Birth Story: Beautiful Homebirth, Awesome Midwifery Care, Happy Mama...and the Little Doula in NZ

The birth of Alexander Eric 9th August 2017

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I am finally getting round to putting my birth story on paper, nearly ten weeks later! I have been meaning to of course since the first week that Alex was born, but you know how it is, too much effort and thought having to go into it! But I have thought enough is enough let’s get it done, as I’m looking through the labour and birth photos and think they are amazing and I am amazing that I finally got my home birth/water birth yay!

On Tuesday morning, the 8th August I woke up feeling rather sorry for myself after another sleepless night from pain in my pelvis, heart burn-you name it,  but also because I was feeling uncomfortable in my belly that was different from the tightenings that I had been having since the second trimester! We had planned to go out to Rangiora and visit my mum and hang with her as it was Tuesday café day but I said to my daughter Lily-Rose, who is seven and is homeschooled, that lets just stay in bed today and not go anywhere! But I thought if this was early labour starting then the last thing I wanted was to be at home waiting around for something to happen, much better to keep busy; so off we went and over the course of the day I complained to my mum that my tummy was starting to get a few niggles of something, and we had a laugh that I would probably go into labour that night because of all the washing I had drying inside due to the miserable Christchurch weather, and not having a dryer! Or a washing machine!! (as we were still waiting for some of our things to arrive from Australia after moving back home in June to be closer to family while we have this baby). Anyway, nothing much happened over the day but by the time we got home and having dinner I was starting to get irritated with my tightenings which were still spaced apart. I couldn’t even concentrate to watch Game of Thrones with the hubby that night because one- I had to reply to an important email about my exemption to homeschool and they wanted further information which if I didn’t do at that time then I may not ever get it done; and secondly because the tightenings were starting to get more uncomfortable, where I had to start focusing on my breath. I didn’t really say to the hubby and daughter that this was it because it was still early days; and also I knew that my daughter would want to stay up with me as we had been talking about labour and birth for what seemed like forever, watched all the water births on you tube, and had been preparing for the birth together by making the birth mat, and getting the pool ready that week (yes I took a while to get organized because I didn’t feel ready-I definitely wasn’t like with my first when I was ready emotionally long before then!!).

Eventually I went to bed as I was so tired, and I started to listen to my Hypnobirthing Australia affirmations and Surge of the Sea track with my ear phones, but lying down trying to sleep wasn’t going to happen so I went out to the lounge where time rushed by and things started to get more intense. I lay down on my side as much as I could and breathed through the tightenings, listening to the hypnobirthing tracks still. I ended up using the gym ball and hot water bottle to help get me through it, and eventually I felt like I wanted to get into the pool but I didn’t want to get in too early like I did with my first, as was thinking this labour may be long and drawn out like hers was! I texted my midwife sometime after 3am on the Wednesday morning asking her if I should hop into the pool as I was worried that I would get in too early. She then texted back asking me if I was in labour and how far apart the surges were- I replied that yes I am in labour and I hadn’t been keeping track of the tightenings but probably 3-4 in a ten minute period. She then replied that she was coming over.

I didn’t want her coming all this way and be in early labour so I said to check me when she got here and if not far along then to go home again. Not that I was being unwelcoming, only that I didn’t want everyone here if it was going to be long and drawn out (thinking it would be like Lily-Rose’s birth). Molly my midwife arrived at 4am, and noted that I was in labour and that I didn’t need to be examined as I was going to have this baby at some stage, and encouraged hubby Clay to fill the pool up. I still insisted on an internal and I was 9cm!!!!! I caught on to her feelings of panic? Maybe it was fluster? Anyway it was then that I thought holy moley I really am having a baby, and texted my mum, student midwife Catherine and birth photographer Sharon that it was time to come over. Molly had already rang her back up midwife, and Sharon by the time I came back out to the lounge where the pool was filling thanks to hubby.

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I decided to stay out in lounge but I only had my affirmations on in one ear, once back up midwife Tamara arrived at nearly half four I was starting to feel like I was getting out of my “zone”. I hopped into the pool but was unable to really hear my birth tracks via the laptop, as I didn’t want my phone to accidentally fall into the pool! By the time 5am arrived, everyone was here that needed to be here. Baby’s heart rate increased to 170 while I was in the pool because it was super hot and I was super hot so it was time to hop out for a bit, I stayed in the lounge and we rang my sister via messenger video and she supported me this way for a bit but I felt like everything had stalled even though I was still getting regular and intense tightenings, there was so much pressure and I begged Molly to break my waters, (as a midwife myself I would recommend avoiding interventions but I was desperate and knew that if this happened then I might have a baby sooner!!!). She declined to do this! I hid out in my room for a bit and it was then that I should have started getting in my zone again listening to my affirmations but for some reason I thought that would be anti-social (note to self-don’t worry about pleasing anyone when your in labour!!) so I didn’t end up really listening to them again, which was silly as it was that which helped me get to 9cm in the first place! I requested Molly to do another internal at about 6am because come on yes I was getting impatient, it had been two hours since I was 9cm and where was this baby?! I still had a bit of cervix in the way and that it would go, Molly reassured me that all was ok and to carry on! Carry on! By this stage I said to my mum, I am going to hospital if something doesn’t happen soon! I guess you could say I had had enough!! By 7am I had convinced Molly to break my waters, which she did thank goodness as I was ready for that epidural! She pushed the bit of cervix out of the way with the next contraction and I felt baby move down which is when I started to feel like I was losing control, and started freaking out! And making a lot of noise, which worried my daughter! Molly convinced me to hop back into the pool but I was feeling like I didn’t want to move really at all! But thankfully she convinced me and it was amazing enveloped by such warmth, but pity I was having shooting sciatica-type pains down my thighs each tightening which was not ideal! I was on my knees using the side of the pool and hubby’s hand to get me through each tightening. My sister Agatha in Australia was called again at this time and the phone set up next to the pool, her voice helped ground me and she talked me through it as I started to bear baby down (she’s done this eight times so I knew she completely understood the feelings of panic that I was having!). With my first I didn’t get to experience what pushing a baby out felt like due to a spinal and an assisted birth, so what a shock it was when I felt baby’s head moving down, I was trying to breathe through and be nice and quiet but I didn’t care anymore and why was this baby taking so long to come out!!! Once I focused on moving baby down with my breath and bearing down (as taught in the Hypnobubs online Hypnobirthing Australia course), then it wasn’t long until crowning and oh my goodness now I know what that feels like I will never forget it!!! Once baby’s head had been out for a few minutes Molly said it was time to push the body out but I couldn’t and I told her it was stuck! Once she got right inside and unhooked his shoulder from under my pubic bone, I had a surge of adrenaline shoot through me as I realized that this was shoulder dystocia and was potentially life threatening situation for my baby. My calm and experienced midwife got baby out and I rolled over to sit in the water and there I saw my baby, mum had voiced out that it was a boy! A boy! But at that point I was super relieved that he was out, that he was crying and it was all over!!! Born at 8.03 am, four hours after being 9cm!!!

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Molly knew about my previous postpartum hemorrhage so I didn’t stay in the pool for too long, and I was helped out, pushed the placenta out but with lots of clots and walked over to the couch (the joys of being at home!), where my bleeding was monitored, but ended up agreeing that I needed to have oxytocin needle into my thigh to control my moderate bleeding. Cord was cut by his daddy, and me and my baby boy Alexander (named after my dad) had skin to skin, then the first breastfeed where he latched like a gem 30 minutes after birth. I ended up having a 2nd degree tear that Molly sutured, yes I didn’t have to go anywhere but just stay in my lounge! Had a cup of my Artemis Pregnancy tea which is good for postnatal as well, and munched on an apple, I was happy it was all over and that I got to stay in my house with everyone around me. Thankful for my mum and sister that were there, my hubby of course, my wonderful birth photographer Sharon from Bloom Photography NZ, my midwife Molly for being so chilled, and Tamara and Catherine. And especially to my darling daughter who kept me hydrated with water, and who said to anyone and everyone afterwards about how much noise I made and that I owed her $2.50 for the swearing I used (20cents per swear word apparently!).

