Crunchy= natural, green, environmental, granola.
Cradle= birth, baby, breastfeeding, pregnancy.
Catholic= One, Holy, Universal, and Apostolic Church

Thursday, December 16, 2010

consider a doula


Fathers and bonding at birth

Dads bond with baby too!  Babies need their fathers to be present immediately after birth, just as they need their mothers.



Very interesting article on jaundice and bilirubin in the newborn.


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

It's a girl!

I just gave birth to my 4th baby, a little girl!  Each of my children are so unique and special, and they have all made their entrance into this world in a unique way as well.  My previous births were in the hospital, so during my pregnancy, I was really looking forward to this birth, as we were planning an out of hospital birth at a birthing center.

My labor started on my youngest son's birthday, I woke up around 2:30am with some contractions, that were strong enough to wake me up, yet not too uncomfortable either.  I was thinking to myself that we might have two children with the same birthday.  I continued to have contractions throughout the day, they came every 20-30 minutes, and again, were strong enough that I knew they were labor contractions, but I was still able to go for a walk, do some last minute cleaning around the house, and rest.

In the evening, after our older children went to bed my contractions started to get a little bit closer together, 10-20 minutes between them.  I went to bed early because I was starting to get uncomfortable, and had to actively try to relax with them.  I was able to sleep a little bit, but every contraction woke me up.  Rather than get closer together my contractions just seemed to get longer, lasting from 1.5-2.5 minutes each.  Around 1am I was starting to get very uncomfortable (we turned the clocks back that night, so I'm a little confused about what time it really was), my contractions were variable from 7-10 minutes apart, but long and hard.  They started to double peak or come 2 in a row without any break in between them.  I was starting to feel more pressure in my pelvis, so we called our midwife and left for the birthing center.

On our way to the birthing center (about a 20 minute drive) I only had one contraction.  I was a little afraid that we would get there and I would only be 3cm dilated, but something just told me it was time to go.

Once we arrived, I was able to relax knowing that I was in the place where I would give birth.  The lights were low and it was quiet.  My midwife told me that I was 9cm dilated!!  I just couldn't believe it.  I got into the birthing pool and the warm water felt amazing.  I was wishing that we had come sooner so that I could have relaxed in the water with some of the hard contractions I was having at home.  My body was able to just float in the water, and that made relaxing all my muscles to just let my uterus work, much easier.  My contractions however, were still very intense.  Soon after getting in the water I felt like I needed to bear down.  I started slowly with some small pushes, grunting through the contractions, however that "urge to push" just took over.  I had to push much harder to relieve the intensity of the contraction.  It wasn't very long before I could feel my baby moving down the birth canal, I remembered this feeling from my other births and knew that it wouldn't be long before she was here.

My husband, midwife and nurse were present in the room.  I pushed hard with my contractions and suddenly felt my baby's head crowning. I had a moment of fear, I just wanted to stop because everything was so intense, but I knew I had to do it, I had to give that final push and birth my baby.  I reached down into the water and felt the baby's head about to emerge and my body pushed again and her head was born.  There was one more push and my baby was here at 2:38am (the day after contractions had started).  I don't remember my midwife saying much to me during this time, but I knew that she was there and had confidence in me.  She didn't tell me what to do or how to do it, but instead let me push the way my body needed to in order to birth my precious baby.

My husband looked to see if we had a boy or girl, and announced that we had a girl.  There were tears all around the room.  We were only at the birth center for about 45 minutes before she was born!

We are so happy to have had a birth in an environment that supported us, gave us confidence, and allowed us to go home that same morning.  We were able to have breakfast as a family with our older children, and then get some rest in our own bed.  This experience was everything that I had been wanting with my hospital births, I was just looking in the wrong place.  The births of my older children are precious memories that I will never forget, but this birth was just the icing on the cake.

Our birth center: www.mountainmidwifery.com

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Mountain Midwifery Center Stats

This is so exciting to read....but many women in Denver are having great births at our birthing center.  Here is the lastest:

Mountain Midwifery Center
September 17, 2006-September 30, 2010 (48 months)

Registered for care and reach term and/or risk-out (includes AP transfers, move, etc.)

