An Earthy Mother sharing her experiences in today's world....

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Pay It Forward

A Facebook friend of mine posted a Pay It Forward blog post, so I replied and I am posting the same.

Hers is here:

I promise something handmade to the FIRST 5 people who leave a comment here. However, to be eligible, you must repost this message, offering something handmade to 5 other people. The rules are that it must be handmade by you, and it must be sent to your 5 giftees sometime in 2011. Ready, set, GO!

I dye wool, knit, make felt food, and have some other talents up my sleeve, so comment here and repost this on your blog. First 5 comments get something handmade from me- although this may take a few months to organise everyone!

Please note- these are not the items being given away, but mere examples of what you might receive.

Friday, December 31, 2010

The problem with plastics in children's toys...

When I was pregnant with my son, I voraciously collected toys for him. After all, children need toys (and plenty, right?) and pregnancy seemed to stir in me some sort of insane hoarding creature. I scoured eBay, I went to garage sales, I searched the sale bin of every shop I walked past, I raided Op Shops (church or charity stores in Australia are called Op Shops- short for Opportunity Shops). By the time my son was born, I had amassed a wonderful collection of brightly coloured toys- tables to stand at that had things to flip, shakers and rattles, cars and jittery creatures. I never considered anything could be an issue with these plastic toys- I played with similar ones when I was a child, and they must be safe. Plastic is plastic, and plastic is fine. Everything is plastic, anyway! You can't avoid it, right? And my son loved his pile of amazing toys.

Then, I had the fortune to discover the truth about Bisphenol A when I was looking into getting him a sippy cup to go with the introduction of solids. I read everything I could, and it started to make me concerned. Some of these plastics were toxic, and had been considered toxic for over 50 years? Affecting the endocrine system? No thanks! I was so cautious about making sure all the food-related plastics in our home were stable and BPA free- and then I turned my attention to the pile of toys lurking in our lounge room.

The first cull, I removed all older toys and anything which appeared to contain PVC. (The European Union has banned the use of PVC in children’s toys due to health concerns.) The reason I removed the older toys was because I started to become aware of lead in plastics and the release of toxins as older toys degrade. Everything I read had me thinking further and further about what my son was being exposed to. I had to consider how this fit into my choices so far... I didn't vaccinate my son, I was careful about what we ate, we chose organic foods, we had a chemical-free home, I didn't put plastic nappies on him, we didn't eat artificial sweeteners- and yet my son was rolling about amidst a mass of plastic joy. Plastic joy which was probably affecting his nervous and endocrine system while he giggled and mouthed everything in sight. Why hadn't I questioned this yet?

So I set about shifting my habits. I collected wooden toys everywhere I went and I asked for them as gifts for his 1st birthday. People were wonderful about it, actually- many people bought us some really lovely handmade gifts which were as simple as a wooden car or a small set of blocks. I made a simple suggestion on the invitations- 'We would appreciate toys made of natural materials, or books.' I expected people to simply ignore this, but nobody did. Every person found it easy to pick one or the other, and my son received some lovely books and some wonderful natural toys made from wood, bamboo, wool and metal. It wasn't anywhere near as hard as I expected. Our friends and family said they didn't mind it at all, and some started reconsidering plastic toys in their home, too.

After his birthday, I had the opportunity to remove all plastic toys from our home- we now had a lovely basket of wooden animals, an abacus, some large felt balls, a wooden walker and a wooden Wheely Bug ( this shop has a great selection, and cheaper than anywhere else). I bagged all the plastic toys up and donated them to charity. Our lounge room went from cluttered to clear and my son seemed to enjoy his toys more. He would walk animals across the floor instead of kicking aside toys littering the floor.

But enough about our journey into a plastic toy free environment...

Here is some info on the specific problems with some plastics:


Polyvinyl chloride, also known as vinyl, is the plastic used in products when they need to be flexible. Teething rings and soft, flexible toys are just some products that are manufactured from PVC plastic. PVC is a health hazard and a pollutant- it contains lead, pthalates, cadmium, light stabilizers, barium, heat stabilizers, anti-oxidants and other chemical compounds. PVC production has increased 100-fold during the last 40 years- more and more products are being manufactured from it because is it relatively inexpensive.


The disposal of PVC can also impact human health through our environment. Dioxin is one of the most toxic chemicals known to humans and is a by-product of both the manufacturing and the incineration of certain chlorine based products, including PVC. The Environmental Protection Agency classifies dioxin as a Class I Carcinogen. Exposure to dioxin has been shown to cause immune system damage, reprodutive and developmental problems and hormone interference. Dioxin is in our foods and is fat-soluble, having an accumulative effect as it travels up the food chain, increasing drataically in concentration- much like mercury. We cannot eliminate dioxin easily from our bodies. However, Dioxin does travels through breast milk and crosses the placenta- pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid Dioxin at all times.

PthalatesPthalates (pronounced "thalates") are chemical compounds which make PVC soft and stretchy and account for a high percentage of a finished product's weight. Pthalates never chemically bind to the plastic and leach from the plastic at a rate of up to 1% each year. The European Union Scientific Committee reported in April of 1998 that the two most common pthalates, DEHP and DINP, seeped from PVC toys at dangerous levels. DEHP, labeled by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as a probable human carcinogen, is the most commonly used phthalate in PVC plastics. Bottles of DINP (the phthalate most commonly used in toys) used in the lab must be labeled with a warning, part of which is: "May cause cancer; harmful by inhalation, in contact with skin, and if swallowed; possible risk of irreversible effects..." A teething ring may contain 40% of DINP by weight.

