Monday, October 26, 2015

Why I'm A Doula

It's been a while since I've written in this blog. I guess you could say that I've had a lot going on... 
Last May, the 20th in 2014 to be specific I had surgery to remove a brain tumor. I haven't written about it yet, but the story has evolved into what will be a major emotional drop and I still need a little time to get ready for that.
In the mean time, I've definitely begun to do things I've always wanted to do. Not exactly a bucket list, more of "seizing the day". My husband and I were going over together our 5, 10, and 20 year goals. I sat and thought about who I would like to be 5 years from now and also much further into the future. As far as life dreams go, the thing that has always called to me in the strongest way is to be a mother. I wanted to have my own children, build a home, have a family that was safe and warm and a harbor in the storm. And I'm very happy to say that I do have that. But my call to be a mother still pulls. Not just a mother to my children, but a mother to those without. I'm not talking about adopting children. I'm talking more about when someone has needs, usually emotional and doesn't have someone to reassure them, to take them under their wing, to be a mother to them.
Its strange, because I seem to have quite a few friends that don't necessarily have mothers. I certainly don't take the place of that, but I do try to offer nurturing support whenever I can. This has led me into the sacred place where a mother is born; the labor and delivery room. I have found myself helping women in a non-clinical way while in labor. I reassure them that it's a natural process that their bodies are more than capable of. I breathe and rock with them. I give them the feeling of safety that they will not be alone in this. I go to a safe place with them and ride the waves that come with them. I can empathize since I have been through this amazing experience as well. I give coaching and loving and support. And when these women are finally holding their beautiful baby and relaxed we talk about breastfeeding and what an amazing thing they have done.
Labor has always been my favorite part of having a baby. And I love being able to bring calm to a room that has anxiety. I love being able to help someone when they no one else to help them. I had entertained the thought of becoming a doula, but had never followed through with the formal training because of my health, or the kids, or money. But after this conversation of who I wanted to be, I felt it was time to do something about it. I don't want to look back and think about the opportunity I had missed. I know that I would regret it if I didn't do something about it. I made plans to save my braiding money and attend the workshops in the Spring. About this same time our good friends were over and talking about the baby they were expecting. I told her my news and she asked if I would be willing to come and attend her birth. I was elated! And then I began to get nervous. In my previous experiences it had just come naturally without expectations. I really wanted to make sure that I did the very best job that I could for our friends. So I decided to push up the workshop date. I took the plunge. I attended the three day workshop in Reno. It was AMAZING! I found that so much of what they were teaching I already did. That really gave the validation that I was good at this and it is a life calling. I also learned SO much. I came home ready to formally be called a doula. 
I'm reading, and reading, and reading. I really want to do my very best for the women that I am able to help. I feel so honored to be able to be a part of such a sacred experience. I really can't wait for in five or ten years to be able to look back on my life and feel accomplished. Feel like I have done something not just for my family, but for myself, and for the people that need a little extra mothering too.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Baby Catch Up Part 3: Attachment What?

So there isn't a book on how to be a good parent. Wait, no, there are a million books, but I don't read any of them. By the time Ember came along I felt like I had found my groove. I've found what does and doesn't work for our family. What I like to do is this:
I nurse my baby. I haven't been as successful with this in the past. So basically, with Ember being my last baby I will die in the process of trying before giving up nursing before 12 months. If we can, I would like to nurse until she's 2. But anything after 12 months I'm okay with. 
This causes a variety of different symptoms. Symptom #1: Emberly won't take a bottle. I hate bottles. I hate the washing, the prep, the whole thing, mostly because I'm lazy. But when I'm needy for just some adult time, this presents the problem of how does the caretaker feed the baby? This has resulted in my not leaving said baby for longer than 4 hours in nearly a year. 
Symptom #2: Emberly sleeps with me at night. Contrary to what people think, this gives everyone more sleep. No waking up to the baby, she nurses on and off throughout the night without any of us ever fully waking. Of course, this also means that I've been sharing my bed with a stomach kicker for the last 10 months. Oh, how I yearn for the fetal position!
Symptom #3: Baby isn't on a strict schedule. Baby eats when she's hungry and sleeps when she's tired. Luckily, she's my only child, so this isn't a problem....

This is where the wonder of wonders comes in: THE BABY CARRIER!
Why did I not have this with my last three children?? The Ergo, or wrap, whichever I choose is amazing! Remember the witching hours between 4 and 7? Gone. Wearing baby allows me to nurse while grocery shopping, prepare dinner and clean the house with happy baby not trying to kill herself, and sleep at anytime she wants, all while be close to mommy. These things are amazing and actually let me do all this super needy stuff for my baby while still taking care of the other three kids and my house and and and...

