4 Months Old


It seems like it was just a few short days ago that I was writing about Cyprus’ 3 month birthday.  Now here I am making a 4 month update.  To say that time is flying would be cliche, but it would also be true.

The truth is that I am immensely enjoying having a baby around.  I love having a little warm body in bed with me to keep me warm.  I enjoy the part of babyhood when the baby is still exclusively nursing.  It makes for a very portable little human who can be fed anywhere, anytime.

I was telling Julie today that I think that I enjoy the stage Cyprus is in now the most.  He is very talkative and alert but he still sleeps a lot.  He has some mobility but not enough to get him into any trouble.  The world is new to him and he can be entertained by ANYTHING.  He loves to watch me spin because it is so darn interesting to see the wheel go around and around and around.

I made an interesting discovery one day.  He was pitching a royal fit, and Jared and I could not figure out the problem.  I stripped him naked and placed him on the floor and walked away.  Apparently, that was the key.  He promptly stopped crying and he played happily for the next hour.  That is now my go-to solution when he is extremely unhappy, and it works every time.

Our friends gave me this chair to use.  I really like it.  Now that he can hold his head up, he sits in the chair and it helps sit him up.  I use it in the kitchen while cooking.  I just put it on the counter next to where I am and what I am doing.  He likes to be able to watch all the action (and occasionally put his hand in the mixer bowl).

I made another amazing discovery.  Apparently, he can be put down when he is asleep.  I do not know of one single time that I was able to put Daphne down while she slept.  Cyprus, however, happily stays asleep–sometimes for hours when I put him down asleep.  It is really nice because it means that I can then get some house things done.  He is really cute to watch while he sleeps.

He is starting to put up more with his sister.  Daphne is learning to be more careful with him.  I think she sees me playing with him, and she doesn’t realize that I am being incredibly careful and gentle with him.  He is starting to get to the point that he finds her entertaining.  Sometimes he does not want to have anything to do with her and he will scream to the high heavens if she tries to kiss him.  He discovered a workable mechanism to be left alone is to grab and hold on to her hair.  She HATES when he pulls her hair, so it keeps her from getting to rough with him.  He looks thrilled with this play huh?

Cyprus really likes to be in a sling.  I put him in the Moby wrap ALL THE TIME.  I did finally put my pouch slings away this past week because he has outgrown them.  My favorite quick go-to sling now is the ring sling.  I think we look good together in it.

I made a matching set hat and legging set out of angora and wool.  It is hand dyed the color of the Mediterranean sea (his name is Cyprus after all).  I put him in the set all the time because of how adorable it is on him.  He loves how soft and warm the angora is.

This baby looks good in stripes.  This is a particularly good application of that principle.

He can roll over from his back onto his tummy, but he is still stuck there.  When he plays alone for a while, his clue that he is done is when he rolls over.  He immediately cries and fusses when he ends up stranded on his tummy.  He will eventually learn to roll back, but I like my partially immobile baby still.

I just like this photo.  I don’t have a lot of good ones of him and I.  He looks so thrilled right?

We went out to Jared’s 10 year reunion at Delphi in October.  Jared had a lot of fun showing off his new little gem.

He even made some time for some daddy play before a presentation.

I went with the kids to a big consignment sale in Hillsboro last month.  Even though I don’t NEED anything for the baby, I did get a few stripped outfits.  I love this jumper.  It was brand new, and it is 100% knitted cotton.  Very soft and lovely.  Only after he had worn it for the 4th time did I realize that he looks like a little jailbird in it.

The stripes appear again.  I got a teething necklace for him because he is showing some teething signs.   He is big into chewing on everything he can get his hands on and chamomile is great at calming him down when he is having a hard time.  The problem with the necklace (even though it does its job very well) is that people now automatically assume that he is a girl.  ARGH.

I never would get a nice warm shower in the morning if I didn’t just take the baby with me.  Every morning he goes into the shower with me and spends the entire time cooing and enjoying the warm water run down his back.  Then I wrap him up in a towel and he continues his cooing while I get dressed for the day.

Toys are starting to become interesting to him, and it has been fun to pull out some of my old favorites from when Daphne was a tiny baby.

I have nothing to say except that that is one handsome baby.

