The Birth of Theodore Atticus…It’s a Boy!

I am SOOOOOO excited to share this birth story with you all. I have been following Sally and her little family since way back when I still used blogger and had a different blog name. This birth of her third boy is beautiful, but it involves a pretty scary postpartum hemorrhage (PPH). I irony in reading her story this weekend was that last week I had a patient have a PPH. It does not happen very often but when it does, it sticks with you. I find myself reflecting on every moment, each little step we made to help the patient feel calm, safe, and stop the bleeding. As Sally mentions in her post below, the care a patient receives at any time is critical but especially so when something scary happens. Feeling like you’re going to die after giving birth is probably one of the scariest thoughts anyone can have. Thank you, Sally, for allowing me to share Theodore’s birth story.


Theodore Atticus (Teddy) arrived on Wednesday morning at 11:13AM after almost twenty-four hours of labor. I want to go ahead and give the heads up that, much like my other two births, this labor and delivery did not go exactly as planned. If you’re looking for a natural birth story where every thing goes to a T, you should probably skip this one. However, unlike the others, I had such a better experience when it came to feeling supported and listened to during my experience. My hospital staff was absolutely incredible. My nurses were amazing. The OB who delivered Teddy was perfection. Here’s our story:


Monday was Memorial Day. At our CrossFit box, the gym was running a hero work out known as “Murph.” Taylor and I got there with the boys around 10:30AM to cheer on the athletes and get a little work out in ourselves. I headed to the squat rack and started doing a slow triplet of three squats, three pull ups, two sled pushes. I added a little weight every round, and I had just done my second squat at 115lbs when I felt a thump. I stood back up, and water gushed down my legs like someone had turned on a bath tub faucet. I racked the weight, turned to look at Taylor, and said, “Um, Tay, my water broke…we need to go.” He started laughing, and we gathered up the boys while I waddled to the car with a towel between my legs.

We were supposed to show our house that morning, but obviously, that wasn’t going to happen. I hopped in the shower while Taylor fed the boys. We made calls to the people who were coming to help watch Sully and Arlo while we were at the hospital and before our families arrived. I went back and forth between the birth ball and sitting on the toilet trying to get some contractions going. They were there, but very mild and not at all consistent. At about 2:30PM, we decided to head on to the hospital. I was GBS+ again, and honestly, being at home was far from relaxing between the kids and the dog. Our good friends arrived to watch the boys, and we made our way.

When we checked in, I was still not having any contractions and was at about 2cm. I walked and walked some more, bounced on the ball some more, and four hours later, still nothing. At this point, I agreed to being put on the lowest level of pitocin in order to hopefully get contractions going. The nurses and OB were all absolutely fine with me walking around, taking a shower, doing whatever I could to try to get things moving. Eventually, the contractions picked up. They became incredibly uncomfortable, but they still were not regular. After about six hours on pitocin, they took me off and checked me again. I was at 3cm. We decided to let me try to labor on my own for awhile off the pitocin to see if I could try to progress some more. For several more hours, I labored in the shower, on the ball, in the bed, whatever I could try to do. The contractions were steady, and I would say they were very painful. It was intense pressure with each wave and very little rest in between. I asked to be checked again, convinced I had to be close. I was only 3.5cm. After being in labor this long, looking at the middle of the night, and recognizing that I just wasn’t progressing like I wanted, I asked for the epidural. I needed rest, and my mom and Taylor were exhausted, too. I hoped an epidural would bring some relief and let me sleep. I honestly could have kissed the anesthesiologist. I told him my epidurals before had never really worked, and I always ended up with “hot spots.” He had to place it twice, but he finally got it working, and I could rest.

