Tuesday, October 7, 2008

I Quit My Job. Take That Corporate America : )

Hello friends!!!!!

I am still a little shocked that I actually did this, but I put in my "two weeks" today (I'm actually working until the 29th). No, I'm not unemployed. I'm an artist now :D I actually have big plans. Big big plans. I think too big to be confined between the walls of a cubicle. I'm surprised I lasted this long. Firstly, I'll be spending a lot of time with my kids. I miss them from all the time I've wasted at work, and we're going to have so much fun together. We're going to have play time with Carly and Natalie, we're going to get a pass to the Children's Museum, we're going to read and play music and dance and go on walks!!!! I'm so excited.

I have been gifted an amazing DSLR camera (read- super awesome and professional like), and I'm going to start practicing and getting better at taking photos. I plan to eventually do maternity photos and possibly newborn photos for my clients!!

I'm going to keep growing my doula business and will soon start teaching childbirth education. Hopefully I'll have enough space in my new house to do it out of there.

I am FINALLY going to teach myself to learn to play my guitar. I love to sing (not something I share a lot) and I'm going to have time now to practice. I want to play quiet acoustic singer songwriter type music.

I am going to continue doing tarot readings. I hope to soon set up a website to filter clients through. I seem to keep busy doing this and now I wont feel rushed. I have a top secret plan for creating a tarot deck that I'll reveal soon. Stay posted!

I have a sewing machine that my sister gave me about two years ago that hasn't even come out of the box because I haven't had time for it. I'm going to figure it out and start making slings and whatever the hell I want to sell and to keep for myself or gift to my friends. Etsy here I come!!!

I'm going to cook for my husband and my family. We're going to eat well. Cooking has become such a big deal to me, and it makes me feel wrong when we have to eat processed foods or convenience foods. All of our food will be cooked with love and intention and we will all thrive and be happy because of it.

And I'm going to have time to market Jake's tree business. He's awesome at what he does and just needs clients! I have done that very thing for big business and I can make it happen for our business!!!

I feel like my life is starting. I have to say I'm really inspired by a lot of people in my life who follow their bliss. Carly being one- I thought she was insane when she quit this large company. I thought making good money at a corporation was the holy grail. Now I know why she didn't stay. People of our calibur can't be contained this way. It's like having a wild animal in a cage ;) I don't know my auntie to have ever done anything she didn't want to do. My dad is working towards his dreams of owning lots of property to build a commune :D My mother in law works for herself and doesn't have to answer to anyone (and she's a rockstar on top of that!). My awesome sister has all the drive and determination in the world (and while she's still working for the dark side, I know that fantastic things will happen to her in the future as well). I'm surrounded by people to be proud of and to look up to. I love you all!!! I appreciate every single one of you for helping through this hard time for my family. We've got nothing but fun and excitement coming our way now though!!!!

Peace and Love!!!!

Monday, October 6, 2008

New Birth Articles

I have been taking new articles from some fabulous women I've met and I'd like to share them with you. They can be seen here:

Birth Articles

They are at my site www.holistic-doula.com

If you have articles you'd like to submit for the site, please email me at Dani@holistic-doula.com

Peace and Love!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Vision Board 9/22/2008

It's not exactly Treasure Mapping time, but I'm feeling an urge to create a vision board of the things I'd like to occur in the next...oh six months or so. I think it's important to not only think out your goals, but to visualize them into existence. With so many happenings going on for me right now, this will be a good way to map out my thoughts and ideas.

So without further ado....

We will be moving in the next month or so. I am manifesting the perfect house for us (see details in the post below), and I am also manifesting all the money we need to move into that house.

I know this is totally random, but I have always really wanted a vw bus. I would rather have one instead of my car right now, and it seems practical. I don't think I'll ever drive a minivan, but I would like to have more kids- so it makes sense to have a car that'll hold more than two kids, right? Maybe I could even get one and convert it to bio-diesel? Or even better yet, maybe I can find someone selling one that is already bio-diesel?!

I want to continue being diligent about doing yoga (even after I leave my job to be home with my kids!) I've been doing it twice a week now. Once I'm home with my kids, I want to start them in on doing yoga with me. It's very refreshing and I feel exhilirated doing it :)

Once I'm home, I want to spend time working on crafts and hobbies. I've been so busy taking care of kids and working, that I haven't had any time for myself. That's about to change!!! I'm going to keep teaching myself to sew, and play guitar, and keep learning to cook (which I'm getting better and better at!), and garden, and anything my heart desires! I love crafty things! Maybe I'll even get a niche and set up an etsy shop.

