Workshop #1 - Preconception, Pregnancy, Natural Childbirth, and Midwifery - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 93 Old 04-05-2008, 01:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Workshop #1 - Preconception, Pregnancy, Natural Childbirth, and Midwifery

MDC is pleased to welcome you to our first Natural Family Living discussion. Each month we will feature a chapter or section of Peggy O’Mara’s book Natural Family Living for our members, moderators and administrators to discuss. Our first workshop will be on Part 1 – Preconception, Pregnancy, Natural Childbirth, and Midwifery.

We would like to invite everyone to join us no matter where you are in your thinking or feelings. These discussions are meant to be nonjudgmental so please keep in mind when reading members' responses that this is a true discussion based on Natural Family Living and not a place to debate or criticize. Feel free to tell your story; what were your original thoughts on birth? Did they change after the birth? What have you learned (or what would you like to learn)?

We’re excited to offer these workshop and hope it will give our members a glimpse into the grassroots of Mothering magazine and Natural Family Living.

This workshop will be facilitated by our moderators Annettemarie and Arwyn. They are here to guide the discussion and keep it on topic. They will occasionally post references or ask questions to keep the conversation flowing. Please feel free to contact them at any time with questions, suggestions or concerns. Please keep in mind our workshop guidelines and current user agreement at all times.

We are compiling a Natural Family Living Resources Sticky which we will update with each workshop. Please feel free to refer to it for more information. For articles and information on our current workshop, please see the Preconception, Pregnancy, Natural Childbirth, and Midwifery page.
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#2 of 93 Old 04-05-2008, 08:41 PM
 
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Hey mamas! I'm really excited to be helping facilitate the first of the workshops!

This is one area where I've seen a lot of growth and change in my own motherhood journey.

My first baby was born in a hospital. He was induced, and born after a 27 hour medicated labor with 3 hours of pushing. He was finally delivered by foceps.

My second birth, I labored mostly at home and delivered at the hospital. I was there for less than an hour and she came out in two pushes!

My third birth was an induction after a month of bedrest due to high blood pressure. It was a quick and wild hospital birth, and I did have some medication.

My fourth birth was a homebirth. My whole birth story is here, but it was much more wild and unpredictable than I would have expected!

I can't wait to hear everyone's thoughts on preconception, pregnancy, and childbirth.

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#3 of 93 Old 04-05-2008, 11:50 PM
 
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When I was first pregnant, I went in search of a midwife- the only one in the phone book was CNM. I went in and she handed me a welcome pack with formula samples, a hospital book and other stuff I didn't want.

I cried all the way to the car- I could hardly see going home. I couldn't even put my finger on what was wrong. I had been a natural living person for years and yet knew nothing about pregnancy or birth because it was all new. I just knew what I didn't want, not what I did.

But I didn't give up and went looking through alternative magazines and found there was a LM nearby! I met the LM and felt immediately at ease. She gave me a card to subscribe to Mothering magazine and I sent it in right away. Here was what I wanted!

I had a healthy, active pregnancy and gave birth to my dd in my bedroom with the sound of falling rain outside my open window. It was magical and truly one of the deepest, most transformative moments of my life. I felt my own power and connection to all of the universe.

Being right is not always fair, but being fair is always right
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#4 of 93 Old 04-05-2008, 11:59 PM
 
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When I married my husband in March of '05 all I wanted was a baby. So we played the don't try, but don't prevent game. I had been on BC prior to us getting married and then stopped, because I couldn't remember to take them anyway. So for six months I "tried" to get pregnant (my cycles were predictable and I knew about when I O'd) Finally on the 6th try we got a positive I had a very uneventful pregnancy (although I already knew the next child would not be born in a hospital), but went "overdue" by a week and was exhausted from the 4 days of horrendous back labor. I had an epidural and AROM and had DS1 about 8 hrs after our arrival at the hospital. I had second degree tears from the coached pushing on my back (DS wasn't turned the right way to come out.) I was pretty shaken up from the experience. I never wanted to be put back into a hospital ever again.

Fast foward to pregnancy number 2. I had spent the months after DS1's birth researching my options. I decided to plan a homebirth with a midwife. So when we got our BFP I began planning my dream birth. Sadly that ended in m/c, but one month later I was pregnant again. With a couple of moves (one across country) and lots of stress, I ended my pregnancy with a wonderful midwife-attended homebirth with no tearing and a perfect baby

I never thought in all my 21 years I'd be as crunchy as I am. I find I'm attracted to doing things au naturale and encourage those around me to research their options no matter what they think they want!

-:¦:-♥Sarah Lynne♥-:¦:-Wife to Michael and Mommy to Austin(5), Steven(3), Tristyn(1), and Laurelyn (6/3/2011)

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#5 of 93 Old 04-06-2008, 12:00 AM
 
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With DS I was induced at 41 weeks with pitocin. I had an epidural and was forced to deliver in the supine position. DD was born unassisted and drug free. I followed my instincts during the labor and birth and I birthed her in a squatting position which eased her passage into this world.
My view of pregnancy and birth changed so dramatically after I had DS. I'm so glad it did.

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#6 of 93 Old 04-06-2008, 01:32 AM
 
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I honestly can't remember whether natural living led me to natural birth, or the other way around. Well, I suppose I started life with the vague idea that natural birth and environmentalism were good (I grew up hearing my own birth story, in an Alternative Birthing Center in a hospital, how the doctor wanted to administer pitocin after birth and my mother said "Wait a moment" and put me to her breast, and I latched on right away and she never needed the shot), but hadn't really thought hard about either.

