• Gwendolyn’s journey from creation to earth side is one full of many unexpected moments ending with one of my most peaceful birthing journeys. We found out we were pregnant the day before we left for several weeks of cultural training in North Carolina. I had felt a bit queasy and had awful acid reflux and […]

  • S and C started care with me in the first trimester of their third pregnancy.  They had their previous babies at home with me, and were looking forward to another home birth journey.  You can read about their previous journey’s here and here. S’s pregnancy progressed along without issue.  Two days before her estimated due […]

  • J and J started care with me in the first trimester of their fourth pregnancy.  I had been their midwife for their previous two babies, and was looking forward to helping them for a third time.  You can read about their previous journey’s here and here. J had a history of truly big babies, and […]

  • What is Hyperemesis Gravidarum… I never have easy pregnancies. They are hard and complicated every freaking step of the way. I found out I was pregnant at four weeks because I kept throwing up my vitamins a couple days in a row. Who even does that?  I thought it was because of a recent surgery […]

  • What a journey Cullen’s creation and journey into this world truly was.  Now that he is five months old, it really is time to sit and process the journey, and share with those who want to hear. I found out I was pregnant with Cullen the afternoon on January 29th, and I was incredibly shocked. […]

Gwendolyn’s journey from creation to earth side is one full of many unexpected moments ending with one of my most peaceful birthing journeys.
We found out we were pregnant the day before we left for several weeks of cultural training in North Carolina. I had felt a bit queasy and had awful acid reflux and had a fleeting thought maybe I should test before we went out of town. To my surprise, the test came back positive. I ran to get my levels checked and my hcg was 3. Yes, you read that right… a 3! It’s astonishing to me that a home test can even be positive that soon and that I am that symptomatic barely pregnant.
The timing of Gwendolyn’s pregnancy wasn’t the most ideal. We were in the home stretch of preparing for our move to Scotland, and hadn’t desired moving while pregnant. I have horrible pregnancies in case you haven’t read my other stories or followed me on social media (read Aibhlinn’s story here and Cullen’s story here). The timing of finding out before this training was also less than ideal, but tried to push through and make the best of it.
Training went from barely bearable to brutal on me while in the throws of the first trimester. I quickly entered horrible aversions and being very rural and far from groceries or restaurants, it was hard to keep me hydrated. My good ole friend Coca Cola actually made me throw up… and it was then I knew this could be bad. I became severely dehydrated suffering from awful dizzy spells, and having to miss sessions because I couldn’t see straight or handle sitting upright. Christopher ended up finding a mobile IV clinic that would come far away for me, and I received fluids and a Meyers infusion and felt some relief. I wish we had found them sooner!
We made it back when I was in my 8th week, and I had my IV guy basically meet me at our home to give me fluids, vitamins, and zofran. He came out several times over the next month, and I feel like that’s what sustained me and got me through. My MFM wanted me to try a zofran pump again until we moved, but my needle phobia was so severe and the scar tissue so rough from Cullen’s pregnancy that I didn’t think I could mentally do it.
My first set of labs found me with severe iron deficiency, and my functional doctor wanted me to have iron infusions, but said she didn’t feel comfortable doing them on me pregnant. I had recently become interested in learning more about anemia and iron deficiency, and was open to trying infusions before we moved. Once I hit second trimester, I had a midwife friend sign the order, and did my five Venofer infusions before I moved.
Doing the infusions was a game changer for me. I hadn’t realized how many of my symptoms were caused by iron deficiency. By time I completed my infusions, I wasn’t struggling to breathe anymore, my heart rate had slowed down, my dizzy spells decreased, and I wasn’t requiring a daily nap… I felt like I actually had energy. I am so grateful for these infusions, and am so grateful for evidence based providers and information that can help make appropriate choices.
I did my anatomy scan right before we moved as we flew out to Aberdeen when I was 20 weeks exactly… and all was perfect for our new little princess.
We had the name Gwendolyn Elspeth picked out since February of 2019, when we had been to Scotland on holiday. We had been walking in the village of Gullane and passed “Gwendolyn Lane”, and both said that if we ever had another girl, that would indeed be her name. Gwendolyn is Welsh and means fair or blessed, and Elspeth is Scottish and means chosen by God… which for us means our little blessing given perfectly for us from God.
And just like that, we said goodbye to Houston and took off for our new homeland in Scotland.
Moving happened at such a sweet spot in the pregnancy as second trimester is usually just a bit kinder to me, so were able to get settled before the third trimester brought back the strong first trimester symptoms of nausea, vomiting, dizziness, fatigue, etc.
I had my first prenatal visit here in Scotland at 25 weeks. My prenatal care experience was less than ideal and stressful. The community midwife for our village was quite young and seemed very green, and I couldn’t tell from appointment to appointment what was actually going through her mind. It was frustrating to me to constantly hear “NHS protocol” as the response to everything. Within the same appointment, I was told I needed a growth scan because my baby’s are too small, and then when my fundal height was measuring larger than expected, I was told my baby was too big, even with all the valid arguments presenting to her of why mine is larger, she continued with “NHS protocol” information. I refused, and got the lovely risk factor of “care outside of guidelines”.
29 weeks my last two pregnancies have brought unkind things to me… with Aibhlinn the reality that a test showed high chance of preterm labor and getting admitted with my contractions and Cullen for what seemed like preterm labor but was actually a bad UTI trying to destroy my kidneys. We were grateful to make it through the 29th week with no issues, and were hopeful that maybe we could make it to 37 weeks after all!
The community midwife for my village was moving to Glasgow so came to do my “home visit” at the very end of July so it was complete. I was just getting my birth pool and supplies in so it was nice to be getting all the supplies and getting things situated and ready for what we hoped was a late August birth.
However, the evening of the 5th at 33.6 weeks, I felt the familiar signs of contractions that were not braxton hicks but the start of our labor journey. We live in a land where I couldn’t find any of my normal “go tos” for stopping contractions, so sipped on some cider in hopes the alcohol would bring sleep and a relaxed uterus. We found the next day that a sleeping medication here has the same active ingredient at American Benadryl, so purchased that to use as well.
I spent the next couple days of that weekend relaxing, and attempting to harvest a bit of colostrum to have for when the baby was born. My uterus stayed quieter, and was able to get some sleep, although not the best rest with the continuous contractions. I quickly ordered preemie clothes online, as well as navigating bottles and preemie diapers and all the things I was not prepared for yet!
Monday, 8th of august, I was set to have my regular midwife appointment. My contractions had picked up again, and I was at the point of wanting a cervical exam. Historically, once I am a good 3cm dilated, I am usually holding a baby 48 hours later. I needed to know if these contractions were doing something so that I knew if I needed to take things seriously.
Mid morning I received a call stating they wanted to move my midwife appointment out two weeks, and I said that actually I was contracting and was hoping to have a cervical check to make sure things weren’t serious. You would have thought my request was the craziest in the world! The midwife was shocked and said absolutely not that you cannot have exams in the GP Surgery because the baby might fall out.
Fall out? Really? A G5 who is a midwife is going to walk into the surgery and just plant a baby right there on your table? I don’t think so.
So I then requested to see if I could please be checked at the Inverurie Maternity Centre, which is like a freestanding birth centre to us Americans, as it was ten minutes from my house, and a lot easier than driving into Aberdeen.
Again I was told no because the baby may fall out and they aren’t equipped for a late preemie.
I couldn’t believe it. No one would just do a quick, gentle cervical check, listen to me, or take me seriously.
The head of the unit said I would have to go to Aberdeen, and I said I would absolutely not go to Aberdeen, that I was not stepping foot into a labor ward with a caesarean rate pushing 60%. That I wanted an exam which is not invasive and not asking a lot, but would continue at home if no one would help me.
