Reflections on Motherhood and Life as a Doula

Monday, February 4, 2013

The Birth of Chaela Eve

Thursday, January 3rd I drove out to my midwife's home for what I hoped would be my last appointment before my baby was born.  Actually, I had hoped there wouldn't be another prenatal appointment, but alas my due date came and went. 

By the time this appointment came around, I was feeling much more hormonally balanced than I had been a few days before then.  I really was convinced this baby was coming before the New Year and was really disappointed when 2013 rolled around.  Once I got over the initial disappointment, I chugged along just as any other mother of 2+ kids does when she goes past her due date just like every other pregnancy she had.

My appointment was just as amazing as my other appointments.  Good conversation, good company, and I walk away feeling at peace with where I am at that moment in life.  I left letting her know that the next time she saw me, I'd be screaming in labor.

That night I went to bed with my husband.  I was sleeping comfortably when I felt the first of the contractions.  They were rolling contractions.  Strong.  Long.  Irregular.  I woke up with each one and would caress my belly as they rolled over me.  I wanted so badly to get up into a more comfortable position with each one, but was so tired that I didn't move and just tried to embrace them instead.  When I got up in the morning, my labor fizzled away.  The kids and I packed up and went to spend the day with my mother-in-law.  I started to stress about my messy house, so she offered to keep the kids for the day and evening while I went home to clean.  Of course I came home and fell asleep.  After my long nap, Mike and I went out to Brennans for dinner.  Once again the contractions began.  We finished dinner and picked up the kids.  Everyone was convinced that I would be having a baby that night.  I called my best friend, Megan, and requested her presence from Buffalo.  She left immediately.  That night I had contractions that forced me to move into different positions.  I groaned through the night.  And when everyone awoke in the morning, the contractions continued.  Even with whining children and things to do, my labor continued.  I was so excited.  About midday things started to slow down again.  I sent the kids back with my mother-in-law and ran out to some stores to walk and shop.  I decided to head over to a local bar for some hot wings and pizza to see if that would move the baby out.  Haha.  Nothing picked up and I was sure I had a few more days of this.  That night our kids were dropped back off to us and we all went to bed wondering when our baby would join us.  About 10pm my contractions picked back up enough that I couldn't sleep.  Around midnight I was in the shower thinking this might be it.  When I got out of the shower, Megan had woken up and helped me labor.  I honestly couldn't have done this labor or Delaney's labor without her.  We sent a text to my friend and doula, Jackie.  I still wasn't convinced completely that it was real, so I didn't call the midwife yet. 

The labor was so weird.  It was entirely in my pubic bone.  No back labor, no wrap around contractions, just excruciating pain in my pubic bone.  It was confusing and frustrating.  I had no idea what my body was doing.  At this point I had lost track of time.  I went into my bedroom and labored loudly right next to Mike to wake him up.  He didn't budge.  I made it very clear that I was not mad at him, just jealous.  Haha.  I jumped back in the shower praying for hours of hot, hot water to run over my aching body.  The contractions came one on top of another while I was in there.  It was getting really intense and I couldn't run away from them.  I started to feel extreme pressure in my pelvic floor area.  I screamed for Mike and told him to call everyone and let them know that it was time.  When I got out of the shower, things slowed down but remained intense.  I got on my hands and knees and rocked over my birth ball in the living room.  I was stressing about calling everyone to come over.  I started to question whether or not I was actually in active labor.  The contractions were unbearably intense, but I felt like I was having incredibly long breaks in between.  Megan assured me I was in active labor and that they were 3 minutes apart.  They felt like they were 20 minutes apart.

