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Natural Birth: Mama’s Version (Papa’s posted yesterday!)

Natural Birth: Mama’s Version (Papa’s posted yesterday!)

Yesterday, we shared Janna’s husband’s story of the birth of their son, Ethan. Today, you can read Janna’s own experience of it – and what it was like to have her husband’s support.

“My water started to break around 9am. It trickled out now and then. The baby’s head was low so he blocked a lot of it from escaping. I was having some random contractions, but it was difficult to time them. Some were accompanied by light cramping, some were not. A little birdie must have whispered in her ear, because our midwife Bernadette called to check on me. She told me to stretch and squat and call her if I noticed more water or that contractions were more regular. Greg and I went for a walk to see if it would dislodge more water. It did.

I didn’t feel like I was in labor. Contractions were still impossible to time. They ranged five to 20 minutes apart and I couldn’t pinpoint when they began or ended. At 1pm, Bernadette had us come into the office so she could check me out. It was a Saturday, so the office was quiet and we had it all to ourselves. I loved that part. I was already four centimeters dilated and 60% effaced! All of the 5W herbs I had been taking for the last few months helped the thinning and dilation process. I had also been religiously eating kiwi and pineapples because they have an enzyme that helps the process, and sex helped, too.

Bernadette could see that I was having sizeable, regular contractions, but I still didn’t notice all of them. She made me a large glass of her special tea to help get the labor moving. It was amazing. It contained alfalfa, red raspberry leaves, black cohosh… I think? …and a few other herbs. The stuff was magic. Half an hour after I drank it, the contractions started up and went strong every two minutes. And they were natural contractions. Manageable. Not like the chemically-induced contractions that so many people have told me about.

We stood around chatting while I swayed my hips back and forth, trying to allow his head to drop further. Then, we headed home to have lunch and rest before having the baby. On hindsight, we should have just stayed and had take-out.

I had contractions every two to five minutes in the car. When we got home, Greg made lunch while I soaked in a warm bath. The only thing we had in our fridge was meatloaf and mashed potatoes, but it did sound good to me. I didn’t eat very much, but a few bites between contractions were so delicious and felt nourishing. I think contractions make me appreciate every sensation that isn’t a contraction. Greg sat on the floor with me while I ate mashed potatoes in the bath-tub.

The contractions were getting strong, so we headed back to the facility after lunch. I became nauseated in the car and told Greg. He rolled down the window, and I threw up all over the outside of the car… and a little inside.

Next time we will just pull over. Aiming out a car window at 50mph just doesn’t work.

Bernadette had the room and tub ready when we arrived. After the magic tea I was over five centimeters dilated and 80-90% effaced within two hours. Greg set up some candles and turned off the lights. Suddenly, all of the food and music and details we worried over before the birth didn’t seem to matter. The candles were pleasant; the quiet was nice. The water felt incredibly good. The tub was large enough for me to stretch out and float in all different positions and it really really really helped.

mom in labor

I had painful back labor. Greg helped so much by pressing hard on my lower spine during contractions, applying counter-pressure. It was a necessity. He did a fair share of laboring with me in that respect. I could feel his arms quiver as the muscles reached fatigue, but the pressure made the contractions bearable, so he soldiered on with me.

During contractions, I would lean over on all fours in the water and rest my forehead on the side of the tub. That was the best position. It also helped to hum through the contractions… I was struggling to meditate and relax through them, to allow my body to open up and do its job, rather than tense up from pain and fear. Cold washcloths on my head and neck felt really wonderful. Between contractions I would sit up, sometimes talk, even laugh. Every now and then, the midwife’s assistant would have me stand up between contractions so she could listen to the baby’s heart, then I’d sink back into the water for the next contraction. At one point, I became incredibly sleepy. I longed to cuddle up on the bed with soft pillows all around me and drift to sleep.

I went back and forth from the bed to the water a couple of times.  I had no concept of time. I don’t remember looking at the clock or asking about it, and I think that was best. At one point, the baby’s head was stuck behind an anterior cervical lip, so Bernadette had me lie on the bed and hold my legs back as far as I could and push while she manipulated the skin. The contractions on the bed, on my back or on my side, were the worst pain I could imagine. It was really difficult to stay positive. They made me feel extremely weak.