Then maybe 6 years ago, I watched a woman, a dear friend of mine, walk into a hospital with the vague idea that natural childbirth was good, and was prevented from walking around, bullied, drugged, cut, and left powerless and in pain. I cried all the way home, saying this is not how it should be. That experience got me looking into becoming a doula, and from there I learned about cloth diapers, and wool, and natural health care, and organic foods, and dangers of vaccines, and vermicomposting, and MDC, and now here I am, doing things I'd never even heard of seven years ago, and scoffed at five years ago. So I have that traumatic birth (just seeing it!) to thank for getting me here; for me, natural living and natural birth are part of a whole, a philosophy of life that is grateful we have high technology and interventions, and strives to sparingly and wisely put them to use only when necessary.

I know I have so much left to learn about birth, even as my library is stacked full with books, and my time largely devoted to hearing others' stories. I enjoyed my birth so much, I wish I could go back and do it again (and again and again) - not have another baby, just experience that time again, all that pain and power and beauty and bliss, feeling my child slide through me and enter the world, singing baby, oh my baby, oh my Brisen! I want that joy, that power, that bliss, that love for every woman, for every mamababy, even as I know that my path to it isn't right or appropriate for everyone, and I want to devote my life to helping create a world where women know that it is their birthright to have that joy, no matter what interventions they might also need.
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#7 of 93 Old 04-06-2008, 03:47 AM
 
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My experiences with my each of my daughter's births were like night and day. With my oldest I read an awful lot about pregnancy and childbirth but I don't think I was reading the right things. I was petrified of the pain of childbirth and wanted absolutely no part of it. I thought people that gave birth without drugs were nuts. I had many people tell me about their fabulous epidurals and that it is the only way to go, so I skipped the childbirth classes figuring what did I need them for if I was just going to get the shot in the back anyway? Well, when my epidural didn't work and realizing that the only person that was going to get the baby out was me and I was going to feel every minute of it I felt as though I was stepping off a cliff. Her birth made me feel small, bewildered, alone, and with no control of my body. It felt so invasive and impersonal. I also tore badly and it took months to recover. I felt traumatized by the experience and was positive I would never have another child if that is what it was going to be like. I couldn't watch someone give birth on TV because I would become really anxious and cry.

4 years later, after doing a lot of homework, I decided that I wanted to give it another shot. I really think (and I know this sounds terrible but it is kind of true) that the only reason that I got pregnant again was to prove to myself that I could "get it right" this time around and have a healing birth. I opted out of my long-researched decision to have a homebirth (financial/insurance reasons and gave birth in a "baby friendly" hospital. And it really was. And boy did I seem like a total pain in the butt for these people. I gave a copy of my birth plan to everyone that walked by, made it very clear about what I did and didn't want, and had complete control of my labor and delivery from the start. They were very supportive of me and my choices, and I have to say that my LO's birth was more sublime than I could have imagined. Drug-free, annoyance-free, intervention-free, complete with a spa-like setting and a big huge tub . Within hours, I felt as though I didn't give birth at all.

See what I mean by night and day?

I so wish that all women can know what it is like to feel confident that their body knows what to do and how empowering it is to make informed choices for themselves and their baby. That it is ok to question authority. That it is their body, not the hospitals, not the doctors, not their midwives. No one but their own.

I am so excited to be a part of this workshop!
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#8 of 93 Old 04-06-2008, 05:06 AM
 
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My first birth was traumatic. I was not educated, then bullied, cut, had my water broken, was refused pain relief. Forced to labor on my back covered in machines, I was so exhausted the only thing that saved me from a C-section was the nurse PUSHING on my abdomen to keep her down between contractions. Humiliated and bleeding they stitched up my 4th degree tear and pretended everything was okay.
But I was so convinced by society that birth is dangerous and I had been saved from some worse fate by modern medicine, that even after researching homebirth I was terrified and ran back to a hospital 4 yrs later to have DD.
I was left feeling empty, like there must be something more.
DS1 was born to a much more educated mom. Still in a hospital, but it was an insurance issue and finally not FEAR.
No drugs, a couple pushes, they even sent me home early. I felt so strong.
So DS2 was born beautifully and quietly AT HOME. Now that I know better I will never willingly subject myself to a hospital birth!! I use every oppurtunity to talk about my experience, and when my lifestyle changes, plan to study as a midwife, so I can share it with others!!

Mom of 4 aspiring midwife "Friend"ly seeker
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#9 of 93 Old 04-06-2008, 12:37 PM
 
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As soon as my husband and I decided to TTC, I started to educate myself about pregnancy and birth. I read a ton of books, chatted with a natural-birthing friend often about birth, and watched birth videos. I knew from the start that I wanted a natural birth.

When I got pregnant, I decided to use a CNM at a birthing center connected to the hospital. She was okay at first, but after a while started talking about how it was okay to have an epidural and she tried to push a bunch of prenatal tests on me. I started to have a bad feeling about having my child at the birthing center. I saw her up until I was 32 weeks pregnant, when I decided to instead have a homebirth with a CPM. It definitely felt like the right decision.

I had a pretty long and very difficult labor and birth, but it was all worth it to be able to be at home! All in all, it was a beautiful experience. If/when we have another child, I will homebirth again.


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#10 of 93 Old 04-06-2008, 02:47 PM
 
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Preconception:
It's a funny thing, really. I started having sex at 16, got pregnant for the first time at 19. For those first three years, I used nothing but the pull-out method and the occasional condom. Never got pregnant. I went on birth control when I married DH, and I took it religiously. I was pregnant within 3 months.

Pregnancy:
Even though I was sick a lot through my teen years (I was bulimic, and suffered complications from my eating disorder that left me in and out of a wheelchair for nearly a year-- I had just started getting out of it for good when DH and I got together) I had always looked forward to pregnancy. It just seemed like such a happy time, and i was confident that, despite my struggles with weight, I would be able to have a happy and healthy pregnancy and enjoy watching my belly expand.

