I am a homeschooling mama 4 beautiful children; two girls and two boys who keep me on my toes and in constant prayer! I love singing, painting, digging in a garden, hiking and camping in our craigslist find pop-up camper.
I never had any intentions of home birth, even though my mother and my stepmom both had two of their children at home. When my husband and I started trying for children, we experienced two miscarriages, which landed me in the ER. Both times, I was ushered through without concern and subjected to their "standard protocol" and felt like I had no voice in my care. I decided if that was the way I was treated during a miscarriage, I wanted nothing to do with standard care for a birth and started researching midwives in my area.
I prayed to find one that had my beliefs because I wanted to be comfortable with bringing someone to my birth to share something so sacred with me and my husband. At the consultation, I explained my history and she talked about midwifery and home birth and what I could expect during my visits. She actually said "I will ask you many personal questions because midwives see birth as something that affects the whole woman". My husband looked at her and said "I trust my wife with you". My consultation turned into my first visit and started my research for how birth should be.
Part of the requests from the midwife was for us to take childbirth education classes to prepare us for natural labor because there are no epidurals when you are at home! I was so glad for what my husband and I learned in the classes and I spent the next few years sharing that information with anyone that was pregnant. Two more children (both water births) later, I decided I wanted to educate couples in the same preparation that I was blessed to receive and when I discovered Birth Boot Camp, I was very impressed that it covered much more than my previous class had and was modern and more hands on. I am excited to be part of the Birth Boot Camp Team and encourage couples in my area not to fear birth, but to embrace parenthood and trust their body. The more information a couple is given, the better prepared they are to make their own choices for what they need in labor and birth; whatever that looks like for each family.
I fully believe that the less we tamper with our body's natural rhythms, the better off we are. I am learning to live a more holistic, natural, or "kinda imperfect crunchy" lifestyle because I feel it is healthier when we get back to the basics of how God made us but life is life and I do let my kids eat cake at friend's birthday parties. I truly do believe that moms, dads and babies are awesome and birth can be too!
This is VERY LOOONG.
There is something about 4th babies that just throws you for a loop! I am so grateful that I chose another home birth where I was safe and well taken care of.
Because I was so informed on choices and variations of birth, I was fully prepared for this birth, although it was fully different from my other three.
This pregnancy was different to my body. I HAD to visit the chiropractor often because I had pelvic pain on the back part of my hips and keeping up with adjustments and the foam rolling exercises I teach in class helped me out. I still had a harder time moving around and had to go slower than ever at the end. I also experienced more braxton hicks than I did with my other three kiddos.
Gunnar was “due” Thursday December 8th. My first son was born five days after so I was expecting to go past my due date by a few days (of course, once you hit 39 weeks, every twinge makes you pay attention).
3 AM Wednesday Dec 7th I started having contractions that were very low in my back and coming every 10 minutes. This lasted until around 5 am and then they spaced out to 20 minutes apart.
I did not feel them radiate around to the front at all but they felt stronger than my braxton hicks.
We texted the midwife around 6am to let her know things may be happening and we would keep her posted. My mom was texted too and she took off from work so she could be there with the kids.
Part of our birth wish this time was to have the kids there with us to experience birth. Because I teach classes, my kids have seen many birth videos and they wanted to participate with their brother being born. Well, the girls did anyway, my 4 year old son just wanted to be the one to scoop poop from the pool if needed. My mom was going to be there with us this time.
Our other three births were only my husband, the midwives and I, so I was concerned about the atmosphere in changing our birth team, but my mom has had two home births as well so I knew that she would not disrupt my birth. I also wanted my mom there because it was my last birth and I think it would have been special.
But that’s not how it went down…
At 1pm Wednesday, the midwife called to check on us and I told her we went to walk stairs at Cabela’s to try and get things to pick up.
The contractions did not develop a pattern but they were fairly strong. This went on for hours-coming every 10 minutes for 2 hours and then spacing to 20 minutes apart for 3-4 contractions.
I knew that this was prodromal labor. I had it for 2 days with my 2nd born so I was expecting this to last, or stop and start. Unlike my last prodromal labor, the contractions kept coming throughout the day instead of stopping after four hours. I knew that sometimes a malposition could cause this so I did many moves from spinningbabies.com (I WISH I would have remembered to go to the chiropractor during all of this, but I was really expecting things to start any minute now).
We told my mom to go ahead and come up because surely I would be in full labor by the night and we did not want her to drive. She came around 5pm and I was resting in bed in case labor started around midnight or so. I ate dinner with the family and returned to my contraction sleep. Every 10 minutes I would wake and breathe and rub my back, then return to sleep between the squeeze of the contraction.
In the morning the midwife called to (jokingly) see if we had an unassisted birth. I told her about the night and she said I needed to sleep. She suggested I drink a shot of hard liquor, take 3 advil and an epsom salt bath and talk to God about what was going on. She said the kids needed to go and my husband and I needed to have a heart to heart and see if something was stopping labor.
I do not drink alcohol at all so I was not comfortable with that part but she assured me it was purely therapeutic and I needed to sleep. I had a glass of Guinness left in the fridge from making chili that was flat and leftover from November, so I choked it down and took an epsom bath with lavender essential oils but skipped the advil.
As I soaked in the warm bath, my husband and I talked about how mental roadblocks can stop labor from starting or can cause stalls. I remembered that Chloe had her hand by her face and that caused some prodromal labor. But I told my husband that maybe we have not accepted him because he did not have a name. So we settled finally on Elam Rune.
