Sharing News Early

The rule is you wait until after the first trimester to share your pregnancy news. After 13 weeks, it is “safe to make the announcement” and accept the congratulations and well-wishes.

News Flash! There is no safe zone. Certainly, the majority of miscarriages take place in the first trimester, but that doesn’t mean that when you reach 13-weeks gestation that you magically enter into a promise that you get to complete your pregnancy and bring your baby home.

We lost James at 17 weeks. We lost him on the very same day that we went public with our pregnancy. We accepted congratulations and condolences, simultaneously. We were well past the first trimester—we should have been safe to share our news. My OB even made the statement, “We just don’t see many miscarriages this late,” as though trying to understand himself. And what about the parents who lose their babies at 24 or 30 weeks, or at birth? They should have been safe, too.

Pregnancy… birth… life… love… all come with risk. Losing James did not hurt more because people knew we were pregnant or because we had to tell them of our loss. It hurt because we lost our son. We lost a child we hoped, prayed and dreamed for.

Because people knew, we had support, understanding, and love, rather than grieving alone. My regrets with James center around the lateness in the celebration. I was 16 weeks before I took the first belly pic; 17 weeks before I told work. I was busy with Connie and other life duties… I wish I would have paused more often and reflected on my child during those 17 weeks I had with him.

So when we became pregnant again, I decided I didn’t want to wait for some false safety net to share our news. I wanted to exhibit my excitement and rejoice in pregnancy. I wanted those that cared about us to target prayers and positive thoughts on the life I was carrying, that it be strong and lively.  And I wanted our loved ones to celebrate with us.

At six and seven weeks we told family and close friends. At eight weeks our Christmas cards were hitting the mail which contained the news of a baby due to arrive in the summer. On Christmas day, one day shy of nine weeks, we experienced loss, disappointment, and heartache. Another miscarriage.

I could tell that some felt I shouldn’t have put it on our card, that I must regret doing so since we lost yet again with the reveal of our pregnancy. I shared my news ‘too early’.

Once again, having people know, especially over the holiday, was more of a blessing than a regret. I did not have to cover up my broken heart during family gatherings. I had empathy, and many needed hugs. As it was with James, I am glad for the support and that I don’t mourn alone. I’m glad that I made this life known–our baby was worth celebrating.2016-christmas-card_photo-collage



Thy Will Be Done

Life resumes without any hesitation. Certainly that is a good thing, but the slightest of a hesitation would be good too, to not feel like I am plowing ahead at full speed without him.

There is this pressure—most likely self-inflicted—to act as is if nothing happened. To move on, to be normal. To not bring others down with my sorrow, to not reopen my own wound.  Continue reading

Coming Home—Guilt & Fear

It’s been two weeks since we lost James and today, we finally got to bring him home. We opted to have him cremated. That only took a few days, but awaiting his urn and stone/marker took more time.  It was important for us to memorialize him. As we looked through the catalog of options I couldn’t help but realize how the decisions we were trying to make were unfair—young parents picking products for our dead baby. The traditional urns seemed like they should contain the remains of an elderly person, someone who had lived a full life. They did not look suitable for our son who entered and left this world before having a chance. Continue reading

Our Loss of James

Timing. Within hours of going public with our happy baby news we experienced the loss every parent fears. Many may wonder why I would share this or write about it, especially so soon.

I write. I enjoy it and it helps—a form of therapy if you will. I also write to recall our experience, to memorialize our child, to help—mostly me but perhaps others as well. This blog is our story and this is a chapter in that story. Continue reading

Miss Connie’s News

The best little girls get promoted to big sister!

In late February, Cody and I headed to the MOSES Organic Farming Conference. It was a two-night, two-day event away from Miss Connie. Our first night there, I wasn’t feeling well. The next day we got up to go to the conference center, I was feeling better. But once we got there I was burning up. In a crowded meeting room I assumed the heat of all those people elevated my body temp. I noticed my warm-blooded husband however in his hooded sweatshirt, completely zipped up. “Aren’t you hot? I’m boiling!” To which he responded, “You’re pregnant!” Continue reading

Our Birth Story

Monday, April 13

Contractions began at 2:37 a.m. I woke to go to the bathroom and after returning to bed felt a “tightening.” I wondered if this was a contraction… and decided to record the time just in case. Several minutes later, another. Is this real, is this our birth day? Contractions continued throughout the evening. As they were not overly intense, I tried to rest between them and noted the time when they came. Sleep was attempted but not successfully attained. Cody and I both put messages into work letting them know we would not be in. Around 10 am the contractions weakened and became more sporadic. They continued throughout the day, but did not hinder daily actions. I put in a few hours of work and went for a walk with my mama before heading to my 41 week appointment with our midwife. After an exam, she confirmed I was 1 cm dilated and 100% effaced. Our babe was also in a +1 station, very low in the pelvis. We headed home and prepared to get a good night’s rest knowing that the moment we would welcome our child was soon approaching.

Tuesday, April 14

I fell asleep around 10 pm and woke at 12:38 am to a contraction. Contractions came several minutes apart but felt stronger and more on purpose than those from the previous day. After about an hour I decided to get out of bed and walk around to encourage the contractions to come regularly. Cody sat with me throughout the early morning hours in our living room. Around 4 am I got into the shower and contractions were coming in waves every couple of minutes. We decided it was time to go. I called our photographer, Cody loaded the car, and we were on our way.

