Thursday, November 11, 2010

Sunday, October 24, 2010

This is for my wife, but really goes for all you mothers out there

This was written by one of my student's whose wife gave birth a week ago. It is so sweet. Thank you Jonathan.

I admire you so much for the past 10 months. You took on the commitment to have a child, something you knew would entail so much sacrifice. You carried our unborn Parker, you quit caffeine and alcohol, watched your diet, and even left work early from a job you love and sat at a desk bored to death, all for his safety. You read, and read, and read and researched things I never even thought of. You talked to so many people to educate yourself about how to best care for this little life inside you, and eventually outside of you! I've never seen you so committed to anything, and you've accomplished some amazing things in your life. You worked with me through my ignorance and bullishness about methods that were not the "main-stream" but nonetheless best for us and P. And you did all of this while I was distracted, in school, with not a lot to give you at the end of the day.

You labored like a champ, you kept me calm even though I was stirring inside. You only muttered "we might have to go to the hospital" one time, and you didn't even complete that sentence, even though you knew there was a chance I might have to deliver Parker in the car on the way to Renee's, because you stuck to your beliefs and your wishes. Being in the birth tub with you, being there for you to float on and try to give you words of encouragement was the most important moment of my life, and I was amazed at how strong you were, how in control you seemed... even though I know you felt a bit out of control. You calmed in between those intense moments. And you did it... you delivered the most beautiful baby boy in the world.

After you accomplished that amazing feat, you immediately nursed Parker, as exhausted as you were, even though you sustained great personal injury, that most of us guys would have sat with for a week in bed expecting to be waited on hand and foot. Throughout this past week, you have mastered a hugely steep learning curve, at great personal physical and emotional sacrifice to nourish our little guy, sometimes in tears, but always with love and devotion. You are a rock, but the best kind of rock... tough and hard and multifaceted, but with a warm, loving, squishy center.

Thank you Jessie... and thank you all you moms out there. I never understood what kind of sacrifice and work this was... until it happened to us!

You're a great Mommy... but I never had a doubt!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Heatwave: Triple Digits to Continue Today

I had two students who gave birth on the freeway in two days! This is one that made it on the news.

Friday, July 30, 2010

My Native Son

Tomorrow my son Eric will be home.  He has spent the last 2 months living in Washington D.C. as an intern through the WINS program (Washington Interns for Native Students).  Eric had the privilege of representing the Caddo tribe.  He worked full time at the Department of Veterans Affairs and also took two college classes.   I know he has made some friends he will have for the rest of his life.  Very proud of him, but so look forward to having him home and hearing the words in person:   "Love you, mama." 

Thursday, June 24, 2010

What is Natural Anymore?

In an article written by Abi Cotler O'Roarty in the Huffington Post, states that:

By way of contrast, in the U.S. today, labor is medically induced or augmented 80 percent of the time in hospital births, versus. 9.5 percent in 1991 (Martin and associates, 2009). The use of an Electronic Fetal Monitor throughout labor has also steadily risen since its invention in the 1970s to the current rate of 75 percent, though women continuously hooked up to one cannot move around freely while laboring. And one in three women now have cesarean births, up from 1965 when it was the 4.5 percent that the World Health Organization still recommends.

It seems all women must have their baby by week 41 and most women "need help." We have not made strides in birth but in the reverse. Thank-goodness for doctors like Dr. Biter in San Diego.

End of An Era

Yesterday, life as we have known it changed.  Our last child finished 6th grade at Desert Rose.  We first walked on the campus in 1990 when our oldest started kindergarten, I started volunteering then and my last day was yesterday.   The school holds more good memories than bad, it was such a part of our lives.  We will now have two kids in high school as Isaac graduated from 8th grade, our 5th to go to the same high school where my husband and I met.  So yesterday when I left the campus, I realized it was the last time I was leaving as a parent of a student. . .  I just hope in the fall when it is time to take Alanna to school I go to the right school, old habits can be hard to break!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

This is what being a mom is about. . .

The last few days have been so very busy. Sending one son off to live across country for the summer, then having our oldest son graduate from the Antelope Valley College Fire Academy, and then our youngest daughter had her dance team awards.

Our oldest son, has not always had it easy when it comes to learning, but he has worked so hard to learn how he learns best and his dedication is amazing. So yesterday, we were so proud to watch him graduate from the AVC Fire Academy. It is a long 9 month program, with much to learn both academically and physically. He did this while he also worked 2-3 jobs. So to watch him yesterday in his uniform, with a smile that can melt your heart (much like his dad's), just could not have been prouder of him.

All I can say is, wow, am I blessed.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Breastfeeding Video

Great little video. Why can't a woman who needs a c-section breastfeed right after?

