At the end of pregnancy: What I learn by waiting

When you are at the end of your pregnancy, you can only think of one thing. Done. Get this baby out of here.

At least if you’re me. I looked at my bed tonight as I was getting ready to get in it and gave it a big thumbs down. I had no desire to get into bed as I knew an uncomfortable slept awaited me. It’s hard to get around, you feel generally uncomfortable, and if you have other kids like me, you may find yourself a little bit short with them and maybe even your husband.

But here’s the awesome thing about waiting. When you wait, you have to fully lean i‏n on God to support you during the time when you want things to go. He can teach you that waiting is just another way to trust in him. We don’t know why we have to wait on good thing sometimes. Sometimes we have to wait because we don’t know what would happen if things happened when we wanted. It’s the old adage, if I left 5 minutes earlier I could have gotten into a car accident. We don’t know what God could be protecting us or our babies from. But sometimes waiting is just a great way to learn to lean on God and his timing and understanding and not our own.

This is been my experience this pregnancy at the end. I’m 39 weeks and 4 days and while I am not at my due date yet, I am surprised that I have not gone into labor. My last two babies had already come by now. My first two were well past their due dates, but I thought things would be quicker and quicker and quicker. Now I may go into labor tomorrow, yes please, but if I don’t I will continue to wait knowing that God has me and my baby in his hands. What a blessing to know that I have a God I can trust.

Ten Ways to Screw Up a Perfectly Good Birth

How to screw up a perfectly good birth

When you love a good birth as much as I do you are always asking people to tell you their birth stories. I have heard tons first hand, read many more online and personally be present at almost a dozen. I don’t pretend to have all the answers or believe there are not exceptions to the rules, but for the most part when someone tells me their birth story and, let just say, it happened to be different, harder, scarier, sadder, etc. than expected, I can also always pick up on a few reasons way.

Of course, I keep these things to myself to not seem insensitive to their feelings, as I have been down the same roads as many of them myself, but I always keep a mental note pad of things to teach my students to avoid.

So here are my top ten procedures, beliefs, or actions that can possible take your birth from that magical experience everyone in the natural birth community is always talking about to just another one of those stories we all learn something from.

1. Don’t wait for baby to come on her own

One of my number one rules to tell anyone preparing to give birth, whether they decide to go all natural or just want to have a simple good birth with or without pain meds, is to not get induced unless SERIOUSLY MEDICALLY NECESSARY. This means you or your baby are in danger unless baby is born soon.

Remember, due dates are just an estimate to track babies growth for general milestones in utero. It was never meant to be a due date like that on your electric bill. Let your baby come when she is ready. She will come!

I was 10 days past my due date with my first baby. I knew he would come. He did come. He was perfectly ready on that day. Not the day before or the week before. It took patience and trust. Doing this one thing will increase your odds of a normal vaginal delivery significantly.

2. Artificially break your waters

This is one of those things that happen, especially at the hospital, almost as a matter of routine, now a days. You are in labor on your own and as if you just can’t do it without some intervention, a doctor or nurse, and sometimes even a midwife will come in with her long crochet hook (not the official name) and pop that bag of water to “speed things up”.

While breaking the waters (amniotic fluid) can be used to progress things when at a stale mate, why rush it? Your body or baby did not naturally break the waters so it must not be time for that to happen. Allow your body and baby to time that event.

Read more about the risk of an Amnitomy here.

Use the breaking of the waters as a last resort before a transfer or C-section, not as a routine procedure to use after a stall in labor. I have personally experienced my waters being broken artificially and very early, which lead to my baby’s heartbeat showing signs of subtle distress ultimately leading to a C-section. Again, this is where you just need to let nature take its course.

3. Push before your ready

This one is a real kicker. Here you are, having a perfectly good birth. You have labored all the way to fully dilated and you are ready to push, right? Maybe… but maybe not! You just don’t feel that urge, or pressure, or maybe you do a little but it is not overwhelmingly taking over your body. The nurse starts counting to 10 and telling you to hold your breath and bear down. While so many things are wrong with this picture, let’s stick to the pushing before the urge part.

First, understand that fully dilated and ready to push are two separate events. One comes when contractions have completed the process of opening the cervix to its full potential. The other comes when baby is engaged into the pelvis in such a way as to cause the “fetal expulsion reflex“. It your baby is not engaged, she may not be engaged for a reason. Pushing as hard as you can will not help to do much more than tire yourself out if her head is not properly aligned, which sometime can just take a few minutes of waiting.

So do that… wait. Wait until you it feels right. You will save yourself potentially hours of pushing and, well um, hemorrhoids. Nuff said!

4. Have an unsupportive provider

I once read a doulas perspective on why she would not accept clients who were under the care of certain providers. She boils it down to not wanting to climb an uphill battle through the entire birth only to be defeated in the end. Now, while not all doulas have this policy, I understand her points.

You say you want to a natural, intervention free, good birth, do you? Then why choose just any old provider. And not just any old provider, a provider that you have to fight with at every turn. Who doesn’t trust you, your body or birth for that matter. Who talks a big talk one minute and is back peddling the next. You know who I am talking about. It just doesn’t feel right. You are constantly second guessing your decisions when at appointments. You leave knowing that you will not use this provider for your second birth. But, because you have already paid, invested your time, feel trapped, etc. you just stick it out for this birth. Personally, very familiar again!

Know that you can change providers at any time. It is never too late until you are delivering with someone who is undermining your birth plans. Take this doulas advice and switch providers now, if you are really serious about doing it natural or even without lots of unnecessary interventions. Call your provider and talk to them about a partial refund. See if you can find another provider that will accept you now and maybe work out a special rate plan for your situation. Tell the truth, too. Don’t make up excuses for him. Say it straight.

If I was at a nice restaurant and ordered something I did not like, you better believe I’m sending that sucker back. Do the same thing with your provider if needed.

5. Don’t be informed

I know this one pretty well, too. I hired a midwife. Check. I watched a “Business of Being Born“. Check. I read “Baby Catcher“. Check. Now all I need to do is have a good birth. Wait… is that it?

Okay, I will concede that birth is a natural process and does not need to be taught and will happen whether you are ready or not. But since we don’t spend our growing up years seeing babies be born, or even ever attending a birth before we have our own baby, there is not a lot of passed down knowledge happening here. Plus, throw it a provider that is managing your labor like it is a sporting event and your lack of knowledge might come back to bit you in the butt.

So what do you need to know? More than I can talk about in this post, but not so much that you cannot learn it with a little work. Start first thing by dropping any pride about what you think you know about good birth and humble yourself to seek information and advice from others. This may be a few good books about childbirth by people who are passionate about good birth and the truth or seeking out stories from women who have done this before (the way you want to).

