Friday, November 1, 2013

Interested in Homebirth? Here are some important questions to ask.

Home birth is on the rise in the United States, according to these stats from the CDC's NCHS Data Brief published in January 2012. This is great news! While home birth is not for everyone, for those that are interested there are specific questions that need to be asked while interviewing midwives for home delivery. I have found some great compilations online addressing the questions for home birth midwives, but have not found one that I think asks everything important to me. So, for those interested, here are what I would ask!

The safety questions
1. What kind of education and/or training have you done to become a midwife?
2. What is your transfer rate? What are reasons you would choose to transfer to hospital? Will you stay with mother if transfer is necessary?
3. Tell me about your experience, and births attended. I would specifically want to know about certain situations that arise and how they handle it. (examples: long pushing phase, surprise breech baby, posterior baby, nuchal hand, meconium, malpositioned baby, non-reassuring heart tones, stillborn, etc)
4. What emergency equipment do you carry, and can you describe situations these might need to be used in?
5.  Talk to me about your client load, and area of service.
6. How do you feel about pre-term or post-term dates? What do you consider a safe time period? What would you suggest should this situation arise? 
7. Who is your backup, what are her credentials, and how far is she? Do you have a doctor back-up?
8. What neonatal resuscitation trainings have you attended? How long ago?

Birth philosophy questions
1. Why did you become a midwife?
2. What is your personal stance on birth in general (your philosophy)? 
3. Talk to me about the legality of home birth in this state, and how you feel about it.

The other important questions
1. How many times will we meet during my pregnancy?
2. How will my partner get involved?
3. Do you welcome a doula?
4. How do you feel about the procedures/tests I do or do not want done during my pregnancy?
5. What are my pain relief options at home? What about comfort measures?
6. What are your fees? What does that include? 

Honestly, I have found the really good midwives end up answering all your questions before you even get to them. I think it is important to come prepared, and sometimes ask the hard questions to make sure you feel comfortable and assured. I know there are tons of other questions to ask.
What are some questions you might add to this list?

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Baby Marsden is 6 months old!

I am late to the game with this post! Marsden is about 6.5 months and is just doing so well! I swear he has some new skill every week. I am just amazed at his beautiful soul. His smile. His laugh. He is just pure joy! I love watching him discover. Seeing him stare and giggle at his big brothers. He is pulling up to stand on everything! He is getting so strong, trying to reach and step for things juuuust out of reach. He has already had so many tumbles! I love wearing him on my back in the MeiTai right now. He is very patient when I throw him on my back, and loves being able to see everything all around us. We have not done any solids yet but he is so interested! I'm thinking it will happen within a month or two here. I am in no rush to start solids, and he is already getting so super chunky and round without them! Marsden is a nursing machine. He loves his paci at night and sleeps very very well through the night. He eats paper all the time, and I have to constantly follow after him crawling around eating dirty things off my floors!
Get ready for an insane amount of videos and pictures.  I love documenting how he grows and changes.
One Month! 

Two Months! 

Three Months!
Four Months!

Five Months!

Six Months!

and some videos I have taken over the past few months! :)





Happy 6 months Marsden! Love all that you bring to our family!
 (ps mommy says please slow down!)

Friday, September 13, 2013

The Home Water Birth of Baby Desmond ~ A Doula's Perspective

     It was around 8:30 am, I had just been up with my sick toddler all night, but the rest of the family was up and ready to go! First instinct, COFFEE! I start heading to the kitchen to attempt such a task and I heard it. THE phone call. The one I have been waiting for, the one for which I had been on call for the past two weeks or so. I always get this incredible feeling deep inside me when I know it is time. It feels like a roller coaster, lovely fun butterflies flutter around in my tummy. I rush outside and call the number back immediately. It is Phil, the super-husband calling to tell me what I knew already, it was time! Quickly, I hang up and promptly call up babysitter to see how fast she can come to my house. After all the phone calls were finished it was time to hurry up and get ready. Doula bag was already packed, and had been for some time. In my bag you will find extra snacks, gum, change of clothes, rice pad, a rebozo and some oils, just to name a few things.

