Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas makes me think of Midwifes

I love this painting, its by Giotto called Nativity. It was painted a realllllllly long time ago (maybe around 1310). There are many paintings like this one. Not like it in the sense that they look like this, but that it contains many similar themes, people, animals and things like that. During this era of Italian art you can usually always find Joseph sulking down in the right or left hand corner, and in many pieces Mary is laying down next to the baby. And my favorite part that is usually always included is a MIDWIFE! In many paintings you can actually see several midwives. In this painting the midwife is on the left side, in pink laying Christ in the manger. She is not part of the Holy Family, you can tell this because she does not have the gold halo around her head.

We have record of midwives a few times in the bible. In the days of Moses it was the midwives who were saving the Isrealite babies when the Pharaoh ordered them dead . So we know midwives were delivering babies as long as mothers have been pushing them out really. We also know from many historical stories that a mother was always surrounded by other women in birth. She was nurtured, mothered, coddled, pampered, encouraged, loved, kept warm, understood and fed by other women. Her mother, her sisters, her neighbors, her midwifes were there to take care of any need she might have during and after birth.

What I love about these old pieces of art is that back in 1310 everyone knew that a midwife or several were caring for Mary. If you do a net search for Nativity art, Renaissance era, you will find painting after painting in which Mary is surrounded by women, the midwives, or women holding Mary's hand, laying a blanket in the manger, holding a bowl or things like that. Mary is usually always either nursing her newborn, or laying down next to him.

In contrast what is weird to me are the newer pictures you see of the Creche, there are no midwifes, not to mention no women at all. Mary and Joseph are usually standing, or he is standing and she is kneeling, and they are surrounded by men. I mean I know that the shepherds arrived at some point, but there were probably still some women bustling about caring for the recovering mother. Why don't our nativity sets come with the midwife? Why is a new mother who just pushed a baby out standing up? In the new pictures and ceramic replicas of the Nativity, Mary and Joseph don't look like new parents, she doesn't look like a teen mom experiencing motherhood for the first time, learning to nurse for the first time. I don't know about all the other first time mom's out there, but my first baby knocked me back a few steps. I had no idea what to expect. I was cared for by three midwives, two girlfriends and one husband who even took the birth preparation classes. And still I was in shock, nursing was a huge learning curve, my body didn't feel like standing that's for sure.

My general thoughts about this are as follows; people in our culture don't see birth, natural birth, babies enter the world, or mothers with newborns the day the baby came out of her. Until they have babies themselves. Those dudes who are designing those Nativity sets have not been to very many births let alone a home birth, midwife birth, out of medical setting birth. How can we imagine what birth was like for Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus if we have no idea what birth is like, what midwives do in a birth, how they nurture the laboring mother and the postpartum mother. Also another thought I always have about the current day creche is why that baby is always alone. I mean I know the "and she laid him in a manger" part of the story, but in all the Renaissance era pictures that mother is laying next to her baby, nursing him, keeping him warm. I love looking at the old Italian pictures of the Holy Family after birth. It usually always looks like a family after welcoming a new baby into their home. And I love the presence of women caring for them, her midwifes and doulas... as I will call them, those servant women mothering the mother.

Merry Christmas

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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Cinnamon Roll Update

I took no pictures of the madness that we encountered on Monday. But here is what happened.

I awoke on Monday morning having most of my supplies on the kitchen counter, I was missing a single item, the pans. I loaded all of my ingredients into the car, two children, a hand full of diapers, Owen's blankie of course and headed down the road. At 9:45am I was in line buying my 8 inch round tin pans. I made another stop to get some other things that had nothing to do with the day's activities, but things I needed like more felt!

