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Sweet Baby Jane: A Birth Story

Sweet Baby Jane: A Birth Story

Sweet baby Jane, this is how you came to be.

Long before you were here, you were loved and wanted, not only by Mommy and Daddy, but by everyone in the family.

I still remember when we found out I was pregnant – you were only the size of a poppy seed at the time, a tiny but very precious poppy seed.

It felt like the weeks were going by so slowly. You then were the size of a blueberry, and eventually of a lemon. Every week when we did groceries, I would find the fruit or vegetable you compared to in size and hold it so dearly in my hands. I’d say, “Look Hans, that’s how big baby is this week!”

Little by little you grew and so did my belly. We eventually found out we were expecting a sweet baby girl, but that’s nothing Mommy and Daddy didn’t know already.

It was around 30 weeks of pregnancy that everything changed. We had our first meeting with Catherine, our Doula. She told us about the birthing center in Blainville. Mommy had no idea we even had those around here, but I knew I had to call first thing in the morning. Even though I knew my chances of getting in were slim to none, Mommy never lost hope. I prayed and prayed, because I knew if they could find room for us, then I’d have a shot at the birth story I had been hoping for. You can imagine my disappointment when they called me back and told me they were fully booked. I wasn’t surprised, to say the least, but extremely disappointed.

A few days later, my phone rang. I checked the caller ID and immediately got excited when I saw it was the birthing center. Why would they be calling me? They must’ve found a way to squeeze me in! I answered the phone and tried to contain my excitement, but I don’t think I fooled anyone. I had to go meet my midwife ASAP, because I was only two days shy from being too far along for a “suivi sage-femme.”

The next day, I went to meet Ariane. I was completely blown away; she was warm, welcoming and extremely helpful. Within an hour of meeting with her, I felt like more of my questions had been answered than during my entire pregnancy up until then.

It was just around that time when your name finally came to Mommy: Jane. Daddy loved it right away. It was a name for a strong, elegant, smart, and independent little girl. It suited your energy that Mommy was feeling so strongly. That’s when we knew your name had finally been whispered to us.

The weeks went by and my belly grew some more, and then some more. Your due date was getting closer and closer, and I was really looking forward to holding you in my arms. I was nervous and excited at the idea of giving birth, but I knew it would all be worth it.

37 weeks arrived and I was really excited. This was a huge milestone for us, because it meant you were officially full term and Mommy had done her job of keeping you safe. We were officially ready for you!

Around 38 weeks I became very determined. I went for walks every night, ate a bunch of dates, had plenty of raspberry leaf tea, and even got a bouncy ball. I didn’t want to wait any longer! I was in baby mode.

I will always remember that very first contraction. It was Saturday, October 24th at 1 o’clock in the morning. Though it was a little painful, I got so excited! I had been told to not start counting the contractions until they felt regular, because you were my first baby and sometimes it can take days. I went back to bed, but couldn’t sleep. The contractions seemed to come often, but I was never really a good judge of time anyway.

At 2 o’clock, I knew it was time I woke up Daddy. “Hans, it’s happening! It’s time.” We both smiled out of excitement, even though I have to admit, I was a little bit nervous. Daddy jumped out of bed and started getting things ready. He started counting my contractions and we soon realized they were only a few minutes apart. I was confused, it’s wasn’t supposed to happen this fast…I was secretly hoping we were further along than expected, but I didn’t want to get my hopes up, because after all, it’s not supposed to happen so quickly with your first baby.

It didn’t take long before we decided it was time to call Ariane. Although the timing of my contractions was good, they needed to be a little more intense. In the following hour, my contractions did exactly that. I knew at that point, there was no slowing down.

We called Ariane back and she could immediately hear it in my voice. This mama was in labor and you, my baby Jane, were officially on your way.

I took a minute to talk to you. “We’ve got this, baby Jane. We’re going to do great.” I prayed and visualized a quick and easy birth. I visualized the moment I’d finally hold you in my arms after 9 months of waiting.

After what felt like the longest car ride of my life, we finally arrived at the birthing center. Immediately the contractions grew even stronger. Ariane confirmed what I had been hoping for – we had already done a huge amount of work. I was so happy and excited. I even think Daddy and I took a moment to high-five each other. I knew he was proud of us already.

Daddy was such a good help. Thanks to the birthing classes we did at home, he knew exactly what to do to help Mommy. He quickly set up the speakers we brought and played the playlist I carefully made to welcome you into the world. The lights were dimmed, soft music was playing, and a gentle smell of lavender filled the air. It felt like time had stopped. It was beautiful and surreal.

And then time went by really fast. It was contraction after contraction, and I wasn’t getting any breaks. I think that’s the part moms forget, because that’s when things get very intense. To tell you the truth, I don’t remember much either.