Bishenol A (BPA) <-- I can't say what I want about BPA without clogging up this whole blog, so have a click here and read some of the info for yourself.

There is simply too much mounting evidence against BPA, which is why BPA is banned from many countries now. However, many older toys contain BPA, as well as cheaper toys which contain clear plastics. Less than 5% of BPA used goes into food contact applications such as cups or plastic containers. Anything clear and shatter-proof in your home is likely to contain BPA unless stated otherwise.


High levels of lead are also found in PVC and some other plastics. Studies show that vinyl windows deteriorate with exposure to heat and sun. This deterioration releases lead dust at dangerous and toxic levels. Vinyl window shades containing lead have been banned in the U.S- but what about toys made from PVC? Aren't they often left in the sun, by a window, or in a car? A study conducted by Greenpeace and the University of North Carolina raised some concern that the same type of deterioration can happen in toys.

Here's hoping there is some food for thought here to help push you towards eliminating some plastics from your home. The less there is, the less likely it is that you are all breathing in Phthalates. The more plastic toys in one area, the higher the concentration of phthalates which you are all being exposed to.

Some great places to buy affordable wooden toys are:
Etsy and MadeIt have some wonderful hand-felted toys which can be under $5 an item. Many of these stores have sales.
Facebook pages have garage sales, so keep an eye out on specials.

Ask some people around you where they get cheap ones- these pages are from Australia so if you like elsewhere then there is bound to be some online eco toy shops with sale items.

The other alternative to purchasing toys is to give your children natural objects to play with, so here are some ideas (which you'll find in many Steiner/Waldorf schools as well):
*Baskets of smooth pebbles and rocks
*Baskets of shells
*Making playsilks from soft materials or silk scarves from second-hand stores
*Make your own knitted toys or hand sew some felt animals, food and fruits- this is easier than you think, simply google some felt food tutorials and get started. You can also make them from plain materials. I was a novice sewer and I managed to make some wonderful felt strawberries on my first go:

*Make your own wooden blocks by choosing small branches and sawing into small sections, then sand off the edges to make eclectic blocks which can be expanded upon from branches you find in your neighbourhood:

Your options are only as limited as your imagination, and your children can come up with some wonderful ideas to help as well.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Unnecessary Cesarean Birth of Sophie- guest blog by Lauren Ferrari

The Unnecessary Cesarean Birth of Sophie-
a guest blog by Lauren Ferrari

I was living in Puerto Rico during the course of my pregnancy and the birth of my daughter. The hospital where I received my care was horrendous- it was small, cramped, overcrowded, understaffed- it was awful. Because my husband is in the military it was our only available option at the time.

I didn't like the Obstetrician allocated to me at all. He berated me about wanting a natural, drug free birth, saying "you'll be begging for an epidural! "I even asked the Obstetrician about midwives but he told me "There are no midwives in Puerto Rico." (In retrospect, he was probably lying.)  I really hated him but could not switch doctors- in Puerto Rico, after 20 weeks you cannot switch care providers. No one will take you; you're considered a liability. I begged, cried, called every doctor around- nobody would help me. I had the choice of flying to California to be with my mom, but I was scared my husand would miss the birth (military leave is hard to organize). There was no other option. I wasn't aware of freebirth and I had no-one around me normalizing birth. The irony is that the day of my 36 week appt, I had just gotten off the phone with my insurance company, telling them I could not take it anymore and wanted to fly to California- but my plans were thwarted that very day.
I went to a prenatal appointment at just over 36 weeks, and my doctor told me to go to the hospital for observation overnight. He said my BP was "high," while it was only 130/90 and I'd been crying (I had to wait 4 hours to see him every appointment and was beginning to lose it!!). I went, and heard nothing for 24 hours. They wouldn't let my husband stay with me, made me lie in bed with an IV and fetal monitor, made me use a bedpan, wouldn't let me eat or drink, gave me no call button, etc. I spent 24 hours sobbing in fear for my unborn child, and wanting my husband! The next day, my OB stormed in, yelling that I should have been "QUIET AND HAPPY TO BE IN THE HOSPITAL!!" What?! It was shocking how mean he was. He went to look at my test results, then came back and said that I had pre-eclampsia and was going to have a C-section. He even said I could be induced, but "it could take a few days." To this day I'm shocked he just went right for surgery, when ALL resources about pre-eclampsia recommend attempting induction first if the pregnancy is nearly full-term!! He just wanted to be over with it faster and get more money from my insurance company. Truly sick. I had NO symptoms (and believe me, I had read about pre-e and was well aware of the symptoms), and he didn't show me my test results. I don't believe I had anything wrong with me at all. During the C-section, my OB never spoke to me or offered any comfort, even though I was scared out of my mind for our daughter's lungs, what with her not even hitting 37 weeks. He also didn't come check on me ONCE during my 3 days recovery in the hospital, only dropping by for 2 minutes on the last day to sign my release forms!! I never saw him again, and refused to have him see me at my post-partum visit.

After the surgery, they sent me off to recovery, alone. My daughter was put in the nursery and my poor husband kicked out into the waiting room. I didn't see him for 8 hours, and he was only allowed one glimpse of her at 6 hours old. She was perfectly healthy, as was I, and we were kept apart for TWELVE hours!!!!!!!

