Our Year of Jubilee

Jubilee Autumn

Jubilee Autumn

April 22, 2014

Jubilee’s original due date was May 7, 2014 according to the date of my last period. But when I took the pregnancy test at 4 weeks, the line was a dark positive. I started feeling sick only a few days later, and my uterus starting moving up into my abdomen very early. By the time I was 10-11 weeks along, the fundus was only a couple of inches below my belly button. I knew that it might be because I had gotten pregnant again so soon, but I also knew that my due date could be wrong, or I could be carrying twins. So my midwife referred us to a sonographer who did an ultrasound at 13 weeks to date the pregnancy. His estimation of the due date was May 1st, 6 days earlier. After talking with Jennifer, we decided to move my due date to May 1st, because of the new law prohibiting home birth prior to 37 weeks (it had been 36 weeks prior to that). We weren’t sure of my conception date, but we wanted to be safe and make sure that I could really have the home birth that I was planning.

Around 31 weeks, I started having strong contractions now and then that worried me. I kept in touch with Jennifer, rested a lot, and prayed that my baby would stay inside for a few more weeks. I had a couple of times of losing quite a bit of brownish mucous plug, which was scary. But God answered our prayers, and I made it to 37 weeks with no problems. I started getting anxious then, and laughed about the possibility of carrying this baby into mid May after thinking that I might have a preemie. I didn’t want to be worrying about it constantly, so I kept telling myself that I was not going to have an April baby like I wanted to. I kind of wanted an April baby because I already had a May baby, but had no birthdays yet in April.

I struggled with a lot of fears about this birth for several weeks. I think most of it came from my memories of Taylor’s birth. His birth itself was pretty easy, but finding out that he had Down syndrome shortly afterward, and then 11 days later having to take him to the hospital for 23 days was very hard on me. I was afraid of having a traumatic birth due to my emotions and memories, it was basically a vicious cycle of fear breeding more fear. I prayed, read scripture, and talked a lot to Nelson who was very supportive. I also got more diligent about using Hypnobabies to prepare in the last week or two. I told Nelson that when the baby came, I would be looking for evidence that he/she was healthy first, rather than if it was a boy or a girl. He understood.

Since Taylor surprised me by coming 13 days early, and I didn’t have everything ready for him when my labor started, I knew that I should at least have everything pretty much ready. I got out the baby clothes, and had all of the birth supplies in my bedroom. They weren’t organized, but they were there at least.

On April 22nd, I took Zachary with me to the HEB in Floresville at about 12 noon. I remember thinking on the way home, “What would I do if my water broke right now?” I thought it was a crazy thought, my water hadn’t broken early in labor since my 2nd child. I had not been having contractions that day. I arrived back home around 1:45, and went upstairs to take a nap soon after. Nelson was at work that day, and the Hrenyks were going to come for lessons at 3 PM, so I wanted to lay down and try to nap for at least a short time, even though I didn’t really feel tired then. Mom was here helping with the other children. I laid down on the bed and was trying to calm my racing thoughts. I don’t know what I was thinking about exactly, probably just the busy day and trying to get things done before my birth. At about 2:00 the phone rang, and I decided not to answer it because I didn’t have much time to nap. It was Keyla, returning my phone call from earlier that day. She was getting ready to have surgery the next day, and I wanted to touch base with her to let her know I was praying. She left a message, and I continued trying to sleep.

At 2:02 PM I felt a pop, and for a split second I laid there trying to process what had just happened. It was a total surprise! I got up and ran to the bathroom, and fluid started going everywhere. I had wondered why it seemed like my belly was bigger than any other time, and now I know that I had more amniotic fluid than usual. It flooded the bathroom floor and kept coming when I got up from the toilet to find a towel.

I called Nelson and got no answer on his cell phone. I was a little anxious about that for a few minutes, but I prayed and asked God to give me peace. I ended up calling him 3 times, about 10 minutes apart each time, and the 3rd time he finally answered the phone (he was in a meeting). He started home right after telling everyone in the meeting that his wife’s water had just broken! I also called Jennifer, she told me to call her back when the contractions started. I went outside the room with the towel between my legs, and called for Mom. Thankfully she answered, I didn’t want to go downstairs at the moment. I told her that my water had broken, and asked her to send Courtney upstairs. Courtney told me later that she could tell by Grandma’s voice that something had happened. She was so excited and forgot all about everything else she was doing that day! I quickly remembered and asked Mom to call Zahida and tell her not to come for lessons that day. They were going to be leaving very soon so it was a good thing I remembered when I did.

