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Category: Unassisted Childbirth

Unassisted Homebirth of a Baby Girl

Unassisted Homebirth of a Baby Girl

Amanda Rogowski shares the story of her second daughter’s birth – a beautiful and empowering unassisted birth at home. 

I decided to have an unassisted birth before I even had children. I have always believed in women’s abilities and intuition. I remember trying to tell my husband, Krzys, with our first pregnancy, and he thought I was insane. I couldn’t even convince him to do a home birth at that time, but I did manage to get him on board with a birth center.

After a long and chaotic laboring experience I ended up at the hospital for an epidural after 18 hours of labor, and was blessed by my sweet baby girl Anzley after 25 hours. After having Anzley, I kept planting the seed of a free birth with Krzys. Then we got pregnant with our second child, and he was still not comfortable with it. I continued to explain that I didn’t need outsiders and showed Krzys all the research and information I could find while preparing myself as well. I got the absolute minimum care by my midwife; after two prenatal visits and my 20 week anatomy scan, Krzys and I finally agreed on the birth of our baby.

I felt so relieved to have my husband’s support and I was free to follow my intuition for the rest of my pregnancy. I made sure to take care of myself and baby very well; nutrition and exercise were top priorities. I had chiropractic care throughout my pregnancy. I spent all of my spare time researching birth; but not out of need. It started as preparation, but pregnancy and birth became more of a hobby. I loved learning more and more, right up until I went into labor.

I awoke around 2:30 am to a contraction and needing to go to the bathroom. I wasn’t able to get anything out, so I went back to bed. I couldn’t sleep. I was feeling contractions every 3 to 10 minutes, varying in times and strength. I decided to get up, get some water, and decided to sit on my birth ball. Lying in bed only made the surges more painful.

I knew at this point that labor had started and I needed to stay hydrated and relaxed. It was different this time around. With Anzley the emotions took over when I started labor; just being so excited and then so scared of what was to come. With this baby I was in bliss; I knew that I had some work to do before it would truly be time and I wanted to let my body do all the work. I set my birth ball in front of the couch and after contractions I would lean over and nap for a few minutes before the next one came.

With each surge I felt it slowly build up, reach its peak, and then slowly let go. It was like I was exercising – flowing with each one, and then returning to complete relaxation after. It was an amazing feeling to be able to do that, and to be so happy and relaxed in this tranquil state of mind. I remember praying for the baby’s safe arrival, for strength to allow my body to work as it should, and just to stay relaxed…I knew that was my key.

After a bit of laboring I decided to light my labor candle from my Blessingway and let my prayer team know; that was at 3:30. I took a picture of the lit candle and texted it to the girls. I then sent a quick text to my doula letting her know that labor had started but I was handling things well. It was so nice sitting in the quiet of night with just the room lit by candle. It was beautiful.

I used the restroom again and somewhere around 4 I decided it was time to wake up Krzys. When I did, I told him, “I’m in labor.” His response was, “No you’re not, come lay down.” I immediately went, “Excuse me,” and then had to bend over to deal with a contraction. I guess that was proof enough because he then got out of bed.

I went back to my ball and Krzys asked what I needed. I asked for a little back rub, and then breakfast. I knew I might get to a point where food would be unappetizing and I wanted to get some nutrition in for the long journey I was facing. I requested French toast. I told Krzys my contractions were about 10 minutes apart; after that statement he told me they were much closer because he had just timed four minutes. I think I was being a bit naïve and also not wanting to concentrate on timing them at all, so I think I was guessing on purpose so as not to pay attention…but I did notice they were getting much closer and I was beginning to feel chills as well. After another trip to the bathroom I was freezing, so Krzys covered me with a blanket. Then a contraction would come and I would be hot and sweaty so I’d pull it off. Then it would pass and I would be cold again. This went on for probably 20 minutes.

I started to lose my concentration, focusing on being hot and cold, and on the discomfort of the blanket touching my skin. It was all starting to bother me, which pulled me from my focus. I told Krzys I needed a change and thought I needed the pool now. He immediately began working on getting it set up and filled, checking on me every few minutes for a quick rub, hand on my shoulder, reassuring statement of my strength. After another visit to the restroom he called my doula and had me touch base with her. I heard him telling her that it seemed to be going so much quicker. My doula asked how I was handling things, and I felt I was doing great. All within the norm. In my mind I was prepared for around 12 hours of this, since labor with my first was so long. I prayed a few times for the strength to make it until lunch time.

It was strange that before Krzys woke up I was fine with being by myself. But once I had him there, when he had to leave my side I felt uneasy. I started to lose my grip on any sort of relaxation when a surge came, and knew I needed to refocus. Krzys said the pool wasn’t full but I didn’t care. I used the restroom again and when I returned I went straight into the room and got right in. The water was hot and only to my lower back when I got in…it felt amazing! I immediately felt relaxed again. With each surge my lower back was hurting more and more and there was a moment when I wondered if this was back labor. I told Krzys when I got in the pool to tell the doula to come now; this was at 5:20.

I enjoyed laboring in the pool when the water was steamy, so the second it started to cool I was requesting boiling water from Krzys to add to it. He was so wonderful. He held my hands through the contractions, and as I closed my eyes he read the many affirmations I had all over the room to me. It was so encouraging to hear him have so much faith in me and my body’s ability. I prayed a lot during my contractions. I knew God gave me the ability to do this; I told him I trusted him; I knew I was safe, I knew he was with me. I don’t know if I’ve ever been as close to God as I was in those hours.

The doula arrived shortly after I got in the pool; I remember seeing her sneakers still on her feet when she came into the room, and thinking how I can’t stand when people wear shoes in the house – but I couldn’t pull from my task at hand to say something.

She immediately got me refocused. She breathed with me through the contractions to remind me to blow it out, and it worked. Looking into her eyes gave me something to focus on and reminded me not to focus on the contraction itself. I had to use the restroom again. Boy did I hate going to the bathroom at this point. It wasn’t even like I was going all that much. It was the fact that when I was in there, sitting on the toilet, and the contraction came I felt so much worse. I couldn’t breathe the same, I couldn’t relax, my muscles felt tighter, it was awful. I told Krzys to hand me my daughter’s potty insert, the little cup that sits in the seat that she actually pees in to. I just stood up, held that between my legs and went. It was so much easier than that awful bathroom.

I don’t remember if Anzley woke up while I was in the tub or out but she was awake around her usual time – 6:30 or 7:00 am. She came into the room, stared at me and asked what I was doing.

Krzys told her that I was having the baby and she said, “Oh, okay, can I have some yogurt?”

I couldn’t laugh, but in my mind I just couldn’t get over how cute she was.

When I returned the last time from the bathroom I didn’t get back into the tub. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to or didn’t like it; I just didn’t get back in. For some reason I walked right past it and leaned over onto the bed instead. Throughout labor I was fully aware of my body and was listening to it and to my intuition. Something told me not to go back in, so I didn’t. I tried hands and knees on the bed since my back was hurting so much, but it didn’t seem to help at all.

I ended up splaying out and then just leaning/rolling on to my side when the surge passed. That’s where I spent the rest of my time. I can’t explain why it felt good, but it did. My doula was behind me cradling me from behind, reminding me to breathe with each contraction. This is when I went completely into myself. The surges were so strong at this point. Crying out did no good, and to stay relaxed I stayed quiet. I closed my eyes and just breathed. I remember praying some more.

With each contraction I took a big breath and slowly blew it out through my mouth, all while opening my hands as far as I could relaxing them and waving them down my side and away from my tummy. I traced the outline of my naked body (I was only wearing my sports bra at this point) over and over again, while imagining the force of the surge working through me and slowly letting loose once it hit the end of my vagina. I let them each blow through me and away from me, breathing and relaxing every part of my body I could. I didn’t tense up my tummy, legs, forehead, or any other part of my body. It was hard work but I had to stay relaxed.

During those last few contractions I had to go to the bathroom again, but I did not want to be on that toilet. So I kept telling myself, “After this next contraction I’ll go really fast.” Then the next one would come and go, and I’d say, “After the next one.” I finally couldn’t wait anymore. I opened my eyes to see my doula looking down on me from above, and Krzys sitting next to me. I told them I had to use the restroom and sat up. I had one contraction on the way to the bathroom in the hallway; Krzys held me up while I hunched over and drooped in his arms. Then after I had sat on the toilet, the doula came in and Krzys said he was going to check on Anzley.

The doula crouched in front of me on the toilet and asked if I felt the pressure to push, or if I really needed to go to the bathroom. I got a little annoyed with this question and responded rather snarky, “I have to go to the bathroom. I’ve had a baby before; I know the difference.” I had to pee and pushed too, then saw my waters break right into the toilet. I looked up at the doula and told her my water just broke. I guess I kind of yelled it because Krzys ran back to the bathroom.

I had an awful contraction that made me grab at everything in the bathroom. I was holding the toilet paper holder and sink, moaning and partially whimpering before it passed. When it was over, I felt as though my vagina was swollen so I put my hand on it to check, it was definitely swollen and felt rounded. The doula said, “Amanda that’s the baby’s head.” I was shocked and giddy.

She asked where I wanted to have the baby, and I told her the birth pool, definitely in the water. She said we needed to get there right away, and put her arm out to help me up (I was still sitting on the toilet, mind you). Only, when I went to stand it felt very, very wrong. I told her I couldn’t move; that I wasn’t going anywhere. She asked me to bend down and get on my hand and knees on the floor. I said, “No, I can’t move.”

