Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Amazing elephant birth

This was totally incredible to watch. WARNING - is quite graphic! So amazing to watch & fascinating. Incredible to see such powerful instincts at work!
(Plus, elephants are my favourite animals, especially babies!).

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Eliana's birth

Eliana's Birth Story- a Christian Perspective

Some women know exactly what time their labor began. At the beginning of Dustri’s labor, I knew: 11:30 a.m. This one was different. I had been having uncomfortable contractions for weeks and other pre-labor signs, but nothing that said labor was really imminent. On Thursday, May 7, two days before our sweet Eliana breathed her first breath, my contraction patterns shifted. It is hard to explain because it was so gradual and so subtle. I found myself at the park with Dustri and my mom, climbing downright awkwardly up and down slides with Dustri and doing side lunges with the help of the picnic tables. I had a sense as if this baby was trying to work its head into my pelvis, much like a key fits a lock. Later that day, the low aching that I had felt in my back for the last few months ebbed away and I wondered if my baby had finally turned to the preferred anterior position. Contractions continued slowly and irregularly throughout the evening and woke me a few times on Thursday night.

On Friday, I had an appointment with my midwife, Candie, and debated whether I should finally get checked for dilation. Besides, I thought my fore waters may have ruptured so I decided it was worth the quick procedure. No PROM, but I was 3 cm. dilated and 50% effaced with the baby at -1 station. What did this tell us? Not much, except that my body had done a fair amount of work and I could get into active labor at any time…or I could wait a little while too. I was satisfied to hear that the images of the lock-in-key imagery I had been having all of yesterday were true. I was informed the baby was “lined up and ready for take off.” Thank goodness, I had prayed that I would not have to labor with a posterior baby. Candie reminded me again that she had family affairs to attend throughout the day and throughout Saturday afternoon. “If you have the baby from about midnight to noon or so, I can be there, but if not, the doctor on-call will be there,” she said. Well, I wasn’t sure whether this baby would born that soon, but I decided to keep it in mind and said a prayer since I really wanted Candie at the birth.

On the way home from the appointment, I had several more contractions and I continued to have contractions somewhat regularly throughout the rest of the day. I don’t really remember the day all that well. My mom and I took Dustri and drove around Paducah. I also remember that prime rib sounded absolutely delicious, but by the time we got to Outback it was seven in the evening with an hour and a half wait time (that’s what you get on a Friday night), so we went home and ate pizza instead. At some point my contractions picked up in intensity and I began to question if tonight might be the night. I lay down in bed to rest and my mom came in to massage my back and to keep me company. This set the mood of active labor off to such a wonderful beginning. My mother, knowing me so well, knew exactly how to massage me, which I find to be an immense comfort anytime, but especially during labor. I was also able to discuss more fully my desires to have a God-centered birth along with numerous fears and thoughts. We began praying and speaking to each other through Bible verses and through prayer to God, which I found to be so relaxing. I was able to be vulnerable with the one being who knew me best and had the most power over this labor: God. And my mother, who was my physical support, was able to hear my vulnerability and thereby know better how to help me during labor. This served us very well throughout labor and allowed me to cast aside tension and fear and to relax into the arms of my Maker while mom became a companion of spiritual, emotional, and physical encouragement.

After a while, mom went off to bed and I kneeled rocking on my birth ball. Between eleven p.m. and midnight active labor was really kicking in, although I was having a hard time accepting it. I called Kirstin at around 12:30, since mom had gone to sleep (she knew better than I that it would be a long night). Since Kirstin is my sister and a fellow birth doula, I figured she might be able to help me make some decisions: “Do I call Carrie to come watch Dustri?” “Am I really in labor?” After all, the last thing I seem to like to do is jump the gun and get too excited too quickly. Kirstin assured me that from the sounds of my voice, my breathing patterns and my pauses for contractions that I should probably stop denying the fact that labor had begun, accept it, and get Carrie to watch Dustri so I would stop worrying about childcare. Well, it took me another hour or so to decide she was right, but I finally called Carrie and she came over to watch Dustri.

After Carrie came over, I became calmer, as if my mind said, “Ok, your daughter will be fine; you can focus on the labor now.” I felt so blessed to have Carrie watching Dustri at our house, especially considering how short noticed our childcare arrangements were. Her presence was so calm and enlivening; I found myself wishing that she could be at the birth too. I had begun referring back to the prayer and bible verse portions of Christ Centered Childbirth, a book I had not read since pregnant with Dustri, but has now become my favorite book on the subject of childbirth. Carrie was interested in it as she was pregnant with her third and we began to discuss spiritual issues. I told her my frustration at “losing” my Clarksville home church and not feeling very comfortable in a large institutionalized church setting. She then went on to inform me that she went to a small church that had, at its heart a family-center and house church history. At that moment, I knew that if for no other reason God had allowed Carrie to come over to our house and watch Dustri so that we would have that discussion. One of many answers to prayers.

As I transitioned closer to going to the hospital, I found myself in some ways mourning the loss of a homebirth. What an annoying decision to make! “When should I leave; when do I upset my patterns of labor (mentally and probably physically), leave my comfy nest, get into the car, and drive to another location where I am not nearly as familiar and probably not as comfortable?” I found myself wishing I didn’t have to make that decision, but thanks be to God, bitterness did not enter my heart at my homebirth loss—just a little frustration. I was able to maintain a good mood, even a chatty happy mood while I rocked on the birth ball and mom prayed over me and rubbed my back during contractions and I talked with her and Carrie between contractions. It was so cozy: It was night, there were people close by who supported me and cared for me—I thank God for those moments.

I was surprised to find that my contractions were coming every three to four minutes lasting for at least 60 seconds. What! It can’t be time to leave yet, can it? Knowing my previous labor history, I couldn’t depend upon all the emotional signposts like the phrase “Don’t leave for the hospital unless you cannot smile for a camera” to help guide my departure for the birthplace. Historically, I had been a very polite birther. But, with the hospital a half hour from our house, I figured I did not want to wait until it looked like transition was upon us, or like I had (quite by accident) done for Dustri: waited for the slight urge to push. Besides, unlike Dustri’s birth, I trusted this birth place. I trusted the providers and the nurses to respect my wishes and did not fear the unnecessary use of intervention because of such subjective things as a hurried provider or a lack of trust in the birth process. So, although I would rather have stayed home, I decided the anxieties caused by waiting to go the birth place outweighed the benefits of staying home and I woke Richie to tell him it was time to go. By the time the bags and pillows were in the car and we were ready to go, I was mentally ready too and was eager to move on to the next phase.

