After an emotionally and mentally challenging three month course, I am proud to announce that I am a Certified Birth and Bereavement Doula with StillBirthday. Not only that, I am the first Certified StillBirthday doula in DFW. It’s an intimate honor to hold space for families where birth and bereavement cross paths.
During the homebirth of my second child, I remember getting into the pool and could feel my daughter starting to work her way through the birth canal. There was a lot of pressure which started to transform into a burning … Continue reading
Early last week I had the honor of capturing the birth of a sweet baby girl for a local family. I was called as a back-up photographer for the family last minute. The family would like to share their birth story. Don’t forget to watch the video at the bottom! 🙂
Mama Amber has shared her birth story with us:
“Starting my birth story was kinda tricky for me, I hadn’t even planned on sharing my story until I heard God speak the words, “Let me write your story!” It became so true that this was my birth story, but it wasn’t the one I’d hoped for and it certainly wasn’t the one I had ever envisioned, but it was still mine. I wasn’t the author, He was!
After I delivered all 3 of Lucy’s big sisters in a hospital setting this time around I was wanting something different. I knew I wanted a natural birth at home and prayed my husband would be on board. So here we were planning a home birth, all new territory for both of us but we were ready! We loved our birthing center and felt we were in great hands! Our midwife was amazing she always had a way of making me feel safe, she carried such a mothering spirit and I knew her heart was in her job.. We took Birth Boot Camp classes that helped tremendously and the people we meet there were great! We felt prepared. We had prayed and prayed over this birth, we knew it was all in His hands. I had a plan, but my plan was far from his, it didnt make my dreams or plans bad just not what he has in store for me now!
The weeks leading up to labor were great I had felt amazing, but
tired, and ready to me meet Lucy. I felt better than I had with any of my pregnancies. I had many bouts of false labor around 37 weeks where I was awakened to a pattern of contractions that hyped me up and made think this was it. False alarm! I had a few more late night episodes like that one but I was so excited for what was to come because I’d never experienced going into labor on my own! I was a day shy of my 40 week appointment and hubby and I were amazed I was still pregnant at 40 weeks and with all the pre-labor I had been having. Surely she would come soon!! There’s so much patience to be learned in those last weeks when it feels never ending, when it’s so bitter sweet and you want to meet your baby but you know you’ll miss those little hiccups inside of you and you’ll miss that bump you’ve carried so long! Our 40 week checkup went great. Lucy looked good and I was just trucking along. I asked for a membrane sweep as my cervix was already dilated to around 3 so it was very favorable and ready! I had no clue how ready- immediately after leaving the birthing center my slow but steady contractions started! I didn’t want to get to excited as I knew this could mean nothing.
The hubby and I had already planned a much needed date for that evening, so we dropped the girls off with his mom and her and I laughed and joked that tonight was probably the night! Well little did I know I was already laboring- just laboring slow. We had dinner and timed my contractions through out. They were pretty spaced out but were getting stronger! We went for a walk in the park and that’s when they picked up. We grabbed some goodies at the grocery store and headed home to relive his mom of grandma duties. The girls, except for the oldest, were sleeping when we arrived. It was about 10pm by this time and contractions still coming! I checked in with my midwife who was pretty sure I was in labor and said to call when my waves were 5 min apart and to go ahead and get the pool set up and everything ready! Wow this was it- I would stop and rock back and forth with every contraction. That’s how I knew things were really happing this time!
I texted my photographer, who at the time was not 100% sure she was going to be able and make it, so I found back-up just in case! 1:00 am rolled around and I was getting tired and knew
I should rest, so I slept maybe an hour but the contractions were unbearable laying down. I texted my midwife about 3:30 with update and she suggested the chiropractor come out and see me to help with my back pain and to hopefully get things moving faster! Derek and I walked around house in the light of the moon until around 4:20 my midwife showed up and labor was picking up! 5:30 came around and our chiropractor showed up to bring a little relief! I found low moaning helped through each contraction more than anything! I knew this was it- after each contraction getting stronger and stronger. I Can remember one surge I had walking to my bathroom to change into my labor clothes for the birth. It was strong, it was powerful and it scared me, I could hear our scripture lullabies in the background playing as I wanted them playing through labor (I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!) I could do this, but I was thinking I needed to be in water because the pain was intense. After a quick walk around the house it was time for the water. Such relief the water brought!!! Shortly after, my back-up photographer arrived. After an hour of laboring in the tub, it was time push and my body was trying but after each push it felt like there was no progress! So after realizing I had a small amount of cervix left from keeping her from coming down we had to make a plan B! I was not prepared for plan B which was to pull that cervix back with every contraction, but my body was tired. I had pushed for almost an hour straight and was so ready for progress! I thought after each contraction, “How can I get a c-section? How fast can we make it out of here?”