The next surge came; only it was different. It felt like electricity passing through me. The surge took over my body from head to toe and I felt myself shake as I yelled. The baby’s head was out. I was shocked because I didn’t do any pushing and there was her head! I cradled her head in one hand while holding the sink with the other. I leaned back, tilting my rump up as far as I could to keep my hand holding the baby’s head and shielding it from the rim of the seat.

I looked to my right and saw Krzys and Anzley standing in the doorway, and another electric surge started. I shook and screamed, and the baby came flying out of me in seconds.

I can’t even explain how I picked her up – I just did. It was all so natural. I had her cradled in my arms on my chest as I looked over at Krzys, who was holding Anzley. Their faces showed exactly how I felt. Shock and amazement.

I held the baby close and slowly walked back to my room and sat right in the tub. I just laid in it and relaxed. Krzys asked what the baby was, and I said it was a girl.

He said, “But you didn’t check.” I told him I just knew. I leaned her forward and sure enough, the goods of a girl. I was feeling the contractions working on my placenta. The tub slowly filled with the after birth.

Anzley was amazed at the little baby I was holding. She stroked her little head and gave her kisses. We then realized we totally forgot to record it or even take a picture! I’m disappointed at that, but it all just went so fast. I was in shock at just how quickly it all went. Estimating from the time I woke up initially it was five or five and a half hours of labor and my baby girl was born. I never pushed. No one was there telling me what to do, touching me, invading my privacy. My doula was the perfect amount of support; never once pulling me from my focus. She arrived exactly when I needed her support.

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I delivered the placenta with the baby in my arms after a few trying pushes over about 50 minutes. Even that was amazing. I got to hold it and inspect this wonderful organ that my body created to keep my baby girl alive and growing.

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After I delivered the placenta I had to use the restroom. I handed the baby and placenta (still attached) to Daddy, and went to the bathroom. I showered, and then came back to my bed to snuggle with my family. After some time relaxing together, about 3 hours, we saw the umbilical cord was completely empty and starting to flatten a little bit. So we decided the placenta and baby were ready to be separated.

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Mom, Dad and sister each got a candle, and we burned her cord for separation. It was nice; but did take a long time. Krzys took the placenta and made me a raw placenta smoothie which was actually pretty delicious.

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That night, I called a midwife friend to come and check on the baby and me. I was pretty shocked that even without pushing, and the baby practically flying out of me in two contractions, I didn’t even tear in the slightest.

Krzys kept telling me how awed he was by me, how amazed and glad he was that I got to have the birth I wanted. That went on for a couple of days; he was so supportive. I was pretty amazed myself. I had planned to not push; I wanted to let my body do as much of the work as possible before I got involved. I told Krzys several times that I didn’t want to push until I felt the absolute need to. And what do you know, that plan not only worked but surpassed my expectations. The whole birth did! The whole pregnancy did!! I am so amazed at how awesome life is. We are amazing creatures with amazing abilities. And now I have a beautiful family of four thanks to that amazement.

Kenzley Rogowski was born May 13, 2014 at 7:37 am, weighing 7 lbs, 11 oz and was 19-1/2 inches long.

An Unplanned Home Birth {Birth Without Fear}

An Unplanned Home Birth {Birth Without Fear}

My first two sons came quickly.  My first born in four hours and my second in two.  Both were easy, exciting and obviously fast!

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When I got pregnant with my third son, I figured his birth would be a fast blur in my mind but that I would at least have time to get to the hospital.  I couldn’t have been more wrong!

I was 39 weeks pregnant when I woke up at 4:00 am with what I thought was a stomach ache.  I used the restroom and decided to go sit in my recliner.  I quickly realized I was in labor with some very fierce contractions!  I waddled my way back to the bedroom to tell my husband it was time to get moving.  He flew out of bed with an adrenaline rush that can only come from learning your wife is in labor.  I went back into our bathroom as he woke up the boys and got the car warming up for our exciting drive!

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Now, with my first two my water had broken and then I delivered my babies. So, I thought I was still safe since my water had not yet broken.  However, as I stood there in my bathroom waiting for my husband, it dawned on me that I wasn’t going to make it to the car.  This baby was coming now!  My husband came back to tell me he was ready when I was.  I looked at him and said, “Jonathon, go call an ambulance, I’m having this baby right now!” He thought I was simply over reacting to the pain and said, rather urgently, “No,  Hannah, noooo. You need to get your pants on.  We won’t take the boys to my parents, we will just go straight to the hospital.  Everything will be alright.”. I glanced up at him and gritted out through my clenched teeth, “I can’t even pick my feet up!!”

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So, he bent down to help me into my pants and looked up to see our baby’s head crowning!  The next thing I knew, he ran down the hallway, told the boys to sit in their beds and that mama was having the baby now.  He had to run out onto the porch to call 911 as we have horrible reception inside our home.  During this 3 minute period I stood with my arms braced against our counter and, to my relief, I started pushing (push that pain away!!) and I delivered his head right as my water broke! I started panicking a bit and cursed a blue streak in my head wondering what was taking him so long. I tried to figure out how I would catch this baby while standing!

Finally, I heard his footsteps returning, much to my relief.  The phone miraculously stayed connected and the dispatcher, who was not aware my baby’s head was already delivered, told Jonathon to cup my vagina to help when the baby’s head comes out.  Jonathon does this and I scream at him to not touch me, loud enough for my other two sons to hear!!  He had barely touched me and I swear it felt like he was pushing the baby back in!  Within two minutes of Jonathon returning to the bathroom I delivered our son, Isaiah Theodore Houx, into my husband’s waiting hands.  It was 4:45 am according to the 911 dispatcher!

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After a few minutes, I started feeling light headed and eased myself down to the floor and held our son as Jonathon listened to the dispatcher telling him how to tie the cord.  He asked Noah, our 7 year old, to get my sewing kit that had thread in it.  Noah was amazing and quickly brought it in.  We ended up not needing it, as the ambulance arrived, much to my husband’s immense relief!

My mother-in-law showed up to pick the boys up (my husband had called her). The paramedics tied and cut the umbilical cord and I slowly made my way to the living room and they rolled us out to the ambulance on the gurney.

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Talk about a whirlwind of crazy excitement!  Isaiah certainly knows how to make an entrance!

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He developed two large bruises on either side of his head from scraping against my pelvic bones.  I needed help delivering my placenta, and lost 1 liter of blood. and needed 12 stitches.  For some reason, my body just didn’t have an adequate amount of time to open up as he came out!

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We are all doing fantastic and are in love with our newest family member!!

~Hannah Houx

Unintended Unassisted and Completely Peaceful

Unintended Unassisted and Completely Peaceful

Veronika shares this story of her unintended unassisted home birth… and what it was like to nurse her toddler during early labour.

“My darling Penelope Green, this is the story of your birth…

It was a hot day on July 19th, I was 41 weeks and four days pregnant with you. I had been having weeks of prodromal labor which made me feel like i was in labor all the time and made it very hard to figure out when exactly you would come! That morning we decided to do some grocery shopping and stock the house once again for your impending arrival, Just in case you decided to join us within the next few days.

When we got home, we put your sister to bed for a nap and I fell asleep for a while as I snuggled her. I didn’t know it would be the last time we would spend that time alone together and I’m so glad we had those moments because the next few days I ended up having special snuggle moments with you too!

Around 3 PM I started noticing that I was having timeable contractions. They weren’t painful, just annoying, and they were about six to seven minutes apart. Frustrated with all of the pre-labor I had been having, I told your dad that we should either stay home and monitor these contractions or spend the rest of the day at the beach ignoring them. We chose to head to the beach. We stayed there until about 6:30. The contractions were still consistently six to seven minutes apart but very, very tolerable. I started to get frustrated, thinking that this was going to become yet another night of pre-labor and I would have to wait to get to meet you.

On our way home, I called Vanessa and told her that I was having steady contractions but I was absolutely sure it was nothing. Just in case, we dropped one of our cars off at her house and packed Isla’s diaper bag in case we would have to drop it off later.

We went about our night and I continued to time the contractions. Slowly they got closer together, but their intensity stayed the same. It was too easy to be labor. I continued to ignore them and we started our nighttime routine of showers, baths, and books. Your dad gave Isla her bath while I cooked up a freezer meal to stash away for later. I was starting to get distracted by the contractions and thought I should time them and focus on what exactly my body was doing. The contraction timer was all over the board. Some were two minutes apart and some were seven to eight minutes apart. I thought they should have more of a pattern if this was really labor, so, again, I put it in the back of my mind but decided to give a heads up to our birth team.

I emailed Leah, our birth photographer, around 7:45 to tell her that I was starting to have timeable contractions, but that I thought it was more pre-labor and not the real deal. She joked and said, “At this rate, you’re going to give birth in the car!”

When it was my turn to take a shower, I looked in the mirror and noticed that my pubic bone area and pelvic floor looked swollen. I should have checked myself at that point because after everything was said and done, I realized that bulging was already your head descending!

I emailed Leah back and said that the contractions were getting worse but that I was going to try and lie down with Isla to rest.

We got your sister ready for bed and laid down with her while we played the song that we had intended to play right after your birth. Lying there nursing her to sleep was getting too uncomfortable for me, so instead, your dad took her for a drive while I rocked and bounced on my birth ball. I noticed there was getting to be more pressure in my hips and pelvis, but still, nothing very painful.

Pretty quickly though, as I sat and rocked, bounced, and swayed my hips, I started noticing the contractions getting a little longer and stronger. I emailed Leah at 9 pm and said that I was 99% sure it was the real thing and that I would call her as soon as we were on our way to the birth center.

