Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Power of "You're Okay"

Having a child is terrifying.

There. I said it.

At least it was terrifying for me. When hubby and I left the hospital with our first child, aged two days, I know that we were both at least moderately terrified. Here we were, first-time parents and the kindly nurses and hospital staff were actually letting us leave the hospital with this precious baby. Alone. Without supervision. Gulp!!

Oh - those first days (weeks? months? years?? decades??!) When every new development with our child came with so many questions, so many concerns. Is this normal? Are we doing this right? Is he okay? Are we okay?!!

If you are anything like me, I had friendly friends and caring family who would pop in for visits, and the question I often heard was "Are you doing okay? Is the baby okay?"

How to answer!! I felt as though if I gave an honest response, I would have either burst into tears or bombard my poor guest with never-ending questions. So my general reply was something along the lines of "We're doing okay; just tired/adjusting/figuring things out".

Of course, I was just so utterly, utterly overwhelmed and exhausted, incapable of anything more than nursing and fretting, it was impossible for me process what I really wanted.

I just wanted to hear that I was doing okay. That my baby was okay. That we were doing everything we needed to, and that all would be okay.

"You're okay".

Because that's all we really need to hear. That we are doing alright, that this is normal, that we will muddle through, and the details will sort themselves out. We don't need advice, or horror stories, anecdotes about how little sleep they got in their own first days of parenthood, or how difficult it was to get a rhythm to their days. No parent with a brand new baby needs to hear those things! They just don't!!

So, there you go. That's what parents of new babes need. Gentle reassurance.

And a snack. And a hug. And a shower. And a nap.

But not necessarily in that order.

Friday, November 28, 2014


Just a quick notice about the special three day Small Business Saturday sale, of all of the RADIANT COLLECTION items.

No discount code needed, the RADIANT COOKIES, RADIANT TEA and RADIANT COLLECTION (of tea and cookies) are each marked down 50% for the four day weekend (from Friday the 28th until Monday the 1st of December) encompassing Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday. Enjoy!

RADIANT COOKIES, lactation cookies to help support a nursing mama's milk supply. A yummy snack that is good for you, your baby and your taste buds? Win!

RADIANT TEA to support a nursing mama's         milk supply. Brew, sip, nurse!

RADIANT COLLECTION, of RADIANT TEA and RADIANT COOKIES, each designed to support a nursing mama's milk supply. Tea and cookies? What's not to love!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

A Day for Thanks

From my family to yours - Happy Thanksgiving! 

Lets hold our loved ones close, take a moment to be thankful for all we have, love a little deeper and count our blessings (even the ones that don't seem like blessings!)

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Ariel's Story

What better way to start the week than with a birth story?!

Ariel's Story
by Mellisa

We had a little girl on 10/30 at 12:08 am. I had a successful home waterbirth. No interventions of any kind. It was also very fast. She weighed 7 lbs 5oz.and was 21 inches long.  She had a knot in her cord that did not affect anything. It was still pulsating when she came out.

I had on and off contractions since the first Monday in October when I accidentally eat spicy shrimp. Contractions finally became intense, but would not keep going and every contraction was painful at my pubic bone area, so I reached out to my chiropractor. I didn't think this was normal. Of course it was not. My pubic bone was not separating in the proper direction. I was past my due date as well. She did some manipulation and since I was past my due date she did some Logan Technique work. Kind of like a chiropractic induction. She said I probably didn't need it. That fixing my pubic bone would most likely do the trick, but because of how I had been contracting for the last few days we figured it wouldn't hurt. It was obvious the baby wanted to come out.

Contractions slowed down and were less intense for a while (my chiropractor had warned me this would happen). At about 9 pm that night they were back to intense and consistent with no pubic bone pain! At 9:30 I went to lay down and my husband did some back massage during each contraction. I attempted to find another position and ended up on my stomach as a contraction started! Ouch!! I got up and yelled for him to turn the shower on. It was about 10 pm. A few minutes later he called our Doula, Claire. She listened to me grunting and moaning in the shower and told him she was on her way.  She called our midwife on her way to our house for us to give her an update and advised her to make her way over as well. 

Claire arrived around 10:30 pm. My husband was working on the birthing pool and I was still in the shower. I am now thinking we are going to run out of hot water and turned down my hot water usage. However contractions are harder to handle when I got cold. I now felt the water temp drop and told Claire. She had Jon check the pool water and sure enough it was coming out cold. He started boiling water on the stove. 

Since the water was now cold I get out of the shower. I was cold and contractions were harder to handle. It is hard to relax when you are cold! - just in case you didn't know that. Lol! My midwife arrives at some point. I keep asking about the pool. 

I have most of my labor in the living room on the couch (don't worry it was covered in plastic just in case). At about 11:30 my midwife says if I still want to get in the pool, now would be a good time. I am beyond relieved and immediately move to the pool. As i get in the pool, I notice the assistant midwife arrives.  I get in and immediately feel so much better. I think I started pushing before I got in the pool because I now feel a sense that my duty is to get the baby out. I am on all fours. That ring of fire (the one I was not able to experience with my first) was no JOKE! (note - read here for the Birth Story of Mellisa's first birthing experience). Holy crap that burned. When it didn't let up for a few contractions and stayed there, negative "I can't" thoughts entered my mind. A lot of the affirmations were going through my head, but that didn't help so I spoke my "I can't" out loud. Immediately Claire (my Doula) started saying to me "You can and you are doing it". Jon gets in my face and says the same thing, but adds WE ARE doing it. I start repeating it and try to remember to not push like a crazy woman. 

Someone tells me to reach down and feel the head. I remember it feeling fuzzy. I thought hey it has some hair! Now come out! Then I hear "ok reach down and grab your baby". I do. And they say "Give a final push and your baby will be out". Sure enough one final push and the baby was out and in my arms. I kept hearing someone say "Do we know what it is?" I finally look and with shock-- It is a girl!  I am excited and surprised because I was so certain we were having a boy. 

I get out of the pool and cough ( literally) out the placenta. I nurse and eat my home cooked meal. We move to the bed room and do all the newborn checks while I am laying in my own bed  We burn the cord off.  Claire knows the person who is doing the placenta  encapsulation and notifies her that I gave birth. 

And that is pretty much everything. I am overly happy with the birth, although I do wish I could have been in the pool from the beginning. 