Next, seriously consider joining an organized childbirth class. Most are set up to give you a good foundation for your birth and help you become an informed patient/client rather than one just doing what you are told. Plus they are really fun, too!

6. Believe that you can’t have a good birth

Here is one that you may or may not even know is happening to you. You say you are going to do it natural and you talk a big talk, but deep down inside, or maybe even lurking on the surface, you know you will probably cave and get that epidural in the end.

You go into the hospital knowing that is it always an option. You choose a birth center with pain management options just in case. You ask your midwife about what happens if you decide you want to go to the hospital because “you just can’t handle it”. Be honest with yourself here. Do you really believe you will do this?

No doubt everyone goes into their first birth, or first natural birth with some trepidation, but that does not have to equal self-doubt. Make the choice to believe in yourself, your body and your baby. You can do this and you will. Just stop second guessing yourself. And stop reading the online stories that make you feel those feelings that you know don’t support your decision. Fill your pregnancy with positive people, positive talk, and positive attitude. This will not guarantee you will have a good birth, but it will stop you from doing yourself in with negative beliefs.

7. Invite unsupportive people into your birth room

Let’s just say that you are all into the natural birth thing and you have attending classes and even picked the right provider for you. You are set for a good birth experience. Then you decide to invite your posse including your sweet but concerned mother, your sweet and very vocal mother-in-law, and your sweet but positively pro-epidural sister to join in your special day.

Birth is going smoothly at first, but when things start to pick up you panic. This is very normal for all laboring women, no matter what birth number this is. You may flippantly say you are “done”, you “can’t do it” or you “want an epidural”. You may half mean these statements or just feel like you need to say them so others can understand how hard this is. All very natural, especially towards the end of labor during “transition”.

But the first time you say something negative, mom, mother-in-law, and sister jump all over the opportunity to “help”. Mom calls the nurse in to get the epidural started. Mother-in-law tells you “you don’t need to be a hero.” Sister states matter of fact, “I told you so”.

Be careful. This pressure can persuade you to give up on your plans. You may be strong enough to tell them to be quiet, but you may not in the throes of labor.

Choose your birth entourage carefully. Make sure those that attend your birth are behind your plans and are prepared to support you. Tell them about the possibility of you saying things you don’t mean or want. Help them understand how important this is for you. Finally, if they don’t get on board, let them wait in the waiting room.

8. Go to the hospital too soon

Here is another of my “must tell” pieces of advice to expectant parents. Don’t go to the hospital too soon. Sometimes moms-to-be are afraid they will not make it in time. Others are just too darn excited to wait at home thinking that getting to the hospital will make things happen faster or more real.

You should speak to your provider and your proximity to your facility does matter, but in most cases stay home until contractions are coming regularly, and I mean regularly, four minutes apart, lasting for a least a minute each, and this goes on for over an hour. This does not mean after two contractions that are 4 minutes apart. This would be more like 12 contractions that are 4 minutes apart.

Go then. If this is your first baby, you will still probably wait at the hospital, but here is the key. If you get to the hospital in active labor then you are far less likely to get unnecessary interventions. The nurses and doctor are more likely to take you and your labor seriously. Sad, but true.

So instead, go back to bed, go for a walk, take a shower, hire to doula to come and comfort you and help you know when is the right time to head out is (if you are not planning a homebirth), and just know that getting to your birth facility will in no way may baby come any faster or slower.

9. Fear birth and believe that birth is fraught with danger

If I had a nickel for every time I heard “if I had had a homebirth, my baby would have died” or “the doctors saved my babies life” with no real evidence to support or even evidence to support the doctors putting you in danger in the first place, I would be a rich… well I would have a few dollars.

My aunt tells the horror story about my cousin having the cord around her neck. Not a really big deal in most cases as baby is not breathing from his mouth. My mother-in-law talks about her “dry birth” experience with terror 40+ years later. But the people that had a good birth are usual not the ones sharing the stories, unfortunately. So all you really have is a collection of bad birth stories.

You go into birth with a fear list a mile long from “what happens if I poop on myself” to “what if baby is in trouble and I am at home”. You may even choose a homebirth, but these fears rest in your mind ready to undermine your good birth. And they do. Fears creep in when you are most vulnerable (labor) and kick in with a fury.

You need to deal with these fears now. First, admit you have these fears to someone else. Your partner, a supportive friend, your loving provider. Then start filling your mind with positive stories, videos, books and even consider joining a group of like-minded women, whether it be a childbirth class or a natural birth group like Austin Home Birth (even if you are delivering in a birth center or hospital). Put your mind at ease and let go of the fears that may be holding your good birth back.

10. Trust more in others than yourself

This one goes hand and hand with not being informed. I did this with my first birth, too. I hired a midwife, done. I don’t need to do another thing. She will take care of the rest. No birth class, no reading (except for the fun stuff). Really, the only thing I thought of was decorating the nursery.

You have to be responsible for your own birth. You cannot blame ignorance on anyone else but yourself. Now, I am not saying that you are in 100% control and nothing bad can happen if you are just prepared. That is foolishness to think that you have control of it all, but I don’t blame my first midwife for her intervention. I don’t really even blame myself. But I do take responsibility.

It was a real lesson that primed me for motherhood. You cannot trust other people to make the right decision for you. Sure, take what they say into consideration, but then make your own informed decision.

Gather the information. Research your choices and yes, choice a provider that you are in sync with, because there is a place where you cannot know everything and you need someone to trust, but also trust yourself, and your intuition. Give yourself credit; you know more than you think.

Bonus: Be full of yourself

So I had to add this one to the list. Don’t fall into the “elite” attitude that I see so prevalent in the natural birth world. I used to be one of those people who knew it all… well, until I gave birth, that is.

I “knew” if you had a C-section, it was your fault. I “knew” if you had a homebirth you were making the “right” decision. I told everyone I knew about why their birth went wrong or how to have a good birth. I knew it all!

I gave birth via C-section with my first child after “knowing it all”. I was humbled very quickly. I apologized to the people I judged and hurt. I learned a lot from that experience and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. (btw, that is me looking so “lovely” and heavily drugged after my C-section with my first son in the picture above).

But take a lesson from my book. Being humble now is way better than being humbled.

This list includes just some of the things that I have learned that can undermine what you truly desire for your birth. My prayer is that everyone has a good birth experience, whether home, hospital, birth center, drug-free, pain management or C-section.

The Birth Story of Aubri – Guest Post by Dani Lin

dani's birth story

It was July 5th and I was 41 weeks and 2 days pregnant. I headed to my second acupuncture session and Phyllis, the acupuncturist, said I should head out after the session and grab some Italian food to eat. I had read an old wives tale about Eggplant Parmesan stimulating labor and I love Italian food so this was fine by me. Plus my mom, Jan, suggested going out for dinner since it was going to be a while before we could do that once baby was here. Oh how right she was, though I didn’t know it at the time!

