Sunday, May 14, 2017


***Please feel free to leave any questions you may have in the comments, or send them to me on Facebook/Instagram***

On January 13th, 2017 at 1:40am, Dage Edgar Dangerfield came into this world after 25 hours of labor and an incredible birth I never would have dreamed of having. As I sit here in the room where he was born, remembering my birth affirmations which hung with lace and twine across the ceiling above me, I can't help but feel nostalgic. Holding my sleeping angel in my lap, I am full of so many emotions that I can scarcely express. This is the story of his birth, but it's also the story of how I conquered my biggest fear and was born into motherhood.

all photography by CaLea Gunther Photography
I want you to know that if you're terrified of childbirth, I was exactly where you are. My entire life, I was petrified. I would freeze up if I talked about birth. I planned to adopt children my entire life until I was about 16 years old and thought, "well, I want my kids to have my genetics, so I better have them myself. I'll just ask to be drugged up as much as possible." (I'm seriously not kidding!) I just want to get that out there to any of you who are scared. After nine months of prayer and filling my head with knowledge, I walked away from pregnancy a completely different person. The change was such a stark contrast. By the time Dage came, I was informed and took charge of my experience. I was a woman who would have been traumatized by birth, and now I have felt every beautiful moment and can't wait to do it again. I am overwhelmingly grateful for my experience, and I just want to share with every everyone who will read it in hopes that whoever you are and whatever stage of life you're in (and especially if you're fearful of birth), it will remind you that there is a way to have an empowering, healing, nearly painless experience.

My due date was January 1st, 2017, but Dage decided to come twelve days later. I had a strange feeling my entire pregnancy that Dage was going to come on a Thursday. (Which is insane, because that's exactly what happened.) Every day, I felt more and more ready for him to come into the world. I had chosen not to be induced so that Dage would come once his lungs were fully developed, and because of that I awoke every morning wondering if it was the day I was going to finally meet him. It was such a beautiful feeling but I definitely learned a lot about patience during that time. I tried my best to enjoy every single day that I carried Dage, because despite the discomforts (and there were many), pregnancy amazed me. I passed the average 41 weeks + 5 days for FTM's and I honestly never thought that I would! I think every mom hopes to have their baby come early, haha. Holding on through the final trimester took a lot of mental strength! The last few weeks especially, I felt soooo ready to pop.

In my prenatal appointment three days before his birth, my midwife Diane (reference at the bottom) had predicted that the pressure change of the Wolf full moon on Thursday morning would bring Dage earthside. (I know what you might be thinking--the pressure of the moon affecting when babies come? What?? Yes, it's totally a thing, as long as the baby and cervix is ready. Crazy!) On Wednesday I started feeling pressure in the air. It felt similar to how I would feel every day there was a snowstorm; I'd feel kinda tight and sometimes Braxton Hicks would follow. I kept myself distracted like I had been doing throughout the final trimester by cleaning, writing in my journal, painting and spending as much alone time with Scott as I could. I even cleared off a whiteboard on our wall and wrote, “We’re ready for you, Dage.” It's funny, other moms had told me countless times that the moment you accept you're going to be pregnant forever, the baby comes... Literally the moment I finally let go of all stress about getting him here, he came.

I walked into the bathroom at 11:54pm to wash my face and get ready for bed, and I lost a bunch of stuff.I figured I lost the mucus plug. I went back to bed and as I tried to fall asleep, I started feeling a familiar cramp sensation in my midsection; except this time, it felt different than BH. My stomach was tightening and my lower back ached simultaneously, then it would all completely relax. It wasn’t painful; it just felt like my body was working, which was a wonderful awareness to have as a mom who had never experienced labor before. The moment was finally here! I erupted in a huge smile that wouldn't leave my face. I knew that if this was the real thing, I needed to try to sleep through the contractions as long as possible to save my energy. I rolled over and said, “Scott, we’re going to have a baby tomorrow!” and he hardly responded and fell back asleep (he later told me that we had been waiting so long that he didn’t believe it was the real thing haha!). I texted my doula, Kamie, at 12:42am: “I’m going to sleep, I’ll keep you updated.” I smiled to myself as I fell asleep. This was the moment I had been preparing for, for what seemed like forever! 