My beautiful daughter, before I had even seen her.

I begged to see her over and over, and the nurses ignored me, and every so often just said NO. It was excruciating. They also refused to give me pain medication, even when I was convulsing from the agony. I remember nurses coming up to me and PUNCHING my stomach like a ball of dough, with no warning!! I was screaming and begging them to stop, pushing at their hands. It was horrific.

When they finally let me see her, I held on to her for dear life and kept her with me. Before they even brought her to me, some nurses showed up claiming she was "starving" and needed to eat. I was alone and in a drug haze, so I freaked out and said okay!! They gave her a BOTTLE before I even got to hold her!! To this day I'm very surprised we nursed easily!!

Once I had hold of Sophie, I wouldn't let her go. I was so happy just to have her in my arms.

NO one helped me take care of her, even though I could barely move from the pain. My husband wasn't allowed to stay overnight the 3 days I was in the hospital, since I was in a shared room, and of course no one on staff bothered to tell me my MOM could stay and help me!! She had flown all the way from California to Puerto Rico to be with me the moment she found out about the C-section.

Needless to say, I suffered from PTSD for several months afterwards, and would sob hysterically if I saw a happy Baby Story on TV, or talked about my experience.

 It's been 4 years now, and I can talk about it without crying. I refused to be a victim again, and studied normal birth for a couple years to prepare myself for a natural VBAC. It did not go exactly as I'd hoped, but it was actually a healing experience nonetheless. My body is not broken, and I had my child the way I was meant to. :)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Unassisted Birth of Elliana Abigail- Guest Blog by Lee Beaumont

The Unassisted Birth of Elliana Abigail
~Guest Blog by Lee Beaumont~
Around the end of August 2008 I started to feel a bit off so I thought I may as well do a test just to rule out pregnancy. I was tandem breastfeeding, using condoms and billings. Pregnancy seemed unlikely. I thought for sure it was just exhaustion making me feel so flat.

I got a line and a shadow. It was so faint that I had to hold it in the right light on the right angle for it to be visible. I didn’t get the courage to tell my husband till late that afternoon. We had felt that our family was complete already with our 2 children Ciara 2yrs old, Taj 9 months old at the time. Thankfully he was over the moon. The first thing he asked me was “Have you booked T yet?” (Our IM)

We had our initial appointment with the T, our independent midwife before Mick left for basic training. Just the usual blood pressure, urine tests and a bit of a chat. He was happy with the decision to have T as our midwife.

I did the 2nd and 3rd trimesters of my pregnancy solo. Mick was away for work and my family lived an hour away. My Mum started to come and visit me daily and helped with the kids from about 35 weeks. I was having lots of Braxton Hicks contractions at five minute intervals and was resting all I could to try to delay labour till DH got home for good. Mick had a few days leave where he got to come home and see us all and we spent quite a bit of time fooling around. It set off some pretty serious prelabour with tightenings 5 mins apart lasting for hours at a time but I refused to call the IM until I had something more exciting to tell her than just that we had been fooling around in the bedroom. Saying goodbye was tough because I doubted that he would be back in time for the birth.
  37 weeks 2 days:

 Mick finally arrived home at 39+2 which is the most pregnant I had ever been. We did all we could to try to encourage bub to vacate but she was having none of that. By 41 weeks I was exhausted, emotional, sick of contractions that did nothing and ready to call it quits. I was fantasising about begging for a stretch and sweep, ARM, anything to get things started. Bub had quietened down movement wise and of course my mind went into overdrive thinking that something was wrong with me being post dates.
 39 weeks 2 days: 

T came out and checked up on me after a teary phone call and reassured me that bub was fine and just sleeping. She suggested that I book acupuncture to try to get things started. I was stressing so much as we were moving house three weeks after my EDD. She gave me a couple of numbers and I managed to score an appointment for the next afternoon. She told us to keep her updated if anything changed.

That night (Tuesday) at 9:00pm my tightening stretched out to eight minutes apart but got stronger. I couldn’t sleep through them anymore so I spent a couple of hours rocking on the fitball with my laptop on the couch chatting away on Facebook chat and MSN.

At around 5:00am I tried to crawl back into bed but the tightening didn’t let up. Every eight minutes I was being woken by them and it hurt like hell to lie down so I gave up! The kids were up anyway so I made them breakfast and got on with our day, stopping every 8 minutes to rock through a tightening. I had been burning clary sage like a crazy women by this stage. It helped speed up contractions with DS's birth so I was hoping it would help again. I cancelled my acupuncture appointment. There was no way that I was getting in the car with tightening like this! I sent a text message to T to let her know what was happening. She was pretty casual about it all and told me to sms let her know when I felt like I needed her here.

All day and all night the tightening continued. I was dozing lightly between them and pretty much ignoring the kids. Thankfully Mick took them into the yard so that I could have some quiet time. He had partly filled the birth pool that morning and I had showed him where everything was that we would need for the birth. I had oils, candles, towels, and plastic sheeting all ready to go.

At one stage through the day my tightening dropped back to 20 minutes apart. I cried not knowing how much longer I could go on like this. I was getting shooting pains in my hips and thighs. I messaged T to see what she could suggest to relieve the pain and she said to try the bath or walking up the stairs sideways with one foot higher than the other to get bub to shift off the nerve that was causing me grief. It did nothing so I gave up and went back to rocking through tightening. They picked back up to eight minutes apart around 5:00pm.

