Why Mama Chose & Loved Her Homebirth...Even When It Got Intense

The baby (cherub) is sleeping beside me on the bed, one little arm draped across her cheek. According to everyone’s advice, I should be sleeping too, but I have wanted to record as much as I could recall before it is all one beautiful glossy memory. This is the story of our daughter’s homebirth on December 3, 2009. The choice to birth at home was an easy one without many reservations. Among them were the fear of disturbing the neighbors (which is quite possible as I sang through each contraction…more on that later) and the fear of destroying my favorite rug with various gross fluids (I actually birthed on my favorite rug with many layers of towels between us, and am so happy such a beautiful piece of art holds that memory).

Notably absent is the reservation shared by many…that “something” would go wrong. From the beginning of the pregnancy, I couldn’t wrap my mind around the belief that pregnancy and birth are a medical instance in need of treatment. My husband and I both favored the idea that birth is a normal physiological event and inherently safe process. It seemed the most tangible manifestation of nature and spirit that I could imagine. Very early on I began researching models of prenatal care that could reserve intervention and treatment for medically necessary complications, and allow a normally developing pregnancy to progress into a normally developing labor and birth. The primary goal was an emotionally, spiritually, and physically healthy mother and baby. I realize labor doesn’t always progress as planned, and would have been happy and grateful to transfer our care to our local hospital in the event of an abnormality, complication, or (as most common with home birth transfers) a stall in labor progress. Luckily, there is education and information available today so that all expecting families can make choices that feel best for them. For us, this was midwife-managed care, although in the beginning we weren’t planning to birth at home. Deep in my pregnant belly I longed for the comfort of home birth, but I struggled with the myth so deeply indoctrinated in us all…you have to GO somewhere to labor and birth.

We started our journey at a free standing birth center near our apartment in Brooklyn. The center is staffed by four midwives and throughout the course of pregnancy, we saw each one (as is common with obstetrical practices, we wouldn’t know who would be on call the day labor started). Instead of packing a bag and preparing to leave for the hospital at the first sign of labor, we would pack a bag and labor at home until active labor began and then travel to the birthing center for delivery. At the center, I was so pleased with the quality of care that I found. I was surrounded by birthing professionals who reserved Pitocin use for emergency situations, wouldn’t equate a multiple pregnancy with a c-section, and didn’t even offer epidurals. I didn’t realize just how medicinal it still was. I had ultrasounds for instance, and in addition to multiple blood tests to check for a very long list of abnormalities, I drank the strange orange soda substance to check for gestational diabetes.

The midwives measured me and we listened for the baby’s heartbeat at each short visit. Because I spent most of my pregnancy deeply and quietly trusting of my body, when the portion of the check up arrived for me to ask all my burning questions, I wasn’t really interested in discussing all the strange and random pregnancy quirks, favoring talk of my meditation practice, the journal I was starting (of my experience of pregnancy that I plan to give to my daughter when she is pregnant someday J) and which affirmations were working best so far to keep me balanced. While the midwives would patiently nod while I described my vision of a peaceful, uncomplicated birth, there was a vacancy in their eyes that I can only attribute to a waiting room full of other moms needing their urine and weight checked too. It was better than what I imagined care to be at an obstetrical practice, but I wanted more.

Around my 28th week of pregnancy, we moved to a larger apartment in the Bronx, relieving some tension that had cropped up in my marriage due to sheer lack of space. While the birthing center assured me that many birthing moms traveled from over 2 hours away to labor there, my 45 minute labor commute scared me. My dreams of freedom of movement, candles, music, dancing, and laughter were replaced with nightmares of being fully dilated during rush hour traffic on the Brooklyn Queens Expressway, and an unassisted back of our SUV birth.

Enter our superwoman home birth midwife Anne. I found her during an internet search of all places, and found her face so kind I scheduled an interview.  Although I wasn’t positive yet I had the strength to make my secret longing for home birth a reality, I wanted to meet with her in hopes I would find clarity surrounding my choices. In addition to sharing experience, offering references, and generally just putting me at ease, she made us laugh. I didn’t realize how much I needed a practitioner to be both knowledgeable at the craft, and also human enough to laugh at the process. We loved her. I wanted to home birth, and think I just needed someone to say YES YOU CAN. Coincidentally, we also found out a birth she attended was featured in a documentary that was next on our Netflix queue, a great movie called Orgasmic Birth. Although I had trouble picturing myself reaching orgasm during labor like some of the birthing women, we were excited to see her in action (and actually, our birth was more like her patient’s, beautiful and NOISY).

We began each prenatal visit at our homebirth midwife’s office with couch time. We discussed my diet, my feelings, my dream birth, and my questions before the routine check-up. She lent us books, documentaries, and showed us many photos of childbirth at home so we would be as prepared as possible. One of my favorite things from these visits is before our midwife measured or checked the baby’s heartbeat, she would lovingly place her hands on my belly and joyfully say “Hi, Baby!” I loved that our little mermaid girl swimming about in there was greeted. Without her, after all, we would not have been there in the first place. On average, our appointments at the birthing center lasted about 15 minutes. With our home birth midwife, they were closer to an hour.

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At a prenatal appointment conducted in our home with our midwife and our doula, they both asked what sort of vision I had for the birth. They wanted to be able to respect my wishes, and also hold the type of energy in the space in case I wasn’t able to maintain it. I wanted our beautiful home to be warm and dimly lit, have softly playing music, the sound of our softly trickling fountain, a million lit candles, and ROMANCE JOY and LOVE energy filling our apartment, both to nurture me, and to make the placeour little girl journeyed to beautiful and comfortable. During labor, I wanted to laugh, dance, sing, and kiss my buddy. I wanted to relax into the joy that my baby was coming, Most of all, I wanted to trust my body to know what to do.  I had a commitment from the birth team of my hubby, midwife, doula and my mom to maintain a loving, safe and gentle process for me and the baby. I joined a wonderful birth circle with other expecting moms where we released residual fears, blessed our bodies, and imagined our perfect births. I created drawings and notecards to hang that reflected the vision I had of a beautiful, gentle birth in hopes that the constant reminders would somehow influence the big day.

On my due date of November 23, my mom arrived. She planned to stay for three weeks. We were all hoping the baby wanted to come sooner than later so we’d have the necessary postpartum support that is so important for women to receive. I spent over a week with my mom watching movies, tooling around Manhattan, and answering the question “do you feel any contractions yet?” about 137 times. Every so often, I felt slight tingling sensations, but without any pattern whatsoever. Each new one even felt so different from the last, that if I were to experience it again I am not sure I would recognize them as Braxton Hicks.

The morning of December 2nd, I noticed I passed my mucus plug. I excitedly went into the living room and told my mom that YES I think we’re having a baby soon. I had already decided that during my early labor, I wanted to make a birthday cake for my little girl. We decided her name would be a tribute to my late grandmother, and so I wanted to make her specialty, Italian Crème Cake. (I get a lot of mileage out of that detail…not only did I have a home birth but I made a cake during labor. People are in disbelief. J)

Not yet contracting really, but just FEELING like the day was here, I started my cake project. During the baking I became ravenous. I ate about 5 leftover pancakes, a banana, and some other assorted snacks. Later I recognized this as a typical early labor sign…my body was trying to tank up for the day’s work. While my cakes were cooling, I decided to watch a little guilty pleasure comfort TV viewing (Gilmore Girls on DVD) and rest for a while. I dozed and watched and started to notice the dull tightening sensation I had been feeling all week were occurring about every 12 minutes. I was SO excited to realize that finally after all the waiting there was a pattern to the contractions. Not wanting to get my hopes up in case it turned out to be a long day, I napped and continued my GG marathon (for any fans out there….it was the season where Rory is secretly into Jess but still dating Dean. Juicy).

With beautiful butterflies in my tummy, I decided to take a bath. As I soaked, I called out to my mom in the other room every time I felt another tightening. Just as I’d done so many times before, I rubbed my belly and imagined what that little angel looked like. Realizing I would soon find out made me grin from ear to ear. The contractions still weren’t painful, and were just a dull achy feeling. My mom said they were starting to come every 8 minutes now. This was it! By the time I got out of the tub, I started to feel like I was leaving the room. It was so intense already. I lay on my bed, closed my eyes and started to go through one of the relaxations I learned in our Hypnobirthing class. (Hypnobirthing is a childbirth preparation method in which relaxation and visualization are utilized to eliminate the fear that constricts birthing muscles and allow your mind to aid your birthing). As I became more and more attuned and present in my body, everything else just started melting. I remember calling out to my mom and husband that I think they better put together the birthing tub we rented because this baby was coming faster than I expected.

Around 3:30, I met my much appreciated and loved birthing partner, the rented Aqua Doula birth tub. Instinctively, I sat in the same position polar bears do when they labor and rocked back and forth as my hubby rolled tennis balls on my lower back. The contractions were coming about every four minutes, and were strong already. During this time, I pictured this drawing our childbirth educator shared with us of an opening flower with a baby’s head in the center. With every rise, I imagined my body opening. At the advice of the doula that led the birth circle I joined, I also mentally said YES and THANK YOU to each tightening, yet opening feeling. Over the course of the next hour, the contractions began coming every 2 minutes. I was so deep in my body that I was having trouble coming out in between contractions to carry on conversation. My husband (or my mom?) called our doula. By the time she arrived, the contractions that were bringing my beautiful baby closer to us were only 90 seconds apart. It was around this time that I started chanting. A deep, moan-y, unstructured chant come from deep within my soul each time another came on. I am told most times, I was harmonizing with the brilliant global, rhythmic birth music mix my husband made. It makes me smile that even in labor, I was creating harmonies.  

Dreamlike, my midwife somehow arrived. About 5 hours into labor, I moved into our bedroom and asked her to check my progress. Luckily, I was 7 centimeters dilated and about 90% effaced. I say luckily because it is extraordinary, hard work. If I had gotten news that I wasn’t progressing as quickly as it felt like I should be, I imagine it would have been very discouraging. I feel for women who labor in hospitals and are forced into frequent and disruptive vaginal exams. Back to the tub I went where hubby resumed rubbing my back with tennis balls, which at this point was adding to the intensity. Apparently, I couldn’t control my volume when I struggled to focus long enough to ask (demand?) he STOP THE BALLS. I started picturing this spiral charm our childbirth educator gifted us. I traced in my mind its grooves while internally chanting with each contraction, “I am connected to every woman before me and every woman after”, the power and poignancy of which fueled me.

About an hour later, I was fading. I had gotten sick earlier in the day and the thought of eating again made my stomach churn. The only energy I was adding was in the form of frozen cubes of cranberry juice. My arms were tired from holding my position, and I struggled with the most challenging part of my birth…not knowing when it would be over. It is a bit like running a marathon without ever knowing just how long a marathon race is. I felt like if I just knew when I would see a finish line I could pace myself. Contractions were still coming every 90 seconds and lasting about 60 seconds. With only half a minute to rest between each, I desperately needed to know. I went back to our bedroom so our midwife could examine me. At 9 centimeters dilated and completely effaced, it seems I was somewhere around mile 20. Relief flooded me; the baby’s almost here. After the exam, the bag of waters in which my little girl so gracefully swam about for 9 months released. About 10 minutes later, I started pushing.

Because active labor was so manageable for me, I was completely overwhelmed by the intensity of pushing. Guttural screams escaped my tired throat each and every push. I was still lying on my side on our bed; eyes shut, I felt paralyzed. It was so intense that I was letting contractions pass without a push. My midwife and doula were encouraging me to try a new position, but I couldn’t move. I struggled to cry, but couldn’t find tears. Comfort comes when you most need it I suppose, because at that moment I heard a small clap of thunder and a downpour of rain. When I opened my eyes, I noticed my mom had moved a tray of candles into the bedroom and they were softly illuminating the Buddha statue on my dresser. The sound of rain and a candlelit Buddha saved me. I finally moved from the bed, sat on the birthing stool my midwife set up on my favorite rug and leaned against my sweet love husband. Finally, I reached down to find the baby was crowning. I remember hearing my mom say, “Oh, her head is out now!” Another push at 12:25am, and Carolena Frances Benelli joined the world. I looked down at her, overcome with sheer wonder and joy.

We wanted to leave her umbilical cord attached as long as possible so that she would benefit from the rich nutrients still pulsing through from the placenta. Maybe because of this, or maybe because I was just so exhausted, it was another hour and a half before I birthed the placenta. Carolena nursed and then snuggled with her grandma so I could clean up. Perhaps the most romantic moment of my life was my husband coming into the shower and cleaning my body after I gave birth to our daughter. I felt so loved and cared for in that moment. I came out of the shower to fresh sheets and a cleaned room. Our little love weighed in at 9 pounds, 3 ounces, and measured 21 1/2 inches. Around 3:30 in the morning, our midwife and doula went home, and the new grandma went to sleep in the other room. Hubby and I snuggled in with our new little angel and enjoyed our first night of sleep together.

There is not a single thing I would change about the beautiful way our daughter joined the world. Seriously, how many times did I describe something as beautiful in this account? There just aren’t many other words for it. I am so grateful for the information available that allowed us to truly make conscious choices for Carolena’s birth, and that I found the perfect birth team for me (thanks Pauline, Marin, Nancy, Anne, Mom, Chris, and all the wonderful women I’ve met before the birth and since who encouraged me). I would birth naturally, and at home as many times as my husband will agree to pregnancies J.  When I tell the story, women are shocked that I “made it through natural childbirth”. To the women that think I am somehow MORE powerful than they, I would just like to say YOU’RE WRONG! My body is no different, and the power that enabled me to birth in the way it was intended is in every woman. The only difference between us is mental; I know what is possible for every woman and every baby. I learned that it is as true in birth as in life…you have the experience you intend to have. And mine was just beautiful. 

Stephanie B.

Image by Megan Hancock Photography

Let Me Help You Create The Happiest Birth Experience Of Your Life...

Whether you're a first time or experienced momma, planning a VBAC

Or a midwife, doula, or birth professional guiding mommas..

Regardless if you are intending to birth at home, a hospital, a birth center or need a cesarean section, or if you are taking another childbirth education class…

You Really Can Create The Delivery Of Your Dreams, ROCK your VBAC

And have a blissful birth wherever you are.

More Precious Than A Wedding...A Birth Should Be A Celebration!

Let me show you how to…

  • Understand the sensations of your body and connect your intuition with how your body is communicating and leading you towards what to do during labor
  • Tap into your inner calm to deeply relax yourself,letting go of busy, stressful and fearful thoughts on demand for the health of baby
  • Speak your truth from your heart in a way that deepens your relationships, sets clear boundaries, and has people listen to you and support you before, during and after pregnancy
  • Trust yourself, connect with your body wisdom andcommunicate with baby in belly
  • Connect with natural time and sync your body and mind up with your unique biological clock for ease from pregnancy to postpartum
  • Reprogram negative patterns, stories, and beliefs that undermine your confidence, strength and self trust so you can rock your birth

Physicians and midwives around the world recommend my teachings to their pregnant clients and many Doulas across the country learn the secrets of blissful birthing from me to supplement their Doula Training & Certification process!

To learn more, visit:  LOVE YOUR BIRTH Online Childbirth Course!

It is based on my years of experience, as a midwife and yoga teacher, helping thousands of women tap into their calm and live and birth from a place of grounded relaxation and joy. 

Welcome to my Online Health Dispensary

HEALTHY LIVING FOR HEALTHY WOMEN

My online dispensary is a convenient way for you to purchase my hand-picked, professional-grade, whole food supplements and other natural health products at discounted prices. Ordering is simple, and the products will be shipped directly to your home or work within a few days.

Review of Bellefit Postpartum Girdle

I was gifted with a Bellefit postpartum girdle and invited to write a review. You know, I can only keep it real. SO...here is my opinion with some basic information to help you decide whether this is right for you. Overall I was impressed, but I do want add some important points and caveats. Happily, I was able to partner with Bellefit so that you do get a discount of $20 Off with code: ANNE20 at checkout - if you purchase here.   

Healthy women’s bodies recover intuitively and naturally on their own time after childbirth, without needing a support garment. Although a mama's body really never does look the same as it did before she was pregnant, even when she eventually loses her pregnancy weight (she looks better!), I encourage you to love and embrace your beautiful postpartum body and the normal postpartum changes that you feel both physically and emotionally. I invite you to bask in the gratitude of your experience, as there are countless women who would do just about anything to have such a gift that you are blessed with. Know that you are not alone, and like billions of women before you and along with you, you will continue to recover each day and eventually return your non-pregnant state, but now as a mom. Welcome to the tribe of motherhood! I have been there with you - four times.

I have a holistic approach to life, including healing after pregnancy and birthing. Nothing replaces abdominal toning and exercise for restoring muscle strength and tone - which I encourage for all mamas as soon as they feel up to it postpartum. Nothing replaces touch, slow deep abdominal breathing, and a 'love your postpartum body' perspective that I promote.  But I have found many mamas simply feel comforted by this support garment, especially early postpartum and temporarily as needed....to be used without forfeiting abdominal toning and strengthening exercise, breathing well and touch. I have found Bellefit supportive garments to help like they use belly binding around the world such as in Indonesia. They do aid in early postpartum healing and provide support many mamas feel comforted by. I deal with human beings and the reality is many postpartum mom's struggle with body image, feel frustrated that getting back to themselves takes longer than expected. Being into holistic health and healing includes being sensitive to real human struggles - the mind, body, heart and soul of each person and their unique situation. Having helped countless women with these issues after having a baby as a midwife, I have found many still love that binding and feel better with this support, and ability to fit into their pre-pregnancy clothes comfortably and sooner than they would if they went through a C-section or natural childbirth recovery without it - especially when they have to dress up and fit into a certain favorite outfit for a special occasion or wedding not long after having a baby. The Bellefit girdle is really a wonderful adjunct to your postpartum tool kit.

Bellefit was founded in 2008 by a mom looking to help women have a positive recovery after childbirth. Bellefit is a mom owned brand, and was born out of a need to help women who need extra support after giving birth. The founder designed them to assist mothers like herself recover faster, help reduce pain and increase comfort.  Although many women are able to recover with ease, in addition to common discomforts and issues with changes in body image, there are many cases when a compression garment such as Bellefit helps a lot - like when women are faced with conditions such as Diastasis Recti, back pain or experience childbirth via C-Section, which is major abdominal surgery. It is the founder's hope to help provide this support to women who have experienced these challenging recovery journeys. 

The Bellefit girdles are recommended by many doctors and midwives, and have become so popular, even among celebrities - not that celebrity use matters to me.  The girdles are garments with Medical-grade compression and support that help in a variety of ways. They provide support for both your pendulous abdomen and back after pregnancy (especially helpful  after several babies), assist in releasing the increased fluids accumulated during pregnancy which reduces swelling, help relieve postpartum cramping, and enable you to move about, care for your baby and breastfeed more easily and comfortably. They also help to reduce incision pain after cesarean birth, and bring Diastasis Recti, the separation of abdominal muscles in pregnancy, back together. These benefits can result in feeling better emotionally, an important effect which is not to be taken lightly. When you are recovering well, you feel more at ease, more comfortable and have greater peace of mind, and can better enjoy this precious time of your life and bonding with your new baby.

You need to wear the girdle tightly around your torso, to maximize its benefits, following the birth of your baby.  The girdle should fit quite snugly around the midsection, which applies postpartum abdominal compression. It is this tightness and steady pressure around a your abdomen and lumbar region that helps aid in recovery and support after baby is born. It is this tightness and pressure that is even alleged to help straighten your spine and improve posture; but I have found osteopathic or chiropractic adjustment, and ongoing alignment based, strengthening yoga practice would be more effective modalities for this. The girdle is said to help your organs displaced in pregnancy go back to where they were a bit faster, but this will happen normally on its own with a dose of patience. The Bellefit girdle supposedly helps with lymphatic drainage and removal of toxins but I have not found evidence for this; and it allegedly compresses and decreases enlargement of fat cells, but really, the most effective way to lose excess weight and get back into shape is healthy eating and regular exercise. 

Many women report liking its corset style, feeling that it is more comfortable than imagined. It has convenient flap with hooks in your groin area, and it so well made that it does not roll down your back or roll up your buttocks. This fabric itself feels nice and soft on your skin and the clips hold together very well. It can look and feel quite sexy by itself. and it can be worn under clothing without being visible. It does seem to run small so make sure you get the size that is best for you. It's tight fit may take some getting used to, but overall mamas come to really like it.

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It is available in a variety of styles - duel closure, corset, girdle zipper, pull up - ranging in price from $72.50 to $145, and Bellefit sells other garments for support during pregnancy. I do like the garment for support and alleviating back and low pelvic discomfort during pregnancy as well - I have also found it effective to keep breech babies turned vertex, stay vertex, and help like a Rebozzo in long non progressing labors, assist baby's head to be better applied to the cervix for uterine contractions to more effectively result in dilatation and descent - especially mamas with lax abdominal tone and pendulous abdomens, after several pregnancies without toning in between. Bellefit has great customer service. They will help you with sizing and answer your questions promptly, which is why it is ideal to order directly from them rather than Amazon for example.

Have a Great Postpartum Recovery (with a little help from Bellefit)! I am thrilled to announce that you get a $20 Off with code: ANNE20 at checkout - if you purchase here.   

Have a Great Postpartum Recovery (with a little help from Bellefit)! I am thrilled to announce that you get a $20 Off with code: ANNE20 at checkout - if you purchase here.   

For additional information, watch testimonials on Bellefit's YouTube channel and remember, if you decide to purchase, you get a $20 Off with code: ANNE20 at checkout by clicking hereHave a Great Postpartum Recovery (with a little help from Bellefit)!

 

 

 

 

Supplements I Take Daily & My Recommendations For Pregnancy

I am often asked what supplements do I recommend and why. I like to recommend what I do, and do what I recommend. I must believe in something and love it, in order to promote it. And when I find gold I like to share it so others can benefit. I have given birth to four babies. I was too nauseous to supplement in the first trimester each time, but when that passed, as far back as I can remember, I was very devoted to eating and living healthfully. And I took my supplements daily. I was blessed with feeling wonderful vitality and rarely got sick - even when a bug was going around my house. I knew my well-being had a lot to do with my habits, and my supplements played a huge role. Getting my little ones to supplement as I did was challenging; I was happy when they took the basics. My husband did not take any supplements, no matter what I said. He just wasn’t interested. But he was sick often and still remain unsurprised. I just love to feel awesome, and once I touched that feeling, I wanted to keep it, and help others feel their absolute best.

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So what’s my supplement magic? I take whole food organic supplements from trusted, high quality, professional grade companies - like Innate or New Chapter. I take a multivitamin/mineral combination, vitamin C, B complex, CoQ10, Bone Strength with calcium, magnesium, potassium and D. I also take Nordic Naturals or Vital Choice omega three fatty acids DHA/EPA from wild caught fish in waters tested free of toxic pollution, and natural immune support. I take this every day, and additional natural remedies as needed periodically. Since I am not pregnant, my recommendations for pregnant women are different, and mentioned here. This is what I took and would take if I would be pregnant.  I recommend these to pregnant family members and friends, as well as to the mamas who seek my care.

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How Our World Has Changed

Our ancestors did not take supplements. I often wonder if we are healthier than our ancestors or not. Modern day living has benefits, but also comes at great cost to our well-being on many levels. Although we have more knowledge now, growth had deleterious consequences.. As the population increased, consumerism increased, along with the over use of resources without awareness or concern for the effects, and the world has more pollution now. Processing and pesticides have increased, which adds toxicity to the food that is not as nutrient-dense as it was in the past when we ate from small local farms, wild growing produce and gardens.

Organic whole food is basically eating real food as it was before it was sprayed with chemicals, highly processed and refined. Animals are given grains sprayed with unmonitored pesticides to fatten them up cheaply, hormones to boost milk production, and antibiotics to treat infection that develops from overproduction of milk and inability to be active from confinement. At one time, animals were free to roam pastures, free to eat their natural, varied green diet and use their muscles.