Soon enough my instincts kicked in and I felt the need to push. I immediately felt empowered. In that moment, I was stronger than I had ever been in my life. I felt like a woman, a strong and powerful woman capable of anything. I was determined. “We’ve got this, baby Jane, we’re doing great!” The sound of your heartbeat was steady and strong. I felt so proud of my baby girl. She too, was a strong and powerful little lady.

Not long after, my water finally ruptured. It did quite the mini explosion and even splashed in Kim’s face. Even though things were intense, we all laughed.

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It felt like it took forever, but it was only 18 minutes later when you were placed in our arms. “My baby, my baby!” I kept saying. “We did it, it’s over. We did it!” I thanked God, and had never felt more blessed in my life as I held you in my arms. You were so small. We admired your features, your brown hair, your little fingernails, especially the pinky, and listened to all your little baby sounds. We were absolutely in love. You were a beautiful and healthy baby girl born at 7:16 AM, weighing 7lb, 9oz and measuring 19 inches long.

As I recall the moments leading up to your birth you’re currently sleeping on me. You’re exactly six weeks old today and thriving. I am so thankful every day that you are in our lives. It is such an honor to be your mom. There’s no love in the world that compares to the love I have for you. This kind of love is indescribable, unconditional. . .it’s so pure and beautiful, yet so simple.

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The Kowalli Joey Jacket {Review}

The Kowalli Joey Jacket {Review}

We recently had the pleasure of checking out this brand new jacket designed specifically for all stages of motherhood. What we discovered is the Kowalli Joey Jacket does have some unique features unlike other pieces of outerwear you may have tried or looked into.

You are able to wear it starting in pregnancy as a maternity jacket. It then converts to babywearing outerwear that allows baby to keep warm and close in any front carrier, sling, or wrap. This would be especially helpful in winter months with a baby! Instead of draping a blanket over baby, both mom and baby can stay warm.

Snap closures and elastic cording allow the jacket to be adjusted to fit your post-baby body while pockets and hood (that can be hidden or used) give a practical solutions for wearing out and about. Plus, let’s be real… snaps and elastic are great for new moms!

A few other things we love about The Joey Jacket is it is made in the USA, and it can be dressed up or down.

One thing to take note of is it is new and comes in sizes small, medium, and large. Larger sizes to come!

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I Am Strong – Overcoming Abuse and Addiction for Motherhood

I Am Strong – Overcoming Abuse and Addiction for Motherhood

I am strong because I fell pregnant with my first son at 14 from sexual abuse. After being physically abused and pushed down a flight of stairs I lost my son at 17 weeks gestation, I was torn. I went off the rails and off the grid, developing a drug addiction and experiencing the worst drop in my mental health yet.

I am strong because I fell pregnant with my second son at 15 to my abuser. I left him at 14 weeks pregnant after he tried to punch me in the head and stomach, chasing me down the street.

I am strong because after a year of emotional, financial, physical and mental abuse, I now had a reason to be strong and a reason to stand up for what I knew I deserved.

I am strong because I beat my drug addiction for the sake of my unborn.

I am strong because I met my husband a few weeks later after moving across the country to get away from my son’s father.

I am strong because I endured endless phone calls and messages of abuse and threats of violence.

I am strong because I went through 12 hours of labor and two weeks of slow labor without drugs and gave birth vaginally to a 7lb 11oz perfect little boy after being told my hips wouldn’t accommodate him and I’d need a c-section.

I am strong because I have made it seven months exclusively breastfeeding despite my lack of support and the teen mum stigma.

I am strong because I’m loving motherhood at 17 without my abuser and with the support of my husband.

I am strong because I am beating severe postnatal depression and not letting it control my life or what kind of mother I am.

I am strong because I am now strong enough to stand up for what I know is right and for what I deserve!

And its all because of my rainbow. Without him I would have died long ago.

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5 Benefits of Having a High-Needs Baby {Not a Joke}

5 Benefits of Having a High-Needs Baby {Not a Joke}

June 2011 ~

She was soft-spoken and smiling, in the coffee shop on Avenue de Gaspé on a summer morning in Montréal. It was the kind of cafe I would have once loved – a little crocheted hanging seat in the corner, lots of glass, a communal table. Coffee boiling in beakers. And she was the kind of woman I would have once been friends with: young, motivated, bright, hip. And childless.

I had been dragged into the cafe by my colleagues (also childless), who needed to caffeinate before our meeting. I was wearing my baby, only four months old and heavy, oh-so heavy, in a homemade sling. He looked like babies do: beautiful, asleep, and thus full of all things calm and reasonable. And then she asked the question I had been warned about. She asked, Is he a good baby?

I lurched. I paused. I stalled.

“Does he sleep through the night?” she asked.

