Mothers Don’t Get Sick Days

Tea ~ Lonestar Chai
In a mug and in my oatmeal this morning

[Reflecting on surgery to remove my gallbladder 2 months ago while recovering from a major lower back injury from a bike accident. Throw in the process of moving just for kicks.]

Can you call it recovering when it gets worse everyday for a month and no amount of chiropractic adjustments or painkillers, prescribed or otherwise is relieving the pain? I was in this accident to avoid seriously injuring a toddler who was where they should not have been, unsupervised on a bicycle with training wheels on the lakefront bike path in Chicago during rush hour. Did I mention that this path sees 30,000 people a day during the summer months? I thank God that Z was not with me on my bike like he was the day before. And I will never again ride my bike in Chicago. It’s just not worth it.

For 5 weeks, this injury was worse than post-op, but also at the same time as post-op. I say to you – Don’t ever take your health for granted. We say or mean “health” as nonchalantly as “food” or “water” in our culture of privilege. It was the hardest 3 months of my life when the 4-hour stomach cramp episodes started out of nowhere in May. They increased in frequency, with a traumatic instance of vomiting and nearly fainting on the CTA red line and hitting my then 5-month-old’s head into the hand rail in the process of pushing my sweet guardian angel, Katie, an off-duty OB/GYN from Evanston, out of the way so I did not throw up on her while I handed him to a complete stranger. I also handed this stranger my phone and had my husband’s phone number up and ready to go should I indeed pass out. Greg picked me up at the next el stop to take me to the hospital. The ER nearly sent me home because my symptoms were gone after 4 hours of waiting, but not before I insisted on an ultrasound thanks to the suggestion of my brother, Phil, at breakfast that morning. Katie asked me if I was ok. I deliriously replied, “I need to have my gallbladder taken out.” She thought I sounded ridiculous. She also thought I was falling asleep before she came over to my side of the train to check on my baby and I.

Thankful for my health does not even begin to express that need as a mom. Mothers do not get sick days, especially nursing ones. I could not lift Zeke for 5 weeks. I could barely stand upright. I cried…a lot. I called my mom to come 2 days early before surgery because I couldn’t even take care of myself, let alone my baby. It was an extreme emergency. She couldn’t even understand me on the phone because I was sobbing so hard that it was difficult to make out any words. I’m so thankful for my mom! She is perhaps the coolest, most selfless person I know and one of my best friends. My parents are such a blessing! My childhood best friend, Kim, also came to do the heavy lifting for a few days all the way from Baltimore. Greg tried to work from home as much as he could while transitioning to his new job in Indiana.

Looking back on it, I’m not sure how I made it through all of this. Strength and healing from the Lord sustained me through all of your prayers. I’m so thankful to be PAIN FREE. No stomach cramping, no back issues. It’s been about a month without pain. I can run, bike, lift moving boxes from room to room and wear my baby! I think I missed wearing him the most – at the grocery store, going for walks, out on adventures and hiking. It’s the easiest way to bring him contentment. But don’t ever take your health for granted; you can lose it in a second.

If nothing else, I want to stay healthy for this guy!

If nothing else, I want to stay healthy for this guy!

Be encouraged!

Zeke’s Birth Story

Photo by Jaclyn Simpson Photography
Tea ~ Pomegranate Blueberry

Happy 3 months to this guy, Charles Ezekiel! 3 months is really about what it takes to come up for air from what is most certainly the beginning of a life changing experience. The first month, you are so sleep deprived that you don’t really know what’s going on. The second month, you realize that this is your life now, for better or for worse, so you’d better get used to it. And by the 3rd month, you’ve developed some routines and at least for me, the adoration for this little person who looks just like my husband grows immensely and I’m excited for him to wake up each morning and give me that big smile and know that I’m his favorite person in the world right now. Not forever, but at least for now. I’m ok with taking pride in that for this very short and temporary stage of his life.

So how did Zeke get here? Z’s due date was on January 4th, and until a few days before, I had zero signs of labor, not even Braxton-Hicks contractions. We selfishly wanted him to come over Christmas break & before New Year’s, both because life slows down around the holidays and it would be easy for Greg to miss work and enjoy it and for insurance deductible and tax purposes, that would have been nice! But not at the expense of potentially a completely different labor and delivery experience. On the 3rd, I had 10 hours of contractions every 2-4 minutes, so I went in to the hospital to be examined. 80% effaced and 0% dilated. No one told me they should be strong contractions, just that they should be close together and consistent. I got sent home, disappointed and grieving and also feeling like I had wasted everyone’s time. No other signs of labor for another week and there was a scheduled date for testing and possible induction since I was at 41 weeks and 42 is the end of the line. 41 weeks, day 1 came and went. I even went to a Traffick Free Praxis Month event that I figured I would not be able to go to.

