Welcome to the World, Noryn Conlee!

My little Noryn came into the world almost two and a half months ago,
and I have been so fortunate to enjoy a bit of an extended maternity leave with her arrival,
which was much welcomed as it has been an adjustment getting used to having FOUR children in the house. : )

But last Sunday marked my first session since Noryn was born and the end of my maternity leave.

So it’s time to share some pictures and her story!
First, these are her newborn photos that I took for her birth announcement.
I couldn’t exactly photograph my own birth, especially since it happened so fast,
but I did get some pictures right after she was born,
and if you’d like to see those and read my birth story, scroll down a bit further.

I had a beautiful (and my first) home birth with little Noryn,
and I wanted a place to share my story.
So this post is going to be a little bit longer than others,
but I feel so strongly about encouraging other moms-to-be out there about the beauty of natural birth.
So feel free to read on or pass on this link to someone you might know who would enjoy learning too!

I had my other three kiddos during the unhealthy years of my life. I didn’t know anything about natural remedies or a healthy lifestyle. After I gained knowledge about such things, I was a bit sad for the way my births went. With Evan, my water “sprung a leak” but my labor never progressed so I was put on pitocin, which led to a lot of pain and an epidural. My labor was intense with that 9 lb 2 oz baby, and after 2 hours of pushing in a position I didn’t want to be in because a nurse told me I had to stay there, he was finally born. Haven was on her own time schedule, and I selfishly wanted her out. I had a lot of false labor with Haven. Since I didn’t go into labor with Evan on my own, I didn’t know what to expect, and I was heart-breakingly sent home from the hospital three times. My doctor agreed to induce my labor. More pitocin, another epidural. Thankfully, only 2 pushes and she was out. With Gracen, I didn’t want to be sent home from the hospital again. I jokingly told my husband that I was staying home until she was half way out because I couldn’t stand being sent home again. That’s exactly what I did with her. Except when my body was transitioning, I felt like I couldn’t handle it–maybe it was the experience of always having an epidural with my others–but I caved an asked for the epidural. Except that time it didn’t go right. The second the needle went in, I knew something wasn’t right. It had to be put in a second time. And after my one push wonder was born, I had pain which turned out to be the herniated disk in my back that led me on my journey to health and healing.

After I became healthy, I looked back at those births with a bit of sadness and regret. I wasn’t thinking about what was best for my babies…just what was going to make things better for me. When I found out that we were going to have another baby, I knew God had blessed me with a chance for redemption, a chance to experience birth as the beautiful miracle he created it to be. And so I began to pray, to listen, and to educate myself about birth. And as the months passed, I knew in my heart that God was calling me to a home birth where He could shower his grace upon me to help me experience joy in my birth.

I was excited and scared all at once. I knew that God designed my body perfectly to experience birth. I knew that many women across the world gave birth by themselves without the help of doctors or even midwives. But I had never had a birth without pain medication and intervention. And by the time I would be giving birth, it would barely be a year and a half since my back surgery. But I felt confidently that this was God’s will for my life, and so then I had to start praying that he would change my husband’s heart towards having a home birth. 🙂

Even though I was convinced in my heart that I was going to have a home birth, the process of lining all of it up took nearly my entire pregnancy. It started off with our first ultrasound. My grandma, a twin herself, has always dreamed of having more twins in her family. So there is always much excitement and even a bit of joking about having more than one baby. You can imagine my surprise when our ultrasound technician found two masses. And then you can imagine how quickly my high became a low when there was only one heartbeat to be found. My joy quickly became sorrow for what could have been, although I trust that for whatever reason it happened for the best. They called it a vanishing twin, and it became a waiting game to make sure my body reabsorbed what they now called a hemorrhage. If it wasn’t reabsorbed, I would have been considered a high risk pregnancy, and home birth wouldn’t have been possible. It was during this time that I discovered the wonderful comfort of the oil blend, Joy. I wore it in the morning on my neck and spent many hours soaking in a tub with joy and epsom salts.