And you know what? I was right! I had an extremely healthy pregnancy. I took great care of myself. I felt better than I had in years. I loved every minute of it, even the aches and pains. People probably thought I was nuts! I was just so happy that I couldn't bring myself to complain.

Birth:
Warning: This is NOT a happy story.

I had planned a UC. DH was on board. I went into labour around 42 weeks. I was so excited! I was finally going to meet my baby! Labour was... labour. It hurt, sure. But I never once thought "Gee, I wish somebody would come stick a needle in my spine to make me numb from the waist down!" ... The thought of any drugs in labour was so far removed from my mind by that point that it just seemed absurd.

I had a long pushing phase. almost 6 hours. I could still feel my baby moving inside of me, so I just thought of it as a variation of normal. After all, I had talked to women who had pushed for much longer, and everything turned out fine.

Finally, she was crowning! It took me a while to push her head out, and after it was out DH discovered that the cord was compressed between her shoulder (major shoulder dystocia) and my pelvis bone. He called 911.

They finally got the baby out, and rushed ust to the ER (she was on a seperate ambulance. I hadn't got to see her). I was in such a state of shock that I couldn't process what was happening. Doc reached INTO my uterus to retrieve the placenta. I hemmorhaged. I nearly bled to death. I had a blood transfusion. Later, I found out the baby hadn't made it. It was the worst day of my life by far.

Healing:
I am currently on my third pregnancy (had one m/c at 10 weeks in between). Things are going well so far. I am planning a homebirth with a wonderful midwife. I am not against UC, but it's not something I believe I could ever do again. I spent too long blaming myself.

I am hoping for a very healing birth experience. I've learned so much. I still worry maybe more than I should, but I have not lost faith in myself.

I was made for this.

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#11 of 93 Old 04-06-2008, 02:51 PM
 
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What do you do to get ready before you're actually pregnant?

I have to admit this is an area in which I fall short. Each baby, I vow to do better, but I never do.

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#12 of 93 Old 04-06-2008, 02:58 PM
 
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Originally Posted by annettemarie View Post
What do you do to get ready before you're actually pregnant?

I have to admit this is an area in which I fall short. Each baby, I vow to do better, but I never do.
Before I got pregnant, I started exercising more, eating better, and taking prenatal vitamins.

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#13 of 93 Old 04-06-2008, 03:04 PM
 
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Originally Posted by annettemarie View Post
What do you do to get ready before you're actually pregnant?

I have to admit this is an area in which I fall short. Each baby, I vow to do better, but I never do.
All mine have been surprises. I'm not quite sure what I'd do short of making sure I was eating right.

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#14 of 93 Old 04-06-2008, 03:05 PM
 
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Ideally, I would lose about 50 pounds. I never quite lose it after the baby before, and just add to it with each pregnancy. I sometimes wonder if my pregnancies would any easier if I wasn't carrying around extra weight.

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#15 of 93 Old 04-06-2008, 03:07 PM
 
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I got off my psychotropic medication. That was my big goal before getting off birth control and starting to TTC. The medication I was on had a small but significant increase in the risk of spinal cord defects (spina bifida, etc), which I am already at statistically increased risk for, having a high weight. I was willing to be on it during pregnancy if needed, but I didn't want to if I didn't have to.

Getting off it was one of the best things I've ever done. I already had built up a large support network, and put in hundreds of hours in therapy, massage therapy, and acupuncture, getting mentally stable. I started fish oil, and worked with a holistic OD who specialized in mental health to wean off the drug. I also started taking prenatal vitamins regularly, and switched to organic milk (which lead me into the world of organic and whole foods), and made a few other diet and lifestyle changes that were mostly about getting stable, but were also good ideas for TTC.

The fish oil made all the difference, and I discovered worked even better than the psychotropic I had been on. The side effects of fish oil were healthier hair and skin, reduced risk of inflamatory diseases, better fats for my baby's brain, and real, enjoyable mental stability. The side effects of the psychotropic were never ending appetite leading to massive increases of weight, increased risk of birth defects in my baby, and shakey, moderate amounds of mental stability.

I also got off birth control pills, and in learning about fertility and charting for conception (my cycles took months, and much acupuncture, to return after getting off the hormones), I learned why I will likely never go back on them.

As a side effect of getting off the psychotropic medication, I lost significant amounts of weight, but it wasn't something I was trying to do, or felt was a goal before TTC.

There was a lot I didn't do that I wanted to before conception - I wasn't able to replace metal fillings, for instance. But I did what I could to help create a safe, healthy space for my child to grow in.




A book I really recommend preconception, about environmental pollutants in the procreative cycle, is Having Faith - an Ecologists Journey to Motherhood by Sandra Steingraber. I love that book.
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#16 of 93 Old 04-06-2008, 03:19 PM
 
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Before I had kids, I came from a big family that always bf and co-slept and were pretty AP. They talked a lot about birth, too. I had a myomectomy at age 16 and I was told I would never be able to have kids. It was pretty extensive and they weren't optimistic, but I was determined and went to grievance court to refuse a hysterectomy.

3 weeks later I got pg with dd #1. She was a miracle. Surprisingly, my family was pretty supportive. I knew I wanted a natural childbirth. I had been in a CNA program and had a lot of hospital experience and after hearing everyone's birth stories, I knew that I did not want a c-section or medications. I knew that my ggrandmother was a midwife and her mother before her and my family all had natural births and that was what should be.

