Welcome, Baby Dean! The Story of Our Second Unassisted Birth

Unassisted Birth Story #2:

Ready for a birth story? If yes, you’re in for a treat. If no, well, carry on my wayward reader.

After two episodes of false labor in the weeks prior (that left me just a joy to be around), I woke up at 5:30 on September 14th in order to be at work by 7am. Because State was in our building for our annual inspection. On my last official week at my assignment. #awesome

About 10 minutes into being awake, I started noticing that the uncomfortable feeling that often accompanies eating bad Indian food was actually going away at fairly frequent intervals. As Peter left for the gym, I mentioned that we might not have had to wake up so early after all, as I was beginning to think that these contractions, feeling different than my last two practice sessions, were actually going to lead to something. I texted my boss (and my replacement DON) to let them know I wouldn’t be in at 7. They were so excited and told me to keep them updated.

I tracked my contractions for about an hour, noticing they were fairly consistent. They were increasingly uncomfortable, but I was still able to walk through them. I rubbed some black pepper essential oil on my back to help with the back labor.

Contractions became irregular around 9am, but still uncomfortable. I decided that a hot bath sounded delightful. MY GOODNESS, I had no idea how comfortable it would be! I could feel the contractions but was still able to relax through them.

The hours marched on and contractions were still uncomfortable but irregular. I wasn’t concerned since every labor is different. I focused on relaxing. Peter made a labor playlist for me with nature sounds, Native American flute music, and several Xavier Rudd songs. We diffused Balance essential oil and I just focused on relaxing, with Peter checking in on me frequently, topping off my coconut water as necessary. I was also texting many of my coworkers and keeping updated on how the state inspection was going.

Around 3:45pm I was getting irritated at how long this was taking with seemingly little progress. I hopped in the shower because showers make everything better and after about 5 minutes I started getting little tremors and increased pressure. Recognizing this was most likely transition, I got out of the shower and headed to the bed, where I had created a nest of waterproof pads.

I was right. Transition hit hard and furious. Fetal Ejection Reflex was strong, and just after 4pm my water broke. I think most of my 50 pound weight gain had been in the waters, because it didn’t just break, it exploded everywhere (sorry to those of you who are more visual). I called for Peter and told him that my water broke, “and also we might want to get new pillows.” He asked what the water breaking indicated, and I told him that Baby K was coming fast and it would be soon.

Right again. The pressure was so intense I didn’t think I could bear it. It was pressure to the point of pain. I buried my head in my pillow so my moans wouldn’t scare Tristan, who was in the living room watching DinoTrux at the time. That didn’t work well. I yelled/screamed for Peter again, who ran in, leaving Tristan in the living room yelling for me.

When Peter came in, I told him I could feel the baby crowning, and he jumped into the role of birth coach, excitedly updating me on progress. “I see it! There are the eyes! The nose is out – it’s a cute little button nose! There’s the mouth! The whole head!” I breathed out the shoulders and caught the baby as the rest of the body slid out gently (a VERY different birth than Tristan, who shot out head and body all at once like a squid). Peter asked “What is it?” I looked down “it’s another boy!”

We were both shocked, we had been expecting a girl the entire time. Every single old wives’ tale “test” indicated girl, except the Chinese Gender Predictor chart.

Peter let Tristan in immediately and we introduced him to Baby Dean. His face lit up when he saw the baby and we told him he had a brother. He had told us months ago that it was “a brudder” because he wanted to ride bikes with him and “guys ride bikes, mom.”

I took a picture of Dean and texted it over to my boss and my coworker who had been following progress via text all day. She texted back saying that my boss announced Dean’s birth over the intercom system. There was a contest going on at the facility, and $50 went to the staff or resident who had the closest guess for birth date, gender, weight, and length. One of the CNAs won!

our second unassisted birth story
first moments earthside

Peter took Tristan to the local coffee shop to get us some coffee while I relaxed with baby Dean. I did my full nursing assessment, and was surprised to see a true knot in his umbilical cord. Gotta love that natural Wharton’s Jelly, keeping the knot slippery and open during labor!

