Archive for April, 2011

Luke @ 1 week
April 20, 2011


My Boys. Keith loves sharing his toys with baby Luke.


Our Birth Story
April 18, 2011





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A Birth Orchestrated by God

Birth is a sacred, natural event designed by God.  Our bodies were made to give birth and, when allowed to birth uninterrupted, our bodies are capable of so much ~ like a petite, 115 lb mommy giving birth to a 9 lb, 10 oz baby in under 2 hours with no tears, no trauma and no medical intervention necessary.  

Due to the overwhelming trend in the medical community of (unnecessary) interventions during childbirth, we decided that for our births, home was our location of choice and a trained midwife was preferrable over an OB.  In both of our birth experiences, had we been in a hospital, both of our boys would have been c-sections.  We are so grateful that we educated ourselves and chose to trust God and the birth process He created to birth our babies.  This truly was another birth Orchestrated by God!

* * * * * 

 Three weeks ago at our midwife appt, I was dilated to almost 2 cm and 75% effaced. “Great!” I thought – it could be any day!!  The next week (we were sure we weren’t going to make it back to the midwife’s office again) I was 3 cm dilated!  “Fantastic!” I thought – any day the baby is coming!!  I had been having fairly strong contractions every single day.  The next week came and went . . . still no baby.  Our “guess date” came and went. Still no baby, but we knew our only option was to wait until the Baby was ready to come.  Keith and I began taking loooong walks around Back Bay and I continued drinking raspberry tea (not to be confused with hibiscus tea with artificial raspberry flavoring).  Still nothing. 

Tues afternoon after nap time, I had a very strong desire to go for a long walk along the beach.  Harold just wanted to take a nap on the couch.  After much coercion, I convinced him and we all loaded up into the car and headed to Newport Beach.  It was about 70 degrees with a slight breeze and we walked for over an hour along the board walk, talking, watching the sunset and enjoying the fresh spring air.  I only remember one contraction during our walk, but I didn’t even need to stop during it, I just kept walking. 

We got home around 7:45 and began to make tacos for dinner.  As I was setting the table at 8:00 p.m., I noticed a small gush of water.  Not sure if it was my water, I told Harold and then called Candace, our midwife.   While I was on the phone with Candace, I was telling here there weren’t any contractions yet, but then there was a gush of water and a pretty strong contraction hit.  She advised us to go to bed early and call her when contractions needed my concentration. 

We all sat down and ate dinner together and then Harold and I began to clean the house as quickly as possible.  I had a couple of contractions in the living room which I handled easily enough on my own while on my hands and knees.  They seemed to be 10 min and then 8 min apart.  We got Keith dressed and prepped him that Miss Candace and Dr. Jennifer were going to come over because Baby Luke was coming tonight.  I was in the kitchen when another contraction hit and I again dropped to my hands and knees.  Harold was right there coaching me through it and rubbing my back.  I told him we needed to get Keith in bed immediately!  It was about 8:45 and as I was clearing the last things off the table, I had my hands full of plates and food and a contraction hit in the doorway.  I nearly threw everything to the ground as I dropped to my hands and knees and yelled for Harold to come help me!  I told him I didn’t think I was going to be any more help cleaning and headed to the bedroom to go to bed.  I began to realize that the birth waves seemed to be coming closer together.

Since my water had broken, we decided to remake the bed with a plastic liner and old sheets on top.  I just wanted to throw a blanket down, but luckily Harold insisted on actually making it properly.  A couple more contractions came and went as I knelt on the floor next to our bed.  I threw up a couple times but Harold has two trash cans right next to me and was actively coaching me through every birth wave.  He was timing the contractions on his phone app and they were about 1 minute ½ long and about 1 minute ½ in between.  I was so grateful they were as long as they were and I began to welcome their strength but I felt like I needed relief as they were becoming quite strong and actually painful.  I felt the urge to want to escape and I realized I really needed Harold coaching me.  I tried sitting on the toilet, but the bottom of my belly was hitting the toilet seat and it made everything more painful.  From our class, we learned not to move during contractions but to practice fully relaxing so Harold tried to get me to just hold still in a simi upright/standing position but I literally pushed him to the side and threw myself on the floor on my knees with my head down on the ground.  I have no idea why I kept going back to this position other than it was the main position in which I practiced relaxation during my pregnancy. 

