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The Births of 2 Miracle Babies {2 Preemies, 2 NICU stays, 1 Strong Mother}

The Births of 2 Miracle Babies {2 Preemies, 2 NICU stays, 1 Strong Mother}

In 2009, at the age of 18 as a senior in high school, I found out I was pregnant. I remember taking five pregnancy tests in the bathroom of the restaurant I worked in because I couldn’t believe it was true. Over the next few months, we began to prepare for our unexpected bundle of joy. I assure you this was by no means easy. It seemed everywhere I turned I was met with disappointment, disapproval, and anger. I was determined to rise above it and make a good life for my baby. In January of my senior year I was confronted by my high school principal, and he judged, stereotyped and made me feel unwelcome in the school I’d gone to for the majority of my life. In May of 2009 I received my GED through a career network, a month before my fellow seniors were handed a diploma. In my eyes, I am a quitter for letting the hazing stop me from graduating, but in the eyes of the public, my GED is equivalent to a high school diploma.

In July of 2009 at 6 1/2 months pregnant, I went to my obstetrician for a routine ultrasound. I sat in the waiting room of the doctor office waiting for them to call my name, and my OB came out in the waiting room and sat across from me. Now maybe you will find this as strange as I did, but as the last patient before lunch and the only people in the waiting room, I didn’t think much of it at the time. He proceeded to tell me that he was sending me an hour away to see someone who specialized in small babies, but assured me I had nothing to worry about. Being 18 and naive, I didn’t question him.

On the following Monday, July 6, 2009, my mother and my grandparents took me to see the specialist. I heeded my OB’s advice and did not worry. I convinced my baby’s father to go to work and that everything was fine. I left my dogs tied outside, dirty dishes in the sink. Once in the office, the tech gave me my sonogram, not really saying much to me in the process. Abruptly she left the room and left my other and I in the exam room. Finally, a doctor I had never met comes in and sits down on his stool. He then tells me that because of my baby’s size I will have to be admitted to the hospital, an hour away from my home. My mom began to cry, and I began to fire questions at him. What did size have to do with anything? He proceeds to tell me that my placenta has holes and scars throughout it and rather than flourishing as a baby should in the womb, he was barely surviving. He also explained to me the dangers of preeclampsia, which he suspected I had.

Upon admission to the hospital, my urine tested positive for protein, and my blood pressure was weirdly high, common indicators of preeclampsia. They placed me on a medicine to prevent me from having seizures because of the high blood pressure. They also gave me a steroid injection to help mature my son’s lungs. My son’s father stayed with me in the hospital that night. The next morning, July 7, 2009, a sea of doctors at the foot of the bed awakened us.These doctors informed me with a smile on their face, that I would be meeting my son that very same day, after receiving my second steroid shot. In a medicated daze, I just nodded my head, too out of it to argue or ask questions.

At 5:58 PM via emergency classical C section, I gave birth to my miracle, Paxton Lane. He weighed exactly 3 pounds and was 16 1/2 inches long. Unlike most mothers, I was only allowed to kiss his cheek before he was whisked off to the NICU. I was not allowed to see him again until the next day, after I had been weaned off the seizure meds and pain medication.

Walking into the NICU, I felt the rows and rows of incubators were terrifying. I had never seen babies so tiny. I laid eyes on my son. He was all skin and bones, long legs, long arms, tiny hands and feet, tube down his nose, IV in his arms. All I could do was cry. The nurse bundled him all up and handed him to me and I can honestly say that there is no love stronger than a mothers love for her child, for my love for my son. He was perfect, no matter how small.

Paxton was a true miracle. Never needed oxygen, toughest little bugger out there. He ate through an NJ tube for a few weeks, and I did my best to pump milk for him as the nurses wouldn’t let him out of the incubator long enough to try and latch on.  Paxton Lane came home on August 10, 2009, 19 days before his due date. He was one month and 3 days old. Paxton is now 4 years old and he is right on track developmentally, He is a little on the small side, but he comes from a family of tiny people.

paxton miracle baby

I bet you thought that was the end, huh? I got my happily ever after, right? Wait, it gets, much, much better.

