Monday, September 28, 2015

Our Home Birth Story

Before I dive into our birth story, let me rewind a bit and explain why we chose to have an unmedicated home birth with DJ.

When I was preparing to have Aaron (Aaron's birth story), I was planning to have an unmedicated birth. But I didn’t have the right support system and had no preparation. So I did everything wrong… I was hyper anxious, due date obsessed, wearing out my body walking miles and climbing stairs, and I really didn’t understand how birth works. I remember feeling pressured to do certain interventions and feeling like I couldn’t trust myself or my body—a professional was in charge of my birth. As a result, we went through the chain of interventions and I felt so out of it for the first hours of my son’s life. I’m grateful that Aaron is here and I appreciate the team of people involved, but I knew I wanted something different this time around. I wanted DJ’s and my birth story to be one of strength.
We considered different options including hiring a doula for the hospital or a birth center. The clincher, for Brandon especially, was watching the documentary The Business of Being Born. We chose to interview two midwifery groups in the area and to call a local birth center. When we met with Renee and Fawn from Sacramento Valley Midwifery Care, we loved their confidence and the way they talked about birth. My expressed desire to have my birth be something I DID as opposed to happening to me was met with a resounding YES! So we jumped in with both feet.
To prepare for birth, Brandon and I took Mama Natural's online birth course which gave us a ton of information regarding the natural process of birth, what is being accomplished, how to prepare for each phase, and lots of exercises (Here's a free 40 minute webinar from the Mama Natural Birth Course with 8 keys to a natural birth). With our midwives, I had plenty of appointment time to learn about the physiological process of birth and discuss all my questions and concerns. During labor, if there was any indication that something wasn’t progressing well, there was a plan in place for a non-emergency transport to the hospital. Midwives come with every tool that will be needed for labor, delivery, newborn care, and mommy care except pharmaceutical interventions. If there was any negative indication, they would make the recommendation to move to the hospital. I felt completely safe, if not safer, delivering at home based on my intuition and statistics*.
Well, hopefully I’ve answered some of the questions our family and friends might have had when they found out we were doing this “crazy” thing called home birth and I can dive into our story!
I had been having some light contractions every night for two weeks and had a false alarm on Saturday, Sept. 12th (my due date). When the midwives came to check on me, I was only dilated 1 cm. They told me the baby was posterior and tension in my back would restrict labor so Brandon and I were advised to do massage and counter pressure to relieve tension and help baby move into a better position. I could tell labor was coming soon. Sunday night contractions began and stayed consistent through the night. The big difference was that I was having some bloody show. Over the next day (Monday), they grew closer together.
Monday around 5pm, I started texting Brandon, my mom, and the midwives. The contractions were getting stronger and needed more focus. Brandon returned home at 5:30pm and my parents picked up Aaron at 8pm. Brandon continued prepping birth supplies as I told the midwives to come. When the midwives, Fawn and Jamie, arrived they got to work prepping all the supplies while I labored in our bedroom with all the lights off.
They checked DJ’s and my vitals and told us to change laboring positions every 20 minutes. I was still fairly talkative, so around 10pm, the midwives began recommending positions to make contractions stronger. Brandon and I took a walk up and down the block. I began having contractions that were so powerful I tuned everything out, it was just me, the sensation of baby getting pushed down, and my breathing.
The pressure in my back felt awful so I had someone press against my lower back through each contraction. Moving through contractions and changing positions helped me handle the intensity. Around 2am the midwives told Brandon to rest and wanted to check my progress. I was hesitant to find out where I was because it felt like I should be close to transition, close to complete and didn’t want the news of being less far along. When I heard 4 cm and that she was still posterior and would need more powerful contractions to rotate into the correct position, I felt so discouraged! (If I was in the hospital, Pitocin and epidural would probably have been discussed at that point)
