Homebirth & Motherhood

5 Things Homebirthing Is NOT

Being pregnant with my fifth child and with the same plans of having an unassisted pregnancy and birth, I couldn’t resist writing this post. It comes from the depths of my soul and the heart of many moms who choose this route (or one similar).

It may seem comical as you read through the points I share, but there is also a level of appreciation for those on this journey. Enjoy!

Homebirthing IS NOT Abuse

This is something that I seriously cannot believe people actually consider saying about mothers who choose to have their children at home. On one hand the home is supposed to be seen as a safe haven, a place of refuge, and a place of utmost comfort for children.

However, when embracing that home as a reliable place to bring a child into the world, all of a sudden it is seen as abuse. In all of my homebirthing experiences I can confidently say that none of my children have been abused in the process.

Homebirthing IS NOT Neglect

It’s quite the opposite actually. I don’t want to talk about the cases of neglect that have happened in those places that are considered “more safe for childbirth”. Having a child in the comfort of your own home is far from neglect.

In every experience I’ve had (and from stories of other homebirthing mamas), the child has always been welcomed into a loving, joyful, and beautiful environment. The baby is typically greeted by excited siblings, and shortly after by extended family. That doesn’t sound like neglect to me!

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Homebirthing IS NOT Prideful

Although there are different philosophies, methods, and styles floating around the natural birthing community – and one may try to elevate itself as being better than another – overall, homebirthing is not prideful.

I’ve seen the experiences of homebirthers be made to seem like pride – “Oh, you think you’re better than me because you birthed at home?” That mindset does exist, but we have to be careful to not let others project their insecurities on us, and vice versa. The confidence of a mother who chooses to birth at home should never be made to seem like she is exalting herself.

Homebirthing IS NOT a New Trend

It excites me so much to be able to say that I come from a line of homebirthing women. My mother had my brother and my sister at home. I was the only unfortunate one who was born in a hospital… and yes, her experience was one that was not pleasant. When they wanted to strap her to the bed for labor, she resisted and demanded that she be able to walk out her labor.

When they wanted to pump her with drugs and medicine, she opted out and “took the pain.” Needless to say, she expressed that she’d never do it like that again… especially after having two homebirths (even with one resulting in a doctor having to walk in 2 feet of snow to “save” my sister)!

Having children at home (shucks, even in the wild) is not a new thing. Scripture even speaks of having midwives, nurses, and maidens. What has made this seem like a trend, or a new movement, is the rise in modern medicine convincing people that without a hospital, nothing health and wellness wise can be accomplished.

Homebirthing IS NOT a Force to be Reckoned With

I’m ending with this one because it’s both true and powerful and encompasses all the previous points made. Some women will never understand why others choose to birth at home. They may forever think we’re crazy. The truth of the matter is regardless of what others think, homebirthing is truly a force that cannot be reckoned with.

The way our bodies have been created to conceive, create/grow, and birth another human being goes far beyond what any science can prove. We have what is observable and repeatable, and all throughout history we can see that having children naturally (and at home) has withstood the test of time.

If you’re a homebirthing mama, you are awesome, amazing, and wonderful. If you’re not a homebirthing mama, you are awesome, amazing, and wonderful! Regardless of how you choose to bring your child into this world, the fact that you are a mother – YOU ROCK!!!

CHIME IN: Share your experiences in the comments below! I’m excited to hear from you!


Psst… Looking for support for your homebirthing journey? Feel free to reach out to me. I’m only an email/message away!

Home Education, Homebirth & Motherhood

What to Expect When You’re Expecting & Homeschooling

Not too long ago we found out we were expecting baby blessing number five. I can’t say that I didn’t see it coming because my husband had been talking about wanting more children. I also lifted my “heck no” ban and told God to have His way with our family, surrendering my will.

We also recently entered into our 6th year of homeschooling, having slowly merged into a year-round style mixed with a relaxed, eclectic approach. A new baby was not part of the plan. Perhaps you are an expecting mother who homeschools as well. Maybe you have no idea how this is going to work.

Allow me to ease some of your stress, concern, and worries by sharing 5 things to expect when you’re expecting and homeschooling, and how to handle them. Yes, some of it will be humorous… but that’s the point. 😉

Panic Mode!

