Saturday, February 13, 2016


I kinda want a birth do-over, but not really.  I don't regret the decision to transfer to the hospital, because my baby needed to be born, I needed to birth him...but I think about all the things I didn't do that I should have done.  But life isn't a game with do-overs and babies come how and when they intend to, birth is birth is birth.  No matter how, no matter where, no matter when.

My body had been trying to birth Z for almost an entire week.  When push came to shove, pardon the pun, my body all but evicted him.  Except it didn't.  He was stuck, for a couple of days I'd say.  I walked and walked, prayed and cried, received essential oil massages and watched videos of blooming flowers.  I called my home birth team not once, but twice.  It started when I called my mom and sister because I was sure I was in labor.  I gave a heads up to my midwife.  Sensations were cranking out for a few hours and then just stopped.  I even inflated the birth pool!  My mom and sister and I walked around a park early in the morning, but the contractions just slowly came to a stop.  I texted Sara and informed her it was a no-go for now.  I set the inflated pool aside and sat for the rest of the day staring at my birth affirmations, willing my body and baby to work together.  Remember, I was over 40 weeks pregnant.

It was a few days later that I woke up feeling very off.  I had taken a few middle of the night showers.  I was napping and suddenly sat up, feeling a trickle down my leg.  I called my midwife and was so excited because THIS WAS IT, we were going to have this baby after what felt like FOR.EV.ER.  I bought the snacks foods and drinks and things just seemed to progress n terms of intensities and sensations.  The midwifery crew arrived and things really got going; even the birth photographer showed up!   We laughed together, I rode out some pretty strong waves of labor, beautiful photos were taken, I was pushy....but there was no baby. 

After being in and out of the water, I was frustrated.  I was certain my water had broken and my body was really trying to birth this babe.  It was determined that my waters likely hadn't ruptured and after consenting to an internal exam, that my cervix was nowhere near ready.  Feeling like a failure and letting the defeat set in, I sent everyone home along with the birth pool.  I was mad at myself, frustrated with my body and sending silent questions to my baby.  I know birth works.  I believe in birth and the glorious form that the Creator knit together to bring forth life.  What was going on?  As it turns out, my little guy got a bit turned around.

That night I continued to surge every 2-3 minutes, all night long and throughout the morning and afternoon, until I called Sara a second time.  Going on two days of some of the most painful sensations I've ever felt.  I'm talking split my body in two I'm being ripped right down the middle sensations that can only mean that something isn't quite right.  Intuitively, I knew something wasn't.  I felt no relief.  In tears from being exhausted and in extreme amounts of pain, I called my midwife and asked her if she would check my cervix again (not something I would normally ask for) because surely I was getting somewhere...right?  Sara came over in the late afternoon and attempted to find my cervix, but could only guess the dilation as the cervix was in such a position that made checking difficult.  We attempted several maneuvers to help baby down and after a very painful and scary attempt at helping to "shift" baby, she expressed her concerns that something wasn't "meshing".  We spoke about transferring to the hospital and right away my mind went to a terrible place.  The hospital was the LAST place I wanted to be when birthing my child.  I know the idea sounds strange to most, but most people haven't walked a mile in my shoes.

Hospital birth means my baby won't breathe, NICU stays for indeterminate amounts of time, it means having to relive my first sons birth.  It means my body had failed, or that I did something wrong.  I was scared for my unborn baby and for me.  Hospitals meant no control, non-consented procedures, intervention upon intervention.  Everything I was against and opposed vehemently.  However, what choice did I have?  Nothing else seemed to be working and my body was obviously trying to birth this bubba.  He needed help.  It was when Sara said she'd stay with me that I agreed.  We were officially transferring care.  Off we went.

What is a mere ten minute drive felt like eternity as my body was still laboring.  Every bump, every turn was felt.  Upon arrival I expected to be treated poorly; most hospitals are hostile to home birth transfers.  However, that was NOT what greeted me.  I was met by warm, but concerned, smiles from the staff.  My amazing midwife has phoned ahead and given them a heads up on our arrival.  I thought I would be okay, that my insecurities and fear of hospitals and fear of losing control would stay hidden...but once I was wheeled up to the birthing suite and saw the warming station.....I lost it.  All I could hear was the far away voices of neonatologists and nurses past, and the distinct sound of an air compression bag being squeezed.  In my minds eye I was back in Germany, watching my sons limp and lifeless body being worked on.  I covered my ears and fought the urge to run away screaming.  Instead I opened my eyes and focused on Sara.  She was from my present, not my past.   Her voice pulled me from the movies, a juxtaposed view of one memory playing on top of the two film reels being played at the same time.  The flashbacks stopped after I started to remind myself where I was at.  I was here for my newest baby and TJ was safe and sound at home probably watching tv.  I could feel my hands gripping the sides of my head, slowly loosening their grip.  The nurses question of "is she okay" vaguely registered in my mind.  Slowly, I could feel the fear being replaced with a strong sense of determination and the urgent need to birth this new life forth. I was moved to the bed.  I was adamant that I was there for assistance; this birth would not be taken from me.  I denied the use of epidurals and accepted the use of a small but much needed dose of an intravenous drug that gave me pain relief for a brief moment in time. 