-So glad my body was stronger than my thoughts because that’s not really what I wanted! After some help from the Midwife and a few pushes later, her head was out!! It was supposed to be easy after this, it was supposed to bring relief after I push her head out. I pushed and I pushed with no avail. I didn’t understand why she was not coming out! She was stuck! She wasn’t just stuck, she was super stuck from both shoulders! Not apart of the plan! Panic set in as we realized this was a medical emergency, but with Holy Spirit leading my birth team and a husband who was more than ready to serve, they scooped me out of the water…baby’s head out and all and whisked me on the bed! I could hear prayers being prayed in loud tearful voices. I knew God was in control but this was so out of control for me. I heard, “Push! Push!!” but my body could do so little at this time. I was gone, I was exhausted. I guess the pain was so intense that there was no pain at all. It was an out of body experience which I’ve heard laboring mothers talk about before. The pushing on my stomach from the hands of my midwife and the prayers that were prayed long before Lucy was born is what brought my baby girl out! Relief- instant relief. Then I realized she was not breathing. She was blue but starting to gain color with the midwives stimulating her. Her head had been out for minutes. I began to pray and the only words that could fall from my mouth were palmas 91, a verse my mother gave to me as a young girl! A verse I always prayed in fearful situations. The angels heard our prayers. He heard my cry for her and she began to cry! Music to my ears- there was nothing sweeter than that sound. My husband and I realized that day how amazingly blessed we were! So much could have gone wrong but his fingerprints were everywhere! We soaked up and still are every minute with this miracle baby. She’s so loved and we’re so blessed!! It wasn’t my birth plan but it was on His, no matter how hard it was, I know it was apart of his plan for my life for whatever reason. We may never know why life brings the trials it brings but I’ll hold onto his promise that he loves you and I, and just rest in that. We are so thankful for our natural homebirth experience and overjoyed with our newest addition to the family.
Amber and Derek”
Birth Video link:
Coming Earthside | Lucille Gail
I’ve been having fun capturing some pictures with my new camera at births! My main focus is – and will always be – being a doula and serving my clients. Every once in awhile though, I find some down time when I’m not needed in *that* moment. It’s special to look back at the pictures with my clients are re-live their experience. Here are some pictures from recent births. Enjoy!
As New Years 2014 was approaching, I sat down and made some goals for the year regarding my business. I came up with a number and goal – 48 – of the clients I wanted to serve. As well as doula services and birth pool rentals, I also offer placenta encapsulation services. So far this year I have encapsulated 24 placentas! Follow me on Instagram @thebirthingtree or on Facebook to keep up with my journey.
Here are some of the placentas I have encapsulated this year. All very different looking, huh? A woman’s body is pretty incredible!
Placenta Love ♥
Thanks for following!
Today I went and did a postpartum visit for my dear clients. I had such a wonderful time reliving the birth through the parent’s eyes and spending time with the whole family. I will work on getting his birthstory up soon, so I’ll be saving those details until the next post. Baby Lucas was born two days ago and it was a beautiful homebirth. I wanted to schedule a visit as soon as possible so I could bring mama her finished placenta encapsulation and prints.
I planned to also bring them a hot meal, because I know how much of a difference that made for me after my birth. Before heading out, I cooked a large pot of spaghetti sauce. I packed up my bags and got in the car. Along the way I stopped at the store for a few quick things I needed to finish making dinner at their house. Upon arriving, I was welcomed by daddy and mama sitting on the couch with baby. They were enjoying an episode of Breaking Bad (seriously the best show in the history of television!)
I washed my hands and started to prepare a salad, bake bread and boil the noodles. Her older kiddos were still at school and would be arriving home soon. I got mama a cup of water and gave her the placenta pills to start taking.
As I was waiting on dinner to finish I sat and talked to mama about how breastfeeding is going. I was happy to hear that baby Lucas is doing a great job at latching and they are both enjoying their breastfeeding relationship. I made mama and daddy a plate of food just as some company was walking in the door. Their pastor and his wife came to say hello and hear about the birth. The midwife arrived shortly after that and we all said a prayer blessing Lucas and the family before their friends left. Rosetta (the midwife) had to follow up with them for their postpartum visit as well so I took the opportunity to get some other stuff done. The older kiddos came home and I told them that I had a suprise for them, if they would be my helper. I was able to get them to eat food and then they helped me clean the entire kitchen and do the dishes. I started the dish washer and then we went to their rooms to tidy up. They were so helpful and eager for the reward! They cleaned their room spotless and we had a bit of fun along the way.
Turns out the mask wasn’t a good look for me. Oh well 😉 After we gathered laundry and had the rooms looking good I asked them to help me do ONE more thing. Something sweet and special.
We presented mom, daddy and Lucas with a (belated) birthday cake and we all joined in on signing him Happy Birthday to celebrate his birth and babymoon.
And then it was time for CAKE! We ate some and cleaned up the dishes again, and then I took the older boys to the park across the street. We raced, laughed, ran through a muddy field and had a blast at the park. When we made it back home the midwife was just leaving. I got some baby snuggles too ♥
I had time to talk to mama and daddy about the birth and found closure with their experience. I told them how proud I was of them and that it was such an honor to be their doula. It’s always bittersweet ending our business relationship, but my clients will always live in my heart and be on my mind. I hope we’ll remain friends and I can one day tell Lucas how strong his mama was and how supportive his daddy was at their beautiful birth.
As I was leaving out the door Laura’s second youngest son insisted on saying bye to me… Four times. And then kissed me on the lips! Hah! Talk about a ladies man! These parents are raising four handsome young men.
It’s not goodbye.
Until we meet again,
Your doula -Laney-
In response to the “Babies don’t mind being covered” comments circulating around, my daughter and I would like to show you how she feels when being covered. Some babies do mind. Breastfeeding is not shameful. It is natural and normal.
By: Laney Sweet // Doula @ The Birthing Tree & creator of Lend Me Your Boob
“I wanted to give birth as opposed to being delivered!” -Ricki Lake
Take charge of your birth, ladies! You are the woman who is carrying this baby, not your care provider. Own your birth and relish in the birth-high that follows as your baby comes earthside. Those moments are pure bliss.