"Giving birth is an ecstatic jubilant adventure not available to males.

It is a woman's crowning creative experience of a lifetime." ~ Dr. John Stevenson

"The Road Less Traveled..." of Parenthood

Following your instincts instead of the crowd

"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood...I took the one less traveled by and that has made all the difference."

Robert Frost

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Why We Choose Homebirth

I wrote this in response to a NICU nurse who, after witnessing the tragic death of a baby during a failed homebirth attempt, posted on Facebook her belief that women choosing homebirth are making a "stupid, stupid decision." I can understand her sadness and anger, but I wanted to explain the viewpoint of why women choose homebirth. It's for the very same reason other women choose hospital birth--they want the best outcomes for mom and baby.

I won't deny that things can go wrong during childbirth and that hospitals have saved many lives in those situations. I'm very grateful for medical technology when it is needed. And I completely agree that women who choose homebirth need to be self-educated with correct, unbiased information, use a qualified midwife with good judgment, and know when to seek medical attention if necessary. I think I would add one more "requirement" to having a safe homebirth. That is the ability of the mom and the midwife to recognize and follow inspiration. For my part, I never would have had the courage and trust to give birth at home had I not had the divine reassurance that all would go well. It was a reassurance that I sought several times throughout the pregnancy and also once labor started because I know that things can change quickly.

With that reassurance, I felt that giving birth at home would be safer for me and my baby than giving birth in a hospital. Contrary to the opinion of many in the medical community, most, if not all, women who choose to give birth at home are making that decision because they want the best outcome for mother and baby. We do this because we have learned through personal experience and a great deal of research that many of the routine medical interventions done to women in labor actually cause the very complications that we're all afraid of. Not always, but far too often the "perfect situation goes south" because of interventions like too much pitocin too fast, induction before baby is ready, pushing a baby out in the ineffective lithotomy position, sudden drop in blood pressure at the injection of an epidural, interference in the natural flow of oxytocin and endorphins when drugs are given, etc. My emergency c-section was iatrogenic in nature (medically caused). My c-section experience is a very common one and, sadly, it's becoming more common all the time. A cesearean rate of nearly 32% is evidence of that.

My wish is that the medical community would acknowledge and recognize that many of the routine interventions done in the hospital are not in the best interests of mom and baby. In the absence of true complications, nature is much better at delivering a healthy baby than when we interfere with the process. And actually even with minor complications, nature knows how to adjust and adapt as was the case with my daughter, Talita's, birth. Unfortunately, because of a lack of experience with truly natural childbirth, this viewpoint is not shared by most ob's and L&D nurses. If the unnecessary interventions were not pushed on women in labor, I believe you would see less women choosing to birth at home. Of course, I realize it's not always that simple because of the legal/political climate in this country. I don't put the blame on OB's and L&D nurses, necessarily. I believe that most of them truly want to do what is best for mom and baby and are instead restricted by malpractice insurance regulations. I think the risk of being sued is the major cause of the misuse and overapplication of medical interventions.

I think we can learn a lot from the countries who have a more balanced approach to childbirth and obstetrics. For example, in Holland, expectant women are carefully screened and only those who are high risk see obstetricians and deliver in the hospital (as well as those women who just want to deliver in the hospital and are willing to pay extra for it.) Women who are low risk use the care of a qualified midwife and deliver at home, but are within 15 minutes of a hospital. Flexibility and careful monitoring is used should a low risk woman become high risk. The maternal and infant mortality rates are much lower there than they are here in the US. For a country where 99% of women give birth in the hospital, why are we losing so many moms and babies? We have some of the worst maternal and infant mortality rates for a developed country. Why are women so "defective" here in the US that one third of them "can't" give birth vaginally? Something to think about.

The other thing I like about the Netherlands is the respectful working relationship between lay midwives and ob's. It's pretty hostile here in the US. I believe fewer moms and midwives would wait too long to transport to the hospital when necessary if they knew they would be treated respectfully, rather than with contempt and branded with labels like stupid, reckless, selfish, etc. As women we need to seek to understand where each other is coming from rather than blindly labeling women who choose differently than we might.

I'm passionate about this issue because I've lived both sides of it. I really just want all women to have strong, healthy babies and safe, empowering birth experiences. For me and my last 3 babies, that meant giving birth at home.

It wouldn't have to be that way if we all opened our minds and took a serious look at why more and more women are choosing to give birth at home. It's not to be "trendy" like the ACOG contends. We all just really want healthy, undrugged moms and babies and quicker recovery times. A "side benefit" is the truly wonderful and spiritual experience of peacefully and gently welcoming our children into the world.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Fantastic interview on the vaccine issue

I just heard more common sense and intelligence (when it comes to vaccine theory) from the mouth of one man than I have ever heard in my life. In this interview with Dr. Palevesky, I learned more, and had more light bulbs come on than from anything I have heard or read on the issue. TOTALLY worth your time.


Friday, October 30, 2009


This wake-up call about the reality of the swine flu "epidemic" comes from the editor of World Affairs Briefs:
"The technical issue behind Obama's dramatic and false declaration of a national swine flu emergency was to facilitate Medicare repayments to doctors and hospitals-no big deal. But the actual intention and effect was to add another log on the fire of fear the government and media is creating to induce more people to take the Swine Flu vaccine. You can't get through a single session of the morning or evening news without being pummeled with more propaganda on the virtues of getting these shots. They are even peddling claims of a vaccine shortage to make people clamor for it. If people are this gullible, heaven help us in a real crisis. The real story is otherwise--there is no shortage because the vast majority of Americans are evading the shot. More and more Americans understand that the risk of side effects and permanent damage from the vaccine is greater than the effects of the flu. That's why the government is pumping up fear by proclaiming a flu emergency when none really exists. Sure, most people know someone with the swine flu, but it's still relatively mild and can be overcome without hospital intervention. Most people have figured out that the threat is way overblown. In fact, the CDC flu statistics being presented by government are outright deceptive. In his declaration Obama claimed, "H1N1 is more widespread now than it's ever been [so is any disease over time]. Health authorities say almost 100 children have died from the flu, and 46 states now have widespread flu activity. Worldwide, more than 5,000 people have reportedly died from swine flu since it emerged this year and developed into a global epidemic [hardly an epidemic when these figures don't even approach the usual death rate for ordinary flu and pneumonia], the World Health Organization said Friday. Since most countries have stopped counting individual swine flu cases, the figure is considered an underestimate." --Easy to say when you stop counting and never did do specific testing on the vast majority of people claimed to have the Swine flu. Dr. Joseph Mercola catalogs the contradictions: "A three-month-long investigation by CBS News, released earlier this week that included state-by-state test results, revealed some very different facts. The CBS study found that H1N1 flu cases are NOT as prevalent as feared. 'If you've been diagnosed 'probable' or 'presumed' 2009 H1N1 or 'swine flu' in recent months, you may be surprised to know this: odds are you didn't have H1N1 flu. In fact, you probably didn't have flu at all.' Obviously CBS News and the CDC are completely contradicting each other. So who is right?"CBS reports that in late July 2009 the CDC advised states to STOP testing for H1N1 flu, and they also stopped counting individual cases. Their rationale for this, according to CBS News, was that it was a waste of resources to test for H1N1 flu because it was already confirmed as an epidemic... every person who visited their physician with flu-like symptoms since late July was assumed to have H1N1, with no testing necessary because, after all, there's an epidemic."It's interesting to note that at the same time... Finnish health authorities actually downgraded the threat of swine flu... As the CDC continues to use fear to motivate and control Americans with their worst-case swine flu scenarios, they say nothing of the experience of those in the southern hemisphere, which just finished their flu season and found it was not as bad as expected."Before beginning their investigation, CBS News asked the CDC for state-by-state test results prior to their halting of testing and tracking. The CDC did not initially respond so CBS went to all 50 states directly, asking for their statistics on state lab-confirmed H1N1 prior to the halt of individual testing and counting in July. 'The results reveal a pattern that surprised a number of health care professionals we consulted. The vast majority of cases were negative for H1N1 as well as seasonal flu, despite the fact that many states were specifically testing patients deemed to be most likely to have H1N1 flu, based on symptoms and risk factors, such as travel to Mexico.' "...not only are most cases of suspected flu-like illnesses not H1N1, they're not even the flu but more likely some type of cold or upper respiratory infection! Most states show 1-2% swine flu, 5-10% regular flu and 85-90% cold, upper respiratory symptoms--NOT FLU." Some epidemic!"

Thursday, October 22, 2009

"Modern medicine" may well be defined as "the experimental study of what happens when poisonous chemicals are placed into malnourished human bodies."

I like this quote by A. Saul, Contributing Editor, Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine. It pretty much sums up my feelings, especially as I've done more research into the vaccine issue lately.

I also like this quote by Roger Eichman, DDS (speaking of dental mercury, coincidentally) said, "The precautionary principle requires action once the possibility of harm exists. It does not require proof beyond a shadow of a doubt." Unfortunately, our current medical system keeps saying that until there is substantial and unequivocal proof that mercury or thimerosol harms the brain, we can keep saying that vaccines and mercury dental fillings are safe.

Along the same lines I just came across some information that says that the CDC actually has known for a long time of the damage caused by mercury, but buried the information. Because of the Freedom of Information Act, this buried study has been brought forth.

