Passionate About Natural Living


3 Essential Ingredients for your Ideal Birth


cordeliabirthdayps copyWhenever I meet expectant parents, I get a crazy look in my eye, my heart begins to race, and I want to spew out all that I have learned about pregnancy and birth. I want to share all the things that I wish I knew early on in my pregnancy or better yet, before getting pregnant. However, I usually hold back from giving my birth sermon because I know that expectant parents are probably already getting flooded with unwanted advice. I don’t wish to add to the unwanted advice. I don’t want to be annoying or condescending. So instead of ranting to those who do not care what I have to say, I will passively sit and write this post with hopes that those who do care will read. Here is my list of 3 Essential Ingredients for your Ideal Birth.

Let go of fear. We have been conditioned to fear childbirth and it is reinforced EVERYWHERE. It’s reinforced by lazy writers (Downton Abbey season 3 anyone?) and by loved ones with the best intentions. When I decided that I wanted to have a natural birth, I had to fight the fear being placed on me by those I am closest with. My mom told me that it is something I could do for subsequent children, but it would be too painful for my first. My sister told me of a neighbor who waited off on getting an epidural while in labor because she wasn’t in pain, but couldn’t get one when she was in pain, thus having to endure an excruciating transition and a severe tear. It’s natural to fear the unknown, but ultimately we do more harm than good when we harbor these fears within ourselves and encourage the fear in others. Fear based decisions can hold us back from achieving our goals. I’ve heard of way too many women who make fear based decisions in childbirth that ultimately keep them from having their ideal birth. Release your fears concerning birth and allow yourself to dream. You can have a painless birth. You can have a birth that brings you closer to the divine. You can have a vaginal delivery after a cesarean. If other women have done it before, believe that you can too. Maybe there will be unforeseen events, it’s possible. Do not dwell on the improbable worst case scenario, rather prepare yourself for the best possible scenario. We often get what we focus on.

Have a clear vision of your ideal birth. Your baby’s birth day can be something beautiful, serene, and unique, a day that will ultimately change you and your family for the better. Realize that there are birth options. Your birth deserves as much thought and planning as you put into your wedding day. Study the options and form your own passionate opinions. Where will you birth? What will you wear? Who will be attending? Will you and your body be treated with respect?  What will you eat and drink? You have the right and the responsibility to protect how you, your body, and your baby are treated. An epidural is not the only way to mitigate pain. You can decline routine cervical exams. You don’t have to watch your baby get pricked by needles on his or her first day of life. The hepatitis B vaccination can be delayed or refused. You can administer vitamin K to your baby orally instead of injecting them with a syringe. You do not need to be strapped on a hospital bed for monitoring. You can move about freely in accordance to what feels best to you. You can labor, even birth, in a bath. You can get a massage. You deserve to feel pampered, loved, and cared for on this day. Take a few minutes every day to meditate and visualize your ideal birth. You can make it happen.

Find a care provider who will honor your vision. Once you have an idea of how your ideal birth will go, write it out. Prepare your birth plan with care and discuss it with your care provider as early as possible. I felt uncomfortable with the first doctor I visited. So I fired him. I found a new doctor and she discussed every aspect of my birth plan with me. She shared with me legitimate concerns over some items in my birth plan and gave me hearty approval over others. Overall, discussing my birth plan with her greatly increased my confidence in her ability to honor my wishes and it increased my confidence in my ability to achieve my ideal birth. Though your care provider may not agree with you on every detail of your ideal birth, be sure that he or she respects your vision. Be sure to check his or her background as well. If you want a natural birth but your doctor has a high rate of administering c-sections or inducing their clients, it is likely that he or she will not honor your vision. If you suspect that your doctor will not honor your vision, do not be afraid to hunt out a new care provider. If that is not a possibility, consider hiring a doula who will be your advocate.

“Remember this, for it is as true and true gets: Your body is not a lemon. You are not a machine. The Creator is not a careless mechanic. Human female bodies have the same potential to give birth as well as aardvarks, lions, rhinoceri, elephants, moose, and water buffalo. Even if it has not been your habit throughout your life so far, I recommend that you learn to think positively about your body.” -Ina May Gaskin



DIY Ginger Beer

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Home brewed ginger beer. Makes a great gift and kids love it too.

Do-it-yourself ginger beer. It only takes four ingredients that you probably have on hand: water, ginger, sugar, and lemon.

chug chug chug!

