Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Home Birth of Naomi Faith

**WARNING: A couple graphic birth photos in video. Do not watch if you don't want to see or do not appreciate that birth is a normal, natural process. Do not watch/read if boobs, vagina, blood, or poop as it relates to birth offend you. The beauty of home birth for me is that I got to birth how I wanted without direction or mandates from anyone. Not that I preplanned how I was going to do it, but I just followed my body's intuition and desire. All 3 of my births were different and I didn't birth in the same position with any of them. Thanks for reading. I hope moms preparing for natural birth will be inspired and others will enjoy the miracle of birth as told through Naomi's birth. 

Naomi was "due" on July 4th. Strong Braxton Hicks (BH) contractions started around week 39 so I was hopeful she would make her debut close to her estimated due date (EDD). But days kept passing... On week 40, I visited my acupuncturist (acu) as my tradition has been with each baby. Within seconds of seeing me, she said baby was not ready. I do not know how she knows these things, but she hasn't been wrong yet.  "I think it will be 2 weeks." Insert moan here. She did some acu and said it would be like putting a light at the end of the tunnel and baby could opt to go towards it or not. We now know she did not. 

I went back to see my acu on Monday which was week 41 day 3. She said baby was ready! Boy was I relieved. BUT my body was not. ::Sigh:: She could somehow tell my cervix had not dilated past 2 cm and the baby had not gotten into the proper position for delivery. She did some acu to help my body prepare and she said I'd deliver the baby no later than Friday, but it would take some time for the body to prep. She made several other recommendations for me to do to assist. Now in the last 2 weeks, I had already tried lots of natural ways to induce labor, from DTD, EPO, 5W, clary sage diffusion, acupressure, walking 3x a day on my treadmill. The list goes on. All of it to no avail. Baby was just NOT ready.

On Wednesday (July 16), the day was like any other day except I had been having bloody show. But I wasn't sure if that meant anything because I had my 1st cervical check the day before with my midwife and cervical check can cause contractions and I figured some bloody show would naturally follow. Michelle, my midwife, confirmed I was only 2 cm. We discussed other possible options of natural inducement and made another follow up appointment. 

I took my girls down to the pool for a swim Wed afternoon and sat at the water's edge while the girls played with Nana Laura and friends. At one point, Laura asked me if I was having a contraction to which I immediately said No, but then as I thought about it, I changed my answer to Yes. I have been having them for so long, I just ignored them. By the time we got home and I started dinner, the contractions increased in intensity and I text my MW to let her know I thought it was soon. I made it through dinner and Chris put the girls to bed while I laid on my side in bed and tried to relax. I kept telling myself I needed to sleep. 

By 9pm, we had all turned out the lights expecting to be having a baby sometime in the night.  But as I laid in bed, the contractions were so strong, I couldn't sleep! At about 10:30, I started a warm bath to sit in. The contractions were strong and I breathed deep through each one and was careful to relax all my muscles. The water definitely made them less painful as long as I breathed through and relaxed. After about an hour, I decided I REALLY need to try to sleep. I got back into bed and laid on my side, but each contraction made me moan. The sounds woke up Chris around midnight. He asked if I was ready to call Michelle. I wasn't sure. My last labor was 12 hours long and I felt this way early in the labor. He started timing contractions. And then I started needing to go to the bathroom to empty the bowels.  I remember getting up and going several times. In hindsight, the last couple times I sat on the toilet, I was feeling the pressure of the baby move down. This position is likely what helped the baby come so quickly. One of the last times I was on the toilet, Chris looked at me with eyes wide open. He didn't tell me until later that he could see the very wide opening of the vagina as I had each contraction. 

I got back into bed and laid on my side breathing through each wave. Chris was on the phone with Michelle asking her to come on over. This was around 1:45am. Luckily, Chris had already prepared the bed the day before with mattress pad and vinyl back cloths, and towels. Laura arrived and started helping Chris and rubbing my lower back in between getting warm towels, cold compresses and taking photos. As I was laying there on my side, my water broke.  Suddenly, I have no idea why, I rolled over onto all fours. I said, I needed to push. Chris exited the room to call Michelle and let her know. She told him he could call 911 or she would be there shortly but he should take some of the towels and put them in the dryer to get them warm. I'm glad he was calm and collected and opted to prepare himself to deliver our baby. 

