Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Home Birth Photos

These are from my most recent birth I attended as a doula and photographer.  This mom worked SO HARD!  Labored for a few days and had amazing power and endurance.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

101 Things to do While Waiting...

101 Things to do while waiting...

1.      Pray or meditate.
2.      Read another pregnancy book.
·         Shiela Kitzinger "Complete Book of Pregnancy and Childbirth"
·         “Homebirth”
·         "Birth Your Way"
·         Pam England "Birthing From Within"
·         Ricki Lake “Your Best Birth”
·         Barbara Harper "Gentle Birth Choices"
·         Henci Goer "A Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth"
·         Diana Korte and Roberta Scaer "A Good Birth, A Safe Birth”
·         Penny Simkin "The Birth Partner"
·         Diana Korte "The VBAC Companion"
·         Klaus, Kennell, Klaus "The Doula Book"
·         "Mothering the Mother"
·         Janet Balaskas "Active Birth"
3.      Take a bubble bath.
4.      Get a pedicure.
5.      Get a manicure.
6.      Wash the new baby's clothes.
7.      Talk to an old friend.
8.      Pick out a baby book.
9.      Go over your list of baby names one more time.
10.  Write a birth plan.
11.  Change the message on your answering machine to inform callers you're still around.
12.  Get your hair done.
13.  Get a pregnancy massage.
14.  Watch reruns on television.
15.  Check out a matinee movie, alone or with a friend.
16.  Make a rice Sock for labor.
17.  Try a new recipe for dinner.
18.  Pack your birth bag for the hospital or birth center.
19.  Look through your pregnancy journal or pregnancy blog and relive some of the better moments.
20.  Buy a new nightgown.
21.  Go dancing!
22.  Look at some birth announcements.
23.  Put the baby's car seat in the car.
24.  Go window shopping.
25.  Daydream about the baby.
26.  Enjoy your favorite spicy food.
27.  Enjoy a favorite dessert.
28.  Buy a nursing bra.
29.  If you have older kids, read to them.
30.  Shave your legs.
31.  Visit someone else with a new baby and practice holding them.
32.  Think of goofy/snarky answers to the questions about whether or not you're still pregnant.
33.  Try a new nail color. Change it again.
34.  Call your mom.
35.  Sit in your baby's room for a while.
36.  Buy a cute baby toy.
37.  Get lots of fiber.
38.  Put together any unmade furniture.
39.  Buy stamps for birth announcements.
40.  Work out - go to yoga, water aerobics, whatever you like to do.
41.  Practice a new position for labor.
42.  Walk around the mall.
43.  Check to be sure your insurance information is packed in your birth bag.
44.  Do you have batteries for your camera?
45.  Listen to a favorite CD and consider making a playlist for your birth.
46.  Buy a pack of diapers.
47.  Buy a new toothbrush for the birth.
48.  Make a birthday cake. You can freeze it when you are done.
49.  Call your best friend.
50.  Play with your pets.
51.  Do nothing for a change.
52.  Give your husband a back massage. Show him how you like to have your back rubbed.
53.  Buy any birthday cards or presents you'll need for the first 6 weeks after your baby is born.
54.  Purchase Thank you notes.
55.  Have a smoothie.
56.  Recheck your birth bag for the hospital or birth center.
57.  Go to a La Leche League meeting, breastfeeding class and/or Powerful Birth Group.
58.  Take your husband dancing.
59.  Pack some Snacks for the hospital or birth center.
60.  Make a belly cast of your belly.
61.  Buy some sexy underwear, or at least not granny panties, for after the birth (a couple of weeks).
62.  If you have older kids, make I'm a big sisters/brother t-shirts for them.
63.  Bake a batch of cookies for the doctors and nurses at the hospital or birth center.
64.  Go to your last prenatal appointments.
65.  Order your favorite pizza for dinner.
66.  Have sex *wink*wink*nudge*nudge*
67.  Think about anything but the new baby or labor.
68.  Tell your husband how much you love and appreciate him.
69.  Make sure you have a long distance phone card for the birth if your cellphone doesn't have long distance.
70.  Have someone inspect your car seat for safety. Try AAA or local car dealer.
71.  Get a new Scented lotion for labor.
72.  Pack a diaper bag.
73.  Text or call your honey to make sure he's paying attention.
74.  Bake a casserole to eat after your baby is born.
75.  Put your birth bag in the car.
76.  Make Sure you have some postpartum help lined up.
77.  Start a scrapbook for your baby if you haven't already.
78.  Call your pediatrician to see if they have a recommended list of first aid items.
79.  Look through your old baby books and pictures.
80.  Have a lunch date with a friend.
81.  Read positive birth stories.
82.  Chat with your doula about any last minute worries.
83.  Feel your baby's movements and treasure them. Remember how you waited to feel the first fetal movements?
84.  Make a romantic dinner for your honey.
85.  Make a list of everything you will miss about being pregnant.
86.  Learn to knit baby booties.
87.  Ask your mom about your birth.
88.  Clean out the refrigerator.
89.  Rent a video.
90.  Take a practice drive to the hospital.
91.  Listen to a book on tape.
92.  Read a novel you've been dying to read.
93.  Go to work - why not?
94.  Think about your postpartum birth control choices.
95.  Read a new breastfeeding book.
96.  Practice a new relaxation technique.
97.  Refold all the baby clothes.
98.  Write a letter to your baby telling him or her how much you can't wait to meet them!
99.  Make a list of everything you won't miss about being pregnant.
100.                      Enjoy the last moments with your spouse or children as the family dynamics are going to change as Soon as the baby is born.