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day

I hope all the mothers out there feel like everyday is Mother's Day. Life as a mom is never easy, you question everything you do. But when your child says "Thank you for all that you do," whether is in words or a smile, makes everything you do worth it. My children aren't perfect, whose are? But those are my six wonderful children, the ones that make me mad, drive me crazy, are messy, are loud, and sometimes lazy, are the same children that make my heart fill with pride with the things they accomplish, bring me to tears by saying "Love you mama, your the best mama in the world" or wrap their arms around me and give the biggest hug. I can't help and think, wow, what a lucky woman I am. To bring six beautiful children into the world created with love. . .

Monday, May 3, 2010

25th Anniversary of Becoming a Mother

25 years ago I gave birth naturally to an amazing daughter, making me a mother for the first time.  Over the years she has never stopped amazing me, she is strong, stubborn, silly and I am so proud she is mine.  We agree and we disagree on many things, but she never stops helping me learn to become,  I hope a better mother, a better woman.  From the moment I found out I was pregnant and placed my hand on my belly, she has touched me.  Thank you.

Monday, April 19, 2010


When considering any vaccines, you might want to consult this website: WAVE: World Association for Vaccine Education. It lists just about every vaccine and what is in it. It just might help you make up your mind, one way or another.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Having Faith

The following birth story is from my students Jessica and Kurt. So proud of them!

In our society today birth is portrayed as an excruciating necessary evil of bringing a child into the world that must be “managed” by doctors. Women are coached in the use of “labor safe” drugs and other routine interventions. Inductions, epidurals and cesarean sections have become the “normal” ways to give birth, instead of the exception. We have two wonderful little boys that came to us via these “normal” birth experiences. Our first son, I was unnecessarily induced and told if I didn’t have drugs I’d have a c-section. Then I was told if I didn’t have an epidural I’d end up with a c-section. After 36 hours and an unnecessary episiotomy our son was born, weighing 7 pounds 15 ounces 13 days past his due date. With our second son I was induced unnecessarily twice, being told both times that if I didn’t stay and get induced my “baby would die”. My first induction failed and I was allowed to go home. With the second induction I was induced because of “critically low fluid level” of 7 (which I have since confirmed by my current OB, midwife and ACOG is within normal limits, normal being between 3 and 12). I labored for 28 hours and diagnosed as “failure to progress” then given a c-section. After the surgery they told me that he was just “too big to be born naturally”, he weighed 8 pounds 8 ounces born 8 days past his due date.

Taking us by surprise just 10 months after our second son was born we found out we were expecting again. Fearing I’d have to have another C-section (the local hospital has banned VBACs) I wanted something to look forward to and distract me during the surgery so we decided not to find out the gender of our baby. We wanted a VBAC and found out we could have one if we traveled to a hospital an hour and half south of where we live. We really didn’t want another hospital birth we, put that in God’s hands and, prepared ourselves for a natural birth. We armed ourselves with as much information we could find: books, VBAC classes, various websites, you name it. A friend of ours mentioned the Bradley method and how helpful it was in them having a natural birth, something we wanted with our first two but didn’t get to experience. We learned so much from our wonderful teacher and came to realize that not only is birth natural and normal but, if we would have taken the Bradley method before our first birth both of them would have been natural births.

At 36 weeks my cervix was starting to soften and open – this was huge because with our first two pregnancies I never had any cervical change at all. We were excited something was happening. At 40 weeks my OB was already talking about another c-section because they “couldn’t let me go past 41 weeks”. Thankfully, God had his hand on not only this pregnancy but the birth too. A wonderful midwife came to us gave us encouragement, and the opportunity to have a natural home/out-of-hospital birth.

Sunday evening (40 weeks, 6 days) my girlfriend suggested we walk down a mountain road close to where we live and then she would massage my feet. It was raining; my husband dropped us off at the top of the mountain road. We walked down to my girlfriend’s car then she drove me home and rubbed my feet, specifically my arches, for an hour. Half way through my contractions started, it was just before 7 p.m...
After she left I relaxed and watched TV with my husband until the contractions started calling my attention away from the program. We timed them, just to see if there was a pattern. They were 10 minutes apart, but we were hesitant to get excited we didn’t want to jump the gun. I took a shower while Kurt loaded the car; they got closer together, 5 minutes apart. Kurt suggested I get some rest, so I went to bed and tried to rest. Kurt would talk me through the contractions and help me relax then he would go back to rubbing my feet or back.

At 3:00 a.m. we decided to head out, my contractions were at 4 minutes apart lasting a minute. It was raining outside when we headed out for Bakersfield, a 2 hour drive north that took us 2 ½ hours. Contractions remained at 4 minutes apart the entire drive, I focused on staying relaxed. I was so relaxed that Kurt thought I was sleeping between contractions. When a contraction started I would make a soft low “hmmmm” sound and when the contraction finished I’d take a deep cleansing breath, this helped Kurt time them. If I got distracted the contractions would catch me off guard and were more difficult to work through.

