My due day. In a secluded area surrounded by nature and all things good this was a day I looked forward to for the last 40 weeks. Coming a long way from living on a sailboat to now adjusting to life on an RV, our second “tiny” home. Being able to travel with everything we need in tow, it’s so easy to pick up and go anywhere on land.
Traveling my entire pregnancy, now nearing the finish line on land arriving to the small town of Los Alamos where my husband was born. It was possible even though we planned to have our baby in this town I could still have the baby anywhere at this point. Camped in a national park called Bandalier on the out skirts of Los Alamos this is where my husband planed for a romantic time, just for us. Our doula on call ready to respond and even deliver a baby if needed! We were at peace in this secluded area. When we arrived to the campground the host noticed a belly that was hard to miss. When she asked when I was due, my husband told her today was the special day. They were thrilled to hear I could go into labor anytime. If it did happen she mentioned we had our own private escort that would usher us and get us there safe in the RV. The cars had lights on top she mentioned. And she would make sure the guy on duty would put them on and be ready for us. I think she was more excited than us at this point 😉
The day came and went. Our time here was memorable but with no glory ride to the hospital, I was still pregnant. Free of any worries I still had two weeks to have a natural birth before the time came where medications would have to be considered to initiate labor. With the goal for a birth free of medications I prepared myself to ride it out and enjoy all the last moments I had with my baby in my belly.
It was now Fourth of July weekend. Family coming into town from Arizona we welcomed them with open arms and a very pregnant belly. Looking forward to a weekend of fun that night we ate plenty of food and had a chance to catch up on all the good things. Also, that same night as I went to tell my mother good night, I quietly told her I was having a couple of contractions! We looked deep into each other’s eyes and she gave me the biggest smile. Without words, no doubt we were both thinking the same thing. How cool would it be if I had the baby while they were here for this short time?!? What perfect timing? As I kissed her goodnight we hugged each other and smiled….
During my nine months not knowing anything about labor or birth we simply immersed ourselves in nature. I went swimming as much as I could. Focusing on all things natural we hiked tons. And every chance I got, I talked with other moms first hand. What I found most helpful was hearing the voice of our elders like my grandmother (she had 12 kids with no pain meds!!). Hearing about the threshold I needed to pass, the natural pain reliever that was to come, and all the good in having a natural birth that was so reassuring to hear. A wisdom of generations before my time. A knowledge that had so much experience. Also, elders have a way of not sugar coated anything and I love them for that, this was real pain, no joke. Yet, I still did not have a clear picture of the pain, or really what was to come…
The past two weeks I have been dilated about 2 centimeters. Contractions were few and far in between. Having a mid-wife that was super supportive and positive, an awesome doula on call, and an OB doctor as a back-up, there was no doubt I was in good hands. Being about 20 minutes away from the hospital, RV parked on family property, NOW surrounded by all our close family. Prepared and having the best support, I felt more than comfortable that a natural birth was in my future. The plan was to do most of my labor in the RV. Being a person with a high pain tolerance, I wanted to test the natural mystic of the body but most of all I wanted the most pure entrance into this world for my baby. Giving him the best possible start…. I admit there was a point where I looked at my belly and was like can I really do this naturally? How is this baby coming out of me? And to be honest with fear and anxiety on the back burner, as each day passed I became more and more curious what the pain was going to feel like. After all these months I will finally be able to experience it and tell the story to others, explain it with detail when most could not explain to me… at least I hoped?
That night I said goodnight to my mother and slept with a feeling of pure peace. I woke up around 4am with contractions. Since I have been dilated 2 centimeters the past two weeks I thought I was somewhat familiar with the feeling of contractions. This time they felt different, more powerful. There was a part of me thinking this could be it, but then another part saying nah! I didn’t wake up my husband still partially in denial. So to pass time I did a little yoga quietly in our “living room area” of the RV and hoped the contractions kept coming. 6am rolled by and they were coming like waves. One by one, a feeling like a rolling deep pressure that took over my whole mid-section. Totally different than the contractions I have been feeling the past two weeks. Anticipating the next contraction with excitement as if I was surfing ready to catch the big wave I began to get familiar with the feeling and embraced it. Not to get too excited, I focused on becoming calm. When it came time to tell my husband I was now pretty confident that I was in active labor. I calmly woke him up and whispered I his ear “It’s time”. Only to have him quickly get out of bed (which I never seen him do in my life!). Then his eyes got bigger and bigger as his brain registered what was happening. Never doubting me I could tell he was trying so hard to keep his cool but inside I know he was nervous. He called our doula right away, then our mid-wife. We knowingly were aware that weekend our mid-wife was going to be out of town but she was still was available on her cell. Once Nicole our mid-wife received our text she quickly notified the back-up doctor and hospital.