I was so glad when Mick put the kids to bed for the night. They were making me lose my focus which made the tightening hurt more. If I breathed through them I was fine and they weren't really that bad.

I wandered between our bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, backyard. I went upstairs and downstairs just trying to increase the regularity of the tightening. They stubbornly stayed at eight minutes apart the whole time. Mick wanted to call T but I promised DH we would call her when there were three contractions in 10 minutes. Honestly I refused to get excited till my waters broke or I felt a head. I had been labouring for so long that I was kind of in denial that it was ever going to end.

I tried the bathtub upstairs. There was no point filling the pool if I hated being in water. I lasted three contractions before I got really irritated at being confined in the bath. I tried it again in an hour and felt the same. I only lasted three contractions again before I got irate. I didn’t even bother to dress myself after this bath. I just threw on a satin robe and knickers. I had to pee so I went to the toilet in the bathroom and felt a bit of pressure change.

At this stage I realised that labour was starting to pick up in intensity so I went back downstairs to get some snacks to get me through the rest of my labour. I grabbed a muesli bar and made up a jug of Gatorade. I managed one sip of Gatorade before I felt that I needed to empty my bowels. I had been waiting for the diarrhoea to start to clean out my body as a sign that bub was getting closer. I ran to the downstairs toilet before another tightening hit. It felt so good sitting there through the tightening. It was definitely the most comfortable place I had been my whole labour. Strange since I had dreaded the thought of a bathroom stop for the last 2 days.

I had another tightening almost instantly. I called out to DH to call T and he asked what I wanted to tell her. He was still on the computer letting me do my thing. He had no idea what was happening! The robe felt wrong all of a sudden so I ripped it off and threw it out the door. I told him to let her know I felt pressure. First time he called it rang out, 2nd time he got through. By then the head was already out.

He panicked and said to T, “Lee’s pushing!!” He asked her what she wanted him to do and she told him to go and catch his baby and call back when he could and she was on her way.

With the next surge my beautiful gooey baby slipped straight into the toilet bowl. I grabbed her by one arm as she hit the bowl and broke the waters. She was born in the caul.

The feeling of bring my baby who I birthed by myself to my chest was amazing. I instinctively flipped her over so that all the fluid could drain from her mouth and nose. She was a tiny bit gurgly so I left her laying over my arm and rubbing her back while talking to her.

Hubby called T back and she asked if bub was OK and what we have. We hadn’t even thought to check. My heart had been telling me “girl” since conception and I was right. She was breathing fine, I wasn’t bleeding much and everyone was happy so I told her not to rush. Mick grabbed some towels to keep us warm and we all moved to the lounge room.

While T was on her way we did the ring around and let people know that our baby was earthside. When I spoke to my mum she asked if we needed an ambulance? Was she breathing? Was I bleeding too much? Did I need her to rush down to help? I reassured her that everything was perfect and we would let her know when we had more details. I made her promise not to come over that night. All I wanted was to go and crawl into my bed with just the three of us for a little while before the other two children woke for the day.

About 25 minutes after Elliana was born I started to feel contractions again and OMG!! These ones hurt more than my entire labour ones had. Mick had put the colander and bowl on the floor for me while we waited for the placenta to be birthed. After a few more tightenings I felt it drop to my cervix and went and squatted over the bowl and gently pushed and it came out in seconds. It was perfectly whole.

It took T 45 minutes to get to our house thanks to road works and closures. By the time she got there the placenta was in the bowl infront of me, Elliana was happily dozing while feeding and I was desperate for a cup of tea but Mick made me wait till T got there. Big meanie. lol

She did the usual checks on bub and confirmed that she was perfect, checked for tears and helped me have a shower while DH got to know his daughter. Thankfully I had only a tiny graze. She tucked me into bed and said she would be back to check us the next morning. I think she was at our house for less than two hours that night.

We dozed and fed all night. At 5:00am Ciara woke up and came into our bed as she normally does. The kids had no idea what had happened the night before! DD1 was dozing in DH arms and heard Elliana grunt and snuffle.

The look on her face when she realised there was a baby in our bed was magical. “Look Mumma! Baby! She has hands and legs too, Just like me.” ♥ ♥ ♥

49hrs 13 minutes of labour
9lb 4oz (4200g)
35.5cm H/C 
Breastfeeding Elliana, 10 weeks old.

♥ Lee is currently pregnant with baby number 4, and is planning a Freebirth in April 2011 ♥

Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Homebirth of Piper Grace- a guest blog by Patricia Shoesmith.

The Homebirth of Piper Grace
~a guest blog by Patricia Shoesmith.

Sunday 18th July I woke up to DH's alarm he had set as he was going fishing and I was very upset that I was STILL pregnant. I went absolutely berserk yelling at him that how dare he go fishing when I was so heavily pregnant. I told him in the end to just go and I went back to bed in tears. I was then woken by the kids at 9am ish and I decided it actually might be a nice day to go out near the waters edge and get some fresh air, I was right, it was gorgeous.We had a lazy afternoon and by the end of the night I was ready to go to bed still not expecting anything to happen. I had a few tightenings which I just put down as braxton hicks.