On a semester abroad to London, I learned a few things. One of which is that I have an undying love for Fentiman’s Ginger Beer. Here I am, unattractively chugging the delicious ginger treat at a hostel. Huzzah!

Imagine my happiness to learn that you can make your own ginger beer that’s just as delicious as Fentiman’s AND it’s inexpensive and beneficial to your health.

You can brew your own ginger beer through fermentation, thus the fizz you get isn’t from added carbonation, it’s the fizz of a homemade probiotic. And don’t let the name fool you, there isn’t an appreciable level of alcohol in ginger beer. It’s a soft drink that you can enjoy with the kiddos.

Rapunzel Rapadura Unrefined & Unbleached Whole Cane Sugar - 1.5 lbs.

However, I’m pretty sure if you use this unrefined, unbleached whole cane sugar the ginger beer will have an appreciable level of alcohol.

You can use any bottle with a seal to store your ginger beer while it ferments. For mine, I used four one-liter swing top bottles that I purchased from Crate and Barrel.

Ginger Beer adapted from Sandor Ellix Katz’ Wild Fermentation

-a nice hunk of ginger, at least about 3 inches long

-about 2 cups of sugar

-2 lemons


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ginger bug is fermenting into ginger beer goodness

1.Begin by making a “ginger bug”. Add 2 teaspoons of grated ginger and 2 teaspoons of sugar to 1 1/2 cups of water. Stir and leave in a warm spot. Sandor Katz recommends to cover the ginger bug with cheesecloth to allow it to breathe, but I kept mine in a sealed mason jar. Either way works. Add 2 teaspoons of grated ginger and 2 teaspoons of sugar every day or two until you can hear your bug fizzing. Then it is time to get brewin’! Or continue to feed your ginger bug 2 teaspoons of ginger and sugar every day until you are ready.

2. The Brew (Yes, I did just rhyme. I am clever like that). Boil 2 liters of water. Add between 2 and 6 inches of grated ginger and 1 1/2 cups of sugar. Boil for 15 or so minutes. Then cool your brew. Once it has cooled, strain and add the juice of 2 lemons, your strained ginger bug, and enough water to make your brew equal 4 liters.

If you’d like to start another brew, keep your strained ginger bug. Return to step one and add another 1 1/2 cups of water, 2 teaspoons grated ginger, and 2 teaspoons of sugar to your ginger bug.

3. Pour your brew in seal-able bottles. Like I mentioned earlier, I prefer the swing-top bottles from Crate and Barrel but you can recycle any old plastic or glass bottle. However, be careful with glass bottles. I have read that the pressure can build so strongly that it is possible for the bottle to explode. My Crate and Barrel bottles haven’t exploded on me and I suspect this is because there is a teeny tiny space between the swing-top seal that allows the bottle to breathe only the slightest. Regardless of your choice of bottle, let it sit at room temperature for about 2 weeks.


If you are wary of losing any ginger beer, you can open it with a bowl underneath, like so.

4. Cool the bottle before opening. This is not just for refreshment sake, it is also to help stabilize the pressure of the ginger beer so that when you open it, it doesn’t spray a geyser of your delicious brew into the air and onto the ground.

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And that is how it’s done!

5. Bust out the fancy glasses and enjoy your wonderful home brew!

Please share any of your home brew tricks of the trade or your experiences.


Prepare for a Lovely Childbirth: 10 Reasons to Hire a Doula

I briefly considered hiring a doula for my daughter’s birth. I realized that while in labor, Tim and I might be a little distracted.  I thought it would be nice to have someone present who would help oversee that my lengthy birth plan was followed and respected. However, I valued my privacy more than the birth plan. I felt uncomfortable about hiring a stranger to be present at such an intimate, pivotal moment in my life. I even felt hesitant about inviting my own mother.

I debated whether or not I should invite my mother until the morning that my water broke. Thankfully, I did invite her. Though she is not a professional doula, she has been present for nearly all of my sister’s births (I believe that’s been about seven that she’s witnessed, as well as the six births that she personally went through). I deeply believe that if my mother wasn’t continually holding my hand and assuring me that I was healthy and doing a good job, I wouldn’t have had the natural birth that I had planned for.

I don’t mean to downplay the role that husbands play at birth. My husband never left my side throughout the entire labor. He even laid beside me on the hospital bed when contractions were at their most intense. I know I wouldn’t have had the birth that I wanted without him. But I believe that having someone who is knowledgeable and experienced in childbirth to be continually present for the laboring mother is one of the strongest tools a woman can use to have the lovely birth she desires.