Greg’s arms were right there. I can’t imagine doing it without him. It was hard to relax and shift my hips through the contractions, but I did, and the baby’s head passed the lip within two or three. All was well with a little stretching and some midwife elbow grease.

I was nine centimeters dilated, so we got out of bed and onto the birthing stool to push. We planned on having Greg catch the baby, but with all the back pain and fatigue, I needed Greg to sit behind me and put pressure on my spine and hold me up between contractions. Feeling him against me with his arms around me was a great comfort and it helped to ease my fears and give me strength. I’m so incredibly grateful for him. It was our journey.

The last hour was interesting, and intense. It was full of emotions that my subconscious filtered through for weeks after. Sometimes I would lose focus and it felt like I would have to push forever. Each push brought his head a little closer, and at the end of each push, his head would retreat back in. It was so deflating at the end of a really hard push to have made so little progress. Bernadette would ask for three good pushes, but sometimes I only had steam for two, and I would feel so disappointed that I “ran out of push”. But that’s all part of the process. As Bernadette said, “three steps forward, two steps back”.

Greg was able to see some of this through a mirror on the floor. It took all my concentration just to keep focused and positive on the task, so I didn’t look. I would push with contractions and rest in between until the very very end, when his head was really close. Then I could feel a burning sensation during pushes when his head started to pass through the birth canal. Since he was so low, the pain of him pressing against everything started to blend together with contractions. It was difficult to tell the different pains apart.

I reached down and could feel his head and his hair. I got excited about getting him out and started pushing as hard as I could regardless of contractions. That part was kind of fun.. painful, sure, but…

And, just like that – his head was out. I took a deep breath and gave another push with all my might and his shoulders came through and then whoosh… There was a baby below me… and then he was in my arms. I thought I would cry on the spot, but I didn’t. I was in complete shock. Euphoric. I couldn’t believe that the pushing was over and that the baby was in my arms. I was numb all over and in a trance.

Then Bernadette asked me to push again to pass the placenta. I held my new baby close to my body and pushed with what I had left. It wasn’t hard… it felt like a relief and had a cleansing sensation to it.

I had a small tear, and a few stitches. The tear was far less worrisome than I expected one would be. I didn’t even notice it during labor. I would much prefer a tear to an episiotomy. I can’t imagine having to push a baby past a cut if I knew it was there…And natural tears apparently heal better, I hear. It isn’t surprising that I tore, since I became impatient and pushed him out as hard and fast as I could. Next time, I will try to slow down. I also lost a lot of blood because of the way my placenta detached and came out backwards, and I had trouble keeping water down and needed some IV and smelling salts. Through it all, Bernadette took care of me. She was wonderful.

Family of three

I can’t believe I only had five hours of labor as a first time pregnancy. I feel very fortunate. I feel grateful. I feel skilled. But at the time, I couldn’t believe it could have gone on any longer. The experience pushed me to the very edge of what my human body could handle. It was a battle, not only physically, but mentally, emotionally. I had to struggle to remind myself to relax with the contractions and not fight them, to let them do their job and go with it, to just be a vessel through which this experience was passing. I had to surrender my body and mind and to clear all thoughts, from the moments passed to the moments ahead. To step aside and allow the process to happen.

Yet I know I could have and would have gone whatever distance in whatever time frame had been demanded and it still would have been worth every minute. I am grateful that I went in with the confidence and knowledge of what I wanted to accomplish and how I wanted to accomplish it and tried not to dwell on the worries.

In the moments after Ethan was born, I realized that every woman must choose her own path and allow whatever happens to happen. Any path is worth it in the end for a healthy baby. The path I chose produced a healthy baby and a healthy mama. I am so incredibly humbled and incredibly proud of myself at the same time. This birth makes my spirit glow every time I revisit it. It feels like a roller coaster ride that surprised the hell out of me, but now I kind of want to ride it again…

I’ve had my weak moments. Happy tears, overwhelmed tears. It isn’t all easy, but it is life. And life is pretty incredible sometimes.

Over all, Greg and I rock at this pregnancy and baby stuff.”


