Posts tagged mothering
Our Beautiful Natural Birth

It’s Vigo’s birthday, He turns 2 today.

I am preparing to give birth to my second son in just about one month, so I am finally going to share my first born son, Vigo’s birth story.

I know we don't often hear beautiful natural birth stories. Which is sad. The birth stories that are shared the most are the traumatic, long ones that end with interventions. But I am so pleased to share our beautiful birth story with you. And to be honest, I am so glad that I researched, practiced and envisioned giving birth before embarking on the adventure. I'm also so glad that I had the midwives that I did because they really fought hard to keep our birth adventure natural.

I want to say this from the start. I know that every birth experience and every woman is different. I know also that many complications can happen and things can get critical fast. But I also know that we women have been giving birth naturally and calmly for centuries and that intervention should be an exception not the norm. I'm so very grateful that we were able to have a natural and calm birth. I pretty much had a dream birth and was able to stay calm and relaxed through most of it.

So it began…It started slowly and was relaxed. I had been having pretty consistent and comfortable contractions for about a week and a half before our baby Vigo was born. A few days before he joined us, my cervix was already 3cm dilated. My comfortable contractions had been doing good slow work. I was still able to sleep at night, and was comfortable enough to go on long walks to try to induce harder labor.

My mama joined us for the birth. So did my friends Amy and Julia.

Our baby was 10 days "overdue" when the midwives said that if I wanted to avoid a hospital birth, I would have to drink a cocktail with castor oil in it to induce labor. It's hard to get doctors to sign off on a home birth or birthing center birth so long after my estimated due date. So on Monday the 16th of January, I drank a disgusting cocktail with castor oil, apricot juice, champagne, and cream. Castor oil is non-digestable so it ignited a flushing effect, to clear my digestive tract and induce stronger contractions. It worked. Within 3 hours I finally went into harder labor. Yay! Vigo was coming to join us today!

The midwife sent us for a walk and I had to stop every 7 minutes or so to breath through the surges (contractions).  We came back after an hour and I had some pretty strong back pain, so I got into the birthing pool that they have at the birthing center. It relieved some back pain and helped me to relax. After a few hours of laboring in the pool, Dominik coaching me to relax my whole body and let my uterus do the great work, I got out of the pool. Our midwife checked my progress and said that my cervix was fully dilated and she could feel that part of the amniotic sac was pressing out of it.

I lay on the bed on my side. I told our midwife that I had the urge to push. But it was so early in labor, how could I already have this urge to push. She said if I feel I need to push, I should. So I did, and my water broke like a horizontal geyser all over the midwife's and Dominik's arms. It was over 2 liters of water, and shot about 2 meters out. Haha.

Our midwife said that the excessive amniotic fluid was most likely what was keeping the strong labor from starting. The amniotic sac was acting as a pillow around the baby, so his head couldn't fully descend into my pelvis and ignite labor. So once my water broke, the surges got stronger, but baby's heart beat got weaker. 

We discovered that the only position that would stabilize the baby's heart-rate was if I was on all 4s with an exercise ball under my chest. This position put a lot of strain on my back. I begged to try a few other positions, but the midwives (now two) insisted on me laboring in this position and that between surges I was to breath deeply into my belly to give the baby more oxygen. I later found out that the baby's heart-rate was quite critical and it looked like I would have to be transferred to the hospital, and they thought it would end in C-section. But with their coaching and Dom's reminding me to breath deeply into my belly, we were able to continue there.

I was pushing during surges and relaxing and breathing during the breaks. This is the wonderful thing about labor. It is hard work and then a break. Hard work and then a break. I also was envisioning my body doing the work and the baby moving down and making progress. I could also feel as he moved into my pelvis and back a bit during the breaks. It was an amazing experience. I kept on talking to our little baby out loud saying how excited we were to meet him and that he's doing such a good job working with me on this journey.

After an hour and a half of hard work the midwives said I should reach down and feel my baby. I could already feel his head. I lost it, with happy tears! He was almost here! This gave me so much motivation because I could really feel the progress. It wouldn't be long before we met him.

For about half an hour I had several strong surges and pushed hard during each one and rested hard between them. I liked this part of labor because I could feel me stretching and him moving down so much. It was the most difficult but the most rewarding.

I felt so strong and so connected with the baby and with Dominik. I kept on talking to my baby, saying how happy I was he was finally coming to join our family. Then one strong push and his head was out. Rested waiting for another surge. The last surge I pushed so hard and his shoulders and body came out. I reached under me and picked up my baby. And I put him to my chest.

We were a family. The three of us. It felt so natural and wonderful having his warm little body against mine and mine against Dominik's. I don’t know if I have ever felt more close to nature and as wild as I did on the day of Vigo’s birth.

He was healthy and beautiful and we had all worked so well together. I was so proud of us and so happy to finally meet this little person who had been with me for the past 9 months. We all cried together. It was just wonderful! 

I was in heaven. I could not believe this was our little baby. He was finally here. He's ours. He's a combination of Dominik and myself. We are all he knows and he has found home in us.

Thanks for reading lovelies,

Anna

 

Thank you Julia Sentman for the beautiful photographs. We will treasure them for always.

