Sublime Birth times two

Find out what's happening with baby #2 :)

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Finally an update!

Having two kids is really a lot of work! I don't know how everyone with more than this manages. So much going on!

Maddie is doing well. She loves her sister and is still cute as ever. Grace is almost 5 months old now, rolling over sometimes, and really getting a lot of personality. I've been bringing her to my Bradley classes, but I'm going to have to start leaving her at home now. Chad's nervous about having to get them both to bed, but I know he'll do fine :)

I'll be updating my website ( soon. I'm using a new program and I have to learn how to use it, but I want to add pictures of Grace, newer pics of Maddie, and some pregnant pics of me with both girls. I'll try to be better about updating my blog, too.

I'm working right now on writing some new classes to teach, and it takes a lot of time. The good news is, when they're done, they're going to be awesome. More later!

Friday, September 15, 2006

Announcing Grace Alexandra Fields-birth story

Pregnancy: The First Twenty Weeks

Between Maddie’s birth ( and this pregnancy, I learned a lot. I’m a childbirth teacher and have worked as a doula. I’ve read piles on childbirth and have gone through three different professional training workshops. I attended 2 homebirths as a doula, and 4 hospital births. By the time I got pregnant with this baby, there was no doubt I was having a homebirth. The idea of going back to the hospital to have a baby was preposterous to me. The kind of risk involved seemed unbelievably high.

I hired the midwife who was present at the two homebirths I attended. She was very hands-off at those births and I was extremely impressed by her. I knew there was no other attendant I could feel at ease with. I told her that I’d be calling her late in labor, and that I’d rather her not make it on time than get there too early and risk “performance anxiety” slowing my labor. As the pregnancy went on, I realized that deep down, I didn’t expect to call her at all.

In my first 20 weeks, I had two prenatal visits. I had no blood work, no gestational diabetes test, no genetic screening, no ultrasounds, not even listening to the baby with a Doppler (which exposes the baby to ultrasound). After 20 weeks I was able to find the heartbeat myself with a fetoscope. I would not be having a group B strep test, checking my fluid levels with ultrasound, fretting about the baby’s size. I was just enjoying my pregnancy and it was truly wonderful.

Unassisted Birth: My Psychological & Emotional Journey

When I was late in my pregnancy with Maddie, around 37 weeks I believe, the midwife said that they liked to induce at 41 weeks. This was totally unacceptable to me. I don’t believe in evicting babies before they’re ready based on a date that should really be +/- at least 2 weeks. The risks associated with induction were beyond what I was willing to accept without a true medical reason. Needless to say, I started to feel a lot of stress over this impending fight, were I to go past 41 weeks (I actually went to 41 weeks, 4 days). My precious husband said, “Don’t worry about it-if they try to force an induction we’ll just stay home and do it ourselves.”

And there, the idea of unassisted homebirth was born. It’s interesting to me that so many women who want homebirths-assisted or unassisted-are thwarted by scared spouses, and the whole idea of unassisted birth came through my husband. Staying home without a midwife had never even occurred to me. But suddenly it became our back up plan, and I started to think about how great an experience it would be.

In the end, the midwives didn’t pressure me into an induction and I stuck with my hospital plan. When Maddie was just a baby, I got a copy of Unassisted Childbirth by Laura Shanley from the library. It was so fascinating. Though she seemed pretty “out there” to me, her way of giving birth felt very right (I later read The Power of Pleasurable Childbirth by Laurie Morgan, which was more up my alley).

Around 18 weeks I realized I wasn’t going to call the midwife, and knew I needed to talk to her. I gave myself a couple of weeks to think it over, then called her around 20 weeks. She was very supportive of my decision, willing to be there for me if I needed her. She is really awesome.

I continued my pregnancy with no problems, and no stress. Once I decided officially on an unassisted birth, it’s like a weight was lifted from my shoulders. I knew it was right for me. I told very few people, because I didn’t want to deal with negativity, and I also didn’t want to cause unnecessary stress for my family. Most people in our culture don’t really believe birth is safe, and I didn’t want people worrying about the baby and me. I wasn’t worried-why should they be?