Sometime passed and the head of the unit phoned back and let me know she had secured me a bed in the midwife led unit at Aberdeen if I would please then go to be assessed. The midwife led unit is like a birth centre inside a hospital. It’s a lot more freedom, and less interventions. They were not keen to let me be there as I was 34.2, but I had argued that if a NICU was literally down the hall and I have a history of uncomplicated later preterm babies, I don’t see what the problem is.
We arrived at unit in the early afternoon, and found I was indeed 3cm as I had suspected. I requested steroid injections for the baby’s lungs, and the consultant happily obliged. The midwife and consultant there initially were quite lovely. It was decided I should stay and see what happens.
I sent Christopher back home to be with the kids, and a plan was made should I feel he need to come back, someone would come sleep at our house with the kids.
One interesting thing about being in the unit here versus at home was they brought trays of food and constantly asked if you needed a snack or a drink or anything. That was such a pleasant surprise.
Before shift change, the midwife checked me again, and found I was still 3cm, but swept my membranes per my request. I have a massive fear of hemorrhaging as I had a bad one with Aibhlinn when I was left to labor for days before any intervening happened.
With shift change brought a new midwife… which ended up being a male midwife. He was great, but reminded me of the episode of The Office where Pam had the male IBCLC helping her with breastfeeding. So funny.
My contractions got stronger, were coming every 3 minutes. I eventually wanted Christopher because I needed his presence, and he arrived after 10pm. The midwife suggested walking, so we walked and walked. We walked all over the hospital and all around outside, but nothing was changing the intensity of contractions. My hips and back ached, and I was completely exhausted.
Around 2am, the midwife suggested considering a stronger sleep medication to try to see if I could sleep and calm my uterus. I forgot what it’s called here, but when I looked it up it was Ambien. I knew my uterus needed a break and so did I, so I agreed. I slept a hard 3 hours. The midwife set up a bed for Christopher so he could get some rest too.
When I woke, I found my uterus still contracting but much calmer, maybe every 10 minutes.
Everything here felt like it happened fast. The next shift was coming on, and it wasn’t great. I was given an older midwife and a consultant that I did not like. I was being pressured to move to triage where they would keep me until I had a baby. They were pulling all the stops on me, with full on manipulation of how I was taking a bed from someone who needed it more (the unit had been empty when I arrived, and a birth happened next door in the night but no one else there in the moment), and when I continued to not back down the consultant got incredibly ugly with her words. I was so angry, I was crying while I was having to advocate for myself. I finally demanded to receive my second steroid shot right then and there, and said we would be leaving since they needed the bed so desperately. I looked the consultant in the eyes and told her I would free birth before I ever stepped foot into the labor ward because I wouldn’t want anyone like her being part of my labor or being the first to touch my baby. Before we left, the midwife gave Christopher the direct number to the midwife led unit and told him when I became more active to please phone the unit, and they would get me a bed there.
I was so happy to get back home to my kids, and be in my space. I took a nap that afternoon, and generally rested as the contractions gently hung around all day.
As the little two were going to bed, I felt the contractions pick back up, and they were different. They were 6-8 minutes, but quite long at 120 seconds, and intense. As I watched Cullen fall asleep, I knew that it was his last night as the baby of the family, and that Gwendolyn was coming soon.
I took a bath and another dose of the sleeping medication from the chemist, and went to sleep. I am so grateful for that sleep, as I woke at 2am and there was no more sleep to be had. The contractions hurt so much in my hips and my back. I alternated getting in the shower with pacing the room with sitting in the bed. Christopher made me some breakfast so I ate a little for protein, as the waves got stronger. I had him do a check around 5-6am, and he was confident I was a good 5cm. As much as I didn’t want to, I knew he would feel better if we went to the midwife unit, so figured he should probably phone then. Christopher phoned the unit around 6am and was told to phone back in an hour and see what they could do.
I continued with my pacing and showering until the hour passed. He phoned again and was told that the unit was completely full plus it was now shift change, to give it another hour and see what they could arrange.
At this point I felt like my hips were going to break, and I needed to be in water. I got into a hot bath with Epsom salts, and in those moments of relaxing in the water with just the sounds of my birth playlist playing in the background, I knew I wasn’t leaving my house. I did not want to deal with a car ride with these contractions… and I zoned in.
Another hour passed and Christopher phoned back in. I didn’t know at the time what he was told, all I knew was that he was suddenly agreeable to setting up the birth pool and fine with us not leaving. What I later found out was that there wasn’t a single bed available in the entire hospital, and there were 6 women labouing in the halls waiting for a bed… literally “no room at the inn” in the only hospital you can have a baby in this whole medical catchment.
I worked my way out of the bath as Christopher made space for the pool in the tiny bedroom that we had planned to place it in. I worked on setting up supplies for the birth as I could between contractions so that everything needed to make things safe was out and available.
Around 930am, he found me to be 7cm, and soon my waters broke after, indicating to me that we were having a baby today. We notified the doula and photographer, and they were both soon on their way.
I labored on my knees in the bed, leaning over the birth ball while waiting for the pool to finish filling. Someone offered for Aibhlinn to come play at their house, so the house was soon quiet and able to just be in the zone. (Aibhlinn has such fun memories of this day, where she left to play with her friend Toby and came home to a baby!)
I got in the pool around 1030/11, and never left. I got in the zone, and focused on each labour wave as they came, aching more and more in my hips and my back. I would occasionally ask for the Doppler to listen to the baby for peace of mind.
Christopher was a tad anxious and had already been talking to my midwife friend, Rowan, the past few days about things. Once it got passed 11, I told him she may be awake and he could text her if he needed to. She responded and agreed to watch things virtually and guide him accordingly. He had found an old ring doorbell camera that he set up in the room so she would watch from Houston. Still so funny and entertaining.
Time passed… I would move and alternate my position as suggested of me. Everything felt awful. I had already made up my mind that I would deliver semi reclining to make it easier for Christopher to help me even though the recovery last time from it was so awful. So that was a constant thought in my brain through the contractions to be sure I was in that position.
I could feel Gwendolyn shifting and moving, and the slow build of tiny peaks of pushy pressure trying to start. My body wanted to push, but I wanted to let it build until all my body could do was push.
I soon could tell it wasn’t going to be long. My eyes were closed, focusing on the swaying in the pool, the soothing music on my playlist, and calmly breathing through the intensity. The next contraction came and I knew she was coming. I opened my eyes, and I was all alone. No one was there. Not Christopher, not the photographer. I called for them, and Christopher came running, and the photographer had been behind me where I couldn’t see. Seconds later, Gwendolyn was crowning before tumbling into the world into her daddy’s arms.
This photo is one of my all time favorites… I had a birth in 2013 where a photographer captured a similar photo at the birth, and I always wished to have one at my own birth. I am so grateful that this photographer got such a beautiful shot.
Welcome to the world Gwendolyn Elspeth, born August 10th, 2023 at 1428 weighing 5lbs 2ozs, 17.75in long.
Once the big mess was cleaned up and baby’s blood sugars were stable, we phone the midwives who did not want to come and wanted us to go to the hospital. I informed them I would not be bringing a well newborn with no signs of respiratory distress or other issues to the hospital. They arrived 30 minutes later.
It was by far my most peaceful birth. I never would have thought I would have had a free birth, but circumstances pushed us into that situation that we felt absolute peace, and I am certain that if another baby was born here in Scotland, I wouldn’t hesitate to have a similar journey again.

