Posts Tagged ‘natural’
Branding will always be my favorite part of design, but everyone once in a while it’s fun to be able to let go and design a single invitation. Using the concept of arrows I wanted to keep everything long and narrow. The tribal feel is simple, playful, and all boy!
I wish I could take credit for the overall vision, but none of this would have happened without our good friend Sarah. She put so much time and love into creating such a special afternoon.
Some of my favorites decor elements and activities included:
- Blessing Arrows: Guests were invited to take pieces of paper and write blessings on them. We then wrapped the paper around the arrows and stuck them on a little tree.
- Customized Baby Name Print: Like the big “R” print with “Rhys’” name below it? You can make your own as a free (+ the cost of a frame) and easy shower gift here.
- Trail mix Bar: Loved this idea! Create your own trail mix out of your favorite peanuts, chocolate chips, and dried fruits. So good!
- Diaper Decorate Activity (not shown): Using sharpies everyone wrote a funny or encouraging note on a package of diapers. What a unique way to lift mom and dad’s spirits in the wee (he, he!) hours of the night!
- Rhys’ Reece’s: Guess how many there are? Hard to believe there were over 200! Yep, I was WAY off and didn’t get to go home with the giant box of chocolate.
- Baby Belly Henna Tattoo: For the “after party” we all hung around, drank wine, and watched Taryn with Spirited Doula Services create a beautiful piece of art right on our momma’s baby bump.
It was a wonderful day full of love and celebration for this new little bundle of joy. We can’t wait to meet you baby Rhys!
From the Farm
* See more work like this and others by visiting our graphic design portfolio at Green Couch Design.
A lot of people are probably wondering why I have waited so long to tell this story. With James turning 1 in September it’s definitely past due! Honestly, I’ve just needed some time to process, and I wanted to really be able to tell the whole story. It’s pretty real (you have been warned), but I wanted to share my full experience. I hope this brings encouragement along with some realistic expectations for any one considering a natural delivery. Enjoy!
We wanted to have our baby boy at home. In a place of peace and love. Through a process that wasn’t rushed. That wasn’t forced. We wanted him to come on his own time, and in his own way.
And, oh how he did.
I have heard, for the first time mom, that being 10 days overdue is nothing out of the ordinary. Our Midwife, Faith Morie, and her assistant at the time, Andrea Chamberlain, had told us to look at our due date as a “due month” so that we wouldn’t get too annoyed if James decided to run a little late. I remember being nearly 2 weeks past his due date and seeing a first time mom on Facebook who delivered her baby nearly three weeks early! I was so jealous! Everyday that passed my longing to hold him in my arms only grew deeper and deeper. I wanted to KNOW him. The alien-looking 3D ultrasound photo was not cutting it anymore! After nine months of waiting, and waiting, and feeling him wiggle throughout the nights It was time to meet our baby!
Or was it?
At 42 weeks we had, had two false labors with both of them holding steady contractions for 8-12 hours. Both times the soon to be Kansas Grandparents jumped in the car and traveled to OKC anxiously awaiting the arrival. We were all ready to get the show on the road, and our patience was wearing thin. It was obvious that my body was showing signs of labor, but having difficulties transitioning into active labor. We proceeded with an ultrasound to get an update on my progress. I thought it would be helpful to see our baby on the screen, but it actually made me more frustrated about the whole process. Especially when the tech told us he was estimated to weigh around 9+ pounds (give or take a few). She did a full stress test on James, checked the aging status of my placenta, and the percentage of amniotic fluid still available. All the tests checked out fine, but the ultrasound did reveal a few things we were unaware of.