Michelle walked in minutes after that and I remember telling her, "My water broke." I remember hearing her break open the birth kit and then laying a vinyl backed cloth and several medical underpads under me. She checked the baby's heartrate between pushes and said everything looked great. Then suddenly, I just remember being so hot! It felt like a sauna in the room and that's all I could repeat multiple times. "It's so hot in here!" Then the hard pushing came. The baby was going to be here soon! Oh the noises coming out of my mouth. The low grunting and groans hurt my throat for many hours after birth. And then, burn baby burn. The burning sensation of the head descending out is mind numbing. At one point, I said "I can't do it." But then I said, "Wait, I can do this. I've done it twice before. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!" And then I started praying. Naomi's head was out in 2 or 3 pushes. I just knew that she would be here in just 1 more push. And then the opportunity came and she was out! In fact, it seems like she just fell out at 3:11am.  I muttered, "Thank you, Thank you" under my breath so many times. It happened so fast. Praise the Lord!

Due to being on all fours for delivery, I propped myself up on my knees to see her and I picked her up and brought her to my chest. Oh the joy, relief from pain, and awe of being part of the miracle of birth again.  So many emotions swept over me. Gotta love that oxytocin rush! It always makes me weepy. I had some help to lay down since the cord was still attached. And Naomi got her Apgar exam while laying with me. As soon as given the opportunity, she nursed immediately and didn't want to let go, but it was time for her to get wrapped up to be enjoyed by her Papa so I could sit in an herbal sitz bath. She joined me after a while and then was ready for her newborn exam. Chris and I sat on the bed to watch. She weighed in at 8 lbs 10 oz and 21.75 inches. Our biggest and longest baby yet. She was clothed and bundled up and shortly after, we heard Lana's footsteps around 630am. She wasn't sure why there were people in our house but then realized Naomi had arrived after she cautiously walked into our room. Chris went upstairs to wake Lila up and let her join the family fun. She was a bit groggy at first but then woke up pretty quickly when she saw a baby in my arms. Both girls doted on Naomi, kissing her and asking to hold her. 

I did tear and was sutured up. After I was fixed up, I laid in bed with baby beside me and was ready for some sleep. Chris took the girls to be fed breakfast and I snuggled next to Naomi Faith Reneau. After carrying her to almost 42 weeks, I am grateful for a swift labor and delivery. We are so blessed to have this little one join our family. 

Psalms 139: 13-14

Photos by Nana Laura.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Lila's home birth story


Watch slideshow here: 

July 13, Baby R's estimated due date, came and went. For some reason, I had been preparing myself to go late anyways so I was pretty ambivalent about it.  Although I started losing my mucous plug on Thursday evening and continued to do until the birth. I had been having really strong BH contractions since I was 36 weeks so it was hard to determine when the BH contractions ended and the real thing started. On Saturday, July 14, I finally timed them to be consistent. Before I went to bed, they were 25-30 mins apart. No biggie. If it was anything like Lana's birth, I still had over 24 hours to go before anything eventful happened. On Sunday morning, Chris asked what we were doing today and I said, "What we do every Sunday!" So we had breakfast and got ready for church. I admit I was kinda distracted during SS and church because I was keeping time on my contractions which were 5-7 minutes apart.  The plan was to go see my acupuncturist after church and head home.  After remembering what happened with Lana's birth, we opted to go have lunch, run some errands, get a nap and then have Dr. Bo come to our house later.  (With Lana, after I received acupuncture, my water broke immediately and I went into serious business mode.) So we did all the above and Dr. Bo came over at 5pm.

After the treatment, the baby moved around a lot getting into position and she said that the baby would be ready to come after getting some "energy"-food, walk and rest.  So I ate, went for a walk around the neighborhood and turned into bed at 10pm.  I was having a hard time falling asleep thinking I could be meeting our baby soon. I probably fell asleep an hour later, but then awoke at 1pm to go to the bathroom.  Crawled back in bed and tossed and turned throughout contractions. Finally at 4:30am, I woke Chris up and said, I need to eat. It's gonna be a long morning. I'd love to digest some food before my body is ready to upchuck anything. We got up, ate breakfast and then I went back to bed. I woke up around 8am and contractions were still consistent but the intensity was reduced.  I decided to lay in bed and try to keep resting since I had only slept 4 hours. By midday, labor had stalled. Contractions were no longer consistent or intense. I went for a walk with Laura that evening and they started back up again.  I decided to get back to life as normal until Baby R was ready again.