He is even handome while sleeping.  I still love wrapping him up really tight before I nurse him.  It keeps him warm and snuggled while he sleeps.  It also keeps me from being wacked and pinched while nursing (boy did that stage come quickly).

He found his FEET!  My single favorite thing about the last month is that he finally found his feet.  I LOVE to watch him sit and play with his feet.  He grabs them and holds on to them and sucks them whenever he gets a chance.  I think it is the best possible form of baby play and it is so cute.

Look at how curious he is.

He can now sit at the chair at the table with no problems.  I put him down first and then try to spend at least a little bit of time eating alone before I have to pull him out.  We are going for more and more time before he decides he wants to be held again.  Daphne planted a pumpkin plant at the Ag festival we went to in April.  I brought in the pumpkin that grew on that plant and put it on the table.  It is now a favorite chewing toy.

He also likes to roll it around.

Daphne is finding him more and more entertaining, and she will help play toys with him.  She is holding the monkey toy up for him to talk to here.  Look at how intent he is at communicating.

Sometimes, on special days, I share Cyprus with Jared.  They do guy stuff like watch bloody TV and movies.  Cyprus is REALLY into this TV show.

This is a classic Cyprus face.  He usually looks like this when I talk to him and he is trying to figure out what I am saying.

More stripes.  I love how he always has to be grabbing onto everything, if only his own hands.

Daphne keeps trying to convince me that Cyprus needs to be eating food.  Despite all my best efforts, I have settled with letting her help him chew on hard fruits and veggies.  She loves to share her apples with him.

I have been putting him in the cradle for some sleeping times, and I find that that the back massager works well to keep a sleeping baby asleep.

Cyprus made it to chewing on the sweet potato for dinner before I could cut it up.

Is there nothing better than a little baby in a bathrobe?

Jared’s job is to read stories to Daphne before bedtime.  Sometimes, Cyprus gets to tag along and listen to the stories also.  He really enjoys being read to.  You get extra smiles from him if you put extra emphasis on the last word of every line.

And one must never forget the awesome SuperCyprus costume that I sewed for him for his first Halloween.

Or the way that he “flew” through the air on my feet.

Jared and Cyprus share a name day on November 1st–All Saints Day.  Jared got some “bubbly juice” as Daphne calls it, and everyone got to have a nice drink.  Even Cyprus got the bottle.

The truth is that I am having way too much fun with a baby around.  Time is going by so quickly, and I tell myself many times a day to put down what I am doing because my baby wants to play with me.

Even as I write this, he is sleeping on my lap.  He has been there for a little while so we are now both covered with sweat.  I hope that I can never forget how snuggly it is to have a tiny baby draped across my lap because there is no place in the world that either of us would rather he be.

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Cyprus’ Birth Photos


This post has been a long time in coming.  I had a photographer/doula come to Cyprus’ birth.  I wanted to get some nice photos to put together a slideshow so that I could look back on the birth and have a clear picture of it.  Once I got the photos and edited them up with a black and white conversion.  I put them together into a nice little slideshow with music.

I decided that I was going to share it with anyone online who wants to see it.  I drew a lot of strength from watching the birth videos and slideshows of others.  Enjoy.

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Beautiful Birth


I had the most incredible and lovely experience today.  I must say that it is in the top 5 experiences that have changed and shaped my view of the world as I see it.  I was invited into the world of a friend and asked to document the birth of her baby.

When I was pregnant, I sought out someone who would be willing to take photos of my birth so that I could see it from the outside.  I was certain that if I had a VBAC that it would be a victorious experience for me, and I wanted some photos to look at to remind myself what a birth warrior I was.  My birth photos have gone to great lengths to heal the trauma from my first birth.  I no longer feel like I have a large hole in my life as a mother who “failed” birthing my first baby.  I just wanted some great photography from the birth and maybe help heal some trama when I asked a photographer to join me at the birth.  I never imagined that this would spark my interest in documenting the births of others.  In the interim after my birth, before I got my photos, I was sent a lovely slideshow of birth photos.  I started searching out birth photographers from around the world and looking at their work.  I was truly hooked.  When I started to show the photos to my friend who was about to have a baby, she said that she was ABSOLUTELY interested in having me attend to create some beautiful photos.

I’m not the kind of person who knows where my cell phone is for days at a time, so I had to make quite a few changes being on call to attend a birth.  Finally, last night, as I was getting ready to go to bed, I got a phone call that she was headed to the birth center and she would like me to join her.  I’m so glad I got the call.  I put Cyprus in the car and headed out.