Long story for only 3 hrs of labor.  Not counting the start stop contractions.

If you are interested in sharing your Birth Story here on the Radiant Birth blog, feel free to Contact Me.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Taste Testers

At this stage most of you will probably know these two things about me.

- I sell cookies and tea to support the nursing mama's milk supply (click here for more details!), and

- I have three children.

It has taken me a while to work out why my kiddos love love love it when I have cookie orders that come in ... they get to eat any 'reject' cookies! (You know - the cookies that aren't quite the right shape, or a little too crispy, or what have you).

Lucky little pups!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Small Business Saturday

For the past month or so I've been selling my RADIANT COOKIES and RADIANT TEA (products to help support a nursing mama's milk supply) on eBay ... sales are good, and I'm really excited to share these with buyers all over the country.

Of course, it's always good to spread the word (and the cookies!) a little further, so I'll be offering all of the RADIANT items at 50% off for the upcoming Small Business Saturday weekend (Friday the 28th through till Sunday the 30th of November). WOW!!

Spread the word ... who can resist tea and cookies!

(No code needed, price will be adjusted for the three day period).

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Weekend Links

A round up of a couple of articles I really enjoyed this week! Have a great weekend everyone!

Becoming Mom :: Mothering.com

Control or the Lack Thereof :: Attachment Parenting

'Second Night' Concept Advice for New Moms :: Marshfield News Herald

A Man's Guide to Doulas: Why She Wants One and Why You Should Too :: Doula Spot

Friday, November 21, 2014

Tomorrow's Birth Story Circle **CANCELLED**


I have three very poorly kiddos in my home, and cannot in good conscience
invite mamas with little babies in.
I'll be posting reschedule details soon!

Just a quick note!

I still have spaces available for tomorrow's (Saturday the 22nd) Birth Story Circle. I limit the group to about half a dozen mamas so that this stays a small and cozy group. Babes in arms welcome!

More details are here!

Monday, November 3, 2014


If you follow me on on Facebook (here!) you will have read about my upcoming line of lactation tea and cookies ... well, they're here!

I'm thrilled to announce the official launch of my RADIANT TEA and RADIANT COOKIES!

Yummy, hearty and nourishing snack and hot tea, which help support a mama's milk supply.

The cookies are a hearty snack, packed with chocolate chips, and breastmilk boosting ingredients such as oats, brewer's yeast and flax seeds. The tea is an earthy blend of borage, blessed thistle, red raspberry and fenugreek that can be enjoyed daily.

These are both available for purchase through eBay.

Loose leaf RADIANT TEA!
Each package contains 24 servings of tea, and contains Borage, 
Blessed Thistle, Red Raspberry and Fenugreek.

Each package contains one dozen hearty and yummy chocolate chip cookies, packed 
with lactation supporting goodies, such as oats, brewer's yeast and flax seeds.

With a package each of the tea and cookies, this collection both items at a discounted price.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Xanthie's Story

I've been really blessed to share each of Bethanie's, from Green and Grateful, birth stories. We have shared Bethanie's other three Birth Stories here, here and here. This story is of her fourth and most recent birth experience!

Xanthie's Story
by Bethanie

photo 3

I think Xanthie was trying to outdo her sister, but didn’t quite make it! Aisling was 10 days late, but Xanthie didn’t quite make it that long. She arrived 7 days after her due date. In this home, the boys seem to arrive early and the girls late! I guess they need the extra gestational time for beauty sleep!
This labor was super fast, which I kind of expected and secretly hoped for, but it was definitely faster than I thought. Still VERY intense, but so relieved to have it completed so quickly!

So to start at the very beginning, on Saturday the 3rd, we had the day completely free and it was so nice not to have any plans to be able to spend time together as a family. It looked like it was going to rain in the morning, so we decided to go to the mall and walk and then let the kiddos play in the playground area. We did walk the perimeter of the mall… both floors, but unfortunately they were remodeling so the kids area was completely torn up.

The kids were disappointed, but we certainly didn’t have the meltdown that I partially expected. We had a gift card for Chipotle, so we decided to leave the mall and drive around the corner to get some lunch and do some more walking around Fairfax Corner since the sun had decided to come out. We walked some more and then listened to some live music in the square and let the kids play in the water fountain.

It was so nice not having a schedule and just letting the day play out. I really didn’t get any contractions out of all the walking which is what I was hoping for, but I did lose part of my mucus plug that night… so I guess I did get a little something out of all the walking!

Sunday we went to church in the morning and then enjoyed a relaxing afternoon with my parents at their house and with my sister and her family who were in town from Kentucky. It was great seeing them and enjoying another beautiful day! I think it was only in the 70s which is unheard of for August in Northern VA!

I felt a little crampy… just that the braxton hicks were stronger, but nothing anywhere close to anything I’d call labor. They weren’t regular at all and wouldn’t even say they were painful. My Mom was on call to take the kids when labor did start so I contemplated leaving them for the night, but didn’t think I was that close to having a baby that they should stay.

Then early Monday morning around 3:45/4am I awoke having to go the the bathroom which is a little abnormal for me. Usually I don’t have to wake up until 5am or after, but I didn’t think too much of it. However, once I got back in bed I couldn’t go back to sleep. I started having contractions that were 10 minutes apart. Just like period cramps. I still wouldn’t have even said they were painful… just annoying enough I couldn’t get back to sleep. I woke Brian at 5am and let him know that I thought we were gonna have a baby sometime before lunch time! So I asked him to start filling the pool to make sure it was ready for when I was ready to get in. At 5:30 I called my Mom and asked her to pick up the kids around 6:30 so that she wouldn’t get stuck in rush hour traffic.

When she got there around 6:30 my contractions were about 4-5 minutes apart and only about 30-45 seconds long, and uncomfortable, but not intensely painful. In fact I found out later that Mom told my sister she didn’t think I had any contractions the whole time she was there to get the kids. She hung around til about 7am. As soon as Mom left with the three kids the contractions increased to 2 minutes apart and still not intense, but stronger.

I called Peggy (our midwife) and was able to have a normal conversation with her through the contractions. She wanted to know if I wanted her to come now. I said it was up to her. I didn’t feel like she needed to be here, but I also said that once I wasn’t the one calling her because the intensity had increased… by that point she probably wouldn’t make it. So she said she would get ready to head out.