From Dr. Mercola's site:
The Age of Autism asks a very good question: If this finding is so clear, why has the CDC’s vaccine safety apparatus not found the same thing?
According to Age of Autism:
“The answer, of course, is that they have.
In their very first examination of the risk of thimerosal exposure in infants, the single most startling finding was this: infants who received the largest exposure of thimerosal in the first month of life showed the highest risk of autism and several other NDDs.
Buried deep in a pile of statistical tables that SafeMinds received under FOIA was a risk analysis conducted by CDC analyst Thomas Verstraeten, showing statistically significant risk multiples for the most exposed infants.
These ranged from 5 times the risk of unexposed infants in the case of sleep disorders to 11.5 times for autism.
What happened to the CDC findings that are now forcing us to rediscover the risk of thimerosal-containing birth doses of HBV in monkeys?
The answer is simple. The CDC team simply censored the data. Infants with the highest levels of thimerosal exposure--those who had received both the HBV and hepatitis B immune globulins--were simply removed from the study sample.” [Emphasis mine]
So according to the CDC’s own research data, the risk of autism from thimerosal-containing vaccines is even far greater than any independent studies have yet to come up with!
Mark Blaxill (the Editor-at-Large for Age of Autism and a Director of Safeminds) summarized the data obtained from the CDC through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), which you can find at this

FYI: Even though most childhood vaccines no longer contain thimerosol, the multi-dose flu shots still do, including the swine flu vaccine.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Swine Flu update

This is an excellent video interview with Barbara Loe Fisher, the founder of NVIC (National Vaccine Information Center.) Even if you believe vaccines work, she asks some fundamental questions that all of us should be asking.

Friday, October 16, 2009

“To sin by silence when there is a duty to protect makes cowards of men.”

This quote by Abraham Lincoln has been haunting me lately. Then this morning I saw a Deseret News article showing 700 people lining up at the county health department to get their flu shot. It made me crazy and pushed me over the edge of silence. So I’ve decided, come heck or highwater, I have to say something about the seasonal and swine flu vaccines that are being heavily promoted right now by everyone from school health officials to the mainstream media, to our own "beloved" government.

First, let me say that my first 3 children were fully vaccinated up through elementary school. My 4th was partially vaccinated, and my last three have received no vaccines at all.

Over several years now I have read countless books and web pages on the vaccine issue. I’ve found that those who are pro-vaccine have not read anything (or very little) about the history of vaccines and the standard ingredients in them (mercury, aluminum, formaldehyde, foreign proteins from diseased monkey kidneys, aborted human fetal tissue, etc).

Instead they’ve relied on their doctors for vaccine information. (Which, by the way, is like asking a used car salesman if he ever sells bad cars.) By contrast, those people I’ve met and talked to who have chosen not to vaccinate have read and researched extensively on the vaccine issue.

My plea is this: please educate yourself about vaccines. Especially this most recent, fast-tracked, very little tested swine flu vaccine. Pay attention to the source of the information. Do they have a monetary or power stake in the issue? Is their medical or authoritative reputation on the line? For example, did you know that all of the recent "studies" showing no link between autism and vaccines were either performed or funded by the vaccine manufacturers? Or that the studies showing significant correlation were all independent studies?

Did you know that the CDC’s own data show that all diseases for which we have vaccines for were already in significant decline before the vaccines were introduced? We have improved sanitation, nutrition, etc. to credit for the eradication of these diseases, not toxic serums that have produced billions of dollars for the pharmaceutical industry.

Did you know that there was a swine flu "scare" in 1976 and the government heavily promoted the vaccine only to have many people suffer neurological damage and some even die as a result of the vaccine? Back then, the families who were able to sue were awarded millions of dollars for their injuries. Now, because of The Biodefense and Pandemic Act of 2006, Americans have lost the right to a jury trial if harmed by an experimental drug or vaccine during a declared pandemic. Ever wonder why they were so quick to declare a pandemic last spring when the swine flu seemed so mild?

Did you know that the first vaccine manufacturer to patent the H1N1 swine flu vaccine did so before the swine flu outbreak in Mexico? This is very interesting considering that swine and bird flus don’t genetically mix on their own.

Did you know that in recommending that pregnant women receive 2 doses of the seasonal flu shot and 2 doses of the swine flu shot, the CDC is going against stated FDA and manufacturer warnings? Or that the amount of mercury (thimersol) in one flu shot is 25 times the EPA's safe level?

I could go on and on, but I won’t. Instead I’ll give you some links to get you started on your vaccine education. These are reputable sites, many of them by doctors who have decided to open their minds and do a little research rather than relying on the drug company representatives for their information. Other sites were started by parents of vaccine-damaged children. Most, if not all, are non-profit organizations. They are not trying to make any money. They just want to warn and educate other parents so they don’t have to endure the heartbreak of seeing their children go from healthy to autistic shortly after receiving a vaccine, or at the very least, contract the very illness they are vaccinated against.

Please keep an open mind, and whatever you do, don’t go line up for a flu shot before reading some of this information and then praying about it. Yes, the swine flu is real and it’s not fun, but it’s nothing compared to lifelong neurological damage and/or autoimmune diseases. And there are natural ways to overcome the swine flu more quickly than just suffering through it (we got over it in 2 days) or taking Tamiflu (a drug that was taken off the market in Japan because of its dangerous side effects.)

If, after educating yourself and praying about it, (if you're religious) you decide to vaccinate, fine. That’s your choice. The decision to vaccinate or not is one I would never want to take away from anyone. I, however, will be able to sleep at night, knowing I at least said something to get you thinking and questioning.

Here are the links:
http://www.vaccinationdebate.com/ This one answers a lot of questions.
http://www.tennantinstitute.com/TIIM_MAC/Newsletters.html (Click on the link to the newsletter titled "Vaccines, Will They Harm You?" It’s very thorough and well-referenced.)



Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Just need to vent...

I haven't read any birth blogs for a long, long time--probably months. I have really missed it, but my life is so crazy-busy that I just haven't had the time to indulge in it.

I'm happy and sad today. Happy that my niece gave birth to a healthy baby, but sad that I procrastinated on my intentions to encourage and educate her on how to have a natural birth (well, at least a vaginal delivery.) I don't know all the details but I'm pretty certain she ended up scheduling an elective c-section. Her first baby was a necessary c-section (placental deterioration at 37 or so weeks). My mom had told me that she was trying for a "natural" delivery. After seeing the documentary "Pregnant in America" I knew that "natural" to many people just means not a c-section. Anyway, when I heard that she wanted to try for a natural birth, I wanted to give her some encouragement and tips on how to avoid a repeat c-section. Such as, let labor start on its own, don't go to the hospital til labor is well established so they can't push pitocin, avoid an epidural if possible, push in upright positions, etc.

In fact, yesterday morning I kept thinking about her and that I really needed to write to her but I had so much to do that I told myself I'd write to her before going to bed that night. Well, it didn't happen (I can't stay up all night doing things.) This morning the urgency in contacting her was gone. I thought maybe it's too late. Then, no, I'm just making that up. Well, I finally allowed myself to get on my computer this evening and check Facebook. She had a chubby 8 1/2 pound baby boy this morning. Yesterday she had posted that she was going to have her baby the next morning. To me that says scheduled c-section. If it was just a labor induction, she wouldn't have said morning. I'm truly happy for her that she had a healthy baby, but I can't help feeling like I failed her in her original desire to have a natural birth. She may not have listened to me anyway (my family thinks I'm a nutcase when it comes to birth, especially her mom.) But I would have at least felt like I tried.

I get so mad when I think about our screwed up obstetric profession and the lies/exaggerations they must have told her to convince her an elective c-section was for the best. Such as, c-sections are so safe nowadays, your baby is getting too big, your cervix won't dilate on its own, since you've had a previous c-section you are at risk for uterine rupture, etc, etc, ad nauseum.

What makes it worse is that exactly one year ago to the day (Oct. 13, 2008) my neighbor and friend gave birth to her second boy by scheduled c-section. I had also procrastinated talking to her even though I felt prompted to because I was afraid of offending her or having her feel like I was butting into her life uninvited. When I learned she had an elective c-section I had felt sick about that (especially since she had breastfeeding problems and weaned early) and vowed to not ignore promptings like that again. I obviously haven't learned that lesson yet. =(

Saturday, September 5, 2009

"You Should Be Grateful" essay

This is a great essay written by Gretchen Humphries about the line that all mothers get from people when they talk about their c-sections. I especially resonated with this paragraph:

Then I began to realize how evil it is to tell a woman who’s experienced a physically or emotionally traumatic birth that she should be grateful because when you say that, she hears that she isn’t grateful enough for the precious baby she’s been given. And that cuts to the quick. She may already be wondering what was wrong with her that she couldn’t have a normal birth and now you’ve told her that she doesn’t love her child enough. It is evil to say "all that matters is a healthy baby" because you are saying that her pain, her damage doesn’t matter. You are telling her that not only is her body broken, but so is her mind. That if she is physically healthy, that’s all that matters, and to be concerned with anything else is somehow wrong. That the means to the end doesn’t matter, she is expendable.

I was never able to put that feeling into words, but Gretchen has done a wonderful job of articulating these feelings that all of us mothers who have had tramautic births have felt but not been able to put into words. Be sure to read the whole essay.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Reducing Infant Mortality in the U.S.

This video has some powerful answers for the high infant mortality problem in the U.S. It includes interviews with Sarah Buckley and Marsden Wagner. YAY midwives!

Reducing Infant Mortality from Debby Takikawa on Vimeo.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

"Birth Matters Virginia"

I found out about this educational birth video contest on Mamas and Babies birth blog. They have a list of all the finalists and links to the videos. My favorite (so far) is called "Natural Born Babies." It's a two parter. Click here for Part 1. Click here for Part 2.
They've all been fun to watch, but this one is so well done. I just loved it!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

An absolutely stunning birth slideshow

This is absolutely beautiful. I love how it captures the work and anguish of birthing a baby and then the ecstasy of holding that live, healthy baby--the delicious fruit of all that labor. It's extremely well done. Makes me wish I'd had a professional photographer at my babies' birth to capture such extraordinary moments!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

"Staying Home: Why and What If?"

I found this great post on another birth blog that answers the questions of "Why homebirth?" and "What if something happens? " She articulates so well the very same reasons I chose homebirth and how I dealt with my questions and fears of "what if something goes wrong?"

"I’ve been planning a few Q&A posts to answer questions I am frequently asked. This first post will examine two questions that tend to come together. How did you decide to have your babies at home? What if something happens?