I want Jake's business to become more and more successful, as well as his position within the company he's already at!!!!

Perhaps there'll be a part two to this...Hmm. But for now, so it is!!!!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Time to Manifest a House Again!

Well folks, it's time to ramble on. I have experienced the contrast of living in the house I'm in, so now I can refine what it is that I want in a new house...

I need a house with at least two bedrooms and one bathroom. I really want something quaint and cottage like, with a woodsy secluded feel. Well insulated and double pane windows are a must! A fireplace would be lovely. Here's just a couple examples for you Universe:

I want a large kitchen with nice, easy to clean appliances (including a dishwasher!). There needs to be room for Jake and I to cook together, because that is one of our favorite past times!

I need a nice bathroom with an EASY TO CLEAN bathtub. Think cute and spa like. There needs to be a fan so it stays nice and dry :)

And we will also need a whimsical garden that I can frolick in with my children. We just love to frolick.

And it has to of course be in the right location with the right price!!!!

And so it is!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Big Bird and Breastfeeding!

You don't see a lot of shows depicting breastfeeding as the normal thing that it is. How cool!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

The Joys of Babywearing

Wow, kids get big so very fast. I look at my five month old little boy and know he wont be a baby much longer. I look at my two year old and wonder where the time went. I want to get as much of the love and snuggles that I can out of them, because frankly, none of us are getting any younger. One of the ways I've maximized our time together is I wear them. Yes, I wear my children. I still have a couple of other gadgets, a swing, a jump up....but they are more of a back up to babywearing for me, rather than my only resource for when I need to do the dishes, or vacuum, or do the laundry. They're also handy for going out and about; I have lost all need for a stroller for my littlest guy (and it's less expensive than one!)

I feel so good holding my sweet little one right up against me and knowing he's safe and happy while I go about my daily life. Babies long to be close to their mommy's and daddy's (and yes, daddy's should wear their babies too!). They enjoy the soothing, rhythmic movements of daily life.

It seems a bit tricky at first, but if you're the proud owner of a new sling and feel a bit confused, stick with it! I promise you'll practically be able to do it one handed in no time!!!

Here's some quick tips on slings:

1. Try to stay away from the "baby bjorn" type slings (this pertains to basically any sling you find at a Baby's R Us, a WalMart, or a Target at this point in time).

2. If you're looking at a sling that requires measurements, make sure you take them. There's nothing worse than a sling that's too big or two small and wrenching on your back. You wont be able to take that for very long. You're trying to make this easy on yourself, remember?

3. My personal rule is to find something with wide straps. The wider the straps, the more you can spread the weight of the baby across your back, therefore making it easier on your shoulders, back muscles, etc.

Here are the types of slings I recommend:

1. Wrap Sling.

Wrap slings seem highly cumbersome upon first glance. It takes a few tries to get the hang of it, but I assure you that these are among the most comfortable of slings. The weight is distributed appropriately, baby is snug, all are happy. Another plus of the wrap sling is you can wear your baby in many positions; facing inward, facing outward, on your back, on your hip, and across your front. I have successfully breastfed in a wrap sling as well.

2. Ring Sling

I have personally never used a ring sling myself, but I've heard fantastic things. They are attractive, they are easy to adjust, they have a wide strap for distributing weight.

3. Mei Tai

This is my personal favorite of all slings. You can throw it on quickly (the big one for me!), you can carry much heavier children than in the others mentioned so far, you can wear baby (or toddler!) on your front or back. You cannot wear them facing outward which is a deal breaker for some kids. The drawback for me on this one, is they generally have straps that I feel should be wider, and so prolonged use can cause your back to get a bit sore. I feel I can go probably two hours or so before I need a break, where as with a wrap for instance, I could probably go much longer. All in all, still my favorite.

This is a good mei tai with thick, comfortable straps. They unfortunately don't have much on Amazon:


4. Pocket Sling

These are generally easy on, easy off slings. They come in great colors and designs, and they keep baby snug.

5. Ergo

The Ergo is a variation of a mei tai. It has snaps instead of straps, causing it to stay put more easily. You have to fiddle with the straps to get them to the length you want, but once you're set you're good to go. I haven't met a single person unhappy with their Ergo.

Now that you know what to look for, happy baby wearing!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Louise Hay is an absolute Angel!

I swear everything that comes from this woman's mouth is magical. She's got a calming presence and true trust in the Universe. Enjoy!

Loving Yourself

And this is a great book by Louise that everyone should own:

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Random Garden Volunteers...

