Going unassisted for our first child. Tips? Advice? Support? - Mothering Forums

 
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#1 of 17 Old 11-18-2011, 01:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So, when I learned I was pregnant, I had no idea there was even such a thing as unassisted childbirth. All I was concerned with was going as natural as possible and avoiding unnecessary medical intervention. My mother was induced about a week prior to her due date because, as she puts it she "didn't want to wait anymore, it was summer." Forceps were also used which she saw no problem with because it was under the doctor's best judgment. She did not have a high-risk pregnancy and I can't help but wonder if all these unnecessary interventions had something to do with my hip dysplasia by age 1 (which miraculously turned out to be absolutely nothing when she consulted a second doctor after being told I would need surgery), and scoliosis by age 11.

So, I wanted a midwife. But I live in NJ, one of the most expensive states for just about everything, and incidentally the worst insurance coverage. So, a midwife was just not possible. The only ones covered by the insurance work in questionable, hour or more away hospitals and the only one who works out of a birthing center made me cry on our first consultation visit. This was more than just the typical heightened sentivity during pregnancy. She attacked personal life choices of mine, and she projected issues with her own children onto me, NOT acceptable. 

So, I'm a very low-risk pregnancy. Normal weight gain, normal bp, very active fetus! I have been going to my prenatal appointments at a clinic which I hated. So, I stopped going two weeks ago. I planned to have transferred somewhere else by now, but I have nowhere else to transfer.

I also met another woman through a mutual friend who is one month behind me in her third pregnancy and going unassisted. A few days ago, I started considering going the same route and have felt much calmer since. I think trying to jump through hoops for a system that still won't accept me anywhere I can be comfortable has had me on edge for most of this pregnancy. That's unacceptable. Believe it or not, I feel stronger since I decided not to ask for their help. I have a very supportive partner who's been considering this with me since I presented the idea. He's definitely on board. We know there are risks, as with everything else in life, but they are quite low and I've been taking excellent care of myself other than having let this issue drag me down for so long. Maybe if I had decided to go unassisted earlier in the pregnancy I would've been better off. Then again, I also like knowing that I had "normal" prenatal care at a clinic until late in my pregnancy. I now know for sure that I'm low risk and as long as I continue to take care of myself, everything should be fine.

 

So far in my shopping list:

birth tub (rental)

birth tub liner

birthing kit

fetoscope

books (already have Ina May Gaskin's Spiritual Midwifery and have been studying the To the Midwives section)

 

Any recommendations/support would be greatly appreciated. Extended family does not approve of the decision so my partner and I are on our own save a few good friends. Also, if any one else is going through this simultaneously or has had an unassisted birth for their first pregnancy, please let me know.

 

Thank you and lots of love and good vibes to any one with children in or out of the womb!

 

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#2 of 17 Old 11-18-2011, 04:57 PM
 
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Definitely do lots of research!  Two of my favorite UC sites:

 

http://www.unhinderedliving.com/childbirth.html

http://www.unassistedchildbirth.com

 

Watch lots of UC videos and read lots of stories!

 

 

That is GREAT that your partner is on board.  Mine was, too (100%!).  My first birth was of my twins.  I had a UC, uncomplicated four hour labor, and two healthy girls.  I am currently pregnant with my third child and first singleton, and we are planning a UC for this one as well.

 

If you have any specific questions/concerns, ask away!

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#3 of 17 Old 11-18-2011, 05:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you so much for the upbeat support! I had already looked into unassistedchildbirth.com and found it very encouraging. I love reading about people who've already done it with happy results because it helps me get into that mindset of "I can do it. I will do it. It will be beautiful." That's all I really need right now, I think. Just to think positive and keep up with prenatal care on my own. The other site you suggested was great for that. It seems to give more specific information/instructions for those of us who've already chosen this route. 

 

Any books you'd recommend?

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#4 of 17 Old 11-20-2011, 03:57 PM
 
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I had a UC for my first pregnancy. I was 19, had a jerk for a boyfriend and very little support, besides a few friends who knew nothing about birth, but just knew/trusted me enough to believe I was making an informed decision.  The birth was BEAUTIFUL (ended up completely solo) and an amazing way to start my journey as a mother.  since I've had 2 more UCs with the support of my husband and I'm currently expecting #4.

