Knowing Birth Series: Jenny of Heavenly Treasure (4)

knowing birth

WHAT IS KNOWING BIRTH?

Here is the link to the original Knowing Birth post.

There are so many books and studies claiming to know the truth about birth, but what I’ve found in my conversations with mothers and birth professionals are so many unique experiences surrounding each birth. A book or study can’t possibly take into account the actual voices of individuals. So what better way to find out than to simply ask.

That led me to what I call Knowing Birth interviews. I have come up with a handful of questions that, moms, dads and care providers will answer. I’ll then take their answers and put them directly on this blog.

The only requirement is honesty and openness, and maybe a few pictures too. If you would like to share your experience and answers to the following questions, please email me at doulamegan@gmail.com and I will get the questionnaire to you directly. Anyone can participate and there’s no judgment from me about your answers. I promise to keep a close eye on the comments and keep ‘em clean.

THIS WEEKS INTERVIEW IS THANKS TO…

Jenny, from the blog Heavenly Treasure. Jenny shares her family’s joyful walk in the Christian faith, recipes and beautiful family stories. To read her birth story (an amazingly quick surprise unassisted birth) you can visit Jasmin’s Birth Story.

Family Photo, baby Jasmin 2.5 months
Family Photo, baby Jasmin 2.5 months

 

Where did you choose to have your birth and why? What are your feelings about that choice now?

We chose to have our birth at home. My husband was acquainted with a midwife and it just felt natural to do it at home. I didn’t have much knowledge of homebirths but I was getting into a more natural lifestyle so it just fit. Now im soooo glad we went that route!

How did you prepare for your birth?

4 Days Before Birth
4 Days Before Birth

Much prayer! Definitely got much of my strength from God’s word. We watched many videos on youtube of women giving birth. I read Birthing from Within and took the classes, though we didn’t make it to the last class! We also came across Angela Stokes-Monarch having a conscious parenting summit. Through this we found out about unassisted childbirths and put it into prayer though we kept seeing the midwife, but mentally preparing for an unassisted birth.  We also had chiropractic care twice a week, took prenatals, did some yoga, and walking. We also had a lotus birth so we got things ready for that as well.

Who was invited and present at your birth?

At first I wanted everyone to be there! I don’t know why. As it got closer I just wanted my husband and only wanted our midwife to be there when necessary. It just ended up being my husband and I!

If it was not your first birth, please compare/contrast your experiences.

This was our first birth and I hope the next will be exactly the same or better!

What qualifications do you look for in a midwife/OB/primary care provider?

It was definitely a relief that our midwife didn’t push anything on us, listened and respected our wishes. We don’t expect everyone to have our same mentality but at least have an open mind and respect.

What is your ideal relationship with a birth attendant?

jenny 3Ideally just my husband! I’m glad our midwife is awesome and has become a friend. I don’t think I would feel comfortable with anyone else. I did consider having at least my mom there.

If you have received maternity care from both the medical and midwifery models of care, what are the biggest differences? Pros/cons of each?

Do ultrasounds count as medical care? Hahaha if so then I only had one ultrasound and only because the baby was breech for a while and wanted to make sure she had surely turned.

Did you feel adequately informed of your options?

Yes, I feel like we both looked deep enough into every option and possibility, thank God we came across free birthing!

Describe your ideal birth environment at this point in time.

I do kind of wish we would have had the birthing pool, but maybe not because I was having bowel movements the whole time.

How do you feel about the safety of birth in a hospital vs outside of a hospital?

An hour or so, still slimy!
An hour or so, still slimy!

Each has its place. If there’s a need then of course go to the hospital…when necessary. Other than that, outside of the hospital, wherever you’re most comfortable and have everything you need, is the safest.

Is there anything you would change about public policy relating to birth/maternity care? Why/how?

Oh wow! make birth centers, doulas, midwives, etc. the primary care. Publicize home births and midwifery as safest best option for mamas and babies. basically, spread the truth!

What do you feel were the most influential factors surrounding your birth? Why?

God Almighty. He provides all. He guided me on my maternity path perfectly and lovingly. He led me to every single video, book, website, person, that influenced my heart and mind to KNOW that I CAN DO THIS!

Who owns birth?

God Almighty! He gives all mamas the body and power to do this! We own birth! We are fearfully and wonderfully made to be fruitful and multiply. Our Father knows what He’s doing, and He is Faithful to answer our cries, especially while giving birth!