This mode happens to most of us, especially if you’re expecting baby number two, or three. After four (or more) the attitude is usually, “Oh, what’s one more?” followed by the thought of how much crazier can our circus get, LOL.

Either way, it’s common to slip into panic mode for a bit until reality sinks in and you realize that you can do this. You’ve been blessed with this gift, and the Giver is just as merciful to see you through. You’re homeschooling the others, so this one will naturally fit right in.

Instead of panicking, or at least staying in panic mode more than you need to, begin counting your blessings. Choose praise over panic, and take control of your thoughts in the process by choosing joy in the journey.

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Throw Your Current Plans Out the Window!

Okay, maybe not all your plans – but, what I strongly suggest is to give yourself some cushion (especially if you can be a little OCD). However, cushion, in my opinion, doesn’t mean to let everything go.

In my personal experience, cushion may look like less busy work and more field trips. Or, more read-alouds and documentaries.

Instead of thinking that your plans have to drastically change, consider naturally adding the journey of expecting a new baby into your homeschooling journey. Not to mention, the kiddos will get to see you physically growing, and at some point they will be able to feel baby move. Invite them to workout with you, and get them in on eating and preparing healthier meals.

One Million Questions

Yep. If you have little ones, expect a million questions. I am asked no less than ten times a day, “Mama? Do you have a baby growing in your belly?” And my response is always the same until I can show them how much baby has changed, which thankfully is on a weekly basis.

This kind of goes back to my last suggestion of including the pregnancy journey in with homeschooling. I want my children to be a part of this pregnancy journey just as much as they want to be.

So, instead of getting exhausted about the million-question-askers, jot down their questions and work them into your homeschool schedule. If you’re a morning basket mama, include age-appropriate books that talk about having a new sibling or even the growth process of baby. If you choose traditional medical care, see if your children can go to your appointments with you.

There are many, many ways to use your kiddo’s questions as fuel for lessons that you know they’ll be interested in because they keep asking! Use their curiosity for your benefit, and theirs.

Where am I in All of This?

You know what I’m talking about? Those recurring thoughts of keeping up with homeschooling, cooking, cleaning, making sure everything is in order – on top of dealing with what comes naturally when you’re growing another tiny human inside you.

It can become really easy to forget about you, what you need, your alone time, and so on. If your life is anything like mine, you’ll get the occasional question of, “How are you feeling?” and then attention quickly shifts to the other kiddos and what they think, how they feel, etc.

Instead of feeling like you’re even more invisible (besides the growing belly, LOL), find time to journal and just focus on you and baby. Journal Scriptures, affirmations, and even prayers. This goes back to the praise over panic suggestion. When your focus is on the blessings of this journey, you’ll start to see yourself as the superwoman you really are!

CHECK OUT MY PREGNANCY-TRACKING JOURNAL HERE!

Mom Guilt Overload

I edited this post to add this because a dear follower of ours reminded me of the realities of mom guilt. Whatever you choose to do because of expecting a new bundle of joy, never allow yourself to wallow in the mom guilt of not measuring up, not doing enough, or wishing you could do more.

The pregnancy journey is a unique one, no matter how many children you have. Each pregnancy is different. Each birth, and each child. This is true for your homeschooling journey as well. What it looks like this year may be totally different this time next year.

Whatever you do, DO NOT GIVE IN TO THE MOM GUILT! Instead, do what you can do when you can do it and leave the rest alone. Don’t feel bad for hiring a babysitter to get time alone. Don’t feel bad about planning extra play dates just to get adult interaction. And don’t feel bad if homeschooling takes a total back seat.

In the End

When it comes down to it mama, you are awesome, and you are blessed. Choose to be intentional in everything you do… from being a wife, a homeschooling mom, and whatever other hats you wear. Choose to love and embrace this journey you’re on. It’s yours.

CHIME IN: What are some funny tips you’d like to share about expecting and homeschooling? Let me know in the comments below!

Homebirth & Motherhood, Spiritual

The Birth Story of Mordekai

The journey started early Spring with a faint-positive pregnancy test, and yet another surprise from Abba. My husband and I had mutually agreed that we would not prevent conception, although we are not planning either. It’s funny to see people’s faces when they ask how many children we plan on having, and we respond with however many God blesses us with! 🙂

From the conception of our daughter five years ago, our research to all-natural births started. This took us down the path to everything from homebirths and midwives to natural remedies and doulas (and everything in between). We are forever grateful for this journey because with each pregnancy, labor, and birth – it gets better and better! Not to mention, our faith grows stronger and stronger!

