Monday, April 13, 2015

Sloan Marie's Birth Story

At 42 weeks and 3 days pregnant, I was ready to be DONE. On Sunday evening, I used the breast pump to try to get things moving. I did 3 sessions, and wasn't feeling anything so we went to bed.

Monday morning I woke up with some cramping. I had a feeling it was going to happen for sure today. I let my mom and midwife, Brenda know there were a few indicators.

I spent the day around the house with Sawyer. Just cleaning up, feeling mild contractions, and relaxing as much as possible. Vince came home from work at lunch and decided to stay and work in the basement, so I went and took a nap.

Around 3, my contractions were more regular and consistent so I let my birth team know. My mom, midwife and photographer came over around 5, and the "labor party" began. Brenda checked me and I was only 3cm and 60% effaced. For the next few hours, my contractions were regular and getting stronger. We just all hung out in our room, talking and laughing and getting more excited for the birth and baby that we'd waited so long for!

The midwife checked me again around 8:45pm, and said i was 8cm dilated and I could get in the birth tub. I was SO happy! It felt amazing. The water was instant relief and I was so relaxed. I continued laboring and my contractions continued to pick up in intensity. Vince would get in the tub with each contraction to put pressure on my lower back. That made the contractions so much less painful. The midwife would come listen to the baby's heart rate periodically, and every time, the rate was perfect so we knew baby was just fine. This time was my favorite part of labor-Vince and my mom were so amazing helping me through contractions.

Around 10:30pm, I started getting the urge to push, so I tried. I had always heard second babies, especially when there was a fast first labor, would come quickly once pushing began, so I was ready to push this baby out and meet him/her!

I began pushing. And pushing. And pushing. I immediately felt discouraged and frustrated because no matter how hard I was pushing, it didn't feel like I was making progress. The contractions were getting more painful, and I was getting frustrated. The midwife suggested a new position in the tub, so we tried that. After about 45 more minutes of pushing that way, she suggested we get out of the tub and try having me sit on the toilet and push. That position, combined with the instinct to push when you're on a toilet, is supposed to be very helpful. It was! I could definitely feel the head moving down more and the pushing felt much more productive on the toilet.

Once the head was further down, Brenda had me come onto the bathroom floor on all 4's so we could get the baby out. I had been pushing over an hour at this point and it was time.

While on all 4's, I pushed and worked harder than I have ever worked in my entire life. I was giving each push every single ounce of energy I had, and the baby still wasn't coming! I was getting exhausted, discouraged and frustrated. Finally Brenda could see and feel the head, so we knew it was soon. I pushed harder and the head came out slowly. The head was out for about 3 minutes and the rest of the body wasn't just flopping out (which is what usually happens) at this point, Brenda said the baby's head was turning purple and we needed to get the baby out with the next contraction. 

They had me pop one leg up so I was in a runners stance, and give it one more hard push. I could feel things weren't right, and Brenda was sounding more urgent and severe. I felt a lot of burning and pain. (I know now that our baby had shoulder dystocia and was stuck.)

Brenda had to go in and get her.  She wasn’t able to hook under her armpit until she was first able to work the shoulder down with her whole hand. Once the armpit was visible, THEN she could hook her finger under and pull her out. She also realized that the baby had been asynclitic, which means the head was coming down the canal at an angle and not perfectly straight, which explains why pushing had been so difficult.

The moments with the baby's head out and turning purple, to when she came out and wasn't breathing were the longest 8 minutes of our lives. When the baby finally came out at 11:52pm, there was no sound. Brenda was telling her assistant to get the resuscitation bag. I still hadn't turned around. I was frozen with fear to see the baby and know it wasn't breathing. I stared at my sister and asked "what is it?!" Vince told me "its a girl", but it was in a panicked, terrified voice.

I turned around to see my baby blue, and non responsive. Brenda was giving her mouth to mouth and she yelled to Vince and I to talk to the baby and tell her to stay with us. We were rubbing her body and yelling "stay with us, Sloan! Come on baby, come on!" 

My friends Becca and Courtney were here taking pictures, and in these moments, they were on their knees in prayer.

A few minutes passed and we started to see her take some breaths on her own. WHAT A RELIEF!!!! Her body started turning pink, and she started making some sounds and movement. Brenda let me pick her up at this point as she continued to work on her and get her more alert and crying while I held her.