S and C started care with me in the first trimester of their third pregnancy.  They had their previous babies at home with me, and were looking forward to another home birth journey.  You can read about their previous journey’s here and here.

S’s pregnancy progressed along without issue.  Two days before her estimated due date, S sent me a text letting me know that she was feeling similar to how she had felt with her last labor journey.  This is significant because S felt constipated, and I almost missed the birth as she had mistaken constipation for labor!  After an hour or so, S asked if I would come by to check her for peace of mind.  S lives close, so it was no issue to run down and check in.

I did the initial labor assessment at 820pm on December 22nd, 2019, and found S to be 6cm dilated, 100% effaced, and baby high at a -3 station and sunny side up.  Contractions were hard for S to determine if she was having.  We chatted, and S determined she was fine with me going home until she felt more contraction activity.

I was home 30 minutes, and S sent a text saying she was feeling trembling and it would make her feel better if I came.  I packed up, and headed her way.

I arrived close to 930pm, and found S laboring on the birth ball, chatty and happy with her journey.  Midwife A arrived soon after, and suggested doing lift and tucks with the rebozo.  Lift and tucks were started at 10pm.  S felt that contractions were feeling a bit stronger after the lift and tucks.

As the 22nd turned into the 23rd, we began administering homeopathics to see if it would help strengthen her contractions, which were coming every 3-5 minutes but still relatively mild.  Per our suggestion, S began doing our position we refer to as captain morgan’s with slutty circles, which is doing side lunges with deep hip circles to help baby rotate and move down.

We decided to do a cervical exam at this point.  Despite things seeming mild and hard for S to determine what she was having, S was now 8cm dilated, 100% effaced, and baby at a 0 station.  Contractions were averaging every 3 minutes, lasting 30 seconds.

S decided she wanted to sit in her bath tub for awhile to relax.  She sat in the bath for 30 minutes before getting out.  She felt like the contractions became weak and distant, and did not want things to become stalled.

S got out of the bath and sat down on the ball to eat a snack.  After eating, contractions strengthened, and S decided to get in the bath again.  As 2am neared, she began to feel a lot of pressure and as if she could feel baby moving down more with contractions. She got out of the tub, and was kneeling by the bathtub.  We talked about reasons why she was at the end and baby not coming, reviewing emotional hold ups and possible need for rest.  S decided she would go rest in her bed for an hour or two, and see how she felt.

Close to 5am, S got up from bed and moved into the bath.  Her contractions were present, but mild.  After waking up and laboring in the tub a bit, S discussed with us about breaking her water so she could be done.  After reviewing all sides, S decided she would get out of bath and have me break her water,

At 535am, I broke her water, and a large amount of clear fluid became free and allowed baby to sit more directly on the cervix.  Contractions immediately became transition like, coming every 2-3 minutes, lasting 60 seconds, and strong.

S moved into her shower for relief at 555am.  A couple contractions passed, and she exclaimed to us that she was feeling so much pressure.  She began to push spontaneously at 605am.  The head was born three minutes later, followed by the rest of the baby at 609am.  After an all over the place labor pattern, this sweet girl was finally here 34 minutes after breaking away the amniotic sac!

Welcome to the world, Adalynn!  Born earthside on December 23rd, 2019 at 609am, weighing in at 7lbs 8ozs, 20 inches long.

It was a privilege to have supported this couple for a third journey.


Big brother was ready to help catch his baby.

J and J started care with me in the first trimester of their fourth pregnancy.  I had been their midwife for their previous two babies, and was looking forward to helping them for a third time.  You can read about their previous journey’s here and here.

J had a history of truly big babies, and she liked the plan we had previously done at starting labor encouraging at 37 weeks.  For her 37th week, she started a homeopathic protocol to try and start the softening and opening process on her cervix, before we started membrane sweeps and herbs at 38 weeks.

Sweet mama working so hard!

On February 7th, 2020 at 38.1 weeks, J came for her weekly appointment and first membrane sweep.  I found her cervix to be 2cm dilated, 50% effaced, and baby at a -4 station.  The plan was made for her to plan to come twice the following day, as it always seems to help kick her into labor when she comes twice.

Here he comes!