*Birth is 80-90% mental and 10-20% what is actually happening so just the suggestion that mentally I could be stalling out was enough to cause me to have doubt. But the fact that my midwife was also encouraging that things would progress normally and quickly after helped. As we teach in class, your provider is the MOST important choice you make in your birth*
My mom heard what the midwife said and she knew immediately I needed a break so she took the kids to her house.
I bathed and then slept HARD for 3 hours because the contractions had stopped- I was drooling on the pillow and everything.
I woke up around noon and the midwife had planned to stop by and check on my since this had been going on for over 24 hours.
Monika came and listened to the baby and took my vitals and checked his position. She said he felt like he was in a perfect position but you can’t fully tell. I let her check my cervix, to see if the contractions had done anything. I was a 2/3 but opened to a 4 during the check. She said that it was likely that when my body made that shift and the baby’s head pressed down that I would open quickly. My last labor had been around 4 hours start to finish so I was ready for anything from a 2 hour labor to an 8 hour, but I was sort of disappointed that I was not 7cm like my last prodromal.
She left and told us to call as soon as anything starts happening that felt different.
My husband and I ate some lunch and he filled the pool. We had to drain it again because there was sediment from the water heater. We were planning on watching a movie or something but around 3:15 the contractions started back up, 10 minutes apart. They were like that for about an hour and I could feel them get much stronger but still all in my back. It felt so much better to rub my hips and sacrum, but my husband kept doing hip squeezes too because I wanted to make sure my pelvis was opening up in case there was a positional issue. It did not relieve much of the pain but I was ok with it.
At 3:45, he was on the phone with his mom and telling her about it when I had another contraction that was only 4 minutes or so after the last. I told him to go ahead and call the midwife back because I was sure this was finally labor because of how close they were. I also said I wanted to get in the pool. At one point, the cat laid down on my back while I was leaning on the couch and it made me laugh, which helped release some tension and increase some endorphins, but also irritated me!
For this birth, I decided I wanted to labor in the water but deliver out of the pool. I have been reading on the micro biome and for some reason, I did not want another water birth. I feel it was God leading me to that because of how the delivery progressed.
Hitting the water was instant relief. The contractions were manageable because I could really float in the water. The water was not very warm and I was shivering. I normally shiver during transition but not after the contractions like I was doing. Debra, my other midwife told me that being cold could slow contractions because of that, but I didn’t care because the water-even chilly felt so good. She said I could get in the bath if I wanted to try that but I knew I could not submerge and would be irritated by that and I assumed that once I was pushing, it would be super fast like my 9 minutes last time.
When I started really moaning and feeling grunty, my husband was noticing how much I was shivering and he didn’t want to slow things down so he suggested we move to the bed. I was not watching the clock, but according to my labor notes, it was 5:30 around this time. I had only really been in the pool for around 40 minutes or so.
When I got in the bed, I really was pushing but was not feeling the baby move down. This was at 6:50, my water broke and I was laughing and I told my husband the baby would be born around 7ish. But after a few more contractions like that, nothing was really moving along. Monika suggested I try laying on my side; I knew that I would hate being on my side but I said I would try. That was the worst contraction EVER and halfway through it, I had to roll back over and I loudly said “NO”. -It's so nice to be able to move around as I felt I needed to and not be confined to any position for any reason like monitoring or because it is easier on a provider.
I labored for 20 minutes like this and, I figured I had a cervical lip, but I did not say anything about it. Part of me felt like I maybe was thinking I knew too much I guess. Monika asked what I was feeling and when I said pinching in the pelvis she asked if I wanted to be checked and she did find that I had a small lip where the baby’s head was pressing against the pelvis. She asked if I wanted to let it resolve or for her to try and press it back. I knew lunges work for cervical lips but standing did not sound good so I told "you're already down there" (Can you say CODE RED?!)
And I wish I had not because it hurt like FIRE. I wanted to tell her to stop but I also wanted it to help. According to the notes, this was at 7:25pm The midwives gave me some arnica pellets and told me to just grunt and not to push. I tried for one contraction but I had read an article from Thinking Midwife on pushing through the cervical lip so I had a moment of hesitation on if I should push through (conventional thinking is that it causes the cervix to swell) or if I should try not to (which is hard to do and hurts more).
Immediately after this, I felt like I needed to pee again.
I had a contraction out of the bed before going to the bathroom and another as soon as I stood up. I was in transition for sure and the contractions were only 2-3 minutes apart, but they had been coming every 3 minutes since 4pm anyway.
Because all the contractions were in my low back, I was having a hard time relaxing and opening up. I kept trying to remind myself to breathe and open but it all felt like a frantic frenzy. Corey had asked the neighbors to keep the dogs in because the barking this week had bothered me and I was concerned about it during labor. I mentally noted that it was quiet outside for some reason at that point.
I was back in the bed and the other midwife asked to check if the lip was still there. It was and she told me with the next contraction to push.
My husband was supporting me as I laid on my back like a turtle- yes, I pictured myself like a turtle. As soon as she held the lip, my son’s head came down and I was crowing in the next contraction. My husband had wanted to catch this baby since he did not catch the last one due to a fast birth. But when the midwife asked him he told her” I am where I need to be” He was cradling me, helping me to get off my back some so I could push. He knew I did not want to be on my back and I think he knew I needed the extra help.
It took 4 minutes to deliver his head and I heard the midwife say he was rotating. I kept pushing and it was not as comfortable as being hands and knees but I decided to just go with it and push.
