The birth of Thatcher as told by his mom, Nina

The birth of Thatcher as told by his mom, Nina

Nina gave us permission to re-post her birth story from her blog
On Wednesday June 8th, I accomplished the biggest and by far coolest thing I’ve ever done in my life. I gave birth naturally and unmedicated to our son and first child Thatcher Van Davenport. He was born at 9.18 PM in comfort of our own home.
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.

II days earth side.
Since the beginning of this pregnancy I was convinced that the only way to go about it was to trust my body and it’s natural ability to grow and birth a tiny human. Born at home myself in a country where home birthing is considered very normal, made it very natural to me to want to birth at home rather than a hospital. I did however keep an open mind the entire time and had a bag packed and ready to go in case we did have to go to the hospital for medical reasons.

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.



Jenni arrived. They both encouraged me to keep changing positions but the only thing I wanted to do was sit on my knees or the toilet. Walking trough a surge was really uncomfortable for me personally. I walked, laid on my back, sat on the toilet, on all fours, leaned on Brian as things kept intensifying as time was passing by. I remember feeling very  uncomfortable. Not in pain. I don’t find that a good word to describe labor at all.
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!



I took him in my arms as I started crying. I couldn’t believe what just happened. Brian and I sat there in the bathroom for a bit, over the moon in love with our surprise boy. My placenta came out pretty soon following birth. We moved to the bed as our first hours as parents, a new chapter in our lives started counting. Skin to skin I tried to keep my baby warm even tho I was shivering from being cold myself. He laid on my chest for about an hour and a half before Brian separated the umbilical cord from my placenta. Then he showed interest in wanting to nurse. He latched on right away and it felt amazing being so connected together from the outside as much we were from the inside for so long. I couldn’t stop staring. We excitedly called both our families. Thank god for FaceTime and Skype. Thatcher was weighed and measured and we made placenta prints before it was being cut up and stored in the freezer.
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 was a big love fest !

        At Nina, Brian, and Thatcher’s six week postpartum visit with Christy, Jenni, Haven, and         Chandra…it was a big love fest !

Fertility Charting

Fertility Charting

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

Other Resources

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

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

La Loca Loba has a 5week online course on RADICALLY AND CONSCIOUSLY MOONING:

Aviva Romm Class Offer

Aviva Romm Class Offer

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.

Interesting Image
Like most new moms, I had so many questions about the best ways to take care of my first baby. (By the time the 2nd through 4th arrived, I was a pro!). Just over 30 years ago, as I was trying to figure out how to introduce solid foods into my first child’s diet – he was a long-term breast feeder – I happened upon a book by Dr. Leo Galland called Superimmunity for Kids.

Leo, it turned out, is truly one of the pioneers of what we now know as integrative medicine. When I was in my early 20s he was already sounding the alarm about the emerging risks posed by the “modern” way of life to children’s immune systems and the importance of nutrition to both maximize immunity and reverse disease. As you all know, I don’t believe these risks have diminished in the 3 decades since – in fact, they are more serious and widespread today, and my confidence in the truth of food as our kids’ first medicine is stronger than ever.

And as Dr. Galland discusses in this episode, these problems are not confined to kids. Just fifty years ago, 1 in 30 people had allergies. Today, that number is 1 in 3.

So it is with special delight that I had the chance to interview Leo and his son, Jonathan, for this week’s episode of Natural MD Radio.  They have co-written a new book – The Allergy Solution – which documents the shocking rise of hidden allergies that lead to so many of the problems we are seeing in kids today: weight gain, anxiety, fatigue, ADHD, depression, digestive problems, and much more. They carefully demonstrate how each of these is linked to an immune imbalance that is at the root of allergies, and how pollution, unhealthy eating habits, stress, and the overuse of antibiotics can all inflame allergies. And they offer a proven plan to reverse allergies with natural solutions.

Sound like familiar themes? Yes, this is the bandwagon I have been on throughout my career – as a midwife, an herbalist, and now physician, and as an author. You know from reading my books, articles, and Facebook posts, or from taking any of my courses on children’s health, that I see our kids as the “canaries in the coalmine,” letting us know that something real is amiss and calling for us to take action in our homes and in the world.

You can listen to the episode here. And if you find it helpful, please let me know by dropping a review over in iTunes. Every review you leave there encourages the folks at iTunes to feature the show prominently on their podcast website and helps to spread the world to other mommas and families.

Also, what better time than Spring to re-open my course – The Allergy Epidemic for Kids – for enrollment. The Allergy Epidemic is chock full of nutritional guidance and herbal remedies, with over 3 hours of video instruction with me to help you prevent and get to the root causes of seasonal allergies, eczema, asthma, food intolerances, and even some autoimmune conditions. Plus there are audio recordings (MP3s) and transcripts of each lesson, and it comes along with a support group – our forum, The Parent’hood – of amazing mommas also trying to raise their kids naturally and with the best immune system possible.

The course is super low maintenance – designed for busy mommas, ‘cause aren’t we, always? But we still need good information, so I’ve made it really convenient to use on your own time. You can start the course any time you want and you have lifetime access to it.

Because I know the information in The Allergy Epidemic is important to spread as widely as possible, I have a special invitation for you: 

Beginning today and through Monday, April 25th at midnight EST, I am offering you the course for $47 – that’s more than 50% off the regular price! 

Join now and you’ll also get these bonuses:

  • Premium access to the course Forum for an extended period of time (3 extra months).
  • An invitation to attend two live 60-minute, interactive Q & A sessions with me, where I’ll answer as many questions as time allows – exclusively for parents in a course at Healthiest Kids University
  • Access to a library of recordings from previous Q & A sessions I have held for the course
  • Access to the recording of a live interview I did with Dr. Bob Sears on alternative vaccination schedules
  • And you’ll get 25% off of Healthy All Year, the other course at Healthiest Kids University, or even for use on a future purchase.

So, YES! Let’s do this! Join me in learning to create the best possible immunity for our kids, using natural approaches whenever possible.

Learn more and enroll by clicking HERE.  

With love,