I have some random things in my garden and I have no clue what they are. Some may be just flowers, or weeds, or herbs, or whatever, but I am dying to know if they are useful in any way!!! If you recognize any of these, let me know! :D

Friday, July 25, 2008

What's Up on Planet Earth?

I was referred to this website and it's fabulous! If you sign up, you get emails everytime Karen posts a new "Energy Alert". She also speaks about cob houses if that's something you're interested in...

You can find her newest Energy Alerts here.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Nibiru and 2012

This is quite interesting. The music is a little cheesy, but the message is captivating. I don't necessarily buy into it, but I don't necessarily disagree with it either. I recall them saying on the news some time ago that there was what they called a planet X, and then I never heard of it again. That in itself makes me wonder why they would hide it from us...

Saturday, July 19, 2008

New kids photos!

Spreading the cuteness around!

I did that weird thing where I have half open eyes in this photo- but Asher looks so cute I couldn't not post it! ;)

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Just for fun...

Carly and I with henna at each of our respective mother blessings ;)

Grateful Grateful Grateful!

I haven't posted in so very long! My vibe is a bit low today, so I figured I'd try to make myself post about what I'm grateful for and bring it up a few notches!

I'm grateful for my new littlest guy- he's adorable and lovable! He's got chubby little arms and legs and the biggest smile. He makes me feel so happy.

photo by philmaland.com <-- he'd probably kill me if I didn't post that ;)

I'm grateful for my other little guy as well. He is strong and independent, but he also cares for every member of his family. When Asher cries, he puts his hand on his head and says bruh-er (brother). He gives out lots and lots of kisses these days too. And he's just recently taken to an awesome stuffed giraffe- he never cared for any particular toy before so it's super cute to me. Not to mention giraffes are my favorite animal ever and out of all his toys he chose a giraffe!

I'm grateful that it's summertime and it's nice and warm outside. I love having the doors open in my house and listening to music and letting all that beautiful sunshine come through my giant front room windows! Mmmmm.

I'm grateful that I have a house of my own that I can do to what I please. I love that I can paint the kitchen orange and paint a giant tree in Eli's playroom :D

I'm grateful for gardening! I love that I have a yard these days! It's so fun to plant your flowers and watch them grow. I love my honeysuckle that my good pal Xamara got for me- it's getting bigger and bigger and smells fabulous! And the colors are energizing and fun.

I'm grateful that we have friends around all week long coming and going and bringing us happiness throughout the day. They're around to help when we need it and they always raise the vibe.

I'm grateful for my well paying job that allows me to have the nice things I have in my life.

I am really grateful for google video :D I can listen to history channel stuff on my headset at work and it makes work much more pleasant.


I had to edit to add I'm grateful for my new niece Lily! She's an angel and a blessing. :)

Friday, May 2, 2008

Having a Humane Childbirth Experience- Is It So Much To Ask?

Studies have determined that women are strongly affected by their childbirth experience, even long after the event has passed. If you’re a mother, you probably remember everything about your birthing experience down to the smallest detail- regardless of whether it took place 2 weeks ago or twenty years ago. Why is it then that so many women are pushed through an unnatural birthing process? We end up being pumped full of drugs to speed labor up or take away pain being told that the side effects aren’t anything to worry about. Well the next thing you know, the baby’s heart rate has dropped and you find yourself on a table under bright lights being sliced open…what went wrong?
Childbirth doesn’t have to be like this. Educate yourself before it’s too late. Hire a doula to help you through your fears before your labor and to help advocate for you during your labor. Yes, cesareans are sometimes necessary (and can still be beautiful birthing experiences), but they are becoming an all too common way we’re forced to give birth. Take a stand and take back your birth experience ladies!

-Danielle Griffin

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Tarot Study Week One- The Fool

I am hosting a study group for an online forum on tarot, and figured I'd post it here as well for anyone interested. If you'd like to receive a tarot reading from me, you can contact me at youmakelovinfun@comcast.net

It's tarot study group time. I'm going to go through the cards one by one each week and post their meanings (borrowing descriptions from learntarot.com). This will be based on a classic tarot deck, and I am going to specifically use the Rider Waite, however there are many decks that use the same pattern. If you do not use a classic deck, there will still be broad information in here you can use as well. I'll start each week with a post about tarot tips, and the second post will be a description about the card. I will post a third time with what the card means to me when I see it, and then we can discuss. I encourage you to post how you feel when you see the card and what you notice in the picture.