Paxton’s father and I went our separate ways a few days before his first birthday. We went down a long road of fighting, harassment, and custody battles. And I began the inevitable struggle of being a single mom at the age of 20, until I met my soul mate. On June 13, 2012, a friend suggested a blind date with her fiancé’s best friend. We all decided to go fishing in the local park. Paxton and I spent all day getting ready for his first fishing trip. We went out and bought his first fishing pole and tackle box and all the necessities. Paxton caught his first fish that day, and never was I prouder.

This man I met proceeded to take me out on dates, make surprise visits to me in the most menial places, like the laundry mat, and instantly I was attracted to the way he was with my son. He didn’t treat him as though he was fragile, rather like he was an equal. They played, they talked, they ran under the sprinkler, and as summer wore on, we moved in together.

In November 2012, one of our friends made a joke about how I was gaining weight, that I must be pregnant. To prove them wrong, I took a pregnancy test. Much to my astonishment, he was right! We were pregnant! After Pax was born, the doctors assured me I could have more children. They would give me medication and monitor me, so I never had to go through this again. In the beginning of my pregnancy I even spoke with a specialist in Maternal Fetal Medicine and he advised I just monitor my blood pressure with this pregnancy.

Paxton was so excited to have a baby brother. He began planning all the things they would do together and all the things he could teach him. All of our friends and family came together and helped us get everything we needed for our new baby’s arrival. Throughout all of this, I was working as a nurse’s aide, and coming home every night in so much pain I could barely walk from all the lifting, walking, bending, etc. My feet were so swollen my socks would cut off my circulation. Although my coworkers tried their best to go easy on me, I quit my job in April if 2013 at my fiancé’s insistence.

It turns out he was right to push the issue because in early May I was put on modified bed rest. No more lifting my son, no carrying laundry baskets, no walking the dog, etc. My blood pressure was high again and everyone was concerned. They did an ultrasound, which confirmed the baby was small, but showed no other problems. I even asked the tech how the placenta looked because of my problems with my first pregnancy, and she assured me it was normal. They admitted me to the hospital for a night and the baby showed no distress, so they sent me home the next day on strict orders to become one with my couch.

I followed their orders to a T, yet woke up the next morning with an elephant on my chest. As a CNA I at least knew enough to know this was a symptom of a heart attack. I called my mom, because I couldn’t stop getting sick, and the bed rest didn’t allow me to drive. She came to pick me up and she took me to the ER and triage took one look at me and sent me up to maternity.

I was put in this broom closet sized room and all the nurses knew me by name from being there so many times. They took one look at me and got to work administering an IV to give me anti nausea and pain medication. On the bed I rocked back and forth sobbing. The nurse couldn’t get me to hold still long enough to get the IV in and ended up getting blood everywhere. She tried to get me to lie back to attach the fetal monitors and I remember yelling at her to leave me alone. Those poor nurses.

When the medicines kicked in and they had me on oxygen, I finally calmed down enough for them to hook up the fetal monitors. By this point, my OB was there, hooking me up to an ultrasound while an aide took my blood. I distinctly remember the OB frantically telling the nurses that my baby’s heart beat was in the 50s and I needed to get to an OR stat. When nobody moved, she ordered the nurse to stop taking my blood and began to push me from the room herself.

Upon entering the operating room, all I remember was the doctor frantically asking the anesthesiologist if I was under yet so she could begin. I didn’t even have time to be afraid.

Jaxson Levi was born at 2:26 PM on May 30, 2013, just an hour after being wheeled into the ER. He weighed 3 pounds, 3 ounces and was 16 inches long, born 45 days before his due date. I woke up in recovery, and was soon after wheeled to the hallway to meet him, before he was life-flighted to the nearest Children’s Hospital.

It turns out that my placenta had ruptured from my uterine wall due to the stress HELLP syndrome had put on my body, causing the severe chest pain. Had I come in half an hour later, they believe neither of us would have made it. They had to perform chest compressions on Baby Jax because his heart rate was so low. When I met him in the hallway, my bed next to his incubator, I was again, terrified. No matter how many preemies you have, the shock of it still scares you, I think. He was on a ventilator, the tubes so large compared to his tiny body.

As Baby Jaxson headed to his helicopter, I was shipped back to a birthing suite where those wonderful nurses took such amazing care of me. They all said I should never have been discharged the day before.

