Saturday, October 31, 2015

How I Prevent Stretch Marks

  In this post, I'll share with you the things I do to prevent stretch marks and the products I use not only during pregnancy, but after as well.

What I do:

1. I moisturize EVERYDAY while pregnant. I have a full time job and 2 boys at home, so it can get a little tough to carve out time, but I'm serious about taking care of my skin so I make the time! 

2. I have different moisturizers for when I'm in a hurry vs when I have a little extra time to relax and massage my skin. 

3. I moisturize both belly (sides of my waist as well as right down to my pubic area) and boobs. Sometimes I'll throw in my butt and upper thighs. Based on my experience, if you are pregnant with your 1st, moisturize everything daily. I got the majority of my stretch marks with my 1st and I was mostly focusing on just my belly. Since my 1st, my body is more accustomed to stretching now and I haven't had any new stretch marks on my thighs or butt...fingers crossed, knock on wood....

4. I drink about a gallon of water DAILY. This is the easiest and cheapest skin care regimen you can possibly do! It helps with:
  • Digestion.
  • Absorption.
  • Circulation.
  • Excretion.
  • Toxin removal.
All of the above helps with stretch marks, in both preventing and healing them. 

5. I push to eat 90 grams of good, healthy protein a day while pregnant. Among other things, this helps with cell regeneration, which in turn helps with stretching skin during pregnancy or damaged skin afterward.   

Here's a list of products I use regularly:

1. I use Acure Organics Lemongrass Firming Lotion when I need to put something on quick. It has a pleasant smell, not too strong, absorbs quickly and doesn't leave me feeling greasy. Contains Cocoa Butter and Argan Oil, as well as Evening Primrose Oil and Rosehips; excellent for moisturizing. Lemongrass has shown success in warding of mosquitoes as well! 

2. I use this Avocado Oil when I have a little extra time; it absorbs quickly as well and is very light. 

3. And when I have no time restraints, I'm using Whipped Shea Butter for a deep moisturizer. It takes a little bit of natural body heat to melt into my skin, so I need the extra time to massage it. This stuff is Amazing though! I've used it on a sunburn and it healed a bad one I had in 3 days flat (meaning my skin was back to normal. It was a tanning bed burn, too eager to get color!). It's faster and more soothing than my experience with Aloe Vera.

4. Coconut Oil is also a go to for me. I've used it for my last 2 pregnancies, especially after delivery. This one I like to apply at night so it can soak in while I sleep. It leaves my skin feeling silky smooth. With my last 2 pregnancies, I slathered this on postpartum before wrapping my belly. I'll get more into that in another post!

And now for benefits on the things I use (check out the links for more info):

1. Avocado Oil is known for helping boost collagen production in the skin. Filled with proteins, healthy fats and vitamin E, this oil is one of the best for being able to penetrate the skin layers, thus attacks the stretch marks!

2. Whipped Shea Butter, rich in fatty acids, vitamins A, E & F, it also helps with collagen production. Shea Butter also has a natural SPF 6 for protection from the sun. This butter smooths the skin and aids in reducing wrinkles and stretch marks. 

3. Coconut Oil is chalk full of essential fats as well as vitamin E and protein. Repairing tissue and enhancing skin cell health, coconut oil is a beast for both internally and externally helping the skin look vibrant and glowing while working on smoothing those stretch marks! 

Here's why I DON'T use petroleum/mineral oil products:

1. Petroleum/mineral oil doesn't let your skin breathe. It locks in any moisture that may be in your skin, but doesn't allow for moisture/nutrients to enter. It essentially seals your skin like putting plastic wrap on it.

2. Products with petroleum/mineral oil have been linked to causing cancer. It contains cancer causing agents before being processed, but afterwards it isn't certain they've been fully removed. 

3. Petroleum/mineral oil comes from fossil fuels, where we get the motor oil we use for our cars. It can be dangerous for pregnant women because it is readily absorbed by the skin but cannot be processed out of the body and can affect and be absorbed by the baby.

Lastly, here is a link on How To Identify Petrochemicals in Products. Check ingredients before you purchase! Even if it says it's organic or natural, always check. Because it's hard to find products without petroleum/mineral oil, I usually just stick to raw ingredients like the ones I have listed above. This way I know for sure I'm getting the best for my skin.

Hope ya'll found this post informative and helpful!