Antepartum transfers (financial issues, move, GDM, preeclampsia, PTL, multiples,

Pre-Admit Intrapartum Referral: risk factor that is found before admission that makes
birth center care inappropriate. Examples include malpresentation on admission, fever,
prolonged prodromal labor, meconium stained fluid, rupture of membranes > 24 hours
with no labor, hypertension on arrival.

Admitted to MMC in labor

Intrapartum transfers: risk factor such as failure to progress, meconium in active labor
after admission, fetal distress
Overall IP transfer rate 12.7%

Births in MMC
Year 1 67
Year 2 120
Year 3 265
Year 4 264
Total 716

Cesarean Section Rate: c/s divided by birth center admission
6.9% (57/816)

Postpartum transfers: PPH, retained placenta, laceration repair

Newborn transfers: TTN, 2 anomalies

GBS rate 7%

Waterbirth rate 41%

Sunday, October 10, 2010


This is a great post about meconium, baby's first bowel movement.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Formula Recall

Ok, after my last post this seems a little ironic, but I wanted to pass this along.  Formula is only evil if it contains beetle larvae!!  Seriously, that is the reason for the recall.  Check to see if your Similac product is on the recall list.


Friday, September 17, 2010

Formula is not evil

I saw something on a friend's page about "people who think formula is evil".  I know I have written posts about this before, but just had so post something again.

I don't think that formula is evil.  I don't even think it's bad.  I don't think anyone is a bad parent for feeding formula to their baby.

But, let's be honest, formula is artificial human milk.  It is a substitute for what God gave us to feed babies, breast milk.  Formula has it's place and has even been used with good outcomes for some babies.  But formula will never be and can never replace breast milk.

Breast milk is what babies need, especially in the first few days and weeks of life.  Breast milk also has many benefits to baby and mother throughout the duration of breastfeeding.  The number of women who truly cannot breastfeed is very low (2-5%).  All other women and babies are physiologically capable of breastfeeding.  Allergies to breast milk are extremely rare.

In the US, many women have to go back to work after they have had their babies.  I am one of those women.  I do know how challenging it can be to breastfeed, pump, and work.  I also know that it can be done.  It is not easy, but also not impossible.  I do realize that some parents do not choose to use formula, but rather do so out of necessity and I respect that.

I believe that the vast majority of babies should be breastfed and that they and their mother's would all be healthier for it.  Formula is not evil, but I also don't think it should be used to liberally.  I guess the high monetary price tag is not enough to deter many parents from choosing it.  I encourage parents who are thinking of choosing formula over breast milk to: 1) read the ingredient label on a can of formula, 2) taste it, 3) know that if you ChOoSe to use formula you are passing up something that is better and also free.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

C-section rates

This is why I do what I do....

Birthing and Breastfeeding doll

After my other post about the breastfeeding baby doll, I thought I would follow up with another.
Here is a doll that not only gives birth, but also breastfeeds.  They are very cute!  I think this could be a very tasteful way of educating children about "where babies come from".

Monday, September 13, 2010

Stem cells in Breast Milk

The human body is amazing.....here is yet another reason to breastfeed your baby!


Breastfeeding Baby doll

I think this is an interesting idea.  I guess you could always just take away the bottle that comes with any other baby doll.  Having no little girls myself, I have no personal experience with this, but have friends whose little girls pretend to nurse their baby dolls.  After all, breastfeeding is the natural way to feed babies!


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Baby Wrap Giveaway

Please see....

for a chance to win a baby wrap carrier!!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Beautiful Birth Video


Article on Water Birth

I had a question come up in my class last week about water births.  The question was: how long can the baby stay under water during/after a water birth?  This article answers that question so much better than I could...


Thursday, July 8, 2010

Why I chose a Midwife

I have my 20 week check up with a midwife tomorrow.  I'm very excited about it, not the appointment necessarily, but midwives!