6:00 AM (ish)

We checked into the Reedsburg Area Medical Center’s Birth Center. It was important for us to labor at home as long as possible. I did not want to spend hours laboring at the hospital. I was hopeful that when they checked me, I would have made good progress at home. When the nurse informed me that I was 5 cm dilated, I was happy. We were half way there, and contractions were coming regularly and strong. The nurse filled the tub with water and my and baby’s vitals were wonderful. We’d soon be holding our baby!

The tub was a relief. The warm water felt good and “cushioned” me during contractions. Shortly after getting in, my friend/photographer arrived, then my mother.

15D-Pulvermacher066 copyMy focus was on Cody and the contractions. When I would think about my labor during pregnancy, my fear was that I would get scared, that I would tense up and not work with my body. Thinking back about my labor, I can happily say, I didn’t get scared of the contractions, I was in control of my labor, and was well supported by those around me. The contractions were doing the work, preparing my body to deliver our baby. At one point I left the tub to empty my bladder and sat on the toilet for a couple of contractions. After leaving the bathroom, and returning to the labor room, the song that came up on my iPod’s “pregnancy” playlist was Garth Brook’s Mom. I held on to Cody and rocked with him as this song threw me into emotion. The words hit home now more than ever, soon we’d be meeting our baby. Soon, this baby would be meeting their Mom. I wept, I sang. I rocked with my husband, The contractions continued in waves.

15D-Pulvermacher136I got back into the tub and between contractions rested. The playlist continued and I sang along with the songs. Focusing on the lyrics helped relax me and pass time between contractions. Rachel joked that I could sell the playlist. At moments, it almost seems choreographed with songs like Mom, Let Her Go, Somewhere Over the Rainbow, and a set of classics from Mozart. Apparently the music moved more than just me and our emotions were felt by all those in the room.

Our audience grew throughout my labor. Cody’s mom arrived. We also granted permission for two student nurses to observe. It was a kindness I wanted to extend based on my reading and research. Many in the OB field never get to 15D-Pulvermacher046witness natural child-birth. Who knows where these nurses will end up, perhaps in a facility that has high rates of intervention-lead births, rather than mother-lead births. I could allow them to see how it could be. Also in the room were my midwife and two nurses. 10 of us fit into that small space, but I was cushioned by the water, focusing only on Cody. It didn’t matter who was there. I never felt crowded or overwhelmed or exposed. And I think it was an experience for those present.

Between contractions, if I wasn’t resting, I was trying to maintain my humor. I asked my midwife at one point to just reach in and pull our baby out. I made conversation with my husband and watched the emotion on his face as he supported me the best he could. I listened to the conversations taking place in the room. I remember looking down and noticed my belly button was no longer stretched, it had returned, and there was a large gap from chest to baby bump. It was fun to witness the changes and realize how awesome our bodies are, how this incredible design of God’s works so perfectly.

Time to Push!

15D-Pulvermacher203At one point my contractions became something more. I recalled reading that your body will tell you when to push. It does! It did! I resisted however. I didn’t want to push if I wasn’t yet fully dilated. With the next contraction, my midwife checked me and pushed back the remaining rim of my cervix. I was given the green light to push on the next contraction. The urge was incredible. It literally lifted me from the tub. With a water birth, it’s important to stay under the water completely, and its also important for my midwife to be able to monitor progress and see everything so they had me turn sideways in the tub, this gave me more leverage to push against the sides. My mother was behind me, my husband and midwife in front. I was supported and I was on the verge of welcoming my child.

Contractions continued, and while they were intense, they were short. I pushed and roared (literally–the low noises escaping me were raw and animalistic) but once the contraction stopped, so did I. I relied on the contractions for strength. Despite the encouragement from those around me to keep pushing, I stopped once the contraction was over.

15D-Pulvermacher051During this entire time, following each contraction the nurse checked the baby’s heart rate with the doppler. In the back of my mind I feared hearing the words “the baby’s heart rate is dropping.” Those words never came. With each check of my babe, the heart rate boomed loud and steady for all to hear. It never once wavered, there was never any distress. The student nurse assisting us made a great statement that filled me with joy. “Listen to that strong heart beat. This baby loves their mama.”

We were so close. My babe was nearly crowning. As we got to this point, some fear did set in. With each push I felt my bottom stretching, knew I was about to tear, and as a result I timidly approached my next contractions. Out loud, in that room full of people, I prayed for strength. I talked to myself, reminding me, that I could do this, that only I could do this.

I knew I was going to tear. I knew I’d have to feel more pain that I had up to this point before it would be over. With the next contraction, I gave more of myself and pushed . My babe’s head emerged as I tore. And the contraction was over. There s/he was, so close to exiting. And we waited, waited for the next contraction, which took several minutes.

9:44 a.m.

15D-Pulvermacher245With the next and final contraction, I pushed our baby out. In a fluid motion, our baby entered the tub into our midwife’s hands. She immediately brought our child to my chest, into my arms. It was surreal. And the pain was gone. Replaced by awe and love and gratitude. I was holding our baby, our healthy, beautiful baby. A baby with a head full of dark hair and stormy blue eyes. A babe that let out a cry the moment it broke the water’s surface. My jaw dropped, the tears rolled, my heart swelled.

I looked at my husband. His look, his reaction was one I wanted to see and witness. Together he and I created this life, 15D-Pulvermacher268together we prepared for the arrival, and together we labored and anticipated. He was happy, proud, emotional, and relieved. He was in the moment with me. In that moment in time, the three of us were the only ones who existed.

