Category Archives: Birth

Barefoot, Rain, & Contractions

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Labour

With lots of talk about labour as a few friends are currently pregnant, I began to think back to when Zaedyn was born. This is definitely not the memory I expected to have, however this image is not negative despite what it may seem. Yes being in labour and getting into an ambulance usually does not appear very good, but this was not the case here. I prefer the sunshine, but barefoot with a singlet and wrapped in a sarong…It was definitely me. Being surrounded by this crazy weather, I am sure this is why Zaedyn loves the rain!

As I have previously mentioned, I went into labour late at night only to expect labour to continue for a very long time. With David mostly sleeping and time passing as I hopped in and out of the shower, I was at the point where I knew that something was wrong or that baby’s head was pushing down. As we had not realised what stage we were at, we had not seen our midwife yet. With one phone call our midwife turned up for the first time throughout my labour, my waters broke, and she told me that the head was right there. I felt relieved. I knew that we were that much closer to holding our baby. With no back up for a home birth and the rain pouring down heavily, the decision was made to take an ambulance to the closest place we could make it to: Matariki. David followed along in a car behind us so that he could take my parents. He was told that if we pulled over on the side of the road to pull over as well as we were having a baby.

As my midwife told me, it is all about how you visualise. My determination and perseverance to have a natural birth is what kept me going. Driving up in the ambulance was actually quite brilliant. I was not stuck sitting down and could continue kneeling and leaning forward to help support me through labour. It amazes me how I can think back to everything, yet it also seems somewhat surreal. The time was slow yet passed so quickly.

The things that I am glad I had during labour: my comb (for acupressure points in my hand), hot water, and husband by my side. Everyone has a different story, a different idea, and a different outlook or meaning behind labour and birth. I chose to embrace labour with an open mind and heart and know that in the end I would have a beautiful baby to hold and love. This mindset empowered me to get through and to be positive in my progression through labour. Although I knew that sometimes situations are unavoidable, I had made my mind up from the start that I was going to have a natural birth.

I am not judging anyone on their own choices or way situations may have turned. Who knows what might happen if I end up in labour again. My point, however, is that your mind is powerful and there is a lot that you can do to support yourself through a natural and positive labour. This also starts before labour. I believe that what you do while you are pregnant can impact your labour. The best advice given to me was NOT to lean back, relax, and put your feet up as most people tell pregnant women. I was always conscious that I was leaning forward and sleeping on my left side in hopes that this would help prevent me from having a caesarean or long labour. I often sat on a swiss (Pilates) ball. Although some people can put their feet up and still manage to have a quick natural birth, these practical steps come together to support baby to get in the optimum fetal position.

I am convinced it works. Are you? What helped you, your partner, or someone you know get through labour?

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Raspberry Leaf Tea as a Uterine Tonic

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pregnancy

With an interest in tea lately, I was thinking back to raspberry leaf tea. Not everyone is open to the idea, purpose, or taste, but I loved it! Anything to possibly help reduce labour time and complications, I was all for it. Thanks to my amazing midwife for the information listed above about raspberry leaf tea that was included in my folder. I used to make it up by the litre or so and drink it over ice. Yum! Let’s just say, drinking up to three cups a day by 37 weeks was not exactly hard for me.

I have heard arguments both for and against raspberry leaf tea, and it comes down to what you decide. It is important to mention that boxed raspberry leaf tea from most grocery stores will be very different to the actual raspberry leaf tea recommended. I bought mine as loose leaf from a herbal shop. Also, everyone is very different and the amount you drink and other variables will not be the same for every individual.

In my own personal experience, my labour time was definitely reduced, but I did not benefit from the prevention of bleeding after birth as I had a postpartum hemorrhage. Do I still believe in raspberry leaf tea & recommend it to others? Of course. Just look at the vitamins and minerals it contains. That alone is a good enough reason to drink the tea. Raspberry leaf tea is one aspect of preparing your body for birth, and I would not say that the tea does not work just because it didn’t prevent bleeding for me. The shortened labour and reduction of pain was relevant in my labour. I spent the majority of labour at home, starting late at night and thinking that it was going to be a long time and well into the following day before we drove to the birthing centre. Everyone seems to tell you that labour with your first baby is very long time, but Zaedyn Tai was born that following morning at 3:58. Everything happened so fast. I thought that the pressure was either baby’s head or that something was wrong. We rung our midwife, and not able to have a home birth as back up was away, we took the ambulance up only to get there and have Zaedyn born into this world not long after. The ambulance drivers said that I was the most calm woman in labour that they had ever seen. How did I get through the pain of labour? Squeezing a comb in my hand during contractions to hit acupressure points and a hot shower. That’s it! Oh, and 1 dose of homeopathic remedy supporting birth.

As I mentioned before, everyone is different and the tea may or may not work the way that you expect or hope. I cannot promise you any outcomes, but I just wanted to share this information with you so that you know the possibilities from drinking raspberry leaf tea. Seems like an easy way to promote natural childbirth in my opinion, and you and your baby will benefit from the goodness of the tea as well. Lastly, you can continue to drink your leftover raspberry leaf tea after you have had your baby. I planned on bringing some with me to the birthing centre, but we were in a bit of a rush!

If you are considering drinking raspberry leaf tea, remember not to start too early or drink too many cups early on and consult with your midwife or care.