Cleansing and storing your cards-

Since this is our first week and there will be people who are learning for the first time, this week will be about cleansing and storing cards (already posted on Jenny's thread).

Once you have obtained a deck, whether you have purchased it or it was gifted to you, you should cleanse and store them properly. I like to use sage to cleanse my cards, but I feel that any incense will do. Use the burning sage or incense and run your cards through the smoke one by one while you cleanse them. This will remove any energy that had been a part of your cards so that you can fill them with your own energy.

Cards should be stored in a wooden box or in a silk wrap and kept near you while you sleep- under your pillow is sufficient. This is not always necessary, but when you first receive the cards it helps to fill them with your energy.

There are 78 tarot cards in total. 22 of these cards are major arcana cards. Major arcana cards signify a major life event and something that I believe is a destiny. 56 of the cards are Minor arcana cards (very similar to a deck of playing cards, and some people used to use playing cards to read the tarot). Minor arcana cards signify smaller life happenings and day to day life. We will start with learning the Major arcana.


entering a new phase
striking out on a new path
expanding horizons
starting something new
beginning an adventure
going on a journey
heading into the unknown

being spontaneous
living in the moment
letting go of expectations
doing the unexpected
acting on impulse
feeling uninhibited
surprising someone
feeling carefree

having faith
trusting the flow
staying open
letting go of worry and fear
feeling protected and loved
living in joy
recapturing innocence

embracing folly
accepting your choices
taking the "foolish" path
pursuing a pipe dream
being true to yourself
taking a "crazy" chance
trusting your heart's desire

As Card 0, the Fool lies at the beginning of the major arcana, but also somewhat apart from the other cards. In medieval courts, the court jester was someone who was not expected to follow the same rules as others. He could observe and then poke fun. This makes the Fool unpredictable and full of surprises. He reminds us of the unlimited potential and spontaneity inherent in every moment. There is a sense with this card that anything goes - nothing is certain or regular. The Fool adds the new and unfamiliar to a situation.

The Fool also represents the complete faith that life is good and worthy of trust. Some might call the Fool too innocent, but his innocence sustains him and brings him joy. In readings, the Fool can signal a new beginning or change of direction - one that will guide you onto a path of adventure, wonder and personal growth. He also reminds you to keep your faith and trust your natural responses. If you are facing a decision or moment of doubt, the Fool tells you to believe in yourself and follow your heart no matter how crazy or foolish your impulses may seem.

We are all going to interpret the cards a little bit differently, and that's ok. There are some basic interpretations when you read the tarot (these are the things you can look up), however this knowledge is not exactly necessary in my opinion. I think a feeling you get from a card or a vision is going to mean so much more than what you can look up in a reference book. Sometimes the interpretation from the reference book doesn't resonate with you, and in that case I would always go with how you feel about it. I highly suggest only reading for yourself if you're a beginner until you feel more comfortable reading for others. It took me 8 years to get to a point where I felt ok reading for other people.

When I see the fool, I see a young (or young hearted) person that is excited to begin life's journey. Maybe a little ignorant at times, but with a very pure heart. In the image, you see a young person standing on the edge of a cliff...I feel like that person is unafraid standing so close to a cliff. Not uptight. The sun is shining bright yellow...it is very joyful. The querant seems very carefree.

This is what I get from just *looking* at the card. If the card was in relation to other cards, I may see something else (we'll get into reading multiple cards together later though).

What do you see in the fool?

Monday, April 21, 2008

Goods From the Woods

My uncle Brad has an awesome new business:

Goods From The Woods

He's amazing at what he does and I encourage you to check it out!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Summer's closing in on us! Calendar of awesome events!

4/18/08 Skagit Valley Tulip Festival (Mount Vernon) Come support my local economy! ;)

5/23-5/26 Northwest Folk Life Festival
(Seattle Center)

8/7-8/10 Flowmotion Summer Meltdown Festival(Darrington)

8/21-9/1 Evergreen State Fair

8/30-9/1 Bumbershoot (Seattle Center)

I haven't seen any spectacular concerts coming up...Jack Johnson is coming to the Gorge on 8/22 which may be a worthwhile trip. Yes is coming on 8/15 as well. I will come back and post if there are any other concerts worth mentioning.

Happy Summer Time!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

I still love this guy!

I really hope he ends up putting an album out.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

New Little Guy Photos!

