Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Lets Talk About: Home Birth Q&A

Cosmo magazine released an interview recently with three different women who chose home births. I figured I would take the questions they asked, as those are likely the most common questions about home birth in general, and answer them myself! 
While I already have our home water birth story written up, a direct Q&A of this style may help others out there considering choosing a home birth for themselves. 
Plus I love talking about and sharing my birth experience and putting a positive image of labor and birth out there for other women to be encouraged by! Too often we hear that labor and birth is "the worst thing" that could ever be experienced but it doesn't have to be that way! 
 It is every women's right to give birth where and how she deems is best for her and her baby!
So long as she is informed and knowledgeable of all risks and benefits and has no preexisting complications for her or baby. Evidence based birth shows how safe home birth can be and how healthy both mom and baby are under midwife supervised care.
**Photos from Birth by Sassafras PDX, nothing is visible in these photos but could make some readers uncomfortable**

-How old are you?

-How old were you when you had your first home birth?
I was 23 at the time my daughter was born.

-How many babies have you delivered?
Two. (and three miscarriages)

-What did you know about home birth before you became pregnant?
I had wanted a home or birth center birth with our son so I had researched and talked with other women who had chosen both those routes.

-Why did you ultimately decide to go the home birth route?
Our hospital experience during our sons birth. Long story short my body and wishes were not respected by the medical staff and I was not going to risk that again.
-Was your partner apprehensive about this decision?
Not one bit, after our hospital experience he was probably the first of the two of us to say that if we ever had more children we would do a home birth!

-Was anybody outright opposed to the idea?
Not that I had personal encounter with. It's not like it was their business how or where I chose to give birth. It was my business and so long as both the baby and myself were healthy and safe for what would be considered a normal hospital delivery we were just as good staying home.

-Did you have to buy any special supplies to prep for your home birth?
Yes. Our midwife team gave us a list and online supplier we could order through. It included things like gloves, gauze, cord tie/clamp, pads (those nice big ones with cooling gel), XL absorbent pads to sit on or stand over, etc. We also had to get extra towels and blankets, and would have either rented or bought a birthing pool, but were able to borrow one instead. Oh I also laid down a large tarp under the pool (and covered it with a sheet) incase there was a leak in the pool itself.

-Did you watch any videos or live home births to prepare for your home birth?
Yes, but I've always been a "birth junky" and especially enjoyed watching natural births. I also wanted to help prep my son for what he might experience incase he was awake during the birth, so he watch one or two with me. While I was very quiet during his birth I didn't know if I would be during hers so I wanted him to see and hear how mothers are in their birth time and not be scared by it unexpectedly (but he was asleep).

-Did you take any pain meds during labor/delivery?
Nope. I avoid most pain meds any other time and after a pain med free-pitocin induced labor with my son I felt confident I would be able to handle labor a second time.

-Did you have a midwife, doula, or OB assist in the birth?
I had a fantastic team (read about them here)! It consisted of 1 head midwife, 2 student midwives, 1 student doula, my husband, and a fantastic birth photographer!

-Did you perform any special rituals or therapies to help with labor?
I spent a lot of time on the birth ball, leaning over it, rotating my hips, etc to try and get baby engaged because her head was in my left hip and she was still mostly sunny side up. I also did some yoga to help open my hips but nothing crazy, and I didn't have my diffuser at the time to diffuse oils. While in labor I also used and leaned over my birth ball, being on my hands/knees seemed to be most comfortable when a contraction set on.

-How did your partner participate?
This is a copy and past I wrote about my husband after our daughter was born: "We often forget that our husbands also play a crucial role in our pregnancy and birth. They are supporters, cheerleaders, and coaches that can be leaned on whenever needed; there to encourage us and draw strength from when we feel like we are running low. My husband was and is my biggest supporter, I may be a "badass rock star" according to him but I couldn't have done it alone. The support I knew I had and the confidence I knew he had in me made a huge difference and gave me that much more confidence in myself. Our birth experiences have a profound impact on us as women and mothers and will remain with us for the rest of our lives; our partners are also impacted and changed from their experience in that moment. Birth matters."

-Where in your home was your baby actually born?
In the birth tub that I set up in our larger living room area.

-Were you at all worried about the "mess" of home birth?
No. I mean I didn't want blood stains on the carpet of our apartment but hey if that happened then that happened and we would take care of it at a later point.