101.                      Practice letting go.....

Monday, February 15, 2016

Melina Briella's Birth Story

Story told by Amanda (not sure why it is blue!)
Sunday afternoon, while Mitch and Luke took a nap, I did half an hour of hypnobabies preparation for childbirth and then half an hour of a pregnancy yoga routine that I found on YouTube. I had been doing both of those every day for a couple of weeks. After bouncing around on my birth ball for a while and eating some more pineapple, I decided that the baby wasn’t coming any time soon even though it was already 5 days after her estimated due date and I might as well make a big to-do list for the next day so I could at least be productive while I waited. I planned on going to the DI, picking up a belated Christmas gift, scheduling a pregnancy massage, going to the bank, and making a few phone calls. Unfortunately, or rather, fortunately, none of that happened because I had our baby the next day!
I woke up with a contraction at 2:30 Monday morning and felt a flutter of excitement, but stayed in bed and went back to sleep. I woke up with contractions off and on throughout the night, some of which required me to concentrate and breathe through them, but I was always able to get back to sleep. I got a decent amount of rest, despite being woken up several times during the night. I didn’t turn the light on or time any of them, because I knew it was still early labor and I wanted to get as much sleep as I could.
I got up around 8 am per usual and started eating the breakfast Mitch made me while he continued to get ready for work. I told him I had been having sporadic contractions during the night, but that he should go ahead and go to work and I would call him when I needed him to come back. He convinced me that I should at least call my midwife, photographer, and both of our moms to give them a heads up. I did so and let them know I would call them later when it got more serious. At this point I was still planning on going on my errands with Luke and trying to ignore the contractions for as long as possible. During breakfast I timed a few of them and they were only about 2 minutes apart and lasting 30 seconds long. I was still feeling excited and pretty relaxed between contractions so we were blasting “The Circle of Life” from the Lion King, which was currently Luke’s favorite song to listen to and Mitch and Luke were dancing around the living room. Mitch started watching me closer when I told him they were that close and he realized that I was having to give them my full concentration and didn’t want to talk to him or watch Luke at all during a contraction. He said that I should probably just plan on doing two errands – eating breakfast and taking a shower.  Pretty soon after breakfast he decided that he wasn’t going to go in to work at all. He took it upon himself to text everyone and tell them that actually, we’re going to go in now, not this afternoon.
Mitch’s mom and sister showed up at our house a little before 10:30 to take Luke as we had previously planned and we left right after she showed up to go to the birth center. My midwife and photographer were already there when we arrived and my mom and sisters showed up a few minutes later. 
My midwife checked me for the first and only time during my whole pregnancy and labor and said that I was almost at a 6 dilated and that she was at a +2 station, which is very low. When Luke was born I was at a 5 when I got to the birth center and he was born about 6 hours later, so that was the sort of time frame I was expecting.
I sat on the birth ball for a while and leaned into Mitch during the contractions while my mom pressed a hot bean bag to my lower back, but then decided to move to the pool pretty quickly.
The water felt so good! I knelt in the water facing the side of the pool. Mitch sat outside the pool so I could lean on him during contractions. It was very comfortable and I was able to fully relax in between contractions. At one point I had to get out to go to the bathroom and that was hard. I had several contractions trying to walk there and back. I just wanted to get back to the water as fast as I could. 
Pretty soon after I got back into the water I felt my water break and then I started to feel the need to make some noises during the contractions. Up until then I was completely quiet throughout everything. The midwives didn’t actually know when I was between contractions or in the middle of one because I looked and sounded the same whether I was in the middle of one or not. Mitch always knew though. He said I breathed differently during contractions. 
I started having little sighs and moans but quickly changed to grunting and louder moans and pushing sounds. I involuntarily pushed for about 20 minutes, just going along with what my body was doing until one of the assistant midwives asked me after a contraction if I felt a “little pushy” at all on that one. Chris, our main midwife, responded that I had been pushing for a while now. When I heard that I realized that my body had indeed been pushing, and that I should go ahead and actively push when I felt the urge to do so. 
I pushed hard for about 10 minutes and she was born at 12:30 pm! I was kneeling in the pool so our midwife helped catch her and quickly handed her to me and I brought her up out of the water and then flipped myself over so I was sitting on the floor of the pool with my back resting on the side of the pool. 
I patted and rubbed her back a little and talked to her and she quickly pinked up and gave a hearty cry for just a few seconds before she calmed down and lay quietly and contentedly on my chest. She didn’t even need to get suctioned out at all. 
After a few minutes I held her up to verify that she was indeed a girl. She didn’t like being held at arm’s reach and cried a lot about that although she quieted down again pretty quickly after I tucked her into me again on my chest. After the cord stopped pulsing Mitch cut the cord and then held her skin to skin with her while I delivered the placenta and then got out of the pool and into bed. 