At 1 AM, my OB came in and told me I was being transferred to the nearest women’s hospital because they couldn’t get my blood pressure under control. She hugged me and cried. The two of them, my regular OB and the one who did my C section, are my heroes for saving my son. And of course, those nurses for recognizing my symptoms for what they were. I spent one terrible night in the ICU. I had to cry to get a pillow, they wouldn’t give me a breast pump, I was allergic to the pain medicine they gave me and scratched myself raw and I had bruises that looked like finger nail marks up and down my neck, back, chest, arms and legs. They also thought they should take out my catheter in a room with no restroom. After hours of asking, at shift change I was finally moved to the oncology floor where there was extra space, and was treated wonderfully. It took 5 days to get my blood pressure down, and I still had to go home on a blood pressure pill that cost $100 for a monthly prescription. Finally, I was released, and went straight to the NICU of the children’s hospital to see Baby Jaxson. He was 6 days old when I finally got to hold him.

Jaxson was released on June 20, 2013, when he was 3 weeks old. He is now 3 months old, and he weighs nine pounds, triple his birth weight.

miracle babies family photo

2 miracle NICU babies

Both of my boys are wonderfully healthy and perfect. And although I cannot have any more children, two miracles are definitely enough for me.

miracle babies family photo

Vaginal Hospital Birth of TRIPLETS

Vaginal Hospital Birth of TRIPLETS

Triplet pregnancies can be absolutely terrifying. You feel so out of control. There are three little lives growing in your belly and you are told by all your doctors and OBs all the risks and all the dangers, you begin to feel like you are made of glass. Please no TTTS, please no preterm labour, please let my babies survive and be healthy. Each day was frightening, and each day was a milestone.

It was at the very beginning I was told that I only had a 30% chance of any ONE baby surviving and I’d be lucky to make it to 24 wks, and if I did, they’d monitor me till my body packed it in and then they’d (their words)” cut them out of me.” No idea what that old midwife wished to accomplish by saying that, but it simply terrified me!

I went home and started researching.  All I found was c-section YouTube videos. I searched for weeks, and cried each day. I was horrified at how early they’d come and the medical procedures and intervention they faced in their first moments on earth. So I just kept looking. I knew I needed to let my babies cook as long as they could, and birth my babies as naturally as I could, so they had the best possible start to life. I wanted to give them the same beginning as I’d given my three boys. So I Googled, and joined forums, and asked questions to everyone I could find with a hand full of answers.

I joined a group for triplets, one that was Australia based, it was there that I found a few vaginally birthing triplet mums and I found another pregnant mum who was as committed as me. We found that any posting about our desires to birth vaginally was faced with terrible negativity. So we started a Facebook group Birthing Multiples Naturally. In that group we found like-minded people and shared information freely. I was on my path to meet my girls.

At every OB appointment I was bullied and told what I WILL be doing with my body. I WILL have a c-section, I WILL have it when they say. But I had armed myself with knowledge – for every bit of information they gave me to support their wanting to take my babies out early by c-section, I researched and found evidence contradicting them. I gathered all the information to make an informed and educated decision and stuck with it.

At every appointment I maintained that I would go to 36 wks or as long as the babies needed, I would have three heads down and I WOULD have a vaginal birth. and at each appointment I was scoffed. Even my sonographer would smirk and say “I’d be impressed if you made 30 wks”.

At 30 wks my three girls decided they’d all prefer breech, putting a smile on my OB’s faces as they smugly said…” well, you’ll be having a c-section now?” In answer, “no, I’ll go and have acupuncture and use positions to turn my babies”. You can imagine their responses. LOL.

Well I did. Chinese acupuncture and using “spinning babies” techniques and I found myself in hospital with two heads trying to both get into my pelvis. It was then they decided to keep me in hospital for the remainder of the pregnancy.

The bullying began. Strong, nasty, consistent bullying. Tag-teaming OB’s, doctors, nurses. They even had OB’s from their sister hospital come over to talk down to me. But I knew what was right for my babies. Id birthed three big babies before; I knew I could birth three tiny little triplets.

I kept researching, taking vitamins and minerals, magnesium for prevention if preterm labour, and doing my positions on the hospital bed. I missed my boys like crazy, but I was determined to keep this pregnancy going. Week after week I designed my birth plan, and week after week I terrified my OB’s. I built a strong relationship with wonderful midwives. I was looked after and treated with dignity by these amazing women who never doubted me. They helped me day to day with my teary days and my discomfort, they made a belly cast of my enormous belly, and helped me with my birth plan.