We went to Maggianos, one of my favorite Italian restaurants and saw my cousin Midge. I ordered the Eggplant Parmesan and it was delicious! While at the restaurant a lady saw me and told me I was a beautiful pregnant lady and that made me feel good because I did not feel very beautiful at that moment! We went home and I insisted on watching the movie “The Greater Good,” and afterward at about 11pm, I said I was going to bed.

In these last few weeks, I had been very careful of getting enough sleep since I didn’t know when she might arrive. I changed into my favorite nightgown. Mind you, before and after being pregnant, I hate nightgowns, but wore one during pregnancy. Then after brushing my teeth, I went to the bathroom. I finished peeing but suddenly there was another gush of water that plunged into the toilet that I knew wasn’t urine.

It was my water breaking!

I text Salli, one of the midwives, and she said, “Go to bed!” Then I went out and told Pat, my husband, and my mom. We then all went to bed immediately. We all wanted to be ready for what would lie ahead!

At about 1:30 am I woke up with a contraction. It lasted about two minutes. That’s when I remembered there was an app for timing contractions so I downloaded it. About 20 or so minutes later I had another contraction. They were definitely more intense than the Braxton hicks I had been having for weeks. I decided to practice breathing through them like I learned in my childbirth class with Natalie.

On the third one, Pat woke up and asked what I was doing. I told him I was breathing through the contraction. He said he needed to be rested so he would have the energy to help me later, so he went upstairs to the other guest room and left me to labor on my own. This was okay because when it came down to it, it really was just me and my baby, especially in those moments.

I dozed between contractions, knowing I needed all the rest I could get. At 5 am, the contractions were about 5 minutes apart, lasting 2-3 minutes and this had been going on for an hour. All this meant I was now officially in labor.

I text Salli and called the doula, Ruth. The commotion woke up Pat and my mom. It was go time! Salli said she was coming over and Ruth said she was waiting for her baby sitter and as soon as she got there, she’d be on her way. Ruth also told me my contractions shouldn’t be lasting 2-3 minutes until it was time to push so I should take a warm bath to decrease the intensity. At this point the contractions hurt but I could talk through and even during them.

I got in the warm bathtub and my contractions immediately eased to 30 seconds. Thank you Ruth!

I thought it was great and I said to myself “I got this!”

My mom thought I should eat so I would have strength so she made me a breakfast scramble, which I love. After eating it I immediately felt a little nauseous but choked down about half, knowing I needed fuel for the task at hand.

The contractions started to get more and more intense. I went to the bathroom again and I heard another gush. This time it was my mucus plug. I wanted to leave it to show Salli but accidentally flushed it down the toilet out of habit, and the fact that my brain had a few other thoughts going through it.  I got back in the tub looking for some comfort or relief from the intensity.

Salli arrived as I was giving up on the bathtub. I asked Pat to get the thumper. It’s a big heavy chiropractic tool that vibrates and looks like a sander. My cousin who’s also married to a chiropractor and had 3 natural labors said it was amazing, but I would say it was just okay.

It was difficult to talk through my contractions now. I would get down on my knees and Pat would use the thumper on my lower back. It helped but the contractions were still pretty painful. Ruth kept calling to update me on trying to get ahold of her sitter. The intensity was increasing so quickly that when she said she’d be there at 8:30, I thought “do I even need her then?” But I said “Yes, just come as soon as you can and I’ll be okay until then.”

About this time, I got very nauseous and threw up my breakfast.

Salli said “That’s a good sign” and smiled.

Mom and Pat had filled up the birth tub and Salli suggested getting in since the thumper, hip circles, and other things I was trying were not helping the very intense contractions. Salli had also suggested squatting. Before I was in labor I thought, I’d love squatting during labor. I even had looked into squatting bars and stools. While I was in labor that sounded like the most horrible and painful idea, so, obviously, I didn’t do that.

Into the birth tub I went. It was sometime between 8-8:30am at this point. The warm water felt good but barely dimmed the intensity of the contractions. Ruth arrived and immediately got out a bottle of olive oil and started massaging my arm. It felt good and my mom massaged my other arm. I started to feel hot so Pat got a hand held fan with a spray bottle. He fanned my face but I hated it, though I loved that he was trying to make me comfortable. I politely asked him to please not do that so he then ran and got a cloth with cool water to put around my neck and a cool wash cloth for my forehead and that I really did like.

The next few hours were a blur…

…of either being in the tub, standing to lean on Pat or sitting on the toilet with my feet propped up on some old high school yearbooks. Pat was so strong and during some of the most intense contractions, my legs would go completely weak and I’d put all of what felt like my enormous weight onto his shoulders. With my arms around his neck I’m sure it didn’t feel good to him, but he never complained or asked me to stop.

I would let out long low moans during contractions. Supposedly it helps relax the cervix and vaginal muscles and decrease pain. I can’t tell you if it worked or not but mentally it felt good to be doing something to help the pain.

Soon, I got very nauseous again and asked Pat to get me a bucket. I had been drinking coconut water for electrolytes. He ran over with the bucket and I managed to get most of it in but some splattered on the wall and my antique wooden scale. I didn’t care a bit. After that I switched to regular water.

I kept reminding myself that this was one day in my whole life. I also thought,

“I can’t believe people do this more than once”!

I told Pat this was it; only one baby because I did not want to do this again.

My other midwife, Heather suggested walking outside. I said okay but only because I wanted to privately ask Pat to remind me of why epidurals are so bad and say I no longer hold any judgment to the moms who choose them. He told me, “No, you don’t want that. You got this.” I answered, “I know I do, besides it’s not like we have one in the fridge. It wasn’t so bad that I don’t think I can do it, but man, it would be so easy with an epidural.”  Good thing for me is once I have a plan, I stick to it. This would be it.  I never give up.  As another contraction hit, I ran into the house. I didn’t want the neighborhood hearing me in all my glory.

Back into the tub I went. Heather, herself in the third trimester of pregnancy, napped on the couch between knitting sessions. My dog Jade came to lick my hands and check on me. She paced around the midwives as if to find out how I was. She had been quite the companion all through my pregnancy.

I was so tired. Not like, physically just did a workout tired, but like I stayed up all night, can’t escape it tired. I kept saying I wished I could push a pause button take a nap and then finish. I felt like I could really handle it well that way. Obviously that wasn’t an option. Salli told me it was the hormones. I had heard birth stories of so many women who slept between contractions then woke up and pushed then went back to sleep. I never understood how that was possible before. I get it now.

After holding out as long as I could, I asked Salli to check me. I think it was around noon. I remember her reaching and reaching. I thought how can she still be that far up after all this work? I silently prayed “please be at least 6-7cm.” Salli emerged and announced, “9 and a half.” I don’t remember if I said it out loud, but I thought, “Oh thank God!” After about 20 minutes Salli said it was time to push.