After 9 months of fighting with my doctors to refuse a c-section and countless second opinions by leading ACOG surgeons, I won the fight even though they weren't supportive. After this birth, I knew I could do it. It made me feel like a woman. It wasn't a very empowering birth in many ways as I didn't have the right to get up or do anything but stay in a supine position even during birthing. But to be able to tell them after 3 hours of pushing that if they cut me they better run was empowering. That was my decision and they listened to me that one time.

3 months later, I got pg with ds. They told me they would have to induce me because my 1st baby was so big I wouldn't be able to birth a bigger one. I trusted them mostly because my defenses were so worn down and I had no support. My ds was premature with some delays-neurological and digestive. They miscalculated my due date. I almost died after birth. This birth taught me I couldn't trust anyone. I *knew* my doctors. Why did they do this to me? Did I not have any rights to my own body?

With dd#2 (baby 3), they induced me again and I was stupid enough to let them. It was an uneventful birth, but still made me wonder why I had no right to refuse an induction or any interventions without being dropped from care.

With dd#3 (baby 4), I did more research. I knew that people used to do homebirths as we watched videos of them in my nursing classes. But I was told noone could anymore. After meeting some wonderful people who actually had one, I thought I was too high risk. After months of trying to find a doc who would take my insurance, I got the worst imaginable. The original CNM I had put me under every test imaginable and scared the bejeezus out of me. Then the doc told me he would have to try to force me into a c-section every single visit because he was afraid of liability and they lied to me about my GBS status and placenta previa. I got sick of it, researched, found some midwives who were all too busy or not "the one" and decided to do a UC. I wanted one all along, but dh was not comfortable with it.

After needing to transfer b/c of pph afer my UC with her, I was able to refuse most things but it has just set in my mind even more that hospitals and most doctors do not care about you. You're seen as a patient ID number without feelings and they truly believe you must be stupid. I have learned that home is the only place for me to give birth and I wish more people knew it was an option and that you don't have to birth in the hospital and only YOU should choose everything about your birth and your body and your baby!

More than anything, this birth taught me to trust my instincts and to believe in yourself. For the first time, I truly saw birth as a completely normal, natural process and it was very healing in that way.

Sorry about the novel!
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#17 of 93 Old 04-06-2008, 04:37 PM
 
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It's so cool to read all of your experiences!

DD1's birth was a nightmare. I knew I wanted a natural birth, in a birth center. I knew we'd breastfeed, and not be separated at birth. I knew I didn't want any interventions or 'procedures' done to her. Well, after a full day in back labor and a less than supportive and informative midwife, we transferred to a hospital, had pitocin, and epidural, the whole thing. Abby was born very jaundiced, and as a result was separated from me and put in a billi bed. We had to stay in the hospital for 5 days, during which I slept a total of 10 hours. I averaged 2 hours of broken sleep per day. I wasn't allowed to take her out of the billi bed except to nurse her every 3 hours. She would cry and I couldn't comfort her. It was the start of a horrible horrible cycle of severe depression. We had a multitude of nursing problems, sleep problems and tummy problems. I know at least some of that is to blame on the horrid birth, and part of it was because of my own stress and anxiety, due to the ppd.

When I got pregnant with dd2, I knew it would have to be different. I planned a homebirth, and everyone thought I was nuts. They all assumed that after what happened with dd1, I would want to be right there with drs. After all, what would we do if dd2 had the same problem???!!! I knew it would happen though, and it didn't. I found an incredible homebirth midwife, and with a calm certainty assured me that I COULD do this, and that everything would be great. It was. My whole birth story is at http://www.mothering.com/discussions...d.php?t=848018. It was beautiful, peaceful and empowering. I can't wait to do it again, to bring another life into this world.
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#18 of 93 Old 04-06-2008, 06:14 PM
 
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Both of my children were born at home. I knew long ago (when I was in 4th grade, I did a project on Sacagawea and learned through is that she gave birth squatting and that made so much sense to me - to let gravity help) that I would have my babies at home; that was sort of a thing when their father and I got together - I told him in no uncertain terms that if we were having kids, they'd have to be born at home.

DS's birth was a little over 7 1/2 hours of active labor. I woke up in labor in the morning and after only 45 minutes of pushing, he was born in our living room in the afternoon sunlight.

DD's birth only lasted a little over 3 hours of active labor. I barely pushed twice and out she came. DS was there, which is exactly what I wanted.

We used the same m/w with both children and were very pleased. The first go round, we wanted a little more handholding than she offered, but with DD, I knew the routine and was ready for it. I believe the next baby I have (without STBXH) will be born unassisted - there is one more little person out there yet to come into my life and I will do that labor and birth alone.

I had mild PPD with DS and no one would take me seriously. I finally gave up trying to get help and just muddled my way through. With DD though, it was SO much worse that I *had* to seek help. Thankfully, through a great counselor and some much dreaded meds, I have been able to not only function, but shine and grow since DD's birth.

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#19 of 93 Old 04-06-2008, 08:35 PM
 
