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ONE YEAR | the natural birth I never knew I always wanted

08.08.09. The most emotional day of my life. Nothing prepares you for the intensity of motherhood. As much as I thought I knew…it couldn’t even come close to the reality. The instant love you feel…indescribable.

My daughter is now one. [sniff, sniff] She was so small. So tiny. This has been the best year of my life. Above all else, I knew I wanted to be a wife and mother and now I am BOTH. All the decisions I made about business were right.  I can never get this time back. I rocked her more than I should have. I hugged her every chance I got. I was home with her & wished to be nowhere else. This year was perfect.

[image taken my my SIL Kim]

I never talked about my birth story here. Mainly because it was the kind of birth that would horrify most soon-to-be mommy readers. I remember the non-stop dramatic, awful, traumatizing birth stories strangers felt so inclined to share with me as I reached the end of my pregnancy. I did not appreciate them. I will never do that to another woman. So, here is my very short story. With a VERY unexpected outcome. I promise short & I promise it will not scare you.

I was induced. It was my choice. I should have just waited for my body to be ready but I wanted to deliver with my doctor, who was on call. She was fabulous. I was stupid.

I was pushed into using drugs so I could be on the cRNAs schedule. I was stupid. I didn’t need them.

2 epidurals. Fail. 1 spinal. Fail. 4-8cm in 12 minutes with no drugs. YEP. Ready to push with no drugs. YEP.

It took 45 minutes. It was the most challenging workout of my life. My body did exactly what I was built to do. There was no question of “how” to do it. I just KNEW. I got to use all the muscle I worked so hard to build in that gym. All the endurance. I was prepared.

I experienced the greatest high of my life. (I have never done drugs, so emotional highs are all I know) It was AMAZING. It was intense. It was everything I never knew I always wanted. On accident.

What happened after was not so fun. I am thankful for blood donors, as I recovered because of you. My tailbone will be broken for the rest of my life. Hey, at least I have a legitimate reason for not doing sit-ups. Even if I can’t sit on a chair.

But I got a BABY and somehow, I forgot all the icky stuff. All I need to remember is my husband’s face. “It’s a girl,” he said, with that million dollar smile of his. “It’s a girl.”

Next time around, no drugs. I might even go with a midwife. I will not deliver in the military hospital. But I will deliver in a hospital, one that supports drug-free deliveries. I will be prepared, once again. Physically & mentally.

We are meant to have babies. I want to do it on my own. I don’t remember this week one year ago, because of the mess of drugs I was on & that makes me very, very sad. I don’t ever want that again.

So, you know, everything on the planet could go terribly wrong. But you still get a baby. The pain is tolerable. The joy is beyond your imagination. I was never scared, and hope you aren’t either. I am guessing every birth is different (at least I HOPE SO.) Hopefully I can have the birth experience I want the next time. Let’s pray there is a next time.

And…more pictures…heavens. I have 467 to cull through. As soon as I get a nice little compilation, I will get them up here with some fab party decor ideas. It was a fun one. More to come! :D

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  • Anne - Wow. Beautiful summary of a beautiful year!!

    P.S. I’m sorry for having shared my birth story with you! :XReplyCancel

  • -shawna- - Oh, Anne. I asked. It was the strangers that approached me out of nowhere that drove me nuts! Yours seemed pretty smooth. :)ReplyCancel

  • Megan - Tears rolling down my face … what a wonderful summary of your story! After all that – you amaze me that yo are going to go al-natural next time around! It’s so true that you forget all of the pain and “trauma” cause you now have the greatest gift ever!!ReplyCancel

  • Kristyn - Thanks for sharing your story. I loved the “It’s a girl” part! I’ve been waiting an entire year for this and what an amazing journey you had. Thanks for opening up and I too hope your next go around is what you want it to be. Well, as much as you can control that is!ReplyCancel

  • Rachael - Happy Birthday sweet Caroline! Can’t believe she’s already one. Thank you for sharing the short version of your birth story. Even though it’s probably against my better judgement, I am very curious about others’ birth stories right now as my time is fast approaching. I am planning on a natural childbirth and praying my AMAZING doctor is on call when I go into labor. Anyway, can’t wait for more pictures of Caroline’s birthday party! :)ReplyCancel

  • Christa - Happy Birthday Caroline! And thank you for sharing your birth story, I love reading them! We’re studying Hypnobabies for a birth center birth this time since my first was no where near the positive experience I was hoping for.ReplyCancel

  • Lauren - Oh no! Did you deliver at WH? I did and had a wonderful experience, especially regarding pain meds. They let me go as long as I wanted but were constantly checking in ;) How did you know you broke your tail bone? It has been suggested that I fractured mine but I haven’t been back to find out. Thanks for sharing!ReplyCancel

  • -shawna- - @Christa–totally going to research hypnobirthing! I find it fascinating. @Lauren– I sure did. Not a good experience w/ anesthesia. I went to ortho for a follow up after 8 mos of pain. X-rays show a giant fragment out of place & uncorrectable, which will get worse next delivery due to it’s current placement. :( I still have significant pain. (as in I cannot sit in a chair for longer than 10 minutes) It sucks!ReplyCancel