After about an hour, Mitch’s mom and sister got there with Luke and he was very excited to see the baby. Mitch brought him into the big king size bed with us and he gently touched her toes and fingers and gave her a kiss on her head. We told him what happened and how mama pushed the baby out so we can hold her. He loves telling everyone the story now about how we got our baby, complete with sound effects.
After cheering Melina’s birth with a bottle of Martinelli’s Sparkling Cider, and eating some crackers, cheese sticks and mini oranges, I was feeling pretty good so I took a shower and got dressed and we all went home. 
We went through Taco Bell’s drive through on the way home because some bean burritos sounded pretty great to me right about then. We got home about 4:30 pm and tucked into our own bed.
Melina was born on Monday, January 4th, at 12:30 pm, 6 days after her estimated due date. She weighed 8 lbs 2 oz and is perfect in every way.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Birth of Baby Silas

Post written by Kristel Hunter
37 weeks and 3 days
      This pregnancy was my hardest by far.  I had Braxton Hicks forever, more throwing up than before, pain when I would lift my legs to get dressed or in bed, and I was tired and emotional from the beginning.   I also had many nights of timing contractions for hours and then they would slowly fizzle away. All of my other babies had been at least a week early, one was even 17 days early.  So, with night after night of contractions, I thought I would also have this baby pretty early. By 39 1/2 weeks, I was super duper grumpy and mad.  I felt like this was never going to end.  I went to bed pretty upset the night before I gave birth.  I later read that being grumpy, like super duper grumpy, should be considered the first phase of labor.  I agree!!    

39 weeks and 5 days

      The morning of December 10th, I woke up to a strong contraction about 5 am.  I laid in bed timing them until Collin woke up at 6:30.  They were about 10-12 minutes apart, but some were only 8 minutes apart.  They were lasting about 45 seconds each.  Collin was ready to call the midwives and start the water.  I wanted to wait and make sure this was the real thing and get the kids to school first.  I started walking around and sitting on the birth ball.  The contractions got much closer together, like 4-5 min, but were way shorter duration, about 20-30 seconds each. 
      Around 7, I called my student midwife, Angela, and gave her a report.  Collin started filling the birth pool with hot water.  Angela said to call her when the contractions were closer to 60 seconds long.  We both felt like I would have plenty of time to get the kids out the door and then touch base. 
      I texted my neighbor, Jenn, to see if she could watch Ian.  I was still a little hesitant.  But, by 7:40ish I was having much longer contractions and some bloody show.  I texted Angela and told her.  I continued helping get kids ready. The girls had no idea what was going on.  And I had not really talked to Collin since I talked to Angela at 7.  He was trying to get some work done. 
     At one point, I was in the kitchen and had a super strong contraction.  I needed Collin to hold on to or a birth ball to sit on...something!  I tried to communicate to my kids who were slowly eating and getting lunches ready.  It was so intense!!  I couldn't get the words out.  I finally shouted, "Where's Collin?!?!"  They seemed startled and Collin hurried downstairs.  At that point, I realized this was closer than I thought.  I started yelling at the kids to get to school and take Ian next door.  They left rather early, with Ian still in his PJ's! 
      I went upstairs and got straight in the birth pool for some much needed relief. Collin called Angela at 8:07 and told her they were much closer and stronger.  She said she would be on her way.  I remember thinking, "She hasn't left yet?" and "I hope she told Valerie!"  But I guess I was a little too hesitant and calm.  She had not felt any urgency in my communication with her. 
      About 8:15, I got a text from my best friend, who happens to be my midwife's daughter and living with her.  Bita said that her mom had just rushed out the door and she assumed it was to my house.  She also wished me luck.  That text was a blessing for many reasons.  One was because it reassured me that Valerie would be there! 
     I felt the need to go to the bathroom.  Collin helped me out of the water and to the toilet.  As soon as I sat down, my water broke and I thought, "I better hurry back in the water!"  At that time, Collin looked out the bathroom window and saw Valerie pull into the drive way!  Yeah!! 
      At 8:25, Valerie came into my room and I was in the water again.  I was trying to figure out how to get comfortable in the water and was really trying to focus on breathing during contractions.  Valerie started getting out the necessary supplies.  Then she tried to get a fetal heartbeat, but my contractions started again.  I started pushing!  I could not believe I was already pushing.  I was trying not to, because during my last birth I felt like I was pushing forever.  But I could not hold back.  It was time!  He was born at 8:38 am!

