Happy Birthday Erin Margaret!

This little nugget was due July 9th(ish), and was by far my easiest and healthiest pregnancy. I don't know if it was the pre-natals I was taking or the fact I actually kept up with taking juice plus this go around (semi-consistently). I will say, by 39 weeks I was dragging in this Houston heat of July. Like both my girls, this was going to be a home birth with our same birth team we've used twice before. Sparing all the minute details of false starts, and silly prodromal labor, I'll start our story with the actual week I went into labor. 

Every Monday was my midwife visit, and I kept hoping we wouldn't have to meet again because a baby would be here. So after weeks of early/false labor, and being 41wks, I was emotionally done being pregnant. I saw my midwife that Monday, July 17 and was still only 1cm dilated and 70% effaced. I was a bit frustrated. We did a membrane sweep but it didn't really do much. We literally tried all the things. I did an induction massage that Friday before, I had been taking all the homeopathic and herbs, walking like crazy, doing whatever was in my power to encourage that kid out. I had a day of contractions Tuesday, I even tried that god awful Castor Oil, but it went no where. So I went and visited my midwife again to see if I had progressed any on Wednesday morning, thankfully I did. I was finally 2-3cm, but still not having steady contractions. My girls had been at grandmas all week, so I went and picked them up and took them out to a playground. I was having contractions that were harder, but nothing that was stopping me from that. I made the tough call to let them spend the night at grandmas again hoping I'd go into labor. Alas, I did not. 

By Thursday morning, I was so over being pregnant. I woke up at 6am and started sobbing. I was 41 weeks 3 days, missing my girls, exhausted and emotionally spent. I called my midwife to ask what we could do, and if we could talk about hospital induction. So we go see Leah, our midwife, and get checked, still only 4cm (after a full day of contractions). At that point I requested we schedule a transfer of care and a hospital induction for Friday morning (through serious tears. y'all I had been crying for almost 3 hours by now). Midwife suggested taking the day to not try to get labor started, as I had been all week. So we pick up the girls from grandparents, go home and relax. My midwife had swept my membranes again, so of course I'm hurting and having contractions. I try to ignore them all day... by 4:45 I text my midwife that I'd been timing them and they were steady.

By 5:30/6 they got closer and stronger. So I finally believed I was in real labor and told her to come at 8pm. Why I knew I didn't need her immediately is just experience. By the time she got there at 8, my 2 older girls were in bed and I was able to count on contractions coming between 5-7 minutes. She checked me and I thought I was only going to be a 4/5, since i still wasn't in too much to handle pain. Sure enough she was like, you're  7cm dilated!! So we both were excited. That was around 8:30/9, the rest of her team arrived a little after she checked me. I had a student midwife there, and Leah (my midwife) asked the student to watch me during a contraction and take a guess to what dilation I was. She guessed a 5. I'm a still and quiet laborer, so it's hard to gauge how far along I am by how my manage pain through a contraction.


We started watching fixer upper, and by 10:30/11 I asked to get checked again, she said a big 8cm. Which for me, knowing where I'm at was  motivating this go around. Through each contraction I could tell myself "only a few more cm". By now, the only comfortable place to get through a contraction was standing/swaying and bracing myself on the threshold of a door or counter to lean over or on my birth ball. I did a few contractions of hands and knees over the ball. She was soooo low that every time they checked, they had to walk my cervix forward because it kept going posterior because her head forced it that way. The ball really was my saving gracing because I could comfortably relax into the deep contractions. By this time, they were radiating in my whole pelvic region, lower back. And if I rolled just right, I could spark one because of where her head was. Around 11:30 I was feeling nauseous, so I went upstairs to lay down and labor in the side laying position. I was weary of this because in previous births this position brought on the hard contractions and I find I had trouble relaxing into them. 

After a few really deep contractions I sat up and tailor sat because I just knew she needed gravity to get through those last 2cm. Of course this is when I started shivering and knew we were getting close. Around 12:30am I had them check again, and sure enough I was a 9. The next few contractions I really had to get into that place of focusing. Whatever music is playing helped me relax and at this point I was still timing contractions so I stopped. I was definitely at the horse lips and almost whistling low quiet hum phase. Of course my insomniac children woke up at 1am... so they came out, said hi... we got the kindles ready. I hugged each of them a little bit. And as I was about to lift my 3 year old I stopped. Literally as soon as I handed husband the kindle for Her, the big contractions  with the urge to push came hard. I was at my doorway and my knees buckled and I got loud and started to whimper. I had to squat into those because it's all I could do.

For some reason I wanted to sit on the toilet and felt the urge to push there. And goodness it took 2 pushes on the toilet for me to realize it was near. Jimmy was still with our 3 year old and Leah was like " you don't want to give birth on the potty. we have to move". I told my midwives I needed him here to get me off the toilet... glad he came, because he helped me walk to the bed for 3 more pushes and she was out 11 mins from potty to bed. I had about a 30 second break between pushes, and the saving grace was them putting a warm compress down there. Her water didn't break until her head was out. Her little head had plugged up the cervix, so it couldn't really have broken until then. I definitely remember husband asking me if I wanted water and I told him no and to shut up. The student midwife  was giving My midwife olive oil, and was asking how much. Of course in between pushes I am still present, and jokingly said "don't be stingy, we have plenty more downstairs" As soon as she came out both my midwives (who have been at my two previous births), were shocked at how little she was for being 41+5. I had no tearing, and really my only complaint is a sore tail bone.