-Were you worried about the pain?
Nope. As I said earlier I had a pitocin induced labor and birth with my son and I received no pain meds during or after birth with him so I was confident that I could handle it and confident in my body to just do what it needed to.
-What were your biggest concerns?
Honestly? Spontaneous stillbirth. I'm no stranger to loss in pregnancy having had three early term miscarriages. I have talked with women who lost their baby mid pushing with no warning. Nothing could be done, they had been in a hospital with all the state of the art equipment and it just happened. It's a sad fact that it can happen no matter where you give birth, and no matter who you are. That was my biggest concern but because fear is a chain I talked about it and let it go!

-Did you have a backup plan if there was an emergency?
Of course, when we first found out we had a baby on the way we didn't know any midwives in the area nor did we like the few we interviewed at the start so we talked about an unassisted home birth since the closest hospital is literally a 5 minute drive down the road.

-Where were you when you went into labor?
At home, in bed, trying to get my son to sleep.

-How did the contractions feel?
I didn't believe I was in labor. They were mildly uncomfortable, like cramps or bad gas/constipation but I could still walk and talk. I didn't believe I was in labor till I hit transition and got sick and even then I remember looking at my husband and doula and saying that I was going to feel bad if everything just stopped and I had gotten everybody up in the middle of the night to come over here for no reason. Pretty sure they laughed at me right then.

-What did you do at home during labor?
Walked around, cleaned, set up the birth pool. My labor was short though.

-How long was your labor?
3.5 hours start to finish with pushing, same amount of time as it was with my first born.
-What did it feel like to give birth in water?
I wasn't planning to actually give birth in the water. I hit that point in labor where your body just pushes on it's own, I had one maybe two of those then I got up and got back into the pool and 15 minutes later she was out!

-Was there ever a moment when you wanted to ditch the plan and go to a hospital?
Nope. The hospital was a last emergency resort.

-Did you experience any complications?
Nope. I was left alone to do what I needed to do, to let my body do what it needed to do, to have an easy birth.

-Did you tear?
Nope not at all. Had I my midwives would have been prepared to stitch me up as well as give a localized anesthetic.

-What did the pain feel like?
That's a loaded question isn't it? Pain is subjective, what's bad to me could be truly unbearable for you. I have experienced migraine headaches as well as fibromyalgia so not much gets to me. I also labored with my sons birth while on Pitocin and no pain killers. But as most say  contractions feel like menstrual cramps.

-How much blood was there?
Not much. There's not much blood till the placenta detaches so my birth tub water was clean, and after the placenta detached and the midwives took it I went and got a quick shower and dressed. There wasn't much clean up needed.

-How did you feel when it was over?
Exhausted! Haha, birth is hard work so firstly I was tired and ready to sleep (it didn't help that I hadn't gotten any sleep since the morning before), after feelings of tired, I was starving and exuberant and proud!
-Did you see a Dr for any follow-ups?
Nope, my midwives came over at one day post partum, three days post partum, a week, a month then six weeks we saw them at their office for the last time :(

-Do you face any criticism or judgement when you tell people you chose a home birth?
No, or at least none that they publicly vocalize.

-What was your favorite part of the experience?
Everything. I loved my midwives and everybody on my team. I loved giving birth at home and feeling relaxed and not having nurses all up in my business. I loved getting to just crawl back into my comfy bed right after and actually sleep peacefully. It was all amazing from start to finish!

-What part did you like the least?
Having to say good-bye to seeing our midwives regularly.

-Would you chose to have a home birth again?

-Do you have any regrets?
That my birth experience with my son, while profound and amazing in it's own way from what I learned, was not as magical or what I truly wanted the experience to be. I feel like he got jipped. Other wise with our home birth no!

If you have any questions about home/water birth, my personal experience, or want to talk birth in general please ask away and leave your email so I can respond!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014


The Rebel Princess is 1/4 of a year old! 
Seriously! She is 3 months old already! 
It feels like just last week we were welcoming her into our family and so long ago at the same time.
Time is just flying by, and since fall has arrived and holiday season is about to start it is going to go by much faster.
At 3 months the Rebel Princess weighs 15.5 pounds (that's a 6.5 pound gain since birth)! She is just under 26 inches long, and wearing mostly 6 month sized clothing! 
She is rolling over, and getting good at not getting stuck on her arm. Enjoys sitting up, but obviously still needs assistance. Her favorite food is still breast milk (no solids duh!) and is still nursing like a champ!
She's our  big, happy, healthy, beautiful, giggly, chunky monkey!
 She loves to talk with her daddy and stairs at him till he says hello to her when he gets home from work. She like singing in the shower with me, and adores her big brother and lights up squealing with excitement when he plays with her!
She is so greatly loves and I am excited for her first trip to the pumpkin patch, playing in leaves, Halloween and just making more awesome memories!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Small Business Spotlight: Lovelee Three

