A Bit of This and That

This past weekend was very busy for our little zoo, we didn’t spend much time on the farm, instead we enjoyed visiting our family.

Saturday we awoke early and headed off to the Ogden Temple open house. We toured it with my parents and sibling, my sister and her family even traveled from South Dakota, it was so good to see them. We then spent the rest of the day visiting while the zoolings played with the cousins.

Sunday we went to my uncle’s ward (the name of an LDS congregation determined by geographical location) to hear my cousin speak. She just returned from an eighteen month long mission in Atlanta, Georgia. It was so good to see her again. We then went to their house for dinner. Most of my family were there, siblings, aunts, uncles and cousins. It was great to see everyone, I love my family so much.

After dinner and a good long visit we had a little birthday party for Dadzoo’s mother, who turned 29 this year…..

Monday, the kids and I went on our usually Monday swimming outing with the family, for almost 25 years we have met Monday afternoon to swim with the kids.My aunts, cousins and their children are all there. Everyone has such a great time, swimming in the summer it very much looked forward to.

The very best of all our weekend activities: a visit to my midwife, where it was determined our little guy is growing big, strong, and healthy.  I love midwifery care  all of my concerns were addressed fully and “natural” or “crunchy” solutions given. I’m starting to feel as if I can relax, like this baby is really going to come. Its a good feeling.

This weekend was packed with fun and family, but now I must turn my attentions back to the farm and get things tied up before school starts in a week and I lose my helpers!

A summer thunder cloud rolling across our valley.

A summer thunder cloud rolling across our valley.

Birthing at Home

“The MIdwife” by Loren Entz

I just want to start out by saying, home birthing isn’t for everyone.  Dadzoo and I carefully considered, researched and prayed about our decision to home birth, and it was the correct decision for us, this won’t be the same for everyone, and I respect that.  Every woman should be shown respect for her birthing decisions.

I have seven children, the first five were born in a hospital after being induced with pitocin and given an epidural, the sixth baby was born at a hospital completely unmedicated (no pitocin or epidural) and my seventh was born at home.  I wish I would have done them all at home, I loved it that much!

I just wanted to share some thoughts about that home birth, things that didn’t fit into the story or I forgot to include.

First of all. Midwives. Are. Awesome.

-It was family centered.  My kids were there, my husband was there, and not just the guy sitting in the corner, he was part of the action.  He helped with my crazy pushing stage, he lay next to me and held me as I delivered, he had his arms around both me and baby as we all got acquainted.

-It was mother centered.  There was no “letting”.  I will explain.  At the hospital they “let” me drink some juice while laboring, they “let” me get off the monitors if I sat still for 20 mins, they would “let” me use the tub if I wanted, they would “let” me refuse some procedures…. etc….  At home I made choices.  I ate when I wanted to, I was monitored off and on, but only when asked and I consented, I got in and out of the shower as I pleased and walked or paced or lay down as I wanted, for any procedures on me or baby I was consulted and I made a choice.  No one made me do anything, or “let” me do anything.  Nothing was ever done for the convenience of the midwives, the adapted for me.  At one point I had IV antibiotics, it was during transition and the contraction were very intense.  I have been given IV’s many times during my previous 6 births, and usually at some point not only would I be working through contractions, I would be doing it while being stuck with needles.  This time was different.  The midwife was finding a vein as a contraction started up, as soon as she saw I was contraction, the tourniquet was whipped off the the needle put away until the contraction was over.  The midwives were also very quiet (with one exception, but she was a student and my doula got her to shush up), during contractions they were nearly silent and during transition they whispered instead of talking among themselves.  They followed my cues, if I wanted to talk or chat in between contractions, they would do that, if I wanted to close my eyes and be quiet, they were quiet too.  I didn’t have to say a word, they just read me really well.

-My body was respected.  I wasn’t just another cervix, birth canal or bulging belly.  For every touch, every examine I was asked first.  From the very first prenatal, no one ever laid a hand on me where I wasn’t asked first and had given consent.  “Can I palpitate your uterus?”  “Can I feel the position of the baby?”  “Let me know if you would like an examine.”  “You are so close, can I help support your perineum?”  “Let me know if this hurts.”….etc….  I have never felt so in control, or so respected.  There were times that my main midwife wanted a student midwife involved in an examine or prenatal visit, I was always consulted first.  When my midwife was determining the position of my baby at one of my last prenatals she asked if a student could try and practice on me, I said that would be fine, and before the student touched me she asked, “is it ok if I feel baby’s position”.  Wonderfully refreshing!