So after what felt like an easy labor, and even easier delivery, my smallest baby girl, Erin Margaret was born on July 21, 2017 at 1:35am. She weighed 6lbs 15oz and was born at home. 

Nothing a little beauty counter charcoal mask can't help. (Ps this was night 2, not immediately after the birth)

Nothing a little beauty counter charcoal mask can't help. (Ps this was night 2, not immediately after the birth)

Just a few hours old in this photo!

Just a few hours old in this photo!

Happy Birthday Emery Beatrice!

It looks like I haven't updated this personal blog in almost a YEAR. I'll add more posts later, but in the mean time here is the birth story of our newest daughter Emery Beatrice! 

We found out we were expecting baby 2 on Ellis' first birthday! Crazy thing, I just knew I was pregnant but dragged my feet to take a test. We were traveling to visit friends in Missouri and a few friends threw tests at me to take! Sure enough, Pregnant! 

I immediately texted my midwife to see if she would be off her maternity leave in time for baby 2! I knew we would do a home birth again, and that I wanted the same birth team. This pregnancy was a breeze. I purposely stayed active and kept up walking and working out as much as possible. I joined the YMCA during the summer so I could walk the indoor track and not die of heat exhaustion. We went on a few hiking trips during this time! Once to Rocky Mountain National Park and then a week in Banff, Canada. 

My due date was New Years 2016! I prayed and hoped this baby would come late, though I would've accepted her to come early. She didn't come early, she didn't come on time, but just like ellis, she came at almost 41 weeks! Around our due date, EVERYONE in our house had a cold. I felt awful, Ellis was a snotty feverish mess, and Jimmy was a sniffly mess. So we stocked up on vitamin c, drowned ourselves with water, and rested a lot! We finally knocked out the colds in time for a baby to come. 

Tuesday, January 5 I had my midwife appointment. I had been at 1cm for about 3 weeks now, but finally the baby was dropping. My midwife swept my membranes and that was that. I took Ellis to the kids museum, and like normal went home and napped. I had been having early/prodromal labor for over a week now.

Wednesday, January 6, I woke up with contractions and started having all the other signs of labor that are gross. I texted my midwife to give her the heads up that I started having contractions. She encouraged me not to encourage contractions and take the day to rest since she wasn't feeling 100% with mastitis and I totally was ok with that. I needed the day to get ready for the birth any ways. By the evening the contractions were getting stronger and closer together. I gave her the heads up, but by 1am the contractions slowed down and went away and I slept. I learned my lesson last time with an all night birth. I did NOT want to be deliriously tired during the pushing portion. 

Thursday, January 7, Again I woke up with contractions that were still far apart. I texted my midwife to see if I could come up and get checked to see where I was and what was going on. She got to my house around 11:30/12ish, and I put Ellis down for a nap. When she checked me I was about 4cm! Which after a full day and half of contractions I was relieved to have gone that far! So we started on the breast pump to get the contractions going closer, and some herbs and essential oils. I also decided to start baking a birthday cake as well. Nothing takes your mind off contractions like stirring batter, taking care of a toddler, and getting the house cleaned up. Around 4pm my birth team had arrived and we were just sitting and waiting for my contractions to get closer together. I was still able to breathe through the painful ones, which still were at about a level 5/6 on the pain scale (10 being ripping nails out pain). The pain never really got too much. One of my midwives joked and asked if I was even in labor. I was pretty quiet and focused during contractions, which helped with pain management. Around 7pm, we put ellis to bed (which surprisingly helped me to get labor going again). I got checked, and sure enough I was 7cm. We were all a little shocked as I had not really expressed that I was that close to active labor. 

My contractions stayed steadily apart for most of the night. We checked again at 9pm, and I was still 7cm. I looked at my midwife and was like HOW THE HECK DO WE GET THIS KID OUT?! So my husband and I went and walked our block a few times at 10pm. I walked through contractions, probably some strong ones. We needed at least an hour of strong contractions that came steady. We never got that hour. We did the rebozo, watched Greys Anatomy, I cracked jokes, I laughed through a few contractions, ate dinner, paced our house. We kept waiting, resting, me moving and trying to talk contractions into happening, squatting, walking, changing positions constantly. To no avail, contractions stayed 7mins apart. At this time, my water still had not broke but my bag was bulging and I could feel the pressure. I realize now that a big thing during this labor was I was distracted and worried about taking care of those around me. I still felt like I needed to be a hostess, which was not necessary. 

Finally, around 3:30am I got checked again and was at 9cm. We thought I was fully dilated, so just to double check we had another midwife come and sweep and see where I was at. As she was checking, my water finally broke. My water breaking was a sensation I had never felt! I think for ellis, it was a slow leak and not the gush we had with Emery. Once my water broke, I sat up and felt just a sudden relief of pressure. It was the oddest thing, I thought once my water broke baby would be coming soon. I sat up and sat criss-cross applesauce, and found comfort in that position through a few contractions. I was eager to start pushing, so we started to push. Then they checked again and we found that I had a cervical lip. So at 6am we stopped pushing immediately so I wouldn't cause swelling. 

