by Robyn

Echo Squires: A Pioneer Birth Story

June 26, 2017 in Birth Stories, Church History, LDS History, Robyn, Uncategorized by Robyn

Echo Lavinia Squires, Edward Martin Company

So, I want to apologize for neglecting the blog.  My husband and I were called to serve as the Trek Coordinators for our ward trek to Martin’s Cove, Sixth Crossing and Rocky Ridge this July.  We were given a late start, like the Martin and Willie companies and so we have been a little busy. We have been deep in preparations and while it is a lot of work, it has been a tremendous blessing to learn the stories in more detail and be filled by the indomitable spirit that these Saints had.

I wanted to quickly share a birth story I found while studying the efforts of the rescue party for the Willie and Martin Handcart Companies.  Patience Loader recorded the birth of a baby girl:

I well remember that when we campt in Echo Canyon that Sister [Sarah Cattlin] Squires was confind in the morning[.] she had alovely baby girl and thay named her Echo [Levinia Squires.] the morning she was born the father [Henry Augustus Squires] was run[n]ing around camp enquiring of everybody if they had apin to give him to pin something around the baby but I don’t think that he was able to get one[.] the breathren fixed the wagon very warm and comfortable for Sister Squires and boath her and baby ar[r]ived safe into the City.

There is also more to the story that John Jaques, who was a member of the Martin Handcart Company, recorded about Robert T. Burton, one of the rescuers:

The next camp . . . was in a small canyon running out of the north side of Echo canyon, a few miles above the mouth of the latter. Here a birth took place, and one of the relief party generously contributed part of his under linen to clothe the little stranger. The mother [Sarah Squires] did quite as well as could have been expected, considering the unpropitious circumstances . . . The little newcomer also did well, and was named Echo, in honor of the place of her nativity. She is still a resident of the territory, is a happy wife and mother, and lives in the north country (November 26, 1856).

It should be noted that Robert T. Burton’s job was to record the distribution of supplies which he cared for meticulously.  He did neglect to record that he literally gave the shirt off his own back to the little baby. His granddaughter later told the story, “After he had distributed all the clothing, Robert noticed a mother whose newborn baby did not have sufficient clothing to keep it warm, so he took off his own homespun shirt and gave it to the mother to cover the baby.”

Robert T. Burton, Rescue Company of 1856

His biography states that was just one example of how he lived his life with generosity. Some of his final words to his children were the reminder to “be kind to the poor.”

Kindness is an echo, isn’t it?  May we all look for an opportunities to “echo” service today.

 

Sources:

Tell My Story Too, page 431.

https://history.lds.org/overlandtravel/pioneers/1873/robert-taylor-burton

https://history.lds.org/overlandtravel/pioneers/19316/sarah-minnie-catlin-squires

https://history.lds.org/overlandtravel/pioneers/41265/echo-levinia-squires

https://history.lds.org/overlandtravel/sources/17824106200553894265-eng/archer-patience-loader-reminiscences-transcript-ms-6218-p-57-92?firstName=Echo Levinia&surname=Squires

 

 

I Gave Birth with God Right Beside Me

January 11, 2016 in Birth Stories, Cesarean, Sheridan by enjoybirth

Cesarean Births can be just a spiritual as Vaginal Births.  We love to share all kinds of birth stories on our site, to encourage women to create sacred spaces within their births.  If you have a story to share, please let us know!  We would love to add it to our blog.

Kirsten shares her sweet thoughts with us.   I love that she prayed and asked for a specific desire and was blessed with a beautiful experience.

I have felt like Heavenly Father himself was there, next to me, putting His hand on my shoulder. A physical warm spot on my shoulder from a hand being there. I have specifically heard His encouraging, kind, and loving words as I was laying on the operating table knowing exactly what He was telling me as if I heard someone just talking to me. As hard as it is sometimes being pregnant, my absolute favorite moments in my entire life have been those moments where I gave birth with God right beside me. I have never felt closer to Him, heaven or the veil so thin as in those sacred moments.

Before the recent birth of my 4th baby, I thought a lot about Christ’s mother, Mary, and her sacred role. I have prayed to feel some connection with her, hoping to receive inspiration on how to be a better mother through her and her example. Her bond with her Savior and son fascinates me. I have always wished I could meet and talk with her about what it was like having the Savior as her son. So, before my C-section I prayed for this. I prayed for her presence. During my surgery, I felt her spirit there. I felt her courage and peace as well as my Heavenly Father’s. It was a beautiful thing I will never forget.