Ready for the Traffick Free event!

Off to the Traffick Free event! Taken about 30 hours before delivery.

3:15am on January 12th, as I was about to get out of bed to use the restroom like I usually did around that time since pregnancy started, I felt a gush and I slinked off the bed just as my water broke. Well, I guess it’s go-time, no doubt about it! My parents were already at our place waiting with us and I woke up Greg with the good news. Thankfully we had already done the “get everything together and get to the hospital” trial run, so we weren’t as anxious to forget anything. Since my water leaked every time I moved, and I had some concern for cord prolapse as that can happen when your water breaks, I stayed in the shower on my hands and knees until Greg was packed and ready and I called the hospital during that time. My contractions hadn’t started at this point, so my midwife said they may have to induce me with pitocin. I was sad to hear that because I wanted a natural childbirth experience, but I understood with the chance of infection increasing the longer we waited to deliver. But by the time we got to the hospital, the contractions started and my midwife didn’t see a need to induce and would just let it run its course. Oddly enough, the midwife who examined me 9 days prior in triage, was the same one who would deliver me.

There are 9 midwives at Swedish Covenant, so I was surprised and excited since I enjoyed Libby’s upbeat personality. Libby asked one of the nurses before coming in if I was mad that she had sent me home. Of course not! Why would I want to hang out at the hospital with no baby coming? At least this time I skipped triage and went right to my labor & delivery room! Soon after getting to my room, an announcement came over the PA, “The coffee is ready in the break room.” We all cheered!

Hair up for this event!

Hair up for this show!

I knew going in that I would have to have an IV because I was Group B Strep Positive (bacteria that everyone has in their gut at one point or another, but if there is enough of it, it can give the baby an infection when passing through the birth canal) and needed antibiotics administered every 4 hours. Not a huge deal, I would get unhooked after each round to labor freely as I needed to. Unfortunately, it became a huge deal. The antibiotics burned going in and hurt more than my contractions at that point, so they had to slow it down. It took 2 hours for the antibiotics to go in the first round. And then they made me incredibly nauseous. I was so glad when that first round was over so I could focus on laboring and moving around, going for walks, etc. And then I kept throwing up. For the next 12 hours. I couldn’t keep anything down, not even water or tea. It was really starting to wear on me. My midwife said it was rare to have nausea from IV antibiotics and that she hadn’t seen this before. I’ve heard the, “this is rare, I’ve never seen this before,” thing a lot in my life. I’m just that lucky. Having contractions is one thing, having contractions and throwing up before, during or after them is quite another. It was hard to get out of bed at all. I took a shower to maybe get some relief and it seemed to help. I broke down and cried in the bathroom after that and asked Greg to pray for me, I was just having a hard time. I was so hungry and so tired and so nauseous all at the same time while the contractions kept coming. Then a doctor walked in, looked at me mid-contraction and introduced herself. She said, “are you ready to go home now?” What?! “Why?” I whimpered. I was doing so well and progressing I thought, I didn’t want to be sent home again! Then the doctor realized she was in the wrong room and apologized profusely. Sigh of relief.

Laboring with Ashley

Laboring with Ashley

At about 3:15pm, my midwife checked my cervix and I was 90% effaced and 4 cm dilated. After 12 hours of this, that was IT?! I was this empty shell of a person from all the vomiting. It was becoming routine to ask someone to hand me the bucket in the middle or end of a contraction. They said I handled it like a champ, though. So after that check, I was seriously considering throwing in the towel on this whole natural thing because of the throwing up. I couldn’t handle exhaustion from that and labor at the same time. I looked at Greg with desparation and asked him what he thought because, after all, he is the head of our household and this was his experience too and he knew what I really wanted. Our code word for drugs was “Santa’s got a brand new bag.” I was ready to say it. He said, “4 is a heck of a lot closer to 10 than it is to 0.” I didn’t see it. The diagram on the wall that showed the size of each centimeter circle, it was not my friend right now. All I could think was that 4 rounds closer down to 0 than up to 10. But he & my mom asked if there was perhaps some sugar water and anti-nausea meds through the IV they could give me to help with relief of the symptoms. There was, yay!