    I just threw on some new clothes, brushed hair and teeth, changed baby and packed his backup things. The exciting thing about getting ready for this birth was that my 4 month old baby would be attending with me! I brought a few carriers so that I could wear him on my back while supporting the mama-to-be/my amazing friend, Tammy.
    After I finished getting ready the babysitter arrived around 9:30 am. I was super rushing at this point, anxious because Tammy had fast labors previously and I wanted to get there to help support her as her Midwife had not yet arrived. I tripped up my stairs in haste to say goodbye to my boys one last time. Left a nice goose-egg and bruise to remember it by. ;)
   Once in the car I did my usual deep breathing and relaxing that I like to do before heading into a birth. I do not want to have an over excited presence with a laboring mama who is usually trying to focus hard. I stopped real quick to get some caffeination and a snack. Played some fun music and drove exceedingly fast to get to her house.
   Pulling up to her house, decided not to park in driveway as I was the first to get there. Brought in baby and took a video of when I walked into the house. This is what I saw:

   Tammy was already laboring beautifully, her two girls were very excited, and her husband was running around like crazy doing EVERYTHING he could to get ready. He had three pots of water boiling, and the tub set up, and half way filled with water already! I was incredibly impressed!
As soon as I settled in Phil and the girls hopped in their van and ran over to Tammy's Mum's house to fetch her. She was going to help watch the girls and support Tammy. It was nice and quiet with just Tammy and me in the house. She has some very strong contractions. I sit quietly next to her during it and whisper encouraging words to her. I add another big pot of boiling water to the tub and do a little pressing on Tammy's lower back, but am not sure she was wanting the hands on since she had told me previously that she prefers to labor on her own.
   The next couple hours were beautiful and magical. It is always so amazing to watch a woman persevere through labor. I feel blessed to watch her loved ones interact with her as she moans, sighs, and yells a little bit through the intensity. Her girls are curious. They ask questions, feel the water, they want to help! Her sister sent her an encouraging video, which Phil played while she was in the tub. The Midwife and her assistant are also very encouraging. They take fetal heart tones, record notes, and assure Tammy that all is OK and normal. Phil brought her drinks, put cool rags on her head, and sang songs to her. Watching them together made me teary eyed a few times, you could feel how much he loved her and wanted to help her!
   It feels like a party. A beautiful, peaceful get together in which we are witnessing something miraculous happen! 

   Tammy's contractions get stronger and the tone is more serious. She cant wait to hold her new baby and for the pushing to begin. I continue snapping pics left and right. She looks amazingly beautiful in the water with so much love all around her. I tell her so...and Phil agrees.

 We all encourage her to keep drinking and try to eat something for some energy.At home births you rarely have cervical checks like they do so routinely in the hospital, but Tammy wanted some reassurance, so around 12:45 she asked Midwife to check her. She was about 8 cm, and baby was still a little high up in her pelvis.  I know the water feels like bliss and she does not want to get out. Eventually though the Midwife says what I was thinking... that she should get out for a bit so she can use the bathroom and also so the change of pressure could bring baby down a bit. Tammy slow danced with Phil a little bit after getting out of the tub. He held her tight as she worked through a few strong contractions, encouraging baby Des to move down.

   Then we all followed her into her room down the hall where she laid on her side, and we could all visibly see the contractions get stronger and a little bit longer it seemed. I took Marsden off my back and laid him in the crib next to Tammy. There was an adorable moment where he seemed to be mimicking her sounds, he was just babbling away! I smiled so big!

 Then there was this moment.

   It was in this moment that things changed. This moment is what birth workers just know to listen for, it is when her sounds change. Her roars and moans changed to where she added this liiiiiiitle grunt at the end! OOOOh, I smiled so big when I heard that and looked over at the Midwife, she was also smiling and encouraged Tammy, "That's right! Good job!" Pushing time was near now! I gently reminded her of her desire to give birth in water, and asked if she still wanted that. Tammy said yes, she got through another few strong grunty contractions and we quickly (and I mean she moved very quickly for having a baby so close to being born) back into the other room where the birth tub was set up!
   Super strong contractions are happening frequently now with loud vocals and a little pushing. Phil got his swim trunks on in case he needed to jump in to catch baby.