Things started to increase and at 7:45 they were strong enough that I got in the pool and didn’t really want to carry on a conversation with anyone. Grunts and one word answers was about all anyone could hope for! Brian was still finishing up a few things and adding a bit more hot water to the pool. Brian then hopped in the pool with me and I was so glad to have him there.

photo 2 (2)

The midwives still weren’t there and I could tell it wouldn’t be too much longer. I had two really strong contractions though which I could feel Xanthie’s head moving down through my pelvis. I remembered feeling the same when Aisling was born and was hopeful it wouldn’t be too much longer. During the second of those two contractions Mayanne (Birth Assistant) arrived. At the end of the contraction she asked if i wanted to be checked and I said no. I knew the head was right there and I wanted to push with the next contraction.

Next one came and I pushed and her head emerged. I said something to that fact and Brian said Mayanne looked at her gloves and then at me and back at the gloves and then just came over to the pool! Next contraction shoulders and the rest of her were born. 8:33 Mayanne arrived and 8:36 Xanthie arrived! Peggy didn’t get there for another 10 minutes!

photo 1 (2)

It was super intense but I’d much rather it be quick!

Thanks to my wonderful husband who cheerfully got up at 5am to quickly get the pool filled and do whatever he could to serve and care for me as I progressed through this labor. He was so encouraging and knew what words I needed to hear. He worked hard and quickly to get things together and then cared for me as the end neared. I always love to see the joy and excitement in him as the end nears and as the baby joins us! I couldn’t have asked for a better man. God knew my needs and provided a man to suit that perfectly.

I’m still in awe at the miracle of birth and rejoicing in the daughter that has newly joined our family.

Thank you for rejoicing with us!

Xanthie's mama, Bethanie, has a wonderful blog, Green and Grateful, where she writes about her days spent as a mama to her four beautiful children, frugal living, delicious food and homeschooling. Stop by and say 'hi!'

If you are interested in sharing your Birth Story here on the Radiant Birth blog, feel free to Contact Me.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Beyond Birth ... Stop the Presses!

Our Beyond Birth: Preparing for the Fourth Trimester event is coming up this weekend, and Stephanie Hanson of Diaper Parties by Stephanie and I are so excited to be joined by Jessica Chase of Tree of Life Birth Services!

Jessica will be talking about the benefits of placenta encapsulation for the fourth trimester period - can't wait to learn more about this!

For more information about this, and other upcoming RADIANT BIRTH events, click here!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Friday, October 17, 2014

Beyond Birth

Such exciting news to share!

Stephanie Hanson, of Diaper Parties by Stephanie, and I are excited to announce a one time talk for new and expecting mamas, Beyond Birth: Preparing for the Fourth Trimester.

Join us to learn more about breastfeeding, babywearing, cloth diapering and what to expect in those early post-partum days.

Stephanie will bring some samples of baby carriers, cloth diapers and mama cloth, for attendees to peruse (with the possibility to order), and I will have my new line of Radiant Tea and Radiant Cookies, yummy treats for new mamas to help support a good milk supply.
Upcoming date:

Sunday 2nd November, 4pm - 6pm
Room 11, Program Building.
2709 Hunter Mill Road, Oakton, VA. 22124-1614

RSVP for this event on Facebook for the
lastest updates on this event.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Birth Story Circle

It's time to plan for the next Birth Story Circle!

A woman's birthing experience is such a powerful one, and many Mothers love to have the opportunity to share their own personal birthing story.

Birth Story Circles are small groups of Mothers, coming together to share their stories. This is a safe and non-judgmental space, where Mothers can feel supported and safe as they share.

I am so so excited to announce that I will be holding a Birth Story Circle, on Saturday 22nd November, 4-6 pm, in Sterling, Virginia.

Attendance is limited, to ensure that the group remains small, cozy and confidential. Please RSVP here to save your spot at an upcoming Birth Circle.

Babes in arms and nurslings welcome! Your first priority is to you and your baby, so please feel free to take care of your needs, to nurse, feed and change as you and your baby require.

There is no right or correct story to share. You are welcome at a Birth Circle whatever path your Birthing journey took. Please remember that Mothers each have their own story, and you may well hear stories that differ greatly from your own, including home births, cesarian sections, unassisted births, Birth Centers, Midwife deliveries and hospital births. This is a supportive space to share and receive ALL stories!

Interested in me facilitating a Birth Circle for your Mom's Group? Contact me for more information!

  • Upcoming dates
Saturday, 22nd November, 4-6 pm
8 Howard Place, Sterling, VA. 20164.
     - Pay what you can! (suggested amount is $15 to $40)

Monday, October 13, 2014

Kora's Story

A new week, another opportunity for a Birth Story!
Read on!

Kora's Story
by Mellisa

I took the Bradley Method classes. We felt prepared. We had a doula. I chose a hospital birth due to unknown family history. My husband really thought we should have a birth center birth. I pushed back because of the unknown.

I started with mild irregular contractions on 10pm Friday night. Right at bed time. My husband said, "rest, you don't know how long it will be". I tried resting until about 2 am. At that point I was done with getting up every 20 minutes with a contraction, needing to pee and being thirsty. At this point I was also hungry. So, I decided to go to the kitchen and get something to eat. All I remember is wanting to eat the fruit we just bought. So, I stood there at the counter cutting up all the fruit, eating some and putting the others in containers. I also timed contractions. They were still irregular and not intense. At about 5 am I decided I should get more rest. They contractions must have stopped because I slept until about 9 am.

My family was in town and were preparing to leave when I woke up; I told then I was having contractions last night.

They decided to stay.  My sister and husband helped me try to get my contractions going again. We called our doula just to inform her.  The contractions came back and started to become regular in the afternoon. We called the doula after dinner time between 6 and 7pm again, to tell her they were getting stronger and staying pretty regular. I was still pretty talkative and felt fine.  Our doula arrived between 8 and 9 pm. We did some laboring on the ball; I was definitely moving along in labor. I had to concentrate and relax during each contraction. It never felt painful. We discussed if I should go to the hospital now or later. I was admitted to the hospital around 10pm.

I tried the tub, but I kept having to get out to pee so I was annoyed; I decided to stay out of the tub.

