MAYD to Birth: At Your Doorstep

Promoting gentle, empowering mother journies…

Snowflake Therapy

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Imagine!  I’m just not in a birthy place these days.  I’m hanging on by a thread, actually.  I have a full time job, four young children, a husband who’s working two jobs, and have been sick for over a month!  So, reproduction . . . and all that involves is on the back burner . . . the very far back burner of a very large hot untouchable stove . . .

I am a ball of stress, so I’m thankful for a few moments of deconstress (LoL!) time.  I’m just about as addicted to Pinterest as I am to Facebook.  So, I’ve been pinning all sorts of things.  Here’s a link to my HBA2C board, for instance.  The holidays make me feel very crafty, but of course, I’m having to prioritize my crafts.  That means putting away the more complicated projects, and focusing on a few that give me a lot of bang for the time buck.  My oldest daughter and I are enjoying making snowflakes today.  Great stress buster, actually!  You can HARDLY screw these up.

Here are a few links to get you started:

Here’s How About Orange’s 8-point flake:

And here’s my simplified “take” on it:

To do this I followed Bon Temps’s folding instructions and eye-balled Orange’s template.  Really, it’s not that hard to do, and my 6 year old is having fun making her own snowflakes her own way! ;)   And my 4 month old is just hanging out watching Mommy and Big Sis.  (She’s such a love!!)

Blessings this holiday season!!

Happy Holidays from Labortrials

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Acupressure to Induce Labor | Natural Labor Induction

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Acupressure to Induce Labor – Learn how to use this method of natural labor induction safely

Charlotte’s Home Birth Story

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Charlie came two weeks “late.” And five weeks after I had my first major set of contractions. The summer just dragged on and on, while our hopes of a late-June baby turned into hopes of a July 4th baby, and then into hopes of a baby before summer’s end. I felt like I might just be pregnant forever, and got to the point of dreading the next batch of contractions because I knew it most likely wouldn’t bring a baby. Although I tried a couple natural ways to bring the baby, and walked every day, David and I decided to just let this third baby come in her own time, rather than in our time. We just enjoyed our last moments as a family of four and waited.


Finally, one morning I woke up around 3am with strong contractions. They were inconsistent, but strong enough to make me uncomfortable. By 5am I couldn’t sleep through them, so got up and read on the couch. Every ten to fifteen minutes I’d have another, but they didn’t get stronger or closer together. After several hours I called Marlene and she said that I should try to sleep and eat a little. She also suggested that I go see Jessica and have her do some labor-inducing acupressure (not acupuncture… needles and I don’t get along!) and massage.

I called my mom and she came to pick up Natalie and Felicity so I could get some rest. Then Jessica called and offered to come by and work on some labor pressure points for me. She came soon after and massaged my ankles, hands and lower back. It felt incredible, and I kept having those steady contractions, even with the distraction of talking and laughing with her. Every time one came I was surprised because I was certain they’d peter off and I’d never get to meet my baby!

Around 1pm, I suddenly got my appetite back and had a craving for pizza. So I ordered one and ate the entire thing. At that point my contractions started spacing out, though they stayed strong, so I called Marlene and informed her that I was going to take a nap, and I wasn’t sure if I’d be seeing her that night. I lay down and dozed for a little while. Around 3:20pm I suddenly wakened with a double batch of serious surges that I couldn’t relax through, even while breathing deeply. So I got up and went to the bathroom. I had a desperate desire to not be alone anymore so I texted David and asked him to come home sometime soon.

Should I leave work at 3:30 or 4? came his reply.

While he wrote that I had an off-the-chart surge and wrote back

Come home



He was home in ten minutes.

I went out into the kitchen and called Marlene. She didn’t answer so I left a desperate-sounding, probably nearly-incoherent message. I started worrying that she wouldn’t get the message, and I needed her with me, darn it! As soon as David got home I demanded that he call her so he did and thankfully she was just next-door, so arrived with everything by 4pm.

As soon as David got home I stopped my anxious pacing and was able to relax better. I knelt down in front of the couch and rested my upper body against it. David walked around, putting blankets over windows and lighting candles. Marlene came in with her comforting presence and quietly set up, and Jessica arrived not much later. I didn’t feel the need for Marlene to check me, because I knew this baby was finally on the way. I did ask her if she thought I was in labor and after watching me breathe through a surge she chuckled that she had no doubt.

My first two births had a sense of a surreal dream to them. I lost track of time frequently, and patches of what happened are completely lost to my memory. This birth, however, was different. I felt clearheaded and with it the entire time. Between contractions David and I discussed names. We tossed out the ones originally on our list for both boys and girls, and came up with brand new ones. Marlene and Jessica just kind of watched and stayed a bit out of the way; I could hear them talking quietly once in a while. Each contraction was strong, and I moaned through them. Marlene reminded me to breathe deeply and asked if it would help to move around. No, I can’t relax my muscles if I’m moving. So I stayed in the one position. I heard Marlene murmur to Jessica that I was either at the very beginning of labor or at the very end.