The answer to the first is fairly short, but needs some explaining. I decided to have my babies at home because statistically, it is the safest place to give birth. Though I enjoy stories, opinions and philosophies of childbirth, I’m more of a numbers person when it comes to making decisions that impact my health or that of my children. I’ve spent a fair amount of time looking at research on childbirth statistics and outcomes. Interestingly, every study out there shows that midwife-attended homebirths have better outcomes compared to hospital births.
Better outcomes outside of the hospital? How could that be? What if something goes wrong? It is true, there are risks involved with homebirth, but there are also risks involved with hospital birth. The most recent and largest (to date) study examining the two was published by the British Medical Journal (BMJ) in 2005. The conclusion? Planned home birth for low risk women using Certified Professional Midwives was associated with lower rates of medical intervention and no higher likelihood of death than that of low risk hospital births in the United States." This was an important piece of research because it is the largest homebirth study that also matched women for risk (meaning the hospital births were of low-risk women who would have qualified for birth at home).
This may not make sense at first, especially with all of those emergency cesarean stories we've all heard. With so many emergencies, how could it be safer to birth outside of a hospital? Pay attention, the next time you hear one of those stories, chances are, the emergency was preceded by an intervention of some sort. Common examples: Labor wasn't going quickly enough so we started pitocin and then the baby crashed and we needed and emergency cesarean. After they did several internal exams and broke my water (both increase the likelihood of infection), the mother got a fever and the baby's heart rate sky-rocketed so we needed an emergency cesarean. She got an epidural and the baby’s heart rate dropped. They put on an oxygen mask, gave her a shot of something and had her rolling from side to side, but the baby didn't recover and we needed an emergency cesarean. Hearing story after story like that, hospital birth does sound dangerous.
But sudden reactions to medications and invasive procedures don't exist at home because the medication and procedures that cause them are not used in the first place. In the absence of medical intervention, the majority of complications in childbirth arise slowly with plenty of time to notice them and seek medical care, if necessary. Common examples: The baby gradually becomes less tolerant of labor. Labor is prolonged and the mother begins to wear out. When non-emergent complications do arise at a homebirth, a skilled midwife can help resolve them through a variety of non-medical techniques; she can also provide some medical treatments like, oxygen for neo-natal resuscitation or drugs to manage hemorrhage. In the rare event that a complication cannot be handled at home, she has a transport plan and will recommend transfer to a hospital (in the BMJ study 12.1% of the homebirth group transferred to the hospital, but less than half of a percentage of women had urgent transfers).
Looking at the BMJ study, the effectiveness of this gentle approach to complications was clear:Induction or Augmentation of labor (with pitocin or prostaglandins) 4.8% vs. 39.9%Episiotomy 2.1% vs. 33.0%Cesarean Section 3.7% vs. 19.0% (it is worth mentioning that the national cesarean rate is now over 30%)
With so many risky interventions at hospitals and no improvement in outcomes, many women planning hospital births also like to "stay home as long as possible" to reduce the likelihood of unnecessary intervention. I guess my preference is to stay home as long as possible too. I just prefer to do it with a skilled attendant present to catch any signs of trouble. If my midwife recommends transferring or I just feel I would rather be at a hospital, I can always go. But if not, staying home as long as possible turns into just staying home.
As I ponder homebirth, privacy, comfort, support, convenience and a positive birth experience have been nice perks, but they are not the reason I stay home. I stay home because I know the risk of death is the same in or out of the hospital, but the risk of injury, infection and intervention are significantly lower at home. I prefer my body and my baby to be uninjured, uninfected and left alone and that is why Johannes and Willem were born at home.
You can learn more about midwives and homebirth here. Full results of the BMJ study."

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Another Reason to Avoid an Epidural

I was reading a post on Optimal Fetal Positioning on a blog called "Doula momma." Because of her own baby's malpresentation that resulted in an emergency c-section, this woman subsequently did lots of research on fetal malpresentation with the intention of avoiding such a situation again. She learned many things she could have done differently such as better nutrition, regular exercise and proper posture. These things I already knew about, but what was most interesting to me was a research study that a reader sent her that found that epidurals significantly increased the rate of malpresentation.

Here's the conclusion of the study: "Significance for Normal Birth: Epidural use increases the risk of instrumental (forceps or vacuum) delivery in first-time mothers. Experts have proposed various reasons for this association, including diminished urge to push and changes in the tone of the pelvic floor muscles that inhibit proper rotation of the fetal head. Letting the epidural "wear off" has been thought to increase the likelihood of unassisted vaginal birth, however, this systematic review calls into question that common practice.

In normal birth, there are complex hormonal shifts that help labor progress and facilitate delivery. The laboring woman produces natural endorphins that help her manage the pain of labor. Her ability to move freely and assume a variety of positions while pushing work in concert with these hormonal changes. Epidural analgesia numbs the sensations of birth, and the production of natural endorphins ceases as a result of the disruption of the hormonal feedback system. When the epidural is discontinued, the woman's pain returns but her natural endorphins may remain diminished and therefore her pain may be greater than if the epidural had not been given in the first place. Furthermore, when an epidural is administered, the woman is usually confined to bed and attached to fetal monitors and an intravenous line. The woman and provider may become accustomed to laboring in the bed attached to machines. When the epidural is discontinued the restrictions! on her movement may persist. Under these conditions, it is likely that the impact of an epidural on normal birth may outlast the epidural itself."

Two of my own conclusions: First, given that most women giving birth in the hospital receive epidural anesthesia, it makes sense to me that this could be one very common reason so many women are having malpositioned babies that result in "failure to progress" and the subsequent c-section.

Second, every pregnant woman needs to learn during her pregnancy how to encourage her baby to be in the optimal position through proper nutrition, exercise, and posture. It's really sad that not only do most OB's never discuss this with their patients, they probably wouldn't even know what to tell their patients if they wanted to, as this woman learned when she researched what OB's learn at medical school in relation to OFP. (Another plug for Hypnobabies: the classses and the homestudy manual go in depth on how to encourage OFP. ) Check out Doula Mamma's post to learn more. It's very informative.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow: My 3 Daughters
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OK, so this is kind of a repeat, but the first one came out pixelated, so I just had to improve upon it. =)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Another Blog Discovery

I've come across a very interesting blog called Man-Nurse Diaries. He's a student neuro-trauma nurse in Chicago and a father of four children, all born at home. He recently posted an eye-opening account of a woman who almost bled to death from a cesarean. He points out how today's medical community seriously downplay the risks of this major abdominal surgery while overplaying the risks of VBAC and vaginal breech delivery. It's a must-read.

In another recent post he writes about the homebirth debate. My favorite part is where he discusses the ridiculousness of the current obstetric system in the US where healthy, low-risk women see specialists (obstetricians) for pregnancy and birth. Here's a great quote:

" It seems inefficient to train physicians for years to achieve a high level of emergency obstetric skill, in order to attend births which generally don't require any of those skills. I think this artificially raises the intervention rate on normal births (as a doc said the other day at work, when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail), as well as ill side effects of those interventions. Not only would it lower the intervention rate and probably make birth safer if we handed normal births over to midwives, but it would be a better division of labor and resources. Critical care physicians don't spent 95% of their time seeing healthy adult patients in a family practice clinic. Medicine has already divided critical care from family practice in order to become more efficient and provide more appropriate care. So I don't see why critically-skilled obstetricians devote their time to the 95% of births which are normal and uncomplicated. And no insurance company would pay for you to go see an intensivist if you're healthy and just have the common cold. If insurance companies weren't paying all women to get high-tech obstetric care, my insurance premiums would probably be lower.

Dividing labor (pun intended) between emergency/high-risk obstetrics and midwifery would also produce a better integration between the two, which would be better for those of us (like my wife) who do home birth. There's no reason on earth why most women can't birth at home. There's also no reason why women who choose to birth at home should be treated like second-class patients if they do require emergency obstetric skill. I'm sure if I ever have to transport my wife, even if it's to a hospital I work at, we'll be treated like we have three heads. It's a shame. But I don't think good, patient-friendly integration will ever happen if obstetricians (and their hospitals) are fighting with midwives for the same market. "

Very good points indeed!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Three Great Birth Documentary Screenings Coming to American Fork, UT

Melissa Chappell (the doula who filmed Charles' birth) has managed to arrange the screenings of Orgasmic Birth, The Business of Being Born, and Pregnant in America to occur in American Fork, Utah on June 13th. I think this is awesome. I'm tempted to go even though I have 2 of the 3 films on DVD. I'd love to be there with other like-minded mamas and hear the special guest speaker--Orgasmic Birth's producer. Click here for more info.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

"What Heaven Sees In You" slideshow

I've wanted to make this for a long time, and I'm so happy to finally get it done! I had to crop the song, so the ending kind of sounds unfinished, but it would take way too many hours to try to get just the right end chord added to the song. Anyway, hope you like it. When I finally viewed the finished product, it brought tears to my eyes! (But when it's my kids, that's not hard to do.)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Amazing Birth Story

I just read an extremely powerful birth story on Rixa's blog. If you've ever wondered why natural childbirth people are so passionate about what they believe, you owe it to yourself to read this story. It's written by a doctor and at the end of the story she proposes what could have happened had she used the more traditional medicalized approach. The comparison to what actually happened to what usually happens is very powerful.

The other thing about this story that I love is how a pampered, complaining, unwed, pregnant teenager transforms into an educated, determined, assertive, powerful young mother who falls totally and completely in love with her newborn baby. Is there any doubt that she will do everything in her power to protect and raise that child the very best she can?

If all women were allowed and encouraged to make such a journey, what a different world we would have!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Baby Dreams--Divine Inspiration or just my heart wanting to do it one more time?

I've had two dreams in the last few months that have really got me wondering. When the first dream came I had recently written the blog post titled "So hard to say good-bye." I fellt like I had finally come to terms with the idea of being done at 7 kids.

And then I dreamed Scott and I were talking to someone about the joys of pregnancy, homebirth and babies. I remember saying enthusiastically "That's why we had EIGHT children!" I immediately woke up and thought "WHAAAAT! Where did that come from?" Was this inspiration or my heart not wanting to give up on the idea of doing it one more time? That day I concluded it was just my own thinking, and that the dream had no real significance, but as time has gone by I've wondered if the Spirit was trying to say "Wait a minute--don't be so sure you're done." However I didn't allow myself to seriously consider that possibility until I had the second dream.