  Tammy called our for her Mum at this point. She became her rock as Tammy worked so hard to push her baby out into the world. This doula had tears again watching them.

   And then I hear that baby is crowning, and I make sure to have video ready to capture the moments of his arrival. Tammy is working so incredibly hard, but she is doing it, and I am so so very proud!

   Desmond Allen, 7 lbs 13 oz and 20" long, born on August 20th at 1:57 pm into Tammy's loving arms. Her husband helped catch and unravel the baby, her daughters and mother watched on, and everyone felt so ecstatic when she finally held him in her arms.
   And then, after the placenta was delivered, cord was cut and Tammy moved back into her own bed, something else amazing happened.... life went on. Everything seemed so normal, just now there was another little life added to the mix. Two daughters and now a son. Perfect, simple and incredibly beautiful. This is homebirth! I just got to witness a family of four become five. I took my pics, I said some encouraging words, I brought her snacks and drinks, helped talk with her daughters and assure her husband, and then I went home and left them to get acquainted their new beautiful addition.  

I will leave you with this video pics/video slideshow I put together for Tammy and her family. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The funny thing about having a blog is....

The funny thing about having a blog is.... that if I post something it is here forever, and well, everyone can see what I do, and when I mess up then it feels extra embarrassing.

For instance, I wrote an angry passionate blog post about our horrible orientation for kindergarten and fervently declared that Lincoln would not be attending there. Six months and many discussions later, and today he attended kindergarten for the first time. I would take it back, but also I know we live and learn in life. 

Another example is a few years ago I wrote a post all about my hatred for becoming a mini-van mom, and now I am practically begging to get one! HA! 

I am learning to laugh at myself and just get through life each obstacle at a time!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

My Crunchy Mama Essentials *Household Cleaning Must-Haves*

My plan was to write one post on all the Crunchy Mama or Natural Living essentials, but then I realized there are many different topics in that one list (things like cleaning, healing, birthing, hair/skin care, and everyday essentials). So today I am going to start with my basic go-to cleaning must-haves. 

1. Baking Soda 

    ~What do I use it for? 
  • I love to use Baking Soda, with some Lavender Essential Oil blended in, and sprinkle it on my carpets and fabric furniture. I let it sit for an hour then vacuum. It helps to lift and remove any lingering odors.
  •  I also use Baking Soda mixed with regular vinegar to clean and clear the drains in my bathroom sink and tub (it is a mini science lesson for Lincoln because they bubble up when combined). 
  • Baking Soda can be sprinkled anywhere to help absorb odors. I like to sprinkle some in the bottom of my dirty diaper bag/wet bag, and also in the bottom of the trash can. 
  • Keeping your baking soda in the fridge helps it stay useful for longer and also helps diminish any lingering odors from your fridge

2. Vinegar

     ~What do I use it for? 
  • Vinegar is a natural disinfectant! I have read that it kills salmonella and e.coli. 
  •  I use it to clean counter tops, tables, bathroom sink and and hardwood floor spills.The vinegar smell goes away after it dries.
  •  I use it to clean windows, I find if you wipe it thoroughly dry then it does not leaves streaks. 
  • If the smell bothers you, then you can add lemon or orange to a spray bottle with vinegar and it will help boost the cleaning power as well as the scent. 

3. Essential Oils

    ~Which ones do I use and what do I use them for? 
  • My go-to essential oil I use for cleaning is Tea Tree Oil (TTO). I literally use this stuff like crazy! It has antibacterial, antifungal and antiseptic properties. 
  • I use TTO on my dogs to repel ticks and fleas. You can use in in a slightly diluted spray solution and spray in on them after baths. 
  • A few drops of TTO in my rinse cycle when doing laundry helps to better clean my diapers and clothes if they are heavily soiled. 
  • Spraying down the shower with some TTO spray will help prevent mold and mildew, also you can use a few drops on a q-tip to reach those crevices and corners that so love to collect buildup. 
  • Lemon Oil is also a very lovely essential oil to add to your collection to help scent and clean surfaces. 

