Monthly Archives: May 2013

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Kendan’s Home Birth Story

After successfully water birthing my daughter at the now-defunct Bethany Birthing Center in Phoenix, I decided to “bring the party to my house,” by home birthing my son.  I chose to work with home birth midwife, Wendi Cleckner, of Freedom and the Seed.  Wendi is a positive person, a nurturer by nature, and a hippie at heart.  LOVE HER!!!  Not once did I doubt her ability to help me have the birth of my dreams.  However, I wanted to have a back-up plan, just in case things didn’t go according to our plan.  In order to do that, my OB/GYN required me to do co-care, which meant dividing my prenatal visits between her and Wendi for the duration of my pregnancy.  Still, I set my intention on having a textbook-perfect home birth with the help of Wendi and her team.

My OB/GYN saw me exclusively, until the end of my first trimester.  She confirmed my pregnancy and calculated my conception date as August 3, 2007, and my estimated due date (EDD) as April 25, 2008.  I questioned both of these dates, yet my OB/GYN decided not to change them.  According to my calculations, my conception date was between August 13 – 15, 2007, not August 3rd as my OB/GYN asserted.  Ummm…that’s a 10 to 12-day difference!  Furthermore, both of my ultrasounds indicated that my baby would arrive during the first week of May.  When my EDD of April 25, 2008, came and went, I felt discouraged, depressed, and doubtful.  Just as I suspected would happen, my OB/GYN’s office was blowing up my phone trying to schedule me for a series of tests because my baby was “late.”  My midwives assured me that my baby would “come when he comes,” and told me not to worry.  I went deep, deep, deep undercover to wait it out.  Sure enough, on May 5, 2008, things started to unfold…11 days after my EDD (Do I know my body, or what?!?).

On May 6, 2008, I woke up to bloody show and Braxton-Hicks contractions.  I rested a lot that day, and tried to stay hydrated and nourished.  In order to stay occupied and encouraged, I spent time surfing the internet and reading magazines .  That evening, my husband and daughter went to the gym, and my mother went to visit a friend.  While I was home alone, my contractions grew more intense and I went into active labor.  After timing some of my contractions, I called my doula to inform her of my condition, then continued to labor in bed on my own.  When my family returned home, I was in labor with contractions less than 10 minutes apart.  My husband called my doula and told her to come to our house.  Our daughter had already gone to bed, and was sound asleep.  At 11:00pm, my doula arrived and helped me through my labor using aromatherapy, massage, and breathing techniques.  After a while, she called my home birth midwives and told them to come over.  The midwives rested in my living room while I labored in bed, on the toilet, and in the bathtub, with the help of my doula.  Ultimately, I chose the tub as my final birthing place.

In the tub, I focused on finding a comfortable birthing position, breathing, and relaxing.  My pain was intense, barely tolerable at times, but ultimately manageable.  I “rode the pain wave” by taking deep breaths between contractions; and blowing raspberries and making low sounds while exhaling.  After laboring in the tub for a while, crying out loud, and [secretly] wondering how much more I could take, I asked my doula to have the midwives check me.  Wendi and Sarah came into my master bathroom, checked me, measured me at 8cm, and encouraged me to try some practice pushes without holding back.  Hesitant at first, I decided to go for it.  After a couple of practice pushes, my body went into convulsions and my son began to emerge.  I felt his head crown under water, then pop out suddenly.  Wendi encouraged me to push him out the rest of the way.  I yelled, moaned, and delivered my son in a side-lying position with one leg in the air on May 6, 2008, at 2:32am.  Wendi swirled him around the tub, then placed him on my chest.  He weighed 8lbs 8oz and measured 21″.

My son’s home birth was a powerful and empowering experience.  It is one of my most significant accomplishments to date.  I am so grateful that I was able to deliver a healthy, beautiful, baby boy, in the comfort of my own home, without any complications.  After enduring 7 hours of labor, I had a quick and relatively easy delivery, complete with candlelight, relaxation music, 2 midwives, 1 doula, my husband beside me, and my mom looking on.  Today, I celebrate my son’s arrival.  Happy Birthday, Kendan!


The Best Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

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I love to bake, and one of my favorite childhood memories is making chocolate chip cookies with my mom.  Since changing my diet and lifestyle, I have learned to bake vegan and gluten-free versions for my family.  Vegan author and recipe creator, Dreena Burton, has satisfied the Toll House cookie cravings of many with this signature recipe,  and I am also a fan.  For a gluten-free option, I substitute  Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free All-Purpose Baking Flour and Xanthan Gum; and I adhere to her baking and cooling time recommendations to prevent drying.  I usually double the recipe and make the cookies small to medium-sized, in order to make 2 dozen.  Recently, I’ve been using coconut oil in the recipe, which adds an interesting twist.  These cookies are a sweet staple in our household.  Viva la Dreena!

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