For this little boy, I decided I wanted nothing more than to share my birth experience with more of my family and friends. I even created this little birth invitation with a picture of Clary Sage, a beautiful fragrance that has been a companion to me in my previous birth with Edison. I share a favorite quote here because I truly feel that birthing is so much more than a skill that women acquire. It is an art and a craft to be honed and refined as we enter it again and again. It is the art of Creation at its fullest. Granted, it's hard to know when babies will make their grand entrance into this world, I wanted to prepare myself to be surrounded by positive energies that would lift my spirit during a time of tremendous focus. Having been through 3 previous home births, I thought I had this one in the bag. It's truly amazing that though things never seem to go according to plans, that everything happens the way it should for a growing life experience. Phoenix Taylor Huntington entered this world surrounded by wonderful people, anxious to see him embrace this existence. And I was grateful to share that experience with so many as they in turn buoyed me up throughout the process.
It seems that with each successive child, I take fewer and fewer pictures throughout pregnancy. I guess that's what happens when you have 5 kids. But I'd like to keep these memories in one place even though my journaling of these events has dwindled. For me, this blog is my journal and I eventually plan on printing this all out into a book. And I'm happy to share my stories with those who wish to follow along.
Quite late into the game, because of financial issues as well as indecisive thoughts about who we wanted to have as our midwife, we finally found Sherri Price and her amazing team of midwives and fell in love with her ways and her passion for what she does. In the past, I have had Suzanne Smith midwife Chrysalis' and Hinckley's birth. She would have attended Edison's as well but was unavailable and so we had Trinette, who was on her team of midwives. We have loved Suzanne and her team at Better Birth. The reason we chose to go with Sherri this time, was that after much prayer, we felt more in tune with her practice. Not to mention, her services were cheaper, which was a bit more alluring. But to foreshadow this story a bit, the support I received from this amazing woman throughout my labor, made my laboring so much more peaceful than any other labor I've had in the past.
In preparation for this birth, I went shopping around and found a maternity nightie I thought would be comfy to birth in . . .
And took a photo to make sure I looked good in it for the big Birthday Party. Sigh.
Sometimes our fantasies of how things will turn out are funny. I remember feeling quite giddy in this moment, thinking of the new baby and how everything would fall into place so easily.
Amidst the anxiety that loud bickering children can create in a home, Hinckley was good at finding ways to make me laugh. If my life were a movie, he would definitely be my comic relief. One morning in the last few weeks of pregnancy, he walks into my bedroom wearing a ball under his shirt, and in his most robotic Hinckley voice, says, "I'm Pwegnant Mommy."
Here I am at about 36 weeks with my friend Kim, who was about 33 or 34 weeks. I can't quite recall, but I know we were close together. I attended her baby shower and though I was feeling excited to meet our little boy, I was somewhat jealous to see all the cute little girl things she was receiving for her first baby. Yes, I know. I have a little girl already. But I so longed to take out the baby girl clothes again to dress a baby up in pink and flowers. I suppose our boy clothes were meant to be loved thoroughly. And thoroughly, they shall be loved.
About 2 weeks before I went into labor, another new Huntington baby graced us with her presence: Little Charlotte Faith. So we paid our newest little cousin a visit and once again, the feelings of jealousy arose. I've seemingly been envious a lot lately. Being so heavy with child, I remember telling April and Elliot, "I wish I was in your shoes already." The aches and pains of carrying around such a heavy baby really took its toll on my back and pubic bones this fifth time around. Each baby surely seems to come with different challenges.
Sherri hosts these monthly forums for her mommies-to-be with her team of midwives and I absolutely love all the golden nuggets of info and insights I walk away with having attended these. This particular class was on Comfort Measures. Boy was this helpful. As much as I adored my previous midwives, the one thing they really lacked was the amount of involvement Sherri displayed at this birth, having been there for each and every pressure wave (contraction) and really helping me to make the most of them so that labor would progress quicker than I ever thought it would. Hip and knee squeezing, and pressure on the sacrum was SOOOOOO nice and felt SOOOO good. But I'm getting ahead of myself.
Anyways, for those of you who know me well, you know that doTerra has become a huge part of my life. This is my third year attending convention and it so happened that convention fell on the 18th, 19th & 20th of September this year. It truly was a beautiful and amazing experience, especially since I get to share it with friends and family that I love. There's nothing out there quite as inspiring. And only God knows I needed this infectious energy to fill my spirit for this birth. That said, my due date was September 30th. I figured I would enjoy convention and still have time to rest a bit before my baby arrived. Of course, my babies have never made their due date.