Here's a couple of updated photos. We've been sick for about a week (can you believe that? Right after Asher was born!), but we're all starting to feel really good and happy now. The sun has been out the last few days and it has been very uplifting. I'm getting excited for Easter- It's going to be Eli's first Easter really because we didn't do anything last year. I made him a giant basket and we have dye for eggs! Woohoo! I'll have to get some photos of that because it's sure to be messy fun ;)

Monday, March 3, 2008

Asher Dean: A Doula's Beautiful Cesarean Birth

On Wednesday the 27th, I went and saw my midwife for my weekly appointment. I was 7 days past due and thought I would have gone into labor at that point. I still felt pretty good though, and knew it was getting closer. When I got to the office, I saw my secondary midwife, and one of the students. They wanted to check my cervix to see if I had made progress from the previous week where I had been 2 cm dilated, 50% effaced, and Asher was at -1 station. When she checked me, she informed me there had been no progress from that point. I was ok with that, although a bit surprised. I had been losing bloody show for about a week (I'd never heard of anyone losing show for more than a few days) and I had been having pretty decent crampy contractions. She told me that my primary midwife wanted to do a Foley Catheter induction if I hadn't made any progress. I had never actually heard of a Foley Catheter induction (to my surprise, being that I am a doula myself). I talked it over with her. She was aware that I wanted to be as non invasive with this labor as possible, and I wanted to know the details. With a Foley Catheter, they insert a balloon into your cervix and inflate it to about 4 cm. You walk around and the pressure of the catheter causes you to begin dilating until you're a four, at which point the balloon will fall out. If it didn't work, there were no negative implications so I agreed to it. My primary midwife had to be called into the office to do the procedure. It was actually not nearly as uncomfortable as I imagined it would be. She told me that she actually hadn't had a ton of success kick starting labor with the Foley, but had heard other midwives that swear by it. I started getting crampy immediately. I had left the office with the orders to walk as much as I could so that the pressure would cause dilation. I was also told that it shouldn't be in more than six hours, and if I hadn't dilated to four after six hours to remove it. I called my partner Jake to let him know what was happening (he had stayed home with Eli- our first son- during my appointment). I drove to Home Depot to walk around and pick up a few things. I had burnt the vacuum filter earlier that day and knew if I wasn't able to finish vacuuming I'd probably be horribly embarrassed when everyone got to my house for the birth. I was having regular contractions while walking around. When I got home, I tried to wander around the house and stay upright. I watched American Idol and tried not to pay attention to my contractions. After a few hours, I was getting upset the balloon hadn't come out yet, so I went on a walk to the Red Apple about half a mile from our house and back. My contractions were getting much crampier and I was pleased. Still the balloon hadn't come out, so I took a shower and decided I would have a quick nap. Jake told me he'd wake me up at midnight and we'd see what was going on. I was supposed to take the catheter out at 11:30. At midnight I woke up and it came right out!!! My contractions weren't as regular though, and I didn't want labor to go away. Jake's best friend Tommy was sleeping in one of the rooms to keep an eye on Eli (I wasn't ready to send him away yet), so Jake and I took a walk to the river. There was a nice cool breeze and we had a really good time walking together. Contractions were crampy while we walked, but once we were back and I was sitting or lying down, they weren't as intense. I was very surprised at how easily I made it to four cm this time around, because with Eli I had horrible back labor and it took a long time and a lot of very hard contractions to get to a four. I decided then (probably 1:30 am or so?) that regardless of whether or not the contractions peter out, I needed to try and sleep because I was sure to have a full day ahead of me. I fell asleep immediately. I remember waking up to a couple contractions, and Jake swears I moaned a couple of times in the night. I slept all night though. Woke up at around 7 am the next day, Feb 28th. I wasn't feeling regular contractions and I was slightly irritated. I called my midwife and left her a message saying that the balloon came out, I was having contractions, but they weren't regular and so I wasn't getting too excited about it. I wanted Jake and Eli to sleep, so once again, I got up and walked to Red Apple to get myself a coffee and back. As soon as I started walking, my contractions got regular again. Jake and Eli were up once I got back (which was surprising to me! Jake will normally sleep as late as possible. I knew he was very excited and antsy about our new son making his arrival soon though!). Eli played around the house, Jake cleaned, and I tried to busy myself with this and that. I didn't want to sit too much because I didn't want contractions to space out. I let my doula (Megan- also my business partner) know what was happening. It was a bit funny and ironic, because she had told me the week prior that Thursday was the only day I wasn't allowed to go into labor since she wouldn't have a sitter that day! I received a call back from my midwife in the late morning/early afternoon. I told her my contractions were