An All-Natural Hospital Birth {Part 2}

An All-Natural Hospital Birth {Part 2}

Yesterday, we shared Amy’s beautiful letter to her unborn baby, where she describes the kind of birth she hopes to have: “I want to bring you into this world as peacefully and as gently as I possibly can….I trust my body to do what it was designed for and what it is capable of.”

Here’s how it happened!

“A little after 10pm on Sunday night, I went to bed. I started having medium contractions and after an hour or so of not being able to sleep decided to time them – they were seven minutes apart. Around 1am I realized that fighting sleep was useless and went down to the family room. I put the TV on and kneeled on pillows on the floor while laying my upper body on my body pillow on the couch. This felt great! By about 1:50 contractions were suddenly 2-3 minutes apart but only lasting 30-40 seconds. I was on my phone on Facebook talking to friends in my mom’s group. At some point I realized this was really happening because I called Melissa my midwife just after 2:15 to ask her when she thought I should come in. She felt I probably had a few more hours and suggested I wait at home unless the pain became unbearable. I don’t remember feeling pain, just an intensity during the peak of each contraction that helped me know this was real!

Around 3am they started spacing out to 4-5 minutes apart and only 30 seconds, but super strong and intense. No pain! I was rotating my hips in circles and giving my knees a break when I could because they hurt. Time passed so quickly this night! I was letting Joe sleep so he’d be alert when I really needed him at the end. I also was still in disbelief that this was actually happening and didn’t want him just hanging around me unnecessarily, and it felt okay to be alone in this experience that belonged to me. It was so peaceful in my dark family room. I was listening to a few songs on my phone and reading my birth affirmations, while taking deep breaths in and out my mouth. It was sort of euphoric to just be alone with my baby and my thoughts, and I really think that prepared me to go through with my natural childbirth plans.

Around 3:45, 12 minutes passed between contractions and I worried that labor was going to stall. I tried to lay on my side and get a little rest just in case that was what was going on. Around 4:30, I woke Joe to be with me. My back hurt and I wanted my heated rice sock. It felt good but then seemed to REALLY bring on contractions, so I flung it across the room during one! My belly was starting to feel very sore during contractions but I was mostly able to breathe through them once I figured out how strong but short the peak of each one was. Joe was resting on the couch and when I told him to start putting the final things in my bag and to grab some drinks and snacks for us, he mentioned he wanted to shower and shave before we left (!!!!) – I suggested he do it NOW! I kept thinking if I could just make it to 6am, Brody’s daycare would be open and we could take him there instead of waking a neighbor or waiting and hour for his sister to get to our house.

After 5am I got in the shower which felt great on my back. Joe got Brody up around 6:00 and seemed to take FOREVER to get him ready. They were watching cartoons and eating toast when I came downstairs and I again had to “suggest” he get a move on! Contractions were getting super intense and I had two in front of Brody. I told him I needed to make a silly noise when the baby moved and I did horse lips to keep him from hearing me moan. That worked surprisingly well. Finally around 7:00 Joe took Brody to daycare. I was a little nervous to be alone, and even more nervous that we were going to get to the hospital to find I was only three centimeters dilated or something. While I was alone I yelled through my contractions. FINALLY Joe was back to get me.

The cool, still-dark air shocked my senses and paused my contractions for a couple of blissful minutes. Getting into the car was not fun. I kneeled on the front seat leaning my head into the backseat holding onto two carseats. I had two bad contractions which I again had to yell through. Luckily we are five minutes from the hospital, though I think Joe made it there in record time. I did not want to be dropped off, I wanted to park and walk. I started to get delirious at this point, grabbing onto a truck’s bumper and then a concrete post near the door during each surge. For some reason they did not have my registration paperwork, so we had to stand at the lobby desk and re-do all of that. I had three strong surges there, including one that made me drop to my hands and knees on the floor, at which moment a lady and little boy got off the elevator and I think I scarred him for life with my yelling.

At 7:30 we were FINALLY in triage. I hated that room. Nothing looked comfortable and I refused to put the gown on until the nurse came in. I just ripped my sweatpants off and climbed on the table telling her to hurry up and check me before the next contraction. I nearly cried when she said six centimeters! This was going to happen TODAY! I was doing it on my own! I refused a wheelchair and walked to my labor room – thankfully the stars aligned and their one room with a labor tub was available. They had to do bloodwork and I agreed to a hep lock. I was on all fours, ass in the air, modesty be damned. Poor Joe kept trying to help cover my butt with the gown.

