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Our Twin Miracles

Our Twin Miracles

My husband and I got pregnant right after we were married. I was told I would probably have a hard time conceiving because of ovarian problems so we decided to start early. I guess I didn’t have any problems after all.

A couple weeks after we found out I was pregnant my husband left for boot camp for the Army. The pregnancy started out well. I was shocked that I was having twins and had to tell my husband in a letter since he couldn’t talk on the phone.

When I was 6 months pregnant my husband started Advanced Individual Training and I decided to move from Oregon to Georgia to be closer to him and so he could be there when the twins were born.

When I was 28 weeks I went to the hospital for cramps and didn’t know I was in labor. They were able to stop it but I was so far along I needed to stay on bed rest at the hospital. At 30 weeks I went into labor again and this time they couldn’t stop it.

Since both babies were breech I had to have a c-section. Both girls were taken straight to the NICU and I had to wait a day to see them and then another few days to hold them. Both girls were 3 pounds. Besides being small they had no health issues. They stayed in the NICU for 7 weeks.

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The whole thing was very traumatic and stressful but they are now healthy, beautiful two year old’s. They are my little miracles.

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A {Military Wife and Doula} Homebirth

A {Military Wife and Doula} Homebirth

Stella’s birth story really starts 16 months prior, at the birth of her next oldest sister. I planned a homebirth, but needed to transfer late in active labor to the military hospital due to bleeding a little more than my midwife was comfortable with. A short 30 minutes after we walked into the hospital, Lucy was born without complications. My husband Rob left to go back on deployment 12 hours after the birth.


I was disappointed that I needed to transfer and was now stuck in the postpartum ward for 3 days where a Corpsman would come in every hour on the hour, day and night, to ensure that my perfectly healthy baby was in fact, healthy. I couldn’t wait to get the hell out of there. I swore the next time I had a baby I was going to do everything in my power to stay home.

Rob got a short period of R&R in the middle of his deployment, and although we weren’t trying to have another baby, we were open to it. I seriously didn’t think that anything would happen with my 7 month old baby still nursing. But there I was, two weeks later, with my husband back on deployment, and me with my head in the toilet, sick as a dog! Baby #3 was on his or her way!

I really struggled with morning sickness. I was teaching as a military contractor, starting to take doula clients again, and taking care of my older two children. More nights than I would care to admit, dinner was a frozen pizza, and the babysitter was Nick Jr. on the T.V.

Rob was due to return from deployment sometime during my 38-39th week of pregnancy. I wasn’t really concerned about him missing the birth. Pre-term labor just ain’t my thing.

Rob’s Change of Command was 4 days after my due date. I really wanted to be there for the ceremony. I told the baby, “Look kiddo, you can come any time after that day, not before.” Baby listened, and stayed put, and my oldest daughter and I were there, on a rainy San Diego day, attending Rob’s ceremony where he took Command of USS CHIEF, a Minesweeping ship.


Once the ceremony was complete, the pictures taken, and the cake eaten, Rob went back to work, and I spent the day with my oldest daughter. We grabbed lunch, got pedicures, and watched a movie. Later that evening, Rob and I left the kids with a sitter, and went out to dinner with my Dad and brother to celebrate his assumption of Command. I was having contractions every 7-10 minutes, but didn’t say anything during dinner.

Once we got home, things started to pick up. I did what I would have told any of my doula clients to do: I went to bed. The contractions increased in intensity. Rob called my doula, my midwife, and my birth photographer. My doula, Cinda, was down hard with the flu, so the backup, Abby, was on-call. Abby and I regularly backed each other as two of the very few doulas in town who were trained in the Hypnobabies childbirth techniques. (I used Hypnobabies for Lucy’s birth 16 months prior as well).

Around 11pm, I yelled out, “I want Abby!” This baby was on her way. Everyone showed up around midnight. We had a pretty good time; I cooked and labored and my midwife got all of her equipment set up.

A few hours after that, I had not made much change. My midwife, Marla, sent everyone, including me, to bed. My photographer and doula crashed out on the couches, my Midwife in an upstairs bedroom, and my husband hung out with me in the Master bedroom. I slept fitfully. A made a well worn path over the next few hours between my bed and the toilet. Back and forth, back and forth.

