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Good Thing She Wore Her Nike’s (Brady’s Story)

[shared with permission]

Crain’s Birth Story is one that needs to be shared. I feel that our family and friends need to hear why Crain was born at home and hear how amazing that Saturday Morning was for us. Tyler and I had to make so many decisions with Crain’s birth; decisions that are not accepted by many, but in the end were the right ones for us and Crain.

There are two subjects that I do not share my opinion on with many people and those two subjects are religion and birth. If you are close to me you know how I feel about these two, but even so, I feel that people have the right to worship how they desire and women should be able to birth how they desire (medicated, un medicated, hospital or home).

In this birth story I am going to open up about my views, some will learn from the words that I write and the natural tendency of others will be to pass judgment, but either way you will hear the story of Crain’s birth and hopefully gain an understanding of our beliefs on birth.

Tyler and I enrolled in hypno-birthing classes for Crain’s birth. Julie was once again our guide during this pregnancy, and we learned so much in our classes.  I did my Hypnobabies homework religiously and I feel that Crain’s birth benefited greatly from my hypno studies.  I had been in the care of Dr. Stafford for this pregnancy.  Dr. Stafford delivered Preston and I truly admire Dr. Stafford and I am very grateful to be in the care of such a hands on, awesome physician.  But with all that said, Dr. Stafford cannot control hospital procedures and there was something in me that really did not want to fight to have the birth I wanted.  I knew in the hospital, I would have to battle to have a true hypno birth, and so after going back and forth on the “homebirth idea” We connected with our midwife from the beginning and I felt calm and at peace about the homebirth idea after meeting with her. She was extremely knowledgeable about birth.  So it was decided a Homebirth for Crain!  We were excited and at peace with the idea, however; kept it a secret because I did not want to hear all the negative comments.

So May 7th  (Crain’s guess Date) came and no baby Crain, and boy oh boy how it  made people mad that he was not here.  I was determined to let Crain choose when and how he came into this world.  But it was hard to be out of control and it taught me the first lesson of being a good parent, PATIENCE, and most of all it made me closer to my faith.  I knew God was watching over us and I knew I was doing the right thing.  I read quotes and scriptures every day and had faith I was making the right choice.  Our birth team walked us through this wait and made me feel that it was normal when most everyone around us were asking when we were going to be induced, and when were “they” taking the baby, and don’t forget the people sharing with us why you should not carry your baby past it’s guess date.  It was a long 14 days for many reasons, but looking back I am so proud of us for having faith and waiting on Crain.  If I would have delivered in the hospital, I would have had to been induced and I am so happy I did not do that.  Thank you to Tyler, my Mom, and my sister Laura for really talking me through those 14 days and being so supportive of me.

On Friday, May 20th, I started feeling some Pressure waves, that’s hypno talk for contractions.  I went to acupuncture and had a nice relaxing session.  I texted my birth team and told them that I was having some pressure waves.  In the meantime, my parents came up (I had not told them I was having pressure waves because I did not know if it was truly labor).  That evening, the pressure waves still came and went; I listened to a Hypnobabies script before bed and decided to get some sleep.  At midnight, I got up and walked around, got some water, and tried to go back to bed.  Once again I listened to my easy first stage Hypnobabies script.  At 2:00 am, I got up and was definitely feeling more intense pressure waves.  I woke Tyler up and told him that they were getting a little intense.  I got into the tub as Tyler timed the waves.  Oh yeah, they were close together and getting stronger.  Tyler stood by my side and he does not even have to say anything to me during birth, he looks at me and I regain focus, and I instantly feel calm.  Tyler is my strength when I run out of it in labor.

We called Julie, but told her that she did not need to come yet and that we would call her back in an hour.  Tyler woke my parents and they took Preston to Tyler’s parent’s house.  My Mom knew of the homebirth, but I had just informed my Dad that evening when I thought I was in labor.  I knew he would worry, but once again my Dad surprised me and handled it beautifully.  I guess he trusts his “little Miss Magic”.  At 3:00 am Tyler called Julie back and told Julie to call the midwife.  Julie had already gotten her gear together and was on her way.  My Pressure waves were strong and very close.  I hummed during waves, yes I sounded like a dwarf from Snow White [note from Julie:  the “hi-ho, hi-ho, its off to work we go” song], but you know that is what I love about a natural birth, if you let yourself go and let your body lead you, it does things to get you through birth.  And my body apparently wanted me to hum, and so hum I did.  I told Tyler to get my “Birthing Outfit”.  Yes I like to look cute when I deliver!  My birthing attire was a knit skirt and tank and most important my Nike’s.