By God’s grace, by my 20 week appointment there was no remaining sign that my womb once held two, and I was free to move forward with my plans, which included changing OBGYNs as it became clear that my current OBGYN did not support my wishes or my new lifestyle. I was referred to a wonderful Christian man, and began the search for a midwife. It was about that time when my husband was receiving calls to other churches. Not knowing whether we would be staying or moving, it was difficult for me to start another new relationship, so I put off trying to find a midwife. The longer I waited, the less I wanted a midwife, and the more I just longed to be supported by people I knew and trusted with my wishes.

An oiling friend of mine gladly agreed to be my doula, and I was thrilled that she would be present to apply the oils as needed so my husband could focus on supporting me and so I could focus on remaining calm and breathing. I did try contacting a few midwives, but after one took over 2 months to call me back (in her defense, it was by mistake and not intentional) and the others were either not in business, not available, or no where close enough to me, I took it as a sign that it just wasn’t meant to be.

So I did something bold. A dear friend of mine, a mentor in my faith, used to be a delivery nurse. I prayed about it and asked her if she would be willing to attend my home birth. We met and continued praying about it, and she was on board. I was beyond thrilled to have the pieces coming together (at this point with less than 2 months to go!)

Now was go-time. I had reviewed my Gentle Babies book to know how to use my oils ahead of time. Every night I was rubbing my tummy with the oil blend [Gentle Baby].(https://www.youngliving.com/en_US/products/essential-oils/blends/gentle-baby-essential-oil) I was using [myrrh] (https://www.youngliving.com/en_US/products/essential-oils/singles/myrrh-essential-oil)in my lotion to help with perineal stretching. I bought the curriculumHypnobabies so that I could learn more about what natural childbirth could look like (this was my 4th, and I DID learn!) as well as to learn self-hypnosis to remain calm and without fear during my birthing time so that my body could do what it was designed to do. (I know self-hypnosis sounds a little out there, but I bet you’ve put yourself there before! Have you ever driven some place and not remembered all of your trip? That was a state of self-hypnosis! You’re not asleep, you are still functioning, but your mind is someplace else. If you’re interested to learn more, please respond to this email and I’d love to share!)

Then the big day came. I woke up around 4am just feeling like I had to go to the bathroom. Certainly nothing out of the ordinary for a 9 month pregnant woman. 🙂 But I just couldn’t fall back asleep once I got into bed. My mind was alert. Then I noticed I was having contractions. They didn’t feel much like “real” ones, but since I was awake and bored, I got out my phone and started recording them on my handy contraction counter app (yes, there’s an app for everything!). Soon I noticed they although they didn’t feel strong, they were 7 minutes apart. I felt wonderfully relaxed, but I kept timing them as long as I was awake. My excitement was building that my birthing day could finally be here, so I put in my earbuds and listened to my birthing day affirmations while my husband slept on next to me.

By 5:30 at the end of my affirmations track, my birthing waves were 5 minutes apart. I woke up my husband by saying, “I think we’re having our baby today!” To which he replied, “If that’s the case, I’m going to get some more sleep.” (He’s not really a morning person… ha ha) When I asked him if he was going to get up, he said, “So you want me to go to work then come back?” It took a little more to convince him to get up because he didn’t believe it was really my birthing time. (My hypnobabies was working!)

At 6:30 I called my mom, who was going to watch my other 3 kids. She was at my house by 7:30. Jon was helping get the kids fed and their bags packed to go to grandma’s house. I’m pretty sure we were all assuming I was in this for the long haul, so no one was in a big rush. I spent the majority of the morning in my darkened, quiet room listening to my hypnosis tracks and just relaxing and breathing through the birthing waves.