 

All mine were waterbirths & I wanted to add that we used inflatable kiddie pools which I LOVED so especially if money is an issue, that might be something to consider. If you are interested, you can see 2 of my births (and the pools used) on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/user/liajoy83?feature=mhsn

 

It sounds like you've got a good start on your research & decision making process!

 

Best wishes!!

Lia


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#5 of 17 Old 11-20-2011, 04:14 PM
 
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Lia, I have seen that video before while searching for UC videos.  I love it!! <3

 

(Oh, and I have the same birth pool, just the slightly smaller version. :) )

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#6 of 17 Old 12-07-2011, 03:54 PM
 
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I'm also going UP/UC for my first (currently 20 weeks along) and I would highly recommend a few more books:  Ina May's Guide to Childbirth (have heard from friends that it's actually a lot better than Spiritual Midwifery), and Birthing From Within, which is more about the internal mental/emotional preparation to deal with any 'issues' you may have around childbirth/becoming a parent/etc...

 

I would also highly recommend educating yourself as much as possible on any 'what ifs' that particularly bother you, not just what can go wrong/variations of normal, but how to deal with them and when it's definitely time to go to the hospital. I have been researching this stuff for a few years now and I've come to the conclusion that there is only a quite short list of issues that would warrant emergency transfer to a hospital  (e.g. cord prolapse, hemmhorage, etc...) I won't list them all because everyone has their own comfort level and the main point is that the chance of something going wrong in an unhindered birth is actually very low. 

 

It might also be worthwhile to see if there are any doulas in your area who are willing to offer support for UC (I don't know if this has legality issues, as I don't live in the US these days). I personally plan to have a friend or two available on call, both of whom have had UCs before and one who is studying to be a doula. For me, there's something reassuring about having a woman around who has gone through it before, rather than just DH and I.


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#7 of 17 Old 12-08-2011, 12:05 PM
 
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It is possible to find doulas who will attend UCs here in the states. some individuals are not comfortable with potential liability and I believe some certifying bodies recommend against attending UCs but I'm certified through CBI and the attitude there is that it's at the doula's discretion. I'd personally love to doula for a UC, but I'd be very careful that the family knew I was just for support and not there as someone who had extra knowledge of birth, or 'just incase' something went wrong. Many of the doula's I've talked to about this feel the same way :)


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#8 of 17 Old 12-10-2011, 10:57 AM
 
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I too am living in New Jersey, pretty much a natural living desert, I'm in South Jersey which is worse than North Jersey but I am currently pregnant with our second child and planning my second UC birth.  I had my first in California and I really felt so private and personal about it I knew I did not want a hospital birth and so consulted a midwife.  She was great, and in that first meeting, she spoke about unassisted childbirth and spoke about it being a movement.  I didnt know women were doing it, I only joked with my mate about doing it alone like a woman in the jungle!  The midwife was in favor of UC but not all midwives are, so when I called to tell her I was choosing to go unassisted she offered to help with education.  I borrowed several videos of hers, one had women giving birth in the black sea and children swimming with dolphins, beautiful, another was Orgasmic Birth, awesome, some women have an orgasm during the actual birth of there child.  I didnt have an orgasm, however, we did make love during labor, BEFORE, my water broke and that was a very pleasurable way to move through contractions!  There are stories on Laura Shanleys site of women pleasuring themselves during labor as well.  I borrowed and later bought Susun Weeds, Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year wich is excellent and turned me on to Susun Weed all together, highly recommend!  The first book I bought was by Aviva JIll Romm, The Natural Pregnancy Book wich I also highly recommend, very empowering writing, I think to go UC you really need to be strong, empowered, confident and KNOW you, like women since the beginning of the human race, can birth unassisted.  Also, contains a lot of info on nutrition, what you need and how to get it from food and herbs, her husband wrote a piece for the partners to read as well.  