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I am so grateful that I got the home birth I wanted, it’s only now that I look back and realize how amazing I am and how the whole experience was amazing, even though immediately after I wished I’d had the nice quiet quick serene birth that I was anticipating! I felt as though I had failed somewhat, but I didn’t and I have these amazing photos (recommend to have a birth photographer, especially one as amazing and caring as Sharon!) that I just look at and think wow, this was the most challenging and intense thing I have ever done in my life but I did it! When I look back and wonder why labour stalled for so long I believe it was because I allowed myself to get out of my zone and I freaked out, and if I would change anything it would be to keep my ear phones on, stay calm and grounded, and continue my hypnobirthing affirmations. Looking at the past 9 weeks it’s what comes after the birth that’s just as challenging, but that is another story in itself! I am coming out the other end now of newborn life and I am just in love with my boy, and my daughter and I often stare at him and ask ourselves how did I manage to push this beautiful baby out, and now that’s she has recovered from it all is asking me if we will have another so she can properly watch the birth this time as she knows what to expect! x

With thanks,

Melanie S. @melanie_rose_sutton  

 

ALL Photos by

Bloom Photography NZ

https://www.facebook.com/bloomphotographyNZ/posts/1475498022496781

@bloomphotographynz

 

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Photo by Megan Hancock Photography

Let Me Help You Create The Happiest Birth Experience Of Your Life...

Whether you're a first time or experienced momma,

Or a midwife, doula, or birth professional guiding mommas..

Regardless if you are planning a birth at home, a hospital, a birth center or need a cesarean section, or if you are taking another childbirth education class…

You Really Can Create The Delivery Of Your Dreams.

And have a blissful birth wherever you are.

More Precious Than A Wedding...A Birth Should Be A Celebration!

Let me show you how to…

  • Understand the sensations of your body and connect your intuition with how your body is communicating and leading you towards what to do during labor
  • Tap into your inner calm to deeply relax yourself, letting go of busy, stressful and fearful thoughts on demand for the health of baby
  • Speak your truth from your heart in a way that deepens your relationships, sets clear boundaries, and has people listen to you and support you before, during and after pregnancy
  • Trust yourself, connect with your body wisdom and communicate with baby in belly
  • Connect with natural time and sync your body and mind up with your unique biological clock for ease from pregnancy to postpartum
  • Reprogram negative patterns, stories, and beliefs that undermine your confidence, strength and self trust so you can rock your birth

Physicians and midwives around the world recommend my teachings to their pregnant clients and many Doulas across the country learn the secrets of blissful birthing from me to supplement their Doula Training & Certification process!

To learn more, visit:  LOVE YOUR BIRTH Online Childbirth Course!

It is based on my years of experience, as a midwife and yoga teacher, helping thousands of women tap into their calm and live and birth from a place of grounded relaxation and joy. 

It’s wonderful alone, a great refresher or adjunct to any other course!

“Forget your childbirth class, and take steps to your most empowering experience. If you are thinking about conception, pregnant, or love someone who is, take it from me that her wisdom is life-changing.
Yours in the truth

— Kelly Brogan, MD

How to Plan, Have, and Rock Your VBAC

Photo by @senhoritasfotografia

Photo by @senhoritasfotografia

How to Plan, Have, and Rock Your VBAC

Didn’t think you could have a successful VBAC or vaginal birth after Cesarean? Keep reading to discover what’s possible for you.

If you’re a momma who has previously undergone a C-section birth, I want you to know that having a vaginal birth in the future is totally possible.

VBACs are more attainable and beneficial than you might think. While C-sections are absolutely appropriate in life-threatening situations, they do not (and, should not) have to become a routine.

There are some practical steps you can take to not only determine if VBAC is right for you, but also prepare for having a deeply positive vaginal birth experience that will have you feeling empowered in your own capabilities.

Hopefully, these practical tips give you the confidence to know that you too can have a wonderful VBAC.

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How to Research When Planning a Successful VBAC

Why do You Want Your VBAC?

The first step, in any major decision, really, is to know and believe that you have a voice.

Take full responsibility for your pregnancy, and do not surrender it to others, especially to your health care provider and the hospital.

Don’t simply assume that a doctor or midwife knows what’s best for you. Only you can truly understand what you’re feeling and experiencing physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

Don’t skip this first step or even take it lightly. It’s the most important step and sets up the foundation for the rest of your VBAC journey.

So, how do you get started with your foundation? Ask yourself this simple (albeit, difficult) question, “What do I want, and why?”

This is your opportunity to educate and empower yourself.

The more you know, the more likely you are to make better decisions. The more you know about yourself, the more likely you are to make more harmonious decisions that coincide with who you are.

This is feeding your soul, your deepest truth!

Know the Real Pros and Cons of Both a VBAC and a Cesarean Section

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The next step includes understanding the nature of both VBACs and C-section birth. Then, you should probably tackle their pros and cons.

A Cesarean section (or C-section) is a major abdominal operation in which the baby is delivered through a surgical incision in the mother’s abdomen and uterus while under anesthesia.

This is usually an epidural or spinal anesthesia, inserted via a needle and catheter into the space around your spinal cord, which attempts to numb you from the waist down. General anesthesia is medication given so you are completely out. Depending on the situation, you may be given such a high dose, you will need a tube inserted into your airway so that a machine can breath for you. It is is more often the method of choice in severe emergencies where time is of the essence.

While being a life-saving surgery, C-sections are meant to only be performed in cases of serious complications and emergency in which the mother and/or baby are in real danger.

Another advantage of repeat cesarean is that, if planned, it can take less of an emotional toll for some moms. A mom, for example, who’s very anxious about a past emergency or planned vaginal birth that did not work out, is extremely afraid of vaginal birth, or has a history of unresolved sexual abuse trauma can feel reassured by her perceived sense of predictability and controlled surgical procedure in having a C-section.

The trouble with C-sections is that they are, nowadays, becoming more and more commonplace, putting moms and babies at a significantly increased risk of poor physical and psychological health.

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In fact, the USA is ranked among the highest in the world for cesarean sections at 30% and counting. In my area, some hospitals have a 40-50% C-section rate.

This is a lot considering the fact that C-sections are supposed to be rare! It is unacceptable, malpractice, and explains our country’s horrid outcome stats. We rank near the bottom as compared to other developed countries in terms of mothers and babies becoming seriously ill or dying during or soon after childbirth.

We have soaring rates of birth trauma for both mother and baby, which significantly impacts their lives in the short and long term. My cesarean section rate is 5% which is comparable to most homebirth midwives, within the ideal range of percentage rates of performed Cesareans.

Here’s the scary long list of risks that come with having a cesarean section: injuries to other organs during surgery, bowel obstruction, infection, hemorrhaging, having an emergency hysterectomy, blood clots, stroke, and maternal death.

You also run the risk of having pain if the anesthetic doesn’t work completely.

There’s prolonged, more intense pain postpartum, a longer hospital stay, readmission to the hospital, an upsetting or emotionally traumatic birth experience, less early contact and connection with the baby, depression and mental health problems, low self-esteem, relationship issues, difficulty functioning and doing usual daily activities postpartum, chronic pelvic pain from scar tissue, problems with and discontinuing breastfeeding - along with the associated risks to mom and baby of not breastfeeding.

There can be accidental cuts to the baby during the surgery,  lung and breathing problems, including asthma for the baby. There could be future reproductive health problems like reduced fertility, infertility, negative feelings about childbirth and having another baby, higher risk for life-threatening complications in future pregnancies, including placenta previa, accreta or abruption, ectopic pregnancy, mild separation to frank rupture of previous uterine scar, fetal malformation or central nervous system injury, stillbirth and newborn death. The baby could also be born prematurely or with a low birth weight.

(Whoo!)

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VBAC, or vaginal birth after Cesarean, on the other hand, is exactly what it sounds like. Having had a C-section in the past doesn’t mean that you’re required to have C-sections for every subsequent birth.

In fact, when all is well and healthy, the benefits of having a VBAC are quite numerous and significant. The risks of repeat cesarean birth far outweigh the risks of VBAC.

First of all, avoiding major surgery is a crucial health benefit in and of itself - it avoids all of the above-mentioned risks of cesarean. Almost all other surgeries that were once major are now done laparoscopically with much smaller incisions to minimize risk.

Also, you significantly increase the chances of having a more positive birth and postpartum experience. Healing and recovery are much easier, and there are fewer chances of enduring postpartum depression and emotional birth trauma. There are shorter hospital stays, fewer readmissions, and the increased opportunity for earlier and more prolonged contact and bonding with your baby. There’s more likely to be success with breastfeeding, especially after a natural birth.

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But, as with everything, there are risks with a VBAC. The main risk of concern is the partial or complete separation of your previous surgery’s scar that may or may not have any impact on you or your baby. The numbers are about 2 in every 1,000 VBACs, but this risk doesn’t have any effect on the health of the mother or baby, as it refers to partial or slight disruption of the prior incision without clinical significance.

A significant uterine rupture which would, in this case, be a life-threatening risk is actually even less likely to happen. These numbers are less than 1%.

There are also risks of some vaginal pain or tearing that takes a few weeks or few months to fully heal (a much shorter time than it takes for for the cesarean wound to heal), a slight increase in urinary and rarely anal incontinence, and birth injury to baby from the uncommon complication of shoulder dystocia.

