Encouraging Family Bonding When Baby Comes Along

Encouraging Family Bonding When Baby Comes Along

Encouraging Family Bonding When Baby Comes Along

A common stressor when adding a new baby to the family is how to ease the transition for your older children. Will they be jealous? Or even resent the new baby? How do you encourage family bonding? Will there be enough of you to go around?

(I currently sit here blogging, breastfeeding, and cuddling with my 2 older girls. Yes, there will be enough of you to go around! It may be a stretch at times, but it can be done! ❤)

None of us really know what we’re doing when it comes to parenting. I, perhaps, least of all. Every kid and every family is different, but things have gone pretty smoothly for us so far! Here is how I approached our family bonding when number three came along.

In utero…

I started getting my girl(s) excited as soon as we decided it was time to tell them about our upcoming addition. I referred to him as OUR baby, as in, our whole family’s baby. THEIR new baby brother.

The girls attended doctor appointments with my husband and I. (We brought snacks and electronics in case the girls got antsy. Of course, this was before I switched to a home birth midwife!) We listened to the baby’s heartbeat together. My midwife would involve them as well – like, for instance, letting them squirt that cold gel on my belly for the sonogram.

I showed my daughters pictures of the baby in utero week by week. I read aloud the updates of baby’s growth progress and taught them about baby’s development. We brought them to our ultrasound appointment to see and hear the baby in my belly. Our girls got to experience the entire miracle of growing a baby along with us!

Baby Sprinkle….

When my friends threw me a sprinkle, I took my 5 year old along. I told her my expectations for her behaviour beforehand (and threatened to send daddy to take her home if she misbehaved!). She felt so grownup and behaved like an angel! She and I opened baby gifts together and she got to help serve cake. All of which I think it made her feel important, loved, and most of all, included!

Sharing my excitement with the girls helped THEM get excited too. If I was online shopping, I would exclaim over things I wanted to buy and how cute the baby would look in his little clothes. Asking their opinion on his outfits, etc. never hurts, too. You don’t necessarily have to follow through, but talk decisions over with them – kids love giving their input!

I feel like all these little actions and activities were building blocks to the family bonding experience after baby’s arrival!

Baby’s Birth day…

About an hour after I had the baby at home, we let the girls meet him in our bedroom. We oohed and ahhed over the baby together. I exclaimed, “Aren’t his feet so tiny?? And see his little fingers??”. And then I pointed out his scrawny little butt (because butts are funny to a 3 and 5 year old!) and we laughed together. They didn’t feel excluded or ignored at all, because this was OUR baby and we all loved him.

A few months later….

We love on the baby together. We laugh at his silly faces, or messy hair. And when I sit down to feed the baby, the girls and I will often have story time. They enjoy helping me with the baby – picking out his outfit or grabbing him a new diaper. The older kids and I can simultaneously bond with the baby by me simply including them in his day. My three year old didn’t bond instantly with the baby… no animosity towards him, she just seemed like she could take him or leave him most of the time. Ha! But, 3-4 months later, she began spontaneously giving him kisses, and just generally paying him a lot more attention than she did at first.

If you’re expecting a new little one soon, don’t worry! There’s always enough love to go around! And every baby you add to your family seems to make it sweeter and sweeter.

How did you encourage your children to bond with their siblings?

Encouraging Family Bonding When Baby Comes Along

My Stress Reducing Techniques for Life With 3 Kids

reducing stress - life with 3 kids
This post includes review of a service I received for free in exchange for my personal honest feedback.

Life with 3 Kids

life with 3 kids reducing stress

It’s been awhile since I had a new post, but life with 3 kids is no joke! And I’ve been quite busy caring for and admiring my new baby boy! Seriously, isn’t he the cutest?!

Having a newborn is quite enough work, but having two other kids makes coping with the responsibility and workload a bit harder. However, I’ve found life with 3 kids much less stressful than I was told it would be. That must, therefore, make me an expert on the subject. Haha! I’m totally kidding. But, maybe I’ve hit on a few things that could help ease your family’s transition as well!

Here’s what has helped reduce stress in our household!

First of all…Being selfish. Yep, that’s what I said. All postpartum women are a little whack…we can’t help it. Hormones start to take a nosedive when the placenta is delivered. I recognized that and hogged my newborn baby for 3 full days, asked hubby to bring me every meal, and left our other kids completely in his care. It was such a relief to give myself the time and space I needed to recover without feeling guilty about it!! And it will probably never happen again unless I have another baby. Enjoy it while you can, mama!