Greg was a great coach! And my Pretty Pushers dress was amazing!

The first anti-nausea meds didn’t work. The second, Zofran, was amazing! FINALLY! The nausea subsided from the antibiotics. I still threw up on occasion from an intense contraction here and there, but not to the degree it was before. Now that I could labor without any distraction, I could even sleep! I slept on and off for about an hour. My contractions had let up and slowed down to every 5 minutes so I could rest. That was such a relief and a huge blessing to have that time. Greg even got to nap while my mom and Ashley (my doula) helped with massage, water and bucket-holding support. When I woke up from resting, I knew I could do it. That sugar water saved me! I had some energy again! I was ready to move around and get going. I thought I would bounce on the birthing ball a bit, but as soon as I sat on it, I jumped back up. Zeke was sitting SO low that it was incredibly uncomfortable. Even standing was so much pressure that it was hard to walk. I was back in bed and continued to labor on my right side where it was comfortable for me. Libby checked me again and at 5pm, I was 5 cm. By 5:30 I was at 8cm and I wanted to push, but she told me to wait a little bit longer if I could.

A little after 6pm I was at 10cm and ready to push. I had an army of people surrounding me and encouraging me, holding my legs, reminding me to breathe and make noise in low tones instead of high squeaky ones because they were more productive. Visualizing waves washing over me was not at all helpful for me because I could not get out of reality. I wish the waves worked! Massage oils and diffusing lavender were great and we had the lights turned down low and had battery candles around the room for a calming ambiance to go along with our Josh Garrels Pandora station. At one point, Libby told me to reach down and feel my baby’s head and I kept saying “My baby…my baby…my baby,” after I felt that full head of hair. Some other chants included, “Ohhhhh boy, ohhhhhh boy,” and felt that “Ring of Fire,” I had read about. I was in transition for about 20 minutes with 2-3 pushes and he was here! Greg caught him and everyone cried! Everyone but me. Even the baby cried & screamed non-stop! I wish I could cry like I always do when I watch movies and documentaries where babies are born, but I was too happy (and tired)! They put him immediately on my chest and I couldn’t believe how big he was. I was under the impression from some previous midwife appointments that he would be more my size (at 7 lbs.) than Greg’s size (at 8 lbs. 12 oz. at 3 weeks early). Zeke weighed 8 lbs. 12 oz. just like his daddy (but 8 days late)! He was bright red and received an Apgar score of 9 (no one scores a 10). We held him for about an hour and nursed within the first 20 minutes before they weighed and measured him.
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Great memories for me were how great my support team was. Seriously, who you have in that room with you will make all the difference. I was so happy and honored to have my husband, my good friend Ashley to serve as my doula with having 2 girls & a variety of labor & delivery experiences, and both of my parents present. It was really special having my mom & dad there because my mom was never able to have vaginal and natural births the way she wanted to, she had to have 3 c-sections. I was so thankful to be able to labor and deliver without pain medication. Zeke was so alert from the first moment he arrived and I was happy to avoid the risk of complications, because if they were to happen to anyone, they would happen to me. It was amazing to experience the miracle of birth as God intended it and that I had studied both Scripture and pregnancy books on the subject. [Read Part 1 & Part 2 of my previous blog posts on this based on my research, its pretty interesting]

And nursing has been really special and continues to be. I’ll write more on what I’ve learned later. But I would have to say that breastfeeding was harder (at least for me) than labor and delivery. Perhaps because it lasts a lot longer than 15 hours. 6 weeks of breastfeeding bootcamp is pretty intense with a newborn relying on your progress, but man, you come to the other side of it SO proud of yourself!

Thanks everyone for the love and support. We love our little Zeke and look forward to making many more memories together as a family! If you haven’t seen our video slideshow introducing our little cutie pie, you’re in for a treat!

Photo by Jaclyn Simpson Photography

Photo by Jaclyn Simpson Photography

Traffick Free’s Top 10 List of Products Made with Child and/or Forced Labor

134 goods in 74 countries were reviewed in the U.S. Department of Labor’s List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor for 2012. Check out the List for a detailed record of those products and countries that have reported child labor or forced labor.

