Natural physiological birth is an involuntary process orchestrated by neurochemicals and hormones that unfurl a woman’s body, enabling her to give birth to a baby and make the transition to motherhood. Physiological birth is directed from within the limbic system of the brain and body in response to and in collaboration with the endocrine system of the baby and placenta. This allows a woman to respond and surrender to ancient primal patterns and physical instincts. Giving birth physiologically is not easy in our highly medicalized and fear driven culture climate.
A baby who is birthed physiologically feels as if he has birthed himself and experiences the mother as co-operative and giving. The mother feels the success of her own stupendous achievement and it gives her confidence in herself both as a mother and a person. The scientification of love bears fruit when birth is physiological.
On September 22, 2016, I had the opportunity to serve a laboring mother through the natural physiological journey of bringing her daughter earth side. I provided emotional, physical, and educational support to the mother who also happens to be my best friend! My purpose was to help her have a safe, memorable, and empowering birthing experience. To heal the earth, we must first heal birth…
…And the clock struck 12:00 am. 40 weeks + 5 days. I had only been in bed a few hours before waking up at midnight to the pleasant surprise of consistent contractions along with the unpleasant surprise of what I would later come to find out was the onset of back labor. I tossed and turned, fading in and out of sleep between contractions while trying anything and everything to make the pains in my back subside. Then it hit me. This must be the ever so unpleasant back labor that a dear friend of mine told me she had experienced with her first child.
After a week of prodromal labor and feeling like I was crying wolf every time I told my husband and doula, “I think this might be it,” I tried to ignore the contractions and resisted timing them for fear of getting my hopes up – once again – only to be told it still wasn’t time. After an hour of consistent contractions had passed, I made my way out to the living room to start timing them. It didn’t take long before I knew in my gut that this was it. These contractions had purpose. No more crying wolf. I was going to meet my baby today.
I called my doula, Courtney Kahla, at 1:34 am several times before reaching her. She answered, groggily, and I explained the heightening severity of the back labor beginning to set in; I knew it wasn’t going away. Each contraction began in my lower abdomen before making its way to my lower back with full force. We agreed that I should call my midwife before having her head our way. Courtney was 52 miles away from a potentially laboring mother at this point. After hanging up the phone, I crept into our room to gently wake up my husband, Clay. He too had experienced my feelings of crying wolf over the past week so it took him a minute to come out of his grogginess and realize that I was wanting help timing contractions so that I could call our midwife. Once he made his way into the living room, I made a call to my midwife, Kathleen Mayorga. She could hear it in my voice that it was signs of early labor. Before I could say another word, tears streamed down my face as another contraction set in. I handed Clay the phone; I felt my breath being nearly taken away. She recommended Clay draw a warm bath for me to relax before heading to the birth center to meet the midwife, Pam, who was on call for that night.
I soaked for 20 minutes, tossing and turning with each contraction, my sweet husband at my side. At 2:27 am while soaking in the bath, I texted Courtney, “Would you mind coming now?” She responded,
Our bags had been packed for over a week now so we didn’t have much to gather. As I was finishing up with my bath, Clay took a quick shower; he knew we had a long day ahead of us. A few odds and ends left to pack, and we were soon headed out the door. I kissed our sweet pup, Clyde, on his head and told him we were going to bring home his baby sister today. It was now 2:55 am, and my husband followed directly behind me to help me into the truck. The drive felt long, longer than usual. The bumps along the road didn’t help my back labor that was vigorously running its course. Between contractions, however, my husband was able to joke with me. The laughter helped take my mind off any discomfort. We pulled into the parking lot of Bella Births Birthing Center at 3:30 am. I told Clay to leave our things in the car in case we might be sent home. As I slowly made my way into the room, Pam did an initial check to see how slowly or quickly I was progressing. I was already dilated to 5 cm. She informed me, “That’s the quickest 5 cm I’ve ever seen for a first time mama! You’ve done the initial hard part and you’re well on your way!”
At 3:46, Courtney arrived at the birth center. Little did I know that for the next 12 hours she was going to serve me in an invaluable way. As we made our way to our birth room, the midwife drew me another warm bath to begin laboring in. It was still early and we knew I had a long day ahead of me, so she wanted me relaxed and well rested for the hours of labor I had ahead. Once in the tub, the contractions slowed a bit, allowing me to catch a bit of relaxation. They came and went every 4-6 minutes. As they picked up, Courtney’s role began. With every contraction, she squeezed my hips to provide relief from the back labor. They weren’t long, but with back labor, they were long enough that I couldn’t manage without the relief of her squeezing my hips with her palms. Having her at my hips allowed Clay to be by my face and completely in tune with me physically and emotionally. His tender loving words brought me strength through each contraction.