It was obvious that our time frame to let “nature take it’s course” was shrinking. Time for the little guy to get moving! But that was just it… he was moving in the wrong direction! My entire pregnancy he had favored my right side. Our Midwife was fully aware of this, but my anterior placenta had caused confusion as to which direction he was facing. The ultrasound revealed that not only was he still favoring my right side, but that he was face up, Right Occiput Posterior (ROP), instead of facedown. The best birthing position for any baby is Occiput Anterior (OA), which is facedown, facing your back. This position is best for many reasons, but mainly it creates the least amount of turns the baby has to make while it travels through the birth canal. Faith reassured us that we could still deliver naturally in the ROP position, but that it was not ideal, and that we should do everything we could to get our baby turned. I could tell she was worried about the amount of additional back pain I would have delivering a posterior baby (a common result of posterior baby’s AND an anterior placenta).
With the revelation of James’ position we realized we needed to get him out of the birth canal to create room and encourage him to flip. Luckily we found a wonderful chiropractor, Dr. Beverly at Advanced Chiropractic, who fit us into her busy schedule, 3 times within 48 hours! Not only does Dr. Beverly specialize in maternity care, but she recently had, had her own home birth just six months prior, and was very supportive of the natural birthing process. Faith reassured us that if James was healthy (which the ultrasound proved), and if we could get him in the optimal birthing position (to apply the best amount of pressure to the cervix), that he would come naturally. In between chiropractic visits Cale and I did exercises to try and drop James out of the birth canal. For 30-40 minutes at a time I sat with my head in a pillow, and my butt in the air, hoping to slide the baby out of the birth canal and encourage him to flip.
Cale was such an awesome supporter throughout this entire process! We decided to go a head and have him take the week off, instead of after James’ arrival. Obviously we were not planning on going this many days past our due date. Now that we were this far along we both needed some extra time to work through our options, prepare for whatever type of delivery we were looking at, and try to jump start labor in whatever “natural” ways we could.
And yes… this means we had SEX, but it didn’t really seem to help at all! I can’t tell you how many people asked us about this. Sex at nine months, and 2 weeks is no fun. It’s simply to do the deed.
So now that, that is clear…
Once we passed 42 weeks there were a lot of friends and family who starting to get concerned. Towards the end Cale and I sorta shut everyone out, and went into our little birth hole. It wasn’t out of an us vs. them thing, and it certainly wasn’t us trying to prove anything. Honestly, we just felt like we owed my body the process of trying everything we could, naturally, before we were willing to transfer to the hospital. Faith had been keeping a close watch on our progress; alongside our mental and spiritual state. She had a list of natural inducement methods, and we felt like we had made it this far, so why not try everything we could? If at the end of it all… if baby still didn’t come, then we would transfer. We did ask our Midwife at what point would she recommend we go to the hospital and induce? She said she would wait as long as the baby, and the momma were healthy, and in a good mental state. Both Faith and Andrea did a wonderful job checking in, and supporting us without forcing us to wait it out. Out of all of their previous clients Faith had only had two other women make it to 43 weeks, and both of them were able to deliver naturally. It was obvious that my body was trying to go into labor so we were wiling to continue encouraging the natural labor process a little bit longer. Faith was very particular about making sure we rested between each natural inducement method. A lot of times she would even have us wait till the next day to try the next method so that if I did go into labor, I would not be exhausted from the work of getting into labor. She was very aware of the mental strain this process was putting on the both of us, and did a great job balancing everything so that there was enough energy in reserve to handle the pending labor.
The next step was an aroma therapy treatment using essential oils as a form of natural inducement. We liked to give Faith a hard time about this since she seemed a little secretive, at first, about what kind of “herbs” we were using. I’m not gonna lie I was pretty skeptical about the whole thing. Especially when the first stage included rubbing oils on my belly, and waiting for the the baby to move “rapidly” (whatever that means?). After several hours James actually did respond, and we transitioned into the bathtub for phase two. This included breathing in mint aromas for 45 minutes followed by a foot message with lavender oils. I don’t think Cale had ever massaged me with so much ambition! He was ready for our little man to get here, and was willing to do whatever it took.