In the second dream I dreamed that Talita had a twin sister but that we were so enamored with Talita we forgot all about her sister. When I remembered I felt horrible and ran to this other baby girl. But when I found her, she had no name, and even her face seemed to be a blank. I woke up right then and Scott told me that he had been lying there trying to come up with a spiritual thought for his stake presidency meeting. For some reson he started thinking about how much I have grown to love the experience of pregnancy and birth. However he feels overwhelmed at times with the work involved with taking care of the kids we have already. I sometimes do too but know that it's temporary.

Since it took place at exactly the same time, I wondered if my second dream was influenced by Scott's musings (if that's even possible?) Or was the dream just a manifestation of my own desires and fears? OR is there another little girl for us that we just didn't realize because we have been so focused on getting Talita here? Scott and my logical brain shout "NO, NO, NO!" But my mommyheart says a great big warm and fuzzy "YES!"

Monday, April 27, 2009

"Ecstatic Birth--Nature's Hormonal Blueprint for Labor"

This is by far the best article I have read explaining the complex interplay of hormones during labor, birth, and the early postpartum period. Written by a doctor (Sarah Buckley) it also details the damaging effects of commonly used drugs during labor on these hormones and the birth process. As I read and reflected on my own 7 labors and births I realized that my experiences totally confirmed what she was saying. I feel sadness and remorse for the births where drugs were involved and gratitude and joy for the births that were allowed to happen drug-free and relatively undisturbed. How I wish every woman would read this without having to make the same mistakes I did with my first 4 births. The sad reality is that close to 80% of women in America are using these drugs during their labors and births and being mistakenly assured by the medical profession that they are perfectly safe for them and their babies. The article ends with this well-said summary by Dutch professor of obstetrics G. Kloosterman:

"Spontaneous labour in a normal woman is an event marked by a number of processes so complicated and so perfectly attuned to each other that any interference will only detract from the optimal character. The only thing required from the bystanders is that they show respect for this awe-inspiring process by complying with the first rule of medicine--nil nocere [Do no harm]."

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

A Midwife’s Experience with Hypnobabies

I just had to repost this here as some great examples of how wonderfully well Hypnobabies helps moms have faster, easier births and also how empowering natural childbirth and home birth can be.

"I have been a Hypnobabies instructor for a year now and would like to share some of my experiences. I have taught three classes (actually in the middle of one). I am a home birth midwife and all of my Hypnobabies students have been my clients, except for one couple planning a hospital birth.

First class:
One hospital couple, the other two couples were my clients, planning a home birth. All of them were first time mothers,and all of them had good experiences using Hypnobabies. The hospital couple used their hypnosis and avoided all medications.

One of the home birth mothers used hypnosis during 24 hours of pre-birthing waves. By the time she was 3 centimeters, she was well rested and nourished. That was at 10 pm. When a mother is 3 centimeters, I ask them to get some sleep if they can. I remind them to put their Hypnobabies CD on, and this is what this mother did. During the night, I got up a few times to check the baby’s heart tones. The mother was resting well. She got up at 9 am the next morning, and when I checked her she was 8 centimeters. She had her baby two hours later.

The second home birth mother was also able to rest through the night using Hypnobabies. In fact, I missed the birth. She had called me at 1:00 am with pressure wasves every 10 minutes lasting 30 seconds. I reminded her to listen to her CD, use her hypnosis and get some rest. She was asked to call me as soon as things changed. Her husband called me at 6:30 am and told me the pressure waves just started to be 5 minutes apart, lasting 60 seconds. I was on my way when he called back 25 minutes later and said he saw the bag of waters bulging. I then heard the mother pushing. Five minutes later, she pushed her baby out. She pushed for a total of five minutes. When I arrived, I asked her if she used Hypnobabies during the night. She said, “Oh yes. It helpd me rest and relax really well. I even slept.”

Second class: Three couples, all home birth.

The first mother didn’t practice her hypnosis much, so she did not use it during her birth. Though, she did fine (VBAC).

The second mother practiced a lot (first time mother), and she used it through 24 hours of pre-birthing waves to help her rest, relax and sleep. By the time I saw her, she was 3 centimeters. She went from 3 centimeters to 8 centimeters in 20 minutes, and had her baby soon after that. She felt that Hypnobabies helped her tremendously through the prebirthing waves.

The third mother (third vaginal birth), who just gave birth today, used her hypnosis throughout her birthing time. She relaxed beautifully.

I have 5 couples in the third class, an we are half way through. They are all first time mothers. I can’t wait to see how they do.

I have been a home birth midwife for over 25 years now. Hypnobabies is amazing for these women! The big difference between teaching home birth couples versus hospital couples is that home birthers already feel empowered, educated and well informed. They don’t have to fight the system. Also, they don’t seem to like the bubble of peace very much. When people approach them with negativity about home birth horror stories, they WANT to say something. And, they do. They feel empowered doing so.
It is such a blessing to be involved with strong, powerful women!"

Carolyn Drake

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Rixa's blog

I just can't say enough good about this blog. (It's "Stand and Deliver" in my blog list.) She covers some really important issues regarding childbirth in America. Her latest posts: "Cesearean Section and VBAC--Again" and "Cesearean Section and VBAC--Yet Again" contain links to some very well written and thorough articles on the VBAC and cesearean issue. Rixa, herself is very well spoken and well-read. I'm enjoying her dissertation although it's taking me a while to get through it.

The VBAC issue hits very close to home for me--my 3rd child was born by cesearean section because of an artificial pitocin induction at 38.5 weeks. It changed my future options for all subsequent births and was the catalyst for my research into homebirth. Very important reading for anyone of childbearing age!!!!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

I finally got Talita's portrait taken!

VBAC Article

This article is excellent: http://www.midwiferytoday.com/articles/HomebirthAfterCesarean.asp

It's called "Homebirth After Cesarean: The Myth and the Reality.

Charles' Birth Slide Show

I finally accepted that Charles' birth video footage was lost forever. =( But I was able to still put this together. It's not ideal, but I'm happy with it. The music is a little different for a birth slide show, but it fits with this pregnancy. We celebrated our 20th anniversary during Charles' pregnancy--never dreaming when we got married that we would be pregnant with our 6th 20 years later. We spent our anniversary at a lovely little bed & breakfast called Somewhere in Time. One of the movies we watched was Father of the Bride part II. The main song of the soundtrack is "Give Me the Simple Life." To me this song epitomizes the simple peace and joy we felt at that time as we were once again adding another precious child to our family. It was a good place to be. =)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Pregnant in America

A new documentary has just been released called Pregnant in America. You can see the trailer here: www.pregnantinamerica.com. It looks very promising. It was made by a man and his wife when she became pregnant. They researched their childbirth options and got a REAL education. They traveled all over the world and filmed what they learned. There is an interview with Kerry Tuschoff (founder of Hypnobabies). YAY Kerry! They also interviewed Ina May Gaskin and Michel Odent. Anyway, I can't wait to see it. It's in my Netflix queue. I'll post a review once I see it.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Talita's Birth Story (long version)