The only thing that felt good was staying active and swearing through each wave of contraction. I swayed my hips and bounced on the birth ball, and each time one would hit, I would hum and moan a little. When they stopped, I repeated out loud to myself, “Let it go…let it go…”

Each time I said that, it helped clear me mentally which made the physical pain disappear!

I knew that this was active labor and that it could be several hours before you would be ready to meet the world. Since I was handling the intensity so well, I guessed that I still had a long way to go and decided to try and cope with as much of labor as I could on my own at home. When I asked your dad his thoughts about when to leave, he asked if I was sure I was even in labor because I wasn’t, “…acting all crazy labor-lady like”.

During Isla’s birth, between each contraction, I felt like I was on drugs or drunk. The intensity of her labor and all of the work my hormones had to do during her birth were completely different from what my body needed to do during yours. I was so confused! I thought I should be screaming or shaking or acting like I couldn’t take another second more of this, but none of those feelings were there.

I was also having lots of anxiety about having to leave Isla overnight with someone else. She had a pattern of waking up around 10 pm every night and needing to be nursed or sung back to sleep. Your dad and I decided then that it would be best to stick it out until she woke up that first time so that we could soothe her back to sleep and then head to the birth center and maybe even be back before she woke up again in the morning. I texted your Grandma Asplund around 9:30 and asked her if she wanted me to call or text her in the middle of the night if you had come. She texted back and said, “Yes, is this the real thing??”

I gave it a few minutes and at 9:47, I texted her back and said, “Well, I’m saying the f-word a lot, so I’m almost positive this is for real this time.”

At that point, the birth ball wasn’t working anymore. I felt like I needed to be alone, so I took another shower while your dad watched a movie. As soon as the water hit me, it was instant relief from the hip and pelvic pressure I was feeling, but being on my feet was making the contractions more intense. I vocalized through two very, very strong ones with low, deep moans. I thought to myself, “This is different. This is time.”

I felt inside to try and check my cervix to see if I could tell how things were progressing. I immediately felt your head and just a bare ring of cervix. I couldn’t believe that your head was so low already, so I thought maybe I was reaching in wrong and was feeling my pubic bone instead. I felt again and bore down just a bit at the same time…I felt your bag of waters bulging out and knew we had little to no time to get to the birth center.

I called to your dad and told him to call Vanessa and tell her to get to our house to watch over Isla as soon as she could, and then to call Anja and tell her we were on our way to the birth center.

I moaned through maybe two more contractions in the shower and then got out and started getting dressed. I put on my pajama pants and nursing bra and then another contraction hit me. I looked at myself in the mirror and thought, “Oh God…here we go.”

I grabbed a big towel, buried my face into in and made a low, growling sort of noise for the length of the contraction. Pressure overcame me and my legs started to go weak. Immediately another contraction came on and I howled once more into the towels. This was the only moment that the pain of the contractions felt like it might be too much for me to handle, but as soon as I started getting scared, they were over and I was released from the pain. I felt intense, fearful pain for all of two minutes and then it was over.

At that point, the contractions stopped and all I felt was an intense bearing down. I fell to my knees on the bathroom floor and grunted while my body pushed down. My water broke all over the floor and my pants and I knew we weren’t going to be leaving. I yelled to your dad again, told him to call Anja back and say we weren’t going to make it to the birth center after all. I told him to get me water to drink and to get my pants off…now.

He opened the bathroom door, saw me on the ground and said, “What do you mean, get your pants off? and what do you mean, we’re not going to make it?”

I growled while bearing down again, “The baby is coming now.”

I heard him get back on the phone with Anja and say, calmly, “Hey Anja…we’re actually not going to make it to the birth center tonight…Veronika is pushing the baby out right now, so can you come here instead?”

Your dad. Always so calm. In literally any circumstance.

I felt your head crowning, I needed my pants off so I could open my hips wider! I heard Vanessa come to the door. She had no idea that things had progressed this quickly. She and your dad came to the bathroom door and I snapped to them, “My pants, I need them off now!”

They helped me get them off and Vanessa made her way to sit behind me with baby Josephina strapped to her in a carrier and your dad sat on the floor in front. My body continued to bear down without my stopping it. During a pause in my birth waves, I breathed deep and said, “This is so peaceful…”, I couldn’t believe how in control I felt and how easy it all was. With each contraction, your head came out more and more until finally it was out all the way. Vanessa reminded me to breathe deeply through the pushing, and I supported and stretched my tissues around your growing head. I told your dad to get ready and we both cupped our hands beneath you.

The was a long pause and while I waited for the next urge to push, I reached in and checked to see if your umbilical cord was looped around your neck. It wasn’t, and I started to feel the next surge coming on. While my belly tightened around you for the very last time, I felt you wiggle inside of me. I looked at your dad, smiled and told him I could feel you.

Feeling you move like that at the end was incredible. I felt like we were both working hard together to meet one another and with a few last, splashy kicks, your little fish legs were waving a farewell to the amniotic pond you had spent so much time in.

With a spring of your legs, a hug of my belly, and one last unbearable urge to meet you, you slid out into our hands (and partially to the floor).

I held you up, completely stunned. You were a bit blue and slow to start breathing so I sucked on your mouth a little to try and clear it. Vanessa told me to rub your chest a little and sure enough, you started to pink up.

We guessed that you barreled into this world at 10:10 pm. As expected, your sister, Isla woke up right after and came out of our bedroom and saw all of us sitting on the floor with a strange baby in our arms. She was shocked, but then smiled and said, “Baby!”.

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Anja arrived at 10:15, and was just as stunned as all of us! She sat down on the floor beside me and I looked at her and said, “I promise you…we did not do this on purpose.”

Earlier in the week, our friend Maggie told me that my birth will be whatever I need it to be at this moment in my life. Those words will forever haunt and inspire me.

My pregnancy with you was full of ups and downs. Sickness, stress, insecurity, change, and doubt. Through all of it, I felt my world spinning out of control with no way to slow down and reign it in myself.

Penelope. Your birth WAS exactly what I needed. I never felt anything but peace, calm, and control throughout. Thank you for blessing me with such an incredible story, an irreplaceable feeling of empowerment, and a renewed sense of utter strength.

I love you my darling, please never stop surprising us.”

 

Prepping for Your Home Birth Without Fear {The Ultimate List}

Prepping for Your Home Birth Without Fear {The Ultimate List}

One of the most common questions about homebirth from those considering it is, “What do you need?” While the list of supplies varies from midwife to midwife, there are some basic things that almost everyone is going to need to gather in preparation for the birth. There will also be things you will (probably) want to do for your comfort and peace of mind before “go time”. This is meant to be an Ultimate (I hope I thought of everything) List, but please don’t stress yourself to cover all the little extras. Birth really is pretty basic. This list is long and detailed so that you have a chance to consider everything you might want to do, not everything you have to do.

Early Prep

While not everyone plans a homebirth from the start, many women do. If you can get a head start on a few things it makes the final months much more peaceful. After you have lined up your midwife, get a head start on your prep.

One of the first things you can do is to create a peaceful space. (Right about now mothers of small children are laughing). If you know which room/area you plan to use then work in the early months to slowly declutter and create your space. Your nesting urge will come in handy with this as well.

If you have older children, you will want to decide if you want them at the birth or not. If you do there are things you can do to prep your child for the birth. Some things will depend on their age – for instance a one year old won’t need the same prep as a 5 year old. Older children may be interested in the mechanics of birth and understand more. You know your children best. Birth can be a beautiful family event if you decide to have your children there. And if you don’t think you want them there – no guilt! Everyone labors differently.

For younger children helpful prep includes books, videos, and role playing. There are a few children’s books out there that discuss homebirth, one of my favorites is called Hello Baby by Jenni Overend. It is beautifully illustrated and is great for little ones. Birth videos are also great for prepping kids. I previewed many, many homebirth videos on youtube and created a little playlist of those I thought my son could see. I included water births, “land” births, quiet moms, loud moms, and especially videos that included the whole family.

Speaking of “loud” moms – this is where the role playing comes in. While I was a very quiet laborer with my first born, I wasn’t sure if I would be again. We never know how labor will go (and I wasn’t quiet the second time, by the way). So we discussed as we watched the videos that mommy may “Roar”. I talked about roaring like a dinosaur or a lion. We had a lot of fun roaring at each other and I explained that if mommy roars it is okay – I am not hurting and it just means the baby is coming soon. Apparently this worked really well since my two year old was not phased at all by my roaring at the birth – and I was loud!

Another opportunity for prep and role play with little ones can include your midwife visits. Many homebirth midwives do home visits for prenatals or have offices that are child friendly. I made my son a little midwife kit of his own, including a little plush placenta I whipped up with some felt. During my appointments in our home he “helped” my midwife and we talked about the baby. All of this helps children feel included in this life changing event.

plush placenta

Now whether you decide to have your children at the birth or not, I highly suggest lining up a support person for them. If they are going to be taken somewhere else for the birth be sure they are comfortable at the location and with the support person. Also try to pick someone with a flexible schedule who can be “on call” for the birth.

If they are going to be staying with you for the birth then you need to pick a special person. You need to pick a person who is there just for the child/children. This means that if they need to leave the house or room and miss the birth, they will be 100% okay with that. I would suggest clearing this specifically with them, since in some cases support people at home births might be signing up in the hopes of being a spectator. This isn’t the point of a support person for the older child. Be sure to acclimate them to your routines and places they can go with your kids. Discuss car seats if they need to drive the children anywhere. While this may seem over-kill it will give peace of mind in the last weeks and while in labor. It also clears up your support team to work just for you during the birth and not have to split their attention.