  • Lauren - I am so sorry to hear that!! I was thinking about going in for an xray but knew that there was no treatment so never did. I can sit in a chair but end up supporting myself with my hands. I had such a good experience with anesthesia that I am now a little nervous IF there is a next time! I guess it is a toss up when you are in a teaching hosptial! By the way, love your site! I made my own baby food and am only now starting the cloth diapering (son 18mo). You are inspiring!ReplyCancel

  • -shawna- - @Lauren–I am so glad you had a good experience! & I bet you have the same problem as me. :/ Let me know if you need any help on the CD homefront! :D Glad you are here!ReplyCancel

  • Jen Barnes - Every birth experience is amazing and unique. She’s adorable and I bet the year *flew* by for you!ReplyCancel

  • Lauren - Thanks Shawna! I just ordered some FB, a wet bag and flushable liners. I have a bunch of Gdiaper covers and use them with mostly their flushable liners although I have some cloth. I think I am going to try to use the cloth as much as possible now! YAY!! Too bad I am a little late in the game. Re: tailbone – do you think it was the delivery? Looking back, I was thinking it might have been my pregnancy. I remember starting to be sore during the pregnancy and maybe my running exacerbated it? I was running 6 miles up until 20 weeks when I had placenta previa. Hmmm…ReplyCancel

  • Courtney Freitas - Hi Shawna!

    Thanks for the comment. ;) My very favorite book about natural childbirthing is hands down Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin. A must read. Let me know what you think of it!

    http://www.amazon.com/Ina-Mays-Guide-Childbirth-Gaskin/dp/0553381156/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1282331636&sr=1-1

    PS Happy Birthday Caroline! =DReplyCancel

  • Ashley - I just wanted to tell you that I happened upon your blog through Facebook… I’ve been looking around while my kids are napping. I love this blog! I have a 2 1/2 yr old and a 9 month old. I have a BFA with an emphasis in photography (that I don’t use). I make baby food and such, but I feel like I’m always running in circles. When I have time I’ll check out some of your tips. I really like that you put your birth story on here, and that you were courteous enough to not want to scare anyone with a birth story. I’ve never understood why women like to tell such bad experiences of what should be the greatest days of their lives. I just wanted to share that I’ve given birth twice… both times natural, in a hospital, and with a midwife. If course it was painful, but the pain was not lasting. I would wholeheartedly recommend a midwife and a doula to any woman having a baby.ReplyCancel

  • Kristin Smith - Shawna!
    From what you described, you did remarkably well. I think it is easy to buy into the drug free birthing experience and feel like a failure if we don’t have a drug free birth.
    I have 3 boys and I fully expected to have a natural birth. My first son was over 9 pounds and I felt like at total failure because I had to have an epidural after 20+ hours of labor. I had 5+ hours of pushing and he come out like a conehead from Saturday Night Live! I felt really down on myself that I used medication, but then I read The Red Tent, and it put things in perspective – we are lucky that we live in a time/place where it is very rare that moms/babies do not survive childbirth.
    That said, I continued with my doula/midwife plan for my second pregnancy. I added Hypnobirthing, which I think is awesome!!! I got all the way through transition and pushing for an hour+ with no drugs, but my son got stuck because he was over 11 pounds!!!!!! So a c-section was the end result! But I don’t care because I was ok and my boy was ok! My third son was an elective c-section, which I have to say was the easiest recovery.
    My point is that the most important thing is that you come out of the delivery healthy and the baby comes out of the delivery healthy.
    Don’t worry about anything else. Epidural, pitocin, c-section. That doesn’t matter.
    You and your baby’s health is all that matters!
    Best wishes to you!ReplyCancel

  • Michelle Brown - You are so inspiring! I had an emergency c-section. My little boy is 5 months old. He’s been in cloth fuzzibunz since he was about four weeks old. Your videos helped immensely! I’ve bought the ice cube trays and they should arrive this weeks so that I can begin freezing my first homemade baby food. I’m sooooo excited to get started. Any pointers on the feeding part of baby food? Is one cube too much at the beginning? How much water or formula/breastmilk is best? Are there baby foods that don’t freeze well? I’ve visited Wholesomebabyfood.com already and read most of their website. Keep writing. I need it. Hang in there with pregnancy number two.ReplyCancel

    • -shawna- - awesome! & just be patient with it. one cube is probably too much at first. I never added water or breastmilk. watermelon, green beans & cherries were tough for me to manage. :)ReplyCancel

  • Traci - A friend recommended your blog a while back relating mostly to photography. I was browsing around and noticed this entry. I had a similar experience and love hearing other people’s stories. I had a super fast labor with baby #2 that did not allow time for an epidural. Crazy amazing experience and I vowed to give it a go without medication (on purpose this time!) if I were ever to have another chance. Three years later, I was lucky enough to have that chance and it was the most awesome, incredible thing i’ve ever done. I see that this post is from 2 years ago and i’m wondering if you’ve had your chance, too? I’ll have to nose around a bit more…. But anyway, just wanted to say “I’m with ya, sister”! And your blog is beautiful. Love the photos and will be checking out your info on homemade baby food!ReplyCancel

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