I cannot be a great mom and a great artist.

This is a major limiting believe that I have carried with me the past 10 years, or maybe lifetime.

I cannot be a brilliant and prolific artist as well as an attentive and nurturing mother.

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My career as an artist began, with motherhood. Before this, I taught art for 5 years, ran an online vintage shop, and lead creative workshops. But not until 3 years ago, while pregnant with Vigo, did I start painting for me and selling my work. Upon becoming a mother I became an ‘real’ artist.

I don’t yet know where this belief came from, I may have to seek counselling on the subject. There is a pressure for mothers in general to always be present with their children. To be there for them all the time. There is also a strong natural inclination to do so.

But as a working mama, who wants to thrive at my job and passion and in motherhood, I consistently am confronted with this self doubt about whether I am falling short in both respects.

“I cannot,'“ is just not true. Now, I have decided that I can…

What could this look like, what could being a great mom and a great artist look like? This is what I began imagining…

-I take chunks of time in the studio to perfect my craft and build a body of work. Ideally at least 3 days a week. Sharing the childcare time with my husband Dominik.

-I make beautiful work that is unique to me, that speaks to and moves people. That adds beauty to this life and (at times) bleak world.

-I make a good living as a visual artist, I could do what I love and support my family. We could be flexible and free in our lifestyle and I could be making and selling art to pay all our expenses.

-I want to be WITH my children. Enjoying and delighting in them when we spend time together.

-My children (1 child so far) are so beautiful and fun. I want to savour my time with them, especially when they are so small, cuddly and their brains are making millions of new connections a day.

-Let go of MOM GUILT and know that I am most happy when I am both working in the studio and spending time with my babies. If I were a full-time stay-at-home-mama, I would be pretty miserable. A happy, healthy, and balanced mama is of great benefit to my offspring. A miserable and overwhelmed mama who is around all the time, would not be best for their little hearts’ and brains’ maturity.


I am so grateful to share the parenting role 50/50 with my husband. This has freed me up to really take time with my son Vigo as well as put in good and consistent hours in my studio and art career. What a dream scenario.


My limiting belief is being dismounted and a few of my goals for this coming year are to…

  • Be present and active with my boys (yes we are having another boy.)

  • Take time to make, prioritise my studio practice.


Wish me luck! I’ve been practicing this the past two years, with Vigo, but I am so excited and delighted to add a new baby to our lives and see how we can make this work, while having two small children in our home and lives.

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What is a limiting belief that you believe? Imagine the possibilities if this were possible. What would it look like? It is possible.

Decide that you can.


Thanks for reading lovelies.


Anna

Haus-Mann / Haus-Frau
I totally understand why parents decide to stay home with their kids. I knew in theory that taking care of your own babies is great, but I honestly couldn't quite believe it. Before I had my baby, I was always so happy to return a baby back to their parents, and go home without a child. This is because it was not my child. At times it is hard to be at home with Vigo (my child), but this love that parents talk about is real. As a non-parent, I was sceptical about whether it really was great to raise kids. But honesly it is great and I get why parents are a bit crazy about their children. 

I am staying home and playing with Vigo as my priority 3 days a week. In these days I love on him and talk to him as my main job. Then whenever he is sleeping or he is content to play on his own (which he can handle for -5 minutes now! Woo Hoo!), I can get something done, like my morning pages, wash the dishes or take a shower. The dishes and mail can wait. I can do the laundry while babbling at him about the nice clothes he has or brushing the fresh towel over his face as he blinks and smiles. I can even take sold artworks to the post office on a walk with him.  You may be thinking, well just wait until they are running around or you have two. I know. 


But right now, I am loving, loving on Vigo and he has changed my life and priorities. He has interrupted my life so much and I am so happy that he has.

What an amazing job. To be home and be present with my child. That is all I have to do. The rest, Domink and I have agreed can happen if and when we have time throughout the day. Or when we really want to and the dirt is bothering us. Dinner is not even expected. That can be a joint effort. I love living this natural, creative and collaborative lifestyle.


On the road when we were splitting all the duties and were both always responsible for Vigo's needs. We were providing for him, but not really with him, we gave him 50% of our attention often times. It doesn't feel good. I know we all have to do this sometimes, just to get things done. But with this sharing of "Vigo Days" we can give him 100% of our attention much more of the time because he is our main focus. This baby is the luckiest! He gets childcare from either one of his parents. He gets our full attention frequently throughout the day and we all love it.

The only way we can keep this lifestyle up is by getting a bit of parental leave money (about 500€ a month), and making money selling art and playing music. We also have been trying to skim down our expences to the bare minimum. We're going to be skimping and saving here and there for these two years away from our day jobs. We are finally out of debt so we can earn less if we need to, but with art sales and music gigs and sales we are going to get through!

Thanks for reading lovelies.

Anna

SUPPORT US! *shameless plug
-If you'd like to buy an artwork of mine, there are still works on sale on instagram @olivegreenanna.  -You could buy Dominik's record or a t-shirt.
-Or if you'd like to book Dominik for a show, you can book his folk pop band, his jazz band, or his elecro-synth band.