Things were slow going at first, but eventually active labor kicked in and I got into my groove as a birth photographer.  My classical training in photography mixed with my experience with over 100 weddings had me very comfortable photographing even though I had never been to a birth before.  My photo journalistic viewpoint was well suited to me tiptoeing around, allowing things to happen, documenting what did happen well without staging anything or getting in the way.  I must say that I was successful.

Photography aside, I am so honored that I was asked to be a part of this birth.  There are few things in life that have the pure, raw emotions involved than birthing a child.  A mom that is committed to having an unmedicated birth outside of the hospital has made an agreement with her baby to  come into the world and start life with respect and dignity.  Birth is incredibly hard work, but it was magical seeing a mama labor and birth in a way that was collected and respectful.  There were no interventions telling her that she needed to get things going or that something wasn’t normal about what she was doing.  She was allowed to listen to her body and not be restricted in any way.  My birth was intervention free, but when you are the one giving birth, you end up in your own “labor land” that doesn’t allow you to look from outside and see what a miraculous experience it is.

The fact that I was allowed to share the birth experience was incredibly special to me.  It reinforces to me the strength involved in being a mother.  The first test to being a parent is birthing a baby.  With that successfully completed, a mom and a baby have started a journey together that includes mutual respect.  I got to witness the love that moms everywhere experience when they agree to become a mother.  Though I have been a mom for over 2 years now, the past two months have really given me a new outlook on what that means.  I feel like I have a much stronger connection with my son and especially my daughter after watching the miracle of giving life.

I have had several incredible experiences in my life that have changed me completely as a person, graduating from Delphi, spending a year studying art in Greece, the birth of my children and my wedding.  This is an experience that I will have to add to the list of important influential experiences.  I can’t thank this mama enough for allowing me to be a part of her birth experience.  It is something that is incredibly personal, and asking someone to share is a great honor.  I only hope that I showed that I deserved it and that I was able to document it in a way that she can see how lovely she was.  A woman who is 9 months pregnant feels waddly and frumpy, but a birthing mom looks gorgeous no matter what.

Congratulations Julie on the birth of your 3rd baby.  Thank you so much for allowing me to be a part of your birth team.  Your photos are very special to me, and I hope that they will help you see and understand what an incredible warrior you were today, the day your 3rd daughter was born.  Your experience was very profound for me, and I have been brought to tears today more times than I care to admit in this public forum.

I am writing this the day that it happened, but I am postponing the publication for 2 weeks so that the mama has a chance to announce the birth in her own time.

Birth Stories


I saw another blogger recently turn her birth story into a word cloud.  I loved the idea so I decided to do it with my two births.

This is from Cyprus:

This is from Daphne:

I feel like these show a different but complete story of each birth and how I felt about it.  There were so many positive works involved in Cyprus’ birth that included me working with the baby to birth.  Daphne’s word cloud is a random scattering of negatively connoted words.

I am just so impressed at the story that they tell.

I did these using www.wordle.net

posted under Babies, Cyprus, Daphne | 1 Comment »

Wool Put to Use


Wool has been the single  best diapering solution I have found.

When Daphne was almost a year old, I started to experiment with making wool diaper covers.  In fact, the first sewing project much less the first diaper I completed was a wool cover.  I used that cover for a long time.  Some other wool covers I made at the time are sitting on my wall of wool (yes I have one) waiting for Cyprus to grow into it.

I also made some wool covers for Cyprus.  I think that there is nothing more fun to make for a baby than sets of woolies.  I’m still knitting away making pants and a sweater for Cyprus because it is so much fun.

One night, I put Cyprus down on the bed while I was trying to finish up some housework, and I couldn’t resist the adorableness of a naked baby wearing a hand sewn, hand embroidered wool diaper cover.

I am loving the wool covers that I made.  I have never had them leak one single time.  I did have to handle some issues with the dyes not being totally colorfast, but I have fixed that now.  Let me tell you that woolies rock.