[note:  notice the wall behind her is covered with birthing affirmations]

Julie came in a little after 4:00 am. She just saw I had my Nike’s on and I remember she said “Oh you are ready!”  I wore my Nike’s during my labor with Preston and would have delivered in them if the hospital would have let me!  So with my outfit on and Nike’s laced, I was ready to go.  [note from Julie:  When things got intense with Preston’s birth, Brady ritualistically put on her Nike’s.  I knew when I saw them on her feet, we would meet a baby soon.  I got on the phone with the midwife and told her to hurry!]

I had had the urge to push a little right before Julie arrived.  Now the urge was uncontrollable.  Crain’s birth took over my body and of course my body knew just what to do.  I remember feeling like I was just watching myself birth.  You go to this whole entire different realm, or at least I did.  It one of those experiences in life where you are not the driver, but the passenger and you let your body drive and have faith that it knows what to do.

I think my water broke at 4:45am or so and I remember saying “that felt great.”  Crain’s birth was moving really fast and the midwife was not there, but I was not scared, I actually felt very calm.  I had Tyler and Julie there, and it was really calm and peaceful.  My pressure during pushes became really intense, so intense, and so difficult.  The only position I was comfortable in was standing up.  When I pushed it took over me and literally lifted me onto my tip toes (good thing I had that extra support from my Nike’s).  I felt burning, and knew that Crain was coming, but it was happening so fast.  I remember telling Tyler and Julie that I felt burning.  I reached down and felt Crain’s head, and saw Tyler place his hands below.  I pushed again, and my beautiful Crain was caught by his father’s hands, and my world stopped.

Crain laid in my arms and talked, instead of crying he talked and talked (you know baby cooing).  He apparently had a story to tell me about where he had been for the past 40 weeks and 14 days.  The midwife arrived within seconds.  Our birth team took great care of me and Crain in the hours to come.

So why did we have a home birth?  On May 21st, 2011 at 4:53 am, Tyler caught our 9lb 6oz son with his strong hands in the comfort of our home.  I had no nurse chasing me around trying to check me.  I was free of wires and IV’s.  I was able to have a true, calm Hypnobabies birth.  I was not met with paperwork to fill out nor did I have a nurse counting for me while I pushed.  I was able to place Crain directly on me after birth.  Tyler and I did not have to fight for anything we desired for Crain’s birth.  It was a calm, beautiful, safe birth. We have been asked if we worried or why we would take a “risk” of having Crain at home. To answer those questions yes, of course I worry.  I worry about both my children, constantly.  Did I worry about birthing him at home?  No!  I was in safe hands and I knew our birth team would never put me or Crain in an “unsafe” situation.  As far as risk, you take a risk whether you are at a hospital or at home.  Ironically, if you do some research and listen to other birth stories, sometimes hospitals and their many interventions put you and your baby at more risks.  Tyler and I weighed the benefits and risks and in this situation; and the benefits outweighed the risks.  Tyler and I educated ourselves and surrounded ourselves with birthing professionals.  It saddens me that instead of excitement after Crain’s birth, most everyone’s first reaction was that of worry and judgment.  I understand that this is not the “norm”, but to those I say open your minds to a new yet old way of birth, do some research on natural hospital births in the US, and have faith that people make decisions for all the right reasons, and be okay with women who choose to not be the “norm” when they birth their children.  I certainly do not judge other woman on how they choose to have their child.