At 34 1/2 weeks I felt three sets of feet in my ribs! They did an ultrasound to check, and yes!!! Three heads down!!!!!! I wrote my birth plan out on a big piece of cardboard and pinned it to my wall. My OB’s walked in, saw it, turned white and walked out. Soon they came back with paperwork for me to sign. I was going to have a good birth. I believed in my body. I believed in my babies, and I believed in my midwives, who is decided would be delivering my babies and with no epidural using active labour.


At 35 wks I felt strange. I truly felt like my body had hit a wall. I asked for a growth scan as I believed that my babies had stopped growing. I felt something was not right. A few days later they did the scan and sure enough the babies had stopped growing and things needed to progress.

I decided to try bringing my labour on myself. I used everything. Every old wives’ tale, right up to stretch and sweep. Nothing!!!! Can you believe it, all that time fearing preterm labour and now I want it to start and it won’t!!! I tried and tried, but nothing but a few strong BH contractions.

So I decided that I had no choice but to induce.

I was terrified of induction. I was worried that one intervention would lead to another. I had a few friends, my sister and my husband with me after they gave me a strong stretch and sweep and broke my waters, and then they hooked me up to the synto drip. I walked around, bounced on the ball and rotated my hips, I laughed and joked and talked. I was scared, but this was my day! I was going to meet my girls.



Once contractions were established my friends and my sister left so that I could focus. I concentrated on feeling my little sweetheart lowering to my cervix. Aneyah was the leading baby. We had a head monitor on her, (which I wasn’t struck on, but it was needed) I stayed standing until I physically couldn’t any more. They had me famining just in case, and I was completely exhausted. I’d brought berocca with me but was not allowed to have it in case they needed to intubate me in an emergency. So I got up on my hands and knees on the bed. The contractions were so strong now. People were starting to fill my room, but I used gas and concentrated on blocking them all out and just feeling my daughters lowering.

As I began to push, Aneyah’s heart rate started dropping. I could feel her head at my cervix and could not seem to push her through. One of my midwives checked and said that my cervix just wasn’t letting her through, so she helped. While I pushed, she gently helped my cervix over her head, it worked. I turned around to sit up with my knees up at the end of the bed. It was time. Before I knew it my little princess’s head was crowning. Two more pushes and Aneyah was out and placed on my chest. My beautiful, amazing little girl, screamed for just a moment then just looked at me. I was in love. She was so beautiful. My husband cut the cord, and before I knew it I was feeling the need to bear down again. They passed Aneyah from me to my husband and I started to push. Another head started to lower through my cervix and crown, the OB decided to help by breaking my waters, as he went to do so, I beared down, and with a beautiful twist, my waters exploded all over him. A moment that gave me a good laugh! Just 15 minutes after her sister Kalanee arrived into the world and straight to my chest. Such intense love. Another perfect beautiful wonderful little girl who screamed for just a moment then snuggled into my arms. Complete love. But I could only hold her just a moment, because I had one more special person to concentrate on. Lealah. I passed Kalanee over to one of my midwives and put my hands above my third little princess. It was much harder to push with her. I could not feel my stomach muscles because they’d stretched so much, and all that space and one tiny little baby, but I held my hand above her and beared down. My waters broke as she was crowning and she literally came out in one slurp with what seemed like a bucket of blood. Lealah was placed immediately on my chest and I was given the scissors to cut her cord. What a moment. She gurgled a little and I passed her over to be checked. Immediately afterward, I felt the need to push again. My placenta had come away early and was chasing Lealah out.

The placenta was so big; it was two that had shared and one that was fused. It felt like another baby, and it was at this point that someone in the room decided to joke about a possible fourth that had gone unseen. I was quite unimpressed.


I did lose quite a decent amount of blood, but the body is amazing. My haemoglobin was actually higher after than the day before. It seems all that bloating was my body preparing.

They were: Aneyah – 4lb 7oz, Kalanee – 4lb 9oz; and Lealah – 4lb 11 oz. The first two were 15 minutes apart and the second and third were 12 minutes apart. They were 35.6 wks, and all head down. My entire labour was calculated at 4.5 hours.







