Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Lila's home birth story


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.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Daddy, Pick Me Up!

Worship is such a personal thing. I mean everyone worships differently. Chris gets ministered to most through the message. For me, its the music. That's where I experience God most during corporate worship. Many people aren't expressive during the music. I have a hard time with this. I find it difficult to even sit down during singing. Some day in heaven, we are all going to be worshipping together so we might as well get comfortable with it now.

Growing up, I never saw anyone raising their hands. I guess you could say I grew up in a rather conservative church. My first experience was at World Changers in high school. The music was so...worshipful. I mean, my hands were lifted up and I didn't even feel like I did it. It was definitely worship in the Spirit and it almost always was accompanied by tears. I never can explain that, but I guess it's just when I feel the Holy Spirit's presence that I'm overwhelm and it manifests into tears. From that time on, it always ministered to me to watch others in worship, singing their head off, dancing and raising their hands. But I always wondered, what does it mean? I guess it can mean a lot of things. Sometimes it's because I agree with the words, or I'm living the song up as a prayer, or it's an action of surrender. Sometimes, I don't know. It's just part of something that moves inside me and I just can't stop it.

I heard the most beautiful word picture today and it describes exactly how I feel when I raise my hands in worship. When a child lifts up her arms to you and says, "Pick me up, daddy!"--how does Daddy respond? He can NOT resist picking up his child, can he? It's the same expression of lifting our hands to God. It's like saying, "Daddy, Pick Me Up!" And I don't think He can resist. At least, I always feel lifted up.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Why natural medicine and home remedies?

I rarely get sick but when I do, I'm not one for medicine. I didn't really hold any specific beliefs about medicine. I guess I was just never a pill popper with the exception of allergy pills for about 6-7 years. I can rarely remember taking Tylenol or Motrin in my adult life, even when I had a miserable headache. Headaches are indicative of a problem so I tried to find the source. Often for me, it was dehydration or tension. Call me crazy but I do believe in treating the cause, not the symptom which is what most medicine does.

Interestingly, the Greek work Pharmakia is the word we get pharmacy and pharmaceuticals from. Pharmakia is translated into English as witchcraft or sorcery. So I know this is a stretch but the more I learn about how drugs are researched and how poorly many of them are done, as well as the crazy long list of side effects, it makes me not want any part of them.

After becoming pregnant, I become more aware or interested in natural medicine and homeopathy as I do believe anything the mother ingests passes to the baby. I learned a lot from my midwife and from my acupuncturist. I learned that most drugs or pharmaceuticals are created from things in nature. BUT because you can't patent something God created, they have to add other things to them. So I thought, why not just go directly to the natural source. I've on quite a journey that has led me to this path. So many little things along the way that seem to have redirected me here. The journey goes in so many different directions that I might seem scatter brained if I try to describe it.

The first part of my journey started with food. I read Toxic Relief by Don Colbert and The Maker's Diet by Jordan Rubin. It really challenged me in what I was putting into my body. It led me to a 10 day food detox. I ate nothing but raw foods for 10 days (no meat, processed food, coffee, alcohol). Only fruits and vegetables and drank some shakes that were part of a food detox kit to clean out your gut basically. After the 10 days, I had never felt better. I lot 1.5 inches around my waste and the best part to me was that I didn't need my allergy pills anymore. I quit these for the detox and my allergies symptoms never returned. That was 3 years ago.

Then I decided to change our diets to mostly organic foods. We were introduced to Healthy Home Foods in Charleston, SC which made it easy to get grass fed, organic, beef and antibiotic free and hormone free chicken and as well as other meats and seafood.

Then I got pregnant. I knew I wanted a natural birth and took the Bradley class. There, I met other like minded woman. Then what I believe about vaccines was challenge. So I read and researched and came to new conclusions. Then my need for homeopathy. At about 6 months pregnant, my urine suddenly had a brown tint. Something was wrong. My first guess was a urinary tract infection (UTI) or bladder infection. I called my midwife. She instructed me go get some Cranactin and drink tons of water. Within the hour, I had chewed my first 2 tablets of cranberry extract. By that night, my urine had returned to its normal color. I took the Cranactin for 2 more days and the UTI never manifested.

Then Lana arrived.

Thursday, January 20, 2011


I found out today that a friend in Charleston lost her twin babies at 21 weeks. It's just devastating to me. I can't even begin to imagine how she feels. It's her 2nd miscarriage. I just couldn't stop thinking about this all day. They have been trying for so long. I just know there are no words or deeds that can remotely make them feel better. I cannot begin to imagine the roller coaster of emotions. When she lost the last baby, she handled it so well, just trusting God, knowing in the right time, it would happen. The twins were IVF babies. They had just started decorating the baby room and putting the cribs together. A mutual friend told me she just saw her last week and she was so happy, just glowing. Her cervix started to open so they were doing a cervical stitch but it failed.

I was most surprised by my first reaction, which was that I would love to be a surrogate mother. I just loved being pregnant. And I even loved the labor and delivery process and the power of being a woman. The power of the process of bringing new life into the world. In my short 9 months as a parent, I can say that it's the most amazing thing, bond, connection, responsibility in the world. And my friend of all people, would be an amazing mommy and trustworthy of it. I don't know that this would be the right time for me to be a surrogate, but I could definitely see it in the future if the opportunity presented itself. Maybe I'm out of my mind... In the mean time, I just pray for her and her husband during this loss, that they would experience peace and comfort and the loving arms of Jesus during this time.

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.

Chivalry is not dead

The other morning, I took Lana to Chickfila so I could enjoy a FREE spicy chicken biscuit. As I got out of the car, I grabbed Lana's booster seat. I hesitated and thought maybe I should just get it to go and eat in the car. It's a lot of work to get Lana situated. I was about to throw the booster seat back in the car when a load of firefighters walked by and asked if I needed some help. I said, No, I'm just trying to decide if I'm going to eat in or take it to go. The gentleman said, I hope that is the toughest decision you have to make all day! I don't know why that made me smile but I loved that! I'm going to use that line.

Lana and I enjoyed breakfast there. And for the first time in a long time, I finished a cup of coffee. Lana was fascinated by the firemen who chose a table nearby us. When we were done, I started to clean up and get Lana ready to go. The gentleman said, don't worry about the tray, we'll get it for you. Awwww...Chivalry is NOT dead! It was such a simple gesture, but with a baby, purse, and diaper bag in tow, it really made my life easier in that moment to not worry about my tray. Chickfila is always such a nice experience, but those firefighters just made my day.

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

Proverbs 16:1 We can make our own plans, but the Lord gives the right answer.

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