So a funny thing happened. I thought I was just kinda crazy wanting to raise my baby this way. It seems hard, but it makes me happy and my baby seems REALLY happy. And then I stumbled across a group called Attachment Parenting. It turns out I do just about everything this group does! Without reading a single book or blog or anything I just kinda found my way naturally to this. Here I thought I was making my own way only to find the path well trodden.
So that's me. Crunchy mom, who'd have seen that coming? I'm a breastfeeding, cloth diapering, baby wearing, co-sleeping hippy and proud of it.

Baby Catch Up Part 2: Oh Diaper, How Do I Love Thee!

Yes, I will admit it. I obsess over cloth diapers. I love them! Why can't I go back to my 20 year old self and give her the insight I have now? If I would have known how easy, how wonderful, how fun cloth diapering is I would have done it with all my kids. Behold, the amazing diaper!

This picture makes me laugh! These amazing diapers fit from 8-35 pounds. No pins, no covers. These are one piece. The outside is PUL (polyurethane laminate), the inside is soft, cushy fleece. There is a pocket which holds a micro fiber insert. After they have soiled they go into the diaper pail. I have a special detergent that I use. A Happy Green Life. It's gentle and doesn't cause build up in the diapers. I do a short wash, a regular wash with the detergent and then an extra rinse then hang them to dry or do a light tumble with with wool dryer balls. This is the first of my babies to not experience diaper rash. I have no stinky diapers filling up my trash can each week and did I mention that I'm saving A TON of money???
I can't say enough good things about these, so I'll just post more cute pictures of my kid's fluffy butt.
 These are known as "woolies". They are used as a cover for diapers without PUL.
 A swim diaper. No nasty chemicals, just a diaper without the insert.
 Kickin' it old school
 This isn't what I normally use, but it's an example of the "new" diaper pin. It's called a snappi. Works kinda like an ace bandage fastener. Much safer for all involved.
 Did I mention all the cute colors? Pink fluff all the way!
Last, but not least... who can resist this baby chub?
Yep, I'm obsessed, and I love it! I'll probably cry the day she potty trains!

Baby Catch Up Part 1: The Birth

Has it really been this long? I guess this is what happens when you have baby number four. What an amazing experience this last year has been! I really can't imagine life before our little Emberly Rose. Here's a little snapshot of our sweet baby.
The Birth
I had been in "early labor" for about a month. Contractions that kept me up and feeling like the baby was getting ready to come. I would have put up with it for longer, but on May 15th I started feeling strange. I went in to the hospital and my blood pressure was through the roof. Because of that they ended up keeping me. And so the waiting began. The admitted me because they couldn't let me go with my blood pressure so high, but I still wasn't kicking into active labor.
By the next morning I was still only at a 3 and still not progressing. I asked the midwife if I couldn't just go home and they said that no, I had to stay because of my blood pressure. And this is when I began to start feeling bad. I wish that I had had a doula or someone with me that could have banished these feelings. I thought that because I had a midwife rather than a doctor that I would be "safe" from being pushed into medications, but that wasn't true. I began to feel like I had to hurry up and have my baby because by just sitting there I was wasting everyone's time. I was using up a birthing room and I felt like all the staff had this expectation that I should be doing something besides just sitting there and walking the halls. So I gave in and acquiesced to pictocin. I was on that all day of the 16th and all night. The morning of the 17th I was hardly at a four. They finally took me off of the pictocin, but it was pumping through me. I began to think, "If I don't have this baby soon, they are going to tell me that there is a problem. They are going to give me more medications and then eventually c-section." This probably wasn't all the way true, but I was totally freaking out at this point. Again, if I had had a doula there to help ease my fears I wouldn't have been in such a hurry.
By 2pm I allowed them to break my water, even though I was only at a 4.5 and my baby at a -2. I told them they had about 45 minutes and my baby would be here. They laughed and said that they would check on me in 2 hours. The second that midwife left the room the real contractions started. I delivered the baby at 3:15, not quite an hour from when she had left. I managed the pain on my own in a way that I was happy with, with exception of the last 5 minutes. The fact was, I had so much pictocin in my system that my baby just came to fast. The pain was so intense that there was a moment when I felt that I might not actually make it. Thankfully, that was a fast 5 minutes and the baby came safely out. She was all wrapped up in the cord, and we believe that was the reason that she had been taking so long to descend on her own.
Parts of me wish that I could go back and redo the birth the way that I wanted it done. But I can't. She arrived the way she did and I don't love her any less for it. I wish that I could have had the natural birth that I wanted, but it what it is and I'm still happy about the job that I did. Labor does a strange thing to women. We feel like it should be a certain way and feel badly when it doesn't go the way we envision. I'm not about to fall into that trap. Emberly Rose arrived on May 17th, 2013 at 3:15pm. 8lbs and 6oz, 20" long and she is wonderful!