 My three girls were very quick to pick up breast feeding. They had no formula from the moment they were born. We had a little jaundice from being four weeks early, but they were healthy and strong. After just five days we all left the hospital fully breast fed and mummy’s little princesses. Today they are nearly six months, still exclusively breast fed and doing amazingly. I have three beautiful boys and three beautiful girls. I feel like the most blessed woman in the world.


Supporting Women in All Birthing Choices

Supporting Women in All Birthing Choices

It has taken me about a year and a half of blogging to get to a place that I feel I am really doing this and that others see it too. I’ve always had this vision…to passionately share my views about childbirth and inform woman they have choices in how they birth, but not alienate anyone.

You have a few natural birthing communities that freak out at women who have interventions or cesarean sections. They exclaim the mother was not patient enough, strong enough or educated. When a mother shares a loss, they are shunned. Not always because other women want to hurt a loss mom, but because their own fears of loss in childbirth cause them to do so. Then you have ‘mainstream’ communities that say VBACing is dangerous! That if a mother cared for her child she would never birth at home and that home birth is for hippies.

There is a lack of knowledge, understanding and support on both sides. It has taken time, and a lot of criticism on all sides, but I think I am here. I think we are here. I think there is finally a true Birth Without Fear COMMUNITY coming together. A place where we all want to inform women that yes, they have choices in their births! A place that women can get support in the informed choices they do make, even if different from what we would do. A place ALL women can share their stories.

That is not becoming mainstream. That is not people pleasing. That is amazing! In our private support group, a woman announced tonight that she decided to have a repeat cesarean section and was on the way to the hospital to do so. Instead of other women asking her why or criticizing, she has received nothing but an out pour of love, understanding and support. Women share they are educated and informed and having a home birth and even if other women wouldn’t do that, they get support and understanding.

That is amazing.

I’ve had this vision since I started BWF. I have evolved. I have let my guard down. I have been open and communicated more. I have worked on finding a way to not lose my passion or my opinions, but also have more balance. To also support all women. Not every post I do will be for everyone. Not everyone will agree with every post I write or birth story I share. However, there is something for everyone.

I can and will still share different births from breech, to home twin births, to unassisted birth, to midwife assisted home or birth center birth, to hospital birth with midwives or doctors, to cesarean birth. No matter what I feel is best for me (or even you), I still think all birth should be celebrated. I believe all women should be supported.

We can share information, we can educate, we can inform women that they actually have choices. Then we support. When a woman is in labor and gives birth, why criticize? Why say, ‘How dare you share this?!’. It’s done. Having a child is a blessing. A pure and incredible blessing and no kind of birth takes that away.

A woman is beginning her motherhood and it should begin with love all around her. If a woman has a birth she sees as traumatic, no matter what kind of birth it is, give her support. If a woman chooses a different path that you would, remember it is HER journey. When you want to put a woman down, remember that if you want her to come to you with questions, be the person she wants to receive answers from.

A Mother’s Letter to Her Unborn Baby {Part 1; Birth Story to Follow}

A Mother’s Letter to Her Unborn Baby {Part 1; Birth Story to Follow}

Amy Hayden shares, “I wrote a letter to my son before I birthed him, and just wrote this one to my next little one. I’d love to see other moms do the same.” Check back tomorrow for the story of this lucky baby’s birth!

“To my dear baby,

As our time of being connected as one draws to a close, I cannot help but think of how wonderful the past nine months have been. You’ve been active and playful, always amusing me with your very high kicks – often to my lungs and ribs! You’ve had hiccups at least five or six times lately which feels so funny and always amuses us! I have felt very intuitive about many things this pregnancy – that I was in fact pregnant, that my placenta was in the front, and I even have some thoughts about your size and gender, which I will keep to myself for now in case I am wrong 🙂

Let’s talk about labor and your birth! I want to bring you into this world as peacefully and as gently as I possibly can. I’ve read more and know more than I did last time. I trust my body to do what it was designed for and what it is capable of. I am not afraid! I want you to work with me, to move down gently and easily when it’s time! I will do everything in my power to calmly and gently deliver you! Daddy and I will be ready with open arms and open hearts to welcome you into our loving family.