After she said his head was born, I felt her tugging and was wondering why she did not just let him deliver- then I immediately knew it was a shoulder dystocia and “Gaskin Maneuver” popped into my head. The moment I thought it, the midwife told me to flip over. My husband had to help me because my arms were a bit slow and I pulled one leg up and pushed. Debra came in and I could feel her maneuver the baby and I knew what she was doing. She said “switch legs” and I did and then prayed out loud for God to give me the strength to push so I did not need an episiotomy! (My midwife later told me that at that point, episiotomies are worthless anyway because the head had already stretched the tissue.)
He came right out and it was a still few seconds and gave a grunty cry and my hubsand exclaimed “Thank you Jesus!” and they put him immediately on my chest as soon as I had turned over and laid down.
This all happened in a span of TEN MINUTES from my going to the bathroom to him being born.
I was glad my kids were not actually there yet because I felt like it was chaos! I did not feel in control, I felt like I was so loud and it was chaos. My midwife said it was not really like that but that she was so glad I was not in water because it would have been hard to impossible to tell his shoulder was stuck and that first breath would have likely been under water.
The reason for the back labor and the dystocia: his arm was flexed behind his back!
My 9 pounder was perfectly fine with no issue with his arm and I did not tear one bit.
There was a bit of meconium in the fluid which is notable but not concerning. He latched on after about 15 minutes and nursed for about an hour. His AGPAR was 8 at birth and 9 after 5 minutes. His daddy cut the cord about 25 minutes after birth and the placenta was delivered almost within 5 minutes.
My mom and the kids arrived about an hour after he was born and they got to watch him get weighed and measured. They were not even the slightest bit upset that they missed his birth because they got to come soon after while he was still nursing and before he had been checked and dressed.
As soon as he was born, my husband looked at him and said he was not an Elam and he needed a strong name, so we went with the original name of Gunnar, which meant warrior. (Our second daughter was sad when we told her we chose Elam before they left, telling us "no one likes the name I chose). It was still 5 more days before we decided on his middle name though.
After about 2.5 hours, I showered and ate a bunch of soup, a cheese stick and drank coconut water. We snuggled in bed and went to sleep.
Recalling the birth the next few days, my husband said “She jumped in there and like put her hands in like a cow!” I laughed picturing it and told him that I knew that is what she was going to do because I knew how midwives resolved dystocia from reading all the Ina May books during my pregnancy. I also told him it was such a God thing that we decided against water birth this time and that I was not at the hospital because they do not handle dystocia well and things could have been bad, but being in the hands of a midwife- we were well cared for.
I can imagine a different outcome with the hospital protocols: my son was a bit stunned so his cord would have been clamped, cutting off much needed oxygen and blood, he would have been taken away to be checked by the neonatal nurse, suctioned heavily because of the meconium staining while under a bright light and strange hands holding him, so his first inoculation of germs would not have been from my skin-but a stranger. This is not to instill fear mongering, I know many doctors that are gentle and trust birth, but to encourage out of hospital births as normal and safe as well.
Midwives value skin to skin for it’s therapeutic response to babies, ESPECIALLY those that are a bit stunned.
All in all, it was a very interesting birth and at no point was I fearful because I felt completely prepared for any variation in our birth. My husband may not have known as much of what was going on as I did, but his total trust in our ability to birth naturally, and his knowing how to support me through any change was amazing.
With this birth, I took the postpartum recovery period seriously and did a variation of a mother roasting/lay in that I’ll write about later.
Gunnar Dee Davidson born
12/8/2017 (his EDD)
After almost a day and a half of prodromal labor, 4 hours of actual labor, including 40 minutes of pushing like transition, but 15 minutes of intense whirlwind from 9cm to birth!
We did not get any photos of the birth, just a few photos after and then our camera got washed with the birth sheets. So this is his Day 1 picture.
I just finished my second series of the year and I am waiting for two babies to be born from that group, one of which is my own.
Our 4th baby is due in December, around 9 more weeks left actually, and I will be taking a break from teaching classes for a bit to get our new family member acclimated. We just started a new Homeschool Coop this year as well so 2017 is going to be a year of starting new and finding balance. I love these seasons of change, where I don't get too comfortable before God requires more growth from me and I become a better wife, mom and friend.
Psalm 92:4, NIV For you make me glad by your deeds, LORD; I sing for joy at what your hands have done.
My plan is to resume teaching sometime in the Summer, after this little one starts eating solids. We plan on doing Baby Led Weaning, so as long as he can be occupied with food for a few hours, my husband will be able to take him. (Our joke since our children are all breastfed is that they are mine until they eat solid foods)
I will still be blogging off and on and keeping my Facebook page updated for all the expecting couples in this area and I am always available via email for questions or referrals.
In the meantime, there are three other Birth Boot Camp Instructors in South Austin, Round Rock, Cedar Park, North Austin that have ongoing classes, or you can always take an ONLINE class.
I wish I had more photos of me nursing my kiddos because I really do miss those times of bonding with them. I actually get butterflies at the thought of getting to nurse again in December!
Somewhere, my midwife has a picture of my nursing my daughter, typing on the phone and using the computer all at once, she called it the ultimate mommy-tasking.
When I had my first, I knew I was going to breastfeed: only because it was cheap and natural. I did not think I would like it (in fact, the thought weirded me out some). I made a goal to make it 6 months and look at it again from that point. My 6 month marker was because I had never seen anyone else nurse past that point and assumed that there was a reason to stop at 6 months.
When I hit 6 weeks and my daughter looked at me and grinned with milk running out of her mouth while nursing, I knew I would nurse for at least a year and had made the best choice ever.
I nursed her for around 19 months, my second daughter for around 17 and then my son for 23 months. I learned not to put an "expiration date" on my boobs.
I wanted to link up to an awesome blog written by a Birth Boot Camp Doula that has some great quotes from other moms that knew breast is best.