My babe was in my arms facing toward me, still connected to the umbilical cord. We did not yet know the gender. My midwife asked if we were ready to find out. I held our babe for a moment longer and remember thinking to myself, “I don’t feel a penis!” I lowered our babe and revealed to the room that we had a daughter. I was so in love. She was absolutely perfect.

15D-Pulvermacher259I turned to Cody and asked him a question I had asked him many times before, “what are we going to do with a girl?” This was our inside joke. …we have decided we are going to raise her to be smart and hate boys!


Cody cut the cord then took our sweet angel to meet her grandmothers.


The staff helped me out of the tub and to the bed. This is when the second phase of labor began for me, though I can adamantly say, I’d take child-birth again and again over the aftermath of our daughter’s birth.

15D-Pulvermacher293In short, my uterus was done. It did its job, it expelled my little girl. But usually, afterwards, it is supposed to keep working, continue contracting to stop the bleeding and shrink down. Mine was tired. So the bleeding would not stop. Getting the bleeding under control was priority 1. A nurse approached me with a needle in her hand and was heading for my arm. I drew back and told her “no!” She looked at me with astonishment. My midwife said, “Lori, we have to. It’s pitocin, we need your uterus to contract.” I begrudgingly permitted and laid my head back thinking how ironic it was that I went through my full labor and birth without medication only to have it administered now. But fine, do what you have to do to me. My baby is out, she is here, and God willing nothing will enter her system.

15D-Pulvermacher318The nurse returned to insert an IV. She prepped my arm, warned me of the impending poke, and stuck me. She missed. Puzzled, she attempted again at a different location along my vein. Strike two. I was shocked. I have good veins, have never been missed. Turns out that the blood loss caused my veins to shrink/collapse making it pretty hard to get the IV in. After the botched attempt, the nurse returned with another needle, this time heading for the other arm.  I again protested, indicating that I already had a shot. My midwife popped up from between my legs and again pleaded to get the shot in me. I thought the IV was for fluids, but turns out the IV was attempted to hook me to a full bag of pitocin. Because they could not get the IV in, a second shot was administered. Guess I’d rather have the two small shots than a full bag dripping into my system.

The bleeding lightened and was under control. Now the focus turned to my tear. I wont’ go into the details on this, but it was a rough one. In most cases women tear to the back, I tore to the front, a “star-shaped” tear my midwife explained. An OB surgeon was brought in to do the repair. The process was awful and painful and two weeks later I am still working to get healed and be able to walk normally.

Connie Elizabeth

15D-Pulvermacher280For my baby girl, it was worth it. What ever had to happen to me is superficial and just a memory of the experience that ushered her into this world. Our sweet Connie Elizabeth arrived weighing 7 pounds, 12 ounces, 20.5 inches long. My mother’s name is Connie, she now has a namesake. Elizabeth is Cody’s maternal grandmother’s name, but we all know her as Betty. I love traditional names, and this is a great way for us to honor some wonderful women in our lives. According to “name meanings,” Connie means strong-willed or wise. Elizabeth means God is satisfaction/oath of God.

I’d say she has a good foundation.

Our labor at the RAMC Birth Center was documented by Rachel Manzke Photography. To have this documentation is nothing short of a gift. Reviewing the images reminds me of the moments and while I recall my experience vividly now, as time passes, the images and videos will provide me with recall and flood me with the emotions we shared that amazing day.

Thank you to the wonderful nursing staff at RAMC who took such wonderful care of us and enabled us to live out our birth plan — a natural water birth. Our baby girl came into this world, lively. She latched right away for feeding and remained alert for hours after birth. Again, it was surreal.

Until you become a mother, you can never truly appreciate the sacrifice other women have made for their families. You also can not comprehend the overwhelming love, joy and pride a new parent has and holds for their child. To my mother, and all the mothers, bravo! You are amazing.

This next chapter of our lives is just beginning. Our sweet angel is two weeks old today and I am already wishing for time to slow down. The cliché that time flies is so true…. she changes each day, growing, strengthening. Everyday she showers me with love and smiles. Every day I am awe of her amazing soul, bonded to mine.

15D-Pulvermacher457My sweet Connie Elizabeth, thank you for the powerful gift of being a mother. You’ll never comprehend how much you consume me or how deep my love for you goes. Not until you welcome your own babe. (Which is many, many, many years from now!)

And thank you, Cody. My constant rock and fan. I’m excited for our new adventures together. Our lil family. What a blessing!

our lil family

Due Date

Here we are, April 9, our “due date”. My opinion that the full moon last weekend would have an effect on labor proved false. Same goes for my sister’s prediction of April 5th and my mother’s prediction of April 6.

3D Belly View copy

As I’ve read and heard many others say, they should give you a “time frame” rather than a due date. Tell me my babe will arrive early to mid April, rather than April 9th. As that date draws nearer, you begin to consider that any moment could be the moment. You question every cramp or ache or strain. Each night you lay down, you wonder if you will wake in the middle of the night to the onset of labor. And every morning, my husband asks if he has to go to work…with no signs or indications of contractions, I send him out the door.

Up to this point, I have been in no hurry for babe to arrive before they were ready. I am thrilled we have carried to full term. But now that we are here, I am getting anxious to meet our babe. LoCo will choose their birth day, and when it arrives, it will be the most amazing and magical day we have ever experienced. I still am in no major discomfort and am not wishing this pregnancy over like many said I would be at this point.