Happy baby! 4 months
Happy baby! 4 months

Want to know more about Jenny?

Check out her blog Heavenly Treasure at heavenlytreasure.net to learn more about Christianity, her family and baby Jasmin’s birth story. Thanks Jenny!

How To Join The Knowing Birth Series

Email me at doulamegan@gmail.com and I’ll send you the questionnaire directly. There are no requirements, only that you have a voice about birth and want to share it openly and honestly.

THANKS FOR FOLLOWING AND BE WELL!

Life After Birth

Two of my good friends came over today to meet Porter over lunch. After sharing my birth experience (which is coming in a future post) one friend asked if I had any postpartum depression. When I said no, she replied that with the pregnancy, birth and postpartum I had had the perfect experience. That got me thinking that, yes I had a pretty near perfect experience. Everything went as planned, my family came out of the birth experience happy and healthy and I’ve almost made it to a month with a brand new baby and haven’t had issues with depression. What I will say is that for the first two weeks of my new life after baby I did feel a little crazy. With hormones raging, being closed into my house, being sleep deprived and figuring out how to take care of myself, my baby and husband, I think a little insanity is okay. I’m not doctor or therapist, but there are a few things that I attribute to my (mostly) positive attitude in the last few weeks:

1. My husband and I planned to have a baby and were thoroughly prepared to deal with this new life.
2. I was highly educated about the kind of birth experience I wanted to have and took every measure to make that experience happen.
3. When something went differently than planned, I tried to roll with the punches and did fear clearing hypnosis.
4. My baby hasn’t left my side since the moment he was born, not even to be measured and weighed. We were skin to skin immediately following birth.
5. Breastfeeding. It’s not easy and hurts like crazy sometimes, but the hormones released and the bonding that happens make it all worth it.
6. Super supportive husband, family and friends. Luke was extra supportive of our birthing choices and breastfeeding and wants to be as involved a dad as possible. I had friends who helped cook and clean for 2 solid weeks after the baby came, and my mom came for a week when Luke had to go back to work the third week.
7. Walking outside. After the first 2 weeks it was obvious that I had to move my body. I bundle up the baby and we walk every day, even if it’s just around the block.
8. Talking with people made a world of difference. Especially people who have been through and survived having a new baby. Hearing how they dealt and what they dealt with brought me back to reality and made me realize that this crazy time would soon pass, and evidently I would miss it. We’ll see about that one.
9. I was aware of postpartum depression and tried to stay vigilant about whether I was experiencing those symptoms, or just normal new mom anxiety.
10. Finally, back to the fact that I’m pretty average and acknowledging that women have been having babies since FOREVER and continue to do it around the world, hundreds of times everyday, and still manage to survive. This means that my chances of survival and general well being are pretty high and I can count on the crazy parts passing and rest assured that what I’m experiencing is NORMAL.

There it is. My top 10 reasons why I think that I came through this pregnancy, birth and post birth without diving into the pit that is depression. Again, I’m not a doctor or therapist and I don’t want anyone to think that this list is a cure or a guarantee, but I’m sure they helped me get through this first month of life after birth. And now to take you out, some tender pictures of Porter at 1 month.

Here’s a video shot by our friend Danny at our Friday night dinner. Luke and Shaun are jammin’ and Ashley is holding Porter.

Going for a walk

Porter the visionary

The “yeah right” face

Happy Porter

Cupie Doll Porter

“I told you so.”

Life is good Porter

Porter’s workin’ out a deuce face, sorry TMI

Patience Is A Virtue

My dad always used to say this to me when I would get anxious about something. Then as a teacher I found the whole saying, which goes like this,

“Patience is a virtue. Virtue is a grace. Put them both together and they make a pretty face.”

I don’t think my dad meant for me to end up with a pretty face at the end of that lesson, but I certainly understood that patience was a desirable quality to have. What I didn’t understand as a child was the depth of patience that is possible when a person is pressed into some situations.

My situation happens to be that I am well past when I, and apparently everyone else (with the exception of my midwives and husband), thought that my baby would have made an entrance into this world. There have been multiple inquiries per day as to when this child will be born, and I don’t even have to go to work like Luke and be asked by coworkers. My favorite question once I answer how far along I am is, “Well, what are you going to do about it?”  The simple answer is, “Nothing, it’s not up to me.”