I shrugged. I smiled and said, “He sure is heavy,” or something awkward like that, and our conversation ended on a note that told me that we would never be friends. We would never be friends because things were different in my life now; I couldn’t be seated in a cafe with my laptop and a pair of billowing MC Hammer pants. I was a mom now. And as mother to this particular baby, I wasn’t allowed to sit down. I wasn’t allowed to try clothes on. And what’s more, I had to learn to play the game. To answer the question. How good was he?

The truth is, my son – beautiful, intense, spirited – was not.

I didn’t know how to politely tell her that there are not ‘good’ babies and ‘bad’ babies. That all babies are great! All babies are lovable! All babies deserve love! It’s just that some (some!) babies need more. More what?

More everything. More holding, more rocking, more cradling, better cradling, more nursing, more cooing, more singing, more bouncing, more stroller rides, more car-rides, more nursing, more nursing-during-car-rides, more… You.

There are some babies who will sit quietly by themselves while you make your morning coffee (or have someone make it for you, in a beaker, in a café near a series of artist-run warehouses) and then sit quietly while you drink it. There are some babies who sleep through the night (for four or more hours, without waking up!). All this without resistance, without coercion, just… out of their own infantile will.

My baby was not one of them. He was the kind who needed more than I ever thought I could give. He needed near constant movement, for example. He needed so much suckling that my milk didn’t regulate until he was 12 months old. He is now 3.5 years old and he still needs significant night-time parenting.

Exhibit A: A High-Needs Baby
Exhibit A.) A High-Needs Baby

The thing I wish someone had told me is that, while my babe would never be hired to star in a diaper commercial; while I couldn’t see straight for the exhaustion; and although his part-time daycare provider had canceled on me four times in a row, like maybe she was trying to tell me something, there are benefits to having a high-needs baby. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, and I don’t just mean the terrible twos.

So, to all the parents up late googling “high-needs baby” and “is this even possible what happened to my life”, this is for you: five benefits of having a high-needs baby.

1. Physical fitness. Are you worried about getting your pre-baby body back?* Having a high-needs baby will make your body strong. I’m talking about muscle, endurance, cardio. My son needed to be carried almost constantly for the first year of his life. He was 17 lbs at three months. I wore him in a carrier up to 8 hours/day. I don’t know how many calories that is (and I was eating a lot of ice-cream at the time), but it was certainly more exercise than I’d had in years.

*This is a joke. I would never say that, I vandalize posters that use these words with a permanent marker and the question, But where did it go?!.

2. Compassion. When you feel the ache in your body after two hours of horizontal bouncing, your mouth dry from shushing, your bladder full to bursting from that hell that is “lying down beside baby and staying very, very still for a very, very long time because if he wakes up you will both start crying,” you start to think, This is craziness. Why would anyone do this? Has anyone ever done this before? And the answer you might come to is: Yes. Your parents, maybe. You were the squalling baby they poured their love into. Suddenly, that time your mom yelled at you for stealing a cookie is much easier to understand.

3. Preparation. Having a high-needs baby prepares you for having a demanding toddler, a spirited kid, a superlative adolescent, a well-adjusted adult… well, a mom can dream. A dear friend of mine had an easy baby who turned into a spirited toddler and it was a tough transition. “My first born was an easy baby,” she wrote to me in an email, “…he was content most of the time and easily soothed by baby wearing or his swing. He didn’t really want a lot of stimulation or help with his playtime, content to sit and look at a baby book or sort through his toys. Then it seemed like almost overnight he became extremely high energy and high needs. I had to spend all my energy trying to keep him busy in constructive ways or a meltdown would ensue. Once my second child came along I fully realized exactly how much energy I put towards keeping him at an even keel because now I couldn’t focus just on him.” If you’ve been dealing with high emotionality and intense physical needs from day 1, you will expect nothing less on day 706.

Exhibit B: A Spirited Toddler
Exhibit B.) A Spirited Toddler

4. Health Insights. Many high-needs babies are in fact babies in pain. The mainstream medical establishment is notorious for brushing off the concerns of parents of screaming babies (as our pediatrician told me, “We want to hear screaming, that means they are healthy”). Parents, traumatized and desperate, often turn to alternative therapies and treatments. Alternative doctors are more likely to listen to patients’ needs and give them a safe space to talk about their harrowing experience which is important for health outcomes and psychological survival. And sometimes, as with my friend who took her daughter to a naturopath she now calls a “miracle worker,” or another who brought her daughter to the chiropractor several times a week for a suspected hiatal hernia, it works. The more tools in your self-care toolbox, the better. Learning about your body – and you’re baby’s body – is a good thing.

