Thursday, September 29, 2016

Alana Grace's Birth Story

I have debated whether or not to share this story several times, and decided to share it. They say your third baby either falls out or stalls out and mine stalled! For weeks leading up to labor I had heard stories of moms delivering their third fast and expected since this was my third baby in three years that the same would go for me. Thursday September 15th I began having regular, timely contractions. At this point I had experienced prodromal labor in the middle of the night for a few hours here and there, nothing regular, or timely, but enough to keep me awake. This time was different, I called hubby at work letting him know that maybe he should wrap things up. We were also in the middle of a move so our house was half full of boxes and two antsy toddlers. About an hour after he got home they stopped completely and I went to lay down and rest. The next day began the same way, timely regular contractions 5 min apart for about 4 hrs. I worked as fast as I could to pack our stuff up because I knew that labor was going to pick up any minute. We called the midwife who concluded that I was in early labor and just to keep her posted. The weekend went on like that as we moved. The whirlwind of packing up all of our stuff again and getting ready for another member to join us is a lot to say the least!

Then Monday came, I woke up with big, strong, regular contractions. I called our midwife who said "you're going to meet your baby today, so spend your last few hours of pregnancy enjoying your family and relaxing." I so wished that was an option, but we still had a bit to finish packing and cleaning up at the old house. I called Mandy, my little sis up at college and told her today was going to be the day, she raced home to meet us at the old house. Nate and I went to the old house as I breathed through contractions, fully believing that I could pack, labor and that the timing would all work out. My sister, Nate, My dad and his lovely new wife Jenn all helped pack up the last of the stuff. Nate and Mandy were goofing off as usual (I seriously love what good friends they are) they made me laugh so hard I felt a gush and exclaimed "My water broke!" Contractions were getting closer together and we decided to head over to my aunts house where we were having the baby. Needless to say planning a home birth when you're between homes is a bit crazy, but my aunt was up for the challenge!! We thought for sure that our sweet baby would be coming any minute, but right about the time that we arrived at my Aunt Sue's labor came to a screeching halt. We spent the night there just in case, and I labored some during the night, but nothing regular or consistent.

The next day we decided to spend the day relaxing and enjoying time with the kids they had never spent a full day without us and I was desperately missing them, contractions were on and off the whole day. My midwives would come a few times during the day to check baby's heartbeat, and my vitals and to make sure there were no signs of distress or infection. One of the main reasons we choose to home birth is to avoid unnecessary interventions. In our particular case if we had gone to the hospital and had not started labor we would have been given pitocin, in the case that it didn't work to get things going or caused fetal distress a c-section would be our only option (based off of how my body didn't respond to induction we believe fully that baby wouldn't have responded well to pitocin). We were so thankful to not be in that position, but to allow my body to do what it needed to.

Wednesday early morning I woke up with contractions 3 minutes apart and strong for a few hours. We decided to keep things relaxed as could be (moving, living with in laws, and being in and out of labor is just stressful!). We went to starbucks and drank lattes while labor got going, we went over to my aunt's house where we took a few walks. With each walk we took on her property the contractions stopped, and every time I laid down they started up again. This was so frustrating! I labored like that all day on again off again. Cristi our midwife gave me a clary sage foot and belly massage that was heavenly and definitely relaxing, but not enough to kick up labor.We decided to try homeopathics to get labor going, when that didn't work we tried herbal remedies, and when that didn't work we pulled out the big guns and I drank caster oil (all of this was done with continual monitoring of me and baby and we had a hospital plan in case we needed to do that). Baby was doing great and so was I. The caster oil kicked in about an hour after taking it, the midwife team arrived and labor kicked up fast. Contractions were two minutes apart lasting about a minute. I could feel transition happening and Nate worked with me speaking affirmations over me, as the midwives filled the tub. But shortly after the tub was full contractions stopped completely. I was so tired at the point, I would fall into deep sleep between contractions, wake up to a contraction and back to sleep again. We were all getting a bit delirious. A big shout out to my Aunt Sue who fed everyone and made a huge pot of coffee to keep the team awake! We decided it was best for me to sleep some (it was about midnight at this point and I was tired). I slept for an hour and a half before strong hard transition picked up again. I did the ball, rocking, counter pressure for about 2 more hours, the team warmed the bath and we all got in ready position, and then my labor stopped again. This time it was almost 4 am and everyone was exhausted. The midwives decided after waiting about an hour to head home and that I should sleep. Nate and I slept in till 9am with no contractions at all! At this point I was exhausted, frustrated and feeling defeated!

