Sadiel's Unassisted Home BirthAug 08, 2017
All women are sacred goddesses. We all give birth in our own unique way, and no matter the outcome, should feel empowered to have experienced one of life’s most special events.
Asking questions does not mean we are being judgmental. Perhaps the current paradigm is not the best way for us. We question the routine use of a hospital for giving birth. A hospital is a place where ill people go for diagnosis or treatment. When did pregnancy become an illness? How did something so natural become a medical event?
We welcomed our baby earth side – at home, peacefully and unassisted. Sadiel Stoyan Subero, made his beautiful appearance on February 8th, 2016 at 9:32 pm weighing 7 lbs 6 oz. I had an amazing 3 hours of labor until my son was born naturally and peacefully in the water. We had a planned and educated unassisted home birth outside, here in our rainforest home.
The problem is not the mother to be and her choices, the problem is in our level of thinking and lack of trust in our body. The negative messages society has indoctrinated us to believe has demonized biological birth and instilled fear in the birth process. It’s been instilled deep into our subconscious. Whether it came from our own traumatic birth experience, a movie or our very own doctor presenting us with misinformation and pressure, the direction the birthing world is headed poses a great threat to humanity.
This birth story is not intended to belittle or shame any woman for her pregnancy, labor or birth choices. Our family’s choices are unique for our circumstances and best for us. We do also understand the place for our sophisticated medical system and its need when complications arise. We are very grateful for our advances as a human species and those who have spent countless hours studying medicine.
We had our baby by ourselves as a family. Having had both experiences, a natural birth in a birthing centre with attendants, and a natural birth at home unassisted, we would again choose to be at home as a family if the opportunity was to arise again. The depth and profundity of the relationship I built with my family, body and unborn baby was imaginable. Much more than if I had relied on outside sources to tell me what I should be feeling and doing.
You can watch our natural, unassisted birth video here on Youtube.
For those who will be inevitably upset by our choices, please know we’ve done our homework, and believe that this is the most natural and safest way to give birth for our family. We’re not projecting it on to you - it's just what we chose for our birth and we truly believe it's a good way. We’ve not been driven by ego or intentions of proving a point. Like every family, we’ve simply followed the path that has reassured the love and safety for our baby in the womb and mother to be.
Our thinking was different last year and it will continue to evolve to be different next year. Please know that this is simply our opinion and nothing more. We ask that you do not judge our family, as we will not judge the choice of others, and most importantly, we ask that you do not judge yourself. We all do our very best with the knowledge we hold at this specific time in our life. What we believe today, may not be what we believe tomorrow. Lead a life with compassion and humility.
And now, Sadiel’s unassisted home birth story.
The Carnival Monday festivities were starting here at home, where we live on The Nature Island of the Caribbean – Dominica. The night was calm and clear.
At 6 pm, my very supportive husband Stephan was giving me a massage and what we call our “relaxation sessions” – where he rubs my face and holds pressure points while I listen to hypnobirthing or relaxing music. It was 8 pm now. At the time, my parents were visiting us from Canada. As I was in the kitchen and talking about bringing them a piece of chocolate torte I had made that day, I started having some major leaking – I believe it may have been synovial fluid but my membranes certainly had not completely ruptured (also known as “water breaking”).
That night, I only got about 2 to 3 hours of sleep, mostly because adrenaline was rushing through my body, but I was also having a few minor contractions from about 4 am onward. My contractions stopped in the morning and I was able to get on with my morning like usual.
Around 12 pm, I took a walk, ate lunch and then some irregular contractions started again. I did some light prenatal yoga. I’d say that contractions were about 10 to 15 minutes apart, but I didn’t really want to time them.
At 3 pm, my contractions began getting stronger and lasting for about 35 seconds each at about 15 minutes apart. I know this information now as Stephan was timing and recording, but I didn’t want to focus on the time or amount of contractions I was having in the moment. I simply wanted to go within and listen to what my body and baby were telling me.
Around 4 pm, that super hubby of mine gave me another relaxation session and soft touch massage to encourage oxytocin release. My contractions completely stopped for 30 minutes. It gave me a good chance to relax and rest. After the session, I got one very strong contraction that lasted about 1 minute, and then they became inconsistent again.
It was now Carnival Tuesday, the biggest holiday and celebration in Dominica. My parents, also known as “Ama” and “Ampa” as Skyla calls them, took her to town to watch the parade so I wouldn’t have to exert myself too much with an energetic toddler running around. They then spent a little more time away by bringing her to the river to have a swim followed by an evening dinner and movie in their room.
I knew that if my little Skyla found out the baby was coming, 5 minutes would feel like eternity. She didn’t quite yet understand the concept of time. So I chose to keep it a surprise until the time was just right. She was well prepared, as she’d been watching many unassisted home birth videos with us throughout my pregnancy (and when I say many, I mean loads of them). She was very excited indeed, and had learned an enormous amount of information about the birthing process. In fact, it was not unusual for her to get into her little kiddy pool, squat down and pretend she was giving birth to her dollies.
She finally came back to join us and I played with her a little bit, while my contractions were still very light. I still hadn’t told her that the baby was probably on its way soon. I kept waiting until things started progressing a little more and that I was sure baby was definitely coming that night.
At 5 pm, contractions were still pretty irregular but increasing in intensity and length. However, they were still very manageable and I was able to go about with my usual evening routine and do some light housework.
