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Friday, July 17, 2015

Amy's Natural Birth Story

One of my best friends, who was my trainer turned workout buddy, recently had her baby girl, Poppy LaRue. 
Her birth story is one that is definitely for the books and is very unique this day and age.  She told me I could share her birth story with all of you.
 I hope you can gain some insight in a natural way of giving birth and keep an open mind while learning about one of the most common ways to give birth everywhere else in the world but the U.S.

Poppy’s Birth Story

One of my college professors, Dr. Kenneth Clinton, said “The difference in doing something and doing something well is preparation.  Preparation, preparation, preparation!  I have found this to be true, and try to apply it in everything I do.

When Jeff and I decided to try and have a baby, we put our hearts and souls into it.  We found out we were expecting on November 6, 2014.  We would have a baby by July 2015!  Thus began our journey and preparation to a most perfect pregnancy, birthing and new baby.

We knew we wanted something different from the standardized health care that we would receive at any of the local hospitals. I had a really traumatic experience giving birth to Jack in a hospital (with no underlying medical concerns).  We believe whole-heartedly that pregnancy and birth is not a medical issue, but a natural and normal event that my body was made for.  After researching our options, we chose to use a midwife in an effort to avoid any unnecessary medical interventions.  We met with Audrey Stucker at the Baby Place Birthing Center in Greenville, TX, for a holistic approach to prenatal care and a natural, drug free delivery.

Next we enrolled in The Husband Coached Child Birth Classes – The Bradley Method with Amber Kensinger in Greenville, TX.  This class met every Tuesday evening for 2 hours, for 12 weeks.  Participating in this class really opened our eyes to a better, more natural way to give birth to a baby.  I highly recommend it!  The material for this class was really informative and led me to seek out other resources to support this method.  We spent our entire pregnancy devouring books, forums and documentaries on natural childbirth.  Preparation, preparation, preparation! I will add my resource list to the end of this story.

After extensive education on the matter, we decided to have a home birth.   Relaxation is the most important thing in natural, pain free childbirth; so staying home was an obvious decision for us.  Audrey was very supportive and said home births were the very best.  I would be able to labor and deliver in my own environment, without disruption or traveling.  Audrey assured us that everything she would have at the birthing center, she would bring to our home.

My estimated due date was July 15, 2015.  Audrey said full term is anywhere from 38 to 42 weeks so the due date is really just a guess.  My prenatal care consisted of monthly visits with urine analysis, blood pressure reading, monitoring baby’s heartbeat, Group B Strep test, Gestational Diabetes testing (but not with the nasty synthetic orange drink!) fundal height measurements and 3 sonograms.  My prenatal care did not include pelvic exams so we had no idea if I was dilated or not.  My entire pregnancy was a very healthy and happy one.  I had no complaints!

By June 24th, I was in week 37 of my pregnancy and was really starting to “feel” pregnant.  I was tired and felt heavy and had a lot of pressure in my pelvic area.  Jeff would often take one look at me and say, “You’re about to have a baby” in a tone that indicated he wouldn’t be surprised if it was right then and there.

A week later, on Friday, July 3rd at 4:25 am, my water broke while I was in bed sleeping.  I nudged Jeff and told him that my water had broken.  In his deep sleep, he must have forgotten all of our preparation because he asked how I knew my waters had broken!  We got up and became really excited!  Today was the day!  We cleaned up and got back in bed so we could rest.  Jeff went right back to sleep, but I was just too excited.  I had a lengthy list of to-do’s that I absolutely had to finish before I could have this baby, so I set about getting them done.  We got all of the items needed for the home birth ready, cleaned the kitchen and bathroom and tried to relax.  Around 7 am I sent Audrey a text letting her know my water had broken and she said to let her know when my contractions were about 10 minutes apart.  I cooked breakfast and headed to the gym at 9 am to tie up all the loose ends before I took my maternity leave.  I got home around 10 am and settled in to wait on contractions.  By lunchtime, I still hadn’t had any, so Jeff and I decided to grab lunch at Two Senoritas, thinking that it might be our last good meal for a day or two.  We came home and to pass the time, we watched a movie, harvested fresh tomatoes and okra from our garden and took a walk.  By that evening, I still wasn’t having contractions.  Audrey said to just get some rest that contractions typically started within 24 hours of your water bag breaking.  So maybe Nana was right, Poppy would be a 4th of July baby!