-I was in complete control of my care.  My midwife was just a guide, all decisions were up to me.  I decided if I wanted an ultrasound, blood work, diabetes test, GBS testing, vitamin K shots, eye drops and PKU testing.  I was given information, I was given opinions if I asked for them, but ultimately the decision was up to me and Dadzoo, and we took responsibility for each and every one.

-My postpartum care was the best I have ever had.  I had a phone call at 24 hours.  I had a home visit, that lasted an hour, at 48 hours.  I had my midwife’s cell phone number and was told to call at anytime, for anything.  I had an appointment at two weeks that lasted an hour.  I had access to lactation consultants and postpartum doulas and I could have as many appointments with my midwife as I needed.  When I told her I didn’t feel the need for a 6 week check, she said that was fine, if I felt good that there was really no need, but if I change my mind to please call.  I feel like I could still call her for any of my woman care needs.  I don’t feel like I have been cut lose.

My home birth/midwife experience was extremely positive.  I don’t have any complaints.  I loved the care I received, I didn’t feel like one out of a hundred clients.  I felt like I was being cared for by a trusted friend who knew me as a person, a woman and a mother.

Birth Story, Our Abbie


Midwives Eva and Heather doing the newborn assesment


Abbie is two months old now, and I figure I need to write down her birth story as some of the details are starting to become fuzzy, and I really want her birth to be recorded.

It all started early in the morning of August 4th, I woke up about 3 am on Saturday morning feeling some contractions.  They were about four to seven minutes apart, and considering they were mild, no pain, and a little irregular I went back to sleep figuring that I still had a while and I would need my sleep.  I had no idea at that time how much longer I would be laboring.

Later that morning I was still laboring, and spent the majority of the time resting in bed, the contraction were about the same, they got my attention, but were not painful and regular enough that I knew I was in labor.  I called my doula (who is also my sister), so she would be on alert, and let my midwife know.  At this point I didn’t feel the need to have anyone come over just yet, I was fine to just labor quietly at home, with only my family around.  Mostly I spent time in my bedroom by myself, exactly how I wanted to be.

Saturday evening my sister (doula) arrived.  Then my midwife sent a couple of her assistants to my house to check my progress.  I was so excited, thinking I was going to have this baby tonight, after all I had been laboring for about 18ish hours and this was my seventh baby, I should be really close.  Right.  Right!  Well, I was dilated to a 2.  Yes, a TWO!   My sweet sister was quick to remind me that I don’t dilate at all unless I am in labor, which meant that I really was in labor, and that just because it took this long to get to a 2 didn’t mean it would take that long to get all the way.  The midwives decided to go home and wait for things to pick up a little more, which I was happy about, I wanted to labor quietly with Dadzoo and my sister.  The midwives left me with some homeopathic remedies to help with the labor, and some essential oils to use on my feet and belly and also showed my sister the pressure points on my feet and ankles.

Some of the punks watching the newborn assesment

Dadzoo and my sister got the kids to bed, and then we focused on laboring and relaxing.  While I paced around the house, Dadzoo and my sister bonded to Downton Abbey.  They took turns rubbing oils on my tummy and feet, rubbed my back, and took me for long walks in the dark.  Very early Sunday morning we fell asleep for a few hours.

I had been in labor now 24 hours.

The next day was much the same, lots of walking, contractions about 2-4 minutes apart, oils, pressure points, homeopathics and a lot of good food, good company (loved spending all that time with my sister) and Downton Abbey.  Later that evening one of my Midwives called, Eva, wanting to know how I was feeling and how things were going.  I told her that I was still contracting, and that the contractions were getting more intense.  She decided to come over and check me.  I was dilated to a 4.  I was  a full day and  a half into this labor and I was only at a 4.  She did see to think that baby was in a posterior position, making the dilation a bit uneven and hard.  She left to go put her kids to bed and gave me somethings to do and I was to text her when I was done.  I was to up the homeopathic remedies to a pill (or two, I can’t remember, my sister just gave them to me, I didn’t pay attention) every 15 minutes and use the oils on my feet after taking each pill.  Then I was to walk outside for an hour.  Then I was to labor for as long as I could on my hands and knees, to get the baby to spin in the correct position, while using a breast pump to make my contractions harder.  It was nice to have something to do.