By the following morning, Marla said that if I hadn’t made any change, she was going to send everyone home. She checked me, and I had progressed to 5cm! My older girls were starting to wake up, so I went upstairs to get them ready for day care and school. The original plan was for them to stay home and be present for the birth, but I knew that I wouldn’t be able to focus with them around. As the sun rose, my labor further intensified, and Rob took the girls into school.

Once Rob returned home, I was still managing the contractions just fine, but they were definitely coming more frequently. I hurried my way through making the baby’s birthday cake because I knew it wouldn’t be long before she was born. As soon as the cake was in the oven, I turned to the sink, threw up, and my water broke. I was convinced that I had peed myself, but my midwife confirmed that the water was in fact, amniotic fluid.

I started to bear down. My midwife called in her assistant at this point. I have no memory of this. I was told after the fact by my husband’s Commodore’s wife, who lived seven houses down from us in military housing that a car with the license plate “Womb2Move” tore into the neighborhood, and a woman in scrubs ran into my house. So the whole neighborhood was abuzz at that point about the impending birth.

My 2nd daughter was born in one push after my water broke, so I assumed this 2nd stage of labor was going to be just as straightforward. Alas, it was not to be. I pushed standing next to the bed. I pushed on the toilet. Nothing was working. The midwives checked my dilation, and I was found to be complete, but with an anterior lip of cervix remaining. Son of a bitch. I hate those things.

At that point, I was told to climb stairs, two at a time. A rebozo was tied around my middle to have a constant abdominal lift and tuck and hopefully, engage the baby’s head more flush onto my cervix. I was exhausted. I fell asleep on my feet a couple of times. I ranted to anyone would listen about how defeated and frustrated I felt. Why the hell was this taking so long? Why wasn’t I holding my baby already? I had already had two vaginal births with rather large babies…..this long pushing stage shouldn’t be happening!!

Marla gently suggested at this point that I needed to get this done. I was getting exhausted, and so we moved back to the bed. My midwives found at that point that I had a substantial rectocele and cystocele forward of the baby’s head. Marla’s assistant held back the tissues with her fingers, and I pushed like hell.

Finally, finally! I felt the familiar fullness of the baby’s head moving down. I pushed into it and welcomed the stretching as the baby’s head was very slowly born. The Midwives encouraged me to slow it down, slow it down. Marla told me reach down and take my baby. As she was born, I was the first one to touch her, and as I lifted her to my chest, I could see that she was a girl. (We didn’t find out the gender ahead of time). My 9lb 14oz baby was born into my hands, and I didn’t even have a skid mark. Amazing.

The placenta took its sweet time coming and I was bleeding pretty substantially. Instinctually, I knew I needed to get vertical to deliver the placenta. I handed off my baby to my husband, who then handed her off to the doula between my legs (the baby was still attached to the cord) so he could help me up. I sat in the Midwife’s apprentices’ lap (the poor lady was pregnant herself!) and pushed out the placenta.

The few hours after that were just wonderful. We eventually cut the cord, and Stella had her newborn exam done. I ate soup that my doula made for me, and then was tucked into bed with my baby for a long sleep. My Dad and brother came over in the evening with dinner and we all marveled over how perfect my newest baby was. It was the postpartum experience that I wanted all along.

Video and Stills slideshow of Stella’s birth, you can see the Birth Without Fear necklace that I’m wearing during the birth!

Birth Photography credit for first photo:

VBA2C: Deployed Husband Listens and Supports Over the Phone

VBA2C: Deployed Husband Listens and Supports Over the Phone

This is a story of love, courage, and service. Birth and newborn photos by Christy Pellicer, of Doulananda and Bliss Photography.

Mama writes, “Here is one of my all-time favorite pictures ever: me right after my hard-earned VBA2C, holding our precious baby boy. It was an unmedicated birth at a Naval hospital – my poor husband (active duty Navy) was on the phone, floating out in the Persian Gulf somewhere, the entire time I was pushing.

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On phone with baby

My doula said I pushed for almost three hours – I can’t remember – it’s all a blur!