Suddenly I started crying. I gasped to David, I can’t do this. I got scared and thought that this has to be the beginning of labor and I knew I couldn’t do it all night! My emotions were completely unmanageable. I tried to control myself, but kept crying and felt totally trapped and alone. Marlene reminded me feelings like those mean that the baby is coming soon. My logical part knew that she was right, but that side was completely taken over by the illogical, emotional hormone surge of transitional labor.

Right after that I started pushing a little bit with each surge; it felt right to do so, though it wasn’t an overwhelming urge yet.

You’re pushing, aren’t you? Marlene said, in more of a statement than a question.



She and Jessica immediately finished setting up, and got the birth stool ready close behind me in case I wanted it.

I stayed there at the couch a little while longer, then asked for the birth stool because my legs got tired of half squatting, half kneeling. Everyone helped me up, and I got comfortable on the stool. I asked Jessica for pressure on my lower back, and it felt good to have the tension there with each contraction. Marlene had the warm compresses on my perineum, and I could feel the baby move down.

Everything felt right. I felt like I was in the exact position my body needed to be in and I was completely comfortable with the three people there. There was no insecure feeling about it still being daylight. Our little basement apartment felt secure and homey, and I was surrounded by people I trusted and who trusted in my ability to give birth in the best way for my body and my baby. David sat close and encouraged me, but barely touched me at all. It was almost like he didn’t want to disturb me while I was tuned in to my body. Or maybe he just didn’t know how to help.

Marlene gently reminded me that I had the option to catch the baby if I wanted to, and I nodded. Yes! I want to! I moved my hand down and felt the bag of waters bulging over the baby’s head. Marlene commented that my water hadn’t broken, and the bag was slowing me up. She said I could push against it with my finger each time I pushed the baby down to try to break it. I did, and it finally broke and the baby’s head pushed out. I felt hair and a tiny little face. Marlene told me to pause for a moment, and she quickly un-looped the cord from around the baby’s neck. Later she told me she wanted me to be able to bring my baby straight to my chest at the moment of birth instead of having to wait for her to untangle us.

Okay, she said, now you can push.

I did, and suddenly that little baby was cradled against my chest. I honestly have no idea of the mechanics of how I brought that squirmy, wet little baby from birth to chest; it’s as though instinct took over and I just did it without thinking at all. I started laughing and crying and saying you’re so beautiful! over and over.

David jumped up and started pacing, saying That was amazing. Oh my gosh that was crazy! What do we have? Is it a boy or a girl? Holy cow that was incredible!

I tried to look a couple times, then finally said we have a girl! And David got even more animated in his pacing, saying Another girl! Holy cow I can’t believe it! Oh she’s so beautiful; Babe you were awesome! I can’t believe it!

Our baby was crying, kind of a sputtering cry because she had a little fluid in her lungs from birth. She kept coughing and cleaned her lungs out herself. Marlene didn’t suction, just checked our new daughter while I held her, and none of the four of us could believe how small she looked. I had been convinced that I was going to have an eight-pounder at the very smallest, because of how late she was and how huge my belly got. We laughed that it was a good thing she didn’t come five weeks earlier! She knew what she was doing by staying in there so long!

I was helped to the plastic-covered couch, so sat there holding our baby and watching David, who could not sit still. I had started calling the baby Charlie right away, because it seemed to fit her and that was the name David had brought up during labor. After possibly-Charlie has suckled a little and the afterbirth was born, I went to sit in a warm bath for a few minutes alone in peace while Marlene and Jessica did all the weighing and testing and David got to hold his daughter for the first time.

While sitting there I heard them all start laughing and exclaiming, you have to tell Beth! Jessica came in and said that our tiny-looking baby was 7 lbs 12 oz, which is big for a high-elevation baby! Marlene and Jessica stayed for a little while longer, and we all had some fresh fruit David cut up for us. Then they left, and we snuggled with our new little baby daughter. After much debate, we decided that we shouldn’t just name her Charlie, but that it should be a nickname, and her official name on the birth certificate should be more traditional. Therefore,



Charlotte Jane was born Tuesday, July 12, straight into her momma’s hands. She had dark hair, chubby cheeks, and dark brown eyes.





To check out Charlotte’s older sister’s birth stories:

Natalie’s Hospital Birth Story

Felicity”s Home Birth Story

Early Labour

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Early labour is characterized by many signs and symptoms. There are several key points to remember in this stage of labor, including…

Unassisted Childbirth on the Jenny Hatch Show

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I so enjoyed being on the Jenny Hatch Show last week with my friend Lynn Griesemer, author of Unassisted Homebirth: An Act of Love! In addition to speaking about unassisted childbirth, we also talked about the current state of birth, Ricki Lake’s film The Business of Being Born, and the updated version of my book, [...]

Guest Post – Sexual Abuse and Parenting

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With everything that has happened with Penn State in the last few days, this post is needed.  This post is important, it is necessary, not only to those that are survivors of sexual abuse, but to people and parents that need to know the other side.  I received this from Rachelle, and please do be [...]