At this point I was FRUSTRATED, tired, and just over it. So we rested for an hour, and talked about a timeline of waiting another 90 minutes before we reevaluate if we needed to transfer. By then I'm in tears and just at the point where I really really was overly emotional. I didn't want to fail. So I hopped in the shower to have the water help me relax and pull myself together. Which took about 20 minutes. I really didn't want to fail. I don't know exactly what I didn't want to fail at, since no matter what a baby was coming out. Once I pulled myself together, still emotional, I checked my phone to see a few texts, checked the baby monitor and saw Ellis was awake. Immediately I texted my friend Kate that baby wasn't here. Could she come pick up ellis who's still in PJs and needs breakfast, and would she come in and pray with me? I had been stuck at 9cm for over 3 hours. Thank you Lord for amazing friends who happen to be practically neighbors. She was there in less than 10mins. 

Once Kate prayed with me and took Ellis, I think I was finally able to give it 100% because my body started doing what we had been hoping for. The hard, toe curling, body writhing, contractions started and never stopped for what felt like forever, really was only 90 minutes. We checked at 7:30, still a 9 with the cervical lip, so by 8am I was finally feeling the urge to push (something I don't remember really having with Ellis). I can only describe the urge to push as its that moment when your body knows relief comes from pushing against the pressure of contractions. Now, pushing with a cervical lip is absolutely awful. When I had the urge to push I was sitting up, and honestly sitting indian style was the only way I was managing to get through the contractions... but you can't push a baby out sitting on its only exit. My sweet midwives had to lead me to lay flat on my back to push effectively. I also knew that when I pushed, my midwife's hands would have to be inside me holding my cervix open. I begged her not to put her fingers inside... Im glad she didn't listen but slowly snuck them in during pushes. Once emery's head had been pushed past the lip, she could take her hands out. After only about 25 minutes of pushing, Emery's head started crowning.

One thing I had told my team was that I wanted to catch and pull her up to my chest. At that very moment, they told me to reach down and get ready for her. I said no you just do it (hello exhaustion), but again they didn't listen to my crazy self and guided my hands to where they needed to be. What a surreal experience to feel the head of your new baby as they're leaving your body. Once her shoulders were out, I pulled her up to my chest. (Side note: a fresh baby feels like a warm raw whole chicken. that is seriously the only way to describe how slippery they are). Sweet Emery Beatrice was 8lbs 3.5oz and 21" long. She was born with some dark hair and a complexion darker than her older sister. 

Crazy to think we've done 2 home births now. While during that last 90 minutes of intense pain I said never again to kids, homebirth, labor, life, I would do it again. I love that once Emery was here, we just were in our own little world for the day. This time around we told a few people that she had arrived, Kate brought ellis back for naptime (Jimmy took care of that), and we officially were a family of 4. We took the day to rest, recoup, and I was looking forward to when ellis woke up. I missed my first born. Her first reaction was just giggles. She's a toddler of no words, so her smile and giggles were enough to warm my heart! She still is like that with Emery.  

I'm one of THOSE moms.

I write this as I watch my almost 10 week old in the monitor sleeping in her crib in her room for the first time. Last night I slept in the room with her, so I'd say that this is progress. Ever have those realizations that catch you off guard, but not entirely off guard? Like you had a sneaky suspicion you'd be THAT mom that you thought you wouldn't be? During pregnancy I never took a clear stance on many things, made sure I "never said never", but I had a plan. 

I had a moment today as I was cleaning the car seat of what was an epic blowout on the way to church. It was one of those cleaning jobs that introduces you to the fact the car seat cover does come off (thank God). Sparing you the details, but it took me 30 minutes to clean my daughter and car seat. I am thankful for the nursery staff that let me use their changing table because for some odd reason this church's bathroom does NOT have a changing station in their women's room (seriously?!). But, as I was cleaning and leaving my immobile child on the changing table a nursery worker saved her from rolling in her mess and held her for me. 

Realization number 1- I am not ready for her to go into the nursery at church, even at 10 weeks old. As that sweet nursery worker held my baby, I wanted to hurry up and get both of us out of there. I have worked the church nursery since I was 12. I had no idea the inner turmoil mom's must go through before leaving their kids with strangers, even in a church nursery. Luckily for the mom's leaving their kiddos with me knew me since I was that size. To all those new moms that I convinced to leave their babies in the nursery with me, lets just agree to sit in the cry room together and grip our first born tightly and watch the service on closed circuit tv, ok? I am speaking for all the new moms out there who go to church-- having nursing mom/cry rooms with the ability to hear/see the service with your ticking time bomb of a baby is PRICELESS. What helped me feel great about getting back to church with a newborn, I knew I had a safe room for my kid to lose her mind or eat loudly uncovered.

Realization number 2- I have more separation anxiety than I expected. Moving Ellis to her room, just the thought of it had me reaching for xanax. A day running errands, as soon as I get home I hold her and let her nap next to me while I work. I miss my kid, even when she's in the same house/vehicle. I seriously started feeling tears well up in my eyes from the anxiousness I had when I made the decision to let her sleep in her own room. The last time I had that same scared/anxious feeling was when I decided to move to Texas from Connecticut. I allow myself some grace. I had this girl inside me for 41 weeks and haven't really left her in the 10 weeks of her life. I brought my favorite teddy bear to college and marriage ( I don't sleep with it, but I know its there). 