So here I was, walking around on the second day of convention, showing off this big belly, having stranger after stranger touch it, telling me this baby was my special doTerra baby. And it wasn't until the second day of convention that I began to have second thoughts about whether I'd get through it all before baby came. Walking had suddenly become more difficult. Who knows. Perhaps all the walking was what sent me into labor. Honestly, it was the sitting still in the hard seats at the Energy Solutions Arena that was most uncomfortable. I so wished to be able to sit on a birthing ball at that point. Either way, I tried to remain calm and absorb what I could of the education and inspiration that came my way.
And this sweet cousin of mine was of such wonderful support to me. I couldn't have done any of this without her. Thanks Noelle, for the water bottle trick on my back. Such simple comfort measures with everyday items.
Meanwhile, the Grandmas of this baby boy, who apparently were anxious to learn more this year, spent convention catching up on their beauty rest. Gotta love the Grandmas.
At least they had each others' shoulders to rest on. Yup. That's my mother and mother-in-law with heads rested upon each other.
And while they rested, I took tons of photos of the big screen above that displayed some inspiring messages.
Here I am with my mother-in-law Cheryl, and my cousin Noelle on the last day of convention, in my favorite dress. That very morning I debated whether I should go or not because I had woken up in the early am to a small trickle of water that dripped down my legs as I went to the bathroom. My mucous plug had come out that morning but that never meant anything for sure. I didn't think much of it because in the past, my amniotic sac was so tough, it just wouldn't break on its own. I did call Sherri that morning and gave her the update in case. I decided I'd wear a pad in case anything else came out that day and figured I'd rather spend the day learning and being inspired rather than just sitting at home on the couch watching TV. Upon arriving that day, it was maybe an hour before a whole lot of the mucous plug began to really come out. But I was prepared. I had lots of pads and I got rather excited. I did begin to feel that a baby was coming today. But I didn't worry. After all, my midwife is a Wellness Advocate for doTerra also and was nearby. If I had a baby at convention, at least I had all that I needed there. Ha ha!
Some final photos in front of the Arena, as I began some real pressure waves that made it rather difficult to focus on the last half of the days events.
It was at around noon that I recall informing Noelle as we were eating lunch in the sun, that I felt my focus was beginning to internalize some more. I felt like everyone around me was becoming a bit of a blur. Not visually. Just a sense that nothing around me mattered anymore. I paid no attention to people around me. Things were getting a bit hazy, if that makes sense. And it was at around that same time that my feet began to swell. Never really experienced the swollen ankles before. Sherri later said that she believes I was a bit dehydrated and attributes it to that.
But I feel privileged to have been able to make it through convention to hear the story of the Goddard family and how they overcame one of their greatest challenges this year after their oldest son Max was burned in a Fourth of July firework-making accident. He has experienced 3rd degree burns on about 45% of his body and has inspired many through his journey to recovery using both modern medicine and natural solutions. Stephanie Nielsen was another keynote speaker that day as well, and her story was quite the uplifting one also. My soul was filled with one amazing story after another of strength and overcoming adversity that quite frankly, I believe I needed to hear that day. And honestly, because I'm the kind of person that feeds off of others' energies, I needed to be surrounded by these people. As I later realized I had been in labor all throughout convention, I realized how powerful my mind had been at helping me to not think about the pain that certain contractions would have definitely brought on in the past. A positive environment with tons of positive thinking was really what made labor go by so quickly this time.
I mean, how could anyone not be inspired by this sweet and gentle, little, old lady who walks proudly as one of the newest silver ranks in doTerra? Seriously?! It's never too late to reach for our greatest potential, right? I have much to learn yet.
I had planned on attending the Healing Hands Concert that evening that doTerra was putting on to send all proceeds to their charity, but by 5:00pm, I was pretty ready to get on the road to home. The pressure waves were coming on every 7-10 minutes. Noelle, Cheryl and myself had been carpooling together every day and this day, the 20th, I needed help with the driving. So Noelle, graciously drove us home, only making a stop at the Real Foods Market to pick up some raw milk for Edison who thrives off of raw milk. I was supposed to pick it up days before, but after each day at convention, I was too tired to stop at the store. Alex didn't seem to understand this. That last day, he insisted that I needed to stop to pick it up, and as I began to time my surges at about 6-7 minutes apart, I asked my cohorts to pick up the milk for me because getting in and out of the car was definitely becoming a bit more difficult. My feet had never gotten so swollen before in all my life. I was texting Alex who was at home with the other four kids thinking HE was having a hard time. I swear the man thinks I exaggerate when I tell him something is difficult for me. He's such a go-getter. Guess I need his powerful energy. I remember explaining to him over a text about how swollen my feet were and he didn't really take me seriously until I got home and he got to see it for himself. But I have a sweet and honest husband. Sometimes a little too honest. Noelle dropped me and Cheryl off and she went home to rest a bit and see her kids. I was to call her as soon as things were more progressed. Upon seeing my feet Alex's eyes went wide as he pretty much shouted, "What the heck, Lig, you've got Cankles!" I'm certain that every woman in labor loves to hear such sweet words of encouragement. At that point, he urged me to sit down or get in the bath. He massaged my feet with some Serenity oil and Lavender and Clary Sage. My favorite. And then he motioned me to get ready for labor and/or get into the tub to reduce the swelling. Sherri was on her way over but I told her not to rush because I figured this was the beginning and my previous experiences dictated to me that I might be here for a day or more. I didn't want to start stripping down until I took a couple more pictures of these last moments of my big belly. So Alex kindly snapped some pictures of me on our little balcony.