20150409_114748_1I’ve joked that early on and throughout the pregnancy I prayed and hope for the strength of my body and asked for a full term pregnancy. We had concerns about the stamina of my cervix, and now it’s showing us just how strong it is! It’s holding well to keep our baby safe and each additional day we get gives our child greater development. The brain and lungs will continue to develop, strengthening and preparing Baby LoCo for life outside the womb.

However, once you reach your due date, the clock starts. Care givers and facilities do not want to see you go beyond 42 weeks. So with that in mind, during my visit on Tuesday they booked an induction date for April 20. I am positive we won’t need it, and should it approach with no labor, I’ll reschedule for the 24th, as we are not at 42 weeks until April 23rd! Induction is not in our birth plan and I am confident our babe will come exactly when they are supposed to–on their own.

Even with the anticipation of our labor day, I continue to remind myself to relish in the moments remaining that it’s just Cody and I. He’s a wonderful husband and we have a lot of fun together. I know that will continue when we are officially parents and he is going to be an amazing father. But our energy and focus will adjust with parenthood. Should today be our last day, or this our last week, or the upcoming weekend the last weekend as a two-some, I’ll be grateful for the time we took for just us.

This week:

  • 20150409_114406_1Too bad about our Badgers…. but it was a great season and a great team. Surely they made us all very proud of our WI sports program.
  • Babe “dropped.” I noticed a drop in the belly position on Saturday and its a bit more profound now.
  • Other than that, no “signs.” No contractions, cramps, etc. And still sporting my wedding rings! Though, finding shirts in my closet long enough to cover the belly is harder these days. Luckily I work from home and my belly is exposed most hours of the day.
  • Babe is head down. Legs are still off to my right side giving me jabs to the love handle and lower rib.
  • Movements continue to feel big as Babe runs out of space in there. The wave machine look of my belly still amazes me.
  • Heart rate was in the 120s again this week with spikes up to 150s during movements. Midwife says that is good indication that my placenta is in good shape! Woo hoo for a healthy placenta!
  • Waking consistently in the middle of the night for a restroom break. Surely a result of the babe’s low position, but also my attempt to get more water in my system each day. Hydration is very important and I am working to ensure good hydration for labor by getting 80 ounces of water in every day. Will likely need to up that after babe arrives and I begin breastfeeding.
  • Nursery is ready, hospital bag is packed, car seat is in the vehicle.
  • Names finalized…? Some days I think so, and other days I think it’s still in the air. I thought we had them decided, but Cody keeps adding to the mix. ……..any guesses? 🙂
38 40 Week Comparision copy

Two weeks growth. Nora’s paws made it in the photo both weeks. 🙂


39 Week Musings

DW4A3791_1Welcome April, our birth month! Nevermind my husband’s attempt at an April Fool’s joke yesterday… we made it to 39 weeks and are in waiting. My apologies to those who were fooled.

A mix of feelings this week as our big day approaches. Part of me is ready to meet our babe, to learn if we are parents to a son or a daughter, to see what they look like, and to hold them.

Another part of me wants to remain pregnant. I really l-o-v-e my belly. I’m in awe of it and admire it in the mirror daily. It represents every blessing that has come my way in life; every path that lead me to where I am today, a partnership with my dear Cody and our journey together to become parents. I love the movements, especially when they tickle me. I love that my babe is safe and healthy inside me. I love the experience of it all. I’ll miss the belly and movements. I’ll miss the ease of being a parent to only 4-legged creatures. I’ll miss just me and Cody. This is a life-changing event.

And yet another part of me now begins to focus on our impending labor and birth of our child. I’ll admit, a small part of me is a wee bit scared. Not completely, not yet. I fear I will become more scared, and that fear is my enemy. I won’t be relying on medications to aid in my labor or to relieve me of feeling every raw moment of child-birth. I’m going to experience it fully. Am I ready?

I wrote an entire post about my choice to birth naturally, if you are interested, you can read it here:

DW4A3787_1I know I’ll be just fine. Yes, it will be a pain like no other, but it will also be a joy and reward like no other.

So as our day draws nearer, I ponder when it will be the day. How will labor start? Waking in the middle of the night, during a hike, or as I work? It’s fun to consider this.

I love our babe so much already, yet I know this is a fraction of what my heart is capable of, just an ounce of the flood of emotions that will take me over when I lay eyes on them and hold them for the first time.  Couple that with my excitement to see Cody’s face as he officially becomes a father, as we connect in awe and humble amazement during those initial moments following birth and realize the miracle we have created. How insignificant everything else was before that moment. Our excitement now does not compare to that which we will feel as we relish in our brand new babe and begin making calls (yes, family, you won’t learn of the arrival of our babe via Facebook!) to share our happy news. I look forward to the expansion of my heart, my soul, and my capacity for love, gratitude, and amazement.


Nora is excited to have a babe of her own

39 Week Summary

Due Date: April 9 (a.k.a. NEXT WEEK! or sooner…. or longer….time will tell)

Weight Gain: 29 lbs

Activity: Restrictions are off and resuming normal activity and on-purpose exercise. Hiking daily through the fields with the pups.