Saturday morning on the 4th of July, we woke up ready to have a baby!  I still hadn’t had any contractions.  Audrey said she would come by around 9:30 to administer a dose of penicillin so there was no risk of infection.  Jeff and I went on a walk and got home just in time for Audrey and Linda (another midwife) to arrive.  They gave me the penicillin and outlined a regimen of things I could do to naturally jump start contractions.  She suggested I use my breast pump for 10 minutes on each side, every hour.  Then she gave me some herbs to take.  I took Master Gland Formula every hour, alternated 2 droppers of Root Bark Cotton and Labor Enhancer tinctures every 30 minutes, and rubbed Clary Sage essential oil on my belly as needed.  She wanted to me to sit on the birthing ball to help Poppy move lower into position.  She and Linda had to leave to attend another birth and said they would return around 3 pm.  Along with pumping and taking the herbs, Jeff and I would take 15-20 minute walks, a couple of times each hour, which seemed to help.   I was starting to have very mild contractions but they were very irregular.  I still wasn’t progressing at 3 pm, so Audrey said she would be back at 6 pm.  By 4:30 pm, I began to get discouraged.  It had been 36 hours since my water had broken.  If I wasn’t in active labor at 48 hours, we would have to seriously consider going to the hospital to start Pitocin, a nasty synthetic drug used to induce labor.  Jeff was very reassuring and told me to trust my body and not get discouraged.  We kept on with our regimen.  By 6 pm my contractions were becoming regular and were about 12 minutes apart.  Audrey and Linda arrived around 6:30 pm and administered another round of penicillin.  Audrey said we probably wouldn’t have her by midnight, but because I was in labor and my contractions were progressing, I no longer needed to worry about going to the hospital.  Audrey said for me to go get in bed and try to rest, that I had a busy day ahead of me. 

By 8 pm my contractions were about 10 minutes apart and getting stronger.  Jeff tucked me into bed, turned out the lights, lit a lavender scented candle and put on the music playlist he had made for the birth – it was all of our love songs.   He lightly rubbed my back and my hair, reminding me to relax, open my jaw and breathe from my belly with each contraction.  The whole time, I was mentally telling my cervix to draw up and open wide.  I told my body to relax and allow my uterus to do its work without resistance from me.  I reminded myself of all the things we had done to prepare for this and that I was ready.  By 9 pm, my contractions were stronger and 4 minutes apart.  I told Jeff I wanted to get in the bath.  Linda came in to check on me and suggested we wait a bit longer on the bath so that the soothing effects of it didn’t wear off before hard labor.  She suggested I wait about 30-45 more minutes.  10 minutes later, I told Jeff to run my bath and let Linda know I was getting in and didn’t want to wait longer.  Audrey came in and did my first pelvic exam and was surprised that I was already dilated to an 8.  She agreed it was a good time to get in the bath.  Jeff lit candles and turned out the lights and moved the music to the bathroom.  The water was deep and warm – it felt so good!  I sat back on my heels with my knees apart and leaned over the side of the tub, resting my forehead on my arms during contractions. I focused on my breathing, relaxing and mentally reminding myself that I was made for this and that I had prayed for this baby and this labor.  After about 25 minutes of progressively stronger contractions, I started shaking uncontrollably and I knew that I was in transition and would see my baby very soon.  The contractions continued to come on stronger and were right on top of each other.  I kept my focus on relaxing and allowing my body to work with this labor.  I was mentally telling my body to be open and soft.  I wasn’t scared and didn’t feel tense.  Jeff was kneeling opposite of me, on the tub step, holding my hands and whispering how great I was doing and that Poppy would be in my arms soon.  He squeezed cold water from a wet rag over the back of my neck and gave me ice water to drink between contractions.  The overall atmosphere was very peaceful and calm.  The room was dimly lit with candles, and our music was playing softly in the background.  There was no rushing about or unnecessary activity or talk.  As requested in our birth plan, the midwives sat back and allowed Jeff and I to work through this together, agreeing to step in only if absolutely necessary.