In addition to my opinion from my personal experience, I have outlined a list of ten reasons why you should hire a doula for your childbirth. All of the studies I cite I have summarized from The Doula Book by Marshall H. Klaus, M.D., John H. Kennell, M.D., and Phyllis H. Klaus, C.S.W, M.F.T. All of the studies observe first-time mothers that were randomly assigned to groups that would either receive support from a doula or have routine hospital care.

10 Reasons to Hire a Doula for Your Childbirth

  1. Protect birth preferences. A doula is your advocate. Typically a doula will meet with you before your estimated due date to discuss options in childbirth and to understand your preferences. If you are planning to have your baby at a hospital, it will likely be a struggle to keep your idea of a lovely childbirth if it varies from hospital protocol. For instance, despite having gone over my birth preferences with my care provider during several prenatal appointments and despite my husband handing a birth plan to every nurse present during my labor, I was “coached” to push, when I specifically stated that I would like to follow my own natural urges. Also, despite my request that I keep my placenta, it was nearly thrown out. You can make your birth plan very lovely, printed off on delicate paper and scented with rose petals; chances are that no one, except you, your partner, and your doula will actually read it and care about it. Keep in mind that you and your partner will be preoccupied during the intensity of labor and birth and will probably not be physically able to politely remind your doctor/midwife and nurses about all of your preferences.
  2. Lower risk of requiring a Cesarean section. Today in the United States, the average rate of a woman requiring a C-section is about one in three.  The World Health Organization recommends that this rate “should not be higher than 10-15%.” To further quote the WHO, “caesarean delivery was associated with high maternal and neonatal complication rates and increased health-care costs.” A study was performed in an obstetric unit in Cleveland that showed that “the mothers supported by both their partner and a doula had a cesarean delivery rate of 14.2 percent compared to 22.5 percent in the control group, a highly significant difference.” Perhaps this should be reason enough that you hire a doula, but I said I’d give you 10 reasons.
  3. Lower epidural rateEpidurals, while relatively safe considering that a few decades ago a doctor would offer ether or chloroform, are not risk-free. One side effect associated with getting an epidural is a fever. A fever is also indicative of a very serious, albeit rare, infection. If the mother has a fever, there is no way to differentiate if she is reacting to the epidural or the infection, thus leading to the over-prescribed use of antibiotics for all laboring mothers with a fever. If you have read Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride’s Gut and Psychology Syndrome, you too will be wary over the use of antibiotics at such an integral time in your baby’s soon-to-develop digestive system.  In addition to the antibiotics, the infant is also kept for a longer period of time in the hospital to observe any other signs of infection. Longer period of time in the hospital equals lots and lots of money. Also, longer period of time in the hospital equals longer period of time in the hospital. Another potential adverse effect of routine epidural use is that if the epidural is administered early on in labor, the baby receives a small dosage of the drug. It has been reported that this can cause sluggishness in the newborn, which can disrupt feeding behavior.According to the Cleveland study, mothers with doulas had a lower epidural rate of 67.6 percent; 76.8 percent rate of mothers who didn’t have a doula, a  significant difference. Also, in a study performed in a Houston hospital, mothers with doulas that developed a fever in labor was 1%, compared to 10% fever in the no doula group.
  4. Shorter length of labor. According to the Houston study, mothers with doulas had an average labor of 7.4 hours while those without doulas had an average labor of 9.4 hours. Shorter labor- need I say more?
  5. Lower chance of requiring forceps. While forceps can be a useful tool to avoid a C-section, I think it’s an understatement to say that most expectant mothers would prefer their birth to be forceps-free. Forceps often mean an episiotomy and longer post-birth recovery time for the mother. The use of forceps can also injure the baby ranging from bruises, to facial nerve injury, or in rare cases a broken clavicle. According to the Houston study, the use of forceps in childbirth with the doula assisted mothers was 8 percent; 26 percent for the mothers without a doula. 
  6. Less need of synthetic oxytocin (Pitocin or Syntocinon). Synthetic oxytocin is often administered in childbirth to shorten the time a mother spends in labor (keep in mind that its use is being reevaluated, as it does shorten labor time, but does not decrease the number of interventions such as C-sections or forceps use, see here). While it’s generally considered to be safe, it is like any drug in that it has a list of known side-effects. One of which being that synthetic oxytocin creates much more intense contractions that are increasingly difficult to endure without an epidural. Other side-effects include nausea and hemorrhaging. Excessive dosage of synthetic oxytocin can lead to brain damage or death in the baby. In the Houston study about 17 percent of mothers in the doula group were given synthetic oxytocin, compared to 44 percent of mothers without doulas.
  7. Less pain. According to The Doula Book, a study conducted in South Africa “indicated that the doula-group mothers reported less pain during labor and at twenty-four hours after labor.” 
  8. More positive outlook about motherhood. According to the South Africa doula study there were highly significant differences between the doula-supported group and the control group within maternal perceptions of the baby and of self. The Doula group was more likely to believe that their baby cries less than other babies, that their baby is special, easy to manage, clever, beautiful, and that the mother regards baby as a separate, sociable person by 6 weeks. The doula-supported mothers are also more likely to report that they feel close to the baby, pleased to have baby, that they are managing well, that feel they communicate well, that becoming a mother was easy, and that they can look after the baby better than anyone else.
  9. Better emotional welfare following the birth. The South Africa doula study observed that mothers who had the support of a doula were less likely to exhibit signs of anxiety and depression and more likely to show higher levels of self esteem following the birth. 
  10. Stronger relationship with partner. The South Africa doula study also asked mothers about their feelings regarding their partners. 85 percent of the mothers who were assisted by doulas reported that they were satisfied with their partner since the baby was born, only 49 percent of the women without doulas felt this way. 71 percent of the doula-assisted mothers reported that their relationship with their partner was better right after birth, while only 30 percent of the control-group mothers  reported the same.