Click here to read THE SECRET LIVES OF BREASTS
To recap what I posted live on my Facebook page, we do not "do" elective ultrasounds.
During my pregnancies, I get two: one at 6 weeks for viability (because I have a history of miscarriage) and one at 18-20 weeks to check the anatomy. Because we choose home births, we want to make sure the spine and brain and kidneys are all functioning well. I know an ultrasound is not fail-proof, but it is a medical device that can be used diagnostically when appropriate.
*ACOG shares the stance that ultrasounds should not be used at every appointment just to look at the baby, but there should be a medical reason to use them because there is evidence that they are not 100% safe and there are risks of ultrasound use on a developing baby. (Read about a possible link to autism HERE and additional risks HERE)
I have to choose to weigh the risks and benefits of an ultrasound for each pregnancy. There are many babies born all around the world without anyone ever peering into the womb and ultrasound has only been around for the past 50 years or so.
My choice was based on a) emotionally needing to know that this pregnancy would be fine. b) knowing that home birth was still a safe option for me.
I have had friends that had babies born with birth defects that would have not been home-birth friendly and that did weigh on our choice.
I did not have a 8 week follow up ultrasound or the 12 week NT scan. In my opinion, those are elective because I have never lost a baby after seeing the heartbeat and I do not care to know about the results of the NT scan because I would never abort and would not want to go 8 months thinking my baby was defective. I trust God in everything.
My midwife uses a doppler to check heart tones for each visit. This also adds a risk because a doppler is an ultrasonic device. I can opt for a fetoscope which can work around 20 weeks and is 100% safe or I can just let my midwife know that I feel the baby and do not need to monitor heart tones. My midwives use dopplers during labor to monitor every 30 minutes or so the heartbeat, which is much safer than electronic fetal monitoring, just as effective, and easier on a laboring mom that wants to move around.
Again- benefits and risks.
As with any and every medical intervention or procedure, we women need to ask what the test is for, what does the process involve, what are the risks and what if we decide not to do it or are there alternatives.
Just because it is a routine test does not mean you have to have it done. Research! This is one of the reasons taking a Birth Boot Camp Class is so important, you want to know what is part of the pregnancy and birth process so you can make an informed decision for your own body and baby.
And now...for what you are reading ahead to see...
We took the kids with us to the ultrasound and from there went to HEB with the sealed envelope and large box to be filled with balloons.
It was so hard to wait, but we planned on surprising my Grandma with the reveal so she could be the first in the family to know.
We also did a Facebook Live video for everyone else (unfortunately, we used the Ipad and it is the wrong way-sorry)
Our son ran around the yard with the balloons yelling IT'S A BOY!!! Over and over and our 8 year old was slightly disappointed because she wanted pink and blue twins.
Here is the wonky video which you can't flip the right way on Live for some reason.
We will be a family of 6 soon, 2 girls and 2 boys. I am so amazed by how blessed we feel becoming a bigger family.
Keep following my pregnancy. I will be talking about our home birth set up and tools I use around the house.
So I promised I would post updates on my pregnancy.
But that's the thing, I don't really follow and track this pregnancy as much as I did with baby 1 and 2, which got me to thinking about the things we are doing and will be doing differently this time around.
This baby will be my biggest gap with 4.5 years between my son and him/her. My others are 23 months and 2.5 years apart so that is one thing that is pretty different. I have had 3 kids to buy for, clothe, diaper and nurse and when started compiling my list of needs (because December will be here very very soon) I realized there are things we just are not doing the same.
1. I am not setting up the cradle.
We have the cradle that my husband and his brother slept in when they were babies. My husband brought it home when we decided to start trying for a baby and I could not wait to put it into use. We put it beside the bed and it looked so nursery like. I put her in it for two days and got no sleep. As much as I thought I was against co-sleeping and wanted her next to me but not in my bed, I could not sleep and she would not sleep. So on Day 4 when my milk came pouring in and I stayed up nursing her for 4 hours, I laid down with her beside me and never looked back.
Baby 2, we set up the cradle again. And again she was back in our bed.
Baby 3 I set up the cradle AND made him a bumper because I was excited for a change from pink to blue. It looked so photogenic and made me feel like I was baby-prepping.
See how pretty it looked? I was proud of myself for making such a nice bumper to keep the socks and laundry from falling through the bars.
I KNOW we will end up co-sleeping so this time, the cradle isn't coming down out of the attic and instead, we will be upgrading to a King Sized bed.
2. Won't be buying an infant car-seat.
In the USA, babies are rear facing only until they are 12 months/22 lbs. I turned all 3 of mine around by 13-15 months. But this time, my baby will stay rear facing for at least 2 years. Many studies have shown that babies are not strong enough to survive a car wreck front facing. http://www.parenting.com/article/car-seats-safety. I read many stories of toddlers that would have survived wrecks if they were still rear facing and realized that I had not done proper research ahead of time. I thank the Lord that we never wrecked because my kids are all small for their age and would not have been strong enough. (My 6.5 year old is still in a 5pt harness). Instead of getting an infant seat and then swapping at a year, I will be only getting a convertible that is rated from 5lbs up so they can stay in that seat for awhile. I will be picking from one of the carseats researched on this site.
I know what you're thinking- HOW will I carry my kid around? I will be using slings just like I did with the others. Nothing says "please don't touch my baby" like having them wrapped close to your body when walking around HEB for groceries.
3. We won't be buying many baby gizmos.
My kids hated swings and all the other rocker glider things that we got with baby 1. I tried, I really did but they just cried when we put them in those things. The only thing they liked was a bouncer and the floor activity mat with mirror. As I have grown in my homeschooling journey the past 4 years, I have realized that kids need less "stimulation" and more imagination. While I am not quite Montessori, I am learning how it all works.