Friday, January 25, 2013


Last night I was able to witness a baptism. The fourth one in three weeks! The couple last night didn't have any family or friends there. Bobby was baptizing them and they asked he and I to sit up front with them. All the baptisms I have witnessed this last month have been special, and maybe it was different because I was sitting so far up, but I felt something really amazing.
I don't know these people particularly well. In fact they showed up at church about three or four weeks ago saying that they had visited Temple Square in Salt Lake City and felt the Spirit very strongly and wanted to know where they could get baptized. I was unsure of how deep their commitment went, I admit that I can tend to be a bit hesitant in believing that someone could commit to a religion so easily. Didn't they realize that it's not exactly easy being Mormon? However, over the last few weeks I had befriended them and they seems like genuine, very nice people.
My husband was in the water and the gentleman stepped in beside him. They moved into position and that's when I saw the look on this man's face. Complete joy. A spirit radiated out of him that was so strong I could practically see it. All at once I knew without a doubt that this man had a testimony of Jesus Christ. He went under the water and my eyes filled with tears. All hesitation I had about these people completely disappeared. They had found truth and recognized it immediately. Who was I to doubt them for acting so quickly. I'm so thankful to have been able to witness that special moment. It strengthened my own spirit and gave me further testimony that Jesus Christ knows each and every one of us. There is so much wickedness in this world today, but there is a balance of righteousness. By following Jesus Christ we can have faith to know that there is SO much good in this world and there are people out there just aching to find it. 
Again, I'm so thankful to have witnessed these people's faith. If you feel it and believe it, then do it.
Like Sis. Dibb said:
I know it,
I live it,
I love it!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Ellis, The Story Teller

You should ask Ellis sometime about her ninja sister, or about the magic bird from another world with beautiful wings. Be sure to ask Ellis about Monkey Father and about the black bird that was sad. And if you are really looking for a good story, just come over for dinner. Most nights when we are seated around the table ready to eat Ellis will begin to tell a story. I don't know where she comes up these, but they are really, really good. It might be about our lizard that falls into faerie world or about a boy whose parents died and finds new ones. But whatever she comes up with, you're in for a treat. I love this girl!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Hello There, Bolt of Lightning

The past few months have been a real struggle for me. I started having problems with vertigo in July and it seems to have just taken over my entire life. Most of the time I don't feel good and when the vertigo finally passes, I'm exhausted. I haven't canned, I haven't made pies, I haven't sewed, I haven't cleaned out cupboards, I haven't made Christmas cookies, I haven't done it seems like much of anything. I show up to events not really wanting to talk to people and just waiting for the moment that I can go home and lay down.
Last night my husband asked me how I can play solitaire on my phone for hours on end. I told him that I was pretty sure that I'm depressed. Why? Because I don't feel good and I don't do anything that helps me or anyone else. I basically feel like a big lump of blah.
I decided to take a shower and in the tub fell to my knees with the water hitting my back. I pleaded with God to send someone to help me. Help me break out of this funk, help me to FEEL something spiritual. I need some sort of connection to my Heavenly Father. I feel like I've been grasping at spiritual straws for months. It was on the bathtub floor that the thought occurred to me like a bolt of lightning. Girl, if you want help, you had better help yourself. No one can make you happy except for you. So get your butt up and do something for someone else.
I realized that for the past few months I have been completely focused on me. My prayers have been about my health and about my well being. What happened to the five people that I usually pray for and have in my mind to give service to? What happened to my prayers being about "please give me the opportunity to help someone in need, to touch someone's life"? I resolved then and there that if I wanted to feel better about myself that I needed to not focus so much on me.
This revelation doesn't make my illness go away. I'm not going to be the perfect housewife any time soon. I still have many doctors appointments in the near future to try and figure this out. But spiritually, this is what will heal my soul. This is what will give me back the connection I feel like I have been lacking.
And of course, God is always present. My prayer was answered swiftly. Today I went to visit a girl who is having some troubles in her life. I listened to her. And then a voice whispered in my ear. It told me what to say to comfort her. It was nothing I would have thought up on my own. I connected spiritually by helping another in need. It was so obvious, so blatantly an answer to my prayer. And such a quick, reassuring, and peaceful feeling that I am never alone.
I writing this because I feel like I may need to reread this a few times in the upcoming months.
Brittany, you are not alone and God is just waiting for you to take his hand.