On February 8th, 2020, J came over at 11am and 4pm for membrane sweeps.  Her sweep at 11am made her feel pretty crampy, and she was hopeful the 4pm sweep would kick her into labor.  In between the sweeps, she went over to see the chiropractor for an adjustment to help things move along smoothly.

Such hard work!

J was 3cm dilated, 60% effaced, and baby at a -2 station when I did a final sweep at 4pm, and J was on her way home by 445pm, hoping that she would be calling sometime late this evening/early morning needing our support.

Embracing those initial emotions!

J felt labor really started at 5pm while they were driving home.  She sent me pictures of bloody show making sure it was normal at 623pm.  She said contractions were very strong, but she had not timed them.  I encouraged her to time 3-4 contractions so we knew what things were looking like, and know best when to come.


At 640pm, she sent a timer that showed contractions were coming every 2 minutes, lasting 45 seconds.  She had asked her friend to come on over, but did not think the birth team needed to come yet.  Her opinion on that rapidly changed, when she called at 655pm, wanting my opinion.  She was vocal during contractions, and I told her we would all be on our way.  I live about an hour from J, but was ready to go, and promptly walked out the door.

Sweet Boy

While I was driving, I got a text from J’s husband stating that J was feeling a lot of pressure like she wanted to push.  I was still 30 minutes out, and did not want J to deliver alone if possible since she had a previous sticky baby.  He later called, where I was able to instruct him to get J off the toilet until the first member of the birth team arrived to help decrease the pressure she was feeling.


I arrived at 750pm, and quickly got into the house where I found J laboring hard on the toilet, moaning and grunting loudly with contractions.  After helping her focus, J moved quickly to her bedroom at 8pm where she wanted to push and birth her baby.

So much love from his biggest sister.

J was sitting on the edge of her bed, leaning against J and spontaneously pushing at 801pm.  She listened to her body with perfection, and at 803pm, her baby’s head still intact in his bag of water was crowning.  With the full pressure of the next contraction, J birthed her baby as her bag of water ruptured.  After an incredibly fast and furious labor journey, her baby was here!

Enjoying the herbal bath.

Welcome to the world, Paul!  Born earthside on February 8th, 2020 at 804pm, weighing in at 9lbs, 20in long.  J had told me the last couple weeks of pregnancy that Paul means “small” and she had been praying that his name would be fitting for his size at birth, which ended up being true.  Although 9lbs seems big to a lot of women, this was actually small for J!  She had gotten her wish for this little guy.

First Moments

It is always a blessing to get to support repeat clients, and I am so honored to have helped this couple for a third time.


Photos taken by Nurturing Image Photogrpahy.

Birth gown provided by Dressed to Deliver.


What is Hyperemesis Gravidarum…

I never have easy pregnancies. They are hard and complicated every freaking step of the way.

I found out I was pregnant at four weeks because I kept throwing up my vitamins a couple days in a row. Who even does that?  I thought it was because of a recent surgery I had made me sensitive to the vitamins, but took a test just to rule it out.  Boy was I surprised!

One of many, many IVs.

That moment spiraled rapidly into days that started with occasional vomiting and all hours of the day queasiness, turned into relentless, life altering nausea and violent vomiting and dry heaving sessions.  I thought it was simply a more amped up form of pregnancy nausea and vomiting, and tried fighting through not taking medication so that there was no harm to the baby’s development, but then severe dehydration kicked in around 8 weeks and spiraled things to another level.

I have pushed myself through work days fighting vomiting and acting like I am completely perfect. Not wanting to let clients down, or my new amazing midwife partner, while dreading the thought of being called in the middle of the night to a delivery, knowing it’s going to spiral me into hard to control vomiting while having to be on my A game.

The fake vomiting toddler.

It’s sleeping with vomit bags, and having vomit bags all over the house because who the heck knows what will trigger an episode of dry heaving and vomiting.

It’s my toddler equating mommy to the blue vomit bags, and imitating vomiting noises into the bag when she brings it to me.

It’s severe dehydration, so severe I can’t get out of bed. It’s IV attempt after IV attempt, and praying for success and not another set of blown veins, because you don’t know what’s going to happen if it doesn’t work.

The beloved frosted coffee from CFA.

It’s growing a baby on sourdough bread, cheese, and frosted coffee. It’s not being able to eat many things more than once, and rejoicing when you get something of nutritional value down at least one meal.

It’s worrying how you are going to grow a healthy baby when you are growing it on crap.

It’s not being able to take a single vitamin. It’s fighting every day to take the two pills you need to take and praying they don’t come back up.

It’s the feelings of failure and guilt… for how this effects my family, my business, and being less than my best, which is something I can’t cope with the thought of on a good day as it is.

Some of many, many blown veins.

It is multiple medications that you thought you would never take, and then the emotions that follow when they do not work.  It is thousands of dollars every two weeks to cover the medication and equipment that does help.

It is appointments, so many appointments.  It is seeing your midwife, and feeling guilty for being such a burden patient.  Seeing a Maternal Fetal Medicine Specialist to help manage your HG and monitor growth.

It’s worrying about facing a hospital birth and a longer NICU stay.  It is not knowing if malnutrition and dehydration is going to cause prematurity issues worse than my history already causes me to deal with in my pregnancies.

Grow, baby, grow!

If you do not battle with nausea and vomiting of pregnancy, consider yourself highly blessed.  My last pregnancy with relentless nausea and occasional vomiting was exhausting, but jumping from that into HG territory this pregnancy has been emotional and completely wearing in every capacity.

What is Hyperemesis Gravidarum?  The exact definition is persistent severe vomiting leading to weight loss and dehydration, as a condition occurring during pregnancy.  It effects approximately 2% of pregnancies, and is linked to a cascade of issues and complications if management can’t be obtained.

What is Hyperemesis?

The HER Foundation has been a wealth of information in figuring out what is wrong, what to monitor, and steps to try.  I highly recommend this site for anyone wanting to educate themselves further on HG, and how to support someone on the roller coaster ride of dealing with HG.

Today is the limited time release of the film called “Sick:  The Battle Against HG.”  You can watch it for a limited time here.

Rocking the zofran pump at the halfway point!

On National Hyperemesis Gravidarum day, I hope this sheds some light on what the reality of dealing with HG is like.  I hope next May 15th, this is a faded, terrible nightmare, and I can look on this in a different light.


What a journey Cullen’s creation and journey into this world truly was.  Now that he is five months old, it really is time to sit and process the journey, and share with those who want to hear.