When I was pregnant with my first baby, we had just moved to a new city, and for me a new state, so I had no idea who to chose for my pre-natal care.  I knew about midwives, but I was too scared to have a home birth and there were no birthing centers in our area. I guess I just did what most women do and I found an OB who was close to where we lived and worked at to the hospital near us.  The doctors at the practice were nice, I liked them and felt like I was getting good care, even though the one doctor I primarily saw, laughed a little when I told him I was hoping for a natural birth.  I did have a natural birth, at the hospital with an OB, but it wasn't what I was hoping for.  My doctor was only there for the last 10-20 minutes of my birth, and since I had an uncomplicated labor and no pain medication, he really only needed to catch my baby.  But even that he did not do, he dropped my son into the bag at the end of the hospital bed, ya know that one that is there to catch fluids, blood etc during birth?!

I was happy with my birth, ecstatic with my new baby, but disappointed with the lack of personal attention and care from my OBs.  And, seriously, couldn't they even catch my baby???

When I got pregnant for a second time, I asked around and found another practice that was more open to natural birth, and there was even a Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) who worked in the office.  This group of doctors, again, were all very nice and caring and were a little bit more supportive of me wanting a natural birth (ie-no laughing when I put the words, "natural" and "birth" in the same sentence).  I again, had a natural birth at the hospital, and this time my doctor did manage to catch my baby, but I still felt a little disappointed that the person I hired to be my care provider only walked into the room 10 minutes before my baby was born.  How did he earn all the money when I did all the work?

Ok, so when I got pregnant for a third time, I knew I wanted something different, I actually considered a home birth this time around, but my husband was NOT at all comfortable with that.  I found a family practice doctor who I was very happy with.  He was on the same page as I was as far as not wanting to do unnecessary interventions, was willing to wait for me to go into labor on my own (my other 2 doctors were pressuring to induce me, even though I never even made it to 41 weeks with either baby), and very supportive of my birth plan.  So, what was the problem this time around, I was still going to the hospital, but hoping for a more home-like experience (dim lights, candles lit, music playing in the background....)  What I remember most about this birth was my poor, scared nurse, sitting on the end of my bed, telling me no to push until my doctor arrived, and my husband telling her that everything was alright and that he would catch the baby if the baby arrived before the doctor.  My doctor was great and stood at the end of the bed with his hands folded, encouraging me and telling me that everything was normal and ok.  It really sticks out in my mind that his hands were folded together, and not holding a pair of scissors or any other medical instruments.

So, I'm pregnant again and expecting our 4th baby in a few more months.  This time around, I chose a midwife and to birth at a free standing birthing center.  This is what I was searching for with my previous births!!  I happen to know this birthing center well, as I also work there, so I have seen many births in this atmosphere.  The midwife, is present throughout labor, not only for the last 10 minutes or so.  There are no hospital beds or gowns, but a real bed, and I can wear my own clothes, play my own music, light candles and dim the lights if I want.  There are even birthing tubs, birthing balls, and birthing stools.  When you walk into one of the birthing rooms, there is a peaceful feeling, not a feeling of sterility. 

I have confidence in my midwives, I know their medical training and that they are capable of handling any situation that may arise during birth.  I worked in the ICU as a nurse for 6 years, so my first instinct is always to plan for the worst case scenario.  What if something goes wrong and I am not at the hospital?  But they have already planned for the worst as well, emergency equipment and medications are on hand at all times, the hospital is one block away, and only low-risk women are allowed to birth at the birthing center.

I can't wait to share my next birth story.  While I know that birth is unpredictable, I feel that I have finally found the environment that will be most supportive of me and my baby, throughout labor, not just for the climax of birth.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

How long did you breastfeed your baby? why?

I taught my breastfeeding class this past week. It's one of my favorites to teach.  My students know that I have 3 kids, so I always get asked the same question at the end of the class, "How long did you nurse your babies?"  I tell the truth, 15 months, 16 months and 18 months.  I can always tell that they are surprised.

So, I'm curious, how long did you nurse?  Did you feel pressured to wean?  Were you uncomfortable nursing in public after a certain age?  How long should a mother nurse her baby?  How long is too long?  Please share your comments.

