Babies in Bloom Birth Story: The Birth Of Our Sonshine

A birth story graciously shared from one of our birth center families…

On Saturday evening, I was sitting on my kitchen counter waiting for dinner to finis cooking, crying my eyes out and texting my midwife because I had decided our Sunny changed his mind and would never be born, that I would be like that South American woman who was pregnant for 20 years (calcified pregnancy). It has always been my mantra that baby will be born at the perfect time for him but those last few days of pregnancy as many already know are so physically and mentally exhausting. I was SO done!

Sunday morning, we all awoke before the sun per usual thanks to my two lively Wild Flowers. I didn’t have much of an appetite and felt completely restless! I had a lower backache so I decided to soak in the bath for a while and hey since I was already there I might as well wash my mane, too. I noticed I was having very irregular contractions but I had been having those for about two weeks so I ignored them. We decided today was a great day to clean out the garage and spent all morning organizing and sweeping. At nap time we all laid down to rest, I had sort of been in a strange fog all morning and was sure I was just really tired. I couldn’t sleep. I noticed I was having more and more contractions, more than I had had in the last few weeks. I wanted to get excited but I felt nervous instead and then decided I’d just be in denial. Jason had been watching me like a hawk all day and I kept telling him to “stop being a freak” but he could see all of the things that I couldn’t (he’s basically a birth and breastfeeding professional at this point). And even though it was football Sunday with his favorite team playing, he made the beautiful suggestion of going to get milkshakes at my favorite place, all hail In-N-Out Burger. It’s been a little family tradition of ours that when I’m in labor we go eat at In-N-Out and then magically a baby appears a couple of hours later! But it didn’t matter because I wasn’t really in labor. By the time we got back home though I was having to shift my focus on breathing through my contractions so I suggested IF this was the real deal maybe we should take a walk around the neighborhood. We strapped our hyperactive sugar crazy Wild Things into our snazzy double stroller and started walking. We didn’t make it far, maybe an eighth of a mile, so I had another great idea! Lets go back home and cook dinner. I was slicing chicken and preheating the oven so J lovingly brought a fan down to help cool the kitchen (me) down. Then the swaying started. With each contraction I was having to move with them, in my mind it was like the movement was breaking through the wall of pain. By this time I was trying (failing) to cook dinner in order to shift my focus away from my labor, my shirt was off, I was in my favorite skirt, and swaying with a piece of raw chicken and a knife in my hands in front of a fan. But it was fine because I wasn’t in labor. Jason wanted me to text our midwives but I didn’t want to. So…he did. And our friends to watch the girls if needed, and our birth photographer. That guy had it all together!

After dinner was finished baking, which no one ate because apparently it was the worst dinner I have ever made so the girls at PB&J’s instead, I was hanging out on my birthing ball in the living room. Painter arrived at my knees and climbed into my lap and hugged me while we rode the waves of a few more contractions together. The love and power I felt in those moments really energized me. I’ll cherish that memory forever.

With my new burst of energy I had my best idea yet, My hair was still pretty damp and in a messy bun from my bath earlier in the day. Obviously this was the prime time to blow dry it! I carried my birthing ball upstairs and busted out my blow dryer which I haven’t used in four years and went to town. Shifting my focus away from my contractions while swaying on my ball and blow drying my hair. I wish I had a picture of that, really.

Jason got the girls into the bathtub. With my hair dry and the way I wanted it, I moved into our bed. I could hear the girls giggling in the bath tub and wished I could be in there with them too. I love them so much. Which reminded me of my favorite birthing story from Spiritual Midwifery by Ina May Gaskin. In the story the mother thought about all of the people she loved and appreciated while she was working through each contraction. I really loved that idea and decided that was a great thing to try out. Labor was getting challenging and I was very tired. With my next contraction I was rocking from side to side with my eyes closed really focusing, “I love my family. My children and my husband. My marriage. I am so grateful to be able to give this gift to my baby. I am so happy to meet my son soon. I am so grateful for my midwives and their support.” I repeated these over and over in my mind until my contractions would subside.

The girls came in to kiss me goodnight, Vaughn looked at me and said “You can do it mom, I love you!”.

I love them, I love them, I love them.

Labor was getting more intense and I was starting to feel nervous again. Jason arrived at the perfect moment. I moved over to my birthing ball and held onto the bed while I swayed through the energy of those contractions. Jason was reading my birthing affirmations, timing my contractions, texting my midwives, and bringing me a lot of peace. This guy. The perfect Dude-la.

At some point our friends arrived and were watching TV downstairs which was reassuring because the girls could stay asleep in their own beds. So grateful to not have to worry about them.

Here is the realness. Birth is hard. Labor is hard. As I find out each time I give birth, you do not have to be a Super Woman with super powers. You are able and capable as a Wombman. There is a strength within each of us that we can not channel until we are right there in the thick of it. It’s a power that is thousands of years old that lives within us and it is pure magic.

