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Hi there! Welcome to the blog. You will find beautiful images from all different kinds of sessions as well as more personal stories about me!

Hi, I'm Mandy

The (Home)Birth of Bode

Aug 3, 2021

Newborn baby, home birth, black and white film image

Our second little one arrived in early September of 2020 and I have been working on his birth story ever since. It took me a long time to write my first’s birth story as well, and it wasn’t until I became pregnant again that I realized there was some unresolved (little t) trauma from the first time making it hard to relive whilst writing it out! It’s interesting to go back and read that now, as I see the hints of trauma peeking through my words. I encourage you to go back and read it if you haven’t! This time it’s taken me way longer because #twokids.

We found out we were pregnant at the very start of the new year #2020 and from the beginning we planned a homebirth. Todd (my husband) was skeptical but after our first experience at a birth center, he was much more on board the second time around to agree to my homebirth wishes. I am still hoping he will guest blog a post about our choice to homebirth. *wink wink Todd* Obviously, come March, it became even more clear that we made the right choice! Once we reached pandemic level, women started flooding to our homebirth midwives here in Colorado.

Much like so many other women have to experience, it was really challenging to be pregnant during a pandemic. There is so much fear and anxiety around the unknown. As we got closer to baby’s arrival, I started telling my birth team that I wanted to have joy surrounding this birth. I was craving it! I wanted jokes, laughter, good music, good food and to feel like it was a true birthday party. I encouraged my midwives to poke fun, make jokes to help bring a levity to the room.

If you know me personally, you know I was anxious to encourage baby to come earlier rather than later. My first was born right at 40 weeks and was 10lbs! So we did all the things. The controversial membrane sweeps, acupuncture, chiropractic, red raspberry leaf tea, herbs, dates….so many dates etc.

What helped make this feel like a birthday party, was having some close friends there! I had one of my best friends there acting as a doula. She is trained in Splankna Therapy which is the first Christian protocol for mind-body psychology. Mind-body psychology utilizes the same system in the body that acupuncture and chiropractic are based on to alleviate emotional trauma that is physically stored. The Splankna Protocol helps the client identify where the body is holding different emotions related to root traumas. (from Splankna.com). This was incredibly helpful for me during labor! We were able to work through my previous birth trauma as it interfered with the current labor. I humbly was able to be like “oh of course! there’s that performance trauma popping up again, lets get rid of that!” etc. It was so so helpful and if I EVER do this again, I am hoping she will be there again. 😉

The other best friend I had there was my birth photographer! These incredible images are from her and in general she is an extremely calming presence. I feel so safe around her and she definitely helped make this birth feel like a real birthday! With my two friends, my sister, and mom the party was really getting started!

On Thursday the 3rd I had a midwife appt for a sweep, then chiropractic appt, then acupuncture! Like I said, I was motivated. I was 39 +1 weeks at this point, ready to go! In my first pregnancy, I was in no rush to bring baby into the big scary world, but for whatever reason, this time around I was feeling more and more anxious the longer baby was inside. I think this was the result of reading some scary articles regarding Covid and placentas. Interesting how our anxious brains latch on to certain things.

Thursday afternoon I started feeling mild contractions, so we went on some curb walks around the neighborhood while Owen biked. I was way less sure about it actually being labor because I had had contractions on and off for a couple days at this point. Around Owen’s bedtime (7ish) things started feeling a little more intense and weren’t going away when I laid down. We called my mom and sister around this time as well as Leigh Anne (doulafriend)! When Owen was in bed, we put on a light cheesy romcom (Love Guaranteed on Netflix), and chatted in between contractions. It was so fun! I joked that the movie was perfect because having never seen it, I still could guess what was happening while I had my eyes closed through contractions. Predictable romcom, highly recommend it during early labor.

I did slowly become less interested in chatting or watching a movie so this is when we called the midwives and shortly after my friend and photographer! Want to know what happened? Maybe as an enneagram 2 or an empath this might resonate with you. I became so distracted by the thought of my labor inconveniencing everyone because we now were officially in the middle of the night. I knew I wasn’t super close to delivery because I was able to talk freely in between contractions. So I panicked and thought “why did I call everyone here when I knew it was too early.” Enter in the mental block/stall. It wasn’t until we decided everyone needed to try and nap (including myself – in between contractions) that I started to let go of this control.

It definitely was still a hang up for me though. After mostly everyone rested, some more Splankna, and the decision to break my waters. I finally got out of my head and went into primal labor mode. We broke waters around 7:45 that next morning and he was born around 8:30am.

Up until we broke my waters, contractions were manageable. That first contraction after; I was on my bed still and it was CLEAR I needed to get up, move and get into the water. Lots of yelling. It was so intense. The following contractions were a blur. All I remember is my body completely took over. Todd was being so encouraging, and I told him to shut up. I was leaning over the edge of the birth pool. Leigh Anne was praying, Todd squeezing my hand, someone (mom? sis?) putting cold wash cloths on my neck. I was locked in and needed this baby to come out. Baby feels like he flew out actually. I really don’t *remember* pushing, but there is video evidence that I did. Baby was born into the hands of their Dad in the water.

We did not find out the sex of the baby but I was CONVINCED it was going to be a girl. I have my reasons and they were really good ones. So imagine the shock when I am holding this little (okay huge) baby in my arms and feel external genitalia. Maybe, just maybe I will post the video of me realizing I was indeed very wrong about the sex of the baby. It’s not very flattering and incredibly hilarious.

No delivery in the world beats a homebirth postpartum experience. I did hemorrhage but my calm and confident midwife swiftly decided to give me two doses of pitocin which I feel like changed the game for me when it came to clotting after birth and therefore my mood and energy. After a scary couple minutes where we were trying to deliver the placenta and stop the bleeding, I asked for my baby back. He had to be taken by dad while I got myself out of the tub and down on the ground for my midwife to better assess what was happening with me. When I got baby back into my arms, and that second shot of pitocin. I started to not feel as panicked. I did crawl to my bed though haha. They were worried I would faint if I stood up, so it was requested that I crawl from one end of my house (where the tub was) to the other (where my bed was).

Being in my own bed, baby latching COMPLETELY on his own while we were doing aftercare, having big brother come check out baby…it was truly bliss. Bode Sidney was born weighing a tiny 9lbs and 12 oz. Right on track to be as big but likely bigger than older brother if he came any later. I had my placenta encapsulated, about a million home postpartum visits from my midwife, more blood in my body, and an empowering birth experience which I believe were just a few reasons I did not experience postpartum depression or anxiety this time around. I think it’s safe to say this? Since I am officially 11 months postpartum. Still a chance I think, until I am done nursing. However, I do want acknowledge that it’s sometimes not avoidable, no matter what you do to try and prevent it.

I am so grateful for my entire birth team and most importantly my partner who trusted, that I trusted my body to have this baby in our home.

Baby and Family

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