While I understand that the studies I have cited may have flaws, I believe that the 10 reasons I have listed to hire a doula are true. Having a knowledgeable lady stay with you for the entirety of your labor and birth will greatly influence you to stay positive and to keep your confidence about your strength, your body, and your baby.

To find a doula in your area, check out DONA International. If finances are an issue, consider a doula-in-training.

Click here to learn more about doulas from a humorous radio interview.


Gut and Psychology Syndrome: Natural Treatment Of Autism, Dyspraxia, ADD, Dyslexia, ADHD, Depression, Schizophrenia

Gut and Psychology Syndrome Book New Edition 2010

Recommended for: People with GAPS (Gut and Psychology Syndrome) and parents of people with GAPS. Expecting parents (there is good information for pregnant ladies, in addition to foods to introduce to babies). Or weirdos like me.

I was first introduced to the book, Gut and Psychology Syndrome by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, through a shout out (or perhaps should say advertisement) from Dr. Mercola. The topic fascinated me and I wanted to learn more. I do not have gut and psychology syndrome, but ever since I became pregnant a year ago, I have had digestion issues.

I cannot offer any personal anecdote for her treatment. The diet Dr. Campbell-McBride prescribes is a difficult diet to live by. The staples of the diet are homemade broths (made by any animal bones you have on hand) and fermented foods (preferably homemade as well). In addition, there are very long lists of foods you can and cannot eat while on the diet. My mild digestive issues are not compelling enough for me to alter my food lifestyle, at least for the time being. If I do develop serious health issues in the future or have a child with autism, dyspraxia, ADD, dyslexia, ADHD, depression, or schizophrenia, I can imagine that that will be enough motivation to experiment with the diet for a couple of years. If you would like anecdotes, there are plenty that you can find online, as well as Dr. Campbell-McBride’s story of how she treated her son with autism.

Despite not personally living by the book, I have always had a holistic view concerning health and the interconnected-ness of our bodies and so it makes a lot of sense to me that these manifested problems in one’s psychology is a symptom of a larger all around health problem. As Dr. Campbell-McBride mentions in her book, the medical field has become very specialized in the last century and because of this, our culture generally treats our health in a very specialized way. For instance, we supplement our water with fluoride for strong teeth with little concern of how fluoride affects the body as a whole. Dr. Campbell-McBride states “Colic, bloating, flatulence, diarrhoea, constipation, feeding difficulties and malnourishment, all to various degrees, are a typical part of autism, schizophrenia and other GAPS conditions. Doctors often explain these symptoms as a result of patients’ ‘funny’ feeding habits and are not inclined to investigate them.” If we help a troubled digestive system to heal, the troubled mind (or other troublesome health issues) can start to recover as well.

Again, I wholeheartedly recommend that if you or someone dear to you has any of the previously mentioned health issues that you check out Gut and Psychology Syndrome. In fact, I wholeheartedly recommend that you check out this book even if you do not have any health issues. It ultimately is very interesting and easy to read. It will provide you with information of what damages the good bacteria in our guts (namely antibiotics, drugs, and diet), how to heal a damaged gut, recipes, and interesting health tidbits. Though I have to return Gut and Psychology Syndrome to the library tomorrow, I plan to someday soon add it to my library.