Smooth sailing thus far, we packed up the RV and decided it was time to go to the hospital…. parking lot. Being on family property RV parked very close to the house that held all our loved ones sleeping, we tried our best to sneak out and not to wake them. We were doing so well until my husband accidentally set off the Jeep alarm I swear our whole family was going to come out of the house, but nothing? Not a peep. We left as the sun began to make its appearance. The morning drive in the RV was magical. I swear all of nature was putting on a show just for us that morning. The mist in the air, the colors as the sun gently made art an art piece out of everything that was in our path. At that point I could easily cry from the beauty. The pain, totally subsided as I began to realize the life journey we are on at this moment. The plan to do most of the laboring in the RV was actually happening and it was glorious. The drive through the mountains to get to the hospital was one I will never forget. As we entered the abandoned parking lot that Fourth of July weekend, we had tons of choices to park our home. The captain chose a great spot and we set up camp. As if it was all a timed production our doula showed up at the perfect time with a bright smile. Her calm voice and presence was just what we needed. Our plan went easy breezy. We have our crew, our home is docked in a safe harbor, now it would be simple for us to just walk up to the hospital when it came time.
Laboring in the RV was like the coolest thing ever. I was super comfortable, we had everything we needed, our dog was there for support, and it was peaceful. Here is when I began my journey into a deep mediation. Also known as Hypnobirthing. On the television screen playing was a picture slide show of flowers my husband had taken throughout our journey across the United States. Traveling the whole duration of my pregnancy it was a nice flashback of how far we have come. Taking me to a good place, peaceful memories and relaxing vibes filled the RV. As I laid on the couch our dog Beau was very calm letting me pet him as I moaned during the contractions. I had always wondered how he would react. His animal instinct, I believed he knew what was going on. Helping me remain calm was just what I needed. As the contractions got closer and the hours flew by we decided it was time to walk up to the hospital.
For me is was not as important where I gave birth but how I gave birth. In my hypnotic state of labor I barley remember walking into the hospital. Karen our doula asked if I was up for taking the stairs. I thought sure? At this point I felt like a ninja warrior. She mentioned it could help speed up the labor process, I went for it. Taking the stairs up like a pro skipping steps taking two at a time I was flying though the obstacle course huffing and puffing my way up. Reaching our destination, happily getting the penthouse room we checked in as husband and wife and it was so sweet to think we would be exiting the same room as a family.
Our doula right away made things comfortable. Knowing this was the most important part she stayed quiet and calm which only kept me in my realm of peace. Honestly, a lot of things were not clear and are starting to fade with time but the one thing that I will never forget is my husband’s…. breath. Rocking garlic galore he was a person I wanted so close to me yet at the same time so far away. I didn’t know right before we left the RV he stuffed his face with garlic bread!…. If there is any piece of advice I could give as far as the labor process goes is to make sure your husband does not under-any -circumstances eat anything that will make his breath a living nightmare for the next few days. I swear this was the hardest part and that no matter how hard I try to forget, sadly I remember this part vividly.
By the afternoon our family realized we were gone and rushed over to the hospital. The group of about ten people got passed the nurses and were all waiting right outside the room. So funny and so awesome of them. In the labor room, hours went by like days at first. I moaned through the contractions freely not knowing family was on the other side of the door. At that point I was really going through the contractions full force, at full vocal exasperation. As I moaned on the other side of the wall my husband reassured them not to worry. They reluctantly went home and promised to return once I had him, for now this was a journey we had to accomplish ourselves * I love them for coming and trying to help. We continued on our labor journey just us and our doula. Nurses came in and out but for the most part left us alone keeping things quiet. I continued to chant and continued to do my stretches, yoga was my comfort. I probably seemed crazy at the time but no one made me feel like what I was doing was out of the norm, so I continued on…..and on….
Nighttime and a New Moon was upon us, at this point we were in full Zen mode. Energy was full flowing, my doula was doing a swaying dance with me moving the energy towards me. As the contractions got stronger I went into a deeper meditation. Keeping my eyes closed going deeper into my pain free peaceful space. Honestly, I never really went into a deep meditation before, I did a few minutes of relaxing meditation here and there but never used it for pain, never diving in deep. Admittedly I watched a YouTube video a couple weeks before and practiced a few times. What helped was knowing what my peaceful place was and going there. Counting down, focusing on zoning all the noises out around me, and letting go. Having no worries, this was a natural process. I relaxed as much as I could. My eyes stayed closed the rest of the night. For some reason I kept my arms up and constantly swaying. Being a person that loves the ocean and sailing this was my peaceful place. The rest of the night I was sailing in the middle of the ocean. I went back to some our best sailing moments and relived it all over again. The clear waters, the bright sun on my face, the smell of the ocean, the serenity of it all was heaven. When the pain started to creep through I then started to think of more complex visualizations. The thought of actually sailing, the direction of the wind, how the sails were set – how to trim them the best to get the most of the wind, thinking of this took my state of mind to a whole different level. I was in a deep relaxation mode. Pain free, happy, Zenified.
