Monday, February 27, 2012

Dana's Beautiful Fast Birth- As Written By Her Two Doulas

    Dearest Dana, First we want to thank you for inviting us to be a part of this special moment in your life. We will remember it forever! Here is your story as written by us, your doulas, Jessica Pace and Bridget Riley.

    ~Your Birth Story~
    You were so ready to meet your baby. From 37 weeks on, hoping that today would be the day. Bridget and I were excited and anxious as well, so happy to do a water birth, and to be there with you and your family.
     Our prenatal visits with you and your family made the upcoming birth so exciting! We would leave each one with such a wonderful "birth high" pumped up and so elated. You would text me the morning after each prenatal saying that you had some contractions overnight (maybe it was the birth positions we practiced or all the talk of birth that did it). 
    On February 17th we had a birth pep talk at Chickfila with Dusti, Jade and I (Jessica). 
    On February 18th You had some 4 am contractions and you were so bummed that they quit coming. We were so excited we knew it would not be long now. The way you described them as nice and crampy and strong, it sounded like your body was doing some nice work to prepare for labor! We both slept with our charged phones next to us that night! 
   On February 19th (THE DAY!!!) I (Jessica) get a phone call from you while I'm watching cartoons with my boys, at 10:06am. I knew as soon as I saw your name that it was time. I got all fluttery in my tummy. We talked about how the contractions were feeling, I wanted to stay on the phone and listen while you were breathing through one to see how intense it sounded and how you were coping. You had been having some irregular ones for almost 4 hours already that morning, some coming around 5 minutes apart or so. But you sounded so very calm and when we talked through the first contraction your breathing was pretty light and almost normal. I was pretty certain it was the real thing, though probably early labor. I hung up and called Bridget right away, I was only 20 minutes away but had to drop my boys off pretty far away before heading over. I called you back right away to let you know I wanted Bridget to come check right away to see how you were, and this time when you breathed through your contraction on the phone with me (less than 15 minutes from our first phone call) it sounded much more deep and you were even moaning a little with it. I knew it was go time and started rushing hardcore to try and get my boys ready so I could be by your side! 
    (Bridget's POV) I was sleeping at my friends house down the street from your house when my phone rang and I saw it was Jessica's name on caller ID. My heart raced and I just knew that it meant today was the day! After hearing how your contractions were seeming more like the real deal I got up fast, headed to my car and made sure everything was ready. I text you to let you know I was on her way, and arrived within ten minutes to your house. It was 10:40am when I got to your apartment and you looked radiant! 
    Daniel and Leeland were there and the energy was great and birthy! We started timing your contractions because you hadn't done so yet. After a few strong contractions we discovered they were 5 minutes apart, lasting 20-30 seconds, and you thought about a 6 to7 pain level scale. Pretty good for walking around all morning with Leeland and making breakfast  for the family! After your friends came over to watch Leeland we called the midwife, and she said you could go in when you felt like it. The thought of getting the tub set up and sitting in the water sounded great to you, so we got ready to head out (after a brief visit from your in-laws). It was rainy and cold out, but we didn't really notice too much. Since you had such a nice rhythm going so well at home (swaying back and forth during contractions and squatting in between them) , we knew the car ride would be uncomfortable. I rode with you and Daniel for the ten minute car ride to Women's Hospital. You did your best to get into a place that was okay for the FOUR contractions you had in the car. I remember Daniel slowing down for a yellow light and you wanting him to make it so badly. Finally after what seemed like forever, we arrived at the hospital where Jessica was there waiting for us. Finally the happy birth team was together and excited for what was to come in the day! 