My children and I arrived at the cooking house at 10:25am and let ourselves in. I started the first step in our roll making. About the time I was finishing up the first step, setting the timer, and locating my daughter, friends started arriving! First K arrived with baby J and her ingredients, she brought SUGAR! Then P (who actually lives at the cooking house she just had to run an errand and so that's why we beat her to her own house) arrived with her two girls and then our friend B arrived with no kids (but she did a great job playing with all of ours, or adding the next ingredient when babies needed mom), and then H arrived with her two daughters, one of them is just two weeks old. The last two friends to arrive were really just there to hang out, not so much cook. Which is always nice. The more the merrier right!

So picture this: five women, seven children, 14 eight inch pans, 4 bags of sugar, 2 bags of flour, 283475238745283745827358728 pounds of butter, 4 dozen cookes (that actually got made by the children---the one's old enough to make cookies that is), napping babies, three nursing mom's on a couch waiting for the dough to rise, kids jumping on the trampoline, kids full of sugar driving mom's crazy, an impromptu birthday party for the kid down the street (yes random but it did happen),two ovens, 6 hours later 14 pans full of 98 wonderful rolls!

I should mention that this is a great holiday tradition to start with your friends. Next year I will take pictures of the madness!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas Things

Santa Child

Sick Child

Nervous Child

Crafting too much to blog
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Friday, December 10, 2010

Dealing with Santa

My little thinker...twisted, but still thinking...
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Monday was the Feast of St. Nicolas, according to the church calendar. Every year we read an Advent book and the readings coordinate with the different feasts and celebrations on the historical church calendar. So Monday evening at dinner my husband read to us about St. Nicolas.

It really is a beautiful story. According to our book (there are many different versions, where I find they differ is in the details) this saint lost his parents at some point and inherited their money. With the money he did many good things for people who were poor. One famous story says there was a family with three daughters and they were very poor. So poor that the daughters might have be sold as prostitutes, and one night St. Nicolas came by their house and threw three bags of silver in the home. Maybe down the chimney... and maybe that's how the tradition of Santa coming down the chimney was born? Either way he did enough great things for people in need that the church now recognizes him as a saint.

Today is Friday, five days have passed since we read that story, and to be honest I was unsure how much Marin really listens to our evening Advent readings. There are beautiful pictures of historical art in the book and she likes to look at those and ask questions about what is going on in the picture. But today we discovered how much she is listening. The following conversation took place this morning in the car after we took Daddy to work.

* Part of our Advent reading gave the estimated birth and death dates of St. Nicolas (I feel this is important to note for the following conversation)

M: Mommy my friends last night..
me: Oh yeah A and W?
M: yeah they don't know that Santa Claus is dead.

Halt conversation as I pee my pants, swallow down my heart and carry on...

me:... what did you say?
M: they don't know he died a long time ago
me:...ummmm you didn't tell them he died did you?
M: no I just know they don't know
me: OK no matter what any one says about Santa we never say he is dead OK
M: OK, but what did Daddy say about him?
me: you mean what we read in our book at dinner?
M: yeah
me: (I'm really confused at this point as to how Santa is dead) well are you talking about St. Nicolas?
me: Santa Claus is the memory of St. Nicolas. St. Nicolas was a man who lived a long time ago and helped people with the money he inherited from his parents, or so the story goes.
M: but he's died now

me: well he lived a very long time ago. But he is not the same as Santa, so we don't say, Santa is dead. Santa is very alive to many people. So when kids talk about Santa you can pretend with them. Don't ever disagree with them about Santa because lots of families have different traditions, like we make cookies for Santa and know its pretend but mommy loves that tradition because its what she did as a little girl, even as a big teenager my family always had a big family night decorating cookies together and then we would pick our very favorites and put them on a very beautiful plate and set them near the fire place. Some families do other things like put oats and carrots in their yard, and other things to think about Santa, or as a way to celebrate Christmas. Santa is a tradition, and he is part of the holiday for people who believe he is alive and pretend, and for our family Santa is a reminder of how we, like St. Nicolas need to help care for people who do not have what they need. Santa is always there to remind us that God takes care of us, and gives us everything we need and even enough to help other people, the way St. Nicholas helped people.

