Home Birth Story: Portland, Oregon Birth Photography

Note from photographer Natalie Broders:

When a mother is informed and feels supported, her birth story can be incredibly empowering. This is the birth story of one of the most powerful mothers I know.

Jasmine had a planned freebirth on February 15, 2019 after a 43 hour labor.

The bond Jasmine and her husband Maverick have is nothing short of extraordinary. Watching them work together, the way they spoke, and the way they touched, was truly something special. I feel honored to have been a part of their story as their birth photographer.

You can read Jasmine’s home birth story in her own words below.

The FreeBirth of Violet Mae, written by Jasmine Casswell

8lbs, 2/15/19 @ 10:50AM

February 13 at 4pm until 10:50am February 15th, 2019.

Total: 43 hours.

February 13, 2019
My husband, Maverick, came home from work and put our two year old, Norah, down for a nap. I was eager to get the process started – so we made love. He then sifted the baby using the rebozo and gave me a great back massage including some acupressure points to induce labor. Immediately after that, labor began around 4pm on Wednesday, February 13th. Norah, my first born, came on her due date after 34 hours of labor, so I was prepared to be in it for the long haul. I was excited to be starting labor before Violet’s due date, which was February 17th.

It was late winter, but a weird winter! We had just gotten 8 inches of snow, followed by heavy rains that caused flash flooding in the valley below. We were grateful that the worst of the weather was over, the snow had melted and the flooding never affected us, but we were prepared to have had poor weather affect her birth.

Many of my early labor contractions felt and looked like belly tightening, but were never debilitating. My active labor contractions were painful, and took focus and proper breathing to make it through. I was in active labor for 10 hours, and though I felt like I handled them well, they got the best of me towards the end.

February 14, 2019
I was upset to feel labor stall during Valentine’s Day. I was so excited to be in labor, yet the contractions didn’t progress into active labor until midnight the 15th, and it was discouraging to have my body take so long to progress! I was also always concerned about waking or upsetting my daughter, which may have slowed the physiological labor process for me. Other than those things, I was proud of my body for the physiological onset of labor and it’s ability to birth a healthy baby.

I prepared for birth/labor in many different ways. For psychological preparation – I read books to gain confidence and understanding. I joined groups of like-minded women with wisdom of birthing naturally. I spent time with my doula, who was wonderful and always had tons of information for me!

Physiologically, I took high doses of ascorbic acid, red raspberry leaf tea, pregnancy tea blends, and prenatals for uterine, baby and mama health! I definitely think it helped my labor, but mostly my postpartum health is better thanks to it!

Birth Companions
The lovely Natalie Broders was present as my birth photographer – but was more than that, she was a great companion!

My beautiful, smart doula – Heather Hall-Bryson with Peach Moon Doula services was present and aided in so much comfort, strength, and companionship during it all! Her constant, loving reminders to breath during my contractions gave me the ability to work through them consciously, verses having them take over and cause too much pain.

My loving and caring husband, Maverick is and will forever be my best friend and biggest supporter. His love reminds me of my own worth and strength. He might be proud of me, but I am just as proud of him during this birth experience!

My daughter Norah was at home with all of us during the entire process and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. My love for her constantly reminded me of my goal to have our new love earthside and in our arms.

All were incredible supporters, and most importantly allowed me to lead my own birth process.

Funny Moments
There was plenty of humor – I relied on it! My husband would quote “Boss Baby” affirmations to me, that would make me giggle, and Natalie, Heather and I watched Ali Wong’s “Baby Cobra” stand up and “Baby Mama” which all were fun and hilarious in spite of labor sensations!

February 15, 2019

Right as I was at my weakest, and lowest point – Maverick came in the room. He had been caring for our daughter in the living room for hours, and I missed him terribly. He took one look at me and offered to start a bath. He snuggled me through some more contractions – painful, hard labor contractions, and helped me in the bath. I was feeling so cold and tired, so the hot water was soothing and regenerating. The contractions I had in the bath were intense! I couldn’t stay on my sit bones, so with each one I had to make my way to my hands and knees, only to relax again. I only made it through four contractions in the tub, before I was ready to get out.

As soon as I returned to my bedroom, and set up birth space, I got on my hands and knees and then – my water broke, and I felt her descend into my pelvic soft tissues. I was nervous and anxious! Each contraction brought her lower – I was feeling scared and overwhelmed.

Heather left to get Maverick and he came in excited, which lifted my spirits! I decided to birth her in the squat position, so I turned around to face Maverick, who was ready to catch her! He exclaimed that he saw hair, and I asked him to lead me in breathing her out. First came her head, he said she had a cute little face, and I waited what felt like forever for the next contraction, and she came out all at once into her daddy’s hands! She was here! Finally!

The placenta came out easily within the next few minutes, and she was ready and eager to nurse. It was picture perfect!

I actually look fondly back at the points where I felt the weakest in active labor. I was worn, tired, feeling as if I was missing something to progress labor – trying different positions, methods, acupressure – it all helped me naturally birth my baby in spite of any fears, past experience, and without any medical interventions.

I don’t recall exactly how long I was breathing/pushing her out, but it was a very brief moment in labor, maybe 10 minutes maximum! Aside from labor lasting 43 total hours, there was nothing wrong with my labor and delivery, especially since I was in control and didn’t even tear!

Our first words to her were “Hi baby!” Welcoming our sweet girl into the world! I was so relieved and overwhelmed! Nervous to make sure she was healthy and that I was healthy, but just ecstatic to have her in my arms and to my bosom!

I was thrilled and proud of myself and my husband! I was grateful for my intuition and decision to freebirth at home! I was thankful for Natalie and Heather’s presence through it all! I am still in awe of the human body and woman’s capabilities!

My husband Maverick was a star! He coached me through it all, through pushing her out into his arms – he is so in love!

Big sister was a little confused at first, but she is so in love! Her eyes light up every time she looks at her little sister, and just like the rest of us, can’t help but plant sweet kisses on her!

I had prepared for my fears, and instead I got my picture perfect, romantic birth experience. I couldn’t ask for more. I feel validated and redeemed.

The best part about my birth experience was the comfort of my home, the comfort of not having strangers involved, having my husband and daughter present, having a great support team, the never-ending pride I get to feel, and of course finally meeting my sweet baby girl!

The only thing I didn’t like was the length of my labor – but can you blame me? 😂

I learned to believe in my power and intuition. I learned that the wisdom of women that came before me and freebirthed their babies gave me strength – I feel as if all women are just as powerful, they just need the confidence to do what nature made them to do!


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