“The International Labor Organization (ILO) has produced new global estimates placing the number of people trapped in forced labor at 21 million, including 6 million children forced into labor or sexual exploitation. The ILO also estimates that 215 million children are working as child laborers, of which about 115 million participate in hazardous labor.“

Here is Traffick Free’s Top 10 List of products you may be shopping for this holiday season that could be contributing to labor trafficking worldwide, based on the Department of Labor report:

  1. Diamonds, Gold, Minerals, Metals & Gems – 90-95% Child Labor (CL), 5-10% Forced Labor (FL) – of 34 countries reported to have used Child and/or Forced Labor
  2. Cotton, Garments, Leather, Jute, Silk, Textiles, Thread & Yarn – 80-90% CL, 10-20% FL – of 25 countries reported
  3. Coffee & Tea – 100% Child Labor – of 16 countries reported
  4. Embellished Textiles, Fashion Accessories & Footwear – 90% CL, 10% FL – of 7 countries reported
  5. Cocoa/Chocolate – 100% Child Labor – of 6 countries reported
  6. Nuts & Seeds (Brazil Nuts/Chestnuts, Cashews, Hazelnuts, Peanuts, Sesame Seeds) – 60-70% CL, 30-40% FL – of 6 countries reported
  7. Flowers (Real & Artificial) – 50% CL, 50% FL – of 4 countries reported
  8. Soccer Balls & Toys  – 100% Child Labor – of 2 countries reported
  9. Electronics – Both Child & Forced Labor – of 1 country reported
  10. Christmas Decorations  – Forced Labor – of 1 country reported

Some notable findings:

  • 60% of child labor worldwide is agriculture

  • Over 55% of the world’s forced laborers are in the South Asia region

  • The highest concentrations of forced labor in manufactured goods are found in the production of garments and bricks.

  • Agricultural goods with concentrations of forced labor include: cotton, cattle, and sugarcane.

  • Manufactured goods such as carpets, fashion accessories, footwear and garments are often made with child labor – developed countries are not exempt!

Goods associated with a notably high concentration of child and/or forced labor include cotton (17 countries), sugarcane (16 countries), coffee (14 countries), cattle (12 countries), rice (eight countries), fish (seven countries) and cocoa (six countries) in the agricultural sector; bricks (18 countries), garments (eight countries), carpets (five countries) and footwear (five countries) in the manufacturing sector; and gold (19 countries), diamonds (seven countries) and coal (seven countries) in the mining/quarrying sector.

With the 2012 update, the List includes 123 goods in the “child labor” category:  58 agricultural goods, 38 manufactured goods and 26 mined/quarried goods, as well as pornography. The relatively large number of agricultural goods produced by child labor is consistent with the ILO estimate that 60 percent of child labor worldwide is in agriculture.

With the 2012 update, the List includes 56 goods in the “forced labor” category: 26 agricultural goods, 18 manufactured goods and 11 mined/quarried goods, as well as pornography. Agricultural goods with notable concentrations of forced labor include cotton (eight countries), cattle (five countries) and sugarcane (five countries). Among manufactured goods, the highest concentrations of forced labor were found in the production of garments (eight countries) and bricks (seven countries).

*A country’s absence from the List does not necessarily indicate that child labor and/or forced labor are not occurring in the production of goods in that country. Data can be unavailable for various reasons, including both research and policy considerations.

*Some countries with relatively large numbers of goods on the List may not have the most serious problems of child labor or forced labor. Often, these are countries that have more openly acknowledged the problems, have better research and have allowed information on these issues to be disseminated. Such countries include Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, India, Kenya, Mexico, Philippines, Tanzania, Turkey, Uganda and Zambia. The number of goods on the List from any particular country should not be interpreted as a direct indicator that these countries have the most extensive problems of child labor or forced labor.

If researching where to buy products is overwhelming, consider buying less…or buying 2nd hand stuff – go with used, pre-owned, refurbished, last season, sale rack & thrifty!

