The Sprout’s Med-Free, Intervention-Free Home Birth

Hello World!

Hello World!

Ah! Its been a little while since my last post, but a LOT has happened. I was all gung-ho to get labor going ASAP well over two weeks ago. Enter the crud. Yes, my poor little Bean (who is NEVER sick) began to come down with something the day before Valentine’s Day. It started with a cough at night and progressed (or rather digressed) into a full-blown cold/fever/flu thing. Just horrible. Of course, I was due to have this baby any day and here is my three year old sicker than I’ve ever seen him. I was praying that labor wouldn’t start till Beans was on the mends.
After several VERY sleepless nights taking care of him, Sat night Bean’s fever broke and he started getting a little energy back. I went to bed that night feeling pretty crampy. Sure, I totally had the thought cross my mind that I could wake up and be in labor, but I was too tired to entertain the notion to the fullest.
At 5am Sunday morning I woke up to more cramping and Husby leaving for work. He used our bathroom and turned the fan on. The fan is super-loud and the noise was prohibitive of me falling back to sleep. It seemed like he was taking forever in the bathroom – so i started watching the clock, thinking he might have fallen asleep in there (for reals). It was only then I noticed that my cramping was coming exactly 5 minutes apart and getting stronger. I finally got out of bed to check on Husby, only to discover that he was long gone and had just forgotten to turn off the fan.
I had the gut feeling that this was “it” and decided to get some birth-prep & housework done while the Bean was still sleeping. I made up our bed with waterproof mattress protectors and an old set of sheets, made sure the birth supplies were organized, did laundry, dishes and vacuumed once Beans woke up. All the while the cramps had become contractions and they were starting to become distracting. At 8am I let my parents know that I was pretty sure this was gonna be the day and I gave my husband a heads up that he would need to come home soon. At 8:30am I let my midwife, Dr Wendy, know that I was having contractions with increasing intensity and that I would keep her posted.
My husband came home right away (He is a worrier about stuff like that) and my mom showed up shortly thereafter. The contractions were strong enough that I really needed to focus when they came on and I would just breath in and out quickly between them. At 11:15am I texted Dr Wendy and let her know that the contractions were 3.5 minutes apart and I could no longer talk through them. She said she would head over and she arrived around noon. My contractions continued at the same level for about an hour but moved to about 2 minutes between by 1pm. Dr Wendy took me into the bedroom and checked my cervix. I was dilated to a 3. Almost immediately after she checked me the intensity of the contractions kicked up a notch. Instead of just breathing through the contractions I started vocalizing more of an “ooh, ooh, ooh”. That went on for about an hour. I was sitting in the living room with everyone and would just get up and go to the kitchen to be alone every time a contraction would strike. I’d hold on to the top of the refrigerator and sway back and forth. All this time it was so great in between contractions. I was very restful and peaceful – I got to cuddle with my son and eat a sandwich. I absolutely LOVED laboring in my own home. Somewhere between 2pm and 3pm the contractions turned themselves up to hurt-like-hell mode. At this point those “ooh, ooh, oohs” changed to “Oh, Comeon! Comeon! Comeon!” with the occasional “shit” for punctuation. I went and tried to lay down on my bed and had Husby turn on Abbey Road for me. My son came in and snuggled me so I held off on the “shits”. We had talked for months about how when mommies have their babies they make a lot of noise but that they are OK. He was curious but not frightened. At one point my son even told be that I was doing a good job and that I sounded good!
Dr Wendy, observing the change in the sound of my laboring checked me again. I was at a 7. My husband and son started filling the birth pool. This was at 3:30pm. Again, almost immediately the contractions got more serious and Dr Wendy started setting up her birthing supplies in my bedroom – as she was afraid that we might not have time to fill the birth pool all the way. Dr Wendy also called the other ND, Katie, who was her assist for my birth. Dr Wendy had felt my waters bulging and advised me to put on a pad if I wanted to spare my light carpet. I hid in the nursery for my contractions. I was now “Ahh, Ahh, AHHHH”ing through the contraction and my occasional “shit” became a little more frequent “f*ck!!!!!!” At one point my husband came in and just looked at me – you know the look – that he desperately wanted to do something for me but was powerless to do so. I told him not to look at me.
My water broke in the nursery and I went into the master bath and let Dr Wendy and Dr Katie (who, by now, had arrived) know. Katie helped me out of my skirt and panties as I stood in the bathroom and (what we thought) were the rest of my waters gushed out. I was starting to feel pushy so I asked if it was all right if I sat on the toilet. They obliged me and BAM! More water poured out of me; like someone had turned on a faucet!
After sitting on the john for three or four contractions I stumbled to my bed and just wanted to lay down between the gut-wrenching waves of pain. I was feeling so pushy! Dr Wendy checked me again and I was still between 7 and 8 but my body was bearing down. At this point I started pushing. I was screaming during contractions but feeling exhausted but oddly peaceful between them. I remember the afternoon sun was coming through the shades of my bedroom and it was beautiful.
The midwives had stacked all my pillows up at the head of the bed and I was laying the top of my body over those pillows. I was on all fours. It hurt (even between contractions) to bend forward at the waist. With each contraction I pushed. It hurt something fierce. Finally, I felt the baby moving down and suddenly the relief was tangible while pushing. Nothing had ever felt so good as in that moment feeling like my pushes were taking us somewhere – I’m not sure if that makes any sense to those reading, but it *was* physical relief….Till that damn ring of fire.
When my son crowned it hurt like hell. It was taking every iota of physical stamina I had to make sure he STAYED crowned and didn’t slip back up the birth canal. Between the contractions and the screams, I was excited enough to ask if he had hair and what color it was. (Black, by the way) All I wanted to do was to push that head out the rest of the way, but Dr Wendy coached me to slow it down to avoid tearing. Now, THAT sucked. I think I laid down some serious whining over that, but I held off – I didn’t just push him out. I held off as long as I could and then pushed with all my might. I felt that head pass through and had – for a nanosecond – the thought, “OMG! the pain is OVER!” But then i felt his shoulders slip through and that just took my breath away. I didnt have but a fraction of a second to contemplate the pain of passing his shoulders before he was out. And even MORE waters gushed out! I half turned around and said, “Give me my baby!”. It was 4:28pm.
Dr wendy told me to turn back around and she would pass him to me. She handed me me son and he was SO amazing! He was curled up like a little ball and just wanted to snuggle. My husband looked so proud! We let the Bean come in to meet his little brother and it was pretty magical. The Sprout weighed 9lbs 12oz and was 21 1/4′ long. He is the SWEETEST little baby. All he does is eat and sleep and snuggle.
It was an absolutely wonderful experience birthing at home. I would never want to birth in a hospital again. And this experience exceeded my most positive expectations!