I expected to be disappointed by this choice. After all, I really wanted to go naturally. But after having been in labor for so long with no change, I felt like I was only torturing myself. Labor should an experience where you feel in control and on top of all the decisions made. I truly feel like I was in control this time. Every decision made was passed by me and approved by me, and the nurses and OB were so amazing at ensuring my experience was the best possible one for me. I laid down and rested and by 10:30AM, I had a little lip of cervix between me and baby. The anesthesiologist had to do another dose of medicine when I started getting hot spots, but it fixed the problem. My epidural was light enough that I could feel all the contractions and pressure, and I could move my legs, but I was no longer fighting against the contractions. When it came time to push, three pushes, and Teddy joined us, screaming and pink.

Now, here’s the hard part. My labor and delivery went so well. I had one tiny tear that required a few stitches, and I was able to get up and walk around almost immediately after Teddy was born. He latched like a champ and took to nursing right away. About six hours after delivery, while we were settled into our recovery room and after my shower, I got up to use the bathroom. As I walked into the bathroom, I felt a ton of pressure and cramping. Suddenly, blood gushed everywhere. Huge clots covered the floor, and the walls looked like a horror film. I yelled to Taylor to get the nurse, and more blood gushed again. I stood there completely shocked, and the nurses rushed in. They put me in the bed, where the gushes kept happening. Soon, my room was filled with nurses and my OB. They gave me percocet, a shot of some of sort, and cytotec to try to stop the bleeding. The OB then explained to me she would have to do a manual extraction, where she would have to reach up into my uterus to pull out the massive clots that were preventing my uterus from contracting back to normal size and containing the bleeding like it should have.

I have never had anything done that felt so horrific. I was screaming and crying and begging for them to stop, but they were pulling out baseball sized clots of blood, and I knew it had to be done. I think this was the point where I honestly thought I might die. I’ve never seen so much blood in my life, and I have certainly never seen so much blood come out of someone and them still live. The OB explained that if they couldn’t stop the bleeding, I would have to go under anesthesia for an emergency D&C and then possibly a hysterectomy if it continued. Once the manual extraction was over, they began a blood transfusion. I received four pints of blood because it was estimated I had lost about two liters (the human body generally has 4.7-5 liters of blood). They pumped me full of fluids. This part is pretty hazy, but I remember being cold and not being able to stop shaking. They kept asking me how I felt and random questions to keep me alert. Poor Taylor and Teddy had to be there the whole time.

Once they had me stabilized, they inserted a postpartum balloon. It was basically a massive balloon that they filled with water to put pressure on my uterus and hopefully help the blood vessels seal. They kept it in overnight, and in the morning, they removed it. I had no more clotting, so I was asked to stay in bed twelve more hours before I started moving around. They kept me another couple of days, but I was finally in the clear.

They speculate that my long labor exhausted my uterus, and when it was time to contract back to normal size, it was contracting but not shrinking. Blood vessels never sealed, and it started a vicious cycle of clotting, releasing the clots, and clotting again. There is no real way of knowing WHY this happened.

I can tell you a few things about this experience:

1) Teddy was our last baby. I can’t risk something like this happening again. Thinking I was about to die was the most terrifying thing in this entire world, and while he is so, so, worth it, I want to be here for Taylor and my babies.

2) I appreciate my little family so much more.

3) I am so incredibly grateful for my medical team. Had I given birth at home or had I been released earlier than 24 hours, I would have bled to death. An ambulance would not have made it in time for me to survive. Which means, if I had birthed anywhere but the hospital, I wouldn’t be here today. That does not mean that I am against home or birth center births, but this experience made me realize how grateful I am that I personally did not chose that path.

4) Having a good hospital staff and OB makes an absolute world of difference. My labor and delivery could not have been more precious to me. My OB that had privatized me the entire pregnancy was actually out of town. I ended up with another female OB, Dr. Jones, who is my new best friend. She was so incredible, and I am so grateful I had her. My nurses handled our labor and following emergency so well. No one panicked or made me feel like they were not in control. Even at the worst moment, Taylor says he did not really think he would lose me because everyone was so competent.



We are home and settled now. I feel pretty rough, but I guess that is to be expected. Teddy is nursing so well, and the big boys are loving him. Teddy has a little jaundice, but we are staying on top of it, and his numbers are lower today, so we feel better about that. I am so grateful things turned out the way they did, and now we are just hunkering down to enjoy this newborn phase.