Pampering for Mommy To Be

I'm enjoying a little Mommy-To-Be pampering! Just bought this A Little Something For Mommy-To-Be Organic Pregnancy 5 Piece Gift Set.

And I'm loving it! Plus it makes a great gift for a baby shower. Don't forget about Mommy! She's putting in the hard work, that's for sure. This pregnancy gift set is all natural.
 I'm pampering myself with a dedicated bath every week. This gives me time to relax...catch up on a little shaving, and just unwind from a long week.

It's been great! Sometimes it takes effort to pull myself away from the family and know that hubby's got it, but mommies it's worth it. Block everything out and just chill and pamper yourself!

Fit N' Fancy for Life,

Caroleena Kay

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Week 12 of Pregnancy

It's week 12 of pregnancy for me, 1st trimester winding to a close. My dear baby is about the size of a lime! Something I'm more familiar with and actually have in my cupboard.

She is busy growing and developing her reflexes at quite the rate this week. About 2 inches long, apparently she looks like a lovable human now instead of a lil alien frog baby.

I took the time this past week to take care of myself, something I tend to put on the back burner with everything else going on in my life, from military to children to husband; housecleaning, cooking and trying to get caught up on the little things in life! Sleep being a priority as well, most times I'd rather just go to bed early than to deal with shaving my hairy legs. However, this week my hubby helped push me out the door to get my hair and nails done. It's been a year or so for me whew! I do feel so much better.

Here is a pic at the gym from yesterday with my hubby photobombing like crazy. We did legs, and
Leg day with Hubby!
 boy do I feel it today! No pain, no gain. Today we did arms, great workout, sore now but not really bad. I take it slow and modify everything. No shame.

My goal is to work out at least 3 times a week with weights. I feel good afterward and my heart rate doesn't spike and make me exhausted as fast as say, cardio or walking. Plus muscle burns fat so hopefully I can stay trim during my pregnancy by keeping up on dee muscles!

Only issue I've had is being hungry way too quickly into my workout. I've tried having an apple or Nutrigrain bar beforehand, but I realized today I need carbs! I had some and gone was the lightheaded, "weird" feeling.

Soooo I am posting a pic of my belly, taken today at the gym.
Week 12 of Pregnancy
I don't have to wear maternity yet but I don't feel comfortable in my old jeans or a lot of my pants, that's for sure. I've jumped a size up ahhhh! Already!

I do feel more energetic and fit when I work out, plus it gives me a sense of being able to "control" my weight gain and feel I'm still in charge of my own body.

I'm working on sharing some of the exercises I do in a later post. I do update my Twitter with foods I'm eating, exercises I'm trying out at the gym and different articles, tidbits and fun facts.

This week I received my Heart and hands book:

It's one of the more expensive books in my collection, but the information is very in depth and valuable. It is more for a midwife, or someone wanting to be a midwife...which is exactly why I bought it. It's easy to read and helped me a lot with preparing for an unassisted home birth. I will be digging into it once more to refresh and prepare with number 4!

Duty calls y' son has a nasty number 2 diaper and my number is up to change it. I gotta get this boy outta diapers before baby arrives!

Fit N Fancy for Life,

Monday, October 26, 2015

A Quick Post About C-Section Rates in the U.S.

So I was researching this morning with my daily cup of coffee, and decided to look up C-section rates in South Carolina to prepare for the possibility of a Plan B emergency trip to the hospital if need be.

My research shocked and disgusted me, so I feel led to share. I've never wanted a C-section, have always been scared of them, which was one of the biggest reasons I turned to home birth. My fear is the physical, emotional and spiritual toll it would have on me. I know I'd feel violated; cheated out of something special and sacred that words cannot if it has to happen, it'd better be for a damn good reason. Unfortunately, most of them don't happen for a good reason.  

The national C-section rate is ridiculously high and unreasonable. Here is the CDC website sharing that 32.7% of births result in C-section. That's just shy of 1 in 3 births!! So if you're pregnant and thinking "I don't need to be reading this or researching, it won't happen to me" well...think again. Those odds are pretty hefty. That means I should have had at least 1 C-section by now. 

Fox News just showed me that South Carolina is in the Top 10 highest C-section states...lucky me. 