     It took me a minute to catch my breath and reach for my baby.  But when I did, oh the relief and joy I felt.  Pure joy!  I was so happy!  The birth of a baby is truly a miracle, every single time!!!  I sat in the water with Silas.  He was so content and clam.  Then we realized he was too clam and turning blue.  He wasn't breathing.  Valerie started pumping air into him.  Then her assistant arrived and was listening to him with a stethoscope.  His heart rate was fine, but he wasn't getting any air.  It was not long, but seemed like forever, before he coughed up some gunk and started breathing again.  He never had another problem. 
     After I delivered the placenta, Collin cut the cord and I nursed the baby.  Sitting in the warm water, was the best.  I never got the chills that I got after every other baby I delivered.  I just felt weightless.  It was better than I imagined.  When Silas was done nursing, Collin held him while they got me out of the water and comfortable in my bed. 

Silas weighed 7 lbs 8oz
      Valerie Hall is a Certified Professional Midwife.  Angela is a student under her and was supposed to be the primary care for my birth, but she did not make it.  So Tabitha, who is also a student, was Valarie's assistant at my birth.

Head Circumference 13 in

Chest Circumference 13 in

Length 19.5 in

Tying the umbilical cord.

Kristel, Valerie,  and Tabitha

     When I look back on the birth of Silas, I am once again reminded how much Heavenly Father loves us.  I prayed that he would be born when he was ready and that Valerie would be here.  Of course, I wanted him to come much sooner.  But, once again, the timing could not have been better. The weeks of contractions made for a short labor.  The time of day was perfect as well. 
     The kids went to my parents house for the weekend.  Collin worked from home for the rest of the month.  We were able to just hang out at home over Christmas break.  We slept in and watched lots of movies.  It was a great time to have baby.  Now, I feel like we are hibernating through the rest of winter.  When it gets warmer, Silas will be bigger and it will be easier to go out and about.  I am so grateful everything fell into place.  I am so thankful for a healthy baby boy!

(If I could go back, I would make sure I did my hair, makeup,
 and put my nicest sheets and blankets on my bed!)

     We first saw the name Silas while Collin was doing family history.  It was months before we were  pregnant oreven trying to be.  Under Collins name, the family history showed an extra box for a boy.  The kids thought it meant we were going to have another boy.  I just laughed it off.  Then Collin clicked something and the name Silas was there.  It stood out to me and I never forgot it. 
      When we found out we were having a boy, I looked for other names.  I searched all over for something else.  But I could never get the name Silas out of my mind.  We looked back through our family history and  never found the name again.  I still don't know what the significance of it is.  But I know it is supposed to be his name. 

     The girls said they did not think I had the baby, because when they went out for recess, they could not see any extra cars at home.  But at lunch, they got a note from me saying that their new baby brother was born and waiting to meet them when they got home from school!  They came running home and couldn't get enough of him!
     Addison and Clare's teacher was gone, so I wasn't sure who to call at the homeschool co-op.  Then I realized we could email her.  Collin sent her a picture of Silas. I figured out who was at the homeschool and sent them a text to tell her to check her email.  She was so excited!  (I don't know why I don't have a picture of Clare.)

       Ian was adorable with his little brother.  He wanted to hold Silas forever and wouldn't let go.  It was pretty cute.  He loves rubbing the little bit of hair Silas has on his head.  He asks, "Can I fuzzy him?"

Silas's middle name is Bryce, after Grandpa Bryce!