Shridam’s Birth Story

A note from Sarah:

I am so thankful for this community I have been welcomed into with open arms. The subject of birth is so close to every mother’s heart, no matter how her baby comes into the world. I have said a number of times that I want to share EVERY birth story that you’re willing to share. Some of those birth stories, don’t always have a happy ending. Regardless, your birth and your baby are important and your story is important. I am sharing a story below that is beautiful, loving, and heartbreaking. This is your official **Trigger Warning**. Please read with love and light for this mama. Thank you.



Shridam Jasper Smith

10 lbs 15.4oz 23.5 inches

9.23.12 – 9.30.12

We wanted to have a homebirth with our first son but couldn’t afford it. He was a week late and we declined to go in for an induction that Friday but then nonstress testing said the amniotic fluid was low so we made an appointment to go in at 5am the next day to be induced. I went into labor Friday night and things were picking up steam when we got the hospital (My mom, husband, doula and myself). We labored pretty naturally for most of the day and didn’t get any pitocin until the evening. The back labor was pretty intense. Then after a totally refreshing nap compliments of Stadol, the nurses woke me up and I hopped into the stirrups to push for about 2.5 hours. I saw baby’s head in the mirror!  Dr.Koh came in and saw that the baby was OP so he got us all to prepare for a C-section. Dasaratha was 9 lbs 6 ounces, 21 inches and super awesome. Champion nurser.

Shri Kiss

  • Shridam was due September 16th. We didn’t want to have another C-section this go round and now we were in a position to afford midwives. We interviewed a few groups and went with the same midwives a couple people we knew had delivered with. We saw them for the regular checkup stuff, heart tones, measurements, weight ins etc and my seemingly endless list of questions about homebirth, pregnancy, transfer and nearly everything else under the sun.
  • For backup we saw some hospital midwives that work with M and R and take care of some of their transfers. I went to their clinic for all of the blood tests and ultrasounds. I had endless questions for them too. I was told by them and our homebirth midwives that we would transfer to that hospital in case of something like exhaustion or dehydration but that for an emergency emergency we would go to Heywood, the hospital 20 minutes from my house.
  • The pregnancy covered the best summer of my life, my husband, our toddler and everyone we knew was just so happy and excited that we would be getting a little baby boy. Stava and Dasaratha were able to accompany me to most of the prenatals this time which was really special. I was crazy healthy and felt great.
  • We went into labor Friday night but it stopped as soon as M got there. She left and told me to try to get as much rest as possible before things picked up again. I had light contractions until Saturday evening when things got hot and heavy and the two midwives came over again. We had my grandmother take Dasaratha to his Uncle and Aunties while we set to laboring. I see the hand of the Lord in that because we had considered having him babysat at our home but couldn’t think of anyone to watch him.

I labored leaning on Stava and moaning with him for awhile, at a certain point I was saying, “These contractions are stronger than me, I’m not handling them well,” and I decided to get into the tub. What GREAT relief! In my first labor I kept wanting to take a shower but we couldn’t get the monitor wet so I opted for Stadol instead. Anyways no back labor this time, baby was in perfect position very low, NOT ociput posterior (I was super afraid he would follow suit like his brother and religiously did my positioning exercises while pregnant). They checked his heart rate regularly the whole time and he was happy as a clam. We put on the birth CD my friend had burnt for us. The water made contractions so much more manageable, Stava was in there with me sometimes I would lean on him sometimes I grip the sides of the tub and stretch out.