Here are some physical risks associated with C-sections according to Web MD

Some information on Why the National U.S. C-Section is so High from child birth The 2 biggest points in this article that struck me are: Low priority given in enhancing women's ability to give birth on their own; Side effects of common labor interventions in the hospital. 

Here is a chart showing approximate cost of birth at a hospital. It's hard to nail down a set price because it changes depending on insurance provider and complications.

Image from
As of 2011, the price for a C-section is more than double an uncomplicated vaginal delivery. Personally, I think this could be a driving force for hospitals to push for C-sections as well; The hospital makes a lot more money off of them or any complication for that matter.

Just wanted to share this info. Not trying to persuade anyone to do birth a certain way, the main goal is a pregnant woman must feel comfortable and safe for the smoothest labor to occur. I wanted to share this because I don't believe most C-sections are performed out of necessity or safety, and, because they're used so much in the United States, I feel it's important for a pregnant woman to educate herself thoroughly on the process and circumstances surrounding C-sections.

Check out one of my favorite books that goes more in depth with this and other common birth related complications: Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth.

I'm working on a post for stretch marks next, as well as my 12 week pregnancy update! With pictures! Come back n' visit soon.

Fit N Fancy for Life,

Thursday, October 22, 2015

My Experience With Herbal Teas During Pregnancy

My experience and review using herbal teas quite liberally toward the end of my last pregnancy was wonderful. I didn't drink any during the 1st trimester last time; I waited until about 28 weeks pregnant before I drank the Pregnancy Tea, and started at about 33 weeks before drinking Red Raspberry Leaf Tea

  I began with 1 cup a day of Red Raspberry Leaf Tea for about a week, then upgraded to 2 the 2nd week, and 3 the 3rd. Then I drank about 3-5 until I had my baby (he was 2 weeks late!). Pregnancy Tea was about 1-2 cups a day, depending on if I felt all tea-ed out!

   I felt relaxed after having a cup, especially while at work or when I got home from a long day. Energy levels were good, all things considered. The biggest thing of note, which according to my research is common, is the Red Raspberry Leaf Tea started practice contractions, especially as I got further along. This is how the tea was able to help me with a shorter 2nd labor stage, by doing most of the work and toning several weeks before my due date

One thing I have noticed in my studying of Red Raspberry Leaf Tea, it is said in some places to be connected with higher C-section rates. Let me counter with this: 

The tea starts the practice contractions which can cause the mother to believe she's in labor for real and rush to the hospital. They may check her, feel she's dilated enough for it to be possible (it's not uncommon to be over/around 5cm dilated for several weeks before labor, every woman's body progresses differently even with each pregnancy), check her in, only to have labor "stall" (which would be the tea finished with the "toning" session) and then start the mother on pitocin to try and force the contractions to keep going. Pitocin is very hard on mother and baby, and jump starting labor when the body isn't ready is what leads to most complications because of the strain it places on both mother and baby, which in turn leads to a C-section because of the prolonged stress. Read more about this process in one of my favorite books Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth.   

I had at least 4 times that I remember thinking "This is the moment!". However, the contractions would quit after awhile and I'd be back to waiting. Instead of being disappointed (too much!) I kept telling myself it was a good thing, I was getting most of the work of labor out of the way now which would mean an easier time when the big event happened! For me, that ended up being the case, resulting in the easiest most amazing birth I've had yet.

My 2nd stage maybe lasted 30 minutes or so. I know I didn't notice, and time didn't lag enough for me to ask how long it'd been. It was so smooth.

Okay, now that I've covered my experience and review of herbal teas during my pregnancy, let me give a quick little overview on the benefits of some key ingredients in pregnancy herbal teas:

Red Raspberry Leaf Tea: Helps tone the uterus and prepare for childbirth. Helps ease morning sickness (decide whether drinking it during the 1st trimester is right for you). Can relieve bleeding/irritated gums that can come from pregnancy (I had this with my last one). Gives a rich source of calcium, iron, manganese and magnesium. Can help shorten the 2nd stage of labor (this was the case for me!). Check out the title links for more thorough info. 

Strawberry Leaf Tea: High in Vitamin C & K, Calcium and Magnesium + Potassium. It also has folic acid. This tea is beneficial for breast milk preparation/production as well as helping to prevent newborn jaundice because of the vitamin K. 

Stinging Nettle Leaf Tea: High in Magnesium, Calcium and Iron. This herbal tea is great for stomach issues, bloating and even constipation.