I knew I had to make the most out of each contraction to expedite labor! My midwives knew it too so they started turning up the intensity. Fawn gave me a homeopathic tablet to help the baby rotate. After some intense laboring on the bed, they suggested getting in the shower. The labor pressure was so strong! As I got in the shower, Jamie sprayed a terrible mint spray in the air. When I asked her what it was she said it was an aromatherapy that would make the contractions stronger… it worked right away! Thank goodness for a powerful shower and long-lasting hot water tank!
At this point, I lost any concern over modesty and I was committed to doing whatever I needed to do in order to get baby out before I wore out! Jamie told me to breathe through each contraction from my head down through my toes. The coaching helped me visualize what I needed to do. Moving my hips and making moaning noises seemed to help me cope with the intense pressure. It also woke Brandon up from his short rest. ;)
I got out of the shower and felt so much pressure in my lower back. I told the midwives that I felt like I needed to go to the bathroom to relieve some of the pressure, but I was afraid that if I tried going it would bring on really powerful contractions. They offered me an enema (again, I was going to do whatever necessary to get through labor) and I decided to go for it. Unfortunately, I had to stay still through three powerful contractions with it in… Then, they went to the other room to give me privacy. As I went to the bathroom, I started to feel a huge contraction coming on. I pushed through it because it felt natural to do. All of a sudden, the pressure built and built and gush went my bag of waters then I felt the most intense burning pain. I started yelling, “Help! Help! Help!” The midwives and Brandon rushed in from the living room to check on me. They told me to stand up and Jamie looked and said, “And there’s the head!”
Fawn and Jamie locked eyes with me and directed me to blow. I couldn’t believe it! I was so relieved and listening intently as I blew out puffs of air while I stood, bracing myself against the wall. Then it was time to push. Brandon watched and encouraged me, telling me with his voice full of emotion how beautiful our daughter was! DJ was born with her hand resting on her head and in less than 2 minutes! She arrived at 4:29am, surprising us all when her arrival seemed so far away only a few hours earlier!!
She came so fast that I felt almost in shock but also overwhelmed with joy and relief! I had done it! I loved that she went from the catch in the hands of my midwife immediately into my arms. I admired her beautiful head of hair and cradled her sweet little body. They asked me if I felt like I could walk to the bed. I got up and walked with the cord still intact into our bedroom—only after a completely unmedicated birth would I have been able to do that! I laid down cuddling my baby in my own bed with my husband sitting next to me. Every procedure was done with such care and attention, even down to noticing the beauty of the perfect telephone cord-like spiral umbilical cord. DJ received all the blood from her cord and spent the first hour of her life being held by her parents instead of being washed, scrubbed, and poked.
My mom and sister arrived about 45 minutes after she was born. After plenty of time to bond, a very content baby was measured and weighed. She was 20 inches long and 8 lbs. 13 oz. I loved the quiet relaxed nature of recovering in my own bed and being able to be in charge of my labor, delivery, and the care my baby received. The house felt dark and cozy in the early morning hours. My mom brought me a hot breakfast she cooked in our kitchen while I watched Brandon hold and bond with our sweet daughter.
It was an incredible experience! I would definitely do it again this way and recommend it to any pregnant mama who is low-risk. If you are considering a home birth, the two most important things to be successful are an involved birth partner and a supportive, knowledgeable birth team. Brandon was incredible with helping me prepare, coaching and supporting me during labor, and his care afterward. I am so thankful for the midwives and student midwives at Sacramento Valley Midwifery Care. I felt so safe and at ease, the biggest fear I had during labor was fear of going to the hospital if things didn’t progress well**. I feel proud that I did it!