I found out I was pregnant with Cullen the afternoon on January 29th, and I was incredibly shocked. For those that don’t know, I have dealt with chronic pain issues since Aibhlinn was born. I spent her first year of life thinking I had destroyed my body with bed rest, and I just needed to work on strength to get better. By time she was a year and a half, I started having pain episodes that utterly paralyzed me for days. I was finally diagnosed with hip dysplasia, which apparently can get worse after pregnancies. In looking at all the options to best help, I decided to have a surgery in December that was consider less invasive than others to hopefully help my hip. You are told you should not get pregnant for 12-18 months, which I assumed would be no big deal.

So my huge surprise to be 7 weeks post op and to find out I was pregnant was a huge shock. The day before finding out, I threw up both doses of this multi vitamin I took.  Something in my mind said maybe amazon a pregnancy test, but it is probably nothing.  I really did not think I was pregnant.

Definitely pregnant!

The test came in around lunch time on the 29th of January.  I took it, and it was positive. Since my history is long with recurrent miscarriages and it was too late to see my reproductive endocrinologist, I grabbed a lab form from my office and ran to Quest to run labs on myself. I was pleasantly surprised to see “high” progesterone levels for myself that day without supplementation, and got in with my specialist the next day for labs and prescriptions to start progesterone and Lovenox to help me maintain the pregnancy.


My first HCG came back at 49, which means a minute pregnant and I am already throwing up. It’s incredible how sensitive my body is to pregnancy. I did not know the half of it yet though!

I made a point to run to Sprouts for some new supplements so that I could catch up on getting nutrition in. I have been prone to having a lot of food aversions and nausea in my pregnancies, with each one getting progressively worse, but I was not mentally prepared for how hard this pregnancy was going to be. I remember exactly the last day I could handle choking down the smoothie of vitamins at 7 weeks when I threw it all up in the emesis bag in the car while going to pick up the oldest from an event.

The food aversions were insane. So much worse than I remembered. I literally could only eat or drink what crossed my mind as okay to eat or drink. I tried a couple other vitamins, but they were all a bust, and if I forced myself to take them anyway, I would throw them up. So I spent most of my pregnancy taking zero supplements which was a first for me.

My first IV bag of fluids of many in pregnancy.

I always try to avoid medications as much as I can because I am nervous about the effects they will have on the developing baby, but as 9 weeks neared, I was starting to feel desperate. I was so sick so much of the time and it was hard. I finally tried my oral zofran prescription, and I was sorely disappointed to find that it did nothing for me. It did not control my nausea and it did not control my vomiting.

It was a Saturday evening in my 9th week that I had the realization that I was dehydrated. I may be a midwife, but I am a terrible midwife to myself. I had an overdue client I was waiting to go into labor, and was a bit concerned how I would handle being on my feet with how I was feeling. I decided to go into urgent care for some IV fluids. The on call doctor was great, and even though it took a couple tries because I have terrible veins and apparently was quite dehydrated, he got me and gave me a bag of fluids. When I was checking out, I saw the diagnosis code he gave me was “Hyperemesis Gravidarum”, and I was thinking there is no way. That’s not me. I am just in a weird place for some reason, and it will pass. Because the second trimester is the glorious trimester and it MUST get better, right?

I left with a prescription for phenergan, but it was too late in the evening to fill it. I threw up before even hitting the high way on my way home, totally bummed that I was already throwing up.

One of my weekly vitamin bag infusions.

I got the prescription filled the next day, and tried one. I never took another one again. The drowsiness hit me hard and fast. I texted a midwife friend quickly what I took and begged her to cover for me if one of my clients delivered before the side effects of the medication wore off. So phenergan, in my opinion, works because it makes you sleep so much you can’t be awake to be miserable. I was so out of it for almost 24 hours, waking only out of starvation or to vomit. It was awful!

In the continual mind game of finding ways to cope, I remembered that clients who I sent for vitamin therapy raved about how much better they felt for a few days following their infusion.  It took some work, but I found someone who would come to my house once a week to give me a Myles Cocktail, and I was sure this would be magical.

The first signs of a baby bump.

The weekly IV infusions proved to be ineffective unfortunately. In hindsight, I am sure it was helping me skirt by in dehydration land for a short period of time.

In my 13th week, I was unable to tolerate water any longer. It had been a slow progression as I went from drinking room temperature water, to only handling cold water at 8 weeks, to now being unable to tolerate any water.  I could tolerate ice, so my awesome husband would throw ice from Buccee’s into the Vitamix and I would try to choke down ice through out the day.

The in home make shift IV holder.

My 14th week was the start of a horrible spiral that took weeks to recover from. I was suppose to see clients this particular day, but I was in bad shape. It started when I woke in the night that I felt like I was on a cruise ship, and the boat was really rocking.  By morning, I was so dizzy that I couldn’t safely get out of bed alone. I was so confused by why I was feeling so bad. I messaged my midwife friend who was my own preceptor and my midwife for Aibhlinn.  She recommended I take my blood pressure, pulse, and blood sugar. The end thought after taking my vitals was that I was severely dehydrated. My midwife wanted to admit me in the hospital for a couple of days for continual fluids, but I refused.

So many IVs.

I did not want to start the cycle of being admitted, and with the start of COVID, I would be completely separated from my husband and children, and I didn’t want that. In reflection, in these horrible moments of severe dehydration from vomiting 10 or 20 times a day, I wasn’t always able to think the most clearly and make the best of decisions. Since I wouldn’t go in, my midwife came over that evening to start an IV. This ended up being a very complicated ordeal. She attempted six times to start an IV, and each time she would get flash and my crappy, dehydrated veins would blow. Finally, the last attempt resulted in a vein that wanted to cooperate. We ran fluids continuously, but 24 hours in, my IV failed and that was that. Every time I had IV fluids during my pregnancy (which was multiple times), my veins would not last long enough to help me get caught up.

Also… so many blown veins.

By time I was 17 weeks, I literally felt like I was going to go out of my mind if I couldn’t get a break from relentless, debilitating nausea, vomiting 10-20 times a day, dry heaving double or triple that a day, etc. My doula suggested that I schedule an appointment with Dr Gei for management of my Hyperemesis. I got in fairly quickly, where Dr Gei couldn’t even understand how I held off so long. He immediately ordered me a zofran pump to start, and within 48 hours the home health nurse was at my house getting the pump set up.

The fancy zofran pump.