I had crazy dreams, and in my dreams I was working through light contractions. At 6am, I woke to a wave that was too intense to sleep through. I tried to go back to sleep, but they were uncomfortable now, waking me up every time. They still felt pretty spaced out but were becoming more rhythmic. I enjoyed laboring in the peace and quiet of our bedroom. There was a sacred feeling that surrounded me, and I rubbed my stomach and talked to Dage quietly in between contractions. I love you, I love you. You're okay. I can't wait to see you. I wanted to stay in my own little world for as long as possible, but I had to breathe and focus more intently through the waves. I downloaded a contraction timing app and surprised myself with how laid-back I felt about the whole thing. By 6:30am it was apparent that they were occurring every 2-3 minutes and lasting an average of 1 minute 15 seconds!! Fifteen minutes later, I began notifying everyone, starting with Scott. “We’re having a baby today,” I whispered, and he turned to face me with a smile and we watched the contraction times through my app. I called my mom a few minutes later because I wanted to make sure she had enough notice. I told her not to rush, that even though my waves were close, I had a feeling that it would be a while before Dage arrived.

his big, looong feet! (measured at 9 month feet the day he was born)

Too giddy to fall back asleep, Scott and I folded a load of laundry on our couch and watched an episode of Parks and Rec (my faaavorite). After putting the laundry away, the initial surge of excitement wore off,  and we both felt tired again and moved back into bed. Scott, the baby and I were in our own little world for the next while. Cozied up in bed, knowing that the entire journey of the birth would be taking place at home, I was able to be completely relaxed and not worry about going anywhere. Everything we needed was right here. When I would feel a contraction coming, my eyes would close and my breathing would shift, which alerted Scott that a wave was passing and he would rub my arms and whisper that I was doing amazing until I would exhale. I loved his words of encouragement. The sun started to rise and light leaked through our window and onto our bed. I was full of complete bliss. I was so fascinated by the incredible sensations of labor that I had studied and wondered about for months but had never before experienced... the gentle build before a wave that would give me enough time to prepare, the peak that would tighten my midsection and remind me how hard my body was working for the baby, and the release that would fill me with relief and prompt me to exhale. I reminded myself to relax and give in to each contraction rather than fight them. I would say that this is the single most important thing a mother going into labor should realize.  This allowed me to save my energy for the hard work that was to come.

By 8:20am, the contractions were lasting about 1 minute 30 seconds consistently, some having multiple peaks that extended the wave to about 3 minutes. Scott continued to do a great job helping me get through them. I started feeling a little bit of nausea with the waves. At 8:45am I finally texted Dianne. I told her that the contractions were lasting about 90 seconds and coming every 3 minutes. Dianne called me immediately. She sounded rushed and told me she was loading up her van to come right away! “If you get the urge to push--” she started saying, and I laughed a little. “I’m not going to have the urge to push, I feel like the waves aren’t strong enough yet!” She said anything was possible with first time moms, and instructed me on what to do if I started pushing before she arrived. (Looking back, I can see why she was rushing! On paper, my contractions were reading like a mom in full-blown labor.)

At this point, the little world I had labored in with Dage and Scott was about to expand. It was time to bring my full birth team into the picture! We got out of bed and Kamie (my amazing sister-in-law and doula) came down to our apartment to check on me. I told her I was doing well and didn’t need help yet; I was managing through the contractions by simply putting my hand against the wall and breathing deep. I tidied a few things in the living room where the birth tub was set up, and Scott started filling it with hot water. Thick snowflakes were flurrying outside and coating the rooftops and roads with white blankets. It was such a gorgeous day to have a baby!