Some time around midnight, but Dr came in to check me.  I was told by my doctor in a frank voice "You are not fully dilated, your water has not broken and your cervix is protruding. You are pushing. You need to stop pushing or your cervix will explode. If you do not stop pushing, I will take you in for a c-section".

I told my doctor that I was not purposefully pushing, that my body was doing it. At this point my water broke. My doctor proceeded to tell me that my other option was an epidural. I told her that I didn’t want an epidural or a c-section. She then told me that if I didn’t stop pushing she would take me in for a c-section and that it would not be in a form of a question if I wanted one. My husband looked at our doula and asked if there was anything else we could do. She said that I could try to blow out each contraction and focus on that. We asked the doctor if we could try this. She said that I had one hour and if I could not stop pushing then I would have to get the epidural.

I tried so hard not to push. With the fear of a c-section looming and not being able to stop the pushing, I looked at my husband and told him to tell the doctor to get the epidural because I did not want a c-section.  I did not request the epidural for pain management. I wanted to avoid a c-section.

Looking back, I honestly believe my doctor wanted to perform a c-section. It was not only Sunday, it was Father’s Day. I remember my doctor looking at me and asking me if I wanted the epidural. I told her that I didn’t want a c-section and that I couldn’t stop pushing. So, if that is my only option then yes. I also remember her saying that it might be another hour before he could get to me. I remember being scared. Thinking how am I not going to push for another hour.  Well, I remember him coming in soon after she left with all the paperwork for me to sign. Of course my husband can’t sign them. I have to sign them in the middle of contractions. The epidural is inserted. Then nurse Anne goes to put the catheter in, but can’t. She yells over and says turn off the epidural, she doesn’t need it! I am confused, my husband is confused as is my doula. She says the head is right here, you need push and can push! My doctor did not check me before the epidural was given. I began pushing as my doctor is frantically getting ready. I can totally feel the pressure of the contractions. I am yelling "I need to push, I need to push". Then I feel it subside and then I go back to saying "I need to push, I need to push". They are not telling me that a contraction is coming or to push. I continue to do this until my beautiful daughter arrives at 4:44am on Father's Day.

If you are interested in sharing your Birth Story here on the Radiant Birth blog, feel free to 

Friday, October 10, 2014

Simon's Story

Happy Friday everyone!
Enjoy your Birth Story!

Simon's Story
by Pamela

I had what I think was my first contraction around 7:15am while I was cuddling in bed with my two older boys.  I didn’t necessarily believe it was a contraction since up to this point I had had three nights of contractions that went from about 2am until 3am and then stopped.  The day before I went into labor I felt terrible; my body ached, I was in a tough place emotionally, and I truly thought I was going to be pregnant forever.  

After I got out of bed I went about my morning trying to keep time on my contractions.  I called Thad (my husband) around 8am and told him I had a few contractions but I couldn’t keep track of their pattern; they were somewhere between 10-15 minutes apart but not consistent.  He said he was going to leave the office right away but I told him I wasn’t sure if this was it.  He said he’d rather be home than miss anything so he came home.  I was standing in my kitchen trying to keep track of my contractions by my last made calls/texts to my husband, doula, and midwife.  By 8:45am my husband came home and he asked his mom to stay home in case she needed to take the boys out of the house.  I remember walking to the bathroom (I was making very frequent trips to the bathroom that morning which was a good indicator that I was truly in labor) around 9am and had to hang on to my dresser to get through a contraction.  My midwife, Marilee, called to check on me and said she was on her way and my doula texted me to tell her when we needed her help.  Around 9:30am my friend, Amanda, came by to pick up the cookies for our cookie exchange that morning and my mother in law was getting the boys and dog into the car and I had a long, intense contraction that had me on my knees hanging on to the banister with tears in my eyes.  Active labor began!!  Dash (older son) was very concerned seeing me in pain and I was grateful that they would not be there for labor despite my initial wants of having them in the house for labor and/or the birth.  I wouldn’t have been able to concentrate on labor if they were there.  I remember Marilee walking into the house while I was groaning through a contraction and I heard her say, “Those are good sounds,” and it finally occurred to me that this kid was going to be born that day.  It was around 9:45am. 
I made it downstairs in between contractions to see Thad busy at work filling the aqua doula, Marilee setting up supplies, and I helped by setting up my iPod for music and setting up my diffuser (I used doTerra’s Balance blend for grounding).  I was having a hard time getting comfortable through contractions because I couldn’t quite tell where I was having pressure.  Was the pressure on my bottom or my perineum or my back? I couldn’t tell, so I couldn’t figure out what position to be in for maximum comfort as I worked through my contractions.  All I knew was that I did not want to be standing up, so I tried being on all fours (which was tolerable) or sitting on the toilet and/or the birthing stool (which was more tolerable but not perfect).  I even tried hanging off the corner of my sectional but it was not quite right.  My doula, Mary Beth, arrived around 10:15am and she jumped right in and helped ground me through my contractions.  She helped me relax and used essential oils (we used Iris Oils 4 pack for Childbirth) for scent and massage.  Thad sat behind me to hold my shoulders down during contractions (so I wouldn’t tense up) and Mary Beth sat in front of me between my legs.  They took turns feeding me pineapple and/or pomegranate seeds and giving me sips of water to keep me hydrated.  I felt encapsulated in love.  
Around 10:45am after I went to the bathroom I stood there crying.  In pain, I cried worrying about whether or not my son would love me.  In retrospect, I realize this irrational worry was a sign of Transition, and apparently so did everyone in the room because Marilee, Thad, and Mary Beth held me in the bathroom as I cried.  When I got out of the bathroom I complained that I couldn’t get into a comfortable position and Marilee wisely suggested the aqua doula. 
Once I lowered myself into the pool I had instant relief.  I can’t believe I didn’t have a pool with all my babies!  The water was warm, soothing, and I instantly felt like it lifted everywhere I was feeling pressure. The counterpressure was so helpful in managing the pain, it was just amazing. We labored in the pool as the contractions became stronger – at this point I was still able to talk or joke a bit between them; I distinctly remember joking with the birth team over my husband’s dismay when Celine Dion came on the playlist.
The period for talking soon ended – the break between contractions was shortening and the contractions themselves were getting much stronger. I remember asking Marilee why I wasn’t getting a break, and what I should be doing, and she kept saying ‘You’re doing it.’ Sometime around noon I was really working hard – I remember feeling tired for the first time, and concerned about how long the labor would take – would I still have the energy to push effectively at the end? Mary Beth kept me hydrated with water and Gatorade, and I continually sought positions that would relieve pressure from my back. I remember leaning back with my husband’s hand supporting my back, leaning back in an almost hurdler pose with one leg extended, squatting upright and swirling my hips, and finally shifting to all fours in the pool, which would become my final birthing position.
At one point well into active labor, I did ask if there was anything for pain relief, and after a brief silence, Marilee replied ‘You’re sitting in it.’