As a midwife, I fully support a momma’s choice to have a VBAC. But, there are many important reasons why you could find yourself in a condition to have either a scheduled or an unplanned repeat C-section birth.

For example, your baby may be in a transverse position (lying in the uterus across your abdomen), or you may be nearing your term and have placenta previa - especially if the placenta is completely or partially covering your cervix. Read up on these situations to further understand what truly are indications for undergoing a C-section.

Once you’ve learned and weighed the pros and cons of both a VBAC and a C-section, complement your research with the knowledge and experience of your trusted doctor and/or midwife.

Find the Right Health Provider for You

After you’ve gathered your information and have made a few decisions as to what you’d like to do, it’s time to find the provider that will work with you toward your vision of a successful vaginal birth.

Ask various providers their VBAC rates as compared to their repeat Cesarean rates. This is important—look for, of course, the providers with whom their VBAC rates are higher than the repeat C-sections. They should not have a VBAC rate lower than 70-80%, if you want to maximize your chances of vaginal birth.

If you’re planning on having the birth of your baby in a hospital, then you can equally research your local hospitals and get their VBAC rates as well, gauging in the same way.

It is worth mentioning that a natural birth gives you your highest chances of having a successful vaginal birth after Cesarean. Just know that while many wonderful obstetricians have high rates of VBAC, they are highly skilled surgeons who specialize in higher risk complications.

They can look for them, diagnose and treat them medically and/or surgically. Going to a surgeon and having a natural vaginal birth may be extremely challenging in many cases.

Most midwives whether they practice in or outside of hospitals have some of the best VBAC to repeat C-section ratios. You might have to dig a little deeper in your research, however, to find midwives who practice in-hospital. Sometimes, their hands are tied by limiting obstetrical or hospital policies and malpractice insurance companies. But they still tend to have lower VBAC rates than most OB/GYNs.

Related article: Can All Women Have a Homebirth?

Prepare to Rock Your VBAC

Photo by midwife @lindseymeehleis after her VBAC

Photo by midwife @lindseymeehleis after her VBAC

How to Deal with Emotional Trauma From Previous Cesarean

Now, that you’ve done your research and you’ve decided that you’re going to have a VBAC, it’s time to prepare yourself, mind, body, and spirit.

This is particularly important if you’ve previously had a traumatic experience with a C-section birth.

There are actually therapists whose specialty is to help women overcome the trauma of the last upsetting unplanned cesarean birth.

That is what I do for the women in my local practice and online via Skype or Zoom for the global community. I work with you not only to heal, but also help you to approach your next childbirth experience with positivity, confidence and joy. Also, that is a main focus of my comprehensive online course, Love Your Birth, in addition to helping you achieve optimal health of the mind, the heart, the body, and spirit along the entire journey from pregnancy to birth and mamahood.

I have personally found the most effective form of trauma healing to be: Clarity Breathwork - it is so much more powerful than most any other modality, including medication and talk therapy alone. I tried just about anything, and nothing worked. I had such profound healing using Clarity Breathwork, I became a practitioner who provides private and group Clarity Breathwork sessions and assists at larger workshops, to help others experience the huge healing and transformation I did and witnessed in so many others. Additional incredibly effective methods of trauma healing include Somatic Experience and Organic Intelligence.

My goal is to create for you the springboard you need to heal fully, then create for yourself the deeply connected, positive, and empowering experience that childbirth truly can be.

Your VBAC Community

Another very important component to preparing for your VBAC is to gather around you a community of women who are on the same wavelength as you in terms of mindset and experience.

It is actually easier than you think to find women who’ve gone through what you’re going through, given the high rates of cesarean birth in our country.

Do a bit of research on ICAN, a nonprofit organization whose goal it is to educate and support women through their Cesarean recovery. They also seek to support families in their communities advocating for vaginal births after Cesareans.

This is a time to work closely with your midwife or obstetrician on bringing to life the successful birth you’ve envisioned for yourself.

Make your needs and goals very clear (your midwife or I can even help you to hone in on what those needs and goals might be), so that all you have to focus on is delivering your baby when the time comes.

Surround Yourself with Positivity and Joy

Lastly, be on the lookout for positive VBAC stories of healing, beauty, and empowerment to encourage you. We always seem to envision these horrific and traumatic scenes when it comes to birth.

Fill your mind with positive birth stories, and what’s possible for you instead of what you fear might happen.

I have collected my favorite resources for mamas in a free Ebook. It contains 154 of the best supplies, books and movies I use personally and professionally with my clients, family, and friends. Even diving into a fraction of this list will have you feeling empowered and prepared for conception, pregnancy, postpartum and parenting!

Draw, journal, meditate, visualize, play sensual music and let yourself freestyle dance to it—these things help you to heighten and easily tap into the intuitive, feminine self. This is your heart and gut, your truth, your wisdom, the part of you that knows what you most deeply desire and the part of you that knows exactly how to give birth.

With easier access to this huge part of your being, you will more easily determine what it is that you want and need. This creates more confidence and assuredness in the decisions that you make, no matter what the rest of the world might be telling you.

Now that you know where to begin, take responsibility for your pregnancy and childbirth. This is the most empowering thing you can do for you and your baby. It is also the healthiest, and will bring you a deep sense of inner peace and joy.

You’ll find that there are actually many resources and communities that can help you to have the kind of birth that you envision for yourself.

Know what you want and why you want it. Find healthcare providers as well as other women who support you in your decisions and who can help you on your journey. Hire a doula and learn why this is so important especially if you are planning a VBAC and you do not have that kind of calm mothering support for the big day.

A woman’s childbirth is her own and she should have the freedom to experience the full power of what she is capable of.

A glowing vaginal birth after Cesarean is possible for every momma.

 

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Your many questions may be more common than you think! Subscribe to my monthly Ask the Midwife Newsletter where I answer common questions in written or video format.

Photo by Megan Hancock Photography Let Me Help You Create The Happiest Birth Experience Of Your Life... Whether you're a first time or experienced momma, planning a VBAC Or a midwife, doula, or birth professional guiding mommas.. Regardless if you are planning a birth at home, a hospital, a birth center or need a cesarean section, or if you are taking another childbirth education class… You Really Can Create The Delivery Of Your Dreams. And have a blissful birth wherever you are. More Precious Than A Wedding...A Birth Should Be A Celebration! Let me show you how to… Understand the sensations of your body and connect your intuition with how your body is communicating and leading you towards what to do during labor Tap into your inner calm to deeply relax yourself, letting go of busy, stressful and fearful thoughts on demand for the health of baby Speak your truth from your heart in a way that deepens your relationships, sets clear boundaries, and has people listen to you and support you before, during and after pregnancy Trust yourself, connect with your body wisdom and communicate with baby in belly Connect with natural time and sync your body and mind up with your unique biological clock for ease from pregnancy to postpartum Reprogram negative patterns, stories, and beliefs that undermine your confidence, strength and self trust so you can rock your birth Physicians and midwives around the world recommend my teachings to their pregnant clients and many Doulas across the country learn the secrets of blissful birthing from me to supplement their Doula Training & Certification process! To learn more, visit:  LOVE YOUR BIRTH Online Childbirth Course! It is based on my years of experience, as a midwife and yoga teacher, helping thousands of women tap into their calm and live and birth from a place of grounded relaxation and joy.  It’s wonderful alone, a great refresher or adjunct to any other course! “Forget your childbirth class, and take steps to your most empowering experience. If you are thinking about conception, pregnant, or love someone who is, take it from me that her wisdom is life-changing. Yours in the truth — Kelly Brogan, MD

Photo by Megan Hancock Photography

Let Me Help You Create The Happiest Birth Experience Of Your Life...

Whether you're a first time or experienced momma, planning a VBAC

Or a midwife, doula, or birth professional guiding mommas..

Regardless if you are planning a birth at home, a hospital, a birth center or need a cesarean section, or if you are taking another childbirth education class…

You Really Can Create The Delivery Of Your Dreams.

And have a blissful birth wherever you are.

More Precious Than A Wedding...A Birth Should Be A Celebration!

Let me show you how to…

Understand the sensations of your body and connect your intuition with how your body is communicating and leading you towards what to do during labor

Tap into your inner calm to deeply relax yourself, letting go of busy, stressful and fearful thoughts on demand for the health of baby

Speak your truth from your heart in a way that deepens your relationships, sets clear boundaries, and has people listen to you and support you before, during and after pregnancy

Trust yourself, connect with your body wisdom and communicate with baby in belly

Connect with natural time and sync your body and mind up with your unique biological clock for ease from pregnancy to postpartum

Reprogram negative patterns, stories, and beliefs that undermine your confidence, strength and self trust so you can rock your birth

Physicians and midwives around the world recommend my teachings to their pregnant clients and many Doulas across the country learn the secrets of blissful birthing from me to supplement their Doula Training & Certification process!