Birth Center


When I was still pregnant, I posted some photos of the room birth center where I was going to have the baby.  After some more discussion with the midwives, we decided to switch to using a different room.  I was not blessed with long legs, and at a 5’2″ it was becoming clear that I was going to need a smaller tub.  The tubs in the birth center were custom built and they are VERY large because they were made to accommodate 2 people inside.  However, they had the forethought to make one tub that was slightly smaller.  We decided to use that room and that tub because I am small and we were fairly sure that I was not going to want another person in the tub with me.

Here are some photos of the room Cyprus was born in.  It knocks the socks off a hospital room any day.

I was in the bed when I took this, so it is from that angle.

The door and tub from the bed.

The bed with me not in it.

Entry to the private bathroom.

The beautiful tub where he was born.

I loved having a birth at the birth center.  They are fully set up to accommodate any medical situations.  It is a lovely space that is set up to handle the mess of birth.  They are also set up to wait on you hand and food 24 hours a day for as long as you please to stay after the baby is born.

This is the Andaluz Portland birth center.

Cyprus 1 Day Old


I took a few photos of Cyprus for the birth announcment when he was 1 day old.  You have seen the ones that I chose for the announcment already, but I thought you might enjoy a sneak peek at a few more.



I must apologize for being so absent as a blogger.  I have enjoyed becoming more and more active over the past several months, but the end of June really took its toll on me.  Though my midwife and I were thinking that my due date was in fact June 30th, there was also a possibility that I would not be due until July 12 (today).  I was trying to keep my spirits up, but as June rolled on, I was starting to feel very uncomfortable and very pregnant.  Rather than take time to get things done around the house while Daphne napped, I was  running for my own bed for an afternoon nap.  The waiting game was really starting to wear on me a lot, especially when I started showing early signs of labor 8 days before he was born.  It really had me on a bit of a roller coaster.  After putting Daphne to bed, I was doing laundry, housework and other random life organization so that I wouldn’t have to worry about doing those things after the baby was born, so blogging was thrown out the window.

There were a few things that I had overlooked about having another baby that have really been taking my time and attention.  Though I knew that the delivery would be fairly trying, I thought that I would bounce back quickly and have no real troubles doing the things I normally do.  I considered making some food and freezing it for when the baby was born.  I decided against it because cooking comes so easily to me that I thought there would be no need.  After all, it is simple to put a baby in a sling to cook.  HOWEVER, I didn’t consider the fact that I would be too sore to even stand up.

Having a birth center birth was wonderful.  At the hospital they come and interrupt you at every possible minute, so it is more like being in prison than recovering from having a baby.  At the birth center, they have 24 hour postpartum care.  The staff was there to change the sheets if I wanted or draw me a bath.  I got water when I wanted it and smoothies when I requested them.  We even had the option of getting lunch and dinner as takeout from any restaurant that we desired in the area.  It was peaceful and helpful.  They also keep a good watch on the recovery of the mama and the baby to make sure things are going well.  I got some simple help with nursing so I could make sure that things were fine when I got home.

I probably would have stayed at the birth center for much longer except for the fact that Daphne was going wild.  We were in the smallest room (by choice), but Daphne had taken to running around the birth center from top to bottom.  She had way more energy than could be kept in that one small room.  Jared took her to the zoo for one Morning, which was nice.  I probably would have stayed that additional day except that it was becoming too difficult to deal with Daphne’s extra energy.

The first 2 days at home were fairly uneventful.  I was able to make a little food and take care of the baby, even Daphne was starting to calm down.  My sister came to visit the baby and help out a little bit, which was nice.

Things were definitely looking up except for the fact that I was not healing very well from my tear.  Things were still really sore and irritated, and I didn’t understand why.  I finally made an appointment to go back to have a postpartum check up.  I wasn’t thrilled about driving all the way to Portland to do it, but it turns out that it was a good idea.  All the stitches had torn out somewhere along the way, and were in need of repair.  The flesh was irritated and starting to get infected and really in need of some care.  Rather than just stitch me back up, they suggested that I be readmitted to the birth center for the night.  Daphne , Eli and my sister left without Cyprus and I.

I wasn’t prepared to be anywhere overnight.  I had no entertainment.  Nothing to read, nothing to watch and my phone was dying.  I was tired and sore, so I spent my time sleeping and taking sitz baths.  I did have my camera with me, so I took a bunch of photos of the baby while we hung out.  It was nice to be just the two of us.  I liked having the attention to devote to getting to know him, and he is pretty darn cute.