Friday, May 28, 2010

A few links on Ultrasound safety

As I tell the students in my classes, use your BRAIN when making decisions about any type of intervention in pregnancy of labor.  What are the Benefits, Risks, Alternatives, what does your Intuition tell you, and what if you do Nothing?
I think the same can apply to the use of ultrasound.
peaceful parenting
Gloria Lemay: Ultrasound Precautions http://www.glorialemay.com/blog/?p=225

Green Health Watch News: Ultrasound - just looking can hurt http://www.greenhealthwatch.com/newsstories/newslatest/latest0701/ultrasound-hurt.html

Dr. Marsden Wagner: Ultrasound: More Harm than Good?... See More

Midwifery Today: Questions about u/s and the increase in autism http://www.midwiferytoday.com/articles/ultrasoundrodgers.asp

ASRT: Potential dangers of u/s on development https://www.asrt.org/content/News/IndustryNewsBriefs/Sono/studyshows062408.aspx

Safety and Usefulness of u/s http://www.alternamoms.com/ultrasound.html

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

101 reasons to breastfeed your baby


This is in response to my previous post, that reported a majority of Americans believe that formula is just as beneficial as breast milk.  This is a lie that formula companies pay big bucks in advertising to get you to believe.  The truth is that while formula is sometimes necessary, it can never be as good as breast milk.

Breastfeeding stats in the US


Delayed cord clamping

I learned about the benefits of delayed cord clamping 5 years ago when I was pregnant with my oldest son.  I have since had 3 babies (including him), and not once has my request to not clamp the cord, been honored.  It must be a reflex for the OB to reach for the clamp as soon as the baby is born. 

Now, as a childbirth educator I share with my students the benefits of delayed cord clamping.  I have had several students come back to me, after talking with their OB, and tell me that their doctor did not agree.  The below article is the most recent one that I have read in support of of NOT clamping the cord right away...feel free to share it with your OB!!

PS-most midwives already know this, so if you think that your OB might forget, like mine did, you might want to consider hiring a midwife to attend your birth.


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Breast milk contains stem cells!


Breastfeeding a baby with teeth

I heard something on the radio the other day that disturbed me a bit.  The DJ was appalled by anyone breastfeeding a baby who had teeth, several callers also agreed.

I have breastfed 3 babies until they had teeth, and actually breastfed them longer with teeth than without.  I thought I would share a little bit of my personal experience breastfeeding a baby with teeth....

Now, most babies get teeth around 6 months old, but some can get them sooner, even as soon as 3 months, and some babies are even born with teeth (although rare)!  The current recommendations to breastfeed exclusively for the first 6 months mean that a lot of women are breastfeeding babies with teeth.  I will admit that at first I was a little scared of getting bit.  The good thing is that babies hold their tongue over their lower teeth while nursing, so the lowers you will probably never feel.

I have been bitten a few times, but your baby will learn very quick that if he wants to nurse, biting is not allowed.  I do not think it is intentional as much as babies tend to chew on things while they are teething.  I was also surprised that when my babies got their top teeth, they didn't seem to affect nursing and I couldn't feel them either.  Every once in a while (mostly while on my period, I think) if my breasts were a little tender I could feel the top teeth, but I wasn't in pain from it, just noticeable that they were there.

In the US our culture is not very supportive of breastfeeding in general, and definitely not supportive of breastfeeding toddlers.  But the AAP guidelines do recommend breastfeeding for 12 months.  The WHO recommends breastfeeding for at LEAST 2 years.  Wow, 2 years as a minimum!!!  Did you know that the average age of weaning around the world is 4 years old?  Americans have a very narrow mind when it comes to breastfeeding, perhaps we should take a look around the world.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

New class dates

My next series of birthing classes will start June 21st-August 30th. Classes are Monday evenings at Mountain Midwifery Center.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Monday, April 5, 2010

Breastfeeding saves lives and money


In this new study, researchers calculate the cost in dollars and in lives from not breastfeeding.  With only 14% of American women exclusively breastfeeding their babies at 6 months, we have a lot of work to do. 