 

One piece of business about UC is the birth certificate issue.  I havent found the info about Jersey yet, but in California I was lucky to have interviewed that midwife.  The state of California needs proof of pregnancy and birth, whether by doctor or midwife.  When we first went to file for the birth certificate they needed a signed document.  So I called the midwife and she said she would come right over and she gave myself and my newborn daughter a non invasive exam, (heart rate, blood pressure, and some questions) and then wrote up and signed a paper stating she met with us while I was pregnant, we planned an unassisted homebirth and that mother and baby are healthy.  If we did not have that paper we would have had to petition the Supreme Court of California and somehow prove to them that the child is indeed mine, prove that we didnt steal someones baby.  (Crazy world where this happens).  I was also told that just getting an answer from the Supreme Court of CA could take up to a year.  Then court dates etc.  So, this is an important factor to look into if you plan on getting a birth certificate.  I believe you said you had clinic care so that should be your pregnancy proof if that is required.

 

Oh, and I also birthed in a childs pool, a large star with yellow and pink sides :) and a blue floor that was also inflated so cushioned. I like owning the pool I birthed in and will birth in again!  Btw, the midwife told us that too much blood is when you cant see your feet anymore.  We burried the placenta in the California hills.  Did you know that many hospitals sell placentas to cosmetic companies? You cant take it home with you but they can sell it.     

 

Information and organization is key. We made some mistakes, like not having enough towels in the bedroom where the pool was, also my husband ran out to the store to get an excercise ball which was nice to bounce on while in labor. 

 

Lia_Joy- I love your avatar, is that a picture of you or someone else photoshop'd?  Also, I think you must be very strong and brave to have been so young and alone and gone through with an unassisted birth, namaste. 

 

    

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#9 of 17 Old 12-15-2011, 03:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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At first I didn't want to include my age in case anyone was going to discourage me because of it. But Lia's comments have been so encouraging I might as well say: I am 20 years old and planning an unassisted childbirth. Been getting no support from the family so far who view as irresponsible for even considering it. I also don't have a place to birth if I go unassisted as the place I'm living now is my partner's parents' place and they will not allow a UC in their home. I have a supportive friend who has offered me her home but I can tell she'd really rather I go with a midwife for my first time.

It IS a huge mental hurdle to jump, but it isn't outside my body's realm of capability. I've been open to the possibility of a more hands-off type midwife just for the safety of it but no luck. I almost thought I'd found a perfect match through a friend of a friend who's a midwife (hands-off, willing to do it pro-bono) but when I called her myself, she mentioned none of what I'd heard and instead recommended I go see some midwives in Montclair. 

I truly believe all these failed attempts are life's way of telling me: Don't do it. You don't need to do it their way. You are capable.

 

Also, everyone and their mother's has been recommending Inay May's Guide to Natural Childbirth so I'm definitely getting it. Been dabbling in the Emotional Freedom Technique book by Gary Craig. AND found a great site for a free watertub, if anyone's in a financial bind, I'd be happy to pass on the link. All you have to do is arrange pick up/shipping from the last person to have it. From what I can tell the tub hangs out in the NY area a lot. What an awesome resource. If only everything worked this way. Need a laid back midwife willing to just kick back with you and let you birth without charging you 5k for it? I know one that hangs out in the NY area.

 

As far as research for the "what if's" I'm thinking based on the fact that I have no conditions at the moment that would present possible difficulties during birth, the only ones to keep in mind are really cord prolapse and difficulty breathing. I'm pretty confident in my partner's and my ability to deal with cord prolapse, but I'm fuzzy on getting him breathing if he doesn't on his own. I've heard the "pat on the bum" solution but that's about it. When I tried to access the unhinderedliving.com page that deals with that problem, it was under construction. Is there/Does anyone here have a good/valid answer other than "have oxygen around"?

 

If anyone feels uncomfortable providing these answers on the forum, I'd be willing to provide my e-mail address as I also have other questions, less dire but still important. ALTHOUGH, we should all remember that we have a right to discuss these things freely and share information with one another. That's what "community" is all about.

 

Thanks to everyone who's shared on here so far.