We will be getting a neutral colored bouncer and a red/black/white activity mat...that is it for the first few months and once they grow out of that, we will get an exersaucer and use the borrowed walker we used with the others. The exersaucer has always been a winner- this was Christmas day when she got hers.
4. Our kids will be close to the birth.
The kids have already taken the Sibling Prep Class and I may have them take another with one of the other instructors in the area so they take it serious. I want them to be ready if the birth goes fast so we will be getting a hotel for my In-Laws to take the kids to and as soon as the baby is born, we are asking for them to bring the kids right away so they get to bond in those first few minutes and see their baby weighed. We may let them stay for the whole labor, but we are not sure yet. With the others, they were gone for the whole day and brought back later the next day. They voiced how much they want to be there this time and see what happens when a baby is born at home.
5. We will be taking a Reboot Refresher Course
I will have 4 years since the last time I gave birth and I have learned so much that I was not taught before. My husband does not know how to use a Rebozo and we forgot most of the labor positions we learned in class 9 years ago. I will not be trying to do this on my own knowledge as an instructor, but my husband and I will be taking a class when I am 36 weeks with a local Birth Boot Camp Instructor and really preparing for an amazing birth.
6. I am going to Breastfeed publicly!
With baby 1, I was the mom hiding in the bathroom or in her car nursing when I was away from home. I was fine with it, but it did separate me from anyone else and I still nursed for 18 months. With Baby 2, I was still hiding and even gave her soy milk at 9 months so I did not have to pump because I could not pump enough. I still nursed her for 16 months. With my son, I started feeding him regardless of where I was, but under a cover...I felt free and nursed him for 23 months.
This time, I am investing in some good nursing shirts and maybe a nursing scarf because it will be winter and I am going to feed that baby no matter where I am and I am going to be proud of being a mother. If people have a problem with my choice of food, they can look away...kinda like vegans don't go to BBQ joints.
7. We are going to do a Gender Reveal!
I know, it is sorta silly being our 4th, but my kids want to be surprised so I am going to do it for them. We will be taking a box of balloons to my Grandmas to find out with her and the kids together.
We will also be posting it live on Facebook for friends and family if you follow my page.
I am sure as we get closer to December, or once we know the gender, we will have other things that we decide to do different too because there are always things that pop up but for the most part, these are big things we will be changing up.
Sadly, this will be our first birth and baby without our beloved Harley, who died last December. I can't imagine having a baby without her. She was the best dog a family could have asked for and we miss her. I found this picture trying to get an exersaucer picture and laughed so hard and then got very sad as I realized I won't get to see the new baby learn to walk holding her fur. Cherish your moments.
There are many things we will be doing the same, cloth diapering, breastfeeding only, home birth etc but these are some things that really stood out to us about what is different this time even though we have not put as much effort into tracking this pregnancy as with the others.
Are you doing anything different this pregnancy or with the next one?
When my first daughter was born, I was intrigued at the idea of cloth diapers. Our childbirth instructor gave us resources for local cleaning companies and showed us a few types that were available. My grandma however, said “You’re lucky you have disposable diapers and don’t use cloth like I did, we had pins and folding and they leaked all over and you had to hand wash them”
At that time, we did not own a washing machine and the idea of loading dirty diapers to take to the laundromat or my mother in laws did not really sound appeasing, but I knew that we were not going to use regular disposable diapers like Huggies, Pampers or Luvs. I even returned every single pack that was given to me at my shower (sorry ladies!) and opted to look for alternatives.
I slowly made the switch to more and more cloth with each kid.
Why would I go through all this trouble when 95% of the world uses commercial disposables?
I am glad you asked, and even if you didn’t I am going to tell you anyway because I don’t want Huggies anywhere near my kids’ bums.
1. Disposables are toxic!
Because the wood pulp used in diapers is brown, commercial diapers are bleached with chlorine, which causes dioxins, which are known to be carcinogenic.
Those small bits that sometimes come out of the diaper and stick to your baby- those are polyacrylic acid, or sodium polyacrylate.
That is what gives the diaper its absorbent power, and is highly toxic. This chemical was banned from tampons in 1985 because it is linked to TSS.
It causes fever, staph and allergic reactions due to contact and only 5 grams ingested can cause fatality.
There are also 4 different dyes used for coloring, which are known to cause contact rashes and allergies in some babies, plus fragrance or lotions and plastic or latex.
Here is a list of various chemicals emitted from two undisclosed brands of diapers:
These are known respiratory hazards (meaning these diapers may be causing breathing problems in some babies). Do you want your baby breathing that?
There are also heavy metals and phthalates, which are endocrine disruptors.
That reason alone should be motivation to switch diaper brands at the very least, or consider cloth! These chemicals sit on your baby's most sensitive parts and since mucous membranes and the skin are absorbent, that means the chemicals in the diapers will be absorbed into the blood stream.
These chemicals are what are responsible for that diaper rash that keeps coming back over and over again.
2. Disposables stick around forever!
They are disposables- NOT biodegradables.
Even buying the chlorine free diapers without all the chemicals will still leave you with the dilemma of filling up landfills with human waste, unless you buy the compostable ones.
Did you know you are breaking the law when you toss a poop filled diaper in the trash? It is illegal to dispose of human waste anywhere except the toilet and if you look at a pack of Huggies, the directions say to dump the poop in the toilet first and then dispose of the diaper.
I can bet NO ONE DOES THAT.
In 1998 a study was found that diapers make up 3.4 million tons of waste, or 2.1% of our landfill.