Although not perfection, the zofran pump dramatically minimized my vomiting episodes down to 1-3 most days. It did not help my nausea or food aversions unfortunately, but to skirt by hydration wise and minimal vomiting was a win.

The beloved frosted coffee from CFA.

Eating was an ordeal my entire pregnancy. I had very severe food aversions, and could only eat what sounded good to me in that moment. My longest running safe foods were sour dough bread from the farmers market with Kerry gold butter (sometimes I could handle it with cheese or bacon), 7oz cans of coke (it literally had to be the 7oz cans, no other form), cheese (but this would dramatically jump forms of what flavors or presentations of cheese I could tolerate), and Frappuccino’s (but this would change all the time on what place I could handle one from). Basically, I was ridiculous!

He was definitely growing in there! Around 22 weeks.

One weird thing that comes with Hyperemesis is ptyalism, otherwise known as excessive salivation. It’s totally disgusting, and was out of control. It literally would make me gag or even vomit. The taste would make me sick. I learned in some support groups on social media how to manage, so I got some awesome pointers like sour candy and cinnamon candy to help.

Probably my best time frame of pregnancy was mid May through mid July. The veil of feeling like death was not so heavy during this time frame, and I was so thankful.

3D Ultrasound

Just like 29 weeks and on brought so much drama in my last pregnancy, it sure brought some utter chaos in this one. The day I turned 29 weeks, I was feeling pretty decent. I was so impressed with myself that I got two entire protein shakes down which was an accomplishment. My MFM had wanted me to drink three a day, and I was lucky to choke down one a day. I knew increasing my protein intake was significant for baby’s growth in the third trimester, and I though maybe for once my body was co-operating!

NOT! Because why would it want to do that!? That night I went to bed feeling a funky pain in my “hip”. Since I have hip dysplasia and arthritis in my right hip, I just thought I did something funky to my hip to cause the weird pain and didn’t think any more of it. I was finally able to get to sleep, and found myself awake the next morning around 430am, the pain worse but I was also having contractions.

Some time passed, and I decided to try a bath because the contractions were getting more uncomfortable. The bath did not help. I wasn’t aware of the weird hip pain anymore, and only aware of how awful the contractions were starting to feel.

As the morning progressed, things got worse. I started having horrible chills, and was making Christopher take my temperature over and over again. Contractions were so painful, I remember at one point thinking either a 29 week baby was going to plop out on the bed or I was dying, I only felt this bad during transition. I wasn’t able to communicate well to Christopher, so he reached out to my midwife, Rowan, for guidance. She got him connected to calling Dr Gei, who told him to bring me into the office.

I must have looked a lot like death because during subsequent appointments, everyone commented on how much better I looked after this day. I was so weak, I couldn’t walk without support. It was awful. Ultrasound showed my cervix dramatically shorter since my previous ultrasound three days earlier. My blood pressure was 86/48 and pulse 135 in the office. Dr Gei said he was sending me across the way to be admitted for fluids, labs, and observation.

Goodbye zofran pump!

I was in the hospital for three days. Since I had cervical change happening, I received steroid injections for the baby’s lungs to be safe. My labs came back showing I had a minor kidney infection, and was narrowly away from kidney failure. Thank you, Hyperemesis!

My maternity pictures taken at 32 weeks.

I spent the remaining weeks feeling pretty miserable. The zofran pump wasn’t working anymore, so Dr Gei stopped it the beginning of August. I was exhausted, sick, and miserable. The third trimester was definitely amplifying all the fun feelings all over again. The plus side of things is that overall, this pregnancy the preterm labor fun wasn’t as apparent as it was with Aibhlinn or even the boys. When I had contractions, they weren’t as frequent but they were definitely very strong. I assumed this was the case since I was so sick I had no choice but to rest most of the time.

Aibhlinn became an expert at fake vomiting.

This whole pregnancy I envisioned and imagined a home birth. I couldn’t “see” Cullen being born anywhere else. I had a goal set for myself that if I stayed pregnant until September 1st, I would have him at home, and would not need my back up hospital plan.

I was so thankful to make it to September 1st! We unpacked the hospital bags, threw away the hospital birth plans (because I am a multip, and would never have a reason to transfer at this point aside from an emergency, right!?), and got the last minute home birth supplies we needed.

Another one of my favorite maternity pictures.

While waiting for the baby to come, we were deep in the process of getting our affiliation with our mission sending organization, New International. Part of that process is a one on one interview, which I was stressed about getting complete before Cullen was born. Christopher’s interview was complete almost two weeks before I heard from anyone about mine, and I was getting antsy!

The evening of September 2nd, I received an email from the lady who would do mine who by the grace of God had availability the next morning for my interview. So Thursday, September 3rd, I completed my interview around 11am, and Christopher and I then went to lunch. During lunch, I started realizing that I was having to focus on contractions that were coming every five minutes or so. These contractions stayed all day long, making it clear that I needed that interview done before my body was like, “okay, we can have a baby now.”

Sleep was very rough that night as the contractions were strong enough to affect sleep but weren’t active labor.

I felt awful all day, Friday, September 4th. We decided to have my in-laws come up to watch the kids so that Christopher could be with me. My Hyperemesis symptoms were horrible all day, and I could barely handle being out of bed, while also having contractions. It was awful, and as the day progressed, I felt more discouraged because I “needed” to be done in every way. This pregnancy challenged me in every capacity, and I often didn’t want to do it anymore, but now I really didn’t need to do it anymore if labor would just pick up!

Sara starting my IV fluids.

My friend and planned birth assistant, Sara, came over late afternoon to go ahead and get my IV started. This was important to me because I was feeling so crummy and felt I might need some fluids and labor had to be on the horizon. I had early labor for several days before I had Aibhlinn which I feel like contributed to my postpartum hemorrhage after her birth, and I was not going to do that again.

I messaged my midwife, Rowan, that evening and made the plan that if I didn’t call the team over in active labor overnight, that I wanted my water broke the next morning and get this show on the road.  Again, I was DONE.

Checking on baby.

It was another night of horrible sleep that frustrated me because I knew I wanted sleep for labor and that it would be my last nights of sleep not being interrupted.

I was happy to wake up feeling more clear headed and with some energy that morning. I was still contracting, and decided that I was going out for a walk. So Gideon and I headed outside at 6am to walk the short distance around our end of the neighborhood to see if things would amp up.

Side lying release with my doula, Jessica.