I have never in my life felt so close to heaven and hell at the same time. There were thoughts going through my head that no mother should ever have to think or worry about-moments where I was sure she was gone.

Praise the Lord for answered prayers, and praise to our midwife who knew exactly what to do, and absolutely saved our daughters life.

Once things started to calm down, and her cord finished pulsing, Vince cut it, and I was able to have her try to nurse a little bit. We worked on that for a few minutes in the bathroom while I passed the placenta. I then handed Sloan off to Vince and they got me into a healing sitz bath to rinse off.

After I was clean, I got into bed while Brenda performed the newborn check up at the foot of the bed. Sloan weighed 10lbs 8oz and she was 23 inches long! 

Everything in her check up looked great. My family took her out of the room while Brenda checked me out and gave me a few stitches.

Then everyone packed up and left, and we got in our bed with our little fighter and went to sleep. 


It's been almost a week since the birth, and we are doing incredibly well.  Sloan is such a fighter, and she is nursing like a champ. 

We have been discussing the events from that night quite a bit around here. I had a lot of questions and have done some research on shoulder dystocia. I've asked Brenda if she thinks now that we should have induced sooner, to avoid having such a big baby. Her answer was "nope, I've had 8 pound babies get stuck, and 12 pound babies slide out.  I wouldn't try to assign blame-you grew a perfectly healthy baby, she just came down a little crooked."

So now we know, that because Sloan was asynclitic, she came down the birth canal crooked, which is what was making pushing so difficult, and what caused the shoulder dystocia. It helps to have some answers, and we are obviously incredibly thankful it turned out the way it did! 

We are so very thankful we had a midwife who is knowledgable, experienced and quick to act. We felt perfectly safe with Brenda, and are eternally grateful to her for our baby's life.  

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

DIY: Wooden Magnet Refrigerator Letters

I wish I could take credit for this genius idea, but I cannot. 

I have been wanting to make the felt letters that are all over Pinterest, but they seem SO time consuming.  Then I was going to buy them on Etsy, but for 60$, I was putting it off.  

Today my best friend called with this idea, and I rushed to Michael's to get the supplies!  

Here's what I used: 

  • wooden letters and numbers (only $3.99!!)
  • roll of magnet strip
  • acrylic paints (I had all of them but the glitter paints)
  • paint brushes

Letters and Magnet: 


There was no rhyme or reason to how I painted the letters.  I knew I wanted four base colors, so I did teal, pink, mustard and green.  I did about 5-6 letters of each color.  

 After they fronts were painted, I went back and added some detail.  I made navy stripes on the green ones, grey dots on the mustard letters, and I went over the pink and teal letters with glitter paint.  

When the fronts were totally dry, I turned them over and painted the backs.  I didn't detail them since they won't really show. 

After they were completely dry, I just cut magnets into small pieces and put 2-3 pieces on each letter and number 

 And that was it! I'm so glad I did this project because it only took about 2 hours from start to finish, and it was SO easy. You don't have to be a regular crafter to do this project! 

I'm extremely happy with them, and I think they are much cuter than the plastic primary color letters! 

Happy Crafting!!

Monday, January 21, 2013

DIY Book of Textures (sensory book)

I am making this post because I couldn't find a tutorial ANYWHERE online.  I visited my best friend a few weeks ago and her 3 year old had this book that her pre-school teachers made. Sawyer fell in LOVE with it, so I knew I had to make one for her.

It was fairly simple once I had all of the supplies.  To make it you will need:

CD sleeves (Office Depot)
1" album rings (Hobby Lobby)
reinforcement labels (Office Depot)
Hole Punch
Double Sided Tape

Different materials for texture. I used:
Silky-silk fabric
Leathery-leather scraps in the jewelry making section at hobby lobby
Bumpy-snakeskin scrapbook paper
Crinkly-plastic that I removed from the CD sleeves
Furry-fur in the craft section
Foamy-foam sheets
Scratchy-glittery foam sheet
Rough-cardboard scrapbooking sheet

 I first (very carefully) removed the plastic from the CD sleeves. This was tedious because the paper rips easily. 