By 8:00 I felt overwhelming urges to go to the bathroom, so I parked myself in my dark bathroom. By this time, my birthing waves were quite strong, and I helped my body release the energy through strong “Aahs.” Jon said it sounded like I was singing…and it was nice that I have good pitch. ha! 🙂 I remember my kids coming up to pray over me before they left, but since I was in deep hypnosis at that time, I can’t remember much of what they said. But it was such a sweet gesture, and I was blessed by it!

Right as my kids were leaving, my birth team arrived. They were phenomenal. I wanted to stay in my dark, quiet bathroom, and they just worked around me. Since I was highly medicated for all of my other births, I guess I underestimated how much I would feel like I had to go to the bathroom. I didn’t want to have an accident all over my bedroom floor, so I felt more comfortable parked in there. My birthing waves were incredibly intense at this point, and so was my “singing.” My doula brought me a tissue with spearmint oil on it for me to smell so I wouldn’t vomit. It worked like a charm, and I’m so thankful for that because I think vomiting is about the worst feeling in the world! At that point my nurse listened to baby’s heart during a strong birthing wave, and it was good!

My birth team was with me for about an hour. I vaguely remember my doula applying frankincense to my back, which helps the body relax and helps the birthing time go more quickly. I bought a bottle especially for this occasion! During this intense time, my husband was standing in our shower, which is right next to the toilet, so he could massage my lower back (where I had my surgery). Every time I felt a pressure wave, I needed him to apply strong pressure on my lower back. It was incredibly easier to get through with Jon’s touch and help than on my own! My pressure waves were so strong at this point that I just remember praying to God that if I was only just making the point (5cm) where I cried out for an epidural with my other babies, that I was going to need His strength to get through. It was intense, and I didn’t know how much longer I could keep it up. Jon asked me if I had checked to see if I could feel the baby. It honestly hadn’t dawned on me. With this birth, I didn’t want to know my “progress” unless things weren’t moving because I felt like it would discourage me. I had been only 1-2 cm dilated since my 35 week prenatal check after I lost my mucous plug. I was so surprised when I reached down and felt the water sac less than an inch away from crowning!

At that moment, I felt an overwhelming joy come over me, just reminding me of God’s faithfulness. He was the one who called me to this birth, and He faithfully carried me through. I knew at that point I could make it to the end, but I had no idea how quickly that end would come! As soon as I realized she was nearly here, I tried standing off the toilet to move to an area my birth team had prepared in my bedroom. My plan was to squat and be able to catch her myself. But as I stood up, I had an incredible urge to bear down. After that urge, she had crowned. Then immediately, my body ejected her entire body from mine. I didn’t push at all. She came out all at once–it was surreal! I can’t even describe the joy and peace that God blessed me with through this experience!

After she was out, I delivered the placenta on my way to my bed, which was caught in a container so I could encapsulate it later for hormone regulation. I’m not sure I would do this again. I ended up having hormonal drops before my encapsulation process was complete (which was just 3 days after birth). And had I not just given my mom the rest of my progessence plus, I think it would have been a better thing to just use that immediately after birth to help even out the hormones.

Jon and I got to snuggle our sweet baby for about an hour after her birth as her cord drained before we cut it. The blood in the placenta has so many goodies for the babies…and should something have gone wrong, it would have been her lifeline until we could get to the hospital. When you allow the cord to drain completely, there is no need to tie it off. Took some getting used to, but it’s healing well as we have been applying myrrh essential oil to it daily. During our snuggle time, we also anointed her head with frankincense oil as we prayed for God to protect her and give her good health.

My story cannot even begin to describe the way God taught me to trust him through this experience. I wish I had known this way for all of my other births, although I am not regretting those experiences as they each taught me something so important. We are so blessed that little Noryn is here, that everything went smoothly, that our help was amazing, and what God has taught us through this process!

July 6, 2014 - 9:12 pm

Sheila Sheppard - I love and appreciate your story Lani. Thank you for sharing. What an amazing experience. Your pictures are so beautiful.

July 7, 2014 - 7:49 pm

Becky Matson - What a beautiful story of the birth of your beautiful girl. Thank you for sharing.

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