I realized that Daphne’s energy was driving me a little over the edge while I was dealing with such a painful recovery.  The peace helped me heal enough so they could fix the tear.  She spent a good 2 hours working on getting it stitched back up.  Unfortunately, the Lydocaine was not very helpful, so I felt a lot of the stitching process, which was not much fun for me.

I’ve been spending the last 8 days since she made the repair laying in bed trying to feel better.  I’m still really sore and in a lot of pain, and the truth is that it looks like some more of the stitches have started to come out again.  My midwife said this is definitely one of the most difficult recoveries that she has seen, and she’s been to over 900 births.  I am going to see her on Tuesday so she can take the stitches out and maybe try healing this thing another way.

Meanwhile, Daphne is still running around needing lots of attention.  I’ve been placating her with TV where possible, which I feel very guilty about.  Jared had to make a business trip out of town from Wed-Sat of this past week, so we have been on our own to some degree.  Luckily, I have had some lovely friends around who have been wiling to come and hang out with me and make me food.  I have been blessed incredibly by all of that help.   Daphne is trying so hard to adjust, and I love and admire her effort.  She still is my baby in many ways.  Look at these gorgeous eyes.

I even started to feel better yesterday.  Jared, Daphne and I left the house for a little while to go to a local festival.  We were gone for about an hour and a half.  We walked around very slowly and looked at some things then got some food and came home.  It was nice to get out of the house.

I edited up about 300 photos yesterday, so now I am working on getting them posted along with the stories that go with them.  Sorry about being gone, but I am starting to feel good enough to get back on the blogging horse.

Cyprus Que Anderson


Welcome Cyprus Que Anderson

It is hard to find a place to start a birth story. Since I have not written a lot about the pregnancy, I post the full story here.

The Pregnancy

My pregnancy with Cyprus was actually rougher than with Daphne. I was positive that the hyperemisis that I had with Daphne was a fluke and that I would be better prepared to handle anything sickness again. It turned out that was I wrong. As soon as I was 6 weeks pregnant, I was back into the routine of severe nausea and vomiting. I got to the point that I was vomiting 40 times per day. I tried all the same remedies that had failed with Daphne. I even tried some new ones. I was able to manage it for a while with a B-6 injection every day, but it eventually got so out of control that I ended up taking Unisom again. I took Unisom with Daphne, but only until around 20 weeks. With her, I was even able to taper off to taking 25mg every other day rather than every day, and after 20 weeks, I was able to stop. With this pregnancy, 25mg per day was not even making a dent in holding me together, so I ended up upping the amount to 50mg per day. This went on well into the pregnancy. It wasn’t until 33 weeks that I was able to taper down to 25mg per day and I was still taking 25mg every 2-3 days until the last week of the pregnancy. I was frustrated and discouraged.

Gestational Diabetes

When I was 32 weeks pregnant, I started to feel dizzy often. I went to see the midwife, and she suggested I check my blood sugar. After testing, it looked like I was dealing with a case of gestational diabetes. It was quite devastating to hear. Not only was I having a hard time with food in general, gestational diabetes puts additional severe limitations on what foods I could eat. I spent a lot of time working hard breaking my sugar addiction and revamping my diet to include many more complex carbohydrates. After doing all of that work, we discovered that I did not in fact have gestational diabetes. My glucose meter was not accurately reading the blood sugar levels, and I was actually well within normal range. I was excited to have the food restrictions lifted, but disappointed about the stress of having to revamp my diet.

Due Dates

Another pregnancy obstacle was the fact that my due date was inexactly known. There are several different ways to measure due dates. According to LMP, I was due on June 30th, according to conception date, I was due on July 12th and according to ultrasound, I was due on June 20th. Considering that the due date is really the middle of a range of 3 or so weeks that a baby can be born on, I was looking at a considerable birth window that extended from the first week in June to the first week in August as a possible birthday for the baby. I spent a lot of time at the end of the pregnancy trying to “assess” what week I was in and when I would have the baby. Not really knowing where I was at was incredibly stressful to me, and it made it hard to enjoy the last trimester. Ironically, he was born ON the original June 30th due date (only 5% of babies are born on their due dates). The midwife and I both agree, that he looks like a 40 –week term baby, not early and not late, which makes him a very punctual little man.