M:can I write a letter to Santa

me: sure, there is actually a box at the Post Office for you to put it in

M: can I stay home today?
me: no you need to be at school today, but don't say anything about Santa. OK

We want to celebrate Christmas, we don't want to lavish our children with gifts, we don't want them to think its about getting, even though there will be things they get. Christmas is about a baby being born, a baby who changed the world. We don't want our focus to be Santa Claus, but he is a part of Christmas, even if you don't "believe" in Santa, he is part of Christmas. For us we want Santa to remind us of St. Nicolas and how he was deeply convicted to be concerned about poverty, especially children. Maybe he was the beginning of social justice? Or maybe he is simply there to remind us that Christmas is not about us, or our children, or Christmas Eve dinner. But St. Nicolas and Santa are there to remind us of that little baby who was born into poverty, in a barn, to a teen mom, came to change the world, and make things right. Maybe we need Santa Claus to be our reminder to take care of the people who need more than we do. This does not mean we don't also enjoy and take part in our own family traditions, in fact they should become more meaningful to us each year. The more I understand about Christmas the more grateful I become that we celebrate this holiday. That we have a time where we are supposed to have a family night decorating cookies, going to church rehearsals, planning a feast with friends. These are the things that should remind us how much our family and friends matter, and that we should take the time to slow down and do something for the people who need a little help.

On that note, this year I am starting a new tradition. My two friends Katie and Paige and I are getting together with our children (the children part might be tricky) to make a huge batch of cinnamon rolls. Some for us, and many more to take to our friends home with new babies. Welcome new babies, we can't wait to meet you.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Owen went to bed...

Owen went to bed Sunday afternoon with a fever and woke up Tuesday morning with...
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Monday, December 6, 2010

Monday Thoughts

I love this, could anything be more delightful than being 10 steps away from sinking your toes into the white sand of the Gulf Shores (no oil for sure!). Holding your dads' hand and making your way down the steep stairs of the boardwalk, five seconds away from running wildly over the cold sand, looking for sand dollars and blue jelly fish.

Little kids need space to run and play, but they also need an adult to walk with, otherwise you might miss something, or worse they might. Marin's Aunt is wonderful, we all love her.

Looking for something little red?

Taking time to write her name in the sand. She wants the beach to remember she was there. Every time we visit the ocean we always say "goodbye", and we always feel a bit sad for going. Like we are leaving a good friend, I guess we probably are.

On to other thoughts. We have a sick baby, this is not what we are seeing today, this happy little guy. Sick babies make mommies mentally sick...with worry. You watch them when they sleep, you count wet diapers, you fret over tenths of a degree on the thermometer. And then they get well, and you are tired from your sleepless nights, but grateful and that's all that matters...of course a nap is always a nice ending to illness.
Another random story: Our baby is so in love with this beautiful blanket. My daughter never had a "lovey" or any
thing she was attached to, she was attached to me, only...for a long time. But this little guy shrieks with joy when he is reunited with this blanket. It was a gift that we are continually grateful for. Owen and his brown blankie, love at first sight really does exist even in newborns! Happy Monday I hope you get to snuggle up tonight with a warm blanket and rest.
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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Christmas Painting

A few dabs of paint...

A few paint brushes...

A few wooden tree ornaments...

A willing painter... and you have some great, inexpensive gifts that Grandparents will love!
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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Darn Baby Socks!

I don't understand why no one has invented baby socks that actually stay on baby feet! No matter the brand, they just slid right off, see watch...





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Old Navy


Gap Again

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Children and Art

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I love watching how children develop their art. It tells so much about them, what they are thinking about, and what is important.