The Birth of Grace Alexandra

I’d been having contractions for weeks, real ones as well as Braxton-Hicks. On the night of September 9, I tried to go to bed around 9. Contractions were 15-20 minutes apart, and I wanted to sleep between them. Unfortunately they were really strong, and I’d wake up right at the peak and unable to stay on top of them. Around 10:30 I tried propping myself up in bed because lying down was making them worse, but even with that the waking up at the peak was too much. Around 11:15 I went out in the living room with Chad. We put in a Friends DVD and hung out for about 45 minutes. As soon as I was in the living room, contractions jumped to 5-7 minutes apart.

Around midnight I really wanted to get in the birth pool, but was thinking it was really too early. I decided I didn’t care-the water was calling me. Chad tried to convince me just to take a bath in the tub first, to see if it really was labor this time. I said no. I knew this was it. He filled the tub and I got in. It was heavenly!

We put Friends on the computer and we actually watched it right up until transition. The water got my contractions closer together, not further apart. They were 3-4 minutes apart almost as soon as I got in, then 2-3 minutes. The DVD player shut down and I told Chad to leave it off. Transition was intense and painful but less confusing and scary than it was with Maddie, by far. I never felt out of it or confused like I did with her birth. Soon it felt better to bear down than to relax, and Chad thought I still hadn’t gone through transition but I was already pushing! He was blown away to realize how quickly things were going-he’d hardly had to do any work yet.

My water hadn’t broken yet, after quite a few pushing contractions, but I could feel her head right there. I allowed the overwhelming urge to take over at first, then forced myself to breathe through and slow down, with Chad’s help. I felt her head trying to come out but the bag of waters was still there. I thought, I wonder if my short, bitten nail could break the thing. I touched it, barely, and it popped. Then I could feel hair and that was all the encouragement I needed. I wish I could describe what the rest of the birth was like but I don’t really have the words. To know that we were doing this, totally our way and that it was going so quickly and smoothly, was just really amazing.

Chad couldn’t believe how far along I was already. He thought we’d have hours left. I pushed, gently, through crowning, which took several contractions. I did my own perineal support and could tell exactly where I needed to put pressure to keep from tearing. Crowning was intense but so cool! I could feel the baby trying to help me, pushing with her feet and trying to get out too. Her head and body came out in one contraction, and Chad said “Reach down!” I caught her myself, and pulled her up to me. The cord was around her neck but she was already crying and breathing just fine. I unwound it, and she nursed within about 3 minutes. It was so incredible!

I thought the whole pregnancy that I was having a boy, so it was a little surprising to find out she was a girl! But I knew before she was even out-I changed from “he” to “she” unconsciously-I remember saying to Chad, “The cord is around her neck.”

The water was a little cool so we got out pretty soon. I sat down on some towels on the floor, and plop! Out came the placenta. That was easy! I have bled less than I did with Maddie and am much less sore. I didn’t tear, except for a little skidmark I can’t even see (but can feel when I use the bathroom). She was born, we think, at 3:23 am, after just about 4 hours of active labor. We didn’t check the time right away but that’s pretty close. We called all the people who wanted late-night calls, and Chad’s mom came over for a little while to meet her. She went home and we went to bed for a couple of hours. It was so nice to be finished with birthing, take a shower in my own shower, then cuddle up in our own bed. Maddie slept through the whole thing, and this morning she was SO excited to meet her little sister!

We had lots of visitors our first day with her, and that was nice too-no cooking and everybody brought me stuff! We weighed her today, and she’s 8 pounds, 1 ounce. We also finally came up with her name, Grace Alexandra.