Contractions did not start right away, but I did feel more pressure and the familiar sensation of knowing that they would start soon. Courtney started helping me arrange the room the way I wanted it, and Brianna came up very soon after and helped too. We made the bed, cleaned the bathroom, and cleared off the dresser and sink. I took my temperature at 2:39 PM and did a Hibiclens vaginal wash right after that. Jennifer had instructed me to do that with the intention of repeating it every 6 hours since my water had broken, to prevent infection.

Contractions started at about 2:35 PM. I called Jennifer to let her know and she told me to call her back when I wanted her to come and she would be ready. I timed my contractions for awhile, they were pretty short, and 2-3 minutes apart. I walked around the room a lot, getting everything ready and talking to the girls. Nelson got home and I asked him to start getting the birth pool ready right away. I wanted to make sure it was ready in time even though I didn’t feel like I was in active labor yet.

I have lost track of the time now, but I believe I asked Nelson to call Jennifer about 4:00. I wasn’t sure if I was really ready yet, but I didn’t want her to miss the birth like she did last time. Tracy arrived first, followed by Hannah who was Jennifer’s apprentice. They set things up and talked to me a little bit. I was lying on my side in bed, listening to Hypnobabies, when they arrived. I remember laughing with them between contractions, and thinking that I must not be very far along since I was laughing! I decided to get in the water soon after they arrived, and it felt really good. I got a nice long break between contractions after I got in the water.

Nelson put my Hypnobabies track on his computer so it would be loud enough for me, and I relaxed in the water. I listened to the voice very closely and tried to make myself believe everything she was saying to me. Words like “easy birth” and “complete comfort” were repeated over and over again, and I kept telling myself that they were true, and that I was not going to let my mind believe anything different. I kept my eyes closed because it helped me concentrate on the words and stay relaxed. Jennifer arrived, and I was very happy that she was here and had arrived on time. I continued relaxing through the entire Hypnobabies track, and when it was over I asked Nelson to start it again.

I don’t know for sure how long I was in the water before the birth, but I know it was over an hour. At one point I remember Tracy and Hannah talking about something, and it was distracting to me. I opened my eyes to try and get their attention to be quiet, but they weren’t looking at me so I just closed my eyes again. They didn’t talk again after that though, so I think Jennifer must have seen me open my eyes and hushed them. After that the room was totally still and quiet other than the voice of Hypnobabies. I knew that 6 people were standing around the pool staring at me, but I kept my eyes closed and didn’t think about it. I was sometimes tempted with fearful thoughts, but I diligently pushed them out of my head every time they tried to enter. I kept telling myself that I was going to “continue using my Hypnobabies techniques no matter what” just like the voice was telling me to do. I remember noticing that the contractions were long and strong, but pretty far apart. They felt like transition contractions, but I got a pretty long break between each one, and that confused me.

I was whispering “peace” to myself at the beginning of each contraction, and I think that was the only outward sign I was giving to anyone that a contraction was starting. Every time I said “peace” Nelson would put his hand on my shoulder gently. I didn’t acknowledge that I felt his hand, but it was very comforting to me. I started feeling more pressure and the baby moving down. I was still confused because the contractions were pretty far apart (at least I perceived them that way) but I was beginning to feel the urge to push.  I opened my eyes for a moment and asked someone to please go and get the girls. I really wanted Summer, Melody and Harmony to witness the birth this time. Jennifer questioned me, I think she wasn’t sure that it was quite time. I wasn’t sure either, but I knew it was getting close and I didn’t want them to miss it. I told her that if they could come in and be quiet then I wanted them here, but if they were noisy then they would need to leave again.