As the contractions intensified, I felt the first urge to push and focused on using my breath to breathe the baby down my birth canal.  I had 3 pushing contractions, and I could feel each one bring her deeper down.  I remember feeling fully aware and “in the moment.”  With the third pushing contraction at 10:36 pm, her head had completely emerged.  I felt the top of her soft head with my hand.  It was the most amazing feeling and I know I will never forget it.  I told Jeff that her head was out and to reach down and feel.  He did and with tears welling up in his eyes, said “Oh my God.”  At 10:37 pm, with the next contraction, her body was born.  Jeff lifted her up out of the water and placed her onto my chest.  I noticed her umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck so I looped it off of her head and out of the way.  Audrey put a warm wet towel on her back to keep her warm.  Poppy was so calm and everything was still very quiet and so serene in the bathroom.  I remember thinking and then saying out loud “I want to do this again.  I feel so good.”  Linda told me that it was my body surging with love hormones.  Poppy lay on my chest for about 15 minutes and we just relished in the tender first moments after her birth.  Audrey whispered, “I don’t think she realizes she has been born.  She thinks she is still in the womb.”

Audrey checked her heartbeat and breathing and gave her a one-minute Apgar score of 7, and a 5-minute Apgar score of 10.  Later Audrey told me the only reason she initially received a score of 7 was because she wasn’t moving or screaming but she felt that it was because Poppy didn’t realize she was born, not due to any concerning health issues.  We waited for her cord to stop pulsing and then Jeff cut it.  I wanted to stay in the tub for a bit longer to try and breast feed and deliver the placenta.  Poppy latched to my breast very quickly.  She seemed very alert – no doubt because she wasn’t drugged up with painkillers.  After awhile, the water started to cool, so we got out of the tub and snuggled into bed to continue with skin-to-skin contact and breast-feeding.  I remember thanking Audrey and telling her that this was everything I had imagined it to be; it was everything I had hoped and prayed for.  She said that this was one of the most graceful births she had attended and that it was an honor to witness it.

I told Audrey that I didn’t think I needed stitches and after a quick check, she confirmed that I had just delivered naturally with an intact perineum.  Everyone asks if it hurt or was painful without meds.  The answer is no.  It wasn’t painful.  It was intense and it was hard work, but not painful. After delivering my placenta, Audrey and Linda made an imprint of it on canvas for me to keep.  Then Audrey took my placenta to encapsulate it for me to use as a postnatal supplement.  The midwives cleaned everything up and allowed me, Jeff and Poppy to cuddle together in bed.

About 2 hours after her birth, Audrey said she was going to weigh and measure Poppy.  She picked her up and guessed 8 lbs. on the dot.  I remember thinking, no way – she is way smaller than Jack (who weighed 8 lbs. 1 oz.).  Audrey placed Poppy in a crocheted baby hammock and weighed her with what looked like a fish scale.  She was 7 lbs. 15 oz!  (This is also what Jeff weighed when he was born!)  She measured her head at 14.5 inches around – about an inch bigger than average.  I was amazed at what a relaxed, prepared female body was capable of.

A little after 12:30 am on July 5th, the midwives left and Jeff and I settled into bed with our sweet family’s newest addition, Poppy LaRue.  We toasted her birthday with a glass of champagne and just watched her in awe. We had done it and given the opportunity to do it again, we wouldn’t change a thing. All it took was trusting God’s plan, understanding Mother Nature, believing in ourselves and preparation, preparation, preparation! 

Resources that we used and I highly recommend:


Husband Coached Childbirth – The Bradley Method of Natural Childbirth by Robert A. Bradley, M.D.
Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way by Susan McCutcheon
Ina May’s Guide To Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin
Childbirth Without Fear by Grantly Dick-Read
Hypnobirthing- The Mongon Method by Marie F. Mongan, M. Ed., M. Hy.
The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding by La Leche League International
The Happiest Baby on the Block by Harvey Karp, M.D.
The Vaccine Book by Robert W. Sears, MD, FAAP


The Business of Being Born – Ricki Lake
Birth Story: Ina May Gaskin and The Farm Midwives
Isn't that just an amazing story?!!! 
I haven't had any kids obviously but after being along side Amy her entire pregnancy and now not only reading her birth story but listening to her tell it with such passion in person is truly mind opening.  I hope to do research of my own and make an educated decision on which type of birthing plan and type of pregnancy I want to put my body through. 
I know that A LOT of my friends with kids and even ones without will say that you NEED to be in a hospital....what if something is wrong...what if there is an emergency.  Believe me your questions are ones that I and any other expectant mother that has a brain would ask but the main question is what do you believe in and what do you feel is best for you and your situation.  I also can say that I'm sure not every homebirth or even every birth that is oversaw by a midwife goes as smooth as Amy's these are all things that you talk about and prepare for. 
I know that I do believe that some of modern medicines precautions and procedures are a bit radical during pregnancy and childbirth given the fact that our bodies are made to carry and deliver a child. 
The key to it all I believe is in Amy's opening statement...preparation, preparation, preparation! 