Now there are "mixed" opinions on whether herbal teas are "safe" for pregnancy. I have looked into it and my research has led me to these 3 points:

1.  FDA hasn't approved herbal teas because there hasn't been enough research done on them and their affects on the mother and baby. This doesn't mean they're considered dangerous by the FDA, just "not enough 'proper' research done".

2.  It's actually a good thing, in my opinion, that FDA hasn't approved herbal teas. If they did, they would control how you got herbal tea (over the counter or through a prescription) and the red tape for selling it would be horrendous because it'd be treated like a drug. Herbs have been around for centuries and their healing/boosting qualities are well known and documented, sometimes you have to dig a little, but it's there. Having the freedom to use them without government control or knowledge is a blessing! The ability to self-doctor is so valuable, especially with all the Healthcare issues going on in our country. Here's an interesting link to some more in depth explanation of Herbal Medicine Versus the FDA. The author gives some good food for thought.

3. There are many personal experiences out there that support herbal teas for pregnancy being helpful. I spent hours & hours reading forums and websites explaining the science behind the different ingredients. I made the personal choice to drink herbal tea based off of what I'd learned, and then informed my doctor during that pregnancy. I didn't ask her if I could, I told her what I was drinking, why I was drinking it, and how it would help me. She said she'd heard about it, but didn't know enough to comment one way or the other. 

In the end, I believe it's my body and my baby, and I want what's best for both of us. Most of all, I want to know for myself what is going on, not just blindly trust anyone. Self education is empowerment and enlightenment. Giving birth is a natural, beautiful and personal experience that deserves my utmost attention, knowledge and care. I feel it is my responsibility to learn and make my own decisions, while also trusting my intuition and motherly instincts. 

Fit N Fancy for Life, ~~Caroleena Kay

*****Please NOTE: I am not a healthcare professional, nor have I had any expensive, official college education on my blog's subject matter. I have had 3 children naturally, at home, unassisted. I was able to feel comfortable doing so because of my extensive research. I have spent many hours reading books (most written by officially educated healthcare professionals), studying websites, picking the brains of those who have had multiple children at home, as well as watching at home birthing videos. I am sharing my knowledge and experience for inspiration purposes! Please be responsible and do your own due diligence before deciding if a herbal tea and home birth is right for you.********


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Week 11 of Pregnancy

I am now 11 weeks pregnant with a fig size baby girl. Not a fig bar, but an actual fig.
How sweet! Slightly bigger than last week's kumquat. I told my husband about the kumquat and now he won't stop saying it. He is calling us all kumquats, in good fun of course, but I must admit it sounds like the vilest of insults when he says it....what a word!

I have to get the right cord to transfer pictures from my phone to the computer so I can upload my cliche pregnancy profile belly-growing pictures! Yes, I have an old phone hanging on by a thread, but I won't upgrade it till it's dead!

I have felt a couple phantom movements from her...some experts say you don't feel the baby moving this early, but some also say the more babies you've had, the easier and sooner it is to pick up on these little bumps n bounces. Apparently she's having hiccups, but those I definitely don't feel yet.

I can still lay on my stomach, although for too long and I start to get a bit nauseous. Trying to enjoy it while I still can! Also, I wake up and find myself sleeping on my back, which I don't usually do, but again I'm relishing it for these last few weeks or so. I do remember it gets very tiring later on in pregnancy to only be able to sleep on my sides, and then even closer to the due date, the left side is most "comfortable" if that's even applicable toward the end lol!

My Vitanatal Vitamins finally came!! I bought them off of Amazon because I couldn't find them in a local store. They have been such a lifesaver! The first day of taking them I felt so much better. I've tried a few different ones, but I had to come back to these. My mother swore by them as well and she's had 8 kids! A good vitamin is waaay worth the money, don't underestimate that.

One thing I've started doing in the evenings is a cup of tea. I'm using the herbal Pregnancy Tea, which I also bought off Amazon. I drank this all the time with my last pregnancy. Here's a link to my experience and more about herbal teas during pregnancy. Based off my extensive research, I usually just wait until the 2nd Trimester before drinking herbal teas. (It's my personal precaution to not take anything except vitamins and fish oil in the 1st Trimester). Recommendation is 3-4 cups of this tea a day, so I'm starting slow with an occasional cup in the evenings. I've been feeling a bit rundown and just "off" after getting home from work and having dinner, so my "dessert" lately has been a cup of this tea. It has no caffine, tastes mild, doesn't really require any sugar and makes me feel so refreshed afterward! It also has glowing reviews on Amazon from women drinking it throughout their pregnancy.

