Kasandra's Birth Story: Kaylee

“In early 2016, I was diagnosed with PCOS (poly-cystic ovarian syndrome) which meant when my husband and I decided to have a child, it would be very difficult.  (Reading that line “when my husband and I decided” is quite funny now.)  Shortly after that I started praying to God to make me fruitful; I had no idea what that would entail for me!

“August 15, 2016 I went home early from work feeling flu-like and just overall crappy.  I was getting sick (so I thought) and decided to go home and rest.  I felt this way all week but pushed through work.  That Wednesday something was pressing on me and I just needed to be with my husband; he was 3 hours away in Pecos working.  I decided to pack me and the dogs up and fly down there for a nice surprise.  I can do a 3 hour drive, a few hours of sleep and 3 hours back before work- no problem.  I used to do it all the time!  I got up the next morning feeling woozy and under slept.  “What is wrong with me?” I remember thinking, “just shake it off, once you get on the road you’ll be fine!”  I was not fine.  A little while into the trip I was starving and drifting off.  I decided on coffee (bad mistake!) and those heavenly, lovely French toast sticks from Burger King (which didn’t last long a la coffee).

“Finally, later that Thursday I confided in my husband “I just don’t feel well”.  “Take a pregnancy test,” he replied, which is his answer to everything!  I told him no, absolutely not throughout the day until he finally convinced me.  Friday morning I walked into the bathroom and 3 minutes later could not believe my eyes.  I called my husband crying, speaking inaudibly between sobs and snot, and all he said, “It’s going to be ok”.  Four pregnancy tests later throughout the weekend, different brands of course, I was convinced that God had made me fruitful.

“Fast forward to April 14, 2017, 10:00 PM.  I am lying in bed, waiting for sleep to take hold of me, and I get this cramping sensation in my tummy.  I did not even have to question it- my first contraction.  I left my husband sleeping and worked through the contractions every hour that night.  That morning, April 15, my contractions worked up to every 30 minutes apart.  “This is the real deal,” I thought and told my husband we were in labor.  I decided to give Alex a heads up.  Call me crazy but that morning we went grocery shopping and even dropped items at the church for the Easter cook out all amidst contractions!

“Finally that afternoon, my husband convinced me that it was time to put the dogs in the pet hotel.  I agreed.  The contractions were consistently coming and getting stronger.  At 5:30 pm, we dropped our beloved Labradors at the pet hotel.  As I was getting ready to say good-bye, I felt a sudden gush of warm fluid.  I tried to keep my composure and politely asked for a restroom.  I waddled to that restroom and sat on the toilet as the rest of the fluid gushed out of me.  Quietly, I waddled back to my husband, said good-bye to my labs, and walked out of the pet hotel.  Back at the truck, I told my husband that my water broke.  I also texted Alex.  Labor up to this point was peaches and cream!

“Once we got back to our apartment, the contractions were consistently 5 minutes apart and getting stronger.  I helped my husband cook dinner, periodically stopping to breathe through a contraction.  At this point, our doula arrived and shortly after Alex arrived to check on me.  When Alex checked me, I was already 6 cm dilated!  Holy wow, I had gotten this far all by myself! And, of course the wonderful encouraging support of my husband. 

"From here, most everything is a whirlwind of events to me.  I could not tell you times of when things happened or in what order things happened.  I thank Jesus that we were able to get our beloved photographer and not miss those moments when we could not remember them.

“I do remember sitting on my ball with my husband behind me, supporting me, talking me through the strong contractions that I thought I would never live through.  I remember the beautiful ladies surrounding me, talking me through things, supporting me in every way possible.  Encouraging me. 

"Amidst all of this, my “doula kitty”, as she was named, was keeping everyone entertained playing with my affirmation cards that had been laid on the floor in front of me.  I do remember attempting to go for a walk to help labor along; we made it around the corner of our neighbor’s apartment.

"I remember getting in the shower with my loving husband to help ease my contractions and just standing under the warm water being held in his strong arms, knowing that those strong arms would soon be holding our daughter.  This is where I transitioned. 

“I remember Alex asking me to try to go to the restroom to make sure my bladder was empty, because I had been drinking fluids throughout the evening.  I tried, but had the contraction to end all contractions, and I was done.  Someone needed to get me off that blasted toilet and get me some drugs.  My husband was finally able to peel me off that stupid thing (why do they have to make toilets so low to the ground?) and our daughter quietly slipped into my birth canal.  “Baby’s coming!” was all I could say or think, except that now I am in my bathroom, stuck in a half squatting position.  Now everyone is in my bedroom and Alex is trying to get to me to see what is going on.  She cannot; the bathroom is too small.  “I need you to come out of the bathroom, I can’t get in.”  Horror, complete horror.  How is this woman expecting me to walk with my baby between my legs?  One step at a time is how!