You will also want to consider if you want a doula for your home birth. Be sure to set up an interview and get someone who you feel is comfortable in your home and is preferably experienced or knowledgeable about home birth. Another part of your team to consider is a birth photographer. Again, interview them and be sure they make you feel comfortable. It also helps if they understand home birth or have shot one before, since they have different highlights and flow than a hospital birth.

Almost to the Finish Line!

Once you hit about 32 weeks, order your birth kit. This may seem a bit early, but some companies take a few weeks to ship. Or, if you are lucky like me, it will get lost in the mail because apparently your house is invisible to UPS. This also gives time to clear up any issues if the order is wrong or missing something. You don’t want to be stressed at the last minute!

There are many places to order birth kits and your midwife may have a custom kit set up with a particular company. You can also order kits of your own making or a basic kit from places such a In His Hands or Baby, Birth and Beyond. *

Basic Supplies Include:

Now that is just a starter list, and as I mentioned above some midwives will want more or less or different items. Some additional items might be an herbal after bath, different herbal items (for cord care or afterpains), Depends-type underwear, and a “birth certificate” and foot printing kit. You can also take off items from a premade kit on most sites, and substitute in your own items. For instance you may get your own postpartum pads and “depends” (hey, those are handy the first day or so!). The one thing I suggest not skimping on is the chux pads. Most births require a good amount of them, and they are handy after birth too. I tend to use them for a couple months under my sheets to protect the mattress from breastmilk leaks in the night.

Once you have ordered your birth kit it gets exciting! You have all these cool things ready to go, so what do you do with them until the big day? Enter the plastic tote.

boxes

I love “totes”. Really – my house is full of these lovely plastic boxes. It makes everything look organized, even if you really just threw stuff in there eight years ago when company was coming over. But I digress. Plastic totes are perfect for organizing your birth supplies. The above picture is actually my birth supplies from my second birth. The top tote has all the little stuff. Here was my personal list:

  • Everything from the basic list above, plus a few additional items from my midwife’s list
  • Several hair ties (in a small plastic baggie, taped to the inside of the box)
  • Chapstick (in the small plastic baggie as well)
  • A roll of paper towels
  • My heating pads, both the plug-in version and my rice heat pack
  • A bath robe

The bottom tote has all the linens I would need. For the bed I had a fitted sheet and flat sheet, a plastic bed protector (I actually scored that at the dollar store), and a really old holey fitted sheet. I gathered four or five old towels I didn’t mind getting dirty or stained (none of them ended up stained) as well as several wash cloths. I also threw in a few pairs of underwear and a pair of socks. This box wasn’t so much about needing things set aside for me, it was more about having it set aside for my birth team. This way I could just say “check the tote” instead of explaining where my sock drawer was.

A note about the bed, and more experienced homebirth moms will know this already – prepare the bed whether you want to birth there or not. Labor is a funny thing and may not go the way you planned (as I found out myself!). The most convenient way to prepare the bed in my opinion is to make what I think of as a bed sandwich. When you go into labor, have your partner strip the bed. Then put on a fitted sheet and flat sheet that are clean and nice. Over this, put the plastic mattress protector (or large plastic shower curtain liner). Then over this put the crappy/holey/old fitted sheet you don’t mind messing up.

If you birth on the bed or get anything on it, you simply strip off the old sheet and protector and VOILA you have a clean and ready made bed underneath! It may sound odd but this was one of the best things after the birth was over. I ran to shower off and when I came back the bed was totally ready with minimal effort for my birth team.

Another great place to store your birth supplies for easy access is the pack-n-play or crib:

tamara birth supplies

Okay – so that is your supplies covered! That was easy.

The Last Weeks

Now there are just a few additional things you may want to do. One is a list. This list will be for your main birth partner. On this list include the steps you want them to take once labor starts. For me and my husband the list looked went something like this:

  • Call midwife (include number)
  • Call photographer (include number)
  • Call child care to give a “heads up” (include number)
  • Make bed
  • Empty washing machine
  • Hook up hose attachment for filling the birth tub, start to fill tub if in established labor

This list meant that I could concentrate on labor and not have to direct anything. I could get in “the zone”. I included the numbers on the paper just in case he couldn’t find them in my phone or his or if someone else was there doing the list instead. I didn’t include “call family” since we agreed we would not call family until the midwife had arrived and I gave the go-ahead. This was a lesson learned in our first birth that sometimes alerting family at the start of labor isn’t always the most peaceful thing to do if labor is long.

If you have a support person for your child, create a little cheat list for them of your child’s routine and favorite foods if they are not familiar with all of that. While the lists might seem over-kill, trust me that the less questions directed at you in labor the happier you will be. It also helps you avoid the little mini-panic that tends to happen in the last weeks when you realize that life is about change in a big way and you want to scream “I have no control” – yes, most pregnant mamas have been right there with you!

The next thing you will most likely want to do is a trial run on your birth tub, if you are using one. My friend and I both were very glad we did a dry run. For myself, we found out the tub had a slow leak and we created a plan for dealing with it. For my friend, she found this:

tamara tub hole

Yes – that is a giant hole. Apparently the plastic of the tub got brittle from the cold of the trunk it was stored in and it cracked. Since she looked at the tub around 36 weeks she had time to get a new tub from her midwife and do a dry run with that tub. Imagine if she had not inspected the tub until she was in labor! Doing a dry run also lets you see where you want to set it up and make space. Keep in mind you want room around the tub for your team to work and have access to you. Also figure out how you are going to fill the tub and think about how much hot water you will need. Some sinks may need an attachment to put a hose on it or may not have good water pressure. You can also fill your tub from the hot water heater or shower. If you are using your own built-in tub in your home, put some nesting skills to use and give it a good scrub down or have your partner do it (I vote for the partner).

tamara tub test

Another thing you may like to work on is affirmation cards. This would be a good activity for a quiet evening before baby comes or even as part of a baby shower or mother blessing. You can hang the cards around your birth space and even put some around the house where you will see them in the coming days (like on your bathroom mirror).

One of the final things you might want to do is be sure a space is clear for your midwife. Most midwives like to lay out their supplies if they have time before the birth is imminent. This can simply be a good patch of clean counter top or space on a bed in the birth area. If your kitchen looks like mine, a clear bit of counter space may mean moving your stand mixer under the cabinet or storing the blender or clearing the kitchen table (mine always ends up as a catch all). If you don’t have time to do this (or birth catches you by surprise) don’t worry, your midwife will find a good spot. Again, remember this is the Ultimate List – not the “stress about everything” list!

krystal midwife prep

You can also take a moment to set up all your postpartum supplies in the bathroom and by your bed. Myself and another friend I know created a breastfeeding station – nursing pads, nipple butter/lanolin, a good book, children’s books and small goodies (for the older child), and a nice water bottle. Some postpartum supplies you might like are a peri-bottle, pads in easy reach, herbal preparations (like those sold by Earth Mama Angel Baby), and over the counter pain medications for after pains (or herbal preparations). Always discuss medications or herbal options with your care provider.

krystal postpartum supplies

A small note about the cleaning that needs to be done. One midwife described it to me this way: “Clean like your Mother-in-Law is coming for a visit.” Basically, clean like you are having an overnight guest and then just take some extra care in a couple key places – your birth space and the tub/shower you may want to use. There is no need to over sanitize and totally tear apart your home in preparation for a home birth, just keep clean and neat. A great investment if you have it in the budget (or have an amazing friend) is to have someone come in and do a nice deep clean around 36 or 37 weeks.

Now you have all the preparation done. You have a peaceful birth space; you have your tub ready to blow up and know how you are going to fill it. You have your support team ready and affirmation cards made. Now you can relax and focus on that moment. That sweet, sweet moment when you hold your baby for the first time. Birth Blessings mamas! Did you do anything else to prep for your home birth? Let us know in the comments!

krystal home birth

*Please note Birth Without Fear does not have an affiliation with any birth supply companies and these are only suggestions.

**Last three photos credited to Aperture Grrl Photography.

Did you do anything else to prep for your home birth? Let us know in the comments!

Quick Unassisted Home Birth

Quick Unassisted Home Birth

The day before Lucia arrived was such a wonderful and memorable day; I will begin her birth story there.

Elsie and I went to a birthday party at the movie theatre that morning, which was much needed. I had been feeling like her and I needed to spend some time together, just the two of us. After the show we went home and decided it was a good day to drive out to Crazy Creek Hot Pools to enjoy one another before our family turned from four to five. We invited our friend, Jenica to come along too. We relaxed in the warm water, watching Elsie and James splash around and play. I was aware of the tightening’s I was having in the water. They had slowed down a bit since they had started a couple days prior, but I knew the time was coming soon. I stretched my body out in the water and told my baby that she could come anytime; I was ready. On our way back home we stopped for ice cream and wandered around looking at the animals there. It was a chilly fall day, but the sun was shining and I felt so good, relaxed, and calm.

That evening while I was putting the kids to bed, I noticed my tightening’s becoming stronger and a bit closer together. I kept it to myself, finished stories, and tucked them in. I then went downstairs to inform Steve that things had started again. I had been having contractions for days and had texted my midwives a few times, requesting that they be on standby. I decided to wait a bit to see what happened before putting them on alert yet again. Steve wanted to eat, but I wasn’t hungry. I kept needing to go to the bathroom, which I realized was a sign that this could be the real deal. I stood folding laundry and started timing contractions, they were anywhere from 2-5 minutes apart and remained that way for a while. I decided to send a text to my midwives to advise them that this could be the night.