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I'm a newspaper reporter, and a couple of years back I was covering a story involving a lactivism issue. Our web site was suddenly overloaded with thousands of hits, and I traced them back to MDC.
Man, what an eye-opener. I had never really thought about childbirth before, and I sort of vaguely wanted to have kids, oh, ten or so years down the road. When I did, I assumed I would have painkillers because, hey, pain is a drag and there's no downside to it, right?
But I got really fascinated by all of the birth stories, especially the homebirth stories. They resonated with me instantly and powerfully and I knew that when the time came, that's what I wanted for my own delivery. I don't think I had even really heard of homebirth before that (or if I had, I probably filed it away under "crackpot"), but as I was reading those stories I experienced an instant paradigm shift.
Exactly one year ago today, I conceived my son. It was totally unplanned, which was odd because I'd always been really careful about birth control. But even though it was a surprise, everything seemed right. Great guy, great relationship, both stable in our careers, not getting any younger. It so quickly turned into a joy.
I knew I wanted a midwife assisted birth, so I got some recommendations and started making phone calls. At that point I was thinking I'd go for a birth center; I had some vague impression that it would be safer.
There was one midwife I had heard really good things about, so I got her on the phone and asked if she would attend a birthcenter delivery. She said she only did homebirths, and told me that a birth center was basically a homebirth you had to drive to.
We made an appointment for later that week, and I went into hardcore, full-blown research mode. Research is something I do well, and I found a wealth of information -- about the cascade of interventions, about how hard it is to have a truly natural birth in a hospital setting, about the safety rates of hospital versus home births, about the experience of giving birth in your home setting. By the time the interview with the midwife rolled around a couple of days later, I was 100 percent on board with the homebirth.
My partner was worried about the idea of homebirth at first, though he said it was my choice and he trusted my judgment. The more he learned, the more he warmed up to the idea, and now he's a big proponent himself.
Immediately, the standard of care with the midwife was different than anything I'd ever experienced with a doctor. First off, she just took my word that I was pregnant. Now, I could tell that I was pregnant before I even took the home test, but I wanted some medical authority to tell me that, yes, I really was pregnant. The midwife was so relaxed about the whole thing, and it was the first lesson I got in trusting your body.
My midwife was great, very calm and practical and kind. When I heard people talk about their brusque ten minute prenatal visits with the OB, it seemed so different then our leisurely hour visits, where I would slip off my shoes and settle into the couch and talk.
I had an easy pregnancy and a wonderful, gentle home waterbirth. There was pain, but it really wasn't that bad. And more than that, it was an incredible and empowering experience that ended in a healthy baby boy. Within minutes, we were nursing on the sofa and I was in love. I wouldn't have changed a thing.
I've always identified as a feminist, and it seems that to a large degree feminism has forgotten to include childbirth in its work. I like to think that I see signs of that changing, and that natural, normal birth is becoming more prevalent.

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Originally Posted by annettemarie View Post
What do you do to get ready before you're actually pregnant?
Erm, honestly? It involved one very large bottle of bourbon.
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#20 of 93 Old 04-06-2008, 08:37 PM
 
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Erm, honestly? It involved one very large bottle of bourbon.

In my (most recent) case it was vodka.

Cool story about tracing back to MDC.

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#21 of 93 Old 04-06-2008, 08:53 PM
 
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I don't suppose it was organic vodka?

Jen, did your investigation of natural birth lead you to other natural living ideas? What was your background in that regard? What previous in your life do you think left you open to the idea of natural birth? (Anyone can answer these questions - I'm fascinated by the connection, or lack thereof, between natural birth and other aspects of natural family living.)
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#22 of 93 Old 04-06-2008, 10:35 PM
 
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Jen, did your investigation of natural birth lead you to other natural living ideas? What was your background in that regard? What previous in your life do you think left you open to the idea of natural birth? (Anyone can answer these questions - I'm fascinated by the connection, or lack thereof, between natural birth and other aspects of natural family living.)
That's a really interesting question. I'm moderately crunchy, but not in a huge way. Natural birth, and MDC in particular, definitely led me to all of the AP things like cosleeping, babywearing and extended breastfeeding. More than anything, simply being a mother makes me want to create a healthier lifestyle for the baby and for myself and for our household. I'm realizing how our house is full of standard chemical cleaning products, our diet, while comparatively fresh and healthy, is still full of processed foods and toxins, and though we try to conserve, our carbon footprint is still American-sized. Having my son makes me want to make our household healthier for all of us, and it makes me want to take better care of our immediate community and the earth as a whole.
I'm not sure why I was so open to natural birth. As a child of a doctor I'm not innately distrustful of the medical community, and I'm quite pragmatic and practical. During my research I found a lot of supporting arguments (especially because the standard model of hospital care did not seem to be science-based), but even before that, I experienced such a powerful emotional resonance when I first read about homebirth. Maybe it was a little bit of a feminist "my body" sort of choice, or maybe it was that it just seemed so right and so natural. And powerful, very powerful.

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#23 of 93 Old 04-07-2008, 12:36 AM
 
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Just thought I'd add a tidbit on why I chose UC.

First off, I knew I wanted an unmedicated birth. For one, I was not afraid of pain. Most women who get epidurals do it because they are afraid of how much birth will hurt, but I didn't have that fear. I also hate the idea of being numb from the waist down-- not something I want to do if I don't have to!

I started off on a mainstream board recommended by a friend. It was okay in general, but the attitudes of the women did not usually reflect how I felt. I loved the idea of being pregnant. Most of what I heard online was "Oh, I can't wait to get this baby out of me!" and "Man, I can't believe I can't drink for 9 whole months!". Of course they were excited to feel movement and find out the sex, but they made pregnancy sound so inconvenient, and IME, it just wasn't. Sure, I had backaches and cramps and all that fun stuff, but I just couldn't relate to much of the utter negativity on the site.

Then I started reading birth stories. They ranged from terrifying to mundane. Of course, the outcome, healthy baby (usually) was great! But I wondered why, with all this time preparing for birth, talking about birth, learning about birth, why almost no one seemed to have an uplifting birth story.

The more I read, the more often I ran across their occasional homebirth story. They were amazing! It made me realize that birth CAN be a positive experience, not just bad or mediocre. Of course a healthy baby meant the world to me, but why should baby and I have to suffer for that to occur?

Long story short(er)- I decided on a homebirth, but our insurance does not pay for midwives. I talked to DH about UC, and we both felt comfortable with it. I did tons of research on all the what if's. Unfortunately, having the knowledge of what to do in one of those situations and having the experience to actually do it are two different things.