I understand she was a chosen woman but like me, is a mother who just tried to do her best with the help of the Spirit. I try even more now to do the same.

by Robyn

VBA2C Birth Story

September 8, 2015 in Adversity, Birth Stories, Book, Cesarean, Doulas, Faith, fasting, Fear, Gratitude, hospital birth, joy, Love, Obstetricians, Prayer, Robyn, Savior, Uncategorized, VBAC by Robyn

Kylie 4 crop

 

My friend, Kylie, was kind enough to let me share her birth story here on the blog.  I came to know her through ICAN (International Cesarean Awareness Network).  Interestingly enough, I came to a place last year when I was contemplating closing our little ICAN chapter.  Not much had been happening with it and I felt like I needed to simplify.  It seemed like the obvious thing to let go of.  And then, I prayed to ask Heavenly Father which direction I should take birth work right at that time and ICAN is what He asked me to put my energies into. So I held on. A few month later our little chapter began to explode.  Our attendance tripled and we experienced seven VBACs in less than a year.  I had the privilege of going to six of these births as a doula.  One of which was Kylie’s birth.  Kylie is beautiful inside and out.  It was a sacred experience to be with her and Adam on that special day.  My heart is full as I contemplate God’s hand in all these blessings. -Robyn

 

So to start I feel it’s appropriate to share the births of my other children.

1st child: emergency C-section When I was pregnant with my first child, I just planned on your typical birth experience that I thought everyone had: Hospital, epidural, no eating, IV, eventually pushing, and having a baby. The day before my due date my doctor swept my membranes and I went into labor 7 hours later. When I got to the hospital I was already 5cm dilated and it still didn’t hurt much, but since the anesthesiologist was there, I got my epidural. My son’s heart rate dropped a few times (partially due to epi, and lying flat on my back and not moving), and they might have given me a small dose of Pitocin. Only 3 short hours later we were ready to push! I was excited and nervous. When they told me to push, I realized I couldn’t even push because I couldn’t feel anything. I think at that point I started to realize I might not be able to do this. The Dr. got vacuum extraction and after only 4 attempts at that I was whisked off to surgery (my son’s heart rate had dropped below 40). I didn’t get to touch my son for over an hour. I fell asleep after surgery, and when I woke up I held him for a few min and then fell asleep again for a few more hours. At the time I felt fine emotionally. I was a little sad I was separated from him a bit at first, and I didn’t get to nurse him till the next day, but it didn’t really strike me as a “traumatic” birth experience until a few weeks later. I cried and mourned the loss of a vaginal birth that would never be mine to cherish. I was told I shouldn’t try a VBAC since my diagnosis was CPD (Cephalo-Pelvic Disproportion: too small pelvis).

2nd child: Scheduled C-section With my next pregnancy we went for a planned, repeat C-section. Off and on I struggled with wanting to try a VBAC, but I didn’t want another emergency C-section. I was scared of going through everything just for the same result. My pregnancy was easy, low-risk, and we planned the C-section for 2 days before the due date. I secretly prayed I’d have the experience of feeling a contraction or two. The night before the scheduled cesarean, I started having small contractions. 6 hours later, while we were being prepped at the hospital, the monitor showed I was having contractions every 5 min. I was happy. I knew my baby girl was ready to come that day. Everything went perfectly. I couldn’t have asked for a better scheduled cesarean birth experience. I got to touch and hold her just minutes after being born and only 15 min later I got to breastfeed her successfully. She never left my “ear sight” and my husband held her the whole time they stitched me up. It was a healing experience compared to my first birth and I really did enjoy it. It was all excitement and no drama. I really felt at peace with our road of cesarean births ahead of us.

