Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The Birth of Cyan

So here is the long awaited story of the birth of Cyan Burgin.

His birth, and my pregnancy with him, are unique, in that I chose to stray from the beaten path with a decision that left many of my family and friends afraid for my life, but left me so completely content that I knew I was making the right decision for myself and my child. I chose an unassisted pregnancy and an unassisted birth. For those of you that are unfamiliar with the lingo that means that I didn't have traditional prenatal care or delivery. I took it upon myself to do my own prenatal care. I weighed myself. I made sure that I was eating well. I checked my own fundal height. I researched the shit out of procedures and practices that are considered necessary when seeing an ob/gyn for care. I decided, given that I was extremely low risk, that it wasn't necessary for me to see a surgeon for care in what I anticipated to be a completely normal pregnancy, and that the routine tests (gestational diabetes/group b strep/down syndrome screening/etc.) where just not needed in my situation. Many people will probably disagree with me (and many of them did!) but I did my homework, and I was (and am) at peace with my decisions. Now just to give you a little more information into my circumstances, in the state of North Carolina lay midwives are not recognized, but even if they were my insurance wouldn't cover seeing one. Not to mention that a full THIRD of births in NC are delivered by cesarean section. Seriously?!? That means one in three women will have their child surgically removed. ONE IN THREE. That is freaking terrifying if you ask me. NO THANK YOU. I was afraid I would be bullied into unnecessary interventions. I was afraid I would be fear-mongered into being cut open for the "safety" of my child, and what sane women wouldn't let them do it when they are told that their baby might die? That their baby is in danger? So, I chose to see my family practice doctor one time to confirm my pregnancy. After that I did my own care. I also chose to undergo the anatomy scan, but of course I knew that I would not terminate the pregnancy no matter what the scan showed. I did it for my own peace of mind.

The scan showed that I had a low lying placenta. I wasn't surprised, I had the same condition with Weiland. It isn't really something to worry about, because as your uterus grows the placenta "moves" up and away from your cervix (if your placenta doesn't move, many doctors will schedule a c-section, because the placenta can block your cervix keeping the baby from coming out which would put your child at serious risk). I scheduled another scan to make sure that my placenta had moved. The second scan showed that it had moved up and away from my cervix, and also that our baby was another boy!!

I felt so content during my pregnancy, and couldn't wait for my little boy to get here.
I thought for sure, along with all of my family and friends, that Cyan would make his appearance with the full moon on April 25th. After all, my first came with the full moon. I was then 39 weeks pregnant and more than ready to meet him! Well I set myself up for major disappointment. The full moon came and went with not even a little bit of false labor to accompany it. Talk about frustrating!!
Not too frustrated to take a selfie for Facebook though ;)

Over the next few weeks I had a couple of nights where I thought for sure I was going into labor, only to go to bed and have the contractions completely disappear. I was starting to get impatient, and I had more than one well meaning suggestion from friends and family on how to induce myself. I feel very adamantly that babies come when they are ready to. I had an augmented labor with my first and it was so painful. I wanted my labor to start and proceed on it's own terms. Meanwhile my due date came and went. I got a lot of "How long is your Dr. going to let you go?"'s, I told them as long as it takes. I hadn't really advertised my decision to go unassisted, so people assumed that I would be going in for induction any day. I really had to start questioning how far "past due" I felt comfortable going. I told myself 2 weeks, but I really think that if it came down to it I would have been fine going longer as long as I felt healthy and I felt that baby was moving well. To be honest I really hoped I wouldn't have to make that decision!