Pasteurization came about to increase shelf life of dairy, but it destroys the enzymes needed to digest and process milk, as well as its vitamins. The mass production and industrialization food also messes up the soil which further contributes to the lessening of essential nutrients it used to have, which made the food nutrient-rich naturally. So much of what is called now, is so refined that its original form is gone. The outer part of grains, for example, is removed and processed down to get white flour, which is basically sugar without the nutrients and fiber. Then they supplement it with synthetic vitamins, artificial dyes to make it look more appealing to sell, chemicals to alter it and preservatives so it lasts longer from factory transport to the supermarket shelves.  Most products labeled as food found in the middle idles of typical supermarkets and fast-food restaurants have ingredients many can not pronounce, let alone recognize, and are laded with various forms of sugar and unhealthy fats. This has contributed to a wide array of symptoms of dis-ease and multiple health problems from obesity, lactose and gluten intolerance to mental illness, inflammatory conditions, adult onset diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, hypertension and cancer.

The standard diet is really empty of needed nutrition and most busy, stressed-out moms in the modern world, do not eat all of what is needed for the health of themselves and their pregnancy, even if they try to eat healthfully.

Many articles you read today will mention how we have gotten away from a hands-on lifestyle. We don't grow our own food anymore and have moved into a place of what is convenient and affordable...at least in the short term. What people may not realize, is the higher cost of eating healthfully today, pays off with huge savings from healthier lives, and less need for medical care over the the long haul.

It's actually a really exciting time right now because we are recognizing that we need to slow down and cultivate a lifestyle based on mindfulness. It's not just theory anymore, as it's more popular than ever to live a life of awareness. This includes consciously incorporating raw, whole foods into our daily diet, and removing toxins that can be found in processed foods, beauty and cleaning products.

Many of us recognize that we have grown out of alignment with our true nature and it's time to get back to our original design.... get back in touch with the cyclic nature of our human bodies, our minds and our spirits.

“Centripetal energy is the grounding force that makes women the centers of their households. When a woman elevates her life for the better, her entire family benefits because she sets a new level of awareness and clarity in the home. Good nutrition is one of the central pillars of a healthy pregnancy.” - “Bountiful, Beautiful, Blissful: Experience the Natural Power of Pregnancy and birth with Kundalini Yoga and Meditation”, Gurmukh Kau Khalsa

Start With The 80-20 rule

The 80-20 rule means that at least 80% of the food you eat should be whole and unprocessed and hopefully organic. Moderation is important. It is more realistic and doable, if most, not all of of your food is whole food, varied and organic. Enjoy the other 20% without the guilt. Hopefully you will also enjoy the 80% as well as I do.

Most of the nutrients we get are going to be from the food we eat. Colorful, whole foods are going to be the bulk of what provides the most benefit. As Dr. Christiane Northrup says, we can eat well most of the time as well as leave some wriggle room.  "Eat a low-glycemic diet that keeps blood sugar stable and contains adequate protein, essential fats, and micronutrients." - Dr Northrup.

For my dietary recommendations in detail, I suggest downloading my 'Healthy Living Tips' here and get a free peak at what is inside my Love Your Birth online course.

Supplements are an important part of any healthy and holistic lifestyle. Even with the best diet of whole grains, greens and proteins, our bodies still need additional help in supporting a well nourished body and life. Especially during pregnancy, when all of a woman's nutrients are needed to support not only mama, but also passed to the developing baby, it's necessary to supplement a healthy balanced diet.

 

I love helping a mama at such a time as pregnancy, when she is so eager to make changes towards a healthier lifestyle for herself, her baby and her family. My 'Healthy Pregnancy Starter Kit Package' includes the premium hand-picked supplements and comprehensive recommendations that the women in my practice have used and benefited from over the years, with great success - and they are listed below.

 

Supplements I Recommend (available in my online Health Dispensary at discount)

“What prenatal vitamins do I recommend?” and “What do I suggest you do to achieve the best health in pregnancy?” are actually two of the most common questions I get.

Pregnant mamas are so motivated to make healthy changes for themselves, their babies and growing families – and it is one of my passions to help them with this.

  • Prenatal multivitamins with minerals - My favorite brands are Innate Response or New Chapter.
    • For women that aren't pregnant or breastfeeding both brands above make wonderful multivitamins with minerals.
  • Fish oil - free of pollutants; at least 300mg combined DHA/EPA, 1-2 times daily -Nordic Naturals and Vital Choice are top quality brands, as is Innate Response and New Chapter
  • Vitamin D3 - 1000-2000 units daily or 4000 units per day if blood levels are low, with Calcium and Magnesium – the amounts I advise are dependent upon diet and lifestyle evaluation.  - again, I recommend Innate Response or New Chapter Bone Strength (makes Tiny Tablets many find easy to swallow).
  • Herbal iron - as needed, especially with low iron stores and advancing pregnancy. The dose is dependent upon labs and evaluation of symptoms. As a wonderful adjunct to the supplements, superfoods, like powdered or freshly juiced greens can be added to veggies and fruit smoothies. Herbal sources of iron like nettle or yellow dock root can be made in the form of a drinkable infusion. Innate Response and New Chapter are fine, but I have had great results with Floradix in liquid or tablet form.
  • Probiotics – Colon and urogenital-specific, mega-probiotics have been demonstrated to help prevent group B vaginal strep that normally live in the lower intestines. If group B strep grows in the vaginal canal during pregnancy, it can increase the risk of potentially serious newborn infection if exposed in labor/birth - I have had much success with Klaire Labs Prothera Therbiotic. 
    • When not pregnant , there are other formulas to maintain a healthy balance of good flora. Probiotics help boost your immune system after taking antibiotics; also, they help with intestinal issues and other health conditions.
  • Drink the following herbal infusion daily, which is rich in needed nutrients and is specifically nourishing for pregnancy, birth and postpartum.
    • Place 1 oz of dried red raspberry leaf, 1 oz of dried nettle leaf in a quart-sized glass canning jar, fill it with boiling water, cover and steep for at least 2-4 hours at room temperature. Strain and place in a covered pitcher. You can make it in larger quantities and store in the fridge.
    • For taste, dilute with water or steep for less time (but no less than half an hour), add lemon or lime juice, mint leaves or a teaspoon of honey. Drink 1-4 cups daily, hot or cold
    • I use Frontier Organic herbs in my pregnancy starter kit, which includes canning jar and strainer, or you can grow and dry your own.

The Mind-Body Connection

In conclusion, supplements are just that.... supplemental... to a mindful, well-balanced nutrition plan. Also, the thoughts we think and the perspective we carry during pregnancy works with our bodies and what we put into it.

Putting good thoughts and positive energy into our minds, are a great supplement to the way we nourish our bodies during this special time! 

The 80-20 rule teaches us that there is not such thing as perfection. Every woman that I work with is doing the best she can and I encourage all women to take this time to slow down, listen to her body and take things one step at a time. Any positive choice incorporated is a great one. 

For further inspiration during and after pregnancy, please make sure to click here to receive my complimentary 60 page Guide to Healthy Living ebook. 

Photo by Megan Hancock Photography

Photo by Megan Hancock Photography

Let Me Help You Create The Happiest Birth Experience Of Your Life...

Whether you're a first time or experienced momma,

Or a midwife, doula, or birth professional guiding mommas..

Regardless if you are planning a birth at home, a hospital, a birth center or need a cesarean section, or if you are taking another childbirth education class…

You Really Can Create The Delivery Of Your Dreams.

And have a blissful birth wherever you are.

More Precious Than A Wedding...A Birth Should Be A Celebration!

Let me show you how to…

  • Understand the sensations of your body and connect your intuition with how your body is communicating and leading you towards what to do during labor
  • Tap into your inner calm to deeply relax yourself,letting go of busy, stressful and fearful thoughts on demand for the health of baby
  • Speak your truth from your heart in a way that deepens your relationships, sets clear boundaries, and has people listen to you and support you before, during and after pregnancy
  • Trust yourself, connect with your body wisdom and communicate with baby in belly
  • Connect with natural time and sync your body and mind up with your unique biological clock for ease from pregnancy to postpartum
  • Reprogram negative patterns, stories, and beliefs that undermine your confidence, strength and self trust so you can rock your birth

Physicians and midwives around the world recommend my teachings to their pregnant clients and many Doulas across the country learn the secrets of blissful birthing from me to supplement their Doula Training & Certification process!

To learn more, visit:  LOVE YOUR BIRTH Online Childbirth Course!

It is based on my years of experience, as a midwife and yoga teacher, helping thousands of women tap into their calm and live and birth from a place of grounded relaxation and joy. 

It’s wonderful alone, a great refresher or adjunct to any other course!

Welcome to my Online Health Dispensary

Healthy Living for Healthy Women

My online dispensary is a convenient way for you to purchase my hand-picked, professional-grade, whole food supplements and other natural health products at discounted prices. Ordering is simple, and the products will be shipped directly to your home or work within a few days.

Click here to enter my dispensary at Fullscript.

Click here to enter my dispensary at Fullscript.

I have listed my recommended prenatal supplements in the PRENATAL SUPPORT section, but you can search their catalog for other supplements and natural remedies as well.

You can also access your personalized prescriptions and dosage instructions for the products that have been recommended for you after a consultation.

Open an account and receive my 10% discount today, on all your purchases!

I am passionate about changing lives. This 44-day course is changing lives. Vital Mind Reset is a program that will hold your hand and help you heal your life without a prescription. It will also introduce you to a community of people just like you – all working to transform their lives and revive their power and joy. Be a part of this community. Be a part of something greater and get yourself back! This course is a must, by renowned holistic psychiatrist Dr. Kelly Brogan, author of NY Times best seller 'A Mind Of Your Own', a dear friend and trusted colleague I can vouch for personally and support whole heartedly. 

I am passionate about changing lives. This 44-day course is changing lives. Vital Mind Reset is a program that will hold your hand and help you heal your life without a prescription. It will also introduce you to a community of people just like you – all working to transform their lives and revive their power and joy. Be a part of this community. Be a part of something greater and get yourself back! This course is a must, by renowned holistic psychiatrist Dr. Kelly Brogan, author of NY Times best seller 'A Mind Of Your Own', a dear friend and trusted colleague I can vouch for personally and support whole heartedly. 

Get a 10% discount on your Sleepod purchases at askrembla.com -use the code SWEETHOME to get your discount. 

Get a 10% discount on your Sleepod purchases at askrembla.com -use the code SWEETHOME to get your discount. 

The Unnecesarean Birth Story: How It Might Have Been Prevented

Sweet mama Toki submitted her birth story for me to share, but when I read it, I felt the sadness amidst the joy of having a baby. I felt I needed to embrace Toki with much love, compassion, and support. And then came the outrage. I hear stories like these all too often, and every time I feel this way. I do not like to judge any provider or mama doing her best with what is known and faced at the time, unless I have been in their shoes...which is never. I know what happened was meant to happen, because it did; and I do believe it was a gift even though we do not always understand why, nor comprehend each of our soul's unique journey. Nevertheless, I told her I could only post her story if I could write how as a midwife, I would have dealt with a situation like hers, and she agreed I could add my editorial. My comments are based only what she reported. I am forever grateful to modern medicine when medical and surgical intervention are truly needed for serious illness or life threatening complications. But when they are used on healthy pregnant women having healthy babies, I speak up about avoiding unnecessary risky procedures and major abdominal surgery, I speak up about prevention, and I speak up to support mamas who have had such experiences. 

Mama said she was "tremendously scared about the entire pregnancy... It was my first and I was 38 years old. Everything was frightening to me including the tests, the OB visits, and the internal ultrasound! Mostly, I was afraid that something would happen to my baby. I was always in a state of worry. I worried about the heartbeat, if she was getting squished inside me... all those silly crazy things that we worry about!" When a mama has such anxiety and fears, it concerns me; they must be addressed comprehensively throughout the pregnancy, as they negatively impact labor, birth and life. Sometimes all that is needed is some education and calm reassurance; but in many cases, we need to take a look at lifestyle as a whole, ways to reduce stress and enhance a more relaxed inner world. I also draw upon many holistic modalities, depending on the needs of each individual.  I would definitely urge hiring a wonderful doula and taking my Love Your Birth online course!

But there are red flags here, that make me question the entire philosophy of maternity care that has become standard. Healthy women today over 35 are unnecessarily placed in a high risk category simply because of their age, and are scared into an array of testing to screen for problems. Looking for problems when there are none or there is a very low chance of having them, alone creates anxiety. Also aside from the prevalent horror stories of others who birthed in typical hospitals and the media hype and dramatization, many modern women have not been exposed to normal birth as women supported women during the process throughout history, before birth was moved to the hospital setting in the 1900s. There is much fear in the unknown. Another characterization of today's mom is disempowerment to a patriarchal system, placing full trust in technology and modern medicine rather than confidence in herself as a woman and the process of childbearing. That being said, we are a generation bereft of spiritual connection, with a false expectation of perfect outcome always, without tolerance or ability to cope with anything less.  

"Saturday morning, I wake up with this crazy urge. Pee. I get up, or rather I roll out of bed and head to the bathroom (I am on my 38th week of pregnancy). Everything goes as normal, so I head back to bed.

Check the time… it’s 3:30 am. I’m lying there WIDE awake at this point, just trying to flop around and get comfortable when I feel a small warm surge flow out of my “va-jay-jay”. Whoa... Felt like I went an extra tinkle, it happened before. No biggie. Then, this warm surge happens again and once more but on the latter, it was a wee bit more or a LOT more! I whack my partner on the bum and say, “I think my water broke!” Of course, I have no clue and I was freaking out. Normal, right?! I roll out of bed and the moment I stand up completely, a much larger surge flows out! Yet, I am still clueless and asking out loud if my water broke because, again, I am freaking out."

I do my part to prevent mamas in my practice from freaking out about a normal sign of labor, as I make sure they are well prepared about what to expect, and to embrace it with calm.  I want mamas to be empowered with the brilliant wisdom they possess within, so they are not clueless, so they do not become scared - but rather are excited about the adventure ahead. Also, at 3:30 am in the middle of the night, if the fluid is clear and all is well, mamas need to feel relaxed to go back to bed so they are well rested for the challenging work of labor.

"Could it be true? Is this really happening? I don’t know what to do, what to think and want dearly for this not to be happening. Back to the story, I went into the bathroom to see what this was and my bottoms were fairly soaked with a slimy type substance. And as I am standing there, more is coming out. By this time, my partner is up and waking my mom up because it’s time! I make the call to my OB office and they said for me to come in immediately."

To go the hospital immediately after suspected water breaking, without other signs of labor, is a set up for induction that often fails, resulting in a cesarean birth - which can usually be avoided if managed differently. That is what this mama was told by her obstetrician. Maybe the hospital or malpractice insurance has these policies. But this is not evidence based care. This is not in the best interest of mother or baby. Unless there is an emergency, something wrong or cause for concern, a reassuring phone call which includes basic assessment and guidance, would be all that is needed, with follow up in the morning after a night's sleep. I also like to make sure it was not simply the outer bag of fore waters that commonly breaks prelabor - which is often mistaken for the main sac of amniotic fluid.  Babies are double wrapped in the chorion and amniotic membranes. There can be up to 2 tablespoons of fluid between them, which can make a pancake size stain on mama's clothing, if the first outer sac breaks. If indeed it was the main inner bag of amniotic fluid that broke, there is usually a puddle, or as if you poured a few cups of water on your pad, panties, or surface beneath you; and that puts mama on the clock to birth before a certain time in which the risk of infection increases. But there is time to wait for mama to go into labor as most do, and natural remedies to try before rushing to medical treatment. There is time in the morning to discuss the pros and cons of watchful waiting versus induction in the hospital, for informed decision making.

"I change while my mom is getting ready and I am standing there chanting, “I can’t do this, please, why did I do this to myself, I don’t think I can do this!” Over and over… Side note: I was saying why did I do this to myself because I went through a IUI process to become pregnant. If you are interested, you can read my pre-pregnancy story here - https://www.rockthebabybump.com/intrauterine-insemination/ "

I do wish I was in mama's range here, to whisper repeatedly "Yes you absolutely CAN do this, like the billions of women who birthed before you. since the beginning of time," and remind her of her capacities when she doubted it.

"My mom, just listening to me, says, “Get in the car because I am not calling the wammbulance to come get you.” Yes, mom, real funny. Oddly enough, amongst all my chanting and on the drive, I was feeling NO pain. When I calmed down, I was still feeling nothing. The car ride was filled with even more chanting and just talking to myself about how I can’t believe this is happening. My mom, just smiling.

At The Hospital!

We get to the hospital and check in. At the hospital, everyone is being so nice. Too nice. I wasn’t expecting this kind of treatment. I actually didn’t know what to expect. All the nurses were just making sure I was as comfortable as possible. (Emerson Hospital in Concord, Ma. was where I had my baby girl.) My OB came in, did the ultrasound and tested my amniotic fluid. It’s a GO! Next I am being hooked up to all the many monitors to make sure the baby has a heart beat and mine hasn’t exploded! Next, they need to know how far along am I. Pelvic exam. Let me preface this by saying I am NOT a fan of pelvic exams. Who is? But for me, it’s just not a happy time for me. Painful."

The evidence does not support internal exams prior to labor, in a healthy women whose main bag of amniotic fluid has broken and the amniotic fluid has released. The word broken implies something is wrong that needs to be fixed, when it is all as right as can be. Internal exams increase the risk of infection, which is what we want to avoid or at least minimize. Especially when such a woman who is not having surges or waves of contractions looks this happy, I do not need to do a pelvic exam to determine what is going on.  She is not in labor.  Period. I do like to confirm that the main bag is intact or not and releasing clear amniotic fluid (this can often be done by history and assessing fluid on the pad), there is no sign of infection and check baby's heartbeat, but there is no need for ultrasound. Basic hand skills to assess the uterus and baby via mama's belly are sufficient...unless there is a concern.

"So when it came time to see where I was at in dilation, well it wasn’t pleasant. My OB attempted the exam and an epic deathly scream filled the air. Failure. My OB walked right out of the room saying only, “get the epidural!”. She stated I was NOT dilated past 1 cm. As a result, the nurses had me going through a 10 hour regime of walking, squatting, bouncing on a medicine ball, hugging that medicine ball and just trying everything under the sun to get my body to dilate. Not happening. After all was said and done, I never dilated."

I value talking to the moms in my care as human beings, and discussing my findings and possible options with them. And there is no failure in labor. Zero. I cringe at the word. I would not expect you to dilate when you are not having waves of contractions/expansions, and I would not expect you to go into labor under this stressful pressure. Animals in the wild do not labor well when afraid or stressed, nor do humans. The mind and body are intricately connected. And the facts speak for themselves. Here is an anxious first time mom whose main bag of amniotic fluid has released presumptively, and is not yet having other signs of labor. Normal findings. Go home (even if you are planning a hospital birth) and do what you can to relax, cuddle, have fun, eat, drink, stay active but make sure to rest, prevent and monitor for infection. Most mamas go into labor naturally within 24 hours, a small percent by 48 hours, rarely longer. This is what you can do to help bring it on. These are the risks and benefits of watchful waiting versus medical induction. And we stay in touch.  

"Leading up to getting myself and the epidural ready, I was being induced with Pitocin. (My water broke only but I was not in labor. If that is even possible?!). With being induced, I started to feel the twisting and straining of labor. Not bad until the dosage was being raised higher and higher and then the pain. I was then offered, laughing gas. Never heard of this and surely didn’t think this would ever work for the pain of labor. I had a myriad of questions about this but the main one, will this hurt my baby? They assured me that inhaling this does not hurt the baby but helps with the pain. I was given the mask and told to breathe it in very deeply. I remember taking 3 deep breaths in and on the third I felt my entire body just instantly relax."

Yes, mama, it is normal - sometimes your water breaks before labor. And now there is the medication Pitocin creating contractions that are more painful than natural ones. Natural oxytocin secreted in labor stimulates the top of the uterus to contract so the bottom part, known as the cervix, thins and opens for baby to be born; this also leads to the production of opiate like hormones, beta-endorphins, that naturally lessen pain and produce a high that is reported after natural childbirth. The natural hormonal balance within the bodies of mama and baby has been disrupted here. There are serious short and long term consequences to this disruption that are downplayed and even disregarded by many in the medical world. For a wonderful discussion about the hormones of labor and the importance of not disturbing them, check out this amazing book by physician Dr. Sarah Buckley. ->

"My hand holding the mask dropped and I began to literally laugh. Laugh in a tone I have never heard before. So loud that the nurses had to ask my mom if this was normal! It was not normal, I could not control this screeching high pitched laugh at all. I had NO control over my body. It struck me as so funny that I could not control a thing and felt so relaxed... I was just as fine as can be with no pain. All I could feel was extreme pressure.

By then 15 hours passed, exhaustion set in and I was asked that dreaded question (meaning I knew it was going to be a c-section), “Do you want to have this baby?” I replied, “Yes.” I was truly and utterly exhausted, though. So it began, the preparation for getting ready for the c-section. Just breath, the anesthesiologist said right before he slid the needle in my lower back. I didn’t jerk nor did I feel any pain. Just a prick. Felt like a rush of cold water flowing down my back but from the inside. Almost immediately my legs went limp and felt as if they weighed 100 pounds each! It was the oddest feeling to see my legs yet couldn’t move them or have control. While the team was prepping for the procedure, I started to regain feeling in my right leg. Not sure why but the anesthesiologist had said that my spine was twisted slightly in the middle of my back. So right before I was taken into the birthing room, I had ANOTHER epidural done. I was completely numb at this point. My legs felt like lead weights, made me laugh that I could not move them no matter how hard I tried."

The cascade of interventions had already begun when admitted to the hospital. I am not surprised about the cesarean. Mama was not given much of a chance, even to have a vaginal birth. Of course she was exhausted. She had been up since 3:30 am and scared. 15 hours in the hospital under this duress probably seemed like forever. I totally get why mamas in this position just want it over with. 

"Into the operating room I went with only my partner. Upsettingly, my mom was not allowed in the room. It was a small room with white walls and 1 door in and out. I had one hand on my OB, the entire time. I was scared and felt so alone…I was also administered a spinal tap at this point. I was so out of it by now that I didn’t question why I even needed that… as well as why I needed morphine."

I am a huge advocate of what is termed the gentle cesarean, in which humanity is restored to the operating room. More and more providers are doing it. Mama can have her so needed support with her, and in this case, would include her mom as well as her partner. No mama should feel scared and alone, especially during a surgical birth. The drapes are lowered so mama is involved and can see her birth, baby is supported in gently emerging on its own from the incision (to simulate passage through the birth canal), into mama's hands and skin to skin bonding. Baby is allowed to receive the cord blood via delayed optimal clamping, and early breastfeeding is encouraged.   

"What I Was Feeling?

I felt so drugged up and my mind was just so distant. I felt alone and so very nauseated. I was throwing up the entire time. Especially during the c-section. The only things I was feeling physically were the shaving, the harsh pushing (she was pushing hard on my chest for a while, knocking the air our me moments at a time) and a vacuum of sorts (for the blood I am guessing).

What Was I Hearing?

The first words I heard from my OB was, “Look at all that hair!”. Yes, she had a full head of hair. Then moments later, I hear my daughter's first sounds… her cry. The most beautiful sound I heard and I just lost it. I started asking for her and crying uncontrollably. I couldn’t see anything but my blue tarp! Then she came around the side and was brought right to my face to kiss, feel and just love. I almost don’t remember after this. I also never got skin to skin right away either. I felt so sad because they took her away and I didn’t see her for almost 45 minutes later. I was also so exhausted that I think I was sleeping most of that time, I was in and out. Granted, post birth, the doctors had to stitch me back up, make sure I was ok and clean up but I figured I would get some time with her right away. I felt a bit of a disconnect. Is that normal?"

Yes, sweet mama. It is totally normal and expected to feel this way, given what you went through. Aside from the powerful obvious effects of the medications, the delicate natural hormonal balance within your body, responsible for bonding and attachment has been disturbed. When you are given the medication Pitocin, it suppresses your own production of oxytocin, the love, bonding and attachment hormone. You can certainly compensate with breastfeeding and skin to skin bonding time as much as possible postpartum. But this explains why you felt disconnected at the time. Pediatrician Dr Sears gives some helpful suggestions here.  You CAN heal... which may take some time and lots of support. But there is no place for shame and negative self judgement. You ROCKED your birth like a rockstar, despite being challenged to the max, and this is something to be immensely proud of. You have the strength of a warrior, strength YOU possess and can draw on forever. 