(This is where the timing of everything gets a little fuzzy, but I will do my best)

About ten o’clock Eva came back and brought the birthing kit with her.  I was ready to have the midwives there, I was tired, I had being doing this for almost 48 hours at this point and I was so tired.  Eva checked me and said I was about the same, but my cervix was much softer.  A little while later my midwife, Heather,  came with two others, a midwife and a student midwife.  She checked me, and I was at a five, but my cervix wasn’t thinning evenly, the baby’s head wasn’t pressing down evenly on my cervix which was making the labor not as effective as it could be.  We then decided to break my water to see if that would help.  I then went for a walk with my husband while the midwives settled in.  When we got back two were asleep and the other two were visiting in the living room.  I labored for a while, pacing the house again and finally early Monday morning settled in my room to labor with Dadzoo, my sister and my second oldest child (who just couldn’t sleep).

About 4 o’clock Monday morning everyone, except me, had fallen asleep.  The house was quiet. I felt very low.  My contractions had all but stopped, my water was broken, and I was so tired.  I cried a little, and then I prayed.  I asked my Heavenly Father to help me, help my body do this, I told Him that I needed His help, that I couldn’t do this anymore without Him.  My contractions didn’t start up right away, but something did happen.  I felt calm, and a voice said to me “rest”.  So I layed down next to my daughter and sister and slept for two glorious hours, with no contractions or discomfort.

I know our Heavenly Father watches over his daughters during birth.

About 6 am Monday morning, 51 hours into labor everyone started to wake up.  My contractions still hadn’t started back up and I was at a very low point.  My body felt refreshed from the sleep, but my spirits were tired and discouraged.  My midwife, Heather, checked me, I was at a 6, but my cervix was thinning very strangely.  One side of my cervix was still very thick, the other nice and fully thinned (not like the very typical cervical lip some women get at the very end).  I was in my room alone when Heather came back in to talk to me, she said I could labor like this another 24 hours, we could go to the hospital or we could do one other thing.  She told me of a woman who had had a lot of children, like me, whose uterus would tip forward during contractions making them not as effective at dilating the cervix during contractions.  She wanted me to start to push, while Dadzoo held the baby back against me so her head would press on the cervix correctly.  I thought of each option, I didn’t want to labor for 24+ hours, I was GBS positive and I felt that would be dangerous to the baby, since my water was broken.  I didn’t want to go to the hospital, I didn’t want pitocin or a possible c-section for failure to progress, so option number three it would be.  I didn’t know I was about to do the hardest thing I had ever done.

Dadzoo and Eva weighing the baby

I sat on the birth stool and using the breast pump got my contractions going regularly and very hard.  Each time I contracted I would push while Dadzoo held my tummy.  When we would do that the baby’s head would press on my cervix correctly and I was slowly thinning and dilating.  We used many different positions, on the stool, standing up and then ended up laying on the bed with pillows under my back.  It help keep my uterus tilted back and I could lay back and sleep a little between contractions.  It wasn’t until the very end, as I was transitioning that I really started to feel pain.  It was hard too because I didn’t feel the need to push yet, I was just pushing and couldn’t really tell where I needed to push, if that makes any sense.  Finally, when I thought I couldn’t do it any more, when the pain was too bad, when I felt like all this work wasn’t doing anything I felt the baby’s head push through my cervix into the birth canal, and it felt so good!  I had the urge to push, my body knew what to do and we were going to have this baby!

A couple more pushes and baby started to crown, we called the children in and in two more pushes she was out.  At 10 am, Monday morning after 55 hours of labor and three hours pushing, our beautiful Abigail Grace was welcomed by her whole family and into the arms of her parents.  She was immediately put on my chest and Dadzoo and I rubbed her little back to stimulate breathing. Dadzoo was lying next to me his arms around me.  I loved that as she was being born, crossing the veil into this world I was lying in the arms of her father, it was so beautiful and intimate.  I loved having my other children around us as she came into this world, they all one by one came around to the side of my bed to see their new sister, it was so peaceful, so family centered.  The midwives did what they needed to do, but they were so quiet that I don’t really remember them being there.  It was perfect!

After a while, and when I was ready, they weighted and measured the baby (well Dadzoo weighted her) and did the newborn examine on the bed at my side while the children gathered around.  One of the midwives, Eve, showed the kids the placenta and told them how it worked, they were fascinated.  After a couple hours the midwives left, I was tucked in my own bed with my baby in my arms.  I was wonderful.

Abbie a few hours after birth