The first to arrive was my mother-in-law.  She brought some comic relief with her which really lightened up my mood and made things a little more bearable.  A few minutes after she arrived, the midwife called and said she was just a few streets away.  Not only was I amazed at her timing, but I suddenly had a small sensation that felt like I might need to push.  She  walked in the door and said she was not surprised that I would be that far along already.  We moved our way into the bedroom and continued to labor.  I gave a few grunty pushes with a couple contractions to see how it felt.  It felt better, but I wasn't sure if it was the right time yet.  I was getting more and more frustrated with not being able to read what my body was trying to tell me.  At one point I asked the midwife to do a vaginal exam in hopes that this would give me a sense of what was going on.  Note: I never had a vaginal exam with my pregnancy and labor with Delaney and had not had any up to that point with this pregnancy/labor.  I was disappointed in myself at first for asking, but realize now that I needed it.  When she checked me (ever so gently), she found me to be "7 to 8cm but stretchy and could stretch to 10".  My cervix was also still a little posterior.  With the information she gathered and my description of labor, she guessed that there might be a nuchal hand (baby has a hand up by their head).  With this being a possibility, I got off my hands and knees and labored leaning against the wall while lifting my belly.  That sucked.  Really bad.  It just intensified the pain and all I wanted to do was lay down and go to bed. 

"This is stupid."  "I hate this."  "People who have babies are stupid."  "I'm never gonna be a doula again cuz I don't work with stupid people, and only stupid people have babies."  These were some of my most famous quotes during labor. 

Some parts of labor are a blur and others clear as day.  I don't remember when Delaney woke up, but I remember hearing her half asleep, whiny voice and wanting to hold and cuddle her.  She came into bed with me for a short while until I couldn't bear the contractions with her there.  I don't remember what exactly was going on around me, but I remember the midwife whispering the most encouraging words to me.  I don't remember what they were, but they made me feel so powerful.  I also remember her telling me to "get out of my doula head".  I never disappeared into laborland.  I was very aware...a little too much aware.  I was constantly trying to think instead of just letting my body "do". 

Something kept drawing me to the bathroom.  The toilet.  It truly was a porcelain goddess.  I knew that I needed it.  I would sit on it and then get up so frustrated because I couldn't figure out how to push this baby out.  I KNEW it was time to push, but had no rectal pressure to guide me in pushing. 

I finally sat on the toilet and mustered up all my guts and energy to push the way I thought I would push if I was constipated.  Shit.  It worked.  All of a sudden I felt the baby in the right pushing position.  Oh the pressure.  I wished away that stupid push I just did.  Can't I take it back??  I tried to think of a way to suck her back up and not have to push.  But then I'd be in labor forever and that sucks too.  Fuck.  I have to push this baby out.  So I pushed.  Maybe the better description would be that I screamed...and pushed a little.  It took me a little while - maybe 10 minutes - to realize that when I screamed and only pushed a little that the pain still sucked and it was taking the baby longer to get out.  So I pushed hard.  Ahhhhh, no description for that sensation.  I knew I needed to be in the squatting position to get this baby out, but I was so nervous about tearing (especially where my episiotomy is).  The midwife suggested the birthing stool in the bedroom because she would be able to better protect my perineum than on the toilet.  I agreed and made my way back into the bedroom.

 I sat on that birth stool and stared at everybody as if I was watching a movie.  It was like they were in a different world.  Or maybe I was the movie and they were watching me.  I was surrounded with so much love and support, but felt so alone.  Not in a bad way.  It was just that realization that only I could do this.  Nobody else.  I HAD to push this baby out. 

So I pushed.  And screamed.  And panicked.  And pushed.  And then after a whirwind of crazy conversations, thoughts, and emotions...she told me to reach down and pull my baby up. 

And now there are truly no words.  No words to describe catching your own baby.  I physically pulled her out of me.  From one world to another.  It was the most triumphant feeling in the world. 

Oh, and that nuchal hand that the midwife thought might be there.  She was right.  Two of them.

Chaela Eve was 7lb 13oz of love and perfection.

Here is a video of my last 6 minutes of pushing (right when I moved off the toilet and onto the birthing stool).

Saturday, November 3, 2012

The power of nature...and an immune boosting recipe!