 The next morning we decided to pull together our best birth plan for the hospital knowing that if labor wasn't going to get going that I needed to get some pitocin. I spent the morning preparing for that scenario and grieving the loss of the birth I wanted. I prayed, worshiped and released all of my fears. I decided that if I was going to the hospital in the end I wanted to at least give it my best shot beforehand- I decided to doula myself.  I began with another two oz of caster oil prescribed by my midwfe, and then I started the morning off with some awesome belly dancing (oxytocin inducing exercise without stopping contractions). I tried to get my sister and Aunt to join me, but they just watched and laughed with me as I tried to get things going. Nate and I went to breakfast,while chatting and laughing away ( he was amazing at trying to get me to relax and just hang out) I felt the baby move down and contractions picked up strong. Just about time the food came I knew we had to go! Side note, my poor hubby every time he tried to eat my contractions would pick up, he was so excited for this big huge breakfast... that we had to box up! Like I said he was amazingly patient! But by the time we arrived back at my Aunt's house.. yup you guessed it contractions stopped completely. My patience was thin, but I just decided to relax and spend the rest of the day worshiping, reading my bible and trusting that God had a plan. It was just before sunset when I decided to have Nate help me with some spinning babies moves to help stalled labor. I had been doing weekly chiropractic appointments and we knew baby was in optimal position, however, these exercises can help baby just a bit if they need it. We did the exercises (not expecting them to really work), we did it more like a practice round. He invited me to pray and take a sunset walk with him, "this isn't a labor walk he assured me several times, I just want to spend time with you."

We prayed over our decision to go to the hospital or not, to start antibiotics that night or not, and all of the scenarios in between. As he prayed something shifted in my body, and I knew the baby was coming. I told him that we didn't need to worry about the hospital plan, that I thought baby was coming, in that moment a contraction so strong came, that I was on all fours in an instant. Our midwife was on her way to discuss our options and do another fetal/ mommy check. She arrived as I had contractions all the way back to the house. As soon as she came we began discussing our options and I almost forgot how strong the contractions were (mind you I'd been laboring for days at this point so nothing out of the ordinary). I would stop her and close my eyes, breathing through contractions and then when it ended we'd pick up where we left off and begin discussing our options. We finalized our plan and it was time for her to check my vitals and then baby's. We weren't doing vaginal check at this point, I had only had one and had told her I didn't want any others since my membranes were broken I was at risk for infection. We both agreed that was the right choice, however, when she listened to baby (while I was having a contraction) she said "I need to check you." I sat on the birthing stool while she checked me, she looked up and said "do you feel like pushing?" "Um, no." "Jessie, you're at an 8 and your cervix is gone, I literally can't find it!" At this all of my birth knowledge went out the window, I knew something was going to go wrong I thought holding back tears, "where's my cervix?" I asked "No, no everything is fine, it's thinned out, you're going to have your baby tonight." She said calmly.

In what felt like a second, she and Nate went to work filling up the birth tub again and getting the midwife team over. I didn't really believe it because we'd already had one fire drill. The contractions kept coming, much like they had the previous 7 days, but I got my bathing suit on and thought well the warm water will feel good before I stall out again.  I got in the tub and within a few minutes contractions were hard, and I started feeling the urge to push. Baby girl began crowning and I knew we were going to have a baby.I remembered what I had told Nate on the walk, it was true!  I was so present and alert this birth, it was unlike any of my others. I ate toast just before she crowned, joked and laughed with everyone and had my worship music in the background with my candles going. As she crowned it was my first birth not saying "I can't." This time all I said was "This is really hard work." Two pushes later I caught her in the water and our baby was born!!!! In the instant that I caught her I heard a snap, her cord had snapped in the last push. The midwives checked her and me, she was fine, they gave me some pitocin to control bleeding as a precaution. Nate and I sat there snuggling our girl in disbelief that in less than two hours since midwife arrived we had a baby! Thursday September 22 at 9:28pm weighing 7lbs 5oz and 18.5 in long.  I moved to the bed and baby and I snuggled, nursed and just rested.

This labor and birth were so different than any of my others, and with each labor and delivery I learn more about myself, my husband and life. This time I learned that babies really do come when they are ready. Her short cord made it so that she needed to take her time each day to work on it. I learned that when life is out of our control it doesn't do any good to stress, but to rest in the father's hands waiting on his timing. And lastly, I learned that once again women's bodies are seriously badass- because after 7 days of labor I caught my baby in the water and replaced my "I can'ts." with "This is hard work."