Pregnancy “Side-effects”: 

  • Yes to breakouts, minor morning sickness weeks 5 – 9, and frequent trips to the restroom
  • No to everything else: stretch marks, varicose veins, swelling, Braxton Hicks, hypertension, constipation, heartburn, leg cramps, nose bleeds….. etc.
  • And to my surprise, I have not missed or craved beer or wine during this pregnancy, though I have given into other cravings: PB&J sandwhiches, french toast, and chocolate

Feeling: Great! Blood pressure and heart rate are low. I don’t feel uncomfortable or miserable as some warned me I would at this point in my pregnancy. Sure…the lower ligaments in my hips/pelvis feel weaker, the babe continues to push high into my ribs (only on the right side), and I am tired and ready for bed by 9pm. But I am sleeping well, and up and out of bed before my husband each morning. 🙂 I’m grateful for a wonderful pregnancy and that we arrived at 39 weeks without complication.

DW4A3776_1Baby: According to the “baby as a fruit” comparison, baby is the size of a mini watermelon. S/he is positioned low in pelvis. Heart rate has been in the 130s the past few weeks, but at Tuesday’s appointment, was in the 120s. Movements continue to be frequent but became stronger this week. They don’t hurt, but its clear s/he is lobbying for space in there and body parts are more pronounced with the movements, especially the butt, legs and feet.

This Week: 

  • Got a new toy–a Fitbit. It’s fun tracking my steps and elevation during my hikes. Will also help to get me back on track after I heal up a bit.
  • Garden seeds have been planted/started (many thanks to my wonderful mother-in-law). Horticulture season is upon us!
  • Massage and chiropractic treatments! Typically these alternate weeks, but with time becoming short, I have one of each this week.
  • Cody “frost-seeded” the hay fields and pastures. This will add clover to our field, enhancing forage for our herd.
  • Out every day for walks and hikes—loving the weather!

Bear Vale Dreaming Tree 39 Weeks Pregnant–Out for a Hike




Why I Am Choosing a Natural Birth

As shared in blog post “38 Weeks,” we had to have some monitoring throughout the first two trimesters of our pregnancy and take precautions due to my LEEP procedure in 2003.

22 weeksThe monitoring was far more intervention than what I desired. I would have preferred to not have had to have the ultrasounds, but when pregnant for the first time, you want to know you are doing what is necessary and take precautions. Even with the concern and increased monitoring, I was planning a natural birth, one I had always envisioned for myself.

I have hesitated many times to post this and prior to publishing it, I made numerous edits. Let me start by saying that the opinions and decisions outlined below are mine. I firmly believe we all must do what is best for us. This is what is best for me, my babe, my family. It is supported by my husband. We each have our own way and our own desires, in pregnancy, and in life. If anything, this post only serves to share why I am choosing a natural birth and provide a journal entry in my pregnancy journey. And perhaps, I’d also like to encourage those who are pregnant or who will become pregnant to do your research and know your options, know your rights.

As news spread about our pregnancy, the topic of labor/birth would come up on occasion. It was hard for some to understand how we could stand not knowing the gender of the baby, when clearly we could be told and plan accordingly. It was even more difficult for some to understand why we planned to approach labor as we did.

When I would reveal that I was planning a natural birth, without medications, I received varying looks and comments. “Why would you want to be in pain if you don’t have to be?” “I had an epidural and I would do it again.” “That’s nice, but you don’t always have a choice.” “You don’t get a medal for going drug-free, everybody gets a baby.” I even had women try to convince me that I won’t be able to get through labor, that I might have all good intentions now, but once that pain hits, I’ll change my mind and beg for the drugs. So here are my “top ten reasons” for choosing a natural, drug-free birth experience.

  1. My heart, gut and mind tell me it is the best choice for me and for my baby.20wks1day
  2. I want to be present. I want to experience childbirth and be in the moment. I don’t want to be medicated, nauseous, disoriented, or in any way detract from the power of my body’s natural release of hormones when my baby enters this world and I lay eyes on him/her for the first time.
  3. My fear of drugs is greater than my fear of pain. In the rare occasions I have taken medications in the past, they have made me nauseous or loopy. And the idea of a needle in my spine? No thank you!
  4. I do not want a caesarean. Based on my opinion and the numerous resources I have read, intervention leads to intervention, medication to medication, and in so many cases (not all), result in c-section. Should an emergency situation arise and a c-section is required, I will be grateful for life-saving intervention, but not until after exhausting all natural options.
  5. The women that came before me. We are designed by God and women have birthed for centuries, long before doctors and medicines and hospitals. We are designed to give birth, our bodies are capable of it, and we shouldn’t fear it.
  6. I don’t want those drugs in my baby. If drugs enter me, they enter my child. Just as I want to be alert and in the moment, I want the same for my baby. I plan to breastfeed and want to give my baby the opportunity to nurse right after birth and not be hindered by lingering drugs in their system (which can take weeks for their tiny liver to process).
  7. I want to move around, try various positions, and work with gravity. I do not want to be hooked up to machines and straps or be limited to laying down. I want the option to try the tub or shower, birthing ball or stool, standing, kneeling…what ever feels the best and proves to work. If I am comfortable, I believe my labor will be allowed to progress efficiently.
  8. I want to eat and drink and nourish my body during this event. A marathon runner wouldn’t limit their hydration and energy inputs during a race, so why would I feel I could be deprived of energy during labor? Many women are limited to ice chips during labor. Ice chips!? To maintain my stamina during childbirth, I intend to drink water and juices and perhaps eat energy-rich snacks to provide my body with the fuel it needs. If my energy falls, I risk losing the steam needed to cross the finish line, resulting in intervention.
  9. I believe labor will be faster, more controlled, and easier without intervention and medication. Call me crazy.
  10. I believe I can. With preparedness and support from my birth team, most noted, my husband, I’ll make it through labor and relish in my accomplishment.