Once I had the plastic removed, I made three holes on the side of all the sleeves.  I then put reinforcement stickers over the holes. 

Next I cut each texture to the size I needed to fit into the sleeve. I then put pieces of double sided tape on the back of the material and slid it into the sleeve.  Then I taped the flap shut with clear packing tape.

After I had all of the sleeves finished, I put them together with the album rings.  I printed a label to go in the front sleeve, and that was it!  I went through and wrote in sharpie each texture.  I wanted to print cute ones, but the space is pretty small so I just wrote them.  

It's a HUGE hit!  She has been playing with it for a few days now, and it's holding up well.  I have gone back and reinforced some spots with more clear packing tape, but so far she's being pretty gentle with it!  

I hope this helps anyone who wants to make one of these for their little one!  

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Baby food revisited: beyond puréed

This picture was taken because we caught her literally LICKING her plate!!

In all aspects of parenting, it seems that once you get something figured out to where you could do it in your sleep if you had to, your kid changes and that skill is no longer needed.  Such is motherhood, I suppose. All of my pureeing genius is now left on the side of the parenting road, along with night time feedings, swaddling, etc. C'est la vie.

So now we are enjoying the world of toddler type food for my 10-month-old-who-eats-like-a-5-year-old.  This has been fun for me to explore foods for her.  It's also a huge mess-so she rarely wears clothes when we're home because I'm tired of trying to get sweet potato stains out of her white shirts.  (shut up, I already know it's stupid to put a 10 month old in white shirts)

I found that if I'm not prepared with lots of things on hand for her, I would be feeding her some pretty crappy stuff.  I refuse to give her chicken nuggets and macaroni and cheese at this stage. This isn't healthy or balanced, and I want to give her the best opportunity for health in the future.  

So I started doing some research.  Sawyer can pretty much gum anything even though she only has a few teeth.  I was thinking about finger foods, and what she can pick here are some of the things I've been making: 

Quinoa Cakes: 
I read a bunch of recipes for these and ended up making my own version.  I already had quinoa leftover in the fridge, so I just mixed it up with an egg, a few tablespoons of flour, a little parmesan cheese, and some finely diced zucchini and squash.  I then sautéed the patties in some olive oil until they were formed and browned.  She absolutely LOVES them!

(click link above)
I followed this recipe almost exactly--I just added some parmesan cheese.  So far, they're a huge hit also.  

Chicken Sausage Egg Cups

Like with the quinoa cakes, I googled a bunch of different recipes and then kind of made my own for this one.  

I got some already cooked organic chicken sausage and chopped it up really small and put that in a greased muffin tin.  
Then added some shredded cheddar cheese and chives.  
I scrambled a dozen eggs, and poured the eggs into the cups to about 3/4 full.  
Baked at 375 for 20 minutes. 

These are her favorite breakfast.  I keep them in the fridge and just pop two in the microwave for 20 seconds and they're ready to go.  Delicious!  

I've also been diligent about keeping certain things on hand.  I try to remember to include in every meal: 

a dairy, a protein, a whole grain, and a vegetable.  

I give her fruit once a day, usually a banana with breakfast, and sometimes some papaya after dinner.  

I always have in the fridge and pantry: 

  • cubed and roasted sweet potato or butternut squash
  • chunks of cheddar cheese
  • chopped up fruit like papaya, watermelon, etc
  • cooked green beans or peas
  • yogurt
  • organic, sugar free applesauce
I can now add the egg cups, turkey meatballs and quinoa cakes to my list, as I plan to have these or a variation of them at all times.  

Some tips I've found helpful: 
Plan, plan, plan.  I write a detailed list for grocery shopping every week.
CHOP and prepare everything as soon as you get home.  I peel and dice my squash or potatoes right away, and if I'm not roasting them that day, I freeze them until I need them.  This has been CRUCIAL to always have things ready for her. 
Pinterest has some awesome ideas if you get stuck in a rut or your child's tastes change and they all of a sudden don't like what you're making.  Don't resort to unhealthy, processed food just because it seems easier!  If you plan ahead--this is all very easy to do, I promise!  

So I think that's it for now--please comment with any questions and I'll do my best to answer them!  Good luck, friends! 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Homemade Baby Food

This kid loves her food! 