Realization number 3- Tonight I left my sleeping baby with my husband at home, for the first time EVER. As I walked through Target, aimlessly wandering, I felt lost. I didn't know how to meander. I couldn't figure out what to do in Target without my time clock called a baby. I did probably the WORST thing by attempting to find a bathing suit top (gave up after trying on 1 top). I wandered into the baby dept. and stared at clothing that she doesn't need. My amazing husband even gave me an allowance to buy something. I couldn't do it. So I went to Walmart, and still aimlessly wandered the BABY aisle. I only texted my husband once (or twice) asking if she was still breathing. But I texted a few friends for support, because momma needed xanax bad. I finally shook some sense into myself and asked what is one place I can't easily go to with a carseat/baby? JIMMYJOHNS. With all my freedom bestowed upon me, I went to Jimmy Johns and got a tuna sandwich. #lame

After all is said and done, I texted one of my friends who is about to have baby #2, to apologize for a few things when her baby #1 was here. I apologized for laughing at her when she said she missed her baby when she was in the back in her carseat. I apologized for suggesting she leave her kid for a weekend while we all went away. I apologized for being offended when she told me I would understand when I became a mom.  And you know what, as hard as it was to hear that, ITS SO DAMN TRUE. Motherhood is great. I am not sure I'm seeing the rewards yet, but I know they're coming. You really don't know how you'll feel about anything until you are a mom. So I am one of THOSE moms, who loves their kid and misses them when they're sleeping. I know there will come a day when I am beyond ready to go to target by myself. So the next time my husband asks if I enjoyed myself, I can hopefully honestly say yes. 

Happy Birthday Ellis Jules!

So… this is the birth story, it’s really long.. but thats what you get from a 36 hour labor! I apologize for grammatical errors and the times are estimates. Pictures at the end.. labor pictures to come later.. 


From the very beginning, I knew this pregnancy was different. After a series of miscarriages, this pregnancy felt different from the others. We weren’t trying, and obviously we were effectively preventing. So after a LONG road trip from Connecticut to Florida in August, I just knew something was up. I got home and immediately Jimmy and I were in some petty argument. For some bizarre reason I thought to myself I should take a pregnancy test. Sure enough, clear as day, it was positive. Like, pee didn’t even dry on the stick positive. So my anger turned to tears and I came to Jimmy crying, telling him “I’m so sorry...we’re pregnant again.” We both were kind of shocked and started laughing, because whatever we were fighting about quickly wasn’t priority.

We had decided after the last miscarriage, that we were going to allow God to be in control of the next pregnancy. No medical intervention, research or tests. I knew I needed to be on a progesterone supplement, so that was the only thing I needed. To ease my mind, I did get blood tests done to make sure my levels were rising, properly and watching my progesterone levels. At about 7 weeks I had my first ultrasound. My heart couldn’t have been ready to burst anymore waiting to see the heartbeat. When the little flicker on the screen came into focus, I was beyond relieved to see a real baby in there. After that one last appointment with my OB, I decided that using a Midwife for a homebirth was the route I wanted.

At first I really wanted the gender to be a surprise. I was adamant about it. Had grand plans of a gender reveal home “birth” day party. But, the Lord changed my heart. So many people around me were experiencing late term losses. I couldn’t bear to think that if this is the only time I have with this child, I want to know who they are. So at 16 weeks, we found out we were expecting a little girl! My first response after they said girl was, “Oh Drama!”... but quickly that turned into pure bliss and excitement. We really really thought she would be a boy!

I had it easy with pregnancy. I had no major issues. The only complaints I had were fatigue, heartburn & just having the sorest knees I’ve ever experienced. It was like I had run 5 miles every day. So towards the end of the pregnancy, I was just extra sore, swollen & ready to get her out.

I really thought she would come early or on time, not late. But the Lord knew when she needed to come. Her due date was Easter weekend. Since Jimmy is a musician, Easter weekend is a big weekend for him to be playing at church services. Good friday I went to church and saw my guy play with one of my favorite christian artists, Sandra McCracken. I knew I was beyond pregnant at that point, because she was doing a concert that started at 10pm and I just couldn’t do it. Of course, all Jimmy’s bandmates jokingly asked if I can keep her in there until Sunday afternoon. Hah.

Easter Weekend was kind of when everything started moving forward. Saturday, we woke up and went for a 3 mile walk, had a late breakfast and just spent time together before Jimmy had to be up at the church for service/rehearsal. We came home and tried to get labor started (in the marital sense). I think at some point after I think my water broke. Now, mind you I am in denial and skeptical that it was my water. But nonetheless other things fall out and give me cues that maybe it was my water. I text jimmy that I think my water broke, but don’t rush home - do your service, because I am having contractions. So I text my midwife and tell her what’s going on, and luckily I was able to just drive up and meet her at her house and have her check. The test came back negative, so she checked my cervix. I was finally 1cm dilated & 30% effaced. So I go home and rest, semi frustrated that it wasn’t my water.