To learn more, visit:  LOVE YOUR BIRTH Online Childbirth Course!

It is based on my years of experience, as a midwife and yoga teacher, helping thousands of women tap into their calm and live and birth from a place of grounded relaxation and joy. 

It’s wonderful alone, a great refresher or adjunct to any other course!

“Forget your childbirth class, and take steps to your most empowering experience. If you are thinking about conception, pregnant, or love someone who is, take it from me that her wisdom is life-changing.
Yours in the truth

— Kelly Brogan, MD

Happy Birth On The Farm...Except For The Cat

Dearest Baby James Barry (formerly known as Boop),

You are 22 hours old. You are slumbering next to me on the bed. You are a little miracle and a little marvel. I am relishing this time. Midwife Anne has banished me from stairs, and I am glad.  We spent the day in bed together, you and I, and will do the same tomorrow. What a gift.

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Your arrival was not so different from what I imagined and hoped for. Still it is a miracle! Your big sister Elaine June arrived two weeks after her estimated due date. So I did not expect you to come on yours. Still, one gets antsy. The days rolled by. 

(Part of why I thought this is because I had dreamt you were a girl.  But you are a boy, and we're so very thrilled that you are who you are! Your dad and sister both thought you were a boy all along.) 

Anyway, on Monday night, I got out my cello. We stretched around it together, you huddled in front of course, and I played "Happy Birthday" to give you the idea, and some Bach suites, and "The Swan," then "Happy Birthday" again before I put it away.  

Tuesday went by with more “no baby yet” comments from one and all. On Wednesday night EJ said, “I want Boop to be born on Thursday!” I agreed.

I had assumed that my labor would begin at night, since that's what happened with EJ. Thus, each awakening morning brought disappointment as I realized, yet again, NBY—No Baby Yet. Yet...as I ate my breakfast yesterday morning, I felt a cramp. Just the same kind of cramp I'd felt in early labor 4 years before...

I told Dave, and felt hopeful. But I was well aware that some women have contractions for days before their babe is born. At 7:30 a.m. I realized that your Grandma Sheena was about to leave for work. I called her off, even though I wasn't sure this was the day. She commenced to work from home. The contractions slowed. Dave went to work; I took EJ to school. The pains returned and were somewhat regular, though, every 20 minutes or so. I left a message for Anne, and called Sheena with a disappointing “no news yet” message. Back at the farm I went on a walk, and the contractions slowed down. It was a nice walk up past the pump house and around to the garden where I pulled a few weeds with the crew. I finally saw the log cabin. I returned and called Sheena again with more non-news.

Dave came home early from work. We had an appointment with Anne, set for 1 p.m.  I didn't want to drive there myself so long after the due date, especially with contractions! In fact I hoped we'd soon be birthing at home. But the contractions kept petering out, only to come back after a while, only to slow down again. Nothing seemed certain.

Your dad and I picked EJ up from preschool and she ate a packed lunch by the gazebo on the river. The contractions were back, and fairly regularly so, 10-15 minutes apart. I spoke with Anne and all agreed that we should head home. I looked at my early labor list...made a frittata, moved some stuff around, and wondered when I should call Jean (your Grandma Sheena) to come be with EJ. We didn't want a crowd here waiting for things to get moving, as that would surely slow it all down. But the contractions started to be dependable. We called Jean around 2:45 p.m.  

Grandma Sheena was here by 4 p.m. and took EJ down to the lake. We were timing my contractions, which were coming 7 minutes apart, then 5, then 7. Anne said she'd like to be heading here when they were 4-6 minutes apart, but she could come anytime. Dave and I were torn: we didn't want a house full of folks just waiting too soon...a watched pot doesn't boil! But our friends had just had an accidental unassisted birth since it went so fast!  The contractions got closer together, and Anne was on her way.

Then, of course, the contractions slowed, 6-12 minutes apart. Nancy, Anne's assistant and a wonderful doula, arrived and suggested a long walk. EJ and Sheena came up from the lake, and got ready for yogurt and a bath. I don't know if she ever ate dinner! Anne came, and your dad and I left.  

Up around the farm we walked, through the gardens and the flower area. I had to tell your dad not to pull weeds. We'd stop now and then when I had a contraction, though they did seem further apart. As we descended the hill, there were dark clouds and Dave wanted to hurry. Um, no, I could not hurry! The contractions, though spaced out more, were starting to really hurt. We got home and EJ was excited. I set up a bed on the couch for her and Sheena. EJ wanted my attention and I was trying to give it to her, but the contractions were regular now, and hurting more and more. A movie distracted EJ. I finally realized I needed to settle in upstairs.

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We decided to birth in Elaine June's room. She had agreed to this months ago and we'd spoken of it often. Mizoo cat kept attacking poor Anne, as had been his tradition since the home visit.  She set up all of her instruments on a sterile field which he promptly hopped upon between attacks on her.  Dave finally had to trap him downstairs in the bathroom. Patient Anne and Nancy had tried hard to bear with him, but the bugger was relentless. A couple of days later EJ coined the phrase “attackive” to describe him. (He's not like that with everyone; I don't understand! And by the time you're reading this, James, Mizoo is likely to be a mellow old dude, or remembered as such.  Funny, these felines!)

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The contractions were closer and more painful but I had yet to have the bloody show or broken water or anything that felt productive. I called Dave at last and moved onto my knees in the bedroom. (I had been pacing the hall, and swaying low with the contractions.) Finally I peed and found some bloody mucous. I don't think it was long after that, that I started pushing, and soon enough the water broke. I was glad things were moving on. Nancy kept checking your heartbeat; it was always good and strong. Thank you for reassuring me, sweet James!

Oh, my, I certainly had forgotten the pain! Through each contraction I would remember: breathe low and slow through the pain, stay loose and open, and—the hard one for me—do nothing extra.  It took a long time for me to give in and Do Nothing Extra.  Between each contraction I wanted to give directions on where to find things, what I wanted to drink, that I didn't care if the yoga mat got bloody, etc.  At least, before I finally got myself to shut up, I was able to tell Nancy where to find an empty trash can, as I sensed that I was going to puke. They suggested the green bowl I had there for the placenta.  But it's so dear to me and I didn't want to throw up in it!

Nancy came through, transition came on, I threw up, and at last realized that I had to stop talking and save every ounce of energy to push you out. It was agony for a while. But I pushed with all my might, knowing that I had prolonged EJ's birth by pushing with half-strength for hours. During those most painful contractions I shuddered and moaned, I prayed, and I begged you to please come down, Baby Boop, please come down now. Anne said she enjoyed hearing the horses and sounds of the farm as I labored. I heard nothing, only felt as you slowly descended. All of this time, on my knees, I was squeezing and clawing your dear Dad. He managed to hold my hands, hold a hot water bottle on my back, and massage me all at once, or so it seemed. Anne and Nancy massaged too; it felt so good and eased some of the pain.  

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You were low; it was time to wake EJ. I heard her crying before Sheena brought her in. I couldn't talk. She came in crying for me, wanting to snuggle and hold my hair. After trying to calm her, Sheena took her away. Anne said “you can't force these things” and I knew she was right. All along I had known it might not work to have your sister there. I was sad, but I knew I had to let that go and move on and get you born, dear James!

Breathe, low and slow, through the pain. Stay loose and open. Do nothing extra. James, this time I was so grateful to actually feel relief, even briefly, between the contractions. EJ's birth was back labor and there was pain even between. With you there was brief, blessed rest in those middle moments. At one point I asked for the birth stool. I had the idea that squatting might make you come faster. It was awful, though--I felt so unsteady. I remember crying “I hate this stool!” and everyone scrambling to help me turn back to your father, return to my knees, and keep pushing you, and pulling and pawing your dear dad...

The door opened, and Sheena came in, carrying a quiet Elaine June. Dave opened his arms and she crawled in. I even managed, between pains, to tell her I was so glad she was here. So glad, so grateful! She watched, quietly, with the occasional “I love you Mommy, you can do it Mommy” escaping her thumb-stuffed mouth.  

I knew you were low, James, that you were close. But I also knew it could still be a long time. The pain, though fierce, was now somehow bearable. I shuddered with dread as each contraction came on, but I knew you were coming. Anne held a warm, oiled cloth under me and I pressed into it. Your head was there, with hair. The “ring of fire” stung, but it meant you were so close. I pressed into that warmth, and you came closer each time. But how close? Finally, finally Anne said your head was coming out. Then it was out. Then, with a last surge that took my breath away, you slipped right out behind me. I'm crying even now writing about it, dear baby boy. You came out to tears and joy. I asked “boy or girl?” Anne replied, “I'm not telling!”