In between contractions I was very aware and lucid, Jason and I were chatting. “I can do this right?” I kept asking him. I had read a quote that I loved once, it went something like..your contractions aren’t stronger than you because they ARE you. I was thinking about this through my next contraction. My focus shifted then to “I can do this”. I repeated that to myself in my mind and out loud for the next several minutes. Jason said to me, “Lashel says we can go to the birthing center whenever we’re ready.”

I waited for another five minutes and then I realized that IF she did really say that…then I must really be in labor….AND  I  must be fairly close to birthing him….if she said that.

“Okay.”

Jason grabbed our bags and hustled down to the car and came back upstairs to get my ball and help me down the stairs. When I got to the bottom of the stairs I see our friends hanging out on the couch (I’m so tired I really wished I was doing that too) and I give them a thumbs up. We made a pit stop by the front door so I could work through another contraction and then slowly got outside and into the car. With my eyes closed I kept trying to keep my body relaxed. I started to feel discouraged because all of the sudden my contractions which were pretty intense then became managable. And then we were there! The birth assistant arrived shortly after we did and unlocked the doors for us, as I was getting out of the car one of our midwives arrived and walked in with us, I looked at her..”I am so glad to see you.” And I was.

We walked into birth room number Two. It was dark and quiet, it was perfect. Safe.

I put my hands on the bed to ride through another contraction and

POP

my water broke. And then I felt something strange but familiar and totally out of my control. He was coming and my body was pushing him out.

“I can do this, I can do this, I can do this”.

I climbed onto the bed and stayed on all fours, I couldn’t imagine being in any other position (which is interesting because I have said before I have no idea how women birth this way and I could never see myself doing that..but I was).

“I can do this, I can do this, I can do this”

“You ARE doing this!” my midwife said. Was I really?

“This is really hard.”

It was really, really hard.

Jason was kneeling on the other side of the bed, our faces smashed together. That was the only  way I was able to get through the most intense moments of my entire life. It was easily the most challenging few minutes of my life, even having given birth before, every birth is different.

In between these massive waves that were helping me get closer to meeting my son, I had a thought and said to Jason “I CAN NOT BELIEVE OUR BIRTH PHOTOGRAPHER IS MISSING THIS! WE PAID SO MUCH MONEY!”

Our wonderful midwife was coaching me through each contraction, I loved her so much and was so grateful for her especially in those moments, I needed her voice. “He has blonde hair!!”.. oh my god, I have another blonde baby. Hearing those few words filled me with love and happiness and the final burst of energy I needed to welcome our sweet boy into this world.

Then our birth photographer arrived. Oh my god, she arrived!

“I can see his face!”

And then the whole energy of the room shifted. I could physically feel the power in the air. The love and strength of every woman who has ever been. Leaning on my rock for strength feeling the intense energy vibrating through the air and my heart that felt like it was literally bursting with love, I roared my son into existence.

I could not believe it. I looked around at each women in that room, looked at my husband, looked at my new son.

My heart had burst wide open, shattered into a million pieces in this moment and I was born again too. I have never known Love until now and I am sure every single person felt it too.  It was electric.

“Peace on Earth begins at Birth”

Today our Sunny is one week new and I still am in disbelief over what we all experienced but what I can tell you, the love I have inside of me it’s life changing.

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Pinterest Has Spoken

Hey parents, did you get the memo?  Woodland inspired nurseries are going to be huge in 2017. It’s cute. It’s cozy. It’s gender-neutral. What’s not to love!?

How do we know this? Well, Pinterest released its Pinterest 100 board which predicts the 100 trends we are most likely to see in 2017, all based on saving and search data from 2016. Woodland nurseries happen to be up 97% in the last year.

In light of this bunny boom, we thought we’d help you out by sharing some of the ADORABLE woodland themed items we currently have in our Boutique.

Little Unicorn Organic Cotton Muslin Quilt:

This breathable, natural cotton muslin quilt is loaded with four snug layers and a whole host of friendly forest characters. It’s large (47” x 47”) so you will get good use out of it over the years. Best of all, it promises to only get softer and cuddlier with each wash.

Milkbarn Organic:

Burp Cloths:

Adding cute to the puke, these soft and ultra-absorbent cloths come in a two pack and are made with 100% certified organic cotton. They look and feel such high quality – they would make a great gift wouldn’t they?

Newborn Gown and Hat set:

Speaking of gifts, how stinking cute is this Milkbarn Organic newborn set? This stylish box comes with an elastic bottom gown and knotted hat, all Hummingbird themed and sized 0-3 months.

SugarBooger’s ‘What Did the Fox Eat?’ collection:

All BPA free, this range is not just cute, but smart! To be honest, the plate had us at ‘spill-proof.’ Sure your little one might like working on his / her baseball pitch using oatmeal, broccoli or pasta, but with a removable suction base, at least the plate will stay in place.  Every little helps right? As well as the matching snack pots and lunch container, we also stock the matching silverware set in the Boutique. Just the right size for tiny hands to grip, the set comes with a case (ideal for on-the-go) that can also be personalized.

