When three people you helped have babies randomly meet at a table at a le leche league conference and send you a picture of themselves together
We are just about at the first birthday of Adeline, a baby born last year during a busy May for our practice. This birth was powerful and joyful, and was attended by a good friend of Sarah’s who is also a photographer and posted the following montage of her labor and birth. Watch the video of Adeline’s birth here.
Sarah and I emailed recently and she said ” I’m grateful to you both for helping me have a fantastic first time mother natural birthing experience. You gave me the greatest gift any woman can give another woman, confidence in myself and my body to achieve what it was made to achieve. The entire experience was blissful, every appointment so perfect in your friendly and mother inspiring cottage! ” She also enclosed some one year pictures of Adeline who is thriving in Oklahoma where they are now living. Thanks for sharing, Sarah!
(All pictures posted with express permission. Photos from Sarah Huff)
Here’s Deanna’s birth story and her adorable baby. Her own words and chosen picture are posted with her permission. Thank you for sharing this with us, Deanna.
Spring has arrived in central Texas! We are luxuriating in warmer evenings for eating outside and the smells of our amazing wysteria vine next to the office.
The bees love it too!
” A LIGHT exists in spring
Not present on the year
At any other period.
When March is scarcely here. ” (Emily Dickenson)
In good spring tradition, we are cleaning out and starting things anew, in this case restarting the blog posts featuring our client’s birth stories. We have heard from so many people about the power of hearing normal birth stories, including all the messiness of daily life alongside the courage and power of ordinary folks. The birth photography world has certainly expanded the images available to most of us, and helps to normalize the experience of giving birth naturally. As well, there are many podcast options out there that feature birth stories. One of the newer ones I’ve discovered is Doing It At Home , with two parents from a home birth family interviewing others about their experiences. If you feel inspired, share other recommendations in the comments; we’d love to pass them on to other clients. And, email us your stories and we’ll post them for others to read and be inspired by.
Enjoy the spring, wherever and however it finds you.
I’m happy to share my birth story to be encouraging, to spread positive birthing energy out to all women (and everyone else needing some positive ju ju) in the world and if anything else just to entertain.
Sadly there’s plenty of scare around the subject birth and it makes me mad to think many women get discouraged or think they don’t have the strength to give birth on their own.
I ask you to please respect the intimacy of the photos in this post and to not use or copy them.
At 39 weeks 5 days I lost my mucus plug. It was a Friday, my husbands birthday and he was out celebrating with the guys. I called him and he came home 2 hours later. Thought for sure I would get to hold my baby by the end of that weekend considering I’ve had a good amount of surges that week. That weekend nothing happened. It was hard because as much as I wanted to stay mellow I got really excited thinking things had started. Then on Monday evening right around midnight my water broke. Brian went to pick up his brother from the airport while I went to bed early. 45 Minutes in I woke up feeling this urge of having to pee really bad. I shot out of bed and noticed my panties getting wet halfway to the toilet. I remember thinking did I just really pee my pants?! I called our midwife after Brian got home and she suggested I’d go back to bed and get some sleep in case things started progressing. Although I learned the previous Friday to not get too excited I couldn’t help but getting giddy about getting to actually meet my baby now very soon.
The night passed by… Tuesday morning I texted our midwife to tell her nothing happened yet and she suggested I’d go for a (another!) long walk. So, sweet hubby walked for an hour around the neighborhood with me.
We had a checkup appointment with our midwife later that afternoon and talked about natural ways to induce. My midwife mentioned acupuncture and I decided to give that a try since I’ve never experienced acupunture.
I made an appointment for that same evening 5.30 pm. The acupuncture itself wasn’t relaxing at all. The therapist said inducing labor with acupuncture was the least pleasurable one out of all acupuncture experiences. It didn’t matter to me. I was willing to try anything natural to get this party going.
The session took an hour, and by the time I walked out of the therapists’ home my belly had dropped. I came home and Brian noticed immediately. I told him I felt the baby drop during a surge while laying there with about 25 pins in my body. It was the coolest weirdest feeling and not subtle at all.
The Therapist predicted I was going to have a boy, She was one of those people that is spiritually connected and in tune with her senses and energy. Intuitive and very direct about it. As I was gathering my stuff to leave she said let me know if you need me again tomorrow. Somehow I felt like she knew nothing was going to happen that same evening.
I went home and went for another long 1,5 hour walk with Brian. That night I went to bed without any expectations or hope, just tiredness.
Wednesday June 8.
I woke up at 6.30 am. I decided to go for a short walk, on my own. I needed time by myself to think and process. I had now passed 24 hours after my water had broken and I was starting to wonder how this story would end. I told myself everything was going to be just fine. No need to start worrying. No matter what I was closer to meeting my baby with every minute passing by.
Checked in with our midwife at 9 am. She suggested I could try 2 things to help things move along.. A couple of herbs and a sequence of things including nipple stimulation, or castor oil. I wanted to try a combination of nipple stimulation and castor oil. So we got dressed and left the house to pick up a breast pump from our midwife as well as a quick stop at Target for some castor oil. Target didn’t have castor oil. But while in there my little false labor surges I’d been having had turned in to stronger ones.
