Wednesday June 8th

7:47am – Laura awakes from a restful nights sleep on the couch. She heads to the bathroom for the morning ritual and after finishing, pulls up her pajamas and immediately wets her pants. She thinks, “What the heck! I just peed…whoa” then shouts, “Corey! I think my water just broke!”
Laura and Corey spend the next 45 minutes calling family, friends, the midwife’s clinic, and Alicia Pillsbury, their Doula.
Because contractions hadn’t started yet Alicia encouraged them to be as active as possible.  So the days agenda got completely changed. Laura began to cook breakfast while Corey cancelled his handyman job for that day. Next up, a walk around the block.
10:00am – Corey and Laura exit the house to begin trekking up and down the semi-flat part of our neighborhood. However, their walk immediately halted as their neighbor across the street yelled, “Have you seen my dog?” They helped her look for a minute and as the dog came running back home their neighbor says, “So when will that baby come?” Laura responds, “Actually, my water broke this morning!” The neighbor shouts, “What?!? Why are you out of bed! You have to go to the hospital right now!!!” Though Laura explains that it’s okay, the neighbor doesn’t really believe her, but she decides Laura isn’t in immediate peril. After a trek past a few more neighbors, Corey and Laura return to the house. During the walk Laura had one very small contraction.

Kai Michael Espenship made his appearance into the world on Tuesday 3/29/2011 at 1:10pm. He weighed 9lbs and 8.5oz and was 21 inches long.  I did it all natural without drugs and in the water.

I walked 3-5 miles every day of my pregnancy and was walking up to the day I gave birth.  Over the weekend, I felt some cramping (not painful, just a tightening sensation) and noticed that the cramps came and went about every 10 to 20 minutes but then they would stop for several hours.

I went to bed Monday night at around 12:30pm and woke up at 1:00am with contractions 2 minutes apart.  The contractions were mild, like menstrual cramps, so I filled the tub and hung out for a while.  At 3:00am I called Teresa and my midwife but I was still able to talk through my contractions, so my midwife told me to come in to the office at 8am to be checked but to call her if things changed.  By 5:00am I could barely focus on anything other than trying to recoup between contractions. I yelled for Jeff between contractions and told him to call the midwife and Teresa and tell them about my condition. I wanted him to get as much sleep as possible so I waited to the last minute to wake him.  He was very eager to get me to the hospital. (more…)

Both Paige and Jeff have shared their stories- the first one is from Jeff and the Paige Births Kai to follow is her story.

Having flown in the military as an  Air Force fighter pilot, and now as an international airline pilot, I know heroes never begin their day by waking up one morning and saying to themselves, “Today I’m going to be a hero.”

In my aviation career, I’ve had the privilege of meeting many people who have done heroic deeds, but I personally have never been involved in or watched anything “heroic.” I have never flown in live combat. I have never saved anyone from a burring building; I haven’t even watched a cat being rescued from a tree!

Little did I know that  on March 29, 2011 I would have the privilege of watching my wife Paige actually become a  hero.  (more…)

So baby Peter was born 12 days early on June 1 at 8:04pm.  He weighed 8lbs. 1.5oz. and measured 20.5 inches. So the story goes like this:

On Sunday before Memorial Day I was feeling pretty achy and crampy when I went to bed.  That night I had a dream that I woke up to see the bloody show.  On Monday I wrote it off as nothing but continued feeling achy.  On Monday night I got up to use the bathroom and lost my mucus plug.  30 minutes later I was having a decent amount of bleeding.  I called the midwife on call and she advised that it might be the bloody show but that it could be 48 hours or a week so just keep on doing what I was doing and get plenty of rest. (more…)

Nicole shared her birth story before- but felt like she learned some things in that journey she wanted to share with you. Her original story can be found here:

The funny thing about it is, I knew I was wrong. From the very beginning of my failed castor oil self-induction, I knew it wasn’t what I should be doing. Since I knew what I was doing was wrong, I had to sneak to do it. I polled friends about it – secretly. I surfed the net for castor oil recipes; then I deleted my searches. I made it a point not to mention it to my midwives or the doula team.  I wrote C.O. on my grocery list and snuck it into my cart – I didn’t even want to write the words. As the cashier scanned it, I was praying she wouldn’t ask any questions.  I didn’t want anyone to see or ask or even know about it because deep in my heart I knew I was wrong.

So, how was I able to convince myself that the wrong thing to do was the right thing to do? I let emotions carry me away. Fear, jealousy, desire to control, impatience – ugly dragons I thought that two years of motherhood had slain.