5. Commiseration. You can connect with other parents of high-needs babies much better. My parents had two babies. The first was easy. The second was tough. Really, really tough. My mother is deaf in one ear from the baby’s screaming. They learned that their “easy” first baby was simply a matter of luck. The props other people had given them, the looks of admiration and the advice-seeking from other families — all of it was mistaken. This is the understanding you get when you have a high-needs child: that you are not a perfect parent. And that parents with “easy, good” babies are not perfect parents either. Yes, there’s lots you can try to calm a child and much you could do to make them fussy. But a crying baby is not an indication you’re doing something wrong. It’s an indication that you need a piece of chocolate and a hug. Fact.

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Keep on truckin’, mamas. And thank you for the gift you are giving by raising a high-needs baby with all the understanding and compassion you can muster. Your baby is not “good” but your baby is essentially himself/herself. Babies like him/her become the people the world needs: people with a fire in their bellies and a firm footing in love. Your baby is not “good.” Your baby is perfect. And your baby will change the world.

I Am Strong – Enduring 30-Plus Hours of Full Blown Labor

I Am Strong – Enduring 30-Plus Hours of Full Blown Labor

I am strong because when I was in labor, I was in back labor for nine hours and wasn’t progressing so I had to go home.

I am strong because after laboring another 10 hours at home I went to the doctor to get checked and was in full blown labor but only dilated to 3 cm.

I am strong because I did not want an epidural, but more than that, I didn’t want a c-section so I got the epidural to help my body relax and dilate better.

I am strong because I had been up over 24 hours in labor and got the epidural, but because everything was going wrong and they were checking on me every 30 minutes, I never slept.

I am strong because after laboring a full day I wasn’t past 6 cm and had to receive pitocin, which was not in my birth plan.

I am strong because when my temperature spiked, I was given on a nonrebreather face mask to help with my babies decelerations and managed to stay calm.

I am strong because my epidural stopped working when it became time to push at 30+ plus hours, and I had all back labor with the baby posterior.

I am strong because I pushed for three hours to avoid putting my baby through a c-section.

I am strong because I still have sad feelings about getting an epidural and pitocin but look at my healthy baby I know it was all for her.

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I Am Strong Because I Am FREE!!

I Am Strong Because I Am FREE!!

I am strong because three months after my husband and I got married, we found out we were pregnant, and at 12 weeks, we lost the baby.

I am strong because after three months of waiting to try again, we found out we were pregnant for the second time, but at six weeks, I miscarried again.

I am strong because that very next month, I got pregnant for the third time. My doctor put me on progesterone supplements to help prevent another miscarriage, and soon we had a healthy, growing baby.

I am strong because on New Year’s Eve, I went in to be induced, and after only a few hours, my doctor told me I needed a c-section. She said my pelvis was too small and that I would never be able to give birth vaginally. Not knowing much about birth at all, and being totally unprepared, I had a c-section, and our beautiful son was born a few hours before midnight.

I am strong because even though I was in excruciating pain from the surgery, I continued to breastfeed my son and refused to give him formula.

I am strong because at 2 weeks old, my son’s pediatrician said that he was too small and told me to start supplementing with formula. Not knowing much, and being a scared first time mom, I listened.

I am strong because even though I supplemented, I kept nursing as much as I could. I started researching everything I could about breastfeeding and how to up my supply. I bought an SNS to help wean him off formula so that he could nurse exclusively again. I was prescribed medication to help increase my supply.

I am strong because when my son was a month old, I developed double mastitis, was put on antibiotics and was in so much pain, but I still continued to nurse.

I am strong because twice a week, I had to take my son to the pediatrician to have weight checks, and every time, I just heard about how small he was, until finally, his pediatrician said that my milk wasn’t good enough, didn’t have enough calories, and that I needed to stop nursing. Without running any tests, she decided that my milk wasn’t suitable for him.

I am strong because I went home that day and refused to stop nursing. I knew my son was fine and that he was growing like he should. I started looking for new pediatricians who would be supportive of my desire to nurse.

I am strong because when my son was 2 months old, I found a new pediatrician and canceled my appointment with the previous pediatrician.

I am strong because the next day, Child Protective Services came to my house and took my 2 month old away from me. I could do nothing but watch them take my baby. They said that we were an immediate danger to our son and that we were neglecting him because he was so small.

I am strong because CPS never told us where they were taking our son. We found out later that night that he was admitted to a hospital, but we weren’t allowed to know which one, or if he was okay.

I am strong because over 24 hours after they took our son, they called and told us to come to the hospital where he was, and that they had kept him overnight to run tests on him. They found nothing wrong, and encouraged me to keep nursing. They said that the previous pediatrician had called and said that we were starving our son, and that he was in danger with us. The hospital said that they would be reporting the pediatrician for lying to CPS and causing us so much distress.

I am strong because the hospital offered to test my milk and they found that I was producing an average of 60 calories per ounce! Way above average! I continued to nurse my son, and used donor milk from a friend to eventually wean him off formula.

I am strong because when my son was 9 months old, I found out I was pregnant again. Another boy!