After posting a picture on facebook of my recent baby food stash, I got some requests to do an informative blog post about it.  So here we go!

I started Sawyer on solid food when she was exactly 5 months old.  She was showing very clear signs of being ready (drooling when we ate in front of her, watching our food all the time, being able to sit up).

I knew I wanted to make her food, but nothing confirmed it for me more than seeing how expensive pre-made organic baby food is!  At almost $1.50 a package (3.5 oz) we would be spending over $30 a week on just 3 meals a day.  That is crazy to me.  I make her food all organic and it's pennies on the dollar.

Also, when we went to the beach in May, I bought organic packs of food to make vacation easier on myself.  She didn't poop for 5 days.  She's never had that problem before, and as soon as we got home and back to our homemade food, she never had it again.

We never did baby cereal. You can read why we decided against it HERE

My tools-
regular pots and baking sheets
vitamix (food processor works just fine)
These ice cube trays 
big ziplock bags

As far as meal planning, my friend Natalie recommended the book by Tyler Florence.  I ordered it used on Amazon for 3 bucks.  He has awesome recipes and tips, and I highly recommend it.  I also went to the baby food aisle and looked at the combinations they offer.  That was a great way to figure out recipes.  

Here is my secret to making this process easier for myself.  I buy almost everything I use at Whole Foods in the frozen section. I can buy bags of frozen peas, fruit, mixed veggies, etc for usually $2.49 a bag.  Two bags makes about 3 trays full of food--which fills up a gallon freezer bag.  That is roughly 15 meals if she's eating 3 cubes a meal.  When we first started, she only ate 2 cubes at a time.  Each cube is a little less than 2 ounces.

When we first started out, I did single foods at a time.  I had blocks of mango, sweet potatoes, peas, avocado, etc.

At about 6 months, I started combining flavors.  I'd make sweet potatoes with apples and prunes.  I'd buy bags of mixed veggies (peas, beans, carrots, corn) and steam and blend them all together.  Now at 9 months, we're in advanced recipes with texture like squash, apples, prunes and then I'll mix in quinoa after the veggies are blended.  At 6 months I also started adding seasonings.  I add cinnamon to squash, cumin to turkey, thyme to sweet potatoes, etc.  Just have fun and experiment.  Babies like flavors--they had them when you were pregnant and they get them from breast milk.

I always have, at a minimum, a stash of:
-root veggies (squash, sweet potatoes) with a grain (quinoa, couscous, brown rice)
-cool veggies (greens, corn, carrots) with a protein (chick peas, ground turkey, beans)
-fruits (strawberries, bananas, mangos, blueberries) with oatmeal or yogurt when she was younger

With the frozen produce, I follow the directions on the bag to cook them.  This usually involves boiling 1/2 cup of water, then adding the produce.  It steams for about 7 minutes and that's it.  I wait for it to cool, then put it in the vitamix.
I also roast a LOT of her veggies and fruits. My favorites to roast are sweet potatoes, apples, prunes, and any kind of squash.  You just put them on a baking sheet at 425 degrees for 40-50 minutes until tender.  I don't peel any of it before baking--just wait for it to cool then scoop out the potatoes or squash.  Apples I keep the skins on (only if they're organic).  I now make a batch with ground turkey also.  I just cook it on the stove, then I pulse it in the food processor or vitamix to make it more fine texture.  I stir it into whatever veggies I'm adding it to.

Once I have everything cooked-I put it in the vitamix.  Sometimes I don't need additional liquid because the steaming caused the veggies to retain moisture, so they blend fine.  When she was really small, I added breast milk to thin it out if needed, but now I just add a little water if it needs.  If you don't have a vitamix, throw it in your food processor or blender.  A blender might need less at a time to make sure it blends evenly, but the food processor can take more at a time.  When my veggies or fruits are blended, I add the grains or oatmeal and stir by hand.  This way she's getting texture as well.   I now make a batch with ground turkey.  I just cook it on the stove, then I pulse it in the food processor or vitamix to make it more fine texture.  I stir it into whatever veggies I'm adding it to.

Once it's the consistency your baby likes, start pouring into the ice cube trays and spreading it out with your spatula.  Stick the trays in the freezer and wait.  Once they're frozen, pop them out and store in large ziplock bags.