I was so excited to push!

From my research on birth and labor, I expected a few pushes and then, yay baby! Not exactly how it went. I started pushing in the tub. It felt futile. This was going nowhere. We tried the toilet with my feet up again. I was facing backwards so Pat could rub my back. I pushed so hard I poopped. Poor Pat was right there to smell it. I also felt like this wasn’t working. I could hear my mom say she must have been really good at pushing. That really annoyed me. I asked Salli to close the door so I didn’t have to listen.

Salli suggested squatting but I just couldn’t. Besides the fact that my legs turned into “jello” with every contraction, it was too painful. I said I was so tired and asked to lie down. Salli recommended getting on my hands and knees on the bed. I did, reluctantly, but it actually felt really good. Between contractions I would ease into a child’s pose to rest. After a few pushes Salli could tell this wasn’t an effective position. I wanted to stay because it felt so good.

Salli could feel babies head was tipped. She suggested lying on my left side and holding my right leg in the air. I again reluctantly agreed. I did not want to put my legs together as it just felt too painful. My mom and Ruth held my right leg in the air while Pat helped keep my left leg bent and then I pushed and pushed. It was going well until baby hit my pubis bone and got stuck.

I continued pushing and pushing but got nowhere. Salli suggested Pat adjust my hips to help baby move around my pubic bone. I knew that meant my legs would need to be very close together, but even though I did not want to get adjusted, I said okay. Pat and my mom put the adjusting table right next to the bed. As soon as a contraction ended I rolled onto the table. He adjusted my hips but wanted to check the rest of my back. I told him “no way!” and scrambled back to the bed as another contraction hit.

More pushing. Her head would come down then back up, still stuck on that bone. I’d been pushing for about 2 hours and was not getting anywhere. I glanced nervously at the midwives to try to read their expressions. Nothing! I couldn’t tell what they were thinking. I really didn’t want to go to the hospital but I wasn’t sure how long they would let me go on. I remembered reading on the Spinning Babies to prop up the pelvis at the level of the trochanter to help an acynclitic head move under the pubis so I decided to tell the midwives and they wanted to try it. We propped me up and started pushing. It worked! Little by little down she moved. She was still going back in a bit but at least we were finally making progress.

They kept telling me to push like I was pooping. I did that and pooped a little with every push. Poor Randi, the student midwife, ran out of gauze wiping it. Eventually, I got the hang of it and started pushing with all my might. When I was pushing, I was so focused I didn’t feel the pain of the contraction. I was pushing so hard and so long the midwives started telling me

“Stop pushing the contraction is over.”

Finally I got to the ring of fire when she started to crown and it hurt so badly. I wanted to just push right through but Heather reminded me to pause and allow the skin to stretch so I wouldn’t tear. The next contraction I pushed so hard she came right out! Head and shoulders! Salli looked at us and said we could pick her up. I reached down so fast! I’d visualized catching her for months and after all that hard work, I wanted to be the first to pick her up. Pat and I ended up doing it together. I put my hand under her left arm and he under her right.

As we lifted her up I checked that she indeed was a girl.

We brought her to my chest and I was just staring at her beautiful face! I announced, “She’s so cute!” I had been so curious about what she’d look like and hopeful she’d at least have some resemblance to me. And she did. We looked a lot alike as babies. She had a cute big round head though and I loved it! She nursed right away and basically all night.

Dani's Birth Story

Pat ordered pizza for everyone. Everyone was bringing things to me and I just wanted to get up and move around! I was so tired of being stuck in the bed in labor. The midwives were impressed with how easy I could move around and wanted to. I actually really felt great! They made up an herbal bath for both baby and I. She was so calm you could tell she loved it. Coincidentally, she hated all baths after that until she was 9 months old!

When everyone left and my mom and Pat went to bed, it was just her and I. I kind of felt like, “You’re just going to leave me to do this by myself?” I couldn’t stop taking pictures of her. She didn’t want to sleep but wanted to eat all night long. I don’t think I really slept until about 8:00am! The next day my eyes were swollen from pushing so hard and I felt like I went through the windshield of a car and I was so happy all our relatives lived far away and we could just be alone to look like crap and sleep! My mom helped me get rest while Pat had to head off to work.


Dani was a one of my first clients. Her and husband, Pat, own and operate Symmetry Heath Chiropractic Center in Cedar Park. She graciously agreed to also be my first birth story from previous clients to post on my site. I hope to have more stories from past clients in the future.

Is Motherhood The Goal? Reflections on pregnancy-related loss

pregnancy-related loss

In case you haven’t read anything from me before, I am a happy mother of four. I even want more and pray that the Lord’s will for me is to have more. But once upon a time I was far from this place. I was married like many, not wanting to start a family right away. I used the birth control pill for years with no though of what it could be doing to my body and conceiving a baby was far from my thoughts. For a while. Then, after discussions with my husband, we decided it was time. So, naively, I excepted I would just end up pregnant without knowing what I was doing, understanding my body and be pregnant before I could count to 3. Years later and one miscarriage to grieve, I was no closer to pregnancy.

My experience with pregnancy-related loss ran the gambit of emotions from disbelief, to anger, and finally to acceptance. Getting there was no easy task and it took a lot of soul breaking along the way. But I wouldn’t change it for the world. God knew what I needed and when I needed it. He opens and closes the womb. Bring life and even death (Psalms 139:16). It was a humbling experience.

Since then I have been blessed to see life in my home. But I have seen others that are going down the same road I traveled and want to encourage my sisters that this time, too, has a purpose.

Pregnancy-related loss can be defined as many things, but specifically I am talking today about infertility, miscarriage and stillbirth. This loss leaves a woman wounded with no physical solace for the pain; no baby to be salve for the wounds. What can we do when we are at this troubling place? Are we still mothers? Will we ever be mothers?

During my years of infertility I sought God daily for answers. I prayed for a baby. I cried for a baby. And then I cried for the baby I lost. Then I waited still. I cannot tell you that it was easy. During a particularly hard time I cried in my bath tub nightly. I wanted to be a mother so badly. So badly.

I was leading a bible study in my apartment community where my husband and I served and during these studies, where I delved deep, deep into the Word to create the study for the ladies in my community, I was moved into acceptance. Not a pitiful acceptance that sounded more like resignation, but joyful acceptance. Acceptance that Jesus was enough. And if I never had a baby, never carried a child in my womb, never had a beautiful home birth, that He was still enough.

God showed me that Motherhood does not define me; Jesus does.

There was still a regular dying to my flesh that was needed to stay joyfully in this place, but I finally found peace. Not bitterness at ever newly pregnant friend or relative. No more crying at every movie with a pregnant woman and impending birth. I was no longer just waiting for motherhood to start living.