I reached inside myself and felt the baby’s head coming down, only about 2 knuckles deep. I said “I feel the baby” to everyone and smiled, all the time keeping my eyes closed. I heard people starting to move around and gloves snapping onto hands. I didn’t want to believe that it was already almost time, I wasn’t sure if I should trust the sensations my body was feeling or not, because although they were intense, they were very bearable and not painful. At the next contraction I gave a little grunt. Then on the next one I pushed harder, and groaned as the baby’s head came out. I took a deep breath and pushed again, and felt the baby’s body coming out of me. Since my babies usually come out in only one push, I remember wondering why it was taking so long!

The baby was born at 6:01 PM, and I immediately opened my eyes when they put her in my arms. She was screaming loudly, and I took a minute or two to catch my breath and look at her before checking to see if I had a boy or a girl. The first thing I noticed was her long fingers, and remembered how short Taylor’s fingers were when he was born. I showed them to Nelson and he smiled, knowing that I was relieved already that my baby did not have signs of Down syndrome. After a couple of minutes I pushed the towel and the umbilical cord aside, and saw that she was a girl. I was a little bit surprised, but not disappointed at all. My 5 older daughters were standing around the pool along with Nelson and the 3 midwives. Philip, Zachary, and my Mom were outside the door waiting, and heard my groan and then the newborn cry. They yelled down the stairs, “The baby’s here!”

After the birth, the  water in the pool started getting red very quickly. The midwives weren’t sure why, but they thought maybe the placenta had already detached, so they asked me to try and push it out. I tried a couple of times, but it didn’t feel ready. They kept checking things to try and figure out what was going on, and finally discovered a 2-inch slit in the umbilical cord! It had torn on the way out somehow. After I finally did push the placenta out, Tracy reach down into the pool to get it, and her cell phone dropped out of her shirt pocket into the pool. She retrieved it quickly and learned her lesson about putting her phone in her shirt pocket!

Another interesting thing about this birth is that she was born in a “posterior brow” position. I knew that she was posterior (facing up) for a few weeks before the birth, and was trying to encourage her to turn face down by doing things such as getting into a hands and knees position a few times a day. But I did not know that she was still posterior when she was born until the midwives told me. She had a bruise on her forehead just at her hairline, and when I asked about it they told me how she was born. Jennifer said that some doctors will try to insist on a c-section if they know about this position before a woman gives birth. Apparently it is one of the more difficult vaginal positions to birth in, which explains why I had to push a time or two more than usual. She also said that was why my contractions were far apart right up until the end – that is one side effect of a posterior baby.

I could not be happier about this birth, my 10th birth and 3rd Hypnobabies birth. Each time I have used Hypnobabies it has been easier and more enjoyable. I did not feel any back labor which is normal for posterior babies, and did not feel any pain when she was coming out in such a different position. I can truthfully say that I did not feel any pain at all during the entire birth, except for a few minutes when my back did start hurting right at the end when she was moving down. Maybe 5 minutes max. I think the key for me this time was my positive self-talk. I did not allow any negative thoughts to enter and stay in my mind, and I continued telling myself to believe everything I was hearing on the Hypnobabies track.

Jubilee Autumn was born at 6:01 PM on 4-22-14, she weighed 7 lbs. 3 oz. and was 20 inches long. She was completely healthy and nursed well right away. We were so happy and excited to have her!

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Our Very Special 9th Baby’s Birth Story

My due date was March 19, 2013. I was expecting to go past my due date this time because I suspected that I ovulated late which caused me to not get a positive pregnancy test until over a week after I should have. I had also not felt nearly as many of the normal nighttime Braxton Hicks contractions as I was used to. So, when I woke up on Wednesday, March 6 at about 8:30 AM with a contraction that felt just slightly achy in my back, I thought it was strange. I had also been up to the bathroom that night more times than usual, with some extra pressure on my bladder.

I got up and went to the bathroom, and noticed just a little bit of bloody show on the toilet paper. That meant something was happening. So I e-mailed my midwife to let her know, and woke my husband up a few minutes later. I wouldn’t have woken him up, but I was feeling anxious about getting our bedroom ready for the birth. My goal date for having the bedroom ready was still 4 days away, and I still had several things to do, including getting the previous baby’s clothes out of my room and getting baby clothes out, cleaning the bedroom and bathroom, and putting away some clutter that had been collecting.