We are so excited to see you for the first time! It will be amazing to learn who you are and what our family will be like with a fourth person to hold and to love. Your big brother cannot wait to see you and to teach you all the “big boy” things he knows. He has big plans for you 🙂

My hope is for the two of you to have a wonderful relationship and many shared stories and memories throughout your childhood. I want you to be a happy, healthy individual with your own ideas and dreams… and the courage to pursue them! You will have all the love and support in the world from me and Daddy, so dream big, reach for the stars, and be whoever God created you to be! I’m looking so forward to getting to know the amazing person whom I’ve been given the awesome and wondrous responsibility of nurturing and growing these past nine months. As Daddy cuts the cord to separate you from me, you will begin your journey on this earth as your very own person. And though you will no longer be a part of me, you will always be in my heart, for once I have carried you in my body a part of you will live in me forever.

I love you so very much – and have from the moment I first knew of your existence! Pregnancy is one of the most special times of my whole life and I have loved every minute we’ve shared. See you soon!

Always and forever, Mommy”

44 Questions For Your Midwife

44 Questions For Your Midwife

Written by Svea

Just last week I had the privilege of meeting with two fantastic midwives. Recommended by a friend, they are the women I hope will accompany me through my second pregnancy and delivery. They are kind, empathetic, knowledgeable, and funny. Exciting!

When I told my husband the news, he had a lot of questions. Most of them (“How much does it cost?” and “Do they know what they’re doing?”) I could answer. But some, I couldn’t. Hubby wanted to know exactly what they would do in an emergency – “Tell me about a time when things didn’t go well. What did you do?” and, “Have you ever lost a baby? Why?”

I got all defensive and said that well, I had asked the questions thought were important, and I’m pretty informed about birth and doesn’t he respect anything to do with intuition? Then I got mad and started defending the scientific realities of emotional support (emotionally supported births are not just happier, they’re healthier!) and he said something about how he’s always the one asking the hard questions and it turned into a whole late night conversation that, I guess, we’d been needing to have for a while.

But anyway, I thought I’d share some of the questions I asked in the interview. The query of what to ask a potential midwife used to come up a lot on the BWF support group (and probably does now on the BWF Fans group, but I’m left out because I’m not on Facebook, *sniff*); some of the items below are taken from those conversations. I personally think that ‘goodness of fit’ is the best thing to look for, but we all have to decide what that means for ourselves. The first few are the questions I asked (and the answers that made me so happy).

  1. I plan to refuse almost all vaginal checks. Like, maybe I’ll allow one. What do you think about this? (they don’t check unless the mama requests it! woot!) 
  2. Are you familiar with other ways of assessing dilation? (yes, e.g. vocalization)
  3. Do you deliver breech? Do you deliver all kinds of breech? Do you have training and experience in this kind of delivery? If not, do you have a midwife you would refer me to if the baby had not turned? (No, but a neonatologist who trained under a midwife in Chile works at a hospital nearby and he does)
  4. Do you have experience with turning babies, not hospital version-style? (Yes – almost 100% success rate)
  5. At what point would I get ‘risked out’ of your practice, e.g. how many weeks ‘overdue’ could I go before you transferred my care to a doctor? (As long as baby’s healthy, as indicated by Non-Stress Tests, you can stay with us) 
  6. What do you do in the case of a nuchal cord?
  7. Speaking of cords, we intend to do delayed cord clamping. What do you think about this?
  8. How long have you been practicing midwifery?
  9. Why did you become a midwife?
  10. What is your training/education/certification?
  11. Will you deliver the baby, or will you assist me in birthing him/her/them?
  12. Do you have experience and recommendations for prenatal nutrition?
  13. Do you deliver twins?
  14. Are you connected to a natural birth/natural parenting community I could get to know?
  15. Do you do the Gestational Diabetes screening? Is there an extra cost associated with it? Do you ‘allow’ your clients to eat a specific meal before the test, or do you make them swallow a sickeningly sweet orange drink?
  16. Do you continue to see clients with Gestational Diabetes, or do you refer them to an obstetrics practice?
  17. How much do you charge, and by what date would the full amount be due?
  18. Do you accept payment plans? What is your refund policy if we decide to switch care providers?
  19. How often do your clients succeed in having their health insurance provider reimburse them?
  20. Do you work with doulas?
  21. Do you work with birth photographers?
  22. Who is your back-up pair of hands/midwifery assistant? When can I meet him/her?
  23. What is your hospital transfer rate?
  24. Do you do routine episiotomies? Do you do any episiotomies?
  25. What equipment do you bring with you to a birth? Are you legally allowed to carry Pitocin (for rare post-birth hemorrhaging)? Do you?
  26. Are you trained in neonatal resuscitation?
  27. How many births do  you take on per month/year?
  28. Are you planning any vacations, trips, major surgeries, or other events that would interfere with your attendance at the birth?
  29. I am an abuse survivor and this may affect my experience. Do you have training in counseling or other trauma-healing work?
  30. What kind of postpartum care do you offer?
  31. Do you do placenta encapsulation? Is there an extra charge?
  32. Do you facilitate water birth?
  33. What methods of pain management do you recommend?
  34. My partner has x, y, z fears about home birth. How have you dealt with this in the past?
  35. What is your preferred method of communication, prenatally (phone, email, text)?
  36. Midwifery is a challenging profession, and often a labour of love. What can I do to make this experience easiest for both of us?
  37. Have you had any loss (baby or mother)? Why and what happened?