They were monitoring the baby to get a “quick read” which seemed to take forever and ever. The monitors hurt like hell and I felt like slapping anyone who pushed them into my belly. Three nurses were coming and going and bustling around. I thought something was wrong with the baby, but later realized it was because my midwife was still on her way and they could tell my labor was progressing FAST. At one point I heard the charge nurse say she might be delivering me! They didn’t want me to get in the tub until Melissa got there because baby’s heartbeat kept dropping into the 90’s. I tried to tell them Brody’s did that too and he was fine.

At one point I started shaking badly and no one answered when I asked why I was shaking, so I whispered to Joe to ask them for me. When I asked if I was in transition they said yes. Several times I felt panicked like I didn’t know if I would live through that contraction. I was so vocal and my breathing was frantic. I tried so hard to calm down, but I felt like I had to pee and all I wanted was to get in that tub!

At 8:35, a sweet, sweet nurse agreed to let me get in the tub. The two other meanie nurses had stepped out of the room. She said she hoped Melissa wouldn’t be mad, but the heartbeat had stabilized a little and she thought I’d calm down in the tub since it was so important to me. She looked me in the eyes and said she needed me to be absolutely sure I didn’t want an epidural because I was eight centimeters dilated and getting in the tub, and things were going to happen soon.

Joe said “she doesn’t want it!” before I could reply! Love that man. The labor tub was a sweet relief for a little bit and mostly helped me clear my head and focus. Joe used a shower head to put water pressure on my back which felt great. Contractions picked up with such intensity, I felt like I was being ripped in half by my hips. Up to this point only my belly hurt, but now I could feel it in my vagina and knew my baby was coming soon. I got excited when I remembered we’d soon know the gender!

Melissa arrived and her presence was so soothing. I held her hand during contractions and she and Joe were so supportive when I said I didn’t think I could do this anymore. She said, “You ARE doing this.” And that was all I needed to hear. She dimmed the lights and brought me ice chips – she knew my needs better than I did! I trusted her so much. I was afraid when she told me to start taking a deep breath and to give a short push while saying “uh” in a low voice on the next contraction, but I did it and really felt the baby moving down! This hurt like crazy and I really had to focus and breathe to keep my body from tensing up and resisting it. I was totally in an out-of-body trance now.

I had to stand up for a quick Doppler check and apologized for some mucus-like stuff coming out of me. My water had broken in the tub unbeknownst to me! Melissa told me it was time to get to the bed and I begged to wait for one more contraction. Tub births are not allowed, though she later told me she’s had many accidental ones and that I almost delivered in the tub. Had I known that I would have stayed put! I waddled, bent in half, to the bed. How the heck was I going to get ON it?

She told me crawl up on my hands and knees and try pushing that way. It never occurred to me to push differently than on my back like last time. These contractions meant business. I remember thinking I couldn’t make it if this went on much longer. As I felt the baby move, I just sort of pushed along to help it, not planned, it just felt right. I was leaning forward holding Joe’s hand and the side of the bed. I gave three really, really intense pushes while screaming at the top of my lungs. I felt no ring of fire, but I was certain I had torn all the way up to where I pee – that’s the spot that hurt most.

All of a sudden, at 9:11am I felt a huge release, looked down and my baby was there! Melissa said, “Here’s your baby!” and passed him up to me. Joe was saying, “It’s a boy!!!!” almost in disbelief. I burst into tears saying “I did it??” I DID it!!!” and then, “Hi honey, it’s mommy! Oh my gosh, we have a BOY?”. I kissed his sweet sticky little head and held him to me while a nurse helped me turn around and sit up in the bed. I was kissing Joe, and someone helped me take my wet bra off so the baby wouldn’t get cold. It was a blur. I delivered the placenta and was so excited to hear I had no tears. I think I started crying again because I was so happy that I did it natural like I had hoped, and still in shock that he came within two hours of getting to the hospital!