 

"Overall, after all was said and done my little girl was healthy and well, just wanted to sleep. The next 5 days were of recovery and just learning the ropes of motherhood. I am sure that the mommy reading this knows all the highs as well as the lows. For having a c-section, I couldn’t get out of bed for the first couple days, so thankfully my mom was a huge help with feeding, changing and caring for my baby…I also got extremely nauseated and had vomiting for the first day post birth as well.. I couldn’t eat anything. Just drink water. BUT loved all those nurses, all hours of the night, who brought my pain meds every 4 hours because healing from this was extremely painful. But amongst all that pain, I had no feeling in my legs for a long while but I noticed they were put into a compression device, constantly being massaged to keep blood flowing for a good 24 hours post birth. It did feel good and after the feeling came back into my legs I was instructed to begin walking around… noting that my feet would most likely begin to swell. It was a double edge sword here because when I would walk, my feet became so swollen that it merged with the width of my calf! Then they told me to put my feet up but yet I was supposed to be walking as much as possible. That double edge sword.

 

Home

After this week at the hospital was over, I headed home with my new baby girl and began a life changing feat that I just absolutely love. Well, sometimes.

 

Anani Pearl 7 lbs. 9 oz. 20 inches long

 

My name is Toki, mommy of Anani. Thank you for being a part of my little story… for me mothering will always involve long hours, heavy physical work and the type of worry that could bring down an elephant if put into a dart gun. I'm here to cultivate a sense of inner support to calm our mini little storms. You can read more about me and my family here: www.rockthebabybump.com ."

Toki, you are one amazing woman! Thank you for sharing your story and for allowing me to use it to raise awareness, empower and support other mamas, and do my part in helping to lower our country's soaring rates of cesarean births, especially those that could be prevented. Rather than creating more fear, I want to create more voices, who speak up respectfully in knowledgebale support of themselves, their babies and their families. Thank you for creating a blog to support other mamas.  

Image by Megan Hancock Photography

Let Me Help You Create The Happiest Birth Experience Of Your Life...

Whether you're a first time or experienced momma, planning a VBAC

Or a midwife, doula, or birth professional guiding mommas..

Regardless if you are intending to birth at home, a hospital, a birth center or need a cesarean section, or if you are taking another childbirth education class…

You Really Can Create The Delivery Of Your Dreams, ROCK your VBAC

And have a blissful birth wherever you are.

More Precious Than A Wedding...A Birth Should Be A Celebration!

Let me show you how to…

  • Understand the sensations of your body and connect your intuition with how your body is communicating and leading you towards what to do during labor
  • Tap into your inner calm to deeply relax yourself,letting go of busy, stressful and fearful thoughts on demand for the health of baby
  • Speak your truth from your heart in a way that deepens your relationships, sets clear boundaries, and has people listen to you and support you before, during and after pregnancy
  • Trust yourself, connect with your body wisdom andcommunicate with baby in belly
  • Connect with natural time and sync your body and mind up with your unique biological clock for ease from pregnancy to postpartum
  • Reprogram negative patterns, stories, and beliefs that undermine your confidence, strength and self trust so you can rock your birth

Physicians and midwives around the world recommend my teachings to their pregnant clients and many Doulas across the country learn the secrets of blissful birthing from me to supplement their Doula Training & Certification process!

To learn more, visit:  LOVE YOUR BIRTH Online Childbirth Course!

It is based on my years of experience, as a midwife and yoga teacher, helping thousands of women tap into their calm and live and birth from a place of grounded relaxation and joy. 

Get a 10% discount on your Sleepod purchases at askrembla.com -use the code SWEETHOME to get your discount. 

Get a 10% discount on your Sleepod purchases at askrembla.com -use the code SWEETHOME to get your discount. 

I am passionate about changing lives. This 44-day course is changing lives. Vital Mind Reset is a program that will hold your hand and help you heal your life without a prescription. It will also introduce you to a community of people just like you – all working to transform their lives and revive their power and joy. Be a part of this community. Be a part of something greater and get yourself back! This course is a must, by renowned holistic psychiatrist Dr. Kelly Brogan, author of NY Times best seller 'A Mind Of Your Own', a dear friend and trusted colleague I can vouch for personally and support whole heartedly.

I am passionate about changing lives. This 44-day course is changing lives. Vital Mind Reset is a program that will hold your hand and help you heal your life without a prescription. It will also introduce you to a community of people just like you – all working to transform their lives and revive their power and joy. Be a part of this community. Be a part of something greater and get yourself back! This course is a must, by renowned holistic psychiatrist Dr. Kelly Brogan, author of NY Times best seller 'A Mind Of Your Own', a dear friend and trusted colleague I can vouch for personally and support whole heartedly.

 

 

 

When Family is Against Your Home Birth Plan (or Using a Midwife at a Birth Center or Even Hospital)

Photo @diahpodcast

Photo @diahpodcast

 

Thanks to documentaries like The Business of Being Born and Orgasmic Birth, as well as celebrities like Alanis Morissette and Gisele Bundchen sharing their testimonies of ecstatic births at home, modern women all over the world are stepping into a positive experience of birthing their babies in out-of-hospital settings and sharing it all over the media; and more are returning to giving birth at home, where women have birthed their babies since the beginning of time. Home is still the most common setting to have a baby globally.

The Business of Being Born
Starring Mary Helen Ayres, Julia Barnett Tracy, Sylvie Blaustein

To begin, a little bit about homebirth

I believe many women and their families are not informed of homebirth or a midwifery model of care, and this is where much of the uncertainty and discomfort comes from when discussed among partners and family members.

Despite the latest statistics showing that a home birth with a qualified midwife is just as safe as birthing a baby at the hospital – if not safer – many are still apprehensive about the perceived risks involved.

Even so, women continue to birth at home because they feel the calling within their bodies, within their hearts, within their souls. Many women have shared with me that they desire greatly to have a home birth experience and know that it’s what they feel is best for them and for their babies. Many very educated professionals of all career types are making well researched and informed decisions to have homebirths with a midwife.

Photo by @yogawithalanna

Photo by @yogawithalanna

Although I am optimistic about healthcare moving in the direction of more prevalent home birth midwifery model of care, our society still expresses an opinion that babies are to be born in hospitals….

Or at the very least, in birth centers.

There is an overwhelming cultural belief in the United States that hospitals are the safest place to give birth, regardless of the extensive scientific data that planned homebirths with skilled midwives suggest otherwise. Numerous studies around the world have documented the safety of planned homebirth by trained professional midwives, with outcomes at least as good, if not better than those occurring in a hospital. 

This is especially true of women who have delivered vaginally before. The total slight increase newborn mortality risk of home birth is estimated to be 10 per 10,000 babies born at home, and that 1 in 1000 babies born at home may be adversely effected by the extra transport time in reaching advanced care in the hospital; the absolute risk is small however.

Although the United States spends the most money on obstetric care, it still ranks among the lowest of industrialized countries around the world in neonatal mortality and morbidity, and ranks quite low in maternal mortality and morbidity as well.

Countries that consistently demonstrate the best maternal and newborn outcomes have a large percentage of midwife led maternity care for healthy women experiencing normal pregnancies, which constitutes the vast majority.

These countries have a higher percentage of homebirth midwifery care with supportive hospital/medical transfer arrangements when needed, while the obstetricians attend to the women with high risk complications and serious illnesses, which is how they are educated as surgeons and medical doctors. 

When midwives and obstetricians work together as a team, both using their unique skills, knowledge, expertise and training, the outcomes for moms and babies are far superior. Midwives are trained in guarding the normalcy of pregnancy, birth and postpartum, not disturbing it when all is well, knowing when to compassionately observe with loving support, and when and how to use holistic remedies, or medical intervention only when necessary as a last resort; they are also educated in prevention, assessment and treatment of complications, which most times can be managed simply and naturally, but sometimes involves consultation or referral to an obstetrician.

Although unforeseen events and emergencies can occur in any birth setting (some of which can be best handled in a high-risk hospital), a low risk healthy woman entering the typical U.S. hospital expecting a normal vaginal birth is subjected to a routine barrage of procedures and interventions that dramatically increase the risk of complications and problems, with potentially longstanding physical and emotional ramifications for both mother and baby. 

There are many other benefits of homebirth midwifery care, in addition to safety, which provides an alternative to the impersonal, fear-based, law-suit prevention oriented medical and hospital care that has become prevalent in our society.

These benefits include but are not limited to:

·       the power of the human touch and presence

·       being surrounded by supportive people of a family’s own choosing

·       security in birthing in a familiar and comfortable environment of home

·       feeling less inhibited in expressing unique responses to labor (such as making sounds, moving freely, adopting positions of comfort, being intimate with her partner, nursing a toddler, eating and drinking as needed and desired, expressing or practicing individual cultural, valueand faith based rituals that enhance coping) -- all of which can lead to easier labors and births

·       not having to make a decision about when to go to the hospital during labor (going too early can slow progress and increase use of the cascade ofrisky interventions, while going too late can be intensely uncomfortable or even lead to a risky unplanned birth en route)

·       being able to choose how and when to include children (who are making their own adjustments and are less challenged by a lengthy absence of their parents and excessive interruptions of family routines)

·       enabling uninterrupted family boding and breastfeeding

·       huge cost savings for insurance companies and those without insurance

·       increasing the likelihood of having a deeply empowering and profoundly positive, life changing pregnancy and birth experience

 

Getting holistic prenatal through postpartum care and birthing in one’s own home attended by a skilled midwife, is a refuge for those who want to protect the normalcy and sanctity of pregnancy and birth.

Focusing on the normal, however, does not mean that problems go unrecognized or unattended; rather they are viewed as imbalances that need to be righted, not expected or feared. 

With that said, certain hazards do exist in all settings, whether childbirth occurs in or out of the hospital; and there are risks unique to each setting. 

Some of these risks will never be eradicated no matter what our state of technology or medical advancement. The practice of midwifery, nursing and medicine are not exact sciences and no assurances can be made regarding the results of examinations, diagnostic tests, treatments, procedures, or interventions.

It is impossible for any provider to guarantee a normal healthy birth, mother or baby. However, especially in our country, when “poor” outcomes occur at home, even if the outcome would have been the same if the birth were to have occurred in the hospital, the choice of homebirth is often called into question; yet when there is a “bad” outcome in the hospital, people rarely challenge the hospital care and are much less likely to question whether or not the same outcome would have occurred or been avoided if the mom birthed at home. If problems occur at home, a home birthing family will invariably be challenged by friends, family and other professionals as to the wisdom of your choice to have a homebirth.

It’s ok to question all options, and we are seeing more of that with hospital births and women searching for an alternative.

What to do when partners or families are not supportive of a home birth

 A partner or family that may not be on board

I have worked with women who gather as much information as possible and share it with their partner, in hopes of helping their partner understand where they are coming from. Sometimes these are the women, and I have also had partners of the pregnant mom feel very passionate about having a home birth although she wasn’t completely sure.

Photo by @diahpodcast

Photo by @diahpodcast

In my experience, when partners feel heard and validated, they oftentimes come around. This is through meeting with me as the months go by and having the opportunity to ask questions, get answers and receive support through the pregnancy process. But a woman who is unsure must dig deep, as she will labor best where she feels safe – and that may be the hospital; if her spouse is zealous, yet she agrees only intellectually, I am wary of her being able to relax and give birth at home.

Some extended family had homebirths themselves or are very supportive. But some are very against the idea, especially if it’s a situation they don’t fully understand, like going to a midwife or having a homebirth; and they may be very vocal about their opinions. If family members don’t have knowledge, direct experience with home or even natural birth, it understandably may not sit well with them and they have safety concerns.

I have dealt with these situations often as well.  Every situation is different.  It is not a time for the pregnant mama to get into debates defending her position. I help empower her to set boundaries and maintain a fortress of positivity around her. In some more challenging situations, after discussion, we agree that the couple does not need to tell their family they are planning a homebirth at all or until after birth. They can just say they are seeing a midwife, mention the back up hospital if asked - end of conversation. In most cases, I encourage expectant couples to bring their anti-homebirth family members to prenatal visits to ask me their questions and discuss with me their concerns. They see the licenses on the wall and medical equipment - like for labs, checking blood pressure and fetal heart rate – even if tucked away in the homey office setting, and they relax a bit; but most significantly, the more time we can spend together and they receive answers and feel lovingly validated, they come around to at least stop resisting; but many times I am amazed how they transform to offer support and even excitement around the upcoming homebirth. Some do tell me they won’t relax until it’s over and everyone is healthy – but then after the birth, they become big homebirth supporters, telling everyone how wonderful the experience was.

How to listen to your intuition when planning a homebirth

 This plays a large role as we discuss this topic. I have found that pregnancy is a sacred time and it’s important for women to keep their space sacred during this time.

Photo by @miniateam

Photo by @miniateam

Here are some ideas for keeping your space sacred:

·       Create your vision – Take some quiet time where you can close your eyes and relax. Take slow deep breaths, releasing on the exhale, and use your mind as a clean slate. Envision on that clean slate, the vision you have for you, your baby, and your birth. What does it look like, and more importantly, what does it feel like? Take notes in a journal or draw anything that helps to hold this vision. Spend time with this vision every day and hold a feeling of gratitude that’s already been delivered.

·       Share little with those who aren’t in alignment with you – A mama may have her partner, her midwife, her massage therapist and/or a few real close friends in her circle…. Be mindful about who you share your vision with, because not everyone is able to connect with high energy like this… and that’s ok…. It’s important to recognize that everyone is on their own journey, but you don’t have to lower your standards to make others feel more comfortable about your life choices. And you must avoid conversations or sometimes people who lead you to feel inner tension and fear, which does not serve you at all during this most sensitive time. Remember, it is your body, your birth, your baby, your life, not theirs.

·       Get comfortable setting boundaries – You may simply need to tell those stressful family members that you love them, you appreciate their concern, but you are pregnant and sensitive, trying to keep positive, relaxed and upbeat, and you’d rather not talk about it or get into any disagreement. Many women, myself included, have spent time in life accommodating others. This is not one of those times, and pregnancy can help women shed their fears, limiting beliefs, and negative habits. Pregnancy is a time for a woman to focus on herself and her baby and for some women, this may be the first time in her life when she experiences this. I give you permission to pleasantly exit the conversation, hang up the phone or leave the room if they do not honor your request. Most will eventually learn and stop harassing you.

·       Focus on surrounding yourself with positivity – this includes positive affirmations, inspirational birth stories, books, movies, radio shows, podcasts, and people. It’s important for you and your baby to keep stress low and spirits high…. Pregnancy provides an opportunity to release unconscious beliefs and emotions, so although it’s rarely a completely smooth ride, it’s one where you can always get back on board your wave of high vibes. Keep negative news media to a minimum and be mindful of toxic people that just don’t need your attention at this time.

Where and how a woman births her baby is her business…. Feel confident in listening to your body, your baby, and your intuition when it comes to this very special time. It’s not your job to convince anyone of anything, but only to show up for your own assignment… strengthen your faith muscles and know that you come from a long line of birthing women. I have helped many women over the years face the critic in their own minds and of others, and once they start listening to the voice of their inner truth, they let go and enjoy the ride.

Let Me Help You Create The Happiest Birth Experience Of Your Life...

Whether you're a first time or experienced momma,

Or a midwife, doula, or birth professional guiding mommas..

Regardless if you are planning a birth at home, a hospital, a birth center or need a cesarean section, or if you are taking another childbirth education class…

You Really Can Create The Delivery Of Your Dreams.

And have a blissful birth wherever you are.

More Precious Than A Wedding...A Birth Should Be A Celebration!

Let me show you how to…

  • Understand the sensations of your body and connect your intuition with how your body is communicating and leading you towards what to do during labor
  • Tap into your inner calm to deeply relax yourself,letting go of busy, stressful and fearful thoughts on demand for the health of baby
  • Speak your truth from your heart in a way that deepens your relationships, sets clear boundaries, and has people listen to you and support you before, during and after pregnancy
  • Trust yourself, connect with your body wisdom andcommunicate with baby in belly
  • Connect with natural time and sync your body and mind up with your unique biological clock for ease from pregnancy to postpartum
  • Reprogram negative patterns, stories, and beliefs that undermine your confidence, strength and self trust so you can rock your birth

Physicians and midwives around the world recommend my teachings to their pregnant clients and many Doulas across the country learn the secrets of blissful birthing from me to supplement their Doula Training & Certification process!

To learn more, visit:  LOVE YOUR BIRTH Online Childbirth Course!

It is based on my years of experience, as a midwife and yoga teacher, helping thousands of women tap into their calm and live and birth from a place of grounded relaxation and joy. 

Get a 10% discount on your Sleepod purchases ataskrembla.com-use the code SWEETHOME to get your discount. 

Get a 10% discount on your Sleepod purchases ataskrembla.com-use the code SWEETHOME to get your discount. 

I am passionate about changing lives. This 44-day course is changing lives. Vital Mind Reset is a program that will hold your hand and help you heal your life without a prescription. It will also introduce you to a community of people just like you – all working to transform their lives and revive their power and joy. Be a part of this community. Be a part of something greater and get yourself back! This course is a must, by renowned holistic psychiatrist Dr. Kelly Brogan, author of NY Times best seller 'A Mind Of Your Own', a dear friend and trusted colleague I can vouch for personally and support whole heartedly. 

I am passionate about changing lives. This 44-day course is changing lives. Vital Mind Reset is a program that will hold your hand and help you heal your life without a prescription. It will also introduce you to a community of people just like you – all working to transform their lives and revive their power and joy. Be a part of this community. Be a part of something greater and get yourself back! This course is a must, by renowned holistic psychiatrist Dr. Kelly Brogan, author of NY Times best seller 'A Mind Of Your Own', a dear friend and trusted colleague I can vouch for personally and support whole heartedly. 

A Mama Who Loved Her HomeBirth

"We recently had an amazing home birth and we would love to have it feature on your page. It was such a serene, calm experience and having it at home was 100% the right choice for us. We chose to have our 4 year old Diaz and our 2 year old Harlequin at the birth and they were there to watch their new sister enter the world. We also had both of our mums and our midwives. Such a precious experience. I have attached some photos. One of them is of our girls and mums looking at Tan for the very first time. So special to have captured that moment. Your page is wonderful and I would look at it so often before our big day. I would sit and scroll through your account so much before our homebirth, thank you so much for creating  space where women can go to feel empowered and excited. I found it so encouraging to look at photos of other women having beautiful home births." @amorematerna  

Home•Sweet•Homebirth

‘You look like a woman who is about to go into labour’

This is what my midwife said to me on the morning before I delivered Tan. And when a lady who has been a midwife for 20 odd years says this to you, it’s definitely permission to feel excited. The rest of the day was relatively relaxed (two kids relaxed that is). I got some things from the shops, picked up the girls from my mums house after they had been there for a sleepover and made dinner. 

We put the girls to bed around 7 and headed to bed ourselves around 9. I had been having mild cramping for the week and a half leading up to birth so the gentle braxton hicks I was getting just before bed were a normal occurrence. But by 11 when I could no longer lay down and needed to pace around I realised what was happening. 

By around 12 30 both our mums were at the house. My mum was doing my folding and Zak’s mum was making cups of tea. 

For all my births I have had the same people by my side and having them here again, in the middle of the night, in the comfort of our home, was very centring.

My contractions were coming regularly but quite spaced out, I knew this meant it would be another long labour for me but I felt totally fine with that. My body knew exactly what it was doing. 

We laboured upstairs in our bedroom until 4 30am. After three labours and births I knew what worked for me each contraction and that involved things like gently squatting, pushing against a wall, leaning over the bed on my knees and also pulling my hair (whatever works hey!)

At 4.30 it was time to head downstairs to the beautiful birthing pool that was set up and full of water. The only light we had was from our diffuser. We had laid a rug down and the downstairs couch was draped with white sheets. 

It was a really calm space. 

It was also really nice 'timing wise’ to labour through the night. In the middle of the night the whole world feels more still, like no one expects anything from you. I felt so relaxed and in control. 

As soon as I sunk into the hot water I remembered how amazing it felt to use water during labour. The pressure came off of my hips and my whole body instantly felt lighter. 

This is also when things started to gain momentum. We called my midwife and told her how my contractions were feeling and she said she would be there soon. 

At about 5.30 (and an hour sooner than usual) we heard the girls bedroom door open and out came Diaz with the most precious look on her face 

'The baby is coming now?’ She asked. 

It was like a whole new wave of emotion washed over me when I saw her. The end result of this hard process was standing right in front of me with messy hair and cute pyjamas. 

I cried a wave of happy tears through my next contraction. 

By the time my midwife and student midwife arrived, things were defiantly underway. On the outside of the pool I had my mum and Zakky helping me bare down with every contraction and on the inside I had myself and my mind to get me through. 

Harlequin was awake by this stage but both the girls were upstairs with Zaks mum. Netflix and drawing were much more exciting then a silent room full of adults and their mum floating around in a pool they weren’t allowed to play in.

The 'transition’ stage of labour is the most confronting place I’ll ever go to. It really is such a measure of my mental strength. And I will forever reflect back on my times of transition through my three labours whenever I need to know what I’m capable of. 

During this whole time I could not have felt more at ease being in my own home. 

The feeling in the room was one of complete serenity. 

Given I was powering through my own personal battle to bring our life in the world, choosing to do it at home meant that it happened in the calmest of ways. 

I distinctly remember opening my eyes after one contraction to see Diaz’s little face peeping over the top of the birth pool. When we locked eyes she gave me a big smile and a double thumbs up. I felt like everyone in the room was rooting for me and the love was pouring in from all directions. 

I pulled Zak into the bath with me not long before Tan was born. Having his strong body support me through my final stages was exactly what I needed. I will forever be amazed at the lengths he will go to when I’m in labour to help me bare my pain. 

He was my rock. 

When she came into the world I scooped her into my arms and we stared at her for a long time before looking down to see what gender she was. 

It was then that Diaz decided to sing her new baby sister 'Happy Birthday’. Quinny filled in with the words that she knew and my heart sung at deciding to have them there. 

Baby Tan was finally here! She turned her head and started nuzzling my crop top and it was then that we had our first feed. Such an amazing thing to watch them, so instinctually, find the nourishment that they need as soon as they are born.

The whole process of birth is such a moving one. I always come away from it feeling so empowered and the fact that I had my third birth in the comfort of my own home only added to that feeling. 

It was absolutely the right choice for us and one we couldn’t be happier with.

❤️ https://amorematerna.tumblr.com/post/159748057125/homesweethomebirth

Photo by Megan Hancock Photography

Photo by Megan Hancock Photography

Let Me Help You Create The Happiest Birth Experience Of Your Life...

Whether you're a first time or experienced momma,

Or a midwife, doula, or birth professional guiding mommas..

Regardless if you are planning a birth at home, a hospital, a birth center or need a cesarean section, or if you are taking another childbirth education class…

You Really Can Create The Delivery Of Your Dreams.

And have a blissful birth wherever you are.

More Precious Than A Wedding...A Birth Should Be A Celebration!

Let me show you how to…

  • Understand the sensations of your body and connect your intuition with how your body is communicating and leading you towards what to do during labor
  • Tap into your inner calm to deeply relax yourself, letting go of busy, stressful and fearful thoughts on demand for the health of baby
  • Speak your truth from your heart in a way that deepens your relationships, sets clear boundaries, and has people listen to you and support you before, during and after pregnancy
  • Trust yourself, connect with your body wisdom andcommunicate with baby in belly
  • Connect with natural time and sync your body and mind up with your unique biological clock for ease from pregnancy to postpartum
  • Reprogram negative patterns, stories, and beliefs that undermine your confidence, strength and self trust so you can rock your birth

Physicians and midwives around the world recommend my teachings to their pregnant clients and many Doulas across the country learn the secrets of blissful birthing from me to supplement their Doula Training & Certification process!

To learn more, visit:  LOVE YOUR BIRTH Online Childbirth Course!

It is based on my years of experience, as a midwife and yoga teacher, helping thousands of women tap into their calm and live and birth from a place of grounded relaxation and joy. 

Get a 10% discount on your Sleepod purchases ataskrembla.com-use the code SWEETHOME to get your discount. 