The Lord taught me to rest in His will, seek His glory, and start being defined ONLY by Him.

I recently had a friend and client loose a baby at 41 weeks gestation. It was devastating for her and her family. It was heartbreaking for those around her, like myself, who stood with her, joyfully awaiting her child. But I have seen such a beautiful phoenix rise from the ashes of her pregnancy-related loss, her grief. Joy, yes, joy in Jesus and He who has her, her family, and her precious baby in His arms. She does not blame others. She is not bitter. While she is still hurting and will carry the memory for her precious baby she felt kicking around inside her belly for 9 month forever, she knows God is sovereign. He still deserves glory.

For “the Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away. Blessed by the name of the Lord.” (Job 1:21 ESV)

Now even after 4 health pregnancies and 4 healthy babies growing into young men and women, I reflect on how motherhood does not define me. I am not a mother, a wife, a childbirth educator, a homeschooler. I am defined by Christ. I am a Christ follower. That is who I am.

How has Jesus been shaping your walk thought infertility, miscarriage or stillbirth?

It’s A Girl!

So this is a very late announcement, but looking back over my blog I realized I made at least mentioned on my previous pregnancies. So here is goes…

My wonderful husband and I are expecting our 4th child, a girl, in May 2016.

We are so excited to be entering into the new journey of raising a girl. I have seen it done, but experience is the best teacher, so, to put if plainly, I am nervous as heck!

We are planning another homebirth with my wonderful midwives at Central Texas Birth Center, Heather Hilton and Salli Gonzalez. I am praying that this one goes as smooth as the last homebirth but without the postpartum NICU visit. I keep getting closer and closer, so this time…

Her brothers, Josiah 5, Aaron 3, and Samuel 1 are very excited to be getting a sister. When we went in for the ultrasound they (really just J & A) said they wanted a girl. Louis and I wanted one too, though a boy would have been a bit of a relief since we kind of already know that song and dance.

I went shopping last Wednesday at Salvation Army and bought 42 girls items from 0 – 12 months and spent a total of $21. You cannot beat that! I might just “have” to get a few pink cloth diapers to go with my already bountiful supply, but that is about it. We are ready.

Well, ready, but only 20 weeks, so we will have to wait. Cannot wait for the birth and cannot wait to hold her in my arms.



3 Reasons Motherhood is Hard and the things I’ve learned

As a natural birth enthusiast (that is an understatement), during my pregnancies I can be a little too focused at times on the birth and not so much on the “what happens after baby comes” part. As a mom of three this is not as big a deal as when I was a first time mom. When I was a first time mom, I was shocked at how difficult it was getting adjusted to motherhood. For me, the love part was easy. I even had a natural maternal instinct, as most women do. But I just didn’t have the experience with all the things surrounding baby land. I just wanted to share a brief list, albeit confessional, of the things that I have struggled with as a new mom (and not just on my first).

1. Sleep Training is Hard!!!


Another huge understatement! I read nothing before my first son came, but quickly devoured a few popular books after I realized that babies didn’t, in fact, sleep like a baby (at least not after the first month). They all had a great theoretical solution, but add in two sleepy parents, a mother hyped up on hormones, and apartment living, and you can get pretty overwhelmed pretty quickly.

This is not the part where I tell you the answer to all your babies sleep problems. This is the part where I tell you that you will learn, your baby will learn, and you will get sleep again! Plus, the next time you dare to have a baby, you will have a easier time at it. I have three sons that sleep and nap happily and are no worse for the wear because of my blunders in sleep training.

2. Breastfeeding can be challenging!


I actually am one of those people who never had difficulty breastfeeding initially. It never hurt, my milk was good, etc. Most women are not so fortunate and experience difficulty getting baby to latch along with serious breast pain. On top of these issue, many women don’t get the support they need and when a mom that is wondering what the heck she is doing anyway starts to get push back to “just give him a bottle” she is likely to cave and then feels like a failure.

My first two experiences breastfeeding went great. I breastfed without a second though until 12 months. I didn’t own a pump, and I never had low supply. My third experience was a bit challenging. After an initial great start, I started having low supply. Baby boy was always fussy and I was without a doubt not producing very much. I ordered a free pump through my insurance and started pumping. I was getting practically nothing when pumping. I was very depressed and frustrated. I did not want to give up but I was desperate thinking I was starving my child with my persistence. Thankfully my sister, who was also nursing at the same time had pumped over a weekend out without baby and had a supply of milk she would probably never use. She generously gave it to me and it helped buy me some time to find the problem. It turns out that my nutrition was not complete. I am a very healthy eater (for the most part) but after doing some more reading I realized that I was protein deficient. I made the necessary corrections to my diet and my milk was up to great supply in no time, flat.

This is not the part where I tell you how to fix all your breastfeeding problems. This is the part where I tell you that you will learn, your baby will learn and no one will die of starvation in the process. Plus, all the things you learn in the process will make you a smarter more prepared person, mother, and friend.

3. Raising kids is tough!


I am not going to sit in any place saying how much I have “made it” in raising respectful, obedient, honest, kind all around perfect children. My oldest is only 4 years old and in the time it took me to write this post I have been yelled at “no”, seen one hit the other, played police man and lost my cool. I am working very hard at purposefully raising strong men with hearts after the Lord, but it is a serious work in progress, as I am also still a serious work in progress. I fail. They fail. We fail together.

There are a lot of opinions on how to raise your children both good and bad. Books, blogs, friends, family, strangers. It can seem like if you don’t have it all figured out on day one then you have already lost the battle. I used to never read to my first son. Heck, I probably very rarely spoke to my first son, when he was a baby. I didn’t really grasp the concept of talking in a one way conversation. But, by the time I had two, I was talking all the time to the first, so it seemed natural to talk to the second. I started reading to them after I finally realized how important it was, but it was well into my first son’s second year. I just in the last year started reading to them from the bible, and am just now teaching them chores. I did not and am not doing it “all” now. I am learning as I go, the same as them. I make it a point to always be bettering my parenting skills from reading select books and observing other mothers and fathers that are “seeming” to be doing a good job. But then, at the end of it, I have to find me. My way that fits with my personality and my goals as a parent.

This is not the part where I tell you how to raise perfect kids. This is the part where I tell you that you will learn, your kids will learn and in the process you will get better and better. Plus, all the mistakes you and your kids make in the process will just go to show us how much in need of a savior we are.

The three biggest lessons I have learned as a mother of three in 4 years are:


1. Humility

Never judge what you yourself have not experienced. I was a perfect childbirther until I went into labor, I was a perfect mother until I had kids, and I was a perfect Christian… I have never been a perfect Christian. Plus, comparison does nobody any good. You will end of either looking down on yourself or others.