The drive to the hospital was uneventful and I found that my contractions lessened and were fairly easy to cope with. When we arrived at the entrance, I hesitated. I prayed out loud expressing my fears of hospital policy, my mistrust of the iatrogenic-based birthing system, and asked God to make my way smooth. I prayed out loud much as I had earlier in labor with mom: to express my vulnerability to the one I could trust most, to verbalize my fears as they seem easier to let go of if you speak them away, and also to let those who would be integral in giving me support know what my fears were so that we would all be on the same page.

I entered the hospital tentatively yet excitedly. It was quiet as it was around 3:45in the morning. I was glad to go in my bathrobe without having to think about other people like I would have if it was during business hours. I liked the calm of walking in and, of course, they obviously knew I was in labor because who else walks into a birthing unit in their bathrobe? From the beginning, the nurses were gentle and unassuming and I found myself knowing that God had answered another prayer. I would feel uninhibited and would be able to labor and birth as my body dictated without worrying about people’s stares or opinions.

The nurses did a wonderful job of respecting my birth plan and keeping me informed about procedures. I felt like a birthing woman not a patient, which is something I had greatly desired. Like during the car ride, my contractions had lessened in intensity, and it was not uncomfortable to get my blood drawn and not that uncomfortable to be semi-reclined in bed while we did an initial monitoring of the baby’s heart rate and my contractions. I was glad when they told me that everything looked fine and that I could move around again. I was checked and found to be a soft 6 cm. 90% effaced. This was another answer to prayer because I had had it my mind that I really may not be inclined to stay if I was less than 6 cm. I am glad God made it apparent that I was making progress so I was content to settle in at the hospital.

I was informed that Candie would be unable to make it until around 6 or 7 in the morning since she had slipped and severely hurt her foot a few hours previously and was on some strong pain medications. At this point, I almost laughed because I thought “Well, God, you are definitely making me lean on you. My initial homebirth midwife died, I got sick and couldn’t do a homebirth, I’m giving birth on the four days that Jenna is not able to be here, you know I would rather not have a back-up doc catching my baby or making decisions about my care and here I show up during the 10-12 hour window that Candie is available to be my midwife and now she is not available for another 3 hours. Your will be done because it doesn’t matter; you are in charge, God.”

So, I labored for another 5 hours. I had asked for the hot tub to be filled, but knew in the back of my mind that I probably wouldn’t get in it since I couldn’t give birth in it. “What’s the point of being nearly fully dilated and getting in only having to get out to push, maybe before I am even really comfortable in the water,” I thought. (I’ve never labored in water before.) Sure enough, I was 8 cm. dilated and fully effaced when the tub was filled and as I was doing well coping with my contractions as a land lubber, I opted to stay out of the tub. Looking back it surprised me about some of the things I was not comfortable with. I had planned on using the tub, yet didn’t feel like it. I had planned on using the video camera, but nah; it was not worth the hassle. Oh well, maybe next time.

It may seem strange to some, but I really enjoyed my labor. My memories are filled with moments of laughter and giggles, of stupid little jokes, and of funny actions. Ina May is right when she says that birthing mothers do best when they allow for some lightness and humor. At least it worked for me. Three occasions rise up distinctly in my mind. One was when mom and I had wandered into the community snack area to find some water. Of course, I had several contractions during the process. Another woman, who was visiting a new mom, came in while I was having a contraction. I was leaning on the counter and mom had me in a full embrace from behind while we swayed back and forth together. Even in a hospital birthing center, this is a strange sight to see, I suppose, and the woman backed out quickly muttering apologies and looking quite embarrassed at walking in on us in such an apparently intimate moment. I didn’t mind as I was the one who chosen to venture into public areas. Somehow it seemed very funny and my mom and I busted up laughing. For me, my stomach was so large that it turned into a true belly laugh which made me laugh harder…which kind of hurt when another contraction came on, but the laughter definitely seemed to take the edge off. Another time, Richie, mom, and I were standing around listening to a cd I had recently picked up called Spirit Flutes. I had never listened to the whole thing before and there were portions in there of wolves howling, which I found very amusing (this after many hours of no sleep, mind you). So, I decided since mooing and low vocals worked to open the cervix maybe howling would too. So I stood there howling through several contractions and between just to help my spirits. Apparently, it lifted everyone’s spirits including the nurses who could hear me at the nurse’s station across the hallway. As birth got closer, the nurses came in. As I finished a contraction, I looked up and sardonically said, “I can’t believe my baby is going to be born to Spirit Flutes,” which apparently was very funny coming from a laboring mom because they both cracked up laughing. It made me feel good to know that I was historically in the most intense parts of labor and was still making people laugh. There again an answer to prayer: God allowed me to “soar on wings like eagles; to run and not grow weary.”

I spent a lot of time on the “birth throne,” the toilet. I would sit backwards and relax into the contractions while my mother or Richie would rub my back or pray and speak to me. I found many sayings like “good job,” “wonderful,” “you’re doing great,” or “relax your shoulders” annoying. I much preferred prayers and Bible verses than such seemingly powerless phrases like “good.” I don’t necessarily find anything wrong with the other phrases and have used them myself, but in my situation God’s presence was so there that it just didn’t feel connected or in tune with the “vibes” in the room to use to such secular or material phrasings.

Well, without much willful effort I hung on and at around 7 a.m., Candie came hobbling into the room and found that I was nearly dilated with only a small anterior lip that I could push through. Then I had the best feeling vomit of my life and new for sure that I just had to be dilated for sure. Ok, I could have my baby now. Or so I thought. It would be another two hours before birth actually occurred. As with Dustri’s labor, my contractions lost a lot of tangible intensity and the urge to push was fleeting (or fleeing). I walked around and semi-squatted during contractions, doing what felt good and might bring baby farther into the pelvis so that I would get an urge to push. I remember Ronii, my old homebirth midwife, telling me that women with ample birthing hips needed a lot of gravity and many did not feel an urge to push until the baby was at a very low station. I guess this may just be the way my body labors—slowly and not too intensely.

