Parting Gift for my Midwife

Placenta Painting

Placenta Painting

So, the 6 week postpartum appointment with my midwife is fast approaching. I am so sad that this journey together is quickly coming to an end as Dr Wendy has been an amazing friend and resource. I really wanted to get her something unique and special as a parting gift – as opposed to a restaurant gift card or another cookie-cutter gift. So – because I just couldn’t help my crafty self – I had my favorite placenta painting printed on canvas for her. Hope she likes it!

Printed Canvas wrapped in protective plastic from shipping

Printed Canvas wrapped in protective plastic from shipping

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Shortcut for whey and Greek yogurt

Plain Nancy's Organic is a good choice

Plain Nancy’s Organic is a good choice


So the boys and I plan on making some ‘kraut this week a la lacto-fermentation. Well, rather Beans and I are gonna make it and the little Sprout will watch…enraptured by our skills, I am sure….. I don’t have enough milk right now to shake it down for its whey so I chose a cheap and easy alternative.
Taking a carton of organic plain yogurt (I use Nancy’s), I plopped the contents in some fine cheesecloth and suspended it over a stainless steel bowl for the afternoon. It’s important to use a yogurt with live probiotic cultures.

Separating the whey from the yogurt

Separating the whey from the yogurt

Once all the whey (or most) has dripped off the yogurt just pour the whey in a container and, likewise, scoop the resulting greek-style yogurt into a dish of its own.

The whey

The whey

Greek-style yogurt

Greek-style yogurt

Now, while Beans isn’t a huge fan of plain yogurt I can sweeten this stuff with stevia and fruit; super-duper thick and yummy.

And we now have some way-easy whey with which to make our sauerkraut!

Man, I love puns….

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!

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!

BREAKFAST OF WELLNESS: Raw Kefir Smoothie

Raw Kefir Smoothie with organic strawberries, bananas & chia seeds

Raw Kefir Smoothie with organic strawberries, bananas & chia seeds

In the dreariness of January we sometimes need a cup of sunshine to perk us up. Enter raw kefir smoothies! We cultured our raw goats milk with a kefir culture we purchased at Grains, Beans & Things. After bringing our milk up to room temperature, we inoculated a quart jar of it with our chosen culture and allowed it to sit out on the counter for 48 hours. Our end product was slightly sour and not too thick. I would prefer to make my kefir with kefir grains as opposed to the cultures. If you live in the Southern Oregon area and have extra grains you’d like to share please comment!
So, using the beloved Magic Bullet we blended our kefir with organic strawberries, bananas, chia seeds and a few drops of liquid stevia. Oh, so good smoothie of probiotic goodness!!!
Say "hello" to millions of my "little friends"!

Say “hello” to millions of my “little friends”!

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