I could not help but think what the heck am I doing in a store, I don’t feel well at all! We drove to wheatsville and while I stayed in the car dealing with the oncoming surges Brian ran in for some castor oil. Once home I started timing my surges and noticed they were 5 mins apart. I texted Christy, our midwife and she told me one of the other midwives would stop by soon to come check on things.
An hour later Chandra arrived. It was 3.00 pm. I was sitting on my birthing ball and feeling pretty uncomfortable to be cheery and to entertain. Brian had speedy cleaned and prepped the whole house with candles, pillows, essential oils and indian instrumental music (my favorite soothing kind).
He had said earlier he thought the baby was going to come today and right he was. I went to the bathroom and noticed blood for the first time. Things started picking up. Thank god I had not taken the castor oil yet as my body was now cleaning itself out on it’s own. I couldn’t stop going to the bathroom so I labored there for a while. Chandra had called Jenni, our other midwife to let her know things were progressing. The surges started to get more and more intense. I loved being in the bathroom where I was close to the toilet. My favorite position during each surge was either sitting on the toilet, on my knees or leaning over the edge of the bath tub.
I had no idea how far I was dilated. I didn’t need to know. My body was doing it’s thing and I knew I was going to meet my baby very soon. I vomited and murmured ‘Is this transition?’ I don’t remember talking much after that as my body started pushing pretty soon thereafter. Wow what an incredible feeling. My body collected this immense strength towards my belly with which it contracted and pushed the baby down. First with longer breaks in between. Then faster with barely any or sometimes no break. It was the best feeling ever. Even tho at this point I felt totally out of my own body in trance mode. Nothing mattered anymore, I lost concept of time, space, everything. Just me and these incredible pushes.
His head started appearing. I pushed for a total of about 45 minutes apparently. His head took a while to be all out, but after that his body followed immediately. And all of a sudden there he was. 9.18 pm. Crying right away. I had delivered an 6 pound 13 ounce boy, our son on all fours on our bathroom floor and it was the coolest most magical thing I’ve ever done!
The following 5 days I drunk my frozen placenta which was cut into little pieces, stored as ice cubes in smoothies. It contains oxytocin, a hormone that reduces pain and increases bonding with baby, it also contains thyroid stimulating hormones, interferon and prolactin, which is believed to boost the immune system, energy, recovery and milk supply. As much as it may sound gross to some, I didn’t taste it at all in my smoothies. Im not sure if it did anything special for me since I haven’t experienced recovery without consuming my placenta but I will tell you I felt great days after giving birth. Happy! Also my milk supply was very rich once it came in on day 3.
And all of a sudden there were 3 of us. I feel so lucky for being able to give birth peacefully at home. It’s true there’s no place better than home or your own bed. I’m very excited for the new times ahead of us!
At Nina, Brian, and Thatcher’s six week postpartum visit with Christy, Jenni, Haven, and Chandra…it was a big love fest !
As our practice is evolving, Jenni and I are helping more people learn how to chart their menstrual cycle. This is a skill I think everyone who has a uterus and ovaries should learn how to do. It can help you know when is the best time to conceive a baby if you are trying to, and, conversely, not conceive if you are trying not to. Fertility charting has many names: cycle monitoring, natural family planning, and menstrual tracking, just to name a few. I have a fantasy that every middle school kid learns this skill to help them know their bodies better and feel like they have some control before and as they start to experience their sexuality.
A normal menstrual cycle length is 21-35 days, with 28 days being the average. It is measured from the first day of bleeding (cycle day 1) to the first day of the next bleeding. The menstrual cycle is regulated by hormones produced in the brain and in the ovaries. These hormones fluctuate throughout the cycle causing many signs for us to notice; signs that can tell us if our cycles are healthy and when we are most likely to conceive a pregnancy during ovulation. There are several different things to pay attention to during the cycle to help interpret the signs of ovulation. We encourage people to pay close attention to their basal body temperature upon waking first thing in the morning, their cervical mucous consistency and the look and feel of their cervix (yes, it changes!), and the rise in the luteinizing hormone (LH) in their urine (often referred to as ovulation predictor kits, or OPKs). We have been using these three clues to help people figure out when the best time to conceive by insemination or intercourse might be.
There are many great books about cycle monitoring that give thorough explanations of all the signs to watch for while cycle tracking, please see descriptions in resource list below. These books have charts showing how to read temperature variations throughout the cycle and share some of the other physical and emotional changes to notice during ovulation. The Beautiful Cervix project online has great pictures to compare with if you are viewing your cervix using a speculum, as some people choose to do.
To help people track their cycles, Jenni and I created a chart for our clients to use. Please feel free to download and use this chart for yourself. MB Fertility Chart
Period Repair Manual by Lara Briden, ND
A new book I just discovered. The author does an amazing job describing the hormones and their functions in the reproductive and endocrine systems and outlines specific ways to “fix” your cycle if it has strayed from normal.