I did have several fears that were not addressed. For starters, I had not really bonded with this baby before birth and until I felt the baby’s head with my hand, I really don’t think I even fully accepted and realized that there was a baby in there to push out. The pushing stage has been unknown to me as I did not get an urge to push with Dustri either and had been given direction in prolonged pushing during 2nd stage. This was in sharp contrast to the enjoyable 1st stage where I felt very confident in relaxing, in having patience and letting my body work. 2nd stage during both labors was much more intense for me and I have preferred the work of 1st stage labor to 2nd stage.

And so we waited. Being my second child, the nurses and Candie stayed right beside me and I felt as if everyone was waiting for me to do something. I felt like an actor on stage that had forgotten his lines. Where was the urge to push? As I rested on Richie, he finally told me that it was time. “Let the baby out,” he said. I think he knew better than anyone that in many ways that’s what I was holding onto the baby because of my uncertainties of second stage and of being a mom for the second time. I still wonder how much of the delays in second stage are physiology and how much are psychology. Whereas after Dustri’s birth, I bitterly attributed much of it to psychology and birth environment, I now feel inclined to think that, yes, my anatomy and physiology is also a significant variable in my second stage behavior.

Candie suggested that Richie support me on the birth ball while I squatted during pushing. There she was with a potentially broken foot tailor sitting on the floor with her gleaming instruments off to her side. I was very glad to have a chance to squat, on the floor no less, but found that it was not very comfortable and chose to move up to the bed where I could try to feel where to push instead of thinking of which position I was pushing in. At this point, the intensity of the baby’s head was mounting, but Candie helped guide my hand so I could feel the baby’s head at a +2 station. It didn’t feel like I thought it would. It felt like a membrane not a head; it felt gelatinous, not like bone (apparently, this was the caput I was feeling). But it did give me some bearing on where to push. Unlike with Dustri, I was not hooked up to the external fetal monitor (EFM) so only I knew when my contractions were coming. They had checked me with doptone intermittently throughout this labor and while they kept a close eye on the baby’s heart rate they did not strap me to EFM. Only then, as Eliana was moving down the birth canal, did I wish to have someone tell me when my contractions were so I could push with my body. I felt so much so intensely, but I did not feel the pressure of contractions, other than a small feeling about every 6 or so minutes that I thought might be telling me to do something different. And so, I would breathe and then push for a few seconds and breathe and push again as I felt comfortable. I was appreciative that everyone was giving me every effort to be autonomous in my birth, but I still felt slightly overwhelmed by the intensity of the sensations as well my lack of instinctively knowing how to deal with them.

And so our baby came closer to the outside world and finally the baby was crowning. My hands were placed firmly at my side for support (too much tension, I know), but Candie insisted I feel my child’s head as it was coming out. I didn’t want to, but looking back it made a huge difference in my perceptions and possibly my actions during this last portion of the birth process. I don’t know how long it took, but I finally knew my child. There she was, her hair was there and she was a real head, not a penny of squishy fluid. The intensity was really beyond words and I kept praying to God in my mind that this baby would keep coming and not stay there for several minutes while another contraction took effect. But God was gracious and gave me what I had missed during the second stage: Instinctual movements that brought my baby into this world. With my hand firmly placed on her head, I grunted gently yet earnestly through the ring of fire as I felt her move closer and closer to her first breath, her first views of this world. Looking back, I chuckle because in my birth plan I had quoted Leboyer about birth as ephemeral event and one that demanded quietness. Well, I birthed that baby with a loud yell, one that dropped Richie’s blood pressure and I’m sure everyone down the hall heard as well. Little did Richie know that that yell was not one of sorrow or even pain, but of triumph and of relief—for our little baby’s head was out. Even as I echoed my inward relief, I heard Candie say that the baby was trying to breathe and that there were two tight loops around her neck so not to push. This wasn’t that hard to do as most all the pressure was off and I just raised my neck and panted until she eventually cut the cord and then her shoulders slipped through. Now she was truly here. It was for her a quiet entrance. Dustri had come in crying and Eliana made nary a peep. She was taken to the warmer a few feet from where I was as she was rather limp but I felt she was fine. In fact, although none of us had seen, I knew “it” was a she. All through labor, this child had been a he, but as I birthed her my language turned from he to she. My connection had been made. I knew this child…and I loved her. Another answer to prayer.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Natalie's birth

My name is Heather Brownlee, and here is my birth story.
Natalie Kay was born on May 18, 2009. We live in Tonasket, WA.

I thought I'd start by sharing the story of Natalie's arrival.

We decided pretty early on that we wanted a home birth. There are several reasons, but to sum it up: we didn't want any unnecessary interventions and I wanted to be comfortable and in control. I'm not a big fan of doctors and modern medicine, except when needed. Around Christmas, I found my midwife, Laurel, after asking around. I appreciated all of the knowledge she shared at each appointment and her gentle nature. Towards the end of the pregnancy, my blood pressure started creeping up and my feet and legs started to swell. I had to be on modified bed rest starting at 37 weeks. It was time for me to focus on the baby.

I had a few "false starts" and even though I enjoyed pregnancy, by 40 weeks I was ready to meet the baby (who wasn't?). At my appointment, Laurel stripped my membranes and gave me a tincture and some other ideas to try to get things going (after giving her fair warning, of course). We waited until the next day to try the tincture. Oh, let me not forget, Lucas must have known something was going to happen because before we had even discussed trying to get labor started, he insisted on sleeping until noon. I was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at 8 am. So at 12:30 I started the tincture, which gave me some stronger contractions, but nothing significant. Later that afternoon, my vision was messed up, and I couldn't think straight. My blood pressure had jumped up. Laurel said to get in the tub with epsom salts and relax. She also warned us that if we got another high reading, I'd be diagnosed with preeclampsia. Not good!

Luckily, my BP went down and we just hung out and watched some movies. Around 9 that evening the contractions started getting strong and were about 5 minutes apart, so after about an hour we called Laurel and let her know. She told me to call in a few hours and update her on the progress, and not to call if I was able to go to sleep. I had to tell Lucas to call her back after only about an hour, as the contractions were only two minutes apart, and some where back to back. She told Lucas to get me in the tub and she'd be here shortly.