If you made it all the way through this, you're a serious champ! If you're pregnant and reading this here are a few words I have for you...

1. This is just one variation of normal, this doesn't mean that your birth will go or not go this way. This is just my story. I almost hesitated sharing this because I know what it was like being pregnant and hearing hard, long labor stories and being scared out of my mind. But take heart, your birth and your story will be uniquely yours and you will be strong enough to do it!

2. Our story is a great example of how safe and comforting midwifery care can be, I hope that this story eases fear of homebirth, and gives a sense of empowerment!

3. Find support for your journey, whether that's a doula, a husband, both, an incredible midwife team, family- whatever it is, it can't just be one person and it has to be low stress people in your space! Birth is an incredible journey, allowing people to be part of it-- is special.

Lastly a huge shout out to my sister Mandy who took an entire week off school instead of one day like we thought, the sleepless hours of walking with me and listening to me complain about how long things were taking!

My Aunt Sue for opening her home to have a baby in, feeding all of us, making me meals and loving on my family!!! You are a gem, a treasure and I'm so thankful for you in my life!

My Dad and Jenn for finishing the packing for us and dealing with all of our junk! Also for bringing meals, and supporting us through this crazy week!

My in laws for watching the kids for a whole week and dealing with all of the uncertainty of the situation!

My amazing midwife Cristi and her birth team for enduring long nights, lots of driving back and forth, constant monitoring, letting me cry and be frustrated, and empowering me to labor and catch my own baby!!! Cristi you are not only my midwife you have become a dear friend/mentor and I am so thankful for you and your heart!!! Thank you for an incredible experience with midwifery care!

And lastly, my incredible husband, I can't believe we have three gorgeous kids now. There is no one else that would do this with me! Thank you for believing in me and supporting me, thank for you for all the skipped meals, and late nights of no sleep! I love you to the moon and back!! You're an incredible doula and midwife in training (but seriously you are!)

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Prenatal Sleep Routine

I'm 35 weeks pregnant with our third, and have finally started listening to my body and doing some much needed self care. The past few weeks I have gotten better sleep than in any of my other pregnancies. As a Doula I spend a lot of time answering pregnancy, labor and delivery questions and one that always pops up is how do I get more sleep in the last trimester... I have my standard answers, but realized I hardly do these, or I only do a couple of them when it's "really bad." So the past few weeks I decided I didn't have to tough it out, flop into bed in my exhausted state only to wake up a few hours later for the day, or be restless all night long! So get ready to get some great sleep with me--- well not with me, but you get the idea!

Tip #1: Start your bedtime wind down 30-60 minutes prior to actually hitting the hay! 

I'll admit this one is tricky for me, with two littles night time is kind of my alone time. It's my time to unwind, research, read, or hang with my man. Too many nights I spend trying to stay awake scrolling pinterest or watching netflix. The biggest way that I'm working on this is to be intentional with my time. Intentionally spending quality time with the hubs, or reading helps me to be in a more present and relaxed space. Putting a boundary on my time helps me to be intentional with my down time  so that it can really fill my cup and not just my time.

Tip #2: Set the scene
This seriously only takes 5 minutes but it goes a long way for me. This usually means lighting some candles, taking some meditative breaths, reading an encouraging verse. Whatever it is for you, it's not elaborate, but it helps shift your mind so that your brain knows its time to wind down. This is often when I make my red raspberry leaf tea in a pretty mug and just take a few minutes to let go of the day.

Tip #3: Epsom Salt Baths
You may not have time every night to do this, but it's a great way to detox and de-stress your body. Epsom salt is full of magnesium, and most of us are magnesium deficient. Magnesium helps us to manage stress better, relax, take away muscle tension, aches, pains, reduce swelling and a ton of other benefits. Just 20 minutes and your body is on it's way to healing itself! I love adding baking soda and essential oils for an added detox boost.

Tip #5: Yoga/Stretching
I do this every night without fail- and if I don't I'm really bummed because I'm up at 2am doing my yoga so that I can go back to sleep. In pregnancy our hips can get really tight carrying around amniotic fluid, placenta, baby and if you have other littles picking them up all day. This makes sleep really hard at the end of the day. A few hip openers, meditative breaths and some stillness can go a long way to connecting with your body, your baby and helping you get a good night sleep. I really like this one, it's only 10 minutes but always brings relief when I have hip and back pain.