And since diapers are relatively new, no one is sure how long they take to decompose, but a rough estimate based on the components of the diaper is 250-500 years or more.
That means the diapers that your parents used are still sitting in a landfill somewhere, along with yours and your cousins, childhood friends, and every classmate you every knew (except the ones still using cloth).
Eww. I mean, gross. That is a whole lot of stink.
We toss cartons of coconut milk and jugs of milk in the recycle bin and banana peels and brown lettuce in the compost to do our part to cut down on trash, so logically, baby waste and trash should be cut down too.
*I will be honest, I do use both cloth wipes AND disposable wipes
-The Knowaste company in Canada is the first to find a way to recycle diapers (and pads and other hygiene products) into plastic roofing tiles. They seem to have started something however because California is starting to recycle diapers.
But, until there is a way for everyone to drop their kid's dirty diaper in with the recycling, diapers in the USA end up in landfills.
3. Cloth SAVES MONEY!
I was so glad I went all cloth with my 3rd child because my husband had returned to school full time and we were living off financial aid, WIA income and my part time income. We could not afford $50-60 per month for diapers. Through my pregnancy, I bought cloth here and there and saved us a ton.
Most people recommend having about 24 cloth diapers so you only have to wash a load every other day or so. You don’t want to go too long between washing because diapers sitting in a pail can stain or reek (or the dog finds them and rips a hole in the side trying to eat them…)
I had around 15 and that worked just fine for us.
Here is the comparison of what we would have saved had we started with cloth (because you can use them with more than one child)
For our first child, we had a mix of GDiapers and chemical-free disposables and cloth training pants. (No cost savings, bought pricer chem-free diapers)
For our second child, 1/2 cloth and 1/2 disposable. (Saved half)
For our third child, 100% cloth. (Saved around $1200 in diapers)
Cloth diapers can range from $5 to $25 each, depending on brand and style. I choose the cheaper ones, bought in bulk off eBay to see how they would hold up and they were fine by me.
When you take a Birth Boot Camp Class, you will get information on cloth diapering covered in the baby care section of class.
If you need more information, here are some additional sites to get you started on your journey to cloth, because there are so many options, materials and the like to choose from. Diapers are not what they were when my Grandma had to pin washcloths on her kids...(Although one Christmas, we forgot all my daughter's diapers when visiting family and we ended up doing just that- my Grandma pinned her good dinner napkins on her.)
And guess what…
This is our stash for BABY #4.
That’s right, we are expecting another baby this December and I will be posting updates through my pregnancy. As of posting this, I am 15 weeks so I am starting to arrange the baby’s area, and organizing diapers. (My sister shared this stash with me, so they were basically free- that is another way you can get cloth diapers!)
I have 23/24 diapers here with bamboo inserts! I am SET...of course, if we have a girl, I will have to throw in a few pink cammo diapers.
So, how do you diaper? Do you use cloth, 'sposies or a mix?
If you use cloth what are your favorite diaper types?
Ok...you should be eating these any time, not just when you are pregnant, but many women are willing to try new things for their health when pregnant vs when they are not.
Nutrition is so vital for a growing baby and what you eat will have an impact on the health of you as a mother, and your child. And even your labor and potentially the outcome of your birth.
Pregnancy is a time to really boost your nutrition by eating nutrient dense foods that are easy to come by and easy to make so I am giving you two fun foods that are easy to make and eat and should be a staple in your pantry from now on. This is why our childbirth education classes talk about food focus at each class.
Chow charts anyone?
Yes. I am talking about the little seeds that became popular in the 90's by growing on terracotta figurines. These cha-cha-cha-chia seeds have been know around the world for their amazing health benefits. And here in America, we turned them into a novelty, but I digress.
These tiny black or white seeds are nutrition powerhouses that you want to have in your pantry all the time. They are sorta sweet nutty flavored that turn into a gel when they sit in liquid for 10-15 minutes.
1 oz of chia seeds (which is about 2 TBS) contains approximately
4 grams protein
11 grams of fiber
9 grams fat
18% calcium requirement
30% magnesium requirement
28% phosphorus requirement
4500 milligram ALA Omega 3 (more than flax seed)
3X the iron of spinach
2x the antioxidants in blueberries
Historically, these little seeds were called Chia by the Mayans and Aztecs meaning "strength". They were given to the messengers that had to run long distances to give them fuel and stamina without burning out or getting dehydrated because the seeds hold water.
Homemade chia bars or even chia seeds in coconut water would be the perfect labor fuel to keep your body fueled and strong for labor.
So...how do you I eat this-just swallow a spoonful?
If you were running the Warrior Dash and did not want a full stomach of water, yes (I did but it did not make me run faster).
These little seeds are so versatile you can do so much with them!
If you are just starting out with them, you want to start with a Tablespoon at a time, as the fiber content can really clean you out.
Of course, pregnancy has a way of backing you up -chia seeds to the rescue!
These are wonderful to give you a boost of energy without any caffeine, they keep you regular and help with constipation and are easy to throw into just about anything you eat on a daily basis.
Sprinkle them on greek yogurt with some berries or on oatmeal for a healthy crunch.
Toss them in your favorite smoothie, which will thicken it as well as make it a super smoothie.
Toss it in meatloaf or in hamburgers to help bind the meat and add magneseum.
Put a tablespoon in your favorite tea or coconut milk for a drinkable smoothie.
Add to kombucha to feel like a pregnant rockstar.
I love making overnight chia pudding in cute little mason jars so I have a quick on the go breakfast or snack. I add 3 TBS to a glass of coconut milk with a bit of liquid stevia or honey, shake and put in the fridge until morning.