And so it began. When Laurel got here, I was in the tub, enjoying how it was helping with the pain. She observed me for a while, timed my contractions and decided after a litte bit that she'd call her assistant. I was already becoming so focused on my labor that I wasn't very talkative or aware of anything or anyone around me. The contractions were back to back with a little break (about two minutes) in between each one. Lucas tried turning on some music (I thought it would help-I love listening to music) but that didn't last long. I also had the illusion that I would be nice and quiet during labor, after watching birthing videos, some women were so vocal, I just didn't think I would be. That thought flew out the window too. As time went by, I quit being quiet. I remember one thing I said was "Owww!" and Laurel said, "Just add a T to that." After I thought about it, and thinking "yeah, that makes sense," I started saying "OUT" instead. The hours went by, I was unaware of times, but I know I remember certain things. One is that I absolutely hated laying on the bed. I loved the water, it helped so much with the back pain. Lucas wasn't allowed out of my sight (okay, maybe twice). I leaned on him, listened to his instructions, had him hold my barf pail, held his hand, and I even beat him up a little (he didn't deserve it at the time). I remember throwing up several times, which bummed me out because I couldn't hold any fluids down and was getting dehydrated. I remember Lucas telling me when the sun was starting to come up, and we all listened to the birds as they started singing. I know Laurel checked me at one point and I was at 5 cm. I think it was around 3 or 4 in the morning. Progress! Every time she checked my blood pressure we were amazed it was staying at a good level, and the baby was doing great. More contractions, more breathing, and I know at some point I called myself a wimp, and Laurel and Lainy (her assistant) totally disagreed with me. They both were so great at encouraging me and I know everyone took turns putting pressure on my back and hips to relieve the back labor. Lainy gave me sips of water through a straw as well as spoonfuls of honey for energy. I remember after Laurel checked me again, after hours had passed, I think it was afternoon, I was at 9 cm. I worked through more contractions and took "naps" in between contractions - two minutes at a time. At some point after that, I was back in the tub, and I couldn't help but cry. Yes, I cried, and it felt good. I also said "I can't," which is a phrase I don't allow myself to say otherwise. I started to feel pressure, and I didn't like the way it felt. This is when I ended up beating on Lucas, and I know I was not nice. In reading all those birth stories, I was lead to believe this would be a great feeling, but it wasn't. Laurel wanted to check me again, and it took a while for them to get me to move. After Laurel made it possible for me to push, I gave it a try in the squatting position. I was horrible at pushing. I made several attempts, and even when Laurel told me I was doing it right, I wasn't able to do it long enough. I was so tired and hot and thirsty. Thank goodness Laurel had instructed Lainy to make me some concentrated lemonade out of fresh-squeezed lemon juice, salt, and sugar. I wasn't even able to recognize how close we were getting to having the baby. I must have said something like "I give up" because I remember Laurel saying "okay, Lainy and I will pack up and go home," and it helped me realize this was it. The point of no return and the end of the road. I realized I could see light at the end of the tunnel. She gave me oxygen because I was getting a little light-headed at the end of pushing, and this was partially why I wasn't holding it long enough. Once I started really pushing, I could feel my body take over and I got back in the tub on my hands and knees. It wasn't very long before she told me to reach down and feel the head. Wow, it's there! I was still in some other place, focused on this task, but it was only a matter of minutes and her head was born. I thought her body would slide out after that, but apparently her shoulders were wider, so Laurel had to work her out. And then she was here! It was 2:38 p.m.

I turned around and Lucas was holding her. He looked to see if she was a boy or girl, then I got to hold her. I could feel myself starting to "wake up." We moved to the bedroom and Natalie started nursing. Still, the placenta wouldn't come out. After a while, Laurel told me we needed to focus on getting it out. She had a serious tone in her voice. I handed Natalie to Lainy and I got out of bed. In a matter of moments I was dizzy. It's all a blur, but I remember Laurel saying "you're not going to like this, but we have to go to the hospital." She called the ambulance. Apparently some numb-skull answered. After Laurel went back and forth with them for a minute, she said, "Nevermind, we're just going to drive." Fine with me, we're only a few blocks away. She gave me a shot of pitocin and Lucas swept me up in his arms. He carried me down the stairs and into the car. I talked to him the whole way, not sure what I said, but I was in the back seat and we wanted to make sure I was awake. We got to the hospital and they put me on a stretcher. They stuck IV's in me and gave me more pitocin. I had to be flat on my back and the pitocin made the contractions come back. My back labor was as bad as it was during labor, but I couldn't do anything to relieve it. I wasn't very happy, because I felt like I had gone back to transition, when I was tired, thirsty, and in a bunch of pain. I looked up at those cold ER lights, cried, screamed and said "I thought I was done with this!" and "why can't it be over!" Looking around, there was a flurry of people. Two doctors, several nurses, Lucas, and others. Lucas had a terrified look on his face. I could hear the baby crying in the hall. Dr. Wilson told me he was going to try to pull the placenta out and if he couldn't get it, I'd have to go in for surgery. My mom showed up. With her on one side and Lucas on the other, they worked on me and were able to get the placenta out. The pain started to go away. I realized then that I was sitting in a pool of blood (Dr. Jaffri says I lost half my blood). They started cleaning up and they weighed and measured Natalie. She was 8 pounds 10 ounces, 21 inches long. Her head was 34 inches around and her shoulders 36. We got moved upstairs and spent the night in the hospital. We enjoyed showing our new bundle of joy to all our visitors.

We are both very happy we had a home birth, even though it didn't all turn out as planned. We are so blessed!

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Kate Abby's birth

I was 7 days overdue and had been waking every morning dissappointed when nothing had happened because I was sure I would go into labour during the night. Sure enough..... at 2am on Monday 9th February I felt my first contraction. I even started timing them from 3am to make sure I wasn't imagioning it. They were every 3 minutes but not lasting all that long.
I had an appointment for monitoring of baby at 9:30am so I went along to that to find I was 1cm dialated. wooo hooo. My MW thought I'd be back in by that night having the baby. So I went home and relaxed for the rest of the day, it was stinking hot and I attempted to sleep and watch a dvd. By that evening nothing was really happening I had been having contractions all day but no real drama. By 10pm I wasn't sure whether to go to bed because they were becoming stronger. My MW txt to say 'call me if you need to go to hospital' so we arranged for me to go in and meet her at 11:30pm.
When I arrived she thought I was 7-8cms diallated and then changed her mind to 3-4cms. GRRR.
I was given pethadine and told to try and get some sleep. (yeah right!) The contractions were pretty strong, and the pethadine wasn't working so I got into the birthing pool (but it was far too cold), and when I got out the contractions had all but stopped. I dozed on a plastic chair for the next few hours as I didn't want to move incase the contractions started again.
At about 5am my MW finally came back, she had, had a great sleep and was supprised that I hadn't. I was hooked up to the monitor again and the contractions came back but not all that strong. This continued through to daylight. I think it was about 9am when things went slightly down hill. I was 8cms diallated and had stayed that way since 5am. My body must have hit the transition stage and it really started to shut down I was frozen and couldn't stop shaking. That was when the MW decided we needed to get things going, so all of a sudden I was having a drip put in and being given Oxytocian. Well that really got things moving contractions came back much stronger. The gas was taking too much effort to concentrate on, so I just had to breath through it. I think the babies heart rate must have dropped as well, as things were made to happen rather quickly. The baby was hooked up to the monitor continuiously and things began to progress.
Finally less than an hour after being given the drip I felt the need to push. 30minutes of pushing later and little Kate Abby arrived into this world. 10:51am after a very long time in labour. I would have to say the pushing stage was so quick it almost seemed easy.
Did I say that outloud?