A Testament to the Wisdom of the Natural Birth Process
Talita Pearl was born September 11, 2008, at 3:29 p.m. 6 days after her "guess date." The labor and birth were not like anything I had visualized or expected, but were exactly what she needed to come into the world safely and healthily.I had visualized and even had several dreams where my labor was 2 hours or less and had a very easy, painless birth. In fact, I was nearly convinced the baby would come so fast that my midwife wouldn’t make it. (This was my 7th birth and previous labors without Hypnobabies practice were 4-6 hours long.) I was okay with that. I researched unassisted and emergency birth just in case. I have to admit, after having too many people around for Charles’ birth and the negative effect it had on my birthing time, unassisted birth had quite an appeal to me. I’ve always been extra sensitive about other people and their attitudes. I knew from experience it could have a significant effect on me, especially at such a vulnerable time. I found and read many stories of unassisted birth and was absolutely amazed at the sheer number of them. I had no idea so many women had the courage, faith, and knowledge to trust the birth process to go smoothly and safely. Their stories were so inspiring and appealing to me. I realized that many women throughout the world and most women throughout history had birthed this way. If childbirth really was so dangerous then the human species would have died out long ago. With that being said, I also knew that Heavenly Father would steer me away from an unassisted birth if it wasn’t going to be safe for me at this time or if it wouldn’t be safe for this particular baby. I was determined to let the Spirit guide me on the decision, all the while confidently hoping Scott and I could bring our sweet baby into the world in privacy, safety, and joy.One week before my "due" date whenever I would have regular Braxton-Hicks contractions, I started feeling fear–something I hadn’t felt throughout the entire pregnancy (thanks to daily listening to Joyful Pregnancy Affirmations). I couldn’t understand why I was now feeling fear. My main fear was that there would be cord problems and we wouldn’t be able to get the baby breathing when it was born. I did the Hypnobabies Fear Release script several times and even watched the slide show of my first homebirth (which was an ideal home water birth) to help me let go of these fears. They helped, but only temporarily. Still, I never felt fear about giving birth at home. I knew that the midwives could safely handle those problems if they came up.Anyway, on September 10, 5 days after my guess date, I awoke at 1:15 a.m. to warm fluid leaking out of me. As I hurried to the bathroom I kept saying to myself, "Please don’t be blood!" I was relieved to see clear fluid and just a tinge of pink that I figured was part of the mucous plug. My waters had broken! I "knew" I would give birth before my little boys woke up. I woke up Scott and together we filled up the birth pool which was set up in our bedroom. We put plastic down on the bed and covered it with a clean sheet. I wasn’t having any pressure waves to speak of, but I wanted to have some soft lighting on for when things did start happening, so we lit some candles and then went back to bed. Scott promptly went back to sleep, but of course, I couldn’t sleep. Parts of the mucous plug kept coming and amniotic fluid kept leaking in gushes. With each gush I would soak a whole pad. Finally I wrapped a thick towel between my legs and lay down in bed. I listened to BirthDay Affirmations with my iPod so as to let Scott sleep. Still no pressure waves.At first I was calm and happy. But then my old fear surfaced of "what if I can’t get the baby breathing on my own? Do I really want to give birth before Pam arrives?" After that I felt very unsure and fearful. I also kept wondering if I should try to get some rest since nothing was happening or if I should get up, walk around, and try to get labor going before the boys woke up. Finally I fell asleep and told myself to wake up at 5 and try to get labor started. I put on the Deepening script again and when it ended at 5 a.m. I knew I would automatically wake up (this often happened during the pregnancy). That would give me 2 hours–that should be enough time to give birth before my boys woke up. (So funny in hindsight.)As soon as the script ended at 5 I awoke with a start. I felt like I needed to have a huge bm. That, combined with the adrenaline of my "plan" made me jump out of bed and practically run to the bathroom. As I sat down, waves of nausea came over me at the same time a really strong pressure wave started. I started moaning and grabbed the trash can and put it between my legs just in case I threw up. I was terribly hot and sweaty so I ripped off my shirt and threw it on the floor. Our bathroom door is within reach of the toilet so I grabbed onto the door knob and held onto it for dear life. I was thinking, "Maybe I slept through early labor and this is transition!" I knew from experience and tons of birth stories that the pressure of the baby’s head on the rectum as the baby begins its descent into the birth canal can feel like you need to have a sudden bm. Suddenly I jerked upward and realized I had almost fallen off the toilet! I thought "what just happened?" I finished business and quickly lay back down in bed asking Scott to go get the throw-up bucket. I was breathing very hard and felt very hot. When Scott came back with the bucket he put his hand on my shoulder and did the Relax cue by simply saying, "Relax." My breathing immediately calmed down (Yay Hypnobabies!) and I told him what had just happened. It wasn’t until then I realized that I had almost passed out on the john!I went back to sleep for a couple of hours and at 7 a.m. felt like I should call Pam, my midwife. She got here about 8 and checked me. My blood pressure was good–only slightly elevated. She did a vaginal exam but couldn’t feel the cervix because the baby was still pretty high. (?) (+ 3 station) I thought it odd since I had carried the baby low all pregnancy and the baby had been engaged for nearly two weeks. She said not to worry, the sac can reseal itself and it could actually be days before I gave birth. She reminded me of the standard things to be careful of when the water breaks and then she went back home. I had to admit, it felt so good to be lovingly cared for by Pam (she has a great "bedside manner"). Even though unassisted birth still held a certain appeal for me, I decided at this point not to try for it. If it happened that way for some reason, I trusted that Heavenly Father would be guiding it to all work out. But when the spirit told me to call Pam, I would. I really felt at peace with this decision.Scott stayed home from work because we both thought it could happen at anytime. All day long I only had mild crampy sensations. I lay down often to rest and catch up on sleep. I put on Hypnobabies scripts whenever I would lay down and they helped me relax and get some sleep. I was surprised that it was all happening so slowly. But I was so grateful I wasn’t in the hospital strapped to a fetal monitor being starved "just in case" I needed anesthesia. (Tanner’s birth)Scott took all three boys to a movie in the afternoon, but I made him promise to leave his cell phone on (in silent mode) so I could call him if anything happened. I checked my email and noticed that my sister-in-law, Shirlene, had sent me a message wondering how I was doing and if the baby had come yet. It was fun to let her know my water had broken and that it could happen at anytime. (I love email.) I promised to let her know when it did. I got my email birth list all prepared so it would be really easy for Scott to let everyone know with just one email.I also tried to work through my fears about the labor, birth, and baby care. It was so surprising to me that for this whole pregnancy I’ve been so confident and fearless until August 29th. That’s when I had told myself it was okay to give birth and I started having serious Braxton-Hicks. In hindsight I think a lot of the fear stemmed from instinctively knowing I and the baby weren’t quite ready. I didn’t remember feeling this afraid with all of my other births. I really wondered why. I watched the slide show of Joshua’s birth, and I remembered that I had no fear that he wouldn’t start breathing. It never entered my mind. It was wonderful to be reminded of how good it feels to hold a brand new baby in your arms and watch him take his first breath and turn from gray/purple to a beautiful pink!Around 8:30 p.m. Scott gave me the most wonderful, beautiful blessing. Our good friend and neighbor, Jeff, came over to help. Before the blessing Jeff told us about his recent vacation to Hawaii. While we were talking I had two pressure waves. I closed my eyes and breathed deeply through them. Jeff noticed and Scott told him what was going on. Jeff said, "Yeah, but it can’t be that much fun." When the wave was over I said, "No, it’s not really that fun."We almost had Jeff do the actual blessing because Scott had given me two in the last week, but the Spirit told me Scott needed to be the mouthpiece. Scott blessed me to be healed of any viruses or bacteria I may have. Then he blessed the baby to be born soon, that it would be a quick birth, that I would not experience or feel any pain, that I would give birth to a healthy baby =), that I would make the transition to caring for a baby with energy and zeal. He also said Heavenly Father is pleased with my conduct during this pregnancy, that I have been patient and will be blessed for it. He said I have learned what I needed to through this experience. He also said I would know the positions to use that would be effective.I called Pam around 10 p.m. because I wanted to update her. I had to leave a message. I told her Scott had given me a beautiful blessing and that he said the birth would be quick. We went to bed since I didn’t feel any more strong waves. I was so happy and grateful for the blessing. It really calmed down my fears and I was happy to know the Lord was pleased with how I had handled the pregnancy and exercised patience. (On Aug. 29th when I had first started to be afraid and wondering when the baby was coming I had asked Scott for a blessing. In that blessing he said that the baby would come at the right time and in the right manner and to exercise patience and trust in the Lord’s timing.)We both just knew that things would start happening as soon as we all went to bed. Before we climbed into bed, however, Scott and I refilled the birth pool. We didn’t get it quite hot enough so towards the end we were adding straight hot water. It was taking forever, it seemed, and we were so tired. We both lay down in bed to wait for it to finish. My last thoughts before drifting off to sleep were, "Dear Heavenly Father, please wake up one of us before the water level gets too high." What faith! (Or foolishness!?!?) I’m not sure what time it was, but I awoke suddenly with sweat dripping off my chest and said, "THE WATER!" Scott woke up and jumped out of bed and turned the water off. It was within 4 inches of the top. The air was hot and humid. We covered the pool with a shower curtain to keep it warm and went back to sleep. WHEW!At exactly 12 midnight I awoke to a pretty strong pressure wave. I started watching the clock and realized they were coming about every 5 minutes. Hooray! That lasted about 45 minutes and then the waves started to come less often and not as strong. What??!? However, they kept coming irregularly. I can’t remember which script I listened to but I think it was either Birthing Day Affirmations or Easy First Stage. I breathed deeply through the waves and used my peace cue during the strong ones. They were very manageable. Scott woke up around 1 a.m. and I told him it had started. He dozed off and on while I listened to Hypnobabies.At 2 a.m. I decided to try the pool. The water was down to 98 degrees but still felt good and warm. I tried various positions but nothing really felt that comfortable. The waves weren’t difficult or anything. It just didn’t feel "right" for some reason. In fact the waves seemed weaker and further apart. They still kept coming though, so that was a welcome change from the past few days. I had Scott take pictures of me in the pool for a slide show, but . . . um. . . I doubt I’ll use them! I listened to Hypnobabies scripts on the speakers I had set up by the pool and also some of Enya’s music. Finally I began to wonder when to call Pam. At 3 a.m. I had the thought, "Call Pam." I was thinking that I’d probably be giving birth in the next hour or two. I hated to wake her up but felt I should call anyway. I had to try her home, her cell, and husband’s cell before her husband answered. They were both awake already. Pam said she had been laying in bed wondering how I was doing. Pam said she’d come right out. I got out of the pool when the water got down to 95 degrees. It was around 3:30 a.m. I doubted I would get in the water again. It was just impossible to keep it warm enough for long enough. Besides, it just didn’t feel like a water birth or even a water labor was right this time. I did listen to Caribbean Blue while I was in. I had always wanted to do that!Pam arrived around 4 a.m. and checked me. I was dilated to a 3–argh! Why was this happening so slow? The baby was at zero station. Well, at least it was some progress, but I was really surprised things weren’t progressing faster. I kept resting off and on trying to get some sleep in between waves. Pam checked me again a little after 7 a.m. and I was dilated to 6 cm. The boys gradually woke up and Scott got them ready for school. I was in the bathroom when Joshy came in to say good-bye. I told him the baby would probably come out while he was at school. He looked a little disappointed so I gave him a big hug and a kiss. I felt very motherly and emotional. I continued to rest in my bedroom and Pam rested on the couch. Charles watched TV and played downstairs after Scott fed and dressed him.Around 9 a.m. while I was laying on my bed Pam massaged the pressure points in my feet and hands to get waves coming stronger and more frequent. It didn’t do that, but it did feel like a fantastic massage. Pam does have magic hands. I remember thinking "I love being cared for like this. I would never be treated this well in the hospital!" In fact, I knew that had I been in the hospital I would have been started on Pitocin since it had been so long since my waters had broken and since my waves were so mild and erratic.At one point both Pam and Scott were watching me and it bugged me, so I said, "I feel like a watched pot." Pam said, "We’re waiting for you to boil." Yeah, I thought, so stop watching! I didn’t say it though and I think they eventually stopped watching me after a while. For the rest of the morning pressure waves came sporadically–sometimes strong, sometimes weak, but rarely, if ever, did I have 2 strong waves in a row. I kept restarting Hypnobabies scripts as they seemed to end all too often. It was actually a very slow, boring labor. Pam was great–patient and loving. She would rub my back or legs gently during waves. I remember one came while I was in the dining area and I leaned my forehead on the back of the chair while standing up. She rubbed my back the whole time. It felt so good that I didn’t want to straighten up when it was over! A little after 10 a.m. Pam did another check and I was to 8 cm but with an anterior cervical lip.Melody (the assistant midwife) arrived around 10:30 a.m. and as she and Pam talked softly in my room (I was on the bed) it irritated me and I remember thinking, "Just shut up." I was really in primitive mode! I put my headphones on to drown out the distractions. After a couple of scripts I got tired of wearing the headphones. Another check around 11 a.m. revealed that nothing had changed. Scott drained and deflated the pool and we set up a birthing area on the floor at the foot of the bed. I was kind of in my own world while he was doing that and when I came into the family room and saw the deflated pool on the couch I felt kind of sad and a little unsure. What if I wanted or needed the water later on? But then I remembered all my instincts throughout the pregnancy and especially during the labor that told me not to give birth in the pool. Then I could let go of the uncertainty and feel okay about it.Joshy came home from school around noon and I said, "The baby’s still in me." Scott made him chicken noodle soup. He ate the noodles and chicken and I drank the broth. I didn’t feel like eating anything else. For the next couple of hours the boys played downstairs, pressure waves came irregularly, some strong, but some seemed to just peter out. I tried all sorts of positions: sitting on the birth ball, spiraling or bouncing gently, standing and walking around a bit. I always felt a slight sense of panic if one came while standing. I just breathed deeply through them and told my cervix to open, that it was melting like butter or opening like a soft pink flower. However, the position that seemed to bring on more waves and stronger waves was lying on my left side. Weird, huh? Totally opposite of what I expected. I kept replaying the scripts, either on the iPod or on my computer by my bed.I think we were all a little frustrated that labor hadn’t gotten intense yet, but nobody showed frustration. Scott, Melody, and Pam were all very patient and loving. Sometime in the early afternoon I decided I wanted to labor alone in my room. Maybe that was what I needed to really get things going. I shut the door so no one could bother or irritate me. One thing I really enjoyed was listening to Enya’s Caribbean Blue while standing up and spiraling my hips through pressure waves. I was tired of Hypnobabies and that song was just right for my mood. After a while Scott came in. He held me through a wave and that felt so good to hold onto him. I felt like laying down and Scott lay down too. He did some NS and that brought on a couple of waves, but that was all. Then I didn’t like that anymore and so he rubbed my back and that felt sooo good. I also tried sitting on the birth stool to see if that would bring on some waves. When a wave would come while I was on the stool, I’d get all panicky that I was going to empty my bladder and my bowels during the pressure wave so I’d jump up to use the toilet. I have to admit I really was afraid of losing control of everything when the baby would descend and I’d feel all that pressure. I also couldn’t sit on the birth stool for very long because the longer I sat there the more it felt like everything was falling out. After a while Scott left to check on the boys and Pam and Melody came in to see how I was doing. They thought I had been sleeping all this time. When I said that I’d had a few good strong waves, Melody