Eventually I felt the urge to push and started to do that. I was a little insecure thinking I didn’t want to push if I had a lip of cervix so I hopped out of the tub and had my midwives gives me an internal exam (the First and only) I was 10 cm so I hopped back in the tub and began to push for all I was worth. Pushing was about 2hrs but isn’t seem very long at all, not like Dasa’s. No one was yelling at me; I pushed not on every contraction but when I got a “good pushing one” I would say, “This is it!” and grip the side of the tub stand up on my knees and holler and push. I reached down and felt baby’s soft head, it was awesome then I had Stava feel too. The midwives were checking his heart rate with the Doppler pretty frequently now (I appreciate that now but at the time it was sooo uncomfortable!) and it was right where it was supposed to be. I vaguely remembered being blood pressure cuffed throughout the birth but I didn’t pay that much mind. Sometime during the pushing I felt the water bag POP and the midwives rushed over to the birth tub with maglights to check the amnioty; it was clear.

At some point I felt like my pushing was becoming a little less effective and the midwives suggested I hop onto the birth stool. That REALLY directed the pushing energy, 2 or 3 pushes on that and I had his entire head out! I was done at that point, I asked if I still had to push because I had read birth storied where the midwives help ease the body out of the exhausted mother and though that sounded good I said, “Do I need to push anymore?” My midwife said yes, “You need to push with everything you have.” Then they said, “You need to get on hands and knees.”

*Sh*t* I had read enough birth stories to know that meant shoulder dyscotia. I got onto hands and knees and pushed hard, thinking they would be able to hook him and pull him out. They told Stava to call 911 and then had me get standing upright to push. Stava started to run downstairs but I hollered at him pointing to where the phone was on the dresser while I was pushing. Then I was lunging, standing, hands and knees, on my back with legs pulled all the way  back and super pubic pressure applied. We tried all these positions rapidly AGAIN and AGAIN. M and R were taking turns trying to hook the baby, and alternating putting the oxygen on his face and then on mine. I kept screaming, “I can’t push anymore,” because I was exhausted or “I’m still pushing!!!” because I WAS still pushing and felt no give from the baby. I screamed a lot and there was blood everywhere, all over me, saturating the floor. The two midwives kept taking turns trying to hook Shridam or break his arm and hook it, and they were putting oxygen alternately on me and then the baby. Stava said, “They had to tear you apart to get to the baby.” I didn’t know it at the time but Stava then left to flag the ambulances at the end of the drive. He feels like he didn’t do anything to help the situation but they may never have found our hidden drive on that dark and rainy night if he hadn’t gone out there. We just kept going in those positions. It was excruciatingly painful, I screamed and screamed and pushed and pushed.

Shri sans tubes

Eventually the ambulance and EMTs arrived. I thought we were going to go to the hospital, I was screaming things like, “Can we got to the hospital now? Get him OUT!!! but the EMTS and midwives told me I had to deliver the baby 1st. I hadn’t expected that. The EMTS were really awesome, they took over the oxygen and focused the midwives saying, “You can do this, you can get this baby out.” FINALLY he came out, with me in the hands and knees position, at 1:42am on Sunday, twenty minutes after his head had been born.

He looked so small, and even though he was all pink and peach, without a tinge of blue on him I could tell he was lifeless. He was so limp and floppy. Shridam’s wasn’t breathing and had no pulse. The EMTS began CPR and intubation immediately. I was sure that he was dead.

My own heart rate was at 200 and the EMTS were instructing me to focus take deep breaths, calm down.  The midwives gave me two shots of pitocin in the thigh and some Chinese herbs to stop bleeding.

We stayed in the room for like 15 minutes and then we each got loaded onto an ambulance. I nearly passed out as they took me down the stairs, because my oxygen mask had fallen off. Stava and all but two of the EMTS (we had first responders from like 5 towns) piled into Shridam’s ambulance and R and two EMTS went into mine. As I rolled past Shridam’s ambulance they told me he had a pulse. I couldn’t believe it, I was so relieved. It came twenty minutes after he was fully born and they started working on him.

From there we went to the ER at Heywood, Stava was sobbing on Shridam’s side of the room and my heart was stricken fearing for the worst. They did all kinds of things for him, that I’ll never know the whole of, they managed to get an IV in his belly button. They gave me three IV ports and pumped me full of blood, pitocin, morphine and two kinds of saline water. My placenta still hadn’t come out so two nurses massaged my stomach almost right down to the bed and Dr.R, come down from the maternity ward, reached in and grabbed it by hand, delivering the whole of it successfully. I had 3rd or 4th degree tears (I would here either from doctors in the next couple days) and Dr.R stitched me up into a, “patchwork quilt.” It hurt so much because apparently, like Novocain, litocaine is totally ineffective on me. R was in with me but they wouldn’t let M in and I was so out of it I didn’t really care.