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Selah's home birth

I have a beautiful new birth story to share with you today. Here is the link to Joy's blog where you will find the story of Selah's birth, and once you've finished reading, you may want to check out Dad's version too!

Thanks for sharing Joy!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Baylee's birth

Baylee Grace’s beautiful birth story…

The Beginning -

Without having anything to compare with, I’d say we had a pretty good pregnancy. Sure, I had bad morning sickness (I vomited at least once a day from weeks 6 to 26, and it restarted again near the end!), back pain, lots of tiredness and all that jazz, but really, it was nothing I wouldn’t face again. I think my biggest worry with being pregnant was actually becoming pregnant, and even that was nothing too exciting! We started trying in about August or September 2007, and I was holding a positive pregnancy test in May 2008, and our due date was predicted to be the 7th of January 2009.

Approximately 36 weeks pregnant.

Baylee had other ideas, and decided to come into the world a little early. Luckily I had already started my maternity leave and we were pretty much “ready” for her.

Sunday 7th December - Morning - I went to the toilet to discover my mucous plug had passed, which basically meant I was greeted by a glob of clear, snot-like stuff. I was due to go to my Dad’s family Christmas party that afternoon, but rang the midwives to check and see what I should do next - I‘d been seeing a private GP-Obstetrician but was booked in to give birth at a local hospital. The midwife I spoke to was lovely and very reassuring that the plug was normal and labour could still be weeks away. I rang Mum and Dad (who insisted on picking me up, lest I go into labour while driving to my Aunty and Uncle’s house!) and we still went to the Christmas party, although my parents kept whispering to me to see if I was okay and not in labour yet!!

Monday 8th December - Morning - I started getting a very wet, clear, unfamiliar discharge which I began to assume must have been my broken waters. I rang the midwives again who (to my shock!) said I should come in to the hospital ASAP so they could have a look. I started getting mild period-pain cramps, so I quickly rang Anthony and my Mum, who met us at the hospital.

Afternoon - After a LOOONG day at the hospital (and Anthony leaving work to drive me there) it was established (after literally having a torch shone up my va-jay-jay!) that my waters were very much un-broken, and my cervix was very very closed. I felt pretty dumb, like the girl who cried labour or something, but everyone was very understanding!

Tuesday 9th December - I had my 36 week appointment with Dr Charry (my GP-Obstetrician) and I mentioned the plug to her. She asked if there was any blood in it. Nope. “That’s boring!” she replied. I told her abut my “broken waters” and hospital visit, and she said if I suspect my waters have broken to put on a pad - if it is soaked within an hour then you can be pretty sure that the waters are broken.

Thursday 11th December - from memory it was quite a warm day - Yes! I know it was because I struggled like hell to shave my legs. I was so over being pregnant by this point, which was made so much worse by spending nearly five hours shopping that afternoon (about 3 hours with Vanessa - one of my best friends and Baylee’s God Mother - and then another couple with Anthony) and evening.

I had to stop by my parents’ house on my way home and I remember nearly crying as I walked through their door, so tired, so sore and so ready to just have the baby NOW to get it out of me, meet her and stop being pregnant! I was also a bit teary thinking that I potentially still had about 6 weeks to go, if I went over my due date. My Mum later told me that it was weird, that night when she saw me she said I suddenly looked VERY pregnant, it was as if she hadn’t seen me for ages and it was very obvious now, where to her I hadn’t looked too different yet.

I fell into bed that night, un-aware that it would be my last good sleep for quite some time!!

Friday 12th December - I woke up kind of early for me, at 7:25 I rolled up to get up and go to the toilet. As I sat up I felt what HAD to be my waters flood out of me. Anthony was outside, and I staggered out to find him, with the warm waters trickling down my leg with every step. I told him and he ended up grabbing me a towel to shove between my legs so the amniotic fluid wouldn‘t drip all over the carpet. I remembered Dr Charry’s advice and put a pad on. It was soaked in less than ten minutes.

By this time it was about 8am, and Anthony had to decide whether to go to work or to stay home with me and see what happened.

For the third time, I rang the midwives who said I had better get to the hospital again, as now the baby was at risk of infection if I didn’t go into labour soon.

I remember feeling oddly calm. I made myself breakfast and ate it slowly while pretending to watch whatever was on TV. Anthony decided to ring his boss so he could have another day off and we drove to the hospital, giddy that it was happening - our baby was going to be here, soon! I rang my Mum (who was my second support person for labour) and she and my Dad (who happened to be home sick that day) met us there.

-- I should now explain that Anthony had only just transferred to a new job within his company, with a new boss and store etc, so it really wasn’t a great first impression to be having lots of days off work! --

Once we were at the hospital I was hooked up to a monitor which checked the baby’s heartbeat, and also told if I was having contractions. Baylee’s heartbeat was fantastic, but I wasn’t having any contractions yet.

It turned out I’d picked a bad day to have my waters break - they were very busy, so I ended up being asked to wait in the visitor’s waiting room until a room was ready for me. It was all good though, with my family there to keep me company and occupied. I started to get some more light period-pain like cramping, which my Dad ended up timing and we kept track of for a while (at this stage they were light and only lasting anywhere from ten seconds to one minute, but coming about every five minutes.)