Prepared as I was for being treated like a pariah, imagine my shock when ALL of my wishes were not only respected, but met with a very quick and simple, " OKAY!"  No separating my baby and I, baby placed on my belly/chest immediately, I want to pull baby up and out myself, waiting until cord is done pulsing before cutting, no circumcision (I would be asked at least a dozen more times before being discharged), I would be keeping my placenta, no pokes or ointment for baby, leave me alone and let me birth: these were all my wishes (that I can recall).

All the while my body is working so hard and my baby is FINALLY moving and once the pain reliever is administered, my pelvic area relaxed enough for baby to move and descend.  I remember the anesthesiologist coming in and telling me I would need the epidural.  I looked her straight in the eye and informed her I would not be getting an epidural this day.  The medicine wore off and my body started cranking out waves after increasing wave of intensity; I knew we were almost there.  Everything was a blur until it came time to birth baby; I remember the resident and attending standing at the foot of the bed.  I opened my eyes and focused on them, when doctors huddle together it's never a good thing.  I heard a murmured "dystocia" and promptly asked what was going on.  The attending asked me if she could maneuver baby because he/she was a little stuck and she knew I wanted as hands off as possible.  I consented because I could feel that baby was stuck and needed help.  It took 3 pairs of hands to help get babies little head and shoulder unstuck and a lot of roaring through the intense feelings and moving baby out.  That moment, the moment when you're certain you'll break in two pieces followed by a rush of relief as the pressure is released; the doctor told me to reach down and put him up.  I reached down and felt a warm little body and pulled that squish right up onto me.  It was a beautiful boy!  I remember him being so warm and oh the marks of hard work all over his sweet face.  He was so turned around for so long; all I could think was how thankful I was he was here and glad I was to not be pregnant anymore!  His feet were wrinkly and peeling, signs that he as nearing the end of his time as a womb-baby.  He had large shoulders and his finger nails were just perfectly formed.  Every part of him was perfect, nothing out of place and everything just pure brand new to this world perfection.

Birthing the placenta proved to be the most painful and most uncomfortable.  I vaguely remember or watching the doctor do a manual extraction of the placenta because it was taking too long.  This is where things get fuzzy for me because my blood pressure plummeted after getting up and using the bathroom and I don't remember much of anything except for just feeling like I was underwater in a tunnel.  Apparently I was losing blood in massive quantities and my husband had to take over skin to skin care for baby because I couldn't hold him. 

Once I was able to rest and was given more IV fluids, my blood pressure improved and I was able to initiate breast-feeding and continue skin to skin with my brand-new baby.  Zechariah had finally arrived and it was like a huge wave of relief mixed with the bittersweet feelings of being in a hospital environment.  I refused to feel like a failure and I instead focused all of my energy on my brand new baby and absorbed all that had transpired in the past week.  I laid in the delivery room soaking up my sweet baby boy, who weighed in at a whopping 9 pounds 8 ounces and measured 23 inches long!  My amazing midwife and her student stayed with me the entire time, offering words of wisdom and encouragement, holding my space for me.  Words can never express how much I adore my birth team; I never would have had the courage to transfer to the hospital or continued to believe in my body to birth had it not been for Sara and Sam. 

Zechariah's birth story is one full of lessons in patience, trust, humility, acceptance, and faith.  In a way it represents coming full circle in birthing my babies.  It started with a traumatizing hospital birth, continued with a much needed and healing homebirth, and ended with a completely healing and perfect hospital birth.  I do have some feelings of defeat and wonder sometimes if I had done something different, walked an extra mile every week, ate less meat...stood on my head...would Z have been born at home?  Then I remember that "what ifs" are pointless and the reality is Z was born where he needed to be born and with the very people he needed to be surrounded by.  I regret nothing.  I cherish everything.  Birth is beautiful no matter where it happens, how it happens, or when it happens.  As long as the birthing woman is respected for the amazing warrior and powerful being she is all is well; as long as her choices, her body, and her baby are treated with dignity, she will birth the way she is meant to.  

