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Born at 6am on August 16th 2020, our “Sunny Side Up” posterior, at the crack of dawn, little girl, Aurora Riva-Lin, was born via water birth at home in the comfort of our bedroom.

Named after my sister before me, Aurora. My sister after me, Riva. And my aunt who caught me at my own birth 29 years ago, which was also a home birth, Lin. […]

The traditions of home-birthing extend back to, let’s say, the beginning of time. Definitely not a new concept but also definitely NOT what I was expecting to do either. I had a very beautiful all natural water birth with my first daughter last year, comfortably, at St. Lukes hospital. There’s something about being within the security of a hospital that helps to put your mind at ease “just in case” something were to happen. I never understood what being in the “security & comfort” of your home while birthing meant until I found myself in that exact journey of discovery just the other night.

My own mother is a home-birther. She did 6 successful home births, with her own sisters acting as midwives and doulas. She’s the OG. So when I found out that because of Covid, water birthing had been suspended in the hospitals and birthing companions were no longer allowed, I had to seek another birthing option – or seriously consider doing an all natural birth with a mask on and without any loved ones by my side.

When you decide to do an all natural birth, you are deciding to forgo the use of drugs and modern medicine & procedures to birth your baby. There are a hundred reasons why a mom would choose to do a natural birth, but the one thing that is consistent in preparing for one is assembling your birth keepers. Doulas and midwives are so essential in a natural birth as they provide never-ending support and strength when you might feel you’re at your weakest point. How I could do an all natural birth without my doula is beyond me… so I decided that in order to maintain control over my birth I would birth at home.

My mom did it 6 times right? So it shouldn’t be hard? It’s also my third child, so I shouldn’t have complications right?

Pacing through a contraction while watching spongebob with Holiday

The Birth Timeline

12 AM: At 12am on August 16th I sent a text message to my midwife informing her that “I might” be in labor. My contractions were increasing in strength and coming every two mins. They were also a 6-7 on the pain chart.

2 AM: My midwife arrives with her assistant and checks to see how far I’ve dilated. I am 10CM, fully dilated and baby has begun her descent. At this point I’m still walking around, playing with my other two children and eating some snacks. Contractions are are level 8 on the pain chart, but I just breathe through them.

3 AM – 4 AM: Pool is set up, I’m in and out of the water trying to find the best position for me to labor in. Contractions are REAL, pain levels consistently at 10 on a chart. At this point I’ve been laboring fully dilated for 3 hours and have started some pushing… I have an emotional breakdown, really bad, crying into my husband’s arms and telling the midwife I can’t continue after she’s just told me that my baby isn’t descending because she’s in a ROP (Right Occiput Posterior position). Meaning she’s coming out rotated, facing up (rather than down), stuck on my right side and the biggest part of her skull is trying to emerge first (rather than the smallest).

I’m not 100% familiar with this positional birth term, but I had remembered reading a post from my doula where just last week they took a home birthing mom into the hospital for a rush c section due to her baby being posterior.

Around this time my doula also arrives and helped to boost my morale by getting me on my feet and into different positions to help baby find her way out. My doula has had all 3 of her children naturally and in posterior position as well, so I found my confidence in believing I could do it to.

Unwavering support

4 AM – 6 AM: By this time I’ve already been pushing for 2-3 hours. In all sorts of positions. I was tired, haven’t slept in over a day and was generally depleted. I was in great pain. With every push it wasn’t a gentle smooth push as with my first daughter where you can really breathe a baby out, but it was an incredible effort of squatting with shaky legs, directing all my strength downwards and feeling her head descend inch by unbearable inch.

I felt horrible, how could this be so difficult for a third child?! What did I do wrong? Why have I made it so hard for my baby? I kept asking my doula “how can we fix her position?!”, knowing full well that at this point it’s either I get this baby to descend with every ounce of strength I had or get transferred to the hospital. At this time my doula had also said the most incredible words to me, “If this is the birth story of this baby, let it be the birth story of this baby.”

Now, I’m a willful person. I get it from my mom. I truly believe if there’s will in a person, they will make a way. And that is by effort, 100% of it, 100% of the time. I believed I could will my baby girl into this world and I believed I could provide her safe passage through my body, just as God intended. With every single push, I thought of my own mother’s strength, my doula’s and all the mothers before me who’ve come to birth in difficult situations. I wasn’t the only one, and as difficult as it was to push for 3 hours, when I finally sat back into the pool to give it my last all, I instinctively reached down and to my surprise my sweet baby girl was already looking up at me through the water.

I grabbed her and thanked God that he gave me the gift of seeing her face at the first moment of her life and the last moment of that birth and all my efforts. For her to be born rotated meant she was facing up, ready to face the world and look into her momma’s eyes. I remember screaming, “Rafa! She’s here!” and him jumping up to see her too.

Now that I’ve had 3 children, with 3 very different births, I can tell you that a woman will never feel more raw & empowered than when she becomes a mother. And with every birth, a new mother is born, a new experience and connection is being made. Not only to her baby, but mostly to herself. What I can accomplish, how I understand things, how I deal with stress and with unpredictability all stem down to what I learned from each of my births. It was only after my traumatic-depression-ravaged birth with Luca when I started to open my businesses and find strength and mental clarity in my work. And how I fiercely devoted my life to loving my son, even when my own self couldn’t love me. He in returned helped to heal my depression when he reciprocated all the love I had been instilling in him, as he grew to a caring sensitive boy.

Regardless of the way you birth, all women who become mothers will become mothers in their own unique way, facing their own unique struggles, triumphs and woes. It’s about conquering those struggles in the best way you know how for your own unique situation and never forgetting to be forgiving to yourself, your body and your baby. My doula’s words will always resonate with me and I hope they do for you too. Because it’s not just birth that makes a mother, or the story, it’s the whole entire journey of loving & nurturing the babies we so desperately wait to meet, whether they’re gifted to us sunny side up or not.

The placenta box Luca made for Aura
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