Steve and I were prepared. James had come fast, before the midwife and doula arrived and Steve ended up catching him. Which was wonderful, I wouldn’t change a thing about James’ birth, but I truly did want to have my midwife and student midwife there, the extra support for the “just in case”. So this time, I was really trying hard to have everything ready. Pool assembled, hoses nearby, home birth supplies organized and home rearranged to suit the midwives. I was hoping to have the birth photographed by my dear friend Lila, so I had texted her, too. The ducks were in a row; we were just playing it out and doing our best to anticipate her arrival.

I decided to lie down on the couch to see what would happen. I thought if they got stronger lying down, then things were really happening and I could call everyone to come. But instead, they faded away. Grrr! How frustrating!

So, I texted everyone to say that we were going to bed. Might as well get some rest. As I lay in bed, the contractions were still there, but totally manageable and they were that way for a while. Then, I experienced a significant one and they started to pick up again. I went downstairs to have a bath. My thought was a bath might help ease the intensity and they might fade away again. As I was waiting for the tub to fill, I noticed I was losing my mucus plug. There was blood… Ok then, this is actually happening!

I went upstairs, got Steve out of bed, asked him to start filling our birthing pool, texted the midwives to come (they were an hour away). Told my photographer to come too, she was only 20 minutes away. The tightening’s were becoming very intense! I kept running to the living room to check the birth pool, then running back to the tub in the bathroom and standing in it when I had a contraction. My water hadn’t broken yet, so I was trying to anticipate that as well. I was getting overwhelmed, the birth pool wasn’t filling fast enough, Steve was busy running around trying to prepare the pool and the intensity was ramping up. I finally made the decision to get on my knees in the bathroom tub and call my midwives, but before I could, I had a contraction that made me want to cry. I called to Steve and he asked me what I needed and I told him to just be with me. He rubbed my back and helped me get through it. After it passed, I made the phone call and said to them “I’m getting worried, they’re getting really intense! Here comes another, I’m going to put the phone down.” I called (more like screamed) for Steve to come back and I started pushing, my water broke, her head crowned and I told Steve to go get warm towels. While he was gone and the midwives were still listening on the phone, I reached down between my legs, put my hand on her head and followed her out. I let her body come out under the water, slid my hands underneath her armpits and lifted her onto my stomach. It happened so fast, but so slow at the same time. Every move was thought out, very clear, but completely instinctual. Steve came back with towels and there she was, perfect, breathing and calm. Steve put his hands on me and said “you did it”. Yes, yes I did.

I moved my hand under her bottom and discovered she was a girl. I told Steve and took in the moment, how incredible. We had another daughter! How excited Elsie would be! I decided I wanted to get out of the tub to get warm. I asked Steve to call my mom next door because we were going to need help. I then directed them on how to help me out of the tub, squat over a pot to deliver my placenta, walk me to the other room where the sofa bed was all ready and to lay us down. Our daughter latched on immediately and we settled in, waiting for everyone to arrive. Lila was the first one to show and the midwives followed shortly after. Everyone got organized and it felt like we were all just visiting, sharing laughs and tea, with a few newborn and maternal procedures in between. I had a shower and then we just lounged on the couch, blissed out, enjoying our Lucia.
When James woke in the morning, he climbed into our bed to be introduced to his little sister. He was all smiles. Elsie, too, was immediately taken and over the moon to have a little sister. We all just love her to death and our family is now truly complete.

Lucia1

Lucia3

{Credit to Lila Karmali Photography- http://karmaliphotography.com/}

The Freebirth of Apple Blossom Light Hawk Summer Willow Wind

The Freebirth of Apple Blossom Light Hawk Summer Willow Wind

March 10, 2011

It’s the middle of the night. I’m laying awake, thinking of how there will be three of us sleeping here soon. I can’t lay still. I’m feeling different, off, restless. Every once in a while, I’m compelled to get up on all fours and rock back and forth. I don’t think a whole lot of it. I’m not expecting Peacy to come for another week, even two. It doesn’t occur to me yet that this might be the beginnings of labor!

A Bit of Background

I never sought prenatal care during my pregnancy, and I planned to have a freebirth. I was the first of all my cousins & family and friends to get pregnant. When I shared with my friends and family that I planned to have an unassisted birth, lets just say it didn’t go over so well. Apart from a few who had faith in my choice, I was constantly bombarded with fearful advice from so many people. It was an isolating time for me. I felt very alone in my choice, and sought support through books and blogs on the Internet, support I received so graciously!

In late February of 2011, Joey and I drove from Maine to New Hampshire to move into our new house, a tiny log cabin with no running water or electricity. I was about eight & a half months pregnant. The snow was so deep that winter, we had to bring all our belongings down to the cabin by way of a sled. I spent our first week there sewing curtains for the windows & making sheets for our new bed. It was so cozy and warm there. I felt safe and comfortable, and so relieved to be moved from our dark, cold house in Maine. Peacy was born about a week after moving to our new home.

Peacey's freebirth cabin

March 10, Around Midnight

Sleep isn’t coming. Something tells me to use the potty. Maybe this is all it is. I just need to go and then I’ll be able to sleep. The outhouse is a minute walk from our cabin, and although it’s March, it’s still very surely winter. But, I have to go. What else am I going to do? I throw on a big flannel shirt, climb down the ladder, and head outside. I make my way through the snow, huddled against the chill wind. There’s a bit of an icy path to follow, but its dark, and every once in a while I step off the path and find myself knee-deep in the snow. I make it to the outhouse. Then I make my way back to the cabin and open the door to find the warm relief of the woodstove. Ahhh, I can relax! I crawl back into bed next to Joey.

Still no sleep. I have to go to the outhouse again. Not again! I just got warm! After a few trips outside in the freezing wind, I decide to give up on sleeping. I light a candle, (our only source of light at night save the moon,) and stay downstairs near the woodstove. There is obviously something going on now. I’m hot one minute & and then I’ve got chills the next, and I can’t sit still. I begin to suspect, just maybe, that my little girl is on her way.

Then I really notice the contractions. They are pretty close together, maybe once every 3 minutes. They’re short and mild, very bearable and growing in intensity. Suddenly, I’m very cold. The fire in the woodstove has died down. There are only a few embers left. I attempt to make another fire. Usually I consider myself a pretty skilled fire-maker, but this attempt was nothing short of hilarious. I start to break up the slightly soggy kindling as best I can, (jumping on it between contractions.) I squat down, and what I’ve managed to break to a decently small size I pile into the woodstove. I light a bit of birch bark to get the fire going, and the flames start to rise, and then a contraction comes! The contractions are getting stronger, and require much more energy. My attention is pulled away from the woodstove into my pelvis. I close my eyes and rock back and forth, immersing myself in the rush of energy. When the contraction passes, I look up to see a whole lot of smoke, and no flames. This goes on for a while. Every time I try to light the fire, another contraction comes! Soon, there’s a chard, smoking mass of kindling in the fire, and there I am, cold & bouncing around in front of the woodstove. Finally, my ridiculously persistent drive to do things myself gives in to the reality of the situation. I call upstairs to Joey.

Joey comes down the ladder, groggy, and comments on the smoking mass of kindling that was my attempted fire. I smile and relax. He starts a blazing fire in a matter of minutes. I tell him I think Peacy is coming. The cabin begins to warm up, the fire in the stove roaring and red hot, and my contractions get much stronger. I spend most of my time on my knees, my torso resting on the edge of the couch, swaying and moaning, and then resting when they pass. Joey rubes my back and brings me water. I can tell he is tired. I’m tired too. In between contractions, I lay down on the couch with him. A few times, I try to let the contractions come while laying down, but it’s too intense, almost unbearable, and each time I end up back on my knees, bent over the couch, moaning my earth chant and pulling all my power into my pelvis to speed my baby’s passage.

I need to rest. It’s only been a few hours since I noticed the beginnings of labor, but the contractions are strong and relentless. I am so tired. Finally, rest comes. Joey and I drift off to sleep, laying together on the couch, in the pre-dawn darkness.

March 10, Just After Sunrise

I wake up to the most brilliant light! Our little cabin is illuminated by the sunlight beaming through the windows, spilling over onto the walls and the ceiling and the couch where we still lay. It is so beautiful and breathtaking! Contractions start again right away, as fast and intense as they had been before we fell asleep. Joey starts to steep some herbs for me to drink after the birth. It was so intense now! I can’t even get up to get myself water, or even to go pee!

I’m on my hands and knees; the only position that feels comfortable. Rocking and moaning through the contractions which seem to be coming every minute. Joey brings me water when all I can manage to say is “water,” and he brings me containers to go pee into when I need to. He rubs my back, I think maybe because he’s not quite sure what else to do to support me. During an especially intense contraction, he rubs my back again. “Don’t do that!” He stops. I need every ounce of my attention. Even back rub is too much for me to handle, too distracting. Sometimes there is pain, although not unbearable. I rock my way through it. My moans are louder, filled with tension. Sometimes they are grunts, even screams.

About an hour after sunrise, I feel a swelling in the birth canal. This is such a powerful moment. I can really feel her. She is so close! Somehow, through all those months of her growing inside of me, it never really hit me that she was real. Now it hits me! The contractions are so intense that I don’t even really feel them. I am in the most beautiful trance. I can feel her so close! Soon, I feel her pushing against the wall of my vagina, her door to the world. I put my hand back to feel her. So incredible! I can feel her! But… is that her? It doesn’t feel like a head! I ask Joey to look. He agrees. It doesn’t look like a head, or like any part of a baby. It looks like a membrane. Then I realize my waters never broke! It’s the caul! She keeps going back up inside me and then pushing back down. I can feel her with my hand, and I feel like I’m stretching as much as I can. I even try pushing her out, but she’s not even close to crowning.