I glanced at the clock. It was nearing 5:00 am. I began to get a bit too relaxed soaking in the tub, so the midwife suggested I make my way over to the bed so as to not get too settled and complacent and lose progress. As I made my way to the bed, back labor came on strong. Around 6:00 am, in between contractions, I calmly asked my husband to send a text to our chiropractor, Nicole Jackson, to let her know that labor was underway. If I was going to endure a full day of back labor, I wanted to be sure that my sacrum, SI joints, pelvis, and round ligaments were all functioning optimally to provide the most relief throughout the course of the day.
Nicole arrived at the birth center around 7:00 am for what would be my first of two adjustments that day. Her presence in the room provided me with instant comfort. She began with my atlas, made her way to my sacrum, and finished with my sacrotuberous ligament, and round ligaments. Each needed a significant amount of attention, but the gentle adjustments provided immediate relief. Midway through my adjustment, the other two primary midwives, Kathleen and Lisa, made their way into the room to take over for Pam.
After that first adjustment, things seemed slow. Contractions still came on strong with pain continuing to radiate through my back, but I felt like my progress had digressed. 8:30 am until roughly 11:30 am seemed like an ocean of monotony. Contraction, hip squeeze, rest. Contraction, hip squeeze, rest. Every time they would monitor Quinn’s heart rate, it was steady. My girl was being strong for momma. Her steady heart helped me to be brave. It was during this period of monotony that I began talking to her. Looking down at my very pregnant belly, I remember this conversation I had with her several times, “Sweet girl, we can do this. You and me, my girl. We’re doing this together. I need you to be strong for mama. Be brave for me, my love. I’ve got you. I’m giving in and letting go. I’m letting go so that you can come. You and me, together.” I went on to repeat different variations of the same words of affirmation over her throughout the day. First verbally and then silently as I got to where I could no longer talk.
The clock struck noon and I was exhausted. Kathleen knew it, my body knew it, everyone knew it. After moving from different positions trying to find comfort and being stuck at 7 cm for some time, Kathleen recommended both Clay and I lay down to rest. At first I fought this internally. I wanted progress; I didn’t have time to sleep and just wanted to birth my baby. However, in order for my baby to arrive, momma needed rest. Had I not rested, I would have had very little stamina remaining for the most difficult hours that were ahead. We laid down for a nap and were swept into a deep sleep. Lying next to my husband was such a shared moment of intimacy. These were our final moments as just us. All day he had been my rock. He was steady when I felt shaken. He was strength when I felt weak. He prayed over me. He held me.
Within 30 minutes of our nap, an intense contraction set in. Then another. I don’t know how she did it, but even as I was asleep and awoken by the contractions, I felt Courtney right at my hips for every single one. I was going to have to surrender to this back labor if I was going to get through the day. The back labor I had experienced all morning seemed like child’s play compared to what had just set in. It was excruciating. Nauseating. I told Courtney from here on out she was my voice. I mumbled under my breath,
You see, every ounce of Courtney’s physical, mental, and emotional energy was connected to me that day. Truthfully, every ounce of her had been connected to me my entire pregnancy. I told her prior to going into labor that I trusted her to be my voice when I got to a place where I could no longer make decisions in good conscious. Now was the time for that to take place.
From the sound in my tones, both midwives could tell that Quinn’s head was flexed laterally during a contraction, which did not set her up optimally for delivery. The way her head was angled took the height of my pain to an entirely new level. There was thought given to possibly repositioning her head manually but I did not desire that and Courtney knew that. She stepped in as my voice. She and I both knew that Quinn would find her way; she just needed my body fully connected and functioning optimally in order for her to realign herself.
It was Courtney’s intuition that made her decide that we needed to get Nicole back immediately. I needed her. Quinn needed her. The moments that were about to unfold from here on out were truly miraculous. They were magical, empowering, and life changing. Nicole cleared her schedule for the remainder of the day and was on her way. Clay and Courtney kept me as comfortable as they could until Nicole arrived. In the meantime, Courtney got me in a position lying on my side that would provide temporary relief for how Quinn’s head was flexed. I hated it. And I think in those moments I hated her for making me do it. But alas, I knew I needed to do whatever I could to make sure I was making a way for my girl to soon be safely in my arms. It was nearing 2:00 pm when Nicole arrived. When she entered, she instantly felt the energy pulsating through the entire room. She, too, could tell in my tones that Quinn’s head was out of optimal position and knew exactly what she needed to check.
I was helped, much to my dismay, into a seated position so that my atlas could be adjusted. Nicole got her hands on my atlas, which was subluxated like she had never felt before but swiftly went back into alignment with ease. From there, she, Courtney, and Clay helped me to all fours, with my knees on the bed and forearms extended over a birthing ball in front of me. She needed access to my pelvis. My midwives were standing by the side of the bed as Nicole made her way to my sacrum. Courtney was in front of me, arms intertwined with mine so that I could, bless her soul, nearly squeeze all feeling from her arms through the waves of contractions. My darling husband was at my side helping me use my breaths for purpose. Nicole quickly got to work on my sacrum.