Kylie pregnant

The VBAC Journey begins: A few months before our next pregnancy, things started to come up. Three things specifically happened within two weeks that made me decide to research the VBAC route. One, I met someone who introduced me to ICAN (International Cesarean Awareness Network). Two, Adam said he could see us having 5 kids. (Not that we will for sure, but that idea was exciting for me, because I’d always wanted a lot of kids!). And three, I came across an article on FB about a woman trying to get a VBAC at her hospital and they used some research saying that having a lot of repeat cesareans was actually really dangerous to the mother. I had never heard that having 5 C-sections was dangerous. I had talked to 5 doctors and not one of them ever told me the specific risks related to repeat cesareans. And I had told all of them I wanted a lot of children. I was confused and frustrated. I started researching and sure enough found out that I did NOT want any more C-sections if I could avoid it. I then found out that it was possible to VBAC after 2 cesareans if you could find a supportive provider. I did find a supportive provider and hospital (45 away) through my local ICAN chapter. I researched, studied, read, prayed, and fasted to make sure this was the right choice. I feel like I was divinely led to reconsider my birth options. And time and again the thought came to my mind, trust in the arm of God, and not the arm of flesh. Which, to me, meant I needed to trust the choice Heavenly Father was guiding me to make, and not rely only on doctors/professional advice.

Kylie 2 crop BW

VBAC Birth Story: Throughout my pregnancy I continued to research and pray. I hired a doula (a professional birth assistant) and she taught us the Bradley Method of Natural Child Birth. I did some Spinning Babies techniques and did pelvic rocks multiple times a day. (In the meantime my doula and doctor worked together to help 2 other women have successful VBACs!). As my due date drew closer I was getting more excited and nervous. Then my “due date” came and went. We went to Bear lake for a family reunion the week following my due date (and even went down to Orem, Utah the day after the reunion ended)! And still no baby. Luckily my doctor was patient and willing to wait with me. We decided my due date was 5 days off, but that still put me “overdue.” I was starting to feel a little impatient, but was still glad to wait so that my baby could have as much time as she needed to develop in there. I wanted her to be ready as much as I was!

Then on Aug 10th at 2:20 am I felt the first contraction. I started timing them and they were ranging between 7-10 min apart. I woke Adam up at 4 am and he started cleaning the house while I tried to rest. Then my kids woke up and we decided to go for a walk. We walked past a breakfast joint near our house and decided to go get breakfast! It was delicious and just what I needed. My contractions started getting worse as we walked home and my water broke on its own around 1 pm. I called over a babysitter and finally my doula arrived. I told her I checked the “purple line test” for dilation and it was to the top. I cried saying I didn’t want to have my baby in the car! She assured me I wouldn’t and we loaded up and made the 45 min drive to the hospital. Contractions got worse and I knew I had entered transition labor. When we were almost to the hospital I threw up that beautiful breakfast I ate. We pulled into the hospital entrance and Adam ran in to get me a wheel chair because I said I couldn’t walk that far. They got me into a check in bed and went through procedures and I was starting to feel this was unbearable. But I was 8 cm dilated! Then they got us into our birth room and I tried a yoga ball. All I could do was sit on it and lean onto the bed. Adam helped me cool down by pressing a wet rag to my forehead and on my arms. It was the most intense thing I’ve ever experienced. I literally would start to say “oh, no…” every time another contraction started to come. My back labor was intense and I just wanted rest. I was also a lot more vocal during labor than I thought I’d be! At some point my hospital gown came off and I was ah natural except for my sports bra! I did a few different positions but always stayed in the bed.

At one point her heart rate dropped a little and the nurse said I might be complete and need to push. She checked me and I was complete except for a tiny lip of cervix left. She pushed it out of the way and the pushing stage began. We tried the squatting position a few times but I turned out to be too tired to keep pushing like that, so we moved to a side laying position. I pushed on both sides and did squatting again once more, but ended on my right side with Adam holding my upper leg. I was scared of the pushing stage at first because that’s where things went wrong with my first labor, and I was scared it would hurt more. But it turned out that it felt so good to push because it made my back labor go away. And the harder I pushed the more it went away! Everyone told me my pushing was very effective and they could see her head pushing against me every time. At some point after we had been pushing for forever I asked why no one was offering to help me! Are they really going to let me do this all by myself?? And my doula said, “You’re doing it! YOU’RE birthing your baby.” And I realized I was. No vacuum extractors this time. No forecepts. No C-sections. And after an hour and fifteen min of pushing she was born. Her head came out and then both shoulders at once with arms by the sides (causing me to get a 3rd degree tear). But she was out (a full 11 ounces bigger than either of my babies)! They set her right on my stomach. And I got to hold and touch her and watch her give her first cries. All new experiences for me. (I’m crying as I type this!). My husband and I both cried. We experienced the biggest high of our lives. I had felt the most intense physical pressure in my life, but I experienced the most joy I’ve ever experienced in my life. Nothing can compare.