Having just Chad and me present for the birth is the best thing we’ve ever done. I wasn’t at all afraid-I just knew everything was fine. We were the only people there when she was conceived, and it felt absolutely 100% right that we were the only people there when she was born. I was able to listen to my body completely, without anyone to depend on but myself and Chad. Chad was wonderful-he helped me remember not to push too hard, and he was my anchor during transition and pushing both physically and emotionally. Her birth was intense, sometimes painful, very hard work…but definitely one of the most incredible things I’ve ever experienced.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Preparation for childbirth

Well, you probably know I'm a Bradley Method natural childbirth teacher. I like Bradley a lot, but I teach it every week, sometimes 2 or 3 times a week, and I wanted to try something different this time. I ordered the Hypnobabies home study course and have been using the self-hypnosis CDs for a couple of weeks now. I'm just starting to get into it consistently and so far it's really cool.

I expect this birth to be easier than my first for many reasons. The biggest is that I'll be at home, where I'm most comfortable. It's also my 2nd baby, and those are supposed to be easier. So I won't really be able to compare Hypnobabies and Bradley with any kind of scientific precision. But it will be interesting either way :)

Nursing update, and response to comment

At 22.5 months or so, Maddie's nursing about 3 times a day most days. Yesterday, she didn't nurse at all. I've been working on weaning her slowly (obviously) and it has been trauma-free so far.

There's a comment about nursing in the comments section and I'm sure Chad's cousin Larry isn't the only one thinking that this seems like a long time to nurse, so I wanted to respond.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for 6-8 months, then nursing for *at least* a year, and as long as is mutually desireable. The World Health Organization recommends nursing for at least 2 years. In other countries, this is considered normal and healthy. In our country, only 14% of babies are nursed for 6 months. The health benefits for babies AND toddlers of nursing are overwhelming. It's no wonder with such miserable breastfeeding rates that our country, though the richest in the world, is one of the sickest in the developed world. Breastfeeding doesn't just benefit babies-it also benefits mothers, with reductions in many types of cancers, diabetes, osteoperosis, etc. The longer a mother breastfeeds, the greater the benefits.

So by American standards I may be odd, but my daughter's extremely healthy. She's never sick, and I have greatly reduced my risk of breast cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, cervical cancer, diabetes, and osteoperosis later in life. I have reduced her chances of diabetes and all types of cancer. I've provided her with an optimal immune system. I've helped her jaw and facial development, and saved her from all types of stomach upsets.

For more information on the bazillion benefits of breastfeeding, here's a great site:

20-week update

Apparently I'm not the best about updating my blog!

My first prenatal (awhile ago) went well. Prenatals with a homebirth midwife are so different from even hospital-based midwives. it's like another universe from OB appointments. I've had (and will have) no pelvic/vaginal exams, and I haven't had to wear a paper gown ;) My first prenatal was at a mutual friend's house, and very laid back. I've decided not to expose the baby to any ultrasound, and since I was only about 15 weeks, the midwife wasn't able to find the heartbeat with a fetascope yet (usually around 20-22 weeks).

I started feeling a lot more movement in the past couple of weeks. This morning I was able to hear the baby's heartbeat for the first time (I bought a fetascope on Ebay). It's very different from the doppler, which is all loud and magnified. It's almost like you feel the heartbeat in your ears, not really HEAR it. It's really cool.

I'm sort of at a loss for names. I was leaning towards John Benjamin for a boy but now it just doesn't feel right. Now out of nowhere I keep thinking about Ethan, a name I never really thought about before. And the girl names are totally eluding us. Oh well!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

About 15 weeks-first prenatal coming up

Well, I'm 15 weeks now and feeling much better than the first 10 or so. I've got Maddie down to nursing only 2-3 times per day, which is great. I'm starting to have hope that she'll be weaned by the time the baby is born.

I'm having my first prenatal tomorrow afternoon. I'll be presenting my "don't touch anything" birth plan, which I think will go over fine. I'll see if I can find a way to post it here in case anyone would like to see my idea of an ideal birth.