I was still on my knees.  Anne passed you in between my legs and I carefully picked up wonderful, slimy you. I thought you were a boy, and checked to be sure. Then I said “it's James Barry Llewellyn!” and held you for your Daddy, sister, and grandma to see. And I held you to me.

Elaine June said “I have a baby brother!”  (She wanted you to be a boy), and/or “just like I wanted”...the truth is I'm not sure. She was thrilled and could not wait to kiss you. (She had been watching birth videos for months and was not alarmed by my screeches nor your sliminess.) Your Daddy said that, when you were born, she gave him “the biggest hug she has ever given anyone”. (That is a big hug, James.) Later, to me, she said, “Mommy, remember when Boop was born, how I gave you so many kisses?!”  

I felt very unsteady and shivery, and wanted to birth the placenta. Anne and Nancy had me lay down and I held you to my chest, baby boy. The placenta came and Anne asked who wanted to cut the cord. I knew your dad didn't. I asked Sheena, and she and Anne asked if EJ wanted to.  She did. Dave asked me, “are you sure?” I said, “she loves scissors!” Anne helped your proud big sister cut the cord. You latched on a little but were really just exploring. We had to get up.

Nancy helped keep me steady for a short shower. As I left, I heard your Daddy say, “he has the beginnings of a beak!”, then he and Sheena discussing your Morrison nose! I went to bed and you were brought to me, dear Baby James. Such a marvel! Such tiny apricot ears and long wrinkly fingers...you were just inside of me, and now here you were!!! Your fingernails were like daggers, we'd have to clip them soon. Your fingers were so dinosaur like—wide at the bottom and pointy at the top, wrinkly and peely. You latched on. Anne stitched me and cleaned me up some more. As she did I held you under a towel. When it was lifted it revealed what Nancy said was the biggest meconium poop she'd ever seen! We laughed briefly about James and The Giant Poop, while Nancy patiently and tirelessly cleaned us both.

Your sister came to bed -- “I want to kiss my baby brother!  I want Boop!” she said. We told her she had to be gentle on the bed. She was. She kissed you, and has been kissing you ever since. We said goodnight to her many, many times. Sheena kept bringing her down with the ploy of a movie. But that didn't hold. After 10 or 20 minutes we'd hear thumpthumpthump “I want my baby brother!” and she'd come up, climb on the bed, and kiss you and pat you and call you Baby Boop, Baby Brother, Baby James, and kiss you some more. That night she gave you her wee stuffed rooster that she had chosen for you before you were born. It's been your companion ever since.

Now you are 8 days old.  

The day after your birth Granny Annie and Aunt Suzanne came to meet you.  We all marveled at your purple, waxy peely feet and hands, your dear little ears, your masculine nose.  “His nose has salt on it!” proclaimed EJ, seeing the little white hormone zits.  I think her favorite Baby James miracle is that even your big toes are little; she mentions it daily.  She calls you Baby Brother, Baby James, Boop,  JamesBarryLlewellyn, JamesyJames, JamesyWamesy, and, most of all, Cute, as a name.  “I'm going to call him Cute, because he's cute.”  “I want to kiss Cute!”  She comforts you when I change your diapers, loves to hold you and kiss you and pat you.  She brings me water when I nurse and a burp cloth when you're done eating.  She is constantly talking about when she's older and what she'll do with you, just you: “When I'm thirteen and a half I can take Cute to Big Truck Day all by myself!”, etc and so on.  When Elaine June is asked about your birth, she tells people three things: she watched movies all night, she saw you born, and she got to cut the cord.  

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Between movies on your birthday night, your dad helped Elaine June and Sheena blow up blue balloons and put them under the frog outside, so everyone coming to the farm on Friday would know you were here.  That first day we just stared and stared at you.  Dave was bemused that, like me, youbarely have any eyebrows—no hint of his uni-brow.  (“You'd think that would be dominant”, said he.)  I kept wondering how you could be so frog-like and yet so furry, all at the same time.  Your frogginess faded in just a few days as you slowly uncurled into our world.  Now you are peeling off the waxy layer left from inside of me, ever expanding.  You are still so sweetly soft and fuzzy; Daddy calls you James the Giant Peach.  Every day you change and grow.

You were born on Thursday night.  Friday EJ slept at Sheena and Poppy's.  Saturday I was nervous about when she'd crawl in bed with us and what would transpire.  But then, and each night since, it's been fine.  I got up to pee that night, and when I came back, I saw three dear souls, all curled in their own way on our bed.  Between you and EJ there was an empty space just for me, the missing piece in our family slumber puzzle.  Such a sweet, blessed gift.

You sleep most of the time, these days.  You've been merciful at night and somehow seem patient even when poopy or hungry.  If a cry can seem polite, yours does.  When you awake, your Daddy and EJ and I look at you and talk to you and marvel and wonderful, captivating you.  You do seem to smile.  You are strong, lifting your head and even pushing up from your belly.  Both Anne and the pediatrician have proclaimed you “perfect”, which of course we knew already.  

We welcome you, we celebrate you, we thank God for you, Baby James, and we love you with all our hearts.  

Sincerely, sincerely yours, dear James...

Your Mom, and also your Dad and sister too.  And Batchy and Mizoo


Photo by Megan Hancock Photography

Photo by Megan Hancock Photography

 

Let Me Help You Create The Happiest Birth Experience Of Your Life...

Whether you're a first time or experienced momma,

Or a midwife, doula, or birth professional guiding mommas..

Regardless if you are planning a birth at home, a hospital, a birth center or need a cesarean section, or if you are taking another childbirth education class…

You Really Can Create The Delivery Of Your Dreams.

And have a blissful birth wherever you are.

More Precious Than A Wedding...A Birth Should Be A Celebration!

Let me show you how to…

  • Understand the sensations of your body and connect your intuition with how your body is communicating and leading you towards what to do during labor
  • Tap into your inner calm to deeply relax yourself, letting go of busy, stressful and fearful thoughts on demand for the health of baby
  • Speak your truth from your heart in a way that deepens your relationships, sets clear boundaries, and has people listen to you and support you before, during and after pregnancy
  • Trust yourself, connect with your body wisdom and communicate with baby in belly
  • Connect with natural time and sync your body and mind up with your unique biological clock for ease from pregnancy to postpartum
  • Reprogram negative patterns, stories, and beliefs that undermine your confidence, strength and self trust so you can rock your birth

Physicians and midwives around the world recommend my teachings to their pregnant clients and many Doulas across the country learn the secrets of blissful birthing from me to supplement their Doula Training & Certification process!

To learn more, visit:  LOVE YOUR BIRTH Online Childbirth Course!

It is based on my years of experience, as a midwife and yoga teacher, helping thousands of women tap into their calm and live and birth from a place of grounded relaxation and joy. 

It’s wonderful alone, a great refresher or adjunct to any other course!

“Forget your childbirth class, and take steps to your most empowering experience. If you are thinking about conception, pregnant, or love someone who is, take it from me that her wisdom is life-changing.
Yours in the truth

— Kelly Brogan, MD

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Let's Talk About Sex...Postpartum; Discussing Sex After Birth

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Let’s Talk About Sex….Postpartum; Discussing Sex After Birth

You’re not the only one to wonder about or struggle through this topic: sex after birth. In this article, let’s be unafraid to get honest, and open up that discussion.

There are so many psychosocial pressures to maintaining a strong and healthy loving relationship these days. One of the most concerning and yet least talked about pressures is reviving your sex life after having given birth.

How extensively will a baby affect our sex life?

Will it ever be again like it was before?

Will it hurt?

Do I have to think about this now???

I have little or no interest in sex and I feel so unattractive and guilty - what to do?

My partner wants to have sex again, but I can't even deal with the whole thing. I just need a hug. Is this normal? How to get in the mood?? 

Not only is sex after birth not often discussed, especially on a mental/emotional and relational level, but the so-called “fourth trimester” is practically completely forgotten in many parts of the modern world.

Let’s begin to shed some light on an important topic in an open manner, shall we?

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Where to Begin?

Many studies have been conducted on sex after birth. But, there were always two factors that limited our social perception and perhaps our understanding of how to effectively prepare couples for intimacy after pregnancy.

Namely, studies were always done on a biological level, and they were always focused on the mother who’d just given birth—almost always never the partner.

In a recent study done at the University of Michigan, they focused primarily on sexual desire in the partner after their child was born.

They discovered that a good portion of a woman’s sexual and sensual desires, after giving birth, were mainly dependent on her partner’s own perception of her at the time. This is just one study, and studies have flaws: but what seems more true in my experience and research, is that a woman's sexual desires are more dependent on her. This is empowering!