Easter Sunday, though I was having contractions, I wanted to go to church. So I drove the 35 mins to see Jimmy play his service and then I went to my church to see friends and family. I knew I was having contractions and not feeling super amazing, so I sat in the cry room in a rocking chair. By the time I got home Easter afternoon I just was exhausted and knew I needed to rest, the body is funny like that! Cue more contractions all through out the night. Monday morning, I make Jimmy help get the labor started (in the marital sense) again. And sure enough, I lost more of the mucous plug. And started having contractions, but nothing to text anyone about. So I made myself sleep all day, and then I went to Target with a friend. Got some last minute groceries I knew I would be needing. Got home around 5pm, and had dinner of some sort.

We started watching “What to Expect when You’re Expecting”, and sure enough I started having more contractions. Finally, the ones I could time. So I sat on the birth ball, watching the movie, and time contractions. I texted the midwives to give them a heads up, but since they stayed at 7-10 minutes apart, they told me to get some sleep. I really should’ve listened. I was so desperate for this to be the real deal, that I didn’t want the labor to stop. So they were around 3-7 minutes apart around 11pm, but still not consistent. So I tried sleeping from 12-2am and 3-7am. Jimmy was going to work the next day, so he slept on the couch. By 7am I wasn’t really in consistent contractions, so I planned on driving up to my originally scheduled appointment for 9:30am.. I made Jimmy drive me the 45 minutes up there.

Tuesday morning, I am at 40 wks 6 days pregnant. So, we do all my vital signs and check the baby’s heart and everything looks great and healthy! We check my cervix, and sure enough I am 4-5 cm dilated and 60-70% effaced. I just knew today was the day! I was so relieved that all the contractions I had the night before were early labor. So they had me head home, have a good meal and get some rest. I tried napping from noon till 1, but since they checked me and swept the membranes, I was having harsh contractions. They had me using the breast pump to get contractions started. By 2pm, I was on the pump watching “Call the Midwife” and having contractions like crazy. By 3pm, they were stronger and consistently 2-5 minutes apart. Called the midwives, husband and photographer. By 4:30/5pm the birth team was here and the party was about to get started.

From about 5pm until 11pm I labored. I walked, bounced on the birth ball, side laying in bed, squatting, lunges, you name the position, I tried it. The thing I remember the most from the contractions was how painful they were, and how as much as I tried I could NOT relax. So basically every contraction I braced myself and wasn’t working with them. I realize now, that is why my labor took as long as it did. I knew the contractions were getting really bad when I couldn’t just breathe through them, I had to hum or moan through them. It was almost a whimper because they took my breath away. The hardest part for me was knowing that EVERY position change brought on a contraction. The most powerful contractions happened when I was laying down. I didn’t want to change positions. I didn’t want to stand up. I didn’t want to risk having another hard contraction. But, I had to. By midnight I had only progressed to 7cm. So the birth team had me and Jimmy go and “rest” for a little while. My contractions had spaced out to 7-10 mins apart, this is what they said was plateau. I probably thought I was going to cry. Because I didn’t want this to take any longer than it had to. We rested, as well as I could since I was still having strong contractions, from about midnight-1:30am. They had taken my phone away at this time, so I didn’t have my music I wanted - but I also didn’t have the distraction of people texting me. As I was laying down I felt the urge to get up and start swaying my hips and walking. I knew that I had 3 cms to get through.

As I walked laps around the house, I made Jimmy start timing the contractions. I realized at my pace, 2 laps was what I needed until the next contraction. These were probably the most intense ones, but squatting and swaying the hips was how I had to get through it. This was the part of the labor where I really had to seek the Lord and give myself a pep talk. I had to remind myself that there is no turning back, this has to happen, that each contraction I relax into it the more baby girl had to drop. By this time, any modesty I was having was gone. I just had to loosen up and be ok with making noise and moving in a way that is not in my nature. After about 2 hours of walking, squatting, lunging and swaying, my birth team woke up and got to work. They let Jimmy sleep and they helped me through contractions. They had me start taking oils, and other homeopathic pills to continue getting these contractions consistent. This was probably the hardest part of labor. I remember at one point hysterically crying because I couldn’t find a comfortable position to labor in, because really what you want most in labor is to find something to help with the pain. I looked at my midwife and said I totally understand why women get epidurals.

Between 3-4:30 am, I had the hardest part. The contractions were not only in my lower abdomen, they were also radiating into my hips and lower back. So each contraction, my hips were on fire in pain. I wanted to give up so bad. I didn’t know what that would even look like, because I knew I didn’t want to go to the hospital. I just was ready for her to be out. To be done.

My amazing midwives kept asking me what my fears were, praying for me, listening to worship music, and just being there helping me relax when I really couldn’t. Around 4:30, they checked me again, 9cm!! Praise jesus. One of the midwives came in and started stretching me to 10cm. It was crazy, because as she was in there working on my cervix, I was still having contractions. By 5:15am, I was expected to start pushing.