At 42 weeks + 4 days I didn’t care how hard labor was, I just wanted to be in labor! Bring it on! We kept standing on our confession from “Supernatural Childbirth”, and spoke to my body, and to my spirit. That God made my body for this. That it can and will go into labor naturally, and that we would have our baby at home just like we were believing for. We also checked our spirits on a moment by moment basis, and made sure we had a peace about the entire process. If we ever felt an uneasiness in our hearts about waiting any longer, we would have transferred, but every time we prayed we had a peace about the process. We just felt that as long as James was healthy, and that our Midwife was ok with our progress, that we owed it to our baby, and to my body, to do all that we could naturally.
When you are closing in on 18 days past your due date you realize what it is like to truly CHOOSE a natural delivery. There were definitely moments where I could understand why a woman would choose to be induced… she wants to meet her baby, and is TIRED of being pregnant dang it! At 42 weeks + 4 days we were running out of time, and decided that if I did not go into labor by the next day that we would transfer. We did a 2nd round of the essential oils, an hour later took an Enema (probably more information that you wanted to know!), another few hours later drank Caster Oil (again, letting you into the ENTIRE process), and then went to sleep with no signs of labor.
Sunday morning I woke up at 4am with minor back pain. I had not felt pain like this before, but honestly I was skeptical at this point. With two false-labors under my belt I was pretty set on going to the hospital that day. I got up to go to the bathroom and, noticed that part of my mucus plug had released, but it was very minimal. Regardless, we called Faith and Andrea that morning to let them know about our progress, and they sounded very positive! Both of them were planning on being with us throughout the entire delivery (hospital or not), and decided to go a head and come on over.
By 10am I was having steady contractions (again).
By the afternoon I was STILL having steady contractions, and they were getting stronger AND harder!
I don’t know if any woman has ever been so excited to feel true labor pains! Bring it on! Come on Baby James! We had noticed the night before that he had moved to the left side, and actually stayed there the entire night! Not only that, but he had flipped and was in the optimal birthing position, Left Occiput Anterior (LOA). Thanks to all of our exercises James had moved out of the birth canal, and with the chiropractic help, he had flipped, and was finally ready to make his grand entrance!
Once again the soon to be Kansas Grandparents made the trip back to OKC, but this time it WAS the real deal! At first we played Phase 10 and watched Tangled, until I couldn’t focus anymore (keep in mind I was totally winning that hand). I had finally moved into active labor with contractions strong enough that I had to stop and focus on each one. I would put my hands on the wall, and move my hips in circles during each one. Thanks to my sister-in-law I had learned some amazing birth positions from her Dancing for Birth Class! The movements specifically encourage the baby to move down, and they felt wonderful on my lower back. I could feel James getting closer, and was finding my groove. During each contraction Cale and my mom (KS Grandma) took turns applying a hot rice pack to my back. The back labor was terrible! I don’t know how women ever deliver naturally on their backs with back pain! That, for me, was the worst part about my labor. I was so glad that my mom just happened to bring the rice pack “just in case”.
Looking back I would have given a kidney for that rice pack! It was amazing!
During a majority of the labor I was moving around, but after awhile I wanted to lay down to reserve some energy for transition. I had heard it was the hardest stage of labor so I wanted to make sure I was mentally in a good place. The Midwife had to check my progression during a contraction, which was just plain awful! There was a moment where she couldn’t find the baby’s heartbeat, and everyone got concerned. Faith and Andrea were monitoring things really close since James was so overdue. I remember in that moment having total peace. I just knew in my heart that the baby was ok. I quickly moved the heart monitor a few inches over, and there he was, beating stronger than ever.
He was FINALLY on his way.
I couldn’t get into the birth pool until I was dilated to a 6 (the warm water can actually stall labor if you get in any earlier). The first time the Midwifes checked my progress I was dilated to 1.5 cm, nearly four hours later I was at 6.5 cm! Only .5 centimeters to go before transition baby!