Detoxify, Re-mineralize, Energise

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Lotus

Lotus Himalayan Crystal Salt ~ contains 84 of the 94 elements on the periodic table

“Lotus Himalayan Crystal Salt is a totally natural, organic and unrefined Salt, with amazing detoxifying & energizing properties through its primal light & crystalline minerals – It is a delicious healthy seasoning for your food, add to your drinking water as a mineral electrolyte tonic, an ideal for a mineral salt bath or spa, or it has many other uses which you can find by visiting our web site. We believe this is the purest and most essential element on Earth for humans, a 250 million year old miracle of nature, now brought to your home by Lotus Magik World”

Sole ~ Leave crystal rock in fresh water for at least an hour

Sole is a Himalayan Crystal Salt-water solution that “creates pH balance in the body by replenishing electrolytes, improving the body’s conductivity, and stimulating circulation” ~I Am Grateful:Recipes & Lifestyle of Cafe Gratitude by Terces Engelhart with Orchid. You can drink sole as a detox or add to your drink bottle for energy and minerals throughout the day.

Strawberry

Add 2 Tablespoons Sole, 2 Tablespoons lemon juice, & 2 Tablespoons Agave Nectar to 12 oz fresh water. Fill to 16 oz with frozen strawberries & blend.

I have not made this in a very long time, but I have been thinking about it through researching ways to use my fresh mint and coming across some yummy looking virgin mojitos which I have yet to make. The original recipe I Am Sassy Virgin Margarita comes from I Am Grateful:Recipes & Lifestyle of Cafe Gratitude by Terces Engelhart with Orchid, but as I didn’t have any ice in the freezer, I adjusted the recipe adding frozen strawberries instead.

*Water can be substituted with watermelon or cucumber juice, ice instead of frozen strawberries, other frozen fruit, or anything else you desire.

Pour & add fresh mint leaves for a yummy raw vegan virgin strawberry margarita

I highly recommend placing Himalayan Crystal Salt under running water to your bath for overall wellness and detoxification. Lotus recommends this to provide relief for eczema, psoriasis, rashes, bites, sprains, strains, and as a saline wound wash, remembering to drink plenty of water before and after. I used to love making Himalayan Crystal Salt Baths just because, but I also found it very relaxing after Zaedyn’s birth. I loved having that time to go and soak in the bath and know how amazing it was for my body. From food to baths to margaritas ~ what a wonderful product to stock in your pantry. No wonder Himalayan Crystal Salt is thought to be mother nature’s true electrolyte and an amazing 250 million year old miracle of nature.

Urtica Dioica: Nettle

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2 Handfuls of Nettle

Cover with boiling water and infuse overnight or at least 4 hours. Strain & drink 1-3 cups per day.

Urtica Dioica: Nettle

Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorous, Copper, Silica, Potassium, Sulphur, Calcium, B3, B6, B complex, Vitamins C, D, & K

Also known as stinging nettle, this is a powerful herb rich in iron as well as so many vitamins and minerals for a variety of medicinal benefits and as a general health tonic. Considered a nuisance weed to some, others would be happy to find nettle growing as it can be picked from the wild with caution and then infused. I avoided the risk of getting stung and chose to buy mine from the Herbal Shop and Clinic. In all fairness, I only started drinking the tea within a couple days from giving birth to Zaedyn so I did not exactly have the time or energy to be out searching for nettle.

Why is stinging nettle so powerful for me?

     Sitting in the birthing centre with our newborn baby Zaedyn Tai and family all around, I received the phone call that I had been waiting for and was left with mixed emotions and confusion. Why? Well, after what seemed like a perfect natural childbirth with Zaedyn, things began to change quickly afterward. My placenta would not come away, and I began to fear being sent up to the one place that I wished to avoid: the hospital. I was filled with relief once Zaedyn was born into this world naturally, and never had I thought that I could possibly have a C-section or be put under just to get my placenta out. Anyways, we tried everything, but the contractions were just not there. Too much time had passed, homeopathy didn’t work at this point, and I was left to be injected as a final option before going up to the hospital. My midwife pulled on my placenta and was convinced that it was pretty stuck and wouldn’t come away. Having given it a good go, she asked for the ambulance to be rung while meanwhile I sat there concentrating and visualizing on what needed to happen. My placenta finally came away naturally, ambulance was called off, and my fear was gone only to come back again shortly. PPH, Postpartum hemorrhage. 1 Liter of blood lost, and off we went to the hospital leaving my husband, son, and family behind.

     I won’t go into detail now about my trip to the hospital as I have nothing positive to say except the fact that after a lot of convincing they finally let me transfer to the birthing centre on one condition: I needed a blood test by my midwife the following day as my iron levels were low through pregnancy and became extremely low having lost a lot of blood for a low BMI. When I received the phone call about my results, I was faced with a challenge. My hemoglobin was low, and the hospital was wanting me to have a blood transfusion. Besides not wanting to return to the hospital, I was not impressed about the idea of having a blood transfusion. In tears and surrounded by a mix of thoughts from others and myself and wanting to make sure that I could still manage breastfeeding and being a Mum, I further discussed my options with my midwife resulting in my decision not to have the transfusion. This is how I became to love nettle because I managed to get through this obstacle naturally with this powerful herb and high iron foods. I have my family to thank for being so supportive and helping me get through as well. Making me yummy wraps full of spinach and lentil sprouts & helping in every way possible. Now at 16 months, Zaedyn is still breastfed and keeping me very busy.

So why would I be infusing nettle tonight?

     Nettle is a great health tonic to help boost my iron as well as provide multiple essential vitamins and minerals for every day life. This is a herb that most people should have either growing, as a dried herb, or even in individual tea bags. Tea bags are an easy alternative if you forget to make more, or you just don’t have the time. I have a box of Claridges Botanicals Certified Organic Unbleached Nettle that can be found at Huckleberry Farms and possibly at many other health shops. Off to bed now with my tea still infusing in the kitchen, and I will be back in the morning to strain and transfer some in my cup and the rest in the fridge.