At this point, I have maybe had 3-5 hours of sleep since Monday and here we are early Wednesday morning. The whole team was tired, just plain exhausted. We were all trying to sleep in between intense contractions. So when it came time to push, it took me about an hour or so to get the hang of it. I wasn’t giving good pushes at the beginning. We had the birthing stool, I did lunges, and even sat on the toilet. The best pushing I did was on the toilet and birthing stool. Around 7am, they moved me to the bed and set me up to be there pushing for a while. I finally was giving good pushes, but in between contractions I was literally passing out so tired. Jimmy says that was the hardest part of watching me. I was swollen, a mess, and visibly weak. Around 7:30am, Leah (midwife), looked at me and said that I had been pushing for almost 2.5 hours and if we didn’t get this girl out in the next few pushes, were going to have to look into transfer. I think when she said that in my mind I was like, “Aw, hell no. I haven’t made it to 10 cm and can see the head to have to go to the hospital.” The next few pushes were probably the hardest moments. The final push took everything within me to keep the push going to get her out. I started to scream as she came out, “She’s tearing me”.. Which I can only guess is the only adequate feeling you can describe as you push a baby out.

At 7:59 am, April 23 2014, Ellis Jules was born at 41 weeks exactly. My 8lb 5oz, 21 inches long little world changer made her debut. She was immediately placed on my chest. Jimmy described the look I had was being in shock. He said that the mixture of pushing, exhaustion and a warm body on my chest had me looking confused. He said I looked around at my birth team as if, “what the hell is this”. It was moments that felt like a lifetime. My first words to her screaming little self, was “sweet baby girl, you’re here”. She came out crying, no cord wrapped around the neck, but covered in meconium. I guess there was a ton of meconium because they kept wiping her off with towels and suctioning stuff out of her mouth. We couldn’t pull her far because the cord had a snag in it. I saw what looked like a knot, but it wasn’t a true knot. The amniotic sac was covered with meconium. We still didn’t know when my water broke, so at this point I am only slightly worried that I never experienced a water breaking moment. That first shower was glorious. I didn’t tear at all. I only had a small papercut down there.

36 hours of labor, almost 3 hours of pushing  and 1 sweet little girl makes this story so special. I remember at a certain point the reward I had in my mind was two things. I would be able to finally take pictures of MY own child and I could lay in bed and snuggle her all day. I didn’t realize that once she was here, the first few hours was like I had a stranger with me. I also was just plain relieved to not be in labor anymore. I could turn over and stand up and change positions without fear of pain. I wanted to hold her, but I also wanted to just lay next to her and observe her. As the hours go on, the more I just want to hold her and fall more and more in love with her.

So a few thoughts on this whole unmedicated, natural home birth deal. To say I loved it is an overstatement. It was hard, it was labor. It would be what I would have to go through again, even in the hospital. I am satisfied with my choice. I do feel a bit like a warrior mom. But, I also think any woman who has to go through labor is on the same level as me. Everyone says they’re so proud that I did it. I am proud, but I think I know that it had to happen. I think everyone’s recovery is different. I am beyond blessed that I have felt good enough to walk around and be out of bed. Day 2 I even showered and shaved my legs. I have been trying to rest when the baby rests, but sometimes (like now), it’s nice to watch her sleep and catch up on life a little bit. The big question, would I do a homebirth again? Answer-- ask me when labor isn’t so fresh on my mind. But I can guarantee you, it’s probably a yes.


A HUGE thank you to these two wonderful friends & Midwives, Leah Larson & Lisa Rutledge! I can't thank you enough for getting our little girl in to the world healthy and safely! You guys will always have a piece of my heart!

A HUGE thank you to these two wonderful friends & Midwives, Leah Larson & Lisa Rutledge! I can't thank you enough for getting our little girl in to the world healthy and safely! You guys will always have a piece of my heart!



It was at about 26ish weeks that I stopped journaling this pregnancy journey. It wasn't because I didn't want to, it's because time was slipping away and we were moving. We finally were moving from a one bedroom apartment to a two bedroom rental house. I finally could start doing the nursery and allow my nesting to kick into gear. Sure enough, it pushed me to paint 3 rooms in one weekend. Thankfully I did that at 28 weeks, because once 29 weeks hit so did exhaustion. 

Here I am at 40 weeks, ready to give this whole blogging a go again. Attempting to maybe dive back into the world of bloggers in a new way. I mean, I blogged about faith, relationships etc... but now my life is about to be piled up into the mommy role. 

Here's a giant update/dump of everything that has been going on since we are most definitely near the end of this pregnancy:

1. Birth Plan : Get this baby out of me.... Kidding... But, seriously. It's a strange language pregnant ladies have. There are so many acronyms, vocab words & terms used during pregnancy that just wasn't in my every day language before. Thankfully, we just finished our Bradley Method classes with our wonderful teacher Lisa. So we feel super excited and ready as one could ever be for the birth process. We are still planning on doing the homebirth with our midwife! I can't begin to say how thankful I am to have chosen the midwife route. I didn't realize that the relationship aspect during pregnancy with your care provider was a REALLY big deal to me. I am also thankful that with my midwife comes an amazing birth team, which includes our Bradley teacher (and good friend of mine). My 3 biggest prayers for the whole birth process is: Healthy Birth, Peaceful Birth, & Debt Free birth. To those of our friends/family reading this... I'll give you a kind heads up. We will let y'all know when the baby is here. At this point (which means, it can change), our minds are made up that we aren't going to tell anyone but our birth team when labor begins. We promise it's for your own sanity. Apparently babies can either take a long time to get out or come quick! :) 