I would like to introduce you to today's small business: LoveLee Three!
Lovelee Three is a work at home mom company that specializes in baby/toddler items including: moccasins, blankets, leggings, hat/headbands, and more being added!

We own several items from Lovelee Three! 
I bought these leggings for the Rebel Princess this past spring, and the first clothing item to ever touch her little body was a knotted hat purchased from Lovelee Three!

Each and every single item is very high in quality; from fabric selection down to stitching. Many of the items are unisex and because of the high quality of material you can pass them down from one child to the next! 

Moccasins for babies and toddlers are so popular right now and Lovelee Three has a geat variety of colors to chose from and they are one of the companies that I have seen with a comparable great low price. Now, I can't give feed back on the moccasins from Lovelee Three as we do not yet own a pair but we'll have to change that soon! 
I'm absolutely loving the new colors that she released and need them! However I am willing to bet, that based off the high quality of every other product we own they will be amazing! 

And just to show how well the leggings fit with moccasins...

Lovelee Three recently released their fall design line for 2014 and everything is great! Lots of great neutral colors and patterns as well as warm yet bold colors to welcome in the chilly fall weather!

Check out Lovelee Three:

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Milk Sharing

**The photo below may make some people uncomfortable, I apologize if you are one of those people, but you have been warned. Please note there is nothing "inappropriate" (i.e.:nipples) that can be seen in the photo**

Milk sharing is something not commonly heard of in our society. 

Yet there are thousands of families out there (desperately) searching for other nursing mothers to give breast milk to their child (either from pumping or wet-nursing, though pumping is most common).
I have donated several random times in the past when the Little Jedi was nursing and the thankfulness from the mother picking up the milk is plane as dawn to see in their eyes.

I decided that since the Rebel Princess is nursing and I plan to nurse her for as long as she wants to (same as with the Little Jedi, who self weaned at 23 months) that I will be pumping and donating regularly to a family.
The day I made the decision to donate milk to a family I got on Facebook and went to my cities local Human Milk For Human Babies page giving details and said if there was a family interested to message me and we could talk more. 
My inbox was flooded with hopeful mothers looking for a regular donor, mothers poring their hearts out telling me their story hoping that they were the lucky first person to get "dibs" on the spot. It broke my heart a little to see such a great need and so little supply (no pun intended) to fill it.

I wish that I was one of those mothers who could pump 20+ ounces a day and help multiple families, but I'm not. 
I wish that it wasn't so hard for these families to find breast milk for their babies, but it is.
 There are "milk banks" but those are ridicules. Mothers like me  DONATE their milk to the bank (and receive nothing in return), then the milk bank takes that FREE milk they received and SELL it for over $1 per ounce to these families! It's wrong.

I don't pump and donate milk to get a pat on the back or anything like that. 
I do it because it is something I believe in. It's a small way that I can show love and compassion towards at least two strangers (mom and baby). I do it because I know if I were in their place I would hope that there would be a 'me' out there to come and help because I believe it is what is best for my child.

Today the family that I will be donating milk to regularly picked up what I had for them! 
I am only able to pump about 5 ounces a day (no matter what, sadly) but it totaled to over 70 ounces! 
It's not hard, but it's not easy work either, so I am proud of myself  and hopefully next week and each week to follow will mean a minimum of 30 ounces for the family for weekly pick ups!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Mom Of Two

Somedays, ok most days, I sit here looking at both of my beautiful children still in awe of how amazing they are and that I am blessed with the task of raising and nurturing both of them.

Being a mother to two has been remarkable beyond anything I imagined.
The transition from having an only child to two muchkins seemed so natural and seamless.
Love grows and expands so freely and I find my heart becoming fuller and fuller each day as I see her personality developing and revealing itself to us and seeing them both growing and starting to play with one another. 
Sister Bear Shirt: Loved by Hannah & Eli

The Little Jedi is so in love with his baby sister. He loves giving her kisses, talking to her, reading to her and she just lights up and coos at the attention. One of the first things he does in the morning is get up and go check on her and give her a kiss.
Leggings & Blanket: Lovelee Three

For as wild and crazy as he is, he is so good and gentle with her and shows concern when "his baby" cries, he is also so helpful with bringing me items for her when I ask.
I knew from the start that he would be an amazing big brother.