Still looking for a Doctor to fit me from the list Tricare provides. Where I'm stationed at, there is no prenatal care at the hospital on post, so I have to look off post. The selection is decent, but I have to research them for my own preferences, hopefully to find one that at least doesn't poo poo natural child birth. Easier said than done. Will keep ya'll updated on that.

Until next time!

Much Love, Stayin Fit N Fancy for Life!

~Caroleena Kay

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Week 10 of Pregnancy

So Baby Center just told me my lil girl is barely the size of a kumquat. What in the blazes is that?! And who came up with the idea to use that as a comparison? Alas, it's like a miniature orange.

So yeah, that's pretty substantial I suppose. Talk about rapid growth in just a few weeks! And more to come in the next few weeks. November 10th starts my 2nd trimester ... counting it down.

I'm waiting on my Prenatal Vitanatal Vitamins which I ordered on Amazon. These have helped me in my past pregnancies with exhaustion and I can't wait to start taking them!

I don't like maternity clothes, so I use my creativity to find clothes that fit and flatter while I'm small-ish. I will wait till the very last moment before I jump into maternity! That includes ACU's, which yes, I will be taking a picture to show me in the "sexy pants" as my husband so lovingly calls them.

I did start this new exercise that is fairly easy and isn't time helps strengthen the abs and pelvic floor, great things when it comes to delivery and recovery! After I give it a go, I'll share more in depth....

Nausea isn't as bad this week. Still there at times, but lessening. So far I haven't thrown up at all, knock on wood. Came close a few times, but I've been pretty good keeping it at bay for this 4th time around.

This past week and a half my boobs have been itching! At first I thought it might be a heat rash from my uniform and the weather, but then I realized it's cause they're GROWING! So in great haste, I started putting Avocado Oil on every day at least once. Both on my belly and boobs, as well as the sides of my waist. This oil is awesome because it absorbs quickly and goes on smoothly. No thick, lingering residue here!

Struggling a bit on getting my full gallon of water a day due to the South Carolina Flooding making water undrinkable unless boiled. Sticking to bottled water, but keeping it on hand is the hard part!

Dinner and Once Upon a Time (on Netflix) is calling y'all!

Fit N Fancy fo Life,
~Caroleena Kay

Week 9 of Pregnancy

Due to the South Carolina flooding, I've been delayed in posting my usual weekly update.

The damage and loss is mind blowing to see up close. I've never been in a "natural disaster" before, at least not one that affected so many people. It's way different to be in it then just reading about it or seeing pictures. I haven't ventured too far because of curfews and warnings to stay away from flash flood areas, which is pretty much no further than Wal*Mart from my house.

There is currently no water running at my house. It's been about 3 days now since it was shut off. Thankfully, I had my brother fill the tub with water when we heard it might get cut, plus we started collecting rain water outside. This has been a huge relief for flushing toilets, washing dishes, and cleaning. Purell and Lysol Wipes have been invaluable for keeping germs at bay while we're not washing our hands as often.

It's amazing how much water we use in a day and don't even realize it!

The one thing about this 9th week of pregnancy is I am soooo tired! I can't get enough sleep and I only have energy for 3 to 4 hours at a tragic. Also, my belly is in the pudgy stage, not cute pregnant stage. Insecurities are kicking in a lil bit as my waistline gets thicker. Really shouldn't, but I'm very body conscious and feel every change.

I'm struggling to work out on top of a full time job and family/home stuff. I'll be honest, I haven't done much working out at all!!! I have been careful about my diet though. My body just told me I can't have soda anymore. I get a headache after about 8 oz sooo totally gonna stay away from that.

I've been thinking about YouTube videos and how I want to make one badly but I'm hesitating!! WHY?? Maybe because I want everything to be perfect aaaand I have such high expectations that it keeps me from it. I need to just do it! I started this blog with the intention of being real and showing pregnancy from my perspective...not the perspective of perfection or political correctness. SO, I just need to find that push that makes me abandon my fears and take the plunge.