Harold was still trying to set everything up and decided he really could use an extra pair of hands b/c the contractions were coming just minutes apart and I needed his full attention to handle each one.  After that contraction, I insisted we call Candace (our midwife) and Jennifer (our doula).  It was 9:20.  I moved back and forth between the toilet and the bathroom floor, but couldn’t get comfortable.  We couldn’t get ahold of Jennifer.  When Harold talked to Candace, she was gassing up her car and said she could be there in about 45 min.  I told Harold to tell her that I kept feeling like I needed to poop and she responded that she would be there faster.  We kept calling Jennifer, but we knew she was in the middle of her birth class.   
I stayed on my hands and knees for the next several contractions, continuing to throw up but trying to relax entirely thru every contraction.  I tried climbing in the shower, but it didn’t offer any relief.  I began finding myself squirming during the contractions and couldn’t fully relax through each one.  We turned the water off and Harold covered me up with a towel.  I used another towel on the ledge of the shower to lean over and hung my head towards the floor while on my knees.  Harold had some great visualization stories about waterfalls, rocks, streams, flying lilies, little boys throwing snowballs and rocks in the streams.  It was so helpful to escape a little bit from each contraction.

We labored in the shower/bathroom for a while.  I could feel each contraction peak fairly quickly and then decrease slightly, but lasting for about another minute.  I was really struggling to relax thru them and Harold firmly reprimanded me and refocused me to relax and focus.  I was very uncomfortable and couldn’t find any position that offered any relief or rest.  I tried to tell Harold that I really needed him to start a story quicker because they were peaking so quickly after they started but then they were easier for the last minute.  I began moaning and growling through each contraction.  At the end of each contraction I would coach myself and say “breathe that contraction away.” 

While in the shower, I began to notice that the contractions were double peaking – one would start, peak and then continue but then instead of stopping for a minute, another contraction came and peaked with no break in between.  Harold kept asking me to tell him when a contraction ended so he could track them – the problem was they weren’t ending – I tried to communicate to him that another contraction was coming immediately after.   I was still throwing up.  I heard Jennifer come in and during a double peak, difficult contraction, I was squirming and losing control and she firmly reminded me to breathe and then breathed for me so I could follow her pattern.  That was the easiest contraction to go thru.  It was about 9:45.  Harold set Jennifer on a couple of tasks to get everything set up.
Still in the shower, I felt a slight urge to push but I thought that was crazy and refused to tell anyone, but I asked if someone could figure out where Candace was in route.  Jenny asked, “you already called Candace?”  She wasn’t sure we needed Candace already and I realized maybe we were too early still.  I began to feel confused because I was beginning to feel the urge to push stronger, but that wonderful blissful fog that I had with my first birth wasn’t there!  Everything was very vivid and I was aware of everything going on!  I felt that I couldn’t continue like this without that fog to help me relax and block out the outside world so I could escape inside my own little world of birthing.  I told myself I couldn’t be that close and I couldn’t have a baby until that sensation came. 

Feeling very uncomfortable in the shower, I quickly jumped out of the shower and straddled the toilet backwards.  I knew the contractions were coming quickly and I didn’t want to be caught unsituated when one hit, so I literally threw everything off the back of the toilet and yelled for Harold to put the pillow there so I could lean into it.  A couple of really super strong, intense contractions came and I began twisting and shaking my head like a horse and “whinny-ing” with my lips.  Jennifer tried to coach me to a more still, relaxed technique, but I explained between contractions (which seemed to be only about 30 seconds) that Ina May said to make those noises and do that with my lips.  Loose Lips, Loose Bottom.  I did that a few times and felt like it allowed me to actively work with the contraction instead of being swallowed by it. 

I was hitting an intense pain level and really needed something to counteract it – some sort of distraction.  I yelled for Jennifer to grab ice packs and she put them on my lower back.  I wasn’t having back pain, but the burning, raw sensation of the ice against my skin was exactly the distraction I needed to counteract the pain of the contraction.  I had her put it on, take it off, put it on again technique and it got me through a couple more contractions. 

Sitting on the toilet, the urge to push was stronger.  I heard Candace come in and a contraction hit super hard.  I was moaning and grunting – there was no way I could hold still and relax!  It was about 10:10 p.m.  I reach down to see if I could feel the baby’s head, but I couldn’t so I kept thinking we had a while to go still.

They were trying to set up the birth pool, but could not get the hot water to work so they kept telling me that Harold needed to go help but would be right back.  I told them that he could not go and that someone else needed to figure it out.   I think I finally realized that I truly did need to push and told someone that, but I wasn’t sure they were going to believe me. 