2. Everything is a lesson

My exercise instructor quoted the other day a Mexican proverb:

They wanted to bury us, but they forgot we are seeds.”

Don’t be buried by your problems. Grow from them.

3. We are all in need of a savior


Everyone needs salvation because we have all sinned. You are a sinner. Your kids, believe it or not, are sinners.

“No one is righteous—not even one. No one is truly wise; no one is seeking God. All have turned away; all have become useless. No one does good, not a single one.” … For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. (Find out more about salvation here)

Perfection cannot be the goal, because is cannot be achieved. The sooner you learn that without Christ, both ourselves and our children are doomed to failure. This is not bad new, but good news. That means we are off the hook from doing everything right all the time. That means God is the only one that can truly change us into His image. We are just the gap fillers in our kids lives until they are old enough to decide for themselves. He will give us the tools to train our children up, but He is ultimately the one to close the deal with them. So if you can only do one thing as a parent, it is to continually, lovingly point our children to Christ.

So lets go be great parents! Not because that statement actually describes our output, but because that statement describes our input.

Why I don’t teach natural childbirth anymore

childbirthNatural childbirth has failed me. Twice! I wanted it so badly too. I read all the right books, met all the right people (well, mostly), but it still failed me. Two home births planned and two home births failed. That is when I decided to give up on the whole natural childbirth movement.

Now before you think I just threw in the towel on natural childbirth and opted for an epidural for my third labor, hear me out.

It all started with my first pregnancy, well actually before my first. I watched it on Netflix. The start of my desire for a natural childbirth. You know it, we all know it: “The Business of Being Born”. Wow! This film rocked my world. A mere year before I had mocked a friend who had a home water birth and was already planning my epidural. Now I wanted to know who would be attending my home birth to the baby I hadn’t even conceived.

I didn’t have to wait long, though. Within a couple of months I was finally (after 2 years and a miscarriage) pregnant. Through a recommendation I picked a midwife and started planning. Well, sort of. I read and watched every natural birth story I could get my hands on. I mocked every non-natural labor as either not trying hard enough or just stupidity (I’m serious). I remember commenting on an acquaintances C-section as “her fault”. I was lovely, let me tell you.

Finally my labor day arrived, two weeks late, but no inductions for me. I was going to trust my body and my midwife to do the rest. It might have been a good idea to read or watch anything on how labor was going to be or what to do and not to do.

Labor itself was fine, but despite my intuition, I chose a provider that did not share my beliefs which caused friction at my birth leading to a 9 cm transfer and a C-section. Not the plan. Okay… maybe it wasn’t that girl’s fault she had a C-section.

Despite this unthinkable outcome, the Lord used the whole event to teach me humility (me, in need of humbling?)

–Read my guest post on Super Rad Christian Writer Chick about my pride here

Take two. Two years later, same verse, similar to the first. With more studying, a much better midwife, and a more humble stance, labor started. Labor was more difficult by far, fear was in the air (for me), and at 8 cm I decided to transfer to the hospital for an epidural. I made a very graceful exit from my home (half naked holding a chux between my legs while my midwife, doula, sister and husband tried to keep up) and an even more graceful entrance to the hospital (begging the nurse for drugs). Despite myself, the doctor walked in, checked me, and declared it was time to push (without the “juice”). Praise the Lord! Health baby boy # 2 was before vaginal and naturally. (Read the whole story here)

Despite the dramatic location change, the Lord taught me acceptance.

Now, during this time, I was actually studying a two year program to become a childbirth educator. I wanted to share my knowledge without the elitist shacklings that so easily follows the natural birth community. I still believed in natural childbirth with my whole heart and wanted to share it with those who cared to listen.

Fast forward 14 months later and I am pregnant with baby boy 3. I was given a gift from my previous midwife (whom I love and was supportive in my craziness of birth 2). She offered me a redo, which my husband was not because he was tired of paying for two births a child (home birth and hospital). I thoughtfully accepted and prepared yet again for a home birth.

Wait wait wait! Isn’t the definition on insanity doing the same thing over and over expecting different results?

As a Christian (for over 10 years at this point) I had really never given much thought to God in preparing for childbirth. I mean a prayer here and there, but not really to do anything more than grant MY wishes.

I finished my childbirth education certification and taught my first humble class (a mere three couple who all have a special place in my heart). But something was not right. The thing missing in my class was the same thing missing in my preparations.

Here I was at a crossroads. Do I really trust God to do the best for me? In this area of so much importance to me, can I lay it all down on Him?

Yes! I do. Yes! He can.

So I stopped. I stopped preparing and searching for the method to guarantee me a perfect natural childbirth (trust me; there are a lot out there).

I started to pray. Thanking and praising God for who he is and for gifting me another blessing (really the whole point of this pregnancy and childbirth thing anyway). I was not praying for a pain free natural home birth anymore. I just wanted to see God glorified. He knew how that was going to happen. He didn’t need my directions.

With only a few simply preparations, I let the matter go to God and just enjoyed my pregnancy.

When labor day # 3 arrived, it arrived in the exact same fashion the first two had (they call it labor for a reason).  But this time I had a sound mind. I prayed and called out to the Lord to help me. To stand with me. To carry me. To do it for me. And He did. (Read the whole story here)

Labor wasn’t less painful, or shorter, but it was peaceful. I was with my God and He was with me. I pushed my healthy baby boy out at home and sang my praises to the Lord.

The question might come to mind, “would you still have given God praise if it hadn’t gone that way.” The answer is yes, and I already have. God used each pregnancy and delivery to teach me a lesson. Some had to be learned the hard way (no, not God’s doing, but he can still use our failings), and some the long way. I praise God for my C-section, my crazy VBAC transfer and my homebirth (followed by a 2 day NICU stay) because He is good. Not because things always go my way, but because all things can be used to glorify Him (for those who love Him and are called according to His will). He was all the satisfaction I needed. The natural childbirth was just a perk.

Yes, I am still teaching childbirth classes. I still believe in knowledge and preparation. But that is only secondary to knowing and loving God. That is why I designed my classes to encourage couples to focus on developing a deeper trusting and loving relationship with God. Not as an “I win” button to be pulled out at birth, but by knowing that when God is glorified, you are doing exactly what He had planned.

Want to seek the Lord more than natural childbirth? Sign up for my next 6 weeks course and prepare to glorify Him together with me and other couples. Learn more about my 6 weeks series here.

Home Birth Story of Samuel – May 2014

Just a few days before I went into labor myself, I read a beautiful birth story where the mom was surprised by her labor starting at only 1 day past 39 weeks. I thought to myself that this would be  nice to go early, especially since both my other boys came after their due dates, but I never actually considered it a possibility. I just knew baby was going to come the weekend of my due  date.