Soaking in every moment. Some days I grumble because the baby insists on being carried all day, or wakes up yet again at night. But for the most part, I’m basking in the moments instead of dwelling on my to-do list. It reduces more stress than you could imagine!

I’m relaxing (now and then!). There’s nothing wrong with treating yourself to some luxurious down time. Baby will be fine! Get away for coffee with friends and when you get home, your kids and hubby will be cuter than ever. ? I promise! You have to take care of the entire family, and that includes yourself!

Sometimes, I take a shower! (Gasp!) Even if it’s only 5 minutes and baby has to cry…You can’t look like a greasy mess and smell of spoiled milk all the time. What’s more depressing and stressful than that??

I’m accepting help from friends. Perhaps occasionally begging for it, haha! ? There’s no shame when you have a newborn.

I’m not afraid to flake. I recently had plans to go out with a friend. But the closer it got to girls night, the more I couldn’t fathom getting dressed up and being social. (It had been a rough day with the baby!) But I hated to cancel, and still wanted to see my friend. So I asked if she minded just hanging out at the house in exchange for some homemade cookies. She cuddled my baby while I had my baking therapy and then we ate warm, delicious cookies! It was a win-win situation for both of us! I needed time to breathe before I could be social. If you can’t handle something, be honest.

Prioritizing helps de-stress my days. Baby, older kids, and scavenging for food are my top priority right now! Accomplishing my main goals makes me feel less guilty for the things I didn’t get to.

Cutting back on laundry. I’m re-wearing any clothes that make it to the end of a day with no spit up, and making my kids do the same if at all possible. Because every little bit helps!

I admit I can’t do it all. I’m somewhat distraught by all the disorganization and how long it has been since I cleaned our bathroom. But it comes with the territory.

However, I do my best. It’s amazing what you can accomplish in 10 minutes!

I resist feeling discouraged. As long as I’ve done my best for the day and my kids know they’re loved, that’s a worthy enough accomplishment.

Avoiding overcommitment is key! I am minimizing as many unnecessary/stressful activities as possible. It is difficult enough considering how I will ever get the house clean or food on the table. I focus on simply getting by! Remember to stop and smell the roses…or your baby. 🙂

Also, we’ve been relying on freezer meals! It was a huge sacrifice of time and effort while I was pregnant and experiencing sciatic nerve pain, but freezer meals are so worth it postpartum!! Having that extra free time to love on my little guy once he arrived was absolutely precious.

I’m making easy meals when I do cook. Now is not the time to start making all your bread from scratch. Now is the time you get food on the table as quickly as possible, regardless how healthy it is. No vegetable? No problem. We’ll make it up another day. And, FYI, Costco has yummy, fresh, ready made meals!

BUT. I also tried a meal delivery service! Thanks to Sunbasket, my family received two healthy, organic meals with humanely raised, antibiotic and hormone-free meat (one meal had organic tofu instead). My meal ingredients arrived in one carefully packed, insulated box with recyclable packaging!

meal delivery service
The box arrived with all ingredients necessary for two quick, healthy meals!
meal service - life with 3 kids
Look at those fresh ingredients! I was so impressed with the quality of the vegetables!
Life with 3 kids - cooking
See how happy I am to be cooking an exciting new recipe?!?

In only about 30 minutes, exactly as the Sunbasket site claims, we had a healthy, nutritionist approved meal on the table. Portions were generous; we even had leftovers! Our meals supposedly served 2 adults and 2 kids, but we didn’t want to share, haha! My husband and I ate the leftovers for lunch the next day – and it definitely didn’t seem like a child sized portion.

Life with 3 kids - Sunbasket meal delivery
This was our first meal, and it was amazing. It said FRESH noodles on the package, and by golly, they were! Soft, fresh, delicious noodles!
Sunbasket meal delivery service
Having everything premeasured cut the prep time considerably. It was SUCH a treat for a postpartum mama like me. I love to cook healthy meals, but am struggling to find the time!
Sunbasket meal service
The steak stir-fry bowl was so gorgeous, bright, and colorful! I did add a little extra sauce, but loved all the fresh veg in this stir fry!

I LOVED my meal delivery service and am itching to do it again already! It was so fun creating new recipes with unique ingredients that may be hard to find at the grocery store!