Dianne and her assistant Christine arrived shortly and set up their equipment. After some admiring of the room d├ęcor and small talk, the midwives prepared to check my dilation. It was my first cervical check in the entire pregnancy, and I was so grateful for the hands-off approach. I needed that. I needed to not stress about the number I was (or was not) dilated to. I held Kamie’s hand as they checked me at 11am which was really comforting. After trying for a few minutes, Christine said she couldn’t check my dilation because my cervix was too high to reach! She said that if she made a guess, I was only about 1 cm dilated and not effaced. Because my cervix was back and behind, it eventually needed to be pulled down to check my dilation. That occurred every check until I hit active labor. (After that, they continued to stretch me out until delivery, over twelve hours later.) It was a little disappointing to hear that after 11 hours of labor I was wasn't dilated, but I had done so much research that I had immense faith in my body. I knew it was progressing exactly how it needed to. :) Christine used three evening primrose oil capsules to help soften my cervix and hopefully bring it lower. They checked the baby with a Doppler and his heart rate was good and strong. Dianne said that due to the time of the day, things wouldn’t pick up until the late afternoon. (Apparently if a woman is in the first stage of natural labor in the morning, labor can slow down or even stall until night.) Dianne and Christine started me on a labor boosting tincture every 30 minutes until I had Dage to aid my body’s progression and keep the contractions coming regularly. I know that it helped.

After the checkup we all headed upstairs and Scott cooked everyone a big breakfast of eggs, sausage and hashbrowns. It felt sooo good to draw energy from a big breakfast, and my husband is an amazing cook so it was absolutely delicious! Dianne, Christine and Kamie sat at the kitchen table while I sat at the bar. It felt good to get off of the bar stool when I felt a wave coming, lean against the chair, and rock and breathe. When it passed, I’d get back on my stool and keep eating. The mood was carefree and light, I loved that everyone who was in the room with me just continued their conversations when a contraction came. There was a mutual respect in the air; they all knew what I was going through and let me do my thing. I loved it! I took my first dose of the labor boost, finished eating and worked through the next few contractions on the couch as I called my mom and told her it was probably time to come. I remember looking out at the beautiful, thick snow while I talked to her and feeling so happy.

12pm came and I wanted to get into the tub. I went downstairs to change into my swimsuit and lost more mucus. Yay!! Progress! I climbed into the warm water and instantly felt a huge relief of pressure. My next contraction came and felt ten times easier than the last--no exaggeration. The water gave me an enormous boost of energy! Scott hung out with me and held my hands as I worked through waves, and we talked in between. Kamie came down and we watched Once Upon a Time on Netflix. Even as the contractions grew stronger, I was extremely aware of my surroundings. I could be in the middle of a conversation, stop and breathe through a wave, and then continue talking & smiling. It was the most comfortable thing, floating in hot water and cushioned all around by soft pillows underneath the thick plastic that lined the tub. I never wanted to get out. I ended up staying in that tub for most of the labor, until I gave birth. My mom arrived to the house when it was time for my next checkup. She held my hand as they checked me. Being in the water had done my body good; Christine said that my cervix was still high but lower than before, and that I was dilated to a 2 and 50% effaced. I didn’t let myself feel discouraged at all; I was happy to hear that things were moving along, and confident in my body. She inserted more evening primrose oil and I continued to take the labor boost. I kept my eyes adverted from the clock during labor and I didn’t wonder about how long it would be until I had the baby. Quite honestly I was so comfortable with all of my freedoms that I felt like I could labor for days if I had to. :) Whatever I needed to do for my sweet little baby! 

Scott had left to get food for the group and got back around 2pm with drinks, sandwiches and more food for dinnertime. My mom went up to eat and I asked Scott to bring my food down to me at about 3pm (again, I was just so darn comfy I didn’t want to leave the tub haha!). He brought me a heaping platter of assorted sandwiches and snacks and set it on a longboard across the tub’s ridges so that I would hardly have to lift a finger. I felt like watching a movie so we turned on Big Fish and Scott fed me delicious bites of brownies for dessert after each contraction. It felt like a reward for each wave I made it through. :)  Some time passed and I felt like taking a break from the tub. Immediately after getting out of the water, the contractions felt muchhh more intense! Phew! I had to stop and lean against my bed as they came, rocking my hips back and forth and breathing deep. Kamie came with her rebozo wrap and joined my swaying movements while pulling upwards on the wrap. This relieved a lot of pressure in my midsection and made the contractions easier. I made my way into the living room where I decided to lean forward against the birth ball. Kamie continued to pull on the wrap when a contraction came, and followed my movements as I swayed back and forth against the ball and breathed deeply. It helped SO MUCH. My mom was sitting on the couch and I was having a good conversation with her about the importance of free movement during labor, which was funny because I was experiencing the benefits of it in that very moment! Kamie taught my mom how to use the rebozo wrap around my belly and my mom took over for a while.