Sawyer eats the fruit and oatmeal for breakfast.  The night before, I take out three cubes and leave them on the counter covered over night.  In the morning, they're defrosted and ready for her to eat.  I then take out her lunch and dinner (three cubes-usually two green and one orange) and cover them and leave the on the counter.  This way I'm not microwaving her food all the time.  I do it if I forget to take her food out, but not too often.

We also bought this spoon made by boon.  It was SO handy when she was eating smooth food and we wanted to go somewhere.  I would just defrost the food at home, then pour it into the spoon.  It's one of my favorite handy tools.

Here are a few resources I used when I started:
My favorite one: StyleBerryBlog1 and StyleBerryBlog2
Wholesome Baby Food

SO I think that covers it!  Feel free to ask me any questions if I didn't answer something for you.  I feel so passionate about making our own baby food.  It's healthier and cheaper, easy and it's fun!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

What I've learned so far...

OK, we are in week seven living in baby world, and I have definitely learned a lot in the last 49 days.  A. LOT.

The main things I've learned?  This is hard.  This is amazing.  This is terrifying.  This is humbling.  And most importantly: I WILL NOT JUDGE OTHER MOTHERS EVER AGAIN.

I cannot tell you how many times I've judged other moms.  We've all done it.  I've had thoughts like, "get that kid out of your bed" and "take that pacifier out of her mouth" and my favorite, "just tell your child NO!"

Wow.  I've learned that it is positively unfair to judge another mother for her choices (save abuse, or blatantly obvious things like giving them junk food for every single meal) I can tell you that I've already done things I never thought I'd do, and my kid is only seven weeks. 

Here's the truth: you do the best you can.  You do what you have to do to SURVIVE, because honestly, sometimes it feels like these precious little beings are actually out to harm you.  Or at least make you cry. 

I've never been forgetful, and I've always been pretty good about staying on top of house work.  I've lived my adult life priding myself in my ability to maintain strong friendships and keep up with each of my friends lives. 
Guess what?  In the last seven weeks, none of these things have been true. I left our changing pad and wipe case in the bathroom of a Buy Buy Baby.  I am appauled at how messy I've let my kitchen get before I've tackled cleaning it.  My best friend Steph actually asked me yesterday if I was depressed because I hadn't called her in two weeks.  Who AM I?!  

I love Sawyer.  I love her more than I ever thought I could love a human being.  I could smell her head all day every day for the rest of my life and never tire of that sweet scent.  I love her so much that I am happy to get up with her in the middle of the night because she coos and kicks differently at 3am.  I enjoy changing poopy diapers because she smiles so big once her butt is clean and it makes my eyes water inadvertently.  I love that she relies on me for everything, and I relish in the fact that there are things I can do that absolutely no one else can do for her. 

So the conclusion is, being someone's mother is hard, but it's worth it.  It is challenging, but it's rewarding.  You can live on less sleep than you ever thought could be possible.  You can go without a shower for longer than you probably should.  Your laundry will get folded eventually, your kitchen will be cleaned at some point, and your friends-if they're true friends, will understand. At the end of the day, I am just so thankful I was chosen to be Sawyer's mom.  I can honestly say I've never been happier to be proven wrong time and time again. 

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Our Birth Story...

Friday, 11-11-11 was our “guess date” and the day came and went with no signs that our baby was going to make her appearance any time soon.  I tried not to get my hopes up, knowing that the date doesn’t mean a lot, and our baby would come when she was ready.
Saturday night we went to my parents house to hang out.  We watched “The Change  Up” which was absolutely hysterical.  It felt good to laugh that hard and get my mind off of waiting. We went home late that night and went to bed wondering if our baby would make an appearance soon.

At around 2:30am, I woke up to a very wet bed--my water had broken!  I woke Vince up and we spent the next hour beaming and saying, “oh my god, it’s happening!” Even though my water had broken, I was having no signs of contractions, so my mom told us to get some sleep.  We did, even though it was difficult because we were just so pumped! 