coming back, but they weren't horribly strong yet. She told me she wanted me to call her at 2pm regardless of what was happening, to update her. She also highly suggested I have someone come get Eli at that time. One of my best girlfriends, Xamara, came and picked him up (she got pulled over on the way to our house!) I talked to my doula at 12:30 or so in the afternoon- right after Eli was picked up. I told her we were still doing well on our own. She listened to me moan through a couple contractions. She thought that she ought to head over at that point since it's a little bit of a drive. She arrived right before 2 pm. When she got to our house, I was having a contraction in the kitchen and smelling lemon dishwasher soap (I've been in love with the smell of lemon dishwasher soap this entire pregnancy)!! We chatted between contractions and tried to keep the vibe light hearted. The sun was shining through my windows and I was in a fabulous head space to be in labor. I called my midwife back at 2, as promised. I had told her the contractions were more intense, but I felt I was really dealing with them well. She listened to me vocalize through a pretty powerful contraction and told me that she and the students would be over at 3:30. I told her I still felt I was doing well if they wanted to wait longer. She had a chat with my doula, and they thought I was making good progress and that we should get the team together. Megan and I spent time together during contractions talking and just all around trying not to focus fully on the sensations. When the team arrived, I was checked. I was 5 cm dilated and 100% effaced. She continued checking me through another contraction, and I went from a 5 to a 6. I was very enthused to hear this! I knew I was doing hard work, but it felt completely doable! My midwife suggested that Jake, Megan, and I take a walk. I was ok taking the walk, but knew it would be a bit interesting. We live in a business district, and it was a sunny afternoon- and here I am moaning through contractions! We walked about forty five minutes or so. I tried to walk through contractions, but it didn't work for long. Megan was very amused at all of the cars that leered while I was contracting in the middle of everything! Once we got back to the house, I decided I wanted to take a shower and just have Jake in the room. I think this was probably my favorite part of the labor. I stood in the warm shower, and I had Jake bring his guitar in. He played guitar and I sang while the sun was shining through the bathroom window. It was very beautiful. We sang Elderly Woman Behind a Counter in a Small Town, Mr. Jones, and Lola. The water then started getting cold and I had to get out. I was bummed the water was giving up because I was really enjoying that time with Jake and it made my contractions seem like they weren't even happening. She checked me again soon after that and said I was more than a 7, but not quite an 8 (this was around 5 pm or so). I felt like this was going so easily! The only issue we were having was that my cervix was still posterior. I labored in the living room with the midwives, Jake, and Megan. I still tried to keep the mood light and joke in between contractions. It was around 8pm now. The contractions began getting more and more difficult to cope through. I was really getting to a point where I wanted things to speed up. When I was checked again (time is now foggy), I was still about a 7. Because my cervix wasn't coming forward, Asher's head wasn't putting even pressure on it causing it to dilate further. My midwife held my cervix forward during a few contractions (Yowza!), but it wouldn't stay put. My water still hadn't broken, and I was thinking that it would be a good idea to help it along. I had been a 7-8 for a couple hours by then, and transition contractions were kicking my butt. When she broke my water, it absolutely gushed out. It was clear, no meconium staining. Contractions were the most intense I had ever felt. I wanted to go upstairs and labor with just Jake. We went up and turned on the labor music I had downloaded to our computer. I labored on my left side for quite some time. It made the contractions space out a bit, but they were even stronger. I was becoming very tired, and I fell asleep between a few contractions. It was hard, because once the contraction hit, it would wake me up and I didn't have enough time to get on top of it. I was alternating the ways I tried to cope to see what worked. I banged on the bed frame with my hand while I counted, I tried thinking of Eli and the cute things he says, nothing was working just right. I then realized that if I pushed *just a little bit* during my contractions, that it eased the pain slightly. Everyone had made it upstairs by then. I asked if it was ok to push just a little bit. I was told to go ahead, but don't push much if it's not time- and that I'd know when it was time. After a bit, I was checked again and I was still a 7. I was very irritated and disappointed. I had worked through these extreme contractions for hours, and nothing was happening. I remember thinking that transition was supposed to be the shortest part, and I was angry. I needed to get off of my left side. I went downstairs and got into the shower. I was hitting the shower wall rhythmically during contractions. Jake was in the shower with me. I kept telling Jake I couldn't do it and I didn't want to do it any longer. Jake was very strong for me, because I know it was hard for him to watch me while I was in pain like that. He told me I wasn't giving up and I had to keep going. He knew that I would be angry with him if I felt he let me give up to easily. It took me a little bit to get into the right