A few hours later we both transferred to a bigger hospital with a level 3 NICU, and they cooled Shridam’s body for 3 days to try to keep brain damage as low as possible, but his brain was just completely gone, 40 minutes of oxygen deprivation was too much. He was 23.5inches 10 pounds 15.4 ounces when the weighed him. I finally got to hold him when he was 3 days old. He never cried and could only move his arms and face a little. The told us his EEG and MRI showed no brain activity and that he would not live for long. That Friday he managed to knock his arm into his ventilator tube, unpositioning it. We decided not put it back in and he breathed on his own until early Sunday morning when he gently died in my arms, one week old. There are many other stories and miracles that accompany his short week of life, but they are too numerous and hazily remembered to list here.


I wrote the above only weeks after the loss of my birth and so have left it unchanged, because it’s as fresh as it is accurate. Some additional thoughts and reflections I have had since then and answers to common questions are below.

My first son was 9lb 4oz.

When originally telling me about how prenatal visits would go my midwives told me about the pee in a cup strips to test for urine. I would later show up and ask “Don’t I need to do that strip test.” And they would reply “If you want to.” Weight tracking was also optional, but I like to keep track of things so I did both each visit.

My midwives offered me a choice of taking the glucose soda and blood test at the hospital or doing a finger prick test with them. They didn’t push either as better, I opted to go with the finger prick test with them.

I did not have Gestational Diabetes during either of my other 3 pregnancies, and had no symptoms of it during Shridam’s pregnancy so I think his Macroscopic size may NOT have been caused by GD, but that’s not something I’ll ever know for sure.

While they attempted to deliver his body they got out their 1 oxygen mask and passed it between me and Shridam. It was done so poorly because there were only TWO people there, they had to try to deliver and do oxygen and it just WASN”T ENOUGH. One of midwifes, M, was crying and in near hysterics, she kept kissing me and saying they loved me, they loved this baby. I appreciate that she was scared for us but I feel like her lost cool affected her ability to do her best on the delivery.

We never paid the 2nd half of what we owed them for their fee. Niether did they ever offer to refund us. Money just wasn’t brought up by either side.

They were there for me for anything I wanted to talk about. They brought me soup. They would likely have done more for me but it just made us ad and weird to see their faces so we declined.

On one follow up appointment they told me they had “talked to some of their peers” and played around with their soft birth doll and model pelvis to see what had happened. R said that his sticky shoulder was just “wackadoo” the worst she’s ever seen. A friend who’s training for homebirth midwifery, later told me that it HAD come up to be looked at by the ‘council of midwives’ or whatever but I never heard of it at the time. Nothing AT ALL like when you lose your baby in a hospital, and there are inquiries, there are reviews, there is an attempt to give the parents ANSWERS and some small piece of mind. No my midwives were back delivering babies the next week.

Unlike so many other homebirth loss moms my midwives weren’t negligent They didn’t lie to me. They did call 911. They just were not enough. Their skill wasn’t enough, their equipment wasn’t enough the sheer fact that there was two of them vs. a whole floor of maternity staff wasn’t enough and it turns out our “transfer plan” was way too little when emergency struck and even the heros at 911 were too little too late when we decided to birth at home.

I see so many people say to other moms, “You should have gotten experienced certified midwives, you needed complimentary care, they should have called 911 sooner, a good midwife will know complications when she sees it, Well your midwife should have been monitoring you and baby.” I HAD ALL THOSE THINGS. The *BEST* OOH Midwives are still NOT ENOUGH to save baby’s life in an emergency.