This time, we opted to pay for a midwife out of pocket. I still feel that homebirth is our best option, but I really feel I need some support during labour by someone who has been there (my midwife has 4 children, one of which was a UC).

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#24 of 93 Old 04-07-2008, 01:11 AM
 
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What do you do to get ready before you're actually pregnant?

Well with DS1 I just wanted a baby! I didn't bother with anything but focusing on getting pregnant. With my second pregnancy I had dropped all of my baby weight from DS1 and about 8lbs over that. I gained the 8 lbs back before I m/c and started out my third pregnancy at exactly the same weight I was before DS1.

We are planning on waiting a number of years before our next child (if we choose to have another or God blesses us with one) and in that time I'm planning to drop at least 50lbs if not more. I've already dropped 33lbs since DS2 was born 7 weeks ago so I'm looking for a grand total of 80lbs+ plus lossed when I'll stop and reevaluate my weight again. DH and I have discussed building better lifestyles to show our children the healthy way to live and although we cant afford organic I find myself buying the things with little or no preservatives to at least make what we eat that much healthier.

-:¦:-♥Sarah Lynne♥-:¦:-Wife to Michael and Mommy to Austin(5), Steven(3), Tristyn(1), and Laurelyn (6/3/2011)

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#25 of 93 Old 04-07-2008, 03:00 AM
 
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Kati, I felt I needed someone for the pregnancy after we lost Rowan (Isaac's birth)- with Alex, having a midwife was a given.
My story: my greatgrandmother and great aunts worked for their communities at births and deaths, easing their friends and their friends families in and out of the world. This was in north-east England at the turn of the last century, up in a fairly remote area where they were apparently cut off for weeks on end. I never knew either of them, but their professional diaries from before certification are still within the family and I read them avidly, several times. Then I got pregnant for the first time and found out I was pregnant with the searing agony of an ectopic. I was on the pill at the time and had taken two packets back-to-back, so all the other symtoms could be explained away that way. Luckily I came away from that experience unscathed in any way because at that point, pregnancy was unrelated to birth or babies.
The next bfp I got was on the day my father got the diagnosis of an aggressive brain tumour- again an accidental pregnancy, using both contraceptive pills and condoms. I spent a large amount of time in hospital with him, watching his last days and the one thing I wish more than anything else is that we'd taken him home with us and cared for him there. I know that that isn't what he wanted- that he wanted the distance from his old life to ease the passing on his journey-but I think for mum and me, it would have made it easier. I went through standard antenatal care with that pregnancy, and was admitted to hospital for a c-section at 37 weeks 5 days (by best guess) because he was transverse. He literally turned between my back being numbed and the epidural going in, and I got up and walked home. And the hassle I got from walking away from an unnecessary caesarean! I think if the doctors had been reasonable and suggested an induction before he changed position again, I'd have taken it- but they didn't. So I went home and started formal complaints procedures.
In the end Alex was born six weeks later than his scheduled c-section, calmly and gently at home. There were things I'd do differently, yeah, but it was one of my best births

My second baby, Rowan, died at 24 weeks when my waters broke during an assault at work- a cord prolapse. After the hospital confirmed by scan that there was no heartbeat (I knew the cord wasn't pulsating because I'd been able to feel it) my lovely midwife, who had cared for me and helped me birth Alex, snapped at the consultant who told me I "had" to be induced and reminded them it was my choice, and I love her for it. Rowan was born gently at home, in the bed where I laboured with her brother. I took the drugs, particularly pethidine, but it was the best birth possible under the circumstances. Also, every day I thank God that the choice was taken away from us and that Rowan's life ended gently and swiftly and suddenly and we were spared the difficult choices that sometimes come with having such an early baby. Within two months, I was pregnant again with Isaac, despite using contraception. Lovely smooth pregnancy, but the midwife who had cared for me so well during my two previous pregnancies let me down. My waters broke accidentally during an internal and for some reason, she then got concerned about getting the baby out quickly and coached me to push. His shoulders got stuck (he was presenting with both shoulders at once because he hadn't fully rotated) and then I haemorrhaged.
This was the point where the NFL journey began for me. Alex was a high needs baby, always breastfed, but because he simply didn't sleep cosleeping was never a satisfying option for us. At one point, I'm ashamed to say we tried CIO, but he was literally happy on 3-4 hours sleep a night. It was horrific. Isaac liked me, though, and slept best tucked up in my arms and snuggled up in the sling. The severity of his eczema meant that my diet had to be healthy in case I set him off. Then he had his 2 month DTP dose at 3 months because we delayed until he was more mature. Within 48 hours he was in hospital with septicaemia and we nearly lost him.
Skye's birth was beautiful, and then came three consecutive miscarriages. Their story and River's birth are so closely connected for me- I needed to see the pattern of my earlier labours in my miscarriages to believe that Skye's birth was normal, not distorted by fear and adrenaline, and I've grown a lot personally and spiritually as a result of the last two years. Also, we felt bonded with River even before ovulation- we knew how things were going to unfold this time. Weird- and if anyone else had said this, I'd be highly sceptical- but nice.

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#26 of 93 Old 04-07-2008, 04:40 AM
 
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what were your original thoughts on birth? Did they change after the birth? What have you learned (or what would you like to learn)?