Get a 10% discount on your Sleepod purchases ataskrembla.com-use the code SWEETHOME to get your discount. 

Doula's Own Birth Story of Success After Infertility & Complications At Home

Image by Andrea Garcia of FInal Touch Photography

Image by Andrea Garcia of FInal Touch Photography

Emmerson Henry’s Birth Story

We knew from our experience trying to conceive Jameson we would have to seek medical assistance again. LRMCs policy is you have to try for a year before they will help. We started trying right away after Jameson was born knowing it would take awhile and we wanted the kids to be close in age. At the end of April, Wes left for a deployment and wouldn’t return again until the end of November. We picked up right where we left off since “deployment babies” are a real thing. Unfortunately we were still not successful so we decided to seek medical assistance. I knew exactly what I needed so there was no fighting them this time. They found I wasn’t ovulating so I had to start the weaning process. I slowly cut back how many times I breastfed Jameson throughout the day until we reached the magic number (am & pm feeding) that would bring back ovulation. I did 5 rounds of Clomid and had every side effect in the book. My OB decided since we were getting ready to move to Texas and I wouldn’t have anyone to monitor me, that would be our last round.

Although we really wanted the Clomid to work, and the kids were only getting older, making the age gap bigger, I was glad to take a break. All the side effects from the Clomid made me feel awful. I was an angry ball of emotions and with my anxiety on top of that, it was ugly. I wanted to yell, or cry, all the time, there was no in between. Taking a break was just what I needed. I had even told Wes that when were ready to try for #4, I would prefer to just try without being on medications because I couldn’t do this again. So that’s what we agreed on for when the time is right to try again.

The beginning of November we flew to Texas to buy a car and our house. Wes would have to be back in Germany in 10 days to finish out processing and bring Sister (our dog) back to Texas with him. The kids and I drove back to CA with my dad to spend Thanksgiving with family. I had brought my favorite pair of jeans with me and at one point I gave them to my sister because I couldn’t button them anymore. I was assuming it was just all the stress and American food I had been eating making me fat. Jameson was still nursing maybe once a day at this point, usually in the morning because I was so exhausted and it was something that would give me an extra 30 minutes of sleep. One morning he crawled into bed with me to nurse, and made and awful gagging sound and told me “this is nasty milk, I no like it.” That was the end of our 22 months of breastfeeding.

Wes’ mom and I made the drive back to Texas right after Thanksgiving to meet Wes. I was more tired than normal but decided it was probably from all the stress and moving through so many time zones over such a short period. Every time we passed a Starbucks I was getting a coffee and every time we filled the car up with gas, I was getting 2 Monster energy drinks. At one point I told Stacy “you watch this is going to be the month I got pregnant and this kid is going to come out on a caffeine high.” We laughed and she said not to get my hopes up. Once we got back to San Antonio, and got settled in the hotel, we decided to go get a few things, important things, like shampoo and margarita mix, at Walmart because after 26 hours in a car with 2 kids, margarita mix is important. As we stood there staring at the margarita mix, I figured it was a good idea to grab a pregnancy test since I was a few days late.

We get back to the hotel and I immediately go hide in the bathroom with my tests. We weren’t telling Maddy yet just in case it was negative so I had to be quick about it. I peed on this stick and it immediately revealed I was pregnant. I yelled out “SHUT THE FRONT DOOR!” And Stacy yelled back “IT IS SHUT” and I said “No! Shut the front door!” She came in and I shoved the stick at her and she laughed. Because what perfect timing, or something. We were homeless, living in a hotel for who knows how much longer, in a new city, with a car we just bought that wasn’t going to work anymore because now we needed something bigger.

I was planning to tell Wes when he got in later that night but the airlines stuff got screwed up and he ended up having to drive from BWI because of Sister. When he called to tell me what was going on, I said to him “so the car we just bought, isn’t going to fit us for long.” It took him a minute but he figured it out. Although exhausted from his travels and fighting with the airlines, he was excited.

It didn’t sink in that I was really pregnant for a few hours. I remember going back to look at the test thinking it wasn’t real. I did decide to take another test the next morning. It was still positive. The feeling of excitement was mixed with the feeling of fear. As hard as we tried and as much as I wanted to be pregnant, I was terrified I would have a repeat of Jameson’s birth. I knew I had to make sure that didn’t happen to me, to us, again.

We announced officially about a week later. I was roughly 6 weeks pregnant. We ended up driving to Oklahoma for a few days until the final paperwork to our house was ready to be signed. While we were there, I started having really bad lower back pain. One morning I ended up in so much pain I couldn’t move without crying. We went to the Emergency Room and since I had no confirmation of my pregnancy other than two home tests, they did an ultrasound. The Dr in the ER kept looking and looking and said that he wasn’t finding anything. I was holding my breath the entire time. He finally said that he saw something but it wasn’t an 8 week old fetus. Of course I was imagining the worst, that the baby stopped growing and I was miscarrying. He ordered some blood work and another ultrasound with the actual ultrasound clinic.

When the ultrasound tech came and got me, I was on the verge of tears and shaking, I couldn’t get past the feeling that something was wrong. All my doula training had prepared me for this, but I had also become more educated in the things that could go wrong, and Wes wasn’t allowed to go back with me. The tech had me get on the table and I asked her if I would be able to watch. She told me that because it was an order from the ER she wouldn’t be able to let me. So I laid there while she did the ultrasound. Then she turned the screen JUST enough so I could see and said 8 weeks! I lost it on the table. The tears just started flowing and I couldn’t stop. She didn’t know what to do besides get me a wash cloth to wipe my face and ask if these were happy tears. I explained all that we had been through and that yes, these were happy tears, that I was just terrified something was wrong. She wasn’t able to print a picture for Wes but at least she let me see for myself to confirm that there was in fact a baby there. I ended up just have a very strained muscle and had to take medication for almost 2 weeks to get back to feeling like myself.

Once we finally got in our house and started to get settled I knew we would have to do something soon as I had not had any prenatal care up until this point. I joined all the mom pages and asked questions about how the military hospitals were in regards to natural labor and I was far from impressed. I knew I couldn’t do it, I couldn’t have a repeat. I was prepared to have an unassisted home delivery, even if it had to be an accident. Wes was not keen on the idea of a homebirth, he had always said no, that it wasn’t something he felt comfortable with. At 12 weeks into our pregnancy, he decided that he would be willing to talk to a few midwives in the area about the differences between a birth center birth and a homebirth.

I lined up interviews with 3 different midwives. The first one ended up convincing him that a homebirth was the right fit for our family. The second midwife was great and seemed like she was going to be the one for us. I almost cancelled our meeting with midwife number three because I was ready to sign contract with the second one. Wes told me to keep the meeting and just see what we think. Midwife #3, Sam, ended up being the one for us. We hit it off right away. She was just the right amount of crunchy granola for me.

In the weeks to follow, I shared my experience with Jameson’s birth with her and how upset it made me. I think she realized then how much I needed to be in control this time around, that I was looking at this experience as something that would help heal the trauma. All of our check-ups were at our house with the kids and Wes. We were able to hear the baby and ask questions every time. Every time, everything was great and progressing fabulously.

We did our 20 week ultrasound when my parents were here for their visit so they could stay with the kids. The appointment was abnormally long because the baby wasn’t cooperating. After almost an hour and a half, they sealed the gender shot in an envelope (Wes saw on the screen but I was turned away) so I could have it for later. We ended up having to do a repeat u/s because they couldn’t see the left ventricular output of the heart. We did the follow-up because we wanted to make sure everything was perfect since we would be doing this at home.

I had been off my anxiety meds since I was about 14 weeks, and doing more natural methods to keep it controlled. Although the risks are small, there is a chance the baby can be born addicted and have issues at the birth. We decided that as long as I could handle being off of them, that was the best route to take. Sometime between our ultrasound and Easter, I had an emotional breakdown. I was not feeling emotionally connected with this baby. I had an anterior placenta (located more towards the front) so I wasn’t feeling the baby move, which really wasn’t helping me connect. I was feeling like I wasn’t going to be a good enough mom to be a mom of three kids. The feeling of disconnect wasn’t something I was used to feeling. I love being pregnant but this time something was just off. Maybe it was because of Jameson’s birth or all the stress of moving or not knowing the gender or being able to call him/her by name. Wes ended up telling me the gender on Easter morning with my Easter basket.

Bonding after knowing the gender seemed to be a little easier. I still had my fears that I wasn’t going to be able to love this baby enough, that I wasn’t going to be able to connect after he was born, and I was really afraid I would develop postpartum depression. Once we got a little more settled in our home and things started to get into a routine, I started feeling okay. It wasn’t until I started feeling him move on a regular basis that I was really able to connect emotionally with the fact that I was really pregnant and that this was really happening. As my belly got bigger and more round, I looked “legit pregnant” so Britany said and started feeling like my normal pregnant self.

Since my water broke early with Jameson, Sam had me on lots of vitamins to make sure my amniotic sac was strong to decrease the risk of it breaking prematurely again. We also decided that since I was fairly active with my last pregnancy, that I should be on limited activity at least until it was safe for me to deliver at home. This was easier than I expected it to be especially since I hadn’t made any friends yet and it was really hot and really humid every day. It was easy to stay inside the nice, cool, air-conditioned house except for trips to Costco on the weekend.

Wes and I decided it would be a good idea if someone was here when the baby was born. We knew I would need to rely on him when I was in labor and that we should have someone in case we ended up needing to do a hospital transfer. It was important to me to know that the kids would be taken care of if we had to get in the car/ambulance and go. I wanted to know that Wes would be able to go with me, not have to stay behind with the kids. Stacy ended up being able to rearrange her schedule to arrive on the 22nd of July. My official “due date” was the 28th. We decided not to announce the due date on social media since really the due date is more of a guess date and on the off chance I went past my date, I didn’t want to be asked every day if the baby was here yet.

At our 36 week appointment, Sam cleared us for our home birth. We were able to order our birth kit that contained all the tools Sam would need at the birth. She brought the birth tub over and told us how to set it all up. We kept up with our weekly appointments, checking on me and baby and making sure everything was good. I was very relieved on the 22nd when Stacy arrived and I was still pregnant. With an exception of it being hard to sleep, I was actually feeling great, like I could be pregnant for several more weeks.

On July 25th, while Stacy had taken the kids shopping, Wes blew up the birth pool and I climbed inside and cleaned it. The sides were a lot sturdier than I expected and the padded bottom was awesome. Once it was all cleaned and ready, I pushed it aside where it would sit for a few more days. I tried to rest as much as possible to allow my body to get ready for labor. I spent a few minutes several times a day sitting on the floor stretching and doing deep squats to help get baby in the optimal position for delivery.

On Thursday the 28th, I was feeling great, with an exception of having a sore throat. Jameson and Wes had been sick for a week or so and I managed not to get it until I woke up with a sore throat. I had been asking Wes to move his tools and misc. stuff into the garage for a few days and since it was still there, I finally decided to move it myself so I could vacuum the floor. Then all the fire alarms in the house started going off and we couldn’t figure out why. The neighbor ended up coming over to check on us to make sure everything was okay and told us how to shut them off. Then we checked for smoke in every room, garage, and attic before deciding that one of the detectors was faulty. After all that excitement, we decided to get out of the house while I was still feeling good and go to Sam’s Club to get some groceries, Hobby Lobby to get an ink pad to do footprints, and HEB for what we couldn’t get at Sam’s. We all got up and dressed and ready to go. Thursday was my due date. This would make the first time I ever reached 40 weeks pregnant. I was still feeling like I could go for another two plus weeks.

As we were walking through Sam’s Club, I started feeling tightenings. I was thinking they were just braxton hicks contractions, it was hot and maybe I hadn’t been drinking enough. So I was chugging my water while we were walking. They were still coming but they were very easy to ignore. Since my labors are short (when I’m not on ridiculous amounts of Pitocin) I decided I should probably time them just in case I was ignoring something that was real. They were about every 5-10 minutes but weren’t very strong. We were able to finish our shopping, even bought 2 pineapples for me to eat to make sure things kept going. We got home around 4pm and I text Sam just to give her a heads up that something was going on. I had dinner at 4:30 just in case I went into real labor and didn’t feel like eating. By 5:30 pm, my contractions were about every 4-5 minutes apart, but still not very painful. Around 6:30pm I ate almost an entire pineapple with whip cream until my mouth was hurting and I couldn’t eat anymore.

At around 7pm, Sam had me time a few contractions all the way through, they were coming about every 4 minutes and lasting just over a minute. They were enough to be a nuisance but not painful. She kept asking if I could talk through them but I reminded her that I could talk through Pitocin contractions so that wasn’t something we should judge my labor off of. We talked about me checking my own cervix and I tried it out. From my estimation, I was about 4 cm dilated but I wasn’t familiar with effacement so she said when she came to check on baby, she would check me and explain it to me. Wes, Stacy, and I sat and played a few games of Sequence while I bounced and rotated my hips on my birth ball while we waited on Sam.

Sequence Game
Jax Ltd Inc

Sam arrived around midnight and checked on baby and took my blood pressure and everything then we decided to do a cervical check. She said I was about 3-4 cm dilated and about 60% effaced. Then she explained to me how to check for effacement so I could do it the next time. Since my contractions were so mild, she ordered me to take 2 Tylenol PM (since I had been taking this to help me sleep anyway) and to go to bed. I took my PM around 1-1:30am and went right to bed.

The first time I woke up to contractions was at 3am. I was able to get up and go pee and go back to sleep for about another hour. At 4:15 I was up again but this time I knew there was no going back to sleep. I wasn’t able to lay still anymore so I decided to just get up. I went into the bathroom and started a hot bath to help me relax so I could rest some more, and shave my legs, because that’s important. While the tub filled up, I went pee again and this time had a small amount of bloody show. I was able to rest in the bathtub until almost 6am.

I got out of the bath tub and did another check. I was a solid 4 cm, if not a 5 and about 70% effaced. I was also starting to feel my bag of waters bulging. I went and laid down for a little longer with pillows propped between my legs to keep my pelvis open. After about 30 minutes of laying like this, I was starting to get more and more uncomfortable. It finally got to the point where I couldn’t sit my legs still anymore and I was tossing and turning and having to breathe through the contractions. I got out of bed and went into the living room so Wes could keep sleeping. Everyone was still sleeping at this point. I got my small peanut ball, blanket, and cell phone and headed to the couch. I was sitting on the ball in a deep squat and leaning against the couch so I could keep resting. The peanut ball was great, I’ve used it with several of my clients but have never been able to use it myself. I was able to roll the ball and my hips left to right during contractions keeping in that deep squat position that really applies baby to the cervix while keeping your hips and pelvis open. I laughed, because I realized I was doula’ing myself.

From my ball by the couch, I heard the sound of morning happening in our house. I heard Wes get up and call in to work to tell them he wouldn’t be going in, Jameson knocking on grandmas door, Maddison waking up, and everyone coming downstairs. At 8:30 I went to the bathroom I remembered thinking if I had one more contraction on the toilet I was going to die.  Those contractions were the most uncomfortable. I text Sam asking when we should fill up the pool. She said when I can’t stand the contractions anymore or when I feel my cervix is paper thin and very dilated. I’m so glad I went with my gut on this one. 9:15am She text me and asked that in the next hour can I check myself again so she had a better idea of where I was at. I know cervical checks don’t determine labor progression but with my history it typically does. She explained that she didn’t want to slow me down by showing up too early. I was in the shower for probably half an hour. I washed my hair and worked through several pretty good contractions that had me leaning on the shower wall breathing and swaying my hips through them. At this point I was roughly 5-6cm dilated and about 80-90% effaced. At about 9:30 we talked again that my contractions were coming harder now but I still wasn’t ready for her to come. I was in the bathroom doing my make up between contractions. I text my photographer at 9:40 to tell her that things were picking up and she should probably head this way. I thought I was giving her plenty of time. At 9:52am, I sent Sam a text that read “Cervix is pretty thin. Contractions pretty hard, not so funny anymore, bloody mucus. You should probably head this way.”

I moved from the bathroom where I had just finished up my make up to the bed while Wes was filling the pool with hot water. I tried some laying down and then hands and knees on the bed. Stacy was sitting with me and we were talking and laughing at me curling my toes with every contraction. I really didn’t want to be in the bed, I was scared my water was going to break and we didn’t have anything down to protect the bed.  I decided to get off the bed and go check on the progress of the tub and go be social in the front room. I made it to the end of the bed and decided the carpeted floor looked fantastic. I got on my elbows and kneeled with my knees really far apart so my belly was almost resting on the floor and had several contractions. Sam text at 10:15 that she was on her way. Wes started setting up the live feed for our family and friends on Facebook while I worked through more contractions on the bedroom floor. When Wes came in the bedroom to tell me he was getting it set up I asked him if there was only hot water in the pool. He said yes and asked if I wanted him to start adding cold water so I could get in. YES GOD YES. I needed to get in the pool.

Image by Andrea Garcia of FInal Touch Photography

Image by Andrea Garcia of FInal Touch Photography

I stayed in the bedroom while he switched the hose to the cold spout and he brought me some coconut pineapple water, which tasted awful, so I wouldn’t get dehydrated. I drank sitting up and resumed my contraction position every time I felt one coming on. He finally said that the pool was cool enough now that I could get in. I sat up and was getting ready to get off the floor when another contraction came. I was in an awkward position so that contraction was super uncomfortable. He helped me off the floor after that contraction and I got in the pool. It was great. It slowed the contractions and their intensity just enough for me to rest for a bit.

Image by Andrea Garcia of FInal Touch Photography

Image by Andrea Garcia of FInal Touch Photography

The front room was loud and bright and Wes couldn’t figure out where to set the iPad so the people watching would have a good view. Once he got that figured out and set up, my contractions started picking up again. They weren’t as close as they were on the bedroom floor, but it was dark and quiet in there. I had Wes get my headphones and I plugged it into my phone and turned on some music to help drown everyone out. A song or two later and my contractions were back and rolling in one after another. I was feeling great, leaning over the side of the pool, on my knees, rocking my hips back and forth during each contraction. I remember telling myself that the vibration of the deep moaning worked as a distraction so that’s what I was doing.  One ear bud fell out and I remember thinking I should put that back in but I really didn’t care. I had one ear listening to music and the other listening to everyone else.

Get a 10% discount on your Sleepod purchases ataskrembla.com-use the code SWEETHOME to get your discount. 

Get a 10% discount on your Sleepod purchases ataskrembla.com-use the code SWEETHOME to get your discount. 

I was reading the comments on our live feed between contractions and then all the sudden around 11am, my phone hit the ground and I was really vocalizing through my contractions and still swaying my hips. I didn’t know it but Stacy had been timing my contractions for a while and they were coming pretty quickly now. The photographer showed up right at 11am and I was doing another cervical exam so Wes could text Sam. He picked up the phone and Sam had text at 10:59 saying she was almost there. I was 10 cm & 100% effaced, I could feel his head maybe 2 inches from “crowning” position. My contractions were starting to come back to back. I was feeling a bit pushy but something was telling me to wait until Sam arrived. I was resisting the urge to push.

I had a break in contractions after he text Sam and I reminded Wes to check the live feed since it only allows 2 hours of recording at a time. It was only just over an hour of video so far. My body was resting, I was in those brief moments of pause and rest before things got serious. Then when they came back my deep moans were mixed with deep owwwwwwwwwwwwchhhhhhhh. I was starting to feel like Sam wasn’t going to make it. I told Stacy she should probably get the stack of towels out of the bedroom and bring them out just in case. JUST as I was getting ready to scream “Where the fuck is Sam?!” Sam walked through the door at 11:07am. I knew I hadn’t eaten anything in a while, since 4:30pm the night before, and I didn’t want to run out of energy so I had Wes bring me a spoonful of honey, which was disgusting, but it was enough sugar to level me out and get me feeling good again.

Sam was able to get all her things set up and sterilized while I rested and worked through the contractions. She talked to me while she was getting set up and asked about baby and made sure I was still feeling good movement, which I was. After my next long contraction she checked baby’s heart rate and my pulse, all I could think of was how nice it was to not be fussed with during a contraction. While Sam was checking on us, Stacy and Wes got the pool back up to the right temperature. The pool has to be a certain temperature so baby doesn’t take a breath under water. I was throughly enjoying the cool water but knew it needed to be warmer for baby.

I was definitely in that resting period of transition now. My next long contraction and they were still adding the hot water. I could feel it swirling around me and it was making me nauseous. As soon as I heard Stacy say it was in the right temperature bracket I said, “Oh that’s enough hot water!!” and it was turned off. Stacy asked Wes about restarting the live feed and they talked about why he should do it now. He agreed and reset it which threw everyone watching for a loop.

Image by Andrea Garcia of FInal Touch Photography

Image by Andrea Garcia of FInal Touch Photography

I had one more good contraction and Wes was trying to give me another spoonful of honey but there was no way I could manage that. It was that contraction at 11:25am when I said I couldn’t resist the urge to push anymore. I was concentrating on my deep vocalization and Sam reminding me to breathe. The next contraction was the most intense out of all of them. I could feel the pressure everywhere, my whole body was swaying and my moaning was very loud at this point and then I felt it. I felt my amniotic sac burst, it was a very thick bag, there was no mistaking it. It burst mid contraction and I growled “OH I think my water just broke” and went right back into my deep moaning. It was 11:26 when my water broke. Then the pressure was centralized. My breathing was a little uneven as I was trying to recover from that contraction. Sam was telling me to breathe, to get oxygen all the way to my babies toes. Being in the pool really helped because I was able to blow on the water and watch it ripple and that really helped slow down my breathing. Sam, so calm kept talking me through my breathing and all I could think of was “shut up I AM breathing!!!” *lol sorry Sam*

Then my body rested again. At 11:28, my next contraction started and I was pushing, Sam was behind me, Stacy and the kids were in front and Wes was holding my hand. 17 seconds into that push and his head was out. I remember kneeling there with his head in one hand and Wes holding my other. I could feel his little face, his nose, eyes, mouth. It seemed like time was standing still. I couldn’t see what I was feeling but I knew what it was. It was the longest moment of my life. 11 seconds after his head was in my hand, his shoulders were out and I looked down and yelled cord. In those 11 seconds before I cried for help, I released Wes’ hand and reached down and slipped my finger under the cord and tried to slip it over his head. I’ve seen lots of births, I wasn’t panicked, it was like I was trained to stay calm and remember what to do. The cord was too short and too tight for me to do anything. As soon as I yelled out cord, Sam came around the pool. Stacy and the kids got out of the way quickly to make room for Sam. My body was trying to push again I knew I couldn’t let the baby come out any further because he was tangled and the cord was too short. To keep from pushing I yelled out “the cord!” again and I could hear Sam saying she was there. She was also unsuccessful at getting the cord off. She ended up having to jackknife his body. She flipped his head upwards towards my belly and his abdomen and the rest of him followed and she tumbled him up into my arms. 20 seconds. All of that took 20 seconds from the first time I called out cord. Emmerson Henry was born at 11:29am and he was perfect.

Image by Andrea Garcia of FInal Touch Photography

Image by Andrea Garcia of FInal Touch Photography

Image by Andrea Garcia of FInal Touch Photography

Image by Andrea Garcia of FInal Touch Photography

Image by Andrea Garcia of FInal Touch Photography

Image by Andrea Garcia of FInal Touch Photography

Everything that happened after that was a blur. I was lost in my new baby. The feeling of oh my god we did it, I’m not broken, my body IS capable of this, took over. Sam kept asking if I was ok and how I was feeling and made sure I knew that if I started feeling bad that she needed to know. I felt fantastic, tired from the 2 hrs of sleep after taking Tylenol PM, but fantastic. When Sam checked me, she noted that I had a bit of bleeding and that the umbilical cord was already pretty white and had stopped pulsing so it had probably broke off when we untangled him. We were going to monitor it and if it didn’t stop, she would give me a shot of Pitocin, but wanted to wait because she knew I didn’t want it. The bleeding didn’t stop, it wasn’t a lot of bleeding but it was enough that Sam wanted to make sure it didn’t get out of control so she gave me a small shot of Pitocin, even though I gave her a nasty face. OH MY GOD! That shot in my arm was the most painful part of everything.