This pregnancy I'm craving salty foods more than sweet foods, which just give me a headache. And I'm not really wanting spicy foods either, which is funny since I usually love spicy food. I think it's a boy this time; I guess we'll know in about 5.5 months :)

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Update: just over 9 weeks now

For the past few weeks I've been too tired to do anything, including update this thing. I'm finally starting to get some energy again. I met with the midwife a few weeks ago and made it official. I'll have my first prenatal around 12 weeks. I'm doing a modified prenatal schedule, because I think the standard one is a little ridiculous.

I have two more births to attend before I call it quits for awhile, one due any day and one in mid-March. I'm glad the first mom didn't go early, because I was so exhausted. Now I feel like I can handle it :)

Went to the thrift shop today in search of maternity clothes but didn't find anything good. I should have my real estate license by this time next week and will have to start working. Very few of my clothes fit me, which is funny since last time I wasn't in maternity clothes until I was 6 months along.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Nursing while pregnant

Madie is 19 months old today, and is still nursing frequently. No signs of weaning anytime soon. I was really dreading this, because my breasts were SO sore first trimester when I was pregnant with her. Interestingly enough, nursing seems to prevent the soreness. This has been a wonderful discovery :)

Because of changes in mother's milk during pregnancy she may end up weaning partway through the pregnancy, but I really doubt she will. So it looks like I'll get that pretty tandem nursing picture after all. Of course, then I'll be nursing two, so maybe once I get the picture I'll be sick of it...

Plans for my pregnancy and birth

It's so nice to start a pregnancy knowing so much more. I spent the first two months of my first pregnancy exhausted and queasy. I'm following the Brewer diet ( from the start this time (I learned about it around 4 months gestation with Maddie) and the difference is astounding! I'm still getting tired earlier, but have had almost no queasiness. If I feel a little icky, I eat something high in protein and feel a hundred times better right away.

I was pretty sure before I ever got pregnant which midwife I wanted to hire for my birth. I interviewed one other midwife I really liked a lot, but she just lives too far away. The other day I talked to Terri, the midwife I plan on hiring. I've attended two births with her now, and seen her in action. She is very hands-off, which is what I want. We'll be getting together in a couple of weeks to discuss the specifics.

This pregnancy, as long as things progress normally, I will never see an OB or a CNM. Terri is a lay midwife. I don't plan on having blood tests, gestational diabetes tests, group B strep tests, ultrasounds. I don't plan on checking my weight, checking my urine, checking my blood pressure obsessively. If something is wrong, we'll know, and change our plans accordingly. It takes all the stress away from pregnancy to know that I won't have to wait for an hour at a doctor's office, submit to tests I don't want, fend off inductions and cesareans, etc.

I'm so excited about having this baby in the comfort of my own home, with a midwife I know I can trust not to give me drugs I don't need "for my own good" and who will let me truly give birth the way I want to. I feel much safer already than I ever did during my pregnancy with Maddie, when we considered staying home and having her by ourselves because the midwife mentioned inducing at 41 weeks.

Anyway...those are my plans, so far. I'm using HypBirth ( as a supplement to everything I've learned through the Bradley Method. Getting a chance to practice with a toddler running around is my primary challenge.

Changing his mind, the discovery, and more

I started bugging Chad about having another baby probably in October. My goal was to be pregnant by Christmas, so we could tell our families on Christmas morning. He said NO WAY, NO MORE BABIES! I bugged him and bugged him about it. Finally I gave up for the time being, and being a man, he immediately changed his mind. I'll have to remember that for next time.

Conception was around December 12 or 13. I wasn't charting but am pretty good at prediction ovulation, so it was at least close to then. For the first week or so, I really thought I was pregnant, just like with Maddie. I convinced myself then that I wasn't, so I wouldn't be too disappointed. I decided to wait until Christmas morning to take the test.

I got up at 5 am on Christmas and took a First Response test: positive! I realized when I saw the 2nd pink line that I had known it would be positive. I would've been very surprised and disappointed to see a negative. We wrote a letter from Maddie to Chad's parents, sister, and her fiance, and went over to their house. I called my family (except my dad, whom I wanted to tell in person since I thought I'd be seeing him soon, but I ended up telling him on the phone the next day anyway).