Most people think we are crazy. Others think we are being irresponsible. And there are those who actually express their deep desire in wanting to experience a natural childbirth, but couldn’t for whatever reason. Regardless of what others think, we know that our choice to do homebirths is for us. Our choice to have an educated, unassisted pregnancy and homebirth is for us.

Yes, you read that right… an educated, unassisted pregnancy and homebirth. It is not for everyone. Without going down the path of stating the obvious, there are many reasons why some women have to utilize modern medicine care (regardless of the reason), and that’s okay. You will not read any mom-shaming here. Quite frankly, this isn’t about anyone else but our family, and our choice to birth how we see fit.

Okay…. at this point you are probably wondering, “so how did the birth of Mordekai go?” It went like this….

Braxton Hick’s contractions were my best friend since the second trimester. They were nothing new and I knew they were prepping my body for the grand finale. As weeks went on, my body definitely showed it’s age (thirty-something LOL), but I attempted to embrace that as well. I must admit that I didn’t workout near as much as past pregnancies, and I actually enjoyed my late night cookies and milk snacks.

As the due date of December 4th approached, I grew more and more anxious at the thought of my bundle arriving “early, as expected, or late”. You see, my first born was a planned induction (I will NEVER do that again) at 38 weeks…. our daughter was a successful homebirth at 40+2 and actually ended in a transport that resulted in a DNC to get the rest of the placenta out that caused PPH (too much midwife intervention)…. and our second son was a successful and perfect unassisted homebirth at 39 weeks (the midwife didn’t make it to the birth in time)….

Thirty-nine weeks came and went. Then forty weeks came. It was 7ish in the morning on  Monday, December 4th when I started having contractions that seemed to stick around. Not like the prodromal labor I experienced last pregnancy, but more like the progressing “real thing” that I experienced with our daughter. One after the other, I was convinced that this would be the day that we would finally meet our baby.

I attempted to go about the day as normal but finally told my husband that I needed to be able to just labor. Instantly, he kicks into super Dad mode and takes over the kiddos. They were surprisingly AMAZING at watching me labor (as I needed Daddy to squeeze me hips with each contraction as they grew stronger). They took turns rubbing my back and talking to me, although my oldest (10 year old) was a little shocked and partly upset that he couldn’t understand the pain.

As contractions progressed, it actually worked perfectly because as I approached transition, the kiddos were laying down for their naps. At this time, it’s about 11ish AM and I had been relaxing and riding the waves in a bathtub full of warm water for about 30 minutes. This helped ease the contractions some, but I looked at my husband and told him to get the pillows and towels because I was getting out. In my mind, I was determined to start riding these waves with the thought of meeting our bundle sooner rather than later. In other words… I was going to start pushing.

And I did.

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The next wave came and I totally relaxed everything and “beared down” as most would say. From there, it was the point of no return. The next wave sent me into an army crawl position (which is funny because afterward, my husband asked where I was going, LOL). Then back up on all four’s I went with another couple of waves and pushes. That’s when Dr. Dad said he could see the baby coming and “it” (at the time we didn’t know gender) appeared to still be en caul. He tried to break the bag then but couldn’t get a grip. I reached back and instantly realized how slippery, but tough the sac actually was. I got a good grip of baby’s head and pulled while pushing the baby out into Daddy’s arms. By the time his body was out, the sac tore open.

“IT’S A BOY!!!” Bryan cried out. I sat back in instant relief and started to enjoy the fact that we just had our bundle of joy. Lots of questions went through my head about his color (which was normal), his size (which was normal), his lack of instant crying (which was normal), and so on…. but Bryan reassured me that everything was okay and went to get the things we needed to finish up (umbilical cord ring, scissors, bowl, etc.).

While waiting for the umbilical cord to stop pulsing, baby and I hopped back in the bathtub to relax and start the process of nursing. At this point, I was incredibly relieved but still knew that I had to deliver the placenta… which is something we had not done by ourselves before (yet). Sure enough, by the time the cord stopped pulsing and we got the ring on his umbilical cord, it was time to push again. I delivered the placenta with grace and ease into a bowl and felt even better.