“Between Alex and my husband they got me to the side of our bed where she was able to check me and see what was going on.  No visible baby yet.  Check baby’s heart rate, it is dropping.  Time to switch positions. 

"At this point I have my eyes closed, concentrating on my breathing, letting them take me over and tell me what to do.  My daughter is in jeopardy and my whole trust is in these ladies and God.  They get me onto the bed, half on my side, half on my back and check again.  Heart rate is coming back up. 

"Contraction- push.  No one has to tell me to do so, my body is doing what it was designed to do.  My doula is whispering in my ear, encouraging, telling me what is happening. She is already crowning! 

"Contraction- push.  My mind is resounding, you need to get this baby out so she does not get stuck in the canal.  It seems forever until the next contraction hits; I lay there waiting.  Finally, contraction! Push! 

The umbilical cord was wrapped around baby's neck, shoulders, arms and legs.  This is a very common occurrence and typically causes no concern, but in this case, it did cause baby's heart rate to drop when she suddenly dropped into the birth canal and the cord tightened around her.  By changing mom's position, we were able to alleviate the strain on baby and her heart rate stabilized. 

The umbilical cord was wrapped around baby's neck, shoulders, arms and legs.  This is a very common occurrence and typically causes no concern, but in this case, it did cause baby's heart rate to drop when she suddenly dropped into the birth canal and the cord tightened around her.  By changing mom's position, we were able to alleviate the strain on baby and her heart rate stabilized. 

“My beautiful daughter, Kaylee, was born April 15, 2017 at 11:46 pm.  After 17.5 hours of labor, 6 hours of active labor, and 8 minutes of pushing, my daughter was finally here! 

"As I sit here writing this, with her sucking and licking on my arm, I am so grateful God blessed us with a beautiful family, a beautiful midwife, and a beautiful team of people that supported me and encouraged me being a first time mom taking on the challenge of a home birth.  And, especially for God’s gift of a wonderful, strong husband who supported me all through my pregnancy, all through my labor, and was there to catch our daughter into his strong, supportive hands.  And, yes, I would do it all over again and plan to!” ~Kasandra P.

Arica's Birth Story: Constance

"I will never forget the day I finally saw the word "pregnant" on that pregnancy test window.  Following four years of trying, I finally had a little heart beating inside of me.  To top it all off, it was my birthday, and here I was with my prayers answered, every wish on every candle and every falling star finally coming true.  My husband, Trent, and I cried so many tears of joy! 

"My heart had always been set on a homebirth.  My mom had me at home, so it was always something that I had desired to do myself.  We immediately decided to contact a midwife.  Having heard so many wonderful things about Alex and having read through every page and blog entry on her website, our hearts were set on her before we even met her. 

"My entire pregnancy was beautiful, easy, and joyful.  Fast forward nine months to July 2nd; I was 40 weeks and 5 days pregnant.  Having enjoyed every bit of my pregnancy, I was constantly saying "I wouldn't mind being pregnant forever!" However, here we were facing one final week before I would have to be induced at 42 weeks and I was a little afraid that I might actually never go into labor on my own. I asked Alex to sweep my membranes to see if we could get things kick-started.  Nothing happened that day, and nothing happened that night.  Alex told me to go to bed early, just in case anything happened through the night or by the next morning.  

"July 3rd, at 1:40 a.m., I woke up for my usual midnight restroom break.  When I got to the restroom, I noticed that I was feeling crampy.  I went back to bed and tried to fall back to sleep, but to no avail.  The cramping was a little painful and my adrenaline kicked in as I realized I was in the early stages of labor.  I got out of bed and started pacing in the darkness of my room.  Around 2:00 a.m. I decided that it was time to wake up Trent.  
"Babe." 
He popped up in bed, "yeah?!" 
"I'm having legit contractions right now.  I think we're in labor." 
He began asking questions: Are you okay? What do we need to do? Should we call Alex? How do they feel? 

"I informed him that the contractions were not lasting very long, so we needed to wait it out for the time being.  After sitting up with me for a bit, he suggested that he would be more help later if he could get a bit more sleep, and said that I should try and sleep more too.  I told him that I had tried going to sleep again but it didn't work, but that he could go back to sleep because there wasn't really anything he could do to help me at the moment.  In the meantime, I paced back and forth in the bedroom, practiced my relaxed breathing, and timed contractions on the pregnancy app on my phone.  After a while, I grabbed my exercise ball and sat on it with my head laying on the edge of my bed.  There I rocked my hips back and forth, back and forth.  It gave some relief to my body.  My contractions were all over the place.  They would last 15 to 20 seconds and rest a minute or two, then last 50 to 65 seconds and rest for 5 to 6 minutes.  There was no pattern and it began to be a little frustrating.