My mom flew into town on May 8th, at this point I was 40+6. She had been so afraid that she was going to miss his birth, so she was beyond excited that I was still pregnant when she got here. Originally I was afraid to have her here. She had expressed acute fear and anxiety when I told her I was having this baby on my own. I was afraid that her fear would be contagious and that I wouldn't be able to do what I needed in order to have this baby. Frankly, I was afraid she would stall my labor and I would end up in the hospital. In the end I think I was able to help her overcome her fear.  We had several long talks before she came about my plans, about everything I had learned about birth. I addressed her biggest fears and assured her that I was completely confident in my body's ability to give birth to this baby. After all, that's what it was made to do!
3 days before Cyan arrived.
I'm sure her presence is what did it. I'd missed my mom. It was wonderful to stay up late catching up with her, laughing and feeling carefree. I went to bed that night with a light heart, and I woke up in what I knew was true labor. It was the first time that I had been unable to sleep through my contractions. At around 3:30 a.m. I climbed out of bed, giving up on sleep, and being the vain creature that I am, I curled my hair, painted my nails, and put on make-up. Well now it was 4:30 and I was having contractions on average 9-10 minutes apart. They weren't incredibly intense and mostly I was just excited in the knowledge that I was going to have a baby that day! I let everyone sleep as long as possible, reading Harry Potter,  and savoring the time to myself. 5 o'clock came, and with it Brandon's alarm. He got himself up and started getting ready for work, at which point I told him there was no way he was going to work today, and that his time would be better spent getting the birthing pool pumped up and ready to go. At this point he gave me one of those "Are you SURE?" looks, and I told him of course I was sure! DO IT. This was the first time I had told him I was SURE I was in labor. Before it had always been, let's wait and see, let's time them and see. So, this time he knew I meant business. The morning hours flew by. We ate breakfast. At some point Weiland woke up and joined us, and was immensely disappointed that the pool wasn't for him! Eventually I decided that I needed some distraction so I sent my mom to the store for Harry Potter dvd's (what some of you may not know is that Harry Potter is my happy place. Harry Potter is just so magical and wonderful, and I SO wish that I was a witch, so you see it was essential. I NEEDED Harry Potter). About the time she got home from the store I called my photographer (the owner of Three Peas Photography and the insanely talented Mary Johnston). I told her this time I was for real and she needed to get a sitter for her kids and head over here pronto! I had no idea how fast or slow my labor would be, but at this point my contractions were averaging 5 minutes apart and were getting intense.
I'm so excited here! Waiting for the birthing pool to fill up. (Photo taken by Rose Evans ©)

Mary got here before I knew it, and at this point I was really enjoying myself. I was enjoying the freedom of being able to do as I pleased as labor progressed. I think it was sometime around noon Brandon made everyone sandwiches. Initially I declined (no eating during labor, right?!) but after tasting his, I HAD TO HAVE A SANDWICH!! Like, I was going to kill someone if I didn't have one. Seriously. It was the best sandwich of my life, hands down. I wish someone had taken a picture of me eating it. They would've seen bliss. After my sandwich we decided that it might be time to get into the pool. I was having trouble focusing during contractions. So I hopped in, and let me tell you it felt AMAZING.

So I hung out in the pool for a while. Contractions continued to be about 5 minutes apart. I started to feel really hungry, so I ate an odwalla bar that I had been saving for labor. And then my water broke. Maybe my body just needed a little bit of energy? It was 12:45. At first I wasn't sure that it had broken. It kind of felt like a fart? I don't know, but I wasn't sure, and Mary and Brandon laughed at me. We started to see "debris" in the water, and I could feel fluid gush out of me when I moved, so that confirmed it. Hooray!! Baby was coming!

This is about the time things got serious. Contractions were NO JOKE.

The water felt great, but the contractions were taking ALL of my concentration. It was about now that I realized that I am NOT a quiet birther. I'm pretty sure anyone within a 10 mile radius could probably hear me bellowing. I found that the only way I could work through the contractions was by vocalizing. I tried to remember loose lips = loose bottoms, but it was hard to concentrate on anything. I felt like my very being was being ripped from my body. I guess in a way it was. It was the moment where one was becoming two.

I clung to Brandon for dear life. I bit down on my towel. I squeezed my birthing necklace so hard my hands hurt. I cried. Brandon was my rock. He was keeping me going. As long as he was there I knew I was okay. I knew I could do this.