Sunbasket gave me a unique discount code to share with my readers! Use this link : http://bit.ly/2r1ABZU and receive 50% off of your first Sun Basket order! 

One last note about coping with those newborn days…Don’t forget about the joy your older children bring to the family. Of course baby is brand new, and everyone will be starstruck. But avoiding jealous siblings is a huge part of reducing stress when adding to your family!  I’m working on a post about helping your older children bond with your new baby, so stay tuned for that! You can follow my Facebook page to see new posts!

Thank you for reading and good luck with your sweet new baby!





Survival Tips and Advice for Breastfeeding Success

Breastfeeding can leave you fraught with worries and doubts…Can I do it? Do I have enough milk? Is my baby gaining enough weight?

Even I, as a veteran breastfeeding mom, have questions from time to time!

Even I, as a 3rd time breastfeeding mom, have questions and doubts from time to time!

I worry most about maintaining my supply. When baby is extremely fussy, I panic and think he isn’t getting all the milk he needs. But as long as your baby is having a sufficient amount of wet diapers for his age (ask your pediatrician how many that is!), you know he is getting the milk he needs. Don’t start supplementing, keep on breastfeeding!

Get support right away! Before you even deliver, find a lactation consultant so you have support as soon as possible should issues arise. The hospital where I delivered my first two children had a resident lactation consultant on staff. I asked the lactation consultant to check my second baby’s latch, because my nipples hurt every time she fed. I’m so glad I did, because even a handful of breastfeeding sessions with improper latch left my nipples incredibly sore. NOT worth it! Fix the latch immediately, and pump if you need time to heal. I also spoke with a lactation consultant at my 3rd baby’s one week pediatrician appointment (it was required, or highly suggested!). As a veteran breastfeeding mom, I didn’t think this was necessary, but I learned SO much from that appointment!

Be proactive : Don’t wait until you have production issues. Eat healthy foods, drink plenty of water, don’t skip meals or cut calories, and feed on demand. My doula says,

“Frequent and effective milk removal is the best way to increase supply.”

She also said try to hit 8-12 removals (emptying the breast) per 24 hour period to maintain your milk production.

Resist pacifiers : Hold off until 4 weeks if you can. The lactation consultant at my pediatric office said this can negatively affect your milk production. Baby has a 3 week growth spurt, and that’s also when your supply regulates itself. If you are pacifying baby instead of breastfeeding, your milk supply may suffer. Baby may pacify himself right to sleep with the pacifier, and forgo his necessary feeding entirely! 3 weeks is a crucial time for regulating your production, so just be cognizant of that! But if you’re past that 3 week time period and suffering from low supply; don’t lose heart. There’s still hope. 🙂

Cluster feed : Sometimes, especially during a growth spurt, your baby may want to cluster feed. As a breastfeeding mama, you will soon learn to recognize baby’s hunger cues. When you see those cues, don’t be afraid to offer the breast again even if you recently nursed. Baby is still learning how to discern when he is full!

Hunger Cues :

  • Baby turning his head towards you, opening mouth
  • Grunting
  • “Eating” his hands
  • Sucking on anything nearby

Note: Gassy cues can be similar and confusing…The difference I’ve noticed is baby will frantically grunt and chew at his hands. He will desperately latch at the nipple, then release and cry, only to re-latch immediately. Also, persistent kicking of the legs and redness of face signals an issue with the belly. Try burping instead of feeding to see if that’s the problem.

Finish feeding : You may need to wake baby to finish his feeding. Undress him, change his diaper, whatever you need to do. Its very important for baby to get a full feeding. At your initial letdown you make a thinner, lower calorie milk called foremilk. The foremilk gradually becomes fattier as the breast drains. It turns into hindmilk which eventually signals fullness to your baby. Both foremilk and hindmilk have their own benefits. Read more below!

Foremilk and Hindmilk :

 Foremilk contains protein, carbohydrates (especially lactose), and vitamins. The high lactose level found in the foremilk is important for energy and brain development and also quenches the baby’s thirst. Then, after a few minutes of feeding, the hindmilk will begin to be expressed. This milk is more calorie-dense, as it contains more fat. The hindmilk is important for growth and will help the baby feel full. Taken from : http://www.breastmilk.com/foremilk-and-hindmilk.php

Also, a helpful article if you have concerns/questions: https://breastfeedingusa.org/content/article/worries-about-foremilk-and-hindmilk

Nurse one breast per feeding. This has to do with the fore milk and hindmilk and successfully emptying your breasts (there will always be a little leftover in there!) to avoid clogged ducts. It also helps establish a sufficient milk supply.