Once she cleared the interference from my sacrum, 1 minute later my water broke. Clay was the one who noticed! I felt a rush and I knew what had just happened. I had prayed all morning that my water would break naturally. I trusted that my body was capable of this. That moment gave everyone in the room such a divine appreciation for the human body.
This was it. I knew I was going to meet my baby soon. While still on all fours, my midwives coached me on how to push. Initially, I was releasing my energy through my tones rather than through Quinn. I quickly learned what I needed to fix. With each contraction came three deep breaths each held for ten seconds, focusing all of my energy to my girl. In between contractions I relaxed every fiber of my being as much as possible before bearing down for the next set of deep breaths. I was close. In a matter of a few more pushes I would meet my baby. However, the position I was currently in, though comfortable, was not optimal for her delivery. Kathleen told me I needed to reposition to my back to make more room for Quinn. I refused. Again, much to my dismay, I complied and they were right. From here, I felt my husband on my right side at my head, saying sweet words of encouragement to help me relax between contractions. He made every one of my breaths his own, breathing in my pain deeply with me. His words carried me through each contraction. Courtney was at my left leg supporting me. My midwives were in position as Quinn’s head began to crown.
At this point, I was exhausted. I felt defeated. While time was racing by, it felt like an eternity to me. I had reached the point that my midwife said I would find myself in where I would speak the words, “I can’t do this.” And sure enough, that is what I said. From those words, Kathleen knew my baby would be Earth side within minutes.
As her head crowned, Kathleen told me to reach down to feel her. I touched my baby. A few more gut wrenching, deep, purposeful breaths were all that were separating me from my baby girl. I pushed through three more contractions and her head was out. I was told to relax and wait for the next cleansing exhale. I didn’t listen. I knew I was at my end and that my body didn’t have another contraction to give into. Instead of relaxing after the last ten second hold, I continued holding my breath and pushed a little extra. That was it. She was here. Her shoulders squeezed through with the rest of her tiny body and I reached down to embrace my miracle. She was bright eyed and beautiful. She was peaceful. Alert. She was safe.
Quinn Kimball Hauk was welcomed to this world on September 22, 2016 at 3:05 pm CST – three minutes after the sun crossed the celestial equator marking the autumnal equinox. The official first day of fall. I brought my baby to my bare chest and she melted onto my body in perfect peace. I wept. My husband wept. We were all consumed. She was here! Moments later she sucked in her bottom lip and let out her first dainty cry. Her 7 pound 11 ounce body on my chest was intoxicating. My soul was overwhelmed. I was entirely consumed by the life of this precious miracle. After gazing into her beautiful glowing eyes, I turned to my husband whose eyes were completely wet. “We did it.” I could see the pride in his eyes. Joy consumed him. Everyone else in the room became a blur to me at this moment. All my heart could focus on was the man next to me who had just become a Daddy and our radiant daughter lying peacefully on my chest.
After soaking in the precious first hour as a family of three, Quinn received her first chiropractic adjustment from Nicole. I was elated to be able to give her such a gentle start to life, through the gift of chiropractic, to ensure that her tiny nervous system was operating as optimally as possible after her physically demanding journey Earth side. As I sat propped up finding my center again, my sweet husband laid by Quinn’s side holding on to her tiny fingers while Nicole applied the gentlest amount of pressure around her body.
Birth is physically demanding for both a mom and her baby. When she was born, her small hands and feet were blue. After the gentlest adjustment, we all sat and watched as those same tiny hands and feet turned flesh pink. Normal physiology restored.
The next few hours were spent with my precious girl lying on my chest, skin to skin. I had never felt such an immediate bond in all my life. This 7 pound 11 ounce girl was more than I ever dreamed of. I caught several glimpses of my belly where she used to be, and praised God that she was now safely in my arms. Clay proceeded to lay his hands around her tiny body as he brought her to his chest for her first skin to skin Daddy snuggles. I could see the sheer pride beaming from his heart. After mama carried his daughter for nearly 10 months, he finally got his first embrace. While skin to skin with mama was vital to me, the bonding time between my sweet husband and his daughter was just as important. As I gazed at the two of them, tears streamed down my face. Heart overflowing.
I’m incredibly grateful for the birth team that served me and Quinn. From each midwife, to my husband, doula, and chiropractor, I couldn’t imagine a better team of people to ensure that our daughter had a gentle and safe awakening to this world.
And just like that, my journey into motherhood began. My heart was filled with gratitude that the Lord placed my husband in my life to be such a stronghold for me. There’s no one I would rather journey through motherhood and parenthood with than him. Clay will bring so much strength, courage, and bravery to our daughter as she begins to grow. My prayer that evening was that I would fully trust in the ways God had already equipped me to be a mama.
Here’s to the beautiful journey that awaits us!
In love + health,
Lindsay, Clay, and Quinn Hauk
Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and is for educational purposes only.
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I’m Dr. Courtney Kahla. I’m here to empower you to take control of your own health & wellness.
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