2. What I'm Reading (or want to read):

- Secrets of the Baby Whisperer: Jimmy and I agree, we both really felt like we understood what the author was trying to teach us. We tend to be more structure-ish wanting people. We tend to operate methodically with our days. A few things that stood out to us were her use of acronyms. E.A.S.Y (Eat, Activity, Sleep, You) and S.L.O.W. (Stop, Listen, Observe, What's up?) Jimmy has never been around babies, so even he was like, lets sticky note those around the house for me. E.A.S.Y is all about putting the baby on a rhythm, not a clock. The general rhythm is reset by the nap. So upon waking the baby eats, followed by an activity ( bathing, story, tummy time, walk, held, etc), then apparently babies are supposed to yawn and signal they are tired. This woman thinks that if you catch the baby before her third yawn, and lay her in her crib she should fall asleep just fine. The Y, You, means that she thinks that you as the mom need to take care of yourself. She mentioned eating, shower, nap &/or a few pieces of work. Then the S.L.O.W is for when the baby is crying. To stop for a moment and pause before you pick up the baby. Listen to the baby's cry, because apparently you can decipher what their cry is. Observe the baby's body language (watch for kicking feet, hands in the mouth, pain, strain and whatever else babies do when they're trying to communicate), and then figure out 'What's up?'. I guess Jimmy and I are sold on this. Its a helpful tool, nothing we will stick to 100%. But, the author's motto is to " start how you want to proceed". So it means, starting habits and rhythm as you want your newborn to do when they are 3 mos old. I think the biggest take away that Jimmy and I got was understanding the baby is a person, that needs their boundaries respected. We apologize in advance if when you ask to hold Ellis, we tell you to ask her. It's because the book says talking through what you are about to do with a baby helps keep them feeling safe and secure. Please excuse the new parents who might ask for ridiculous things when it comes to the baby. :)

-Hands Free MamaHands Free Mama is the digital society’s answer to finding balance in a media-saturated, perfection-obsessed world. It doesn’t mean giving up all technology forever. It doesn’t mean forgoing our jobs and responsibilities. What it does mean is seizing the little moments that life offers us to engage in real and meaningful interaction. It means looking our loved ones in the eye and giving them the gift of our undivided attention, leaving the laundry till later to dance with our kids in the rain, and living a present, authentic, and intentional life despite a world full of distractions.

- Birth Without Fear - Blog


It looks as if I haven't updated this in 7 weeks (my last post was at 13 weeks). My drafts would tell you otherwise as I have a few posts just hanging in the wings. Mostly those posts were not making sense. Maybe at some point I will go self edit and make them usable, but until then here is the halfway point update.

1. Who will our little one be? 
I admit I was adamant about not finding out the gender at first. There were so many friends of friends and friends that had either lost a baby late in pregnancy or had birth issues. It changed my heart in wanting to know. I told Jimmy that if the pregnancy is the only time I have with this specific child, I want to know who is in there. So we went ahead and found out! According to our ultrasound tech (who has never predicted wrong) we are going to be the happy parents of a little girl!! We swore all the way up until the goo was on my belly that we were destined to have a little boy first. I secretly and not so secretly wanted a girl, but I had felt like it was a boy for the most part. As soon as they said girl the first statement that came out of my mouth was, "oh drama!!" Now, I have decided that I will not speak "drama" over my little girl but, I do know with girls comes more of the dramatics. I can go on and on about how happy I am to be the momma of a little girl. I think its more about the relationship we will have than anything.

2. What's in a name? Ellis Jules
As soon as I found out it was a girl, I was determined to settle on a name. It was important to me to know my little girl by name. So while Jimmy wasn't exactly on the same pace as I was in making the final decision of names, he met me where I was. We had an amazing boy name picked out that we will tuck away for later use. The list of names I had have been the same list I made at least 2-3 years back. There were a few names that I was completely sold on, until I started thinking of them with my married last name. But, Ellis was the name I fell the most in love with. Ellis Island is a favorite of mine. I love US history and I love what Ellis Island stands for. It was a welcome center for foreigners. Part of my prayer for Ellis is that she be a world changer with a big welcoming spirit. Ellis also means "the Lord is my God." I pray continually that Ellis will choose the Lord (Jesus Christ) as her God. The middle name was very important to me. The first name could be a fun name that had its own character. The middle name had to be a family name or a name of meaning. Jules is where my heart settled after realizing naming her Ellis Grey would be a social nightmare. Apparently I don't watch Greys Anatomy to know who Ellis Grey was. Thank you friends and instagram hashtag searches.

Jules is derived from Julie. Probably my freshman year of college I met this lady randomly while working in the nursery. I knew I recognized her as an Alum who spoke at my college. I also knew, I wanted to know her! My college had a program for local Alumni families to adopt college kids for Sunday lunch, holidays, a place to go etc. I ended up with an amazing family with lots of kids who loved soccer. By Homecoming of the next year, I was speaking at a Lunch where somehow I got seated at the table with the President of Evangel (my college), some city official of Springfield,Mo and Julie was sitting right next to me. Here I was, nervous and going over my index cards of what I would say. She leaned over and asked, "Sooo what would you do if I just took your cards and threw them away?" After that, I made sure to say hi to her whenever I saw her. Well fast forward to my Junior and Senior year... I ended up at her house almost every Sunday during college. And they have become family! If there was one lady out there I want Ellis Jules to be like, Julie is one of them!