Monday morning I woke at 6am to a very nauseous feeling and period pain cramps in my lower tummy, back pain and a slight leaky feeling but upon looking when going to the loo saw nothing. Told Alex (hubby) he wasn't going to work today as I think baby is coming today but to go back to sleep as things were still only mildly happening. Kids woke at 7:15am and at 7:30am I had to run to the loo with a huge urge to poo, Not fun while still getting pains (at this stage the pains were around 10-12minutes apart but I wasn't timing anything)

We were supposed to be having a midwife appointment at 1pm but I rang her and asked her to come out early as I thought things were starting to happen. Diane arrived at 10:30am and upon checking discovered bub was already 3/5engaged which had happened quick as bub was still floating a few days before hand.
The pains I was having were getting stronger the more I walked around so I was ordered to get some rest and eat as much energy food as possibly and drink lots of fluid as we were possibly in for a long day.
Kids down for a sleep at 12:30 and I sent Alex off to the shop to get some last minute supplies while I went to rest too. I tried lying down on my left side, my right side, Propped up but it was all uncomfortable. I then decided to shove as many pillows under my boobs as possible and lay with my bum in the air. Ahhh, Bliss. Pains subsided and I was able to rest for a while. Not timing again but I knew my contractions were still not regular.

Around 2ish we started to get the birthing pool ready and we had to get Emelia organised to go up to Alex's grandparents house as she was getting upset with each contraction. The pains started getting more painful and at 3:30pm ish I decided I really needed to get in the shower to have some relief, it was nice but not what I needed so got out at 4pm ish and just did what I could until there was enough water in the pool. Alex was making calls to Diane while I was doing my thing and she said to keep letting her know what was going on and she would come to us as soon as contractions were 2-3minutes apart as she was backup to a VBAC (I knew the lady that was labouring too and now our daughters share birthdays!)

At around 5pm ish I got into the pool, There was only enough water to just touch my butt when on my knees so I sank in as much as possible and ordered Alex to pour water on my back during a contraction in between him running around like a mad chook getting things ready. He was stressing but bless him, He did so well lol
I'm not sure when the pool was half filled but we ran out of water in the heat pump and Alex said we'd have to wait 20minutes for more hot water. No worries I said. That was all well and good until my contractions really picked up pace and I said don't worry about the fogging water just pour water down my back and get me a hot freaking towel to sit on it! Alex kept trying to ring Diane but couldn't get through and I heard him say "Oh no". I replied with what's wrong and he told me he couldn't reach her, I said "Do you see me panicking?" Haha. Diane rang back straight away and said she was getting ready to leave to come to us.
At about 10minutes to 6pm (5minutes ish after him ringing Diane) Alex noticed I was already starting to groan and grunt with each contraction, He said to me are you pushing? I said don't be stupid, It's too early to push now! (I was not knowingly fighting my bodies urge to push at this stage) He then got on the phone and called Diane and said I think she's pushing.

I didn't realise I was having the urge to push and was fighting it; It felt soooo different to Dom and Emelia's births that the feelings I was having confused me in a way. Diane walked through the door at about 6:13pm (from looking back at notes) and sat down next to the pool with me getting ready to time my contractions with the iphone app. We didn't get to use it lol. I asked Diane if it was too early to push and she asked what I was feeling, I said it felt good to push and grunt through them so she said to go with my body so going with it I went. I pushed and felt my waters break, what an awesome relief that was (the feeling of them breaking was amazing, I felt the "pop" inside me and instantly felt so much relief).

I think it was about another 3 pushes and a few hard core grunts that I felt her crown and felt the burn start to come, I reached down and felt her head and almost cried, I could not believe how amazing it felt to feel my babies head, I'd never felt that before so was amazed. Another push and half her head was born then another and her whole head was out, It felt amazing! I had never felt something so smooth and amazing before.

Once her head was out I got a small break from the contractions; it was nice to regain some breath haha, with the next contraction her body was born and Diane said to reach down and get my baby.

Her cord was wrapped around her neck once so we untangled that and I held her close to me... Totally in love and so emotional that I had actually done it! I had birthed my baby my way in my home and I was the first one to touch her. I did it!!

Her cord was really short so I decided to stay in the pool until her cord finished pulsating so it could be cut and I get out of the pool (I felt uneasy getting out holding her and navigating around her small cord)
While in the pool I passed a few quite large clots and had a bit of bleeding and borderline a PPH so felt very woozy for a while.

Once out of the pool I went straight to the bedroom got propped up with pillows and let Piper breast crawl to begin feeding. She had a few licks and sucks but wasn't interested in feeding just yet.
I then felt another contraction start and pushed with it and birthed my placenta (this was about 20ish minutes after Piper was born) my placenta was almost as big as Piper was!
We weighed her after a while and we were all shocked at how big she was, we were thinking she'd be another 7pounder (like my other 2) but we were so wrong but boy did I love and appreciate my body!
We then got Emelia brought back down and all sat snuggled on the bed getting to know our gorgeous new 9pound 15ounce bundle of joy <3

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Birth of Zeke Connor Jasper- Born Still. Guest post by Pia Legge

The Birth of Zeke Connor Jasper- Born Still. 
Guest post by Pia Legge

In January of 2009, I had a dream that I would be birthing a babe at home in our bath, that’s where my idea for a homebirth came into my head. I had no idea how close to the mark I really was.

This pregnancy felt different from the beginning. It took us longer to conceive you. At the mind, body and spirit expo, I asked a psychic about you and she said that you were having trouble connecting body and soul and maybe the spirit guides had not talked to you yet. This worried me too. I was also worried about miscarrying from the beginning and thought it was because I knew more about it and how sadly common it was. I was sicker for longer and was bedridden for weeks at a time. I was also finding it hard to get a solid connection with you. That happened at our 12w scan where you were wiggling and waving to us. I now have that DVD to cherish forever. I believed you were a boy in the beginning but kept getting mixed messages about your gender and then felt you were more a girl....well mummy was wrong I am sorry to say.