I gained a testimony of God’s creation of women’s bodies. I know nothing was wrong with my body and that God had made my body to do an amazing thing. I believe in and love my body more than I ever did. He made me strong enough, both physically and mentally to have an all-natural birth so that I could witness His marvelous hand, and grow closer to my Savior and closer to my husband.

Kylie crop BW

 

So Much More than Just Birth Stories

January 15, 2015 in Birth Stories, Book reviews by enjoybirth

We love our readers. We wrote this book for all of you!

We also love getting feedback from you about the book. It is so great to read reviews of our book on Amazon. To say thanks, we are going to highlight a review a week.

 I was hesitant to buy this because it just looked like birth stories (which it is), but its also so much more. In talking on a deeper level about the spiritual side of birth instead of the factual: this is my story’s facts. This book dove head first into the feelings and emotions that a birth created. Beautifully written and something I will definitely recommend to others.

To read The Gift of Giving Life, buy your copy at your local LDS bookstore, or on Amazon

by Robyn

What is it like to be born?

December 16, 2014 in Baptism, Birth Stories, Birthday, Dads, Doulas, home birth, hospital birth, Love, Pain, Robyn, Traditions, Uncategorized by Robyn

 

 

RobynBirth-250

photo courtesy of Cali Stoddard Photography

The instructor of my midwife assistant course started off one of our classes with this question, “What is it like to be born?” We discussed the different possibilities:  it could be stressful, scary and even painful, right?  Knowing that the baby can feel our emotion via hormonal responses it makes sense that they might interpret the experience that way.

"You sisters . . . belong to the great sorority of saviorhood . . . You are born with an inherent right, an inherent authority, to be the saviors of human souls." Matthew Cowley thegiftofgivinglife.com

photo courtesy of Cali Stoddard photography

 

One of the other students suggested that without a frame of reference of pain maybe they just experience birth as sensations, in all its fullness without judging the experience as good, bad, or painful.  Maybe before they came to earth they were taught that the experience is a special event and that the mechanics and sensations they would feel are normal?Just as every birth is different and unique, I’m sure there isn’t just one way that it is experienced. (What Babies Want is a documentary that raises questions about what gestation, labor, birth and postpartum period are like for baby.)

 

RobynBirth-258

photo courtesy of Cali Stoddard photography

 

We don’t really know all the answers.   However, after we had discussed how traumatic it might be for a baby I felt compelled to share what I experienced when I supported my sister at her first birth. After arriving at the hospital with her and her husband we settled into a room and her water broke shortly after.  We knew the baby would be there soon.  The word I would use to describe what was felt was love.  The room was just enveloped in love.  I stood next to her face while her husband stood next to the midwife ready to catch.  She later told me that as she rocked back and forth she repeated to herself the mantra, “this is love ” (often love can be painful) and tried to frame the contractions as “hugs”.  I remember her stopping to tell her husband she loved him as she was washed over with intense birthing waves.  My cheek was next to her cheek as she told me she loved me too.  And then her son came. Daddy’s hands caught him with confidence.  And then he quickly passed their son to her. I still cry when I think about it. I have always had a special bond with my sister but this moment intensified it.  Pure love.  I think her little newborn felt it too. (You can read Eli’s entire birth story in our book, “Catching My Son” by John Ellis.)

IMG_0726 BW

The scriptures compare baptism to birth.  As I think back on my baptism day I remember love too. And even though I know that giving birth to me was an intense experience, my mother describes my birth-day with love too.  And because of the season I have cause to wonder what the baby Jesus felt on his birth-day.  It is likely he felt a variety of things, one of which had to be love.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” John 3:16 

 

 

by Lani

Gift Babies: Hollie’s First Birth

December 1, 2014 in Birth Stories, Book, Fear, hospital birth, Lani, Pregnancy, Uncategorized by Lani

We love hearing uplifting birth stories from our readers! Do you have a gift baby? A “gift baby” was born under the influence of The Gift of Giving Life. Please send us your gift baby stories! Here’s one from Hollie:

It took three pregnancy tests to convince me this was really happening. We were married only a month and a half and now a baby was coming. My initial feelings were absolute fear. How on earth could I do this? I was in my second year at university and we were living off of Marks part-time job. This was not the time for having a baby (or so I had thought). If I’m being totally honest, my feelings went a lot deeper and lot more personal than this. All I knew was that I was very much pregnant, and I very much didn’t want to be. I think what was most difficult about dealing with this situation was the guilt that came with it. How could I not want a perfect little son or daughter? I had spent my entire teenaged life dreaming of having a family and now faced with the reality I just wanted a way out.