For fair trade recommendations on websites, shops & apps to help you with your holiday shopping this year, see the What You Can Do! post on the Traffick Free website. And please consider participating in #GivingTuesday and donating to Traffick Free this year as a gift to the abolitionist in your life or to support our work (and my personal work).
giving looks good on you

Fall Flavors

I just wanted to take a moment to give you some links to some really delish recipes I’ve been making lately. All are gluten free & vegetarian, because that’s the house that I live in:

Butternut Squash Soup – I added garlic to this
Buckwheat Pumpkin Pancakes – I like that it’s not overly sweet, great with apple butter
Pumpkin Steel Cut Oatmeal – I used GF rolled oats
Mexican Rice – Not fall, but the best I’ve ever had!
Homemade Granola – again, GF oats
Omelette – Best simple omelette I’ve found. I add in garlic & veggies to the mix before pouring into the pan. This has saved me in my pregnancy to make sure I’m eating a nice, big breakfast first thing.
Roasted Butternut Squash – At $.99/lb, stock up and make this a lot! The maple syrup is optional in my book. Orange juice is the secret ingredient here!

Enjoy!

Having a Baby is Like Studying for a Test – Part 2: Pain Management

Tea ~ Orange Swirl Rooibos

This is Part 2 of 2 – Read Part 1 here
I think every woman fears being a mom at one point or another. Is it becoming a parent we fear, or is it childbirth we fear? For me, it’s the latter. Pop culture does an excellent job of exaggerating life and life events, sometimes funny and sometimes not so funny. The problem with it is that it morphs into our perception of reality. Let’s take pornography, for example. If your child’s first introduction into sexual relationships between 2 people is the porn they’ve run across on the internet or that a friend shows them at their house? It makes sense that this becomes the foundation on which they build their expectations for future intimate relationships. And no one has told them otherwise – – that IT’S NOT REAL! Setting yourself up for failure, my friend.

Our culture has made it the norm during childbirth to receive an epidural, with anywhere from 60-80% of first time moms in the US opting to receive one. But why is that? With my recent history of extreme reactions to not only drugs, but allergic reactions to foods, I question a lot of things that go into my body. We discovered in April that I have a gluten intolerance, and we’re pretty sure it was causing infertility for at least the previous 1.5 years, because I got pregnant right after giving it up after trying every non-drug method and treatment leading up to that point. We even went to a fertility clinic just to get blood tested and see what my hormone levels were. Before I had a single drop drawn (13 vials to be exact), the doctor sat us down to give us our options – we could start Clomid or move on to IUI or IVF. Whoa whoa whoa, slow down, sister! We don’t even know what’s WRONG and immediately you want to pump me with drugs to fix “something?” You’re fired. We did not return.

After having a thyroid antibodies test done to reveal an intolerance to gluten (not to be confused with having Celiac’s Disease or to be tested for that, it would be negative), it makes perfect sense that if your body & thyroid are working overtime with the digestive system to break down & process things it can’t, what’s the one body system that is the least “necessary” and may not function properly until everything else is up and running as it should? The reproductive system. We even had an MRI done because we were concerned there was something wrong with my pituitary gland in my brain, or maybe even a tumor. There wasn’t, and never once did my neurologist ask me about my diet, something that I suggested when I called to cancel my follow up appointment after discovering the gluten allergy and ruling out a neurological problem. Symptoms of gluten intolerance for me included:  migraines, fatigue (never felt rested, even after 10 hours of sleep), anxiety, constipation and infertility. Symptoms of a gluten intolerance can be anything, by the way. It’s a good place to start (or any food allergy) if you are having chronic issues of any kind. I was 10x more fatigued on gluten than I am pregnant, if you can believe it! Do I miss bread & pastries? Of course I do! But do I want to be healthy and feel well, or do I want to eat gluten? Not a hard decision to make, and I am so thankful I had a diagnosis I could do something about! How did we get so careless about what we put into our bodies? Don’t get me wrong, I still love a good dose of artificial colors every now and then – love fruity candies…hey, they ARE gluten free, after all.

Scripture is pretty clear about our curses from The Fall in Genesis. My fear comes from this as well:

“Then he said to the woman, “I will sharpen the pain of your pregnancy, and in pain you will give birth. And you will desire to control your husband, but he will rule over you.” And to the man he said, “Since you listened to your wife and ate from the tree whose fruit I commanded you not to eat, the ground is cursed because of you. All your life you will struggle to scratch a living from it. It will grow thorns and thistles for you, though you will eat of its grains. By the sweat of your brow will you have food to eat until you return to the ground from which you were made. For you were made from dust, and to dust you will return.” – Genesis 3:16-19

I can tell you from personal experience of basically being pre-menopausal for 10 months (no period whatsoever, no real hormonal changes either) that the “desire to control your husband” is what we call PMS. That bitchy-ness we all get monthly, that is part of our curse. Someone asking if it was “your time of the month” based on my behavior used to offend me. After I did not experience those up’s and down’s, Greg & I can call it what it is. As painful as it was to be infertile, I’m so thankful for that time and for the truths of Scripture to shed light on my humanness. I encourage you to meditate on these verses in Genesis and shed light on how you handle your PMS and then call it what it is – part of your curse, and own up to it.