Then all of a sudden I was transported back into the real world. I opened my eyes to nurses and the doctor telling me it was time to push. The room was dark and the few lights that were on, pointed straight at my lower half. I instantly felt the pain, and a rush of adrenaline kicked in. Contractions right on top of each other. Going without pain medication is not for everyone but I pushed through like I was sailing through a storm. I closed my eyes and went back into meditation mode…
Exhausted, and surprisingly hungry I kept moving forward on this journey. Even thought I was still in a meditative state I could hear the nurses faintly in the background. They told me to push in sets of threes, then take a break. Dont over exhaust yourself they said. But and this point I had an energy I have never felt before. This was my second wind and I was going to use it. So instead I started to push deeply in sets of four and five. Pushing like no other. The doctor was even impressed at this point! Then I felt “the ring of fire”. I knew then my baby was close to entering this world. And I was alert. Once I felt that burning sensation, a feeling of cactus needles rubbing up against the tender parts between my legs. Then it quickly went away. The ladies around me started to get excited and really encouraged me to give one last push. Then my husband gave me the last words I needed, “Your doing awesome, you can do this, your strong.” I was totally stoked at this point, I could not believe I was actually giving birth! An out of body experience, the pain went away, no more contractions… I pushed one last time and felt him come out.
An alien like experience. I felt his rubbery body squirm out of me. His shoulder move and elbow bend out to have his hand touch the inside of my leg, such a weird, but very awesome feeling! Then the rest of his body quickly slid out. After 40 weeks-3 days of pregnancy, 23 hours of labor, about 1 1/2 hours of pushing , I gave birth to a healthy baby boy. Naturally, free of any medications. Astonished, I was left with no words other than an instinct of wanting to hold my baby. The doctor put his warm bloody body on top of my bare chest and I felt a calmness come over me. Any fear I had before about taking care of a baby, any doubts if I would be a good mother totally went away.
As I held our son in my arms, my husband cut the umbilical cord with a face I will never forget. His hesitation, his demeanor was like he didn’t want to hurt me, so adorable. Still feeling no pain, only peace, I couldn’t help but cry tears of joy. I was so happy. The best moment in my life. Our doula was a god send, everything she did was helpful. Keeping things coordinated and calm the whole time. She looked at me with this proud face afterwards… and I knew as we smiled at each other for a brief moment, without her things would have been different. And I was thankful to have her on this journey.
Everybody and everything seems to disappear in the background after that. Doctors and nurses filled the room and cheered, but in that moment it was only me, my husband and our newborn son. Even as the doctor applied stitches to an area I cringed at the thought of prior, now was only a small pain, a mere thought. I held my legs open with the thought it was nearly over. I relished in the moment thinking the pain was all worth it as I held him. We held each other… as a family. It was all totally worth it.
I wish I could have ended the story there…. but my-our reality settled in a short while after our serene moment our son started having difficulty breathing. They quickly took him and started to help him breathe. Tubes, air, a specialty doctor rushed in. That’s when a fear like I have never felt came over me. I prayed and used every bit of energy I had left to be strong and not break down. I heard him struggling to breathe, his crying stopped and he was trying his best to get the meconioumn out that he had ingested. Giving birth in a hospital that is built at the highest elevation in the United States, we had the best doctors here, they were prepared. As this was happening I was still trying to deliver my placenta, receiving stitches right away the tugging the doctor was doing only aggravated the natural pain killer I was on. I started to feel weak, my legs were shaking uncontrollably and I was exhausted. But I pushed on still hoping the finish line was close.
The baby started to breathe and he was stable. Knowing he was now ok was all I needed to regain my strength. They put him back in my arms and time seemed to fly by. An hour and a half went by and I had still not delivered my placenta. After tugging, with each pull it felt like she was pulling my insides out. I physically felt everything at this point. The pain was intense. I remember the doctor looking at me and asking me if I want any pain medication, with an expression on her face like please take the pain meds. I looked at her and with a quick response said no thank you and continued on my sailing journey, my pain free place. It was now the next day and dawn was upon us. Now getting close to two hours after I delivered my baby, tugging and trying to push my placenta out with no progress. I started to hemorrhage. Felling the verge of passing out, that’s when they hauled me the emergency room for surgery. I was given no choice this was a matter of surviving at this point. I kissed my baby and husband, then right after my eyes suddenly closed.
When I got out of surgery the first thing that was on my mind was seeing my guys. I came back to the most adorable two men. They were doing skin to skin and sleeping. Entering that room, the indescribable feeling and anticipation of a new beginning I will never forget…. this was a love I had never felt before.
By road and by ocean. Meet our son Rocean.
Born July 3,2016 @ 2:59am
7lbs. 8 oz. ~ 22 inches long ~ and 100% pure love
As I think how my life was before, now I cant even imagine life without him. Being parents was something we thought we would never had the chance to do in this lifetime, somebody who is apart of me and my husband. It’s amazing this tiny soul is now here. Never taking any of this for granted because I know this is not the case for many people. Humbled by the experience and grateful to have him in my arms I am amazed by life- the birth process and what we are capable of doing as humans. I am totally astonished that this little boy came out of me!
Once out of the hospital we walk down to the parking and we are back on the RV, our home. The adventure back our sailboat is on the horizon, we now are traveling as a family. Raising our son on the move…. he sure is one happy boy!
Changing my whole perspective on life, a blessing that has touched our lives surpassing my wildest dreams. I have a deeper love for life, a love for our son that will travel great distances, but most of all hope for the future. A future that looks so bright with him in it….
Here is where a new chapter begins… A new journey in our life with less.