Tip #6: Aromatherapy
As I continue my training in pregnancy aromatherapy one of my favorite ways to unwind is to diffuse a high quality oil to help my body unwind. Some of my favorites are lavender, balance, juniper berry, blue tansy, geranium just to name a few. Check out my essential oils page if you're interested in learning more, and always feel free to leave a comment or message me with any questions you have.

If you're doing these things and still struggling to sleep at night. Here are some other things you can try, and I'll be doing a follow up blog post on them so stay tuned...

1. Weekly chiropractic adjustments. 

Pregnancy is so hard on our hips and back, especially if we're lifting other little kiddos. Getting weekly adjustments (especially in the third trimester) will completely take away sciatica, and other hip pain that you may be having making your nights and legs restless. It is also a great way to get your baby in optimum position for birth. Weekly adjustments help you to avoid breech baby, posterior or transverse presentations.

2. Stay hydrated
Drinking about a gallon of water/herbal tea in the third trimester will help keep fluids in balance, reduce swelling, and help circulation, constipation and any other issues you may be having! Water, water, water and you'll notice a change!

3. Exercise
I know you're getting huge and it's hard to move around, but even a 20 minute walk can release some of the tension your body is holing. Walking helps clear your mind, brings focus and my favorite is that it reduces labor time--- a lot!!! So if you want a fast easy birth, get walking ladies!

I hope these help and bring some insight into some of the issues you may be experiencing. The home stretch can be a tough time even for those of us that are doing all of these self care steps, remember to be gentle with your expectations of yourself and let some things slide--- it's all going to be ok. So take some time to take care of you today and get the rest you need. Sweet dreams!

Friday, July 29, 2016

Remineralizing DIY Toothpaste

I was 25 weeks pregnant with our first when I heard about remineralizing toothpaste, natural cleaners and avoiding toxins. All of these DIY and natural options seemed really overwhelming to me. I knew I wanted to knock out toxins but also knew that entering motherhood for the first time I couldn't do it all at once. I started slow, beginning with natural cleaners and ultimately moving onto beauty products for me and my family. Toothpaste was one of the first things to go once I looked at my body products. I was so used to conventional toothpaste so it has taken a while to get used to the difference in taste and texture, but my teeth have thanked me! Problematic ingredients for conventional toothpaste include fluoride, glycerin and red dye number 40 just to name a few. These ingredients don't heal or strengthen our enamel.  The one thing I love about this toothpaste is that it can reverse, heal and remineralize your teeth so that cavities no longer become an issue. It's safe for kids and adults alike and my kiddos love helping make it!We recently had a dentist appointment for both kiddos and our dentist couldn't believe how good the kids teeth looked, he asked several times what we're doing at home, aside from eating real food this is number one in our house! He definitely inspired me to keep on making this formula and protect our family's teeth.

Here are some great resources to check out on remineralizing toothpaste and why you should add it to your house!


Ok, but here's the important part the recipe that literally takes 5 minutes and will save you money, and heal your mouth!

1. 1/2 cup of coconut oil 
2. 3 tablespoons of baking soda
3. 15 drops of therapeutic grade peppermint essential oil, cinnamon, lemon
4. A pinch of celtic or pink sea salt
5. (optional 1-2 teaspoons of benonite clay/or 10 drops of trace minerals)

This usually lasts our family 2-3 months depending and I store it in a mason jar in the bathroom cabinet. All of these ingredients while being natural, you don't have to worry about them spoiling or going bad (even if it gets really hot!). Enjoy and "show off your glittering teeth" as my three year old says!

Don't want to make your own toothpaste, but want a remineralizing toothpaste for your family? I love buying Earth Paste when I'm in a pinch for time.

Redmond Earthpaste, Wintergreen, 4 Ounce

Monday, February 8, 2016

Two Under Two- How we THRIVED!

My daughter was a mere 19 months when my son was born and life was moving at a whirlwind speed. It's almost been a year now since my son joined our little family and here are some of my survival tips for having two under two!

1. Have GRACE!!

The biggest lesson that I have learned this year is that I can't do it all- what does doing it all even mean anyway? Having grace allows me the freedom to breathe through tough moments and not call them defeated days! Can I hear an AMEN on that one? I often struggled with wanting to throw in the towel on days that I was stressed, overwhelmed and didn't know what to do next... GRACE is usually the answer! The day isn't over and even if you have a bad day- there is always tomorrow! The great thing about kids is that they are full of grace. My daughter has shown me this time and time again- she could care less that my "homeschool lessons" didn't turn out creatively, she just wants to be with me. (On that note, I gave up those lessons and found I had more peace, and my daughter still learned her colors, numbers and letters).