I struggled with hyperemesis for 12w and was starting to feel great improvements around 16w. I spent from 10w to 13w in bed and only got up if I really needed. This was a huge struggle for us all. I felt quite down and started to wonder if I was happy about having another baby.....this feeling I regret and will continue to for the rest of my life. I could feel movements from around 11w if I was really still in bed. That feeling is truly the most wonderful thing a mother can have. I would lie in bed stroking my belly and talking to you. I will miss that feeling.

We were all ready to go at our 12w scan and I was excited about seeing you. Did you look like your brother, were you as busy as he was, would you behave for the Yes you did behave but you didn’t really have the same activity as your brother but you had a fantastic strong heart rate of 164bpm. I felt really reassured that things would be great. I started planning your home birth with much excitement as I had dreamed about. I would sometimes feel more excited at the prospect of birthing you at home instead of having a baby. I couldn’t get my head around the prospect of having you.....for this I didn’t know why.

I was booked into the BC at Monash in the beginning as I didn’t know if DH would agree to a HB. We talked about it after I had been getting some pains in my groin at 9 + 3w and we were in the hospital overnight in emergency. I decided that a hospital was for sick people and giving birth is not a sickness so I found a wonderful IM and set up a meeting and we connected straight away. I made DH ask her questions and raise the fears he had. After she left, we agreed that it would be for us. I asked questions and read info and watched Youtube homebirths and hoped mine would be as amazing and beautiful as some of those women. There were also some terrible losses but is it wrong to think that it would never happen to me?

I felt everyday was getting better and better. The hyperemesis became ‘morning sickness’. It was easier to tolerate and I was becoming more excited about your presence. I started looking at nappies and baby clothes and even ventured out of the house to the shopping centre at 16w to look for some things for you. We were not finding out whether you were a boy or girl as the surprise after all mummy’s hard would be far more rewarding and your daddy wanted to tell me what had surprised us. I was looking forward to that.

The weeks seemed to be flying by. I loved sharing my progress with my Due In February Group and reading birth stories and couldn’t wait to share mine, if it was half as good as my dream then I was going to love it and you would come into the world with ease and joy. I had it all planned out but as far as planning a birth...well nothing is predictable. My birth plan was written that I was not to be touched and wanted to birth pretty much without any intervention.Our IM was happy to be in another room till I was ready to have her present. We could wait till after the birth if we felt ok. Being my 4th babe, I could see no reason why I would need any help, but again every pregnancy and labour is different.

We were borrowing a pool from a lovely friend and I was so excited and had envisioned my birthing space. I was looking forward to shopping for my candles to burn during labour and have the smell remind me for a long time afterwards. I would be having a blessingway in Dec when I would be meeting a lovely new friend whom I had been chatting to online for over a year. She was over in WA and was coming to my side of town. How wonderful to be sharing this journey with some amazing people. The hype and excitement everyone felt was rubbing off on me. I was getting excited. 

 I went shopping with my MIL on Monday 24th August. I was excited to be getting out and bought DS2 a new car seat so we could put you in his car seat. We had a coffee and a chat about things and I said that I had been getting some cramping type pain so things must be growing in there. I was worried I was not as big as I thought I should be at 16 + 4w. I barely had a pot. I had taken pictures of my growing belly from 7w as I didn’t document with any other pregnancies. I had a Dr’s app on the Wednesday so would ask her then. I was feeling movements so was at ease with the whole thing.

I went to my app and forgot to ask her about the pains I was getting. My BP was good, fundal height measuring normal and we tried to listen for a heartbeat but I knew that it was too early to hear anything. Before 20w is quite hard on a Doppler so wasn’t worried at all. Neither was she. My MS was getting better so we both thought that things were looking up in the second trimester. I said that I was getting movements and was reassured by those. I was sent on my way. I posted a thread on Births and asked whether anyone else had the same AF type feeling.....yes was the consensus. Ok nothing to worry about.
I went to see a girlfriend who was due to have her little one the next day and was hoping to go into labour asap. This was the most I had driven in months and was happy to get home after lunch. I was feeling quite tired. My appetite had picked up too so was thinking I on the home straight with morning sickness.

  • Thursday 27th August 2009, I will never forget.

I was playing with DS2 and needed to go to the toilet. Nothing abnormal there.....typical pg symptom right??? I went and when I wiped there was blood....not bright red but as I had never had spotting before I was a bit worried. I rang my Dr and spoke to the nurse there. She was not worried till I mentioned the cramping. It was suggested that I visit the hospital to get an idea of what was happening via US. I rang my mum to take me and look after DS2 and then DH to see if he could come home from work and off we went. Talking to my mum on the way, we were trying to think of why I would have some bleeding. I think at that point every woman is looking for reasons why she is having problems.
Once at emergency, I was told I would get through a bit faster than others. I sent a txt to a few friends asking them to keep us in their thoughts and send sticky vibes. I was shit scared at this point.
True to their word we were brought into the examination room about half an hour later. The lovely nurse there had a feel of my belly and asked the usual q’s. She then repeated that an US would be the only way to determine the cause of the bleeding. They would try and get us in as soon as they could. As DH and myself were sitting there I could feel the ‘pains’ coming more frequently and then moving around into my back. I know in my heart of hearts that this was the beginning of the end. I was in denial. This wasn’t happening. I had just exerted myself the day before and pulled something away to cause the bleeding...I was not losing my much loved and now anticipated babe...surely not. As I was lying there waiting for the US, I was sure the babe was moving around. I even kidded myself that there was kicks and bumps.