You can use chocolate, berries, cinnamon, pumpkin, and any liquid you want. If you use dates as your sweetener you have an extra bonus because consuming dates in the last few months has been shown to shorten labor -win.
One of my favorite places to get chia recipes is online from Katie @ Wellness Mama
She also has chia seed granola bar recipes which should be in your labor bag (make enough for your doula too...or better yet, have dad make up a batch so he knows how to make them when you are nursing postpartum)
Another great recipe which uses dates is from The Minimalist Baker
One of my kids favorite things to make are chia balls.
I personally don't measure but I probably should.
I toss dates and almonds in a blender and pulse until then are mixed well, then I add a tablespoon of unrefined coconut oil and chia seeds and pulse it all until it develops into a thick batter. Sometimes I will toss in chocolate pieces if I have them and coconut flakes to. I scoop it out and roll up little balls about 1" round and place them on parchment. Then I hide them because my kids eat them by the handful if I don't. When I get the measurements wrong, I just smash it into a pan and my kids scoop it out on a spoon, like peanut butter, but healthier.
Costco usually has a good deal on large bags of chia and it lasts for awhile but I usually buy chia seeds in the bulk section of Sprouts.
This funny little seed is often sold with rice and other grains, but it is a seed. It can be black, yellowish or red but they all taste about the same (not like brown rice vs white rice).
The Incas referred to this as the "mother of all grain" and it was a staple food for them.
Unlike some of our grains (like rice or oats) quinoa is packed with protein.
1 cup of quinoa contains
5 g fiber
19 % RDA folate (which is very important for spinal development in babies)
58% RDA magnesium
18% RDA Iron
Plus other vitamins and minerals and a small amount of ALA Omega 3 fatty acids.
Quinoa also contains flavonoids, which are plant antioxidants that are super healthy!
It is also 100% gluten free, so if you find gluten-free products (like pasta) made from quinoa, you are getting a healthier product that has not been stripped of bran like many products made with tapioca flour or rice flour. You still get a nutritious pasta without the gluten.
Most plant based proteins are not complete because they lack essential amino acids. But NOT quinoa. It has every essential amino acid, making it a complete protein great for those times when your morning sickness tells you there is no way you are going to be eating red meat. (Or Turkey. I hated turkey in all forms with my 3rd pregnancy).
Quinoa is also a lower GI food, so it will not spike your blood sugar like some grains can, which is very important during pregnancy. As you are snacking, sipping and grazing, you want to make sure to keep your blood sugar levels normal. Quinoa helps you out like that!
The carbs and protein in quinoa make it a perfect labor dish to keep your strength up, especially being easy to digest.
How to cook quinoa: 2 parts water/broth to 1 part quinoa.
Bring to boil and simmer for 20 minutes, uncovered.
I cup of quinoa makes like 6 cups cooked so a little goes a long way. You will know it is done because the outer part will spiral off and it will be tender with just a slight bite.
You will want to rinse your quinoa before cooking because it has a dusty saponin (soap) covering on it that can make it bitter.
My favorite way to make quinoa is to cook it in chicken broth, then saute the cooked quinoa in butter and onions and serve it on the side of chicken sausage with buttery broccoli. Being a Texan, I also make mexican quinoa as a replacement for mexican rice for our taco nights.
Along with the health benefits, it is very easy to make, cooks in about 20 minutes and can be served hot, cold, savory or sweet. It can be used in granola bars and even ground into a flour to add to smoothies or baked goods. You can also cook the quinoa and add in berries and honey for a breakfast bowl, or breakfast bars similar to making baked oatmeal.
Kids love it, partially because it is fun to say and partially because it absorbs any flavor you add to it so it is rarely bland unless you only cook it in water with no salt. Or herbs. Or salt. (You should salt to taste when pregnant anyway with a good sea salt or a trace mineral salt).
My friend makes a cold quinoa salad, the same way you would a pasta salad, but using quinoa instead of pasta. Hers is cooked cold quinoa, lime, salt & pepper, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes and olives.
If you want a variety of fun ways to make quinoa, visit Simply Quinoa and get creative and healthy.
(The ONLY thing I do not like about quinoa is cleaning up after children that are messy because my dog won't eat it off the floor so I have to wait for it to dry and vacuum it up. It does not like brooms.)
Have you tried chia or quinoa before? What is your favorite way to enjoy either or both of these amazing seeds during your pregnancy?
I'll tell you why...because everyone needs to go to class!
Every college or university student knows that there are some classes that are much better taken in person.
My husband took an art history class online and failed, along with every other student so the next year, it was no longer offered online. He took the in person class and got an A, qualifying him to graduate with honors.
You want to graduate with honors!
You want to be fully prepared from the beginning of your pregnancy until the moment you hold your baby and beyond.
I am not saying DON'T READ BOOKS! I love books! I truly recommend Dr. Sears' The Healthy Pregnancy Book.
There are good books (and some really dumb ones) out there. But books will not take the place of live interaction with an instructor that has been pregnant a time or two and can answer your questions or point you in the right direction. Read the books, AND, take a class!
Birth Boot Camp has a BRAND NEW Early Pregnancy Class just for moms that are between 5-20 weeks pregnant!
The class is fun and interactive and covers tips for feeling your best, including ways to keep nausea away that actually are based on evidence.
We talk about the physical and emotional changes you will experience during the first trimester and how to talk with your partner about it.
We explain nutrition and give tips to eat the "rainbow" to maximize nutritional absorption and protein intake for a healthy weight gain so you can have a better labor.
We show you some exercises that you can do to stay strong and prepare your body for the upcoming labor. These exercises strengthen the hips, pelvis, core, legs, glutes, back and more.
