreamed of giving birth outside. Maybe one day...

  5. What a precious story! This was so encouraging to hear as I plan for my next birth in a couple months. I love her name too!

  6. AMAZING story! Makes me want to birth another baby! Haha!

  7. This was beautiful! If I were in a space to have another baby (i.e. had a partner) I know I'll do it this way this time. What an inspiration!

  8. Thank you for sharing this beautiful story! I have had three kids, two home births, and I've toyed with the idea of having a UC. Who knows, maybe if I have another one!


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