As I sit here and search for an herbal remedy I have yet to try for this last stage of illness I am at (31 weeks pregnant and fighting the cold/flu), herbs and nature begin to flood my computer, my brain, my heart.  And now tears are streaming down my face.  Silly?  Maybe.  But along with my family and birth, nature and all its healing properties are my passion.  My life.

Homeschooling and this pregnancy...and the holidays...and everyday life have interrupted those few nanoseconds of me-time where I was working on my herbalist certification and opening my everything to what nature has blessed us with.  In no way am I upset with homeschooling, this pregnancy, the holidays, or everyday life at interrupting.  I am just sad that for a moment (seemed long, but so short in the grand scheme) I lost/strayed from something that is so dear to my heart and so healing to my family and myself in so many ways.

But alas, it brought me back to blogging.  Which feels good.  I need to catch up on sleep for so many reasons (to heal myself, to prepare for a birth any day now, to take care of my growing baby) and I am going to head to bed with a last minute remedy that a dear friend just called me with - warm rag soaked in ACV on my chest while I sleep - and hope that I will be dreaming soon. 

Don't you worry though, I'm not going to leave you without a simple recipe for an immune boosting, cold fighting syrup that my family lives on.  Tis the season!

Nurturing Nature's Elderberry Syrup:

1c Elderberries (dried) - I get mine from Mountain Rose Herbs
4c Water
2c Raw Honey (can be adjusted to depending on how sweet you like it)

Add 4 cups of water and Elderberries to a stainless steel pot and bring to a boil.
Reduce to a simmer and let simmer for approximately 25 minutes or until it has reduced to half.
Strain Elderberries (I use cheesecloth) and make sure to squeeze all the juices from them.
I strain the liquid into a quartsize mason jar and allow it to cool to room temperature.  At this point I add the honey - adding honey while liquid is still hot can kill many of the healing properties of raw honey. 
Store in the refrigerator.  The syrup will eventually go bad.  I have successfully stored it in the fridge for up to 4 weeks with no problems.

During the "sick seasons" we all take 1T a day to keep our immune systems strong.  If we are sick, we take 1T before each meal...or just drink it by the small cup-full because it tastes that good and is nothing but good for you.  Enjoy!!!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Giveaway: Cloth Diaper Variety Pack - CLOSED

THIS GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED!  The winner is Felicia R!  Congratulations!!
With a big thanks to Bottoms Up Diaper Shop and their awesome variety of cloth diapers, I am able to bring you this Cloth Diaper Giveaway!

Three different kinds of diapers - One (1) Sunbaby Pocket Diaper (one size fits all), One (1) KaWaii Pocket Diaper (medium size 6-22 pounds, comes with two inserts), and One (1) Mama's Simple Solutions Diaper Cover (newborn size, use with prefolds).

Sunbaby Pocket Diaper

 KaWaii Pocket Diaper

Mama's Simple Solutions Diaper Cover

I picked fairly neutral colors for all the diapers, so I think they will be of use for anyone.

This giveaway is only available to US residents. You can enter this giveaway up to Three (3) times. Here's how:

1. Leave a comment on this blog to tell me why you want to win these diapers.

2. Go to!/BottomsUpDiaperShop and 'like' them (and while you're there, leave them a comment to say hello). When you are done, return to our blog and leave a separate comment letting me know that you just liked them or were already a liker.

3. Go to and 'like' our facebook page. When you are done, return to our blog and leave a separate comment letting me know that you just liked me or were already a liker.

Good luck! Entries must be in by July 24th 11:00pm Est. Winner will be drawn on July 25th!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Another Childbirth Prep Course Complete!

Last night I finished another 6 week Childbirth Preparation Course. It is always a bittersweet experience for me. One night a week for 6 weeks I am kid free for a few hours, teaching about what I love most. I develop relationships with amazing couples who are reaching out for the information on how to safely, gently, and peacefully bring their babies into this world. I walk away inspired by the women and couples who are taking back their births.