I can’t pinpoint exactly when, because it started so naturally, but I began to be vocal during contractions. This had been something else that I had been very curious about: how would I react vocally during labor? Would I be a loud or silent laborer? To be honest, I never completely understood what are referred to as “labor sounds." I had seen numerous natural/home birth videos and the sounds seemed interesting to me, but once the waves continued to intensify, I GOT it. There’s something about your body tightening that calls for an energy release of some kind—breathing through them wasn’t enough anymore. I had read countless times about the importance of “low tones;" it is a major technique contributing to keeping completely relaxed through contractions. Breathing out in low tones allows the body to relax and lessens pain, while high tones (screaming or shouting) involuntarily tenses the body and intensifies pain. I would take a deep breath as a contraction came and breathed out in a long, deep moan. I found that the “O” vowel worked best for me. It felt good to breathe out in a sound, and it truly did release tension through the waves.

Scott and I decided to labor alone for a little while. We knew it was probably our last chance to be alone until after the birth. At 5pm Scott and I went into the bedroom and he helped me through waves by breathing with me and putting his arms around me. We cuddled on the bed for the next half hour, until 5:30pm when the waves were so strong that I wanted to get back into the tub. The midwives checked me in the tub, which I was grateful for. I was dilated to a 4!! Finally, it seemed things were moving along towards active labor. I continued to labor in the tub, still talking and smiling in between waves but going internal and breathing out low as they came. Kamie supported me by putting cold washcloths on my head and neck, which felt really good while laboring in the warm water. She also gave me whatever essential oils I wanted to smell; I found that dropping citrus oils in the water and on my chest, like orange and lemon, made me feel invigorated and happy. :)

In previous checkups, Dianne and Christine had commented how especially strong and tight my muscles were, and in previous prenatal appointments Dianne informed me that my pubic bone was tilted inward. Those things plus the fact that my cervix was up and around prompted the midwives to stretch me and pull my cervix down every hour until delivery. Every hour after 6:00pm, I stepped out of the tub and went a few steps to the bedroom, where I laid on the comfort of my bed and held Scott’s hand while they worked. It wasn’t painful—it just felt like pressure in my midsection—but if a contraction came at the same time, it was pretty overwhelming. Since my waves were coming about every two minutes or closer and lasting over a minute long, this began to happen more and more frequently. I had Scott kiss me through a contraction, which helped give my mind a positive distraction. I reminded myself to breathe deep and utilize low tones. During each check, they also monitored Dage’s heart with a Doppler. His heart rate was always in a great range, and it was fun for me to hear him.

I loved sinking back into the tub after a checkup; it was sweet relief. Kamie would do things like play with my hair, tickle my shoulders, and constantly spoke words of encouragement. She brought me Hi-Chews and honey sticks for energy, which tasted amazing. One of my favorite parts of labor was when she gave me a foot massage with a lemon ginger scrub from our bathroom that I LOVE. It calmed me to have a familiar smell fill the living room, not to mention having a massage while floating in a cushioned tub. I felt so pampered! Doulas are such a necessity for labor. Kamie said she could tell I was reaching active labor because the cold washcloths she had been placing on my neck and forehead were becoming hot much quicker. She reminded me that my body was working hard, and that made me excited. The contractions weren’t scary, because they were 100% produced by my own self. Though they were becoming increasingly intense, I was in a safe place mentally, which worked wonders for my birthing attitude and strength.