By that afternoon I was admitted to hospital and on antibiotics, after they confirmed (once again with the torch!) that my waters had definitely broken. The room I was in could only be described as a “holding pen” for patients who aren’t quite ready for the delivery rooms - it was down the end of a very long hallway, as far away from the nurses station as possible, and from the new mums and their new babies. I was hooked up to a monitor which denied that I was having contractions, and it was “rest time” in the ward so Anthony, my Mum and Dad were all sent home by a VERY rude nurse (the first of many), which resulted in me bursting into tears. I ended up being comforted by another nurse who assured me that she was there for me seconds before she left the room and I can’t remember if I saw her again!

After I calmed down a bit I spent some time unpacking my stuff and sent some text messages to friends to spread the word that something was happening. I also messaged Melanie, a student-midwife who had been coming to various appointments and was hopefully going to deliver our little one. She was the daughter of a lady I work with, and almost finished her second year of Uni. At first I was a little apprehensive about the idea of her being there, being “just a student” but after meeting her and hearing her talk about midwifery and stuff, it was pretty clear she knew and was very passionate about her stuff!

Anthony, Mum and Dad returned that night (hospital visiting hours were 2:30-4:30 and 7-8pm) and Anthony had spent the afternoon uploading songs onto my ipod (a device which I will always be grateful to, for the fact that it helped me stay sane during these few days).

They left at 8pm and I was left to watch TV, read and try and get some sleep in this unfamiliar environment. I had a roommate who I learned (by listening in to conversations, we hardly spoke to each other) had pre-eclampsia and was being induced the following afternoon. I could have been more friendly to her, but I wasn’t really in the mood to try and make friends so I simply kept the curtains drawn around my bed and tried to make it feel like I had some privacy.

Sleep wasn’t happening, so I found some escape and solitude in my ipod. I’ll never forget listening to music that night, some of the songs became a soundtrack for my labour. I want to write a letter of thanks to Brooke Fraser (a New Zealand born artist, maybe comparable to Delta Goodrem - but way better!) for some of her songs and their lyrics which just seemed to fit and sum up how I was feeling in those hours.

Arithmetic - Brooke Fraser

I've been staring at the sky tonight
Marvelling and passing time
Wondering what to do with daylight
Until I can make you mine
You are the one I want, you are the one I want

I've been thinking of changing my mind
It never stays the same for long
But of all the things I know for sure
You're the only certain one

You are the one I want, you are the one I want

When the years are showing on my face
And my strongest days are gone
When my heart and flesh depart this place
From a life that sung your song

You'll still be the one I want

You'll still be the one I want

You'll still be the one I want

You'll still be the one I want

Seeds - Brooke Fraser

Field of stars above us
You pick one
We frame it with our fingers intertwined

Seeds of every generation
Between our hands
And the promise to teach you the little I have learned
So far

What will you live to do?
What have I left for you?
What will we leave behind?

Learning as you're growing
Not yet knowing
The world isn't always quite as beautiful
As it is now

Field of stars above us
I pick one and name it for you
And all who are to come

Saturday 13th December - Saturday started early, as hospital life tends to. I was woken at about 6am (after finding sleep just hours before) to take my antibiotics, and it seemed easier to stay awake and be tired than try and go back to sleep. I rang Anthony and updated him on my night, and he headed off to work promising to be at the hospital by 7pm.

Mid morning I was visited by two doctors, one named Andy who was quite young and now holds the title of The Hottest Guy I Have Ever Met. He asked me what had been happening and why I was in hospital (I’m sure there’s a reason why they seem to ask you the same things a hundred times!), and they left saying that I needed to stay in hospital on antibiotics until I either went into labour or I would be induced on Tuesday. I had mentioned the pains I was getting, that they were now starting to “peak“, and mentioned the intervals I was having them. On a scale of one to ten, ten being high, these were rated as about a 9 or 10 of “the worst period pain I‘d ever had“. “It doesn’t sound like contractions” one of them replied, contradicting everything I knew about contractions, “If you were in labour you’d know it and be in much more pain.”

That afternoon my parents and Alicia (my older sister) came to visit me, and the “not labour pains” were at the point that I couldn’t talk through them - I had to stop and breathe through them, or at least pay attention to them!

I also kept having the sensation of really needing to go to the toilet, and when I did either absolutely nothing would happen, or I’d have diarrhoea, or I’d do the tiniest drop of wee.

Mum, Dad and Alicia left just as they where wheeling my roommate off to be induced, and I got a few hours of total privacy, accept for the occasional nurse coming to check my obs.

When Anthony arrived that evening he helped me through some of the pains by rubbing my back, “I can feel it pulsating!” he declared through one of them. I’d been writing down the time and duration of each contraction-that-wasn’t for a good two hours by now, and when a nurse next came to check up on me I told her about the pains getting worse, that they built up and then went down and they were definitely regular. By this stage I described them as being the WORST period pain I’d ever had, and then some, at least fifteen out of ten. She sat through me through one of the pains and put her finger-tips on the top of my bump as if she were reading a crystal ball. “Are you getting one now?” she asked just as the pain began to start. I nodded, unable to talk. It peaked and I breathed through it. Once it was over I showed her my records of when I’d had the pains. “Oh don’t bother writing them down!” she practically laughed, “If you do that then you’ll focus too much on them! I don’t think you’re in labour, they aren’t intense enough.”

Anthony broke the hospital rules that night and managed to stay with me until about 10pm, when a ditzy older nurse came into my room and gave me a cocktail of pills to take, which included two Panadeine Forte (I’m not supposed to take Codeine mind you) and two sleeping pills which the nurse claimed would knock me out in ten or twenty minutes.

Anthony left, thinking I’d be asleep soon, and I read a little until my eyes got too blurry and I thought sleep was coming.

Sunday 14th December -

At midnight I was still wide awake, and now listening to my new roommate being set up next to me (my curtains were still drawn). She sounded about my age and was pregnant for the first time, about 30 weeks into it, and suffering from severe dizziness.

I’d started to need to moan through my contractions which were still coming at least every five minutes. I flagged down my nurse when she came in to check on my roommate and told her how bad the pains were. “Get some sleep.” was her response as she walked away.

At 2am, I’d been moaning and crying for what felt like an eternity. The Panadeine had done nothing, and I was still no closer to sleep. I buzzed the nurse determined to get some kind of response from her, or at least get her to listen to me. She huffed into my room and sat through me through yet another pain which I breathed and moaned through as I had been. I told her that now, compared to any period pain I‘d ever had - and I‘ve had some pretty ferocious period pain in my life - this was now about a hundred times stronger. “I hate to tell you this but it’s going to get a lot worse than what it is now - you aren’t even in a fraction of the amount of pain you will be when you go into labour. I suggest you get up and go for a walk to tire yourself out and get to sleep.”