Clogged ducts feel like a scary lump in your breast. Massage the lump while breastfeeding – baby’s sucking coupled with the massage may help dislodge the blocked duct. Warm compresses or a warm shower while you massage also help. Avoid underwires and ill-fitting nursing bras.

Sore nipples can be very discouraging! Pump a bottle to give your nipples a break. Forget whatever rules or ideas you have about when to introduce the bottle. Don’t let yourself suffer! Rebekah, a doula and blogger from Surviving Toddlerhood says, “Coconut oil is good for sore, cracked nipples and for mommas struggling with thrush.”

Don’t let a newborn sleep too long : In the first few weeks, weight gain is especially important for your newborn. My lactation consultant recommended we let baby sleep no more than one 4 hour stretch every day. Other than that one stretch, you need to wake baby for a feed every 2 hours. We have basically followed this rule for baby’s first 3 weeks, but are somewhat lax with it – when baby is fussy and waking every 45 minutes, we are more apt to let him sleep for 3 hours even if he already had his long stretch of sleep that day. Because we need sleep too! And time to wash the dishes, do the laundry…

Prep food ahead of time! I love when I wake up in the morning and I have breakfast ready and waiting in my fridge. As a breastfeeding mama, it is so important to fuel yourself with good, high quality foods. This is not a time to worry about your remaining “baby fat”. Healthy fats like nuts and avocados are especially great while breastfeeding!

Don’t be afraid! Many moms are nervous about breastfeeding in public. They’re shy, even with a cover, or afraid of being judged and asked to nurse someplace else. It happens, but I’ve never encountered this. I’ve nursed while yard saling, during worship at church, grocery shopping, walking around the neighborhood…Breastfeeding is normal, natural, and something that has to be done. Don’t waste time worrying about who might be offended.

BunMaternity #nursing hoodie
This nursing hoodie from Bun Maternity is really great for discreet nursing in public and it’s super soft, too!

Take time for yourself! Being stressed and wearing yourself thin isn’t good for milk production or the breastfeeding relationship with your baby. You don’t have to “sleep while the baby sleeps”, but I do recommend sitting down to an episode of Fixer Upper on HGTV with a cup of coffee and a yummy snack after you get a few chores done. ?

Baby fell asleep on the boob! This unique design nursing tank from Bun Maternity snaps at the shoulders and offers so much coverage! I’m not exposed at all!

Have easy acess! If there’s one thing I HATE about breastfeeding, it’s trying to figure out my daily wardrobe. Having cute, easy access nursing clothes is key to breastfeeding with ease. Babies are NOT patient creatures, so you need to be able to latch them quickly. I love the gray swing tank from Bun Maternity pictured below – it’s soft and comfortable and doesn’t cling to your postpartum belly! When it’s chilly, you can throw a button down cardigan over a nursing tank or sleeveless top like this. You’ll still have quick easy access to feed your baby and be able to extend the useful life of your nursing wardrobe.

Breastfeeding wardrobe
Baby Boy and I all dressed up for church! I just threw a cardigan over my sleeveless nursing swing tank from Bun Maternity.

Splurge! I always splurge on a couple nice new nursing bras and clothes when I have a baby. I know it will be at least a year of breastfeeding and frequent rotation of the same clothes over and over, so it’s always nice to have something new! If you’re looking for good quality, modest nursing clothes, Bun Maternity makes their items in the US and can be worn for pregnancy as well as breastfeeding!

Nursing tops

Breastfeeding is free, convenient, and the most natural way to feed your baby! You never have to mix a bottle in the middle of the night or worry about forgetting formula! The natural touch helps you bond with your baby, and you will save so much money (then  you can spend more on nursing clothes! Haha!).

Remember even seasoned moms like me have questions and doubts, and it’s ok! Read, ask questions, maintain a healthy diet (but don’t cut calories!), and remember to relax! Good luck!

Disclosure: I was given Bun Maternity apparel as part of a product review. Although the items were a gift, all opinions in this review remain my own and I was in no way influenced by the company.