In retrospect, now I know the various positions and movements were all what Simon needed me to do to safely enter the world. While I was deep in active labor, I had to release the negative thoughts that spun through my head. I questioned whether I had done enough. I had thoughts of being ill prepared, of his size, of my abilities to actually get him out, of possible rupture, and I realized I was at a point of no return, and in releasing those thoughts, I started to unintentionally push. My midwife does not dictate pushing; she allows the body to do what it needs to do. With Dash’s birth, she told me when to push because she saw that I was getting tired and needed to help me focus. This time, my body just did what it needed to do, and unbeknownst to both my husband and me, I was pushing.

I noticed Marilee was behind me by the pool, and Leigh Ann (her assistant) was holding tools of some sort. I had no concept of time at this point – I don’t know exactly when I began to push, or for how long I pushed. I don’t know if it’s because I was in the water, or because the bag of waters was intact, but I had no idea how close he was to being born. I remember Mary Beth asking my midwife if she ‘catches in the water’, (she does) and it hit me that we were going to meet him soon. It’s a crime that in some places women have to get out of the tub to deliver – I can’t imagine how hard that must be.
My groans became grunts, and bearing down with each contraction became instinctive. Whatever people say, you truly poop a baby out. The sensation is low and deep, and no other sensation can be compared to it other than pooping.

Thad was in front of me, supporting my weight and helping me focus. His strength and faith in me took away any fear I had in pushing. It started to burn up towards my clitoris, and I still had no idea where he was. My midwife never told me how much she could see, but in watching the birth video, he was beginning to crown. My midwife put her hands on me to help guide him out, and when she touched me, I was afraid that I was going to suck him back up into my body. When I watched the video and saw the moment she touched me, I didn’t realize just how close he was to being born.
I was pushing and Marilee told me that my bag of waters was intact, that there was a lot of vernix in there, and that his head was almost out. Thad told me that the time to slow down (to prevent tearing) was coming, but all I could feel was pressure and stretching – I didn’t realize his head was already out. It took my doula and husband telling me that his head was out before I grasped, emotionally and physically, that he was about to be born. My sac was still intact at this point and Marilee asked if I wanted her to puncture it – I told her to do whatever would relieve some pressure. On his way out, she made a small puncture to help him glide out.

While waiting for the next contraction, I felt stretched to the absolute max, and Thad and I maintained steady eye contact to help me stay open. It was during the next contraction that he was born – I was still bearing down and pushing when I heard Marilee say, ‘He’s out – reach down and take your baby – be careful, his cord is short’. I couldn’t believe that I was actually pulling him to my chest. I rested him on my breast, he let out a small cry, and the flood of emotions completely overwhelmed me. What broke my trance was Marilee saying to me, ‘You just birthed a direct OP baby.’ For those of you who don’t know what that means, he was posterior, sunny side up, and he came out gently, which is extremely unusual for babies in that position. In fact, part of the reason why Julian was born by Caesarean is because he was posterior.

Once he was born, we completed all the particulars - getting out of the pool, cutting the cord, prenatal exam, passing the placenta, and of course ordering some pizza. The entire birth team was in high spirits, the sun was still up, and they would be home in time to have dinner with their families – Simon Edgar Winston was born at 1:06pm. He was 7 lbs. 5 oz. and 21 inches long.  ‘Edgar’ is for my father.  Simon was born on the 11th anniversary of his passing, which was also our original due date.  I couldn’t think of a better way to honor my father.  ‘Winston’ is our street name since he was born in our family room.

We had the obligatory family text and Facebook post, and by 4pm it was just the three of us, snuggling on the couch and soaking up every moment of our perfect birth and perfect son.  The postpartum period was an emotional roller coaster.   For now, I will return my arms to my little 3-week old babe waiting for mama’s milk and snuggles.  Life is good.  

If you are interested in sharing your Birth Story here on the Radiant Birth blog, feel free to Contact Me.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Aisling's Story

We featured a Birth Story from Bethanie of Green and Grateful a couple of weeks ago; here is the story of her third child!

Aisling's Story
by Bethanie

I woke up at 1:30 in the morning with some cramping, but nothing strong or really very painful. I laid in bed for another 30-45 minutes to see how far apart they were. Each contraction was about 5 minutes apart, so I called Peggy (our midwife) to give her a heads up just in case it started to get any stronger or progress more. She advised me to call back in about an hour and give her an update. An hour later things were still about the same so I had Brian start filling the pool with hot water and decided to wait a bit longer before I called her. By 3am my contractions were 1 minute long and 1 minute apart and getting stronger. I called Peggy and told her she should probably come before too long.

Everyone arrived around 4am and of course the contractions slowed down almost to a stop! Peggy checked me soon after she arrived and I was only 3 cm… a little disappointing! They were 7-10 minutes apart, no longer painful and only about 20 seconds long. It stayed like this for about 45 minutes and I was getting discouraged that I had called all these ladies and woken them up for nothing. We had the idea of trying the steps to see if that would help things to start moving again. I did the steps twice and then went into the restroom and sat on the toilet for a while as well and things started to pick up again! It was a feeling of “YEAH! Things are moving!” and “Oh, No, not labor again, I’m not sure I’m ready for this!”


Tonchi and Koa (older children) woke up at about 5:30 so we called our friend Judy Trostle to come and get them. They both wanted to keep checking on me to make sure things were ok. By then I was in the pool and not once did they ask to get in with me. I didn’t mind having them there and was able to give them hugs and kisses and chat with them between contractions.


Judy arrived around 6:30 to pick them up. Koa was not very happy about leaving and made his voice known, but Judy didn’t seem to mind. Later on she said he cried a lot on the way home, but was fine during the day and had a great time playing with Tonchi.