 She has only been with our family for a little over 2 months now and I can't imagine life without her or really remember what it was like before she was with us! 
I feel so blessed to call them mine, I can't wait to watch them grow up together, to play and love on one another and be best friends. 
Blankets: Lovelee Three

Monday, September 8, 2014

Portland, OR: Small Business Spotlight: Rosehip Midwifery

If you are in the Portland area pregnant and find yourself seeking a home birth with an excellent midwife team you need look no further than Rosehip Widwifery! Heather, Katrina, and Emelia are in my opinion a one stop, top notch dream team!

Heather has been a midwife for 14 years (as well as an instructor at the local college for midwifery) and has confidence and passion for what she does. Katrina and Emelia who is finishing her schooling in midwifery and apprenticing under Heather. Katrina is also a certified herbalist meaning you can trust her knowledge when it comes to holistic alternatives during pregnancy. And Emelia is an IBCLC (lactation consultant), so once your baby is born you will have help with breastfeeding, should you need it. 

They are all passionate about birth and that the experience of birth has a profound impact on the mother for the rest of her life. That birth and pregnancy are a family event, that it is something to be celebrated. That having siblings be involved helps form a stronger bond and makes the transition of bringing the new baby into the family easier. They believe that gentle beginnings start long before labor starts and that having a relationship with the midwife/mother is important to fostering trust beyond their credentials. 

Through out your birth you can feel confident and know that the same warmth and respect that you came to expect at each appointment will be just the same. 

They do not come to your pregnancy or birth with their own plan or vision of how it should be and try to make that happen. They listen to you, to what your vision is, to what you want it to be and help support you. They are there for you no matter how long it is from start to finish and no matter what that end may look like.

They are kind, supportive, caring, nurturing, funny, professional and just plain awesome!
I am so glad we found them and had them as a part of our team!

More shots of them in action:

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Small Business Spotlight: Latchy Catchy

I haven't done a small business spot light in a while now so one is well over due!

Today's spot light is on Latchy Catchy, a truly simple but truly ingenious product that no parent with a little should be without!
I discovered Latchy Catchy on Instagram (where I have found 98% of the small business I now love) and had one of those "why didn't I think of that" moments at the simplicity of the design. 
Latchy Catchy is a small approximately, 4" x 2" rectangular piece of fabric that comes in 50 different colors and patterns. It is made with a thin padding in the center and elastic loops on either end that allow it to stretch and fit over any (in)door handle. 
The effect is that the product keeps the door from relatching, and I love ours! 
As a toddler the Little Jedi can reach the door handles in the house but can't always get the knob to turn and push/pull the direction he needs the door to go. 
With Latchy Catchy on the doors he is not locked in or out of any room, a simple push or pull on the door and it opens with ease! 
Latchy Catchy also allows you to more silently open and close doors when checking in on little ones who are sleeping. As a parent we know the often very real struggle it is to get and keep our littles asleep and that the slightest noise can wake them and the rest of the day be ruined by a cranky sleepy monster. Well if you have Latchy Catchy you need no longer fear looking in on them!
Latchy Catchy is such a great product that it has been featured in Family Fun magazine and Country Living which is impressive considering  the company is still quite young and that it is a one women team making all of them while also caring for her family!

Creator and owner of Latchy Catchy, Lyndsey Gaskins says, "The Latchy Catchy evolved when we got so tired of hearing our bedroom door slam, waking baby Karson, that I attached a sock (covering the latch) with a rubber band on each knob. It was quite the eye sore and we decided that that had to be a better way. Turns out, there was, and it is now called Latchy Catchy!"

There are so many products out there that are pushed on parents as something they need but in reality they never use it or only use it once; this is not that product! Believe me when I say you need this product and you will love it. After owning the product myself and experiencing it first hand it has made it onto my (short) list of gifts to give to an expectant/new mom! 
It's truly a gift that keeps on giving for a long, long time!

Lyndsey is constantly hosting and participating in giveaways on their Instagram so if you follow them over there you can have the opportunity to win one for yourself (or to give to a friend).