My Natural Home Birth (And Why My Doula Was Worth Every Penny!)

My Natural Home Birth

 I had a natural home birth and I’m nobody special.

If I had one, then you could too!

My Natural Home Birth

Recently I shared the experience that drove me to choose a natural home birth for my 3rd child’s delivery. You can read about it here: http://dontcallmesupermom.com/2017/03/14/hospital-home-birth-my-story/

As promised, here is the follow up post with just how well that decision worked out for my family and me!

March 11th, My Baby's Due Date :

7:30am :  I was laying in bed when I noticed a warm trickle between my legs…I’d just been to the bathroom a few minutes earlier, so I definitely wasn’t peeing the bed. In slight disbelief, I laid completely still for a few moments to assess the situation. It was definitely my waters…and more water was coming out every second. I reached over and tapped my husband, whispering,

“My water broke…”

My poor husband. He wasn’t ready. The longer baby boy stayed in my belly safe and sound, the better in his opinion. He was slightly nervous about my natural home birth plan. Hubby’s response amused me…he quietly murmured,

“It did? Ohhh no…Ohhh boy….”

He knew it was game on, no turning back now!

This is the 2nd time I’ve had a labor start with a broken bag of waters, and its always so awkward…what do you do with gushing water between your legs? On this occasion, there was no need for a towel to cover the leather seats in our car, or hoping a pad would sufficiently soak up the flow until we made it to the hospital. I calmly stood in our bathroom over a towel, texting my midwife and doula. I brushed my teeth, put on makeup, and ate bacon and eggs.

After awhile, I felt the water had subsided enough for me to come downstairs and hang out with the family. I wasn’t feeling any pain, so I told my doula not to come yet and my midwife said she would check me in 4-6 hours if no contractions had started. I was to keep everyone posted if there was any bloody show or contractions.

Nothing exciting happened for hours. And hours.

40 weeks pregnant
We took one last baby bump pic that morning! 40 weeks exactly!

11am : I’m losing some of the mucus plug. Whoopee! Keeping things interesting (sarcasm). Still no contractions or pain, just feeling a little pressure in my lower belly and a slight lower back ache. Lots of walking around the house and trying to keep busy. Removed clean sheets from dryer to remake the bed after I got them wet earlier in the morning. Painted all my daughter’s nails (fingers AND toes) as well as my toenails. Blue, for baby boy. 🙂

Noon: Feeling more achey in my lower back. Still no actual contractions, but at least I can tell something promising is going on.

My first labor crosses my mind. I had to be induced because my waters had broken and contractions didn’t start quickly enough for the hospital’s liking. What if they never started on their own? But my midwife said there’s no time limit until 48 hours. At 12 hours she would add some herbs to the labor process. I feel reassured that at least we have a backup plan!

Still losing water, but a smaller amount. I was told that I would continue leaking until the baby came because your body keeps making amniotic fluid until the birth. Makes sense!

2pm : My back is hurting more and more, but is only slightly worse than period cramps.

My midwife checks me and I’m at 2 centimeters (3 if she stretches a bit). I’m instructed to take a dropper full of cotton root oil every 30 minutes to help the contractions along. My doula decides to head on over since she is a 45 minute drive away.

The midwife will come back for another check at 6pm, she says.

2:30pm : I’m still quite jovial, texting friends and hanging out with the family. Feeling a little more discomfort after the cervical check but nothing I can’t walk and talk through. I’m still not sure if these are considered contractions or not. (Shouldn’t I know by the third child?)

I’m finding lots of reasons to go up and down the stairs, to hopefully get that baby moving!

3pm : My doula has arrived! Not much for her or anyone else to do so…we go down to the basement and watch a Steve Martin movie while I pace the floor trying to help the labor along. I start timing contractions (or something like them?) on my contraction app!

4pm : This dumb app makes me laugh. My contractions are nowhere near regular (every where between 1.5 minutes and 6 minutes apart!) but it keeps telling me silly things like, “Delivery is immediate. Get to the hospital!”. I have to keep walking because the one time I sat down, I didn’t have another contraction for 10 whole minutes!

I had one contraction sitting on the exercise ball – I thought it was never going to end and I would never get up again. Lesson learned, the ball is not an effective labor tool for this girl!

4:30pm : Since things are picking up and the movie is over, I decide to eat a little dinner before I no longer feel like eating. Turns out, I lose my appetite halfway through my bowl of chicken chili and we (hubby, doula and I) decide to move things upstairs away from the rest of the family.