By 6:40 labor was really intense and I thought I should be almost done, so I asked Peggy to check me again. She said baby was -1 station and I was 8 cm dilated. I was a little disappointed. I was hoping to be 9 or 10 cm and baby close to being out! However… 15 minutes later at 6:55 Aisling Michelle was born! It was a SUPER intense 15 minutes. I could actually feel her head moving through my pelvis and it WAS NOT comfortable! As she started to crown I started to push just because I could tell she was right there, but I didn’t have any overwhelming urge to push!

I was SO thankful to be done and SO glad she was here! Brian was REALLY surprised that it was a girl! He had to double check just to make sure! I didn’t tear at all and the bleeding wasn’t too heavy either. She was born in the birthing pool underwater and I also delivered the placenta in the pool as well. Afterwards Brian and I took a shower and I think that is the best shower I’ve ever taken in my life! The warm water felt great!


After the midwives left I slept for about an hour and then Mom came out to see her before she had to start teaching her classes. Brian and I then had the afternoon to rest and relax and I think Aisling and I slept for about 4 hours! Later that evening we had A LOT more family to visit and see the baby! Mrs. Trostle also brought the boys back in the late afternoon and they were SO excited about their new baby sister!

This was another amazing birth! Just the way I had hoped and with close friends and family there! It was an amazing night. All who attended were each needed in their own special way and I’m so blessed they sacrificed precious sleep to be there to support us! And again, Brian was just what I needed when I needed it most. I love the way each birth has drawn us together and created a stronger bond between us. It’s so good to know he is there when i need him!


We praise God for a safe and healthy baby and for the first girl baby in the family! My mom has 5 grandsons and now a granddaughter! What a treat! She is going to be tough, but I’m guessing she will be the princess as well!

Aisling's mama, Bethanie, has a wonderful blog, Green and Grateful, where she writes about her days spent as a mama to her four beautiful children, frugal living, delicious food and homeschooling. Stop by and say 'hi!'

If you are interested in sharing your Birth Story here on the Radiant Birth blog, feel free to Contact Me.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Daschel's Story

Have you missed the Birth Stories as much as I have?!

Daschel's Story
by Pamela

Sunday wasn't anything particularly crazy, just a normal day. After dinner we were in the living room and at 7:06pm I had my very first "real" contraction. It was enough that I turned to Thad and said, "ow, what the hell was that, it really hurt." We kinda took note of the time but went on with our evening, giving Julian a bath and putting him down for bed. In the 7 o'clock hour I had about 3 contractions, and in the 8 o'clock hour I had about 4. By 9 o'clock I was like, ok, these really hurt and are coming every 10 or so minutes now...should we call someone?! I spoke to a friend to get her opinion since her birth story was still fresh in my mind (she had a planned home birth but it turned into an unplanned unassisted birth since her baby came so quick and the midwives didn't get there in time) and where I didn't want to call the midwife too soon, I also didn't want to wait too long. After I got off the phone with her, we called our doula (Mary Beth) and our midwife (Marilee) and she said she wanted to come over to "check things out." I was really nervous about her coming over because I didn't want her to come and this just be a false labor. We sent Scout (our dog) to my mom's since he was whining at me and I had to work through the contractions enough that his whining was pissing me off royally. So off he went.

The midwives showed up at about 10 pm and my contractions at this point were every 5 minutes, lasting about 60 seconds long. They hunkered down on the couch and took my vitals, listened to baby, and we spent the next hour seeing how things were progressing. We called Mary Beth, too, and she decided to come over as well. I didn't truly believe I was in labor and it wasn't until we lit the birth candle and I finally posted on FB for my friends to light their candles that I thought 'this was it.'

The next couple hours are a bit hazy to me as far as the timing goes, but essentially my contractions went from 5 minutes apart to 4 minutes apart over the next hour and then finally down to 3 minutes apart. We labored in the living room and they had set up the birth supplies in the bedroom, but as the night continued more and more supplies were appearing in the living room. Soon I was stripping down my clothes and chux pads were appearing under me everywhere I moved in case my water broke. I labored most of the time on my hands and knees or standing on the stairs (having my legs at different levels really helped) but as my contractions got to 2-3 minutes apart, I felt like I needed a change. I knew he was coming down but I couldn't figure out a better position to be in, so my midwife recommended that I lean back on Thad. Once I got in the sit position leaning back, the baby dropped incredibly low and I had a feeling I could start pushing. I was really, really worried to push since I didn't know how dilated I was and Marilee doesn't check unless I ask. I figured that we still had hours of labor ahead of us so it would be premature to push. Well the position we were in in the living room was so uncomfortable that I couldn't square up my hips. My hips kept on tilting one way or the other thus the baby did too....so Marilee asked if I wanted to move upstairs on the bed to be more comfortable. We started a mad dash in between contractions up the stairs. Thad was bracing me for each contraction, Mary Beth was following me with a chux pad in case my water broke, Valerie (the midwife assistant) started shuttling birth supplies back up to the bedroom, and Marilee was talking me through each contraction. I distinctly remember someone saying to me, "when this one ends you have to move, Pamela, to make it up the stairs before the next one." I don't think I walked so fast in my life, especially with a bowling ball literally between my legs.

We got into the bedroom, I laid on the bed, and I decided to have Marilee check me for dilation. Shoot, if I had hours more of this pain I had to be able to deal with my energy level, right? She checked me and very calmly said, "you are complete and the baby's head
is right there." With that we began pushing around 3am. She said she could feel my bag of waters right in front of his head and I remember asking her if she needed extra clothes in case my water broke all over her. Next contraction, I beared down and my water literally popped everywhere- it sounded like a water balloon! At that his head really came down and we pushed through a few more contractions when the stretching was really kind of freaking me out Thad was being a great cheerleader, "with every push we see hair," "his head is right there!" I love him but gee, I know where his head was! There was a point where Marilee told me that she'd ask me to stop pushing so she could guide his head out slowly and when that moment hit, boy was that mean! Sure enough, though, down and out he came (cool note, my sacrum was so loosey-goosey that they said they could see it moving to let him out...props to chiropractic care during pregnancy) and at 3:33am our little boy was born. Daschel weighed in at 6 lbs 11 oz (2 lbs smaller than his big brother) and 20 1/2 inches long.