4. Borax

    What do I use it for? 
  • Borax is a mineral compound that has many uses. It is naturally derived BUT can be abrasive and dangerous to ingest, so use with caution. 
  • I add a few dashes of borax to my laundry detergent to boost its cleaning power. 
  • Borax is used in a homemade laundry detergent recipe I used to make. 
  • I make a borax, sugar and hot water solution that kills and keeps away ants (once they take it back to their home). Once the borax and sugar are dissolved in the hot water I put a few drops on a cotton swab, place in a bottle top or flat container and keep out of reach of children and animals! Thanks to my friend Tammy for the idea on this. It works great for our house. 
  • Can also be used in a vinegar cleaning solution to clean surfaces. I would clean my bathroom and other areas that will not be eaten off of, because I like to be extra cautious with using Borax. 

5. Castile Soap

    What do I use it for? 
  • Oh the lovely cleaning powers of Castile Soap! You can buy it in two forms, liquid or bar. Dr. Bronners is the most popular brand and comes in peppermint, lavender, tea tree, unscented and many other varieties. ( I will keep this post to household uses only, but castile soap is great for many body uses as well!)  
  • I make a cleaning solution for mopping the floors, using the liquid soap diluted in some warm water. 
  • When I made my own laundry detergent I used the bar soap and would grate it with a cheese grater to use with Borax, etc and really liked how cheap and easy it was to do. I used the recipe from the 19 kids and counting website. 
  • Castile soap chunks make a great baby wipe solution as well. Just dilute in water in squirt on the wipe for an easy to-go baby butt cleaning. 

Friday, July 26, 2013

Interview with my boys 2013

I had a blast asking my older two boys some deep questions about themselves today, and I just LOVED their answers. It is so cool to hear things from the perspective of a 5 year old and a 2 year old. I would love to ask them these things every year to see how the answers change. Enjoy some hilarious and heart-warming answers from my little dudes. I wrote everything down word-for-word and did not change a thing. 
Lincoln Pace age 5 years 3 months 

  • What is the meaning of life?
    • That is to be alive forever, to stay alive forever, to be the most good guy forever
  • What do you want to be when you grow up?
    • A hero!
  • What brings you the most happiness?
    • Asher. He makes me happy, and he is pretty funny. He makes jokes. 
  • When do you feel the most loved?
    • When I sleep
  • What are you afraid of?
    • The dark
  • If you had one wish, what would you wish for?
    • A spiderman guy-like my age
  • What is the funniest word?
    • A joke
  • What is the hardest/easiest thing to do?
    • Hardest- to eat some foods
    • Easiest- to PLAY
  • What is the best/worst thing in the world?
    • Best- My toys
    • Worst-Bad things that make me say AHHHHH
  • What makes you mad?
    • My friends when they make me upset and angry
  • What is the meaning of love?
    • I love YOU mommy, because my strength told me 
  • If you had all the money in the world, what would you do with it?
    • Keep it in my piggy bank and sell it to people so they can give me their cars. 

Asher Pace*  age 2 years 7 months

  • What is the meaning of life?
    • Ah, Lincoln
  • What do you want to be when you grow up?
    • Ah, a he-yo (a hero), Babeen (Batman) 
  • What brings you the most happiness?
    • Ah, Babeen. Little babeen. (batman, little batman)
  • When do you feel the most loved?
    • Ah, yeah. YOU. 
  • What are you afraid of?
    • Ah, gark. (dark). Chyea- gark. 
  • If you had one wish, what would you wish for?
    • Ah, cake. 
  • What is the funniest word?
    • Ah, you. 
  • What is the hardest/easiest thing to do?
    • Hardest- ah, me. My strong arms. 
    • Easiest- Playground
  • What is the best/worst thing in the world?
    • Best- Ah, bebe Marsden, No, not bebe Marsden. Ah, me! 
    • Worst- Ah, ugh. When daddy goin at da work.  
  • What makes you mad?
    • Lincoln, taking my toys
  • What is the meaning of love?
    • I love his Lincoln self
  • If you had all the money in the world, what would you do with it?
    • Ah, big money. Put in bank with daddy. 
*Ash asked me for mama milk in between each question. I, of course, said "not right now baby" but it was funny that he kept asking me questions too.