We had to talk about his name and quickly decided he was definitely Rafe Bradley. All 6lbs 9oz of him. He had some trouble breathing, likely from such a short stint in the birth canal. His whole body was sucking in on each breath and there was a ton of mucus in his belly and lungs. He sounded like a puppy whimpering through the oxygen mask, but I didn’t realize how serious it was at first. I kept wondering when I could nurse him and asked for a snack and was generally acted like a drunk person who isn’t quite sure where she is. When they said he needed to go to the nursery, it sort of clicked.

He pinked up and was able to come back within 30 minutes, but really wouldn’t nurse much. I was on cloud nine, so elated and bragging to all the nurses and our family about what a rock star I felt like! I think I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to tolerate the pain, but because of my quiet peaceful home laboring, was able to avoid being in the hospital long enough to second guess my plan. An anesthesiologist never would have made it there in time for an epidural to work.

I know this is the most long-winded birth story ever and you should be glad my labor wasn’t any longer. I just feel my labors and births are an important legacy to document for my children, and as the most powerful, empowering, memorable hours and moments of my entire life, I felt the need to record every detail so I could savor that day forever. Brody might have made me a mom, but Rafe strengthened me in a way I had only dreamed of experiencing, and I’m so full of love.”

The Red Tent {Fear Not}

The Red Tent {Fear Not}

This is an email sent in by BWF reader, Rebecca A.

Recently I re-read Anita Diamant’s, “The Red Tent” which is the fictional story of Dinah, the daughter of the biblical Jacob and Leah. It’s a beautiful novel, rich in the emotions of feminine life. I’ve read the novel more than once, but what has always caught my attention and tugged on my soul-strings is the aspect of midwifery.

Diamant explains midwifery and childbirth with an emotional diversity that speaks to all women. Diamant pulls you into the sacred spiritual and physical drama of birth but enfolds you in the love of the women as they cherish the laboring Mother. What truly touched my heart was this song:

“Fear not, the time is coming

Fear not, your bones are strong

Fear not, help is nearby

Fear not, Gula (God) is near

Fear not, the baby is at the door

Fear not, (s)he will live to bring you honor

Fear not, the hands of the midwife are clever

Fear not, the earth is beneath you

Fear not, we have water and salt

Fear not, little mother

Fear not, mother of us all!”

I imagine myself, in the Red Tent surrounded by Mothers, Aunties and Sisters, laboring to bring a child in this world while being massaged by oils, held by loving and gentle hands, being held by Sisters on both sides and sitting on one sister’s knees as I push my baby Earth Side. What a loving, spiritual and sacred way to bring a new life into the world. I wish someone had sang that song for me, before my Son was born but, I know it now and it gives me peace. I hope that by passing this song into the knowledge of Mothers, it gives them strength and joy and peace.

Picture by Erin Monroe with Erin Monroe Photography

Against All Odds, A Surprise VBAC!

Against All Odds, A Surprise VBAC!

 Aila’s birth story begins on Good Friday, the 22nd of April. I began having contractions 15-20 minutes apart sometime in the morning, timing them quietly on my phone. They were quite mild, but really, about the same intensity as the contractions I had during labour with Liam. However, these were painful in front, unlike with Liam, where I felt most of the pain in my back. At 3:00pm, it was off to mass with Mum and Richard, while Shaun and Liam stayed home. Richard drove, as I really didn’t feel up to it.

 As Father Pat prostrated himself at the altar at the beginning of the service and we all knelt, I had a ripper of a contraction, through which I just concentrated on a candle in front of me. I did the same through the other 4 or 5 contractions that I had during mass. The obstetrician I saw in the clinic at the hospital tells me that she saw me at mass and said a prayer for my VBAC, as she felt it would happen over the weekend.

 After mass, the contractions seemed to stop, so I figured that it was another of the false alarms; having had a few over the previous 3 weeks.

 After dinner the contractions picked up again, and I could no longer hide them from Shaun and Mum. I had a shower for some pain relief and went to bed around 11:00pm with a bean bag to try to get some sleep. By then I was having contractions lasting just over a minute, every 10 minutes or so. They continued like this over night, with me breathing through some of them, and needing Shaun to rub my back through others.