I felt awful. I kept imagining the beautiful child inside me and thinking ‘How can I not want you?’ I spent a lot of time on my knees and shed an awful lot of tears. A trip to the states and a browse in one of my favourite book shops solved everything. As I stared at the cover of The Gift of Giving Life I felt a little sense of excitement about being able to feel the spirit about being pregnant and giving birth. After reading the contents and seeing the sort of discussions that I would be able to partake of, I knew I had to take this book home. And I was right. This book calmed all of my fears and totally blew my mind. I read the whole thing slowly, and over the course of the nine months. I managed to finish it the week before I gave birth.

One of my favourite parts was reading the thoughts and feelings of a woman who seemed to have been able to put into words the way I had felt when I found out I was pregnant. I remember thinking ‘It’s okay. I’m not the only one. It’s okay to feel like that.’ And that’s all I needed. To know that it was okay to be pregnant and not want to be. After I came to terms with that, I could accept it, take time to heal and figure out that this was the best time for a baby and that although it wasn’t part of our plan, it was definitely a part of Gods plan.

So there I was – five days overdue and at 4 am the contractions woke me up. They were hard, fast and very painful. I was hurting, but I wasn’t afraid and I wasn’t panicked. I was very calm and very focused. I had a firm belief that this was my purpose and what I was designed to do. I knew I could do it and I knew there was no need to worry. I had learned from reading my book that women who have a great fear of giving birth actually tend to have longer labours or complications in childbirth compared with women who are not afraid and keep calm. I even researched this by asking women that I knew, and it seemed to be true. I had great faith that if I stayed calm and had courage that I could do this.

I listened to the sound of rainfall and did my breathing exercises whilst sitting on the bathroom floor trying to figure out when was the right time to call my husband home and when we should go to the hospital. I was so confused – my sister had given birth three days prior and she had been in labour for 40 hours but this was happening so fast. The contractions were almost over-lapping and they were extremely painful. This was difficult for me to deal with without getting panicked, but I just kept telling myself that I could do it and that it would be over soon. This wasn’t going to go on forever, and when it was over I’d have a beautiful little girl to spend everyday with.

At 8.45 am Mark came home, and we called the hospital. It was quite far away so I was reluctant to go in and be assessed because I knew if I wasn’t at least 4 cm dilated they would send us back home. But the contractions were so fast and we felt we should go. We arrived at 10.20 am and after assessment I was told I was 5cm – wow! This was happening quickly. I had always imagined lying on a bed to give birth but sitting down just wasn’t an option in reality. I could feel so much pressure like the baby was coming already so I just had to stand. And I was right – she was coming, and I couldn’t control the urges to push. With my husband there to witness the most incredible moment of our lives and my mother there to hold my hand and motivate me to push that little bit harder, my little Lillie was born at 12.31 pm. It was quick and painful, but I loved every single second. I have never felt anything so exciting and exhilarating. Giving birth to my little girl was the best experience I’ve ever had. It was so positive and so within my capacity. I felt wonderful and so happy to finally have this beautiful, perfect girl.

I truly believe that I owe my birth experience to the things I learned and kept with me from The Gift of Giving Life. I will always treasure the special things I read in it and shared with my husband. I will always treasure calling my sister who was also pregnant with her first and discussing the things we read in this wonderful book. And I will always read this book throughout my pregnancies. It is one of the best books I have ever read and I urge every woman, mother, mother-to be to take in its words and let their hearts be touched.
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P.S. We’ve discounted The Gift of Giving Life for the holidays! Click HERE to snag this super deal!

Friends help friends birth their placentas!!???

September 19, 2014 in Birth Stories, Sheridan by enjoybirth

Wendy was visualizing her birth with just her and her hubby in the birth tub in the backyard and she pushes out the baby alone with the midwife coming right after the baby is born.  This is a great story that shows the power of visualization!!
Angela was her doula, but she asked me to come (with Wendy’s approval) as Angela was 9 months pregnant herself.  We both were wondering if she would have the baby before the midwife came and how we would handle that.  This was weeks ago we discussed it.  I said that we would just have to pray before hand and follow the spirit.  If it happened and we didn’t feel good about it we would call 911.
One night we had a little birthday party for Angela and Wendy was there.  After the party Angela and Wendy floated in Tracine’s hot tub for 2 hours.  Then Wendy went home to go to bed.