Laura ran errands with me on on Tuesday after we dropped Lana off at Mother's Day Out and took a long walk around the neighborhood at  10am.  Contractions picked back up to 3-5 minutes apart and as well as their intensity. They pretty much stayed that way the rest of the day. By dinner time, the intensity stepped up another notch. I could feel the contractions move from my belly down my back and into my butt. That felt pretty weird and I don't remember than from last time.  I went to Laura's for our weekly Nourishing Traditions video series and hung out with some awesome ladies.  By the time I got home Tuesday evening, I knew I needed to touch base with my midwife. I got into bed at 10pm knowing  I needed some sleep. The contractions were so strong, I couldn't sleep and then the crazy thunderstorms weren't helping either. I decided to eat a light snack and then finally around midnight, I feel asleep and then awoke at 1pm thanks to a contraction. Oy! I kept thinking I should get up and take a shower and let the water run over my back, but I fought the urge knowing sleep was a bigger priority.  After an hour of tossing, I couldn't take it anymore and hopped in the shower. Ahhh...relief! The hot water felt so good on my back and made the contractions virtually disappear. Plus, it was probably a good idea to wash my hair and shave my legs because who knows when I'll do that again.

About 2am, I woke Chris up and said I think this is it.  I kept timing and contractions were 2-3 mins apart for 1.5 minutes. At 2:30am, I called our midwife, Michelle, to let her know we were ready for her to come over.  I continued to lay in bed and try to relax through each contraction. Michelle arrived about an hour later, followed shortly by Debi and Rachel.  I continued in my same position for a while but when the waves got stronger, I got back in the shower to get water relief.  Chris filled up the tub and when it was ready, I was glad to relax in it where I felt as light as a feather. Almost immediately, I noticed the contractions spaced apart after getting in the tub.  I continued to relax, tried to nap and enjoy the feeling of weightlessness in the tub.  I started to get hot and decided to get out of the tub and get back to being upright to get gravity working in our favor. 

Everyone just 'knew' I was gonna have a quick birth, especially after being present at my first one, and given I had been having contractions for 5 days, surely this was going to be quick once it got serious. When daylight broke, I was starting to doubt myself. I had only slept 1 hour  and was just exhausted. I laid down and tried to catch a few zzz's to get some energy.  Lana woke up at 7am. Chris got her breakfast and Nana Laura came over to get her until my Mom arrived. Around 845am, Dr. Bo had called us and I considered it providence that she had called to check on me.  Chris let her know that I was in active labor but that it had started to get random.  She said she could be over in about an hour.  She got there after 10am and did some acupuncture to give me energy and things got going immediately. In fact, the contractions became unbearable again. I got in the shower. I walked around the house, stopping at doorways to make it through the waves. I walked up the stairs. I leaned on the exercise ball. Got back in the shower and it appeared that my water broke and started a small leak. In hindsight, this was the outer sac, not the amniotic sac.  Michelle reminded me that I needed to get out if I started to feel like pushing. The contractions got so unbearable and I decided to get out so I could lean on Chris more and have some more physical support.  Oh, that next hour seems like it lasted forever.  I felt like I said the same prayer over and over. "God help me."  I knew I was in transition but why was it taking so long?! Sheer exhaustion made every contraction awful. There were so many times where I said, "I CAN'T DO THIS!" to which everyone in the room yelled back, "YES, YOU CAN!" So far, this birth was so completely different than Lana's and I didn't have the composure and was losing confidence as I became overwhelmed with weariness. 