Tuesday, December 31, 2013


Here it is folks, another obligatory end of the year post!  Every year I resolve to write more on my blog and every year I fail. I suppose I will resolve to keeping this blog for the sole purpose of cathartic writing, so there.  That said, here is a brief look back at the highlights of 2013 (in no chronological order...c'mon it is too late for my brain to function that well).

In 2013:

  • We received promise of new arrivals in our home.
  • We found out we were having a baby girl.
  • My son started home schooling.
  • The promise of new arrivals were dashed by a corrupt system that I am convinced is designed to see families fall apart.
  • My little boy suddenly stopped being so little, and it made me a bit sad.
  • My husband and I went through a new phase of falling in love.
  • My husband and I discovered things we never knew about each other.
  • I watched my son marvel at the arrival of his baby sister.
  • I birthed my daughter on the ottoman of our couch ( have you NOT read that yet?!).
  • I proved to myself that I am stronger than I ever thought possible.
  • My husband finally learned that there are in fact inappropriate times to joke around.
  • I went another year missing some friends/family that I really want/need to see.
  • I watched my little boy morph into a big brother.
  • I learned to let go of my past and truly forgive others and myself.
  • I strayed from God, but I am finding my way back.
  • I met some amazing women who I consider life long friends.
  • I started my first online shop where I sell my crochet goodies.
  • The lesson of humility hit us and hard.
  • I started a foundation for Veterans who suffer from unseen wounds, like my husband.
  • I learned my husband is a humble man.
  • God tested my faith.
It is my sincere hope that 2014 is good to you all and that fear, doubt, suffering, loss, grief, and anger will have no place in your new year.  I hope the same thing for my family and myself.  I am praying for prosperity, a deeper sense of spirituality and faith in God, a stronger desire and action to help those less fortunate than I, and to rid myself of all negativity.  God bless you and keep you and His grace be ever upon you!



Wednesday, December 04, 2013


I feel different.  We moved around our entire kitchen and dining room because we needed more room.  I like how it is set up, but it will take some getting used to...I'm not into feng shui (I don't even know if I've spelled it correctly), but somehow I feel different.  As we were moving things around, Travis and I were having a conversation about our parenting decisions and suddenly I felt different.  I told him as much.  I explained how I've been feeling empty inside and just tired emotionally/physically/mentally/spiritually...but suddenly just felt different.  The feelings weren't bad, almost the tiniest hint of rejuvenation.  Last week was a horrid week in our household on all fronts.  I even hopped on facebook and asked for prayer, which is something I generally don't do but I was desperate.  I am hopeful that the Lord heard someones intercession for us because whatever that darkness was hovering over our house and seeming to follow us everywhere, it is leaving.  Lighter is probably a better word to describe the feeling.  So tonight I sit here feeling contemplative about my relationship with the Lord and for the first time in a very long time have a desire to study my Bible.  Yes, it has been that long.  I was communicating with a friend of mine how far from God I feel lately and how shaky my faith has been; I say lately but is has been the better part of 2 years. That verse that talks about the wishy-washy waves.  That is me, right now.  I feel good, for a minute, but then something happens or someone happens and I am right back down there.  BUT TODAY:  the clouds may be clearing and, however faint and small, God is calling me.  I don't hide my spiritual beliefs, but I don't brag about them either.  God is God all by Himself and he doesn't need me to prove it.  I wish more Christians could understand that. I told Travis that we have a season of "better" before us.  I believe that is what I said to him, better.  2013 brought us new life, new experiences, new challenges, and now a new hope.  I remain hopeful.  I am still learning how to be steadfast.  I cannot tell you how many times, these last couple years, I have fallen down where I stand and just cried out. God says he can make prayers out of moans and groans and that's a good thing because Lord knows I have done just that when crying out. 

"Renew a steadfast spirit within me..."  I hear this in my head and feel it in my very soul.  I know moving around some furniture didn't cause this change, I know it was God.  I am glad that I can feel the negativity moving on, away from my family and our home.  Free.  Light.  I've been teaching TJ a new scripture every week for school and because he is only 3, I try to keep it short and simple so he can memorize it....but I often wonder if I am really the one who is choosing which verse every week.  Here is to hope, change, and better.  I just want to be better.  I know who I want to be, I know who I am now, I know who I don't want to become.  Someone told me once that I act like I am "better than everyone else."  That really hurt me, because if that person only knew how I feel about myself they wouldn't have said that. I am sorry to anyone I have ever made feel that way.  Please know that I don't think myself better than anyone else.  I didn't intend for this post to go there, but it did.  *phew*

I just want to be a better Christian.  A better wife, a better mother, a better person. 