We have selected a hospital that supports these desires and our birth plan. We’ll find satisfaction and security in our opportunity to birth naturally, with the conveniences of modern technology–should it be needed. We have a midwife, and I have asked numerous questions of her and discussed my desires so we are on the same page. And I have written my birth plan out to share with hospital support staff members. This also ensures I do not have to answer unnecessary questions and lets our nursing team know my wishes so they can best support me.

My greatest fear is that my birth plan won’t play out as —-well —- as I planned. That said, I am going into this with an open mind and with positivity. I do not want intervention, but should it be necessary, our plan will adjust. I know I need to be flexible and realize that labor is unpredictable. But I also know that because I have been working to prepare and educate myself for labor, I have given us every advantage in living out our birth plan.

It’s amazing to me to consider that women will spend more time researching a cell phone plan, car, or piece of furniture before buying it than they will with their own pregnancy and labor. I’ve been hungry for information and knowledge on this subject since learning we were pregnant. My decision was founded on my personal beliefs and internal instincts. I then fueled it with a lot of reading! Books, blogs, Facebook groups, various articles, etc. Here’s a list of the books that I have read throughout my pregnancy. There is so much information out there, no matter your preference, and much of it is free or very affordable. Gain knowledge!

  • _L3A2702_1Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth
  • Ina May’s Birth Matters
  • Baby Designed by God (so much good info in this one!)
  • Birthing from Within: Guide to Childbirth Preparation
  • A Modern Woman’s Guide to a Natural Empowering Birth
  • Natural Birth for the Mainstream Mama: Practical Guide to Achieving a Drug-free Birth in a Hospital Setting
  • How to Raise a Healthy Child in Spite of your Doctor
  • Journey Into Motherhood: Inspirational Stories of Natural Birth
  • Baby Catcher: Chronicles of a Modern Midwife 
  • Pushed: The Painful Trust about Childbirth and Modern Maternity Care 
  • Your Pregnancy and Childbirth
  • Mayo Clinic Guide to Healthy Pregnancy
  • The Expectant Father
  • What to Expect When You are Expecting
I also watched the documentary The Business of Being Born and multiple “natural birth” YouTube videos. Other ways I am caring for my pregnancy and preparing for labor:
  • Regular chiropractic adjustments and massage therapy treatments
    • I truly feel this is important and has been a contributing factor in my feeling good throughout pregnancy and being in good alignment, allowing my baby to be in a low, head-down position. And by “massage therapy” I mean, therapy, not just a spa treatment. My treatments manipulate muscles and promote alignment and reduction on stressed muscles.
  • Increase my intake of pregnancy power foods; opting for organic options as much as possible
  • Relaxation techniques (hypnobirthing)
  • Taking key prenatal vitamins (iron, calcium, folic acid, magnesium, DHA, D, C, Zinc, B) daily
  • Raspberry Leaf Tea
  • Prayer, optimism, and excitement

I’m not looking to debate my position or argue the best approach, again this is my decision.

I would enjoy hearing your stories and tips. Some of the most powerful information I have read has been the real-life examples of other women who enjoyed natural births.

38 Weeks — Term!

38 Weeks! We’ve arrived at “term!” It’s exciting to be here. This pregnancy has gone so quickly…. too quickly. I’m in no hurry for our babe to arrive, though I am excited to meet him or her when they decide they are ready. Early on in the pregnancy, it was a concern if we would get this far along without complication or intervention.

In 2003 I had a LEEP procedure as a result of an abnormal PAP and presence of “pre-cancer cells.” This procedure reduced the size of my cervix. The cervix is important–it holds that baby in place. When I became pregnant, the concern by my doctor and later my midwife, was that with my diminished cervical measurement, I would go into pre-term labor and potentially miscarry. This concern grows as the baby grows and places weight on the cervix, testing its competence.

I met with specialists, was put on “restricted activity”, and had several ultrasounds throughout my first and second trimesters to monitor my cervix. With each passing week, the measurements, while short (2-3 cm; 4-5 cm is optimal), remained consistent. I wasn’t effacing or shortening. Once I reached the 24 week mark, my appointments with the specialists stopped. After this point in the pregnancy, the intervention of surgery is not an option as it becomes too risky for the babe. I was happy to have reached that point, to have maintained my cervical competency, and not have to have surgery. I was still concerned, the babe was only going to get bigger–would my cervix hold? Would we miscarry or would we have to spend time with our little one in NICU?

This fear has been removed the past few weeks as we reached the mid-30 week mark, where babes have a high probability of birth without complication. I am so glad that my cervix championed through our pregnancy. So very grateful for a wonderful pregnancy, certainly the most awesome experience of my life.

I’m anxious for THE day, but in no rush. At my appointment on Tuesday with the midwife, I told her I didn’t feel like I was close or big enough to go into labor soon…. she assured me that is not an accurate indication of whether I am or not! Babe is still head down and sitting low in the pelvis, also not an indicator of going sooner rather than later. We should have another couple of weeks before the babe arrives, but time will tell. The next full moon is April 4, so maybe we’ll have an Easter Baby? Going to try to enjoy every day I have of being pregnant, of this experience, of husband-wife time, of the anticipation and preparation…and thank God for it all.