Also, here are some questions I asked myself after the visit:

  1. Would you be friends with these people? Why/Why not? (Yes. I hope we become friends)
  2. Does either remind you of your mother? How do you feel about this? (Not much – and only in the best ways)
  3. Were you able to ask all the questions you wanted to? Why/Why not? (No – I didn’t ask about hospital transfer rate because I already felt that we’re on the same page)
  4. How did you feel about the birth when talking with them, compared to how you feel about it normally? More or less excited, more or less anxious? (More excited! Not anxious at all)
  5. Was the visit enjoyable? (I didn’t want it to end)
  6. If there were other family members present, what was their experience of the interaction? (My husband was at work but they were kind to my toddler and flexible with his needs)
  7. Did you sense that either was intimidated by your birth nerdiness and stance as an educated consumer? (Nah, we’re all passionate about birth, why would that be a problem?)
While it doesn’t make sense to ask a potential midwife all of these questions in an interview, this is also by no means an exhaustive list. You can pick and choose according to your own needs and wishes. And add your own – if you have a suggestion, please let us know in the comments and I will add it above.
*All photography in this post by NHance Photography
Pregnancy is Beautiful and Sexy

Pregnancy is Beautiful and Sexy

“My husband snapped this picture of my 19 week belly with our 3rd daughter. I was talking with him in our bedroom, about to get dressed, as he tinkered with his camera and then he looked up at me. I was leaning into our dresser with only my bra and bottoms on, and his face lit up and he said, “You’re so beautiful and even more so while carrying our child”. I thought it was so sweet.”

*Eduardo Jubis Photography. Do not copy or use.

The Pregnancy Glow

The Pregnancy Glow

You know what it is, but it’s hard to describe or explain. Maybe pictures would be a better way? OK, maybe I am just looking for a reason to share more awesome maternity pictures with you!

In all seriousness though, the pregnancy glow is real! It isn’t just an old wives tale. From Dr. Sears

“The glow that others notice (though you may not) isn’t just a sentimental old wives’ term. This facial shine actually has a biological basis. The increased volume of blood causes the cheeks to take on an attractive blush, because of the many blood vessels just below the skin’s surface. On top of this redness, the increased secretions of the oil glands give the skin a waxy sheen. The flushed face on many pregnant women is similar to the one non-pregnant people experience when they are excited, cry, or do anything that increases their heart rate (which pregnancy does constantly).”

Here are some pictures showing off that gorgeous glow.

By Earthside Photography

Sarah W. pregnant with her 4th child…

Samantha B. and her painted baby bump…

Rachel is the perfect example of having a pregnant glow in this picture…

beach maternity picture

Leslie embracing her pregnant body…

blue chair

Gorgeous picture of Melena…

maternity picture in the snow

I think Krista’s pictures are perfect to wrap up this post…

The American Pregnancy Association has this to say about our special glow…

“When you are pregnant your body produces 50% more blood, resulting in more blood circulation through your body. This increase in blood circulation causes your face to be brighter. Your body is also producing a fair amount of hormones that cause your oil glands to work in over drive, leaving your face shiny. Both of these things can result in the “pregnancy glow” you have heard of.”