Michelle asked me if I thought I was ready to push. I didn't know. With Lana's birth, I knew.  I let her check me to make sure I was fully dilated.  Then suddenly, I was ready. I started pushing standing up  leaning on top of the ball (which was my only pushing position in Lana's birth).  That exhausted me. So I switched into various positions for several different pushes from all fours, laying on my side to an elevated back position. Honestly, I didn't like any of them but ended up elevated on my back for the duration.  I felt like I pushed for 2 hours but they told me it was less than 20 minutes and very few pushes.  I just remember that I was so tired and with each push, I didn't feel like I was making any progress.  But apparently, I was making some. We got comic relief when the amniotic sac burst all over myself, Chris, Debi, and Michelle as they hovered over me holding my legs and checking the baby's heart rate. We all laughed and then quickly got back to business as the next wave was coming quickly.  I just remember that I heard the most primal noises coming out of my mouth with each push, again totally unlike Lana's birth where I never got above a low, deep grunt. But in some odd way, I felt those primal noises were in sync and essential to bringing the baby out, kind of like not being able to talk without using hand motions. Finally, the baby's head was out and I could hear soft cries. Michelle encourage me to reach down and feel the head. It felt so tiny but it did NOT feel so tiny while pushing it out. I just needed one more good push and we'd know if the baby was a boy or girl.  Gave it my all despite really wanting someone to pull the baby out for me.  Lila was born at 2:10pm. I tried to lean forward to pick her up but couldn't.  Someone helped the baby into my arms and I spread the baby's legs to get a view. I exclaimed, "IT'S A GIRL!!!!" With a full head of dark hair, we knew her name would be Lila, which means dark haired beauty.  I loved that I was the one that got to proclaim that. I was suddenly overwhelmed with waves of emotion. I was relieved it was finally over. I was ecstatic to have a baby girl because that guarantees me a shot at baby #3 (despite some of the crazy talk I was spewing during the last hour about not having any more babies).  No labor/delivery talk can be held against you and the midwives guaranteed they always have birth amnesia. ;)  I held her on my chest as she was rubbed down and she was ready to latch on immediately.  I was ready to deliver the placenta pretty quickly but I dreaded the thought of just one more push. It was pretty uneventful compared to my previous birth. I was tickled that Debi said, "Oh you can do it. There aren't any bones!"  She was right. 

I nursed and held Lila for a while. Chris got Lana to introduce her to Lila.  She was so sweet and enamored by her, doting on her with kisses. When I was ready, I passed Lila to Chris and enjoyed a warm herbal sitz bath and Lila joined me after a while.  She got wrapped up so she could be held again by her Papa and adored by her Nini and big sister.  I continued in the bath until the water started to get cool and felt I was able to pee on the toilet. This is a huge accomplishment compared to my last birth.  I got back in bed and Chris, Lana and I sat together to watch the newborn exam. She is a healthy girl, weighing in at 8 lbs, 8 oz, 20.5 inches.  Lila was so calm and laid back during her exam.  I hope this is an indication of things to come.  I did have a small tear and was sutured up and ready for a nap.  I was tickled that I didn't vomit this time despite eating twice. And was equally grateful that I had several bowel movements during labor so that I didn't poop on anyone.  This was a tougher birth than Lana's but I believe most of that was due to me entering the birth process with only an hour of sleep.  But I wouldn't change a thing. I got to birth exactly the way I wanted and that is my wish for every woman no matter what she chooses.

Thank you Lord for this amazing gift that was so wonderfully and fearfully created. You're workmanship is marvelous!

“Every good and perfect gift is from above.” – James 1:17 

Extra special gratitude to my husband/coach, my Mom for taking care of Lana, Nana Laura for taking photos, my birth team, Michelle Ray, Debi Church, and Rachel Jimenez.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Blender hollandaise sauce

One of our favorite weekend breakfast meals is Eggs Benedict. The trickiest part of the meal is the hollandaise sauce. I use to buy those little packages where you just add butter, but after reading the ingredients, I decided I'd learn to make it from scratch. The surprising thing is how easy it is to make! The ingredients are simple but sometimes the sauce can separate. This recipe is FOOLPROOF!

You need:
2 egg yolks (preferably from pastured eggs)
1/8 of Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons of lemon juice
5 tbs of melted butter
a dash of hot sauce

Makes 4 servings.

In a blender, combine everything EXCEPT the butter and blend on high for 5 seconds.

Heat the butter in a pan and after it has melted and is good and hot, transfer it to a glass measuring cup. (You can put it in the microwave but I personally don't use the microwave often because I believe it changes the integrity of food.)