I texted Rowan at 8am confirming that I did indeed want my water broken. She arrived at 945, and I was so grateful to see her. Her arriving early meant I should have a baby by dinner, and everyone back home before bed time, and I wouldn’t be inconveniencing anyone. Should being the word I should have thought more about with this journey!

When labor was happy and progressing.

Rowan arrived around 945am, and took my vitals and listened to baby before doing my exam. There was a snafu with breaking my water so we had a slight delay as Christopher had to run up to my office to get a hook to break my water since Rowan liked those better than the cots I had at the house. He was back by 1040, and my water was broken at 1045. I was 5cm dilated, 75% effaced, and baby was at a -2 station. This is roughly where I am every time my water is broken, and a baby follows in 4-6 hours. Once my water was broken, we notified everyone else to go ahead and come so that everyone was here with me since we expected things to get active fairly quickly.

The last hours of a baby bump.

By 12pm, my entire team had arrived. Sara flushed my IV and started my fluids. I made the decision to have an IV in labor early in my home birth planning after my hemorrhage with Aibhlinn and with the fact that I couldn’t hydrate well with Hyperemesis. I was happy to get the fluids started, and the stress of me having to keep the fluids up diminished.

I spent this time alternating between walking around my bedroom and sitting on the birth ball. It was a fun time chatting with my birth team, who I consider friends, between contractions.

Working on the birth ball.

Around 1pm, my doula, Jessica, suggested I get on the bed and do a side lying release to help with labor progression.  The side lying release really changed things, and contractions were noticeably more intense after doing the release. That made me happy, as I was ready to meet this baby!

Nausea started to get awful, and I was so scared to spend my labor vomiting, so Sara administered my zofran in my IV to help. I am so happy that we stayed on the zofran in labor, because I never threw up this labor which is impressive. I was horribly nauseated and dry heaved, but no vomiting!

Aibhlinn visiting me in the birth pool.

Jessica did some massage work before suggesting I walk around the room again.

As 2pm came, my contractions were every 1.5-3 minutes, lasting about a minute long. Silas came in the room at some point, being his silly self. After I walked around the room, I got in exaggerated sims position in the bed, where Cullen started moving like crazy.

Christopher talking about his vests while I am eating cheese definitely brought on the laughter.

I was having a hard time staying in one position at this point, and was out of bed and alternating between the birth ball and walking around the room. It was decided I was going to get in the birth pool at 340pm, as contractions were strong and I was hoping to meet my baby in the next couple of hours.

I think this is one of my favorite pictures that Stephanie captured of my birth journey.

The pool felt great. I remember at one point it getting discussed about Christopher’s clothing selections and how he wears the same thing for a period of time before wearing some other style for a period of time. When I had Aibhlinn, he wore this vest that I gave him a hard time about, and I remember during one contraction him telling me he was given another vest that was in his office at the church, and I just lost it in laughter.

Rowan doing some work to help this boy come down.

Aibhlinn came in at one point to check on me, and she was so sweet about the pool. I was super nauseous, but they convinced me to eat a piece of Swiss cheese while in the pool since I had not eaten since 9am.

As a planner and a midwife, my brains wheels started going as we got closer to what ended up being two hours in the birth pool. My contractions were no different in the pool, and I was getting frustrated. He should be here by now, so why isn’t he?

Trying to slow dance this boy out of me during contractions.

I got on the bed, and alternated sides with contractions to see if we could help him rotate into a better position.

Rowan requested doing a cervical check at 630pm to assess progress and to see if could find a reason for the hold up. I was 7cm dilated, 75% effaced, and baby at a -1 station. Rowan said I had some scar tissue that she worked on during the exam. It was not fun to say the least!

I can feel the whole energy shift just looking at this picture. I was so defeated at this point.

Discouragement and frustration set in hard at this point. It’s now 7pm, the baby isn’t here yet, and it felt like there was no end in sight.

For the next two hours especially, I was trying to trouble shoot in my head. I was convinced at one point my hip dysplasia must have screwed up my pelvis and he was not able to come down. Rowan assured me my pelvis felt great and that was not the issue. At one point I noticed my contractions were coupling and figured his position must be awful, but everyone assured me he was anterior so then I blamed that he had to be acynclitic.

Lift and tucks by Mary.

During this time, Jessica had me moving. When Christopher could be in the room, she wanted us doing the “slow dancing” position during contractions to help keep things long and open. When my legs were tired, I would sit on the birth ball.

Around 9pm, I assumed labor wasn’t progressing because I couldn’t eat. So I angrily ate another piece of Swiss cheese, convinced I needed food for my body to have the energy to finish.

Walking laps in the kitchen and living room in the light of our fall tree.

During this time, I alternated the same old positions, getting frustrated with each contraction that passed because I knew things weren’t getting stronger. Around 11pm, I got in open knee chest where Rowan and Jessica worked on different parts of my pelvis to help the process. This happened routinely in my labor that they would work and massage on areas, throwing all the things at me to get to the finish line of this labor.

During the flying cowgirl.

I couldn’t handle being on my knees for a long time because of my dang hip, so we began to alternate side lying, with different people working on my pelvis.  The room was dim, and my exhaustion was overtaking me, and I found myself dozing in between contractions.

As the new day was upon us, I realized I was becoming very hyper aware of my labor play list. When I made my play list, I really only expected to listen through it twice. When Pandora finished playing through my list, it would auto play music that was like my play list. I immediately knew when it did that, and would need someone to restart my play list right away, but at the same time get frustrated that it was having to be restarted AGAIN! I am also sure my entire birth team was tired of hearing my music, which I don’t blame them. I also was feeling emotional that everyone had been with me for over 12 hours at this point, and I knew they were tired, exhausted, and frustrated. They assured me they were fine, but I knew better. Because as a midwife, we all know late nights births and long births are exhausting, and I felt horrible that nothing was going the way I expected. I clearly have control problems.

And still in the flying cowgirl…

Right after midnight, Rowan had her birth assistant, Mary, do lift and tucks for ten contractions to see if that would help. Unfortunately, it did not help and was yet another frustration on the journey!

After the lift and tucks, my birth team convinced me to leave my room and make laps around my kitchen and living room. So Christopher helped push my IV pole while I slowly made laps, nausea becoming overwhelming.

Waiting for the birth pool to finish filling.

Rowan wanted to do an exam at 145am, and the information was less than ideal. Not only did I not progress, but I in fact had gone backwards and was having cervical swelling. Rowan mentioned that if I did not make progress in the next few hours, we would need to discuss transporting. I don’t remember what I said out loud, but I remember thinking internally, “Oh no we won’t be.”