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Hemp Seed Fish and Parmesan Chips

Hemp Seed Fish and Parmesan Chips

I needed something to go along with my Easy Healthy Homemade Ketchup and so I decided to make one of my favorites, fish and chips. However, these fish and chips are not fried and have only wholesome ingredients (oh yes, and it’s very easy. Almost TOO easy, if there were such a thing).

You will see that I choose to use butter on the fish and coconut oil on the fries. This is my personal preference. You can substitute any oil/fat of your choice here. But before you do that, let me do a little plug for butter and coconut oil. Even though we have all been brainwashed very effectively by marketers looking to make a profit, butter is not the enemy (unless of course you have a milk allergy), vegetable oils are. Vegetable oils are not stable at high temperatures and when cooked higher than around 200 F, they become the dreaded TRANS FATS. This includes olive oil. Olive oil, when high quality, is fantastic for salads, but when cooking and baking opt to use an animal-based fat, like butter or ghee, or coconut oil. These are stable at higher temperatures and thus, will not turn into toxic filth in our bodies.

This serving feeds two people

Hemp Seed Fish 

-2 (around 4 ounce) cod fish loins

-A small amount of butter (think of what you use to butter a piece of toast)

-dash of salt

-3 or so tablespoons of hemp seeds

Spread butter on top of cod fish loins (again, like you would butter a piece of toast). Shake salt on cod loins. Sprinkle hemp seeds on top of buttered, salted cod fish loins. Bake on 400 F for about 10-12 minutes.

Parmesan Chips

-8 small-medium size potatoes

-Around 3 tablespoons coconut oil (in liquid state)

-4-5 tablespoons Parmesan

-1 clove garlic

-3 teaspoons rosemary

-2 teaspoons of salt

Grease cookie sheet with coconut oil. Cut potatoes into fry-like wedges or if you are like me, use one of these. Put around 2 tablesoons of coconut oil in a gallon-size bag and add the remaining ingredients (including the potatoes) into the bag. Shake the bag like a Polaroid picture. Empty bag contents onto cookie sheet. Bake on 375 F for around 45 minutes or until Parmesan is golden and fries are fork tender. Shake a little more salt on top of fries to taste.

Don’t forget to enjoy fries with homemade ketchup!

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Easy Healthy Homemade Ketchup

Ketchup. Yum.

HOLD IT RIGHT THERE! It’s probably the most processed, sugarized condiment on the market. Say goodbye forever to Heinz. This ketchup is delicious, easy to make, and good for you. Enjoy with Hemp Seed Fish and Parmesan Chips.

I’ve adapted this recipe from the book Gut and Psychology Syndrome by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride MD.

Easy Healthy Homemade Ketchup

-7 Roma Tomatoes (or any tomatoes you have on hand that you think will equate to 1 cup of tomato pulp)

-1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

-bay leaf

-1 teaspoon honey

-salt to taste

In a food processor, blend tomatoes to a pulp. Simmer all of the ingredients except the honey until  thick, stirring often. When desired thickness is reached, add honey and simmer one minute more. Remove bay leaf and serve.

Now for some amateur photographs of food:

Easy Healthy Homemade Ketchup accompanied with fish and chips.


Easy Healthy Homemade Ketchup


“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7).

At the beginning of my pregnancy, I knew nothing of pregnancy or childbirth. I never took that class in high school where you watch The Miracle of Life, never witnessed a real life birth, even one on T.V. (I’ve always had a strong aversion to TLC’s A Baby Story). I thought that I didn’t need to do anything more to prepare for childbirth than to skim through What to Expect When You’re Expecting. I also felt a bit disgusted at the thought of birth, the messiness and painfulness that I imagined came from birth. However, Tim, my husband, felt that a birth without pain killers was very important and he urged me to  consider a natural birth for the sake of our coming daughter. I felt irritated with Tim for asking me to go through such an excruciatingly painful experience without any epidural assistance.

Some time after our discussion over a natural birth, Tim and I spent an evening with his aunt and uncle. They talked about their own experiences of childbirth without medication and I felt inspired by their stories. I agreed that a natural childbirth would be preferable to one with an epidural, but I did not have any confidence in my own ability to endure a painful childbirth ordeal. I started to do a little research online about natural childbirth to appease Tim and so that I could come to a firm decision on whether or not I would prepare for a natural birth.