Turn the blender on high and pour the butter into the egg mixture in a thin, steady stream. It will thicken immediately. Keep the sauce warm by placing the blender container in a pan of hot tap water.

Viola!! The easiest hollandaise sauce you'll ever make.

I added this beautiful hollandaise sauce on top of some homemade sourdough english muffins, stacked with proscuitto and 2 poached eggs. The saltiness of the proscuitto combined with the tartness from the lemon in the hollandaise made us feel like we were eating breakfast at the Ritz Carlton.

P.S. The sauce does not reheat well because the butter will separate so just use it all and enjoy!

16 months

At 16 months, my guess is that she weighs 22 lbs. She's growing like a weed. 12-18 months clothes. Size 4 diapers when she wears them which is not often anymore because she has been peeing in the potty for 2 weeks!!!! She still wears a disposable diaper at night and cloth diapers when we travel. But they are 90% of the time dry. It's been 10 days since I washed a load of cloth diapers. I had to do them just so they wouldn't stink.

Lana is taking 1 naps, usually 2.5-3 hours starting around 11:30am. She is still sleeping through the night although she wakes up around 6:30a. She will usually play in her crib until 7-7:30am before she demands to be attended.

She seems to be adding new words all the time but she does use her sign language a lot. She says more, dog, bird, duck, bath, please or "pees," belly or some variation of it. She signs for food, drink, more, outside, potty, please and bath (which also mean pool).

Lana took her 1st steps at 11.5 months and within weeks, she was running. She hasn't stopped since. She really loves climbing right now.

Lana prefers feeding herself. She is very particular and knows very quickly what she likes and doesn't like. She pretty much avoids all green colored foods. Her favorites are fruits.

Her best trick is peeing IN the potty! We started 2 weeks ago and by the end of week 1 she started recognizing something was going on down there. By the end of week 2, she would walk to her potty, sit on it, sign for potty and say, "Pssssss." This week we had very few accidents and she would usually catch herself and run to her potty. We will start wearing underwear next week. She does NOT like peeing in the big toilet so peeing in public will be an issue. She has been known to hold her potty for 3-4 hours.

Lana starts the toddler program at Montessori in the fall and I'm so excited for her. I think she is going to love it and really enjoy learning and socializing. She is always fascinated when she sees other kids.

Monday, January 17, 2011

9 months

At 9 months, she is approximately 18-19 lbs, Height is ___ (gotta measure her tomorrow), size 4 diapers, 6-9 month clothes.

Lana is taking 2 naps, usually about 60-90 mins but recently we have on occasion gotten 2 hour naps. She has good days and bad days with sleeping through the night.

She is still babbling and says ma, da, ba, mmm. She is starting to repeat more sounds that she hears like buh buh and hi.

Lana is an efficient cruiser and uses anything as a walker, a chair in the dining room, the step stool, her Leap Frog table, etc. She accidentally let go of the couch and took a step and fell flat on her face. She didn't like that too much. She's probably not too far away from walking which I'm NOT encouraging at this point.

She finally started taking to solid foods in the last 3 weeks. Her favorite is apples and pears with oatmeal. Whenever she sees me eating anything, she motions her mouth open and closes and pulls on me until I give her some. She's quite adventurous with food but once she decides she doesn't like something, she's quick to keep her mouth closed. She still prefers feeding herself to me spoon feeding her. She's not a prolific eater though and prefers nursing to solids.

Lana's latest trick is waving. I'm not totally sure she associates it properly but she gets a kick out of practicing her wave, sometimes waving at herself or the dogs, but mostly when we play peek-a-boo. She loves people and is a constant flirt.

I'm amazed at how independent Lana is at such an early age. It's almost sad. Although, when she is grumpy or tired, she still prefers mama which is so sweet. She's such a happy baby. She just lights up any room she enters. All the nursery workers always love her. And she hardly ever meets a stranger.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

7 Months

At 6 months, she was 16.3 oz, size 3 diapers, 6-9 month clothes. Some 6 months pants are too long. Not wearing shoes yet. She seems like she is gaining a pound a week.