    (Back to Jessica's POV) After rushing back from dropping my boys off at Dusti's house, who was surprised by my showing up at her door, I was going to meet at your house, but things were progressing at what seemed like a little bit faster then we thought, so it was time to meet you at the hospital! I only arrived at the hospital about 5 minutes before you all. I was carrying the big water tub and all the supplies that go with it, lugging that around the hospital is no fun! Daniel pulled up right to the front of the admissions it was about (about 11:55am now), and I immediately rushed to your side. Its like I felt incomplete and freaking out until I was by your side. I needed to be with you, I think because I felt so invested in the whole thing and was missing out on the whole first part by driving my kids across town. Anyways I rushed to your side to help you out of the car. I could tell you were a little in panic mode, much different than when you were established with labor in your home. You seemed to start freaking out a little only because sitting in the car during intense contractions is SO HARD. But you breathed and calmed down and walked to the front desk to start paperwork while laboring. 
   I was rubbing your back a little bit while you finished that all up, you got back to swaying and doing this crazy hip pop thing after each contraction while leaning on the front desk. We were just all chatting and trying to help you through. Then came the hard part for us, they took you back for check-in with Daniel, while Bridget and I just waited in the waiting room for yall. It took them close to 30 minutes to get you into the hospital gown and check your cervix and vitals. You said it was because they were working around your laboring. You just did not want to sit down!!! After they finished up we saw them whisking you down the hall in a wheelchair (looking back, it was a good thing they were booking it!) we jogged after you with all the birth stuff and started setting up the birth tub and all the stuff in the room. Right now its about 12:35 and you were doing some nice hard work! Nurses were trying to get in there and listen to the baby, asking tons of questions and you were leaning over the bed in the room just swaying and deep breathing. Doing your thing! It was awesome seeing you work hard and labor in such an intense way.They said you were about 5 to 6 centimeters dilated when they checked you about 10 minutes ago (if that). But your labor was swiftly progressing.
   I started noticing you were sweating so hard, you started shaking with the contractions and couldn't even sway with them as much. I could tell you were going to need the birth tub soon because it looked like maybe this was going to be some intense laboring. I SHOULD have seen that this was transition! 
   You would look up in between a hard contraction and look right at me and Bridget, the look in your eyes said so much. You were doing this, it was HARD, and you were not sure how much more of this you could take. I held your hand, put cool rags on your head, and Bridget was working hard on encouraging you all while we were trying, with Daniels help, to get the birth tub set up (it was a failed mission).  
  Here comes the CRAZY PART! It was 12:47 or so, only about 10 minutes from getting into the room. I was beside you, Bridget in front, and a nurse on the other side of you. All the sudden you said I'M PUSHING, he is coming out, I can feel his head down there!!! I do not think any of us believed you at first but your body language was saying otherwise. Tail tucked under and you seemed to involuntary be pushing a baby out on your own! The nurse agreed and from there it was CHAOTIC! The midwife came running down the hall with the team of nurses. I rushed for the camera. Daniel came to hold your hand. You crawled up onto the bed on all fours and within two minutes your baby boy's head was out. His little hand was born right next to his head, a nuchal hand, I think it was the left side. And then his whole body just sprang out. Everyone was shocked and overjoyed! You were a little stunned. We were trying to figure out how to pass you the baby since he had a pretty short cord. You just flipped around and grabbed him up! Seriously it was amazing and I loved witnessing this rock your socks kinda hospital birth!
   You went from 5/6 centimeters dilated to 10 within 20 minutes! 
   Your body started pushing Hayden out ALL on its own! 
   You didn't give up, and you seriously amazed us all!
Hayden was beautiful and so plump and pink right at birth! Such a beautiful story, strong mama, and cute baby boy.    


Sunday, February 26, 2012

Chicken No-nos

Welcome to the "I'm a Natural Parent - BUT..." Carnival
This post was written for inclusion in the carnival hosted by The Artful Mama and Natural Parents Network. During this carnival our participants have focused on the many different forms and shapes Natural Parenting can take in our community.
    So I am doing this post for something called a "blog carnival". Its basically a network of like-minded bloggers and blog topics that link to each other. The topic for this one I thought was perfect for me. It is called  "I'm a Natural Parent BUT..." Yes, I really do a lot I can to live and parent naturally but not everything I do would be considered "crunchy". There are definitely some Natural Parent no-nos that we still do.
The famous Mcdonalds chicken nuggets