38 Week Highlights:

  • Belly growing little by little each week–belly button is stretched completely, but hasn’t “popped”
  • Enjoying the nursery setting and reading stories to LoCo from our library selections gifted by so many
  • Ready for bed by 8:30 pm every night 🙂
  • Pushing 30 lb weight gain
  • Babe still very active with movement throughout the day–seems to still have room to stretch
  • Many trips to the bathroom throughout the day, but able to sleep through the night without waking to go
  • Starting to get serious about selecting a name for LoCo, I think we are set with the girl name, but still working on a boy name
  • Hospital bag is almost ready

Hubby wasn’t available to take photos today so attempted “selfies” and captured these in our brand new guest bedroom! :))

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37 Weeks

The Kids, always thrilled to have their photo taken 🙂

37 weeks today! How fast this pregnancy has gone.

Of course I have no previous experience to compare it to, but I feel I have been spoiled. We sailed through initial concerns and my midwife has shared her excitement for how well we’ve done throughout. She was also very excited to discover that babe was in a -1 station during our appointment on Tuesday. This means LoCo is sitting low in the pelvis, and is head down! All good signs. I give credit to this low positioning to my consistent chiropractic and massage therapy treatments. Alignment matters! At least twice per month, since the end of my first trimester, I have been getting chiropractic adjustments and massage therapy targeted at prenatal care. I look forward to those four appointments every month and believe they have aided in how good I feel. I enjoyed a treatment with the skilled hands of Melodi Luko today, in fact! She provides services out of Bowdatious Salon in Spring Green.

No swelling, no back aches, no leg cramps, and no “other common pregnancy symptoms.” I probably just jinxed myself!

With roughly 3 weeks to go, I am happy to still be sporting my wedding bands, and only have the occasional discomforts of muscle stretches, being poked in the ribs/lungs, and frequent trips to the restroom. I think I actually had more symptoms/pangs in the first and second trimesters. The Third has been great! Weight gain total so far is 27 lbs.

It’s exciting to consider that any day it could be “time!” We are hopeful for a full term of 40 weeks, and for the remaining time to prepare. Nesting has not yet set in, but we
are through with the interior home projects…. for now. More to come later, but with spring here (officially tomorrow, Happy Spring!) we’re starting to consider outdoor activities and projects, which includes lots-o-gardening!
DW4A3761 copyWe’ve also been on a “going out to eat” kick lately. And when I say “we” I mean “Cody.” And when I say “lately” I mean for the past several weeks/few months. On some occasions, we’ve joined family and friends for an outing, but in many cases, it’s just been the two of us. While we enjoy treating ourselves here and there, we have eaten out consistently at least once per week for the past several weeks–non typical behavior for us. I considered that perhaps Cody wanted to get out as much as possible while we can, while the babe is in utero and travels so easily. He confirmed it. Soon we will be nesters, home with LoCo, missing social gatherings, and we are OK with that. As we have become regulars at The Woods, we’d like to share this gem with you all and suggest you visit. Our seats will soon be vacant. 🙂 They have very good prime rib on Saturdays and a weekend salmon dish–new preparation each week. And we enjoyed our St. Patty’s Day dinner, via a corned beef carry-outs, also, very well done.

I am so proud of my husband and the efforts he put toward our home interior projects. The living room turned out fabulously. I am enjoying the new office location downstairs. We have an updated bedroom to offer guests. And the nursery awaits our little one.

Our nursery is generic. The result of not knowing the gender and simplifying. I really love this little space. I’ve spent multiple mornings and evening in the glider reading story books to LoCo and envisioning the day s/he will rest in this room.

We still have some finishing touches — tonight’s project. Finish the trim work and hang a photo frame. 🙂

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36 Week Update

Home project series recap: Build new living room > Move furniture and set up new living room > Remove carpet from old living room, transition this space to become the office > Old office becomes the spare bedroom, but needs an overhaul > Spare room becomes the nursery

Completing the living room project paved the way to get the upstairs tackled (well, part of it). This week, Cody put the finishing touches on our spare bedroom. After demoing and stripping it, we had new drywall installed then textured, painted, put in new floor, door, and trim. All that is left to do was move the furniture in and begin setting up the nursery! While there a many enhancements we’d like to make to the room that is our nursery, there are some things we can live with for now, and new projects to plan for in the future.

We’ll remove the carpet from the nursery, installing shelves and adding some functionality and decor, but otherwise leaving it as-is. Our new spare room will be the nicest of our bedroom options, great for family and guests when visiting. One day we will start progress on the second story addition and add a large master bedroom and upstairs bath. Someday. In the meantime, we will prepare for Baby LoCo. At 36 weeks today, we have just 4 weeks or so until their arrival. Which reminds me, I really need to get the hospital bag packed!

This weather is amazing! Spring appears to be here. Of course we’ll get some more bouts with cold and snow before winter lets go completely, but I am ready to start gardening soon! We’re enjoying the longer days and warm temps as we usher in “Mud Season.” So far, I still fit between the feed bunk bars!