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Free Baby Carriers

If you can't afford a sling, wrap or other baby carrier, see this link to apply for a free one!

The First Trimester

Your first trimester is a time of mixed emotions, excitement, fear, joy...  It is also a time of new physical changes.  One of the most common complaints about the first trimester is morning sickness.  Not all women experience this and it ranges from mild nausea to severe vomiting.  Morning sickness doesn't only happen in the morning, for many women it is present all day long.  The good new is that it usually doesn't last much longer than the first trimester.  That being said, 12 weeks can feel like an eternity.  So, what can you do to alleviate morning sickness?
  • try eating smaller meals or snacks, more frequently
  • have a snack before bed, and if you wake up in the night to use the bathroom, have a snack then too.  this will help keep blood sugar from dropping so low during the night.
  • eat a snack BEFORE getting out of bed in the morning.  keep some crackers next to your bed.
  • sparkling juice 
  • salty crackers
  • ginger
  • peppermint (even just smelling peppermint sometimes can help)
  • acupressure bands such as sea bands
These are a few suggestions, try a few to see what works for you.  It's easy to forget what you are doing all this for, your precious little baby!  Try to think about your baby and how much he or she is worth!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Friday, March 26, 2010

website name change

Passion 4 Birth will be changing names.  The new website will now be http://www.newbornnaturally.com/

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Labor is Hard Work!

After my third son was born, I was talking with a woman who had also just had a baby, we were sharing our experiences of labor and birth, however our experiences and our perceptions were very different.  She described to me that even though she had has an epidural her labor was very painful and in fact was the worst pain she had ever felt.  This was her second baby.  When it was my turn to share, I almost felt bad telling her that I had had a natural birth.  She again, reiterated that she could never have a natural birth because it was so painful even with the epidural.

I felt like I knew a secret!  The secret is that yes, labor is painful, and yes, labor is very hard work, but if you work with your body instead of against it, it doesn't have to be excruciating.  I understand that epidurals do give pain relief during labor, but I don't think that they are a magic wand for a pain-free labor.  I'm not speaking from experience here though, as I have never had an epidural.  I have had 3 babies, all naturally. I wouldn't do it any other way!

I can't say that my labors were easy or pain-free.  I can, however, say that I worked very hard during labor.  I told the woman mentioned above, that while I felt my labor was very hard work, I would not describe is as very painful. The best comparison that I can make is to an athletic event.  Labor is a physical event for a woman's body, so a comparison to another physical activity seems to fit well.  In high school I was on the cross-country team.  I enjoyed running, but it was not always easy for me.  As a matter of fact, practice was usually pretty hard, I often had sore muscles from hard training.  I remember when it was race day, feeling so nervous before the start of the race, and as the gun was fired to mark the start of the race, I began to use my legs pushing with everything I had, using those muscles that I had exercised during practice.  While I was running the race I was working hard, my legs would hurt, my lungs would feel as if they couldn't hold any more air, I was breathing fast.  In short, it didn't feel good, until the end.  When the race was over, after I had crossed the finish line, I felt great!  My muscles were still sore, yes, but the sense of accomplishment was overwhelming.  That is what made it all worth it.  All the practices and sore muscles were all worth the glory of crossing the finish line with a personal best time.

Labor is the same way.  It doesn't feel good while you are doing it, it is very hard work.  But once you cross that finish line and are holding your baby, the glory, the rush of hormones is worth is all!  You feel as if you can fly!

Labor isn't only physical, it is also mental and emotional.  If you go into labor expecting it to be a painful experience, it probably will be.  But, if you go into labor expecting to work hard at something that you know your body was designed to do, you will have realistic expectations and be better equipped to handle your labor.

A woman's body is made to birth a baby.  It is an extraordinary event that is very normal for her body.  I don't believe that labor was meant to be painless.  Pain during labor is purposeful. If you tune into your body, and listen to what that pain is telling you, it will guide you into positions and activities are helpful during labor.  Pain is your body's defense mechanism, it tells you what to do to make the situation better.
 The secret I have learned is that labor is not as awful as everyone tells you it is.  Labor is hard work, but it's work that can be done, for your baby.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

New class dates addes to the calendar

I have added classes for the rest of 2010!!!