Impatience. Just about everyone gets there eventually. It’s not that I was “over” being pregnant. Compared to my first, this pregnancy was textbook and easy. No complications, no health scares, no high risk. I just wanted to meet my little girl. My first pregnancy had ended sooner than expected – why shouldn’t this one?

Control. I’ll admit it; I’m more comfortable when things conform to my plan. I like to make plans and see them happen – no, MAKE them happen.  I’m not really the type to sit around and wait for something to happen to me. Usually in life, that works in my favor. I should have learned by now that it doesn’t work that way with my pregnancies or my children.

Jealousy. Hurts to admit this one, too, but I had a friend who was due two days before I was and she had already had her baby. It sent me over the edge and I pouted like my toddler. I wanted my baby out and I wanted her now! Ugly, isn’t it?

The strongest ugly emotion, however, was fear. For some reason, I just didn’t believe that my body was going to go into labor on its own.  Silly, because it’s pretty much inevitable. I just feared that It wasn’t going to happen and that if it did, I wouldn’t know. Just how I wouldn’t know, I don’t know. And if my body did go into labor on its own and I knew it, I would get to the end of labor and not know how to push. Silly again because that’s pretty much inevitable, too.  I was just irrationally afraid.

That cocktail of emotions led me to make a cocktail of castor oil and orange juice and guzzle it down before bedtime the night before my due date.  I went to bed and started contracting about two hours later. I was so excited that everything was going to happen just the way I wanted it to. After about an hour of 10 minute apart contractions, I woke my husband to tell him what was going on and snuck into my closet to call Teresa. I wanted to sleep, but was too excited, so I went downstairs for a glass of Baileys on ice.  Just the way I planned it. I continued contracting through the night, so when the sun rose, we called Teresa and Intown Midwifery. I just knew this would be happening soon.

I got in my bathtub to soak and relax. When the water got too cold, Greg gave me a massage. This labor thing wasn’t so bad so far!

Teresa arrived and the day dragged on. When we decided to start timing my contractions, they were still only at 7 minutes apart. This was in the afternoon. Teresa suggested that Greg and I fool around some to see if that would help. No change in the pattern. Then, Greg and I went walking around the neighborhood. I was having 5 minute apart contractions at that point, but as soon as we got home, they fizzled out. I went to take a nap and my contractions slowed to 15 min apart. At that point, Greg offered me some more castor oil & OJ. That outed me to Teresa, so she asked to have a moment alone with me. She talked to me about castor oil and why she was against it except as a last resort and that it doesn’t work for most people until they’re past their due date. She prayed with me and cried with me (well, I was crying at least). We chatted for a bit and since my contractions were slowing down so much, she asked if I wanted her to head home for the day. I told her that would probably be best and I went to sleep.

I kept contracting through the night — but only once or twice an hour. My last contraction was at 6:30 or so on Saturday morning. When you try to control the uncontrollable, you quickly find out who is really in control.

I made myself get out of bed, but I was beating myself up pretty bad mentally. I blamed myself for being impatient and messing up and possibly harming my baby, and exhausting myself and was totally rethinking my natural childbirth plans. After 30 hours of useless contractions, I was just tensing myself up during every single one. I really didn’t think I could do it anymore. As tightly as I was squeezing my butt cheeks on each one, there was no way a baby was coming out!

In the end, my story turned out well. More wonderfully and beautifully than I could have written it myself.  I found myself in labor later that afternoon after a 9 hour break.  After a total of 37 hours of actual spontaneous labor and a bit of Pitocin at the end, my daughter made her appearance. It leaves me to wonder, however, that if I hadn’t worn myself out in practice rounds, if my body (and mind) would have been better prepared for the real deal entirely on its own. I’ll never know; I’m done having babies….
So, my words of wisdom from my journey – before you decide to take matters into your own hands or succumb to any interventions, make sure you address your fears. Dismiss any feelings that don’t correspond to reality and evidence. You need to give yourself permission to have these feelings, but not to let them rule over you.

Alden came into this world like thousands of babies do every day, but delivering him was a unique experience for me.  Here’s how I remember Alden’s birth day.