It had probably been 20-30 minutes since delivery although it only felt like 5 and my placenta still hadn’t come yet. This is pretty abnormal for me since mine usually come within 10 minutes. She had me push a few times even though I wasn’t feeling that crampy urge and still no placenta. She tried to give a little bit of counter pressure on one of the final attempts of me pushing it out but stopped when she felt it tearing. Sam talked to us about cutting the cord and getting me out. I really wanted to wait until after the placenta was born to cut the cord so it broke my heart a little bit that it needed to be cut before then. I know had I declined Sam would have figured it out and made it work but I’m a reasonable person. I could look at the pool and see the amount of bleeding that had happened and although I still felt fine, I didn’t want to risk a hospital transfer so I agreed to have it cut. I watched her lift him up and hand him to Wes. I didn’t want to let him go.

Image by Andrea Garcia of FInal Touch Photography

Image by Andrea Garcia of FInal Touch Photography

Once Emmerson was successfully handed off to Wes, Sam wanted me out of the pool. Since the amount of blood I had lost was slightly more than normal, she helped me slowly get out of the pool to make sure I wasn’t dizzy. I stopped at the end of the pool and leaned against it trying to decide how I was going to climb out and my placenta fell out into the pool. She got me the rest of the way out and I laid on the floor, which was awful on my back, for what seemed like forever. Sam fished my placenta out of the pool and we found out the reason for the bleeding, I had undiagnosed velamentous cord insertion and it was likely one or more of the vessels broke when my water broke and we untangled him from the cord.

Image by Andrea Garcia of FInal Touch Photography

Image by Andrea Garcia of FInal Touch Photography

After what seemed like forever, I was asking for my baby back. My uterus was going back to normal and my bleeding was stopped so I was granted one whole baby. As they were getting ready to hand him down to me, I ripped my bra off so I could nurse him for the first time. It’s very difficult to nurse laying flat on your back but we managed to make it work. A bit later, I was begging to get off the floor because my back was killing me. I was released from the torture that was the floor and was able to get on the couch. I laid on my side and was able to keep Emmerson either latched or doing skin-to-skin. Wes brought me a chocolate pudding and spoon fed me for all my hard work. I was starving so he brought me an English Muffin with peanut butter.

Image by Andrea Garcia of FInal Touch Photography

Image by Andrea Garcia of FInal Touch Photography

Wes and Stacy drained the pool and threw the liner in the trash so they could deflate it and put it away. After all was said and done, I was ready to get up and shower so I could clean up a little bit. Sam came to help me get up and found Emmerson left her a nice sticky meconium mess, all over me, him, and the robe that was covering us. After she got him cleaned up, she handed him off to Stacy so she could help me in the bathroom. It was a super quick shower, my hair was still wet from the shower I had taken that morning so I didn’t bother even taking it out of my bun until after. I got out and put on some comfortable clothes and climbed into bed so we could do the initial newborn tests and get his stats. He was 7 pounds 7 oz and 20.75 inches long.

Image by Andrea Garcia of FInal Touch Photography

Image by Andrea Garcia of FInal Touch Photography

Image by Andrea Garcia of FInal Touch Photography

Image by Andrea Garcia of FInal Touch Photography

I nursed him again and we made the round of phone calls to all of our grandparents to let them know it was a boy and what his stats were and did a bit of FaceTiming. Once all was said and done it was time to recheck me. Everything was still in one piece except for a tiny “skid mark” from when Sam had to jackknife him out but that didn’t even require stitches which I’m glad because she would have had a hard time convincing me I really needed stitches in my lady bits. We went over taking Emmerson’s temperature throughout the night and when to call Sam if we had a small issue and what issues were serious and to call her on the way to the emergency room.

After our run down of when to call who, we gave hugs and exchanged thank yous and Sam started packing up. Wes took the baby because I needed to get up and walk around and I was famished so I walked myself to the kitchen. I heated up a giant enchilada and shoved my face. It was delicious even though Sam yelled at me for getting up and getting it myself. We hugged one more time as she carried her last bag to the car. I was a little sad to watch her leave because that meant it was over. We spent so much time preparing and it was over SO quickly, more quickly than I expected.

It was so nice to be able to spend the evening as a family bonding and letting the kids hold their new brother. Maddison was all about holding him every moment she got but it took Jameson quite some time before he really wanted to interact with him. He didn’t really get into Emmerson until it was time for him to go to bed and then and only then was he ready to hold him. Excuses to get out of going to bed on time aren’t usually accepted but we made an exception just this once and it was totally worth it to see the smile on his face.

That night although we didn’t get much sleep, it was amazing. Wes didn’t have to leave for the night and we were able to sleep in our own bed. We also co-slept with Emmerson and didn’t have to hear anyone come in and yell at us for doing so or telling us that we were going to harm our baby because we had him in our bed.

All in all, our homebirth experience was great. We had a few bumps in the road and had to deviate from my plan a little bit, but Sam always made sure I was informed with what was going on and in the end everything was my decision. I never felt out of control of my body or overpowered by contractions. I can honestly say I wouldn’t describe my labor as painful, intense, yes, but never painful. I will forever be grateful for our homebirth experience. It reminded me that I am the one in control of my body and capable of doing what my body was made to do.

After our run down of when to call who, we gave hugs and exchanged thank yous and Sam started packing up. Wes took the baby because I needed to get up and walk around and I was famished so I walked myself to the kitchen. I heated up a giant enchilada and shoved my face. It was delicious even though Sam yelled at me for getting up and getting it myself. We hugged one more time as she carried her last bag to the car. I was a little sad to watch her leave because that meant it was over. We spent so much time preparing and it was over SO quickly, more quickly than I expected.

Image by Andrea Garcia of FInal Touch Photography

Image by Andrea Garcia of FInal Touch Photography

It was so nice to be able to spend the evening as a family bonding and letting the kids hold their new brother. Maddison was all about holding him every moment she got but it took Jameson quite some time before he really wanted to interact with him. He didn’t really get into Emmerson until it was time for him to go to bed and then and only then was he ready to hold him. Excuses to get out of going to bed on time aren’t usually accepted but we made an exception just this once and it was totally worth it to see the smile on his face.

The photographer is  Andrea Garcia of    https://www.facebook.com/FinalTouchPhotographyAndrea/ and the videos will be from the Facebook live feature. My IG is creatoroftinyhumans and doula_done_wright and FB is Caitlin wright.

Photo by Megan Hancock Photography

Photo by Megan Hancock Photography

Let Me Help You Create The Happiest Birth Experience Of Your Life...

Whether you're a first time or experienced momma,

Or a midwife, doula, or birth professional guiding mommas..

Regardless if you are planning a birth at home, a hospital, a birth center or need a cesarean section, or if you are taking another childbirth education class…

You Really Can Create The Delivery Of Your Dreams.

And have a blissful birth wherever you are.

More Precious Than A Wedding...A Birth Should Be A Celebration!

Let me show you how to…

  • Understand the sensations of your body and connect your intuition with how your body is communicating and leading you towards what to do during labor
  • Tap into your inner calm to deeply relax yourself, letting go of busy, stressful and fearful thoughts on demand for the health of baby
  • Speak your truth from your heart in a way that deepens your relationships, sets clear boundaries, and has people listen to you and support you before, during and after pregnancy
  • Trust yourself, connect with your body wisdom andcommunicate with baby in belly
  • Connect with natural time and sync your body and mind up with your unique biological clock for ease from pregnancy to postpartum
  • Reprogram negative patterns, stories, and beliefs that undermine your confidence, strength and self trust so you can rock your birth

Physicians and midwives around the world recommend my teachings to their pregnant clients and many Doulas across the country learn the secrets of blissful birthing from me to supplement their Doula Training & Certification process!

To learn more, visit:  LOVE YOUR BIRTH Online Childbirth Course!

It is based on my years of experience, as a midwife and yoga teacher, helping thousands of women tap into their calm and live and birth from a place of grounded relaxation and joy. 

Personalized Baby Gift

Stumped for the perfect present to give proud parents and their minis? Wondering about gifting you and your baby with something real special? Go luxury and personalized. Indulge yourself or the new mom, dad and baby!

I would like to share with you a lovely baby gift idea that I was recently introduced to, and I am excited to partner with them to enable you to receive a 10% discount on your purchases with coupon code SWEETHOME. 

MyBabyGift is an online boutique for Luxury Personalized Baby Gifts - you can have them made up as you desire and delivered to the place of your choice across the US, Singapore and Honk-Kong.

Ella post.jpg

The company is run by two entrepreneur moms - and I love supporting mompreneurs. They are mother of four and mother of three who are both enthusiastic about high quality baby products and personalized special gifts. 

These two young mothers inspired by their passion and creativity to produce individualized elegant baby gift sets that are personally embroidered with the new baby’s name or initials and date of birth, delicately tied up with satin ribbons and beautifully wrapped in their luxury signature gift box, leaving a WOW impression on the lucky gifted young family, and a memorable souvenir.

Adam.jpg

Their website is filled with top quality, adorable and unique baby gift sets ideas that will excite and touch your loved ones' hearts. They have a wide selection of high quality soft and cozy 100% cotton products such as Blankets/Swaddles, Hooded Towels, Bodysuits, Bibs, Burb cloths, Baby Mitts and more; they also have a broad range of premium internationally recognized brand add-ons like California Baby’s Premium Naturally Based Skin Care Products for baby and mommy - which contain certified organic and sustainably grown vegan ingredients (made by an eco-friendly FDA registered and organic certified manufacturing facility) and luxurious L'Occitane, Sophie the Giraffe - made of natural rubber from the Hevea tree, Manhattan Toy - famous developmental toys, and lots more. Check them out for yourself!

Imagine the new mommy seeing her baby's name, sometimes in writing for the first time, on a beautiful collection of soft products that will not only be so practical for the baby's first months, but also will delight the new parents.

Buy Your Baby Gift Sets Today

I vote that sometimes you just need to spoil yourself and your new little one, or a new mommy and her newborn! MyBabyGift definitely goes all in for the luxury angle of baby gifting, so when you have the chance to celebrate new life, I recommend doing it with their high-end handcrafted gift sets and enjoy 10% OFF with the SWEETHOME coupon code I got for you.

Photo by Megan Hancock Photography

Photo by Megan Hancock Photography

Photo by Megan Hancock Photography

Photo by Megan Hancock Photography

Let Me Help You Create The Happiest Birth Experience Of Your Life...

Whether you're a first time or experienced momma,

Or a midwife, doula, or birth professional guiding mommas..

Regardless if you are planning a birth at home, a hospital, a birth center or need a cesarean section, or if you are taking another childbirth education class…

You Really Can Create The Delivery Of Your Dreams.

And have a blissful birth wherever you are.

More Precious Than A Wedding...A Birth Should Be A Celebration!

Let me show you how to…

  • Understand the sensations of your body and connect your intuition with how your body is communicating and leading you towards what to do during labor
  • Tap into your inner calm to deeply relax yourself,letting go of busy, stressful and fearful thoughts on demand for the health of baby
  • Speak your truth from your heart in a way that deepens your relationships, sets clear boundaries, and has people listen to you and support you before, during and after pregnancy
  • Trust yourself, connect with your body wisdom andcommunicate with baby in belly
  • Connect with natural time and sync your body and mind up with your unique biological clock for ease from pregnancy to postpartum
  • Reprogram negative patterns, stories, and beliefs that undermine your confidence, strength and self trust so you can rock your birth

Physicians and midwives around the world recommend my teachings to their pregnant clients and many Doulas across the country learn the secrets of blissful birthing from me to supplement their Doula Training & Certification process!

To learn more, visit:  LOVE YOUR BIRTH Online Childbirth Course!

It is based on my years of experience, as a midwife and yoga teacher, helping thousands of women tap into their calm and live and birth from a place of grounded relaxation and joy

How To Manage 'Pain' of Normal Labor at Home

Anne discusses the concept of labor pain, how mindset places a role in the perception of pain, how the body naturally assists with the healthy sensations of normal labor and shares her own personal story of her first natural birth after giving birth twice while anesthetized with an epidural.

Subscribe to Ask the Midwife Newsletter & Blogs at: bit.ly/askthemidwife

“Undisturbed birth does not imply that birth will be pain-free. The stress hormones released in birth are equivalent to those of an endurance athlete, which reflects the magnitude of this event, and explains some of the sensations of birth. And like a marathon runner, a woman’s task in birth is not so much to avoid the pain – which usually makes it worse – but to realize that birth is a peak bodily performance, for which our bodies are superbly designed. Undisturbed birth gives us the space to follow our instincts and to find our own rhythm in an atmosphere of support and trust, which will also help to optimize our birth hormones, aiding us further in transmuting pain.” – Sarah Buckley, MD., Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering. (link to Sarah’s blog here: http://sarahbuckley.com/category/blog)

You may have had a similar experience to the one I share: Being given Pitocin to make my labor progress more quickly, and then an epidural– as I could not take the pain of the stronger sensations from the medication, lying on my back, attached to continuous monitors and intravenous fluids, without any labor support or doula.  I was in my early twenties back then.  I didn’t ask many questions and assumed this was standard procedure when bringing life into this world. And I was an obstetric nurse on the unit where I was laboring! This was what I saw and thought was routine.

Also, statistically, these are very common practices. However, no one shared with me the opportunity to have a natural, undisturbed, well supported childbirth. There was no online information or many books about it available to me back then, and because I didn’t have anyone in my life talking to me about intuitive pregnancy and birth as a normal physiologic process, I thought I was covering all my bases when I was eating healthy, exercising, attending all my check-ups, tests, screenings, and taking Lamaze.

They say that when the student is ready, the teacher appears….

…and perhaps I was not yet ready to dive into myself…. And let go…. I was so young, and scared by what I saw in the hospital and heard from others.

This blog post focuses on the mindset around ‘pain’ during labor and childbirth, as well as my perspective on managing it in an out-of-hospital birth setting.

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Photo by @alwaysmatilda_katie

What do you do at home if a mom can’t take the pain of labor and wants an epidural? How do you manage pain at home?

In all my years as a homebirth midwife I have not once had to transfer a mama to the hospital for epidural or pain meds because she could not cope with the sensations of normal labor. Not once.

It is not because women who have home births have different bodies and no intensive sensations. It is largely the mindset, the language we use, the attitude, the preparation in advance, and how the mamas are cared for and supported in labor.

I was always terribly frightened about pain after my experience giving birth to my first two babies on the obstetric unit where I worked as a nurse - one in the operating room while I was waiting alone for over an hour, waiting for the assistant surgeon to come perform an emergency cesarean because my baby’s heart rate dropped dangerously from the medications. My baby was miraculously fine (so much for the accuracy of the monitoring, as there was no emergency after all; so much for feeling safe in a hospital that took over an hour to rescue my baby from the emergency stress they allegedly caused), but I was not fine. That and my similarly handled second birth were the most traumatic experiences ever.

When I woke up and went to midwifery school and began to heal from my own birth traumas, I was still petrified of the pain and wanted to see if the wimp I considered myself to be could do it without an epidural. I wanted midwifery and natural birth to work for me to be authentic about providing that kind of care.

I told my fears to my midwife and she validated me. She also reassured me she was confident I could do it naturally as I was now with a midwife and my care will be very different - I would be eating and drinking, upright, moving and vocalizing freely, and would be more empowered, supported, and encouraged to trust my body’s ability to give birth; She was sure I would surprise myself.

She was so right. I felt so healed and like a superstar after my next two babies were born without epidural or any pain meds, just loving excellent midwifery care and encouragement to tap into my own capacities and strength as a woman.

Being in the water helped. Movement and moaning helped. But a complete shift in mindset and perspective was key, as was my preparation.  I learned to use different language for the sensations of labor, instead of pain which implies illness and something that needs to be remedied, and to see them for what they were. I learned to use other words for contractions, which imply tension and negativity, and the word contraction is not empowering, and does not fully explain what is happening.  Yes, the top of the uterus contracts so the birth canal can open and expand, as well as push out my baby. So expansions are also happening in labor – that is really the goal of what I am doing – expanding so my baby can emerge from my womb to the outside world, and we can both be birthed as a new mother and baby.

Suffering is a choice. And I chose to embrace my intense sensations for what they were, as healthy signs, what was needed to birth, what my baby needed to transition earth side - not that anything was wrong.

They came in waves with a delicious rest in between and I kept staying in the now. My yoga and mindfulness helped me calm myself, witness and get curious about the sensations, to release and dive right into them without fighting them, and notice that most of my body actually felt fine.  I also noticed that when more relaxed, the labor was easier and the sensations were less intense, easier to deal with.

I could do anything for 60-90 seconds, every few minutes at the maximum. I also felt confident with the support I had - and the peak intensity was only at the peak of the wave in later stages of labor, when the waves are at their most intense, closest interval and longest duration. Prior to that, they are shorter, less frequent and not as strong – so even more manageable. Later labor I knew was a relatively short period of time, and as indication that my baby would be born soon. So, that's the kind of care I provide and encourage others to provide.

Natural hormones for management of labor sensations

“In labor, such high levels [of beta-endorphins] are released and help the laboring woman to transcend pain, as she enters the altered state of consciousness that characterizes an undisturbed birth. In the hours after birth, elevated beta-endorphin levels reward and reinforce mother-baby interactions, including physical contact and breastfeeding, as well as contributing to intensely pleasurable, even ecstatic, feelings for both.” – Sarah Buckley, MD.

These natural pain-killers are programmed perfectly to release and work with a woman’s body and her baby as she progresses through pregnancy, labor and after-birth.

Beta-endorphins work with another hormone produced naturally, oxytocin, the love hormone, to contract the uterus before and after the baby is born. Physiologically, a birth in which a woman feels safe, heard, supported, loved and undisturbed, a woman’s body is a divine machine that was designed with miraculous and purposeful intent.

Although epidurals and other interventions have their place and are beneficial when necessary, routine use of them interferes with the natural tendencies and process of labor, as well as birth and the after-birth period where breastfeeding and bonding between mother and baby are so important.

Can labor and birth actually be pleasurable?

Many women who I have cared for in my practice have used the word “ecstasy” to describe it! I have helped mamas dance, laugh, sing and sensually release their babies out.

Photo by @seasonaldoc.

Photo by @seasonaldoc.

Just as I have compared some of the experience of labor and birth to that of a marathon runner, feelings of ecstasy can be compared to something similar to a runner’s high. Although birthing your baby is a much more powerful, peak-like experience as you can imagine, this is an experience a woman may only have once or a few times in her life.  

“I never thought I would see the day that anyone other than me would describe childbirth as total ecstasy! I know exactly what orgasmic birth is – I have experienced it myself. There is absolutely nothing else on earth like it. There is no moment in a woman’s life when she feels stronger, more capable, more an embodiment of the Divine than when she pushes her child into this world.” – an excerpt provided by Christine B., included in Elizabeth Davis and Debra Pascali-Bonaro’s book, Orgasmic Birth: Your Guide to a Safe, Satisfying, and Pleasurable Birth Experience (link to Debra’s blog here: http://www.debrapascalibonaro.com/blog/). 

Oxytocin is released both during love-making and during labor. There is a deep connection between the love that put baby there and the love that helps baby come out.  It’s the same sensual energy that is needed, in an atmosphere and mindset conducive to it flowing organically…as in making love, as in giving birth.

A woman’s relationship with her body, both sexually and sensually, can be an integrate part of experiencing labor. The contractions and expansions that occur during labor and childbirth are comparable to those of orgasm.

Art of an actual woman after birth by Amanda Greavette

Art of an actual woman after birth by Amanda Greavette

Most of us have grown up with a belief about labor and childbirth, one in which it has to be painful. We hold a vision in our mind of a pregnant woman, screaming in pain, wearing a hospital gown, with her legs up in the air, an obstetrician and nurses taking over – doing all sorts of emergency care on the laboring mother. That is what we are told by many others who have given birth in many hospital settings for the last few generations.

Even if it’s just something we’ve seen in the movies, it would lead anyone to sign up for an epidural without question.  No wonder there is a prevalent fear and lack of self confidence.

However, it is possible to embrace and lean into the sensations of labor, rather than fear them or try to escape them. It is possible to birth with joy, and even sensual pleasure.

When a woman prepares for this process, she can feel the momentum that labor provides. She can be guided by her own intuition and the trust of a supportive team around her. Mindset can shift to a positive perspective about the sensations of birth and it’s fully possible to have a birth that leaves a woman feeling empowered, strengthened and deeply satisfied. It is possible for her to feel a sense of bliss like no other, despite the intensity and challenges she may face.

To learn more about ecstatic birthing women and other birthing resources, check out some of the books and movies I love!

Also, this outstanding documentary, Orgasmic Birth here is a must watch!  And I was honored to be in it!

Orgasmic Birth
Starring 11 Mothers, 12 International Experts

Let Me Help You Create The Happiest Birth Experience Of Your Life...

Whether you're a first time or experienced momma,

Or a midwife, doula, or birth professional guiding mommas..

Regardless if you are planning a birth at home, a hospital, a birth center or need a cesarean section, or if you are taking another childbirth education class…

You Really Can Create The Delivery Of Your Dreams.

And have a blissful birth wherever you are.

More Precious Than A Wedding...A Birth Should Be A Celebration!

Let me show you how to…

  • Understand the sensations of your body and connect your intuition with how your body is communicating and leading you towards what to do during labor
  • Tap into your inner calm to deeply relax yourself, letting go of busy, stressful and fearful thoughts on demand for the health of baby
  • Speak your truth from your heart in a way that deepens your relationships, sets clear boundaries, and has people listen to you and support you before, during and after pregnancy
  • Trust yourself, connect with your body wisdom and communicate with baby in belly
  • Connect with natural time and sync your body and mind up with your unique biological clock for ease from pregnancy to postpartum
  • Reprogram negative patterns, stories, and beliefs that undermine your confidence, strength and self trust so you can rock your birth

Physicians and midwives around the world recommend my teachings to their pregnant clients and many Doulas across the country learn the secrets of blissful birthing from me to supplement their Doula Training & Certification process!

To learn more, visit:  LOVE YOUR BIRTH Online Childbirth Course!

It is based on my years of experience, as a midwife and yoga teacher, helping thousands of women tap into their calm and live and birth from a place of grounded relaxation and joy. 

  

Get a 10% discount on your Sleepod purchases ataskrembla.com-use the code SWEETHOME to get your discount. 

Get a 10% discount on your Sleepod purchases ataskrembla.com-use the code SWEETHOME to get your discount. 

 

 

5 Essential Tips for Breastfeeding Newborns

Are you prepared to ‪breastfeed your baby? Here are the first 5 tips to get you started.

1) Prepare in advance with education and 2) Get support

Whether you are expecting one baby, multiples, or plan to tandem nurse, the best way to prepare to breastfeed is the same as the best way to have the most positive birth outcome: through education during pregnancy when you do not know about it! More and more mamas today approach their birth full of information and support, which is great! But many mamas do little to prepare themselves for ‪‎breastfeeding their precious little ones ‪‎before they are faced with it postpartum.  In addition, It is much easier when you are determined, surrounded by breastfeeding mamas and support - which you can seek out while pregnant, and have a natural unmedicated birth. It is harder without all that, but absolutely doable. My Love Your Birth online course goes into much more detail about breastfeeding and preparing yourself in advance with knowledge and support, the hows and whys, and what you can do to prevent potential common breastfeeding breastfeeding and set yourself up for optimal success.  

Photo of @mamacarlock is by @kindredphotographer

Photo of @mamacarlock is by @kindredphotographer

Breastfeeding is a magical experience for the entire family, and it's one I am proud to support whole heartedly - especially as it's so incredibly beneficial for mamas and babies, on many levels. I am determined to help mamas and babies get the support they need so their breastfeeding journey is a successful one. I have helped thousands of mamas on their breastfeeding journeys, and am happy to share the wisdom from my education and those experiences with you.

Breastfeeding is a natural process healthy mamas and babies know how to do. But it’s not always easy. Natural unfortunately doesn’t necessarily equal easy, especially in the beginning, and for first timers! It is a learned instinct, but once you and baby get it, it can be so easy, even pleasurable and incredibly worth it. While many do get it right away, for others there is a learning curve that takes a few weeks to get into your groove, and sometimes extra support is needed - especially if its your first experience and you are not surrounded by mamas breastfeeding, as women were throughout history since the beginning of time, and still are in many parts of the world.  It is the way all mammals naturally feed their babies. 