Harold finally suggested that we both go to the dining room so he could hook up the hoses and I thought that the pool sounded like a fabulous idea!  I got about 3 steps away and another contraction hit so I dropped to my hands and knees in the bedroom.  Then I got up again, made it to the hall before another contraction hit.  I again dropped to my hands and knees.  I threw up all over and during that contraction really beared down and grunted loudly.  I saw Candace come over and say jokingly that I was going to have the baby right there in the hall.  I thought, no – I really need to get to the pool.  But I was thinking I still had at least an hour or two of pushing.  I heard Candace ask Jennifer if I was bulging and I think she said I was, but I didn’t know what that meant.  Harold left to fix the hoses and Jennifer massaged my back and then put pressure on my hips during a contraction.  That felt wonderful when she pressed my hips so I asked her to do that again.  I think it was two or three contractions and I heard Candace say that the pool wasn’t going to be ready so we needed to go back to bed.  I argued something and she said, “Lets go to the bed and then we can go back to the pool.”  I thought – no, that is backwards, I’m already half way to the pool, I’m not going to go back to bed b/c then I’ll have to go further to go back to the pool.”  Then she told me that the pool was cold.  I told her that was ok – I was hot.  She said firmly told me it would not be good for the baby and to go back to bed.  I told someone to at least grab the camera then!

Somehow I got up and climbed onto the bed.  I told someone that we did have plastic down so it was ok.  After one contraction, I felt a strong stretching, tightening sensation that I thought must be the baby getting closer.  Always being concerned about tearing, I really wanted to labor in water so I told Candace I was going to the shower.  She said, “no – get on the bed”  I reluctantly agreed and saw the massage oil on the dresser and had her grab that since I could not be in the water.  Harold climbed on the bed and we were both on our knees facing each other. 

I was becoming a little concerned and confused about what was going on b/c the contractions weren’t spacing out like pushing contractions are suppose to do and during each contraction I had this crazy sensation to bear down and poop.  I had never experienced that with Keith’s birth and I had no idea what was going on.  I finally reached down and felt an entire head in my hand!!  His head filled up the palm of my hand – no little bit of hair barely peaking through – it was like his head has escaped out of me without me even knowing!

I was leaning on Harold and was soooo thirsty!    I kept begging someone to get me a drink, but they could all see more of what was going on then I could so everyone was taking pictures and filming instead of getting me a drink (which was ok b/c I’d rather have the pictures than water!)  I asked if they could find the video camera, but they couldn’t.  I said, “all well, I guess I’ll just have a baby then.”  Then I asked if they could go get Keith, but no one moved.  Then I heard someone gently say, “Sarah, his whole face is out”  I didn’t believe it and thought, no, I’ll need to push a lot more to get his whole head out.  Then I felt Candace stretching me and it sort of felt like she was helping the baby turn.  I later learned the baby had a nuchal hand and she was trying to get him to push it back but ended up having to pull it out first.  She asked me to push but I told her there wasn’t a contraction, then I thought – hey, if I push maybe this whole thing will be over faster, so I pushed with all my might and out plopped this wet, slippery baby right onto our bed!!  There was a gush of water and baby poop and afterbirth all over the sheets (I was so grateful we had the plastic on the bed – but Harold said we could have had a new mattress instead)  I was in absolute shock!

I heard people say “pick up your baby!” and I told them I couldn’t!  Finally Candace leaned real close to me and said, “hold your baby, rub him.” And I pulled him up next to my belly and rubbed his back until he made a noise.  I realized the cord was very short and I couldn’t get him up any closer to me, so I just held him against my belly.  He was quite grey and seemed so small!

Candace had me lay down at the foot of the bed and Luke laid next to my hip while we made sure he was breathing.  I was still having contractions and was very aware of them.  It was about half an hour before the placenta was delivered and Candace wrapped it up and I was able to nurse Luke.  He sucked right away!  Harold went and got Keith – he just beamed!!!  He was a big brother!!!  He asked me, Mommy, what is baby Luke doing? I told him he was eating.  He disappeared and then brought back two puzzles he had put together to show baby Luke.  One by one, we showed baby Luke every puzzle piece.  Then Keith found his stuffed Shamu and showed it to baby Luke.  He was really excited!!

We are all doing well and enjoying our new family of 4.  We are so grateful to Candace Leach, our midwife, for her amazing skills and training that helped bring Luke safely into this world.  We also are very thankful to Jennifer Angell, our doula and chiropractor, for her inspiration and support throughout our pregnancy and labor (and the countless adjustments!).  We are thankful to our many friends who supported us in our decision to birth at home and offered their love and encouragement.  Above all, we are thankful to God for his omnipotence and for His awesome design of the human body ~ we stand in AWE! 

Isaiah 66:7 – 13

Wed morning (12 hours old):

Thank you for reading our Birth Story! 

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Baby Luke’s Grand Entrance!
April 15, 2011

We are pleased to announce the arrival of Baby Luke

April 12th, 2011

at 10:30 p.m.

9 lbs, 10 oz

21 inches

Born at Home, drug free, into the loving arms of Mommy and Daddy with the assistance of Candace Leach, midwife & Jennifer Angell, doula.  Keith is so excited to be a big brother and we are enjoying our growing family.