The next morning:

Wendy texted Angela in the morning saying she was having pressure waves 5 minutes apart and had had bloody show.

Wendy didn’t want us right away, so that gave us time to get things together.

We were ready to leave around 10:30

Wendy still didn’t need us.  However she hadn’t told the midwife to come yet (who lives hours away) and she had thrown up in the bathtub.  So we got permission to call the midwife and have her come.  We also headed to Dr. Jen’s (our chiropractor) and she is close to where Wendy lives.

While waiting for Dr. Jen, Craig called and said Wendy’s water broke.  Dr. Jen did super fast adjustment for Angela and adjusted my ears and got me a supplement (in under 5 minutes) and we were out of there!

First we prayed in the car before driving.  

“If there is going to be medical issues, please let the midwife be there.  If it is just us, help us to have thy spirit to know what needs to be done and to guide us.”

And off we went.  Angela was sure the baby was going to born ASAP.  I thought maybe, but maybe not.

We got to her house around 11:50 and as Angela got to the door she said, “I think I heard a baby cry.”

But we walked in and Craig came into the house and said they were in the backyard.  So we headed out.

There was Wendy in the tub relaxing.  So I went back in the house to get some oils.

Then I heard pushing noises.

So I turned around and headed right back out. I thought…. baby time.

I came to her shoulder and said, “your body knows just what to do”

She pushed again, leaned back and there was the head. Craig supported it.I knew it was OK to wait for the next pressure wave to push the body out.  But remembering the craziness of hospital births and how they get all anxious made me almost want to jump in and say, “push the body out now.”But I held back I said, “When you have your next pressure wave your baby is going to slide right out.”

She had another pressure wave about a minute later and her baby slid right out.  The cord was like a sash and I helped Craig unwrap the baby a bit and get the baby onto Wendy’s chest.  Then I just thought – keep the baby warm.  The water wasn’t really high, so I was worried he would get cold.  So we got a towel and covered the baby.  Then they just enjoyed snuggling.  After awhile Wendy asked and Craig, what is it?  Craig said He’s a boy.

They just loved on him.  I took some pictures and then found a hat for the baby and checked to see if he was warm.  He cried just a tiny bit, but he was breathing good and looking around. I got another towel and covered him more.

Wendy said, “That was easy!”

She had done the Hypnobabies Home Study and was very diligent with practicing.  It paid off!

Zip Ties for clamping the cord!

After about 20 minutes Wendy tried to birth the placenta but it just didn’t want to come out and it was hard to maneuver baby while still attached.  We couldn’t find cord clamps so Craig thought of using Zip Ties!  Which worked.  (Though later we realized it scraped up the babies leg a bit.)  So we zip tied the cord and Craig cut it.

Then Craig did some skin to skin with the baby, while Angela Wendy and I tried to figure out the placenta.Wendy tried just pushing and that didn’t work, she tried pulling gently on cord while pushing and that didn’t work either.  We prayed and then checked our essential oil book.  (Wendy had asked us to bring our oils in case she didn’t have the ones we needed)  It suggested Whisper for releasing the placenta. That is an oil I don’t have, but Wendy did.  So we put that on her.  That didn’t seem to help so we called the midwife who talked me through guiding the placenta out.  She told me to wrap the cord around my hand and pull while Wendy bore down.  I was a bit nervous, but the midwife said as long as it wasn’t hurting Wendy at all it was fine.  It came out pretty easily with that tip.  I did get birthing tub water all over me, but we did it!  It was pretty crazy.

Then we got Wendy out of the tub and rinsed off and onto the bed.  She happily nursed the baby while I rinsed off and changed (luckily I have a change of clothes in my doula bag.)

Then we just sat together on Wendy’s bed and were amazed at the day and the birth and how amazing it all was.  The baby was so mellow and happy.  Wendy was glowing and Craig was so proud of Wendy and himself.  It was just what she had visualized and it worked just great.

It happened so fast that I didn’t have time to get nervous.