The coolest part of Crain’s birth is that I felt so connected to my faith.  They say that God is present with every birth and by having Crain at home, and being surrounded by calm, supportive people, I felt the presence of God.  It was truly the most incredible experience. I am so happy that I trusted my gut and stayed true to who I am, and had Crain the way Tyler and I wanted to.  I look at Tyler and feel closer to him than I ever have; he truly is a great birth partner, and even a better husband and father.  I know that I am a stronger wife and mother.  I am proud of Crain’s birth, and do not look at his birth in any negative light.  I look at his birth as a gift.  Both of my boys gave me the gift of birth and I discovered if you open your body and mind to birth it is truly life changing.  On May 21st, 2011 at 4:53 am as Crain entered this world something in me changed, just as it did when Preston was born.  I cannot describe the change; it is just the most amazing feeling, and I know it was because of how we brought both Preston and Crain into this world.  I will never forget either one of their births, but especially Crain’s birth.  I grew that day, and I am so glad that I experienced the gift of birth.  Thank you to our birth team for supporting us, and helping us through this pregnancy.  Without you guys I would not have had the experience I had, and for that I am forever grateful to all of you.

Crain still “talking” to his mama an hour after his birth:

 [Note:  Brady and Tyler made the challenging choice to change care providers and birth location at around 36 weeks.  If your intuition is telling you to explore other options, it is never too late.]

Sacred Moments

It was the middle of the day.  There were four of us.  A woman, her husband, their doula, and a baby ready to be born.  The light was muted by curtains.  She had carefully created this birthing room in her home.

It was an ordinary weekday.  The neighborhood went about its business.  The postman delivered the mail.  In the distance, someone cut the grass.  The school bus picked up and dropped off children.

But inside the birthing room, something transcendent was happening.

Inside the birthing room, there was silence.  For an hour, complete silence as the woman worked with her waves.  The only sound was water.  Each time a wave began, I slowly poured water from a pitcher down her back.  And in the background, water flowed from a fountain she had placed in the room.

I didn’t dare speak.  The space was heavy with the sacred.

This is what the Lord says—he who made you, who formed you in the womb, and will help you:  Do not be afraid…

for I will pour out water on the thirsty land…

I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring and my blessing on your descendants. 

They will spring up like grass in a meadow, like poplar trees by flowing streams.

(Isaiah 44:2-4)

Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself,

where she may have her young—a place near your altar. 

(Psalm 84:3)

This is what the Lord says—he who created you…he who formed you…

“Fear not, for I have redeemed you by name; you are mine. 

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;

and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you…

Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you.” 

(Isaiah 43:1-4)

I glimpse the sacred at all births I attend.  I feel near to the altar.  Like a priestess serving the woman; but ultimately the Author of this new life.  It is a meeting of worlds–the spiritual and physical.  Soon after, the midwife and her apprentice arrived.  The baby was born.  And the world carried on, though forever changed by a new life.

As birth servants, may we ever tread carefully in these birthing rooms.  These altars.

My sister’s doula

My family is tight.  I have one sibling.  My parents still love each other.  We have weekly Sunday dinner during which we sit at the table talking long after the coffee has cooled.  And for this rare moment, we all live in geographic proximity.   

When my sister became pregnant, I coached myself on:

  • respecting her privacy
  • not using scare tactics
  • not saying too much
  • not saying too little
  • keeping horror stories to myself
  • keeping homebirth talk to a minimum
  • stepping back and allowing them to make informed decisions

All the while, I wondered how I could possibly be her doula in the hospital setting.  I imagined scenes of security guards forcibly removing me from the hospital.  But they chose a homebirth and I breathed a sigh of relief.  I wouldn’t need to guard her or time her arrival at the hospital just right.  I could relax into supporting.


As her time approached, I had so much anxiety.  If she had to transport, I would blame myself.  I knew this.  Deeply knew this.  A big sister thing, you know?  I did a Hypnobabies “fear clearing” before her birth. 

Then her birthing time began.  And it felt so normal.  The anxiety melted away as I moved into the familiar and comfortable space of birth.  I hunkered down to support her in the work of bringing a baby. 

What I was not prepared for was the emotion.  The powerful emotion that hit me full force out of nowhere as she was close to birthing.  At this moment:

Yes, this moment.  Do you know what I was thinking?  I was remembering the time I left her in my uncle’s hayloft.  She was little and refused to come down the ladder.  So my cousins and I left her crying.  My horrible brain fired off many of those memories in rapid succession leaving me a pile of mush.  I wept in her shoulder so she wouldn’t see.  I was entirely unprepared for the onslaught memories.  I never cried at my own births. 