head space and stop disagreeing with him, but I reached deep down and found every last piece of energy I had inside of me. I began to fill the bath tub with water. I thought this would be my secret weapon and allow me to get in some good contractions but still be able to relax slightly between them. There was not a ton of hot water left, so Jake began boiling pots and pots of hot water. He kept the water pretty warm for me and I am very grateful. I needed it.. I lowered my noises which had gotten very loud and screamy. They weren't helping me cope and I knew I needed to change that. I oohed and rolled my head from left to right, right to left, during contractions. I know it probably looked like they weren't too intense from the outside, but I have honestly never felt anything so all consuming before in my life. I did this for some time, but I'm not certain how long. When I was checked again, I was STILL a 7. This was around 11:30. I had been at a seven and having transition contractions for about 6 1/2 hours. My midwife said that although I could feel my contractions, they weren't affecting my cervix while I was contracting (based on what she felt during a check). She said that she felt we should transfer to the hospital for Pitocin. I was disappointed, but agreeable. I couldn't handle transition contractions unmedicated any longer, not to mention they weren't doing much of anything to my cervix. We grabbed everything and quickly left. The hospital was very close to our house, so we were there within a few minutes. We had called to tell them we were coming. They were very friendly to us when we got there. We were expecting a battle since I am a home birth vbac transfer. I told them to please have the anesthesiologist come to the room asap. I had to sign consent forms and give insurance information when we first got there. The nurses were working quickly to get a heploc inserted into my hand. Dr. Paul came in after we had been there maybe ten minutes or so (he was German? maybe and his last name was hard to pronounce, so everyone called him Dr. Paul). I asked him to give me an epidural quickly. He said something along the lines of wanting to give me a full spinal block for cesarean. I told him I was planning a vbac and wasn't needing a spinal block at this time, just an epidural. He sort of mentioned that since this is the second time I've stalled out in labor that I'd probably end up with a c- section anyway. It was a bit insensitive of him, although I understand where he was coming from. I explained to him the importance of my trying for a vbac, and we would decide at a later time if a c-section was necessary. He complied and gave me my epidural. When the OB Dr. Tan arrived, he had come on the assumption that we were here for surgery. I told him that I needed pitocin and I wanted to labor longer. He tried to talk me into a c-section, at which point I began my spiel again about the importance of a vaginal birth to me. He didn't seem very interested at first, and began to explain the reasons I ought to have a c-section right away. I finally talked him into letting me labor. I asked everyone to leave the room so Jake and I could talk. He had had a very hard time accepting the hospital transfer and then c-section with Eli, and I wanted to make sure he was holding up well. During that time, Dr. Tan came back and spoke with us. He said that he only wanted to let us labor for a couple of hours, and then if there was no cervical change, do a cesarean. I did not consent to that, but sort of told him to check back in a couple hours and we'd talk. I told him I felt I needed pitocin. He said that my contractions were two minutes apart and pitocin wouldn't be necessary. I told him they were two minutes apart, but they weren't strong enough and I did indeed need pitcon (I later joked with Megan that I never thought I'd be begging an OB for pitocin!) He said he'd like to check my cervix. His "check" took about half a second and he told me I was only a 6. I know for a fact that he didn't actually check my cervix. I have a posterior cervix and he had small hands. He didn't have to reach to grab it or anything, and even if it wasn't posterior, he couldn't have possibly measured it in the time he gave himself. He left the room. About fifteen minutes later, he returned. It was weird, it's like he thought about the things I had said to him and changed his mind or something. He said to me that he'd like to let me labor without pit for a couple of hours and measure the intensity of my contractions (thank you! That's what I was asking all along!) He said if they did not seem intense enough, that he would give me pitocin around 4 am. Sounded very fair. I fell asleep (sort of) in the next couple of hours. I don't know if it was the nerves or being in transition, but I was shaking like a leaf since before we had even gotten to the hospital. I prayed and I changed positions as best I could with an epidural. I chatted with Megan in between cat naps. Jake went home to get some things and to blow out candles (we had run out in a hurry!). He got back during my nap. I was woken up at 4 am by our new nurse who was fabulous- I believe her name was Lori. She was up to date from Dr. Tan and wanted to check me. She said I was a 6-7 and that we'd start pit. I was only allowed to have 8 somethings of pitocin ( I don't recall the measurement), but that normally they can do up to 30 on people that aren't vbacs. I tried to nap more and keep changing positions after they gave me the pit. The contractions were very hard and pushed on my ribs which made them quite sore. The Dr. came back in at 6 am to check me. He truly checked me this time because he had to reach a bit for my cervix and