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Suffice to say, this is indeed an extremely self-conscious time for the new momma.

We’ve also discovered that this could be an equally insecure time for the partner as well. Many partners felt excluded from the family due to the new and acute bond between mother and baby.

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It’s evident that communication is so crucial at this stage between partners. If both partners knew how vulnerable they each were, the pressure to “perform” or “satisfy the other’s desires” would probably greatly diminish. And what you can learn, is that if a woman knows her desires and her desires are satisfied, her cup is full and she will naturally want to please her partner...or not. If a woman is turned off and unsatisfied, you can forget about her interest in desiring to serve her partner. But no one really talks about it.

This lack of communication isn’t only within the couple itself but throughout society and even between client/patient and midwife or doctor.

“Sexual problems are common among new parents, but discussing them with doctors or close friends is not.” (“Sex and Intimacy,” New York Times.)

 

Are There Any Practical Steps?

While there’s no one trick to get your sex life rocking and rolling again, much like the first time (fortunately or unfortunately!), you’ll both have to rediscover yourselves and find your own groove.

But again, here is the big and empowering news. A crucial ingredient to a wonderful life that includes awesome sex, is largely dependent on the woman. Reclaim and own your feminine power, which defies logic. As a woman, it helps to dig deep to know what your desires are and what turns you on - using all of your senses, so that you can create what you want, stay in your pleasure, be turned on and communicate your requests to your partner.  Partners tend to really want to please, and do not always know how or what their love is thinking. There’s probably nothing easy or nonchalant about finding your desire again either, but know that it takes time and that it is doable.

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Regina Thomashauer has been advocating for women and studying the discipline of female pleasure for years - in all aspects of life, “so as a woman, you can actually design a life that will allow you to experience pleasure any time you wish, ongoingly.  Pleasure is deliberate, not casual. She requires planning, she does not happen by default.”

In her latest NY times best selling, provocative but life-changing book, Pussy: A Reclamation, “you’ll discover what no one taught you about the source of your feminine power and how to use it. It’s no secret that women today are still undervalued at home, at work, and in a relationship. Too many of us are at war with our bodies and disconnected from our truth.

See, we live in a culture that teaches us to turn off. To play small. To take care of everyone else first. To keep a lid on our dreams and a cork on our truth.

This book is written to reacquaint a woman with her own power source—which is the part of herself she has been taught to ignore, push down, and despise...

It’s a call for her to tune in, turn on, and not drop out—but live more richly, fully, and lusciously than she ever thought she could.”

Here’s what else you’ll learn - how to know and speak your truth, how to radically accept, love and celebrate everything that is you and feel the rewards of this life-changing practice, how to move from depletion, obligation, overwork and resentment into embracing what life brings your way and all of what you feel, how to cultivate an attitude of immense gratitude, how to healthfully process your emotions, how to listen to and trust your sacred inner wisdom, creating sisterhood, and passionately creating and loving your life. This will ultimately rock your sex life, but you will also learn practices on how to further enhance it. I am convinced this book is a must-read for all women.

Some other must have sexual resources

Women’s Anatomy of Anatomy of Arousal by Sheri Winston CNM

The New Art of Sexual Ecstasy: Following the Path of Sacred Sexuality by Margo

Anand

Pure Sex: The Intimate Guide to Sexual Fulfillment by Anne Cooper

 

But Let’s Talk Basics First: When and How to Resume Sex After Birth

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For most new mommas, sex after birth can be as daunting as the very first time. While much of social convention will have you thinking that partners are more than ready to jump right back into bed, this is most often not exactly the case. And they can be exhausted too, doing what they can to help, keeping up with work, also getting broken and less sleep, while adjusting to being a dad of this new baby.

At this stage in your relationship, open and honest, kind and sensitive "nonviolent" communication are the key.

On a practical level, most practitioners recommend waiting between 4 to 6 weeks before trying intercourse again in order to give the new mother time to heal - at least until the bleeding stops and any tearing has healed. But, we are finding more and more that this recommendation is based mostly on physical readiness. Many women after giving birth, report not being ready for sexual intercourse for much longer.

What about your psychological readiness? How do you work through the possibly daunting task of beginning sex again after birth, when you may feel some or all of the following: your breasts are full, tender and leaking milk, baby is nursing every few hours, you feel overtired and are not getting the sleep or help you need, you feel dry and still sore vaginally, you feel fat and less attractive than you used to, you are preoccupied with caring for your new baby and balancing all of your other responsibilities, you are afraid to get pregnant again, you can barely find the time to eat, you are feeling emotional and overwhelmed, you just need hugs and cuddling, have very little, if any interest in sex, but feel guilty and pressured to do it for your partner when you really don’t want to, and you are just madly in love...with your baby.

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A great way to begin is knowing that what you’re feeling is totally normal and very common.

Not only is it normal for your libido to be low during this time after birth but many women have expressed how intimidating it is to have the sex conversation at the six-week mark. They don’t even want to think about sex for another 6 months, sometimes even longer.

And, there are many reasons for not feeling ready or downright apprehensive.

The key is to listen to and honor your feelings, talk your feelings through with your partner and get to know what your partner’s feelings are as well. You might be relieved at what your partner reveals. But do not have sex if you are feeling pressured into in it, out of guilt or obligation, if you really do not want to. That is not intimacy; it is actually is non consensual sex, which can lead to an unhealthy sexual relationship, or worse if it becomes ongoing - deep psychic pain and sexual trauma.

Dealing with Discomforts After Birth

Social perception tends to emphasize birth as the predominant and climactic purpose of pregnancy. But, in uncovering this forgotten “fourth trimester,” we’ll find that the numerous discomforts, huge lifestyle adjustments a new momma has to make after giving birth can be just as strenuous if not more so than labor and birth. Even though this is part of life, we have been birthing and mothering since the beginning of time, we had a village, a community of support; but today many women are alone. That is why I urge preparing for postpartum support during pregnancy and provide extensive planning guidance in my Love Your Birth online course, as I do with the mommas in my practice.

Here are just a couple of examples of predominant issues to deal with after birth - not to make you fear them but to know what is normal, to prepare and find support for them. While these may be fairly obvious, I’ve paired them with some of the worries and concerns a partner might be feeling and not telling you.

Hopefully, this opens the door to more real and meaningful conversations that deepen your connection.

*Related articles: How Can Prenatal Yoga Help in Birth, Postpartum, and Beyond?

Welcome To The Club

Tearing/Lacerations

There are ways to prevent you from tearing when the baby emerges at birth; many women do not tear, or tear a little but do not need stitches. But sometimes, despite all you and your attendants efforts, tearing occurs and needs to be repaired with stitches under a local anesthetic. Tearing, of course, requires the proper time to recover. So take it slow and cultivate patience and trust. The body has an incredible capacity to heal.

It’s important to note that episiotomy is another aspect of more severe tearing that has recently been deemed no longer necessary; it is actually one of the most harmful unnecessary routine procedures that had become so widespread, and remains despite the evidence that does not support its use in normal childbirth. Now, it’s been found to actually cause more damage than any natural tearing would. It can, however, be necessary in rare emergencies in which the baby needs to be delivered right away. 

Many women who had tearing and stitches fear sex will worsen the tear or open the stitches after they are healed, which you can rest assured, this does not happen. Many women feel lingering discomfort and dryness, which some organic natural lubricant can relieve. Explore the various natural scented and unscented sensual massage oils and see which one is your favorite. Partners also may feel uneasy or nervous about penetration for these reasons. You might be thinking that the sex in your relationship will not be the “same” for a long time. But in time, if you do the work to cultivate and grow personally, and deepen your intimate connection and sexual relationship...it will get better and better. The possibilities are endless.

Don’t be afraid to try something new, and have fun with it.

Invite the ambiance that is important to you - the scented candle or massage oil, the music, the feel of your lingerie or sheets, the lighting, anything in the environment that sets the mood. Experiment with doing something you enjoy together, watching comedy, games and role playing, slowly and sensually feeding each other strawberries or dark chocolate, reading erotica or romantic poetry together, looking into each other’s eyes, placing your hands on each other's heart, caressing in a variety of ways. Expand the focus of intimacy way beyond sexual intercourse.

'Foreplay' is a huge part of arousal for a woman, but I am not crazy about the word.  It implies less important activities that have value only in that they lead to sexual intercourse, but do not really count as sex. It makes the end goal of the man's happy ending the main focus, when in actuality, these 'foreplay' activities enhance pleasure by themselves, build stronger intimacy, and are all part of the sexual experience - not separate from it. In addition, over half of all women do not reach orgasm from sexual intercourse alone; more women have an orgasm through oral and manual stimulation of their clitoris. The clitoris has 8000 nerve endings designed only for a woman's pleasure and ecstasy, so it is really essential for the both of you to get to know her. A woman's sexual pleasure is just as important as a man's. So bring on the whispered loving words, the soft touching, massaging, caressing, licking, kissing and hugging - it is not only such fun for both of you, it also will ease reintroducing sexual pleasure into your relationship and strengthen your connection.