The contractions just kept getting stronger and stronger. I felt like I REALLY needed to have a bowel movement (in retrospect I think I was entering transition - DUH!) so I climbed out of the pool and made my way to the bathroom. I labored alone in there for a while, it felt horrible. Sitting on the toilet was really uncomfortable. I decided that even if I did have to go it wasn't going to happen so I wandered into the bedroom. This turned out to be a terrible idea. I felt like I was being ripped in half. Without the water I found that I couldn't tolerate my labor anymore. And even worse, my husband was no where to be found! Throughout my pregnancy I had told him to just follow my cues when the day came. I told him that if I hid in the closet I wanted him to just leave me alone to do my thing. A request that I maybe hammered in a little TOO well. He was outside doing yard work while I was DYING in the bedroom. What the hell was he thinking?!? I found myself screaming for him. There was no way I was going to make it to the back door to get him. My contractions had started piggy backing on one another. I truly thought I was going to have that baby all alone on my bedroom floor. At this point Mary came to the rescue! She got Brandon back inside with me.
Some sweet kisses from my oldest son in between contractions.
I felt better, but I still wasn't coping well. Every contraction was leaving me screaming and breathless.

Brandon tried to help me by doing counter pressure, but the end of our bed was awkward and cramped and he somehow managed to cut his foot open on a carpet tack. He tried to play it off and ignore it so he could take care of me, but he was bleeding everywhere! I had to scream at him to go get a bandage before he finally listened. I think he could tell I was losing it, and he was at risk of further bodily injury if he didn't listen to me, so he obliged. When he came back he told me to get back in the pool. I told him NO! I can't do it! I can't move! I'm dying!! He told me he'd carry me if he had too, but I NEEDED to be in the water. (He later told me that the change in my labor in and out of the water was terrifying. That he was fully prepared to drag me back to that pool kicking and screaming if he had to.) So he half ran half carried me back to the pool. It did feel better. I'm glad he made me move. I think at this point I was literally minutes away from having this baby.


It was around this time that Mary quietly asked me if I felt like pushing. Pushing? No. It was all I could do to keep from losing my mind. I was about to break into a million pieces and float off into space. Into nothingness. I was out of my body looking in. But then I tried it.

Oh my god PUSHING! It felt SO good. I felt alive again. I felt like I was in control. Like I could actually DO something. I pushed with every fiber of my being. A contraction would hit and I would just PUSH as hard as I could. Sweet Mary reminded me that I was going to hurt myself and tire myself out if I kept it up. I needed to slow down. (She was an absolute angel. Who knew that this woman I barely knew could be such great support for me? She did an amazing job and I am forever in her debt.)


And then he was coming. I had NO idea he was so close to being born. I thought I would feel him in front, but really he was further back, closer to my bum. I had a moment of panic. I thought I felt his cord being pinched. I had no idea that his head would feel so squishy. I thought he was in danger! I freaked out, but was quickly calmed down by Brandon and Mary's reassurances. I kept pushing. It hurt! It BURNED. But I knew he was coming. I knew it meant that he was almost here. I kept working. And then his head was born! Oh it felt so good!!


Brandon reached in to help guide him out. He was afraid the baby would drown. We reassured him that he hadn't taken his first breath yet.

I pushed some more! I was almost done! Just a few more pushes!! And then he was born! I barely remember this part. I remember Mary instructing Brandon that it was okay to tug him out once his shoulders were born.


Oh but he was perfect! It was 2:55. Barely 2 hours after my water broke.

 It was over! I did it!! I was so in love. He was so beautiful.
 And he was MAD! He had a glorious set of lungs on him. He YELLED! It was amazing. I did it. WE did it.

 We dried off and moved to the bedroom to rest. I still hadn't birthed the placenta.

He was a bit blue, and it took him a few minutes to work a bit of phlegm out of his throat, but he nursed like a champ! He was so strong!
 We waited until the cord stopped pulsing before Brandon cut it while my mom held Cyan. I had a hard time birthing the placenta. I guess I thought my work was done. I didn't realize how much it would hurt. Every time I stood up BAM huge intense contractions that buckled my knees. I didn't think I could do it! I knew I had to. I felt completely blindsided because I didn't know this part hurt too. I don't remember birthing my placenta with my first. I had an epidural and I couldn't feel it. It took my husband forcing me to get up and "JUST PUSH IT OUT!" to actually do it. But then it was over. Such sweet relief! I was finally done.
My parents held him while I birthed the placenta. My dad's flight landed at almost the exact moment Cyan was born. He got to see him moments after he entered this world!



Brandon helped me take a quick shower and change of clothes before we weighed him. We knew he was big. After all he was born at a full 41 weeks!

But even I was surprised at the 9 pound 8.3 ounces! He was HUGE! His newborn outfit came up to his armpits. Well no way that was going to work! Oh well. :)

We were done. I KNEW we could do it.