At 7pm my videographer arrived. I remember apologizing to her because although I was still interacting and smiling in between my waves, I was in active labor and I was distracted during the waves. She laughed and told me not to apologize. Though I hadn’t met my videographer in person until the birth, I felt completely comfortable with her there. In fact, I remember thinking, “I am so glad there is a professional here to capture these moments.” At my 8pm checkup and stretch, the midwives announced that I was definitely in active labor, with 85% effacement. This was great progress! Everyone was telling me that the baby would come soon, I was almost there, and he would be here before we knew it. After 20 hours of laboring for my baby, I honestly didn’t care. Everyone was just trying to be encouraging, but I was in this for the long haul and I was going to do this however long it took! I wasn’t going to make the mistake of putting a mental time stamp on when Dage would arrive, and become impatient or frustrated if my labor lasted longer than I anticipated, and I'm grateful that my birth team wasn't rushing me

At about 9pm, it was time for my next check and cervix stretch. The contractions were so close that if I hopped out of the tub immediately after one, I barely took four steps around the corner before the next one hit. I reached the hallway and quickly propped myself against the bedroom doorway with my arms, so I could rock my hips and bend my knees as the wave passed. Suddenly, a new feeling came… a wave of nausea. I had barely said, “I’m going to be sick” when someone grabbed a hospital bag in perfect timing. I immediately felt a lot better and I was actually so happy! I had been waiting for this moment; I knew it was transition. By 10pm, I wasn’t a 5 yet. Dianne and Christine said that once I reached a 5, labor would progress much faster (we had no idea how fast it would actually end up being!). Contractions were getting stronger, every time I was getting more vocal and my face would scrunch as I focused hard. Kamie kept reminding me to relax my shoulders, neck and jaw as a wave would pass, which helped SO much. I needed those reminders. It's so vital to avoid fighting against the contractions. I reserved my energy by giving into the waves, and making myself as weightless as possible in between. I would hold my mom’s or Scott’s hands and allow my body to drift effortlessly in the soothing water.

At my next check close to 11pm, I was finally a 5! At this point, I noticed the midwives and my mom were checking the clock more frequently. I kept my eyes adverted. I knew that it was important to get through one contraction at a time, and that came pretty natural to me. They were so strong at this point that it took all my mental stamina to work through each one.  Dianne strapped magnets around my ankles (like ankle weights) to help the baby descend and went to take a quick rest in the other room. She asked Kamie to wake her at the hour mark for my next check, and I heard her say she would break my water in an hour. Oh yeah, my water! My focus was so zoned in on having the baby that I had totally forgot about that. Literally a couple contractions later, I felt a little pop! “My water just broke,” I said sleepily to Scott, my mom and Kamie, who were surrounding the tub. I felt relieved, and suddenly time sped up.

Kamie quickly woke Dianne and she immediately checked me. Her next words were one of the best moments of my life; “The baby’s head is very low. He’s right here!” Christine also checked me and confirmed that I had reached complete effacement and his head was right there. I was now dilated to a 6! At this point it, I began to feel slightly disconnected from reality as if I were in a dream-like state, and not because it was “painful” but rather because my mind was helping me cope with the intensity and pressure (yes; there is a huge difference between “pain” and “pressure”! It was not a stabbing pain, but a powerful force emanating from within). Dianne gave me capsules of Vitamin E oil for energy. My contractions were coming so close that I had to take the pills as fast as I could in between the waves before the next one would peak. My mom was repeating some of my favorite birth affirmations, which were strung across the room on a banner. It gave me so much strength to hear her say, “My body is in control, my baby can feel my confidence,” and many others. She was feeding me pebbled ice and holding my hands, stroking my arms, etc. I continued to be as weightless as possible through the waves and I went completely limp after they passed, falling into a sleep-like state. Whether it was a conscious decision or my body taking control, I was reserving my energy for what was to come.