So enjoy it mamas and don’t forget to smile!  “A smile is the best makeup any girl can wear.” ~Marilyn Monroe

*All pictures owned by the photographers or mothers. Please do not use or copy without permission.

Maternity Pictures That Will Make You Smile

Maternity Pictures That Will Make You Smile

I’m usually not a huge fan of the naked/hand over the breasts maternity shots, mostly because they typically look awkward. But when done right they can be so great. Like these…

Danielle and Patrick

It’s the strong hands of the father in this one that I love…

Kenai and Kelli
Kelli and Tony

And this one…

Kenai and Kelli

A beautiful gift…photo by Gara Hill.

Krista Grant

Sent in by Lilly. I think we’ve all tried it…

You knit me together…

Renee Portko

Pregnancy glow…

Renee Portko

If you have any maternity pictures you would like to share, email them to

All pictures sent in my BWF mothers. Please do not copy or use without permission.

Bridging a Gap: Keeping My Passion While Promoting Change and Healing

Bridging a Gap: Keeping My Passion While Promoting Change and Healing

I am the type of person that loves to communicate. About two months ago I put a disclaimer on the blog and on some birth stories. It was just publicly noticed last night though and it has brought a fury of debate. I feel confident in my choice to do so.

I am a very passionate, opinionated woman. No doubt about that. I feel that most of the time, birth is safe. I feel that the less intervention, the better. I jumped into the ‘birth world’ a few years ago when I realized so many women did not even know they had choices in how they give birth. That needed to change!

Shortly after I started Birth Without Fear in 2010, I conceived my 5th child. If you have ever been pregnant, then you may know that everything is taken more personal. I was extremely stubborn in my views on birth, because every blog post, every question, all the answers could have been about me as a birthing woman. The swollen ankles and SPD didn’t help either.

I was attacked for that. It was awful. I kept on going though, because I knew that my Blog and Facebook page have helped countless women in making educated and informed choices. Many women have become doulas and even started midwifery training, because of being part of the BWF Community.

Then I gave birth. BAM! No longer a hormonal, sensitive woman. I was suddenly more detached. While I still have my opinions and passion, I am not as sensitive and unreasonable. I started to realize this huge gap in the birthing world.

The natural birther vs the medicated birther. It’s nasty.

The home or natural birther has had to fight for any ounce of respect to birth her baby how she feels is best. She is told left and right that she is stupid, a fool, and putting her baby in danger.

The hospital or medicated birther has now found herself needing to defend her choices to have pain relief or interventions in labor, because surely she could have avoided it and birthed the ‘right way’.

Then there are mothers who have suffered the worst of all…losing a child. When they try to reach out for support or are scared for other mothers because of their own experiences, they were shut out. Of course no mother wants to have to think about losing a child, but the mother is still here and her story and child are very real.

This has caused a divide. It has caused frustration, anger, fights and more. Media, blogs and social networking doesn’t help.

What I found once I became a sane woman again, is this HUGE gap. I realized I was being attacked by the medicated birthers and loss moms, not because they hate me, but because they hated that I was part of the group of women who did not want to hear them. They attack because they are angry and hurt and I understood. Even through the worst of it, I understood.

When I support our moms who have had interventions or cesarean births or when I add a disclaimer to protect myself and maybe an uneducated mother, I get attacked by the other side.

It’s OK, I can take it. The skin has been thickened!

Only recently have I made new relationships and been inspired to make a change, to bridge this gap. Someone has to do it!!! Not many have been willing to forgive, love, and accept all while not compromising their own principles about life, topics, birth, etc.

I am willing.

I know there are those on all sides who will still not like this or what I stand for, but I know there are MANY more women who do. Change can hurt. But when the pain of change is less than the pain of staying the same…it’s time to embrace change.

This doesn’t mean that I don’t support the same things I have always supported, it means that I am willing to listen, to understand and be open to how others feel.

I am inspired by Ghandi as a woman, mother, a writer, and a birthing woman.

“An ounce of practice is worth more than tons of preaching.”

Being a leader requires action, not just preaching, even if it means coming under fire.

“You must be the change you want to see in the world.”

This is just the beginning of a wonderful and wild journey. I just ask for patience and understanding. I know it will all come around and work out just right.

~January (Mrs. BWF)

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