She was a warrior, as I knew she would be.  And Zach was a strong birth partner whispering prayers and endearments throughout. 

Her sweet babe weighing in at 8lbs 4oz was a precious dumpling.

And her doula was busy remembering every mean thing she ever did to her. 

The Young Pregnant Couple–Part 4

The countdown to baby continues for Noelle and Zach.  Since my last post, they have:

  • found out they are having a boy!
  • interviewed a natural birth-friendly doctor and interviewed a midwife
  • finalized which country they will raise this wee one in
  • decided on their birth location and care provider
  • signed up for a childbirth class

After much prayer, Noelle and Zach have chosen to birth at home with a midwife.  It would have been an easy choice if their insurance would cover any part of it.  It doesn’t.  But their insurance offers fantastic hospital coverage–they would have very little out-of-pocket expense.  For a young couple preparing to quit their jobs and trust entirely on financial support for their ministry, it was a big deal to choose a homebirth.

Let me interject here that the new healthcare plan–and, no, I will not offer an opinion!–will require insurance to cover certified professional midwives at birth centers.  This change is wonderful but it reveals a common misunderstanding about birth centers.  The birth center is not different in terms of equipment and training than a home.  The homebirth midwife brings the same supplies and equipment as she uses at a birth center.  For the plan to cover one and not the other simply because of the setting seems silly to me.   

And…the wee baby boy will grow up (drum roll) in Cambodia.  His parents have spent time there before and are excited to return.  Noelle will once again be working with children who are victims of sex trafficking.  Zach will be working with an unreached people group. 

Now here is a question for my readers.  If you lived in a country with only cold water for washing clothes, which cloth diapers would you choose and how would you wash them?  Would you use bleach to kill bacteria?  Something else?  And this is a place in which bacteria can be ugly.


I’ve added a new birth to the birth story section of my blog.  Check it out!

Bri’s VBAC homebirth

A nice homebirth montage

From midwife, Pamela Hines-Powell.  Note:  this is a BIRTH slideshow so it contains images of birth.

A word or two about homebirth

Sometimes I get the impression that people think homebirth is crazy.  I dunno, maybe comments left on blogs or eyebrows raised when I mention my babes weren’t born in the hospital.  So if I might take a moment to share my thoughts on why a person might choose homebirth.  (And let’s just get this part out of the way:  obviously, I’m am not saying everyone should birth at home.  You should birth wherever you choose.  And I am not saying that interventions such as inductions or cesareans are evil when they are necessary to save lives.)

1)  Homebirth is safe. 

Numerous studies have shown that planned homebirths with a midwife is as safe as a hospital birth.  Some studies even show that they are safer.  Certainly there are fewer interventions.  “The first intervention in birth, that a healthy woman takes, is when she walks out the front door of her home, in labor. From that first intervention, all others will follow”.  Dr. Michael Rosenthal – Obstetrician

In 20 other countries, fewer babies die at birth or in their first few months of life.  Those countries have one thing in common:  most of the births are attended by midwives.  Compare that to our rate of 8% of births attended by midwives; only 1% of which are homebirths. 

A woman is four times as likely to die from a cesarean than a vaginal birth.  The US cesarean rate is over 30%.  Homebirth midwives have a cesarean rate less than 10%. 

2)  Midwives are super (and smart). 

Midwives are trained in normal birth.  Keenly aware that a hospital is the best place to be for high-risk pregnancies, midwives will transfer the care of these women prior to their birthing times.  Likewise, during labor or birth, a midwife will transfer a woman to the hospital if a complication arises. 

Midwives are trained for emergencies.  Though their focus is on prevention, certainly they are trained to respond to less common emergencies such as hemorrhage, neonatal resuscitation, shoulder dystocia, etc.  While regulations may vary from state to state, all midwives carry emergency equipment and administer certain medications when indicated. 