My midwife called me back very soon after receiving my e-mail, and encouraged me to eat well that day just in case, but to be prepared that the small contractions I was feeling might go away and I might still be pregnant for several more days or longer. I stayed busy throughout the morning with the tasks in my bedroom, and I also enlisted 2 daughters help with some of the cleaning. I listened to the Positive Pregnancy Affirmations on my headphones, trying to calm down my nerves and be ready for the birth if it really was coming that day. I had been preparing with my Hypnobabies CD’s again this time, but I was not nearly as diligent as I was before my 8th birth, and the surprise of things starting 13 days early took me by surprise. I did not tell any of the children that something might be going on, because I didn’t want them to get too excited and I was pretty confident that I would NOT have the baby that day. I had a little bit more discharge, but it stopped about mid morning and that also made me think that things were going to stop.

I had the bedroom cleaned and close to being ready by about lunchtime, and I had also washed the sheets on the bed and had my daughter help me put them back on. I fixed lunch for my family as usual, and continued with my day. I was having what felt like Braxton Hicks contractions all throughout the morning, but I was deliberately not paying much attention to them, so I don’t know how close they were. We prepared the house for my son’s piano students to arrive at 12:30 as scheduled, and I sat down to eat 2 eggs and a glass of milk about the time they came. The mother of two of the students came and sat with me at the table for a few minutes and talked about her home remodeling project other things. I don’t know her well, and it was a good distraction to have someone to talk to. She asked me how I was feeling and I told her that I was doing pretty good – I did not tell her that I had a few contractions while we were talking.

After that I went upstairs with the intention of listening to a nice long Hypnobabies CD, to relax me and try and help determine if my labor was going to get going that day or not. I got started, but my husband’s work phone rang in my bedroom, and then the house phone rang, and I couldn’t seem to get relaxed. Throughout the morning I had also been talking by phone to a puppy customer, trying to find a direct flight for them on Friday. This was our last puppy of 2 litters and we were very glad to have a home for her. The phone call I got was her again, so I went back downstairs to help her some more. I had told her the day before that I was due to have a baby in 2 weeks, but I said nothing to her on the phone that day about possibly being in labor. I was hoping that we could get everything decided and the plane flight reserved, and I had already asked Nelson and he agreed that IF I had the baby that he would take care of things for me. I finally ended up e-mailing her later on and telling her that I was in labor and wouldn’t be able to help her anymore until the next day.

Since I wasn’t able to relax with Hypnobabies, I decided that maybe taking a walk would be a good idea, maybe it would help to either stop the contractions or make them stronger. Before that, I talked with a friend of mine for a few minutes, who was there with her boys for piano lessons. I did tell her that I was feeling some things that day, and didn’t know if I might have the baby soon or not. She left at a little after 3:30, and I asked Mom if she would walk down the road with me. She agreed, although she was on call for Red Cross and had to be available any minute for an emergency call. We walked only down the road a little ways (with my son riding his bike alongside) until Mom’s phone rang and sure enough, she was needed in San Antonio at a fire scene. She asked me if it was okay if she left, and I told her yes. I had decided by then that I was definitely in early labor, but I didn’t feel like things were progressing quickly at all, so I didn’t want to keep her from doing her job. She left at just before 4 PM.

After I went back inside, I went upstairs and asked my husband to check my cervix. I was getting more curious about what was going on. He did, and estimated that I was 4-5 cm dilated but not very much effaced. This was a wake-up call for both of us, knowing that my body was definitely making progress, and we would be having a baby sometime soon! My husband finished up work and started doing things around the bedroom, such as cleaning the bathroom,etc. I went back downstairs and e-mailed my mother-in-law at 4:20 PM to let her know that the baby was coming that night. I didn’t want her to hurry though, and told her that I would call her later to let her know when to come, since she was hoping to be there when the baby was born. After that I decided that it was time to tell the other children, after hiding it from them all day. I told my first daughter first, and I wish I could have recorded the look on her face! She was shocked, and asked me if I was sure a few times. She almost seemed disappointed, but when I asked her she just said that she was very surprised. She then asked if she could go and tell the others, and when I said yes she ran out of the room and I heard sounds of surprise and excitement coming from everyone else as well. My 11 year old daughter ran in to find out if it was true, and got very excited! I also called my midwife to let her know that my cervix was dilating, but I told her that I didn’t think it was time for her to come yet. She said that she would put everything in her car and get dressed, so that she could leave immediately when I called again.