The other part of our curse as women is the pain in pregnancy & labor. If you are a Bible-believing Christian, let me ask you this:  have you ever considered being obedient to your curse? It says it right there in black and white that this WILL happen. Have you considered that by voluntarily and automatically (obviously there are exceptions to every pregnancy and birth) defaulting to pain-relieving medication, you are actually cheating yourself (and your spouse) of not only a rite of passage, but one of the most incredible God-given experiences of your life? I haven’t read a single book on this subject from a Christian perspective – I’ve read this pile of books in the photo above, none of them by Christian authors or scholars, and come to this conclusion based on both this Scripture in Genesis as well as what I read in these books and all the amazing things that God designed women’s bodies to do in response to pain during childbirth! Have you considered that we have these long labor phases (early, active, pushing, etc.) so that our brains can release pain managing hormones to ease our labor pains? If you get an epidural or other pain relief medication, you block these endorphins. And what’s worse is if it doesn’t take or work, you will be in far more pain than if you had never received them in the first place. No time for your body to catch up there! There is risk for what some women have called the worst headache they’ve ever had in their lives for hours, even days or weeks after giving birth with an epidural. Imagine the disruption in breastfeeding for you and your new baby (issues with breastfeeding is another risk, even without the headache). If you have an epidural, you cannot move around into positions that seem innate to you to labor in, you have to remain in  your bed as you will not be able to feel your legs (though you can try to move into positions in your bed to labor and deliver, but labor will most likely slow down if you are not moving around. Keep moving!).

I am really excited to not only see what I am able to do in labor and delivery and hopefully come to the other side with a new sense of empowerment and confidence in myself and what my body can do, but I am just as excited to give Greg an opportunity to take an active role in the process! He’s going to be an amazing coach and father! Why do I want to cheat him of that opportunity? One of the videos we watched in a birthing class that was going through different birthing options showed a woman laboring with an epidural. When she got her epidural, she slept and rested and her labor slowed drastically, forcing the nursing staff to give her pitocin (a drug that mimics oxytocin to increase uterine contractions). She went back and forth with her epidural and pitocin doses just to deliver her baby, and she couldn’t feel her urge to push with the epidural (Note:  This video was in no way trying to convince us that one way of labor was better than another, these were just my personal observations). I turned to Greg and said, “Are we here to work, or are we here to take a nap?!”

Ladies, let me ask you another question. Do we not expect our spouses to go out and work to provide for our families? Go back and reread that passage in Genesis. What is the man’s curse? Firstly, Adam listened to his wife and ate from the tree God commanded them not to eat from. Is that not a constant temptation for men and fathers to just let women or their wives take on the leadership role? If you’ve been asking where the “real men” are in our culture these days, this is sin manifesting itself in their lives from Chapter 3 of God’s Word. The reality is, they are fighting their curse of lazy, self-centeredness as much as we are fighting our curse of controlling them and our world around us. And if we expect our husbands to be obedient in their curse of work and toil without taking shortcuts and looking for the easy way out, should we not be obedient in our curse of increased pain in labor and childbirth? While our pains may last as little as a few hours to our entire pregnancy (or multiple pregnancies), our husbands have 30-40 years of living out their curse and even longer for taking a leadership role in their marriage and with their families.

What beautiful opportunities for obedience men and women have been given! It brings joy and pride to my heart to see my husband taking responsibility for himself, our family and his curse from The Fall as I’m sure it will bring great joy to his heart to see, support and be proud of me for taking my curse by the horns. I don’t want to be cheated of an experience and blessing like this that will most likely take our marriage and friendship to a level I never dreamed! It sounds like an exciting adventure – oh, and then there’s a baby too. BONUS!

I really invite you to do your research and to consider your options and the risks & rewards of childbirth. Birthing from Within was really empowering (I checked all our books out at the Chicago Public Library), and The Business of Being Born is a really great documentary that is on Netflix Instant that I highly recommend.

Be encouraged!