   SO here it is. I am a Natural Parent BUT.... my son basically lives off chicken nuggets and nitrate laden meats (bologna and hot dogs) . We started him too young on fast food and cheap meats, before I ever really got into healthy eating and healthy natural living. So he just LOVES him some chicken nuggets. He especially loves the (dun dun dun) McDonalds kind.
   And OH boy do I have super mommy guilt over it! I KNOW how nasty those things are. How unhealthy. Salt-ridden and greasy not to mention the ridiculous amount of ingredients including non-food chemicals! Here is a breakdown of some of the ingredients of these "all white-meat chicken nuggets":    so I can't act like I do not know how yucky they are for him. I want to change his habits, but haven't done so fully yet. Well, here you are. My shameful Natural Parenting admission. I feed my older son like crap sometimes. And I really really want to change that.


I'm a Natural Parent — But … Blog CarnivalThis carnival was created by The Artful Mama and Natural Parents Network. We recognize that "natural parenting" means different things to different families, and we are dedicated to providing a safe place for all families, regardless of where they are in their parenting journeys.

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

"Motherhood is a gift of God" The story of my Grandma's first birth in 1959

      I was 25 years old in 1959 when our first baby was born.  I was working in the Accounts Receivable Department in Bedford, Ohio at the time.  We had been married for 1 l/2 years.  I got pregnant in April of 1958.  I announced at work I was pregnant and my supervisor told me I had to quit work at 4 months when I started showing. That was the rule then!  My friends gave me a baby shower in the Bedford Metro Park.  I received a baby stroller.
My Mom and Dad knew I had to quit work so they ask me to go with them on a trip out west and help them with the driving.  I had a good friend, Ann, who had come to the U.S earlier the previous year from Scotland and I ask her to come with us.  I was showing, having been about 5 months along then.  I felt the baby move when we were sitting down for breakfast in ___________.  I wrote postcards almost every day back to my husband and told him that day I felt the baby move.  (I still have those postcards!). 
On January 30, 1959 was just like every other day, except sometime early afternoon I felt some little twitches and I knew it was getting close to my delivery date.  I called the doctor, Dr. Glove, and he told me to time the labor and come to the hospital after 5 minutes between the labor pains.  I made hamburgers and we had dinner about 5:30 p.m.  Then the labor started again and I timed them.  We probably left for the hospital around 7:00 p.m. going to St. Luke’s Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio.  When I arrived at the hospital, I was taken to a room.  I undressed and lay in a bed in a room with a couple more women, who were also soon to deliver.  My husband was able to visit with me in this room before I was taken to the delivery room.  I remember throwing my dinner up, he said part of it went on him.  He was told to wait in the waiting room and they would call him!   When I was dilated enough, I was taken to the delivery room and given an epidural or spinal anesthesia or saddle block to block the pain.  I remember not being able to feel anything below my waist.  The baby had to be delivered with forceps.  His head was somewhat  misshapen.  He was a beautiful baby with lots of red hair.  I was taken to a private room and Dr. Glove called for my husband to see the baby before he was taken to the nursery.  They later brought the baby to me and I tried to nurse him but I couldn’t.  He was put on a bottle with powdered Similac.  I was in the hospital for 6 days.  The baby was brought to me probably every 3-4 hours so I could feed him.  I didn’t even have him overnight!  The nurses put little beaded bracelets on his arm for identification.  I kept that bracelet for 40 years and recently gave it to our son.  I had a footprint on a document, which is still done today I believe.
We brought our baby home to our little one bedroom apartment where I lovingly  took care of him, giving him a bath on a little table we had set up in the front room covered by blankets, we took him on outings to see the grand-parents where he met great-grandparents, aunts and uncles and one cousin.  We went to the park.  I so enjoyed being a mother.  Two years later we were blessed with our second son, then our daughter and then another son.  Motherhood is a gift of God.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Shameful Admissions #5

Oh, man, this is a real shameful one...   I am ashamed because, well, I took money out of Lincoln's piggy bank so we could go out for lunch the other day. The worst part is he was watching me do it, and asking me why I was taking his money!!! *hanging head in shame* yes, I know it sounds like such a crap-tastic thing to do. Im putting the money back don't worry.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Old School Birth Stories

    I have been thinking about doing this for a while. I want to get some old school birth stories from my family and my husbands family. I want to hear all about birth from their point of view (the good, the bad, the ugly) and share it with all those who are interested. My last birth blog post was the most popular by far, and I think people would be interested in hearing how things used to be, I know I AM! So, if I can get them, I would love love love to share some stories from grandmothers and great-grandmothers on how birthing used to be back in the day.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Yes, Birth does matter!