We woke up later that morning with NO signs at all of labor.  I knew that if we were delivering in a hospital, any OB would have told us we had to come in.  Once your water breaks, you are on a 24 hour clock because of the supposed risks of infection.  We had spoken to my mom and our midwife (Charlotte), both suggested taking a lot of walks to get contractions going.  I made some cookies, called some friends to share the excitement, and Vince and I started walking the neighborhood.

By 3pm, we still had no contractions, so Charlotte suggested taking black and blue liquid cohosh.  This is a natural supplement that can help to induce labor.  I started taking them every 30 minutes as she recommended.  We went for long power walks, and by 7pm we still had nothing happening!  It was so frustrating, but I trusted my body and Charlotte to know what was best for me and our baby.

At 7:30pm, Charlotte told me to try castor oil to get things going.  I took the castor oil, and we also used the breast pump for nipple stimulation (which is another way to help get contractions started). So we did this while watching the first season of Friends and eating Roasters for dinner. We still weren’t worried, we knew things would happen when it was time. I think we also really enjoyed this time together, knowing that our baby would be here soon-and this was the last few hours of just the two of us.

At about 9pm, the castor oil did it's job (google it if you don't know what that job is) and around 10pm my contractions FINALLY started.  they weren’t unbearable at all, but they were about 2 minutes apart from the beginning.  I knew right away I was having back labor, so every contraction required Vince pushing hard on my lower back (called “counter pressure”). I would lean over our bed with every contraction and he would push hard through it. We did this for a few hours, contracting, talking, laughing, and getting more and more excited. Moving through each contraction and having Vince push on my lower back felt amazing, and almost took the pain completely away. After about 2 hours of this, it was definitely time to call my mom and my sister to come over.  My contractions were getting stronger, and I was having a more difficult time talking and laughing between them.

My mom and sister arrived around midnight, and I was still able to talk between contractions.  They got busy setting up the birth tub, getting the bed ready, and other things we might need during labor. Charlotte arrived at 1:20am and checked me to see how far along I was. I was only 2 centimeters dilated, so we assumed it was going to be a long night.  Right after being checked, I had to use the bathroom, and while I was in there--my contractions got A LOT more intense.  I ended up having about 45 minutes worth of contractions in our bathroom, leaning over the counter.  Vince and my mom would take turns pushing on my lower back. I know now that this was the “transition” phase I had read so much about.  Transitioning means that you are going into the final phase of labor, and you can feel the baby very very low.  I told everyone at this point that she felt so low, and I felt like pushing.  I had been rocking side to side through each contraction, but now, my body was starting to squat also--totally on it’s own, I had no control at this point of what was going on.  I had no train of thought either, I was just 100% letting my body do what it was made to do. Charlotte said she’d check me again, but since it had only been 45 minutes, I think everyone was sure I hadn’t made much progress.  When I laid down on the bed and she checked me, everyone was shocked to hear I was 9 centimeters! She said it was time to get in the tub and push.  I couldn't believe it was already time to push!  It had only been 4 hours since my contractions started, I was fully prepared for a long labor-but our little baby had other plans.  She was READY to meet the world!

I have to mention here that while I was on my back for Charlotte to check me, I had a contraction.  I could not BELIEVE how painful it was on my back! Up until that point, I had been able to rock and move through each contraction.  Having this one on my back was EXCRUCIATINGLY painful. It made me realize that in a hospital, hooked up to machines, women have to be on their backs a lot-and no WONDER they want an epidural.  Our bodies are made to move during contractions.  The more movement we have, the better it is for our baby’s positioning, and now I know, the less painful contractions are.  I am so thankful I was in a place where I could move and listen to what my body needed me to do to bring my baby into the world.

SO we got in the tub, and WOW did it make a difference.  It felt so good in the water-my contractions hurt less, and the weight and pressure in my belly was alleviated immensely.  Once we were in the tub, Charlotte started coaching me on how to push.  Vince was in the tub with me the whole time, pushing on my back again through contractions.  He was incredible-I cannot say enough about how lucky I am to have such a loving, supportive husband.  He was my rock through labor-I felt like he was going through the whole thing with me rather than being an observer.