28 comments:

  1. This is an amazingly awesome story! Thanks so much for sharing it!

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  2. Wow. Truly beautiful! It's women like you that give women like me inspiration, hope, strength and courage!! Congratulations!!!

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  3. How beautiful and empowering.! I had a c-section with my daughter b/c I was told I had no choice. I hope to try for a VBAC with my second. I think I'm too scared to try at home, but I'm so moved by all of the at-home/water/natural birth stories I've been reading!

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    1. Good luck with your VBAC!!! You can do it! Keep reading stories. Keep being inspired. You are powerful! You were MEANT to do this. <3

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  4. After having 5 uneventfull deliveries at the hospital, I decided I will birth my 6th at home. All my pregnancies were induced because of gestationnal diabetes. The last time, I was told my baby would weigh more than 10 lbs. He weighed in 7lbs 1 once and needed to be warmed. Never again. This time, I am taking control because I know i Can and I know I will be fine.

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  5. This is a very beautiful story. I missed the birth of my 2 sons. I was too young and the hospital dictated every moved and I did not know any better. Thanks for the walk-through of your ordeal. It makes me appreciate more the beauty of birth. Thanks to all women that go thru this to give us men sons and daughters to love and cherish. God Bless you and your family...OMAR

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    1. I would like to say your story is truly amazing. Late Congrats on your baby boy and a HUGE job well done.

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  7. Congratulations on the birth of your beautiful baby boy Cyan! You are one strong mama! Although i am not pregnant now (my husband and i plan to start trying with the next two months) i really really want to deliver at home unassisted; preferably in the water. I have done a bunch of research, but i am truly nervous at the idea of delivering without a midwife, so i was hoping you could maybe offer some advice and answer a question or two. I mean after all you are a pro at this ;) ! How would i know if i am completely healthy enough to deliver unassisted at home with doctors being so cautious and generally advising against it? Also do you generally follow up with a pediatrician after the birth? How did you do it? Thanks so much for this blogpost, it was amazing and so inspiring! P.s. im a fellow North Carolinian!

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    1. Well... First off I didn't have any underlying medical conditions. I'm not overweight or anything like that. I'd never had an abnormal pap-smear, and my pregnancy and delivery with my first were completely normal as well. I eat very well. Lots of fresh fruits and vegetables and making things from scratch. So I knew I was healthy. As far as Dr.'s advising against it... well I think that it is part of their indoctrination. They want to practice their trade. They've been taught that pregnancy is a medical condition and therefore in need of strict supervision. I disagree. I think pregnancy and birth are normal bodily functions. Your body was built to do this! In fact I think homebirth is safer than hospital birth. I shudder to think about the disease and infection that I would be subjecting my newborn child to in a hospital setting. Hospitals are crawling with SICK people! I suggest you start reading. Ina May's Guide to Childbirth is a good place to start. All of her books are great. Spiritual Midwifery and Birth Matters. Read Gregory White's Emergency Childbirth. You can get it in Pdf from online for free. I also read hypnobirthing, but it didn't help me much. lol. I really enjoyed the Baby Catcher but it is more of a novel than informational, and I don't recommend reading it in your third trimester because it contains stories about loss. Let's see... what else? Read lots of birth stories! Unassistedchildbirth.com is a good place with tons of stories about unassisted births. Watch youtube videos of live births. The more you watch and read the more you learn about different variations of normal birth. The more you know you can do it. Find online support groups. Ask lots of questions! GOOD LUCK!!

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  8. Amazing birth, God bless you and your family.

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  9. Amazing story. Thanks for sharing. From a 73 yr. old Grandma & Great Grandma.....

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  10. Thanks for sharing your story, what a beautiful and amazing experience. I tried for a homebirth but we ended up at the hospital. Maybe next time....you are such an inspiration!

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    1. Thank you for reading it. I hope you get your homebirth. <3

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  11. Amazing story and birth Tasman! You rock mama! He is beautiful too. :)

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  12. Great story! Thanks for sharing :-) I was hoping you could answer a question about your blog! My name is Heather and if you could email me at Lifesabanquet1(at)gmail(dot)com that would be great!

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    1. I'd rather not message from my private email, but I'd be happy to answer your questions here! :)

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