Hello,
I'd like to join the workshop and share my experiences as I am still on the path to hopefully living more naturally.
As a backgrounder, I was pretty much raised in a medical and pharmaceutical environment. Whenever we got sick on anything, we were always given aspirin and antibiotics (where I come from, you can get drugs OTC).
I moved to the US 4 yrs ago when I married my husband (who is American). When I got pregnant 3 yrs ago, I of course, was expecting to be seen by an OB/Gyn, have drugs, get an episiotomy and do all the hospital things that my mom, aunts and sisters have gone through. In the Philippines (where I am from), a C-section is somewhat indicative of economic status because if you had one, it meant you could afford one. So in that sense, a C-section, though not desired, wasn't really so bad. That's pretty much where my mindset was.
How I came into desiring a more natural birth is contributed by 2 things...
(1) I was feeling a little bit disappointed with my OB/Gyn of choice because whenever I saw her, it was very business-like. Our consultation was about 10minutes, TOPS. I was a newly expectant mom, I was hoping she'd share some of my enthusiasm (of course on hindsight, that's a little bit much to ask for an OB/Gyn because pregnancy is old news to them )

and

(2) In my research for baby things, I fell in love with slings. One thing led to another and I found myself directed to Attachment Parenting and eventually to Mothering Magazine.

So on my 20th week, I switched to a midwife. Hoping for an all-natural birth.
Of course it did not come into fruition as (1) I eventually tested positive for GBS and after long and careful consideration, DH and I felt more comfortable getting abx and (2) my water broke and 24 hrs after (after trying for natural induction like herbs, nipple stimulation, castor oil and homeopathics), I still wasn't going into labor. MW suggested a hospital transfer. So I was induced with Pitocin. I pretty much held out and thankfully did not get any painkillers so I am thankful about that. I also did not get an episiotomy thanks to the doc and his intern (who was oh so very careful and patient in giving me perineal massage).

Through this experience, the most significant thing that I have learned is that pregnancy is not a disease. It is a beautiful journey that women are blessed to have the opportunity to experience and sometimes medicalization of it ruins the experience for some.

What I would like to hear/learn from others would be how you took care of yourself during pregnancy. What were your practices during pregnancy to ensure or at least try to have the healthiest pregnancy possible.
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#27 of 93 Old 04-07-2008, 11:15 AM
 
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What do you do to get ready before you're actually pregnant?

I was off the pill for 6 months and had 5 normal periods before we "pulled the goalie" as my dh loves to stay. During this time, I also abstained from any type of alcohol, gave up all chemical/commercial beauty, health and cleaning products, concentrated on making my vegetarian, whole-foods diet even healthier, and stayed active.

Not only did we get pregnant within 90 days but we have healthier habits now as a family and I'm excited to pass those on to my ds as he begins to eat solids
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#28 of 93 Old 04-07-2008, 01:10 PM
 
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What did I do to prepare for conception and pregnancy?

Hee Hee, nothing really. With my first it was about 3 margaritas and 2 twisted teas that helped that along . So obviously she was not planned. I even tried the morning after pill but my little girl was very adamant about sticking around. The moment I found out that i was pregnant, I started eating very healthy and doing prenatal yoga.

With my second pregnancy, we had planned on conceiving, and did so on one try. I wanted to have another baby so bad and the only thing that was stopping me was my hesitance to pack on more weight on top of the 20 I had kept on after Zoe. I was really unhappy about my weight so I started working out like crazy. During this time I started having baby dreams all the time, and I was obsessed with having another. As soon as I got pregnant I started up with the yoga again (so helpful for me throughout), took my prenatal vitamins, and drank raspberry leaf tea every day. I started a home Hypbirth course around 22 weeks and the rest is herstory. And what is really strange is that when I had Avery, I lost all of the pregnancy weight and her sister's baby weight all in one shot. If only I had known that all I needed to do to lose the weight from the first was to have another then I would have gotten knocked up much earlier!

I have always leaned towards the crunchy but definitely picked up a little more granola in my life when I was introduced to MDC through another site. I certainly wasn't raised that way, my family is very mainstream and will do whatever the media and their doctor will tell them is right. When I started lurking here, I felt as though I finally found people that were like me. And I believe it is the info I found here that has led me to lead a healthier life for me and my family.
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#29 of 93 Old 04-07-2008, 02:14 PM
 
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Preconception:
Before DD1 I had a couple of cycles where I bled everywhere and had a few situations of public embarrassment. I went to an obgyn to see about doing something about it because it was not normal for me. At the same time a friend recommended the book "What your doctor may not tell you about PREmenopause." I simultaneously read the book and visited the doctor. The book made more sense to me so I refused her oral progesterone and started progesterone creme. While using it I was poas every month before stopping the creme so I was careful not to induce a mc if pg by a radical drop in progesterone levels. DH and I weren't TTC but we weren't TTA either. One month I poas and stuck the stick on the back of the toilet to finish business then turned and picked up the stick to throw it away because the process had become quite routine and I was just throwing bfn's away every month. Well anyway, I picked it up to toss it and saw two lines. I started grinning like a goon and ran to ask my husband how many lines he saw. He said two. I promptly ran to the drug store and bought three more tests and peed on two of them then lined all three on the counter up in a row to stare at all the lines. No doubt! I was PG and ecstatic. Poor dh was in shock.

For dd2 I was surprised. I poas because I thought I had the stomach flu for like two weeks. I never heard of a stomach bug lasting that long so I poas just in case. It came up positive and I freaked out. I was totally happy but scared to death to tell dh. When I told him I kind of tricked him into saying that all life was God's will so he'd have to accept that we were pregnant again and not get upset about it. He was nervous again but he got over it.

Pregnancy:
Both pregnancies were uneventful and went along normally. I get HUGE when I'm pregnant and was miserable at the end like no one I've ever met. With dd1 at 28 weeks I was already thinking "get this baby out of me!!!" With dd2 I was even bigger. But had no problems either time - thank you Jesus!!!