I am strong because at my first prenatal appointment, my OB told me to not even consider a VBAC because I would never be able to do one, I was “too small.” She encouraged me to schedule my repeat c-section that day.

I am strong because shortly after I found out I was pregnant, my husband got orders to move to South Korea. We decided to move there with him and I would give birth there.

I am strong because even though my milk had almost dried up from being pregnant, I continued to nurse until my son’s 1st birthday!

I am strong because I started researching VBACs. I got my operation report from my previous OB and learned that the c-section was unnecessary, and that I COULD give birth vaginally if I wanted to! I immediately told my new OB that I wanted to try. I hired a birth doula to help me through the process.

I am strong because at 41 weeks, my doctor said that he had to induce me (per hospital policy) or give me a repeat c-section. Because this was the only military hospital in Korea, I didn’t have a lot of options. I chose the induction.

I am strong because even though I was in immense pain from the pitocin, I went eight hours without any pain medication. six hours later, I gave birth via successful VBAC to my second son!

I am strong because in the birth canal, he had swallowed meconium, and I wasn’t able to hold him until he was over 45 minutes old.

I am strong because I still haven’t been the first to hold either of my babies.

I am strong because my second son has never had anything but MY breastmilk! He is now 16 months old and still nurses four times a day, and yes, he is just as small. We just have small babies!

I am strong because I knew my mothering instincts were right and I protected my right to nurse, and my right to have the birth I wanted, even when I was told I’d never give birth that way.

I am strong because I was so inspired by my birth and my experiences, that I decided to become a labor Doula and am planning my next birth (not pregnant yet!) to be at a birthing center.

I am strong because even though I have never shared this story publicly, I am ready to help someone else out through my experiences.

I am strong because it has taken me years to trust people and doctor’s, but I am slowly starting to trust my children with other people, and to have faith in doctor’s again. I am slowly letting go of the past and looking to the future.

I am strong because I am FREE.

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Ladies & Gentlemen, Husbands & Wives, Mothers & Fathers: We Are Strong

Ladies & Gentlemen, Husbands & Wives, Mothers & Fathers: We Are Strong

I am Strong because I waited until the age of 32 to have my first child.

I am Strong because I saw our would-be son one day looking up at me holding onto the knee of the man who became the love of my life at the age of 28. Dream became Reality.

I am Strong because as the youngest of my home growing up, and the youngest in our family’s generation, I was not around young children much, so everything was new and exciting/frightening.

I am Strong because my husband made it home from his last deployment for the Army in 2010, and we made the happy decision to try and start a family.

I am Strong because five weeks into trying, the hubby and I went to the ER due to me having severe abdominal cramps. We found out after eight hours of waiting that we were less than 48 hours pregnant and in danger of losing the baby.

I am Strong because we also made the decision to do what it took to have me become a Stay-At-Home Mom; the call and eventual resignation from being in Property Management for almost a decade was bitter and sweet.

I am Strong because my pregnancy was filled with obstacles and unknowns, from start to finish.

I am Strong because our pregnancy took, and I was able to carry full term.

I am Strong because when we moved from Texas to Virginia, our insurance was suspended due to an employee’s typo, and we were forced to go without insurance for over 4.5 months of the pregnancy.

I am Strong because we had to ask a local 4D ultrasound locale for a session to find out how many and what we were having during the middle of the insurance nightmare.

I am Strong because our sweet baby boy blew a kiss to us on the ultrasound, one of at least three prior dreams that have become reality. (The DVD shows this amazing gift)

I am Strong because the pregnancy was high-risk from start to finish.

I am Strong because the natural hormonal surges that occur in pregnancy were so great that my hip and shoulder joints were prone to dislocation, making it hard to walk, sit, lift anything, or be comfortable.

I am Strong because despite all my efforts to consume the healthiest of things – the only true craving I ever had was for beer, not a winning scenario as it went unsatisfied – I gained over 50 pounds during the pregnancy.

I am Strong because we made a birth plan, but due to complications with my joints, had to settle for induction/possible csection as a backup.

I am Strong because at 41 weeks, I began having contractions. They lasted an entire week, but to no avail as I did not dilate.

I am Strong because we went into the hospital to be induced, only to have the first induction fail.

I am Strong because after the second induction was administered, my joints could no longer handle the hormonal surge and my right hip dislocated, causing me excruciating pain.

I am Strong because I was scared to death of having an epidural but made the decision to do so as my cervix was still not cooperative.

I am Strong because I had two extremely intense contractions during the administering of the epidural, but managed to stay still enough with the help of my husband so as to not incur any nerve damage.

I am Strong because the only progress the epidural produced was my water breaking.

I am Strong because after 72 hours from being admitted, our son’s heart rate began dropping with contractions. It was decided a csection was eminent.