She placed him right on my chest and he was COVERED in vernix, a sign that he was early. Marilee said his gestational age was about 38 weeks which is just fine since this little dude is perfect. The placenta took over an hour to come out (it was posterior so I ended up
having to sit on the birthing stool to get it out) and then I took a shower, got some stitches (which is why I was in bed for a few days to let them heal), and the newborn exam. Julian (older child) woke up just in time to see the newborn exam and check out the placenta (which is SO cool!). I'm still surprised he slept through all the ruckus.

By 6:30am everyone was headed home and Thad, baby, and I hunkered down in bed for a nice nap. Here we are, 9 days later and I am still on cloud 9 from our birth experience, and little Dash is napping on daddy's chest. My milk came in on day 2 and nursing (so far) has been a total breeze. Also, side note, all that eating well did me good...not only was Dash a great size, but I am only 2 lbs away from my pre-pregnancy weight. Granted, my belly needs some, um, toning, but damn, life is good.

Here is a photo right after he was born:

If you are interested in sharing your Birth Story here on the Radiant Birth blog, feel free to 

Monday, September 29, 2014

Some Good Advice

When I was pregnant with my first child, I was interviewing Doulas to assist with the birth. After a while, some of the interviews started to blend together but two really stuck out; one was with the Doula I ultimately hired, and the other with a seasoned local Doula who gave some wonderful advice.

Babywearing one of my twins for the first time.

"Don't worry about your home" she said. "Don't worry about entertaining visitors, about getting dressed, about running errands or getting anything accomplished. Really just focus on nursing your new baby, resting and making sure you eat and drink enough."

I nodded and smiled; it seemed like good advice, but I'd be fine. I would.

Of course after the birth of my first child, I didn't rest enough, or take care of myself very well. My babymoon was spent slotting nursing in around my to do list.

I didn't follow that great advice.

My second pregnancy gave me twins, and again although it seemed like good advice, I was way too busy to follow it. Granted having newborn twins and a busy preschooler made it a little more challenging, but I bounced back from an unexpected c-section by going to parties, heading back to work with a month of delivery and keeping my home in order.

And yet again I didn't follow that great advice! And goodness, I wish I had.

Those early days and weeks are so very short. The time to spend snuggled up with our babies, breathing in their baby goodness, those days when all it seems we 'accomplish' is sitting on the sofa nursing. Those days are so precious.

Don't worry about your home, entertaining visitors, getting dressed, running errands or getting anything accomplished.

Sit. Snuggle. Enjoy. Recover. Bond.

That is my advice to you.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Fall Schedule

Just a quick note really!

When I'm taking bookings for my Post-Partum work, I take care not to over-schedule myself, or take too many clients on at a time; I want to make sure that I am fully available for each family who needs my Post-Partum services.

I am still taking bookings for clients for the Fall ... feel free to contact me here or here if you are interested.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Koa's Story

We featured a Birth Story from Bethanie of Green and Grateful a couple of weeks ago; here is the story of her second child!

Koa's Story
by Bethanie

All through the pregnancy the due date was February 24, but as the day approached and passed I didn’t feel at all like it was time for him to be born. I didn’t feel uncomfortable at all, no swelling in my hands or feet, I could still sleep through the night without having to get up to use the restroom, I hadn’t been having Braxton Hicks, I was measuring small, I hadn’t lost my mucus plug, and so much more. As I thought about all of this, I remembered that my cycles were 6 weeks long instead of the usual 4 weeks. I mentioned this to my midwives, Tierney and Peggy, and they agreed that the date had probably been miscalculated. The date was changed to March 10!

My last prenatal appointment was on March 5 in the late morning. While I was there I mentioned the fact that my feet had started to swell a little and I couldn’t wear my wedding rings any more. I also noticed that I had lost my mucus plug. We were all in agreement that Koa’s arrival was certainly getting closer. They asked if I wanted to try a few things to get labor started and I agreed. Tierney stripped my membranes (it was a little uncomfortable, but didn’t hurt) and then I purchased some Cotton Root and Labor E. Brian was there with me and on the way home we purchased some castor oil and Rosemary essential oil. After we ate lunch I waited 2 hours before starting the regime! First I was to take the Cotton Root under my tongue and then 15 minutes later take the Labor E. I was to alternate each every 15 minutes for the next 2-4 hours. I also used the breast pump for 30 minutes each hour, and also rubbed castor oil with the Rosemary essential oil on my belly each hour as well. As I was doing all this I was having contraction ranging anywhere from 2-5 minutes apart, but they didn’t hurt very much and weren’t at all regular or consistent.

I continued and pressed on thinking it would work, but after 4 hours and soreness under my tongue from the burning of the herbal supplements, I was ready for a break. It was about 8 pm and I was tired… Brian and I watched a movie, put Tonchi (read Tonchi's Birth Story here!) in bed and got ready to go to bed. I had been talking with Tierney and Peggy about it all. After stopping the supplements the contractions stopped completely. I slept through the whole night and didn’t have any more contractions.


On March 6th I awoke feeling great… unfortunately! I was ready to have that baby! Contractions started up again on their own at about 9am. It still wasn’t consistent and they only felt like cramps, not contractions. Brian was home all day so we all went for a walk in the afternoon. Tonchi had a great time at the playground! I was hoping the walk would help to speed up the contractions, but in fact, we were gone for 1 hour and I had a grand total of 3 contractions. Obviously things weren’t working on my time frame!

Mom had a program at church at 7pm, so she stopped by at about 6 to say hi and see Tonchi. We were eating dinner when they stopped. At this point my contractions were about 5 minutes apart, but still not at all painful. More like Braxton hicks with cramping. She left, and I asked her to call when she was leaving church to see how things were going. If it looked like things were changing then I was going to have her come back and pick up Tonchi for the night.

Tonchi, Brian and I laid on the bed upstairs and did some reading, worked on the computer and just laid around. At about 8:30 things started to pick up and I could tell this was it. Mom called around 9pm and came back and picked up Tonchi. These contractions did hurt! And they were about 4-5 minutes apart. Brian called Tierney and Peggy and asked them to come on over! Things were finally starting to move along!

Tierney and Peggy arrived a little after 10pm and I was still able to converse before and after contractions. Brittany also arrived at about the same time. Brian was working on filling the birthing tub with warm water, but it never really did happen! He did get it filled, but it was only lukewarm, and not really as relaxing as it had been with Tonchi.