I ask Joey to look in our copy of “Spiritual Midwifery” to see if he can find anything about what’s happening. I want to know if it’s ok for us to break the caul, or if I should just keep trying with the caul intact. Joey reads for a bit, while Peacy keeps going in and out. He finds something on late rupture of membranes, but nothing helpful. I ask him to break the caul – he uses his fingernail and breaks it. Relief! Instantly I feel freer, and can tell that Peacy does too. Her head starts to crown!

Peacy crowns for a minute. I let out a grunt-scream-bellow-cry, and my body gives an enormous involuntary push, followed by a very voluntary, strained push and her head is out! Her body follows easily, along with a rush of waters and a bit of blood. Joey catches her and holds her as I turn to take her. I hold her to my breast.

Peacy is blue and wailing, and quickly turns pink. She is pudgy and squat and round and so perfect! I have never seen such a perfect, beautiful being! Our dog Naynie, who I had forgotten about completely, comes running over to sniff this strange, loud, new little thing. I’m afraid Naynie is going to bite Peacy, or eat her! I tell Joey to put Naynie outside, which he does. Peacy definitely does not want to nurse! She cries and squirms and cries some more. I cry with joy. She is so beautiful, so beautiful! I could never have imagined! The light in Joey’s eyes is so bright and beautiful as he looks at her.

My body feels so strange. My belly is limp and squishy.

The placenta comes. Joey ties Peacy’s cord and cuts it. I eat a tiny bite of the placenta, not exactly my idea of tasty, but it certainly feels nourishing. Joey wraps it in a towel and places it in a cupboard, where I proceed to forget about it until a few days later.

Joey holds Peacy for a long time. She sleeps in his arms while I clean myself and the cabin up. Naynie is outside, scratching at the door to come back in, she is so curious. We let her in, finally. I try going pee outside in the snow. It burns and stings. It is so painful. I have a tear, in the front, right by my pee-hole, probably because of that last strained push as her head came through.

Peacey's free birth

March 10-15, 2011

The next few days were a struggle. Peacy didn’t seem to want to eat or sleep, so we didn’t get to eat or sleep much either. I remember being so exhausted one night that I passed out right next to Peacy while she was wailing. Finally she took to nursing. There were a lot of diapers to wash and dry. We got water from the stream and heated it on the woodstove to wash the diapers in, and strung the clean, wet diapers above the woodstove to dry. Joey did pretty much everything for me those first few days. It was a good lesson for me in accepting help. He made me amazing soups and went out to do food shopping; he walked up the hill to collect our drinking water and washed all the diapers. Although it was challenging, I’ll never forget those first few days. They were so beautiful.

I remember the first time we took Peacy outside, a few days after she was born, all bundled up in a million blankets and we walked through the snow with her to the Sugar Shack to talk with Steve, the man who was renting the cabin to us. We walked into the shack, greeted by the smell of boiling maple sap and a look of surprise on Steve’s face. “You had your baby!” And then, “Aren’t you supposed to put up a flag or something?!” It was so good to feel the lightheartedness of Steve’s presence. Something about his words brought me back to reality a little. They felt like a testament to what a monumental undertaking this all was and, to the fact that this was something all mothers and fathers do. Something Steve had done three times! It felt like a consecration, a blessing from Steve in his own way.

Peacy's free birth a few days postpartum

April, 2011

Peacy’s name took a long time to come. At first I called her little-one, and that was perfect. We called her squirmo, and pea-belly, and squirmo-pea-belly, and all sorts of other names for fun.

Before Peacy’s birth, Joey had told me of a Native American tradition where children’s names were constantly in motion – constantly changing based on their phase of life and their spirit. I tried this out with Peacy, but it didn’t feel right; I wanted her to have a name of her own. It felt like something she was entitled to, something sacred. I thought about it for a long time. I over-thought it. I came up with a name, Lynnea, and I shared it with Joey. He didn’t like it. He asked me why I had chosen it. I told him it reminded me of the forsythia – the first vibrant blossom of the spring.

“What about ‘Spring Blossom,’” he said.

I fell in love with this – I had never even considered a name so beautiful. Over the next few months, her name evolved. It became like a poem. It came to embody her soft, radiant beauty, her fiery spirit, and her deeply passionate soul. We gave her a nickname too, “Peacy,” because who can say “Apple Blossom Light Hawk Summer Willow Wind, come get your dinner!”?

Two Unplanned Unassisted Births

Two Unplanned Unassisted Births

The birth story of my second daughter really starts with the accidental unassisted and unplanned homebirth of my first child. I was terrified to give birth during my first pregnancy. It consumed my thoughts the minute I saw that second line on the pregnancy test, and that fear hung on until she was born. I even considered an elective cesarean solely because the thought of going through labor and delivery sounded terrifying. I was seeing a hospital midwife at the time, but did not have any intention of having an unmedicated birth.

But, things turned out differently than I had planned. My labor with my first daughter started gradually and over the course of 35 hours got steadily more intense but never unbearable. It was all a rather beautiful ebb and flow. When I called the midwife to tell her I was in labor, she said to come when the contractions were under 5 minutes apart. I slept most of the day, and my contractions remained above 5 minutes. Then, at 1:20pm on that Saturday afternoon in August of 2009, my water broke and my contractions immediately got closer together.

Before we could even call the midwife, I felt a head between my legs and ran to the bathroom. There in my own home was my first child born, only ten minutes and two pushes after my water broke. It was beautiful and glorious and I had just done what I thought I could not. I thought I would not be able to deliver a baby without medication, and here I did it without even a medical professional present. It was the most wonderful feeling in the world – I felt like Super Woman. It also ignited my passion to encourage other women that their bodies were made to give birth, and not be as fearful as I had been.

Three years later I found myself pregnant again, with another girl. I was in a much different place – I had used my between-kids years to involve myself in the local birth community, volunteering with a birth center and being active on birthy forums. Mentally I was calmer and less fearful, though I did have one nagging thought. I had the Perfect Birth last time – how could I repeat it? And how will I bear it if the second birth is not perfect?

There was one major difference between last pregnancy and this one. A few months before I got pregnant with my second child, I found out I had two clotting disorders (Factor V Leiden and MTHFR). These clotting disorders are linked to stillbirths and complications in pregnancy (including IUGR). This time, my pregnancy would be considered high-risk and I would see a perinatologist in addition to my regular care provider.

God was with me though. Because of my knowledge of the birth community, I already knew which care providers would be the best for my care. I had been considering a home birth, but after finding out about the clotting disorders I decided instead to use the best hospital-based midwifery practice in my city. Their backup OB is also a perinatologist who is so supportive of women. I saw him monthly (and then weekly the last two months), as they monitored my baby’s growth and the placenta. I had to take a daily injection of a blood thinner called Lovenox, which was not very fun. I also took numerous vitamins to combat the negative aspects of the MTHFR. I hired a doula, and felt that I had done everything I could to have another beautiful, positive birth.

Tuesday, July 17

Tuesday marked two weeks exactly before my due date. I had my normal weekly non stress test at my perinatologist’s office in the morning, and he asked me how I was feeling. “I feel off,” I told him. I know the last few weeks of pregnancy can mean a lot of changes in a woman’s body, but I just felt that I was getting very, very close. I was moving very slow and had a hard time getting settled and comfortable. At the same time, I was restless.

Around 8:30pm, I was sitting at my laptop when I felt a sudden POP! It actually made me jump. I felt a little bit of liquid, and at first I thought it was sweat. (It had been so hot that I felt as if I was just pouring buckets of sweat all the time.) I then realized that it was likely my water broke, so I made my way up to the bathroom. As I walked, water gushed out, and I knew without a doubt that my suspicions were correct. I called to my husband downstairs and told him what happened. I think it took both of us by surprise, because it was different from the first time (where my water broke 10 minutes before she was born).

I knew my midwifery practice had a 48 hour policy about broken waters and labor starting, so I didn’t worry about calling them just yet. Instead, I called a friend of mine who has experience with PROM (pre-mature rupture of membranes = broken waters without labor starting). She told me to get on my hands and knees to work on the ideal position for the baby while there was still enough water for her to turn. She also told me to go to bed and get some sleep, and she would do the same because she was on call to pick up my older daughter when we went to the hospital.

I called my doula and told her what had happened and told her I’d call her back when I wanted her to come. The plan was for her to come by the house and provide support there before we went to the hospital together. Then, I went to bed.

Wednesday, July 18th

I can’t say I was scared or anxious, but I wasn’t really able to sleep much. I was somewhat expecting the same as last time, where the labor had started gradually over 35 hours. I started feeling some pressure, but not anything resembling contractions.

I don’t remember if I had been asleep or not, but the contractions hit me very suddenly around 3am. They were immediately intense. I tried to time them but it was difficult to remember all the numbers. I called for my husband to give some counter pressure on my back. The ultrasound Tuesday morning showed that the baby had flipped OP (face up), which was how my first daughter was. She had flipped in the birth canal (we think that’s why the end of her labor was so fast), and since I hadn’t gotten much chance to try to flip the baby with positioning exercises, I was praying for a repeat of that.

My contractions were in my back, and I lay on my side with my husband behind me. After only a couple of contractions, I called my midwifery practice and spoke to the midwife on call (around 3:30 at this point) to tell her that labor had started and already it was incredibly intense. I didn’t have a clue how far apart they were at this point, so I told her I thought it was 8 minutes. (Ha, don’t believe a laboring woman’s estimation of time.) In reality, I think they were already about 5 minutes apart.