39 weeks

Friday night, 39 weeks, I finally lay in bed after a long exhausting day. I was the kind of tired that makes your eyes weary to be open. I tried to go to sleep quickly, even asking God to put me to sleep, and I repented of doing so much. I vowed to rest more over the next week to prepare my body for labor. Then, I got a contraction. Now after having two previous spontaneous labors, I  know what a contraction is. This was one. No Braxton hicks stuff. I thought to myself, “crap”! Not  tonight. Not being so tired. I couldn’t do it tonight. I waited to see if another would come and about  10 minutes later, one did. I went into full on prayer mode.  “Jesus, I can’t tonight. I am too tired.  Please let me sleep tonight!”

I woke up the next morning to my kids yelling for me to open the door (they are not allowed out of  their room in the morning until I open the door). I got up, made breakfast, and started our normal  routine. My husband was already at work. It was 10 am, and as I was doing morning chores, I felt  a contraction. It is only then that I remember the night before. I was grateful to God that he  spared me from labor with such little sleep.

This was for sure prodromal labor. I had been here before.

Thankful for a good nights rest, I knew I should keep my energy and rest as much as possible. This is easier said than done when  you have two toddlers and a few more things to get done before you have a baby. So with  keeping calm in mind, I finished laundry and dishes, got the birth stuff together in one place, and  periodically laid in bed in between request for cheesy rice and milk.

Contractions occurred every ten to fifteen minutes lasting only about a minute until just after I put  the boys to sleep for their nap at 2:30 pm. These were early labor contractions and did not feel  much different than period cramps. The house was quiet, and all my chores were done so I  could finally lay down to see if I could nap for a while.

At 2:58 pm, though, I had my first active  labor contraction.

If you have never experienced labor before, this is very different from early  labor contractions. This feels like a tightening of your lower abdomen that increases in intensity  with a distinct pulling downwards. It is not necessarily painful, but powerful. I takes all your force  to not tense up during one.

I sent an email to my church family for prayer and made a quick prayer request on Facebook. I  knew that I was going to need my sister in Christ backing me up on this. As usual, my husband  arrived home at 3 p.m.. Other than a quick phone call in the morning where I warned him labor  might be starting, he was coming in not knowing the situation. I wanted to be alone, so I gave him
a quick list of things to do and showed him where everything was. He went to work blowing up  the birth pool, lining it, and filling it with a foot of cold water (hot water to be added when needed).  He also put all our big pots on the stove with water to boil (you can never have too much hot  water).

I closed the door to my bedroom and continued to labor in the bed lying on my left side with a  pillow between my legs. I installed a contraction timer on my kindle just to track contractions for a  while. I was definitely in active labor and my contractions were coming every 4 to 6 minutes  lasting for a little over a minute.

The funny thing about labor for me is all about saving the best things for later. Every few  contractions I would go to the restroom to relieve the additional pressure from my bladder and  would consider trying a contraction on the toilet, but I would quickly jump back into bed not  wanting to open up that position until I really needed it, like it had some kind of limit for working.  Silly. What I learned is that good positions work multiple times during labor (like the toilet).

I labored a little while longer in bed and then during a potty break, I decided to stay. This was  such a good idea. It changed the way I was experiencing the contraction pressure. I rocked back  and forth during the contractions with my hands on my legs rubbing them back and forth, as well.  In between contractions I circled around at the waist in small circles. This had added benefit, as  the circling caused me to go #2.

After only a short time on the toilet, and since I was right there, I decided to jump into a steaming  hot shower. The heat helped me relax even more. I faced the shower head between contractions  and let the water hit my lower back during them. I just stood there like a limp noodle. I left my  hands open and down by my sides. I really enjoyed it, but in the back of my mind I knew with a  limited hot water supply I should get out before the heat runs out. I dried off and sat back onto the  toilet for a few more contractions.

The toilet and shower are great during contractions but I found I could not do those positions for  very long as there is no real good resting place for in between them. Resting in between  contractions is a gift, too, as you can completely relax and let go of the last contraction.     I decided to try the birth ball for a while. I laid over it during contractions and again, tried to keep  my hands and arms limp. During these contractions, though, I felt a lot of different sensations  that made me feel like I was further along than I really was. I was trembling in between  contractions and feeling nauseous right after one would end. These are traditionally signs of  transition (the last 2 cm of dilation).

I decided to tell my husband that I was ready for my midwives and sister to come over. It was about 5:30 pm.

After a lot of thought, I decided that I wanted my sister to act as my doula. She is not a doula, but  has been at my last two births and is my best friend. She also can tell me things in a way so hat I  hear them and has earned the right to talk to me a lot more frankly than most. She helped me in
my last birth try for just a little longer when no one else could talk sense into me. We had gone  over all my birth wishes and she had hear me talk a number of times about my heart’s desire.  She is also a great Christian woman and I only wanted those that could support me both  physically and spiritually at my birth.

My sister arrived within the hour. By this point I had done the birth ball a little more and the toilet  again. I remembered having a plastic hand massager in a bag in my closet, so I had rummaged  it out and was using it on my lower back during contractions. I was not having back labor, but I  did enjoy the extra pressure on my low back. When she arrived, I had her take over the  massaging.

Shortly after she arrived, at 6:30pm my midwife Heather and Salli and midwife in training Randi  also arrived.

They encouraged me to get in the shower again, so I did that again for about 25 minutes. I lay  over the ball again, but at the peak of my contractions said that i was feeling a lot of pressure.  Again, this threw me off a little because I thought that I might be getting closer to the end. I was  not, but as soon as I got off the ball only 15 minutes later that sensation went away. I think  because you are so open when lying over the ball that it caused more pressure in that area than  other positions.

I went back to the bathroom to see if I could relieve some of the pressure i had on my bladder  and ended up sitting there for another 15 minutes. Then into the bathtub. I was hesitant to use  the water again because I was concerned about the hot water needed for the birthing pool. And  sure enough when I was drawing the water, the temperature was far from ideal. Lucky I had told  my husband to put those pots on the stove, because they ended up pouring all three big pots of  boiling water into the tub and then it felt good.

I was a little disappointed with the bathtub because, even though it is a garden size tub, it is hard  and not large enough to move your hips around a lot during contractions. At first I just lay still and  used a cup to pour water over my belly. My sister brought me a glass of wine to sip on, and  although I was not in need of calming down, I went ahead and downed it in two or three sips. I  tried to move my hips from side to side, but as I said, this just wasn’t happening so I got out and  tried the toilet for another couple of contractions.

I really didn’t know what I wanted to do next so I just walked around the bedroom for a couple of  contractions. My midwife encouraged me to rest on the bed where they had chux laid out. I was  hesitant because during my last labor I hated that position, but it just goes to show me that every  labor is different. For another example, I loved the tub during my first two labors and this time, not  so much.