My daughter has been drawing people lately. I love this picture of me and our baby. See how the legs come out of the head, but the tummy is right in the middle of my legs. And those little spots under my head, those are "nibbles". The baby also has a tummy and nibbles, but they are under his cloths. You can see that in her view (being so short and all) she sees people as legs and a head, and with the ability to nurse babies. The nursing part is really important to her. I personally like my hair, she probably thinks I have bad hair, which is usually true.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Reflections of Motherhood

I love this video, and wanted to share it with you tonight. Enjoy!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Natural Parenting Does NOT Have to be Expensive

I would like to think we are doing natural parenting or natural living. At least we are trying the best we can. We are actually working really hard to raise our children in such a way that does not compromise our commitments to the environment, our community, and our family life. We use cloth diapers, we try to buy used things, American things. Its important to us that we use things are are biodegradable, that we eat things that don't have too much packaging and things like that. But we are not perfect and we don't have much cash flow so we do have to compromise in some areas, do without, or just get plain creative.

Here is the deal, many people think that living naturally can be costly. Organic foods can be more expensive, wooden toys and non-chemical cleaners are expensive. In many states insurance does not cover the cost of an out of hospital birth, and many hospitals don't have midwives as a choice. Getting started in your natural living journey might be overwhelming, too much to handle and too much to buy. But that's the red flag right there, "too much to buy". I'm going to let you all in on a little secret, those natural companies have you fooled just like the plastic-made-in-China ones do. You don't NEED anything to get started living naturally. You don't need to spend money on many of the "natural" things out there. Living naturally really means what you need is less. And less is not expensive.

Let me start with natural birth, many people say,"I'd like to have an out of hospital birth but does insurance cover it?" Call all the midwives and birth centers in your area and find out if they take your insurance. If they do not, ask them if they have had clients who have gotten reimbursed for their out of pocket expense. If so, than you have a starting place, find out if you can contact that client and find out how they got their birth paid for. Here is the deal, it may not be easy, but if you stick with it you probably will get something accomplished. For our home birth my insurance informed me that my midwife was not a participating provider. I knew that she was and that they had paid her before. I called my insurance company six times trying to figure out how to get it covered, the first few times I spoke with associates who just said "we don't reimburse that midwife". But I kept calling and each time telling them I must speak with a director or manager. I also found someone who had delivered with that midwife with my same insurance and got a copy of their reimbursement form. Before my final call I faxed in a petition explaining why my birth should be covered (in a hospital the total cost would be over $17,000 and the home birth would be $3,800) once they had that letter on file and I got through to a manager, coverage of my birth was approved in less than 24 hours.

If all this fails, and your insurance company denies you coverage. Ask the different midwives and birth centers if they have payments plans or scholarships for people who are not able to afford the full price. I have known graduate students who were not able to pay the full cost and let family members know that their desire was to deliver out of hospital and if they would contribute to their birth as their form of a baby gift. If you still come up short and cannot afford a private midwife and your insurance will only cover a hospital birth that's OK. As a doula I have been to many many beautiful hospital births. Hire a doula, tell them what you want in your birth experience and have her help you get that. Just because you are inside the walls of a hospital does not mean you cannot make it a special event. I have a friend who has taken a birthday cake with her to all four of her hospital births. She pushes that baby out surrounded by friends and medical staff and then they all celebrate the new arrival by eating yummy cake. I have been to births where the parents brought Champagne, party hats.. On a more soothing side you can bring your own music, pillows, cloths, blankets, and I love those battery operated candles! The point is, you make your birth beautiful and wonderful, not the place. The birth of a baby is beautiful, amazing and sacred, I cry every time I see a little person enter the world and no one is paying attention to the walls surrounding us.

OK so what about the STUFF you NEED for kids.

1. Cloth diapers
For starters you can register for them, which gives you a great head start. I have bought a few used one's off ebay and have gotten a few hand-me-downs. If you like to sew I came across this delightful blog, and the author gives patterns for making your own diapers out of recycled t-shirts and other clothing items! Now that recycling and saving money all in one! Cloth diapers do not have to cost you a lot of money to get started.