Lana is taking 2 naps, usually about 1.5 hrs, give or take 15-30 mins. Some days are better than others. Unfortunately, she is not sleeping thru the night yet. She goes to bed at 6pm (thanks to daylight savings time). She usually wakes up b/w 10-11pm for a dream feed. The rest is somewhat unpredictable. On the best nights, she only wakes up once to nurse and then will go right back to bed. But on average, she is still waking up twice a night. Her wake up time is 7am. She's better than an alarm clock.

She is babbling and says ma, da, ba, mmm. I don't think she has associated the words yet. Although the other day, she was crying in her crib and I could have swore I heard her say

Lana loves to crawl and practicing cruising. Due to this, I rarely have any personal time as she requires constant monitoring. She learned to sit herself down from a standing position which is a God send as she was pulling up every 45 mins in her crib at night. Since she mastered this skill, these pull ups have been eliminated to only nursing time. Lana loves her Leap Frog music table and putting anything in her mouth. She especially loves everything she is not suppose to have i.e. remote control, cell phone, keys, shoes. Oh and she is fascinated by electrical outlets and cords. We have the safety plugs and when she is out and about, I have to remove the laptop cord and baby monitor and just wait to plug them in when she naps or goes to bed.

At 6 months, we tried avocado which she seemed to like, but after a few days, the novelty of food wore off and she started pushing food back out of her mouth. Despite trying often, she just didn't get into it. We gave it a week off for our Thanksgiving travels. When we got back, we tried again. She did start to eat some of the pureed food but only about 2 tsp at a time and she really got irked by sitting in her chair. At dinner one night last week, we were trying to occupy her and let her play with a shoestring french fry. It disappeared and I just thought she dropped it but couldn't find it. Chris gave her another one and this time we watch her eat it!! So we started just doing whole food and she is loving it! She has eaten banana, avocado, carrots, peas, and pears. I think she just prefers the independence of feeding herself. The dogs are really enjoying this as she does drop food on the floor and they patiently wait below her for treats.

Lana's latest trick is waving. I'm not totally sure she associates it properly but she gets a kick out of practicing her wave, sometimes waving at herself or the dogs, but mostly when we play peek-a-boo.

I'm amazed at how independent Lana is at such an early age. It's almost sad. Although, when she is grumpy or tired, she still prefers mama which is so sweet. She's such a happy baby. She just lights up any room she enters. All the nursery workers always love her.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

3 months?

Has it really been more than 3 months since I've written anything?! Who has time for this? Not me least not since Lana became mobile. Lana started scooting around 4 months. By 5 months, she's in a full sprint via crawling. And it was very shortly after that when she started pulling up on things. It really stresses me out!! I can't leave her for a second even if I can see her in the next room. She's had her fair share of bumps and bruises from falling. She's actually toughened up a good bit and only crys when she falls if its near nap time or if it really hurts. She has a real determination about her when she wants to go somewhere or see something. I wonder if this is an early indication of what is to come. I love that little girl! She is so amazing.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Remembering Durban

At 3:30 this morning, I couldn't sleep as I put Lana back to bed. I had checked my friends' Facebook statuses from my Blackberry as is a common practice when I can't fall back to sleep. One of my FB friends was leaving for South Africa today, probably just a few hours from the time I read the status. In a flash, I remembered standing in a park at dusk overlooking the city of Durban. It was really beautiful in an odd way knowing that beneath the millions of city lights were hungry, hurting and lost people. Each member of the team took a turn to pray whatever was on our heart. I don't even remember what I prayed for, but I know that in the moments following that prayer, I sobbed. I sobbed so hard and I couldn't stop. In that moment, it was as if the Holy Spirit has given me just a glimpse of God's grief and love for this city. I'll never forget the heaviness of my heart in those moments.

I love to hear the stories of what God is doing at work there. I can't wait to hear the stories of those who are going on this current trip who will be giving 2 families indoor plumbing for the first time. I wish I could be there to share in the fullness of their joy and pleasure when the water is turned on. I hope they will be challenged and impactful as well as transformed by their experience. Still to this day, I pray for Durban, South Africa. It has a special place in my heart. I hope to go back some day.

Photo taken at the World Cup 2010

Made for each other!
To him that hath, shall more be given, and he shall have abundance. But from him that hath not, even that which he hath shall be taken away. Luke 12:48

In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps. Proverbs 16:9