I lie on my left side while my sister rubbed my back with the massager and Randi rubbed my  feet with coconut oil. I was surprised I was able to do this for about half an hour without tensing
up. During one really intense contraction I had a big urge to push and bear down a little but  luckily the power to throw up was stronger. I ended up throwing up for almost a minute but it felt  surprisingly good to feel a different sensation from the contraction.

Needing again to relieve my bladder, I went back to the toilet. I stayed there about 10 minutes  while I ate a slim fast bar.  I loved the toilet during this labor. It felt so much better but I never  wanted to stay in any position too long.

This is when things kicked into high gear.

I stood up and wasn’t sure again what I wanted to do. My sister told me that I should go enjoy the backyard, per my suggestion sheet, and despite the  fact that I did not really want to (really I didn’t want to do anything at this point), I did.     I walked out the bedroom for the first time since 2:30 pm and now at 9:10 pm, things had gotten  dark, my older boys were in bed, and all was quiet. I walked out on our back patio and started  walking immediately for the patio chairs that sat out on the lawn. I was planning on lying over one  when the contraction hit, but once one started I found that I couldn’t stop. I kept walking.

This was a very interesting time because I was very very tired. My head hung down  and  curled  towards my breast (very low) and my shoulders slumped over. I kept my eyes closed and took  steps no longer than a couple of inches. I honestly thought I probably looked like a character from  “The Walking Dead”. I sure felt like one.

My husband had run out to get some pizzas for everyone and had made it back. I looked into the  house and saw him in the kitchen with the pizzas. i knew that the last thing that I would want is to  come back into the house to push the baby out and have the house smell of greasy pizza so I  told my sister to have him put it into the garage.

He then came outside. My sister said “Louis is here” and I almost made a joke that he better not  call me a zombie, but I couldn’t get the words out. He later told me he was thinking he might say  “better not let Rick see you” but he refrained. We obviously watch too much Walking Dead.

As I made my way closer to him I decided that I would lean on him for support. I put my arms  around him and continued walking. This means that he was walking backwards but since we  were going slower than a snails pace, there was no danger.

It was getting increasingly hard to fight the urge to push at the top of the contractions, but I knew  it wasn’t time.

In my mind I was reaching the point of desperation. Surely my water would break soon. Surely something would change that would mean that it was over. Finally that something  did. I started to feel something hanging between my legs so I reached down to find out what it  was. When I looked at my hand, it was bloody and mucusy. I said “oh thank God!”. I knew this  was the end of the dilating phase. Now, or within a few contractions, I would be complete. It was  what I needed to push me through to the end.

I continued to walk for a few more contractions when I finally decided that I wanted Heather to  check me. I knew that I needed that reassurance that I was in fact complete. I did not want to  start pushing before it was time. I called Heather out and after she asked me if I was sure, she  checked me and said I was 9 ½ and she thought I could just push past it. I told her that is what  happened the first time and I started to swell. She still thought I could do it, but I decided to try  one last thing. Knee/chest. I dropped down in the grass with my head on the ground and my butt  up in the air for three contractions. This was intense. I was holding on for dear life onto the grass  and blowing like a mad woman, but it was what I needed to try before trying to push in earnest.

After three contractions like this, I decided to give it a try. I sat up right where I was and started  pushing. I think everyone thought I would deliver this baby in the grass in my backyard, but I knew  that I was heading for the birth pool if this one push worked. Heather held back the little lip of  cervix and the babies head slipped past it with ease and did not go back. With this news, I  jumped up and headed in towards the birth pool.

It was 9:55. At the next contraction I gave it all I could.

I was leaning over the side in a pool and was sitting up on my knees. I pushed with all my might. I was quiet for a few pushes but got  increasingly vocal. I was not scared or in pain (though the pressure of stretching and opening is extreme), but I needed to make these noises.

My sister encouraged me to reach down and I felt inside and could feel a little bit of the bag only a  few inches in. It wasn’t long before that bag was at the perineum and then “pop”, the bag broke  and babies head was in my hand. They said one more push and sure enough, with the next push  he was born.

I grabbed him up, pushed myself back against the other side of the pool and cried out, “it’s over”.

I was so relieved to be finished. It took me a few seconds to even settle down enough to pay too  much attention to my baby boy. Once I did, I just did what I have been doing for the last three  years. I mothered him. I cleaned vernex off his eyes, talked to him and fell in love.    Finally my beautiful baby boy that I carried in my womb for 39 weeks and 1 day was in my arms.  He was perfect, and just like it did before with my first two sons, my heart doubled in size.

Post birth

After about 30 minutes in the tub holding my baby boy, I decided I would hand him off to daddy and try to deliver the placenta. I rested in the tub for another 10 to 15 minutes before I decided it might be easier in the bed. Within a few minutes of moving to the bed, I pushed it out (no fun… I was supposed to be done pushing).

I got my homebirth, but the story didn’t end there, unfortunately. After only four hours at home, we  decided to take baby Samuel to the hospital for oxygen treatment for what was later diagnosed  as transient tachypnea of a newborn. I short term breathing issues caused by not getting all the  fetal lung fluid out of his lungs during labor and birth. It was never dramatic, but we did spend 3  days in the NICU before we were able to return home again and finally get some needed rest.


After the experience I had with my first two birth, I finally had a win.  Even with the transfer to the  NICU, the experience was positive from beginning to end. I was so happy to be able to forget  about labor and focus on my baby. That is what I missed during my first two births. I was so hurt  and disappointed that I couldn’t give 100% to my new baby. This time, 100% was on him.
I owe a lot of thanks for the outcome of my birth. Yes, yes… I did the work, but I truly would not  have had this opportunity with some help.

First and foremost, to my Creator God for allowing me to conceive and carry another wonderful  blessing. He was the only power that could sustain me through the trials of pregnancy and labor.  He was the one I leaned on during those contractions I just knew I couldn’t do myself. He was in  my thoughts, and thanks to a lot of prayer from my church family and friends, I did it with Him.

My amazing midwife and team. Heather was a great support through my second pregnancy,  believing in me the entire time, and even after I totally lost it during my that delivery, she still  believed in me. She supported me in so many ways during this pregnancy and was the only  reason I was able to attempt another homebirth. Her whole team from partner Salli, midwife in  training Randi, and support staff Amy and  April are amazing and made me feel like I was a  special member of the family.

My sister, the best doula for me ever, without whom I would not have had nearly as “fun” and  special of a birth experience as I did.

Finally, my husband who still supported me after all the previous drama and did not doubt my  ability or sanity to want to do it again.

Now only if I can have a home birth and stay at home after it is all said and done… wells, there’s  always a next time.

Chick for more information about my faith based childbirth classes and to check the schedule and sign up.