said, "Only 3 in 2 hours?" I had no idea that much time had elapsed. It felt more like 30 minutes.Finally, at 2 :30 p.m. things suddenly changed. I was lying down on my left side (of course) in the middle of the bed with a blanket mostly covering me and the waves began coming stronger and closer together. Some were very long. I was moaning and breathing through them. I think Pam heard me because she came in and rubbed my back and timed the waves. One was 2 minutes long! She did another vaginal check. I really didn’t want her to because the waves were so close together that I knew a wave would come during the check. This time, however, she said the cervical lip was gone. Hooray! For some reason I never thought to use my Hypnobabies finger drop technique and try to go loose and limp. (I really should have practiced that technique more consistently during the pregnancy.) I actually was laying there very still except for my low moans during the peak of each wave. I knew I must be finishing dilation. I had been a stretchy 8 for over 4 hours. It began to get really difficult to deal with the waves coming so close and strong. I started shaking uncontrollably as well. I kept saying, "I don’t want to do this anymore!" I knew it meant I was in transition but I just couldn’t stop complaining about it anyway. A part of me also wanted everyone to know I was in transition so they could get ready. I’m not sure how long that lasted, but suddenly I just couldn’t stand laying there anymore and I said rather emotionally, "I don’t want to lay here anymore!" Pam helped me get up and get situated on the birth stool.I think it was about this time that Pam checked me and said I was fully dilated. Since I had stopped leaking amniotic fluid about 24 hours ago so we thought that the sac had resealed. Pam and Melody thought that breaking it would be just the thing to speed things up. It took me a while to consent to that but I finally did and they both tried with no success. (After the birth they realized it had not resealed because there was no water left! Thank goodness they used a rubber thing that went over the finger to try to break the sac with. It wasn’t sharp, just a little rough designed to scratch the amniotic sac to weaken it so that it would break with the next contraction. I’m not sure what they were scratching other than the baby’s head except that her head had no scratches on it.)At this point, my two little boys who had pretty much left me alone most of the day suddenly got interested in playing in our bedroom. Charles had been staying away because when he would see me without clothes he clearly felt uncomfortable. The first time he saw me like this, he said, "Mom, you need clothes." But suddenly he didn’t care anymore! They hadn’t bothered me being around during the labor, but suddenly I needed them gone. (so did Pam and Melody) so I told Scott to take them to our next door neighbor who had agreed to watch them if I had the baby during the middle of the day. I honestly didn’t think that would happen! Everything about this labor had been slow so I didn’t think I would give birth before Scott returned. I was right.The midwives had set up our glider chair directly behind the birthing stool so Scott could sit behind me and could support me and rub my back. They suggested I lean back against Scott during waves. I’m not sure exactly why–I think to help the baby’s head move past the pelvis. The waves were still pretty intense at this point. All I had the presence of mind to do was vocalize through them. I tried to keep the tones low. They had to remind me a few times. And then the pushing began. It was agonizingly slow. Everything about it was difficult. I was perplexed by that. Taking a deep enough breath to push was difficult. I had to be coached each step of the way. Slowly, ever so slowly she inched down. I was working so hard! I have never pushed so hard and so long except for my first baby. In actuality I pushed for 11 minutes but it felt like an eternity. I was pretty vocal as I pushed, groaning real low in my throat. So low, in fact, that my throat got dry and scratchy. I couldn’t believe it was so hard to get this baby out. Being my 7th baby, I thought the baby would just kind of shoot out, like my 5th baby had done. Not so!I don’t remember Scott using the relax cue but the video footage shows that he put his hand on my shoulder several times. Maybe he just didn’t say "relax" when he did it so I didn’t even notice that he was doing it. I didn’t think about using hypnosis or my scripts or the peace cue. Somehow it was all too intense for that and I knew I just had to get the baby down and out. It did feel good when Melody would push back on my knees during each push I made. They had to keep reminding me to lean back. Leaning back against Scott was kind of uncomfortable but it did feel reassuring to have his presence and support right there–it really felt more like a team effort that way. I felt her every inch of the way and it was so intense, so completely filling–like how could my body stretch another millimeter?I told Pam I wanted to feel the baby’s head while she was still inside me, so in between pressure waves she told me to reach in and feel it. For some reason I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I’ve never been very comfortable with that sort of thing. I didn’t have long to wrestle with the decision before another wave came. Pam said "she’s almost there," so this time I reached down and touched her head–she was right inside the opening. I couldn’t believe it was her head because I could feel the sensation of touch both from my fingers and from her head. It made me think I was touching my own body, but they assured me it was her head. Weird, but cool! Then it was time to push again–I was really groaning in agony–it was so intense and so slow. I kept thinking, "Isn’t her head out yet?" because each centimeter she moved stretched me beyond belief. I said, "I don’t remember it being this hard to push!" Pam said, "We usually do forget that." But I knew for me it usually wasn’t that hard to push! (Except for my first baby.) I had my eyes closed when I would push and I remember thinking over and over, "I’m so glad I don’t have to do this again! So glad it’s the last time!" Finally her head eased out slowly (and I mean slowly!) I felt the ring of fire for what seemed like an eternity. Finally her head was out and I heard Melody say, "check for the cord." Then I heard, "no cord." Then, "check again." (The baby wasn’t coming down anymore.) This time Pam found the cord around her neck and it was tight. Melody said, "You can either push enough for us to clamp it or you can get a baby. Let’s get this baby out." Fortunately the cord was just barely loose enough for her to ease it over her head as I pushed. Again it was agonizingly slow–I felt first the top shoulder come out, then the bottom shoulder and finally her whole body slowly slid out. What incredible relief! Melody immediately put her on my legs with her face down so any fluid could drain. Her little body was so hot and wonderful! She was very purple but so hot and alive I could feel her energy and her life. I had no fear that she wasn’t okay. We rubbed her back to stimulate breathing, still not knowing if the baby was a girl or boy. I was patient–I wanted the baby to be okay. She pooped a little as she came out which I noticed on my hand (I had it on her little bum.) Then I felt her pee. It was all very reassuring! Finally after about 30 seconds (it seemed more like minutes) they turned her over on her back and Scott and I both said joyfully, "IT’S A GIRL!!!!" My next thought was "Why did I ever doubt????"Melody used the neonatal mask to help get her breathing. Then Pam used the suction tube on her nose, then throat. The tube in her throat caused her to take a little breath and then she let out a little wail–so beautiful! Her body, then her head pinked up quickly. Her feet and hands took longer. She was so beautiful and perfect. We finally got our little girl!The cord was so short we couldn’t lift her any higher than my lap. That was okay–I was able to touch her and watch her on my lap. Scott got out of the chair and held the camera and came around in front to film. (It had been on a tripod behind us.) They asked if we had a name for her and so we told them it was Talita and how we came to know that was her name.Tanner came home from school about 15 minutes after she was born. That worked out perfect. He had wanted to be there for the birth but I wanted the privacy to birth without clothes getting in the way--either of the actual birthing or of putting my baby immediately on my chest–skin to lovely skin. (Tanner is very modest!) I’m also glad he didn’t have to hear my groaning! I asked Scott for a blanket to cover me up some just in time for Tanner to come in. He was excited to be there so close to the birth and maybe a little disappointed he had missed it.The cord had stopped pulsing by this time. I reached down and felt it between my legs. I was surprised at how cold it felt. Pam and Melody clamped it with a new plastic ring type clamp and had a little difficulty getting it on just right. (But the extra effort was worth it–I loved having a tiny little soft plastic clamp instead of the big bulky hard plastic things my other babies had.) We asked Tanner if he wanted to cut it but he declined. I had asked him a few days before the birth if he wanted to do that but he said he didn’t want to "cut flesh." So Scott cut the cord and he and Tanner took Talita out to the family room so I could birth the placenta. I had to get off the birth stool because it felt like everything wanted to fall out. I sat on the edge of the bed for about 10 minutes and talked with Pam and Melody. Suddenly I thought "What am I doing?" I said, "I want my baby back!" They said, "You’re not done. You need to get that placenta out." (In hindsight I wondered why didn’t I nurse my baby to help contract the uterus and dispel the placenta. This is the only thing I regret–that I didn’t spend my baby’s entire first hour holding and bonding with her. But her dad and brother were bonding with her so I guess it was okay.) So anyway, I got back on the birth stool (this time it was next to the bed so I could lean my back against the bed.) It took about 15 minutes to get it out. I couldn’t really feel contractions or if the placenta had detached or not. But I started pushing gently. Oh that pushing sensation! How I never wanted to feel that again and I said so. The midwives said something about the placenta being easy to push because it was soft but it was the sensation of pushing itself I didn’t like. I felt very ineffective with my pushes and couldn’t help wondering if I was forcing my body to expel it before it was ready. But it came out just fine and looked whole and complete. It was about 1 hour after the birth. It was fascinating to watch as Pam and Melody examined it. It was big and healthy and Pam said I had done a great job nourishing my baby. =) Pam wrapped it up in the chux pad it had landed on and put it in a plastic bag and in the freezer until we were ready to plant it with a tree or something.Then Pam examined my perineum and said I had a tear about a half inch long. Bummer! I had never torn before–just skid marks. So Melody got the lidocaine ready and then said, "This isn’t a tear, just a blood blister." Hooray! No tears, not even skid marks! She had come out so slowly I had time to stretch sufficiently. (But, oh how that stretching burned!) Then I got my baby back and lay down to nurse. Yay! She nursed for about 15 minutes. Then it was time for the newborn exam. Scott weighed her in Pam’s soft cloth scale–the same one we used for Joshua. She weighed 7 lbs 1 oz. I told everyone how I had told the baby during the pregnancy that she could be born as soon as she was at least 7 lbs. Melody said, "Wow, she’s obedient too!" She was 19.25 inches long and her head was 12.75 inches. Except for Tyler who came early, she is my smallest baby–but not by much.I felt such incredible joy and satisfaction. Heavenly Father was so good to me. He answered my fondest dream–to finish my childbearing privilege with a joyful, healthy pregnancy and a beautiful baby girl!Reflections about the pregnancy, labor and birth:Every second I spent listening to and practicing Hypnobabies was so worth it. Although the pregnancy had minor challenges (fatigue because of my age -43, nausea, etc.) it was so joyful. As long as I took my daily walk listening to the Joyful Pregnancy Affirmations, and listened to the scripts daily, I stayed so positive and happy. I was also able to get the rest I needed since I always fell asleep during the scripts, haha. They still worked for me even though I slept through most of them. The Eliminate Nausea cd also helped control the nausea so it wasn’t so bad. I also loved how I felt emotionally and spiritually during the pregnancy. My baby’s strong wonderful spirit was responsible for that. How I loved the inseparable connection we had!Talita’s labor and birth was so different than what I had visualized, expected, or experienced before. And yet, I feel in my heart that the Lord was totally guiding me, warning me through my concerns, and yes, fears, and that he guided the whole birth process to allow Talita to be born safely, miraculously, joyfully at home. The labor needed to be slow and gentle because of the short cord and because it was around her neck. If it had been quick like some of my other births, it would have put her in distress. Her descent through the birth canal needed to be slow to allow her cord to adjust after each push. My body did not take over and push her out quickly like it did with Joshua because her cord wouldn’t allow it. Oh, how amazing the human body is! Especially the female body and the whole birth process! How wonderfully made we are! It fills me with gratitude and awe for Heavenly Father and His wisdom.Even though Talita’s birth was not meant to be unassisted, those stories taught me to trust in the birth process. Even when things are not ideal, the body knows how to compensate in order for a healthy baby to be born safely. I have no doubt that had I been under an OB's care or a CNM and been in a hospital, Talita would have been cut out of my womb. The doctors would not have let me go more than 12 to 24 hours after my water had broken without wanting to use pitocin. They also would not have been comfortable or patient with contractions that were sometimes spaced 30 minutes to an hour apart. The stronger contractions caused by the Pitocin would have put her in distress because of her cord (just like Tyler's birth). The separation, trauma, and the expense of a c-section, along with the days in the hospital away from the boys and the extra recovery time would have been awful and all so unnecessary. Thank heavens I have learned what I have and was able to avoid all that! Thanks be to Heavenly Father for guiding me in learning how to bring these three incredible spirits healthily and joyfully into the world. I feel sad (and mad) that the medical profession has totally convinced most women to not trust themselves, their bodies, or the birth process. Because of that many women have suffered unnecessarily both physically and emotionally, not to even mention the financial burden all the unnecessary intervention brings.Anyway, because of the slow, difficult pushing stage I needed someone to coach me. I needed someone calm and collected and experienced to guide the cord over her head so her body could be born. The effort of pushing her out took all my focus and energy. I can't imagine catching her myself (like I dreamed of) or having Scott have the calmness and experience to have done what the midwives did. I'm sure in an emergency situation the spirit would have guided him, but I'm so glad he didn't have to endure that stress. Pam and Melody worked so well together. Their strengths were very different and they complemented each other perfectly. Pam was very loving and calm and relaxed and Melody took charge when needed. Her leadership comforted me and helped me feel secure that all would work out. I totally trusted her. Pam was so inspired in choosing her to be the assistant. Melody told Pam later that she was so glad she was able to participate in our little miracle. She felt very honored. Pam also told me that the Lord's spirit was definitely here. He was definitely making sure his little Talita would make it safely into the world. =) How blessed I am to be entrusted with her!I think it's amazing how the Lord let me know early on that it would not be a water birth. In fact when I inflated the pool a few weeks before the due date I had the distinct thought that I was pretty much wasting my time. I had loved my previous two water births. I couldn’t understand it but I accepted it deep down. Now in hindsight, I understand why she was not to be born in the pool. Because the sides of the pool were so tall and dark, it would have been difficult to check the cord and maneuver it. Access would have been restricted, but more importantly I would not have been able to lift Talita high enough to get her out of the water because of the short cord. I would have had to stand up and get out of the pool while holding her. After the exhausting pushing stage I was so weak and it would have taken too long to get out of the pool and then resuscitate the baby. It is so awesome that Heavenly Father knows the future and knows how to guide us so that things work out for the best. I'm so grateful for His guidance and inspiration.The only thing I can't figure out is the blessing Scott gave me that said the birth would be quick and painless. I'm praying for understanding on that one. I don't feel bad about it, just a little perplexed. The blessing did help me be more calm about everything. Also, what about my dreams of giving birth easily and quickly without help? Were they just manifestations of my innermost desires for how to give birth? Or did I do something during the pregnancy that changed what could have been to what actually happened? I'm not sure I want to know the answer. Nevertheless, I am filled with gratitude that Heavenly Father sent me a beautiful little girl. That was my deepest desire of all, and Heavenly Father answered it so generously!A few days after the birth Pam said she read the literature on short tight cords and my labor and birth fit it completely! She said the best position to use is lying on the left side. It's effective but keeps it slow so as not to stress the baby too much. Exactly what I had done instinctively! I am totally amazed at nature’s wisdom and how if we just trust our bodies, they know what to do for our babies to be born safely and naturally. I am so grateful for everything I’ve read about natural childbirth and for the Hypnobabies scripts that told me every day of my pregnancy that my body knew how to birth my baby!