Filling the birth pool

Filling the birth pool

Weighing the Sprout

Weighing the Sprout

Our beautiful boy!

Our beautiful boy!

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Rainy Day Art Project

The Bean's finished painted horse

The Bean’s finished painted horse

The Beans and I are usually pretty active. We love to hike and garden and go on grand adventures as well as undertake all sorts of projects. But lets face it. I am one LAAAAAAZY pregnant lady. So even though my precious, active son really, really wanted to go somewhere and “do” something today, I just couldn’t bring myself to get us going. So I pulled out the bag of “rainy day” projects. This is a bag of easy, fun art & crafts material I horde for days such as this. Beans decided that he wanted to paint a birdhouse and a horse. Awesome. Plant the kid at the kitchen table with his little wooden (and did I mention cheap?) items and let him have at ’em with some (equally cheap) acrylic paints. It had been my intention to prime these wooden paintables and then spray paint them with a solid color BEFORE the Bean got to them…but I just never got around to it. I promised him I would take him to Michael’s and let him pick out some more things to paint tomorrow – I’ll try to get right on top of those and paint a base color on them as soon as we get them home – It just tends to make them look so much more finished…. So, Beans painted a horse and a birdhouse: it killed an hour, cost less than $3 and satisfied my son’s desire to “do” something. Win, win, win. AND he’s going to give them away as gifts. Whatta sweetie!
paintedhorse2
Beans with his birdhouse

Beans with his birdhouse

Real Food Snacks – DIY Trail mix

Organic pumpkin seeds, almonds, date pieces, raisins & dried apricots

Organic pumpkin seeds, almonds, date pieces, raisins & dried apricots

With a preschooler you always have to have snacks on hand. You never know when they are going to get hungry, and a healthy, energy-giving snack can mean the difference between finishing your errands and having to deal with a DEFCON 1 meltdown. In my family we LOVE trail mix. Nuts, seeds and dried fruits produce a tasty pick-me-up that never fails to make my Bean happy. We have found that by purchasing our trail mix ingredients separately from the bulk natural foods section of our local supermarket or co-op we not only get to customize what goes into our trail mix – but we wind up paying a lot less. The trail mix we blended in today’s pictures are made from all organic ingredients and cost less than $5/lb. The only prep required was cutting up the dried apricots. The next time you want to stock up on portable snacks, consider making your own trail mix blend.

Beans loves his trail mix!

Beans loves his trail mix!