Tesa Babe Clothing: 

If some of these designs came in adult size, we’d be all over them. Cool, cute and comfy, woodland has never looked so classy! Or calming. They are all the c’s!  A variety of sizes and prints are available.

Anything catch your eye here? Pop in to the Boutique to feel the quality for yourself – we’d love to see you sometime soon.

 

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Laughter is Always the Best Medicine

Laughter is the best medicineWe’ve just survived another Blue Monday – the most depressing day of the year – so the arrival of ‘Global Belly Laugh Day’ this week was most welcome!

Belly Laugh Day is not just a day for having a good ol’ chuckle, but a much needed reminder for us to do it more often. Because laughter really IS the best medicine.

It does so much more than make you feel good mentally – laughter induces actual physical changes in your body. Blood flow is increased; as is your intake of oxygen-rich air which stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles; it aids muscle relaxation, reducing some of the physical symptoms of stress; boosts our immune system and improves efficiency, mental focus and concentration. Yes, to all that please!

Best of all laughter is FREE! And available to you every day – even on the roughest of parenting days.

You don’t even need to rely on humor, jokes or comedy for belly laughs – you can fake it yourself with Laughter Yoga. Have you heard of that? Google Offices use it. Even Oprah Winfrey swears by it.

Laughter Yoga is a practice of prolonged voluntary laughter – because voluntary or ‘forced’ laughter still delivers the same physiological and psychological goods as spontaneous laughter.  And trust us, (we’ve tried it), it might start off as fake laughing, but you end up feeling so ridiculous that it soon turns in to a genuine fit of the giggles!

There are an increasing number of laughter clubs across the US where you can practice laughter yoga in groups, but you can also do it at home alone, or with a partner. Take a look at this video and you’ll get the idea. Here’s also a list of 150 laughter exercises to try yourself at home – our personal favorite is forcing yourself to ‘laugh’ Beethoven’s Fifth: Ha ha ha haaaaaaaa, ha ha ha haaaa!! We’re giggling even typing it.

In a nutshell, laughter yoga not only offers every parent a simple way to relieve stress, it also gives them a license to act like a crazy spontaneous toddler again! So, what’s not to love!? Your kids will find you hysterical – and most likely join in too.

Go on, give it a try! Find the jolly in every day – you’ll probably feel very silly, but our bet is, you’ll probably feel pretty great too!

 

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A Rose By Any Other Name

Experts are predicting a ‘full-blown baby naming revolution’ this coming year, with names that will ‘defy convention’, boast unique spellings and also ‘non-traditional gender identities.’

We’ll be seeing names like Thor, Jupiter, Luna, and Pandora drawn from multicultural mythology; names of feminist heroines like Ada (Lovelace), Emmeline (Pankhurst), Bell (Hooks), Eleanor (Roosevelt), Rosa (Parks); a rise in preppy names like Oakes, Collins, Anderson, Kensington and Winchester; and a whole heap of names beginning with the letter ‘O’ – Octavia, Oakley, Orson, Otis, Omar and Otto.

See any you like? The full list of 2017 names can be found here:

Some people just know don’t they? They have a name picked out even before conception. Others wait to meet their new bundle before settling on a name.  And while there is no right or wrong way to pick a baby’s name, there is definitely a lot of pressure that comes with the territory. After all, it’s just a little something you are giving them…FOREVER! Eek!

On top of the pressure, there’s also those suggestions (perhaps guilt trips) from family and friends, not to mention their unwanted reactions when you test drive a few current contenders with them. Prepare for brutal honesty and crushing disappointment!

While we believe the most important thing is absolutely to choose a name that YOU love, we also believe that everyone can always use a few objective pointers. Here are a few simple considerations to keep in mind:

  • How original is your chosen name? Is it so unique that you risk mispronunciations and a lifetime of your child correcting how others say it/spell it? How would you have felt with that?
  • Have you checked what the initials of your child’s name will make….for example Anthony Adam Stevens (ASS) or Robert Sole aka Mr. R Sole….Oops!
  • Are you happy with how the first name can be shortened? Does it rhyme with anything unfortunate? Kids at school will always be creative!
  • Does the name age well? Princess might be a cute name when they are small, but imagine them in a job interview or running a board meeting with that name.
  • Have you checked the meaning of the name? Make sure you are happy with what your name represents as well as how its sound.
  • Finally, don’t feel pressurised to take a family name. If you don’t like it, don’t take it. But first have a quick think, could you use it as a middle name to appease? Or even use the relative in question’s own middle name as an alternative? It’s worth exploring all options before an outright dismissal, right?

Good luck to all those parents-to-be out there making a shortlist! We look forward to seeing what the 2017 revolution brings!

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