I decided to go back upstairs after this, to get the bedroom ready. My two big girls came with me, and I got them going on making up the bed, picking up things, etc. My oldest son was downstairs watching the other children. I asked my husband to get the birth pool ready, and he started doing that. I sat down in the recliner with my Hypnobabies CD on the headphones again, and this time I was able to really relax and get into deep hypnosis. I heard activity going on around me, but my body was starting to move into active labor and I focused inward. I had asked my daughter to write down the time of some contractions for me, but I ended up only telling her about 1 contraction, because they intensified very quickly and I didn’t feel like talking anymore. After a few of these intense contractions, I told my husband, while still in hypnosis and with my eyes closed, to call my midwife and tell her to come. He said “are you sure it’s time?” and I said yes. I also asked him to call the rest of our family to ask them to come. He left a message for my mother-in-law (who wasn’t home yet from doctor’s appointments that day). Mom said she would come as soon as she could, but it would take a few minutes to rearrange things since she needed to get someone from Red Cross to relieve her. All of these phone calls happened at about 5:15 PM, with the first one to my midwife being made at 5:10 PM

I got up and went to the bathroom after awhile, and then laid down on the bed on my left side, still listening to Hypnobabies. I was wearing my skirt with nothing underneath, and my black camisole that I have worn for the last several births in the water. My husband got the water running into the pool, and then laid down behind me and started using the vibrating massager on my back. It felt so good! I had told him previously how much I liked him lying with me like that during my last baby’s labor, so I knew in my mind that he was wanting to do that for me again. I wanted to tell him to turn off the massager between contractions, but I didn’t feel like making the effort to say the words, and it felt so good! He asked me once if I was having one long contraction, I guess it seemed that way to him. I remember thinking as the contractions continued to intensify that “this Hypnobabies stuff isn’t working very well this time!” and being disappointed that I wasn’t having as good of a birth as I did last time. Little did I know how close I was to the end at that moment! I was a little bit frustrated during this time with the 2 phones that kept ringing, our house phone with people calling back, and my husband’s work phone which he turned off after a time or two. I also remember thinking that I didn’t want the midwives to ask me any questions like they usually do about the last time I ate, etc. I just wanted to be left alone.

Eventually I started having contractions that made me feel like I couldn’t do it anymore. I knew this might mean I was close to the end, but I didn’t believe it. I still thought that the Hypnobabies just wasn’t working this time. And then, with the next contraction, I felt the baby move down and much more pressure on my bottom. After it was over I said “I just want to push the baby out now” and my husband sat up quickly and asked “Do you think it’s time?” I really took him by surprise with that question, but my answer was “No, I just want it to be over.” I was still in denial! With the next contraction I felt a slight urge to push at the peak, and grunted. My husband heard me, and went into action – he knew what that sound meant and I knew it too. I couldn’t deny anymore that this baby was coming NOW! He said “Do you want me to take your skirt off?” I said “I don’t know” and the next thing I felt was him forcefully yanking it off of me. Then he saw that the birth pool was full (but he forgot to check to see if it was warm enough) and he said “Do you want to get in the pool?” I said “I don’t know” again, but somehow I found the strength to get up and into the pool. My husband’s unspoken thought was that if I got in the water, my labor might slow down and delay the birth a few more minutes – but it was too late for that.