And this was the moment, at 6:30 pm, about 20 minutes after having dinner, my contractions suddenly became very regular and close together. Within the next hour, my contractions were 1 minute apart and lasting about 1 minute in length each. This is when it was clear that I had to tell my Skyla that her baby bother was going to arrive that night. The look on her face was priceless. A special moment I will never forget. She waited patiently and continued to play in the environs.
During every contraction, I leaned forward over my yoga ball, and later a table or a chair, and moved my hips in a rhythmic, circular motion, which eased some of the tightness. Stephan also pressed the pressure point near my tale bone to relieve some tightness. He continued to give me loving touch, encouraging words and kisses. I was also grunting and making deep vibration sounds also helped me ease the sensation.
At this point, Skyla started getting tired. I kissed her goodnight and told her we’d wake her up when her baby brother had arrived. She walked to her bed and slept peacefully.
At 8 pm, contractions were now very strong and intense lasting about 2 minutes each with 30 seconds in between. I wasn’t experiencing pain – just a very tight and intense feeling. I vomited once and instantly had to use the washroom – but it felt like it took me 10 minutes to travel a 5 feet distance to the toilet as I had to stop to rotate my hips every time another contraction came.
Between pressing on my back, holding my hand as I squeezed it tightly, getting me coconut water and sharing words of encouragement, Stephan also was trying to fill my birthing pool with warm water – some coming from our off grid propane shower and some being heated in a kettle. He combined both cold water from the river and heated water, until the temperature was idea and safe for baby and I.
Around 8:30 pm, I got into the pool. It was quite a task to enter between strong contractions. The warm water eased what was now very intense tightness or mild discomfort.
The most helpful position for me was leaning forward on my knees and holding onto the side of the birthing pool, with my belly hanging forward and the warm water covering most of my torso.
I had to take every contraction one by one, saving my strength and willpower for each. My previous labor was 12 hours, so I was anticipating a tough road ahead, trying to conserve my energy for what I thought would be many more hours of labor. The time was actually passing very quickly considering the intensity of my contractions, but my mind seemed to be my biggest limiting factor. I kept repeating my positive affirmations and going deep within myself to find strength.
About 30 minutes later, at 9 pm, I had a strong urge to push. I got into a deep squatting position. By bringing my hand below, I kept touching to see if I could feel baby’s head with my fingers, but nothing yet. Honestly, I didn’t even feel very dilated but I had to talk myself into not putting emphasis on my progress and to continue trusting my body. I kept breathing through the contractions instead of actively pushing.
Suddenly, I felt enormous pressure and something come down. I reached down with my fingers and felt my baby’s hair for the first time. This moment was incredibly special. It was encouraging and gave me a great boost of energy and strength, knowing that I would soon be meeting my baby.
Over the next few contractions, baby’s head started to come down more. It crowned a little and a little more over every contraction, then went back in. I was trying to really breath, listen to my body and consciously slow down the process so baby would come down gently, to prevent my perineum from tearing, as it did in my last birth.
After a few other contractions I decided to try pushing. I gave one big push during my next contraction and my baby’s head came out. My perineum was burning, but I knew that it had not torn, which was a big relief and the primary fear I had to work through in my preparation for this birth.
I reached down to my baby’s neck to check where the umbilical cord was. It was looped around the neck. I stuck my finger under it to ensure it wasn’t too tight and that we had nothing to worry about. There was enough space for it not to cause harm. I could feel my baby moving and turning so I continued pushing until baby slid out to the knees. I gently pulled my baby the rest of the way.
I removed the umbilical cord from around baby’s neck brought him up gently from under the warm water and caressed my little boy to my chest. It was 9:32 pm, just 3 hours after my active labor had started.
He was a little limp at first. But luckily, I knew this was ok due to our preparation. It is normal for water birth babies to transition slower – so I remained calm, started gently talking to him, rubbing his body, stimulating and softly blowing in his face to encourage him to take his first gasp of air. Although I didn’t time this, it felt like it was15 to 30 seconds until he took his first breath and let out a large cry and cough. Then my baby opened his eyes for the first time and I glared at him in awe completely and unconditionally in love.
He latched on to breast feed within the first few minutes. My placenta took a little while to come out, and contractions continued, but very mildly. After approximately 15 minutes, my placenta came out naturally, however, part of the membrane was stuck to what seemed to be a blood clot inside my uterus. After 30 minutes in the warm water bonding with my son, I decided to reach with my hand and give my placenta a very gentle pull to see if anything happened. And indeed, it came out perfectly. Few! Hubby examined it to make sure no pieces had remained in my uterus - luckily it was intact and in good condition. We kept him attached to it for several hours with delayed cutting of the cord to ensure all blood and maximum iron stores were acquired.
I got out of the birthing pool and transferred over to our bedroom on the couch. I nursed my son and kept him close to me with skin-to-skin contact.
We awoke Skyla for her to meet her new baby brother. The moment was just how I had imagined it. We sat calmly and happily as a family bonding with our new addition. Stephan went to wake Ama and Amp in their cabin, so they could meet their first grandson.
Around 1:30 am, we all got into bed and had a long, restful sleep until the next morning. I could not have asked for a better birth experience.
It was perfect and unique.
You can read more about our pregnancy, labor and birth preparation here along with some great resources.
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