This mama pig is so full of the oxytocin and prolactin hormones, she is completely relaxed and in pig mama bliss. Animals just know what to do. In unusual cases, if a baby animal is having difficulty in the wild, they did not survive. And that is simply part of wildlife reality. If an animal is owned by a person, they usually help the rare little one that is having trouble. Humans who are passionate about breastfeeding but facing challenges are fortunate to have all sort of lactation support, wet nurses, donor milk banks, pumping, storage and alternative feeding methods to get babies breastmilk.

3) Start breastfeeding within the first hour postpartum, or as early as possible by 4) placing skin to skin and allowing for the breast crawl

The first hour after postpartum is an ideal time to start breastfeeding as babies are naturally wide awake, alert, and have strong suck, root and crawl reflexes - from the hormones of undisturbed childbirth.  Make sure the lights are dim and the room is quiet. Place baby skin to skin on your abdomen or chest.

Healthy babies have reflexes to actually crawl up and find their way to the breast, find the nipple and start sucking on their own. It takes patience but there is no rush - and it's truly amazing to watch. Check out movies like "The Breast Crawl."  There are plenty like this on you tube. Healthy postpartum mamas have a huge heart, the maternal instinct to love and care for their babies enhanced by the hormonal cocktail circulating in the body after undisturbed birth; and their breasts are filled with colostrum  - commonly referred to as liquid gold, that transitions in a few days to breast milk which completely meets your babies' needs at least for the first 6 months and beyond.

 

5) Make sure baby's latch is wide

It's optimal for them to be allowed and encouraged to do their crawl up to your breast, but yes, there are times when some assistance is needed. But don't give up. If baby is falling asleep and you efforts to wake baby have not worked, or baby does seem frustrated and is starting to get fussy trying to find your nipple, there are things you can do to help. You will have an easier time getting her to breastfeed before the crying starts. Sit up and get yourself comfortable with pillow support as needed, cradle hold your baby in one bent arm so his face is directly in front of your breast a tad below your nipple, leaving your other arm free. 

When your baby is held close, facing your nipple, wait for baby to open his or her mouth wide enough to get a good latch to breastfeed. A good latch includes as much of your areola as possible - the darker circular area surrounding your nipple, where the breastmilk is contained, as well as your nipple, where the milk is released into baby's mouth. Baby needs to compress and squeeze the milk out of your milk sinuses in the areola prior to sucking - which are all part of the breastfeeding process.

Sometimes baby's latches are occasionally shallow in the early learning stages, which usually means baby is sucking mostly on the nipple; this not only feels painful, but also baby is not getting the proper amount of milk needed. If that happens, press down on the nipple with your finger to release baby's strong latch and try again. Until you both get the hang of it, you may need to hold your breast as this mama is doing, and slide the nipple up and down against baby's lips. This will stimulate baby to open wide and then you bring baby to your breast to feed. Practice and patience do make perfect and are well worth it. 

 

It is crucial to have lactation support available. Sometimes all you need is some wisdom from other seasoned breastfeeding moms or your local La Leche leader. Often guidance from your midwife does the trick. If not, and more extensive assistance is needed, do not hesitate to contact your local lactation consultant. Make sure to ask that needed help right away, as the earlier breastfeeding is established the better for both you and baby.  It does take a village of love. We must bring back that village. 

The newborn baby has only three (main) demands. They are warmth in the arms of its mother, food from her breasts, and security in the knowledge of her presence. Breastfeeding satisfies all three." ~ Grantly Dick-Read. 

Let Me Help You Not only Rock Your Breastfeeding, but also....Create The Happiest Birth Experience Of Your Life.

Whether you're a first time or experienced momma,

Or a midwife, doula, or birth professional guiding mommas..

Regardless if you are planning a birth at home, a hospital, a birth center or need a cesarean section, or if you are taking another childbirth education class…

You Really Can Create The Delivery Of Your Dreams.

And have a blissful birth wherever you are.

More Precious Than A Wedding...A Birth Should Be A Celebration!

Let me show you how to…

  • Understand the sensations of your body and connect your intuition with how your body is communicating and leading you towards what to do during labor
  • Tap into your inner calm to deeply relax yourself, letting go of busy, stressful and fearful thoughts on demand for the health of baby
  • Speak your truth from your heart in a way that deepens your relationships, setsclear boundaries, and has people listen to you and support you before, during and after pregnancy
  • Trust yourself, connect with your body wisdom and communicate with baby in belly
  • Connect with natural time and sync your body and mind up with your unique biological clock for ease from pregnancy to postpartum
  • Reprogram negative patterns, stories, and beliefs that undermine your confidence, strength and self trust so you can rock your birth

Physicians and midwives around the world recommend my teachings to their pregnant clients and many Doulas across the country learn the secrets of blissful birthing from me to supplement their Doula Training & Certification process! I’ve taken everything I’ve learned, trained and supported women with locally for over 20 years in my private practice and I’ve poured all of my love, passion, knowledge and experience into creating something truly special for you

To learn more, visit:  LOVE YOUR BIRTH Online Childbirth Course!

It is based on my years of experience, as a midwife and yoga teacher, helping thousands of women tap into their calm and live and birth from a place of grounded relaxation and joy. 

Get a 10% discount on your Sleepod purchases ataskrembla.com-use the code SWEETHOME to get your discount. 

Get a 10% discount on your Sleepod purchases ataskrembla.com-use the code SWEETHOME to get your discount. 

I am passionate about changing lives. This 44-day course is changing lives. Vital Mind Reset is a program that will hold your hand and help you heal your life without a prescription. It will also introduce you to a community of people just like you – all working to transform their lives and revive their power and joy. Be a part of this community. Be a part of something greater and get yourself back! This course is a must, by renowned holistic psychiatrist Dr. Kelly Brogan, author of NY Times best seller 'A Mind Of Your Own', a dear friend and trusted colleague I can vouch for personally and support whole heartedly. 

I am passionate about changing lives. This 44-day course is changing lives. Vital Mind Reset is a program that will hold your hand and help you heal your life without a prescription. It will also introduce you to a community of people just like you – all working to transform their lives and revive their power and joy. Be a part of this community. Be a part of something greater and get yourself back! This course is a must, by renowned holistic psychiatrist Dr. Kelly Brogan, author of NY Times best seller 'A Mind Of Your Own', a dear friend and trusted colleague I can vouch for personally and support whole heartedly. 

You are supplying your baby's complete nutrition and hydration requirements, as well as your own. It is difficult to get everything you need even from the best of whole food varied organic diet. Do you need supplements? Here are some of my favorite I recommend to mamas in my practice.

Healing Depression and Anxiety Naturally

Check out the course here.

Check out the course here.

I feel compelled to feature an excellent article by renowned holistic psychiatrist Dr. Kelly Brogan, author of NY Times best seller 'A Mind Of Your Own', a dear friend and trusted colleague I can vouch for personally and support whole heartedly. It's about something that touches just about all of us, and me deeply as a woman, mother and midwife who cares for them.

It took my own illness postpartum after my fourth baby and the subsequent failure of western medicine to cure it, let alone treat it risking terrible side effects, for me to do years of research on alternative natural modalities and find complete healing, and to understand and best help the countless expecting and postpartum women who seek my help to heal their suffering. It took a tragedy I witnessed with a baby girl who, after a beautiful normal birth and fetal heart rate, was unable to transition to life outside the womb despite the best of efforts and tragically died in the NICU, for me to become most passionate about this topic; the autopsy report said the death was caused from fetal exposure to a common medication to treat mama's depression prior to and during her pregnancy, prescribed by her psychiatrist and approved by the perinatologist for her to take while pregnant and proceed with a homebirth, as she was not interested in other holistic modalities. A year later the autopsy report was amended and all mention of the woman's depression and the medication she was taking was completely removed not only from the report, but from the hospital chart. I was mortified. I shared the case with other colleagues and physicians, and with a leading midwife in one of our organizations that collects the data and outcome stats of midwives around the world, which continuously documents the safety of homebirth midwifery care; she was shaking as she told me the same events were reported by midwives in other states - she had just reviewed a case two weeks prior.  The physicians I spoke with casually brushed it off; they suggested when the case was reported to the pharmaceutical company per protocol, there was probably some financial incentive given by them to the hospital to amend the record. No one was interested in or could afford pursing this any further. I never really comprehended the power and corruption in the health care industry.

The Drug-Free Solution to Ending Depression

Adapted from A Mind of Your Own by Kelly Brogan, MD

When I talk about medicine and mental health to large audiences, I often start with the following imagery and facts: think of a woman you know who is radiantly healthy. I bet your intuition tells you she sleeps and eats well, finds purpose in her life, is active and fit, and finds time to relax and enjoy the company of others. I doubt you envision her waking up to prescription bottles, buoying her way through the day with caffeine and sugar, feeling anxious and isolated, and drinking herself to sleep at night. All of us have an intuitive sense of what health is, but many of us have lost the roadmap to optimal health, especially the kind of health that springs forth when we simply clear a path for it. The fact that one in four American women in the prime of their life is dispensed medication for a mental health condition represents a national crisis.

Humans have used mind-altering substances to try to dull and deaden pain, misery, sorrow, and suffering since time immemorial, but only in the last few decades have people been persuaded that depression is a disease and that chemical antidepressants are the remedy. This is far from the truth. Many of my patients have been to multiple doctors, bumping up against the hard ceiling of what conventional medicine has to offer. Some have even tried integrative medicine, which aims to combine both traditional medicine (i.e., prescriptions) with alternative treatments (e.g., acupuncture). After all, they are told that there are great natural complements to all the wonders pharmaceutical products have to offer. But the reason they can’t find a solution is because nobody has asked why. Why are they unwell? Why are their bodies creating symptoms that manifest as depression? Why didn’t they stop to ask this important and obvious question the first time they experienced a flat mood, anxiety, insomnia, and chronic exhaustion?

Before I even get to the answers, let me be the first to tell you that the only path to a real solution is to leave the medical world you know behind. This, the journey I will take you on, is not just about symptom suppression, it’s about health freedom. First let me tell you that I was once a typical doctor, not to mention a typical American who loved pizza, soda, birth control, and ibuprofen. My message is from a personal journey and thousands of hours of research that has compelled me to share the truth about prescription-based care: we’ve been duped.

Yes, my entire training was based on a model of disease care that offers patients only one tool—a drug—and never a shot at true wellness. We’ve handed over our health to those who seek to profit from it, and we’ve been buying into a paradigm based on the following notions:

  • We are broken.
  • Fear is an appropriate response to symptoms.
  • We need chemicals to feel better.
  • Doctors know what they are doing.
  • The body is a machine requiring calibration (via drugs). A little too much of this, too little of that.

I call this collective set of notions the Western Medical Illusion. It sets up a vicious system that ushers you into lifelong customer status, dependent and disempowered.

As you can likely guess by now, I love to rant. But I do so with the best evidence science can offer, and there’s a lot we know today about the real root causes of depression—and how to treat the condition safely and successfully—without a prescription pad. If there’s one lesson I will drive home, it’s this: shed the fear, take back your inner compass, and embrace a commitment to your best self, medication free. Even if you don’t already take a prescription drug, I bet you question living the rest of your life prescription free and reliant on your own inner intuition to know what’s best for you. The idea of supporting your body’s innate wisdom may sound quaint at best, or like dangerous hippie woo-woo at worst. I want to tempt you with these possibilities:

  • Prevention is possible.
  • Medication treatment comes at a steep cost.
  • Optimal health is not possible through medication.
  • Your health is under your control.
  • Working with lifestyle medicine—simple everyday habits that don’t entail drugs—is a safe and effective way to send the body a signal of safety.

In holistic medicine, there are no specialties. It’s all connected. I am a practicing psychiatrist with a degree in cognitive neuroscience from MIT, an MD from Weill Cornell Medical College, and clinical training from NYU School of Medicine, and I care deeply for women struggling with their well-being. I’m compelled to share what I’ve learned about the corruption of modern psychiatry and its sordid history while investigating holistic methods that focus on nutrition, meditation, and physical activity—what some practitioners are calling lifestyle medicine because the approach involves changes in everyday lifestyle habits, not the use of pharmaceuticals. While such drug-free methods are entirely evidence-based, they are virtually unknown in this age of the quick fix. For my patients to be well, I know they will need to approach their health with an extreme commitment to the integrity of their mind and body.

Why?

Because we are looking at the body as an intricately woven spiderweb—when you yank one area of it, the whole thing moves. And because there is a more powerful way to heal.

It’s so simple that it could be considered an act of rebellion.

Depression is an opportunity. It is a sign for us to stop and figure out what’s causing our imbalance. Rather than symptoms as a sign that you are broken and weak, born this way, and condemned to a struggle with low serotonin—simple, powerful changes can begin to send the body a signal of safety, and then free the mind. When the body and its interconnected systems is healed, symptoms resolve and the mind is no longer the enemy but a trustworthy tool for transformation.

Basic lifestyle interventions can facilitate the body’s powerful self-healing mechanisms to end depression: dietary modifications (more healthy fats and less sugar, dairy, and gluten); dietary modifications (more healthy fats and less sugar, dairy, and gluten); natural supplements like B vitamins and probiotics that don’t require a prescription and can even be delivered through certain foods; minimizing exposures to biology-disrupting toxicants like fluoride in tap water, chemicals in common drugs like Tylenol and statins, and fragrances in cosmetics; harnessing the power of sufficient sleep and physical movement; and behavioral techniques aimed at promoting the relaxation response. I’ve seen women transformed in a little as 30 days. Dare to be one of them! Learn the tools you’ll need in A Mind of Your Own.

Kelly Brogan, MD, is a Manhattan-based holistic women’s health psychiatrist, author of the book, A Mind of Your Own, and co-editor of the landmark textbook, Integrative Therapies for Depression. She completed her psychiatric training and fellowship at NYU Medical Center after graduating from Cornell University Medical College, and has a B.S. from MIT in Systems Neuroscience. She is board certified in psychiatry, psychosomatic medicine, and integrative holistic medicine, and is specialized in a root-cause resolution approach to psychiatric syndromes and symptoms. She is a mother of two.

Depression has become an epidemic in which psychiatrists commonly make a diagnosis label and quickly write a prescription. Depression effects 1 in 4 women of reproductive age, and anxiety and stress induced illnesses are rampant. Dr. Brogan's course is a must. I recommend it to professionals who serve women so they can best help them or themselves, and I recommend it to all those who seek my guidance. I feel it is especially critical to help pregnant and breastfeeding women prevent and effectively treat these mental illnesses naturally, as the medications not only impact mama but can seriously impact baby; these effects are real, I have witnessed them, yet they are downplayed by the medical community and pharmaceutical companies. I am passionate about dis-ease prevention, helping people heal their suffering and live in joy, and changing lives. Her 44-day course is changing thousands of lives. Vital Mind Reset is a program that will hold your hand and help you heal your life without a prescription. It will also introduce you to a community of people just like you – all working to transform their lives and revive their power and joy. Be a part of this community. Be a part of something greater and get yourself back! 

Check out the course here.  

Check out the course here.

 

DOWNLOAD Dr Kelly Brogan's FREE E-BOOK: Change Your Food, Heal Your Mood and discover 3 simple steps to a healthier body and a healthier brain — without psychiatric drugs!

DOWNLOAD Dr Kelly Brogan's FREE E-BOOK: Change Your Food, Heal Your Mood and discover 3 simple steps to a healthier body and a healthier brain — without psychiatric drugs!

What's a Doula and Why I Recommend One

Art by Amanda Greavette

Art by Amanda Greavette

Happy WorldDoulaWeek! This is a week initiated by a doula in Israel to empower and support doulas around the world to improve the emotional and social health of birthing and postpartum women and their families; this is so needed in modern times, with the breakdown of community and resulting lack of sisterhood mothering, along with the prevalent fear and lack of exposure to birth, and the medicalization of childbirth. Says Dr. John H. Kennel MD, "If a #doula were a drug, it would be unethical not to use it."  When I think of the many #doulas I have been blessed to work with, I am reminded of strong, beautiful, kind, passionate, dedicated, fun-loving women who have found their calling supporting other women - these women rise by lifting others. Hug your doula this week; and if you don't have one, find one to hug, and research the many proven benefits of having a doula, especially if you are giving birth for the first time. 

I do love my vintage office bumper sticker.

I do love my vintage office bumper sticker.

What is a doula is and why do I recommend one when you don't have that kind of support around you?

A doula or a labor support person like a doula is must - someone calm and nurturing to mother you, who knows how to help mamas in labor, birth and postpartum and trusts the process. Women were surrounded by homebirth and supported other women in labor through history and around many parts of the world still today. In the US and many parts of the modern world today, many mamas don't have this, and it negatively impacts their birth and postpartum. My transfer rate is ~ 7% and it's mostly first time moms with prolonged labors, exhaustion and with a common theme - they did not set themselves up with doula or doula like labor support, despite what I said, now documented by solid research. I want mamas to optimize their chances of having an empowered, deeply positive and healthy birth experience. See if your midwife knows great doulas with a sliding scale. An awesome one is worth every penny.

I could talk for hours about this, but here are the main reasons I believe pregnant moms, especially first timers, those planning to VBAC, and those who have an obstetrician as their provider, should hire a doula. Doulas and midwives compliment one another even in out of hospital birth settings, and preserve rather than interfere with partner & family support & privacy.  Often dads are grateful they do not have to learn to be a labor coach.

In many cultures today, and throughout history, until relatively recently, when birth was moved into the hospitals in the 1920s to 1940s, and people dispersed away from their villages, women supported women through childbirth and postpartum. Doulas fill this void, and are trained to provide emotional support, comfort measures, reassurance, encouragement, empowerment, advocacy, and basically mother the laboring and postpartum mother. Most doulas go through a short training and certification process, although many take continuing education and serve childbearing families in other ways such as facilitating pregnancy and postpartum support circles, doing birth photography, creating mother blessing ceremonies, encapsulating placentas, and becoming childbirth educators to teach childbirth classes. Doulas are not medical providers like midwives and obstetricians, responsible for the actual maternity and newborn care - although midwives are more likely to provide doula like care which is integral to authentic midwifery, that is not their main role.

There is an impressive body of research on the many benefits without risks, of the continuous support of an experienced doula during labor, such as improved coping, self confidence, esteem and empowerment, enhanced satisfaction and positive feelings about their childbirth, shorter and easier labors, an easier time adapting to motherhood with enhanced skills, longer breastfeeding, more positive feelings towards their baby and even improved relationship with their partner! Scientific evidence from gold standard medical studies also reveals less pain and fear, less childbirth interventions including cesarean, vacuum and forceps deliveries, less episiotomies, medication for pain and stimulating labor, less babies in poor condition needing intensive care and longer hospital stays, and all the associated risks to of above interventions, and less postpartum depression. This is HUGE! It's having a personal coach so that you have the most healthiest, wonderful experience possible. All successful professional athletes, performers and most leading businesses and entrepreneurs have a coach of some sort.

Photo by Julia Sywers.

Photo by Julia Sywers.

This is doula love, given by my amazing birth assistant, doula and childbirth educator, to a superhero mama having her second homebirth. "The wisdom and compassion a woman intuitively experiences in childbirth can make her a source of healing and understanding for other women." - said the beloved Steve Gaskin. I want to honor all doulas this happy world doula week, and all superhero mamas who have given birth anyhow, anywhere.  Photo by Julia Sywers.

For personal questions and need for individual guidance you can schedule an online consultation with me- this is one of passions and areas of expertise. Many mamas ask to consult with me about their personal fears and concerns and what to do about them. I love helping mamas in person, and now with this global IG community, via Skype or phone conversation. You can also take my unique online ROCK and LOVE YOUR BIRTH course, which basically guides you through your pregnancy to birth and postpartum journey, as I guide the families in my midwifery practice - without the hands on care, to prepare and plan for an experience of their dreams.

Do you need supplements for preconception and pregnancy? Here are some of my favorite I recommend to mamas in my practice, along with my favorite herbal tea recipe for your journey. 

Flora

Make your Red Raspberry Leaf and Nettle herbal infusion.....rich in needed nutrients and specifically nourishing for pregnancy, birth and postpartum. Place 1 oz of dried red raspberry leaf, 1 oz of dried nettle leaf in a quart-sized glass canning jar with strainer, fill it with boiling water, cover and steep for at least 2 -4 hours at room temperature. Strain and place in a covered pitcher. You can make it in larger quantities and store in the fridge. For taste, dilute with water or steep for less time (but no less than half an hour), add lemon or lime juice, mint leaves or a teaspoon of honey. Drink 1-4 cups daily hot or cold.

I am passionate about changing lives. This 44-day course is changing lives. Vital Mind Reset is a program that will hold your hand and help you heal your life without a prescription. It will also introduce you to a community of people just like you – all working to transform their lives and revive their power and joy. Be a part of this community. Be a part of something greater and get yourself back! This course is a must, by renowned holistic psychiatrist Dr. Kelly Brogan, author of NY Times best seller 'A Mind Of Your Own', a dear friend and trusted colleague I can vouch for personally and support whole heartedly.  

Get a 10% discount on your Sleepod purchases ataskrembla.com-use the code SWEETHOME to get your discount. 

Get a 10% discount on your Sleepod purchases ataskrembla.com-use the code SWEETHOME to get your discount. 

Below are some supplies to help you Rock your birthing experience! For more details check a recent  blog I specifically devoted to my recommended top 10 must haves for your birth - to make it easier and so much more wonderful.

Life Planning Methods for Parents of Children with Special Needs

April is around the corner, and it is autism awareness month. I bow to my dear sister, my inspiration, who does whatever it takes to be the best mother she can be to her son, my nephew, with autism, while balancing her own needs, the needs of her husband, the needs of her other daughter, my niece, and the rest of our family. My sister has risen to face her life with grace. She reads all the latest books, takes workshops, connects and networks with other families raising children with special needs or on the autistic spectrum, and is very active in her community and school district. She made sure my nephew had the best doctors, therapists and teachers as soon as he was diagnosed.  She does what she can to make sure her son feels safe, secure, accepted, and confident, as well as find and hone his unique gifts. 

If you have a child with special needs, check out this excellent article regarding life planning methods for parents of these children; it was graciously contributed by Jenny Wise, a homeschooling mom to four children including a seven-year-old on the autistic spectrum. I add some additional resources for parents of children with special needs. #SpecialNeedsParents #SpecialNeedsParenting #AutismParents #AutisticSpectrum #AutismAcceptance #AutismAwareness #AutismLife #AutismLove #AutismSpeaks #AutismSupport

Parents of children with special needs often begin worrying about long-term care from day one. Depending on the needs of your child, he or she may be able to attend college, build a family, or have a stable career. If, on the other hand, your child will need ongoing care for the rest of his or her life, there are other characteristics and hurdles to consider.

Believe it or not, your life planning strategy for your special needs child should begin right now. Waiting until your child becomes an adult is often setting yourself up for frustration and unnecessary stress. The sooner you begin thinking about the future of your child, the sooner you can start preparing for that future - and the better that future will be.

In this article, we’re going to share some useful planning methods that will help you get started.

1. Don’t Go It Alone

Whether your child is looking at lifetime care or a fairly typical future, you should never try to go through this process alone. Every special needs child requires unique attention and planning. The earlier you find a professional to help you juggle the load, the more comfortable you’ll be throughout the process. It will also make tackling financial and estate essentials far more manageable. You can read more about these essentials through Family Connect.

Image by Bessi (Pixabay)

2. Think About Finances

 There are multiple ways to help your child financially as he or she ages. Important areas to consider include federal and state benefits (such as Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid), special needs trusts, and 529 ABLE accounts. These accounts are special savings accounts put together for individuals with special needs. The assets in the account will be allowed to accumulate (and be withdrawn for qualified expenses) tax-free. Read more about these financial options through Farmers Insurance.

3. Assume The Worst

The unfortunate truth is that, in many cases, parents do not live long enough to help their special needs child cope with the real world. There are additional issues to be considered - including a will and a letter of intent. This letter should describe how you wish to handle care for your child in your absence. It is your responsibility to put together life insurance resources and detailed information about the special needs of your child. You can learn more about the legality of life planning through Wrights Law.

