Saturday, January 18, 2014

Our Sixth Birth - Evangeline Daisy Part 1: The Pink Sweater Set STRIKE!

The PSS Strike Begins!
Oh my goodness.  I thought she would never come.  I thought maybe my body forgot what to do this time.  She was taking --s-o- -l-o-n-g--!!  I assumed she would be born early.  Last 2 babies were 2 days before their EDDs. This was my sixth birth.  Surely that meant I'd have her between 39 and 40 weeks!

My sweet Mama with Ana

39 weeks came and went.

40 weeks came and went.

My best birthie friend made a special trip to see me.  She encouraged me, made me take a hot shower, massaged my feet and calves (OUCH!!).  That's what would make her come, right?!

Grama and Silas were buddies. They are discussing
their chocolate milk he

My mom and "Grama" (97.5 years old at the time and came very close to passing away just a couple weeks before) traveled down from Michigan to be here for me.  Surely that's all I needed.  She'll come now!


Matt starts school on Monday!  Surely she'll be born by then!


Still great with child, I sent Matt off to school on Monday morning.

41 weeks came and went. It was then when my Grama began her Pink Sweater Set Strike.  She decided that she would wear her pink sweater set to let the baby know it was okay to come now.  She refused to wear anything else.  My mom had to wash it at night and have it ready for her in the morning on Wednesday. . .

and Thursday. . .

and Friday. . .

and Saturday.
 I got to go the The Renaissance Festival that Saturday.  That was an unexpected surprise.  My mom and my pink-sweater-set-wearing Grama sent us off to the faire. I got to hang out with my gypsies, and I got the most gorgeous henna you'll ever see from my friend and favorite gypsy of all: Raven (Fox Moon Henna).

I just needed some belly henna therapy.  I'll have her tomorrow, right???


While Mom and Grama (you guessed it, in her pink sweater set) stayed home; Matt, the kids, and I went to church 2 days before I would hit 42 weeks.  I had accepted the fact that I would be pregnant F.O.R.E.V.E.R.

Then, the next day. . .

And my Grama's pink sweatered arms were finally filled with her little namesake, Evangeline Daisy:

(Details in next post!)

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Written 5 days before my baby was born at 42 weeks

I can't believe I haven't written since April!  So much has been on my heart, but I couldn't write about it.  What is on my heart now, I must write about because as soon as I have this baby, I will certainly forget most of it.

 I am 41 weeks and almost 2 days along with baby #6.  I am healthy.  She is healthy.  We've already named her Evangeline.  My mom is here.  My Grandma ("Grama") is here.  One of my best friends is in town, and is able to come support me for this birth.  I have a loving supportive husband.  Our older 5 children are so precious and are very eager to welcome their newest sister.  I have a great church, midwife, and my closest friend at the church is my midwife's assistant.  I have so much to be happy about.  So, why do I feel like this?

Today, I recognized it.  This feels like postpartum depression before I'm postpartum.
The weekend before Evangeline's birth, my friend
gave me this beautiful daffodil henna.

Our last 2 babies were born 2 days before their due dates.  That and the fact that this is my 6th birth made me assume this baby would be born right around or before her due date.  I won't make that mistake again!  My EDD (estimated due date) was August 13th.  Since I found out that I was pregnant, I wanted so badly to have her on my little brother's birthday (August 5th).  That day came and went.  I was disappointed.  Then, my older brother reminded me that my nephew's birthday was on the 10th.  Oh this is it!!!  I can give him a special little birthday buddy! . . . No.  That day came and went.  I was so disappointed.  Well, one of my best friends' birthday was just 5 days later on the 15th.  No birth. . . Ugh!  The biggest stress on me was that my husband was going back to nursing school on the 19th.  I just had to have her by then!  But, no.  I sent him off to class. . . still pregnant.  Everyday seems to last a week.  I get contractions.  Then, they stop.  I walk 2 or 3 times a day.  Nothing.  What is wrong with me?!  I know my body successfully got 5 babies out before.  So, surely this one will come out eventually?!