 I tried to let him sleep as much as he could. Between contractions I managed to get some sleep in, and even managed to dream. Around 6:00am the contractions became even stronger and started coming 5-10 minutes apart and lasting about 90 seconds. I had a shower, and by 8:00am I could no longer stand to be at home. So rang the hospital and went in after having a cup of tea and some bickies.

 On admission around 8.30am, the midwife examined me and found I was about 2-3 centimeters and put me on the monitor to check Aila’s heart rate, and to see what the contractions were doing. After calling the obstetrician on call, she was happy with the trace and took me off the monitor to have a shower and walk around a bit.

 The shower was great as it had a dual shower head; one on my back and one on my belly where most of the pain was. My contractions continued much as before.

 The obstetrician arrived at 10:00am and tried talking me into a repeat c-section. Then examined me and I was 4 centimeters. He then broke my waters without my consent and said that for a second baby, he would expect the rest of my labour to go for no more than 4 hours. He would reassess me at 2:00pm.

 After the obstetrician left, the midwife took me off the monitor again to walk around and go to the loo. The contractions continued at the same rate, but became stronger. By 1:00pm I could no longer just breathe through them, and I was given the gas.

 We had the radio on, and the combination of the radio and gas made for some very funny conversation. I asked Shaun if I was talking really slow, or did it just seem like it to me? Turns out I was talking really slow. And I got the munchies and wanted maccas. I also started to get emotional and cried for no reason.

 At 2:00pm, the midwife assessed me and despite the increase in activity, I was still only 4cm. The obstetrician was called and I agreed to have a c-section, and cried and cried. I was inconsolable.

 After that, the contractions got even more painful and intense, and I barely stopped breathing in the gas. It’s quite a blur due to the gas. I remember rolling on the bed in pain, gripping Shaun’s hand hard (I felt as if I was going to break his thumb), and grabbing at Shaun uncontrollably.

 I also remember my body pushing, despite my brain trying to stop it. I remember midwives coming in, but not what they did. I also thought it incredibly unfair that I was in so much pain, if I was only going to have a c-section, what was the point anyway?

 The wait for theatre seemed endless and finally the obstetrician came in to have me sign the consent. I also remember the anesthesiologist coming in at some point and, finally, it was off to theatre. I was in so much pain and so affected by the gas that I couldn’t transfer myself to the bed, so the hover mat was used, and I had the portable gas to use until the spinal went in.

 The spinal went in and was such a relief. I dropped the gas mouth piece and my head became clear. It was then that the obstetrician examined me and found that I was fully dilated. Those contractions that had made me use the gas so much, well, I guess that was transition!

 So the forceps were sent for and I was transferred into theatre and onto the bed where my legs were placed in stirrups; quite surreal to see my knees up so high but feeling as if my legs were straight out in front of me. I asked if I could have the cord left until it stopped pulsating, but didn’t receive any acknowledgment.

 Shaun was brought back in and sat next to me. The obstetrician told me it was time and that the midwife would help me sit up and to push when he told me to. Three pushes and Aila was on my chest at 4:55pm. I had actually done it! I had had a successful VBAC! I had done what I knew I could do all along, and what my body knew I could do, even though for a while I didn’t believe it.

 The obstetrician cut Aila’s cord immediately, before she was placed on my chest. I was given a quick cuddle before she was checked out and placed back on my chest for some skin to skin and a first chance at feeding. The theatre staff took some photos while the obstetrician delivered the placenta.


After that, Aila went over to the crib to be checked by the paediatrician and I asked the nurses what the obstetrician was doing now, and was told he was sewing up my episiotomy. Episiotomy? What episiotomy? “How many stitches,” I asked. All I got in response was, “A Lot.”

 Soon Shaun and Aila went back to the ward, while the anaesthetic reg tried to stabilise my blood pressure as the spinal caused it to drop, and the OB typed up his report without saying much more than, “Congratulations.”

 Off to recovery where I was given more meds and fluids to bring up my BP and then, finally, back to the ward. Aila weighed exactly 4kgs, (8lbs, 13ozs) was 51 centimeters long and had a head circumference of 35centimeters. I got to feed her again and just stare at her while Shaun called his family to share the good news; last they had heard I was going to have a c-section!