Newborn smileI am so thankful he was able to listen in on the phone as I delivered our 9 lb, 2 oz baby.

Newborn cuddles

My doula took this photo from my phone so I could email it to my husband…

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After the birth, six more long weeks went by before he was finally able to hold our beautiful baby boy in his arms.”

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Military and Loss {I Am Strong}

Military and Loss {I Am Strong}

I am strong because at the age of 18, I went through about 8 months of my first pregnancy alone while my husband was serving our country in Iraq.

I am strong because I was induced at 38 weeks pregnant, while my husband was home on R&R, and after 10+ hours of labor, I delivered our daughter via Cesarean because I wouldn’t dilate past a 5.

I am strong because after giving birth, I was in the hospital for 5 days because one of my lungs started to collapse, and even though it hurt like hell to recover, I pushed myself and walked out of there.

I am strong because after I left the hospital, my incision became infected to the point where both my feet and legs were so swollen that I couldn’t walk. I was in bed for days and my husband helped me heal the infection naturally.

I am strong because two weeks after our daughter was born, I had to see my husband off, as he returned to Iraq.

I am strong because 16 days after my husband got back to Iraq, and just two days after our daughter turned one month old, I became a 19 year old military widow when my husband died of a massive heart attack.

I am strong because I raised a smart, compassionate, beautiful little girl for almost two years by myself.

I am strong because I have chosen to rise instead of falling after such an incredible loss, to keep moving forward after facing such a horrible heartbreak, and to live and love every single day for him.



Three Cesarean Births {Military Family}

Three Cesarean Births {Military Family}

I have wanted to write my experiences about child birth for some time now. My oldest is 4, then I have a 2 year old, and my precious 5 month old. All boys. All perfect. My first pregnancy was amazing. I was on cloud 9 the moment we found out about Jackson. My husband and I had been trying to conceive for almost a year at that point, and truly… I was worried, but thankfully we had no issues. Except one. My due date. 3 weeks after my husband was to leave on his first deployment. I was OK with it. I was scared, but knew I would survive, and he would come home to a 6.5 month old. Well, my little Jackson decided to be a stubborn tush {yes, I call him that} and be breech. We found out at my 32 week appointment. I was sure his head was in my ribs, but the midwife was SURE it was his bottom. Well, I was right. She assured me he would turn, and sent me on my way. Well my next appointment was with another provider in the practice. What an amazing doctor. Just overall nice, and honest {I thought}. He wasn’t confident in turning breech babies, and I wasn’t confident at all. I didn’t know why he was breech, and frankly, I was OK with him being breech. A scheduled c-section meant I could plan. I could make sure I had help, and maybe, just maybe my husband could stay those 2 weeks till I delivered. The time came, and my husband left.


I was 37 weeks pregnant with a scheduled date 2 weeks away. Such is life in the military…  My mom arrived the day before I had Jackson, and I nervously prepared for his birth. I was angry deep down inside. I wanted my husband there. It wasn’t fair.

Jackson arrived at 8:03am. Breech as breech could be. His little head was stuck… maybe I should say big head. The doctor allowed his birth to be filmed for my husband, and my mom was with me, and held him first. Well after the “I am a momma” high wore off, the pain came. Holy hairdo’s I was in pain. I didn’t want to move, I couldn’t pick Jackson up without help, I couldn’t get out of bed…  I couldn’t nurse. It was sort of traumatic. I am pretty sure I did have a meltdown, and called the CO’s wife, and demanded my husband call me {Thank you Angela, you were and always will be an amazing friend}. Well one thing led to another…  Jackson wasn’t nursing well, so I bottle fed…  He was jaundice, so he needed light therapy…  I went into A-Fib…  off to a cardiac floor I went. I wasn’t with my baby. PPD here I come.

I write this with tears in my eyes because it was suppose to be an amazing time. And honestly, for me, it wasn’t.

I am not afraid to say I was depressed. It was hard. It took one day a few WEEKS later for something to click. He was crying, and when I picked him up, he stopped, and looked at me and a calmness came over me and him. I was his momma. No one else. I was all he had.