The final chapter of this story contains some of the most unforgettable moments in my entire life.
The waves had become progressively, rapidly stronger. I started asking Scott to breathe in synch with me and breathe out in the same tone as my “O”. For some reason, that was incredibly soothing. Kamie and my mom would join in occasionally, and it made me feel more powerful and less alone. I kept focusing on one wave at a time. How ironic it is that I'm not using any Hypnobabies or much of what I had prepared for actual labor, I thought. I found that the simplest things made the biggest impact in my birth; breathing, relaxing my jaw, and knowing that each contraction was bringing my baby closer. Somehow, the waves became even stronger. I was told that this last stretch lasted about an hour but to me it was only a few moments... I was lost in labor time! As one would come, I would adjust myself so that Scott could suspend my arms, then I would fall completely limp and let my head hang. Scott became my entire world. I told him to keep breathing with me. When a wave came, I no longer shut my eyes but opened them wide open and searched for his. All I could see was the sea of piercing blue within his eyes, and all else faded into oblivion. I stared deep into them and allowed myself to be as vocal as I needed to (always low tones). I felt that my life depended on my husband breathing in and out with me.

I vaguely heard my mom ask Dianne, “when will we know when it’s time for her to push?” and Dianne answered, “her breathing will shift” and something about how my breaths would become shorter. I wondered how in the world that would happen, but suddently, my breathing did change. I felt an indescribable feeling… it was the baby descending, but it wasn’t what I expected at all! It wasn’t painful in the slightest, but rather a release. I felt a relief of pressure and suddenly he was ready. I knew he was coming, and he was coming now. “He wants to come,” I muttered quietly. “What, honey?” My mom asked, and I responded louder, “He wants to come—now!!” My mom went to grab Dianne’s attention, but she and Christine were already ready. They had the birth stool set up next to the tub. “I want to push, I want to push” I started saying, and I was escorted out of the tub. It was 1:00am. I was still dilated to a 6. At this point, I said a prayer to Heavenly Father. Help me do this, I asked.

I had read so many birth stories that I knew that in comparison to contractions, the pushing stage was easier for some mothers and more difficult for others. To me, the pushing was the most intense part of the birth because it was a different kind of feeling than the contractions. I loved it, though! It was the most fascinating part of the entire process. A wave would come, and at the peak there would be an innate desire to push. It would subside shortly, and then the contraction would be over. I loved that my body gave me a break in between and allowed me to gather my strength, just as it had the rest of labor. When I first started pushing, I would try in short bursts and it wasn’t strong enough to move the baby. Dianne instructed me perfectly. “You need to take a deeper breath and push longer,” she said, “Push into the pain.” Once I took a deeper breath and gave more energy, I understood exactly what she meant. There was a stretchy, somewhat painful sensation, but there was also an amazing feeling that followed (the endorphins and other ‘feel good’ hormones that come with natural birth). It felt good to push, it really did! It also felt like an impossible feat of strength, an immovable mountain. I never once said to myself, “I can’t do this” but I did wonder, “how am I going to do this?” I kept thinking about Dage and how close he was to being in my arms. My love for him kept me going. At 1:30am, his head was crowning. Christine stretched my perineum with frankincense and helichrysm oils; something we had discussed earlier because I reallyyy did not want to tear. The midwives asked Scott if he wanted to feel our baby’s head. He did, and his eyes got super wide and he said, “His head is so soft!”

Within just a couple hard pushes, Dage’s head was out. I felt some relief and wanted to take a break through a couple of waves. The chord was wrapped around his neck a couple times, but knowing how common nuchal chord, it wasn’t a concern. However, Dage’s shoulders were stuck and the chord was too tight for the midwives to easily unwrap as they usually can. “You need to keep pushing,” Christine and Dianne said calmly but with urgency. I was tired and really didn't feel like it, but I heard the gravity in their voices and knew I needed to keep going. Dianne coached me through the next couple of pushes while Christine wriggled out his shoulders. (I was disappointed that his body didn’t just slip out after the head like it did for so many other moms, but we later learned that his head and upper body were the same circumference.) When I pushed him out it was 1:40am. I felt a rush of warmth leave my body and suddenly he was being held up to my chest. The moment he was placed on me for skin-to-skin, all I could say was “My baby, my baby! My sweet baby!” He took a moment to cry, but Dianne gently suctioned him and told Scott to give him some good rubs on his back. I knew the delay was a perfectly natural part of babies' lungs opening for the first time and I wasn’t concerned at all. He let out a beautiful cry, and I couldn’t stop staring at him. I made him!! I created him!! I could hardly fathom the magnificence of that moment.