My casual researching of natural childbirth quickly became a passion. I took a hypnobirthing class. I read Childbirth Without Fear, The Bradley Method, Hypnobirthing, countless online articles and I was reading Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth up until the night before my labor. Through my research, I started to feel confidence in myself and my body. My perspective of childbirth changed. I stopped thinking of it as disgusting, to knowing it was divine. I knew that childbirth is natural. I knew I could have the birth that I wanted, one without drugs. I knew this was an experience in my life that I needed and wanted to have.

My water broke at 5 a.m. on July 10th, the day before my “due date”. I felt so nervous and excited. About an hour later, contractions started and I decided to wake up Tim. He made me a delicious breakfast of oatmeal, eggs, and bacon. The contractions were about 1-2 minutes apart when we decided to go to the hospital.

When we were admitted, a pushy nurse wanted to hook me up to an electronic fetal monitor for longer than my husband and I thought was necessary. She told my husband that the length of time I was attached to the monitor was “up to the hospital”. He curtly responded “Actually, it’s up to us. Get me whatever form I need to sign that clears you and the hospital from any responsibility.” She took offense to our objection to protocol and she stomped out the door. We were greeted a few minutes later by a lovely nurse who took the trouble to call my doctor, who agreed that I didn’t need to be hooked up to the monitor for as long as the other nurse had demanded.

I am not a confrontational person and after our disagreement with the pushy nurse, my labor stalled and my contractions stopped. At that time, my parents arrived at the hospital. I felt a little embarrassed to be sitting in my hospital room without showing any perceivable signs of labor.

Eventually my labor started again and the contractions were now exceedingly more intense than the contractions I experienced earlier that morning. Though I believe that childbirth without pain is possible, I will admit that mine was painful. My back ached with each contraction and I felt so nauseated that I threw up several times. I silently wished for the ability to give up on childbirth completely. I contemplated getting an epidural, but I couldn’t bring myself to ask for one. It was partly an issue of pride, but also that I didn’t want to risk any potential after effects a drug would have on me or my baby. Then I felt the urge to push.

I asked for the lovely nurse to come “check” me. She replied that I was dialated to a three, or in other words, not even close to pushing time. I laid on the hospital bed in a crumpled ball of despair. Some women are dilated to three centimeters weeks before they go into labor. I had been in labor for nearly twelve hours and was only at a three. I felt foolish for unknowingly coming to the hospital so early in my labor and scared that I would soon be branded as a “failure to progress” and rushed off for a cesarean section. I no longer had any energy to stay composed and peaceful, like the ladies I had watched give birth in many hypnobirthing videos.

In my despair, I finally, truly allowed myself to relax. I pushed down, as my body asked me to. I started moaning with my contractions, not in pain, but as my body asked me to. My mother encouraged my noises and I started to feel so much better. I no longer felt in pain, only the intensity of each contraction. I could hear what was happening around me, but I could not respond. I felt like I was dreaming. This went on for maybe two hours, but to me, it felt like twenty minutes. I knew Cordelia would be there soon, but I couldn’t communicate for a nurse to check me. My body was solely focused on getting a baby out and I didn’t have any spare energy to say words.

Eventually, thankfully, a nurse did check me and was surprised that I was fully dilated. It was time to “breathe my baby down,” as Marie Mongan says. At one point, my doctor said to slow it down, as apparently my baby was coming a little too quickly, so I tried my panting breaths, which came out as a very loud whistling. I remember that Tim, my parents, doctor and nurse all laughed a little bit at my whistling, but I couldn’t openly acknowledge the humor that I was whistling or even stop the whistling.

Sadly, as I was breathing my baby down, one important part of my birth plan was overlooked. As Cordelia was crowning, my doctor, nurse, and mother started to “coach” me to push, instead of allowing me to keep my focus and follow my body’s lead. Their coaching spurred me to a feeling of impatience with my body. I went against my research and better judgment and forcibly pushed my baby out. I believe that because of my pushing, I did tear a little bit.

Regardless of that small disappointment, Cordelia was born (nearly fourteen hours after my water had broke that morning) healthy, happy, and a really good nurser. She is a beautiful baby with a peaceful spirit and calm demeanor.

I feel happy and blessed for the preparation I took in preparing for my daughter’s birth day. I had the unmedicated birth that I wanted. Birth is natural and should be treated as such (the exception being in a TRUE medical emergency). I hope that all women can understand the miraculous ingenuity of their bodies, possess confidence in themselves, and overall, that they can have the birth that they want, free of fear.