Will keep working on this....

Fit N Fancy for Life,
~Caroleena Kay

Thursday, October 1, 2015

5 Ways I Prepare for Unassisted Home Birth

Here are 5 ways I Prepare for Unassisted Home Birth, to at least give you a foundation for success:

1. Read up on Nutrition during Pregnancy. Google this. Read books about this subject. Most pregnancy, labor and delivery issues can be avoided/helped simply by a good and well rounded diet.

2. Read and Educate Myself on How the Body Works During Labor and Delivery. This one is a big deal. The more I know how my body works, how it prepares itself to give birth, how the uterus works, exactly what a contraction is, how and when to push etc, the better prepared I will be AND the less afraid I will be when the time comes to experience it. Fear is a HUGE hindrance to the labor and delivery process. The more afraid I am, the more pain I will experience and the greater the risk of encountering problems. This I experienced with my first 2, I was uncertain and trying to force myself into labor on my time frame resulting in more pain and slower recovery, but with my 3rd, labor and delivery was very mild in the pain department, just really hard work with a lot of pressure and discomfort.

3. Watch Other Home Birth Videos. There are YouTube videos, ladies online that are selling their own for educational purposes (I bought one with my first birth, it was helpful to see all the things I'd been reading about put into practice), and websites out there dedicated to free birth and unassisted home birth, essentially the same thing, but looking up both phrases will give more material to read.

4. Connect with Other Women on Forums. Getting support from other women who have been through unassisted home birth kept me encouraged and helped build confidence. Plus it'll be a wealth of information! Don't underestimate using that Search Bar on forums for past entries! I learned so much personal, real experiences that way. When going down the road of a home birth, much less an unassisted one, there is SO MUCH NEGATIVITY encountered from others. There were a lot of people trying to scare me or make me feel dumb and irresponsible for making this decision. I didn't let them shake my confidence. In reality, I am taking responsibility for not only my health, but my baby's as well. The typical pregnant female will blindly trust a physician and just follow "what they're supposed to do" without asking questions or figuring out what and why.

5. Preparing Myself Physically by Staying in Shape. Pregnancy Yoga is great! The more I stay active and prepare, the easier labor and delivery will be. Think of it as preparing for a marathon! Squats strengthen pelvic floor muscles to easily handle labor and delivery. Walking several miles a day, getting on the elliptical, swimming, doing kegels... staying active is key. Not over doing it, but keeping blood flow circulating! This helped me stay healthy and kept fresh blood and oxygen pumping to my baby. Also, I was constantly stretching. Every day is one more to prepare for the hard work ahead and then the reward: my baby!

These are 5 key things I have found that helped me prepare for unassisted home birth. As far as supplies for a home birth, I will write a post about the list I buy. As you read and watch videos, you'll start to see and compile your own tailored list. I usually start buying around the time I'm 6-7 months preggo.

More to come!

Fit N Fancy for Life,

 *****Please NOTE: I am not a healthcare professional, nor have I had any expensive, official college education on my blog's subject matter. I have had 3 children naturally, at home, unassisted. I was able to feel comfortable doing so because of my extensive research. I have spent many hours reading books (most written by officially educated healthcare professionals), studying websites, picking the brains of those who have had multiple children at home, as well as watching at home birthing videos. I am sharing my knowledge and experience for inspiration purposes! Please be responsible and do your own due diligence before deciding if a home birth is right for you.********  


My Active Duty Unassisted Home Birth Story

 Here is my story having a home birth while active duty Army. I wanted nothing more than to avoid the Army hospital and have a home birth, and thankfully, I was able to!

 When I found out I was pregnant in June of 2013, the first thing I had to do was attend a bunch of briefings at the hospital on post and fill out mountains of paperwork. Such is the Military. I was somewhat fearful because my biggest concern was I'd be forced to have my baby at the hospital. I'd heard horror stories of pregnant soldiers being "escorted" to the hospital because not doing something that is considered "safe" would be misuse or abuse of government property (because essentially that's what I am).