Birth:
This is a little more complicated. WIth dd1 I wanted a midwife but insurance wouldn't pay for it and dh was not on board with it. The thought of it just made him too nervous. So we went with my obgyn in a hospital. I had a great birth plan etc etc until I went for my 40 week check and told the obgyn that the baby felt like she was vibrating. The doctor went into ultra-serious mode (she's normally very laid back and I like her a lot) after a pretty thourough exam - where we learned I was only dialated to a 1 and my cervix wasn't really in the right position for birth yet - she told me that she thought the baby might be having seizures. I freaked completely. The doc told me that she needed a reason to leave the baby in, not a reason to take her out. She sent me next door to the hospital with a "do not pass go, do not collect $200" attitude and I cried all the way there and up the elevator and while they were hooking me up to machines. The nurses had gotten the call from the doctor and immediately started the fetal monitors. Thankfully the doctor didn't immediately order a c-section but okayed the nurses to follow my birth plan where possible. Unfortunately I had pitocin and an epidural and let most things on my plan go in the interest of getting the baby out to make sure she was okay. Fast forward: the baby came out 9lbs 8oz and perfectly healthy (Thank GOD!!!) but I wasn't. The epidural wore off in my right hip only and I was in terrible pain in that one spot. I had a huge tear which the doctor stitched up and had an awful recovery time. I tore after I left the hospital but it was under the stitches and bled into a cavity where the blood couldn't escape so, although I hurt, I didn't know I had torn. The place where the blood was pooling began swelling and got infected. I ended up back in the doctor's office every other day for "cleaning out." She removed the stitches and cleaned out the infection a little at a time for about a week. It was excruitiating!!!
DD2: Everything went wonderful during the pregnancy. I had contractions for about a month before she was born but didn't know that's what they were because of the way dd1 was born. DD1's birth (the recovery from it) scared me so much that when the doctor (same obgyn) suggested we induce at 38 weeks to keep from having such a big baby and therefore keep from tearing so bad, I went along. We went in on our scheduled day and had pitocin and an epidural. The epidural had to be done twice because it didn't take the first time. Even before the epidural (and after the pitocin) the contractions didn't hurt me like with dd1. I was pleasant and laughing all the way through the birth. They told me several times that it was happening so fast. When she was born I insisted they bring her to me to nurse like I had dd1. But she was making this funny coughing noise. They took her to the nursery for oxygen (which they didn't end up giving her) and xrays of her lungs and monitoring. They said she came too fast and didn't get a good "squeezing" to get the fluid out of her lungs. She had consults with neonatologists and pediatricians, etc. They tube fed her with my milk (I pumped and was able to give her colostrum). She had to stay in the nursery one day after I left the hospital under the lights because she got pretty bad jaundice. Even her 3 month baby pictures you can still see the yellow in her skin.
I think now that we induced two weeks earlier than what the doctor thought I was. I think she was only 36 weeks instead of 38. She is a little behind the curve on the baby developmental steps and everytime I think of it I feel guilty that I ripped her from my womb too early. She still has some trouble with coughing but thankfully no real respiratory problems. She was born 7lbs 6oz.

Future planning:
I want at least two more children. Next time I'll probably still use a hosiptal because both births confirmed my husband's fears about "what if we need help and we're not at a hospital?" instead of, like me, turning the thinking into "if we hadn't been intervened upon would things have been better?" But I'm not going to be induced again - I don't care how miserable I am because of my size. And I won't have another epidural. I'd like to have a midwife but the insurance still won't pay so I guess I'm stuck with my obgyn. She's nice really and I like her. And actually she'll follow what I say if I say what I want. Both times I let her lead me too much so she just went with her training. I'll lead next time. I may not even go in as early to start prenatal care. I have wild fantasies about UCing at night in my bath tub while my whole family is sleeping. All alone just me and my baby doing it together. But I don't think that'll probably happen.

As far as TTC #3? Well, DH is TTA but I'm not overly concerned about it right now. I'm still EBF and not Oing or having AF so the chances for me right now are pretty slim. If it happened I'd be thrilled but I also know that I need a bit of a break first. Maybe in 6 months or a year I'll TTC.

Then to get ready I'll just do what I'm doing now. Eat right, avoid the bad stuff, keep detoxing my environment; and figure out another way to tell my husband. Though he REEEEAAAALLLLLLLYYYYY wants a boy. Anyone know how to make that happen?
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#30 of 93 Old 04-07-2008, 08:04 PM
 
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Yikes I need to catch up!
Okay, both of my children have been surprises....#2 here was somewhat planned but I was really wanting to wait until later this year maybe next year...instead...here we are!

My mom had an all-natural hospital birth...she was told that she was too old to birth at home, what she really wanted : So I just always had the idea that's how it was done...I didn't know there were other options or the whole history of birth. Same with bf'ing, but that's another topic.

I already knew what I wanted when I found out I was pregnant with ds...I wanted a waterbirth. I had worked in hospitals and seen the OB records...tons of interventions, some likely needed, some quite possibly not. So we went to the local birthing center here and it was fantastic. I started reading tons of books, and the more I read, the angrier I got and the more I wanted this natural. I hated how medicalized things had become.

Ds's birth was beautiful and amazing, everything I wanted in a birth. He was so peaceful when he came up from the water. I wish I could frame that day.

With this child, our birthing center has changed backing docs and some policies are modified....so I'm a little scared I won't have the birth I want..I'm afraid I won't stand up for myself if I'm trying to be bullied into something I know I don't need. The only hb mw that accepts our insurance isn't available for our due date (nor her backup!) and dh refuses to pay out of pocket for everything. So I'm hoping for smooth sailing this time with no problems, just like last time.

fambedsingle2.gifnovaxnocirc.gifHappy to be a mommy and teacher to D fencing.gif, born 1-17-06 via waterbirth.jpg  and A  blahblah.gif, born 10-6-08 with a homebirth.jpghomeschool.gif

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