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“One study found manual genital stimulation to be a form of sexual activity considered most exciting and most pleasant by both genders postpartum,” (Sexuality and Breastfeeding: What Do You Know?, pg. 221). A woman's clitoris has 8000 nerve endings designed only for a woman's pleasure and natural ecstasy, so it is really essential for the both of you to get to know her.  It is very sensitive and honest, and takes its patient feminine time. It knows what it likes and what it does not like. It tends to like to be touched softly or stroked gently, especially around the left upper quadrant. Sensations can move. Experiment with your clitoris. Learn what feels real good, so you can help your partner touch you in ways that are deeply pleasurable. Don’t expect your partner to read your mind. Gratitude and communication in loving honesty are key, as is a playful sense of humor!

Breastfeeding

While breastfeeding is a very intimate and tender part of motherhood, it does cause hormonal changes which also contribute to vaginal dryness. Using one of the lubricants mentioned above will make all the difference. This is more commonly talked about in the literature and with your midwife or doctor.

What is less discussed are the feelings of jealousy and exclusion that the mother/baby dyad might create in the partner. While this may not be a concern readily brought up by your partner, it does create an opportunity to validate and embrace your partner's feelings as well as your own, discuss the importance of more partner/baby time, and quality time alone with just you and your partner.

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A partner can feel quite out of the loop especially if they don’t have much or any parental leave at this time. So, how can they feel more involved and nurture their own special relationship with the baby?

Having this discussion with your partner can create a more unified and open relationship, making it easier for each partner to feel vulnerable with the other and so facilitate maybe not a resumption of your sexual relationship itself but at least the conversation. Also, as soon as you are able and feeling ready, ask a family member or hire a trusted babysitter, so you and your partner can go out - I would say aim high, once a week, even if only for a few hours, leaving behind a supply of pumped breast milk. Do something you love and make it simple - especially in the beginning. It might be just to have a quiet cup of tea, eating at a lovely restaurant, going on a walk, playing a game at a coffee shop or in the park. With time, you can expand into going to a concert, sports game or show, doing a meditation or taking a tango class together.  Imagination has no limits. You can play with taking turns planning and surprising each other with fun activities.

Contraception - Fear of Getting Pregnant Again, Before Feeling Ready or Wanting To Be

Full time exclusive breastfeeding has been relied upon since the beginning of time to space children - at least for the first 6 months, as it causes a rise in hormones that suppresses ovulation. While there is no guarantee and much variability here, there are things you can do to enhance its reliability in preventing pregnancy. It is called the Lactation Amenorrhea Method - and it is as effective as the birth control pill. But I have women in my practice that are nursing a toddler a few times a day and have not yet returned to their menstrual cycling, and women who get their periods back within 6-8 weeks after birth - despite exclusively and frequently breastfeeding on demand, keeping baby close, and not using pacifiers or bottles. It happened to me with all four of my kids. We did our best.  Dr. Sears explains why.

Once the first period comes, breastfeeding is not a reliable form of contraception; and those who get pregnant unexpectedly in the early months postpartum, doing all they can to exclusively nurse, get pregnant because ovulation occurs BEFORE the first period - they were not aware they resumed fertility. The World Health Organization actually recommends waiting 24 months after birth before getting pregnant again, to have the most optimally healthy outcome for you and baby. If you are sure you are not ready for another pregnancy, it is important to understand your fertility signs, to look into and discuss options for contraception with your midwife or doctor - there are several effective ways to prevent pregnancy safe for breastfeeding, naturally or not. You will feel better and more relaxed about resuming sexual intercourse knowing you have a good contraceptive plan that works for you.

How to Reclaim Your Sensual/Sexual Self After Birth

Sexuality is a part of Self that cannot be ignored or glossed over, and, just over the last 9 months, you, as a new momma, have become more of an expert on using the senses. All of them. You might have noticed a heightened sense of smell, taste, hearing, seeing and feeling. 

But postpartum, you’re probably all “touched-out” as we’d say—your baby has been growing and developing inside you. You gave birth to your baby, which took a HUGE amount of your energy and strength, is a HUGE transformational event in your life and an incredible accomplishment! Now that he or she is here, baby constantly needs you from a physical standpoint as well as a nurturing one. Your breasts are being nursed frequently.

Your greatest desire right now is probably a shower, take a nap, eat delicious meal that someone else prepared, and for no one to even touch you!

That being said, how do you nurture yourself without feeling like you’re neglecting your sexual self and your partner, and equally somehow betraying your newfound momma-hood?

How do you and your partner become intimate once again after a long while of focusing on the baby?

This is a great time to get to know yourself and your partner again. As I said, honest nonviolent communication is focal and crucial at every level of any kind of relationship, more so now than ever. Your relationship will probably never be the same. But, that doesn’t mean your intimacy can’t be as great as it was before...or much deeper and closer.

It really can be better!

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The conversation might not be easy. But, this is an opportunity for you both to see who you are now that you’ve crossed over to this new phase of life.

Don’t be afraid to take things slow and do things in a new way. Read and discuss together the books I mentioned above - start in pregnancy if you can, but if you already gave birth, start now - even a few pages a day.

You’ve probably only had a few hours of broken sleep; your baby could wake up at any minute for nursing; you feel fat, nothing fits, and you didn’t have time to take a shower or put on any makeup.

Embrace the postpartum, beautiful self in all of its empowering, draining, frustrating, and glorious moments. Give yourself lots of self-care. A human being just came out of you--cut yourself some slack!

In fact, I hope you’ve tuned into the empowering sense of motherhood and what it means to be a woman.

This is why I really recommend reading Mama Gena’s book, Pussy: A Reclamation. Please don’t be deterred by the title. This is a great work of writing encouraging women to be turned on to their life and their pleasure.

To give you an idea of the book’s content, I want to share with you Mama Gena’s thoughts which she shares in an interview with Dr. Kelly Brogan. Here, Mama Gena is speaking about what her work is all about:

“[when] a woman begins to plug into what it means to have the privilege of 8000 nerve endings dedicated to pleasure, what it means to have her emotional truth embodied and considered important and righteous, and not try to be “sugar and spice, and everything nice” but to actually feel free to express the full range of her passion, her grief, her rage, her devastation, her joy.”

Related article: The Strength of a Woman
 

Sex, despite being a big social topic, is the least talked about in an honest, caring, compassionate, and vulnerable way--sex after birth even less so.

The best way to figure out how to go about getting back into the mood is through talking openly with yourself and your partner, nurturing your relationship with yourself and your partner, and making sure you are living a turned on life that you love - not simply turned on sexually, but turned on and excited about all aspects of living. Safeguard your own self care and joy, and consider them as important as eating and drinking healthfully. A happy fulfilled mama takes everyone higher, including her family and relationships.  

The “when” is entirely up to the both of you and shouldn’t be before you’re ready.

Always take the time to learn about and nurture every part of the Self--you’ll be giving your partner as well as yourself the best of you.


Do you have more questions about sensitive topics and are looking for honest answers and personalized support? Schedule a conversation with me. To connect more in general, get helpful tips, exciting news and promotions I do not share anywhere else, sign up for my free monthly newsletter called Ask the Midwife.

Let Me Help You Create The Happiest Birth Experience Of Your Life and Best Prepare for a Most Supported Postpartum...

Whether you're a first time or experienced momma, planning a VBAC

Or a midwife, doula, or birth professional guiding mommas..

Regardless if you are intending to birth at home, a hospital, a birth center or need a cesarean section, or if you are taking another childbirth education class…

You Really Can Create The Delivery Of Your Dreams, ROCK your VBAC

And have a blissful birth wherever you are.

More Precious Than A Wedding...A Birth Should Be A Celebration!

Let me show you how to…

  • Understand the sensations of your body and connect your intuition with how your body is communicating and leading you towards what to do during labor
  • Tap into your inner calm to deeply relax yourself,letting go of busy, stressful and fearful thoughts on demand for the health of baby
  • Speak your truth from your heart in a way that deepens your relationships, sets clear boundaries, and has people listen to you and support you before, during and after pregnancy
  • Trust yourself, connect with your body wisdom and communicate with baby in your belly
  • Connect with natural time and sync your body and mind up with your unique biological clock for ease from pregnancy to postpartum
  • Reprogram negative patterns, stories, and beliefs that undermine your confidence, strength and self trust so you can rock your birth
  • Learn exactly what postpartum is, how long it lasts, and how long it takes to feel back to yourself

  • How to prepare during pregnancy for adjusting to caring for a newborn, breastfeeding, healing and recovery (many modern day women are stunned today about all that is involved!)