For the Pumping and Working Mama

**I originally posted this on my personal blog almost a year ago. This my work, not someone else’s just in case you feel like you’ve seen it before. Maybe you have. 😉  ***

December 2013:

I’ve been working and pumping for almost 4 months now since returning to work in August. The first two months really were a huge learning curve as we struggled with a nursing strike, weight gain, and using the wrong-sized flanges. I thought I’d list out what has worked for me as a pumping mama. I hate it and I think I always will, BUT…I love that my baby girl is still getting my breast milk and that my supply has been great since day one. Things I’ve learned in the process…

  • Prep the night before: I have to make sure that I am washing and drying my parts every night otherwise my morning is totally rushed trying to get everything cleaned and organized.
  • Keep your pump in the same spot: Like most mamas, I am super forgetful especially when I have so many other things I’m trying to think of as we leave the house. I always put my pump in the same spot on the kitchen counter ready to go so that I won’t forget it in the morning.
  • Don’t forget anything! I did this once–thought I had the little white valves in and nope…weren’t there. Thankfully I work in a hospital and was able to find some!
  • Do things while you pump: I like to watch you tube videos. I catch up on Ellen and Conan, two shows I don’t get to watch regularly. I also like playing a game or updating Instagram. This all distracts me from what I’m doing.
  • Make a few videos of you nursing your babe: I love watching some videos of Evie nursing while I pump. It helps the let down, it makes me smile and releases more oxytocin. This too makes the pumping process more enjoyable.
  • Eat and drink: I often have to pump on a regular break so I make sure to have a full water bottle and something to at least snack on. You need those extra calories and hydration for all the pumping you’re doing.
  • Don’t pump at home…unless you have to. I keep the pumping just for work and have rarely had to pump at home. This makes nursing more intimate and helps me only associate pumping with work. Then I dislike it less. 🙂
  • Lastly…just keep reminding yourself that you’re doing a great job! It’s tough work pumping and working. It can be exhausting and interrupts your day. So much of my time is dictated by when I need to pump but I’m totally used to the routine now. It takes time to get comfortable with it all so just keep hanging in there if you’re still trying to figure it all out. I does get easier!

Calling all BIRTH stories!!

It has been FOREVER since I posted a few birth stories and we need to change that. I will post ANY kind of birth story. Home, hospital, c-section, loss…every birth story matters. YOUR birth story matters, no matter what. Please consider sharing your story, with or without pictures. As long or as short as you want. Leave a comment here or send me an email. Thanks!!

midwife101blog@ gmail . com

In the mean time, check out my kids’ birth stories by following their links above. Enjoy!


Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness

I just wanted to take a moment to honor all of you mamas out there who have experienced any kind of pregnancy or infant loss. I’ve mentioned before that I have not gone through this personally, however I have many friends who have. I have also witnessed the emotions and sadness over a loss in the hospital. It is devastating and I want you all to know that I am thinking of you. I’m sending you lots of love for your strength and courage to push through such a hard time. It really does not matter how far along you were in your pregnancy; a baby is a baby, a loss is a loss. All the same. I am doing my best to learn how to help others cope. I feel so much emotion, no matter if it concerns me or someone else. Knowing what to say seems to be the hardest thing to figure out, yet I feel and I’ve been told that not saying anything at all is sometimes best and, instead, offer hugs, time and prayer.

If you have lost a baby and you want to remember your baby, I would be happy to share your story here. We need to talk about it. It’s not taboo but so many feel that it is.

Happy Labor Day!

Cheers to the weekend!

The last month has been a little crazy! But when is it not?! I started back to work 3 weeks ago and started my CNA certification class two weeks ago. Both are going well so far. Pumping at work is hard and I’m still trying to find my groove with it. Class is a hybrid class so I do a 4 hour lab once a week and the remainder of discussion and lectures are online, which I love! I really enjoy the online learning environment. Lab has been filled with learning different “skills” like proper hand washing, taking BP, respirations, pulse, measuring urine, washing dentures…nothing too exciting! However I am really happy to finally be learning how to take someone’s BP.