Everyone was shocked that I had progressed so quickly. I think they had settled in for the evening, and were thinking it would be a while. But Cale and I had been believing for an 8 hour labor, and we knew James would come quickly once he got into the right position.
When I got into the water it felt good, and I liked how it distracted me from the contractions. The rice pack was no longer holding up to the intense back pain so Cale started using both of his fists, and his entire body weight, to apply pressure to the small of my back. I remember knowing that I was in transition when I started shaking uncontrollably. For some this might sound scary, but all the research I had done told me that this was normal, and a great sign that I was truly in transition.
Another step closer little guy!
I remember praying that I would be present and aware during each phase of my labor. I didn’t want to be screaming out of control or even bitchy. I wanted every moment to be full of peace and excitement. Even in transition, in between contractions, I was able to joke around and smile. My baby boy was coming, and I could feel him getting closer within the deepest parts of me (literally!).
My mom was caressing my arm as it laid on the rim of the pool. It felt calm and helped me relax, taking some of the edge off of each contraction.
By this time I was focused on getting to the pushing stage! I told myself if I could just get through transition, and into the pushing stage it’s ALL downhill from there (well depends on which position you labor in, but still!). A lot of the natural birth stories I had read said that some women prefer pushing because for the first time they are able to DO something during labor. Before the pushing stage you are just a bystander as your body takes over and labors. Whether you want each contraction to come or not you have to choose to welcome it, and not be overtaken by the pain. I was ready to DO something. I was ready to push!
Faith and Andrea kept reminding me that I would know when it was time to push. I kept thinking how? Is this it? They said, “You’ll know when it is time!”
And then… it came.
That tribal sound deep within my soul. A sound I never knew could come out of me. I know that sounds freaky, but it wasn’t! I seriously had no control on the type of sounds I was making. It was like an overwhelming urge came over me, and I knew that it was time to push!
I pushed for 45 minutes.
Pushing was WAYYY harder than transition.
I’m not gonna lie I sobbed like a little girl between a few of the pushes. All the other phases of labor I could “measure” my progress, but this one was very different. Faith and Andrea reassured me that I was “almost there”. Like how much there? How many more pushes? I needed a number! Something I could count down.
Eventually they said reach down and feel the head! At this point, I didn’t really care about feeling the head. All I could think about was the enormous amount of pressure that head was applying to all my lady parts (also known as the dreaded “Ring of Fire”).
Cale had wanted to catch the baby, and had practiced doing it with our Midwife. Finally the moment had come. Andrea told him to reach down and grab his son. I didn’t know it till later, but apparently he had been pressing so hard on my back that he literally had to pry open his hands to catch our little man. What a trouper!
And there he was.
In one moment all that pain was gone.
I kept waiting to feel this huge rush of emotions and euphoria, but honestly I was just glad that it was all over, that we did it, and that he was FINALLY here!
42 weeks and 5 days.
We had been standing and believing for a home delivery, an 8 hour labor, an 8 lb or smaller baby, and no tearing. In the end, from active labor until he came out I was in labor for 7.5 hours, James weighed 8.1 and 22 inches long, and I only had a minor tear that didn’t require any stitches. The rush and excitement of getting him here was over. We were finally able to sit back and marvel at the beauty of the entire process; the journey of a natural delivery.
He didn’t really cry like I thought he would. He enjoyed the warmth of the water, looked up at me, and said hello with those deep blue baby eyes (that he still has today!).
I thought, “I’ve been waiting my whole life to meet you, and I never even knew it”. I was excited to see that he had a wee bit of red hair! Just another thing we had been secretly hoping for (a little ginger baby).
The next few hours were a bit of blur, but they were quiet and sweet moments. I fed James and he took to the boob like a champ! Both OK Grandma and KS Grandparents were present when Faith and Andrea did a few more post-labor tests. James didn’t like them, but he was a pretty good sport.
