Wednesday, July 22, 2009

the Elousia story: (Induction Cocktail Tutorial)

*Note: There is an update following this blog post regarding my other experiences with Lemon Verbena and without. Thanks for stopping by

Where do I begin?

It had been 41 weeks and I didn't like hearing my midwife inform me of my options for the next week.

So I took her recipe home, for an induction cocktail. It was Tuesday, May 20th, my alarm was set for 5am...I realized I didn't need to set it, in my excitement my internal alarm was set earlier. The cocktail was prepared the night before - so as not to wake the 'littles' with the whirrr of the blender:

2 Tbls. almond butter
2Tbls. Castor oil
blend in 300ml water
200ml apricot juice
5 drops lemon verbena

Lemon verbena is the special ingredient that is suppose to make it "NOT" a toilet induction. It is also an essential oil, so it is EXTREMELY potent and fragrant...imagine pouring a perfume into your drink. On my midwife's wise recommendation, I mixed it all up except for the lemon verbena, and poured some of the smoothie into a shot glass, and added the verbena, and took it as fast as I could. That way you don't have to slug away 16oz of the stuff and try to do that within 20min!
It was disgusting, let me tell you - but it did the trick. Contractions started within the hour. They were 5-10 min. apart from that beginning until transition 11 hours later. Yup, that's right, it was a very leisurely labour, with that much time between contractions. I stayed up right and moving all day to try to "help" things along.

At 5pm I was measuring about 7cm and baking cookies in the kitchen so there would be something for the midwives to munch on. Don't get me wrong, they weren't a piece of cake, I got down on my kitchen floor on all fours and moaned my way through them. At about that time I felt relief when I pushed so I called my Midwife (we had been in contact several times throughout the day, and she'd already set up some of her supplies at my home earlier in the day). Her response was that she was making haste to get here - and that it could mean one of two things; either baby was posterior (face up), or I was ready to push.

She was right about the first. The 2 lovely lady midwives, arrived, and I was still in a good mood. By 8pm they were like, ok, it's time to break the waters. Because really, there was no change. I had more waters than I'd ever had before with my first 2...and so they said that Elousia kept floating upwards. After that, I made my way downstairs to the pool, b/c it already seemed that I'd had the baby, with all that water drained out of my belly, I assumed baby was immanent! Thirty minutes later I began to really push. I had high aspirations of catching my own baby as long as I was sane. But I felt pretty crazy...that is one part of labour that I wonder if I'll ever feel is "manageable".
I was half sitting half kneeling while pushing. To give you a little background;  Selah was 3 hours of pushing, Joash was 1 (average 1st births are 1hour of pushing) and this time with Elousia it was only  7 terrible minutes of pushing and her head was born in the water. They time the birth of the head in water and after 1 min, you have to get up or baby needs to come. People ask me all the time if I'm afraid baby is going to take a breath under water - No - baby goes from water to water. As long as it is a similar temperature baby will not take a breath. It is the change in temperature that causes baby to take their first breaths.

After 1 min. Gisele told me to stand up, because her shoulder was stuck, as soon as I stood with help, baby fell into Gisele's hands, and she quickly handed me baby. They say that birth without drugs, which allows the body's natural form of pain relief to kick in can cause the memory of birth to be more "rose coloured" and foggy. And that birth with drugs leaves the woman with vivid memories of things she might not want to remember, like the clock on the wall or the cold metal bar on the edge of the bed and what not.

I know that I am truly blessed so far with my birth experiences. And I so easily forget how hard transition and pushing is. But that short term pain is so worth while going through - and we should not be afraid of it. I would fear long term pain or emotional pain so much more.

And babies are beautiful! Thank-you to Twila, her first birth photography project. For the action photos you'll have to sit on my couch with me and look over the album, rather than online. is her contact info. You can see some of her work on her old blog. She is also on facebook and has lots of photos there.
Twila told me recently that she felt so bad for me when I was in the pool, she said if she had been my Doula, she would have got in the pool with me....Smile...and I said, and I would not have liked that. She is such a sweetie! I think of myself as a touchy feely person - but not while I'm in labour ;)

Thanks for listening!


I have used Lemon Verbena now twice in two of my child's births. 

Last year awaiting the birth of our fifth child, desperate, I did not have lemon verbena and prepared the cocktail without the essential oil, or the almond butter and for that matter it was orange juice instead of the apricot. Boy, was that ever a mistake. I was SO SO SO sick! All it did was clean me out for the next few days, I was sicker than sicker, and I did not go into labor. If you research the uses of Lemon Verbena, one of it's main uses is to diminish the symptoms of the stomach flu; nausea, vomiting, etc. And that is truly my experience.  At 14 days overdue, I went for acupuncture for labor and within a few hours I went into the fastest, best labor so far and gave birth after only 2 hours of labor, catching my own baby in a birth center pool. So, my $20 bottle of 1 ml of Lemon Verbena, that was purchased a 1/2 hr before acupuncture was added to cosmetic recipes instead.

Since these experiences, I have come to really believe in the healing abilities of essential oils! 
Although Young Living at this point does not carry Lemon Verbena (which does not induce labor, but only aids the castor oil), they do have other powerful helpers like Clary Sage. If we are blessed with again, I will indeed plan an essential oil birth!
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  1. WOW, good job!!...Cindy

  2. Way to Patty Jean! What a lovely account of a precious day. You did a great job!

  3. I love that last photo of renee kissing you, you look so peaceful.

  4. OMG. Congratulations. What pictures!

  5. Thanks so much! and yes, that last picture is the calm "after" the storm.

  6. Oh Patti-Jean,
    I'm so jealous of those photos... what a wonderful gift, to remember your labour. Wow. Hope to finally come and meet the new babe now that we're back from holidays. Hope all is well. Miss you.

  7. thank you for sharing your beautiful story of strength and love. these photos are incredible.

  8. these are beautiful pictures...and brought back sweet memories of homebirthing my son

  9. Great birth story. After reading so many others stories I think that I would like to try water. I love all the wonderful pictures also.

  10. Great information! I’ve been looking for something like this for a while now. Thanks!

  11. Found your blog in my copy of Above Rubies! I am a birth story junkie so I enjoyed reading yours. :-)

  12. I know this is a very late comment but I was wondering where you got the lemon verbena oil from? I'm can't find it anywhere online or locally in Tampa.

  13. Did the Lemon Verbena do the trick to keep you off the toilet from the castor oil?!

  14. Cory, it did in that I wasn't in the bathroom the entire labour, but I still found that I had to stick close to the bathroom for at least 1 hour.