At some point, I asked my husband to call my doula and tell her I wanted her to come. (She lived an hour away.) She listened to me during one of my contractions and suggested that we should get to the hospital – she would meet us there. (The hospital was about halfway between our houses.) I said okay, but I continued lying on the bed – I had no desire to move! I think this was when my husband called my friend to ask her to come get our daughter.

The contractions were so intense and on top of each other. They were coming every couple of minutes – I felt I had been given Pitocin. I was overtaken by their frequency and intensity, and I struggled to move. I’m sure lying on my side was not the best position for labor! I started feeling the urge to have a bowel movement, which is what had happened last time. This scared me. I forced myself to relax and not try to push as hard. I kept thinking, is this the baby? No, it can’t be. I can’t do an unplanned homebirth a second time.

My husband mentioned that he was starting to see a lot of blood, and that scared me. Thoughts of placental abruption filled my head (sometimes too much knowledge can be a bad thing!), and I anxiously told him to call the midwife who was on call. He tried both the midwife’s direct number to no avail, and then we had the answering service ring her (which they were unable to as well – when we talked to her later she said she had no idea what happened).

I felt a mass in the birth canal and I think that’s when I realized the baby was actually coming. My husband saw the top of her head, and told me, “Get on your hands and knees!” He prompted me several times before I was able to comply. He was behind me, and as the baby slid out he caught her and said all sorts of loving, soothing things as she started to cry. I couldn’t move at all – I felt like my muscles were gone. I looked over at one point and saw my 3 year old daughter standing in the doorway looking quite terrified. I asked my husband if she’d been there the whole time, and he said yes.

I can’t remember the exact sequence of events, but everything was much calmer this time. My husband seemed to react as if he dealt with this every day. He finally was able to get me to lie down and handed me the baby, who I immediately put on my chest for some skin to skin. She was covered in vernix, which I set about rubbing into her skin while trying to keep her warm with my own body heat. My husband called our doula, who had just pulled up to the hospital, and she immediately got back on the highway and headed toward our house. (Fortunately, being 5:30am there was no traffic!)

My friend arrived about ten minutes later to pick up our older daughter (about 15 minutes after we had originally called her). My husband met her downstairs and told her the baby had already been born. I was SO relieved she was there because not only is she a dear friend who has delivered two babies of her own, but she is also an ER nurse. She was completely nonplussed at the scene in our bedroom, or the sight of me laying there completely naked and covered with blood.

My doula arrived shortly thereafter, and she also was completely on top of things. She and my friend checked the baby to make sure everything was okay, and set about wrapping us in towels and helping me deliver the placenta. My doula checked me for tearing, and confirmed that I would need some stitches, so we debated about what to do since we still hadn’t heard from the midwife. We finally called another midwife (the owner of the practice) and told her what had happened, and she told us she’d arrange things with the hospital so that we could get down there and get everything taken care of.

My doula and friend helped me out of bed and into some clothes, and helped me down the stairs. They collected all the sheets and towels we’d used and threw them in the wash. I was SO appreciative! And if you were wondering while all this was happening… After watching the baby being born, my older daughter went back into her room where my husband found her sitting on her bed staring wide-eyed. She was quite traumatized! He held her as much as he could while he walked around the house, getting things for my doula and my friend.

At one point I got a few minutes on the couch and I invited my older daughter over to come look at the baby. She wasn’t quite sure what to make of everything. She saw the placenta in a plastic bag next to me and said, “What’s that, Mommy?” I tried to explain the purpose of a placenta, which was a little over her head. I told her what was going on and that she was going to go home with my friend, and by the time it was ready to go, she went willingly which relieved me greatly.

We went to the hospital, with my doula following us in her car. It was SO nice to have her there – just another comforting presence to add to my piece of mind. (When things like this happen, I tend to prefer to be told what to do by someone I trust.) They wheeled me to L&D and met the midwife there. We told her the whole story, she apologized about her phone messing up, and then she checked me for tears. Like after my first birth, this was incredibly painful and I’m so grateful for my doula’s presence.

After getting stitched up, we were taken to a postpartum room. I am happy to say that I did not pass out this time!

One of the things I really feared about this birth was that I would hemorrhage, which I know is one of the risks of being on blood thinners. However, when the time came, I actually bled very little. My doula and my friend were both surprised at the small amount of blood on the bed, and I’m actually grateful that the sheets came clean in just one wash and nothing was stained.

It was an incredibly intense birth and not really as beautiful as my first, and it took me a long time before I was okay with it. I had really wanted a water birth at the hospital, but obviously didn’t get one and I’m sad about that missed opportunity. I had a very difficult recovery, still feeling pain until around 6 months postpartum. However, as time has passed, I have accepted it as still a beautiful birth but in a different way.

It was beautiful because I once again was able to push my child through my vagina without the aid of drugs. It was beautiful because she was caught by her daddy, and her first sounds were of loving words. It was beautiful because my firstborn got to watch a normal birth, and still talks about it almost a year later. It was beautiful because despite my risk factors, I did not have to compromise my desires for a normal birth. It was beautiful because my daughter is beautiful.

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We do hope to have another child in a few years, and this time I will plan a homebirth with midwives. My perinatologist has been wonderfully supportive of me through all of this, even supporting my desires to homebirth. I am grateful, because at this point I can’t imagine a better place to welcome my child into this world than in the comfort of my own home!

caroline birth2 (2)

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Plus Sized Unassisted Home Water Birth

Plus Sized Unassisted Home Water Birth

The last weeks of my pregnancy were kind of crazy.  After a perfectly happy and uneventful pregnancy it majorly sucked to have to spend the last weeks trying to arrange a care provider after my midwife DROPPED ME for refusing an ultrasound to “check for IUGR” when there was no reason to suspect that the baby was having issues.

At the eleventh hour we finally found a midwife that seemed nice enough, but I have to say by that point I was quite upset and I did not relish the idea of having a new person that I was not yet familiar or comfortable with at the birth.  I started to think maybe we just wouldn’t call her until after.

The week before my due date, my husband James was home while his truck was repaired and I fixated on him being there for the birth.  I had been having contractions on and off for days but they never stuck around for more than a few hours.  Although I had spent the previous months ambivalent about whether or not he would be there, I was suddenly desperately sure he HAD to be at the birth.  I went a little nuts and tried every folk remedy and old wives tale I could think of to jump start my labor.  I didn’t want to do anything drastic, but I was hoping I would find something that would help my body decide it was ready to go.  So I bounced on my birth ball for hours, ate tons of pineapple and spicy curry, had lots of sex, pretty much did everything but try castor oil because the risks didn’t seem to outweigh the benefits of taking it.

Nothing worked.  My due date came and went, my husband went back on the road and I stayed pregnant.  My contractions would intensify and I would get excited and send my doula “MAYBE TODAY” texts, but then they would die off and I would feel disappointed and a bit foolish.  Part of the problem was that the baby was posterior and no matter what I did I could not get he/she to rotate to a better position.  As the days crept by everyone from family and friends to my readers and facebook fans constantly asked me WHEN WHEN WHEN and I would have to explain, yet again, that this was NORMAL.  Normal gestation is 38-42 weeks and there was nothing weird or dangerous about being 5,8, or 12 days past due.  It was getting to be a bit much.

My mother arrived on May 16th, a day I had chosen because I had thought that the baby would have surely arrived by then (ha ha) and I was equally sure I wouldn’t want her at the birth.  I was afraid she would make me call the midwife too soon or freak out and try to get me to go to the hospital.  Instead, she was a blessing.  She took care of the kids and let me rest those last days of pregnancy, and it was exactly what I needed.  That Sunday James came home because his truck had broken down and needed yet another round of repairs.

On Monday, at forty two weeks and one day, I woke up at four in the morning, absolutely miserable, sore, uncomfortable and cranky.  I was so sick of the “did you have the baby yet/what are you going to doooo” questions that I announced I was taking a facebook break until the baby arrived.  I then spent the next several hours hysterically crying because I suddenly realized that my mother’s flight was the next morning and James would probably be leaving as well and I had less than a day to give birth.  I was so upset my mother and James tried to reschedule her flight, but the added fees made that impossible.  When I calmed down, I realized that my poor mom and husband were trying so hard to make me happy, and to accommodate my wishes and that was not fair to them at all.  I took a deep breath and sat quietly for a while, thinking “what is the right thing to do here?” and the thought popped in my head….  “it might be a good time to try castor oil.”

That thought surprised me because even though it had been suggested to me several dozen times, up until then I had not wanted to go that route knowing it could be a messy, uncomfortable experience and if it didn’t work I would be sore and dehydrated with nothing to show for it.  I spoke to midwives, my doula, my mom and consulted doctor google for fair measure, and the consensus was that it would have a better chance of working if my body was ready (OMG how could it not be? I felt SO ready! LoL)  and if I was postdates (I was- I knew the exact date of conception) and there was an increased risk of the baby passing meconium (which since I was over 42 weeks we had a risk of anyway) so I decided to give it a go.  At least then I could say I tried EVERYTHING for James to be at the birth!

Well, that stuff was rocket fuel, in more ways than one.

