Please join us in congratulating Paleo Diet writer Nell Stephenson on the birth of her first son! Here’s the story of her big day and why she choose home birth. Also, to quote Nell, “after having been through this pregnancy journey and learning, unfortunately, that the medical model of care for pregnant women is based not in the best interest of mother and baby, but on the very lucrative model of The Business of Being Born, as so eloquently put in the documentary with the same name. It’s akin to our broken healthcare model as it pertains to nutritional advice and I now feel just as passionate about educating people on what they need to know when they go the traditional route as I do about educating them about a proper Paleo approach!”
Hello from Babyland! Or, as our midwife and doula have referred to the area we’ve been spending much of our time these past two weeks… Bed Island.
On May 9, 2019, at 10:25pm, our son, Yves Blake Stephenson was born safely at home after a three hour labor. He weighed 6 pounds, 11 oz and is a healthy, happy boy, breastfeeding and sleeping like a champ.
I’d created an entry on my calendar and although the day began as planned – morning master’s swim, followed by a trip for a blow out (what can I say? I wanted to look my best when our son arrived!), I felt absolutely no different that day than I had during the past several weeks.
Still working, still exercising daily, and while I was moving considerably slower, I had none of the signs of early labor we’d learned to be on the lookout for.
I wasn’t remotely worried as I’d also learned that the due date has a five week leeway around it, from three weeks before to two weeks after during which delivery would still be considered timely.
Many women with whom I spoke over the next week all offered reassurance that this was normal and that they too had delivered a week or longer after their due date, and although I didn’t need it, it was good to hear.
I knew our son just needed a little more time and that he’d start the process of being born when he was good and ready.
The only factor we needed to consider was that in California, a midwife can only attend a birth up until week 42 in home. Fortunately, ours has a colleague who is an OBGYN that exclusively delivers in home and even works with high risk pregnancy, so even if I were to carry past term, it wouldn’t mean our dream to have a home birth would have to change.
I welcomed input from our doula and midwife and collectively we decided I’d do a few acupuncture sessions as well as up the ante on raspberry tea and increase the number of dried dates I was eating (both have properties to help bring on and support labor). (1,2,3).
Nothing happened Friday. Or Saturday. Or Sunday. Customers and friends at my weekend markets as well as Monday in the commercial kitchen commented, “Oh, still pregnant! Why are you still working?”
Nothing Tuesday, or Wednesday when I was out for my usual 3 hr hike with the dogs on the trails and same questions, all out of care and concern.
Because I felt great and had zero signs of labor.
Until the next day.
I woke at 5 a.m. to go to the pool and saw a small splotch of blood (about the size of a silver dollar) on the ground near the toilet that must have dropped in the night.
Was this the mucous plug?
I texted our midwife and she said probably, yes… don’t go swimming.
Anything else I should or should not do? No, she said, just keep alert for other signs.
The day progressed as normal, yet I noticed an odd feeling of a pulled muscle in my right low back. So mild that simply changing positions completely alleviated it.
I went to my scheduled acupuncture appointment, this time with micro stim, and then had this strange desire for a smoothie.
I’m not a smoothie gal and had zero cravings during pregnancy.
But something told me to stop at one of the smoothie shops that had pregnancy specific smoothies. (4)
I drove home and hubby and I and the dogs went up to the trail head for an evening walk.
We only went for a short loop and the back sensation I’d been feeling was making itself more and more known. By the time we headed back down, I was considerably more uncomfortable.
We got home and while hub prepared dinner, I found myself unable to find a comfortable way to position myself.
Yet I still had zero indication that this was labor… after all, nothing was going on in my abdomen. I had no new sensations.
So what was going on?
Stay tuned for Part II…
(1) Raspberry leaf and its effect on labour: safety and efficacy. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10754818
(2)Raspberry leaf in pregnancy: its safety and efficacy in labor. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11370690
(3) The effect of late pregnancy consumption of date fruit on labour and delivery https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21280989