I had 2 midwifes, an apprentice midwife and a doula assigned to the birth of my baby. I could not have assembled a better birth team. The hitch was that the 2nd midwife and the apprentice midwife were both taking the month of June off and would not be back on call until July 1.

Feeling Anxious/Prodromal Labor

As I was getting into the 38th week of being pregnant, I started to feel anxious and ready to be done. I felt like the baby was ready to come out, and I was starting to have some early signs of labor. On June 23, I was having some contractions and bloody show. I was quite sure that it was all going to develop into labor, but every single night for the rest of the week I was stuck walking around the house with painless Braxton Hicks contractions that I was discouraged would never amount to anything. I was having other small signs that labor was imminent, so it made me anxious when I woke up to another day with no real signs of labor.

Water Broke

On Saturday the 27th, I spent most of the night thinking about how it was not a big deal that I didn’t have a baby. I decided that I was going to enjoy my time with Daphne and start some other fun projects that I had put off working on. I got up on Sunday the 28th and went outside to do some manual labor I had been working to avoid. I pulled up some bolting parsley to dry and moved some rabbit cages that were in desperate need of cleaning. As I was getting ready to do some other gardening work, I felt a large gush of water stream down my leg. I looked up to Jared and told him that I had either just peed my pants or my water had broken. I went inside to investigate and change clothes.

After a shower and a clothing change, the water was still gushing, so I was certain that my water had broken. I was worried that it was in fact a small “leak” but the fact that I was soaking an entire infant prefold every hour was an indication that it was an actual rupture. When I went back outside to see Jared, he was all but ready to head to the birth center to have the baby. I told him that I wasn’t having any contractions and that it would be a while before the baby was born. I called my midwife, and she told me that in 80% of women labor spontaneously starts within 24-48 hours of a membrane rupture. In the medical model, once the water has broken, you are put on a time clock that requires that you must deliver within 24 hours of a membrane rupture because of a belief of a risk of infection, so it is considered a failure if labor does not progress immediately. The truth is that if sterile technique is practiced after a membrane rupture, and the mother and baby are both monitored for infection, no risk is posed by waiting as long as it takes for labor to start. I do know of one woman who went for 9 days before her baby was born.

I spent the rest of the day shopping and getting things done around the house so that when we had a baby everything would be fine. I was surprised to go to bed and wake up to discover that not only was water still leaking out of me with impressive quantity, that I was having no other labor signs. I was feeling frustrated and stressed, so I spent the day hanging out with Daphne waiting for labor to begin. As I was again getting ready to go to bed, I decided that I would be able to go as long as I needed to for labor to start and that I was going to stop stressing about it.

As I crawled into bed, Jennifer (my primary midwife) called me and told me that she had just heard from Jesica (my secondary midwife) that she had decided to go back on call one day early and that if I went into labor that night that Jesica would be able to attend the birth. As soon as I hung up the phone, I experienced some mild contractions but decided to not read anything into them and went to sleep. I was occasionally woken up with a contraction here or there, but they had little intensity and not much power. I finally got up at 1 am and decided to try to time them and pay attention to the intensity in case they would develop anything. I went out to the computer and put on a TV show to watch. I spent 40 minutes watching TV only to discover that the contractions were very mild and were only 6-7 minutes apart, nothing to write home about, so I went back to bed.

True Labor

At 3:30, I woke up and decided to start timing the contractions to see how far apart they were. The intensity was increasing rapidly, and I lay in bed watching TV timing them out at 5 minutes or so, but not feeling intense. At 5 am I decided I would get up and take a shower and make breakfast because I was incredibly hungry. As soon as I was vertical and in the shower, the contractions became really intense. I found that it was necessary to vocalize through them. I had 5 contractions in the shower, and got out only to realize that I had only been in there for 15 minutes. I got out of the shower and was being hit so hard that I had to stay on my hands and knees to make it through. The contractions were right on top of one another and I was unsure I would be able to call the midwife. In the middle of contractions I ran in and told Jared to wake up and come help me. He called Jennifer and I was able to get out that the contractions were every 2-3 minutes apart and intense. She asked if I wanted to go to the birth center, and I said it sounded like a good idea if it looked like I was in labor.

We were in the car very quickly, and the contractions spaced out a bit. I hear that this is very common. Getting in a car can interrupt the labor routine a little. I was actually really glad to have the break. It is an hour drive to the birth center and we were possibly going to run into some rush hour traffic. We had left the house at 5:40.