By the time Peter and Tristan returned, the cord had stopped pumping so it was time to clamp and cut. I wiped off Dean (who had a huge healthy meconium poop all over me, just like his brother), diapered him, wrapped him, and handed him to Peter while I delivered the placenta. I felt great, so I got up and took a shower (my third of the day) and enjoyed the fact that I could fit back in my t-shirts without my belly hanging out underneath.

I drank a bottle of beet juice and snuggled on the couch with my TWO sons while Peter cleaned up the bedroom. Within two hours of birth, we were all sitting on the couch watching The Cleveland Show and texting our friends our happy news. It was so relaxing, and we marveled at how lovely it is to birth at home.

approximately 2 hours after birth

I used my Clary Calm roll on quite liberally the first few hours – those afterbirth pains are no joke! Thankfully, that took the discomfort away and I was able to snuggle with my boys without constantly squirming from the pain.

I recovered much faster from this birth than Tristan’s. I’m not sure whether to attribute that to better nutrition, drinking copious amounts of coconut water during labor, knowing better what to expect this time, or most likely a combination of all 3, but I’m thankful.

We named him Dean Alexander Sirius. He weighed 7 pounds, 8 ounces (only 3 ounces heavier than Tristan! I was expecting a much larger baby), and was 19 1/2 inches long. He has super long fingers like Tristan and I did and smaller feet than Tristan, so he can fit in all those adorable footie pajamas that Tristan could never wear. He sleeps for long interludes (including overnight) and is just starting to show some lady-killer dimples.

Sometime in the near future I’ll share about our second night as parents of two. But for now, I have baby snuggles to return to.

Oh yeah, and we bought an RV.

Talk to you soon! ūüôā


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Free to be Me: My Personal Manifesto

Experiencing freedom in my life for the first time

I’ve been reading Jen Hatmaker’s newest book, For the Love, and I recently reached the chapter where she reflects on how she learned to “just tell the truth.” In this chapter, she encourages her readers to be honest with our thoughts, and to free ourselves from the idea that people should avoid speaking anything less than rainbows and constant sunshine. This particular chapter was encouraging and empowering, as¬†I have heard recently that my parents are convinced that I have been brainwashed and manipulated, so I thought that I would take a minute and explain what it is for me to be free.

I grew up in a very judgmental, conservative household.¬†My mother¬†made comments to me all throughout my growing up years that still negatively effect my body image, including telling me at age 15 that I “needed” to wear makeup so I could “look like I take care of myself.”¬† I wasn’t allowed to read books that my father hadn’t approved of, because he was convinced that disagreeing authors were idiots and their ideas were not valid. I was almost not allowed to attend Mass with my best friend in high school because my father doesn’t think that catholic faith is legitimate. I was allowed to go on the grounds that I would write an essay on the differences between the catholic mass and a Presbyterian service. ¬†As far as I can tell, catholics are Christians too. But they didn’t worship in the exact same way, so it must be wrong.

I learned from a very early age to only talk about any shared interests or things that I already knew they would approve of, because I didn’t want to deal with their comments of disapproval or any lectures. I rebelled, but in little things. I waited, ever-so-patiently, to turn 18 and promptly added a second piercing to my ears (it looked “tacky,” so they wouldn’t sign for it). When I wanted other forms of personal expression¬†(I permed my hair, had my cartilage and my nose pierced, and got a tattoo), I just went and did it. I still had to deal with comments, but it was already done so they weren’t able to talk me out of it. When it came to most issues,¬†I learned to be docile and obedient, so as not to be the cause of any discord. Their way, they claimed, was freedom, but I was only “free” to choose the things which they thought were right.