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

 I want to start out by apologizing to every parent I have ever judged at the checkout of a store.  I used to think it was insane that the parents ever let their kids act like that in public...OH HOW THE MIGHTY HAVE FALLEN!  My son was that kid tonight at the check out, touching and moving every single item in the end-caps and low crawling on the floor.  I must say that I am proud of myself though, I managed to keep my cool and redirect his attention to something else to get him off the floor.  So anyway, yes I apologize because now I understand completely what it is like to be with a rambunctious 3 year old in public in the middle of one of their "moments."  I love my son, he is fierce, funny, witty, sweet, and capable of throw downs the likes of which most have never encountered.  So please forgive my once naivety and understand that I understand, okay?  

So I have a 3 year old and a 2 month old now.  TJ loves being a big brother, but I think he is still a bit unsure how to act around Hannah.  Sometimes he is hesitant to engage her and sometimes he needs a gentle reminder that she isn't ready for contact sports at this time. He has been a big help though; he loves grabbing her diapers for changes and he thinks its amazing that she smiles at him so much. Seriously, this little girl loves her brother to pieces.  He will sing her lullabies and rub her head when she nurses, melts a mommy's heart. My little guy suddenly grew up and really wants to go to school.  I have been seriously debating with myself and with Travis over homeschool vs. public school.  On one hand, I am a paranoid parrot when it comes to my children and if I teach them at home I know I am protecting them from the world for just a bit longer.  On the other hand, I want my kids to experience things like class field trips, 5th grade camp, marching band, school dances, and things that I know I enjoyed in school.  Anyway, I have been working with TJ more and more on his counting and his writing.  The boy can write the letter "t" like nobodys business.  It has been hard to convince him that there are actually 25 other letters in the alphabet that he needs to learn to write and that they are both upper and lower case.  He can trace them just fine, but free style and suddenly all the "u's" turn into lower case "t's" and the perfectionist in me starts to freak out.  We are still waiting for a spot to open up for him in pre-school, but I am not holding my breath.  Overall I have a smarty pants 3 year old, eager to learn, who loves his little sister, and gives the best cuddles ever.  There has been a bit of jealousy over Hannah, but thankfully it is NOT directed at her.  Not to mention TJ is a 3 year old and his rebelliousness is just starting to kick in.  I pray it won't last long!  I decided to start homeschooling my little Travis.  I don't want to overwhelm him, so we've got a very basic curriculum. If this works out then I will add more subject matter, as his abilities allow.  So far he enjoys it. He has trouble tracing, but it gets better every day. Love my smart little guy.   

Hannah is two months old!  Hard to believe that I had her that long ago, it still feels like early this morning I was pushing her out and into this world.  What a change in our lives and a wonderful blessing to our family she is!  You know how they say, "be careful what you name your kids because they will take after it?"  Well, I should have paid better attention because my little diva is certainly living up to her nickname!  She likes to stay up at strange hours and talk talk talk, sometimes cry, make demands (haha).  She is gaining more control over her limbs and can now full on chew on her fists, her favorite past time. She loves looking at the dog, she can rollover to her side (she really doesn't like laying on her back), and she loves to hear herself talk and squeal.  We've also recently introduced her the baby in the mirror.  Seeing herself in the mirror really gets her going, full body excitement!  

That's about it for now, take care!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Home Sweet Home

I will never look at my couch the same again...ever.  That is the place my body and my baby decided to birth; the place that will always hold a special sacred spot in my heart.  My daughter took her first breath there; that is where she and I met face to face.  That is the spot I felt bonded to her forever.  We had our home birth, welcoming Hannah Irene Kay into our arms early Tuesday morning.  I could not be happier, could not have asked for a better birth experience, and definitely could not have done it without my Lord and without my amazing birth team.

Anyone who knows me, knows I love birth stories; it is a way for moms to connect with each other, bonding over an experience as old as time.  This is the story of Hannah's birth, and my healing and empowering labor and birth experience.  ****WARNING!  GRAPHIC AND BADLY EDITED PHOTOS AHEAD****

I started to have some slight surges (contractions) with only a few being intense enough to notice.  They never increased in frequency or intensity.  I decided to go for a walk on the trail.  What the heck was I thinking???  The last 1/4 mile, I swear my lady bits were falling apart.  Went home and laid down!