I was escorted to the bedroom a few steps away, and laid down on my own comfortable bed. I was wrapped in a heated blanket, propped up with pillows and waited on hand and foot. Dianne came in to stitch me and found that I didn’t tear. I was so happy!! I know that it was because of all of the prep work they had done (stretching, essential oils, etc). Christine cleaned me up and Scott came in with Dage in his arms. Dage latched and nursed perfectly, a moment that was blissful for me as a new mother. They weighed him and checked him right next to me on the bed, then returned him to my arms. I turned to my mom and said, "Birth has always been my biggest fear. I just conquered my biggest fear of all time. I feel like I can do anything in life!" I was ecstatic!! All I wanted to do was talk to everyone, but it was time for me to sleep as much as possible. The midwives cleaned up and left. All I wanted to do was stare at my miraculous baby. I forced myself to sleep, despite adrenaline and excitement pumping through my veins.

I slept about six hours and woke on Friday morning in my own bed with our sleeping angel at our bedside. I smiled because Dianne had told me that the full moon would bring Dage, and we would have our baby in our arms by Friday morning. She was 100% right! We had our baby in our arms, and I had accomplished the most amazing birth that I would never had dreamed of having. Our mothers stayed through the night and brought us a huge, delicious breakfast of sweet cream waffles, sausage and eggs in the morning.

I am so grateful that I chose to labor in the comfort of home, surrounded by good food, freedoms, and people who served me nonstop. To me, one of the most amazing parts of the birth was when I dilated from a 6 to a 10 in the 40 minutes that I was pushing. It took my body 24 hours of labor to progress from a 1 to a 6, then in 40 minutes I was fully dilated. That is an absolute testament of the strength, capability and endurance of a woman’s body. My body knew exactly how it needed to progress, and I am so grateful that I spent nine months building faith in myself. I'm so grateful that I didn't have anyone pressuring me or telling me that my body wasn't progressing fast enough. I never second guessed or doubted the process for a moment. This entire experience built my testimony that God knows each of us and what we are capable of. If my birth would have gone an hour longer, I feel that I would have been too tired. He heard my prayer and made sure that everything I experienced was within the realms of what I could handle. I was taken by His hand and shown that I could do this, and I could emerge triumphantly. Dage's home birth was empowering, fearless, difficult, remarkable, exhilirating, intense, peaceful, and incredibly healing. I cannot wait for the next birth.

Thank you for reading!

To follow my story on Instagram, click here.

The Birth Team

I will forever be grateful to my incredible birth team. For an exhausting 25 hour labor, I felt extremely invigorated the entire journey. I wouldn’t have been able to make it so easily without all of their support. I knew that I was in extremely capable hands with Dianne Bjarnson, and I felt comfortable with her handling any potential complications (breech presentation, etc.) that she had handled before. She brought such a light and cheerful mood to the house, and I loved that she could crack jokes the entire labor. Her assistant Christine was an absolute angel. I know that because of her help, I didn't tear. She went over the top and did so much to make everything as comfortable as possible. My darling sister-in-law, Kamie, is the most amazing doula I could have ever hired. She spent every second watching over me. She is extremely hard working and intuitive to mothers' needs--she read my mind the entire labor.

To contact Dianne Bjarnson and view Sunstone Formulas products, click here.

To contact Kamie Dangerfield for doula services, click here or email her at

Finally, I need to say a few words about my husband. Dianne turned to him after the birth and said, "You did an amazing job. Most first time fathers would have had a hard time seeing their wife go through that. You did so well." Scott was my rock throughout the entire experience. I knew I could get through it because he was with me. During the early stages of labor, he spent all his energy making sure everyone was fed and happy, and when it got tougher and I needed him, he was with me every moment, intently staying with me, breathing with me, and holding me. I cannot believe how supportive he was, he was incredible. (Thank you hunny, I love you.)

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