The rest of the story consists of a shower, freshening up, and basking in the fact that we just had an amazing educated, unassisted pregnancy and homebirth!

It’s amazing how our bodies know exactly what to do. They are truly designed and made to function in ways that far exceed anything that can be understood at times, and I’m thankful for trusting YHWH to guide us during such an incredible experience.

It took us a few days to finally decide on a name and get stats, but here they are:

 

CHIME IN: I hope you have enjoyed reading the birth story of Mordekai. I’d love to hear your birth story too! If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask! I’m not a doctor, and don’t claim to be; however, any credible info I have, I don’t mind passing along!

 

Special thanks to the Unassisted Pregnancy & Childbirth Facebook group, In His Hands Birth Supplies, and Herb Lore for your generous and gracious support throughout our journey!

 

Until next time, be blessed!

Homebirth & Motherhood

My Top 7 Must-Have’s for Labor & Delivery

You may have been able to deduce from previous posts that we are a homebirthing kinda family. So as we prepare for our third homebirth, I wanted to share my top seven must-have’s for labor and delivery.

Even if this labor and delivery goes just as fast as the last one (30 minutes from transition to holding baby), the items I talk about below will definitely come in handy!

Music

I love music, and I love what it has added to my last two labor and birthing experiences. I don’t necessarily make a special playlist; however, I do have a couple of apps ready with music that I listen to frequently.

Last baby, I actually went through two days of prodromal labor… so every time it kicked in, I kicked on the music and allowed it to help me relax through the intense waves. Something that is pretty funny, though, is after a certain point of labor, the music has to go! LOL! But up until that point, it is definitely a relaxing and comforting aid for me.

A Warm Bath

It’s so funny how you can plan things out, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that it will happen exactly how you plan it. Case in point…. last baby, hubby started to run the bath water, only to deter to get ready to catch the baby!

I didn’t actually get in the tub until after the birth, but it was nice to have it there waiting for me and baby! Not sure how it will happen this time, but best believe there will be a warm bath involved!

Essential Oils

My go-to essential oils are lavender, geranium, and frankincense. There are lots of others that some mothers choose to incorporate; however, these three are good enough for me. Again, it doesn’t mean that I’ll be able to use them like I want to but to have them on hand is awesome.

I use lavender to support a calming atmosphere. Geranium is used on my abdomen to support a nice transition from birthing baby to birthing the afterbirth. Frankincense is used to “anoint” baby.

If you are interested to learn about the essential oil brand we use here. Psst… save $10 on your first order (you’re welcome)!

Towels

For my first homebirth, three years ago, our  midwife gave us a list of things to have prepared for her. On that list was no less than 10 towels. I laugh about that now because two births later and we have still yet to use even more than two.

Last birth we only used one… the one my husband wrapped in the baby in after he delivered him. Towels aren’t too far out of reach, but once the action starts, I’ll definitely have at least one in arms reach.

Cord Clamp/Tie

Cord clamps are a must for us when cutting the umbilical cord. We like to leave the cord unclamped until it has turned white and stopped pulsating. This lets us know that our baby has received all the blood and nutrients the placenta had to give.

I am strongly considering going the homemade tie(s) route as many of my homebirth mama friends have said not only is it sentimental to make for baby, but it is also less likely to snag on diapers, be bulky, and cause infection issues.

Maternity Pads

These are a must for sure! Yes, they are bulky. Yes, they remind me of boats. Never the less, they are needed for several days (sometimes even weeks). I am opting in for a couple boxes of Natracare because they have organic cotton cover, are perfume and plastic free, biodegradable, and made of natural materials.

Stretch Briefs

These are LIFE! At first, I didn’t know that these were washable and reusable! This time, I know better and will hang on to these awesome briefs! Basically, these are mesh panties made from nylon material. I’ll have at least 3-5 pair of these on hand.

Where to Find These Must-Have’s

There are several places you can find these items; however, I like to do all my shopping in one place. In His Hands Birth Supply is where I conveniently shop online for everything I mentioned above (except for items I have on hand at home). Ordering these items at least 4-6 weeks out will guarantee that you’ll receive them before the birth of baby!

This about sums up my “in-arms-reach” list of items I like to have on hand for my labors and deliveries. Keep in mind that there is preparing for baby to arrive (click here for that post), and there will be postpartum things to do as well.