I knew as soon as I got into the water that it wasn’t warm enough, and said so. But it was too late, the next contraction was coming, so I put both of my hands down and felt the amniotic sac with my baby’s head right behind it, only an inch or two inside my body. I had thought about wanting to catch my baby myself this time, and my husband saw what I was doing and asked me if I was going to catch. But then my body took over and I arched my back without thinking about it, so I couldn’t reach down there anymore. I groaned loudly, and with 2 big pushes our baby was born into Daddy’s hands! I immediately took the baby into my hands, and saw right away that we had a boy. I couldn’t bring him up to my chest because the umbilical cord was too short, and I started directing everyone to bring towels to cover him with, and a hat. I’ve never been so coherent in the seconds after a birth before, but I knew that there were no midwives there, and that we had to take care of things ourselves. It was a very strange feeling. I also remembered to look at the clock to check the time of his birth, and my daughter had already thought of that – he was born at 5:51 PM. We covered him with a towel, kept him immersed in the water as best we could, and rubbed his back because he wasn’t crying. We both felt anxious about this, we wanted to make sure he was okay and I really wanted to hear him cry. We got him to grunt a little bit and he finally cried just a tiny little sound that sounded like a kitten’s meow. But he was so very quiet, and not moving much either. He was just flopped over my hand. We watched to see if he was breathing, and although we couldn’t tell for sure, we knew he must be breathing because he had turned pink. We weren’t extremely worried about him, just a bit anxious since the midwives weren’t there to help yet. My husband called our midwife who was on the way, and she coached him a little bit before hanging up. He wanted me to push the placenta out, but I was waiting for another urge to push and I hadn’t felt it yet. I didn’t know it at the time, but his idea was that if I would deliver the placenta, he wanted to get the baby out of the water and warmed up. He said later that if he had known where the cord clamp was, he would have cut the cord! But I’m glad he didn’t, because I wanted to let the cord stop pulsing first. I did feel a little cramp after a few minutes, but by that time he had decided that maybe I should wait until my midwife got there to deliver the placenta, in case there was too much bleeding. So I waited a little bit longer, and I was just about ready to push it out anyway when walked walked in the door, right at that exact moment. She arrived 20 minutes after the birth.

During this 20 minutes we had also decided to invite the rest of our children upstairs to see the baby. I covered up with a towel, and it was so neat to have all of our family together, admiring our new son, without anyone else in the house! It was a very unique and special moment, and one I will always treasure in my heart. We told everyone his name, Taylor Justice Minica. They were all so happy to see him, and still very shocked that it had happened so fast! I had only told them less than 90 minutes beforehand that I was in labor!

After our midwife and her assistant arrived, they immediately went into action. She rubbed Taylor’s back vigorously and got him crying better, although he still only cried a little bit. I delivered my placenta, and then they helped me get out onto the bed after my 2 oldest sons cut his cord together. Taylor had been chilled a little bit from the pool water, so they rubbed him, put him on my bare chest, and covered him with a towel and then with a heating pad. They also kept taking his temperature frequently until he had warmed up. Mom arrived back home after awhile, and I wish again that I could have recorded the look on her face when she saw me in bed with the baby! She had called after he was born, and my husband had told her that we had a baby boy, but she thought he was joking! And when she came into the house, our 3 year old daughter told her that we had a new baby, but she didn’t know that she was really serious that the baby had already arrived. She was totally shocked when she walked into my bedroom and saw us there together. It was very cute. Nelson’s parents arrived later, after they got home and got my e-mail and called and heard the good news.

Our son Taylor is a blessing from the Lord! God has taken us on a new journey in life, as Taylor was born with Down syndrome. More details and the continuing story of Taylor’s birth, diagnosis, and life will be posted soon on our new personal website. Check back soon for the link!


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Upcoming Christ Centered Childbirth Class

Some of my students in my class in Pleasanton



I am really enjoying teaching my Christian Childbirth Classes at The Refuge in Pleasanton! The first series went well, and I will be starting another series of classes next week.  The classes will meet on Tuesday evenings, from 6:00-8:30 PM. Starting date is August 14th, and the class runs for 8 weeks. Check out this page for more information about the classes, and please contact me if you are interested in signing up.

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Posted in Childbirth Education Classes

How Safe is VBAC?

More than one in seven pregnant women have previously given birth by cesarean.” This means that many women today are faced with the decision to schedule a repeat cesarean or to attempt a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean). This decision is an important one, and many women make it based only on their current doctor’s recommendation, or based on their prior experiences or what other people have told them. I believe that women need to inform themselves of the facts around this issue, so that they can truly make an informed and educated decision.