2. Natural toys, BPA free plastic things, organic materials
When I say we really don't have a lot of money I really mean it, and this would be an area that you really could drop a lot of cash. However as we have found out, you don't have to. We prefer non-plastic toys, but its not always avoidable. And there are times its fun to compromise. I found a huge stash of Polly Pockets at a garage sale for only $3, and we are having a lot of fun with them. My husband hates finding those little shoes all over the house, but my daughter is having fun with them, they can find their way into the vacuum later.

Ways to find fun natural toys: garage sales, buy used from friends or online, be creative---it doesn't always have to come in a package to be a toy (painting large boxes bring hours of imaginary fun), thrift stores, stores like TJMaxx often carry brands like Melissa and Doug wooden toys at half price, tell family there is something special you are getting your child for Christmas and have everyone pitch in. My daughter has gotten a few great gifts like this (a beautiful wooden kitchen, train set and wooden table), IKEA has great kids toys that are natural fibers and half the price of other name brand wooden toys. One of our local parenting groups has a "buy, sell, trade" section and mothers trade toys around all the time. There are options, and the truth is, you don't need a lot to make a kid happy. And once you get a lot they aren't happy with a little ever again. So keep it simple. My daughter spends more time sitting at her art table cutting up junk mail, cooking with me, running around the yard, and playing at playgrounds than she ever had with a single toy. We have also discovered that regular toys that arrive as gifts are enjoyed so much more. Maybe because its a gift, maybe because she didn't even know owning such a marvelous thing was an option or maybe because not having everything she sees and wants makes getting things actually special.

3. Organic food
All I can say here is shop local. We have a little market around the corner from us where the local farmers bring their produce and not only are we getting pesticide free food much of the time, but very little gasoline was used to bring it to my table, and it usually is less expensive than the non-local food. Farmer's Markets are usually awesome for great prices. You may not find everyone there certified organic, but get to know your farmers and you will find the ones that don't use harmful chemicals. And finally go and get the food yourself. If you pick your own fruits during their peak season and preserve them (e.g. dry or freeze) they can last you quite a while. We picked blueberries this year when they were in season and they lasted us five months (next year we will pick more) and all those bags of berries only cost us $8.

Blueberry picking in Florida!
One more thought about all of this, if you can't afford the natural/organic/chemical free brand, stop and decide if you really need it anyways. There have been many times I have wanted some thing for my child or family, and I wanted to choose the natural brand. It was costly and there was a non-natural brand that would save me money. Many of the times I stopped to think about it we didn't even need it at all. Or there was another option that just demanded a bit more creativity, or plain old fashion patience.

We live in a culture where if you want something, we are under the impression we just go get it. If you want strawberries in January, well Chili is growing them so we have them shipped from the bottom on South America to the top of North America just to satisfy our desire. If our children want a toy, we get it for them. But what's wrong with saving, waiting, or coming up with an alternative.

Exploring our local museum, free of charge, with Great Grandma

The last time my mom was in town we were at Target, my daughter was in the cart and as we passed the toy section my mom looked at me and said "Oops, is she going to get upset?" and I said, "Why would she, she doesn't even know what that section is." We don't take our child toy shopping, not because we are mean, or don't want her to have fun. But because we don't want her to expect that life dumps goodies in your lap, toys are around every corner, you get what you want. We want her to have fun using her imagination, cooking with us, drawing, laying on the patio looking at the stars. If you make things a big deal kids will follow your lead and it will be fun and exciting to them also.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

C-Sections and Money

This is an article on NPR's  site. I'm going to let you read it. But it does bring up an interesting point. When medicine is for-profit, is the best interest for the patient, or for making money? When I come across stories like this it is always concerning as to where the heart of healing, caring and providing health services really is.

Read the Article Here

Some Weeks Are Just Like That

Someone wants to cover your head with a blanket, even though you have tried to tell them its not a good idea.

