As a child, I knew that I always wanted to be a mother. I loved infants and I was always holding a baby if there was one in the room. I babysat numerous babies and young children and in high school I pursued an education in early childhood education. I continued my education while continuing to work with children for the next 7 years.
I met and married my husband and we knew that we wanted to have children. We surprisingly became pregnant in October of 2008, but this pregnancy ended in a miscarriage. I then began learning about pregnancy as we continued our journey in having children. I became pregnant again in January, but waited with bated breath to announce it to family and friends. This pregnancy continued without complication. I had some minor morning sickness, but working in an elementary school I just had to deal with it. We very excitedly found out that we were having a boy and the preparations began. I was being seen by a group of midwives that came highly recommended to me from a few friends. We lived in a small town with very few options. I knew I did not want to be attended by the OB's in town. I studied a little about pregnancy and birth, but not nearly enough with my busy schedule. My husband was raised doing most things naturally. We discussed natural birth, but I wasn't sure what I really wanted for the birth of my son. I didn't know about all of the options available to us and the decisions we needed to make.
Luckily my midwife recommended a childbirth class taught by a local doula. At the time I had no idea what a doula was. Both my husband and I were excited to attend class together. After learning about doulas, I knew I wanted one with me to help navigate the process of birth. Our teacher was booked with quite a few other expecting mamas so she referred us to a few other local doulas. We found one that we really liked. She was soft spoken and kind, but very reassuring and confident in me and my body to birth. We loved our class and with the knowledge I gained I prepared myself for a natural birth. I practiced breathing and relaxation techniques every night before going to bed. We had a plan for early labor and prepared for birthing naturally in the hospital.
At exactly 39 weeks, I was suddenly awoken at about 6am by a large splash as my water broke while I was in bed. I couldn't believe the day was finally here. I won't go into all of the details now, but my labor progressed easily. We stayed at home during early labor and didn't go to the hospital until my contractions were much closer together. Upon arriving at the hospital we found that I was already 7cm dilated. WOW! I used their Jacuzzi tub for about 2 hours until I felt like I needed to push. After about 45 minutes of pushing my son was born naturally, with nothing more than intermittent monitoring.
I was determined to breastfeed, but knew that because of surgery I may not be able to produce everything he needed. We struggled, but I was able to breastfeed with some supplementation for 9 months. I was determined to give him all of the breast milk I could. Our breastfeeding relationship continued well until my body just couldn't keep up with his growing body. I was proud of everything I did to nurse him those 9 months. Because of my efforts and the work I did with a very supportive lactation consultant, I read and studied more and more information about breastfeeding. I have since then helped many women go on to have wonderful breastfeeding relationships as well. At this point I also knew that I wanted to become a doula and began comparing the different organizations and routes I could take to become certified.
After about year, I began my studies with Childbirth International. I had also met a good friend that shared my passion for birth and we discussed it often as we studied together. At this time I became pregnant again as well. I attended my first birth as a doula and worked with multiple other women helping to educate them about their choices. I was learning more and more about pregnancy, birth, infants, and breastfeeding. I just couldn't get enough. I was always an avid reader, but my shelves changed from books of historical fiction and children's books to books about birth and other related topics.
My third pregnancy ended in a miscarriage. I began adding pregnancy loss and miscarriage to my studies more. I read many books about it and also began sharing my experiences with my peers at church. I knew of many other women that were struggling with loss or infertility and I opened some doors for others to be able to share their feelings and heal. My passion for birth and babies continued to flourish and it became something I knew I was meant to do. I even began thinking of becoming an IBCLC and maybe eventually a midwife. While those two certifications are on the back burner and probably won't happen for years down the road, they may be something that I pursue later in my life.
I became pregnant again pretty quickly, my fourth pregnancy. This pregnancy was completely different from that of my son's pregnancy, which made me sure that we were going to blessed with a little girl. I would have been happy with either a boy or girl, but all I really wanted was a curly, red- headed baby girl. While pregnant, I attended two other births completing that requirement for certification. I completed certification as a birth doula in about a year and half. After my daughter was born, a beautiful natural birth at the hospital with the same midwife that was with me when my son was born, I took a break from birth work and worked hard to establish a full milk supply to exclusively breast feed her. It was difficult, but with the support of the same wonderful lactation consultant and a new physician that trusted me, I have been able to exclusively breastfeed her. We are going on 14 months today, without an end in sight.
A few months after my daughter’s birth I really wanted to get back into birth work. I was networking with the midwives in our town and they began referring their patients to me as they were comfortable knowing that I knew their procedures and the local hospital and that I was knowledgeable about birth and the birth culture in our area. I also had many women ask me about the childbirth class options in our area. At the time, there were very few. The hospital offered a one day class, which I would not recommend to anyone. The teacher that we took our class from was no longer teaching. She was focusing more on Hypnobabies, a great program as well. My husband then pushed me to begin offering childbirth classes to women in our area. I looked at my options in becoming a certified childbirth educator and decided to become certified with CAPPA (Childbirth and Postpartum Professional Association). I quickly began preparing a 6 week class and it quickly filled with four expecting couples. I wish I could fit more in my living room. I had lots of fun using my background as a teacher planning and preparing for class to begin. The day of our first class came and I was so excited. After teaching the first class I had the same high I get after giving birth and after attending a birth as a doula. Ask my husband, he was laughing at me because I was so excited. I absolutely loved sharing my knowledge with others and giving women the confidence to birth. My first six week series was awesome! We had tons fun while learning so much. I planned another series and it quickly filled again. I had so many interested couples that I had to find a larger place to teach in. I quickly called our chiropractor to see if he would be willing to allow me to use his office to teach in so that I could take more couples. He was very willing to help me out. I continued to teach and doula and build my knowledge as a birth professional.
I have since attended several very powerful and wonderful births, including natural births, epidural births, and a VBAC birth. We have just moved from Idaho to Texas into an awesome birth community with three birth networks, ICAN groups, many midwives, and a nationally known OB that delivers VBAC's, twins, and even breech babies vaginally. I even had the privilege to hear him speak at the Tarrant County Birth Network meeting. Since moving a few months ago, I have read multiple books to complete my certification as a childbirth educator. I just need to get it in the mail and wait to hear from CAPPA. I am preparing to begin teaching classes in Grapevine, TX, in March. See my website for more details. I'm excited to continue meeting more doulas, childbirth educators, birth photographers, and care providers in this area. The Dallas Birth Network is meeting next week, Feb. 7th and I can't wait to go. I'll be getting my first birth t-shirt, I know, kind of silly, but I'm excited to get it. I'm also looking to become a Birth Boot Camp instructor by the end of this year.
I'm starting this blog as a place to share my thoughts about birth and everything in between. I'm always talking about birth and babies with others and many have suggested that I write about it. I don't pretend to know it all, as I'm learning new things everyday, but it's something I'm passionate about and love to share my knowledge with others.
Wife, mother, daughter, sister, and friend. A passionate birth doula and childbirth educator.