The closer we got the more I urged Jared that we needed to be there. As we got to be about 15 minutes away, it was becoming clear to me that we needed to get out of the car and to the birth center. The contractions were close and intense, and I was actually worried that there was a possibility that the baby was going to be born in the car.

We got to the birth center to find that only the doula had arrived. Luckily, she is also a midwife, so she was at the birth center getting things ready for me. The tub was not full of water, but I was just happy that I could be somewhere that I could get back on my hands and knees. I spent a half hour leaning on the birth ball vocalizing through contractions as the tub filled and Jared and Daphne got situated.

The more intense things got, the more I wanted in the tub. It takes a while to fill up the birth tubs, and I decided to hop in and try to labor while it filled up. I really was looking for relief. Though the water wasn’t a total cure to the intensity, I felt like things were more manageable than they had been on dry land.

I was feeling a little worried that things were feeling intense but that it was possible that I wasn’t progressing. I wasn’t feeling like I was going to make it through the labor if I was only in the beginning stages, so as soon as Jennifer came through the door I asked if she would check my progress. My birth plan actually states that I didn’t want any exams during the birth because I didn’t want to focus on numbers and time, but an indication that I was far along would have been enough to keep me going. She checked and confirmed that I was 8 centimeters dilated. I was in transition and well on my way to having the baby. Things were incredibly intense, but the confirmation that I had come so far was enough to keep me going. I spent another 45 minutes laboring down before I knew that it was time to push.


I was so relieved after one contraction when I reached in and was able to feel the head of the baby. I knew that I was making progress, and I was able to feel for myself with every contraction how far the baby was moving down. My body was working without help from me to push the baby out. I felt at total effect of everything, and the only way I could feel better was to add any extra force I could to the pushing. I could feel the baby trying to make his way through my pelvis, and it felt like my pelvis was separating. The more effort I added to the pushing, the better I felt. After pushing for about 30 minutes, I was starting to feel that things were not moving along, and I started to wonder if this was going to end up in a c-section with Daphne. I started to live in her birth a little bit because I had pushed for 4 hours with her with no effect. The only consolation I had was the fact that I could feel the baby moving through my body. With each push, I could feel as he moved past the cervix and into the pelvis. As soon as he got to the pelvis, I could feel pressure on the perineum. As the contraction ended, I could feel him move back up (babies move down and up to stretch out the mom to make a gentler exit).

It does totally feel like the baby is going to come out your bum, so I spent every contraction putting pressure against my perineum to relieve the pain and pressure. At least I felt like I was doing something about the pain.

The midwives assured me that everything was textbook perfect but I was SURE it was going too slowly and that like with Daphne, pushing would be futile. I spent a long time feeling at effect as though things would not go my way. At that point a tip from a friend popped into my head. She had told me that it would not happen unless I made it happen. I focused on pushing with intention to birth the baby, and that is when I started to feel that progress was being made. I could feel him moving down with each push, and eventually the head was not going back in after a contraction.

Jared had been playing with Daphne helping me through contractions here and there. At this point, he grabbed a mirror and held it so that I could see the head coming out. It was nice to see the progress being made. Within a few pushes, I felt incredible burning, and the head finally slid out. I knew that with the next push that the whole body would come out, and I was anxious to hold him. I waited what seemed like forever for the next contraction. I wanted to catch the baby, so as it was starting, I reached down with Jared and Jennifer’s help and pulled him out and up. He was wet and slimy and covered in vernix, but it was awesome to be holding my own baby. He did not cry at all, but he started breathing immediately, and he turned pink right away. It was so lovely to sit in the tub and hold the baby I had worked so hard to birth. Daphne was out of the room when he was born, but she came back in moments later, and she was so excited. She jumped in the tub with me and helped me hold and adore him.

After sitting in the tub for 15 minutes with him, we decided to cut the cord so that Jared could hold him and so that I could birth the placenta.

It was so lovely to be able to get cleaned up and head to bed to snuggle with the baby.


The labor was 6 hours from start to finish, and was incredibly intense. I am so excited to have had a VBAC. In fact, I have a renewed upset for the c-section I had with Daphne because I realize how close I was to having her.