When I was 35 weeks pregnant and literally minutes after finishing my last project at work, I came down with a fever.  The fever continued, and I generally felt on the verge of getting the flu for a week.  At my 36 week OB appointment, the doctor told me to rest the next day in an effort to reduce swelling and beat the low grade fever.   (more…)

Estelle’s Birth Story — at least the way I remember it…

This is the way I remember it. Feel free to help me correct the record if you were there and clearer headed than I:

The day before my due date, on a Thursday (39w6d), I started to get really antsy, so I started polling friends and surfing the net about castor oil. I went ahead and bought some and some ice cream so I could make a CO milkshake and go into labor. I waited all day to make it — then I chickened out! Then I got in the shower and decided that I. wanted. a. baby. right. now. So I went downstairs and poured myself a glass of OJ and with a tbsp of castor oil. Then, I went to bed…..

I woke up at 11 with my first contraction and was very excited. Could this be it? I waited an hour before waking Greg up — contractions every 10 minutes or so for an hour! Sweet. I called my doula to let her know I was going into labor, but I was planning on trying to sleep that night and I would call her in the morning. At 1am, I had a glass of Baileys on ice and then headed for bed. I kept contracting all night and by 6am, they were 8 minutes apart. I called Teresa, my doula, who lives about an hour away so she could head over. Then, I got in my bathtub to soak and relax. When the water got too cold, Greg gave me a massage. This labor thing wasn’t so bad so far! (more…)


Dear Teresa,
I want to share with you and anyone else you’d like just how happy my husband and I were that Charlotte Scott was our labor doula for our first child’s birth this February. We first saw Charlotte at one of your Meet the Doula teas, although my husband and I didn’t talk to her or any other doulas that night. Instead we went home, talked about her and the positive feeling we had about sharing our birth with her, and decided to get in touch. I was intrigued by her calm, gentle nature and the fact that she loves drumming, as we do too.
When I first wrote Charlotte, I expressed my concern that a labor doula might take the “place” of my husband and asked her to explain how she felt their roles would differ. Charlotte was sincere and genuine, and said she could already tell that my husband is my rock and would be my anchor through my labor, but that she would be there for both of us. We knew she would support our vision of a calm but powerful and spiritual birth for our daughter. We decided to hire her, and at our prenatal at our house Charlotte’s presence was instantly calming. It was incredible! We were again certain that her wisdom and experience would be a great asset to us through my labor. (more…)
So, to begin, Henry wasn’t ‘due’ until March 18th, and as a result,  throughout the majority of my labor, I kept thinking, “Surely this isn’t the real thing. He’s not due for 3 more weeks. Everyone says that you have your first baby later than you expect. Surely this isn’t the real thing…” 🙂
Jeff pastors the art community at our church and was having a big art event on Friday night called 5×15, where 15 artists of varying mediums share for 5 minutes each. I helped Jeff set up, putting out chairs, hauling big coffee carafes up on counter tops- not the sort of thing I expected to do the night I had a baby. Also, the day before, we had gone on a 3 mile hike with the dog up in Ellijay, so who knew? Anyways, about halfway through the event- say on artist #7, I guess, I started feeling a lot of heaviness under my belly. It was during a dance performance and I was so anxious to get up and stand that those 5 minutes felt like forever. Even after standing up, I just didn’t feel like I had enough space for the baby. I told someone later that evening that I felt like my architecture needed another story. That’s really how it felt. As the evening progressed, I began to feel more and more heaviness and very “full of baby,” so to speak. I also began to feel incredible anti-social. Although so many great friends were at the event, I began to feel like I honestly did not want to talk to anyone besides Jeff. It was a weird feeling. As soon as things were finished, I bee-lined it for Jeff’s office and hid. I didn’t think I was in labor at all, but I just wanted to take the weight off and get away, so I did cat/ cow poses in his office to try to relieve some pressure. I also went to the bathroom a whole lot, thinking, “Maybe I ate something weird at dinner… maybe this is just gas pain.” I was still in complete denial. (more…)

I was delighted to work with Dr. Richard Robbins at my last birth. He knew this mom wanted a natural, lesser intervened birth. Her water broke and she waited several hours to go to the hospital. I arrived a few hours after she was there, not yet in labor. The Pitocin was started and I was there to meet her soon after.  Dr. Robbins arrived a short while later and entered the room with the greeting of, “Hey Stud!” to the mom. I loved it. He chatted about how his wife had a natural birth with their first two but the third was a much longer labor and after several hours she chose the epidural. He mentioned that this baby was a bigger baby by a pound. This caused my client to ask if a pound made a huge difference. She asked this since the sonographer had said this baby was at least a pound bigger than her first one. Dr. Robbins said, “Nope! Should not be a problem at all!” He stayed a short while and when he left he said as he shook his hands in the air, “Let’s keep these out and let you do what you are doing so well!” I wanted to kiss the man! He was so encouraging to my client!