A New View of a Woman’s Body by the Federation of Feminist Women’s Health Centers
This older (1995) book is a fabulously detailed yet accessible book to have. Very do-it-yourself, and the illustrations and pictures are really good.
Taking Charge of your Fertility by Toni Weschler, MPH
This is an extremely thorough delve into cycle monitoring, get to learn so much that you didn’t know you didn’t know about your fertility cycle. Their website has lots of information as well.
Honoring Our Cycles by Katie Singer
I love this very simply explained way to watch for fertility signs; this is a great book with lots of pictures and charts.
A Cooperative Method of Natural Birth Control by Margaret Nofziger
An old classic, first published in 1976. This was the book I first used to learn about natural family planning when I was younger; it was the only book I could find on the topic!
The Moon Mysteries book by Nao Sims and Nikiah Seeds, and their Moon Cycle Chart downloadable chart http://www.moonmysteries.com/moon-cycle-chart
Many of the above books are written with heterosexual people in mind as the target audience. They are filled with great information, but if you would prefer less hetero-normative or gendered language, check out the fertility sections in these books and the following online resources:
The New Essential Guide to Lesbian Conception, Pregnancy & Birth by Stephanie Brill
The Ultimate Guide to Pregnancy for Lesbians: How to Stay Sane and Care for Yourself from Pre-conception through Birth, 2nd Edition by Rachel Pepper
My Period and Me: A Trans Guy’s Guide to Menstruation by Wiley Reading http://everydayfeminism.com/2014/11/trans-guys-guide-menstruation/
La Loca Loba has a 5week online course on RADICALLY AND CONSCIOUSLY MOONING: http://www.lalobaloca.com/radically-and-consciously-mooning-an-online-knowledge-share.html
Happy International Day of the Midwife!
I was reading about this annual celebration of our work and discovered that it was established in 1992! Almost 25 years of celebrating midwives and the incredible care they provide pregnant and birthing people, and their families, all over the world. The International Confederation of Midwives spearheads this celebration. Separately and together, Christy and Jenni have celebrated International Day of Midwife in many different places and with lots of different activities.
Here are previous years’ pictures and Christy’s post from 2009.
This year, if we are not attending a birth, we will be:
a) Hosting our monthly group prenatal at our office, with (as always) food demo’d by Christy and discussion facilitated by the three of us. Our topic this week is newborn care and early postpartum norms.
b) Feeling grateful for midwifery knowledge and the home birth of Haven, now ten months old and making things very exciting at our house.
c) Checking in with midwives from across Texas and our dear friend Marinah Farrell from Arizona, President of the Midwives Alliance of North America at the Association of Texas Midwives‘ Annual Conference (May 5 – 7).
d) Appreciating the ever-growing skills and general fabulousness of our apprentice, Chandra Fisher. We are lucky to have her and I know that our current and past clients appreciate her involvement in their care at prenatals and births.
e) Expanding Christy’s offering of primary care appointments and fertility consultations at our practice. See our website for more details and please refer your friends and family!
f) Getting ready for the launch of midwifery-model culturally-appropriate prenatal education with the Mama Sana/Vibrant Woman clinic opening in June. Paula Rojas, a former apprentice with MotherBloom and now a Licensed Midwife, is integral to this project; Christy is a midwife advisor and Jenni is providing volunteer technical support with the use of an EHR.
Thank you for continuing to support us both in doing this amazing work.
From our good friend and fabulous facilitator Lanell:
” Throwing out a lifeline for new mamas and babies before school’s out for summer!
Raini Gomez, Le Cordon Bleu chef and doula, will prepare a delicious, nourishing breakfast for us each week! It’s gonna be YUMMY! “
WHEN: 10:00 am – 12:00 pm, Thursdays, May 12, 19, 26, June 2, 8 (last meeting is on a WEDNESDAY)
WHERE: 1401 Ridgehaven Drive, 78723 cell 512-663-9320
WHAT: bring yourself and your baby
COST: $275 (includes breakfast each week)
I am passionate about connecting mothers and supporting your unfolding journey from my nearly 20 years of experience working with mothers, birth, and breastfeeding. You don’t have to figure all this out by yourself. There is support and love and RELIEF just waiting for you!
We were never meant to go it alone in the care of our young children. The company of mothers helps us make sense of the day to day tasks, the miracle unfolding in our laps, and the heart-exploding love we feel for our babies. And being in community releases tons of oxytocin, helping us feel connected, warm and fuzzy.
Read recent participant testimonials, here:
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Email Lanell directly to register: lanellcoultas (at) gmail.com
|Jenni and I LOVE Aviva Romm and often recommend her remedies to clients. Her books are great! Her blog is great! and her online classes are great! Here is an offer for parents that will be very helpful in raising and treating your children. Check it out.
We were lucky enough to have a number of previous and current clients at our reunion in February. Despite the slightly gloomy weather, there was a lovely turnout, lots of delicious food, and many children playing on the trampoline and the swings. Thank you to those who made it! Here are a few pictures we’ve finally downloaded of that day (all posted with permission). We will be repeating this event for sure as it’s become one of our favorite gatherings to host.