Monday, February 15, 2010

We don't have the control

A friend just had a baby this weekend.  It was her 3rd baby so we were all expecting her labor to be pretty fast.  I should have known better.  I've had 3 babies and just as each of them are unique and have their own personality, so too my labors each seemed to have a personality. 

Perhaps if we changed our thinking a little bit, we would better understand.  We tend to think of labor as this horrible thing that you have to endure before your baby comes, but it usually gets easier with subsequent babies.  I"ve come to realize that labor is more of a *dance* between mother and baby.  Contractions begin and Mom begins to move, she gets up and walks around, and tries various positions that she learned in birthing class; she starts the dance.  Baby is also moving, turning his/her head, kicking his/her feet, trying to find just the right way through mom's pelvis.

You see, I don't belive that Mom is doing all the work, baby is an active participant.  I have also learned from my children, that although we do nurture out children and try to raise them into civilized human beings, they are born with a personality, that is not something created by us parents.

My oldest son literally come running into this world, after a 6 hour labor and only pushing for 20 minutes...and he hasn't stopped yet!  He is full of energy and always on the go.  My second son took us off guard.  We were expecting my second labor to be even faster than my first (which is often the case), but no, my labor was 17 hours.  He was in no rush to get here.  He needed a little bit longer time during labor.  His personality is laid back, calm and cool.  I still can't get him to rush to put shoes and coat on to get out the door when I"m in a hurry!  Now, by the time I was pregnant for the 3rd time, I had figured out that I was not the one in control!  I had no expectations and my labor was somewhere in the middle of the other two, closer to 9 hours.  He too has his own personality, but his stubborness reminds us of our oldest son.

It's hard to not always have control over things.  I have learned this lesson over and over as a parent.  And I still need reminders every now and then.  Women do not control their labors, but they must move with it and dance with their baby until that scared moment of birth.

Sunday, January 31, 2010


I've always been a proponent of baby wearing. I own two slings, a structured front carrier and a framed backpack carrier. I love my slings and have used them with all 3 of my babies. I love that I can nurse my baby and still walk around and do other things.

But I recently decided to be brave and try out a wrap. I was intimidated by the complexity of them. My sling was so easy to put on and slip baby in and out. But I was intrigued by the way the wrap is worn, over BOTH shoulders. I did find that after wearing a sling for a long time that my shoulder would get sore or I would feel like I needed to change shoulders.

After getting my wrap, I realized that it is not as complicated as I thought (I will note that there are MANY ways to tie a wrap, but to start off I'm just using a basic cross wrap). I was actually able to carry my baby comfortably the first time I put it on! There are many great videos and websites that review how to tie a wrap. I love that it distributes the baby's weight evenly and is very comfortable. I'm still learning to nurse my baby while in the wrap, in other words I haven't nursed him in public in the wrap...just at home.


skip ahead in time a few months
So, I am still using my wrap, although, now that my little guy can walk, he seems to prefer that mode of transportation.  I like my sling especially for putting baby in and out several times.  The wrap is most comfortable, but does take some time to tie, so is best for a longer walk, or when you know baby won't be in and out very often.  I do prefer the structured backpack for a strenuous hike (just can't nurse him while in that one).  The Snugli front carrier?  Well, I guess I prefer the sling or wrap because baby is held closer to you and can be worn skin to skin.  Again, no breastfeeding in the Snugli or Baby Bjorn.

Upcoming Classes

New classes starting soon!
Sunday evening classes, February 21-May 2.  No class will be held on April 4th.
Monday evening classes, April 5-June 14.  No class will be held on Memorial Day.
Call 303-788-0600 (Mountain Midwifery Center) to register for classes.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Breast Crawl

check out this website!

Thursday, January 14, 2010


I find it ironic that so often we induce labor before a woman's body is ready and then when her labor doesn't progress fast enough we tell her that she needs a c-section.  What if we were patient enough to let labor start on its own and to let labor progress at its own pace?