I was a bit nervous about the placenta thing, but the midwife was still an hour out at that point and Wendy was game so I can now say I helped a friend birth her placenta.  I think if I was just her doula I would have been more hesitant to do it, but I felt like I was doing it as her friend.  Because that is what friends do – help their placenta come out if they need help.  🙂

Wendy asked Angela to put oils on her baby, so we made up the blends the book suggested and Angela put the oils on the babies head and I put them on his feet.  Then I gave Wendy a foot massage while Angela fed her yogurt and cashews.

The midwife got there about 2 hours after the baby was born!It was a magical birth, I think because it was Angela, Wendy, Craig and I together with this magical experience. 2 weeks before we had been in that same location at her blessing way and she had shared how she imagined her birth and that was how it happened.

I just wish we had gotten some of it on film.  But it was just perfect.  I am so honored I could be there and share that miracle!

Westly’s Birth – Filled with love and the spirit.

September 17, 2014 in Birth Stories, Sheridan by enjoybirth

Thank you Wendy for sharing your birth story with me and my readers!  It was such an honor to be there.

When I think of Westley’s birth I am filled with love, and the spirit. It was exactly how I imagined it would be. Four short hours of pain free birth. I was woken up on August 23rd by Taylor and Kaden coming into bed to cuddle with me. I was nestled in between them while they slept. Daddy was on the other side of the bed and the room was brimming with love. I felt my pressure waves getting stronger, and thought that today might be the day. I thought it was the perfect way to start my loving birthing time. One tender moment I won’t forget was when Kaden softly rubbed my back, as he often does in the morning.

I got up to pee and checked for bloody show as I had been doing for a month now for a first sign of my birthing time. Every time I had peed in the last month I was checking for it, and this morning on August 23rd it was here! I had a calm excitement as a walked back to the bedroom to tell Craig that today might be the day we meet our baby! Craig got up with a calm tender excitement and started preparing for the big moment. I got into the bath, and he brought me coconut water and tea.

Craig was bustling around calling and making our planned preparations, coming in often to check on me. I laid calmly in the bath using my Hypnobabies through each gentle pressure wave. I was so comfortable and welcomed every pressure wave with a smile, knowing that each one brought me one step closer to meeting my baby. The kids kept coming in to check on me, and gave their loving support. As I went to get out of the tub I threw up what I had been drinking. ( I didn’t know it at the time, but this was my transformation)

I got out of the tub and got on my birthing ball in the bedroom. The kids were coming in and giving me lots of love and hugs and kisses especially Taylor. Taylor also came in to show me her new outfit and modeled it for me. While I was on the birthing ball my Sisi came and took the kids to the petting zoo, they were so exited. Sisi came in and we chatted a bit. After the kids and Sisi left I needed a change in position, so I laid on the bed with my body pillow. Craig was in the room with me, and we listened to our fear clearing cd( a hypnosis cd).

I was calmly laying on the bed and he was setting up the baby hammock. I think I was in a deep hypnosis at this point. Craig went to the back yard and started setting up the birthing pool. I was still on the bed when my water broke. I got up and told Craig, then laid on the couch for one pressure wave, then one the bed for another. The whole feeling of them changed as I felt the baby enter the birthing canal.

I immediately got into the birthing tub, and I have never been more grateful for plastic tub of water. It was just what I needed. My body naturally started making loud awing sounds as the baby descended down the canal. I was shocked it was time for the baby to come, because the birthing time was so short, relaxing and easy.

At this point it was just Craig and I in the back yard. The midwife or doula had not shown up yet. Craig held my hand through each pressure wave, he was perfect. After about two or three pressure waves in the tube, the head emerged. I was relieved, and exited! At some point around that time my friends and doula support came into the back yard. Angela and Sheridan are both Hypnobabies doulas.