Within a half an hour, I was in the bathroom.  And I stayed in there for over an hour, questioning whether I had made a huge mistake.  That stuff is super unfun.  When I was feeling a little better, I moved to my bed to rest for a while.  A few minutes later, around four o’clock, contractions started.  And forty-five minutes later I felt a little trickle.  I remember thinking “OH COME ON! Now I’m peeing myself too?”  (seriously, why do I always think its pee?) and then I felt a gush and realized it was my water breaking.  I jumped up and looked at the puddle I had made, but the sheets were dark so I couldn’t see what color it was.  I ran to the door and gleefully announced the new development, giddy with the thought that after so long there was FINALLY something happening.  I was streaming water down my legs so I grabbed a towel to stand on, and I was very happy to see the fluid was clear and slightly pinkish, with no signs of dreaded meconium- my first concern was now crossed off the list.  The contractions were getting fairly regular, so I moved to the birth ball and whipped out my phone, excited that I would finally get to try out the contraction timer I had found.

They were four minutes apart, and quickly whittled down to three and two while I sat there timing them.  When my doula Michelle arrived, she came in the room and sat on my bed, and we talked for a little while as I rocked on the ball and my contractions moved closer together.  Sometimes the kids, James or my mother would come in, but I found I had trouble concentrating on my breathing and rocking while they were in the room.  For me, it was best in the quiet room, alone with Michelle’s gentle encouragement and calm presence and rocking, rocking, rocking on the ball, sometimes pacing the room or leaning against the bed.  At one point she told me I had been in continuous motion for four hours, and I was surprised so much time had passed.

Around nine, I asked James to fill the pool.  It was partly because things were getting more intense, but also because it was obvious the kids needed a project- they were so excited and we thought that keeping them busy would help calm them down.  While I waited, my labor suddenly got hard.  I could no longer find relief with the ball and had to lean over the bed on my elbows and rock my hips.  When I couldn’t take it anymore, we moved to the living room where the pool was set up, but the water was way too hot and I stood there while they tried to bring down the temperature as fast as they could.  Although my contractions were becoming extremely painful, I didn’t want the littles to see how hard it was to just stand there, because they were SO proud of the pool and I didn’t want to bum them out.

Once the water was cool enough, I got in and oh baby did that feel good!  The kids all stood around watching me for a while, and once they went to bed I had the BIGGEST contraction.  I think I had been holding back until then, and from that moment on things got rough.  I worked through each contraction, focused and breathed and visualized all over the place, but I was completely unprepared for the level of pain and intensity I was now dealing with.  I know now that this was because the baby was posterior, but in the moment it was just… excruciating and I was beyond thought.  My body was trying to push, but the baby was not in the right place, he felt far too high up and just plain wrong to me, but still my body was pushing.  This went on for an hour, without change.  It was the most frustrating thing I’ve ever been through, I had trouble coping because here I was in terrible pain, and yet there was no progress.  I tried various positions, and the best thing for me was alternating between my hands and knees and sitting in nearly in squat.

Everyone was quiet.  I didn’t want music or conversation, or to be touched or comforted.  I just wanted to concentrate and breathe and work through it.  It was surreal, the pool felt like my whole world: there I was screaming and grunting in frustration and pain, and suddenly I smelled coffee, I looked up and saw them all sitting there with cups of coffee watching me.  Someone mentioned that it had been over an hour, and I could hear the worry.  I started thinking “maybe I will have to go to the hospital after all,” and for a second I was calm thinking about epidurals and the end of the pain I was feeling. And then that contraction ended and I thought, “no Joni- think this through…  Going to the hospital right NOW would mean getting up, putting clothes on, getting in the car, driving down the road, waiting for a bed, waiting for meds, and all of that would have to happen while you were in the same pain you are in right now…”and I realized that would be even worse than what I was going through at that moment.  And with my next urge to push I got back on my knees and I PUSHED.

Finally. I felt the baby move down.

It was exhilarating.  I yelled “Its working!” and felt a sudden rush of energy and strength. I could actually feel the baby rotate inside of me (the coolest feeling ever!) and move even farther down.  I started chanting “open, open, open” and I was vaguely aware of James swooping into place behind me to catch the baby.  I felt the burn as the baby’s head crowned and pushed his head out with the next contraction…..  And then got a surprise, because unlike with my other babies (that slid out all at once) I still had work to do once the head was out.  It felt like an eternity as the shoulders and body were slowly pushed out, and then blessed relief and the sudden end to all of the pain.  It was 11:59 pm on 5/20/2013 and I was so excited to meet my baby!

And then we had a bit of a comedy of errors!  I didn’t get that first, special moment of awe as baby is placed on mama’s chest, because I had been on my hands and knees.  I turned to ask for the baby and felt a tug deep inside of me.  Turns out baby had a ridiculously short cord! I knew he needed to be on me as soon as possible, but there was no way I could get to him.  He was super relaxed and limp, which freaked out James, and we rubbed the baby to get him moving.  He was draped over the side of the pool and I just desperately wanted to hold him,  so I stood up and he was passed between my legs like a football!  Once I had him on my front, I could see he needed to have his airways cleared, he was super mucousy, but the suction thing had fallen into the pool, which was…. a bit yucky.  Without thinking, I sucked the mucous out of his nose and mouth and spit.

I can’t believe I did that.  It was pure instinct.

Once he was clear, he warbled a little and started to pink up.  My mother handed me a towel to wrap him in, and before I did I checked between his legs and discovered we had a boy!  The water was starting to cool off.   I handed the baby to my mother, I think, while I climbed out of the tub, and then hobbled down the hall with the baby in my arms (held against my tummy, because his cord was THAT short!) to my room to wait for the placenta.

I sat on the edge of the bed, but had no urge to push it out.  At that point, I felt a little traumatized by the intense contractions I had just finished and didn’t even want to give a tiny push.  I nursed Henry for a little bit before Michelle went and got a bowl and urged me to at least try.  Out it came, and we were dismayed to see it was in pieces.  I pushed again.  More came out and it seemed to all be there.

By this point it had been about an hour since Henry was born, and the cord was white and limp.  James cut it (another first, he had never wanted to cut the cord before) and Henry was at last free!

I wanted to get clean and dry, and Hannah happily held the baby while I showered.  James emptied the pool as my mother ran around like a little Portuguese cleaning tornado.  She is marvelous- when I came out of the bathroom I found she had already started a load of wash, mopped the floors, and changed my sheets!  I sat down, eager to hold the baby, MY baby once more.  We examined him: he weighed in at EIGHT POUNDS, THIRTEEN OUNCES and was twenty-two inches long.

Not huge by any means, but still…  IUGR my ass!

I tucked a prefold under Henry’s bottom and got myself into bed with him.  My daughter brought me something to eat and drink.  And then we all settled down to our first night as a family of seven!

And that is the home (water!) birth story of Henry Rupert.

It was hard.  This was the hardest thing I’ve ever gone through. But I wouldn’t change a thing.

Henry’s posterior labor and birth was the most pain I have ever felt.  I was unprepared and scared because I’ve never had to push more than twelve minutes and had no idea how to cope with the frustration of baby not swiftly moving down as his siblings had been so gracious to do for me.  It was the worst, and the BEST thing I’ve ever been through. The pain and everything else was worth every second, and I LOVE that I got to have my baby at home, completely under my own power, hands-off and untouched. I am so proud that I did this.  It was terrible and amazing and wonderful and an experience I will remember all of my life.

Original post can be found at: www.jonirae.com
www.facebook.com/talesofakitchenwitch

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I Am Strong {Lampra}

I Am Strong {Lampra}

People say I’m strong because when I was 6 weeks pregnant I left an abusive marriage because I couldn’t take the mental, verbal, physical, sexual, emotional, and psychological abuse my husband had been doing to me and didn’t want my son to be raised in that environment. People say I’m strong because during my pregnancy I was homeless for a little awhile, had no money because my husband and his mother took all the money from our account and left me with $150 to live off of, struggle to provide food for myself, and struggle to pay rent when I did get an apartment.

People say I’m strong because I went to every midwife appointment by myself, went to birthing classes by myself, and parenting classes by myself. It was so embarrassing to be the only one without a partner and the stares that I received from strangers that I would cry a lot at night asking God did I make the right decision. People say I’m strong because when my car was taken by my ex when I was 8.5 months pregnant, I walked about 3 miles to school everyday in Georgia summer weather, took 3 buses to make my midwife appointments, and took the bus system to get around. People say I’m strong because I had an unplanned unassisted homebirth at my apartment. My labor progress so quickly (in labor for only 4 hours) and was majority painless that I birthed my son in the toilet thinking I had to make a bowel movement. In one push he came out in toilet of my townhouse apartment.

People say I’m strong because I been taking care of my son with no family, no support from my ex husband, without a car majority of the time, and very little support from church friends. Since my son was 3 weeks old, he has been going to school with me. People say I’m strong because I sought out help for healing from the abuse that my ex husband has done to me. I have been seeing a rape counselor for a year now, see another counselor for the abuse, and attend weekly domestic abuse support meetings. Last month, I was able to graduate with my son and earn my Doctor of Chiropractic degree from my school.

mother and son at graudation

My son is now 10 months old and I don’t believe I’m strong at all. Everything I did was for the love of my son. There was times I wanted to give up, but I knew I had to continue on to give my son a better life. Being a single parent isn’t easy and its extremely hard when going to play dates and mommy groups and being the only single parent while the other moms rave about their husbands and/or partners or my favorite on how hard it is to take care of their child for weekend while their partner was out of town. I question still did I make right decision and some days I believe yes and some days no because my dream has been ruined. Hopefully, if God willing, I will have my dream life like I want, but I don’t know if that will happen or not. I know one thing for certain that I am bless with a very handsome, happy, healthy little boy that loves his mommy and his mommy loves him to pieces.

I am strong {Lampra}

unplanned unassisted homebirth

Mommy And I Photography

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