I WILL be writing over here more. I promise. I always find great articles and birth photos that I want to share. I share a lot more on the Facebook Page than here so be sure to go and “like” the page if you’re a little birth junkie like myself. I will leave you all with a lovely article I feel is too good just to link. Enjoy and have a safe, fun and happy weekend!


(I wish I’d written this!!)

6 Things Every New Mother Should Know to Survive the First 6 Weeks

by April McCormick

I have no doubt that every mother will agree with me when I say that during pregnancy, the only thing worse than the stretch marks and bad gas are the hours of bad parenting advice you get from every source imaginable. Between the always-ready-to-share, been-there-done-that mothers, strangers in the grocery store checkout line, parenting books and online resources, the information available today for new mothers is overwhelming. What’s more, you never know what to believe, since one book will contradict the next, and what one mother swears by, another mother will insist did not work for her baby. Weeding through all of the advice can be daunting, to say the least.

Looking back, I wish I was given more advice on how to deal with becoming a mother, and less on the three million different ways to rock a baby to sleep. I needed to know about the self-doubt and the failures that came along with motherhood, or that having a baby would take a huge toll on my marriage and personal life if I let it. After talking with numerous other mothers, I realized we all struggled with the same issues — things it seemed no one bothered to warn us about in between lessons on feeding, changing and rocking our newborn to sleep. I’ve put together a list of the top six things we all agree are so important for new mothers to know. Things we wish we didn’t have to learn the hard way.

1. Listen to your instincts, not Dr. Google. With so many online parenting resources and “how-to” books available today, most contradicting the next, don’t get caught up thinking these resources know better than you do.

For example: If you know your baby is hungry, feed him. Who cares if it has only been two hours and the book says wait for three? Screw that! Feed your baby. There is no reason to let your baby get hysterical trying to follow the guidelines.

I cannot stress this enough: Trust what your gut and heart are telling you, because 9.5 times out of 10, they are spot-on right. Every minute you second-guess yourself, you and your baby will suffer. Go with your gut first. Always.

2. Listen to your baby’s cues. While babies can only communicate through body language and crying, within the first week, you will begin to notice behaviors and different tones of crying that are clearly trying to tell you something. For example: Babies will give you cues for hunger WAY before crying, including things like REM, finger sucking and reaching with arms and legs. When you notice any or all of those cues, feed your baby pronto, or the blood-curdling screaming will be next! If your baby is tired, some of his cues might be pulling at his ears, yawning and/or quick, jerky movements.

Pay close attention to those different cues and within a week or so, you will easily be able to decipher what it is your baby is trying to tell you, and most likely before he even starts crying uncontrollably.

3. The decision between nursing or formula feeding should not become bigger than World War III. First of all, Breastfeeding is NOT “Plug and Chug!” Nursing is hard. Extremely hard. There is no plug in and feed feature to it. It takes time, a fair amount of discomfort and practice for both you and your baby to get the hang of it. (I mean weeks, not days.) Ask for help. Find a lactation consultant. Be prepared for a possible battle that will take all of your inner strength to make it through.

Second, BREASTFEEDING MAY NOT BE FOR YOU. THAT IS OK! You, or your baby, may have a medical condition keeping you from being able to nurse. You may hate it. It may just not be right for you. This is VERY common, do not think you are a failure.

Plain and simple: You will either nurse or you will not. Regardless of what you do, your baby will be beautiful and wonderful and smart and articulate. Do what is best for you and your child. Do not let anyone make you feel otherwise. You are NOT a failure. DO NOT LET THIS RUIN YOU.

4. Do not get caught up trying to be the perfect mother. There is no such thing. In order to be the best mother to your baby, all you have to do is try your best. Parenting is filled with both triumphs and failures. Do not be hard on yourself or get discouraged if you fail. Just like with everything else, practice makes perfect. If you fall down, stand up, dust yourself off and try something else.

Above all, do not be afraid to ask for help. If someone wants to bring over dinner, let them. If someone wants to come over while you take a nap and shower, let them. Graciously accept all the help you can get, because chances are, the person offering the help has been in your shoes before and knows a little help goes a long way during those first few months.