Monday, April 22, 2013

24 Weeks and No Midwife

I haven't felt like a good example for BWB lately.  It's not that I am behaving recklessly or carelessly.  It's just that I have no professional caregiver right now, and I would never recommend that to any of my followers.  It's complicated.  Matt and I are keeping track of lots of things at home: blood pressure, blood sugar, oxygen, pulse, heart sounds, respiratory, fundal height, swelling (none at all), and urinalysis.  We can't hear Evangeline's heart rate on his stethoscope yet, and plan to get a fetoscope soon. Her movements get more frequent and stronger everyday, though. I need to do better on my diet and water intake as usual.  I eat so slowly and because there are so many other things pressing on me, I don't always eat as much as I should.  I'm working on it.  My weight gain is good.  I am 24 weeks along right now.

We've been in this position before.  When I was pregnant with Malakai, we were in a huge transition that was physically and emotionally stressful.  We ended up moving from CA to NY in my 3rd trimester, and decided on a midwife after we arrived.  Then, she couldn't help us with a home birth. So, I had to fight for the birth I wanted in the hospital.  It worked.  Malakai was the first water birth in that hospital, and it was nearly unattended (I say this as a good thing)!  It is good for me to reflect on that because it reminds me of how God has taken care of us in the past, and I can trust He will take care of us again this time.  That being said, I still firmly believe that his birth would've been handled better at home.  He had a meconium issue that you can see in the video below.  
At home, we would've suctioned and if he needed breaths, we have a warm tray (for a warm flat surface) ready right there so that he wouldn't have had to leave me at all and we wouldn't have had to cut his cord.  When a baby isn't breathing, he especially needs all the oxygen from his cord blood.  However, we were in the hospital.  So, they weren't set up to handle things like that.  I can't really complain as many many things were handled the way we wanted and they didn't give me much trouble at all.  We had zero separation, he slept with me and never in the crib thing, and when they were supposed to have him in the crib while we were being transported from delivery to recovery, they supported my decision to carry Malakai skin to skin inside my gown under blankets.  It's cold in the hospital!!  All things considered, we have a lot to be thankful for with our hospital birth experience.

A homebirth midwife such as a CPM (Certified Professional Midwife) is my preference of caregiver.  I personally believe that CPMs are better trained in the natural birthing process, and how to most effectively care for complications without the restraints of hospital protocols.  The care they provide prevents most complications in the first place.  On the other hand, they are skilled to know when things are not safe to stay home and when to transport to the nearest hospital.  They are passionate about what they do, and are not motivated by money or time (There are exceptions, of course.), but rather are motivated to provide customized care to mom and baby/babies.  Of course, I would never argue that CPMs are the only ones that provide this level of care.  I just feel like I have the best chance of getting the care I want, if I choose a midwife such as a CPM.

Because of the ridiculous legal situation with CPMs in our area, I can't share any of the details you may be wondering about.  I will say that I will continue to take care of myself, improve my diet and water intake, and we will plan Evangeline's bubble wrapped birth as soon as we can.  There are some options we are considering.  I hate that I can't just be open and share all the details with you.  Please just pray for wisdom in these decisions that need to be made very soon.  Please pray that the best midwife for this birth will be available and we will be able to relax and just enjoy the next few months before Evangeline's birth.

Thank you so much for your support.  I know that there are many BWB mamas who would make very different choices than I am right now.  I completely respect that, and I hope you can do the same for me in return. 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Home Birth, Midwives, and The Law

Silas in our herb bath still attached to his placenta (in a bowl next to him)
When you birth at home (assuming you have a great midwife), the focus is what is in the best interest of you and the baby, no strings attached.  At a hospital, even if you have excellent care, there are often hospital protocols and impatient medical personnel that you must choose to appease or fight.  I've had a great hospital birth, but even so, my midwife had to deal with a bunch of junk in the hallway to fight for my desires instead of just focusing on me and the baby.  There were things that happened to Malakai that we did not want, but had to because the hospital said so:  eye goop, vitamin k, ridiculous hearing test, not going home when we wanted to, etc.  At the hospital, the baby belongs to the hospital.  At home, we can just be a family.  Having a homebirth is not about having a fun or amazing birth experience for the mom.  It is a choice we make because we believe that is where our baby can have the safest most gentle birth without being cumbered about with much hospital protocols.  Yes, complications can arise, but they don't happen as much at home.  Unnecessary interventions (often because of hospital protocols or impatient medical personnel) CAUSE complications that require more interventions.  The most common are inductions, and timing labor and delivery to the extent that they do.  There are so many more, but most women don't even know they are wrong because they've never been taught otherwise.