I had lower back aches upon waking that morning at 9:00.  I had just walked a pretty fast mile on the trail the day before, so I figured it was just sore from that.  Then I noticed that with each "ache" the intensity grew stronger and more noticeable.  Eventually these lower back pains turned into surges, though they were not regular they were definitely more intense.  I tried timing them for a little while, but because they were so infrequent it was difficult...and I couldn't be bothered.  A bit later that morning I had some slight bloody show, I was so excited because I had had ZERO discharge for almost the entire pregnancy.  Only a woman waiting for ANY signs of labor can relate to how exciting that little bit of show can be.  Sorry if it's TMI for some of you folks, but this is a birth story and well...blood kinda comes with the territory. ;)  All throughout the day I noticed that the surges became more regular and intense, but nothing I couldn't cope with using deep breathing or movement.  I had sent text messages to my midwife team, letting them know about the bloody show and just to keep an ear out for a call from me.  However, I was convinced at this point that nothing was happening anytime soon, so I went about my day. Travis went into work later than scheduled until I was sick of his hovering and made him go in!  Later that evening, after getting TJ in bed I decided I needed to sleep. NOW.  Lying down seemed to help with the intensity and frequency of the surges throughout the day, so I figured I would lie down and get some sleep.  Travis had gone to work to do an overnight shift, and I figured I would have the entire bed to myself for the first time in a long time!  I tucked in with my trusty hot water bottle pressed firmly against my lower back.  I fell asleep almost immediately, but was awoken by some intense aching in my back.  I decided to come downstairs because the bed down there is more firm, and I was closer to the bathroom (a must for any preggo mama!).  A couple hours after I had tried going to bed, I decided to start timing these surges as I noticed now that the intensity wasn't just in my back.  So for about an hour I timed and kept track:  they were every 5-8 minutes and lasting anywhere from 30 seconds to 1 1/2 minutes.  I noticed a lot of back aches, so I hopped online to refresh my memory on dealing with back labor as simply hanging on the birthing ball was clearly not cutting it at this point.  I was still convinced nothing was going on because I was able to get on the computer and research, but then again the surges never slowed or decreased.. in fact they were increasing in intensity and frequency!  After refreshing myself on the "ab lift and tuck" and allowing myself to do this through 10 surges, I was feeling a lot better about coping with the intensities.  Then something changed.  I can't really describe it other than to say that my body started to do it's own thing during the surges.  By that I mean, I started to naturally move into positions that made coping so much easier and the sounds coming out of my mouth were akin to nature.  Subconsciously, my mind and body knew that it was time to call my support team.  At 9:51PM I phoned my husband, because I needed him to find a replacement and get home quickly.  That call was immediately followed by a call to my midwife Sara who, after confirming a few things, told me she was sending out the other midwife Jodi to make sure things were going well.  I also phoned my mom and let her know what was going on so she could be prepared to come over.  I then called my best friend Jen who helped me through a particularly intense surge while on the phone, gosh I love that woman!  I knew I was still having a few minutes inbetween surges, so I waited until I had that few moments to make one last call to another friend, Sarah, who has been monumental in encouraging this home birth. I knew other people should have been called...but I didn't have it in me.

After all those calls were made, things really started to pick up.  I found comfort in the birthing ball, hanging on it and vocalizing through each surge.  Jodi came by with all the equipment and after observing a few surges, determined that it was go time.  Active labor!  WOOHOO!

Jodi and I talked and bantered a bit inbetween the surges and somewhere in there my mom arrived.  TJ was in bed so he wasn't aware of the impending arrival of his sister, but I knew he would be up before too long, he is a light sleeper like his mama.  Travis finally made it home and brought me a frappaccino...can I say what an amazing man I have?  He knows me and my needs so well.  After working through a few more surges, and a few trips to the bathroom, Sara was called and Casi was coming with the birth kit and pool liner.  Yay for laboring in the water!
Warm water makes everything better. 
8/6/13 (wee hours in the morning)

TJ awoke as the birth pool was being assembled and he was so excited that he brought out his toy boat and put it in the water.  Needless to say he wasn't impressed when he found out it wasn't really a big bathtub.  Still experiencing surges and their ever increasing intensity and frequency, it felt nice to finally sit in that super warm water.  Submerged up to my chest was like liquid heaven on my entire body.  I couldn't even tell you what time it was at this point, because my mind and body were starting to go into birth mode.  I was fully concentrated on working through the surges and inbetween them could focus my attention on those around me; it is amazing how ones mind shuts down during those few intense moments to go into a primal laboring mode, and then suddenly comes back and can have a coherent conversation.  Of course, I used a lot of humor and jokes as that is my way of coping with any type of discomfort.  Here is where the timeline gets a tad hazy; I am writing this as I remember it and please know that there may be lapses or jumps in the order of events so please forgive me!  Somewhere in all this my wonderful sister came over, and having my birth team present put me at ease and it was then that I felt my body and mind start to relax and allow things to progress.