5. Don’t forget to take time for your partner. It is so easy to lose sight of your relationship with your partner during those first few weeks and months of parenthood. Between the exhaustion from the sleepless nights, the demanding feeding schedule and your normal household or work activities, it can be hard to find quality time to spend with your partner. However, it is crucial that you MAKE time.

For example: Every single day during those first few weeks, make it a point to be affectionate, say “I love you,” if possible eat a meal together and then during that meal, try talk about anything but your baby.

The key is not to build a new life around your baby, but to blend your baby into your existing life together.

6. Don’t forget to take time for yourself. It is absolutely crucial that you take time for yourself on a daily basis. Every day you need to make it a point to take a shower, put on clean clothes and eat at least two wholesome meals. Then aim to leave the house for no less than 10 minutes, at least every other day. Even a walk around the block does wonders. Just get away from that baby to rejuvenate, or you will crash and burn.

If I have learned anything as a mother, it is that motherhood is a journey filled with ups and downs. Just when I think I have it figured out, the game changes, but even still, those six tips I keep in practice to this day. I listen to my instincts and child’s needs, I take time for my husband and while I admit that it is still hard for me to take time away for myself, I do it because I know how important it is. Above all, rather than trying to be the perfect mother, I try to be the best mother, by giving my best.

Hailey’s Home Birth

Happy Friday! Enjoy this beautiful home birth story. If you would like to share your story here, please email me.


My Planned Home birth
It was late Saturday night July 17, 2011 I woke at around 11pm with intense cramping. I headed to the bathroom thinking maybe that was it. (Being 41 wks I headed there a lot) I was on my way back to bed when another one started. This wasn’t a maybe, it was a yes I am in labor! After weeks, yep weeks of prodromal labor this was it. I woke Allen and let him know it was time. He headed downstairs to get a few things together. The contractions were coming every 3-4 minutes and stopping me in my tracks. In between contractions I called my friend Robbi and the midwives and asked them to head over. I was officially putting my hypnobirthing into practice with every contraction. After 2 {painful} hospital births (that ended with epidural one of which only worked on half my body), I wasn’t sure what to expect. Robbi and my 2 midwives and 1 midwife apprentice arrived around 11:20am. I instinctual found my labor position over the back of couch and labored there while Allen and Robbi got the pool ready.
I was relaxing and letting my body do what it needed. It was probably around 1:30 that I was having a hard time standing during a contraction so I decided it was a good time to get in the pool. I was in transition at this point and getting in the water honestly felt like turning back the clock about 4 cm!  Really I know why they call it the aquadural. During this time the midwives were watching closely from the other room(I have a split level). It was 15-20 minutes later that my water broke. I let everyone know and wow did the contractions change. I was in my zone at that point making sure I was breathing and relaxing. It was only a few contractions later that the midwives came down the stairs to tell me that I was pushing. I wasn’t aware how close we were until the I experienced the ring of fire. It was only for a moment as the contractions started doubling up. My body was pushing and Parker was coming. He was born at 2:26 am 10.1 lbs and 21 1/4 in long.
We waited for the cord to stop pulsing before it was cut because of the many benefits. Parker nursed immediately and was weighed and measured right on our couch while we watched and they enjoyed some cuddle time too. We headed upstairs to our bed and settled in for a few days.
Ava was able to see her brother within 30 minutes of being born.
Home birth is not for everyone but for our family it was perfect. We did our research and the benefits outweighed the minimal risk for us. I wouldn’t give birth in a hospital again unless it was medically necessary. The experience of having the midwife watching and waiting with us was so much more relaxing than nurses and doctors coming in with a lot of beeps. I never could relax in the hospital and I think that led to a lot of the pain during contractions I felt there. I went into this natural birth knowing I could do it and didn’t have a choice if I wanted to stay home. Now a year later I look back and am overwhelmed at what our midwife allowed us to experience by coming into our home.