3. What am I reading?
Ok. So my reading may or may not open up a can of worms. My goal in reading is to capture the essence and principals behind the methods to apply to my family as I see fit. So while I have read portions of the book, I am not committed to their entire premise or practices! I am a researcher. I love reading blogs, books and articles about many different ideas. What I have been told I am good at is the digestion of information. Some how I can read something and apply it to situations. I also have a ridiculous memory. So in reading these books, I hope to find application for Ellis' unique personality.

To Train Up a Child- I read this back when I wasn't pregnant. I have yet to open it again since I have not a great taste in my mouth from the authors other books and methods. I did like the concepts they have, regarding parenting, and have seen both good and bad fruit come from this book.

Baby Wise- I read this whole thing and love the idea of it. We shall see come next year when Ellis is here what principals I apply.

Hypno Babies- I was skeptical at first of the whole hypnosis audiobook kind of thing. I have come to the realization that I definitely have more fears and anxieties than I thought I did. The whole positive affirmations of pregnancy has helped me so much with removing negativity. I have definitely come to believe that your thoughts become words and actions. I love believing that this is a healthy, normal pregnancy that will result in a healthy, easy birth. I also love the ability to block out naysayers and skeptics.

The Bradley Method- We will start this class with our doula come January/February.

Grace Based Parenting- I want to start reading this

Growing Kids God's Way- I want to start reading this

4. How am I feeling? 
I feel like that is the question I get the most. First trimester I was grumpy a lot. I feel like I can be more chipper these days than the first trimester. I blame the grumpiness on feeling nausea all day long, consistently having headaches and my the aches and pains with growing. The 2nd trimester, I feel like I can finally stay up way past my normal 7pm bedtime that first tri had me doing. I feel great. At 20 weeks I can happily say I love it. Sometimes I forget I am pregnant, then I look down and see the bulging belly happening before my eyes. Lately, I have been eating oranges a lot. Like I can't get enough citrus fruits. I also can't seem to drink enough milk. I HATED milk when I was a kid and even as an adult (unless its in cereal or flavored). So this entire pregnancy, even first trimester, milk has been my feel good drink. I also am very very grateful that I got a fetal doppler. I love listening to Ellis' heart beat whenever I feel like I just want to hear her. I think she is pretty mellow right now. Her heart rate has been consistently 135-145 every time I listen. I have felt her movements and its totally weird. Sometimes I doubt it is her. But I am just trusting that whatever I am feeling is totally amazing!


Let's talk awkward. This photo is just as awkward for me as it might be for you. There's only one time in life where a "belly" is celebrated on a woman. I mean, where a "belly" is considered a photo worthy moment. This week we hit the 13 week mark. That's a giant milestone for me given my past few pregnancies. Any time I post something to the internet world, I hold my breath and get a wee bit anxious. I am thankful for a sweet momma that I took newborn pictures for. She gave me a fetal doppler. At first I was very against me becoming somewhat hooked to the fetal doppler, but now that I own one I am hooked. Its just the most comforting thing for me to hear our baby's heart beating. Its always a long 4 weeks in between appointments, so the doppler is great. 

So 13 weeks... yes I believe I will carry high, as my belly button is on the high side and my torso is on the short side. For those who care about symptoms, I have constant heartburn/acid reflux. Super thankful for Papaya Enzyme that has helped with that. And I have all day nausea. Otherwise, wanting to pass out everyday by 4pm has been my everyday since finding out I was preggo.

We have decided to not find out the gender. I know, I know... how will we ever prepare for the baby? Well, since my favorite colors on newborn squishy babies are grey, white and navy, I think that about sums up the clothing and nursery issue. I admit, I am anti big bows, tutus & onsies with dogs/monkeys on my boy's butt. I figured I'll share a few of the things I impulse bought for our baby. 


I guess you can say it's "official". Well, social media official that I am indeed pregnant. It's crazy to think that making it social media official, makes its OFFICIAL. I mean, it was pretty darn official when I peed on a stick and literally a positive line jumped at me. But social media official is a whole new level of public knowledge. I was telling my husband the one thing that made me anxious about posting the announcement picture was the permission you grant to everyone. One thing's for sure, I don't anticipate being looked at in the face anymore. Its as though once it's public knowledge, people start talking to your belly ( I admit I am/was one of those). Wait until the belly is publicly large enough to warrant rubbing. I say all this to say, I am very very very excited to be pregnant. And I can (not) wait until the belly is large. I mean, I can wait.

So we can't wait to find out what baby is in my belly April 2014! Were guessing somewhere between April 12-19, either way, we got ourselves an Easter Baby!! Im praying for a healthy adorable baby & Jimmy is hoping for a boy. I just love baby clothes in gray, navy & other earth tones. Because, hey I wear those colors, so a baby girl can too I will say, BabyGap's spring clothes always seem to be my favorite behind fall.

There you have it! My good news and reason to blog again!

Items in the Picture: 

What to Expect When You're Expecting (Book) 
Toms Shoes (Giraffe print - discontinued)
"Baby" Onsie (Hello Apparel)
Baby Cardoza Notebook (May Designs- Custom Notebooks)