At just before 11 I was ready to get in the pool, but Tierney and Peggy wanted to check me and check the baby before I got in. I was 5 cm! YEAH! Things really were moving! I got in the pool at about 11pm. By 11:40 I was hitting transition! Tierney checked me again and said I was 9.5cm and if I wanted to have the baby out of the water and in my bed I had better head upstairs.

I tried to labor on the floor leaning against the bed (I wanted to keep the mess out of the bed!) but I just couldn’t get comfortable and nothing seemed to work. Peggy had a hard time finding Koa’s heart rate and said I needed to try a different position. I got up on the bed and laid back on some pillows. After two contractions I wanted to start pushing. After the next two contractions Koa was born! At 11:59pm!


As his head came out Tierney said the cord was around his neck and it was too tight to remove. She asked me to give one last good push to get the rest of him out quickly. I did and the rest of him was born along with about a gallon of water! My water broke while I was in the pool, but there was still a lot of water above Koa before he was born. I felt terrible that Tierney’s leg got soaked!
It was an incredible birth! I’m so glad it was faster than Tonchi’s, but I feel like it was so much more intense. I remember Tonchi’s labor being hard, but this seemed a lot more painful.


Brittany left around 2:10 and Peggy and Tierney left around 2:30. It felt so good to get in bed and go to sleep. What a great reward after half a nights work! I really did feel good. I didn’t have any tear or swelling which made recovery that much faster.

Brian again was the perfect coach. I’m so glad he was there by my side during the whole thing. I really don’t think I could do it without him. He is so good at encouraging me and helping me look towards the end instead of only seeing the here and now. God has truly blessed me with a wonderful man and two wonderful sons!

Koa's mama, Bethanie, has a wonderful blog, Green and Grateful, where she writes about her days spent as a mama to her four beautiful children, frugal living, delicious food and homeschooling. Stop by and say 'hi!'

If you are interested in sharing your Birth Story here on the Radiant Birth blog, feel free to Contact Me.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Birth Plan for Twins or More

I'm taking a break from Birth Circles today, to talk Birth Plans.

If you have an idea of what you would like your birthing experience to look like, it is a good idea to get those ideas down on paper. Just the process of writing out your Birth Plan, can really help you and your partner become clearer on what is really important for you, and what it is realistic to ask for.

If you know that there are factors outside your control then you are able to plan accordingly. For example, if you know that the hospital you plan to deliver at, allows you to labor but not deliver in a tub, then asking to deliver in a pool or tub is unnecessary!

Also, keep your audience in mind! If you are delivering at a Birth Center or at home, you can get quite specific about the things you request; dim lights, particular music, minimal vaginal checks etc. If you are delivering in a hospital then it may be better to focus your Birth Plan on the things that are REALLY important to you. Is it more important to focus on whether music played or being able to choose your own birth position, wearing your own clothing during labor or nursing as soon as possible after delivery? Focus on what is top of your list!

And once that Birth Plan is written share with everyone who will be involved with your birth, and  talk with them about what is on your plan.

And finally, if there comes a point in your labor and delivery where you need to deviate from your plan, know that it is okay too. 

I wrote two Birth Plans for my own situations, my first was for a single natural labor and delivery, and the second was for the delivery of my twins. Today I'm featuring my own Birth Plan for my twin delivery. Please feel free to use this as a basis for your own plan.
(Please know that this Birth Plan was written based on my husband and I's references; yours may look really different ... please change it as you need!)

Name of Parents:
Birth Center or Hospital:
Approximate Due Date:

We would like to thank you in advance for being an important part of this special time in our lives.  Please consider our wishes regarding the birth of our twins.  Our goal is to have an un-medicated labor and delivery.

We ask that the practitioner discuss with us any procedures or medications prior to administration and that we be allowed the chance to question such procedures before giving informed consent.

We will be flexible and willing to discuss all of the points below in case of complications.

We realize that this list is extensive, but please view it positively.  We trust in the care that you can offer which is why we have chosen your hospital.  We look forward to this experience and this partnership with the very special people on your staff.  Thank you!

Labor Experience

- Husband not separated from me at any stage of labor or delivery

- Doula(s) should stay with me for the labor process

- Infrequent vaginal exams

- Able to drink clear liquids (including apple juice and Gatorade type beverages) and take honey during labor

- Labor should not be augmented, including artificial rupturing of membranes, as long as both babies and I are fine,

- Natural methods of augmentation or induction only, unless critical

- Intermittent monitoring only, for as long possible

- Do not offer pain medications.  I will ask for it if I need it.

- Please explain all procedures, risks and benefits prior to use


- Allow choice of birth position, and change of positions if desired, along with access to a squat bar during delivery

- Spontaneous pushing, with no time limits for either baby

- Deliver over an intact perineum, with a pressure episiotomy only if medically necessary

- My husband should catch both babies, with me helping if possible

- Allow the Baby B to be delivered spontaneously, with no time limits between the deliveries of Baby A and Baby B

- To try turning techniques, if needed, before birth of second baby

- If a Caesarean Section becomes necessary I’d like to be conscious and be able to touch the babies; please leave my hands free.  Please explain the surgery to me as it happens.  Please perform the surgery in a manner that I could successfully have a VBAC with subsequent deliveries.

After Delivery

- My husband would like to cut the umbilical cords of both babies

- Wait until the umbilical cords have stopped pulsating before cutting

- To deliver the placenta spontaneously and unassisted

- Hold the babies immediately after delivery – please place each baby directly on my abdomen after delivery

- Allow us to bond for at least 30 minutes with each baby

- I would like to nurse each baby as soon as possible.

- Both babies’ medical exams should be performed in my or my husband’s presence

First Hours

- Husband to accompany the babies into the nursery, during any necessary procedures

- Please do not wash the babies, my husband or I will give them their first baths

- Exclusively breastfeed both babies; please do not offer any formula, sugar water or pacifiers

- Babies to room in with us

- If either baby is a boy, we do not want him circumcised

- Stay in the hospital should be as short as possible, barring complications, as I feel I will be able to rest better at home.

- If either baby is not well, my husband or I will accompany the baby(s) to the NICU or another facility.  I would also like to breastfeed, or provide expressed breast milk for and hold baby when possible.

Did you write a Birth Plan for your labor and delivery? 
What were your top requests?
Feel free to let me know in the comments; I'd love to hear from you!