That was it, I think at that moment I felt the euphoric feeling most women feel at birth. I was just then {giving birth to my son}. The weeks and months passed, and I fell more and more in love with my Jackson. We co-slept. My most favorite thing in the world. Finally we welcomed our Marine home, and it was the most amazing moment. At that moment, I watched him become a father.


Fast forward, and we were thrilled to find out we were expecting #2, another boy. With no deployment in sight, I was excited. Without a lot of knowledge, I decided to take the easy road. Another c-section. With a midwife who assured me my uterus would explode, I was scheduled. I was ok with it. At 28 weeks my Logan had decided he wanted out. We were returning from a trip to Minnesota, and when we landed contractions were 2 minutes apart. Scared, I called my OB… they said “go to the hospital” I must have been in a daze, because I heard “come to the hospital” so we drove… an hour… to my OB. When we arrived, they looked at me in shock. She meant the hospital in Raleigh, because if they couldn’t stop labor, that was probably where we would end up. As I laid there in that hospital, and the contractions kept coming, no matter how much I drank or relaxed… I was so nervous. What would I do with a premie? Hours passed, and finally they decided to give me steroids “just in case” for his lungs, and then a few shots to stop labor. I begged for those shots, because I have a minor heart issue. SVT, no biggie, I just get irregular rhythms at times, but the medicine to stop labour was a drug that could send me into SVT or A-Fib again. I knew it was the last resort, and thankfully it worked. It worked at 28 weeks, and again at 32 weeks. I guess he was anxious. My little Logan arrived at 39 weeks via c-section. He was perfect. His daddy cried, as did I. I think at that moment, I was at peace with Jackson’s birth 2 years prior.


Again, fast forward 2 years… My sweet little Everett. #3 was on the way. A surprise, sort of. We were excited! I was determined to find a doc to VBA2C me. Out here in Cali, I thought they would be all over. Not so much. I researched, and called a few OB’s. My first OB didn’t do them, wouldn’t do them, and decided I was high risk. She sent me to every single doctor known to man. Why? I don’t know. A bout of pre-term labour, and a minor heart thing must have scared her hahaha. I am thankful I found another OB. When I called, I asked if he would VBAC. The nurse said he does {on occasion} so I thought I would give it a try. I made the appointment, and we chatted. He put my mind at ease and made me feel OK with a c-section. I wasn’t broken. I just had broken information. I was at peace with a 3rd c-section. My pregnancy went OK. I was sick a lot, and fell in a hole and broke my foot, but that aside… the pregnancy flew by and finally it was time to meet #3. I was thankful my BFF Jill flew in for the birth. She photographed my maternity, birth & newborn pictures in a matter of a week. She also helped me in my choice to nurse #3. I had never succeeded in nursing, but I was determined. I am thankful for her, and her encouraging words. 5 months later he is EBF, and a chunky monkey. Anyway… back to his birth.

39 weeks… #3… 3 boys all born 2 years apart… all in September!

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scrubs scheduled cesarean birth

scheduled cesarean birth

cesarean birth

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hopelove newborn photography

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So I do feel cheated at times… it lasts for a second. I do wish I would have experienced a natural child birth, but as I sit here with my 3 perfect boys, I realize, that I am not broken, just mis-informed, and in the end they are here and healthy, and I would do it all over again.

Thank you to Jill Mills & HeartLove Photography for the birth and newborn photography.

Military Families: Maternity and Family Pictures

Military Families: Maternity and Family Pictures

“My hubby is in the Air Force. The camo and parachute shot were his idea : ) And I love how protective my six year old looks in the last one.” ~ Danielle

“My husband is in the Army. He spent the last 3 years serving at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington national cemetery. This is our family photo taken by the photographer that photographs the sentinels at the Tomb. That’s the Washington monument and downtown DC in the background. I was 33 weeks pregnant with our surprise baby girl. My son Killian is 3 in this photo.”

“I absolutely love this photo. My son is looking down at President Kennedy’s memorial. And I’m thinking how incredibly blessed I am.”

“My fiancé is a veteran and just got done serving his 4 years. He has been to war and seen a lot. We are very blessed to be welcoming out first child  a boy in January. I couldn’t be more proud of my marine!” ~Amanda M.

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