Finally in the birth pool!

Apparently the whole transport talk was a big controversial topic that I wish I could have been a fly on the wall to hear. With it, Christopher did two things. First, he made a sign that said “Cullen, it’s your birthday” styled after The Office episode, and second he apparently threw together a suitcase for transport that I only found out days later because I couldn’t find a lot of my clothes.

I went to the bathroom after the exam, and was desperate for what I could do to make progress happen. I had been given what felt like hundreds of homeopathic remedies that clearly weren’t helping. I couldn’t handle herbs because of the taste. I prayed so hard that progress would happen and I would finally be done.

In between contractions.

Jessica put me in a position called the flying cowgirl that I was not familiar with, and had a hard time wrapping my head around how it would help. I was able to rest in between in this position, and every time I felt like I could get in a comfortable spot, Jessica would yank my legs back more!

I was in that position an hour, but in the moment there was no sense of time. I wasn’t always aware of what was going on around me. Contractions were changing. They were painful, my hips ached, there was pressure building every where with each contraction. I was aware at moments of Jessica working on my back behind me, and sometimes it was my husband next to me, holding my hands and praying over me, and sometimes it was Stephanie, my birth photographer.

I love this picture because I know it was when I was being intense wanting Rowan to be ready, and to tell me if he was coming.

Around 3am, I was encouraged to get out of the bed and make laps around the house. I was very emotional through out the last few hours, but even more so this last hour. The contractions were awful, and physically I knew this had to be transition, but mentally I wasn’t trusting my body would do the work anymore, and labor was completely awful at this point.

The laps around the kitchen and living room were agony, and I was so weak. It took all I had within me to keep one foot in front of the other, depending completely on my husband for support with each contraction. I hit a wall at one point where I felt flustered and said I can’t do walking anymore. I went back into the room and sat on the birth ball, crying with each contraction and leaning on my husband because I felt too weak. Contractions were 2-3 minutes, lasting 90 seconds at this point.

Praise God, he is finally here!

The team were actively warming the birth pool at this point, but I wasn’t aware. I remember sitting on the ball feeling like my hips were going to rip into two, and getting aggravated that I was going to end up delivering on land again, and I super did not enjoy Aibhlinn’s land birth.

I was helped into the birth pool at 336am, and I was so thankful. I immediately got into the pool, laboring on my knees while leaning over the pool. Time felt so long in this last hour in the pool.


At one point, I looked at my IV and could tell it was on the verge of failing. I felt flustered about it, but knew I couldn’t handle for it to be redone at this time in labor and just had to hope and pray the IV would last through placenta delivery and hemorrhage management.

A contraction or two later, Sara could tell the IV was failing, and she was looking at it and looking at my arms and hands. At this point of labor, a lot of things I can’t tell what I was thinking inside versus what I verbalized outside. I know I said something though, and she left the IV alone.

Herbal Bath

I was feeling so much pressure in the pool. The pain was so bad, and I was still unconvinced that the baby was coming. I have never felt so weak in labor as I did this time, and needed Christopher right there to help me with every contraction.

As 4am came, I was prompted to move into semi reclining per my birth preferences. I always had this crazy idea that it would be awesome to catch my own baby, but clearly I am not strong enough in those moments to do it. After being pushed what felt like maybe too much, I moved. I immediately hated that position, but was too weak to be able to move back. I will never deliver in semi reclining again. I give that position zero out of five stars. My pubic bone killed me for weeks after that!

I was assessing his vitals for myself.

The pressure was building, and I felt like he had to be right there but I couldn’t tell. My body started taking over was pushing him down with contractions at 418am. No one was communicating with me, and I couldn’t tell if baby was right there or if someone was going to catch the baby. I know I was being super intense right before delivery because no one seemed ready, and I was scared he was going to come and no one catch him. I asked Rowan what felt like a dozen times if she was ready, and I am sure she was exasperated with me asking. I particularly love this picture Stephanie got of Rowan, Amy, and Jessica all looking to see if baby was right there.

Amy doing Cullen’s newborn assessment.

All of a sudden he was there, and in classic fashion I screamed from the burn of his head crowning. He crowned for what felt like forever before the fetal ejection reflex kicked in, and he came bursting into Rowan’s hands. He was screaming once he came up from water, and proceeded to cry and scream the first hour, making it clear his lungs were in good working order.

I have a favorite video that Christopher took right after he was born because I can see Rowan’s hands dipping into the vernix. When Rowan was my apprentice, she was notorious for trying to get a hold of any loose vernix to put on her wrinkles, and I knew immediately from her hand motions what she was doing.

Thank God this boy was finally here. Cullen Findlater Stellhorn was born on Sunday, September 6th, 2020 at 428am weighing 5lbs 3ozs, finally coming after almost 18 hours of active labor and 10 minutes of pushing. Cullen’s active labor was longer than my three previous active labors combined.

My little helper helping to dress and diaper Cullen.

Sara immediately started running my pitocin, and once I moved to bed, Rowan went to work for placenta delivery. I still had a hemorrhage but nothing at all compared to Aibhlinn’s birth. I got the full package of hemorrhage medications plus a bag of pitocin, which my IV lasted for Sara to push that bag through and then promptly failed. God is so good.

I am thankful for each and every member of my birth team, and thankful they stuck with me through the journey even though it was just as exhausting and tiring for them.

I had so many moments in the late first and second trimesters where I didn’t know how I could go on another day or how September would ever get here as Hyperemesis took over every aspect of my life. I am so thankful for my husband for caring for me and encouraging me through so many bad days, and for the gift God has given us in Cullen. He is an utter delight, and I can’t imagine life without him. He was worth every terrible day of pregnancy.

Love and Gratitude to my Amazing Birth Team:

My midwife, Rowan Twosisters and her assistant, Mary Bratcher, of Preggers Can Be Choosers.
My second midwife, Amy Embrey and her assistant, Sara Escamilla, of Little Love Midwifery.
My doula, Jessica Gonzales, of Village Birth & Babies.
My birth photographer, Stephanie Shirley, of Stephanie Shirley Photography.

To watch my birth film made by the talented Stephanie Shirley, you can watch that here.

As a side note, it was a special blessing to me to have my past apprentices (Rowan and Amy) who were now licensed to be by my side as midwives in my birth.  Because of my personality and how particular I am, they got me on that and I had peace that things would go the way I needed them to go with them as my midwives.  It was definitely a special moment for me to have two people I participated in their training to be there with me.