I was probably at a 5 here and had no idea. I then took off my clothes and got into the tub. The warm water and massaging jets were divine. I'm so grateful we have a tub with jets. I had no desire to get out. It was about 8:30pm or so at this point and the only reason I got out of the tub was because I felt somewhat vulnerable being completely undressed when Sherri got to my home. Yes, I've done this before and realized that in labor, all decency goes out the door, but part of me really wanted to get out for a moment and put my nightgown on to at least greet her in some sense of decency. I leaned over the bed as a stronger surge came on because I was out of the water now. And it seemed the surges were harder when I wasn't in the water. At that point, Sherri walked in and suddenly, my guard came down. Her sweet smile and warm voice were so welcoming and soothing. My whole being simply trusted her. She took a moment to check where I was and for a moment I feared she'd say I was at a 3 still. Then she said I was at about a 6+. That's all I needed to hear to feel excited and hopeful that this was probably going to be shorter than I thought. The next couple of hours seemed to pass by in a haze again. Alex texted all those who had planned on coming as we progressed to a 7 and 8. Slowly, others began to arrive. But I honestly was very unaware of what went on around me. My focus was very much internalized. I spent some time on my side on the bed with some affirmations playing in the background by Marie Mongan, the hypnobirthing guru. Sherri massaged my ankles with lots of Lemon and Peppermint and Wild Orange. Then I spent some time on the birthing ball with Sherri pushing my knees towards my hips while Alex pushed on my hips toward my knees in the opposite direction. The pressure this relieved was amazing. And I was amazed at how quickly everything was progressing. It was around 1-2am that I decided to try the birthing stool, but for some reason it really wasn't as comfortable as I remember it being. I longed to get back into the warm tub and so I did. The nightgown I had so carefully planned to wear throughout the labor came off entirely. Sherri graciously suggested I use a towel if that made me more comfortable, which it did. So a towel was draped over my body and all I remember at this point was Alex holding my hand and a bathroom full of people every time I opened my eyes after enduring another surge. Those I remember being present were Orion and Chrysalis, my mom and dad, Cheryl and her sister Rhonda, my two sisters and brother, my cousins Noelle and Kristin, Sherri and her two midwife apprentices as well as Angie, another midwife. Needless to say, it really was the party I had anticipated it would be.
Shortly after getting back into the tub, Sherri checked me again and I was at a 9+. I remember thinking, "Wow, it really doesn't feel like I'm that close." At that point my water finally ruptured fully. First time it did that on its own. With the last three, my midwife ended up breaking my water to see if it would help the baby progress down, which it did and then they came right away. This time, it just broke. Then I really started to feel the need to push.
Sherri said it was ok to push and so I did, but it was at this point that surges were on top of each other and she suggested we try the birthing stool again to see if baby would make more progress down as she could tell I was definitely getting tired. I'd been sipping pineapple juice with a little cayenne pepper and some other floral essences to stay hydrated but Sherri thinks I was needing more fluid than I was getting. It was a bit difficult to drink water at that moment but she was so tender in how she offered me a drink every few minutes. She kept monitoring the heartbeat and baby was still doing great. In fact, he was calm throughout the entire labor. I tried the stool for a few strong waves and gave it all I had. I could feel my muscles getting shaky and tired though. After what seemed like maybe a half hour, I wanted to sleep. I began to ask to lie down. But at the same time, I knew that lying down was simply gonna make the surges more difficult to get through. Still, I demanded it at one point. Then Sherri suggested I have an IV put in to see if some extra hydration would help me. I didn't want one, but by this point I was getting so tired that I gave in and figured it was probably what was best for me. I went from the bed back to the birthing stool but Phoenix was just not coming down as easy as my other boys had. At one point, Sherri said he was at a plus 2 for those who know what that means and she could see his hair. But as soon as the pressure waves eased up and I stopped pushing, he would keep going back up. This is where I began to get a bit frustrated. And I could tell Alex was too. Neither of us wanted me to be transported for a number of reasons, but mainly because in the past, my hardest recovery was the one I had with Orion being born in the hospital. He gave me a blessing for some peace. Everyone could see I was frustrated with the situation and gave me some space to try pushing on the birthing stool one more time. So as people moved into the room next door, I gave it all I had, really pushing down on Alex's hands as he sat behind me as always when I was on the stool. I bore down thinking if I did, this baby would eventually just slide out like the previous three. But he would just not budge. Eventually, my focus was dwindling and the surges became more intense than I could handle. So around 4am, after quite a few different attempts at pushing and coming really close to crowning, Phoenix just slid back up and settled himself into my body while contractions got really strong and I began begging to be transported to get some pain relief. While it was the last thing I wanted to happen at my birth, Sherri was on top of everything. My mom and Alex helped me get dry and get some clothes on while she made plans to get Dr. Wall to meet us at Lone Peak Hospital. Let me just say, going to the hospital in active labor is no pleasant ride. Every bump and turn was so excruciating with the amount of pressure on my pelvis from the baby's head. Not to mention, I kept screaming at my mom to put pressure on my back and knees because Sherri went to the hospital in her own vehicle and I no longer had her comforting hands to apply pressure in all the right places. My mom had no idea how to apply the pressure, try as she might. But Mom, I still love you.