When I found out I was pregnant for the first time I couldn't wait to go to the book store.  I wanted to read everything I could about pregnancy, labor, and babies.  I was excited, but also scared.  There was so much that I didn't know.  And of course, I had heard so many horrible stories about women who were in labor for days and were in so much pain.  But a thought struck me that somehow I would have to get over that fear.  I was pregnant and I was going to have a baby, scared or not.  I think it is very common for women to be scared not only of labor but of the big event of having a baby to take care of.  Lucky for us women, we have 9 months to prepare and 9 months to face our fears.

At the last two births that I attended, both women stated, "I'm scared."  And for both of them, that moment was toward the end of their labors, it was almost as if they reached a point where they finally had to face that fear before they could complete their labor.  I could see a definite change in demeanor from a feeling of fear to one of confidence.  During my own labors too, I remember in each one of them a "low" point of self-doubt or fear, a feeling of not being able to go on.  It took some reassurance from my husband and a renewed commitment within myself, that I could do it, I was doing it, and I wanted to do it.

I have said before that I feel that labor is a rite of passage into motherhood. Labor is a physical event, but also an emotional and mental one as well.  So, how do women do it?  How do they face their fears during labor?  For myself, a big part of facing my fears was reading every book I could during that 9 months.  I took a birthing class.  I spent a lot of time educating myself about how my body works and what to expect.  During labor when I had that moment of self-doubt I finally had to just give in and trust that my body was doing what it needed to do in order to birth my baby.  That feeling of surrender is hard, it is hard to give up control, but from all that I had learned prior I knew that nature would take its course and my body would work the way it was designed.  Now that I am a mother I see that surrender is an important life lesson.  You cannot always control how often your baby wakes up to nurse at night, or what time he is going to nap the next day.  I have had to give up some of the control that I had over my own life in order to care for the life of my baby.

It is not uncommon to have fear about labor or about taking care of your new baby.  But you can educate yourself to prepare for your baby's arrival. And, while facing our fears is not always easy, it does help us to grow and to become a better person.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Why have a natural birth, when you can have drugs?

I was making lunch for my kids yesterday and contemplating how the easy things to make usually aren't as healthy as foods that take time to prepare.  Maybe you've heard it said before that you should avoid the isles at the grocery store and only shop the perimeter of the store where the fruit, vegetables, bread, meat and dairy are kept (the fresh foods).  Kids know this to be true too, they know that anything that comes in a wrapper that makes a crinkly noise is going to taste good.  I have been striving to prepare healthy meals for my family and avoid processed and fast foods.  It seems so easy, but in the hustle and bustle of daily life, crackers from a box and waffles from the freezer are the easy alternative, while not necessarily the healthiest option.

What does this have to do with labor?  I am trying to make a point, so here goes.  When I tell people that I have had 3 natural births, I often get a reaction something like this, "You're crazy! Why would you go through all that pain when you can just get an epidural?"  On the surface I can see their point.  But life just doesn't seem to work that way, taking the easy way, I mean.  I know that we all want the easy way and no one seeks out the hard way to do things, but sometimes you have to work a little bit harder in order to get a greater reward.  To use a cliche, you get what you pay for.  Eating a home-cooked meal usually tastes better and is better for you than say a frozen pizza, but the home-cooked meal, however took longer to make and was more of an effort.  I think labor is the same way.

I wanted to have a natural birth because I knew that it was possible and could be done.  Women have been having natural births for thousands of years!  I wanted to avoid any drugs or medications that could affect my baby.  At the hospital, a nurse told me that I wouldn't win a medal for having a natural birth, but you know what? After each baby was born, I felt like I had just won a medal.  I actually felt great, physically and mentally.  My babies were very alert after birth, and I was able to get up and walk right away.  I truly feel that a natural birth was worth it.

Now, I have to admit, that we do have the occasional frozen pizza for dinner, and my kids have had fast food from time to time, but overall we strive for the best and healthiest options for our children.  For my husband and I that also meant starting with a medication-free birth.  Hard work does have its rewards.


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