How We Came to Name Them Joshua, Charles, and Talita

The three children born to us since the passing of our son, Tyler, all have names that point toward the Savior Jesus Christ. We feel their names were inspired by Him to remind us of His great atonement and resurrection and the faith needed to believe in those realities and the great Plan of Happiness–that plan being that we will be able to live forever as a family, that Tyler is not lost to us, but rather has just moved on ahead of us for a while.

About a couple months after Tyler passed away, Scott had a dream where we were both laying in bed asleep. He awoke to see a little girl, with curly blond hair standing by our bedside. She looked over me to Scott and said excitedly, "I can’t wait!" Then the dream ended. A few weeks later we were at my mom’s house and Scott was listening to a cd by Daniel Rona about places in the Holy Land and the events that occurred there. He spoke about the daughter of Jairus being raised from the dead by the Savior as it is written in the book of Mark, chapter 5. He explained that when the Savior said to the young girl, "Talitha, cumi." he was not just saying, "Maiden, arise." The word Talitha in Hebrew means female lamb. It was often used as a nickname for little girls with curly hair. Daniel Rona believes that the daughter of Jairus was no stranger to the Savior since he spent over a year living in the area where she lived. He believes, rather that the Savior called her Talitha as an endearing nickname to someone he knew well. As Scott was listening to this story, his eyes filled with tears and he knew the name of the little girl  with curly blond hair who was to come to our family.
About 5 or 6 months later we learned we were pregnant. We thought this was our little girl, but an ultrasound revealed it was a boy. Scott said, "We have to do this again!" However, I had a boy name already picked out. It came to me when I was watching a BYU devotional by Elder David B. Haight. He quoted the scripture that says, "Choose ye this day whom ye will serve, but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." (Joshua 24:15) The mention of Joshua immediately reminded me of an article in the Ensign I had read the month before. The article had been very timely and felt like it was written just for me. The article had been very timely and felt like it was written just for me. At the time we were dealing with allegations brought by the DCFS in regards to Tyler’s death and struggling with all the fear and emotional challenges that brought.