I struggled to walk, so as we entered on the emergency side of the hospital, they brought me a wheelchair. Of course, at this point, sitting on my wide open pelvis with a head there, was really no spring breeze. But within minutes, the anesthesiologist was there sticking the needle into my back for the epidural. I must admit that in this moment, I felt a bit defeated. It was definitely not part of the plan, but because I didn't want to be in pain for another few hours, it was a much welcomed relief to suddenly feel no pain. I sighed as the numbness of my legs began to kick in and remember apologizing over and over again to both Alex and my sweet midwife. This of course is silly to do, but I couldn't help it. I knew that it meant additional bills would be coming our way and this is where I felt bad for my hubby. But then I felt the urge to sleep and I slept all morning long, fully dilated. Dr. Wall suggested I sleep a bit to gather up some strength. After some much needed rest, Pitocin was administered in order to get some stronger contractions since the epidural obviously slows things down.
Meanwhile, this monkey was doing this outside the hospital.
Even with the highest level of Pitocin they could give me, my strongest pushing was making little progress. I knew which direction this was headed in. I'd been there already with Orion. Episiotomy and probably forceps. But the good news was that my body was very open and the good Dr. said there was plenty of room. He asked if I wanted to try the forceps. He was very positive he could do it without an episiotomy, so I became hopeful again and I said ok. Let's try it. After all, he had been trying to turn my posterior baby by pretty much sticking his hand up my body in some very unnatural ways. I can only attribute my stretchy body to the number of times Sherri used Frankincense and coconut oil to check my cervix. What else could be the reason that in all my labors, this one was the first baby that I did not tear with? No joke. I had a good tear with Chrysalis and very mild little tears with the next two boys. None of them needed stitching, but it was unbelievable that this little boy, who so happened to be 10 lbs. 8 oz. and 22 1/2" long, came out with the help of forceps and I had absolutely no tears at all. My biggest baby so far was born on Sept. 21st, 2014 at 2:11pm. He was never distressed and came into the world practically smiling. The nurses that were all around me, none of whose names I can remember, were in awe that I had no tears as they exclaimed that I had just given birth to a toddler. Funny nurses.
Well, so that's how little Phoenix came into the world. After much scrutiny, Dr. Wall and Sherri both agree that I was very dehydrated, but that Phoenix also had a hard time coming down because he had what is known as a nuchal hand, which basically means he had it jammed up by his ear making it hard for me to push him out. He was actually born with a long tiny bruise along his wrist which is what led Dr. Wall to believe that I had been pushing hard against that little hand. It really was amazing to have the help of modern science practices this time around and I am grateful for it. As soon as the forceps went into my body, I pushed maybe twice, and baby finally slid on through. I really had the best of both worlds all around me, at a time when I needed it most.
And thanks to Sherri and Dr. Wall, and all those who created such a wonderful energy and support team, this little guy is now a part of our family.
And he has my feet. First baby with a longer second toe.
Well, that pretty much wraps up my birth story for little Phoenix. Here are some pictures of my chubby baby on his first day of Life. Isn't he sweet? I know that everything happens the way it does for a reason. I've learned some important lessons through this experience about how we need to unify the best of both worlds in the practice of medicine and healing. Or in this case, birthing and recovering after birth. But I feel so blessed and somewhat undeserving of such a special little spirit that I've had the opportunity to carry for the past nine months. Even though these little ones take their toll on our bodies as mothers, I'm always humbled by the power I have within my body to create life. I'm humbled by the power that ALL women have to create life. It's a magnificent transformation that we all go through when we labor so hard to bring forth God's spirits.
They're so full of light aren't they?
The most important lesson I walk away with this time around: These are my greatest creations! Truly, my life is my canvas, and my best pieces of artwork are my children. Welcome to the world Phoenix!