5pm : I text my midwife, “Contractions are still irregular, but they’ve definitely picked up in intensity. Pain is still bearable…But almost not so bearable.” She asked if I wanted a check sooner than 6pm as originally planned. I respond, “They’re getting worse, anytime.” She soon slips her shoes on…

6pm : Midwife arrives just a few minutes before 6pm to do a cervical check. I look at her and sigh, “I don’t want you to check me.” She exclaims, “Yay! You’re having a baby! That’s a good sign when you don’t want to be checked!” I lay down on the bed and we wait through a fairly painful contraction until she can check me. I’m only 4-5 centimeters and 90% effaced, but at least I’ve made progress!

Immediately after she leaves the contractions pick up with a vengeance. I stop texting my friends and my mom. I can barely text the midwife because I forgot to ask if I should keep taking the cotton root oil.

6:40pm : I begin to think maybe a home birth was a stupid idea. If I’m only at about 5 centimeters, how in the world am I going to make it to full dilation and push a baby out??

6:50pm: I tell my doula I’m feeling a little like I could push during the last few contractions. She rubs my back and tells me she doesn’t think I could have dilated that quickly and offers a new pain management technique or change of position.

7pm : My husband texts the midwife from my phone that I feel a little like pushing during contractions. She thinks it is me texting, so she calmly replies that it is common to feel that way around 6-7cm, but she will head on back. (If I could still text, there’s no way I’m about to push a baby out, right?)

7:15pm : My husband texts the midwife, “Head showing.”

7:18pm : And then he texts, “Head out.”

7:19pm : Midwife walks in the door.

7:20pm : Baby boy is born!

So what exactly happened in just over an hour after that 6pm check by my midwife where I was still only halfway to birthing a baby??? Besides possibly doubting my sanity in this crazy home birth decision…

My husband was busy filling up the birthing tub I planned to labor in once the contractions got worse. While he was busy doing that, my doula, Caroline, was busy massaging my back. She applied counter pressure whenever I had a contraction. Another technique was putting her hands on either side of my hips and squeezing, which really helped combat the intense pressure I was feeling in that area.

A contraction hit during an outfit change! I got really hot a few times and decided to put on shorts and a tank. My doula is applying counter pressure here during that contraction.

I was still trying to walk between contractions, but they were only about a minute apart and soon I could no longer even press the stop/start button on my contraction timer app.

Then suddenly I had a contraction where I felt like I could push. And another. I can’t describe if it sounded like I was grunting, trying to catch my breath, or dry heaving, lol. My body took over and did something I had no control over. I felt my body pushing, and I had nothing to do with it.

Caroline, my doula, suggested I see if I could go to the bathroom or if just sitting on the toilet would help me relax through contractions. I learned that this was a trick of the trade during my natural home birth research and preparation. Laboring woman often find that this is a comfortable position that offers a little relief through the pains.

But after my doula heard me go through two powerful back to back contractions on the toilet, she changed her mind. Caroline kindly insisted I get off the toilet and over to the bed. I groaned,

“I don’t think I can!”

It seemed like the most incredibly impossible task at that moment in time, but somehow I managed to leave the bathroom, kicking off my shorts along the way.

(I guess I knew the baby was coming soon at that point, because I’m not sure what else would have possessed me to do that, haha! I’m normally a pretty modest person, and was adamant about staying clothed during labor. 🙂 )

I rolled up into bed and laid on my side. The contractions were unrivaled in their intensity, causing me to whimper and whine. Having my doula there to massage and press on my back was really comforting. I knew I was in good hands!

Natural Home Birth
My last few contractions before pushing!

After a few more contractions, I felt a really strong urge to do something…It scared me a little, because I wasn’t sure exactly what it was! I decided that now, if ever, was the time for honesty. Gasping for breath, I told my doula, “I feel. Like I have. To push…Or poop.” Lol! It was really hard to tell the difference. Just in case, I resisted the urge, whatever kind of urge it was, for a few moments. Finally, I gave in and started pushing my baby’s head out.

(At this point, my midwife is still on her way in the car – luckily she only lives 15 minutes away!)

My doula told me I could reach down and feel the baby’s head…I thought that seemed a little gross at first – I mean…there’s all those bodily fluids, yuck! But I did, and it was the most awesome feeling in the world! The contractions had eased and I don’t remember feeling any pain at that point, just joy and excitement!