Can I just say it is not easy to get in and out of a birthing pool?  I had to though, because I had to pee badly and I didn't want to pee in the water *sigh* if I only knew, right?  I made it to the bathroom with Jodi following me in there, sitting on the toilet just felt so much better on my lower back (which is where most of the surges and intensities were present).  I stood up, ready to waddle back to the pool only to have another surge come from left field, causing me to pee on the floor.  Yup.  On.The.Floor.  I was mortified but not really, make sense?  Yeah, it doesn't to me either.  Just when I was getting ready to get into the pool, a surge hit and right then I needed my mom.  She is comfort, she is safe.  I knelt down and laid my head on her lap not unlike when I was a child.  I didn't know it, but the moment was captured by Jodi.  Words cannot express how much I appreciate her taking that photo (as we have so very precious few from Hannah's birth). 
Do you ever just need your mom?

The surges were getting more and more intense, sometimes to the point of feeling unbearable.  In those moments I closed my eyes and imagined myself in an ocean in which wave after wave came crashing down on me but I stood firm and pushed through each wave thus each surge.  I know I cried out to God, I would look to my positive birth affirmations I had posted throughout the living room and the bathroom.  I am so glad I had the forethought to write these down, because they truly gave me strength and the determination to persevere.  There came a point when I was in such pain that my midwife quietly told me, "Remember your pain cannot be stronger than you because it is you."  Have I mentioned how much I adore this woman?  I took that reminder and told myself that I was strong enough and I was doing this.  After what seemed like forever, I was convinced that there was no progress  because my water STILL hadn't broken.  I consented to an internal exam (my first one with this pregnancy!) to find out that I indeed was fully dilated and effaced and baby just needed to descend.  I need to tell you all how much of a baby I am when it comes to pain.  In the hospital with TJ, I was begging for an epidural and I was barely 4cm dilated.  I was also on a buttload of pit, so I know there is a correlation to the two...HOWEVER...can I just say how incredibly shocked I was that I made it all the way without absolutely breaking down?!  PROUD OF MYSELF!  The hard part was just beginning...

Almost at that moment my body started doing these little pushes, again I was giving myself over to my primal instincts.  I kept telling Sara that I wanted to push but it wasn't an overwhelming urge.  Little pushes to get my baby girl down into the space from which she would emerge, this is what Sara said was going on.  I chalked it up to the wonders of natural childbirth and gave in completely to my instincts.  It was so liberating not to be hooked up to monitors or worry about pulling out an IV line.  I just moved where I needed to and did what I needed to. There is something to be said about giving in to your body and allowing it to go to that primal place, where the outside sounds are drowned out and the body that was created to birth is allowed to do what it needs to do.  I closed my eyes and thought about TJ and how I had allowed so many unnecessary interventions to happen that nearly cost him his life.  I thought of my sweet boy and how I was doing this home birth for him too; a sort of healing for our whole family.  A very strong surge came while I was trying to find a coping position in the pool.  I looked up at my husband, took both of his hands in mine and let his presence calm me.  I remember looking into his eyes and silently pleading that he would understand that I am doing this for us, for our family, for our daughter.  Sometimes I think he can read my mind or that our connection is something out of fiction, because he looked right at me and said quietly, "You ARE doing this."  Those four words gave me such strength, in that moment I could have endured a hundred contractions...maybe not, but you get the point.  I tried to explain to my mom the imagery I created to help me cope with each surge.  I told her I imagined standing on the beach, with both feet in the water.  Each surge is a wave that I must stand against, so as not to be overtaken.  I imagine keeping my feet planted firmly, while the crest comes crashing down around me.  I may shiver, I may close my eyes...but I don't buckle.  It really helped me, and my mom seemed to like hearing about it.