This class was no different. I consider them all friends and sisters in motherhood and life. I am so proud of the work they are putting into their prenatal care and the experience they are going to have so soon.

Every class presents me with different challenges. Every couple is different and every group of couples are different - whether it be VBACers, First time moms, Hospital Birthers, Homebirthers, or Hypnobabies students...No class or course is the same.

Week 6 is always my favorite. It's the class where any final questions are asked and we sit and watch videos of beautiful births, the types of births I hope they all get to experience. I had planned on only viewing "Birth Day" this class, but when I realized it was only 11 minutes long we added "Orgasmic Birth" as well. I love watching all the videos that my husband is so sick of watching with me.

I hope that I was able to help these women on their journeys to motherhood. I have the utmost confidence that all three couples will achieve the birth experience they desire and walk away feeling empowered.

Only two of the couples were able to make it to the final class.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

What to put in your hospital bag?

I have had many clients and friends ask me about pregnancy, birth, and postpartum.  The number one question out of every hospital birthing mother is this, "What are the best things to pack in my hospital bag?"

I have put together a generic list that obviously can be adjusted depending on the mother and her personal comforts and needs.

 - Your labor/birth outfit.  It can be difficult to talk the hospital staff out of making you wear the hospital gown but if you can, make sure it is something comfy that is easily removed and you don't mind it getting bloody and dirty.  OR if you are like me, you can just give birth in YOUR birthday suit.  :)

 - PJ or sweatpants and comfortable t-shirts or other kind of nursing top.  Make sure these are in your maternity size because it will be quite sometime before you are back to your non-pregnant state.

 - Toothbrush and toothpaste

 - Shower supplies.  Leave the loofah at home and replace it with a nice soft (baby) washcloth for washing those sensitive areas after birth. 

 - Socks and slippers.  Socks because I find the hospital rooms to be a bit chilly, and slippers so you can walk around safely without having to put on shoes.

 - Your own pillow.

 - A snack bag.  Great to have while in labor and postpartum while you wait for the kitchen to be open for mealtimes.  I suggest bringing granola, nuts, fruit bars, crackers...

 - Essential oils.  For aromatherapy purposes.

 - Herbal teas for relaxation and recovery.

 - Chapstick

 - Hairbands

 - Some source of music (Ipod, Ipad, Boombox, Computer...)

 - A book to read

 - And of course your BIRTH PLAN

What else would you add to this list?

Calling All Homeschoolers!

Do you currently homeschool your children?  Do you plan to homeschool your children in the future?

Check out Oak Meadow!  They offer a complete homeschool curriculum for grades PreK-8. 

You can learn all about them on their website, and get more involved in their amazing community on Facebook,

And while you have the chance, hop on over to and enter to win 1 grade level's complete curriculum!  Good luck!  And wish me luck, too!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

A "Birth Day" 200-Fan Giveaway!

Hello, my lonely little blog.  I have neglected you, and for that I am sorry.

As I attempt to organize my very busy life, I have been noticing my Facebook fanbase growing.  How fabulous!!  I find brief moments throughout my day (usually when I'm nursing my daughter) to post articles, update my status, and answer birthy questions on the Facebook Page, all the while brainstorming different blog post topics.  I promise that I will start finding the time to actually post these - there has to be someone who can magically grant me more hours in a day.

But my REAL promise is a 200-Fan Giveaway!!!  I will be giving away my favorite birth video - Naoli Vinaver Lopez' "Birth Day"!  It is an amazing video!  Wonderful for any Mama-to be, Birthworkers' lending libraries, and/or to be shown in Childbirth Classes.  This giveaway is only for United States residents.

So share away!!!  Let's get Nurturing Nature Doula Services to 200 fans and beyond!  I want to spread the good word about the joys and bliss of Pregancy and Childbirth!  We CAN make a difference!  We CAN change society's norm!