 

 

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#10 of 17 Old 12-15-2011, 06:14 PM
 
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Can I ask where in NJ you are? I'm in Monmouth County and dealing with military insurance, so also having trouble finding a suitable birth situation. DH isn't on board with UC, and insurance isn't on board with a midwife-attended homebirth... I had a hospital birth 15 months ago with DS1 and was actually pretty happy with the experience, but it's just not what I wanted and not what I want this time.

 

Anyway, no advice, but wanted to wish you good luck and let you know you're not alone in this state with no options :-/


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#11 of 17 Old 12-16-2011, 08:25 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm just up north of you in somerset county. If we can get more NJ expectant moms to come through this thread we should definitely try to plan something. A movement, a support group, a march against our insurance companies ROTFLMAO.gifwhat have you. after all, there's power in numbers.

In other news, I called some midwives in Montclair today, said they'd never had anyone request a discount before. But they wouldn't give me a number, they said I should come up with one and they'll discuss it. Doesn't help me much because I have little to no money to be spending on a midwife. I was also shocked to find out their standard fee... $8500. I'm almost certain that kind of price tag wouldn't fly in many places outside NJ, but here we are living in it anyway.

Honestly, I'm very exhausted with the prospect of trying to find a midwife just so everyone can feel safer and let me birth in peace. As one popular NJ midwive's motto goes, "Women of Earth, Take Back Your Birth!" Why don't we just say to heck with the midwife, and do just that, take back our births. If you can find a good midwife who will provide as much or as little support as you need, great. But when money's tight, and no one's willing to help, the way you'd really appreciate them to, then it's time to take it into our own hands. Everyone's who's on board, hop on. Those wheels will turn with or without passengers. The train only needs a conductor and MAYBE a co-conductor. Assuming the co-conductor will actually help instead of just watch uncomfortably or ultimately get in the way. I've got a great co-conductor who knows his place. We have good communication and that's the end of my train-metaphor. 

 

Thanks again to everyone reading, and to everyone going through this predicament hug2.gif

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#12 of 17 Old 12-18-2011, 02:41 AM
 
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Oh, one book I really loved was Orgasmic Birth.  It's extremely insightful (it isn't necessarily about orgasming during birth, but achieving a wonderful birth experience) and has lots of birth stories.  It's really the only good book I've read about birth because I'm cheap, so I mostly use the internet.  Lol.

 

Otherwise, try watching some documentaries on Netflix - The Business of Being Born and Pregnant in America.

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#13 of 17 Old 12-18-2011, 06:01 PM
 
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I'm so excited to hear that I'm not the only one in NJ planning an unassisted childbirth!  Woo hoo!  I'm not pregnant yet - I haven't even started trying.  I wanted to do as much research as I could before I became pregnant so that I can lighten my load during pregnancy as I'm sure I'll be very busy with other things. 

 

I would love to know what are the "what if's" and proper protocols to follow?  

 

We can do this!

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#14 of 17 Old 12-23-2011, 03:25 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marcelaivone View Post

At first I didn't want to include my age in case anyone was going to discourage me because of it. But Lia's comments have been so encouraging I might as well say: I am 20 years old and planning an unassisted childbirth. Been getting no support from the family so far who view as irresponsible for even considering it. I also don't have a place to birth if I go unassisted as the place I'm living now is my partner's parents' place and they will not allow a UC in their home. I have a supportive friend who has offered me her home but I can tell she'd really rather I go with a midwife for my first time.

 

As far as research for the "what if's" I'm thinking based on the fact that I have no conditions at the moment that would present possible difficulties during birth, the only ones to keep in mind are really cord prolapse and difficulty breathing. I'm pretty confident in my partner's and my ability to deal with cord prolapse, but I'm fuzzy on getting him breathing if he doesn't on his own. I've heard the "pat on the bum" solution but that's about it. When I tried to access the unhinderedliving.com page that deals with that problem, it was under construction. Is there/Does anyone here have a good/valid answer other than "have oxygen around"?

 

 

 

Weird, I totally missed this too.  Lol.