I should also add that the recovery has been much better than my previous experience in the hospital. I’m thankful for the support of my midwives during pregnancy, labor and birth, and post-partum. When I was having some trouble with nursing, they came over to offer assistance. At every step, they did everything they could to help make me successful.

Thanks for stopping by to read our story! Here's a link to get $50 off the Mama Natural Birth course. :)

*While over 99% of births in the U.S. take place in hospitals with some of the best technology in the world, according to the WHO, the maternal mortality rate is 28 out of 100,000 births—ranking the U.S. 55th in the world, even worse than Chile, Ukraine, Iran, Russia, Thailand, and others.
**According to a 2014 of midwife attended homebirths in the U.S. in the Journal of Midwifery and Women’s Health, the cesarean rate for midwife led homebirths is 5.2% in comparison to 31%  for the national average in the U.S. The study reports better outcomes for babies as well, 97% of babies were carried to full-term and weighed an average of eight pounds, 98% were being breast fed at the 6 week visit, and only 1% of babies were transferred to the hospital after birth.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

12 months old--1 year!!! Happy birthday!

Dear Aaron,

You are 1 year old! Today is your birthday!
  • Milestones: You stood up on your own yesterday! You can gesture and say a few words: yes, dada, mama, dog, banana, this. You are interested in mimicking our play--copying daddy flying an airplane, making the sheep sound "baaa".  Previously you were only interested in taking things out of boxes, bags, and cabinets, now you love putting things away--sometimes in unusual places! You make choices when offered a choice between two shirts or two different foods. Your pincer grasp looks great too! You have discovered how to flirt or act coy with people, especially ladies by smiling and hiding your face. You follow 1-step directions well. You play nicely with other babies usually, and you love watching big kids and try to play with them. With your cousin Heath you may take his toys, but when you take his pacifier out, you always try to put it back! You can eat very well with finger foods and are ok with a spoon when mommy helps you.
  • Stats: You weigh about 22 lbs. and measure 28 inches long. 
  • Eating: Your favorite foods are hamburger, chicken, strawberries, grapes, bananas, almond butter, and applesauce.
  • Sleeping: You sleep 11-12 hours each night. 
  • Likes: You love your new birthday gifts! Being outside to crawl around, dig in the dirt/rocks, and put rocks in a bucket. Carrying tools/items around the house, putting items inside containers, splash pad, smiling faces (you love attention!), talking and having people talk back to you, the dishwasher, turning off the light in the fridge, mommy's colorful journaling pens, taking a drink from mommy and daddy's cups, seeing Grandma and Grandpa Prior on Skype, watching/chasing dogs and kitties, opening cabinets, playing tag
  • Dislikes: Being on your back, when something gets taken away, when you don't get to do something (like climb into the dishwasher), "Uncle" Joe
  • Places: We went to a fun music class this month at Adventure Church. You loved it, especially the big kids and when mommy put you in the air. You went on the train at the Fountains. The biggest event was a fun farmer birthday party with your Mumsy & Popsy, Grandma & Grandpa, Aunt Ashton, Uncle Jordan, cousin Heath, and Uncle JP! What a fun month!
  • Songs: "In My Life Lord", "Old MacDonald", "5 Little Monkeys", "High Hopes"
  • Books: Chicka Chicka Boom BoomTouch & Feel Farm book 

This is how he feels about the last monthly sticker! ;)

Aaron, we love you so much. You are such an incredible gift with all of your unique personality traits and preferences. We have loved watching you grow this past year. We are thankful to have you as our first born son! So many new adventures are ahead! We are glad that as you learn from us and others about how to do so much on your own, that we are learning how to be better parents at the same time.

Happy, happy birthday sweet baby Aaron.

Mommy & Daddy

Sunday, August 10, 2014

11 months old

Dear Aaron,

You are 11 months old!
  • Milestones: You love to explore and get into everything! You have begun to "talk" a lot in your own little language, sometimes very loudly! You've started to make approximations of doggie and Atti. You also started doing some bear crawling when you're on an uncomfortable surface. You are doing more and more independent play, sometimes for up to 20 or more minutes! You have also become very interested in daddy! You love watching him, but when you are hurt, tired, or hungry, you are still looking for mommy. :)
  • Stats: You weigh about 21 lbs. and measure 28 inches long. 
  • Eating: Your favorite foods are hamburger, chicken, strawberries, grapes, and applesauce.
  • Sleeping: You sleep 11-12 hours each night. 
  • Likes: Exploring, "talking" to us or making raspberries in the car, "helping" mom load/unload the dishwasher, when mom and dad make funny faces, seeing Grandma and Grandpa Prior on Skype, live music, water play, playing with Buhner, watching/chasing dogs and kitties, swing/bang objects around, car keys, opening cabinets, playing tag
  • Dislikes: Being on your back, when something gets taken away
  • Places: We escaped the heat for a weekend in Tahoe and went to your friend's 1st birthday party--yours is around the corner! We enjoyed the final days playing at Mumsy and Popsy's house then finally got to explore their new ranch!
  • Songs: "In My Life Lord", "Old MacDonald", "High Hopes"
  • Books: Chicka Chicka Boom BoomTouch & Feel Farm book

Our sweet little Aaron, we are learning to enjoy you for your unique sense of humor and preferences that can never be captured by words typed here or documented in a baby book of milestones.

You have taught us so much. You fill up our days with love and joy. I hope you can one day know how much you are loved and adored by your family!

We are going to try to treasure your last month of being a baby as you quickly show more and more signs of toddlerhood as you approach your 1st birthday.

So proud to be your parents. We love you,
Mommy & Daddy

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Farmer's Market Finds 7-22-14

Another great day at the farmer's market!
We took home:
  • $30 1 lb. grassfed ground beef, 1 lb. grassfed Korean short ribs, 1 lb. country sausage
  • $3 artichoke head
  • $1 red onion
  • $1 large bunch cilantro
  • $6 flat of tomatoes (sunburnt box on special)
  • $2 pint of Hungarian peppers (the farmer threw in 2 free jalapenos)
  • $1.70 2 bell peppers
  • $3 large bag of table grapes (about 5 lbs.)
Total: $47.70

So thankful to be able to feed my family delicious, healthful foods and support local farms. Grilled burgers, ribs, veggies as well as fermented salsa and tomato canning are in order this week!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