Here are some facts from this site I found that may be helpful for a woman trying to make this decision:

  •  The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) says that VBAC is a “safe and appropriate choice for most women.”
  • VBAC’s are successful 75% of the time, and successful VBAC’s have lower complication rates than planned repeat cesarean sections.
  • The main risk for VBAC moms is uterine rupture. However, the risk of uterine rupture during a VBAC is similar (in other places I’ve read it’s actually lower) to the risk of many other rare complications such as cord prolapse and postpartum hemorrhage for a vaginal birth. So a woman’s risk isn’t any greater than any mom going into labor, VBAC or not.
  • 45% of American woman are interested in the option of a VBAC, yet 92% choose an elective repeat cesarean instead. Various reasons are cited by women for this decision, including hospital policies and misinformation about VBAC risks.
  • VBAC is legal in all 50 states. As more women become informed and insist on this option being made available for them, more doctors and hospitals will choose to support VBAC.
I also recommend the International Cesarean Awareness Network as an excellent source for information about preventing unnecessary cesareans and VBAC’s. There are online discussions forums as well as local ICAN support groups all over the country. At the time of this writing, there is not an ICAN support group listed for San Antonio. I would like to encourage San Antonio VBAC moms to consider starting one!


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Posted in Cesarean/VBAC

Changing Caregivers When It’s Not Working Out…

Can I change caregivers even if I am close to the end of my pregnancy?

There are many reasons why women might choose a specific caregiver when they first become pregnant. Maybe they have already been seeing a certain OB/GYN and are comfortable with the relationship. Maybe they have a recommendation from a friend or a family member. Maybe they have heard somewhere that a certain doctor or midwife is especially good. All of those are legitimate reasons! But sometimes, as the pregnancy goes on, a woman might find herself becoming more and more concerned about the care that she is receiving. Perhaps the OB/GYN isn’t giving very personal care, not what she expected. Maybe she has done some research and is asking questions about her birth, and not getting the answers that she would like to hear. I can’t even count how many times I have spoken with a woman who is in her 2nd or 3rd trimester, and has become somewhat anxious or disappointed with the care she is receiving. Most of the time, though, she doesn’t think that she has the option to switch.

So, can a woman change caregivers even if she is close to the end of her pregnancy?

Yes! You have a legal right to change caregivers if you become dissatisfied with the care you are receiving. Even if you are near the end of your pregnancy, you can still switch to a more supportive doctor or midwife. You will have more time to get to know your caregiver if you switch earlier in your pregnancy, but if you find that a switch is necessary in order to have the support you need for the birth you desire, it may be better to change even right at the end than to stay where you are unhappy and likely to have a disappointing outcome.

If you have the time to make some phone calls and do some research to find a caregiver that you like better, than you have time to switch. If your choice of a new doctor or midwife agrees to take you as a patient at whatever stage of pregnancy you are at, then you have time to switch. (Most doctors and midwives will accept new patients right at the end of their pregnancies as long as their schedules aren’t already booked.) If your insurance will cover your new caregiver’s services, or if you are able to pay out of pocket, then you have time to switch.

Check out this great list of The Rights of Childbearing Women for more important information to help you become informed of your rights during your pregnancy.

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Posted in Birth, Cesarean/VBAC, Home Birth, Hospital Birth, Pregnancy

Spring CCC Classes

Two Christ Centered Childbirth Classes are available this spring! The first one starts on Tuesday, March 27th and will be held from 6:00-8:30 PM at The Refuge Pregnancy Center in Pleasanton. The second one starts on Sunday, April 1st and will be held from 3:00-5:30 PM at my home located in southeast San Antonio. Please go here for more information about these classes, and contact me for more information or to sign up!