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Random Happenings April......June

Since I'm super behind on any event that is bloggable I figured I would use a few random pictures from the past few months to fill in some not-so-bloggable events but just what's been going on in life in general.

Back in April Hendrik tagged along to one of my Dallas night classes.  We ran some errands and even had time to grab a drink at happy hour at a nearby restaurant before I went to class.  After my lecture I met him back at the restaurant and we had a fabulous dinner and headed on home.  This mobile sculpture is in downtown Dallas, Hendrik is the I in BIG D!

The last part of April into May Hendrik's parents were in Holland so we had Bella, their dog.  She is the laziest little thing and always wants to be completely left alone.

I tagged along with a friend to Canton the first weekend of May to get supplies and decor for their new house.  She got these shutters to make an indoor entry piece by their backdoor.  I spray painted them red and the entire project turned out so cute.

I'm hooked on Bloody Mary's and although I hardly ever drink they are now for sure my first choice when I do.  When we go out with our favorite couple we always try that restaurant's Bloody Mary and so far Two Senoritas has the best one.  Before our Florida vacation I asked them for the recipe!

The night before we left to drive to Destin there was two weddings going on.  I had to go to both of them so I split myself with the ceremony for one and then the reception for the other.  Me and my hot date at the reception.

This was taken the same night after Jake's ceremony!  Best friends for life. 

When we were in Holland I drank so much tea I thought I was back in a really clean and cold Egypt LOL!!!  Ever since we've returned I really love a cup of hot tea at night.  I usually drink mint but the other day at the grocery store I got a sleepy time tea and love it.  It is so calming and the perfect nightcap to what is usually a really hectic day.

My brother and Lara's baby is coming at the end of August so I'm helping throw her baby shower.  These are the cute rustic invited we decided on.

I have the best workout buddy around besides Hendrik. LOL  Amy had the Tevis tumbler made for me and the lid allows the cup to be a shaker as well.  I love the message and that it has my name.

MMA Training #1

The first week of May I started a new fitness challenge!  I started going to private MMA/ grappling training in Mt. Pleasant, Matt Wallace who owns Revolution Combat Sports.  I have been wanting to take up boxing/fighting for a while and I finally got around to calling around and finding someone to train with.  I only found a few people who are trainers in this field and the only person I got a call back from was Matt.  It turns out that a family friend of mine and Hendrik's go to him as well as his kids and he gave me all sorts of info.  I tagged along with Mason one night and fell in love with the sport.  MMA is the place for me.  I wanted to do a combat sport not only to learn something new but also because I just had a good feeling that I would be good at it and not to blow my own horn but I ROCK! LOL 

After my first test session I scheduled my upcoming month with Matt and scoured Amazon for some amazing gear.  These above twinkle bandana wraps are one of two pair that I got and although I'm not a girly girl at all I love these cute wraps.  I usually workout in plain black wraps they are more functional as they stretch and bind better to my hands.

I've completed 2 months of training so far and feel like I'm learning so much each class and I continue to improve. I know that this sport is something that I can pursue for years and continue to grow and learn. There are so many techniques, muscle control, muscle memory, and training on your body involved and I'm so excited for what is coming. 

I have no intention of becoming a cage fighter or anything just to get a range of exercise and learn a badass sport.  Not only do I learn a new level of body control and I work my muscles in a whole other way the cardio benefits I get from my hour long sessions with Matt are out of this world.  I leave looking like I have painted my face red and soaked in sweat...which is the point so he is obviously doing his job.

I love my trainer he is so knowledgeable and fun to be around and I also just love the training its self.   I wish I could afford to train with him daily or at least more than once a week....but right now I'm not a millionaire....maybe one day!