Real Food Supper ~ sneaking greens into your kids’ meals ~

Coconut-fried chicken thighs, brussel sprouts and cilantro rice

Coconut-fried chicken thighs, brussel sprouts and cilantro rice

If your kid is like mine, there is a lot of negotiation that goes on at the dinner table. Mainly on the topic of vegetables….especially GREEN vegetables. While I can coax my son to eat a few brussels sprouts, I have to find creative ways to integrate larger amounts of veggies into his food that he will eat with gusto. Cilantro Rice is one such creative method. The Bean loves rice. Rice and beans are his favorite foods – ones that he will ALWAYS eat – no ifs, ands or buts about it. So I have come up with clever ways to add large amounts of greens to the Bean’s rice. Enter The Magic Bullet… Blend up a cup of organic cilantro, 2 Tbsp water, 1 tsp lime juice and 1/2 tsp salt. Pour the mixture over cooked rice (I cooked my rice in bone broth). The Bean loves it. It seems that he doesn’t mind the TASTE of greens, just the texture…
Blending the cilantro

Blending the cilantro

Rice with the cilantro mixture

Rice with the cilantro mixture

Here’s a Real Food dinner recipe from the other night.
Cilantro Rice – as prepared above.
Coconut-fried chicken –
1 lb of boneless, skinless organic chicken thighs cut into inch-sized bites. Drench chicken in beaten egg and toss in a mixture of organic rice flour, sea salt and pepper. Fry in coconut oil.
Brussels Sprouts – Slice 2 lbs of brussels sprouts in halve and saute with a half cube of butter.

Dinner was a success and the Bean ate all of his food – getting a great does of detoxifying cilantro in the process!!

All Gone!

All Gone!

Juicing in January

Refreshing Juice Blend

Refreshing Juice Blend

Its a freezing but beautifully clear January day here in the Rogue Valley. The Bean & I thought we’d share one of our more mild tasting, refreshing juice blends. Using a cucumber and an apple as a base we add a handful of carrots, several stalks of celery, small bunches of both cilantro & parsley, several large kale leaves and a few beet stalks & greens.
The Bean helping juice

The Bean helping juice


I use an oldie-but-goodie- ACME juicer I bought used last year off of craigslist. We love it. I’m pretty sure it cost me $30. There always seems to be just a ton of reasonably priced used juicers on craigslist. – I love craigslist (if you haven’t already noticed) –
Beans loves “helping” with the juicing process. His participation usually guarantees that he will drink a glass of juice (no matter how tart or bitter) because he feels an ownership of the juicing process. I’ll throw an extra apple or half beet in the mix if the juice is just too potent for the kiddo.
So grab some veggies and get to juicing. Its a real pick-me-up in these winter months…
Give your body what it needs

Give your body what it needs

Interpretive Art – Mixed media with a preschooler

A Man and His Horse

A Man and His Horse

Ever look at the clouds and pick out the “things” that you see in the billows of white & gray? Sure, we all have. Today’s art project isn’t far removed from a cloud watching exercise. This morning my three year old asked me what we could do “together”. I’m feeling pretty pregnant and pretty lazy so not a whole lot of adventures came to mind. I remember seeing a blog not long ago that featured these “blob” paintings – where the artist would paint a “blob” and then interpretively sketch a character out of the near-formless painting. I figured I could tailor the project to me and my pre-schooler’s particular needs. I set him up with some watercolors and let him paint till his little heart was content. Then we talked about what he saw in each painting. It was interesting that we both saw many similar “things” in the paintings. Under the Bean’s directions, I’d sketch in what he interpreted his brush strokes to be. Lots of fun – AND he’s very proud…

Dancing People

Dancing People

Buttercream Frosting

Thomas cupcakes with buttercream frosting

Thomas cupcakes with buttercream frosting

So, yesterday was the Bean’s birthday party. We held it at a local pizzeria – the party consisted of feeding everyone pizza, giving the kids (average age of 3) bop-balloons and noisemakers and handing out cupcakes. For all that there was zero planned activities for the little ones, they had a blast shoving their faces, volleying their balloons and blowing on their noisemakers.
My son helped me make the cupcakes for his party. He had a Thomas the Train themed party (go figure) so we used Thomas cupcake liners and toppers for the cupcakes. We baked both ‘yellow’ and chocolate cupcakes – IMO they were just “aright”. But we made a fantastic frosting that really set them off. I found this Buttercream recipe online. I doubled the original recipe and only added half the amount of vanilla. In lieu of milk I used hazelnut coffee creamer. The frosting was sugary and faintly salty all at once and held it’s shape wonderfully. I don’t often find a need to make frosting but would certainly make this buttercream again!
Beans enjoying his birthday cupcake!

Beans enjoying his birthday cupcake!