To make matters worse, the first brief I had consisted of a nurse telling us that birth was not a natural thing to go through, that it puts a strain on our bodies and has a high level of risk to it. This made my blood boil, but I managed to stay calm and not confront the ridiculous statement of a so called educated individual.
20 weeks pregnant, bathroom selfie!
I feel very blessed that the care provider I ended up with was a retired Lieutenant Colonel midwife, and thus she was actually very open to supporting natural options throughout pregnancy as well as labor and delivery. HOWEVER, I did not, and do not, tell my care provider that I am planning an unassisted home birth. I have given birth in California, Maryland and Kentucky. I do not know the details of state laws, but some like to threaten that I am either endangering my child, myself or doing something illegal. I've read about some women who've had CPS called on them around the time they were going to deliver because they mentioned unassisted home birth to their care provider. I'm not willing to take that chance. How IRONIC is it, that it's okay a few months prior to kill your baby but not okay to give birth where and how you want to??? Some things are seriously twisted. Anyways, I digress.

I did tell my provider that I wanted to find a midwife. Generally if you tell them this, they won't ask as many questions and will not be as suspicious when you refuse certain care or when you insist on waiting for your baby and body's time to deliver when you're past your due date. I did consistent prenatal care, several ultrasounds and everything came back healthy and progressing normally throughout my pregnancy.

At 41 weeks and 5 days, I was off to another doctor appointment, gearing myself to fight off induction. They were pushing it despite the fact I’d had stress tests done plus my fluid measured, everything coming back stellar. My Dr. asked again about induction and I firmly said NO, following that up with, “Who do I have to fight?” She looked nervous and I knew my decision was putting her in a tough spot as far as her following hospital regulations/procedures for pregnancies that were overdue.
“I’ll go talk to my boss about it, she’s a civilian so that will help...I’ll be right back.”
  Last thing I wanted was to have an Army doctor pull rank and try to order me to get induced. I’d read some of the stories on the internet and knew this could be a possibility. I was ready to push back even if it meant getting in trouble, but I was nervous too.
She came back and said they’d let me go a few more days as long as I came in twice more for repeat stress testing. ‘That’s enough to cause stress!’ I thought to myself, but agreed to compromise. She asked if I wanted to try to get my membranes stripped and I agreed to this (which I will never do again!). My cervix was softened but I was still dilated to just 1 cm. My heart fell. I’d tried Castor oil in chocolate ice cream more times than I could count, primrose oil, Black Cohosh, walking, constant sex...all ended in ‘false’ labor. She had blood on her glove though and said this was a good sign. I started cramping as I redressed to leave.
Later that night, the contractions got stronger. I started feeling very nauseous and cold. I spent that night throwing up and having diarrhea praying labor wouldn’t start. I didn’t think I could handle the pain of labor and being sick. I googled my symptoms and came back with uterine over-stimulation from the membrane stripping. Or possibly the flu? I was exhausted and finally fell asleep later on that morning. I spent the rest of the day resting and re-hydrating, with no more serious contractions.
I was scared. I wanted so badly for all this to be over but I was doubting my abilities to do it at home with a couple friends for support. I was prepared. I’d already had two babies at home with my mother and her best friend for help...this time it was just me. I sat down on the kitchen floor and cried. I let it all out and started talking and praying myself to bravery, working my way back to courage and peace. My baby boy would come when he was ready, I wasn’t going to be pregnant forever.
  I relaxed, a feeling of peace slowly enveloping me. I spent another 20 minutes praying and listening to the Christian radio station. When I got up, I was finally ready. I’d let go.
  I spent the rest of the day cleaning and enjoying my son and boyfriend, not thinking about anything labor related.
 The next morning, Friday the 31st, exactly 42 weeks from my due date, a strong contraction woke me up around 9 in the morning. I switched positions and ignored it. They kept coming but I refused to acknowledge them doing my best to sleep and stay relaxed, not wanting to get my hopes up.

I finally got up around noon, my boyfriend and son were watching TV. I felt rested but starving. I was having contractions but not in a consistent pattern, however these were different than the other ‘false’ ones. It took a lot of effort not to focus on them. I suggested to the boys that we go out to eat, thinking a distraction would be a good idea. We left around 1:30pm. Contractions were getting more intense and I found myself bracing through them, breathing gently in through the nose, out through the mouth. My boyfriend noticed my focus and breathing pattern. He got quiet, nervousness lurking on his face. This would be his first time experiencing a home birth and I knew he was worried about how everything would go, but he’d still been very supportive.
  I chose a light but filling meal knowing I would need the fuel for what was going to happen. I kept my focus on the moment at hand and didn’t time the contractions or allow myself to think too far ahead, just work on getting through each one when they hit. By this time I had to stop eating to get through them.