Once the head crowned, I remarked,

“I wish I could see it!”

My husband leapt into action, looking for a mirror. He ran into our daughters’ room and fiddled with the tall mirror screwed into their wall. Deciding THAT wouldn’t work, he ran into the guest bathroom. He looked at the huge mirror over the sink, thinking he would have to carry that into the bedroom for me. And finally he remembered we have a small porthole window shaped mirror in our nautical themed nursery. He grabbed that and dashed back into our bedroom to see the baby’s head coming out.

My husband stood at the bedside feeling all his fatherly feels, lovingly gazing at our emerging baby while I thought, “Oh for goodness sake, where’s the camera?!”. I exclaimed,

“Ryan! Get the camera; take pictures!”

He snapped a few awesome photos that no one but us will probably ever see in their unedited version, but I’m so glad to have captured that amazing moment!

Natural Home Birth
My doula congratulating me on the baby’s head emerging! Photo cropped to remove delicate subject matter. 😀

My doula suggested we let the baby’s head sit and rest for a moment to let my body stretch and avoid tearing. (And also since my midwife was almost there!) I was fine with this, as I didn’t have the urge to push again for a few minutes. I noticed the cord was wrapped around the baby’s neck and asked if that was alright. My doula calmly replied, “Yes, it is wrapped around there, but it seems pretty loose. I think it’s fine.”

This whole time, it never occurred to me that I should possibly be concerned about giving birth with no midwife present. My doula was so composed, I had complete faith in her.

There’s a few facts I haven’t mentioned about my doula before now…Mine was her first natural home birth. And she’s a doula in training! She’s attended 5 or 6 births, but they’d all been in hospitals until mine. It just goes to show that the number of births under your doula’s belt isn’t everything! 😉 Having confidence in and feeling comfortable with the doula you chose is important!

My midwife (and her assistant) arrived right before I felt like pushing again, just in time to catch the baby! Which, oddly enough, was a large factor in me choosing a natural home birth. I wanted to avoid the whole midwife-is-only-there-to-catch-the-baby-scenario. Oh the irony! This is why my doula was worth every penny! I was supported every step of the way during my delivery!

Natural Home Birth
Moments after birth!

The thing that was different with this birth experience is that I felt loved and supported by my birth team. Every effort was made for my comfort and well-being before, during, and after the labor. My doula made sure I was drinking, the lights were dimmed (which I always thought sounded silly, but was really very comforting!) the assistant midwife covered me with a blanket after delivery, the midwife oohed and ahhed over the baby, engaged with my daughters and congratulated me on what a great job I did! I felt a little like a rock star…so much love and attention!

Big sisters meeting baby brother for the first time!
My daughters got to come in and meet the baby only about an hour and twenty minutes after baby was born.

I had a very quick labor and delivery – I was only in active labor for about 2 hours! He was born at 7:20pm, only 2 hours after my cervical check where I was only 4-5cm dilated and 90% effaced.

I can’t say whether I would have fared as well through a longer labor, but the intense pressure of contractions and back labor was totally worth the ecstasy of finally feeling a baby crowning for the first time ever!

My doula was an amazing support postpartum as well as during my labor and delivery. I’ll always appreciate her calming presence and thoughtfulness. A few of her considerate actions included grabbing me a fresh, soft blanket to cuddle baby up in, helping clean up, leaving me a snack and nipple cream, taking lots of pictures…

My recovery has been awesome! This is the first delivery where I haven’t torn! I’ve had the strongest, most instantaneous bond with this baby – all I wanted to do was stare at him for days. I couldn’t get enough! So much love, and that extended to my girls…Seeing them hold and exclaim over their brand new baby brother evoked the sweetest of emotions. My milk came in like crazy! Even more than with my first. I could feed 2 or 3 babies right now I think.

I honestly don’t know how much of this had to do with an unmedicated birth. I mention all these things because this is my experience and how it differs from my two previous hospital births.

Having a natural home birth was definitely the best decision I could have made! I hope it will make me a better mother in the future, better able to fully appreciate all of my children for the miracles they are. <3

Newborn baby boy

I’m interested to know if you’ve had both a medicated as well as an UNmedicated birth experience!

What were the differences you noticed post-delivery? 

Let me know in the comments!