We went to a very conservative church (example: a woman was made to apologize to the congregation for having a child out of wedlock).¬†My church leaders, when I informed them that I was resigning my membership upon marrying my husband and we were going to join a church together, informed me that I was not allowed to resign my membership until I had found a church *they* approved of. After we were married, we went to some friends for marriage advice. I was blocked in the house by my (not invited) former pastor, who made several attempts to get me alone and refused to leave, telling me “this isn’t your house, I don’t have to move.” Both my old pastor and Peter’s former pastor boasted about contacting the churches we visited to “warn” the leadership about us, claiming us to be troublemakers. (I dearly love most of the people from my former church. I was truly disappointed when the leadership behaved in such a way.)

Despite their belief that their church was the “true” church, my family would no sooner get to the parking lot than start making fun of the people at the service. They would make demeaning comments about this elder’s ideas or that teenager’s hairstyle. They still don’t like one of our friends from there because of the hairstyle he chose when he was 15. Evidently, Jesus only approves of collared button-downs and crew cuts.

I was never given freedom to explore. For my family, there was only One Way – for everything. This put a damper on my learning about the world. I was sent to a worldview class where the Christian teacher clearly said “what I want most for you all is to learn to think for yourselves!” but if we answered questions on the exams in a way that didn’t follow the teacher’s specific religious beliefs, they were counted as incorrect.

After Peter and I were married, we searched the Bible together in the evenings, and applied what we learned. Our questioning was not received well. Our 3-year journey has led us to atheism, which we have held for some time now. This is due to many reasons, but was largely because of the responses we had received as we searched and studied and challenged commonly accepted practices.

After we had been married for a few months, something amazing started to happen. My wonderful husband had given me a voice. He started asking me what I wanted, what I thought, what made my soul come alive. He asked questions because he wanted to know, and I could state my desires and opinions without fear of lectures or ridicule. I became confident, curious, and alive. I was free.

One major example of this newfound freedom and health is how I deal with my emotions. My mother, who holds a PhD in child psychology and does family counseling, told me recently that she had read in a psychology book that when your teenage daughter is upset, the best course of action is to leave her alone and let her get over her own feelings, so that’s how she dealt with me. Peter learned very quickly that I need to be chased when I’m upset, and over the past few years I’ve learned how to actually work through my emotions, understand them, and deal with them in healthy ways, rather than just isolate and ignore my problems.

I learned through all of this how trapped I had been growing up. My family’s very specific views on religion, politics, and lifestyle were taught as true freedom because they smiled. They viewed my silence as acquiescence, when in reality I had just learned to shut up and bide my time. They thought they knew the true me, but their idea of me was never accurate.

Even now, my family refuses to accept my new freedom. My mother informed me she still wishes I hadn’t gotten married, something I take special offense to now that I have a son. Having experienced my father’s disapproval for my marriage, I do not feel respected or safe around him either, so I set ground rules for any future relationship with my father that require he make peace with Peter before any contact with me. Even this simple request has been refused, with the excuse that I would have never placed such a restriction before, so Peter must be manipulating me into making such a suggestion. While hard to listen to, their negative comments serve as a reminder to me of the freedom I now get to enjoy, and a reminder to breathe deeply, love fully, and walk my new path bravely.

I hate conflict, so I followed their lead for as long as I needed to, but now that I am married I am finally getting to explore who I am, what I believe, and live it out in the way that is in keeping with my own personal worldview. This blog is an extension of me and my values – I am a health conscious, green, quirky, dance-in-public, hippie mama. I practice grounding and meditation. My personal style looks like the love child of gypsies and a rack from the set of That 70’s Show.¬†I value people without discriminating based on social status, gender identity, sexual preference, or religion. I believe in doing what is best for people over what is best for profit. I share what I learn because I’ve always wanted to help people feel better, and natural solutions help fix issues at the root cause. This is me. This has always been me, but I am now free to explore, enjoy, and express it to my heart’s content.

This is freedom.