Sheridan put her hand on my shoulder and said relax, my body instantly did, and my baby was born. I took my baby in my arms and just felt so much love. The spirit was strong. All of us were crying sweet happy tears. That one moment in time will be one I hold close to my heart my whole life. A rare sacred moment. After holding him for awhile, I Asked Craig if it was a boy or girl. He told me boy. And we sat there baby in my arms and I in Craig’s arms just looking at our sweet miracle. It was perfect. And I am so grateful that I was able to experience it.

by Lani

Comfort for Birth Trauma

April 29, 2014 in Adversity, Attachment, Birth Stories, Book reviews, Depression, Fear, Giveaways, Lani, Traumatic Birth, Virtual Book Tour by Lani

*Today’s Virtual Book Tour post comes from the wonderful Kylie of Satisfied by Sunshine. Kylie is a beautiful soul. As with so many beautiful souls, Kylie has seen the bitter despair of darkness and found her way back into the light of joy. (You can read about her inspiring climb out of anxiety/depression HERE.) For our Virtual Book Tour, Kylie has shared how our book helped her come to peace with unexpected and traumatic changes in her first birth experience. Here’s an excerpt:

And here I realized that the suffering I was experiencing wasn’t because anything I had ‘done wrong’, or should have planned better for in giving birth, but that I was attached to the idea that if birth isn’t peaceful, relaxed, and done a certain way, then it was not what I wanted. . . . And when I let go of what I thought was the best type of birth, what I wanted, and expected I found a well of healing within. It was okay that events did not follow my desired birth plan, but actually were far from it. I did my best to work towards what I thought was best, and in the end God wanted to teach me something better. A lesson of trusting Him. A lesson of letting go of my plan and embracing His, and that lesson was powerful. It prepared me to be willing after all I could do to . . . embrace what was, what is and find joy, and healing in my continued endeavor of motherhood. It allowed me to see the beauty in every birth, every type and every situation. These were the lessons I learned through my own experience and found within the pages of the Gift of Giving Life. Birth is beautiful and spiritual, even when unexpected turns occur in how you wanted your birth experience to be.

You can read the rest of Kylie’s Virtual Book Tour post HERE.

Kylie has generously donated one of the prizes for our Virtual Book Tour giveaways… a gorgeous tree of life pendant necklace. Find out how you can enter to win it by visiting our Virtual Book Tour page.

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Kylie has lots of other beautiful necklaces available through her Etsy shop The Sister Tree. I want them all!

by Lani

Mrs. Tips and 20% off!

April 24, 2014 in Birth Stories, Book reviews, Giveaways, Grief, Lani, Loss, Virtual Book Tour by Lani

the-gift-of-giving-life-book-review-1Today’s Virtual Book Tour post comes from Yvonne at Mrs. Tips. A little bit about Yvonne from her “About” page: “I’m a 31 year old SAHM who sometimes WAHM making fun things for my etsy store I have with my two sisters (SwedishSisters.etsy.com). I am enthusiastic to be alive and I love life!” I’ve only met Yvonne once in person at our new moon gathering in January, but I have to say that if anyone could be called a “sunbeam,” it’s Yvonne. She’s a ray of light and joy!

I loved reading about her third birth experience and how The Gift of Giving Life helped her through the hardest part: a shoulder dystocia. And I also loved reading about how the book gave her the sensitivity to help a friend as she grieved the loss of her baby. Here’s an excerpt:

As I continued to read the book after Cassie’s birth, I was able to share with Krystal chapters that I felt would help her through her grieving process. I asked her later if I was remiss for just e-mailing her a chapter I had read (I scanned it and e-mailed it to her as a pdf) without knowing if she really felt up to reading anything like that in the moment, and she told me that what I had sent her was perfect. She needed to know that it was okay for her to feel the full range of emotions she was feeling.

I learned from those grief chapters what NOT to say to a grieving parent and what to DO for a grieving mother. I think the sensitivity I gained from this book has helped strengthen our friendship. I felt more confidence in mentioning Kale in our conversations rather than being afraid to talk about him in an effort to protect her emotions as I may have done before reading the chapters in this book that dealt with mourning the loss of a child. He is not a taboo subject when we are together.

Robyn’s essay on grief is one I myself have shared with friends grieving losses. It’s a wonderful resource.

Click HERE to read the rest of Yvonne’s post. And then head over to our Virtual Book Tour page to see how you can enter to win some awesome prizes.

We’d also like to announce that we’re making it even easier for you to get loads of entries

The Gift of Giving Life will be 20% off from now until Mother’s Day on Amazon!

A friend of mine gave copies of the book to her mother, mother-in-law, and grandmothers for Mother’s Day last year. Think of all the wonderful mothers you know whose hearts would be warmed by The Gift of Giving Life. Buying the book earns you four entries into each of our prize giveaways and one entry to our spiritual childbirth education class giveaway! Head over to Amazon and take advantage of this super deal.

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