I found the advice from my friend I mentioned to be incredibly helpful. I have no idea where the birth would have gone if I had not remembered what she had said.

I think that the birth went so quickly and so smoothly because of some advice from a book. Ina May recommends that when birthing that you keep the vocalizations very low, almost like mooing. I made sure to do that with the contractions and to give in to what was going on. I think that helped things go along very quickly because I was not feeling tense in my bottom.

The truth is that I get misty eyed when I think of the accomplishment of having a VBAC. If I had been seeing a doctor, I would never have even gotten the chance to “attempt” the VBAC. Even if I had been given the chance, the “risk” of having my water broken for so long before the start of labor would have gotten me to the OR with great haste.

My midwives were fantastic and never listened to me complain that I couldn’t do it or that I just needed to have a c-section. I’m sure I could have complained a lot less in labor, and it would have been more pleasant for them, but the truth is that they were just the support that I needed.

Having Daphne there was actually lovely, and there were some sweet moments when she put on some gloves and came over to help me through the birth. She was even happy to jump in the gross bloody water with me to help me admire the baby.

I love my husband and thank him for being the support I needed. He was at the right place at the right time, and offered the perfect amount of support. He really is the star of the birth because he was able to step back and let things happen.

Natural Teething Remedies


Daphne is getting her first set of molars in. Rather than be nice and get them one at a time, she has been getting all four of them at the same time. Teething is traumatic enough for a baby, but this was over the top. She often had to be held, and she would just sit and cry and cry with nothing that would console her.

A few things really did work. A lot of the time, we could just give her a nice high dose of homeopathic chamomile. That stuff worked well. One time, at the height of her screaming, I gave her a dose of chamomile, and she just fell over and was sleeping in no time. Chamomile has been really nice to use, and I recommend it highly to any parent. However, it just didn’t seem to stay the dragons during this round of teeth.

After wining to my mom’s group online about my very sad baby, the owner of Pumpkin Butt emailed me and told me that there was something I had to try. In her store, she sells something called teething oil. It is a blend of a bunch of different oils that have proven to be therapeutic. A lot of moms just put clove oil on their baby’s gums. Though it does work, experimentation on an adult shows that clove oil hurts until it numbs all feeling for at least 24 hours. Not a good numb, more like a chemical burn numb. Not something I recommend.

I got some teething oil from Pumpkin Butt. It is the best $5 investment I could have made. Daphne likes the taste, and she likes the bottle, and when I rub it on her gums, that seems to calm things down incredibly.

A while ago, my friend sent me a link for some Amber Teething Necklaces. I looked at them at the time, thought they were cool and then closed the link. I started to think about it more, recently, and I decided to give it a try.

I bought two Amber Teething Necklaces and 1 bracelet. The total was about $20 including shipping. I got 2 so that I knew that if it worked and one got lost that I would not feel without while I waited for a new one to be shipped to me.

The SECOND I put the necklace on Daphne, we truly had a miracle on our hands. She calmed right down, and her temperament seemed to improve. She liked the necklace, though she was prone to chewing on it because it was a little long.

I SWEAR that I don’t believe in voodoo much, but this is one case where it really works.

You see, the child is not supposed to chew on the beads. The mere act of wearing them will do the trick. See, I told you it was a little voodoo.

Of course, the Europeans have been doing this for years, and it’s popular over there. Americans tend to be a little more stubborn about all things voodoo.

Here is some truth behind the voodoo. Apparently Baltic Amber has a high level of succinic acid in it. When the baby wears the necklace against his skin, the amber warms up, and the succinic acid can then absorb into the skin and be soaked up by the blood stream. Apparently, research has shown that it can calm a person down, stop them from drooling (always a benefit) and soothe the soreness that comes with teething.

That sounds logical. Daphne lent one of her necklaces to a friend to try out, and we found out very quickly just how much it does work. She had an awful time without her necklace while the baby she was lending it to had some relief from the teething. I have since been encouraging a bunch of mamas to try the teething necklaces for the teething pain.

I bought my necklaces from Inspired by Finn. They are made specifically for babies, so care has been taken to knot between each bead. If the strand were to break, the beads would not scatter everywhere for a curious toddler to eat! They are also made in smaller sizes. I got Daphne a 14” strand, and it worked very well for her.

She likes to look pretty, so the next time you see her, admire her pretty necklace.

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