Malakai on the scale after his pretty amazing hospital birth.
It makes me sad that all his beautiful vernix is gone here.
He was covered with it when he was born!
Certified professional midwives in states such as Indiana, practice "underground".  They must if they are going to help women who are having homebirths.  They can be extensively trained and certified, but the state simply does not allow them to obtain a license.  This legal situation is wrong, and those who act against it do so because they believe they are doing what is right in spite of the law.  This is much like how many people would respond to an anti-gun law.  I can tell you without a doubt that there would be countless people who would refuse to bend to that law and would not allow the government to disarm them.  Another example would be if it became illegal to carry a Bible or meet as a church.  Christians would then have to make a choice to obey the law or continue to follow their beliefs in spite of it.

In the case of Carol Velasquez, the deputy prosecutor claims that the issue is with illegally administering prescription drugs.  Those are the charges against Carol.  If Carol was carrying the drugs she is accused of carrying, she is in good company.  It would be very hard to find a midwife who doesn't carry Pitocin (for example). These midwives are simply arming themselves for any possible complication that may arise and the natural remedies are found to be insufficient.  Homebirth midwives should have the legal safety to care for their clients the best they can, but that is not the case at this time.  So, they give their clients the very best care while putting themselves on the line.

What needs to happen is that people need to speak up on the issue of homebirth freedom.  Midwives need to have the freedom to provide optimal care without the threat of the nightmare Carol Velasquez is going through right now.

Honestly, my husband put it in much better words than I did:

"Here is the thing, it is not a simple black and white issue. Is it technically illegal for a midwife to administer drugs such as Pitocin? I would have to answer yes. However, in order for midwives to be able to give excellent care to their clients and avoid certain complications they NEED to be able to use these drugs. The real problem is that it SHOULD be legal for CPMs to be able to use these drugs. By not allowing them to use them we are forcing midwives to either choose to compromise their clients care by forcing them to wait until they get to the hospital to receive treatment which in some cases may be too late when it could have been resolved easily at home by the midwife or take the risk because they are more concerned about the welfare of the baby and mother over the governing legislative body. Most midwives will choose the latter. It really is no different than a missionary going into another country where Christianity is outlawed, and under the pretense of being an English teacher, using that as a way to get into the country to teach them about Jesus. As Christians, we know it is TECHNICALLY illegal for them to teach Jesus and carry/distribute Bibles, but yet we encourage them, support them, pray for them, and fight for them if they get caught, because we believe it is the right thing regardless of what a governing body has declared. The same principle is true in this situation. The problem lies in the legislation, and I think some serious changes need to made at that level so midwives are not forced to make the sacrifices they do for the good of their clients."
 ~Matt Reeves

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Support Carol Velasquez CPM!

BWB family, I am posting this link hoping that some of you would be able to join me to support Carol Velasquez. Carol is a certified professional midwife who has over 20 years experience providing optimal care for women, babies, and families. She is a dear friend to me and my family. ~Sarah


"On March 28th, 2013 Carol Velasquez, CPM was indicted by a grand jury for practicing midwifery during her time in Indianapolis. Carol is a Certified Professional Midwife with over 20 years experience attending births. The care that Carol provided her clients was unparalleled by the Obstetric community and hospitals in Indiana. The women she attended received prenatal care according to the same schedule and yet she spent an average of 700% more time with us! This was acheived by scheduling 2 hour long appointments (as opposed to the 15 minutes OB/GYN's allot for patients.) She provided women with detailed nutritional counseling, recommended supplements according to the individual needs of the mother, and practical as well as emotional support to women facing difficult circumstances (myself included). Because the State of Indiana refuses to license CPM's Carol put her freedom on the line for each of the families she helped. Let's show our support for this brave woman on Tuesday morning as she surrenders herself to the court!"

