The Free Birth of Cedar Emerson

The last several years before Cedar was conceived were transformative for me. I realized just how many of my beliefs were skewed by our culture. I wished that I could go back in time and do a lot of things differently, including birth all of my children naturally.

We weren't planning on having any more children. So, when we found out we were expecting again, I knew I was going to give birth at home.

At first, I imagined I'd have a midwife and a doula there to be supportive. I quickly found a midwife that I really liked. She had a belief system that lined up with mine. She was aware and pretty amazing...

But, not available.

I didn't realize it then. But, that was one of the first and biggest blessings this pregnancy had to offer. ❤️

I quickly decided to look into unassisted childbirth. At first, it really intimidated me. Ruben (mu husband) wasn't immediately supportive. But, he did trust me. We both knew I wouldn't make any decisions that would put me or our new baby's health in jeopardy.

I found an incredible support group for unassisted pregnancy and unassisted childbirth. I met the most amazing women. I learned so much. I spent every day learning and soaking up information.

We learned what to do in the worst case scenarios. We even had a UP/UC supportive midwife come to our home to teach us what to do if... She was wonderful and very encouraging.  After the class, Ruben felt very equipped. Having her come eased any remaining fears he had.

By the end of this pregnancy, we both had absolutely no fear. There was no hesitation. I was so in tune with my body...  So in tune with my baby.... So in tune with this pregnancy. I was even thoroughly convinced we were having a boy-- without any ultrasound (or doppler) use the entire pregnancy. I took incredible care of my health and nutrition. I listened to his heartbeat occasionally by fetoscope. Everything just felt right. I was fully trusting my God given gift: my intuition.... I was trusting myself.  Silencing the noise. It was amazing.

Ruben was amazing. He trusted me. He didn't question me. He was incredibly loving and supportive.

He now knew that birth was a normal biological function.... that interventions often lead to more interventions... And that home was --by far-- the safest place FOR US to bring our baby into the world.

I had beautiful parental support as well. My parents planned an unassisted childbirth with me and my sister. So, I felt very free to share my plans with them, without them projecting culture-based fears onto us. It felt really wonderful.  

I was very careful who I shared our plans with. I didn't want others to project their fears, their own negative concerns over this upcoming birth. I trusted those closest with me to also keep our birth plans to themselves.  It was not a time for me to reassure anyone. It was not a time for me to help others work through their fears.  

Around 38 weeks, I was taking a bath and felt Cedar turn breech. The next day, I went to the chiropractor for her to perform The Webster Technique. She palpated my abdomen and also found he was breech. She asked me to have a midwife confirm position so that she could know how to treat me better.

The next day, I called the midwife that I had originally met with. She was amazing. She told me that baby would come how he wanted to come. She told me to study more on breech delivery. She agreed with my feeling that even if baby didn't turn, things would be fine. Babies are delivered breech, safely, all over the world, everyday.

I never saw her. ❤️

I had absolutely no fear if my baby chose to stay that way.

I trusted my intuition. I knew that if something didn't feel right, I knew how to get help. I didn't feel anxious at all. All I felt was peace. I trusted that.

I felt baby turn vertex a few days after that.

The day before my due date, I lost my cervical plug around 4:00pm. I was really surprised. Before that, I imagined not going into labor for quite awhile. I calculated my own due date to be 2.21.15. But, always imagined him coming later, in early March.

That night, we rushed around getting things ready. No contractions yet. But, I knew it was very close. There was a snow storm coming in.  It was perfect. I had envisioned laboring peacefully at night during a snow storm since the beginning.  

At 6:00pm,  Ruben left for work. He was supposed to be home around 8 or 9 in the morning. I told him I'd be fine.

The kids were all very excited as we went to bed that night.

At midnight, I woke up to my first contraction. At 12:10, I woke up again. They were coming every 10-12 minutes. By 12:30, I got out of bed to labor. Right away, I knew I wanted to have the freedom to move.

I texted Ruben. But, told him to take his time and finish his shift. I thought it would be quite a while. Things were slow and easy until close to 4 in the morning. I got into the tub to see if that would help. I didn't really like it. But, stayed in there for an hour or so.

I was still talking with the women in my groups. They were so supportive and amazing. I remember one telling me that I should probably tell my husband to head home. I said "I don't want to cry wolf..." Lol. At that point, I thought I might not give birth until that evening. She said, "I don't think you'll be crying wolf."  I should have listened.

Luckily, Ruben came home early.

So, I was in the tub a little after 5am when Ruben got home. Things were getting intense. Contractions were coming every 2 minutes. But, they didn't last too long. Only about 40 seconds each. At that point, I couldn't time them any longer. Around 6am,  Ruben started to set up the birthing pool. I told him to forget about it. I realized I wanted a "land birth."  I got out of the tub.

Ruben brought the speaker to the bathroom, so I could listen to my birth playlist in there. I hated it.  I had worked so hard making it. But, I hated every song that came up.

All I wanted was Xavier Rudd. I put his Spirit Bird album on repeat. It was perfect. The next hour was almost an out of body experience. I meditated on the music. I focused on each contraction: relaxing every muscle. Surrendering to each one. I kept reminding myself to go limp, like a rag doll. It was intense. I was happy. I felt no fear. I didn't ever question myself. Cedar and I were in tune with each other. I knew he was okay. I knew he'd be here soon. At that point, I remember thinking how grateful I was to be where I was. To be feeling everything. To be alone with my husband. To be so in tune.

It was beautiful.

I knew I didn't want to push. I'd read enough to know that our bodies will naturally push without our effort. It's called the Fetal Ejection Reflex.

So, a little after 7 am, I felt my body contract very differently. It was like a spasm from the top of my uterus. I knew what was happening. With each one, I instinctively put my arms in the air (not sure why... But I did).

I told Ruben to wake up the boys. He quickly came back with them... Just in time to see Cedar's head emerging. A few seconds later, I leaned back, without ever pushing once, and his shoulders came out, right into Ruben's arms. He quickly handed him to me. I untangled the cord from his shoulders and neck. And wiped off the amniotic sac that was covering his head and shoulders.

He was perfect! He had incredible color. He was looking right at me. He started to cry.... Only for a second.

Then, he just looked around, soaking up his new world.

He was here. He was earthside, healthy, in my arms. "Follow The Sun" was playing. The sun was rising. The snow was falling.  It was simply perfect.--

The boys looked to see if he was a brother or a sister. He was definitely a brother.

He arrived at 7:09am weighing in at a hefty 8 pounds 15 ounces and 21.75 inches tall. He had a 14.5 inch head. Born on his due date.

I was still in a squatted position and easily delivered the placenta a few minutes later.

Ruben was "on it." He had warm towels ready to wrap me and the baby in. He grabbed a stainless bowl for the placenta. I didn't have to tell him anything. He was incredible.

The rest of the day was beautiful. Surrounded by loving family. We had a beautiful cord burning ceremony. He nursed like a champ. He met his daddy, his brothers, his grandparents and his Aunt Amy. He was surrounded with love and adoration.

It was simply perfect! He is perfect! And I'm forever grateful that I got a chance to give birth so peacefully, to such a peaceful soul.