"Trent woke up again around 4:00 a.m. and immediately checked on me, his pregnant wife who was rocking on my exercise ball with my head buried in the mattress.  He asked again if we should call Alex.  I showed him the contraction timer and let him know that it was not within the 4-1-1 guideline to indicate active labor yet.  He let the dogs outside, and we moved into the kitchen where I paced back and forth on the cold tile and occasionally leaned on the counter and rocked my hips.  Trent unpacked the birth pool and aired it up in the bedroom.  

"For three hours there was no change, no pattern to the contractions.  Trent watched me pace around the kitchen, dining, and living room.  He would walk with me, rub my back, and run his fingers through my hair to help me relax.  I pulled up and began playing the laboring playlist that I had created back in the beginning of my pregnancy.  I also jotted a few words down in the journal I had started the day I took my pregnancy test.  It was full of little notes to Constance.  

"At 7:00 a.m. the pressure and pain jumped up a notch.  While the timer showed no difference, the change in intensity gave me hope that I wasn't stuck in one place.  Each contraction brought along cramping in my upper thighs and lower back.  I remember telling Trent that the pain in my back was not going away between my contractions.  He began to squeeze my hips when a contraction would come.  This almost took the pain away completely.  I was so thankful! 

"At 8:55 a.m. I called Alex. How exciting and overwhelming to finally tell my midwife that labor had begun! We discussed the timing and pressure, and she told me that this was all great and to let her know when they started getting closer to lasting 60 seconds.  I was still a little frustrated that they were not lasting longer than 20 seconds.  Would I be in labor all day long or even into the next day? Trent decided to help me take my mind off of things by pulling out Skip Bo and making me some toast.  We played Skip Bo in between each surge, and I tried eating the toast but I felt a little nauseous.  

"At one point I began crying.  Trent asked me if it was from the pain.  "No." I said, "This is just extremely overwhelming!" 

"I couldn't believe that, after all of this waiting, this day was finally here.  We were going to meet our baby soon.  I was overcome with so many emotions!  A few minutes later, the song "We Dance" by Steffany Gretzinger began to play and we both began to cry.  "We get to see our baby today." Trent said to me.  He was laying on the floor with his face underneath mine, as I was on my hands and knees rocking my hips.  In that moment every feeling of failure, during years of infertility, and of fear, during a couple of scary moments in our pregnancy, came rushing to the surface.  That song was my solace during many of those dark moments because I knew God would fulfill His promise to me, and here I was finally preparing to give birth to that promise.  I was reminded that He placed this desire in my heart to be a mother.  

"Contractions began to intensify more.  At 10:25 a.m., Alex texted me to see how I was doing and if there were any changes.  I texted her back that contractions were hurting and were getting closer to a minute long, but still no consistent pattern.  She immediately called me. 
"Are they taking your breath away?" 
"Yes" I muttered as a contraction began. "I'm having one now." 
"Breathe through it, this is your body bringing her down." she reminded me.     

"She told me that she would start getting her stuff together to head my way and that I should call Kayla (my doula) and get her there.  I contacted both Kayla and Amber (my photographer) and let them know it was time to head over. 

"At 11:27 a.m. my body kicked into high gear.  Contractions finally hit a pattern, lasting 50 to 60 seconds and coming every 2 to 3 minutes.  I discovered that I am a bit of a loud birther as my body took over and I began to verbally express each contraction.  Alex arrived around 11:45 and we moved to the bedroom to get checked.  While checking me, Alex started to smile. 
"Wow. You are incredible. Let me check one more time to be sure. Yep, you're at 9.5cm."  She turned to Trent, "We need to get that pool filled up now!" 

"Everything after that was sort of a blur.  Alex got on the phone with the birth team to let them know that if they didn't get there immediately, they might miss the birth!  Trent began rushing to get water into the birth tub.  Amber helped Alex get the bed ready.  Meanwhile, I bore through each contraction, knowing that I was almost at the end of this stage. I was fixing to see my baby's face.  Kayla and Elyse (the birth assistant) made it to the house at some point in the midst of this.  I spent most of this time leaning on Trent through contractions.  

"Around 12:30 p.m. the pool was ready and we climbed in.  The warm water felt amazing.  I positioned myself on my knees, held on to the edge of the pool, and rocked in between contractions.  Alex reminded me to relax and breathe in the resting periods.  She asked if I felt like I needed to push with my contractions and I did. With the next contraction, I followed my body's cues and pushed.  I could feel my baby moving closer to the birthing canal.  My water had not yet broken, and it added extra pressure.  Alex told me that I would feel a little pop when it broke. 