35 Weeks, 5 Days, with Claire

On a very sad note, we lost our beloved Sadie last week (3.4.15). Normally, I would keep this private, as it is hard to share. But as this blog serves as the journal entries of our life, I would be remiss to not include a deep loss to our family. Sadie was beautiful, full of love and sweetness. I was so looking forward to introducing her to Baby LoCo. You see, I rescued Sadie when she was just 18 weeks old. She didn’t have much human interaction until that point, and a lot of fear. It took a long time to get her to accept anyone other than me. She grew braver each year and had her favorite people, Cody and I of course, and my family members who she saw frequently. However, with no luck was I ever able to get her to feel comfortable with kids. Children of all ages scared her and she would keep her distance. Visiting kids would say “I want to pet that one” and make their way to her only to have her retreat. I knew that with her own child, one she would be exposed to and age with, she would attach herself to them and love and protect them–I so wanted to witness that. It’s hard not to think of her. She enriched my life for nearly 9 years. She was our farm hand, our hiking companion, our watch dog, our greeter. She made our everyday chores into adventures with her excited spirit. I look out our windows and doors and expect to see here there. She was supposed to grow old with me. I will miss her terribly and wish so badly she could be with us. My heart aches for Kava who certainly feels her loss as her companion for the past 8 years. I pray she knows how much I love her, that she made my life better just by existing, and that she is enjoying new adventures in doggy heaven, as she deserves. God bless you, and keep you, Sadie.

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Reminder: We are seeking nanny applicants for Baby LoCo. More details here.


ISO: Nanny

We’re searching for a nanny and would love referrals—good referrals!

As we anticipate the arrival of Baby LoCo, one of the considerations weighing on me is care for our newborn when I return to work. I have the awesome luxury of working from home. But I still have deadlines, spend time on the phone, have colleagues that hold me accountable, and need to be able to commit myself to my work. And since I plan to breastfeed, the most logical solution would be to have a nanny come into the house a few hours a day throughout the work week. I’ve searched to find options in this area, and have made some connections for consideration, but I am sure that not all those that “nanny” are listed. So I turn to our family and friends to ask for your referrals.

Our babe is due in April and the position would likely start in May. I’ll be returning to work on a part-time basis and increasing my hours over time until back to a full-time schedule. So initially, the position would offer a limited number of hours each week, but then increase with time, however only provide part-time employment, peaking at 20-30 hours per week once I am back full-time. Our ideal candidate:

  • has held prior nanny position(s) and has experience caring for newborns,
  • lives within a half hour driving distance from our home,
  • has weekday, day-time availability, primarily afternoon hours
  • owns a reliable vehicle,
  • is a non-smoker, and
  • is comfortable with pets.

CPR training and infant /child skills/education would be an added bonus.

Interested candidates can send their resume or experience details via email to Serious inquiries/application only.

Thank you in advance for any helpful suggestions or sharing this opening with those that would qualify.

One month to go! Here’s to a full term pregnancy and a healthy babe–cheers!

Photo credit: Rachel Manzke Photography



Maternity Session

Another fun session with Rachel Manzke Photography. Last week, she came out to the farm to capture our maternity photos during our 32nd week of pregnancy. It was COLD out but I really wanted some winter/snow pics as this has been a winter pregnancy. We were fortunate to have snow on the ground and braved the frigid temps. I love that all these images are captured at our home. Cody’s handy carpentry skills made for a wonderful backdrop!

Belly bump photos. I love the belly! Who would have thought I’d be so attached to a larger waist size!? I’ll miss it. I asked Cody one night, “Do you just wish they would stay in there?” as I rubbed my belly. He quickly replied with a “no.” In there they are safe. In there it is easy. In there they transport so well. In there, we are perfect parents! I am very excited to meet out little one, and do want them to come out, exactly when they are intended to. But I am in no hurry for this pregnancy to be over. It’s gone too fast in my opinion (less than 7 weeks from our anticipated due date) and I’ll spend these last remaining weeks enjoying it, adoring my growing belly, and savoring in their comfort and safety. Grow strong and healthy, my sweet babe. 

Home renovations continue! We stripped down the spare bedroom (formerly my office) and are preparing to put in new walls, flooring, and closet. That makes way for us to finally tackle the nursery, which actually requires the least amount of physical labor, just tearing out carpet and setting up for baby. We should be able to move into the nursery within the next 2 weeks! Which will come in handy to house and organize all the new baby-oriented goodies we received at the baby shower last week.

Next up, get the hospital bag prepped….. and maybe decide on baby names! 🙂

(Click on image to view in slide show)


Rachel, thank you for capturing our life, all the many chapters!

Photo credit: Rachel Manzke Photography

Old Shirt

This old shirt….
It’s thinning with age. The threads are unraveling. There are holes from wear and tears. It’s faded.

I love this shirt. I wear it often, usually just around the house or to bed. It’s comfortable. Broke-in.

This old shirt used to be my Daddy’s. I’m not sure how I ended up with it. Probably borrowed it from my mother, my mother who rarely throws anything out (must be where I get it). It’s been long since my father has worn this tank.  When he did, the colors were vibrant, the stitching in place. It was his “muscle shirt.” It would show off his chiseled arms and slender waist. I can also remember days he wore it after that slim torso began to fill out a bit…

It’s funny the details that stick with you from childhood. Somewhere in a photo album I am sure we have a photo of him in this same shirt.

But now I wear it. Now it covers my growing belly. I wonder if this shirt will last to be worn by a third generation. If not, I’ll have these images that capture its fabric over my babe in utero. And I’ll be reminded of the sentiment of this old shirt.

Hope you enjoy these, Daddy.

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