Stupidly, even though I knew how much agony I was in when I walked (as I learned from staggering back and forth to the toilet), I forced myself out of bed - the pressure inside my pelvis was now simular to how you feel when you are DESPERATE to do a poo! I made my way into the dimly lit hallway, and I slowly stumbled along it a few times, stopping regularly to breathe through the pains and to lean on and grip onto the wooden handle bar as the pains peaked and eventually subsided enough for me to take some more steps. I heard the cries of the newborn babies and wondered if I was really going to have to wait until Tuesday to hear my own little one.

After maybe three more contractions I waddled slowly back into my room and apologised to my new roommate for groaning and making noise. “That’s okay, I couldn’t sleep now anyway. You must be in so much pain.” she replied sympathetically. We exchanged a few details (names - she was called Hannah - and why we were in hospital, that it was both our first babies etc) and she ended up basically coaching me through many of the contractions which followed - I can still hear her voice calmly saying “It‘s okay, you are doing so well, just keep breathing, it will be over soon.” She was an absolute angel, so sweet and caring, and she really helped me get through one of the worst, loneliest times of my life. By about 4am Hannah fell asleep, and I listened to my ipod some more, prayed a lot and kept trying to breathe and get myself through it.

You are the one I want, you are the one I want…

At 6am Anthony rang me and he listened to me groaning through a few contractions as we spoke. “Why haven’t they done any internals to see if you’re dilated?” Anthony asked, mirroring my own thoughts and frustrations. I had no idea.

At 7:30am a doctor came and checked up on me. She sat through some contractions and did the same crystal ball hand thing as the nurses had been doing. “I’m not going to do an internal because the risk of infection is now too great. However, my colleagues will be around some time later on, and they may choose to do one.”

I rang Anthony who was now getting ready for work. He ended up ringing the nurse that was looking after me and got “permission” to come and see me outside their visiting hours so I didn’t have to be alone. I was hanging to see him and have his support, but seeing as I “wasn’t in labour yet” I convinced him to go to work, and I got my parents to come in instead. I promised to call him as soon as I had any news or the other doctors had seen me.

I then rang my parents and spoke to my Dad. I didn’t need to ask twice but I pretty much begged them to come in and just be with me and help me through the pain if nothing else. He promised to wake my mother and they would be there as soon as they could.

They arrived at about 9am, and I gripped my Mum’s hand through a few contractions before Dr Andy, The Hottest Guy I Have Ever Met, stuck his head through my curtain and asked me how I’d been. I told him about the night, the pains, the groaning and as my parents left the cubicle he sat down next to me and felt my belly. He checked the baby’s position (her head had been in the “right spot” for weeks and he said she was getting ready) and sat through a couple of contractions, timed them and then stood up.

“I think you’re in early labour, I’m going to get you set up for an internal.” These were the words I’d been hanging for.

Within five minutes a nurse had set me up for Andy to “have a look”. He and the nurse - who was now a nice, older lady - whispered a little between themselves as I lay there in all my glory waiting for answers. I couldn’t read their faces, though golly, did I try!

“Well,” Andy began looking me in the eyes as I held my breath. “You’re about four centimetres dilated and I can see the head.”

I think I squealed a bit before asking “Does she have hair?!” (In our last ultrasound the sonographer could see hair - no idea why but this was so exciting for me!) Andy looked at me as if I was nuts, but smiled and replied, “Yeah, I can see a little bit of dark hair.”

I lost it, “Oh my God, you have no idea, that is the best news I’ve ever had, I want to marry you, you have no idea how happy I am now!” I blubbered on like that to Andy for what felt like five minutes, he and the nurse laughed and said I would now - FINALLY - be taken to a delivery room.

My parents heard all this from behind the curtain and came back in as Andy left, I rang Anthony and the nurse quickly helped us pack up my things. She then got a wheelchair and I said goodbye and wished Hannah all the best. “You too, how exciting, you get to meet your baby soon!” she replied.

Within what felt like five minutes - but was probably closer to forty - Anthony was at the hospital, I had left a voicemail message for Melanie to come to the hospital ASAP if she was able to help us deliver and I was being set up in a delivery room. I got changed into an old nightie and Anthony took a couple of photos of me and the last of my bump. We were then introduced to my first Midwife - a beautiful lady named Anika, who wore a head scarf.

Andy came and did a “proper” internal (the earlier one he had just looked, this time he had a feel) and said I was actually 5cms dilated.

At this point I began asking Anika about pain relief - the nurses that thought my pain would get much worse has scared me into wanting an epidural, but Anika calmly convinced me to try out the gas first. “The first seven centimetres are the worst, you have done the first five all by yourself, I think if you want a natural birth you will do it on your own.”

“How much longer do you think I’ll be in labour?” I asked as she examined me.

“Honestly, I think you will have your baby by 4pm, and it will happen quickly.” She replied, exciting and terrifying me at the same time - this was IT!

It was about 11am when I decided I wanted to try the gas, so Anika set me up with a mouthpiece and explained to me how to use it. I had naturally started breathing in long and very deep through my nose and out through my mouth - and had been since 2pm the previous afternoon. After just three puffs of the gas I decided it was messing up my breathing too much and was more of an annoyance than a help.

I remember feeling very thirsty, and Anthony and my parents getting me water to sip, and me holding whoever’s hands were closest and breathing and moaning louder with each wave that hit me.

After the gas I felt very sleepy all of a sudden, and I remember suddenly understanding how people reported sleeping through part of their labour. I had no such luck, but tried to cat-nap as best as I could.

By about midday I started to feel a bit delirious - I remember suddenly moaning to Anika that I needed to poo and BAD! She and Anthony helped me to the toilet where Lord, did I have a dilemma. I had the sensation of wanting to poo, yet I was then so scared I would accidentally have my baby in the toilet.

I remember Anika waiting at the door for me and asking how I was going (no dignity at this point whatsoever!) and me crying that I wanted to push but didn’t want to be the lady who had her baby in the toilet. “Just try sweetheart, you won’t push the baby out, I promise.” She tried to reassure me.

Try I did, and absolutely nothing happened.

I waddled back out of the toilet in agony and Anthony helped me back onto the bed.