4. Think Beyond Legality

While there are dozens of legal issues to consider when planning a future for a child with special needs, you also need to think beyond the legal requirements. What health care providers will your child use? What kind of therapy will be available? Who would you prefer to use as a caregiver? And think about special contingencies and money or instructions you’ll want to have in place should they be needed. For example, what if your child is physically injured in a car accident and needs special care in addition to the daily care you might already be planning for? Or what if your child develops a substance abuse problem or addiction? Who will be in charge of helping them get into treatment and how will the costs be covered? Write down a list of questions that have entered your mind about the future. Take as much time as possible to answer each one. This is how you cover your bases.

5. Stand Your Ground

There might be other individuals (some parents, some not) who will question your decision to start life planning as early as possible. Don’t be afraid to stand your ground. You are not thinking too hard or being unrealistic. You are being a concerned and responsible parent. Any professional involved in the process will affirm that statement. It’s never too early.

The bottom line is simple. The more you plan ahead, the better off your special needs child will be. If you start planning before your child is a teenager, you’ll have at least six years to make solid arrangements for his or her future - and that is parenting at its finest.

 

Guest Author

Jenny Wise is a homeschooling mom to four children including a seven-year-old on the autism spectrum. She created her website  SpecialHomeEducator.com as a pure service forum for sharing her adventures, and chronicling her ups and downs in homeschooling her children - including her child with special needs, and connecting with other homeschooling and parents of special needs families. 

Below are some wonderful additional resources.

This is a must watch fact-based story of an autistic woman who became one of the top scientists in the humane livestock handling industry, and a hero to autistic people everywhere.

Temple Grandin
Starring Claire Danes, Catherine O'Hara, Julia Ormond, David Strathairn

I am passionate about changing lives. This 44-day course is changing lives. Vital Mind Reset is a program that will hold your hand and help you heal your life without a prescription. It will also introduce you to a community of people just like you – all working to transform their lives and revive their power and joy. Be a part of this community. Be a part of something greater and get yourself back! This course is a must, by renowned holistic psychiatrist Dr. Kelly Brogan, author of NY Times best seller 'A Mind Of Your Own', a dear friend and trusted colleague I can vouch for personally and support whole heartedly.  

Enjoy radio shows from some of the world’s greatest teachers in spirituality, health, and wellness. Begin your journey of personal growth and healing now by listening to HayHouseRadio.com – radio for your soul. Hay House also brings these teachers and healers to you with their wonderful array of online courses. that enhance the quality of life of individuals and ultimately the world we live in.

How Can Prenatal Yoga Help In Birth, Postpartum and Beyond?

“Most people have no idea how good their body is designed to feel.” ~ Kevin Trudeau.

@infinitelovedoula

@infinitelovedoula

How can yoga help you? Learning techniques to relax yourself, focus, feel grounded, balanced, strong, and how to release and surrender will empower you to have a much easier pregnancy, childbirth, postpartum and life as mother.  Growing, birthing and caring for your baby involves your body, mind, heart, gut and spirit, as well as your baby's.

What a picture of optimal health, radiant joy, inner calm, beauty, balance, strength and flexibility. These are some of the advantages of regular yoga practice. If you don't do yoga on an ongoing basis, you might just feel so much better if you give it a try, and take some weekly awesome traditional classes with phenomenal teachers, to see which resonate most with you. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Stunning photo of this angel mama @Nikk_kee is by @crystaleee .  “Most people have no idea how good their body is designed to feel.” ~ Kevin Trudeau.

What a picture of optimal health, radiant joy, inner calm, beauty, balance, strength and flexibility. These are some of the advantages of regular yoga practice. If you don't do yoga on an ongoing basis, you might just feel so much better if you give it a try, and take some weekly awesome traditional classes with phenomenal teachers, to see which resonate most with you. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Stunning photo of this angel mama @Nikk_kee is by @crystaleee .  “Most people have no idea how good their body is designed to feel.” ~ Kevin Trudeau.

What a picture of optimal health, radiant joy, inner calm, beauty, balance, strength and flexibility. These are some of the advantages of regular yoga practice. If you don't do yoga on an ongoing basis, you might just feel so much better if you give it a try, and take some weekly awesome traditional classes with phenomenal teachers, to see which resonate most with you. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Stunning photo of this angel mama @Nikk_kee is by @crystaleee . 

Yoga is an ancient self-help science of optimal health and well-being of the body, mind, heart and spirit, now demonstrated by much scientific research, and modern technology has made it much more accessible to so many more people. I am passionate about helping mamas relate to it and make it their own. Regular yoga practice has numerous HUGE benefits in pregnancy, birth, postpartum and beyond - from decreased common discomforts, aches and pains, to increased strength, balance, flexibility and stamina for advancing pregnancy and active birthing, improved ability to relax and cope, decreased inner stress and its toxic effects, enhanced connection with baby, easier labor with less risk of intervention, quicker postpartum recovery, and so much more. It really helps you feel your best physically and emotionally.

Photo by Julia Swyers

Photo by Julia Swyers

Do these mamas look like they are in hard labor? Well they are. They are using their yoga, meditation & breathing skills to help them cope with the waves of intense sensations, by keeping them calm, focused, grounded & strong - all of which eased labor, as they ROCKED their birth!

Whether you are an advanced yogi or never did any yoga before, regular practice of prenatal yoga (yoga modified & specific for pregnancy) has numerous benefits in pregnancy, birth, postpartum & throughout life, & even helps your baby’s physical & mental health & development. Those inner stress hormones are toxic for the both of you, & the inner relaxation biochemicals are like health magic for you & your baby. Pregnancy is actually a great time to start yoga - as you embark on this life - changing journey to birth & becoming a mother. It is not too late to start, and the more you practice, the more these skills become habitual, so you can easily tap into them in labor or any life challenge. Below is one of my favorite books on how prenatal yoga can enhance your journey from pregnancy to birth and mamahood.

Art by Catie Atkinson @spiritysol.

Art by Catie Atkinson @spiritysol.

As a midwife and a practitioner and teacher of yoga, I have seen many women once they become pregnant, use this wake up call to take charge of their health & do what they can to make healthier choices for themselves & their growing families; & as mamas incorporated yoga into their lives, I witnessed even more remarkable improvements in their health, how it was a life saver for them during childbirth, how it eased their postpartum recovery & their ability to take on the challenges of caring for their babies with more equanimity & resilience. Healthy life is far beyond eating clean and exercising, and taking the whole food natural supplements I recommend - although those are real important. 

I love authentic yoga so much I want to encourage all to experience how it thoroughly enhances the health of mind and body. Here are some ways regular practice improves the emotions and quality of life, and in the next yoga post I will focus on all the physical health advantages. - Yoga promotes relaxation, peace of mind, and inner calm which decreases anxiety. - Yoga makes for happier, more positive mood and sense of well-being, which decreases depression. - Yoga opens the heart to compassion, deeper connection with oneself and others, which improves self awareness and relationships; this also results in increased consciousness of destructive lifestyle patterns, and a desire to overcome dysfunctional habits and addictions...and also better sex. - Yoga enhances self esteem, inner emotional strength, resilience, and coping ability, which helps one remain steady with greater equanimity in face of hardship, drama, bad news, unsettling events, suffering and life challenges; it can ultimately lead not only to acceptance of much of life that is not in our control, but also to embracing these experiences as gifts, catalysts for change and personal growth. - Yoga enhances spiritual connection no matter what religion, belief system or faith. - Yoga leads to improved creativity and can be such fun if done just about anytime anywhere, such as on a tree over a lake.  

@infinitelovedoula

@infinitelovedoula

But we can't forget the many physical health advantages. - Yoga eases common discomforts of pregnancy, leads to shorter easier labor & birth, & quicker easier postpartum recovery. - Yoga improves energy & vitality, maintains youthfulness, & eases symptoms of menopause. - Yoga improves sleep & reduces insomnia. -Yoga decreases muscle tension, soreness & pain, & actually eases pain of many chronic conditions. - Yoga reduces inner stress & the illnesses it causes, which constitutes the majority of modern day conditions.- Yoga improves muscle strength, function & tone; it also improves flexibility, balance, coordination & posture, all of which not only improves any athletic performance but also decreases risk of injury. - Yoga improves health of bones, muscles, joints, & cartilage, & reduces risk of problems there, including common affected areas in back & neck.- Yoga improves health of cardiovascular, circulatory, endocrine, gastrointestinal, & respiratory systems, and decreases risk of their related diseases. - Yoga balances metabolism, helps with weight loss, leads to healthier eating, self care & lifestyle, which reduces health problems of obesity, & other conditions from unhealthy habits & addictions. - Yoga boosts immunity to infection & cancer, & decreases risk of inflammatory, autoimmune diseases & allergies. - Yoga improves focus, memory, attention, & sharpness, which decreases age related cognitive decline.

Yoga is not a religion, although it can enhance your spiritual connection whatever your belief system; nor is it just a physical exercise, although that is a wonderful perk. It’s not just for those who can do splits and headstands, but it does increase your flexibility and strength on many levels so you might find yourself doing them one day. It is not just about taking a class either. It can be a part of everything you do! It can be done anywhere, anytime - even in the park, and with your minis. 

If you don't do yoga on an ongoing basis, you might just feel so much better if you give it a try, and take some weekly awesome traditional classes with phenomenal teachers, to see which resonate most with you. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. In between local classes, or if you cannot get to one, there are classes online at yogaglo.com or try out some of these wonderful video classes.

Prenatal Yoga

Element Mind & Body Experience: Prenatal & Postnatal Yoga with Elana Brower  

Prenatal Yoga with Desi Bartlett 

* Prenatal Yoga: Open Your Body, Connect to YourBaby with Mara Branscombe 

Prenatal Yoga for Rejuvenation and Calm with Mara Branscombe  

Prenatal Kundalini Yoga with Akal Khalsa 

The New Method - Baby & Mom Pre Natal Yoga by Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa 

Here is a list of my 10 favorite yoga supplies  - what I use in my own yoga practice at home and when I teach. I share them with you so you can ROCK your regular home yoga practice and have what you may find helpful in labor as well. Many mamas just love the restorative poses with props to sink into and feel supported by, just to relax and recharge after a long busy day.

If I can help a mama who wants more personal attention, to learn yoga on Skype, private, or small group local classes, then why not ?! It’s been beyond awesome to more personally connect and yoga with mamas all over the globe. So, if you are interested in my private, semi-private or actual prenatal and postpartum classes on Skype or in my local studio, click here and I will contact you for more info and scheduling. Classes are geared for healthy pregnant or postpartum mamas with some, little or no previous yoga experience. But an experienced pregnant yogi is always welcome. I look forward to working with each of you!!

When starting anything new, as well as along the journey of developing any set of skills, I am reminded that Gothe said "everything is hard before it is easy"; but I am also encouraged by the words of Max Ehrman, "beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle on yourself". So take baby steps, throw out the negative self judgement, remember we are all on our own unique paths, and our only competition is ourselves. 

Photo by Megan Hancock Photography

Photo by Megan Hancock Photography

Let Me Help You Create The Happiest Birth Experience Of Your Life...

Whether you're a first time or experienced momma,

Or a midwife, doula, or birth professional guiding mommas..

Regardless if you are planning a birth at home, a hospital, a birth center or need a cesarean section, or if you are taking another childbirth education class…

You Really Can Create The Delivery Of Your Dreams.

And have a blissful birth wherever you are.

More Precious Than A Wedding...A Birth Should Be A Celebration!

Let me show you how to…

  • Understand the sensations of your body and connect your intuition with how your body is communicating and leading you towards what to do during labor
  • Tap into your inner calm to deeply relax yourself,letting go of busy, stressful and fearful thoughts on demand for the health of baby
  • Speak your truth from your heart in a way that deepens your relationships, sets clear boundaries, and has people listen to you and support you before, during and after pregnancy
  • Trust yourself, connect with your body wisdom andcommunicate with baby in belly
  • Connect with natural time and sync your body and mind up with your unique biological clock for ease from pregnancy to postpartum
  • Reprogram negative patterns, stories, and beliefs that undermine your confidence, strength and self trust so you can rock your birth

Physicians and midwives around the world recommend my teachings to their pregnant clients and many Doulas across the country learn the secrets of blissful birthing from me to supplement their Doula Training & Certification process!

To learn more, visit:  LOVE YOUR BIRTH Online Childbirth Course!

It is based on my years of experience, as a midwife and yoga teacher, helping thousands of women tap into their calm and live and birth from a place of grounded relaxation and joy. 

I am passionate about changing lives. This 44-day course is changing lives. Vital Mind Reset is a program that will hold your hand and help you heal your life without a prescription. It will also introduce you to a community of people just like you – all working to transform their lives and revive their power and joy. Be a part of this community. Be a part of something greater and get yourself back! This course is a must, by renowned holistic psychiatrist Dr. Kelly Brogan, author of NY Times best seller 'A Mind Of Your Own', a dear friend and trusted colleague I can vouch for personally and support whole heartedly.  

Get a 10% discount on your Sleepod purchases ataskrembla.com-use the code SWEETHOME to get your discount. 

Get a 10% discount on your Sleepod purchases ataskrembla.com-use the code SWEETHOME to get your discount. 

Enjoy radio shows from some of the world’s greatest teachers in spirituality, health, and wellness. Begin your journey of personal growth and healing now by listening to HayHouseRadio.com – radio for your soul. Hay House also brings these teachers and healers to you with their wonderful array of online courses. that enhance the quality of life of individuals and ultimately the world we live in.

The Strength of A Woman

@mikalacatherine

@mikalacatherine

"Today, along with every day since this day, I am so proud to be a woman and a mom." wrote inspired mama @mikalacatherine. "I had the incredible opportunity and privilege to carry my little boy for almost 41 weeks. But what I am most proud of is the fact that I was able to give birth to him. It's something I think about literally every day. I did it. Women every day do it. It blows my mind because the frequency of births makes it seem common. But let me tell you, it is not common. It is quite literally the worst and best thing I have ever done. Having given birth has made me so proud of all moms because now I know what each and every mom has had to go through with pregnancy, delivery, and postpartum. None are easy. All are important and meaningful. I know I risk seeming conceded with this post, but I am so dang proud of myself for doing it. Some days I am in awe of that fact. So today, I am so proud to be a woman and to stand with other women. With all mommies and caretakers. With all moms whether they have carried their babies physically or in their hearts instead. I am honored."

I honor of the billions of strong women who have found their strength and birthed (majority at home, naturally) since the beginning of time. Billions. Something to remember in labor, to encourage and empower. 

I saw the exam table and thought what a great place for warrior - because women are warriors, period - no matter where and how they birthed, whether they had babies or not.  In all these years I have met so many amazing women, women who have faced and dealt with a range of serious life challenges, many many women who grow, birth, feed and raise little humans, and those who were unable to even get pregnant or carry their pregnancies. The warrior pose is in honor of all women who find their strength at times when it seems impossible - and those are the women I have been blessed to know and learn from. 

Warriors are not born and they are not made…Warriors create themselves through trial and error, mistakes and limitations, pain and suffering, being upside down, wide open and vulnerable – and that is strength. Warriors get up and try again in spite of all of it. “Strength doesn’t come from what you can do. It comes from overcoming the things you thought you couldn’t.” Ashley Greene. We women are stronger than we know, and we find that out when we have too. And once we tap into that power, we birth our babies, we handle the challenges, we birth ourselves...each and every day, with the little hardships and the mountains that seem impossible to climb...until we do.

Art by Catie Atkinson @spiritysol.

Art by Catie Atkinson @spiritysol.

"Behind every man stands no woman. There is no greater man than the man that can acknowledge the woman standing right next to him." ~ Rachel Wolchin. Women rock! Mothers rock! We are strong because we had to be, wiser because we learned through our powerful experiences, always doing our best with what we know, have and are faced with at the time; we are admirable warriors of honor because we stayed the course, did not give up despite the challenges and struggles, and had the courage to plow forward irregardless of fears. Our blessings are that we have a fan club - the little ones we grow within us, birth, nurture and take care of, who adore us without caring about the mess, the laundry, our to-do lists. They are the little ones we adopt or foster. They are the people we deeply care for who are not our babies. We are beautiful to them no matter how we look or dress; we are perfect to them even when we make mistakes. They want our time and loving attention more than any material gift. I would love women to be treated and to treat themselves like the goddesses they are.

Photo by Megan Hancock Photography

Photo by Megan Hancock Photography

Let Me Help You Create The Happiest Birth Experience Of Your Life...

Whether you're a first time or experienced momma,

Or a midwife, doula, or birth professional guiding mommas..

Regardless if you are planning a birth at home, a hospital, a birth center or need a cesarean section, or if you are taking another childbirth education class…

You Really Can Create The Delivery Of Your Dreams.

And have a blissful birth wherever you are.

More Precious Than A Wedding...A Birth Should Be A Celebration!

Let me show you how to…

  • Understand the sensations of your body and connect your intuition with how your body is communicating and leading you towards what to do during labor
  • Tap into your inner calm to deeply relax yourself,letting go of busy, stressful and fearful thoughts on demand for the health of baby
  • Speak your truth from your heart in a way that deepens your relationships, sets clear boundaries, and has people listen to you and support you before, during and after pregnancy
  • Trust yourself, connect with your body wisdom andcommunicate with baby in belly
  • Connect with natural time and sync your body and mind up with your unique biological clock for ease from pregnancy to postpartum
  • Reprogram negative patterns, stories, and beliefs that undermine your confidence, strength and self trust so you can rock your birth

Physicians and midwives around the world recommend my teachings to their pregnant clients and many Doulas across the country learn the secrets of blissful birthing from me to supplement their Doula Training & Certification process!

To learn more, visit:  LOVE YOUR BIRTH Online Childbirth Course!

It is based on my years of experience, as a midwife and yoga teacher, helping thousands of women tap into their calm and live and birth from a place of grounded relaxation and joy. 

Educate and inspire yourself, ready your body, ready your mind, ready your heart with my list of TOP BOOKS of every category you can imagine listed  - with links on where to get them as books, listen on audio, or read them on kindle. The better prepared we are for a situation, the better the outcome will be. I feel passionate about empowering and educating women to get the most out of their womanhood, pregnancy, birth, postpartum, breastfeeding, mama, yoga and life journeys!

I am excited about this course is by a best selling author whose personal story, insights and life changes after recovery from terminal cancer and a near death experience are beyond inspiring and riveting. Not only is it such a testimony to her strength, I feel it can help moms with many of the physical, emotional and psychological challenges associated with pregnancy, postpartum and beyond, also help all women and the professionals who serve them, and really every human being....to find their strength that is already within them.

“Dying to be Me” by Anita Moorjani emphasizes the importance of YOU. She discusses positive ways you can radically alter beliefs about yourself, your purpose on earth, your health, your relationships, and your life. These lessons may help you in recognizing and dealing with the various challenges you face, and may aid as a tool or a resource to be used for you to learn about YOU and reconnect to the best parts of you – Featuring lessons in Loving Authentically, From Surviving to Thriving, From Fear To Freedom, Finding My Purpose and Creating a Magnificent Life with special dear guest Wayne Dyer. Anita will also inspire you to radically alter your current beliefs about yourself, your purpose on earth, your health, your relationships, and your life;  and she can help you transform your life by living more authentically, discovering your greatest passions, transcending your deepest fears, and living from a place of pure joy. 

Birth Story: When Things Did Not Go As Planned

Usually births do not go as planned, and the unexpected happens. I encourage pregnant mamas to actually expect the unexpected, make birth references known and fully prepare for the birth they want, choose their provider and birth team wisely, then be very present, flexible and surrender to and actually embrace whatever happens each moment as meant to be because it did happen (a higher level would be to know it happened for your benefit - but that is a spiritual perspective); I do what I can to help them know that they did their absolute best - there is no judgement, no place for shame and blame, while acknowledging their feelings and telling them it will take time and support to process. Most of the time the unexpected is innocuous and could simply mean you birthed in your bed when you wanted a waterbirth, you told your mom to take your kids out when you previously wanted them there, or you wanted your partner to help catch your baby when he ended up holding you in a standing squat and you told him not to move as baby was crowning. Sometimes it could mean medical intervention was needed in any setting; sometimes, less commonly, it means transfer to the hospital from a freestanding birth center or home, when being there is no longer safe or appropriate because of complications, and sometimes that could even mean surgical birth. This mama @holisticnutritionandme loved her birth and was extremely grateful for her care and the outcome, because she had excellent, personalized, compassionate, sensitive and respectful care and because of her attitude and mindset. She know she did her absolute best and interventions were needed. She writes her beautiful birth story in spite of the challenges. #BirthWithoutFear  

"My baby girl, Liliana Dylan, was born on July 5th at 41+2 weeks pregnant, weighing 7lbs 13oz and 21" long. I was in active labour at home for 12+ hours with my midwives, doula, husband (Daniel) and mom. I got through contractions by alternating between using a birth pool, my exercise ball, walking and moving around. Staying still intensified the pain for me. My#midwife broke my water and I reached 6cm dilation. For hours my contractions continued to get longer and stronger but I wasn't dilating further than 6cm. My baby was posterior which made it harder for her to drop and gave me excruciating back pain. My #midwives recommended we transfer to the hospital for an epidural and pitocin due to lack of progression. So Daniel and mom drove me to the hospital while I was on all 4s in the back seat trying to make it through my contractions. Another 19 hours of labour at the hospital and 2 hours of pushing and my baby finally arrived! Although I didn't get the natural home birth I had planned for, I'm so grateful for the way everything turned out. Birth plans are great to have, but ultimately you have to roll with whatever you're served with when the time comes. Getting my baby out safely was always my one and only priority. My midwives and #doula were warriors and cared for me from start to finish. Daniel and mom were my rocks and did everything to make me as comfortable as they could. I couldn't have done it without every member of my birth team. Liliana has been doing great, she nurses like a champion and is the light of my life." What an inspiring #BirthStory and outlook to learn from @holisticnutritionandme. It is also an ideal model of supportive home to hospital transfer for the compassionate use of epidural and needed interventions that enabled mama to have a deeply positive birth experience despite the challenges, despite her #homebirth not proceeding as planned, despite hospital care that became necessary.  All#BirthIsBeautiful and #WomenAreAmazing.

 I compiled a list of my favorite reads on the journey from birth to birth and postpartum, that also include inspirational books about being in the now and embracing what is - all with links on where to get them. Below is one for LIFE, as most of it does not go as planned and we all inevitably face unexpected challenges. I hope this helps!! 

The benefits of cultivating a regular yoga and simple meditation or spiritual practice are huge, when it comes to staying present, calming yourself, and embracing all of life - even when things happen that we do not want. To create your own home sanctuary, a place where you can practice, here are the supplies I use and recommend. Yogaglo.com has wonderful online classes and here are some great prenatal and postnatal yoga classes on my favorite list of movies - when you can not get to a local class.

Enjoy radio shows from some of the world’s greatest teachers in spirituality, health, and wellness. Begin your journey of personal growth and healing now by listening to HayHouseRadio.com – radio for your soul.

Educate and inspire yourself, ready your body, ready your mind, ready your heart with my list of TOP BOOKS of every category you can imagine listed  - with links on where to get them as books, listen on audio, or read them on kindle. The better prepared we are for a situation, the better the outcome will be. I feel passionate about empowering and educating women to get the most out of their womanhood, pregnancy, birth, postpartum, breastfeeding, mama, yoga and life journeys!

The Estimated Due Date and Preventing "Being Late"

Photo by Melissa Oosting

Photo by Melissa Oosting

Most mamas like to count baby's toes and fingers. The amount of creases in the baby's feet are simply one of several signs this healthy baby is "post term", born in the weeks past estimated due date, when this baby was ready to be born. It is one of the assessments we use to calculate the new baby's gestational age (how many weeks baby was in utero). I marvel how this calculation often differs from pregnancy dating. I had a mama in my practice who came to me with her last 4 pregnancies. She told me her first 4 babies were born 4 weeks past her estimated due date, but they were all evaluated as term at birth, without any indications of being "late." Her last 4 babies were also born 4 weeks after her estimated due date, had I calculated it based on the first day of her last period alone; but they actually arrived at just the right time, all evaluated to be term - as I used a variety of other assessments, including past history, cycle characteristics, and when she had intercourse, to get a more accurate dating for her pregnancy.