We were taken into the US room and I couldn’t see the screen. DH was sitting across the room and had full view. The sonographer asked how far along I thought I was and I replied 17w today. I was hoping to get a glimpse of our babe wiggling around in there. She seemed quite agitated when moving the scanner around. I thought maybe she is grumpy as she had to fit us in on a busy day. I wish that was the reason. She said that she would have to take some pics then she would tell us what she found. Sounds reasonable to me. She typed things in, moved the scanner, and pressed hard on my belly. I was starting to feel nervous and uncomfortable. She was taking too long. She checked my kidneys. I just wanted to see my babe. I couldn’t see DH’s face at all throughout this and had no idea what he could see.

Finally she turned to me and as she did I already knew. I didn’t want to hear her words. I wanted to get up and leave and not hear what I have read so many times and cried before. “I am so sorry, but there is no heartbeat” Your babe is smaller than your dates. Approx 14ish w. How could this happen.....No this was not happening. She had made a mistake. I have felt movements....WTF. She asked whether I wanted to see pics....Of course I did but had no idea what I was looking at. There just seemed to be a blob on the screen. There was no flickering of a heart beat. The screen was silent. Not the babe we saw moving at our 12w scan. NO NO NO. I am numb. She went to get someone to confirm what she said. He came in and asked the same crap and said I am sorry it doesn’t look good. OMG no way....this is not happening. I read about this but no this is not happening to us. How can I cry for women who have been told the same thing but when I am told the same, I feel numb? I start crying then, sobbing really and keep asking the same thing.....why, why, why. Did I do something wrong? This is not right, this is not how it’s meant to be. DH is hugging me and telling me it’s ok. We will be ok. How can we be ok...our baby is gone. I am really struggling for words and can’t get my breath. I am numb.....I can’t comprehend what I am to feel. 

  • The realisation.

How can my body be so cruel? I am still vomiting in the morning and feel nausea on and off. Why am I still ‘feeling movements’? I am sobbing in the emergency section and don’t care who hears. I have lost something that I can never get back. My body has failed me. There are no signs apart from the cramps that something is wrong. There is no more blood. People come and go. Nurses come and talk to us. I don’t understand what this means. What happens next? Tissues are everywhere on the bed and my nose is raw and my eyes are burning. This is not right. DH is trying to be strong for me. I feel for him. He has lost his baby too today. I tell him I am so sorry, and he tells me there is no need, I am not to blame. More nurses come in and check obs. I am numb. Autopilot kicks in. I am so tired. I want this to be a dream. I tell DH to wake me when it’s all over. To tell me it’s not happening and I am dreaming. I am lying there rubbing my belly and it feels hard. The pains are coming more frequently. I am offered pain relief which I refuse. I have not taken anything before and won’t start now. The pain makes it easier to ‘cope’ with. I am told that if I want something then just ask. They can ease my pain.....not even close I think. The pain hasn’t even started. I have no idea what is to come.

The head GynOb comes down from the ward. She is lovely and by this stage I ‘pretend’ its not happening to me. I ask questions, she answers, DH asks questions, she replies. It is suggested that tomorrow I go to another hospital for a D&C. Something happens within me. I agree, ask more questions. I ask how it’s performed and what the process is. She explains it as delicately as she can. I know what’s involved and can’t imagine my babe fitting through a tube no bigger than a pen tube. I know my babe won’t be born this way. I won’t allow it. I take the envelope with the tablets I am to insert at 10am to soften my cervix. I know I won’t be using them. How I know this, I have no idea.

We leave and make our way to my parents place. We still have to tell my 2 older children who are aged 15 and 13. They know I had to go to hospital but have no idea why. DH picks them up and brings them over. We sit and tell them that there will be no baby. Something has happened that we have no control over and our babe is no longer with us. I am to have ‘surgery’ tomorrow to remove ‘it’. The responses are as I expect shock then tears. Is it something we have done or said? No of course not....this is not anyone’s fault. It just is. We will light a candle for our special babe and remember ‘her’. We called ‘her’ Grace just so we have a name and not just ‘it’. Dinner is served but I am not hungry. I eat because I have to and try to ignore the pains coming every 20mins. Denial again. I tell DH we need to go home.

At home I ask for my wheat bag for my back. The pain is getting intense and I pretend it’s not happening and search the internet to take my mind off things. I then decide to have a shower and rub my belly and tell my babe that it’s ok to go now. We know that the time has come and understand. I am sobbing in the shower. I give DS2 booby and he is asleep in no time. This encourages more pains. Everyone goes to bed around 11.00pm. I know I should be sleeping but the pains are now 11 mins apart.
  •  The Birth

I go to bed around midnight and know our babe will be here by morning and I am still timing the contractions. They are still 11 mins apart but are getting more intense. I can’t sleep but don’t want to walk. I am holding on as long as possible. I am scared. Do I want to have my babe at home? Should we head to the hospital? There is no more blood so there is no need to panic. I was told to head back in if there is heavy bleeding. I put a towel down on the bed. I try and snooze but at 3am DS2 wakes. This is not what he normally does. The chemistry has changed in our house. I can feel it. My uterus is hard as a rock and is the size of an orange sitting in the pit of my stomach. I touch it and marvel at how the body works. This is really happening now. There is no backing out. Instinct kicks in. I trust my body. This is what we are made to do. I breathe through the contractions that are coming on top of one another. This is really labour, but how can this be? The pain is intense and I can feel myself heading towards transition. It’s been less than an hour since the contractions ramped up a level. DH holds my hand, kisses me and tells me he loves me. He is here with me. I apologise after each contraction and again he tells me there is no need. Our babe is ready to leave us.