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Weekends in Paradise

Alright ya’ll, so I’m working on making blogging part of a routine again and I’m super pumped to start #MakeoverYourEvenings on Monday with you! But because this little slice of heaven is so perfect, I just have to share the beautiful weekend routine we have created for ourselves:


Wake up late, make brunch. Saturdays are pancake days. Lately I’ve been making this recipe from Wellness Mama by throwing all the ingredients into my Ninja blender and then pouring it from the blender onto the griddle. I top my pancakes with melted coconut oil and it is just delicious.

Then we clean up the house and I put Tristan into his carrier and we walk to the coffee house. They know us there and the younger baristas love to interact with Tristan. Some mornings they have a local musician playing and we stay to enjoy the music. On mornings that they don’t have a musician, we take our coffee to go and head across the street to the park.

After a walk around the town and some play time in the park, we head over to the library to pick out new books and movies for the week.

Then we head home for a nice lunch, after which we head upstairs to the gym for a workout. Yes, working out has become a routine for me! I’m even enjoying it! Miracles do happen.

We spend our evenings watching movies and enjoying being a family.

On Sundays we basically repeat Saturdays, just without the coffee and the library. We go grocery shopping if we didn’t do that on Friday and I get a basic idea of meals for the week. I also do our meal prepping, which includes making muffins for our breakfasts during the weekdays.

I absolutely love living in this peaceful little town. I could not have imagined a better place for our family to grow and be nurtured.

Happy weekend!!
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I didn’t forget…

 I still have to do my Februrary Swagbucks and budget update! Our internet gets installed on the 17th and then I will have access to all my links and notes and whatnot. But until then, a quick blurb of random:

– I made our first pot roast of our married life yesterday. Really put the cap on the whole “feeling like an adult” thing. I’m so thankful we get to increase our budget and include more meats!

– Some grocery stores have specials where if you purchase a particular product, you get so many cents off each gallon of gas. Our local Hyvee has that, and on Fridays in March you get 50 cents off per gallon if you spend $25 at the meat counter. Looks like pot roasts will be happening again.

– The coffee shop barista knows us already. I’m not ashamed of this at all.

– Recycling is a huge thing here. It’s included in the trash cost and very heavily encouraged. I’ve always been very big into recycling and I’m so happy to get to decrease our ¬†trash waste by so much! My landlord said I can have as many recycle bins as I want. I think once we get into the groove 3 or 4 would suffice. For now I’m putting all my years of Tetris practice to use making it all fit into one. And they said Tetris was a waste of time…

Happy Monday loves!

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Tour! Part 1

Since many of you are back in St Louis asking for pictures, I thought I would spend a couple days blogging through our house.

First up, the kitchen!

I miss my giant walk-in pantry from the St Louis apartment, but we figured out where to put everything without too much trouble. Originally the landlord left a portable washing machine in the kitchen for us but we decided that with our baker’s rack and washing machine the kitchen looked too crowded, so they took it back. Now our kitchen looks much better!


The stove and oven are electric and I’m used to cooking on gas, so that takes some getting used to. So far the only difference I noticed is that it takes a bit longer to heat the water for coffee, but I can handle it.

Peter hung up all our Harry Potter paintings and it feels more “homey” now.
Please note that WE HAVE WASHER HOOKUPS! After a year (yes, a whole year already!) of rolling the washer to the sink, hooking it up, and running back and forth to turn the water on and off at the appropriate times, it’s actually fun to do laundry and not have to do anything but hit “start.”

The wood pallet on the floor is evidently a dryer platform. We will get a dryer in a few weeks and I honestly think we will do at least one load of laundry just for fun. Because we are mature.

Tristan’s new favorite toy is the 5-gallon bucket of coconut oil that he can now reach. He pulls it around the kitchen by the handle, almost like he’s walking a dog on a leash. It’s pretty cute. He’s gotten a lot more vocal since we moved and I think he’s enjoying all the space.

That’s all for today, tomorrow I’ll post pictures of our living room!

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