CHIME IN: What are some of your must-have items for labor and delivery? Where do you purchase them? And, how do you prepare for your labor and delivery?

New to homebirthing?

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Homebirth & Motherhood

Getting Ready for Baby the Frugal Way

If you’re a first-time Mom, frugal probably isn’t part of your new baby vocabulary, but if you plan on adding to your tribe over the years to come… I’m willing to bank on frugal becoming part of your verbiage.

I’m preparing for baby number four (due early December) and I can tell you that no matter how much money we have, I’m not worried about new baby having everything totally brand spankin’ new.

This doesn’t mean that our baby won’t have new things… it’s just that there are a few things that we can save lots of money on.

With each new kiddo, there is definitely some type of preparation that takes place and I want to share how we are preparing the frugal way!

Before getting to my frugal list, I would like to list a few things that will be brand new (and a given why):

  • diapers and wipes (I snag the best deal at Aldi and they just so happen to be manufactured by Huggies)
  • breast milk storage bags (while I have an old stash washed and ready-to-go, I’ll still purchase a fresh box), bought in bulk HERE
  • breast pads (to catch those leaky boobs between feedings), these organic reusable ones are amazing (and come with a washing bag.

Now for my frugal list:

  • clothing – Since we’ve had one of each gender, we have a nice little stash built up. I admit that I will need a few more wintery type of clothing, but with the hundreds of Facebook yard sale groups and places like Once Upon a Child, I’m sure to snag a great deal!
  • baby tub – Even if you’re not sure about having more children, this is one of those worth holding on to for awhile. They are easy to store away and one less expense to worry about if/when a new bun starts in the oven. Consider investing in a newborn to toddler tub!
  • crib – I was blessed to be given a super awesome crib that has housed all of our kiddos so far. When it was time to transition, we found super inexpensive toddler bed. For our latest little boy, we were gifted a transition crib. This will take care of his toddler bed and full size bed!
  • bottles – NEVER throw away bottles. Invest in some good ones in the beginning and you won’t have to worry about doing anything except changing the nipple size/flow. There are hundreds of different ones to pick from but I am particularly drawn to the Playtex brand.
  • toys – This is another area where I spend practically no money. For some reason, the older kiddos get a kick out of playing with the young’ns toys. Because of this, I have held on to a nice stash of toys that baby can enjoy once he or she is old enough. Not to mention, the first few weeks/months are spent eating, sleeping, and pooping – right? Psst… bundles and sets are the way to go!
  • hygiene – Picking a good baby body wash and lotion is a pretty big deal. We use Young Living’s Kidscents products on our children which will be super safe for baby, so need to purchase anything extra in that area as well.
  • bedding, blankets, etc. – Unless you just want to get new bedding and blankets for new baby, there’s really no need. We always manage to get a new blanket or two for each new baby but it’s not something that we have gone out of our way to purchase. Bedding and blankets can be reused over and over…. except for the sentimental blankets. My son has a blanket that he will NOT share (LOL)! Consider shopping Amazon if you’re a new Mom!
  • car seats and strollers – We’ve been blessed to be given these as gifts; however, this is one of those things that if you invest smart in the beginning, you’ll save yourself moola in the long run. Consider purchasing a car seat and stroller that grows with your baby. That way you are not having to buy two to three car seats/booster seats over the course of the first few years! Here’s a great convertible car seat!
  • pack-n-play – KEEP this for at least the first few years. You’ll be surprised at how handy these folding contraptions come in handy. We usually use the top parts for baby the first few weeks, but before you know it, he or she will be using the bottom part. They are amazing to have on trips too! Here’s a great one uner $50!

Online places that you can shop for cheap, discounted, and clearanced baby stuff:

That pretty much wraps up my frugal list. Anything else beyond this point may be purchased but I will always check with new-to-me resources first. The sales and deals you can find online and/or in your community can be amazing and pocketbook saving!

Again, if it’s your first baby, it’s totally understandable why everything will be in-the-package new… but trust me when I say that as you have more children, you’ll begin to see that purchasing every single thing brand spankin’ new won’t be necessary!

CHIME IN: What are some frugal tips and tricks you have for getting ready for baby? What are some places you like to shop to find the best deals? I’d love to hear from you, so leave your response in the comments below!

Psst… New to Homebirthing?

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