How we give birth matters!
What our babies experience shapes who they are. 
What a mother experiences at the very transition 
from maiden to mother changes her. 
Gentle, natural birth unlocks something primal 
at our very core that makes mothering easier [and] 
makes families stronger... If parents would only realize
that every single decision they make from conception onward influences
the outcome of their birth, they could reclaim what they didn't even know was lost.
  -Kim Wildner, Mother's Intention

     This saying brings tears to my eyes. It is at the core of my beliefs about birth. My very passion. I am so happy to be finally working with pregnant women and to be helping them shape their lives and the lives of future generations.To help women understand that birth really does matter. It is such an important concept, so basic, yet so many women do nothing to make sure their birth is an event that is positive and uplifting. To reclaim your birth means to do your research, make decisions based off all the information you can find and to take charge of your experience by choosing the right people to surround you during the birth. For every woman your best birth is unique to you and what is right based off your situation. But if you never take the time to research, learn and surround yourself with a community that utterly believes in birth and its wonderfullness then you truly are missing out. Here are some amazing women who took that time to claim their birth as their own. Wonderful moments caught on film that will forever impact these women and the children that they birthed!

Sarah and her first homebirthed baby Charlotte
Sarah's third baby Milo was born into her arms in their home
surrounded by family and friends. Just beautiful.

Jade labored in the water with her husband and doulas support
, here she is doing skin to skin with daughter Zoey

After 44 hours of labor, Deb finally births her baby boy Trey

Debra, a first time mom, chose to birth her baby at home!      

Beautiful Dusti and her baby Finn born
into her husband arms

New baby Finn meeting big brother

Haley and inspiring little family at

My friend and and apprentice midwife vbac mama Tiffany

Asher in my arms, taking his first breath
Meagan and her VBAC baby Delaney
here is a video compilation of the gorgeous pics from her birth

Katie with her water baby Lorelei

Here you can find some research from some online articles:
        ~ "The birth experience itself is influential: very detailed birth memories can be retrieved, and the more traumatic the birth experience, the higher the correlation with physiological and psychological problems, including serious disorders such as schizophrenia and psychosis. Again, the mother's attitude has been demonstrated to be the most important factor in determining the character of the birth. The vital factors in predicting the ease and speed of labor are the mother's attitudes toward motherhood, her relations to her own mother, and the presence of habitual worries, fears, and anxieties going beyond normal apprehension."

       ~ Babies Remember Pain- how they can remember feeling pain after being birthed if it is not in a gentle way, among other things that might cause them pain after birth.
      ~Elective cesareans with no trial of labor can effect the babies respiratory system

     ~ " Unborn children remember the experience of gestation and birth and these memories become the foundation for feelings and behaviors throughout life" (very interesting read, love the "assisted" cesarean to mimick being born from the vagina)

    ~Tips for having a safer and more satisfying cesarean for when that is the best option for you and baby 

     ~The best time to start preparing for your birth is NOW. Where can you start researching and learning? Well here are just a few nice places to start:

One of the most important things to understand is that this event will literally engrave itself into your memory for your entire life. My grandmother can tell me details of when my uncle was born. Your birth will impact your life significantly, whether it is in a good way or not so favorable way.

So the next time you hear someone say, "Oh, you got a healthy baby, that is all that matters". Help them understand why that is absolutely NOT all that matters. These women, and their birth experience matters, too! And I think they would tend to agree with you.

*thanks to all these wonderful ladies for sharing their photos. Truly inspiring, really.