it took longer than a millisecond. He said I was still a 6-7 and he felt it was time for a cesarean. I sobbed and sobbed. Dr. Tan became very genuine then. He looked truly upset that I was so distressed over this. He told me he doesn't like to see his patients cry, and that he's sorry that this is happening. I think we really connected at that point, and I was glad that if I needed a c-section, that he would be doing it. Not only that, but I'm hoping that our experience together will help him understand his patients that desire vaginal births a little better. I think most patients are probably not as outspoken as me about my wants. There are so many people that don't even realize that they have a say. Then I spoke with the nurses who knew how badly I wanted a vaginal birth. Through sobs I told them about my fears from my previous cesarean. I told them about how the curtain had been up against my face and I have some claustrophobia and it frightened me. I told them about how, also because of claustrophobia, that the thought of having my arms strapped down scared me. I told them about how I can't do oxygen masks for the same reason and to use tubes instead if that was ok. I remembered how my mouth went dry immediately when I got into the OR and I wasn't allowed to have anything to drink...and I told them how a nurse that time snuck me a wet washcloth to suck on and could someone please do that for me? I also told them about how my anesthesia didn't take with my first cesarean and I could feel them cutting into me. Not only that, but everyone in the room was chatting amongst themselves and not talking to me to keep me calm and as happy as someone could be in that situation. The nurses all listened and really cared and absorbed what I said. So did the Dr. So did the Anesthesiologist. I told them about how I'd like to play music in the OR and how I'd really like for my doula, as well as Jake to come in. Their protocol is to only allow one person in the room, but they made an exception for me and allowed Megan as well. They prepped me and we went to surgery around 7:45. They knew how frightened I was, and they didn't make Jake and Megan sit outside while they got me anesthesia situated like they generally do. Dr. Paul (the Anesthesiologist) was very warm and caring and talked to me while he gave me more meds. He also mentioned that he could get in trouble for allowing them in the room while he was doing this, but it was ok because he wanted me to be comfortable. I was shaking very hard but trying to keep my head clear and allow it to be a beautiful birth anyway. I could feel the cold run down my spine every time he gave me another shot of something. He kept pinching my stomach. I went from completely feeling it, to feeling absolutely nothing. I got very anxious after each shot because of the feeling I got in my feet and legs. I didn't mind being numb that much, but there is a strange warm feeling with each injection that's a bit unsettling. Megan and Jake sat on either side of me and Megan set my birth necklace on my chest and I said a blessing. The Doctors put in my Janis Joplin cd and turned it up when I asked them to. When they cut into me, I was crying and telling Megan I couldn't feel it! I had felt everything with Eli's cesarean. When I was having a hard time concentrating and not getting anxious, I began singing to Janis. Megan sang with me. Jake looked into my eyes and held my hand. The Dr's explained what was happening and were talking with us, rather than amongst themselves. They told me we were almost there and that he was a big one! They told me how handsome he looked before he was out enough for me to see. I had to breathe through the tugging when they pulled him out. I told Jake and Megan that I was focusing on how interesting the sensations are and thinking about them as just interesting sensations that most people wont get to experience in their lives. When he was out, they let Jake cut the umbilical cord. They showed him to me over the curtain and Megan took a picture. Jake was able to sit behind me and hold him briefly, before he and Asher had to leave to recovery. I gave him kisses and told him I loved him and how beautiful he was. Jake had to leave with him while they sewed me up. I cried and told Megan how happy I was that she was there to experience that with me. She cried too. I kept asking if I was ok because I had a feeling something was a bit wrong. Everyone kept telling me I was doing fine. I did find out later that I had lost quite a bit of blood. They had to give me medication to keep me from bleeding further. They took a good long time sewing me up and did a fabulous job. I would say just about everyone in the room when we were finished came and either gave me a hug, or held my hand and told me what a great job I did and how beautiful Asher is. It was a very healing experience from my first cesarean birth. It's not exactly the birth I was dreaming of, but given the circumstances, I don't think it could have gone any better. Asher immediately knew how to nurse, and is an extremely content and handsome little boy. I now know that it's not the way you give birth that really matters, it's the way you feel about your birth that matters in the long run. It's a very humbling and eye opening lesson learned by this doula.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


Here are some newer photos of Eli- I haven't sent any out in awhile. I may be biased, but I think he's horribly handsome :D

Eli and Mommy at the Zoo!

Eli and I went to the zoo on Valentine's Day. There weren't many animals out, but we had a good time walking around :) He really liked the ducks and squirrels hahahah! We could've found those around home ;)