 

I was 20 when I started TTC and 21 when I conceived and birthed my twins.  I'll be 23 when I have this one in April/May. :)

 

A lot of people thought I was irresponsible too.  My mom was the biggest hurdle.  Most everyone left me alone except for her.  She kept pestering me and having stupid debates about UC vs. hospital birth.  In the end she ended up calling the cops on me when I was in labor.  Sigh.  Anyway I was going to suggest maybe renting a cheap motel room to birth in, particularly one close to a hospital, just in case you need to transfer.  A lot of ladies do just that.

 

Uh...cord prolapse?  That necessitates an immediate c-section (unless you can rocket that baby out of your vagina within a minute of prolapse...good luck with that)...how would you deal with that at home?!  Anyway a cord prolapse is next to non-existant in a UC...usually they only happen with AROM and twins, particularly monoamniotic twins (they share an amniotic sac so once the first twin is born, the second twin is at risk for cord prolapse since his/her head isn't engaged right away), which I would personally never birth at home.

 

There is also a low chance the baby will have problems breathing as long as you are full term (this can start as early as 35 weeks, depending on what you are comfortable with) and obviously since you will have no interventions, natural labor, etc.  Generally the best thing to do is to keep the baby on your chest skin to skin and rub him/her (vigorously, if needed).  You can learn how to do neonatal resuscitation, but you will probably have to take a class for it (and it might not be free).  It is also possible to rent or buy an oxygen tank, I believe.

 


 

 

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#15 of 17 Old 12-30-2011, 08:17 PM
 
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The Bornfree forum has loads of information in the library & very knowledgable moderators/members.

This may be helpful:

http://www.amazon.com/Emergency-Childbirth-Gregory-J-White/dp/0934426015/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top

Also, Karen Strange offers the best neonatal resuscitation classes around.  She's go some good resources on her site.

 

BTW, room air is better than oxygen.


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#16 of 17 Old 01-03-2012, 03:24 AM
 
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I had a UC with my first and all family/friends were entirely against it. We ended up not talking to anyone until after the baby was born and I didn't tell a soul when I was in labor because I was afraid I'd have a million calls or someone would call the police on me. Plus, I didn't want my birth to be about a whole lot of people worrying and praying for me like I was going to die. I hated the thought of that kind of negativity going on around me. We just kept it to ourselves once we found out everyone was going to be psychotic about it.

 

My best piece of advice other than what you've gotten is to leave yourself open to the unexpected and don't ever compare what you think your birth experience might be with what other women experience. I researched UC for 8 years before having my baby and ended up with expectations that were over and above what was realistic. I totally believed the women that said that any woman can have a painless childbirth if you only believe it. I completely, without-a-doubt knew for a fact I was going to have this awesome, easy, painless UC because I was told it could happen.

 

It didn't turn out that way. My baby turned posterior in labor and despite trying to reposition her in every way known to womankind, she wouldn't budge. She came straight down and out sunny-side-up. It was blindingly excruciating and more than once I wished I would just die. I was so upset during labor because I felt like I had been lied to by everyone. I didn't realize that I had been basing my own expectations off of an incredibly small minority of lucky women and it made me feel like a failure in labor. I almost gave up and went to the hospital.

 

It wasn't until I accepted the fact that it was MY birth and my birth was going to go the way MY birth should go, that I was finally able to cope with the pain and, thankfully, ended up staying home and not getting the epidural I was so wishing for. It was an amazing and eye-opening experience, truly the best experience of my life. I found out a lot about myself and how strong I am that day. I'm due again in March/April and couldn't be less worried. I know I'll rock this birth because pain can't scare me anymore. I know not to expect anything and I've learned to let my birth be the birth it's going to be.

 

Remember that your birth is awesome, even if it's not what you expected, even if you think you can't cope with the pain (you can!). You might just get lucky and have a painless childbirth, but leaving yourself open to all possibilities will keep you from feeling as though you have failed just because you didn't live up to the expectations set by another mother's birth.

 

Congratulations! :)


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#17 of 17 Old 01-13-2012, 12:24 AM
 
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Lovely post, amberskyfire.  Thanks for sharing.

 

And btw you are smarter than I am.  I called a total of two people when I was in labor with the twins, and one of them, my own mother, called the cops on me when we refused to let her in the house.  The other person I called was the one I wish would have showed up and let herself in.  She'll be attending the birth of baby #3 this spring. :)

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