  • Learn priorities during this time for what is needed, how and what to delegate to ensure everything that can be, is taken care of by others and off your plate

  • How to transition from 'doing' and accomplishing your-to-do list, to 'being,' and living in tune with your and your baby’s needs

  • Essential nutrition, hydration and whole food/herbal supplements for postpartum

  • Self-identify signs of postpartum depression, anxiety and psychiatric illness vs normal emotional changes so you can get help early for postpartum depression or anxiety

  • Receive comprehensive head to toe training on what to expect physically and emotionally, and the reasons why, with some suggestions/natural remedies for common issues such as:

    • Lack of sleep and exhaustion

    • Breast changes
    • Nipple soreness
    • Colostrum to breastmilk
    • Bleeding patterns
    • Cramping
    • Perineal soreness and stitches
    • Constipation and hemorrhoids
    • Return to pre pregnant weight
    • Return to cycle and fertility  
    • Return to sex
    • Relationship changes
    • Sibling adjustment 
    • Body image: how to love your postpartum body

Physicians and midwives around the world recommend my teachings to their pregnant clients and many Doulas across the country learn the secrets of blissful birthing from me to supplement their Doula Training & Certification process!

To learn more, visit:  LOVE YOUR BIRTH Online Childbirth Course!

It is based on my years of experience, as a midwife and yoga teacher, helping thousands of women tap into their calm and live and birth from a place of grounded relaxation and joy. 

Image by Megan Hancock Photography

Image by Megan Hancock Photography

 

Image by Megan Hancock Photography

 




 

 

 

Birth Story - Sacred, Sensual, & Laughing Baby Out

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My second son Ojiah was born... During the pregnancy I needed guidance accepting the change that this was bringing to my life. From conception, Ojiah has been asking for my evolution as a person, spiritually and actively. While researching ecstatic and orgasmic birth, I found Suni Krall's book Sacred Birthing. My first birth was amazing and I needed to know I could have another wonderful birth (that I hadn't used up my great birth reserves, so to speak) This book, most of all, helped me with affirmations, visualizations, and meditations. I practiced mindful meditation, stating my intentions towards a healthy baby and a spiritually high, painless birth. 

The early evening of Dec 12th, I was feeling restless and hungry. I had been having pre-labor sensations for a couple of weeks and felt ripe and ready. Jack and I put our son Sedge to bed, then made love. Labor came on instantly--what a pleasant surprise! I had dribbling of water from my yoni and nice strong contractions. We both laid down in bed and tried to get some rest.

Jack's body was propped up on some pillows and I was lying on his chest; he was so solid, strong, and warm.

I focused on my breathing and closed my eyes. The waves of sensation with each rush manifested in my breathing rate and I was both concentrating on and allowing relaxation through the surges of intensity. As the waves started to come on stronger andmore often, I felt the need to get up. I also needed to empty my bowels. The rushes became stronger and this seemed to be happening quickly. I began to moan and groan to release any pain. I sought out the most comfortable positions which was kneeling on the floor, knees splayed, my upper body propped up on the couch, a stool or a birthing ball. 

Timing of when to call the midwife is tricky when you become so immersed in the present, but Jack was making me aware of the obvious--things were progressing--it was time to call Anne. When she and her assistant Nancy arrived, they were so gentle and respectful. Any concerns about having toentertain or having my energy pulled away from myself quickly diminished. They were immediately present and 'holding the space'. Jack's touch was amazing, connected, and strong. To complement that, Nancy's touch was soft, warm, and reassuring. Making noises during rushes really moved them through me. At one point, I remember feeling a gentle sadness washing over me and I announced it was going to manifest itself as a cry. Jack was so supportive as he sat with me and Nancy respectfully paused in the process of checking my temperature. Everyone present allowed this feeling to express. It was very calm and fleeting, and felt almost like singing. It was a gentle weeping, like a breeze through a willow, and it was over, no specific thoughts were involved--just total feeling. 

As things began to get more intense, Anne wisely suggested a shower, which was revitalizing. As the close of the birth was approaching, I began to fear that our two year old son, Sedge, would wake up and be needy when the baby needed us most. We had originally planned to call someone to be with him. Though this didn't feel right in the moment, I feared having the flow broken if Sedge became scared and needed something I just couldn't give. Jack kept talking me through this, reassuring me that it was ALL OK. Walking, squatting, bending, moaning were all part of the progression, and the pressure began to feel heavier. I felt the need to push. Anne checked me and said I was not ready--I needed to open more. Certain visualizations came into my being at this time: the opening of flowers and an affirmation from Sacred Birthing -- "I wish to envision my birth as an ultimate high". I also remembered from Spiritual Midwifery about connecting in with your man. We had smooched plenty earlier and I know this had helped me. I turned toward Jack and looked into his eyes and acknowledged and held that connection I felt. It was deep and loving and freeing and joyous, and out bubbled a laugh; it felt GREAT..... "ah hah!" I allowed the laughs to keep on coming and thought about the words "I wish to envision my birth as an ultimate high," and I was getting high! I don't remember any pain at that time. I was completely lifted above it all... it felt REALLY good. Laughing transcended me. I'm not sure how long this went on. There's no linear grasp on time, but I know that it was a prevalent gift in my birthing experience.  

Sedge began waking up then, and Jack went into the bedroom to be with him and talk about what was going on with mama. I clearly remember the 'last laugh'. It started to arise naturally and then was caught in my throat by a strong rush. I knew it was time for inward quiet. Transition. I sat on my birthing ball and felt deep calm. I was fully opened. I felt Ojiah moving lower and lower with the next contractions and deeper grunts came out of me. All I wanted to do was walk around and squat on the rush. Sedge and Jack came out of the bedroom. Sedge gave me a hug, then he and Jack sat on the couch, while I sat on the birthing stool facing them and resting my upper body on Jack's lap, hugging him whenever the intensity of feeling came on. Sedge was not just there, he was completely supportive. At one point this pure, wise little being rested his hand on my arm. A gesture that was fully present and not at all needy. He was aware of the magic and sacredness of the space and moment.

Anne and Nancy had me on a birthing stool that was the perfect height to really get a squat. During the pushing I alternated between sitting on it and getting up onto it to get a deeper squat. Anne made lovely suggestions during this time to walk, go under the shower, and listen to music. I didn't think I was grounded enough to choose or enjoy music, but I trusted Anne and agreed to it. She took out her CD of women birthing songs from around the world. I pushed and called out with a will of strength so primal and raw.  I was actually tuned in and encouraged by the tribal music. It was ancestral. My beautiful baby boy was born. He was so gentle and peaceful and welcome.

Bringing me back to that moment swells my heart to a great capacity. It is a beautiful and awesome initiation into the countless moments of the real and perfect harmonies of parenting. Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to share my story.

Shannon

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Let Me Help You Create The Happiest Birth Experience Of Your Life...

Whether you're a first time or experienced momma,

Or a midwife, doula, or birth professional guiding mommas..

Regardless if you are planning a birth at home, a hospital, a birth center or need a cesarean section, or if you are taking another childbirth education class…

You Really Can Create The Delivery Of Your Dreams.

And have a blissful birth wherever you are.

More Precious Than A Wedding...A Birth Should Be A Celebration!

Let me show you how to…

  • Understand the sensations of your body and connect your intuition with how your body is communicating and leading you towards what to do during labor
  • Tap into your inner calm to deeply relax yourself, letting go of busy, stressful and fearful thoughts on demand for the health of baby
  • Speak your truth from your heart in a way that deepens your relationships, sets clear boundaries, and has people listen to you and support you before, during and after pregnancy
  • Trust yourself, connect with your body wisdom and communicate with baby in belly
  • Connect with natural time and sync your body and mind up with your unique biological clock for ease from pregnancy to postpartum
  • Reprogram negative patterns, stories, and beliefs that undermine your confidence, strength and self trust so you can rock your birth

Physicians and midwives around the world recommend my teachings to their pregnant clients and many Doulas across the country learn the secrets of blissful birthing from me to supplement their Doula Training & Certification process!

To learn more, visit:  LOVE YOUR BIRTH Online Childbirth Course!

It is based on my years of experience, as a midwife and yoga teacher, helping thousands of women tap into their calm and live and birth from a place of grounded relaxation and joy. 

It’s wonderful alone, a great refresher or adjunct to any other course!

“Forget your childbirth class, and take steps to your most empowering experience. If you are thinking about conception, pregnant, or love someone who is, take it from me that her wisdom is life-changing.
Yours in the truth

— Kelly Brogan, MD

Photo by Megan Hancock Photography

Photo by Megan Hancock Photography