Stay tuned on my fitness journey and my MMA journey.  I hope to get Hendrik in the ring this Winter when he has more free time and it starts getting dark earlier. :)

Monday, July 13, 2015

Insta Dump #15

Here is my June Instagram dump...ON TIME since I'm trying to get caught up!!!
my fave road buddy// after vacation resting// B on our famvacay// best friends day #rideordie// date ngiht with our Dutchies// afternoon snacks of rice cakes// afternoon snack boiled eggs and flavor god// Saturday night at the house// study break

Insta Dump #14

May according to my feed
protein in traffic// driving home after finals// Frysian flag// late night workout// raining again// girls night out at the gym// started MMA training// Texas wildflowers// jethro bowl// skies of fire// ripped back// my brother's proposal in the sand// red face after MMA// new supplement shipment// first garden pickings 

Insta Dump #13

Better late than never.....April Instagram Dmp! 

Perfect lady bug// Hoss going to the vet// healthy eating// farm season in swing// OOTD camo and fur//homemade wheat bread// riding my bike to work// shoulder pump// broccoli raab/ Dutch dinner// started on the chicken coop// hip thrusts// fun at happy hour/ relaxing// abs but hungry// meal prep// meal prep and grocery shopping// a couple who trains together...stays together

Friday, July 10, 2015

Wish List

I have made myself quite the little wish list over the past week or so.  I've been lusting over a couple of these times for some time several are workout related and a couple are just splurges!

I love these booty scrunch workout tights from Celestial Bodiez I don't need any motivation in working out these days but if I did these tights would give it to me.  So cute!

I've had my current Fossil bag for almost 3 years and although I still love it and carry it every day it is starting to get scuffed and faded.  I love the convertible crossbody bags because they make life so much easier when you need to sling something over your shoulder when you have your hands full.  THIS bag I'm in love with and would go well with my current needs.

This linen bed set-  last year when I was decorating our bedroom I thought I had found the perfect comforter set and although I still really like the look of my current set it isn't very durable.  It is dry clean only and the material it is made of doesn't really even come clean so the oil from our bodies have darkened areas of the comforter and make it look dingy. For a Type A, OCD girl like myself this just really doesn't work.  I'll probably be saving my pennies for quite sometime because the one I want is going to be almost $900 once I get all the shams, comforter, and skirt.  I'm going to stay on the hunt for a reasonable deal because I can't pay that sort of money for this but I want to find a similar look.

More of these meal prep containers- I bought a set of 10 a few months back and they have worked out great for our weekly meal prep.  I have 2 broken lids and now that Hendrik is prepping as well I need some more. They are so functional, the perfect size for our meals, and cheap just over a $1 per container.

I've been talking about getting a new camera for like 3 years now. Maybe this year will be the year.  Although I don't take pictures as much as I used to once I have more free time I do plan on it and my point and shoot just feels outdated and really my phone does a better job but I refuse to be a person who doesn't have a camera so this is an upgraded prettier more mature version of what I have and I think it will really do the job.

New gym shoes- Don't ask me where, what kind, or anything other than color which follows with the majority of my scale of color when it comes to gym and that's BLACK.  All I know is I'm in need

I've mentioned this one once before in THIS workout post but I'm dying to have a Six Pack Bag!  It is lunchbox, gym bag, and purse all in one.  Expensive but I think I would get every cent out of it from constant use.  My favorite is the Victoria Elite Tote!

After school I want to buy myself a little gift of a.......Mac Book!  Like everyone who is a Mac user told me I am sold on Mac computers.  I love my work Apple desktop and can't wait to have my own little slice of laptop heaven at home too.  I'm waiting until I'm done with my graduate degree not only for school reasons but also so I can reward myself! I'm not even a gold lover but I LOVE the gold Mac Book

Like I need one more expensive wish list item but THIS all in one blender needs to make a home in my kitchen!  I used to drink smoothies and make them for our breakfast all the time but then it got to be such a hassle.  My regular blender is heavy, awkward, and hard to clean with all of its parts.  My little smoothie maker is from my IRAQ days and is small, makes a mess, and the lids don't fit the cups, plus it runs hot.  So I want to cut my losses with those little things and get the real all in one deal.  This baby will make smoothies, soups, salas, ice-cream you name it it can make it and it's light and super easy to clean.  NO extra pieces and parts and it has like a 5 year warranty.  One of my best friends swears by hers so I'm on the hunt for a deal!

Well friends I hope someone will send me a few of these things because my little wish list is well over $3000!!! YIKES! I guess that's why they call it a WISH LIST!

Happy Shopping

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