Reduced productivity, I wish

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For some unknown reason I had imagined that as the years passed I would find myself myself slowing down and having more ‘me’ time. I don’t know where I got that idea from but I was really way off the mark, my life now is full of commitments. When I increased my work hours I knew that my life was going to need to be strictly organised and that I would need to be religious in using a planner to ensure that all my duties slotted into place. What I hadn’t allowed for was Hubby doing his back in so badly that he couldn’t help out when the going got tough, in fact he became yet another commitment. Anyway, so what with juggling 2 jobs; 1 incapacitated husband; household tasks; gardening and 7 grandchildren I have found little time to blog.

Today, today has been declared an ‘I have no intention of doing anything that I don’t want to do’ day. Yes, I will be working on 2 databases but that is my choice, sort of, because if I don’t get on with them I will look a right idiot on Monday when I have to present the results of an audit. They are work but there is not enough time to do them during work hours and staying late at work would not help with the production of these beasties because, if you are seen then people feel they have to interupt you, plus it prompts them to dump more c**p at your door. Strange mentality in the NHS, perhaps everywhere, I don’t know. If I noticed someone having to work late, and over their hours, to complete a job then I would acknowledge that they had too much work. I may not be able to substantially reduce it, but I would definitely not go giving them more to do, where I work the opposite appears to be the case.

Work. The cut-backs continue, the unhappiness of the midwives and the women increases. We have just passed through a huge baby influx and it appears we should be back to normal levels until December when there is another little blip. May/June next year are bumper months which was unfortunate as the booking of these women co-incided with the bumper crop of newborns, making a double whammy for community midwives. I’ve had a couple of exciting call-outs requiring me to accompany women on blue-light transfers. In both cases the women were not in danger but the transfers were in the rush hour so 2′s and blues were used to reduce delay. One woman had rocked up at the wrong place in quite advanced labour and had received no antenatal care at all, was newly arrived from an African country and spoke no English. The other had turned up at a clinic, having taken her own discharge from hospital 2 days previously, and her blood pressure was through the roof. With the first lady I saw very little of the journey as halfway to the obstetric unit she started to make the sounds you associate with pushing so I was kneeling on the floor next to her trying to convince her with body language that she should breathe, breathe. I was also sliding up and down the ambulance as it braked for which I bore the bruises for quite some time, but which did make her laugh between contractions. As I was safely strapped in with the second transfer I had a wonderful view of the ‘Moses’ effect i.e two streams of traffic parting to allow the ambulance through. I also witnessed how stupid some drivers are, one even trying to outrun the ambulance, the paramedic told me that is not unusual. Unbelievable!

Work, job number 2. The job is thought provoking and challenging, however my dealings with HR and payroll have been even more thought-proking and challenging. After 3 months of being relaxed about not being paid, no contract etc. I lost my calm, laid back demenour and went for the throat. I have recollections of uttering such blasphemies as ‘grievance’, ‘union’ and then the ultimate ‘I’m stressed’. It does seem to have worked in that I received lots of back pay 2 weeks ago, I eagerly await the 24th of this month. Who is behind this bungle? A totally US manager, even more US than my other manager, in fact so US that my community manager is now beginning to take on the mantle of the most amazing manager, ever.

Home. Well Hubby had to be carried off the golf course after resurrecting his old back problem. He was in agony and was unable to feel anything down one leg, from his buttock to his little toe. G.P? Anti-inflammatories, this was a phone-call trige because there were no appointments and it wasn’t considered urgent. 4 appointments later, when I dutifully waited outside, and 7 weeks later, I marched into the consulting room with my drop-footed, unable to walk properly husband and waited until the G.P had told my husband it ‘would take time’, and ‘at your age’ (58) whilst staring intently at his computer screen, not even shifting his gaze when husband demonstrated the extent of his ‘dead’ leg, then I waded in. ‘What’s the diagnosis then?’ Still not looking away from the screen the doc responded with ‘Well, it’s possibly the same as he had before’. ‘Sure of that are you? Are you not concerned that previously the symptoms were not as severe but that he did require surgery?’ Oh yes, then I had his attention. A withering look was sent in my direction. ’We could try physio, but it would possibly be a waste of time’. ‘It may well be a waste of time but now we are at the point where this is having a detremental effect on our lives. My husband has his own business and is unable to work. He can do nothing, not even pick up his grandchildren. So far you have done nothing, not even attempt a definitive diagnosis. I am thinking MRI to rule out a problem which, rather than resolve, could get worse.’ Over to the G.P, ‘Well the wait for an MRI is about 6 weeks and it may be better by then.’ I am surprised that he didn’t push the emergency button at that point because I erupted. A verbatum transcript is impossible, mainly because anger and indignation took over, but the essence was that if they hadn’t waited so ******long already he would now be having his MRI and physio and we would know what we were dealing with and, just because you are only just out of short trousers, don’t regard anyone who has grey hair as too old to spend money on. Now pension ages have been changed everyone else, except NICE and NHS choices, thinks we have at least 10 years of productivity ahead of us, so don’t dare write my husband off. Hubby now has his physio and MRI appointment.

The grandchildren are all well, and growing but of them are growing quite as quickly as grandchild number 8, who is currently nestled in DIL’s womb and scheduled to appear at the beginning of May. Yes, another one. See below for how the others have grown.


Well. My update is complete. My databases call. Firework night looms and Christmas lurks.