 Mum and Richard brought Liam in to meet his baby sister. He was fascinated. They didn’t stay long, and after they left, Shaun had his first cuddle of his daughter, then went home to get some much needed sleep.

 While it wasn’t exactly the VBAC I had imagined, I had achieved my goal. And everything that I had done in preparation was worth it.

More Birth, Breastfeeding and Placenta Pictures Removed From Facebook

More Birth, Breastfeeding and Placenta Pictures Removed From Facebook

Sometimes I see a picture that is removed from a social media site, like Facebook, and I understand why. Even if I don’t find it disturbing, I can appreciate how it might be too graphic. However, sometimes I just don’t get it. For example, when I was banned from FB for 3 days for posting this picture of a placenta.

Recently, a few women shared birth pictures in our closed BWF Support group on Facebook. Someone was reporting the pictures, because at least 3 women had pictures removed from our group and were put in a ‘FB time out’ because of it. It is one thing to have pictures viewed by public, but this is a CLOSED BIRTH GROUP.

I did not get upset and I don’t care to try to figure out who or control the situation. What I can do though, is make lemonade out of lemons. There are about 2600 women in the Support Group. Which is wonderful. Sharing these pictures on my blog though, they will be seen by thousands of people. Many more than in our group. So the goal our ‘troll’ was trying to accomplish, backfired. All they did was make me find a way to share these pictures with even more people.

Birth is a normal part of life. Trying to cover it up, hide it, ban it and censor is ludicrous and I won’t allow it. So, if vaginas and nipples offend you when in the context of birth and breastfeeding, hit the ‘red X’ now and walk away! You’ve been warned.

Haylea’s picture of her vacuum assisted birth was removed from our group. While it might be ‘graphic’, it is actually interesting and educational. Most women (or people for that matter) have no idea what a vacuum assisted birth looks like!

“I posted the attached picture to BWF Support, and it was reported by someone in the group. It’s a very emotional picture for me. I was induced (which I struggled terribly with) at 39 weeks for IUGR by my midwives. While pushing, my little ones heart rate dropped drastically. I managed to push her out in 10 minutes and my midwives instructed me to catch her myself. In these pictures, I had taken off part of my t-shirt before delivery for skin to skin. This is me meeting my first child, for the first time, and finding out she had a giant knot in her cord. One of my midwives said she is a miracle.” ~Gail Elliott

“You can see the dumbfounded look on my face as I see there *really is* a baby coming out of me. During the last few pushes I was yelling my son’s name (August) and telling him to come out me. (***I was flat on my back for the last few contractions due to not being able to get him to rotate through my pelvis-it tilts in a little. Going from upright to flat on my back quickly rotated him under the pubic bone and out to me. Not the way we planned it, but my midwives were very smart to use that quick move to help him out***).” ~Samantha B.
Denise’s crowning birth picture was also removed from our closed, private group.
Sent in by Brittany F…
Kristin also had a photo removed from Facebook. She says, “Leonardo Joseph Paul. Born 1:51 am on 4/7/11. Planned home birth, that ended in a surprise unassisted. I had secretly hoped for an unassisted the whole pregnancy. He knew just what I needed to heal from my previous traumatic births, and he still knows how to calm me in the sweetest way.”
This birth photo is another amazing moment captured! This BWF mom shares this, “First photo of my gorgeous baby boy born 36w2d after he was “evicted” due to my developing preeclampsia. My student midwife did an amazing job catching him, she was so gentle and caring.”
Samantha Bryant had this picture removed after it was reported three times. This is one of those pictures where I don’t get it.
Ginger with Earthside Photography got in trouble along with me, for posting this incredible placenta picture!
Melissa’s placenta picture was also removed from FB.
Julie sent in this amazing picture, that would definitely be seen as inappropriate. A water birth, a precious baby, a henna belly and a placenta. Beautiful in my eyes.
This awesome picture was sent in by Ariel. It is seen as too graphic and not appropriate to be shared. I think it’s great and reminds me of the pictures I have of my first daugther’s birth.
c-section picture
“These are the two of my pictures which Facebook is not a fan of. They were both taken by Val Canon. She was amazing. The first is when Amelia Rose was first crowing, and the second was when she was nursing for the first time. I love them both. Especially the second. I love the fact that my breast is like 3 times bigger than her head. It’s so cute. Facebook didn’t think that they were as beautiful as I did, but hey, to each their own, lol!” ~Kitty C.
Then, there is this picture that Lauren Barnett let me use as a profile picture on the Parenting Without Fear page I once had on Facebook. Someone reported it, saying it could be seen as ‘pornography’ and Facebook actually removed it. I still shake my head at how absurd it was. This picture is adorable. Two beautiful, innocent children playing (without fear, mind you) in the water!
I hope you enjoyed these pictures as much as I did and no one will be removing them from the BWF Blog!
Tattoos, Birth and Babies

