Raspberry leaves: myth or reality? It is a reality if the plant is of utmost quality while the beverage is highly concentrated. If this is the case, yes, raspberry leaves make giving birth easier. When I did my research about them, I discovered that they were even used by veterinarians to help female animals when they give birth. I do not believe in a little tea bag of raspberry leaves taken like a usual herbal tea, but by a strong and concentrated infusion. As of the fourth month of pregnancy (not beforehand as it is not recommended), I bought the highest quality I could find of organic raspberry leaves, in bulk. Each evening, I would take a generous handful of leaves and fill a big thermos. It was left on the counter all night. The next day, I had a dark and strong beverage. The idea was not to get a pleasant taste but an effective help for the birth. I drank my leafy green tea during the day, whether cold with some lemon juice, or added to a warm herbal tea to have something hot to drink.
My daughter is my first baby. She was born at 1 in the morning, after a four-hour labor. I thank the raspberry leaves for such a quick and easy labor. With my second baby, I used the raspberry leaves again. I started having contractions at the seventh month of pregnancy. While it became clear that I needed to be transferred to the hospital as my baby was going to be premature, I drank a very concentrated raspberry leaf tea before the ambulance arrived. My son was born at the hospital but only within thirty minutes of me arriving there. Thank you red raspberry leaf tea.
There is one children book which touched my heart deeply. It is entitled “Welcome With Love” and I read it so many times when the children were smaller. The drawings are stunning. I love how the story is so authentic regarding giving birth at home. Thus, the mother goes outside for a stroll when labor begins. Then, when contractions intensify, she leans on her husband. The aunt is present in the house and reassures the big brother. She tells him than mummy is making loud noises because the baby is coming soon. She has brought nice soup for the whole family. There is a drawing of a baby boy coming out of the mother back body while she is almost standing. The father gathers wood outside, then makes a big nice fire in the living room. Eventually, they all sleep together on mattresses gathered in the main room to celebrate the new baby.
Having the freedom of moving around and choosing the positions which suit us most during labor is a true luxury that only home birth can offer. While my daughter was born at home, my son was born prematurely at the hospital. Consequently, I know the sensation of the monitoring tools being wrapped all around the belly. Some women even have a perfusion in their arm during labor. Very often, women are prevented from eating in case a c-section would be required. Home birth is quite the opposite. It allows a beneficial freedom to the mother, who is then more relaxed. This lowers the risk of the baby getting stuck during labor. When my contractions started, I walked a bit around the neighborhood. IT was a nice and warm summer evening. When the contractions intensified, I remained active, but inside the house only. With each contraction, I would squat and do a kind of moaning to relax my whole body and mind. The last step was getting into the birthing pool. However, my midwife made sure I did not get into it too early. Indeed, water is so relaxing that it could stop the labor altogether. While I was in the warm water of the inflatable pool, I still enjoyed my freedom of movement. Eventually, I was squatting when my daughter made her big entrance into our world.
Preparing a birth plan means taking back our power as a mother giving birth. It does not mean being stuck to such plan and become disappointed if things do not turn out as desired. Thus, if plan A is giving birth at home in water, plan B could be to look into the various positions in which I can give birth on a bed, at home or at the hospital.
Because the idea of giving birth was overwhelming for me at first, I decided to write things down. It gave me some comfort. Moreover, it helped me to see more clearly what I really wanted versus what was secondary details. So, I wrote a list of my wishes and desires for my midwife to read. I had hired an independent midwife, but my birth plan was also printed to be transmitted to any midwife at the hospital if a transfer was ever required.
First, no light. My midwife used a tiny lamp to write notes during the labor. Second, no vaginal exams. The word itself scares me. My very talented midwife was able to monitor the baby’s health during labor, only by expert touch on my belly and by listening to the baby’s heartbeat with a trumpet-shaped tool. Third, I did not want to be informed of the time. Loosing track of time was indeed required for me to use another part of my brain, e.g. my intuition. I focused on the contractions while relaxing my body, allowing them, not resisting them. The last part of my birth plan was dedicated to my refusal of both epidural and episiotomy. Again, I was ready to have to undergo such interventions should the need arose. However, expressing my wishes and desires in this meant they were only to be used in real emergency.