I am Strong because I sang hymns while being rolled into the OR, strapped to the table, to calm my nerves.

I am Strong because it took over five rounds of pain blockers to get my body to cooperate to have the procedure.

I am Strong because upon delivery, it was discovered our dear son had the cord wrapped around his neck twice.

I am Strong because after being wheeled into the recovery room while our son went to be tested/weighed, the nurses had turned the television on in the room.

I am Strong because our son was born the morning of the tsunami in Japan, March 11, 2011.

I am Strong because I felt at the same time immense joy for his new life, and ultimate sorrow for the tens of thousands of lives who were washed from this earth that fateful day.

I am Strong because we finally had a healthy baby boy!

I am Strong because I found out through two sessions with a domineering and condescending lactation specialist that I had inverted nipples and would eventually not be able to produce enough breastmilk to meet our son’s needs. I was not able to experience the deep bond with our son that so many others are blessed to have.

I am Strong because I left the hospital weighing more than I did while pregnant due to the amount of fluids and medications administered during these events.

I am Strong because the first week of having our son home also involved suffering through a reaction and withdrawal from a medicine the nurses gave me that I had previously admitted being allergic to on top of recovering from the surgery.

I am Strong because though our son was healthy, we noticed him having consistent tummy troubles. At the age of 2, he began having the same symptoms I have experienced as an adult with IBS, but at such a young age.

I am Strong because we had many trips to the doctor and even the ER but to no finite clarity on how to help our sweet boy.

I am Strong because our son suffered open sores for seven months during this ordeal.

I am Strong because I made the decision to attempt fixing his troubles through an elimination diet. It took over a year to find the source of the problem, mainly being all grains, but within a week of a completely benign diet, his sores healed and we began to enjoy watching him be a little boy with no more pain, only joy and curiosity.

I am Strong because our family is now on a modified paleo – low FODMAP lifestyle, with all of us having seen significant improvement in our health.

I am Strong because I only discovered Birth Without Fear through an acquaintance’s chance post on Facebook.

I am Strong because I wept with grief and relief to see how not alone I am in this world of traumatic births.

I am Strong because I’ve been able to lose all the weight I had gained and be more healthy now than ever before.

I am Strong because my Husband never left my side, from start to finish. He is my Rock, and I will Love him until my last breath.

I am Strong because we want a daughter.

I am Strong because we may not be able to have any other children.

I am Strong because I rejoice in the glorious secret world that is our happy home with my husband and son.

I am Strong.

Ladies, Gentlemen, Husbands, Wives, Mothers and Fathers:

We are STRONG.

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From the Grocery Story to Unassisted Home Birth in 15 Minutes

From the Grocery Story to Unassisted Home Birth in 15 Minutes

My daughter, Aisha Skye, was born on the 19th of February 2013 weighing in at 8 lbs 11 oz, after an unexpected homebirth.

I had my first daughter, Avalon, two years previously at our local hospital. She was born naturally after a few complications and six hours of active labour and pushing.

I was expecting a similar delivery as my first daughter so I was ready to be “in it for the long haul.” I was in “active” labour with Aisha for a total of two hours. My contractions were never closer than 15 minutes together. I spent most of it in my Mother’s spa bath. I was actually in Woolworths 15 minutes before Aisha was born, getting “supplies ” (reading material, snacks, etc.).

I returned back to Mum’s and jumped straight in the bath after almost pooping my pants in Woolworths. After calling for my sister and Mum and telling them that I needed to poo (while in the bath) they got me out. They placed me on the toilet where I felt my daughters head. Literally seconds passed and my waters popped on the toilet. My sister pulled me up off the toilet. I then placed one leg on the step of the bath and after one push my daughter Aisha was born. My Mum literally had to dive between my legs to catch her. We don’t know the exact time but we guess she was born around 8.23 pm.

The ambulance was called and we were taken to our local hospital. Aisha spent eight days in SCN as she has complications with her breathing and a few other issues. She is now a beautiful 6 month old. We still have a few issues regarding her breathing but she is a trooper and never ceases to amaze me.

Thank you for allowing me to share my story with all Mothers and families alike.

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One Woman’s Successful Frank Breech Vaginal Hospital Birth

One Woman’s Successful Frank Breech Vaginal Hospital Birth

Let me rewind a little bit…At 37 weeks, we found out via ultrasound that Everett was frank breech. We tried everything we could to turn him. Everything was totally unsuccessful in turning him. He was stubborn and comfortable in his breech position.

Typically, a breech baby these days means a c-section. But I was being told by my midwives that I was THE perfect candidate to attempt a vaginal breech delivery…if I could find an experienced doctor willing to do it. Immediately after that 37 week ultrasound, I started calling every OB in our city (we live in a big city). After dozens of phone calls and lots of No’s, I found someone willing to meet with me to discuss it. We met and after a thorough health history discussion and an extensive examination, we all decided I was a good candidate and we’d do a trial of labor and see how things went.