Things get a little blurry for me here, but during one of my trips back from the bathroom I really needed to lay down.  Our ottoman looked perfect and I just  I couldn't tell you what I did or said, but next thing I knew I was on my right side catching some sleep.  I was sleeping inbetween each surge (which really is a miraculous thing) and everyone started to gather close.  The midwives knew, my husband knew, and my mom and sister knew.  It took me a minute to catch on, I was preoccupied after all.  I had been waiting for what seemed like YEARS for my water to break or something and when I felt an urge to pee I did..right on my couch.  I looked at Jodi and said, "I peed myself again didn't I?"  She gave me a knowing smile and simply said, "Nope!"  By the way, this amazing woman followed me everywhere I labored with a chux pad AND she accompanied me to the bathroom and helped me through some seriously insane moments.  I love Jodi, bottom line.  My water had broken, HALLELUJAH!  We were almost there.  The surges were extremely intense after this, my teeth were chattering, my vocals a little less controlled ( somehow my son slept through this part).  I then felt the need to P-U-S-H.  You know that feeling mamas, that uncontrollable urge that not even the good Lord Himself could stop (not that he would!).  Up until this point, I had Oooo-d and ahhhh-d through each surge; standing firm and working through.  One of my little birth motivators said something to the tune of, "I AM WOMAN HEAR ME ROAR!"  I may be paraphrasing...but I opened my eyes and it hit me like a ton of bricks.  I roared.  Loudly.  Like, someone was murdering me, loud.  Then I heard someone tell me that Hannah was right there.  This baby seriously went from here to there in no time.  I was officially in the delivery stage.  I had had these dreams of peacefully pushing my daughter out and reaching down to grab her onto my chest.  Instead I lifted my right leg, opened my mouth, squeezed my eyes shut, and grunted/roared/yelled that precious girl out.  Pushing a baby out is an oxymoron of extremely painful pleasure.  It hurts like the fire of a thousand suns but in those moments you are connected, on some spiritual level, to every woman who has ever given birth.  There is a pleasure in knowing that you are doing something  that the very first woman on earth had to do in order for you to be here in this moment.  I cannot describe it accurately.  I felt connected to God, my ancestors, the universe, my daughter.  I also felt helpless.  I do remember calling for help, but this was mostly because I was seriously afraid that my clitoris was going to fall off and I just wanted to make sure someone was applying counter pressure.  When Sara told me the ring of fire was coming, it felt more like a ring of ripping.  Still roaring through each push, I heard, "she is right there so close!"  Then I heard, "there is her head...oh her nose..oh her chin...okay now the shoulders!"  I don't remember who was holding my hand I think it was Casi (and bless your heart if it was you!), but I remember finding comfort in those hands.  I also remember thinking in my head, "Please don't let me die."  That thought was directed to my mom and to be honest, it was more because I was so exhausted and not so much from the pain.  This all seemed to happen in a matter of minutes.  Apparently, that thought was said out loud.  *sigh*  Never said I wasn't dramatic.
Tough work.

I had to consult with my midwife on how long I pushed before Hannah was delivered.  Keep in mind, with my son labor was augmented (poorly) and I pushed for 2 hours and 50 minutes.  When you are in the space of birthing, time and reality can become distorted because the body takes over (if allowed) and is focused solely on that synchronized dance with baby, that dance known as birth.   That being said I couldn't tell you how long I pushed, what time it was, who was standing where, and what was going through my mind.  I guessed pushing lasted 30 minutes, and I was being conservative.  After meeting up with the midwife, we looked over my chart and found it was only about 10 minutes or so.  10 minutes.  Do you see what happens when the body is allowed to do what it needs?  Then again when it feels like your clitoris is about to fall off, each second feels like an hour (ha!).  I remember.  I remember the moment I felt her slide out.  Everyone was cheering and saying things like, "she is here Sally!"  One minute she was halfway between worlds, and the next she was in my arms.  She made a small cry while being handed to me, and every single fear I had about her not breathing just dissipated.  I knew my girl was perfect in every way.  Then I noticed her!  She was so small!  All I could think was that her head wasn't nearly as large as her big brothers.  When she was placed in my arms the first thing I did was smell her and she smelled familiar to me, just as TJ had.  Then I just stared at her, because...HELLO!  I just birthed this wonderfully complex beautiful little beauty after spending the past 10 months wondering what she would look like, if she had hair on her head, and what her first cry would sound like.  She was so warm and so pink and all I wanted to do was cuddle her.  The whole world fell away and it was just her and I, wrapped in this intangible cocoon of newness and love. I thanked God.  I prayed.  My soul was transported before the throne of Grace and I had to bless Jesus for allowing this to happen, because there were no complications, because of who HE is, because of my awesome midwife team, because my family was here, just because.   Travis looked at me and said, "Rub her down Sally, help her breathe!"  I stimulated her back and spoke to my newly born daughter and Jodi helped to rub her down as well, getting those little lungs open and full of fresh air.  All this happened in the span of a minute or two but it felt like slow motion to me.  She was wrapped in one of our beach towels; blue and white striped. She started to cry a bit after being stimulated and it was music to my ears.  I took her little towel wrapped body and cuddled her.  All I could think was that I had a daughter!

Cord still attached, I cradled my new daughter against me and just laid there in awe of her.  In awe of myself.  I just had a homebirth; I have accomplished something I was set out to do.  Like I said, I will never look at my couch the same again.  The next few hours were spent bonding amongst the weighing/measuring, cord cutting (which we obviously delayed), attempting to breastfeed, and just be present with this new creature.  I was really excited to breastfeed again, and Hannah had a bit of a latch issue which she corrected herself in a couple of days.  She just needed to open her mouth a bit more, which thankfully she did!  TJ woke up shortly after the birth and he met his baby sister.  I don't know how he slept through the roars, but he did!   He loved on her right away.  It's amazing how he went to bed still my baby and woke up my big boy; like he instantaneously grew. 