It’s true that in this day in age I could easily go to a hospital and be given an artificial hormone, pitocin, to jump start this birth. I could have done that weeks ago in fact. Or I could even schedule for a doctor to slice me open and take the baby out for me via c-section. There are also other less invasive actions I could take, a few include: walking (check), squatting (check), spicy food (check), various activities with my husband (check), eggplant parm (eww eggplant), pineapple (check), house cleaning (check), acupuncture (check), chiropractic adjustment (check), hypnosis (check) or even a Castor oil cocktail. To that last one, knowing the effects of Castor oil and how it works, I’m leaving that to a pretty dire circumstance. So what to do you ask?

Same as before, NOTHING, it’s not up to me. I am a firm believer in the body’s ability to conceive, grow and birth a baby all by itself. If you read my first post you know how very average I find myself to be, making babies is included in this belief. My preferred method of primary care are the wonderful and highly skilled midwives at The Baby Place, no doctors or hospitals for me or this baby. At least if I can avoid them. I promise to do a future post on my pregnancy and birth philosophy. If you know me, you know I’m an alternative girl in that arena. What I have come to learn is that in nature, we humans have no control; not over the weather, the tide, the climate or the seasons. By default, I have no natural control over when this baby is born. This has tested my patience immensely.

There are a battery of emotions that I have gone through in the past five weeks, ranging from jubilation and content to depression and sadness to even a little fear that maybe I’m not really pregnant and this baby is a figment of my imagination. Some tender feelings and some not so tender feelings. What I have learned is, by having patience I am forced to live in this moment. Dwelling on the last few weeks gets me nowhere and trying to figure out when my time to birth will happen is futile. So where does that leave me? In the here and now.

There are many tender things to appreciate here and now: my husband’s kindness and love, my families support, my friends caring, every movement my baby makes, cuddly cats, health, wealth, warmth during this cold season, the sun staying longer everyday.  I may not have traveled to an ashram in India to meditate on how to be in the now, but this journey to motherhood has been a creative act none the less. It’s pretty tender that my child has taught me such a valuable lesson in patience before even leaving my body.

Until that time comes I will continue to repeat positive affirmations: Pregnancy is normal. My baby is healthy inside my body. I have patience, faith and courage. And lastly, I promise that I will notify the whole world when this baby makes it’s arrival, please just have patience.

Sleepy Time

Being pregnant has been an interesting adventure, and the thing I have learned to appreciate the most is sleep. Now that I’m not being a teacher I have ample opportunity to sleep. I think maybe I sleep too much, but then everyone I talk to rationalizes it for me by saying, “You’re pregnant!” or “Get it while you can.”  Whatever the reason, I’m grateful to live this leisurely life for the next few days, until Baby Loaf decides it’s time to make an appearance. I’m hoping that tomorrows Solstice Full Moon Lunar Eclipse will align just right with Baby Loaf’s intentions and we’ll finally get to meet this wee one. Until then, I’m going to nap.

Preggers Belly with Olive and Big Kitty. Olive can barely see over the mega bump.

39 Weeks pregnant. I hope this is the last pregnant photo I take, except for the one on the way to the birth center.

Get Adjusted

In an effort to create a positive pregnancy and birth I have been seeing Dr.Anacker, a chiropractor. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do and pregnancy provided the perfect reason. I have been getting adjusted weekly since about 30 weeks in my pregnancy.

Each adjustment session lasts about 15 minutes and involves the typical back adjustment while lying face down on the table, using special props to make space for my growing belly. She then releases ligaments surrounding my uterus by using massage techniques. The session ends with me sitting in a special chair while she uses her special chiro skills to adjust my neck. This requires major trust and relaxation on my part. Getting my neck adjusted sounds like fireworks, but there is never any pain. When it’s over I take a quick walk around the block to make sure my blood is flowing and then I go about my day as my immune system strengthens and blood pressure remains low. These are things she’s told me happen within 15 minutes of an adjustment.

Since seeing a chiropractor I have seen many other positive side effects as well. The top two are heartburn relief and the ability so sleep pretty soundly through the night. These are two things that any pregnant woman in her third trimester will tell you are major downers of pregnancy. Having experienced them before chiropractic care, I’ll take a weekly adjustment any day. Dr.Anacker is kind, gentle, and truly loves what she does. I’d go as far to say her chiro skills are an art form, and I’m grateful to experience the care and chiropractic experience she offers .

                                      Big Kitty, no adjustments needed