Tattoos, Birth and Babies

Wait…tattoos? What do tattoos have to do with birth and babies? Well, people with tattoos have babies too! Every time I see a maternity, birth or newborn picture with the mom or dad tatted up, I think it’s awesome. Really though, it’s when I see a picture of a tattooed daddy supporting his woman during labor. Love it. Apparently I’m not alone. Here are some wonderful pictures from our BWF Community! Enjoy!

“The only picture of my labor and birth, because my little man decided he wanted to come NOW! Midwife took the picture a few minutes before he was born as my photographer, video recorder and anyone else I was going to have at the birth didn’t make it in time. Zachary Payne, born may 8th 2011 weighing 9 pounds 8 oz.” ~Marissa&Jason

I am fortunate enough to know this beautiful mama. She shared these pics by



tattoo daddy

This one is by Silvia Johnson & BMJ Events


“This is at about 4 weeks old, our “new born pics” of our daughter. I LOVE the strength it shows, yet with all the gentleness in the world. She is so comfortable that she is yawning.” ~Abby


Elizabeth & Baby Utah on 1.5.11


Meaghan sent these in of her baby bump, and of her and her hubby bonding with baby.

pregnant woman


(This might be one of my favorites)

Alex sent this in with the following description: ” It was taken when my daughter, Cassaundra Rose, was about a half hour old following my first homebirth (3rd baby) on 9/23/11.  I spent a lot of time reading in the weeks leading up to my daughter’s birth.  This was my 3rd baby but my husband’s first (second marriage for me) and the last time I had done this was 10 years ago at a birth center.  I was definitely starting to feel nervous leading up to the birth and your website and Facebook page were a huge help.  In the end the birth was my fastest yet, with my biggest baby, and absolutely wonderful!”


“Here’s my husband Josh supporting me in labor, sporting his tattoos. I love them too!” ~Ingrid


This mama sent in the following picture saying, “I have many more tattoos than this but its one of the better birth pics I have 🙂 a home water birth. Daddy has almost 2 full sleeves and has a lot more!”


Sent in by Tiffany…


birthing ball and tattoos


This is a good friend of mine at 32 weeks pregnant. I have always loved her tattoos!

Ashley being supported by her husband while laboring in the water…

water birth

“These are all taken within the first hour after she was born. This was 3 1/2 years ago at a water birth center in Oregon. She was born out of the water though.” ~Karah

“This is the only picture I have from our accidentally freebirth, and of course, you can see one of my 9 tattoos :)” ~Becky

Stephanie sent this picture of her husband Travis with their son Odin Torrance. Love the big papa bear cuddling his baby.


Sarah sent these in and I couldn’t pick a favorite! She’s a c/s mommy, so doesn’t have any of her tattoos showing (and she’s not fond of the after birth pic of her, but I think she’s amazing), but here are some of her hubby’s!



Jess shares this picture of her in labor…

home birth
Ashley is another c/s mama, so shared this one of her hubby and newborn bonding.

hospital birth

“The first photo is great not only because it has mine and my husband’s tattoos, but also our doula’s (the date is wrong).
The second photo is awesome, but my husband’s hand is somewhat covering my tattoo.” – Jessica Kelso



We’ll wrap up with Shannon’s pictures. The support of her husband just melts my heart! “From Malachi’s homebirth 5/18/11 (my first baby).”

Thanks again to everyone that sent in your pictures. I added as many as I could to this post. If you did not see your picture, I apologize and plan on doing another post in the near future!

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