Part of the reason for their excellent outcomes is that midwives spend so much time prenatally with their clients.  A prenatal with a midwife typically lasts an hour.  How often does an OB spend an hour with her patients?  A midwife can more easily address nutritional concerns or emotional issues because she knows her clients and has spent time building trust. 

Midwives are the norm for most births in the world.   

3)  It is convenient.

No bags to pack.  No worrying about “when to go.”  No contractions in the car. 

Everyone comes to your home.  And they are guests.  They were invited.  That changes the entire atmosphere. 

I didn’t have to worry about someone feeding the dog or arranging childcare.  If I decided (as I did) that I wanted a grape popsicle, my freezer was just a room away.  If I decided (as I did) to play pass the pigs, then it was readily available. 

4)  It is economically sensible.

Some of my doula clients have shown me their hospital bills.  My jaw dropped when I saw the cost of an epidural.  Or an IV.  My first thought was “I don’t charge nearly enough for my services if a cervidil tampon costs more than me!”  Then they showed me the separate bill for the baby care.  Good grief.  The consumer has little control over these charges. 

Midwives charge a flat fee.  It covers your prenatal care, your birth, and postpartum care.  The postpartum care takes place in the comfort of your own bedroom.  There are no hidden charges.  You are not charged extra if your midwife gives you a tylenol or if your labor lasts 30 hours.  Of course, the fee varies.  Here, I’ve seen it range from $2600–4000.  And in SC, Medicaid covers homebirth midwives.    

5)  Easier to relax during birth and rest afterwards.

Hospitals were not designed for birth.  Women in labor need privacy, quiet, and room to move.  It is essential that our bodies relax during our birthing time.  If too much adrenaline creeps in, labor can stall.  In a hospital room, you will be monitored, you will be interrupted, you will hear unfamiliar sounds, you will sign a dozen consent forms, and you will be informed of policies. 

During your postpartum period, you will be interrupted during the night so that you may be monitored.  The nurses aren’t evil but it is their job to check on you.  If you birth at home, you will be snuggled with your partner and your little one in your own comfortable bed.   

6)  You can give birth in whichever position or room you choose.

Midwives follow birthing women around.  If she stops to push in the corner, the midwife squats down with her.  If it is dark, the midwife might use a flashlight.  If she wanders out to the back deck, the midwife will bring a few pillows.  If she wants to push on the toilet, fine.  Tub?  Fine.  Under the apple tree?  Whatever.  A midwife is accommodating.    

7)  The baby is mine.

No, I don’t mean the baby might be switched at birth.  I mean that families who choose to have their babies at home usually call the shots when it comes to the handling of their newborn.  It is assumed that the baby will be skin-to-skin with the mother for a lengthy period after birth.  In the absence of emergency, of course, the mom decides when the cord is clamped, when the baby is weighed, and if any procedures like eye ointment, vitamin K shot are administered.  I feel like homebirth gives parents “permission” to parent right from the start.      

Really, this control over how my baby was handled was my number 1 choice for choosing homebirth. 

8)  It is cleaner.

Hospitals are gross and they are filled with sick people.  Scary germs live there.  Now with swine flu and antibiotic resistent bacteria running amok, it makes sense to keep a newborn protected at home.  When a baby is born, she receives antibodies through her mama’s colostrum.  It will include antibodies for the microorganisms living in her home and places her mama frequents.  Newborns have immature immune systems and rely on this colostrum for protection.  The newborn is unable to make antibodies for foreign germs like those found in hospitals.     

9)  And this might not be the most important reason, but no hospital gown, no hospital food, and no hep-lock!

I don’t think this one needs explanation!   

Now, before anyone gets huffy with me, let me acknowledge that there are wonderful doctors and nurses.  My beloved mother is a nurse.  I grew up in doctor’s offices and hospitals.  However, there are not so wonderful regulators who enact ridiculous rules for low-risk women birthing at hospitals.  And there are frivolous lawsuits that scare the bejeebies out of otherwise accommodating physicians.  And I concede that not all midwives are angelic guardians of birth–a few are crappy.

But hopefully this list will help someone see why a person might choose the seemingly strange choice to birth at home.  Does anyone else have reasons to add?