We even break out some crayons and color...I said it was fun right?
This Early Pregnancy class is a roadmap to a prepared and exciting pregnancy!
I encourage you to be a star student, believe you can graduate with honors and take a class today.
I asked my hubby to give me the top 5 reasons he was glad we took childbirth classes together and these were his well thought out (or maybe off the top of his head) reasons. These are 5 great reasons that I teach my natural childbirth class series in Buda.
NUMBER ONE. I knew what to do to help in each stage.
Labor goes through different stages as it progresses and the laboring mom needs something different for each. She may or may not ask for something different, or she may say "don't do that" and you have to think on your feet (or be educated) to know what to try next instead of retreating to a corner to just stand and watch. In early labor, it will likely just be the two of you laboring together and you may not want to call the doula or midwife 6 times at 2am to ask questions about "what next".
*For one of my labors, Corey would watch the clock and come in every 5 minutes just before the contraction started to apply counter pressure while he was setting up the birth pool. I did not need to ask him to come, or call him, he knew how much time he had.* -Michelle
NUMBER TWO. I knew exactly what was happening in each stage (TMI for some probably)
There are different things that a woman's body does as labor starts, through the pushing stage and delivery of the placenta. She will feel much more confident when she tells you she is losing her mucous plug and having bloody show and you know what she is talking about. Knowing that her body is opening up and the uterus is literally pushing the baby down and out will help you to affirm her when labor gets serious. It does not take a PhD to know some labor vocabulary and knowing what a posterior baby is will help you labor together when mom is having back labor. You don't want to be the guy that says "what does that mean?" when your partner says she feels the ring of fire.
*My husband has seen my cervix. Seriously. At my first exam, after Corey told the midwife "I trust my wife with you", then she asked if he wanted to see my cervix and he said sure! I am not saying you need to have THAT much information as a dad, but knowing what the cervix is and does is vital to knowing what is happening during those contractions that you are supporting her through*-Michelle
NUMBER THREE. I knew what to expect. Dads don't like surprises.
When you know all the possible variations of labor (or have a handy chart like the one found in the Birth Boot Camp workbook) you know that labor can look different for each person. You know that the water probably won't break like it does on TV and that the due date does not really mean much. If your partner starts labor with long weak contractions, you won't get worked up because you know what prodromal labor is. You will make her an appointment with the chiropractor though, because you know that she may benefit from an adjustment. You will not be surprised at all when she she vomits and starts shaking because you know it is perfectly normal and things are progressing. You will tell her she is doing wonderful and working hard. Cutting the cord is on a whole different level the first time though.
*Each of my births were completely different from each other but my husband handled each variation like he had already been there before and with my 3rd, my he actually said "I got this, we don't even need the midwife." He was joking of course, but fully confident in the birth process and it made me feel fully protected and confident in my ability to have an amazing birth. *-Michelle
NUMBER FOUR. It made the whole experience "ours" instead of "yours".
Most Dads hate co-ed baby showers. They are not interested in playing sniff the candy bar poop diaper or how fast can you change a baby doll. They do not want to sit in a chair and ooh and aww over baby clothes. Most of them are not "showing" (although some dads do gain weight along with mom) and they do not get asked "how are you feeling?" by random strangers. They do get some odd advice from time to time, but for the most part- pregnancy is mom focused. But men are becoming parents too. They have emotions that change and are excited about painting a nursery or picking out baby gear too.
Childbirth Classes are completely about BOTH couples joining parenthood together. It is a place for other dads to talk about their expectations and learn together with their partners. Education classes are a safe place to be vulnerable and learn how to read a Rainbow Relaxation to your partner without feeling judged. This baby does not belong just to the mother that is growing it, but also to the father that provided half of his DNA to create it.
Many first time dads have a hard time bonding in the first few months because breastfeeding is something only mom can do, but taking a childbirth class such as ours shows dads the many ways he can help the breastfeeding relationship with mom and also bond with his baby in all the other ways. (Dads can skin to skin and baby wear just like mom can!).
A dad can do more than just cut the cord and hold the camera.
*I always felt awkward being showered with attention when pregnant and wanted to find ways to include my husband in everything so he could share in that awkwardness haha. When we took our childbirth class series, it really brought us together as a couple to truly prepare for labor as one and also increased the expectation and excitement about becoming parents. Just handing him a "Fathers 101" book was not nearly the same as us taking a class together with other dads in the same room.*-Michelle
NUMBER FIVE: Sexercise was wholeheartedly promoted.
Need I say more? Just telling your wife to do her kegels is a way to get mean mugged...but telling her you need to check her progress is another story. Did you know dads also benefit from kegels? If you took a childbirth class, you would know that and be exercising daily. -And checking your progress on a regular basis.
Sex is such a special bond for couples and is how you ended up in childbirth classes anyway, so why not learn all the benefits that it offers during pregnancy!
YES DADS- you actually have a box to check off sex. Who would NOT love that?
*Kegels are amazing for both of you and you actually can tell when you have been doing them regularly. It is so fun that Birth Boot Camp classes offer a lighthearted way for you to bond that keeps the laughter alive in a marriage.*-Michelle
Gone are the days when men were not allowed in the birthing room and the men only stood in the hallway waiting until their wives were completely made up again to hold a wrapped up bundle of joy.
Modern dads prepare for labor WITH their partner. They prepare for what may come. They know how to talk with their doula and provider. They are educated, they are equipped, they are excited. They understand why they they want a natural childbirth and how to support their partner.
Be the dad that takes a childbirth class today so you can see that Birth Is Awesome!