I feel a pop and know I have to get up. I grab the towel and rush to the bath. I place the towel on the bottom of the bath and DH helps me take my undies off. There is blood and I have left some on the tiles. I say I hope there is none in the bed or on the carpet. He tells me he doesn’t care. I am crying, breathing, panting, and shaking. I can’t help myself. I know the end is near. We will be meeting our angel before too long. I instinctively get on all fours and DH gets me a warm washer and places it on my back. DS2 is calling out and crying. DH is torn between us. He asks whether I want him to call for an ambulance. I don’t. I tell him to go to DS. He trusts me and my body and shuts the door and I know that I am ready. I am at peace with this and the first push a clot come away. It’s not big. I wait a minute. There is barely the urge to push but away comes our Zeke Connor Jasper L.egge. He is lying on his side. I have no idea what to do. I am still on all 4’s but need to sit. I am shaking from shock. I want to sit and hold him but don’t want to squash him. We are still attached and I see the cord. I know he is lifeless but still hope even though I know there is none. I sob, our baby, our baby. I am so sorry this has happened.

I call for DH to come and get me a cloth to put him in so he doesn’t get cold. His body is perfect. 10 fingers, 10 toes, and everything as it should be. His eyes are open and so is his mouth. His eyes are dark like his dad’s and brothers. He looks similar to his brother. His fingernails are perfect. He is tiny and perfect. Between 3-4 inches long and he fitted perfectly in the palm of my hand. We are crying, DH has called the ambo’s and my mum. DH is telling I am amazing to have done this and holds his tiny baby and together we check what the gender is because I am moving the legs. We see that it is indeed a boy and I kick myself that I didn’t trust my intuition. We sob and cry together and hold our son. We both lost him. He was born at 3.58am 28th August 2009.

The ambos get there just after my mum. Mum comes in to the bathroom to see me and can’t believe what she is seeing. It was quite confronting. I was contracting still but the pain was not as bad as before. I think the pain is numbed by shock. When the ambos arrive, they come in to see me holding Zeke and sobbing. I thank them for coming.

Out come the scissors and I ask whether dad can cut the cord. He does and I feel so glad that we are making this as ‘normal’ as possible. DH takes Zeke and places him in a container as we will have to take him to the hospital with us. I am helped out of the bath. I don’t have much blood loss as yet. For this I am thankful. Mum gets me out of the bath and we get me dressed. I am shaking so hard that my teeth are rattling. I can’t stop. This is shock. I am feeling so proud that my son was born and not removed from my body by strangers. We saw him, held him and touched him. I have faith in my body to birth but feel such loss that I didn’t carry him to term.

We arrive at the hospital and we are given a private room. I am sobbing and touching Zeke. He is so perfect. I spread his fingers and hand across my thumb nail and they still don’t fit across. They are so small. There is a blur of dr’s, nurses, more nurses, gyno’s and a social worker. DH keeps looking at me with tears in my eyes and saying I am amazing and he loves me so much. We talk about what happens next regarding Zeke. He can come home with us and we can organise our own funeral or they can organise part of it and we can do the rest from home. He is less than 20w so it’s still classified as a miscarriage. We know he is so much more than that. We decided to cremate so we can scatter his ashes as a family. The kids didn’t wake through the night so have no idea what has happened. I did warn them that if something does happen through the night we will be leaving for the hospital. We ask them to think of a name each so we can all take part in naming him.

We will bring him home at the end of next week. We will have a small service with family and friends and say our goodbyes then.

Well if you made it this far you’re doing well. Thanks for sharing this journey with me. I am sorry it was not longer but I got my homebirth, even if it was just too early.

Zeke, you will never hold your mummy’s or daddy’s hands but we held you in ours. We love and miss you and will meet you again some day. Thanks for being a part of our lives even if it was for such a short time.

Love always Mumma, Daddy, J, B, J.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Blog instalment #2- photos Facebook is likely to remove

Here are some beautiful photographs from Earthy Motherhood members which are guaranteed to invoke censorship- and which are likely to make you smile ♥

Mel Wright breastfeeds her son Phoenix- hello beautiful!

 Karah Jackson breastfeeds her delicious cherub on the beach- Fiona is 14 months old here!
And below, see what happens when a breastfeeding mama and toddler are hit by a wave- of course you don't unlatch! 
 Jessica Hall rests with her son Ethan after his birth at home- what a content little babe.
Krystal Meeker breastfeeds one of her beautiful twin boys
Krystal feeds one son while his twin brother pops off for a grin at his Papa

Christina Matthewson breastfeeds her youngest to sleep in his favourite place to be ♥

And here is Christina tandem feeding her two beautiful boys- I love the younger one looking to his brother.


If you'd like to have your photos included in next week's blog (or any week) feel free to email me at with your photos, videos and descriptions.