You get your underwear in the sink

Your socks won't stay on. And you get your sister's hand me down PINK bumbo seat... even though you are a boy

You just can't stop applying lip gloss...and your mother finds it on the sheets...and gets mad

Nobody will cooperate for the picture

Posted by PicasaI have had a hard time making posts the past few weeks. We traveled to visit family. Marin started preschool, and I got sick. Little Owen is now a bit congested and cranky (which is rare). I started working again. I'm putting together two classes, both of which I have not really worked on as much as needed. But these are all things that make life, life. I have some posts I want to get up so more to follow.

Some Weeks Are Just Like That Part 2!

No matter how bad the week was, if it ends with a birthday party...redemption! One of Marin's best little buddies just turned FOUR!!! We went to his birthday and had a great time. I love this picture. Someone said, "Raise your hand if you want cake." Marin made sure to keep her hand up...and tongue out!
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Tuesday, August 10, 2010


My blog is under construction right now. And it takes me a long time to get things accomplished with a blog, since the arrival of Owen. And I have been doing some child care for friends. So I have more than my two with me sometimes. Sorry its such a wreck of a blog, I really am trying. Thank you for reading it and sticking with me.

As for the above picture, I love this picture. Its a drawing in Marin's Jesus Storybook Bible. The art is done by Jago who's art in children's books I have fallen in love with. This is a drawing of Leah from the Old Testament. There is something about the way she is walking with her children that really gets to me. She is so proud of her babies, she loves them, she is a good mama.

Leah is not the woman that Jacob wanted, he wanted her sister Rachel because she was supposedly the prettiest of the sisters. I love what this books says about Leah, "Now when Leah knew that God loved her, in her heart, suddenly it didn't matter whether her husband  loved her the best, or if she was the prettiest. Someone had chosen her, someone did love her, with a Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love."

I love this story about Leah and her children, and that she was chosen by God to start the lineage for which Jesus would come through. Every time I see this picture in our book, when I am flipping through stories waiting for Marin to choose one to read, I stop and look at Leah, and her children and how special they were to her. Its an encouraging picture to me, of a mother who loves her job of mothering.
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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Home Birthing

I have been wanting to write about the topic of home birth. Why we chose it, and why other people might want to choose it. What the benefits might be, and other information for those of you out there who are considering having a home birth or think its totally nuts to have a home birth.

My first baby was born in a birth center (the wonderful birth tub in the picture above). I was surrounded by three wonderful midwifes, two girl friends and my wonderful birth partner Todd. There were five women taking care of us and making sure our baby came safely and peacefully into the world.

It was an amazing experience. I cannot imagine having given birth that first time in any other way. Todd also liked meeting our daughter for the first time in the comfort of the birth center.

Fast forward to little Owen's birth. As we began to think through his birth we knew we would want to do another out-of-hospital birth if possible. Not that we have anything against the hospital, and we know that for people and babies who need that sort of setting it is a great place to be. We are not anti-hospital. In fact both of our babies decided to take their time swimming head down and so as we approached our due date we took seriously the idea that we might be giving birth in a hospital. When I teach birth classes, I like to encourage couples to take seriously the mantra "Healthy Baby, Happy Birth" knowing that sometimes things don't always go the way we would like. But as long as we were in the safe and healthy zone, we wanted our babies to surf out into a tub of water surrounded by midwives and friends. I had given birth naturally before I knew I wanted to do that again.

We like the birth center, it was a fine choice for our second baby's welcome. However between the time of Marin's birth and Owen's birth they had changed ownership and so my midwife was no longer delivering. And we had seen the home birth midwifes during our miscarriage pregnancy and had built a relationship with them. So for me it made sense to have them catch our baby. But Todd wanted to return to the birth center for a few reasons. First; we had a good experience, and second, in his mind our home would stay tidy if we went to the birth center. But he also made it clear that he wanted me to deliver where ever I wanted and it was my decision. We both knew I had already made up my mind to be at home.