I had it written in my birth reminder that I wanted everyone present for her birth, to hold her (after the initial mother/daughter bonding of course!).  It was important for me that she also form a bond with those who were present for her birth.  After all, these people were here helping me through labor and witnessing her emergence.  She was held by all and I watched, with love in my eyes, as my little girl left a piece of herself with each person. 
Nana and Hannah.

Eventually, the pool was broken down and drained, people slowly left our space to get some much needed rest themselves, and I was recuperating and enjoying my new baby.  My midwife and her team graciously made a comfy and cozy space on our couch, where my baby and I shared our first peaceful sleep as two separate beings, instead of one and under the watchful eyes of my mom who stayed with us.

There really is a "birth high" from all the natural oxytocin that flows during labor and birth.  I felt so good, so happy, so incredibly AWESOME.  Even now, as I type this sentence 7 weeks later, I can feel that "birth high" return and it overpowers any negative emotions I may be feeling in the moment.  I believe that a piece of me has been healed and restored.  The experience of this homebirth helped to overcome the traumas of TJ's birth.  Feelings of fear, inadequacy, anger, bitterness, apprehension, and grief all seemed to dissipate.  The fact that I didn't have to follow orders or be restricted was freeing.  I am strong because I followed my instinct and trusted in the body given to me by my Creator.  I am brave because I conquered my own insecurities about my abilities to birth unmedicated.  I am fearless because I did what was best for me and my baby in the face of criticism.  I am mother.

Sunday, June 02, 2013


Wow, has it really been that long since I've written a post?  Gosh, I really need to up my ante huh?  Talk about rude amateur blogger behavior.  Seriously though, I have a short but big update for you:  WE ARE HAVING ANOTHER BABY....A GIRL BABY!  She will be born here in the comfort of our own home, into the loving arms of her mama and dada, with the help of two wonderful women whom I have come to know and will know more of in the coming weeks.  Hannah is expected to make her arrival in early August, but this mama suspects the diva to make her appearance early. 
Pretty girl at 20 weeks young!
J & J still come for visits but the big move has been put on hold for unforeseen issues that have arisen; we hope to have something figured out by early fall, please keep them in your prayers. TJ is excited about becoming a big brother, he loves to snuggle the belly and tells me all the time how much he loves his baby.  What could make a moms heart melt more, huh?  Travis is still working hard and though I wish he would or could take it easy, I know it is in him to do more than his fair share and do it without complaint.  God really broke the mold with that man, for sure.

That's about all the update I have for now, I hope to make more time to keep this regularly updated again.  Blogging has always been cathartic for me, and Lord knows I could use some catharsis!  Be blessed all!


Friday, February 22, 2013

Kids, construction, and snow.

So here it is another month without a blog post.  "Is this thing on?"  I just wanted to offer a small update on what has been going on 'round these parts.  We are anxiously awaiting the arrival of our baby, we have been blessed to receive major help on getting the bedroom built in the basement, and we have a tentative timeline for the increase in our household!  

Travis relocated to a different store (same position thank God) and he is enjoying it so much more.  I told him to be prepared for a promotion in the near future, I can feel it in my bones.  Not only is he overly prepared for this position, but I know God is going to reward him for his patience.  TJ's vocabulary and big boy habits have taken off like a rocket!  He has near perfect pronunciation, he is thisclose to being fully potty trained, he blew his nose for the first time yesterday (which is a big deal around here), and he knows how to count to 20.  My kid is so smart and he makes me so proud to be his mama!  He will be 3 this year, and that means looking into preschool.  Be still my beating heart, where has the time gone?  

Our two extra family members continue to visit us and we are introducing them to how we run things in this house.  It has been an adjustment when they are here, but I know it will make things much smoother when we have them full time.  I just ask that you keep our family in your prayers as this is going to be a major change in all our lives and we must overcome.

I am 17 weeks pregnant today, and boy do I feel every bit of it.  My stomach has popped, I feel full after eating the smallest amount, and forget about my normal exercise routine....I have had to tone it down.  I am excited as next week I get to book the appointment that will *hopefully* tell us if we will be buying pink or keep the blue (secretly I really want a girl, but I am happy either way).  I haven't really felt regular movement, but I have felt a few somersaults and punches or kicks at random.  The dog seems to gravitate towards my belly, so maybe he can hear something I can't?  Either that or he is fascinated by the now protruding belly I sport.  

Well, that is about it.  Other than the fact that although I grew up in the stuff and have learned to deal with it....I still don't care for Michigan winter weather.  Give me a balmy 75* every day all year and I will be grateful.  I know God wants us in Michigan for now, but I pray that we get to move to South Carolina once all has been settled and in rightful order here.  Thanks for reading and God bless you all!