I ate some beef stew and homemade blackberry cobbler. Meat never tasted so good!
The Midwives cleaned up and everyone headed home. And then, it was just the three of us. Just like it had been the whole time he was in my belly. We fell asleep with James between us, and we ALL slept through the entire night!
It was a BEAUTIFUL moment. One of my favorites. Ever.
Obviously James was worth the wait, but I’m so glad we had the patience to work with nature, and let my body do what it was intended to do. Once I got into labor I never thought, “I can’t do this!” I can honestly say that the moment James was in my arms it was all worth it, even the battles against fear and doubt. Our Midwife’s name was Faith for a reason! She reminded us to hold onto God’s promises, and to stand on His truths. To rest in His peace and His timing.
Oh, His perfect timing.
People still say that our due date was just way off. But we KNOW the date of James’ conception (I don’t need to share the details of that!). I truly believe he just needed some extra time to bake, to get in optimal position, and possibly teach his parents a few (more) lessons in faith? Either way, it was a process that reminded us of God’s provision. It maybe in that last of the last moments, but we must never give up hope. We must always believe. God has a purpose for our dreams and desires, a plan for good, but their is a birthing process that cannot be skipped. His timing is perfect, and when it is ready, it will come quickly. Before you know it all the waiting, all the pain, all the process will be over, and like a new momma you’ll be thinking; “What is this?! What just happened!?” Before you know it you’ll be holding that thing that has been growing in your heart for months and months.
Some of them are desires you may not even know you have.
For me, that was the desire to be a mom.
From the Farm
It’s important to note that in the future, if for some reason I am late again, we do plan on getting an ultrasound earlier than 42 weeks. If we would have done that, we would have known that the baby was in the wrong position, and could have taken the appropriate measures a lot sooner.
Also, please do not try any of these natural inducement methods without the guidance and supervision of a medical professional. There is a reason and a purpose to their order, and it’s important that you take the process very seriously.
I know what you are thinking; “THIS is California?”. I was thinking the same thing. But that is Tim and Anna. This is what they do. They go on adventures. They explore. They like to pull their car over at random places and say; “Follow us!”
Cale seemed excited and not skeptical at all! I was surprised by this cause he’s usual all about creating tactical games in his mind (War Gaming) like if the bad guys were to come out at this very moment what would you do? We’ll, what would you do?
At this point all I can think about is the fact that this is the kind of place where people get murdered. Like in that one scary movie I didn’t really watch but sorta watched… yes, that one!
But, they are our best buds. And we’ve seen them do crazier things than this… so we continued.
We followed their little toe shoes down, down, down into this…
I know what you’re thinking now; “Not so bad, huh?” Yep, that’s exactly what I thought too.
It sure looks pretty.
The water is nice.
Oh, oh wait, you want me to do what?!
The holiday season is upon us and Meg and I love to spend it with family. Luckily our families live close enough that it isn’t much of a problem to spend a weekend with them. So this past weekend we joined in the annual Ewertz, McClellan, Self, Thanksgiving candy cook-off. I don’t know that there is a winner as much as their is a whole weekend of fun and family! We wanted to share this with all of you and a recipe for the famous Auntie P peanut butter balls! Enjoy!
As my time here on the island expands, my vision of the Big Island also expands as I learn and see it through the eyes of others. Seeing it through the eyes of natives can be hard as it challenges me at times to re-think my own culture and opinions on certain issues. No matter if I agree with them or not, I’m finding an open-mindedness is necessary in understanding the island as a whole. I’m opening my ears as well as my eyes and listening to the voices of the people on the island. I’m enjoying the process. With only one more week to go, we’ll see what more I see and hear.
So when our friends the Glover’s began construction on what we have christened as the ‘Chicken Taj Mahal’ we were more than excited, we couldn’t wait to see what they came up with and to learn from them as we begin contemplating getting chickens of our own. So with out further ado, and no fan fare at all I give you Chicken Taj Mahal…