2. Have a Routine

Notice I didn't say schedule? Yeah, when you have two under two the biggest thing you can do is be flexible but be the leader- hence the word routine. This allows your baby and toddler to know what to expect next, but not be stuck  if there is a blow out causing all havoc on nap time, or if there are multiple meltodwns on your way to the door, and by the time you get everybody all packed up you're too exhausted to leave (please see #1 and be kind to yourself and your littles). But all in all routine gave me my sanity so that I could meet the kids with my A game and give them my best attention and love, because I didn't have to decide what to do next, I knew what came next!

3. Babywearing

Babywearing is so crucial for you and baby bonding, it helps with breastmilk supply, postpartum depression and keeps baby calm and having better weight gain! But I love this one when you have another one needing your attention, and hands! Babywearing allowed my son to take a nap on me so that we could have park time at the same time, or go to the store etc.

4. Bible Time
This is probably the most important secret to making it through the day- you're going to have chaotic days, where it feels like everyone is losing it and you're next--- this is when you take number 1 and head to the bathroom, closet or bedroom for two minutes... your kids will be ok, and grab a nugget of truth. Pray and head back into the trenches! I can always tell that I'm missing my perspective when the day starts to get crazy and I can't stay calm--- I need bible time and a little bit more of #1!!

Remember days where everyone stays in the PJ's are allowed, TV is ok as long as it doesn't replace good quality time with YOU, ice cream never killed anybody---- letting go is the lesson of two under two and there are so many things I never thought I would let go--- that I have!!! EMBRACE this new found freedom, and when somebody tells you that your hands are full, you can smile and say they are full of blessings!!

Friday, February 5, 2016

Cloth Diapering a Newborn!!

Cloth diapering a newborn doesn't have to be overwhelming, or hard!!! So, lets simplify what you need and how to do it!

First things first what do you need:

1. Diapers:
We chose to use a hybrid system so we use covers and inserts, which was a cost effective way for us to cloth diaper our kiddos, but there are lots of other systems and options out there. We use 12 diaper covers for washing every other day.

2. Prefolds/Inserts
I seriously love prefolds for newborns, and in the video I explain how to use them in the diaper covers, using a snappi and without a snappi. It's the easiest and most affordable way to cloth diaper your baby, they clean like a dream too! For washing every other day we use 24 inserts/prefolds.

3. Poop Plan:
Newborns that are breastfed the poopy diapers can go straight into the pail or wetbag and into your washing machine, the meconium diapers should be rinsed out and laid in the sun for bleaching. If you don't want to get meconium on your diapers then use a disposable liner inside your diaper and toss when used! They are usually biodegradable and can be a great addition to your compost (slightly disgusting hippie fact- sorry).

I hope this helps, check out the video for all my tips and tricks and be sure to subscribe to my channel to get lots of natural living tips! Let me know what cloth diapers you use for your kiddo or any questions you have about cloth diapering a newborn!

Thanks again for hanging out with me!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016


Ok, so I have been debating this for over a year now, and finally decided (thanks to Brene Brown if you don't know who she is click on the link) to start living Bravely!!! I am going to be doing vlogs alongside my regular blog. There are so many times that I want to be able to show my readers something, or just have a good chat, and am hoping that this is a more relaxed, relatable way for us to connect! I hope you'll join me on this journey of motherhood, parenting and all the crazy things this hippie family does! So let's get started! Comment below with some videos/blogs that you want to see, or something natural that you are doing in your home too!

Thanks dear friends and here's to a really adventurous 2016!

Grovia Review- Cloth Diapering two kids!!!

So as most of you know we cloth diaper, but I haven't found a good way to explain the system, so I'm trying something new... a vlog that will go along with my blog! Let me know what you think and if you want to see more cloth diaper videos! Comment below if you cloth diaper, or want to!

The diaper bill was running up our monthly expenses, my daughter was getting rashes and then I found Grovia! A dear friend of mine gave us a baby gift that was full of natural things for baby: diaper rash cream, teethers, and my ultimate favorite present a Grovia Newborn diaper! I was hooked! Take a peek and see how I cloth diaper my toddler and baby successfully with Grovia and have saved thousands of dollars doing it!