We arrived at the hotel, where we were to give birth, at 5:30 a.m. We set up the room, dressed the bed with plastic sheets, washed out the huge whirlpool tub, brought in our pillows and just made the room comfy. At 7:00 a.m. our midwife arrived and checked me, I was at 4 cm but she could stretch me to 5 cms. This was good news. I remember the advice my Bradley teacher gave us, she said: “I always thought to myself that I just wasn’t that far along”. So I assumed I’d barely be dilated.

When our midwife arrived my labor had slowed down and my contractions were 7 minutes apart. My hips and back were killing me from the long drive, so our midwife suggested that I take a bath to help me relax. She left to let us labor alone for awhile, Kurt took a nap while I relaxed in the tub. When I emerged from the bath an hour later my contractions were 15-20 minutes apart. I remember thinking: Had I been in a hospital (being unable to augment my labor with pitocin because I am a VBAC) I would have been given a c-section. We called the midwife and told her things had really slowed down, she suggested walking but it was pouring rain outside so she said a shower might help. After 45 minutes in the shower my contractions were coming every 3 minutes and lasting 2 minutes. It was nice having time alone to labor. It was so intimate, just my husband and I, working together one contraction at a time. We called our midwife again with our update and she said she was on her way. When she checked me I was at 7-8 cms – hello transition. Things were really getting intense, I threw up (not my favorite thing to do) but I felt better afterward. I moved into the tub and stayed there for 2 hours. At one point I would just start shaking my head back and forth and saying “no, no, no” every time a contraction peaked. It felt like they were unending and I rolled from one to another. My husband realized that we were almost done because I was have the self doubt sign post and really encouraged me as much as he could. I kept saying “I can’t” and “I want it to stop, just for minute – let me catch by breath”, he kept saying “that means you’re almost done”, “you are doing so good”, “we get to meet our baby very very soon now”. The water helped me cope, and while I wouldn’t describe it as pain it was definitely intense. I threw up again and decided I didn’t want to be in the tub anymore. I went and sat on the toilet and rubbed my thighs through the peak of the contractions, I’m not sure why but it felt really good.

My wonderful husband never left my side and reminded me about a million times to relax my jaw and breathe deep belly breaths. As long as he was touching me I felt anchored. He would try to rub me or provide some other comfort measure and I would only have to look at him and he knew I just needed his touch. He let our friend, who is also a doula, provide comfort measures like light touch massage.

I tried to find a position to help me be a little more comfortable I tried laying on the bed – nope, I tried all fours on the bed – nope, I knelt by the bed – nope, I dangled from my husband – nope, I stood over the bed and put my hands out to support me – nope. I thought I was going to vomit again and fell down on all fours over a trash can – nope…I had to move my bowels, I ran to the bathroom. Then my contractions changed and with each one I had an unstoppable urge to move my bowels and bear down. I said “I think I’m pushing” the midwife assured me that it was okay and not to worry she wouldn’t let me have the baby over the toilet. I pushed with each contraction (but not with all my might – I was nervous the baby would fall out), it’s an unreal feeling to feel your baby moving down the birth canal. Then my water broke with a POP!

I moved to the bed and tried a semi sitting position which didn’t feel comfortable, so I got on all fours at the edge of the bed and during a contraction would lean on my husband. I was “pushing” through each contraction but not efficiently because I was nervous about tearing through my old episiotomy incision. Then my midwife said “your baby is right there but you’re not really pushing, if you try the semi-sitting position again and give real pushes you could have your baby in your arms already” that was what I needed to hear. I did exactly what she said, and it took 4 pushes. Push one and the baby was crowning, I felt the top of the baby’s head which really motivated me. Push two and I was experiencing “the ring of fire” – yikes! Push three and the head was out as well as her hand. Push four and we had a little girl! She weighed 8 lbs 14 oz born 7 days past her due date.

I was hesitant to push the placenta out after just having put a baby through there but my doula friend jokingly said “don’t worry this one doesn’t have bones”. After the placenta was delivered and the cord was done pulsating my husband clamped and cut the cord. 27 hours and it was over, the time flew by and we were holding our little girl. We named her Faith because our faith brought her to us through this beautiful experience.

Giving birth naturally is a high that can not be explained. It makes me so sad that so many women sign up for “the drugs” as soon as they find out they are pregnant. Labor is what you expect it to be, if you expect pain you will experience pain. I experienced very intense feelings and sensations but never an ounce of pain. And, although we plan to wait a few years before expanding our family again, I really can’t wait to experience giving birth again!