We got home by 3pm and I spent the next several hours walking, bouncing on my yoga ball, breathing and watching movies. I laid down around 5pm to rest. Contractions were getting a lot harder and felt very productive. I knew today was going to be the day, so I knew rest would be needed. My body wouldn't really let me rest though, so I knelt by my bed in the dark, puppy training pads, shower curtain liners and sheets spread on the floor. My boyfriend kept checking in on me and I could tell he was nervous.

It was about 7pm when I felt the urge to move. I got up and went into the bathroom, laying down the pads and sheets in there instead. I was standing up going through contractions that were roughly 5 minutes apart and needed my 100% focus. I could not talk during them. I had to make low moaning sounds to help every part of me relax and let the contraction do it's work. I did not sit and stare at a watch during contractions. I really didn't want to focus on time, but instead focus on my body and being in tune with everything.

I looked down and saw a couple spots of blood on a towel beneath me. I was wearing a wife beater. I don't really remember when I decided it was time to take off my sweats. I felt excitment at the blood. It was a very small amount, nothing to worry about. Just a sign that my cervix was stretching and opening to prepare. My boyfriend freaked out a little because of the blood and the fact I couldn't talk during contractions and they lasted quite awhile, so he called a good friend of ours who had offered to be there for the birth. She had had 3 babies, all hospital births, but was willing to be there to encourage.

I'm really not sure about time from this point on. I had my radio set up in the bathroom playing the Christian music station on low. This really helped keep me calm and focused. Our friend Crystal showed up and talked to me in between contractions. It was really nice to have a female there. I was ready to go it alone, but I didn't realize how nice it was just to have the support and kinship of a positive feminine influence.

Shortly after she arrived, I decided to get into the tub so we filled it halfway. From here on out, I don't know time at all. I just stayed focused on breathing in through my nose, out through my mouth, low moaning (this relaxes the uterus and makes every contraction way more productive). I felt when my water popped inside me. It was a sensation and noise that I heard. I let Crystal know. This was a good sign! I knew I was close.

The discomfort/pain increased as well as the pressure. I knew exactly where his head was and how far down he was, all this instinctively! I was telling Crystal and my boyfriend everything that was happening in between the close-together contractions. I told them when I was crowning. It hurt yes, but nothing like my other 2 babies. I never panicked, and I never raised my voice. Just low moaning and staying as relaxed as possible. His head came out. I reached down and touched his soft, silky head...I couldn't wait to be done! However, I DID NOT PUSH until the next contraction came. This prevents tearing and putting stress on the baby. I only had to wait a little while, then I gently pushed with my body and his shoulders came out. Another contraction, back to back, and he came out completely into my arms.

We wiped his face and suctioned his nose, checked his color, looked at the tub water to see if there were any signs of meconium, which there were not; He was just then taking his first poo! He wasn't crying, just looking up at me blinking his big eyes, breathing was good but a bit raspy like he needed to clear his throat. He did have white vernix on his skin, but it was creamy, not dried or scaly. Nothing was blue about him. He was born 10:18 pm on January 31st, exactly 2 weeks past due.

I pulled him to my chest and Crystal helped me get a towel around him and take my tank top off to nurse. He latched on right away. Nursing helps stimulate the uterus to pass the placenta as well as help prevent hemorrhaging. I waited 30 minutes, but the placenta still hadn't come. Another friend, Brenda, showed up at this point and I asked her to make me a very strong cup of Raspberry Leaf Tea. She put 4 teabags in and I drank it. It was still 45 minutes after my baby was born that I finally started contractions again. I passed everything about an hour after. Longest time yet, but I didn't force anything, just waited on my body. Forcing the placenta out is dangerous.

I waited until the cord turned white before we cut it using a pair of scissors and shoelace I'd previously sterilized.

I didn't bath him either, just gently wiped him clean and wrapped him in a warm blanket. I showered and wrapped my stomach, then climbed into sweats. I felt amazing! Not only was I high on the accomplishment of doing this, but also physically I felt fine. Just tired and hungry. I took 3 Tylenol and chilled on the couch with my brand new baby boy.
2 hours after delivery

6 hours old!

Fit N Fancy for Life,