However, delivering with an OB in a hospital setting meant having to compromise on some things that I wanted. In the mean time we tried everything we could to get him to flip. I saw a chiropractor who used the Webster technique. I saw an acupuncturist for moxibustion acupuncture. I did the spinning babies protocols at home. I shined a bright flash light on my lower belly multiple times a day. I took a homeopathic supplement that’s supposed to encourage flipping. I drank 100+ ounces of water a day to up my amniotic fluid levels, hoping to give him more room to move. And last of all, we tried an EVC (External Cephalic Version).

Then about 39 weeks, the priority went from turning him to encouraging labor to come on it’s own since inductions are not allowed with a breech. My doctor was scheduled to leave the country on September 3rd, so we had a scheduled c-section for September 1st. If he wasn’t here to deliver, I’d end up with a cesarean anyway. I had a deadline for getting this baby out naturally!I had contractions on and off starting around 38.5 weeks, but nothing stuck around (much like my pregnancy with #2). On Thursday September 28th at 39 weeks 3 days, I saw my doc and he did an internal exam to check for dilation. I was 3-4cm but not very effaced. Baby was engaged in my pelvis, but we think not having the pressure of his head on my cervix probably kept me from thinning out like I normally would.

I had some crampy contractions after the internal check (which was at 4pm), but I figured my cervix was just irritated, and they’d go away. We went for a long walk after my appointment to try to get things moving. By 7pm I was still feeling them and they were definitely painful. In the back of my mind I knew they were the real thing, but I didn’t want to jump the gun. I took a long shower after the kids went to bed, did some cleaning, and a little laundry.

By 11pm they were spacing out quite a bit to just a few an hour but still pretty painful. We decided to go to bed and get some sleep. I said a prayer and asked the little boy in my belly to allow me at least a few hours of sleep. But I kind of knew that wouldn’t happen. When had he cooperated up to that point?! I maybe slept 30 minutes before a hard contraction woke me up. Then maybe another 20 minutes and another 15 before I gave up and couldn’t stand to be laying down any longer.

I grabbed my phone and sat up in bed timing them and trying to distract myself from the slight anxiety that started to creep in. Around 2am I decided I was truly in labor with contractions 7ish minutes apart and it was time to pack the last minute stuff and wake up my husband, Corey. I let him know what was going on and decided to take another shower because I was having terrible back labor and the water on my back sounded nice.

I paged my midwife at 2:15am, and she thought it would be a good idea to come to the house and do an internal exam and see where I was at. We called Corey’s mom to come over and sleep on the couch until the girls woke up. I started to get a little nervous that it was a false alarm because my labor pattern was so weird and different from anything I’d experienced before (strong contractions further apart with multiple small ones in between). By the time both of them were here, my midwife determined I was 6cm and my water was bulging. And as soon as everyone arrived, my contractions were picking up in frequency and intensity, so we decided to head to the hospital since my labors move fast. By the time we got there and got into a room, it was almost 4am.

Despite my history of quickly progressing labors and the fact that I was once again GBS positive and needed antibiotics, the L&D nurse completely ignored me. She got me in a room, asked me for a urine sample, and left. We didn’t see her again for 45 minutes (she was too busy chatting with the ladies outside). And she only came into the room at that point because my water had broken and I still didn’t have an IV line inserted, and I was definitely going through transition.

I was incredulous when she told me I had to SIT in the bed while they monitored my and baby’s vitals for 20 straight minutes to make sure he was tolerating labor well before I could go ahead with a breech delivery. HELLO!! Why didn’t she tell me that and get that going the second I got in there?!?! Now I had to sit there for TWENTY a minutes while going through TRANSITION????? I was ready to scream and bite her head off and I made sure she knew I was pissed.

She then proceeded to try to get an IV going. The first time she couldn’t get the vein. The second spot she tried my vein blew and there was blood gushing and dripping down my arm. If I had not been in terrible labor pain and distracted as a result, I’d have definitely passed out. Then she stuck me a THIRD time and was only able to get the needle in half way, but it was enough to get stuff in me so she left it. She was very vocal about how long it took to get a vein since I refused to let her stab me during a contraction (which were coming every 90ish seconds at that point). It was clear early on that this lady and I were not going to get along. I was just SO glad my midwife was there to support me, help me stay sane, and be a mediator between me and this awful nurse.

By the time she had me hooked up, she said if they didn’t get me moved to a delivery room ASAP I might end up having the baby right there. But due to the intensity and frequency of my contractions, it took me 15ish minutes to even get out of the bed and into a wheel chair for her to move me. Which she was clearly annoyed by and also very vocal about. Once I got to a delivery room they were prepped and ready to go. My doc checked me and I was 10 cm, but had a lip on my cervix still and was told I could NOT push yet. Because he was bottom first, it was very important to be fully effaced so we didn’t risk head entrapment.