"As my baby got closer with each push, fear began to set in.  For the first time during my entire labor, I thought to myself "I can't do this. There's no way this baby is fixing to come out of me. She's too big." Alex read the fear on my face.  She looked me in the eye and told me "This isn't scary, it's just something new that you haven't experienced before. You can do this!" Immediately my courage came rushing back! 

"It is true what they say.  The moment when you want to quit is the moment right before your baby comes.  A few more pushes and I felt my water break.  Within seconds, baby Constance's head was out.  I immediately felt so much relief, gave one more push for her shoulders, and out she came. 

"Trent and I were in such awe that we both sat there staring down at her in the water, unable to move.  I reached down and pulled my beautiful little girl up to my chest.  I looked up at Trent, who was crying the happiest tears, and all I could do was smile. 

"At 1:21 p.m., Constance took her first breath of air.     

"Our little girl was finally here, and she was perfect."  ~Arica D. 

Tricia's Birth Story: Emiliana

"Kingston (first son) had been sick with a fever so Zach (husband) slept with Kingston in his room so we could try and prevent Teddy (second son) from getting sick. Our plans were for the boys to be in the room during Emiliana’s birth. Unfortunately Teddy started coughing early Tuesday morning. It was a rough night for him. He did throw up twice on me that night from coughing. I think I maybe got about 3 hours of sleep.

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Shannon's Birth Story: Parker

I woke up early before anyone else on the morning of January 28th to take a pregnancy test. I remember feeling so anxious to see the results. I knew I would be heartbroken to see another negative test, after trying for 13 months to get pregnant. I sat there in the bathroom shaking while I prayed that God’s Will be done and that no matter what the results were, I would be content. (Philippians 4:4) I looked to find a POSITIVE TEST! Praise God! 

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Ways for Dads to Bond with Baby

Most of the time, it’s easy for mom to be able to bond with her baby.  She’s been feeling her little one inside her for nine months, gave birth and then is feeding the baby frequently (or for what feels like all day!).  But what about dad?  Where does he fit in when it comes to caring for and bonding with his child?  It’s not uncommon for fathers to feel left out once baby arrives, but here are some things dad can do to bond with his child from early on:

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Nutrition During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

When you’re preparing to become a mother, it can be overwhelming trying to figure out what is best for you and your baby.  What foods should your eat, what vitamins to take, and if there is anything you need to avoid.  I’ve tried to break down the multitude of information out there and put it together in a way that would be easy to read and reference...

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Your Placenta....It's What's Good for You!!

“You ate your what?!?!”

“Ewwww….that’s gross!!  We’re not animals!”                  

“What are the benefits of doing that?”     

“How do you eat it?”

“Do you have to have a home birth to do that?”

“How do I find someone to help me with it and what does it cost?”

These are the questions/statements I hear most often when people find out that not only do I encapsulate placentas, but that I ate my own!  When people hear about placenta encapsulation, they usually react in one of several ways: 1) Curiosity, 2) Disgust, or 3) Fascination.  I’m going to answer the questions that many people ask when they want to learn more, and then you can decide for yourself if placenta encapsulation is right for you!

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Amelia's Birth Story: Londyn

Londyn Beth was born March 12, 2016 at 5:22pm, weighing 7lbs. 11oz. (exactly the same as Jameson) and was 20 1/4inches in length. Londyn came 7 days late and we were all anxiously awaiting her arrival. We had a beautiful water birth at our home in Lubbock, Texas with Grandma Robertson visiting to witness the birth. It was perfect, she is perfect and once again I’m reminded of the beauty, the sacredness and the miracle of birth. Here’s how the story went...

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Childbirth Education Classes....Why do I Need Them?

Statistically, people do more research when buying a car than they do when having a baby...isn't that shocking?!  I think childbirth education (CBE) classes are the equivalent to taking Driver’s Ed when you’re a teenager: 1) You take them because you want to and should know what’s going on within the “vehicle”, 2) So that you learn how to take action to make appropriate decisions, and 3) So that you don’t have regrets after the fact if things don’t go your way.  But what type of CBE class should you take?  Where should you take them?  When should you start?  What will the classes discuss?  Do you need to take them if you already took CBE classes with a previous pregnancy or if this is your 2nd, 3rd, 10th child?  What happens if you don’t take them?  Keep reading if you want to find out…

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Knowing Your Options & Creating a Birth Plan

Did you know that the average couple spends more time researching what car to lease or what house to buy than they do preparing for the birth of their child?  Don’t be a statistic!  Learn about your options so that you can make the best decisions possible regarding your pregnancy, birth and the start of your baby’s life.  In doing so, you can use these options and the ones that are important to you, to create a birth plan to share with your care provider and your doula to make sure you all are on the same page (and if you’re not, it’s time to think about finding someone who is).  Here are some choices you have that you may have never thought about or known were choices before…

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