While we were in the tub, Charlotte tried to get me in a few different positions, but our baby just wasn’t moving as low as she needed. We had to try something else.  At this point, she suggested trying the birth chair which can be helpful in getting the baby to move lower. I would have stood on my head if she told me it would work-I just wanted to get my baby out, no matter what. I can honestly say I didn’t have a train of thought throughout this phase. I just listened to Charlotte, and listened to my body.  I didn’t let myself think about how long it had been, or how things were going. I put ALL of my effort and energy into pushing during contractions, and resting in between. When we realized that the birth chair wasn’t working, Charlotte suggested I get on the floor on my hands and knees.  Again, I didn’t even think about it, I just did it.

This is where things get a little fuzzy for me and I have to depend on my mom and sister’s memory. I was so “in the zone” that I don’t remember exactly how things happened from here.  When a contraction would come, i would push with everything I had in me....and I started to hear everyone say they could see the head. This was so encouraging, so it helped me push harder with the next contraction. As our baby moved lower, Charlotte would listen to her heart rate. Every time the baby’s head was crowning, her heart rate was dropping.  This was worrying Charlotte, so if I couldn’t get the baby out with a contraction, she had to push her back in between my contractions. This was the most painful part of my labor, because I could feel that she was so close to coming out, and then I could feel her going back over my pelvic bone each time. 

This happened three times; baby’s heart rate would drop to about 100 and Charlotte would have to push her back in and then it would go back to 130/140. After the third time, I knew I had to get her out with the next contraction. I didn’t want our baby to have any problems, and I didn’t want to have to go to the hospital or have any sort of emergency. My mom suggested I pop one leg up-like a runners stance-and I did that with the next contraction. I felt the surge coming on, and I pushed with everything I had in me: and it worked!  She came out so fast, and I turned around to see our beautiful baby girl!  I said right away, “it’s a girl, it’s a girl!” My dad was downstairs waiting, and he heard me say it, and HE started shouting, “A BABY GIRL! WE HAVE A BABY GIRL!” It was all so incredibly magical.

As soon as she came out, Charlotte rubbed her to get her blood flowing, and she suctioned some fluid out of her mouth, but she didn’t need any other attention, so I got to hold her within seconds. I couldn’t wait to feel her in my arms, so while she was still attached to my placenta inside of me, I held her and fell in love. We named her Sawyer Catherine- there couldn’t be a more perfect name for her.

I couldn’t stop looking at this perfect little thing, Vince and I were in heaven-she was wonderful and healthy and I DID IT! I couldn’t stop thinking, I DID IT, I DID IT! I was so proud and so relieved to be holding our baby in my arms, and know that I brought her here safe and sound. I was amazed at what my body could do, and the fact that we were in our home, surrounded by family who loved us and our baby so much.

My sister was there, getting towels warmed in the dryer to welcome our baby, and taking amazing pictures of the experience. My Dad was downstairs waiting to meet his granddaughter, and opening the champagne. My Mom was absolutely invaluable as my Mom and as a Doula. She helped Vince with the counter pressure on my lower back, she helped me stay focused during contractions, and I felt so comfortable with the process knowing she was there with me every step of the way.  

So while I was holding our baby, we waited for the cord to finish pulsing before Vince was able to cut it, and then I handed her to him. I couldn’t wait for him to hold her-and sure enough, he fell in love with her too.

After Vince and I got to hold her for awhile, we moved up to our bed-so Charlotte could check me out and make sure bleeding was under control.  I needed some stitches, so my family took Sawyer out while Vince stayed with me. After I was taken care of, and comfortable in our bed, Sawyer was brought back in and it was time for her check up.  This was one of my favorite parts of being at home.  The midwife set up a heating pad and blankets to lay her on at the foot of our bed. She was so calm and peaceful during her check-up, and we were all right there watching.  Charlotte weighed her and measured her- she was a slight 7lbs 12oz and 21in.  During the end of my pregnancy I cannot tell you how many people tried to convince me that we were having a “big baby”.  Even Charlotte thought she’d be big.  It just goes to show you how little we can tell what the baby’s actual size is until it comes out-she wasn’t a big baby at all. 

After Sawyer was checked out and everything was fine, we were able to crawl under the covers as a little family of three and get some rest. We had been up all night and were definitely feeling tired at that point. Falling asleep together in our home, with our perfect little baby-was a feeling I’ll never forget. My mom and sister were downstairs if we needed anything-but it was just the three of us in our bed. It was truly incredible.