My birth story is already written here so I am not going to tell the story of our birth but I am going to talk about home birth and my experience from a birthing mother and from a doula who has attended a few home births.

First off why would anyone choose to give birth at home? Why home over a hospital or birth center? Well of course there are many reasons that women choose to give birth in their homes. For me it was simple, I wanted to be home with my family, I wanted Marin to be near me during labor, I wanted to use my things, I wanted my house to be the place my new baby would be welcomed. I wanted to be in my bed. This is what is comfortable to me and my family and so for me it was all about comfort.  Being in the comfort of home is usually why people choose to have a home birth.

Of course there are other reasons that drive  home birth choice, cost (the average hospital birth is usually more than $15,000 compared to around $4000 for a home birth) can be one reason. Many people without insurance look into home births or birth center births. Both are a great option for this reason.Another reason for home birth is because many people believe that birth is a natural process and not a medical illness needing to be fixed or healed. While birth can have complications many of them are a result of interventions that are not present in an out of hospital birth. Delivering at home allows the mother to be more in control of her environment and have as many or few people around her and in the home as she chooses. Many women start looking into a home birth because of an aversion they may have to medical procedures, or because they want to deliver in a specific way (such as in water).

I think most of the benefits I have already mentioned in the above reasons for choosing a home birth. But one of the reasons that I want to highlight is everyone coming to you. Everyone of my prenatal visits was in my home. I did not have to find a baby sitter for my daughter, I did not have to deal with parking (or paying to park like one of our local hospitals does), we sat in my living room, I used my toilet, Marin helped each time and by the end was ready to become a midwife herself. 

Not only was this wonderful prenatally but during the birth they came in, set up my house with the birth tub, I needed a round of antibiotics before I gave birth and that was done in my living room with the IV sack of fluids hanging from the ceiling fan. Marin stayed in her bed sleeping, we didn't have to call anyone to come and get her or drop her off. And then of course once Owen arrived she was brought in to be with us and meet her new little brother. She was near me the whole time. At one point in my labor I even went in and laid with her in bed for a while. She was sleeping and I was in labor (about 2 hours from pushing Owen out) and I got to lay there looking at my first born, who still looks like a baby when she sleeps, and breath her in and think about her birth and meeting my first baby, and that was such a special moment for me. Had we been rushing off to the hospital that may not have happened. Or I may have had to said goodbye to her until I was ready for her to rejoin us. 

After Owen was born in the water, we all moved into the bedroom where all of the postpartum exams took place. The following pictures are my favorite of my midwives doing Owen's newborn exam.

 Measuring his chest
Todd weighing Owen
Owen is getting his check up right on our bed
Marin loves helping with the check up! Our midwives included her in the whole thing.

This is where we were all left. Our midwives cleaned up the house and started some laundry and left us all tucked into bed. To go beyond the actual birth day, all of the follow up postpartum visits were in our home including our six week check. 

For those of you who think doing a home birth is nuts there are lots of articles out there about the safety of a planned home birth for women and infants with no health risks. In fact because the use of interventions is so low many of the studies say that it may even be safer for the mother and baby. I'm not going to site lots of articles here because this post is long enough. But if you really want the data let me know and I can send you some stuff. I also want to be clear that I am not against hospitals or doctors. I have been to many hospital births, every one of them was amazing, I met some amazing nurses and doctors, and cried at each one when the baby came out. Each birth is a miracle, I love seeing a mother and father meet their baby and the baby meet them. That moment of the mother pulling a baby to her chest always takes my breath away and I always cry because of how beautiful it is. Home birth is not for every woman, but for those of you out there who have given it thought, I would encourage you to check into it, entertain the thoughts, do your research and give your local out-of-hospital midwives a call. Check out your local birth centers and find out what your at home options might be. Have a conversation and ask questions, find other women who have given birth out of the hospital and listen to their stories, you might just find yourself laying on your couch one day with your toddler running around your house and your midwife listening to a heartbeat in your growing belly.