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Posted in Childbirth Education Classes

Breastfeeding Struggles… My Story Part One

I am the extremely blessed mother of 8 beautiful breastfed children. And I have been happily breastfeeding them for a combined total of over 13 years now, including tandem nursing 2 of them for 2 years. My first baby grew hugely fat on my breastmilk, in fact I have only seen one other baby since then who was as fat as my sweet baby boy was. Breastfeeding came fairly easily for me, and I was very proud of the fact that none of my first 5 children ever received a drop of formula. My 2nd and 3rd babies were chubby as well, and although my 4th baby was smaller and grew more slowly than the rest, I enjoyed it because the others had grown out of their newborn clothes so quickly. Baby #5 came along, and he grew even more slowly, but I never even considered giving him anything else, and he wasn’t fussy enough to give me any signals that he wasn’t getting enough. (Looking back at his pictures now I realize how skinny he was though.)

After Baby #6 was born, we took a trip when she was 6 weeks old, and she cried pretty much the whole time. I didn’t know what the problem was at the time, but once we got home we realized that she was not gaining enough weight and was very hungry. I threw myself into pumping, herbal supplements, lactation consultations, online research, prescription medication, and all kinds of home remedies including eating oatmeal (and a lot of other food that caused me to gain 20 pounds!), and drinking beer. Nothing helped, and when she was 3 months old I finally relented and very reluctantly started giving her some formula. That first bottle was so hard – and I cried so much! But she needed it. When I got e-mail updates on how dangerous formula is, I felt very guilty, so I started deleting them without reading. My pride had taken a huge hit, I never thought I would be giving formula to my baby! When I went out in public and had to prepare a bottle, I thought everyone was looking at me and judging me for not breastfeeding my baby.

When I got pregnant with Baby #7, I did a lot of reading and consulting with professionals on how to prevent this problem from happening again. I was advised to breastfeed and/or pump every hour around the clock for at least 2 weeks after the birth in order to bring in a very good supply. I followed the instructions religiously, took many supplements, and because my diet was also excellent at the time, I thought surely things would be better. But God had other plans, and the same issues surfaced again. I had to start supplementing again at about 3 months old, and this time we decided to make our own homemade goat milk based formula (we milk our own goats.) Due to my constant pumping and nursing, I was also a walking zombie most of the time, and was not able to be fully present as a wife and mother to the rest of my family. It was hard, but I had to accept again that I could not provide all that my baby needed.

With Baby #8, who is nearly 6 months old at the time of this writing, we prayed a lot and chose to take a more moderate approach. I was not able to enjoy the newborn stage with Baby #7, and I wanted to fully enjoy my Babymoon as well as be there for the rest of my family. I did pump some for a few weeks, and I nursed at least every 2 hours around the clock. I needed to start supplementing at about 2 1/2 months this time, and we are currently giving her 4 bottles of supplemental milk per day. I do still breastfeed her several times a day, and usually twice during the night.

Do I know the cause of my low milk supply? Not really. I think there are probably a few contributing factors, including my age (I am 39), although I know many other moms my age who have abundant milk supplies. Having so many children could have something to do with it, although I know many other moms of large families who have produced plenty of milk for all of their babies. One of my breasts produces very little compared to the other one, and that breast also had a couple of minor breast infections over the years. But the infections were never severe enough for a doctor visit, and should not technically have caused a problem. One of the lactation consultants I saw suggested that I might have calcium deposits in my breasts that prevent the milk from coming down properly, and therefore the supply diminishes quickly because of lack of emptying. I have not had an ultrasound or other testing to confirm this, because I’m not sure what we would do even if we knew for sure that this was the case. Calcium deposits are fairly common as women age, but most women either don’t have many babies, or perhaps they aren’t as troubled by their low milk supplies and simply turn to formula without trying to diagnose their problem. I have not been able to find a doctor who is experienced with this problem or who knows of any suggestions or solutions.

I have had to grieve the loss of fully breastfeeding with each of my babies, even though I have come to accept my problem as God’s will. I have even made a list of blessings to help me accept it. One of the big blessings is that I have learned to have compassion for other mothers who have trouble breastfeeding.

Another blessing that has come about with my last baby is that I have been graciously given breastmilk by 4 different mothers for my baby. A friend of mine donated a small amount of milk for Baby #6, and I was very grateful, but the amount was limited as she needed it for her own baby. However, this time I have been able to greatly reduce the amount of homemade formula that I give my baby, and I am so thankful! More to come in Part Two of my story…

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Posted in Breastfeeding
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