Within one minute I was crying to Anika that I needed to poo, and all I remember for the next hour was getting up and down off the bed and going to the bathroom but not wanting to push but wanting nothing but to be able to push. “Not yet sweetie,” Anika told me when I begged her to let me get the baby out NOW.

At around 1pm I was on the bed and I grabbed Anika’s hand and looked her square in the eye, “It’s taking every fibre of my being not to push.” I told her.

She did another examination and told me again that it was not far away - my baby would be here soon. “I need to push,” I kept saying.

“Okay,” Anika said at about 1:15pm, “give us a tiny little push.”

“Really?” I replied, stunned.

“Just a little one, and when I say so, stop.”
My mind boggled - how do you define a tiny push, when all you want to do is push for your life? I gave the littlest push I could, feeling like I was trying to stop a an overflowing damn from busting.

“Okay, stop. Does that feel a bit better?”
“I want to keep pushing.”

“Not just yet, it won’t be long.”

“I need to go to the toilet again.” This was, no kidding, about the 30th time I “had to go”.

“Ok, but I’m going to stay by the door in case you need me.”

As I sat I felt another immense wave of a contraction, after I got through it I opened my eyes and there was another midwife standing talking to Anika - she was maybe forty years old and had blond hair.

She introduced herself to me (while I was still on the toilet mind you!) as Theresa - it was 1:30, time for Anika to go home and she would now be my Midwife.

I forced myself off the toilet and within seconds another contraction hit as I collapsed onto Anthony. He caught me and held me, talked me through it. As it was ending Theresa came over to us and put her hand on my arm and helped me to breathe.

I remember wearily looking into her eyes and murmuring “I need to do a poo.”

She cracked up laughing, “Oh honey, you don’t need to poo, you need to have a baby! It’s time.”

“Are you sure?” I asked, scared she would change her mind.

“I am very sure. I’ve been doing this for over twenty years. I just need you to give me a few minutes to set up.”

A few minutes sounded like a few hours, but soon enough she had wheeled in the baby resuscitation trolley (standard, nothing to worry about I had learnt during a hospital tour) and was getting whatever she needed organised.

In the nick of time Melanie arrived - I remember smiling and saying to her I didn’t know she wore glasses; I remember seeing her in her Kmart uniform and Theresa telling her to put on an apron. I then heard Theresa asking Melanie a series of questions, I guess sizing up her experience - I was relieved when I heard Melanie answer everything with ease and confidence.

The next forty or so minutes are a bit of a blur, but also a time I will never forget.

I remember Theresa asking who was staying in the room. I didn’t want anyone to leave - I felt safe having both my parents there, as well as Anthony, so they all stayed. Anthony was on my right hand side, his hand gripped mine throughout it all, and he whispered words of encouragement to me like an angel, and seemed to just know when I needed another sip of water.

Mum was on my left, holding my other hand, and Dad was sitting to Mum’s side.

Melanie was at my right leg, and Theresa was at the left. Theresa instructed me to lift both my legs up, bent at the knee so she and Melanie could each brace one as I was allowed to push, small at first.

I remember the relief sweeping over me as finally I could push like my instincts had wanted me to for what felt like hours. The relief was then overtaken by the unbelievable feeling of the baby slowly, slowly starting to emerge. “Push with the contractions” I remember Theresa instructing me. “I don’t know when they are,” I wailed. Melanie took the incentive to place her hand on my belly and tell me when to push. I remember focusing on her eyes and her calm voice telling me to push and breathe and relax.

I remember the burning feeling as my body began to stretch as the baby’s head came down.

I remember Theresa grabbing mine and Anthony’s hands and letting us feel the crowning, it was all wet and felt surreal to think I had our babies head right there. She then grabbed a mirror and told me to have a look - I opened my eyes for a few seconds and I remember feeling crushed that I could only just see the head starting to show - I felt like I had been pushing so hard and for so long that the baby must be at least halfway out by now (hehe how na├»ve I was I soon discovered!).

I remember being told to really push, long and hard, and I can hear myself grunting and making noises, animal-like that I couldn’t make again now if I tried.

I remember my Mum bursting into tears and my Dad and everyone coaching me, keeping me focused and talking me through it all.

I remember begging for someone to count as I was pushing - I had suddenly got a flash of when I used to use the cross-trainer at the gym, and how I used to get through it was to tell myself “there’s only x amount of seconds” - and I needed a goal like this to keep me focused and feel like I knew what I was doing.

I remember everyone laughed and said that was very “American” of me, to need the counting, but whatever worked!

I remember the incredible feeling of empowerment I got when the baby’s head was out, and gearing up to do just a few more pushes before we could meet her.

At 2:17pm as I grunted through the final few pushes I felt an incredible gush of a baby coming out, and fluid, and noise of cheers and happiness.

I threw my head forward with relief and my eyes opened; I caught a glimpse of this purple little body between my legs, naked and wet and covered in its inside world.

As I blinked Theresa scooped the baby up and I held her to me, I remember cradling her little wet bum in my hand and babbling to everyone it was all squishy, and feeling the white vernix on her skin and being terrified that she was so purple.

“Is she a girl?” I asked in my delirium.

“Larissa, why don’t you tell us?” Melanie smiled at me as I moved the thick, twisted umbilical cord out between the baby’s legs.

“Oh my god, it IS a girl!” I cried, being hit with another wave of relief - we had so many pink clothes!

Anthony cut the cord, and Theresa then had to take her and she was examined by the waiting doctor. Theresa brought our little girl back to us, and told me to give her a quick kiss, as she needed to go to the Special Care Nursery - a standard procedure for babies born before 37 weeks (we were 36 weeks and 4 days). The baby’s measurements were: 2.390kgs, 45cms long and her head circumference was 32cms.

Baylee in the Special Care Nursery - about 10 minutes old.


Baylee Grace (as we named her later that day) was kept in the Special Care Nursery for two weeks. She needed help learning to feed and had to put on a bit of weight before she was allowed home. I had a second degree tear which needed four stitches, but other than that I was up and bouncing, on such a high after the birth.

Anthony & I, the day after Baylee was born.

I would describe birth as like trying to poo a St Bernard out of your vagina - but in all honesty I would do it all again in a heartbeat. It was easily the most incredible thing I have ever done.

Baylee is now nearly ten weeks old, and is getting more beautiful every time I look at her. She has so much character and personality, I cannot wait to see what she will be like as she grows up. I’m addicted to my little girl and in love with our new family.

Baylee - 8 weeks old and thriving