The Ensign article was called "The Twelve Spies" and was about Joshua and Caleb and how they were faithful in doing what the Lord asked despite overwhelming odds against them. The article begins with these words: "

Among all the philosophies one could choose to follow in life, the choice between two basic but opposing approaches——faith versus fear——influences our lives more markedly than any other."

 At that time in my life I was having to choose every day which emotion I would live by:  faith or fear. I was so impressed with Joshua’s faith and knew Heavenly Father wanted me to exercise faith like he had. I knew if the Lord blessed us with another boy I would name him Joshua.

Through some miraculous tender mercies we were blessed to find the absolute right people to help us deal with the DCFS and the charges were dropped 9 months after Tyler’s death.  Amazingly enough I conceived the night after the whole DCFS nightmare ended.  It was as if Heavenly Father was just waiting for the stress of that period to end before sending us the next precious spirit to enter our family.

I had a wonderful pregnancy, healthy and joyous.  I also went on an amazing journey of discovering natural childbirth and homebirth.  I felt like the Lord was guiding me every step of the way.  Joshua’s birth was absolutely the best of all my children’s births.  The memory of his birth carried me through moments of postpartum sadness and breastfeeding difficulties.  I was then, and still am, filled with gratitude to the Lord for helping me have such an empowering, sacred birth experience.  Now, at the age of eight, Joshua has taught me much about faith and unconditional love as he has struggled with some Aspergers tendencies.  He is sweet, innocent, and loving, and I have no doubt that he was sent here for me to learn much from.

Nineteen months after Joshua was born we learned we were expecting again. We thought, surely this is our little girl, then we can be done having kids! An ultrasound at twenty weeks revealed another boy. Okay, I thought, were we wrong? Was the dream just a wish? I knew I should be grateful for any baby–boy or girl, but I couldn’t help grieving for the little girl I had thought we would never have. After all I was 40 years old at the time and six kids was a lot! The Lord blessed me, however, to know we weren’t done having kids. A couple weeks after the ultrasound I dozed off while reading my scriptures. As I started waking up I realized I had been dreaming. In the dream I was arguing with someone. The person was saying, "seven kids." And I was saying, "No, six." They kept saying, "No, seven." I wondered who I had been talking to. I picked up in the scriptures where I had fallen asleep and read, "Wherefore, brethren, seek not to counsel the Lord, but to take counsel from his hand. . ." (Jacob 4:10) I felt in my heart that it was not a coincidence. I had to take a walk to think it through and to talk to Heavenly Father about it. By the time I came home, I felt like I really could do it again--if the Lord would help me to be healthy and in shape so the pregnancy would not be too difficult and that it could even be joyful like Joshua’s had been.

Still, I struggled with this pregnancy. I was overweight and uncomfortable. In my less faithful moments I struggled with feelings of doubt that I would ever have the promised little girl. I didn’t feel like I knew the baby I was carrying. I had no boy name picked out, neither did Scott. One morning as Scott sat at the kitchen table reading his scriptures he was thinking about the baby inside me and asked out of the blue, "Baby, what is your name?" Immediately he heard in his mind "Charles." He said, "Are you sure?!?!" He knew that it was the name the baby wanted. He told me about the experience but didn’t tell me the name. He wanted me to receive the name by inspiration as well because he knew I wouldn’t like the name and would have to know it was divinely inspired to accept it. All he told me was that "it was a good English name." It was actually my sister-in-law who guessed the name first. Scott was right–I didn’t like it at first, but as I thought about it, the name just seem to stick to him. It wasn’t until we were watching a performance of the Messiah three weeks before his birth that I knew for sure his name was Charles and that it was okay. The director of the performance was a counselor in our Stake Presidency and had the middle name of Charles.  I felt something stirring in my heart as I thought of his love for inspired music and his love for the Savior.  In those brief, spirit-filled moments the name Charles came to symbolize the joyful praising, through beautifully inspired music, of our Savior, His birth and His resurrection. 

The day after his birth , (another incredible homebirth)  while talking to a really good friend about the birth and his name, she said, "You have to read about Charles Wesley." I was amazed she thought of him because I had noticed one Sunday during the pregnancy that my favorite Easter Hymn, "Christ the Lord is Risen Today" and my favorite Christmas Hymn "Hark the Herald Angels" were written by Charles Wesley. Was it a coincidence that this baby was conceived at Easter time and would be born at Christmas time? After talking to my friend I asked my daughter, Ali, to look up some information on Charles Wesley on the internet. I was struck with the knowledge that Charles Wesley was born on my birthday, March 29th, (which also happened to be 2 days after Easter that year) and that he died on December 18th. December 18 was Charles’ due date. Coincidence? Who knows. But I have to think that it all ties together somehow. To me it all points back to the Savior and His life and mission.

Even though I hadn’t felt like I knew Charles while I was carrying him, I fell absolutely head over heels in love with him when he was born. I couldn’t take my eyes off of him. He was the most beautiful baby I had ever seen.  Heavenly Father had sent us another incredible spirit.  He smiled easily and often.  In fact, his birth video shows pictures of him on Christmas day, when he was five days old, smiling joyfully from ear to ear.  Earlier that same day we were listening to a music cd our daughter had received as a gift.  The music was beautiful.  Charles' eyes grew wide and his wriggling little body suddenly became still.  He was enraptured.  Now at 6 years old, Charles takes great pride in his name and loves the fact that he is a “Christmas baby.”

The Lord generously blessed me with my desires to be healthy and get in shape for the next and (what I thought was the last) pregnancy. My goal was to get to 130 lbs before getting pregnant. Through the advice of a friend I found a whole new way of eating that made so much sense to me. (A 95% plant based diet) I went to the class she recommended, bought the guy's book and devoured it. It just rang true to me. I felt so good following the program and miraculously got down to 120 lbs and got to enjoy being at that weight for a few months. It was truly an answer to prayer, and I have no doubt the Lord was guiding me to know how to have a healthier pregnancy and baby. =)

On Dec. 31, 2007, two years after Charles was born, we learned we were expecting again. It had taken 6 months more than we thought it would to get pregnant. Never had Scott nor I wanted to get pregnant more than this time. I doubted at times it would really happen considering my age, but the Lord comforted and reassured me that it would. We kept it as our delightful little secret for a couple of weeks from our kids and a bit longer from everyone else. The pregnancy was joyful, even though tiring at times. I decided not to have an ultrasound to find out the sex of the baby. I felt like Heavenly Father wanted me to trust him. I tried to be faithful but doubted at times if I really was carrying the little girl we had dreamed of. In my more faithful moments the Lord was able to help me understand more of why she was to be named Talita. In a journal entry dated June 25th when I was 6 months pregnant I wrote to my future baby:

 "I believe you want to be named Talita to remind me and your dad and everyone you meet in mortality to have faith and hope in Christ, His atonement and resurrection. Joseph Brickey’s painting of the daughter of Jarius depicts it well. Though we all have moments of grief and sorrow, the Savior stands at the door. When we’re ready, the door is opened, the light comes pouring in and life is restored, joy and reunion take place, and our mortal moment of suffering is ended. Because of our Lord and Savior, we can have joy forever. This is what you want me to focus on–not the aching loss–but the hope of eternal life and the joyous reunion with loved ones, all made possible because of our beloved Savior. From now on, when I say or think your name I will focus on the Savior standing in a light-filled doorway, just waiting to bring life and joy to my life and our family’s life."

 On another day I wrote: "Talita means hope, it means joy, it means Jesus wants to answer our prayers, bring back that which was lost or taken away. He wants to dry our tears, fill us with joy, happiness, and peace. We just have to trust Him that those things will happen at the right time for us. The daughter of Jairus wasn't healed immediately when he asked. Jairus had to wait for the right moment--when he and his wife had suffered just enough, when the doubters and naysayers were gone and they could be alone with the Savior. We will have to wait for the millennium for Tyler's spirit to re-enter his body, to be reunited with him, to be able to embrace him and rejoice together. But it will be the right time then. It will be the right time."

Talita’s labor and birth unfolded much differently than I had expected but was nonetheless amazing and spiritual.  The day she chose to come earthside was September 11, 2008.  I don’t believe the day was coincidental either.  As I have reflected on it over the past three years I believe that she chose that day as another reminder to us to focus not on the sorrow and grief of death, but rather to focus on the One who claimed victory over death, to find peace, joy, and healing in His incredible gifts of life to us.

Although my labor with Talita was long—over 30 hours—it was exactly as it needed to be.  Her cord was extremely short and the labor and birth needed to be slow and gentle for a safe birth. She was born at home into the loving hands of my caring, experienced midwives.  My husband was behind me holding me and supporting me.  When my midwife turned her over on my lap both my husband and I exclaimed with joy “It’s a girl!”  Over the next few hours as we said her name, she would turn her head to the sound.  It was as if she knew and recognized her name.  Her hair was dark and more plentiful than any of my other babies.  I wondered if she really would have curly blond hair like in my husband’s dream.  It didn’t take long before her hair lightened, and as it got longer beautiful little curls began to take shape.  Now at the age of 3 her hair is honey blonde and has beautiful waves and gentle curls to it.  She is the only one of our seven kids to have curly hair and I am loving it. As fun as that is, however, it is her sweet, feminine, loving spirit that is an absolute joy to have in our home.  At the end of her birth video I put these words:

God’s little lamb,
sent to remind us
that miracles happen.
Mark 5:35-43 (KJV)
Lovingly dedicated to her brother,
Tyler Boyd Hansen
August 20, 1992 – February 16, 2002

 My heart is filled with gratitude and love to my Father in Heaven and my Savior for Their tender, watchful care over me and my family.  Truly, we have been greatly blessed, and I look forward with great anticipation to the day when our family will be fully reunited. While it has been a sweet, tender mercy to feel my son’s presence at the births of his siblings and at many other sacred moments, my heart longs to see him and embrace him again.  Through our Savior’s sacrifice, I know that one glorious day all of us will get to embrace him and thank him for all he has done for us, not only during his short mortal life, but, with the help of our Savior, all that he has done for us since.