*I am going to try my best to be there. I may have all my children with me. If you are in or near Indianapolis and want to help, please meet me at the courthouse on Tuesday morning (4/2/13)! If you can't be there, please share this event in as many homebirth friendly circles as you can, and please please pray. ~Sarah

Thank you all so much for reading this blog.  This is an unusual post calling you to action, but I wouldn't ask you if it wasn't important.

Monday, March 18, 2013

A Letter to My Uncle Patrick

70 years ago now, my sweet grandma carried a precious baby boy in her womb.  He was her first baby.  Grandma and Grandpa had been married for a couple years, and I can just imagine the dreamy excitement they shared about their first child.

Then, on St. Patrick's Day, Grandma went into premature labor.  I believe she was in her 2nd trimester.  They called the doctor, but things happened too quickly, and there was nothing they could do to save him.

He passed away before his birth.  Grandma saw that he was a boy.  Things were so different back then.  They never named him, and Grandma was never able to properly grieve.  Because he was born on St Patrick's Day, my mom started referring to him as Patrick.  If I could send a message to my dear Uncle Patrick in heaven, this is what I would say:

Dear Uncle Patrick, 

You may or may not know who I am, but I know you.  You had a very short life, but your world was my grandma.  That's a pretty sweet world.  All you knew in life was the warmth and love of your mother's womb.  Then, you suddenly went from her womb to the warm loving arms of Jesus.  You stayed in her heart, though.  Your life has been celebrated for all these years.  Since your birth, Grandma gave birth to one more boy and four girls.  You are also uncle to 13 nieces and nephews, and I am carrying your 37th great niece/nephew!  She's a girl.  We're naming her Evangeline Emma.

Our first baby didn't make it to our arms either.  I don't know if I was carrying a girl or a boy, but I felt like it was a girl, and we named her Faith.  I immediately felt an even stronger bond with both my grandmothers when I was going through that.  They had both lost babies.  They gave me comfort and strength during that dark time.  Have you met Faith?  I think about what she's doing up in heaven often.  I bet you're a really fun uncle to her.

We all miss you.  You are so loved.  I am so glad God blessed this family with you.

Your loving niece,


~ Here's some pictures of Grandma when she was a young mom of a bunch of little ones. ~

I love her style in this one.  She's the cutie on the left.  

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

8 Things I've Learned about Love

I haven't been married for a really long time, but Matt and I have been married for 10 1/2 years, and we are still happy.  In this first decade of marriage, I've learned some things about love.  I want to share what I've learned with you.

1.  A woman needs to be cherished.  That's how you won her heart, and that's how you're going to keep her heart.

2.  A man needs to be believed in.  He is only as good as you think he is.  I have seen Matt be strong and fearless when I believe in him, push him toward his dreams and encourage him to reach his goals.  I have also seen him wilt and be depressed when I cut him down, discourage his dreams, and criticize his goals.  

3.  Love is work.  If it were easy, it wouldn't really be love.  Just like a birthing mother who works hard to receive the amazing reward of her precious baby, love must work hard through the difficult times.  Coming through those hard times stronger is a precious reward and makes all the work worth it.

4.  Fighting is sometimes good.  For me, our discussions need to reach an emotional level on both sides in order for them to inspire a change of heart in me.

5.  If your children see/hear you fighting, make sure they see you make things right with each other.  

6.  Dates are essential.  I am typing these words desperate for a date with Matt.  I need time with him.  I don't need him to buy me anything.  I don't care if all we do is go hang out at the library or walk around the mall.  I just need him away from the kids, away from the house, away from studying and work and clinicals and everything.  I just need him to focus on me, and me to focus on him without any distractions.  It's probably really good to have to wait a little for it.  We need to crave the time together instead of just taking it for granted.  

7.  I need God.  When things are hard, too hard to have a productive discussion with Matt, I need to run to my Jesus.  I can let it all out to him, cry, scream, yell, ask why.  He already sees it all in my heart.  All I'm doing is being honest on the outside about what He sees on the inside.  I am not just crying, screaming, yelling and asking why because I'm angry, then stomping away.  I am there for help.  I am there for answers.  I wait.  I calm down.  I rest.  Then, I can listen.  I find His answers in His Word, His love letter to me.  I read His promises to me and find hope to get up and go on.

8.  Love is worth it.
~ I love you, Matt Reeves. ~