Art by Catie Atkinson @spiritysol.

Art by Catie Atkinson @spiritysol.

What is this due date and how can you more accurately help calculate it to prevent false diagnosis of postdates and its associated risks of induction? The estimated due date is just that - an estimate of when mom and baby of a healthy pregnancy will go into labor; it is an estimate of how many weeks old your fetus is at any stage of your pregnancy - which is important to know, as this impacts your maternity care and the well-being of you and your baby. If you go into labor, it would be important to know that your baby is term and there are no issues with the baby's gestational age. For example, if you go into labor at a certain point before your estimated due date, it's important to know if it is too early for your baby to be born, your preterm baby would be at increased risk and need intensive care, so efforts would be made to try to stop it. Likewise, if you are past your given due date, in many modern obstetrical practices, in an attempt to avoid small risk of postdates for babies that increase after 42 weeks, there is a cascade of interventions from frequent testing of fetal well-being to induction when you are not really due or ready to labor yet; this can lead to increased stress, more painful harder labor, anesthesia and other unnecessary interventions that may culminate in an unplanned cesarean birth. Actually, only 5% of women give birth on their due date, even with the most accurately assessed pregnancy dating.  I like to use the language due month, as most babies come a few weeks before or after that date - more commonly a week or more after it for first time mamas.

@yogawithalanna

@yogawithalanna

 

So, when speaking about due dates and postdates, I like to start with education and prevention during preconception, before a women gets pregnant. And even if pregnant, we can still do some detective work and might come up with helpful information that may impact your pregnancy dating. I advise women to know their fascinating bodies and menstrual cycles, to track how often their periods come, when they have signs of ovulation and when they had or did not have intercourse.

Art by Catie Atkinson @spiritysol.

Art by Catie Atkinson @spiritysol.

With this knowledge, mamas can TAKE CHARGE OF THEIR FERTILITY to either prevent pregnancy, or try to become pregnant, learn when they conceived and even when they are pregnant before a positive pregnancy test. This is one of my favorite books on the subject.

Mamas who know their date of conception, more details about their cycles, and their past pregnancy histories (when they went into labor previously and what the gestational age assessment was of each of their babies), have a much more accurate due date than basing it on first date of last period alone. This is one of many ways mamas can become empowered and proactive.

It also helps to connect with nature, and your connection with it - your body is nature, has its own biological clock, and you might want to look into how it relates to the moon cycles (a very interesting study). It helps to connect with the rest of who you are - your heart, your gut, your spirit, and get out of the busy overthinking, worrying, calculating mind that has become way too dependent on manmade, digital precision of industrialized time, stay present in each precious moment, the only place where life exists, surrender to what you can not control of the natural world anyway, and learn ways to self relax and tap into a state of inner calm (why I love yoga and mindfulness so much). As a midwife, I certainly have other date assessment skills I use, and other suggestions to help each mama on a more personal level, but these are great places mamas can start. But no obstetrical provider or any human, can predict when a mama will go into labor. So one of the great lessons of pregnancy is being ok with not knowing. Might as well enjoy the journey, as this is as real as life gets.

Art by Catie Atkinson @spiritysol.

Art by Catie Atkinson @spiritysol.

Red Moon
By Miranda Gray

But in today's times,  I do feel compelled to debunk some myths. As I indicated above, the due date is not written in stone. It is an estimate around an average time of when mamas go into labor, plus or minus a few weeks on either side. Although I like referring to the 'due month', that has not taken hold in the modern obstetric community, obsessed with measurements. At least we can use it between us and with your extended families, who tend to call you every day after your estimated due date, to find out if you had your baby yet. Yes, now we have ultrasound that, if done in the first trimester by a practitioner with expertise in pregnancy dating, the accuracy of the estimated due date increases a bit. But not all mamas want a sonogram. Again, only about 5% of babies are born on their estimated due dates anyway. And it is often miscalculated, if based alone on the first date of the last menstrual period. That date calculation only applies if a mama’s cycle comes every 28 days, assuming she ovulated day 14, and that still could mean baby could be born on average between 37 and 42 weeks. Healthy term babies can also be born before or after this time frame.

 

This is my pregnancy dating wheel that has been with me as long as I can remember. Now its online. I like the ones that take cycle length and date of conception into consideration. Most women having regular cycles have variation, with sometimes as much as 21-45 days between them. And that is normal. There are many factors such as stress, illness & travel, that can prolong the time between last period and next ovulation, but once a women ovulates, the next period comes close to 14 days later - unless she conceived shortly before or at ovulation.

As a nurse since 1985 and a midwife for over 20 years, I meet many women who are well informed and know their bodies and histories, and many who are not familiar but are very eager to get empowered and learn more. I have had plenty of women know their exact date of conception from fertility treatments and go into labor weeks before or after their due dates. I have had women who knew exactly when they conceived as they were keeping track, only had intercourse at or before ovulation once as for example they were or partner were busy or not together. And they give birth close to estimated due date. Each mama and story is different. And I have had women not have a clue about their cycles or when they got pregnant. But more often than realized, modern medicine does not know nearly as much as people might expect. Women can empower themselves with some knowledge and they have more wisdom than they think; too much trust is often placed in technology and 'experts' over themselves. I question the value of of having to be so accurate with exact calculations when it comes to healthy women experiencing healthy pregnancies. These are illusions, manmade constructs, industrialized time applied to horticultural biological time that no human can control or predict. This is a fascinating study and discussion if one has an open mind to consider other perspectives, and the more I practice the humbler I become, the more awe I have in a process that has far more wisdom and power than any human being, no matter what their training and background. 

Oh the journey of waiting and not knowing when, has been a journey traveled by billions of women since the beginning of time - it's part of the sacred wonder and surprises along the way. Welcome to the Tribe De Mama where we get more and more familiar with nature's own clock, realize there is so much we can not control, and get comfortable with not knowing.

This gorgeous shot of @heidijohnson13 was captured by darling mama's sister @sarahandthewave.

This gorgeous shot of @heidijohnson13 was captured by darling mama's sister @sarahandthewave.

For personal questions and need for individual guidance you can schedule an online consultation with me- this is one of passions and areas of expertise. Many mamas ask to consult with me about their fears of going past their due date, & want to know what they can do, as they don't want to be medically induced & have the barrage of testing which can cause much angst, and the subsequent interventions which increase risk of cesarean. I love helping mamas in person, and now with this global IG community, via Skype or phone conversation. You can also take my unique online ROCK and LOVE YOUR BIRTH course, which basically guides you through your pregnancy to birth and postpartum journey, as I guide the families in my midwifery practice - without the hands on care, to prepare and plan for an experience of their dreams.

Photo by Megan Hancock Photography

Photo by Megan Hancock Photography

Let Me Help You Create The Happiest Birth Experience Of Your Life...

Whether you're a first time or experienced momma,

Or a midwife, doula, or birth professional guiding mommas..

Regardless if you are planning a birth at home, a hospital, a birth center or need a cesarean section, or if you are taking another childbirth education class…

You Really Can Create The Delivery Of Your Dreams.

And have a blissful birth wherever you are.

More Precious Than A Wedding...A Birth Should Be A Celebration!

Let me show you how to…

  • Understand the sensations of your body and connect your intuition with how your body is communicating and leading you towards what to do during labor
  • Tap into your inner calm to deeply relax yourself,letting go of busy, stressful and fearful thoughts on demand for the health of baby
  • Speak your truth from your heart in a way that deepens your relationships, sets clear boundaries, and has people listen to you and support you before, during and after pregnancy
  • Trust yourself, connect with your body wisdom andcommunicate with baby in belly
  • Connect with natural time and sync your body and mind up with your unique biological clock for ease from pregnancy to postpartum
  • Reprogram negative patterns, stories, and beliefs that undermine your confidence, strength and self trust so you can rock your birth

Physicians and midwives around the world recommend my teachings to their pregnant clients and many Doulas across the country learn the secrets of blissful birthing from me to supplement their Doula Training & Certification process!

To learn more, visit:  LOVE YOUR BIRTH Online Childbirth Course!

It is based on my years of experience, as a midwife and yoga teacher, helping thousands of women tap into their calm and live and birth from a place of grounded relaxation and joy. 

Do you need supplements for preconception and pregnancy? Here are some of my favorite I recommend to mamas in my practice.

Make your Red Raspberry Leaf and Nettle herbal infusion.....rich in needed nutrients and specifically nourishing for pregnancy, birth and postpartum. Place 1 oz of dried red raspberry leaf, 1 oz of dried nettle leaf in a quart-sized glass canning jar with strainer, fill it with boiling water, cover and steep for at least 2 -4 hours at room temperature. Strain and place in a covered pitcher. You can make it in larger quantities and store in the fridge. For taste, dilute with water or steep for less time (but no less than half an hour), add lemon or lime juice, mint leaves or a teaspoon of honey. Drink 1-4 cups daily hot or cold.

Birth: Expect The Unexpected

Certified Nurse Midwife Anne Margolis discussed what happens when labor does not go as planned. She talked about the importance of understanding what a cesarean section is and why it's important to know what happens in case of an emergency.

Subscribe to Ask the Midwife Newsletter: bit.ly/askthemidwife

When it comes to birth, oftentimes things don’t go as planned. Sometimes this means a woman never makes it to the birthing tub she prepared, filled up and dreamt about birthing in, because in the moment of giving birth, she found her groove and prefers to stay on the squatting stool or her labor progresses quickly, and she needs to push before the tub is filled with water. Sometimes this means certain family members or friends aren’t present for the birth like originally intended because for example a mama is not laboring well with her kids present, they want to leave, or her best friend is sick and could not come to help.

Other times, when things don’t go as planned, this means a woman might need medical or surgical intervention. A common example: a mama is experiencing a hard back labor at home or free standing birth center, her baby persists in the posterior position, she is not progressing for hours despite trying everything and is exhausted; she is transferred to the hospital for Pitocin to augment her labor and the compassionate use of an epidural. A less common example is baby is not tolerating the labor, and is showing signs of worsening distress in any birth setting, and a cesarean is needed to save baby’s life.

Photo by Mary Elliott O'Haire

Photo by Mary Elliott O'Haire

Overall, we must surrender to the process of labor and birth and know that we are being guided and well cared for. To avoid needless suffering, we must embrace what comes our way that is not in our control, as what is meant to happen – because it is happening or did happen; and we can raise to the level of being grateful that we were given exactly what we needed for our benefit, what we each needed on our own journey as a soul temporarily living in a body, even if we do not understand the whys. I am not apologetic about my spiritual perspective and my firm belief that the infinite all powerful being, Spirit or G-d of our own understanding is pure goodness and love for each and everyone one of us.

I’d like to address a question I get asked frequently.

Art by Catie Atkinson @spiritysol

Art by Catie Atkinson @spiritysol

Why do I mention cesareans in my online posts?

Cesareans can be both planned and unplanned for serious complications or illness. In both cases, they are indeed a birth. They are a birth for baby, a birth for mom, a birth for dad, and a birth of a new family unit.

I want all women to feel lovingly supported and cared for however they birthed and that includes a cesarean.

Art by Catie Atkinson of @spiritysol.

Art by Catie Atkinson of @spiritysol.

I like to post information on what I refer to as a gentle cesarean. It’s still using a home birth model of care, with the principle of restoring humanity to maternity and newborn care – especially in the operating room. A gentle cesarean would include possibly pulling the curtain down, allowing the baby to birth itself gently through the incision, encouraging mom to receive her baby directly from the surgeon, hold her baby skin to skin, delayed cord clamping and early breastfeeding; it can also include allowing her partner, doula and anyone else she needs in the OR by her side.

I want to offer support to all women, and especially women who feel their birth did not go as planned. Although it’s rare for normal births to lead to complications or emergencies requiring life saving medical and surgical interventions, most births don’t go as initially planned.

Photo Credit: @albanydoula

What do I do when things don’t go as planned?

In general, healthy mamas with healthy pregnancies have healthy births. The stats on homebirth  and free standing birth center outcomes are excellent when there is a trained experienced midwife in attendance.

My transfer rate from home to hospital in labor is 7% and that is comparable to those of my colleagues. The vast majority of transfers are non-urgent. In most cases, it’s usually first time vaginal birthers whose labor stops progressing with exhaustion despite us trying every one of our "tricks" to remedy the situation. The need to call 911 and have an urgent ambulance transfer has been a handful of times in 20 years.

The midwife is of course there as a lifeguard - as rarely emergencies do occur. I bring the same emergency equipment and medications that any free-standing birth center has. Most of the time I don't use it and all is well. But when I need it, I have saved lives, as any seasoned midwife can say.

I saw much more catastrophic events when I was an OB nurse in the hospital. I have never lost a mother, but our country's maternal mortality rates are among the highest compared to most modernized countries, and this is largely from risky hospital interventions, which are not happening at home.

I have had to resuscitate significantly less babies at home – we have a screened healthy low risk population, are watching closely and WITH the mama in active labor. We do not intervene unless medically necessary and do not cut the umbilical cord until it stops pulsing or placenta is birthed, unless there is a problem or a request for lotus birth.

In 20 plus years of homebirth midwifery practice I have had to transfer 3 babies to the hospital who did not respond to resuscitation and needed intensive care due to unrelated complications, and this is significantly less than our country's high newborn morbidity and mortality rates.

Yes, we need to be prepared for and have to manage a rare shoulder dystocia (stuck shoulders) but it happens less as our mamas are laboring and birthing in positions that use gravity and maximize the diameter of the pelvis. Yes we have had to treat postpartum hemorrhage not responsive to natural remedies, with medication and IV fluids.

Not to offend animal lovers and vegans, but this moose provided a perfect home "IV pole" for a mama who needed intravenous fluids during her homebirth. Homebirth midwives must be creative.

Not to offend animal lovers and vegans, but this moose provided a perfect home "IV pole" for a mama who needed intravenous fluids during her homebirth. Homebirth midwives must be creative.

I do not convince anyone to have a homebirth as it needs to be each mama's decision. I do provide information so she can make an informed one. She needs to birth where she feels safe or she won't labor well. 

It is one of my passions and areas of expertise to help mama's with these sorts of questions. I offer online consulting for mama's just like you, whether a one hour discussion or a package of consultations and email access from pregnancy through postpartum – which is great for mamas who want and need more personal attention and guidance to a holistic midwife as they have no access to one in their area.

To really best help a mama make a decision unique to her situation - I recommend a conversation. This is not something simply answered on social media, without discussion.

If you want to schedule an online consultation, please go to my website:  - I look forward to connecting more and answering your personal questions.

Photo by Megan Hancock Photography

Photo by Megan Hancock Photography

Let Me Help You Create The Happiest Birth Experience Of Your Life...

Whether you're a first time or experienced momma,

Or a midwife, doula, or birth professional guiding mommas..

Regardless if you are planning a birth at home, a hospital, a birth center or need a cesarean section, or if you are taking another childbirth education class…

You Really Can Create The Delivery Of Your Dreams.

And have a blissful birth wherever you are.

More Precious Than A Wedding...A Birth Should Be A Celebration!

Let me show you how to…

  • Understand the sensations of your body and connect your intuition with how your body is communicating and leading you towards what to do during labor
  • Tap into your inner calm to deeply relax yourself,letting go of busy, stressful and fearful thoughts on demand for the health of baby
  • Speak your truth from your heart in a way that deepens your relationships, sets clear boundaries, and has people listen to you and support you before, during and after pregnancy
  • Trust yourself, connect with your body wisdom andcommunicate with baby in belly
  • Connect with natural time and sync your body and mind up with your unique biological clock for ease from pregnancy to postpartum
  • Reprogram negative patterns, stories, and beliefs that undermine your confidence, strength and self trust so you can rock your birth

Physicians and midwives around the world recommend my teachings to their pregnant clients and many Doulas across the country learn the secrets of blissful birthing from me to supplement their Doula Training & Certification process!

To learn more, visit:  LOVE YOUR BIRTH Online Childbirth Course!

It is based on my years of experience, as a midwife and yoga teacher, helping thousands of women tap into their calm and live and birth from a place of grounded relaxation and joy. 

Check out my pregnancy herbal tonic recipe and some of my favorite supplements I recommend below, to augment a wholesome healthy diet, so you can meet the increased needs of your body and your growing baby.

 

Do you need supplements? Here are some of my favorite I recommend to mamas in my practice.

Make your Red Raspberry Leaf and Nettle herbal infusion.....rich in needed nutrients and specifically nourishing for pregnancy, birth and postpartum. Place 1 oz of dried red raspberry leaf, 1 oz of dried nettle leaf in a quart-sized glass canning jar with strainer, fill it with boiling water, cover and steep for at least 2 -4 hours at room temperature. Strain and place in a covered pitcher. You can make it in larger quantities and store in the fridge. For taste, dilute with water or steep for less time (but no less than half an hour), add lemon or lime juice, mint leaves or a teaspoon of honey. Drink 1-4 cups daily hot or cold.

Create A Life You Want

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Do you ever feel held back by things that have happened in your past or from fear? Don't let your past or your fears hold you back! Do you want to learn how to let go of the things that limit you?

Or like your life has already "happened,” or you’re too far down a certain path, and it's difficult to change course now? It's never too late to change to create the life you want!

Or are you frustrated by how slow things seem to change for you?

I am passionate about helping people heal and transform their lives, to live from a place of inner peace and joy, and share with you the tools that dramatically helped me and others.

If you answered "yes" to any of the above questions, then I think this video with NY Times best-selling author Louise Hay could make all the difference for you.

https://rd117.isrefer.com/go/TWS-ENO-VS1/HomeSweetHomebirth

In this rare video interview, Nick Ortner, the producer of the upcoming 9th Annual Tapping World Summit, sits down with Louise to discuss how to get past the fears and negative emotions that hold us back from creating the life we want, at any age, and why she believes it’s so critical to do your “inner work” to create the life you want today!

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Doing the inner work can sometimes take courage, to connect with the fears that hold us back in order to release them, but as Louise will share, it doesn’t have to be as difficult as you’d think.

She’ll also explain why she believes the tapping technique is so important and how to combine affirmations, along with Tapping, to maximize your results.

You'll even get to tap-along with Louise as she releases the fear from a very personal traumatic event that happened when she was 5 years old.

If you have things from your past that you'd like to let go of, to have the emotional freedom to create the happiness, success, health and self love that you deserve, then you'll want to watch this video.

Near the end, you'll be guided through a heart-warming meditative Tapping process that is sure to make you feel better in just minutes.

Louise Hay has decades of wisdom, being the founder of Hay House Publishing and the NY Times best-selling author of "You Can Heal Your Life,” which has sold over 50 million books in 25 languages!

I also love her 64 deck "Power Thought Cards,"

as well as "The Essential Louise Hay Collection."

 

I hope you take a few minutes to watch this video, it is deeply powerful and could change your life! To watch the video, click the link, not the picture.

https://rd117.isrefer.com/go/TWS-ENO-VS1/HomeSweetHomebirth

This video is being released as part of the lead up to the 9th Annual Tapping World Summit, which starts on Monday, February 27th. This free online event has been attended by over 2 million people in the past eight years. Now the 9th one promises to be bigger and better than ever!

If you're not familiar with Tapping, this breakthrough tool works on a huge variety of issues, from pain relief, physical issues, and weight loss to attracting abundance, clearing limiting beliefs and healing the past.

It's the "Go To" tool of best-selling authors, speakers, and leaders as well as cutting-edge medical doctors, psychologists, and coaches around the world.

Watch this video today and take the first step to finally breaking through to the life you've always dreamed of:

https://rd117.isrefer.com/go/TWS-ENO-VS1/HomeSweetHomebirth

P.S. - Dr. Wayne Dyer once said about Tapping, "Put away your skepticism, this really works…I've had great results with tapping in my own life."

Jack Canfield calls it "..the most powerful new transformational technology to come along in years…"

Lissa Rankin M.D. says, "For those seeking a prescription for eliminating limiting, self-sabotaging beliefs that lead to fear, anxiety, and chronic illness, look no further than The Tapping Solution."

Watch this video today:

https://rd117.isrefer.com/go/TWS-ENO-VS1/HomeSweetHomebirth

Jet Arlo's Birth Story

The 1st of August 2016, at 39 weeks and 1 day, Jet Arlo Sheedy graced us with his presence Earthside.

Baby photos by @lanicarterphotography.

Baby photos by @lanicarterphotography.

On top of the normal pains plus ‘vagina shocks’, over the weekend I experienced some interesting sensations further down in my pelvis, which felt like it was right near my cervix - also experiencing a different emotional state, quite calm and at peace, and my senses were heightened - especially my sense of smell. At the time I didn’t know, however now I’m taking this as my pre-labour. It was a beautiful weekend that my husband and I were able to have some quality time with plenty of it spent at the beach. The next day was a productive Monday day for me, while I had a tight stomach and uterus for the past 8 weeks and bub had been engaged for most of that, I was determined to get a few things ticked off my to-do list. With a trip to the shops and catch up with a friend where we chatted about birth, I went over my affirmation cards and birth plan. I had planned a home-birth however also felt comfortable and open to the need to transfer if required. I was starting to feel excited about the rite of passage before me, this was a nice feeling as previously I had been feeling quite anxious with not knowing when the time would come and also what life as a mum would look like.

Just before 3pm, I had sat down to do bits of emails on the computer when after a while I felt a little release of fluid and then 2 seconds later a bigger release of fluid. I stood up to go to the toilet not putting two and two together until I leaked ample water along the way. My body started to tremble and shake from the adrenaline. I rang my midwife (Deyna) to let her know, she reassured me and wasn’t too worried that it was going to happen quickly as I had no pain, not even cramping. She said she would touch base in a few hours and see how I was doing. I rang my husband (Paul) who was in Beerwah finishing a job, I said not to worry and to keep working, as had no pain so may even be tomorrow when it all starts.

At 3:17 I started to feel cramps like period pain to which I text Paul to say I’d actually like him to be home with me, he advised he was already packing up and on his way.

I spoke to a close friend (Teagan) who had been very supportive through my pregnancy and also a huge homebirth support for me. She expressed excitement, also calmness and confidence in the journey that was upon me. This helped to ground me knowing the support was there if needed.

After speaking to her I thought I best just make up the herbal for a client that I had meant to do all day and make my parsley green smoothie to help hydrate me before things really kicked off. I got maybe 6 steps away and had to return to the day bed to focus on relaxing and breathing.

3:40 the cramps had increased to surges and were taking up all of my attention, I tried timing them but it was too much to think about. Instead called in my dog Meeka to keep me company while I was still at home by myself.

3:55 I rang Deyna again to let her know things were getting intense, she told me to relax and that my body was trying to find a rhythm. She talked me through a surge, which was helpful. She also said she was getting organised and would be on her way. This slowed down my surges thankfully and headed to the kitchen to grab a coconut water.

4:05pm during the next surge I noticed I was unconsciously groaning with pain and couldn’t breathe through the contraction, only groan, I was not in control at all with what was going on. This is the point I realised the incredible downward pressure and took myself to the bathroom. It felt like I needed to push so I tried to keep my legs tightly together when possible. I felt everything was happening a little too quickly and unless I wanted to deliver my baby myself I needed to calm down and slow down what was happening. I leaned forward dropping my head between my arms with hands on the bathroom sink. I was sweating and shaking so stripped off and put my hands under the cold running tap to get some relief.

I rang Deyna at this point as thought it would be best to have her talking me through this, especially if I was to be alone for the actual birth. She was getting in her car in Peregian and heading for me in Coolum. This helped just knowing she was on her way. Interestingly while I was conscious with the reality of what was happening and being alone I still didn’t feel fear. Fear was something I wanted to be aware of and not fall into during the lead up of the birth and was thankful that it didn’t overtake my senses through the birth. Trying to bring focus I attempted to recall my birthing affirmation cards, there was no way I’d make it out to the kitchen to get them. The only cards I could reach my mind to focus on was that women in Africa are giving birth at this same time in the middle of the desert (thanks Katie for this one) and Embrace…. something. I couldn’t remember what the rest of the card said but I got to EMBRACE, which was still an important word. Looking at the cards now it was EMBRACE THE ESSENCE OF MY BIRTH, funny as Embrace the Essence is the catch phase of my business, yet I couldn’t for the life of me remember ‘the essence’ part haha.