10 months old

Dear Aaron,

You are 10 months old!
  • Milestones: You are figuring out how things work like doors, cabinets, switches, faucets... You also play games with us like tag and tickle or hide and seek. You have started to become attached to certain objects during the day and will hold it until you sleep (usually a spoon).
  • Stats: You weigh 20 lbs. 14 oz. and measure 28 inches long. 
  • Eating: You eat 3 meals a day and a snack. Your favorite foods are yogurt, strawberries, grapes, applesauce and chicken.
  • Sleeping: You sleep 11-12 hours each night. 
  • Likes: Crawling under and over obstacles, water play, playing tug o' war with Buhner, watching/chasing dogs and kitties, swing/bang objects around, car keys, opening cabinets, bathtime, turning on the water faucet, playing tag, watching the roll call opening of 19 Kids and Counting (you will stop eating or whatever else you may be doing to watch that part, then you resume whatever you were doing!)
  • Dislikes: Being on your back, not getting to hold mom's pen, pickles
  • Places: You went to Breakaway Kids Camp while mommy volunteered. You had a great time and were very tired after going through your routine there. You went to your 2nd cousin Chelsea's wedding on July 4th.
  • Songs: "Mr. Aaron", "In My Life Lord", "Old MacDonald", "Big" Breakaway song
  • Books: Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, Pull-Back Busy Train BookTouch & Feel Farm book
 You didn't want to stand for a picture. I'm glad you still need your mommy even though you've gotten so big!
You are such a gift to us! It makes me teary just to think about how big you've grown already. I hope we can show you how much we love you every day that we get to spend with you.
We are so lucky you are our little 10 month old!
Mommy & Daddy
p.s. Stop growing up so fast!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Free Summer Activities for Kids around Roseville, CA!

It's going to be about 106* today! Therefore, I've been looking into community activities that are free and indoors in the Roseville area. Here's what I found, organized by day:
  • Monday
    • 10:30-11:00 story time at Martha Riley Library (through 7/28) *Mahany Park is right behind which is gated and covered, if you can stand the heat! The Roseville Aquatic Center is nearby as well.
    • 10:30-11:00 story time at Downtown Roseville Library (through 7/28) *Royer Park is nearby and has A LOT of shade
  • Tuesday
    • 10:00 Story time with a snack and art activity at Learning Express, Douglas Blvd. location
    • 11:00-12:00 Story time at Pottery Barn Kids in the Roseville Galleria Mall (not sure if this is year-round or summertime only)
    • (A bit further out) 10:30-11:00 Mother Goose on the Loose: Nursery Rhymes and Music for 0-3 at Auburn Library (through 7/29)
    • 4:00-5:00pm Reading buddies for 3-5 year olds with teen volunteers at the Rocklin Library (through 7/28)
  • Wednesday
    • 9:30-10:00  Story time at Vernon Street Town Square (through 10/29)
    • 10:30-11:00 Mother Goose on the Loose: Nursery Rhymes and Music for 0-2 at Granite Bay Library (through 7/30)
    • 11:00 Story time with a snack and art activity at Learning Express, Galleria Blvd. location
    • 11:00 Story time at Roseville Barnes & Noble
  • Thursday
    • 10:30-11:00 Story time at Loomis Library
    • **Every 3rd Thursday** 3:30-4:30 Paws to Read: Kids read for 10 minutes with a therapy dog provided by "Lend a Heart/Lend a Hand Animal Assisted Therapy". This is so cool! But only for readers.
  • Friday
    • 10:00 Story time with a snack and art activity at Learning Express,  at both locations Galleria and Douglas
    • 10:30-11:00 and 11:30-12:00 Story time at Maidu Library (through 7/25). The park here is very fun and has shade.
    • 10:30-11:00 Story time at Granite Bay Library ages 3-5 (through 7/25)
    • 4:15 and 4:45pm FREE Swim Lesson Fridays at Johnson Pool ages 3+
  • Saturday
    • 11:00-3:00pm Free craft for kids ages 3+ at Lakeshore Learning Center
    • 11:00 Story time at Roseville Barnes & Noble
    • **Every 3rd Saturday** Roseville Town Square concert series at 6:30 with music, food trucks
  • Sunday
    • Children's Ministry at Bayside is open every weekend on Saturday nights and Sunday morning so they can play and learn while you enjoy service!
Roseville Aquatic Center is also inexpensive. Kids under 2 are free with $5 adult general admission. They have a under 6 swim time called Little Splashers. It takes place at the Roseville Aquatics Complex Mon.-Thurs. 10-12:30pm and at Mike Shellito Indoor Pool on Tues/Thurs 10-11:30, Sat. 12-1:00, and Sun. 11:30-1:00. There is also a free family night at Johnson Pool through 7/30 on Mon. and Wed. from 6:45-8:15pm.

Enjoy and let me know if I missed some fun free activities for kids that are great for these hot days!