I had THE worst back labor I have ever had. The level of pain I was experiencing (I assume because of his position) was in another realm from what I’d experienced with either of my girls. I wasn’t able to labor in water because I was so close, and a water birth was out of the question this time around. I started to lose my cool in a way I’ve never done before in labor. And then I was involuntarily pushing and could not stop. They checked me again but I still had a lip and wasn’t supposed to be pushing.

It was at that point that I did something I never thought I’d do, I asked for an epidural. I got THE rudest most disapproving glare and shake of the head from that awful nurse. I was ready to bite her head off! I was in so much pain that I was actually starting to go crazy and I knew the only way I’d be able to not push was to not feel the contractions. I was feeling guilty, but my midwife assured me that it was TOTALLY reasonable to want an epidural this time around and at least I had made it almost the whole way without. She said I likely would not have the drugs in my system long enough for them to cross the placenta and affect the baby. It’s not standard practice to give a woman an epidural at 10 cm, but this was a special case.

There was a chance of needing an episiotomy to make room for baby’s head as well as the possibility that the doc would need to stick his hand up there to flex baby’s head or use forceps for the same reason if baby wasn’t flexing his head on his own. And I didn’t want to feel all that going on. They had an anesthesiologist on standby in the room in case I wanted it for these exact reasons, so as soon as I said the word, they got to work. He was pretty quick, but it was still agonizing to try and sit still through those contractions while he placed the catheter.

Let me just say, one of my biggest motivating factors for natural drug-free childbirth (outside from the whole idea of it’s better for baby to not be doped up) was my fear of needles and the idea of getting one put in my SPINE. Well…it wasn’t bad. AT ALL. I don’t even know why I was so scared (of course, in the moment, all I wanted was that needle in there to start the drugs flowing). And within 5-10 minutes of that being put in, I started to smile and sat back and said “so THIS is why people get these things!!” Hahahaha! It was SUCH a relief. They gave me a low enough dose to still feel the contractions a bit so I knew when to push, but enough to be totally numb in my lady regions. And because I was able to finally relax a little and take some deep breaths, that lip on my cervix was gone in minutes.

It was time to push.Throughout my laboring at the hospital, I’d had several nurses and doctors ask my permission to witness the birth (since a breech delivery is pretty rare). And I said ok to everyone who asked. I figured, it was a learning experience for all, and if it resulted in more women being able to do a vaginal breech delivery, than I was happy to pave the way and be the guinea pig. Corey was really tempted to take full-room selfie but wasn’t sure everyone would appreciate it (particularly that evil L&D nurse). I think it would’ve been pretty funny though!

So with an audience of four doctors, three midwives, and another four or five nurses plus my own midwife and husband, I pushed with all my might! It was pretty weird to feel/watch him coming out bottom first. Once his bottom and legs were out I kept pushing to his shoulder blade. He was just kind of sitting almost cross-legged on the bed waiting for his head to come out, moving a bit but not frantic or anything. Kind of strange and really cool all at the same time.

I think it was at that point that the doc gave me a very small episiotomy, but I can’t remember for sure. It might have been earlier. All I remember is that I was pushing this baby out like my life depended on it. Because his did. Once he was out to his head, I had 3 minutes to push his head out before he’d run out of oxygen since he cord was compressed. I remember the doctor telling someone to watch the clock and said out loud to me “ok Amber, we’ve got 3 minutes. Plenty of time. You’re doing great. Let’s just finish up the job.” He then used forceps to flex his head as he was not flexing on his own, and about 30 seconds later, he was out! I think I pushed a total of 5-10 minutes from start to finish. He had zero breathing problems and apgar scores of a 9 and 10. He was immediately placed on my chest while I delivered the placenta and got stitched up.

Everett 1-2

I’m not a crier. It was the only time I’ve ever cried at one of my childrens’ births. Not because I’m not emotional or ridiculously happy, I just don’t express my feelings with tears usually. But this time I was just SO relieved and happy that he was here safe and sound that I couldn’t help it.He was born at 6:25am. He was gorgeous. It was weird not seeing a cone-shaped head on him. He nursed almost immediately like a pro.We were somewhat like celebrities among the hospital staff during our stay but in a good way. “Oh!! YOU are the breech delivery????!! Congrats and way to go!!!” Recovery has been tougher with the episiotomy. I had one with my first baby, but I wasn’t chasing two toddlers around while trying to heal. But I wouldn’t trade the vaginal delivery for anything. Sooo glad we did it and so thankful we found a doc willing to do it!!I want my experience to help empower other ladies to have breech deliveries if they’re the right candidate for it!

by Amber Hansen

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